Work-in-Progress Girl


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The Month of May

So May has been a bit of a difficult month for me. You mightn’t have noticed, but I’ve only updated a handful of times all month and mostly they’ve been Sunday Stash posts – as in not much more than some pretty pictures. I’ve worked on and finished a couple things, but I spent most of the month in a haze of sickness – I had bronchitis! I had so little energy just waking up sent me back to bed! – and that means I’ve got relatively little of value to show you. But I wanted to write a post to say that I’m still working on answering the comments from my last Sunday Stash (about ugly and unwanted fabric, which several people hinted or said outright that they’d love to take off my hands, and I’d love to let you, so I really need to get to it!) and just to show that I am still alive and kicking.

I occasionally post videos that I make for a group of online crafty friends, called Talk to Me Tuesday, so I figured I’d post my most recent two. This one from this week shows some mail I’ve received recently. The fabric basket swap was for the 4S swap on flickr (Simple Sweet Scrappy Swap) and the Travelling Swap Box is a box of crafty things that is being sent from person to person in my Talk To Me Tuesday group:

This video is from when I was so terribly sick and shows what I sent away for the 4S swap and also what I received from the Strawberry Dumpling Pouch swap (Dumpling Swap) and also something that my friend Mari-Ann/Rockislander sent me for so thoroughly breaking my attempted fabric fast. It’s a bit brutal to listen to because I could barely talk.

I made it sound a bit awful, that Mari-Ann was waiting for me to fail, but this is what I said to her when we were talking about it: I never thought of it as awful, just like you said… fabric is my Kryptonite 😀 I thought it was pretty funny, more like… hey, we both know you don’t really want to do this, even if you think you should, so let’s not call this incentive, but when it happens, and it’ll happen… let’s celebrate 😀

In any case, I’m hoping to get a few posts written about actual things very soon! I have really done very little in May – I haven’t even looked at my Lovely Year of Finishes project or my Gypsy Wife! (And I was a winner last month for A Lovely Year of Finishes!) – but that basket I was talking about needs to be properly shown here and the things that I sent away for the Strawberry Dumpling Swap as well! So I hope to be back soon…


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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

You know, I keep thinking I should have more to show because I’ve spent SO MUCH time crafting this month, but so much of it was absorbed in the beginning of the month with the Radiant Orchid challenge mini-quilt, that once I was finished with that, nearly all my time went into making things I had to make – bee blocks and swap projects. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that, but I still have so much more I wanted to finish this month!

It’s the last day of March, for example, [or the first day of April, even… I fell asleep before I could finished editing this post yesterday] and I didn’t even touch my Gypsy Wife booklet! Not a single Gypsy Wife block sewn in March! But if I get them done by the weekend, I’m still linking up with Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

This (rather dreadful Instagram photo in a too-dark room) is where both my Gypsy Wife quilts are at. I’m really, really wanting to get working on these, but that Pershing block is really kind of scaring me – I’ve been having issues with details lately and none of my blocks lately have been working out quite like I hope. Pershing is not a good one for when you’re feeling wibbly about your sewing skills.

I’m also six blocks behind on the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong! Six blocks!

Layer Cake Sampler QAL... so far...

This is where I’m at though! Loving how this is coming together, although I do feel a little bit like it’s too pink. I’ll have to wait till I have more blocks together, but maybe I’ll need to sash it in a dark purple or burgundy or something. I think I have a bunch of yardage from this line (Eva by Basic Grey), which was meant to be used as backing for a different Eva quilt-in-progress, but depending what the fabrics are, maybe I’ll be able to use it for finishing the quilt.

So what have I gotten done since finishing my Orchid quilt? Well… a couple bee blocks:

Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block

Neither one of them turned out exactly as I’d hoped – I don’t know… the first one came together pretty well, but that second one is a mess of bad points and it’s a little too small and I was really not happy with it. But I kind of love the colours – that domino dot was a great match for that centre print, although I think it’s a lot more green than the recipient was looking for. In any case, I had changed the needle (and thread) in between sewing the first block and the second and it was just a fight to get anything to work properly. I’m not sure what’s the culprit – maybe the bobbin is wound crookedly, maybe the needle has a bad point or it’s slightly misshapen or the wrong size or maybe I’m a poor craftsman who is blaming her tools. In any case, I’m going to start swapping things out and see if something helps.

