Work-in-Progress Girl


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Strawberry Dumpling Pouch Swap

My goodness I’ve been bad about blogging. What I’m going to show you today was in the mail more than a week ago and has already arrived with its new recipient! I participated in another dumpling pouch swap on Flickr/IG, this one with a berry theme. (I’ve previously done a strawberry themed one, which I seem not to have posted about, and also a Christmas one, which you can see near the bottom of this post.)

I was torn for a really long time about what to make for my partner, but I decided to try to make something that kind of… looked like a strawberry. Leaves on the bottom, red all through the top. Here’s the bottom:

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Not one of my smoother moves. I forgot how much of the green would get swallowed up by seam allowance, and so not too much is peeking through!

Even if I’d shot the photo head on, at dumpling pouch height rather than from above, you still only see about 1/4-inch of the tallest green bit! Oops.

I’m not too upset about it though because I love red (and so did the lady I sent it to) and I love the fabrics I used. I set out mostly to use solids, but I wanted a little extra bit of prints in there too, so my rule with those was that they couldn’t be white on red, but had to be kind of red-on-red prints in some way. I used a Liberty of London print for the lining – it’s not berry related, but the colour was just perfect and it’s one of the very few Liberty prints that I really love.

I wanted to send along something else, so I also made her this potholder, using this gorgeous strawberry girl print that I’d bought a year or so ago on Etsy. I just used some of the extra strips and bits of red that I’d already had cut for the dumpling and kind of cut off the excess bits of linen from around the print. It’s pretty clear I went into it with no plan at all and I quilted it at the same time as I sewed on each strip, so there’s no visible quilting on the front. The binding was actually leftover binding from sometime else I’d made once upon a time (I can’t remember what.. I’m at a loss as to what I might have bound in red!), which was pretty convenient!

Here’s the back. I was all about using scrap fabric with this, so I fished this gorgeous Laura Gunn print out of my scrap bins. The colours all seemed to work, although in the long run it doesn’t match the binding terribly well. I’m not quite sure why I decided to make this into a pot holder (with insulated batting and everything) rather than making a mini quilt to hang, but it made sense at the time.. Pretty much as soon as I was finished though I’d wished I hadn’t put in the insulating stuff because it’s too pretty to put a pot of spaghetti sauce (or whatever, really) on!

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And then finally, on the day I was sending this away, I happened to pick up a magazine that came with the materials to make a cross-stitch pendant necklace and a cross-stitch… brooch (I think…). I decided to bang out one last little thing to tuck in, chopped the chain for the pendant down to a little keyring size and stitched that up. I was aiming for something slightly berryish, but I thought it was too plain and added in the blue crosses, which turn it all into something much more abstract. I thought it was kind of cute (if maybe probably definitely useless) so in it went.

I also sent some other bits and pieces, but I didn’t photograph them first. Here’s a photo which I stole from Jan, who received this package:

Dumpling swap from Kristel

So I sent a couple roles of baker’s twine in red and green, a strawberry flavoured lipgloss, raspberry balsamic ganache chocolates, fufu berry Jones Soda candies, and a bit of strawberry related fabric. The fabrics aren’t especially visible because of the way I wrapped them up, but there is about a Fat Eighth each of that jam jar print, a print with tiny little blue strawberries, and a Heather Ross strawberry print, which was the one with the white background and kind of orange berries. I had just a single strip of the pink background version, so I wrapped it around the little stack and pinned it closed to keep them in a nice little bundle.

I really hope Jan loves everything I’ve sent her – it was a fun package to put together. (And I got to taste test some delicious chocolates while in pursuit of a berry flavoured chocolate to include… There’s never any complaints from me about chocolate.)

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WIP Wednesday: Little Things

Naturally because I have a bit of a goal list for the month, I’ve so far only worked on completely different things. Two of them totally new!

The simplest thing on my ginormous To-Do list was to add borders to two finished baby sized tops and send them away for a Linus group to quilt and gift to a child in need. I even had the borders cut.

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Sure, the lighting is horrible. But so are the borders! I don’t hate all borders on sight (like some capital-m Modern Quilters seem to), but there’s a time and a place for all things, and these two quilts were not the place for borders, apparently.

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Thing was, they weren’t very square and if you have a not-very-square quilt, adding properly sized borders can really help fix a multitude of sins. But they’re just so awful looking! I couldn’t decide if I should take them off or leave them on, and I left them in the end. I figure if the Linus group that gets them really hates them as much as me, they can trim off 2.25″ width to use as binding fabric (and be left with a skinnier border, that maybe wouldn’t look so bad?) or they can rip them off entirely or they can leave them on because maybe some kid somewhere will appreciate it anyway.

