Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash

This post has taken me a ridiculously long time to write – I spent half my day fighting with lighting and colour of the photos, as you’ll see below. Most of these fabrics came from Sew Sisters via a gift card from the very lovely Michelle at Factotum of Arts. Michelle had a giveaway for her top commentors and I was one of them! She gave me a gift card to a Canadian shop so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the shipping costs – how sweet was that?

Sew Sisters was one of the first sites to have Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe fabric in stock… but somehow I managed to avoid buying it from there and instead spent the card mostly on discounted fabrics. (You get a lot more that way…)

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On the left is natural light in the morning, from the north east and then on the right is natural light in the afternoon, from the south west. Neither of which is remotely close to the real thing.

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I started trying different settings in my camera, to see if I could sort something out. The left is was “vivid colours” – that bit of carpet left in the photo is actually beige, so you can imagine how much effect there was on the fabric colours. And yet it’s still not as egg-yolk yellow as the actual fabric should look. On the right was a “snowy scene” setting on my camera and it’s the closest I managed to come up with.

I don’t even know how the same piece of fabric could come out so wildly different! Anyway, it’s a Living Elements fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics, and if you go here to their website you can find their picture, “Old Yellow,” which is certainly a better representation.

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When I’m buying fabric without a specific purpose in mind (buying a certain line because I like it or buying for a particular project), I tend to look for fabrics that will fill gaps in my stash – colours I don’t have a lot of or print types that I don’t tend to buy. Considering the size of my fabric collection, I have a surprisingly small amount of orange fabrics, so that’s how this print from My Sunshine by Zoe Pearn wound up in the purchase.

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This orange wasn’t from Sew Sisters, I forget where I bought it, but it’s adding to the orange collection too. This one is from Petal and Plume by Bari J. Really great print.

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But back to the Sew Sisters fabrics, here’s a bit of Pepe in Paris from Riley Blake Designs. I picked it up in two different colourways. I was drawn first to the blue one, below, but I liked this low volume version of it too. The one downfall I would say is that the print is quite large, so I think it’d be hard to really showcase the print in a quilt. It’ll work just fine in small pieces, but it’d be harder to show off the whole row of houses.

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Anyway, I really love it in blue. I should have photographed the selvedge – it’s so cute on this line! The colour marks (why can’t I think what those things are called?) are of a little man in a beret. So cute.

I also picked up a bit of sale priced Carolyn Friedlander, from her older lines Botanics and Architextures. This blue didn’t come out so well in the photograph. It’s a tough one to capture:

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Just like the yellow print, I tried photographing this one in a few different locations and levels of sunlight. It just didn’t take well to photographs. I probably already had some of this (I haven’t put it away yet, so I haven’t even checked!) but Botanics is such a great line and it’s so usable in pretty much everything. So you know. Why not? Despite my enormous collection of blue fabrics, I don’t have a ton of dark blues. Actually dark anything – dark orange, darker yellows, dark purples, etc. This one is probably a bit of a medium blue, but it’s still darker than my usual sky blues and aquas.

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These stripes are some of the best low volume fabrics out there. Love love them.

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And of course a bit of text fabric from Architextures.

I think I’d also got some Aurifil thread, but I can’t remember where I put it, so I didn’t photograph that!

Anyway, it was a pretty good fabric shop. I don’t really love Sew Sisters that much – their fabric focus just doesn’t line up that closely with mine (which is fine, I’m sure there are hundreds of quilters who’d turn their noses up at my favourite fabrics) and their website is also unwieldy at best. I think I’ve been spoiled by sites like Fabric Spark and Mad About Patchwork and Hawthorne Threads that let you search in several different ways – colour, designer, fabric line, etc. Anyway, they do have enough bits and bobs I like that I’ve bought from them a handful of times – most recently during a 20% off yardage sale (which might not be over yet, depending when I get this entry posted), when I ordered a few metres of some Kona cottons and a little bit of Cherie fabric – and I’m certain I’ll be back again in the future (especially with the Canadian dollar so low – I don’t see myself buying from American sites, anyway!).

Anyway, I’d shown an orange print above, which didn’t come from Sew Sisters, and when I bought it, I also picked up a few dark blues. (I forgot where I got it from! They were all in the same plastic bag though.)

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This is one of Art Gallery Fabrics new Prisma Elements fabrics. It’s got a metallic silver print over the blue. Very pretty! I like that the metallic is pretty minimal – I find it makes for slightly stiffer and less comfortable feeling fabrics when it’s applied too heavily.

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This is Metro Living Diamonds in Navy. I’ve had a few different Metro Living prints over the years and they’re always great. And good solid colours – navy, orange, red, etc.

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And finally we’ve got Deco Geo in Navy from Michael Miller. Another good navy, though there’s a lot of white in that print.

So that’s kind of an enormous collection of fabric being added to my shelves instead of taken away… I almost hate to add up the yardage and see what it comes to!

Linking up with the always fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash. (Link and blog button on the right.)