I also finished a few things for the 4S swap on Flickr… I don’t want to write a full post about those yet, but here is a shot of the drawstring bag I created and the pincushion I tucked in along with some other treats (fabric and candy and chocolate…):

mosaic5574cfc68196e492b4700c6faf416cc886004dc2

I feel like there must be more, but I’m drawing a blank on it, so I guess that’s what I’ve been up to with all my 30 minutes (and more) of crafting every day for the last while! Truly, the majority of the month was taken up with this guy, time hog that it was:

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

Linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. In general I was pretty successful with the 30 minutes a day thing, I think I only missed once on a weekend when I was unexpectedly working nights (but had expected to have time off). It feels like not very much stuff, considering the time I put into it, but crafting really can be a huge time suck. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a speedy thing, even when something moves along quickly.

Berry Barn Designs

Linking up also to WIP Wednesday at Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts


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30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


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Bits and Bobs

I had a to-do list this weekend that felt a mile long. It really wasn’t, but it just FELT like it and it’s all because I left all my sewing commitments for October until the Very Last Second, which made it feel like work instead of fun to finish them up. And they should have been fun! Some of what I was working on I won’t be showing for a few more days, but here are some of the blocks I finished up:

Tall Shoo-fly Blocks

I sewed up four Tall Shoo Fly blocks for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. These blocks are quite small (6.5 x 9.5″) so even though we didn’t have to make more than one I’d always planned on doing three or four. I found these hard to photograph, largely because the wall and the background fabric were pretty much the exact same colour. I kept thinking shadows would be a good thing for once since it would help distinguish the blocks a bit. It all looks a bit dingy and underlit, though, doesn’t it? Oh well, I think the blocks came out well, and that’s all I could ask for.

I’m still behind one block for the month for the LJ exchange, but I will get that one done in the next couple days, I hope. But also, I have a quilt I want to get quilted! I’m torn! (Commitments to other people really should come first, though, shouldn’t they?)

Anyway, I also did up my Simply Solids Bee block for October:

Road to Fortune

This is a paper-pieced Road to Fortune block, made for Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork. I don’t know why, but I kind of spaced out the making of this one, doing a unit two days ago and two units yesterday and finally finishing them all up tonight. Somehow I got all discombobulated about where my colours were going to go and it all came out a bit clumped up instead of nicely spread around. Oh well, I think it came out okay and it should blend in with the rest of the blocks by the time it’s all done anyway.

I also finished up my needlebook for the Sweet & Simple Scrappy Swap on Flickr. I’ve shown a lot of pictures of this already, but here are my finally finished shots. And if any of you can find my opps! error, the first one to get it right in the comments will get sent a Fat Quarter in the colour of your choosing. (Things which don’t count: the shoddy stitching on the snap, the not quite round felt, the not quite centred felt, the not quite straightly stitched felt.)

026

I said before that this is a taco shaped needlebook, and here it is snapped shut and holding its taco shape all on its own. Yay! The pattern for the needlebook came from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book, but I wound up making it a bit larger than the pattern suggests. You’re supposed to shrink the daisy pattern down to 80%, but I wound up preferring it at full-size. It’s about 8-inches in diametre, I think, but the larger size made it easier to modify the interior a little bit.

028

In any case, the exterior is kind of paean to Japanese design because not only is a pattern by a Japanese designer, but the green fabric is a Japanese print, from a Yuwa Kei line, which might or might not be called Newsprint and Roses. The stitching was done with Sashiko thread that I had in with my embroidery supplies. It’s nice and thick so it leaves a lovely line around the petals. Of which, the yellow fabric is a Lakehouse print, from the Annie’s Seed Catalog line and the off-white is actually a Moda Grunge fabric, though I forget the colour name of it. It’s a kind of off-white or winter white with very pale strokes of green and red brushed through in the grunge pattern.

030

The interior has two leaves of wool for storing pins and needles. The green came from a local fabric shop, Traditional Pastimes, and the off-white wool was a gift to me from Jennifer Ofenstein, when she passed off a collection of mostly hand-dyed wool pieces.

033

I modified the interior a little by adding this zipper pocket on one side (and if I’d had a second matching zipper, I’d have probably added a pocket on the other side as well). It wasn’t a complicated change, but I do think it made the needle-case a little more useful since otherwise scissors or a skein of thread would just slide out and possibly get lost.

So that’s my needlebook that I sent away for the swap. I was pretty happy in the end with how everything came together, and I really hope my swap partner will like it as lot as well.


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Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap

A little while ago I talked about the package I received from the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap, but I never really did get around to talking about what I sent out. And that’s because I super-stalked my partner so that I could tailor the package to her tastes as much as possible, but that meant that revealing any sort of information would really give everything away before it ever arrived. So for the swap, we were mailing out a hand-made pouch, 50 charm squares, and a notion of some kind.