Anyway, after I got that done, I went digging through my drawers looking for a needle. I can’t remember what got me looking for one – I don’t think I had anything that needed hand-sewing – but I did and then I found a little embroidery project that I bought a while ago and never got around to making:

Mr Monkey Man

An embroidered monkey stuffie from Kiriki Press. They sell a sweet little collection of embroidered stuffie kits. This is one of the simplest ones – you only need to know chain stitch and running or back stitch to do the embroidery. I picked it up because I thought it was cute and because Kiriki is an independant Canadian company (and I want to support Canadian talent) and did I mention it’s cute? I’ve only been working on it a little here and there while watching tv, but then I haven’t watched anything in a few days now, so I’ve set him aside again. I’m determined to finish him this month, though, so to that end, I’m going to link up to &Stitches January finish-along. I have lots of other embroidery projects I could try to finish instead, but I’m feeling this one instead.

Potholders in Progress

I’m also working on some pot-holders out of that Christmas fabric I mentioned a couple days ago. I started out following a pot holder/hot pad tutorial, but I got distracted somewhere along the line and sort of did my own thing and then I thought how very boring it was (just this floral fabric on the front/heat reflective side, all that brown background fabric on the back side) so my brain went back to that original tutorial and thought I’d better add some kind of embellishment to break up the front a little.

So today I headed over to Fabricland and picked up a half metre each of those two crochet lace edgings – grand total of $1.13 – to test against the fabric. Neither matches quite exactly – in brighter lighting, the white is a much purer white than the fabric, which is a creamy yellow-based white and the beige is much too dark. (The beige does match the twill tape loops quite well.) But I have enough to do four hot pads, so I think I might just do two with the white and two with the beige and be done with it whether they match precisely or not.

So that’s what I’m working on! And then I need to get working on my bee blocks and some cat-faces…

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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Stuff and Things

I keep putting off writing a post – I’ll do it tomorrow, sort of thing – because most of what I’m going to post about is a little too light to bother about, so today can be a bit of a Random Thursday post, though it’s not really all that random: it’s sewing/fabric related, by and large.

On Wednesday, I received this really incredible swap package for the Flickr Fat Quarter Blender Swap:

FQ Blender Swap Received!

Love, love, love every bit of it. My swap partner really nailed it with this one – you might recall my saying the other day that I’ve been having a Pink moment? Yeah. These will fit right into the mix. I really love Painter’s Canvas (that’s the navy one), and would have it in every colour if I had the money to spend on it. The paper clips are just FUN and that aqua is really lovely.

I also received my swap package for a Livejournal swap, the Talk to Me Tuesday Pound of Love/Crafty Goodness swap, but I didn’t take pictures because I recorded a video. Just have to get the video off my phone and onto YouTube.

I recently mailed off stuff for that Livejournal swap and while I didn’t take pictures of most of what I sent, I did photograph the handmade bit, which was three pot holders:

Patchwork Potholders

I don’t know what sorts of colours my swap partner loves or what types of prints, so I pretty much just let myself go crazy with the scrap bags. I wanted to make something useful, but also beautiful, and hopefully I managed to accomplish that!

Pink Patchwork Potholder

I made this pink one first, more or less following the pattern in the book Zakka Style, which was compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale (I hope I got her name right, I’m too lazy to go look it up…). The book uses the linen as the binding, which I should have done as it really ties the whole look together, but I didn’t want to cut a big old bias cut right through the middle of my Essex linen. So dark pink instead.

Patchwork Pot-holders

The pattern is for the kind of pot-holders that you can put your hand inside to pick things up, so they’re all done in that style. But I quilted the crap out of these things and even though they function as pot-holders (I tested them!), I was too scared to try holding a hot dish with them. I feel a bit like the super tight quilting clamped all the inner layers together so closely that it holds the heat too close to your hand (even though it does reflect it back up). I don’t know. There are 3 layers of fabric, a layer of cotton batting, and a layer of Insulbrite in each of these, but I was still nervous about it.

This teal one is probably my favourite, but I’m a big fan of teal/aqua. That extra bit of patchwork in the middle was in the scrap bag just like that – it was an off-cut from a quilt top I finished last year (but have never quilted…). Love it.

Chartreuse (I guess?) Patchwork Potholder

This chartreuse one was the last one I made. You can tell I haven’t really made much use of chartreuse in my sewing because I didn’t have too many options in my scrap bins – I had to slip in some other shades of green as well. This features my least favourite binding (I should have chosen a darker coloured print) and I think it knew I wasn’t happy with it, because it gave me all kinds of trouble. There are a couple little puckers, I had to sew the joining seam THREE times. Ridiculous.

Anyway, those are all en route to their new owner, who I hope will love them.