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Sunday Stash: Totalling the Diet Train

If there’s anything I’ve learned from 15 years of failed attempts at dieting, it’s that I’m not really very good at dieting. Chocolate, fabric; it’s all the same. I did great in January, I crashed and burned in February, and now in March I’ve… well, crashed and burned again? I don’t know. Certainly the fabric diet train has been totalled by this second crash, if it wasn’t already written off in the first.

Well, this week I’m hosting Molli Sparkles‘s Sunday Stash link-up and giveaway – arriving a day early here because it’s already tomorrow in Australia 😉 – so I guess it’s good that I’ve got a lot of things to show you…

Molli Sparkles

The Mad About Patchwork Stuff:

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I was looking for the pattern on the left and came away with it and the pattern on the right (which, omg, SO MANY PIECES… it turns out the answer to the Enigma – how to make this quilt without y-seams – is all the Half-Square Triangles EVER… seriously, making this quilt will use up your yearly quota of HST).

And somehow all this stuff hopped into the envelope as well:

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The top two are Anna Maria Horner prints from Field Study and as with so many AMH prints, whenever I look at them I wonder WTF I was thinking because I don’t have one sweet clue what to do with them to make them turn into something good. But then someone else will use them and they’ll be brilliant! and amazing! and I’ll have to have them! And so now I do, but right now… I kind of hate them. I suspect I’ve actually bought the bottom print before, one of the prints from Sarah Watson’s Indian Summer line… I really need to clean up my sewing room and get my fabric back in order by colour so that I can actually see what I have.

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There was also a bit of Joel Dewberry love going on because I also bought two different Tile prints from his Notting Hill line as well as the Frames print. Love the colours in these ones. I always say I hate pink, but I LOVE that pink print ridiculously.

The Hawthorne Threads Stuff:

This is still en route and I’ve deleted the email with the invoice so …. it’s a mystery. But I bet it’s good.

The Fabricland Stuff:
I shit-talk Fabricland a lot because mostly it has a lot of not terribly great fabric, but I went there looking for hardware to construct a bag and discovered that they have a new collection of fabrics they’ve got labelled “Anna’s Fabrics” and if you read the selvedges or even the bolt ends under the Anna sticker, they are actually designer fabrics from companies like Andover and Robert Kaufman. I don’t actually love any of the fabrics I picked up from that line, but I was so weirded out that I somehow walked away with .5 metres of each of these:

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Ric Rac Rabbits by Marissa and Creative Thursday for Andover fabrics

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Fiesta by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman.

They also had a section for fat quarters:

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I picked up a handful of different things, aiming mostly for ones that had the printed side of the selvedge. No info on the blue strawberries or roses. The blue and white is from Paris & Company by My Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake. The grey with dots is something Christmas related also for Riley Blake (the selvedge is too hard to read). No info on the elephants, I just thought they were sort of fun and weird. The next two are both Rocket Launch Club prints by Sarah Jane and the last one is Ombre Dots from Riley Blake.

And finally… The Craftsy Stuff:
It’s just that Craftsy is having a Tula Pink workshop and and and… I barely like most of the prints in this line, but it’s Tula Pink! I love Tula Pink!

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And it involves a lot of 2.5″ strips of fabric, which made me wonder if the mystery is going to be something like her pixelated Anchor quilt! Or maybe it’ll be something like the butterfly quilt! I do know that, no matter what, my quilt will have a lot of horse’s asses in it:

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A 2.5 inch strip is apparently NOT the thing to do with that print. Besides horses’ behinds, there are also hoppy bunnies, which feel like a weird addition, as they’re too sweet and simple and graphic compared to the more realistic style of the rest of the animals and the… busy-ness of many of the other prints. It’s like some kind of Easter novelty fabric that accidentally slipped into the mix. It’s pretty cute, though. Wouldn’t it make a great skirt for a little girl?

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Love that geometric print too. I’ll have to dig through those jelly roll bundles and see what I think of the other fabrics, because I didn’t really like Acacia much either until I saw it in person and then suddenly all those bits I thought were weird seemed to come together.

Anyway… that’s it for this edition of Kristel Has No Self Control. Except that there is a giveaway to go along with the link up! Link up any time this week and you’ll be entered to win…

A fat eighth of the only sparkly fabric I own, something or other from Kokka:

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Two charm packs of Parson Gray’s World Tour line (they only have 12 charms each! why so stingy, FreeSpirit?!), because we all know how Molli feels about David Butler:

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And one charm pack of Amy Butler’s Belle line:

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Now, show us what you got!

1. Link up a blog post welcoming any new sewing supplies to your stash.

2. If it is fabric from your existing stash that you’ve showcased before, please use new photos with as much natural light as possible, and provide as many manufacturing details about the fabric.

3. Try to leave a comment on at least two other links. We want this to be a safe space for sewing supply collectors, after all!

4. Grab the button from Molli Sparkles, and proudly proclaim you endorse Sunday Stashing!

Sigh. I wish WordPress would let this be hosted on site, rather than sending you away to link up! In any case, I’ll let Mr Random pick a winner – you can be from anywhere – after the link up closes at the end of the week. Best of luck and can’t wait to see what’s new in your stash!