Simple and Sweet Swap

I ended up unrolling the charms to mail, but the roll is 51 charm squares (I sent one extra that I think is linen maybe), the pink fabric is a 5 or 6″ by WOF strip of Heather Ross’s camper vans fabric, which was just an extra because I knew my partner was looking for it, and then three rolls of washi tape (which are kind of acting as the notion – I don’t know if washi tape can really be called a notion, but we’ll go with that :D).

Unrolled, these are the fifty charms I sent out:

Simple and Sweet Swap

Nadine’s favourites included, with five(ish) of each…:
– text prints
– greys
– aquas (though I leaned pretty hard on the turquoise end of the spectrum)
– a row of the five main fabrics in the pouch I sent out
– oranges (please note all the sneaky additions of turquoise there too!)
– polka dot fabrics (I kind of went rainbowish there) (duplicated in the top of the second photo…)

Simple and Sweet Swap

– chartreuse fabric, though I wound up mostly with lime – that’s what happens when you choose fabric at night, I guess, your colours aren’t quite what you were expecting 😀
– Tula Pink fabrics (I tried to aim mostly for older fabrics, but couldn’t bring myself to cut into my Neptune prints, which had been my intention to send :D)
– Mendocino mermaids and swimming sisters, in aqua, brown, and gold
– assorted Heather Ross, aiming mostly in the aqua and orange realm

Simple and Sweet Swap

The fifty-first charm, the linen one, is shown above.

So then the pouch. Well, Ms Lobster Grrl is a fan of Union Jacks and is going to London in spring for her honeymoon, so I made her a Union Jack pouch using her favourites orange and aqua, with some grey text:

Simple and Sweet Swap

Simple and Sweet Swap

The pouch is made using Noodlehead’s Open Wide Zipper Pouch tutorial, a favourite of mine. This is the medium sized pouch. The flags are made using this pattern from Four Twin Sisters.

I really enjoyed putting this package together for Nadine and I’m so glad it seems to have hit the mark for her. It’s great to be able to put together something that you’re really certain will please someone.


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Sweet and Simple Swap Package Received

So late last week I received a package in the mail from Rockislander, who is the swap mama for a Flickr swap group I’m a part of, the Sweet and Simple Scrappy Swap. For our first round, we were swapping a handmade pouch, a notion of some sort, and a collection of 50 charms cut from our own stash. I didn’t open it until today, because it’s my birthday and I thought it would be fun to save it and open it on the day since I’m spending my birthday largely alone (I went out for lunch with a friend, but my family is all out of town) and otherwise birthday gift free. (I’m not actually super big on birthdays – or not big on my own, anyway! – but let’s face it, getting gifts is ALWAYS fun.)

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

I couldn’t have asked for a more awesome swap package than this. I mean… seriously. Doctor Who. A Doctor Who pouch. The cutest thread/floss winder in existence. A seam ripper (unbeknownst to all of you, I’ve been using a straight pin + a pair of scissors as a “seam ripper” for quite a while – I used to have two, but I lost one and broke the other, and neither was as brilliant as this one which has a long enough handle that I’ll be able to see standing up in my container of tools and actually be able to hold onto decently). White piecing thread. A piece of typewriter fabric – there’s a thing I’ve never had, but always liked! A bit of potions bottle fabric! A great selection of charms AND some extra island charms, because Ms RockIslander lives in Bermuda. By the way, did I mention the Doctor Who pouch? Because if I didn’t, I should.

Doctor. Who. Pouch.

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received! Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

This apparently is licensed Doctor Who fabric, though of course out of print. I didn’t know such a thing had ever existed! I’ve seen stuff on Spoonflower that people have created, but never anything licensed. So there is the Tardis and there are Daleks and please note the frequent flier privilege of a key for the front door!

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

These extra charms are Mari-Ann’s “way of sending a bit of Bermuda” my way, and they’re lovely and beachy! I am thinking that maybe I need to make a little wall-hanging with these, maybe my own little hexagon mug-rug so that they will retain their beachy islandness and maybe give me something warm and lovely to think about once winter hits in a few months!

Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!
Simple and Sweet Swap Pkg Received!

And finally, the rest of the charms. This is such a nice mix of different fabrics: the super cute owls and hedgies and ladybugs and safety pins and that lovely tree down at the one corner that I love love love. And then there are great basic blenders like the Art Gallery Natural Elements and other tone on tone/tone on white prints. I didn’t give Mari-Ann a lot to work with in terms of things I like or was looking for, so she did a great job with the little bit of information I did provide. She also doesn’t know it, but I’ve had long (long!) term plans to do a dots quilt, someday, using only prints with dots on them, and quite a lot of these fabrics will work perfectly for that as well.

It was a really great (unintentional) birthday gift to open today. So many, many thanks to Mari-Ann!


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WiP Wednesday and a Giveaway Winner

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

random

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