And finally – I need to go blow-dry my hair and get ready for work (I work midnight to 8:30 AM tonight!) – here’s the first block of my next project:

First block

It’s a shame my ironing board shows through, but I’m loving how this is looking. I’ve only got the one block finished, but I’m going to make 30 for the quilt top (it’s going to be a baby top) and hope to get it all together very quickly.

Baby quilt fabrics

These are all the print fabrics I’m going to use, but today I got them all sewed up into strip sets to cut into the block components. All pressed and ready to cut, and then I’ll start sewing them into blocks. I’m using 2.5″ wide strips (the white is a jelly roll), and the blocks come out to just a little bigger than 8.25″ square, though I’m trimming them down to 8 1/4. It’s a bit of an unusual size, but it’s convenient to start with the jelly roll strips, so there it is.

Oh, and finally, here is my September block for the Flickr Simply Solids group:

Simply Solids Aenous Sept. block

More churn dashes! They’re having a moment in the blogosphere.


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Apple Potholders

A while ago I had my 111st post and I’d decided to do a secret giveaway, where anyone who commented would be entered into a draw and the winner was going to win something handmade by me, something probably kind of silly, but hopefully useful, I’d said. The winner was Carly at CitricSugar, and I figure it’s probably time I talk about what I sent her, because the package did arrive earlier this week.

Apple potholder/hot pads!

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The pattern for these apples was adapted, kind of, from Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please! book which came out earlier this year. I think a lot of you have probably read it – it’s been kind of big on the craft blog scene, which makes sense because it’s a cute book, with lots of fun little projects in it. It’s nice that everything in it is do DOABLE, but also so cute and useful while they’re at it. There are quite a few things in this book that I would like to make, which is more than I can saw for a lot of craft/quilting books. I’d decided a while ago to quit buying craft books and start borrowing them from the library first and this is the only book I’ve bought since then without reading it for free first. By and large I wasn’t disappointed by that choice, though I often find the pattern directions slightly mystifying – for instance, when you sew things right sides together, it usually if not always recommends sewing the entire way around, then unpicking part of the stitches to turn it right side out, which… why? – and I mentioned some time ago being frustrated by not being able to easily print the patterns (trying to get them onto a photocopier so that I could eventually blow up the pattern – by 143%, of all the ridiculous amounts) and how eventually I just ripped a page out of the book:

Pattern, Please?

The pattern I ripped out of the book was NOT the apple pattern, but a pattern for a hexagon potholder. Which I never did make. In the book, the apples are actually bibs, but as I have no use for apple bibs (and didn’t think Carly did either), but still wanted to make this ridiculously cute pattern, I converted them to potholders/hot pads.

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I made the green hotpad first, and it’s truest to the book – it’s the same size as the bib, with the leaf made as suggested. You stitch together a front and back with right sides together, then flip it right-side out, and stitch it down. It was hard to do. I think I stitched around the outside of the leaf three times before I got it close enough to the edge to look good and not super jerky (because I was using a quarter inch foot and couldn’t really see where my stitches were going on that tiny space). So for the next two potholders, I decided to do a lazily embroidered leaf, rather than stitching one down:

Orange Apple Potholder

Not that those leaves are perfect either – I didn’t switch over to a darning foot/FMQ foot, so I had a really hard time making smooth curves with the machine. It was more successful than unsuccessful, but yeah. Not perfect.

For the second and third potholders, I upped the size a little. The green one is big enough to put a small pot on, or a coffee pot or something, but it is a little bit small for a hot pad, so I made the next two a little larger. They only ended up about 1/4-inch bigger all around, but they are a slightly nicer size for a pot holder.

Red Apple Potholder

By and large, I really enjoyed making these. I was glad to have an excuse to use some of that apple fabric (in all three shades I own!) and it can be really satisfying to make small things (quicker turn around, and I’m far more likely actually to finish them!) and I love giving things away and I got to practise a new technique.

Bound, Binding, Unbound

The new technique being bias binding. I’ve made projects before that should have used bias binding and I very stubbornly tried to do them with straight-grain binding (and naturally it looked like crap), but this time I decided to suck it up, princess and get on with it. It was really not so hard to work with, although I had varying levels of success with the dip in the top of the apple. It was great going around curves, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that dip look good. I think they all came out pretty well despite my lack of experience. I had to smush a lot of fabric up under the binding at that point, but it looks pretty smooth I think.

Apple Potholders

Inside of each potholder is a layer of Insulbrite and a layer of batting underneath that. They feel impossibly thin and I barely thought they’d actually function as potholders, but I put a hot casserole dish on one of them for a quite a while, and the counter top stayed cool, so it must have reflected the heat back up as it was suppose to.

Anyway, I think it’s as pretty fun thing to make, and a great way to mod the bib pattern, if you haven’t got little kids to put cute apple bibs on. (I do recommend making them larger than the bib size – add about half an inch all around and it should be big enough to use with most pots.)