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Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.

Ellie Cases

I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!

Elephant Pillowcases

Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)

The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!

I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!

Do you follow me? Via feedly or email or bloglovin’ or just popping by every now and again to see what’s new? Leave a comment below – anything you like, you can tell me know you follow me or how you found me or whatever – and I’ll pop you in a special post-Sew Mama Sew giveaway draw for two mini charm packs of V and Co’s Color Me Happy line.

Color Me Happy Mini-charms

I picked these up especially for this giveaway when I was at Periwinkle Quilting when I was in Saskatoon on Tuesday. I wanted to do something special for those of you who’ve been around a while (even if it’s a very short while!) but without pressuring the entire Sew Mama Sew commentariat into following me just to get included. I’d always rather people follow because they want to, not because they think it’ll give them a better chance at winning a draw. I’ll draw names whenever I wake up on December 28, so try to enter by December 27, I suppose. It’ll probably fall to Random.org to draw the name. But maybe I’ll write them out on slips of paper and pull it out of a bucket. We’ll see.


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Double Hourglass Quilt

This post has been a long time coming, but I didn’t like my photos when I first took them threeish weeks ago, and then kept putting off taking more.

Hourglass Quilt

Not that this is such a great photo, stuffed into the bannister of the stairs, but it seemed like the light was going to be good for once (and then it turned out kind of weirdly overlit anyway!). Winter in Canada. A whole season of everything being underlit or overlit via light bouncing off snow. Yay.

Anyway, I finished this one around Thanksgiving, maybe October 14 or 15. It’s a baby quilt, about 36″ x 43″. I didn’t follow a pattern, but this is a very jelly roll-friendly quilt, and a very easy one to make. (If anyone wants to know how, ask and I’ll let you know, but the gist is “sew two strips of fabric together, cut into triangles, rotate to create hourglasses, sew together into a square.”) This quilt was all tailored for an old friend who hadn’t been super into baby themed items for babies (you know, little teddy bears and… I don’t know, whatever), but I didn’t wind up sending it to her in the end. (And when she sent me a picture of her baby, he was wrapped up in something with cute child themed prints anyway – maybe she’s loosened up in the intervening years on the subject. It has been 6 or more years since we’ve seen one another!) I let my mom talk me into sending her the Star Surround quilt instead, so this one will get donated to a Linus group, which is a great way to use it regardless.

Hourglass Quilt

I talked a lot in the past about the fabric selection process for this quilt (here and here) and still wound up changing things a little (I took out one of the fabrics and swapped in a different one), but generally speaking it fits the colour scheme and the type of prints I was aiming for: orange, green, blue, and red using stripes, dots, and other geometric prints. The rope text print doesn’t quite fit, but I let it slide on the basis of it’s a baby quilt. The two Stof prints are certainly more organic than geometric, but they both created a striped effect so I thought that was okay too.

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The fabrics I had the most difficulties with were the off-white ones. As a general rule, I don’t ever put an off-white print together with a pure white print, because the off-white one comes out looking dingy and dirty in comparison. But I bought the fabric online and some of them were more off-white than I was expecting. I even added in the blue/off-white loop print to try to tie in the three existing off-whites. I kept telling myself that all colours go with white and thus off-white also should go with white. It’ll be fine, Kristel. Don’t worry about it so much and nobody will even notice! But it does bother me if I spend too much time looking at those particular prints. (Colours pop so beautifully against pure white, it seems a crime not to use it!)

Hourglass Backing & Binding

I used my favourite print for the binding – that green and navy print from Emily Herrick’s Technicolor line – but it really wasn’t a great choice for a binding (seriously – scroll up to a picture of the entire quilt!) because the look varies so much from one part of the print to another. Still, I love having that green around the edges (and my different coloured corner, of course, in the red and white stripe). The backing you can see is a flannel version of one of the chevrons I used on the front of the quilt – it’s also a larger size chevron. (I think that is a medium size, where the front has a small size on regular quilting cotton. All three of the chevron fabrics I used are from Riley Blake, anyway.) This picture also shows the quilting. I went pretty minimalist with this one and only quilted on the diagonal, a little more than a quarter inch away on either side of the seams. (The foot I use has a marking on the inside of the foot at the quarter inch, but I lined it up with the outside of the foot, so there’s probably an extra 1/8-inch.) I had thought about adding something more, maybe on the white parts of each block, but didn’t want to overkill it, and anyway I find quilts more comfortable when they’re not quilted too densely (though it sure does look good!).

I always have a list of things I’d like to change about the quilts I make – there’s always something in retrospect I wish I’d done better – and in this case, I wish I’d pressed all my seams open. I’m pretty back and forth on that one, but in this case, all those dark edges of fabric that got pushed toward the white (this happened when joining the rows, generally I press toward the dark if I don’t open my seams) show through. When I first took it out of the wash, I was terrified that it had bled because I could see all these kind of streaky bits of colour, but when you get up close, it’s just the fabric pressed under in those particular places. Sigh. Oh well, as far as things I’d like to change go, I’m happy that that’s my only real complaint. I’m usually pretty good at picking apart my flaws, so that one little thing isn’t so bad at all. (Okay. That and those off-white prints. I mean, seriously, designer types: why the off-whites? Do you want dingy looking fabric, because I don’t!)

Anyway, done is good. And that’s another finish for the year. I’m not a terribly prolific quilter (like some bloggers are) and I tend never to finish things, so every finished piece is a bit of a victory.


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Star Surround Finish

I stayed up last night until nearly midnight so that I could finish and submit my Star Surround quilt for the SSQAL Parade at Happy Quilting. It might have been a dumb idea, I don’t know, but I had to get up at 4:30 AM, so dumb feels like an appropriate word. But FINISHED is another, and finished is a very, very sweet word indeed, because I never finish much of anything.

Star Surround

This quilt might be my fastest finish ever – I started it in mid-July and it’s just now mid-September and the entire thing is done and dusted. Well, I haven’t washed it yet, that’s the next step, but I’m pretty confident it’s not going to fall apart in the wash (which is my usual unfounded fear with quilting). Anyway, as a rule, the only things I ever finish in a timely fashion are small items, like pouches and pillows and pin-cushions. (Well, maybe not pin-cushions – I don’t think I’ve ever made one! Just wanted a third ‘P’ because things sound better in threes.)

On Saturday, I pieced the backing, basted the quilt, and got the straight-line quilting done on the top. Then on Sunday I spent most of an hour practising some free motion loopy quilting so that I could add that as well. And then I trimmed, made and machine sewed on the binding, and then stitched it down on the back. I was planning to try machine sewing the binding (and watched about six different videos on the subject) but got scared at the last second and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Star Surround

Anyway, quilting. If you look closely at that photo, you should be able to see that in two quadrants I stitched north/south in the ditch (every 3 inches) and in the other two quadrants I stitched east/west in the ditch. In between those stitches, I FMQed the loopy lines, which are all kind of variable in stitch length and sometimes a tiny bit choppy, but largely came out pretty well. I’ve always been pretty terrified of FMQ and it feels a little bit like cheating to have chosen a method that didn’t just let me cross my own lines, but actively required it. But I’m really kind of ridiculously proud of myself anyway. I only had to pick out stitches once (where I kind of jerked and wound up with a toe-catcher), and that seems like a pretty big victory. I guess I unpicked a few more times, but that was always only because the thread snapped as I was sewing, so I had to unpick enough so that I could bury the threads and get back to it. I quilted it with Aurifil thread, 40 wt. 4663, which is Baby Blue Eyes Variegated. I had about 6 or 7 thread breaks, well, I say thread breaks, but it was more like it sort of shredded apart, and you could pull of loose tufty bits when it broke like that. I’ve never had that happen with other thread before, but I also have never really done FMQ before, just bits and pieces to practise in the past, so I don’t know that it wouldn’t have happened with other thread.

The fabrics, if you’re curious, are from two different Riley Blake lines, One for the Boys and Boy Crazy. (Two prints each – in the photo above, the dashed stripe and the stars are from one line, the cars and the spiral stripe are from the other.) The background fabric is Kona Robin Egg, which is a gorgeous blue, and the red binding is Kona Coral. The quilt backing is a random no-name flannel that was in my stash.

Star Surround

I didn’t take any particular good photos of the backing, but it’s not a great match for the front – it’s a slightly greener aqua than the Robin Egg, but I thought it worked well enough. Especially since it’s on the back. When I bought fabric for the backing, I accidentally bought enough for the length, but not for the width and so I had planned to piece the backing with… something that wouldn’t look terrible, but didn’t find anything that seemed like it would work. So I dug this aqua with white dots out of my (rather small) flannel stash.

Anyway, that’s that quilt done. Now I kind of want to make another one, but in fabrics I love, and large enough for my bed. But probably I should finish some things… Maybe quilt some of the tops I’ve got laying around. Especially now that I’ve lost my FMQ virginity ;D


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Star Surround Progress

I’m on holidays from work this week, and I have plans. Oh yes.

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I don’t know, realistically, how much I’m going to get done because I have a bunch of other plans too – a friend and I are going out for lunch tomorrow (it’s my birthday but none of my family around town right now), I’m going to meet up with a different friend later in the week, my parents/younger sister are coming up on the weekend, and I intend to leave the house at least once every day for a walk – but I do want to get done as much of this as I can.

I spent a good chunk of time today on the first thing on the list – the Star Surround quilt. I didn’t finish last week’s homework on time, so this week I’m doing last week and this week’s work. Which is basically just finishing up the entire quilt top. (This may, seriously, be the fasted I’ve ever finished a quilt top. I usually never blast through piecing so quickly as this. It’s kind of nice – no time to get bored of it!)

Star Surround (In Progress)

I’m making a baby size quilt, comprised of four of those blocks, so that’s one quarter of the quilt. It’s a 20-inch block, so it’ll be about 40-inches square in total. I’ve got a second one finished since taking this photo, but there’s no light for taking a picture, so maybe tomorrow I’ll post an update. Or maybe just when I’ve got the whole top finished. Edited to say that I’m a dumbass and they’re actually 24″ blocks, so it’ll be a 48″ quilt top.

When I was pressing this block together, I discovered a little happy accident:

Star Surround (In Progress)

On this one little seam, I discovered that the cars from one piece lined up exactly with the cars on the piece below it – love these little multi-coloured cars. So cute! (And to think, I hated this fabric!)

My big disappointment so far with this quilt is just how badly my flying geese came together. I’m usually really good about having perfect points, so this is kind of appalling:

Star Surround (In Progress)

Almost all of my flying geese were off by enough that my points are nipped off all over the place. I don’t know what I did differently this go around than from normal, but it’s kind of disappointing. I don’t think it’ll be so noticeable in the long run, especially once it’s all quilted, but right now they’re all just staring me in the face.

Done is good, though, right?


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WiP Wednesday and a Giveaway Winner

So first up, the winner of my little giveaway, via Mr Random:

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cathy

Incidentally, Cathy ALSO owns a pair of completely adorable Liberty shoes, though not the same ones as mine! In any case, I haven’t emailed her yet, but Cathy is my winner! I still haven’t decided what I’m going to make for her, but… it’ll be something. And maybe some fabric or something along those lines, because Cathy I know DOES sew. (In fact, I have a sweet little needle book from her from a Modern Scrappy Bits Swap last year!)

Moving on the WIP portion of the post, I’ve got myself into the middle of two different projects and I should really just settle down and finish one of them instead of bouncing back and forth like a demented pinball, but… yeah. Sometimes that works for me?

Beginnings

I’m still working on the pouch for my Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap on flickr. For this first round, we’re swapping a handmade pouch and fifty charm squares. (I tried to argue, briefly, for 42 as it’s the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. But… fifty is sort of a rounder number, I guess. :D) There isn’t much of the pouch to be seen in this photo, although layered in that photo somewhere are both sides of the pouch. The rest of it is the first 30 charms. I had a really hard time figuring out how to decide what sort of fabrics to pull for the charms, but fortunately my partner has a very extensive likes/dislikes list, so I figured out ten things she’s into and am doing five of each of them. (I’m also aiming, in a way, to mix and match a bit to get in more than 5 of various things she likes… if I have 5 plaids, that’s great, but there might be a plaid in the pile of browns as well, and then if I can, I’ll fit a brown zigzag into that set of charms as well.)(Just for the record: plaids, zigzags, and browns are not on her list of likes or dislikes.) I’m hoping to get the pouch finished up tomorrow, and the charms finished up the day after that, so that I can drop it all in the mail on Saturday.

So my other project is the Star Surround project. I’m only done about half of this week’s homework:

Star Surround

There are sort of two components this week, the surrounds and the corners of each block. In the photo above, you can see all the parts of the surrounds sewn into two strips, which will eventually be joined. I chain pieced everything and haven’t cut them apart yet. They’ll need to be pressed and then pieced together.

Star Surround

And this long garland of chain stitched pieces will be the corners of each of the blocks. They likewise need to be trimmed apart, pressed, and then sewn together. That I’d like to be done by Sunday. And then… I’m on vacation for a week! I’ve not got too many sewing plans, but I’ve got a few things I’d like to finish up. It’s going to involve freezer paper, which I’ve never used before, so that’s a bit exciting/scary. And possibly embroidery. And also hexagons. But we’ll see.

And finally, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s work in progress Wednesday and I’m a little torn on what to post about because the thing I’m actually working on is something I don’t really want to talk about! It’s a project for a swap and if the recipient sees it she’s going to look at it and know immediately that it’s for her. But I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog, so I’ll just lock the photo on Flickr (where she might see it) and post it here:

Untitled

What is it, I wonder? Well, not much to see there, but I like it that way. For now anyway!

I’m also thinking about working on my Star Surround quilt, but no photos because I haven’t gotten past the thinking stage yet. (Haha. That’s how I am with everything. My work has decided not to give me the boost in pay that my new job requirements entitle me too, which means I SHOULD be emailing the guy at the union so that he can have that fight with them – which I anticipate losing, but feel the need to fight anyway before stepping down and thinkingreallyhardabouttellingthemwheretoshoveit going back to doing my old job because hell no they don’t get my work for free – but I don’t like making phone calls so I’ve been sitting on the info for a week now and just thinking about calling the union guy.)

Instead, let me tell you about the work-in-progress that is 1. the spending of all the money ever and 2. the acquiring of increasing amounts of stash. And stuff. We can’t forget the stuff, no. Stuff like these shoes, made with Liberty of London fabric:

Liberty Shoes

Cutest shoes ever. Am I wrong? Because I don’t think I’m wrong. As a general rule I don’t like Liberty fabric all that much – it might be the bomb to work with and feel better than any substance known to mankind, but I find so many of their fabrics to be stuffy little florals that just don’t appeal to me. But this stuffy little floral is so sweet it could rot my teeth. Also, they were 70% off at The Bay and for $23, I didn’t have to work hard to talk myself into buying them. (I didn’t have to work too hard to talk myself into buying Lush’s Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub or their Sweetie Pie shower jelly or a Stila eyebrow pencil either, yesterday. It was a spendy day. I got my hair cut and coloured too.)

It’s a good thing I didn’t get over to the Japanese store full of weird and wonderful things like paper balloons and washi tape because a couple weeks ago I found a couple great Canadian online sources for washi tape, Omiyage, which has gotten even more and an even awesomer variety since I bought the tape below, and GreenMunch, which I haven’t bought from yet, but which has some of the coolest eco friendly things I’ve seen in ages alongside a fairly impressive collection of washi tape and bakers twine.

Washi Tape and thread

The thread didn’t come from Omiyage, but from Hawthorne Threads. It’s more drinking-the-koolaid: Aurafil thread. I still haven’t tried either of the spools of it that I’ve got, but I bought this one for quilting a project that I haven’t started yet. (A quilt for my mom, using honeycombs of Happy Go Lucky fabric.) I didn’t order the thread on it’s own. No. No… I bought another pile of fabric to try to put together that baby quilt for an old friend that I talked about in the early days of this bout of stress shopping. On the last go around, I started with 12 fabrics plus a backing material and then only liked 4 of them enough to put them to use in the quilt top. And I’d said I was going to try “shopping my stash” to fill out the rest of the quilt, but I didn’t do that even a little bit. Nope. These were the 12 fabrics, of which only the four in the centre row were going to get used (and four of which have since been re-purposed into the aforementioned Star Surround quilt):

009

And these are the new purchases, of which… some, but not all, will get used:

Fabric Stash

The obvious outs are:
– the white with green loops, Bekko by Trenna Travis for Michael Miller, which feels more like home decor weight (and is 50+ inches wide, so probably is) (and I have no idea what I’ll do with a half yard of home decor fabric in those colours, it doesn’t match anything in my house!)
– the blue and white cross-hatch fabric, from Mini Mikes for Michael Miller, which is just the wrong sort of blue, somehow
– the aqua text print, from Remember by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake, which is also the wrong sort of blue
– the blue running stitch print, from Michael Miller (I forget which line), which is also (say it with me) the wrong sort of blue

I’m left with this batch of fabrics (including the original four):

Fabric Stash

…which does come out to 12 fabrics and which, despite it’s range of blues and reds (the rope letters one is a very orange red compared to the more blue reds in the rest), somehow feels a little more cohesive to me. I may yet dig through my stash for a third green and another orange to tie those colours in a little better or maybe I’ll throw in a scrap or two here and there of fabrics that play with two or more of these colours, so that it’ll all feel a bit more like it fits, but overall, I think it’ll work (with all the extra white fabric that I’m planning to introduce). Now I just have to get it started!

[The unnamed fabrics, for the curious, in that last circle photo are, from the centre, then up and around clockwise from the green/navy circular print: Spot On in Red, wide width for Robert Kaufman; Tile in Navy from Technicolor by Emily Herrick, Michael Miller; Stamen Stripe in Navy from Pure, Stof; Half Moon Stripe in White and Navy from Uno, Stof; Medium (?) Chevron Tone on Tone in Navy, Riley Blake; Small Dots in Navy, Riley Blake; Medium (?) Chevron in Boy, Riley Blake; Bubbles in Orange from Full Moon Lagoon by Mo Bedell, Andover; Small Dots in Red on White, Riley Blake; Sailors ABC in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller; Pirate Stripe in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller; Side Step in Green from Ikebana, Dear Stella.]

Does that seem like 1. Spending all the money ever and 2. acquiring increasing amounts of stash? Well, the second, certainly, but the money situation hasn’t shown itself to be too out of hand yet… but that’s only because that’s not the end of it all!

This also came from Hawthorne Threads and Bobbie Lou Fabrics, an Etsy shop that happened to have the elephant print in blue:

Fabric Stash

I stumbled over the elephant fabric on someone’s blog a couple weeks ago when I was checking out various Work-in-progress Wednesday posts. I am not a particular fan of elephants, I mean.. I’m all for elephants being in the world, but they affect me not at all. (Except that I really, really loved this elephant statue at the Calgary Zoo and I wonder how it fared in the flood in June.) But I have a friend who has an elephant obsession. She’s one of those people who owns jewellery and figurines and cookie jars and napkins and table trays and every other thing with an elephant on it. She loves them ridiculously, but only if their trunk is facing up. So I stumbled across that fabric and thought, Mandy will love that, I should make her some pillowcases.

All of the prints are from the Madhuri line by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. The two solids are Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, in two colours who’s names I’ve forgotten. (Aqua and…?) I don’t know why I had to get SO MUCH of that fabric, I only needed two yards (one each of two prints) and a bit of something else to make two pillowcases, but instead I have two yards each of the elephants and one yard each of the prints and a half yard of the solids. Whatever thought was rolling through my brain at the time, I really can’t say. (And you’ll note I still haven’t made the pillowcases. So. Go me all around.)

That still still wasn’t the end because one thing I actually needed was enough fabric to make the binding on a quilt I’m working on, so I bought that from Mad About Patchwork, and since I was already there, I added a little more fabric to make it worth the shipping price. (That’s an old, old trick of mine. “I should just add a bit more to make the shipping cheaper per yard of fabric.”)

Stash

I forget what colour it is, but that beautiful red Kona Cotton is going to be a binding (maybe a boring binding, but it’s going to look stunning). The stripe is Kortek from Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter and the yellow is Dandelion from the same line. I saw a guy walking up the street wearing a windbreaker that inspired a mini quilt I intend to make with these two fabrics. (I have it drawn out an everything. Just need to get around to it…) (His windbreaker was not yellow, but black and white. Yellow felt more interesting.) And the final print is that lovely Pebbled Path from Indian Summer by Sarah Watson. That one was just because I like it and because it feels like it’d work for a low volume quilt.

Anyway, 1600 words later, I should really wrap this up. (I talk too much. Mostly its because I don’t have people in my day to day life to talk to about fabric and quilting and to spend time with on these hobbies, so I spew it all out here, where even if people are skimming they’ll still get it in a way the people I know don’t.)

Also, if you’ve made it this far, you should know that yesterday’s post about the Flags for Lac Megantic was my 150th post here at WIPGirl and as such, I’m going to run a give away. If you’d like to be entered, just leave a comment. Maybe you can tell me about something you’ve stashed recently – yarn or fabric or thread for some future project – or… whatever really. Just a comment of some sort. You don’t have to be a follower or anything, if you’ve popped by from one of the Work in Progress link-ups, you can feel free to enter as well. You’ll have to put in your email address to comment, so I’ll be able to contact the winner that way. The giveaway will likely be for something I’ve made, but to be honest… I haven’t really decided yet. (Let me know if you don’t fabric craft – if the winner doesn’t, I’ll make sure not to send fabric :D) Edited to say: I’ll draw a name next Wednesday, so you’ve got a week to get entered, if you’d like to be.

And finally, I’m 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

Earlier this week, every time I thought about writing up a post about what I got done over the weekend, I’d start thinking instead about how I needed to be stitching up my Tardis block and so I’d wind up not writing that post. But here’s more or less what I finished up this weekend:

1. Sewed, pressed, and trimmed all the half square triangles and flying geese units in my Star Surround quilt top.

Star Surround Flying Geese

I still can’t pretend to love these fabrics, but I do like them a lot better here than I did in that collection I was trying to create for a baby quilt. Maybe by the time this is all sewn, I’ll like it so well, I’ll just give this baby quilt to my friend rather than doing the double hour-glass thing I’ve been planning.

2. Sewed up a sample pouch for the Simple and Sweet Swap (wherein we will swap a pouch and 50 charm squares with someone)

Don't be scared off, Simple & Sweet Swap Partner...

I hadn’t made one of these in a while, so I picked a few fabrics up off my pile of solid fabrics and thought “The more garish, the better” apparently, and then added some matching scraps of an Amy Butler print. This has a kind of early 90s vibe (for me, but most trends hit my hometown late). I just wanted the practise, so it didn’t really matter what I used. Style-wise I think the pouch is pretty great. Colourwise… it’s certainly interesting. I may give it away someday, but I’m not really sure who would want it. (I had someone in mind, but seeing it finished in all it’s technicolour glory, I’ve kind of lost the desire to send it to her.) There are a couple small flaws (my ruler slipped when I was trimming one half of it, so you’ll notice the colour lines don’t meet up on the side seams – I lost close to a quarter inch on that one side) and I flubbed something to do with the zipper that I can’t really explain but which means it’s a bit lumpy near the opening of the zipper. (I pressed the fabric to one side, but should have opened the seam.) Anyway, now I know what to avoid, so I can make a proper pouch for my recipient. (But I won’t show it until after she receives it because it’ll be obvious to her that it’s for her if she sees what I’m planning to make.)

3. Stitched up a Hufflepuffian quilt block.

Black and Yellow Quilt Block

There was yellow and black fabric on the futon in my sewing room, so… I made something with it. The colour is a little off in this photo – the wall is beige not grey – but it’s surprisingly close to the real deal. The yellowest yellow you’ve ever seen.

I feel like there should be more – I wanted to do another churn dash block and I wanted to get a couple flags done for Lac Megantic – but I went on a cleaning spree in my bedroom and got rid of a bunch of stuff that needed to be recycled or donated and I straightened up the fabric shelves in my sewing room. Surprisingly, both those things took quite a long time.

Stash

I went through most of the fabric that was new or hadn’t gone back onto the shelves after being put to use (or after testing and rejecting it for some project or other) and got it refolded and stuffed back on the shelves. I haven’t come up with a storage solution for my solids (not visible in this photo) yet or my voiles, flannels, children’s fabrics, home decor fabrics, linens or linen blends. Or the few pre-cuts I’ve got. (There aren’t many, two or three jelly rolls besides what’s stuffed into one of the shelves on the right.) Oh, or the “quilt in a bag” kits that I’ve got – the bag in the bottom right hand cube is actually a quilt top in a bag (along with the pattern), but there are two or three others I’ve never gotten around to making…

And then finally, the other thing I did was sort out the unruly, unholy mess that was my “Quilting” bookmark folder in my browser. I went through and sorted everything by type of link and deleted any dead links and links to things I don’t think I’ll use (or know I won’t).

Quilting Bookmarks Folder

You can’t, of course, see into any of the folders, here, but all of it was in one very, very, very long folder, mixed in with a bunch of embroidery related links (I still need to sort those ones out, but there aren’t nearly so many). So much neater and more usable now! The ones at the bottom that aren’t in a folder are for projects currently in progress and though there is a folder for that, these are ones I want dealt with now, not just soon. (The Leibster link… I’ve been nominated 3 or 4 times, but keep not following through. I’m really undecided on the whole concept because I’ve never liked anything that involves chain letter style attempts to make people “pass it on.” And it’s a nice thing to have someone choose you, but I don’t know what point it serves? I don’t know. Still churning that one over.)

Anyway, I guess it was my weekend to organize as much as anything else! But now… I should go sew.


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Weekend Goals

I had Sunday off again, just like last week (and what I wouldn’t give for a full weekend off – Saturday AND Sunday!), and so I had a list of goals again.

1. Cut out Star Surround Quilt top
2. Make another Churn Dash with the red fabric from Kiss Mary
3. Make a flag for Lac Megantic
4. Transfer final Doctor Who Stitch-a-long pattern

I mostly achieved all of that. Yay for productivity!

The mostly is this: the flag isn’t finished, and my in-progress photos were awash with a lot of yellow light, so I’ll write more about that when it’s finished. Also, the Churn Dash is done, but there are no photos. I just didn’t think to take one. Also, it is currently in two pieces, because I’ve decided to stagger the columns and if only 1 column in three will start with a full Churn Dash, there’s no point in having them all sewn together into complete blocks, since I’ll just have to rip a seam anyway. (I think I’m going to aim for a 6×7 layout, so I’ll have 4 columns with broken Churn Dashes, so my next couple that I put together will be left a little bit in pieces.) There’s no photo to show of the DWSAL because… it’s a secret (and I can’t pull the angled photo trick again – I haven’t started stitching it, so you wouldn’t be able to see anything – no thread to stand up off the fabric).

So that leaves me with the Star Surround to talk about. Do I often say that I’m not going to start anything new because I never finish anything? Yeah. Yeah, I do often say that. I’ve got a million unfinished projects to work on! My entire blog name is based on the fact that I never finish anything! Every year my biggest goal is to finish old things and to start nothing new. But then something always slips by and I find myself working on something I didn’t intend to work on. Something like Happy Quilting Melissa’s newest quilt-a-long, the Star Surround quilt.

Last week I entered one of my posts into Freshly Pieced‘s Work in Progress Wednesday link-up, and whenever I do that, I always check out all the blogs on the same row as my post as well as everyone on the line above and everyone on the line below. And I kept stumbling across people who were making plans for the Star Surround QAL. And oh my is it great looking or what – seriously, go click on that SSQAL button and just LOOK at the quilt in those green and blue fabrics. I half want to buy the kit to make that exact quilt because I love the freshness of it. But I wasn’t going to do it because I SO do not need any more projects. But then I’d find another blog talking about it. So I started looking around more closely and Melissa has created the quilt-a-long in a way where there are options for sizes ranging from a single 16″ x 16″ pillow to a 96″ x 96″ queen size quilt. All in various block sizes and block counts. And one of those sizes was a 48″ square baby quilt made with four blocks. And all the fabric you need for the top is 4 half yards plus a little over a yard of something for the background. Well, I have lots of solid fabrics, and I just happen to have decided not to use four half yards of fabric that I bought for that baby quilt I’m planning for my old friend.

Star Surround Quilt-a-long

So those fabrics that I didn’t like enough to put into a baby quilt for a friend are being repurposed for this quilt. I didn’t like them because they seemed dingy looking, up against the other fabrics I’d chosen, but somehow with that blue (which I think might be Kona cotton in Robin Egg) they seem a little more alive. Brighter. I don’t know how well they’re going to work out in something like this – directional prints and lots of half square triangles and flying geese? – but we’ll see, I guess. Worst case scenario, I hate it, and give it away. I think I can live with that. (Especially since I’ll probably give it away regardless!)

I TOTALLY want to do it in fabrics I’ll like, though. Like, bed-sized, using any of the gagillion fabric lines I’ve been saving for “the right project”. Of course, most of those are in fat quarter form, rather than the larger amounts those larger quilt sizes need, but maybe once I see how it’s all constructed I’ll be able to figure out if I can do one of those larger sized quilts using, say, 24 fat quarters rather than nine 2/3 yards. Not that I need another project…