Work-in-Progress Girl


7 Comments

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!

Advertisements


4 Comments

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


11 Comments

Modern Scrappy Bits Swap Received!

I’ve talked about the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap quite a few times now – probably 4 times for things sent away and this will be the fourth time for things received. But for anyone who doesn’t know and wants to or should know… it’s a swap run on Flickr right here, where we get the name/address and some information about our recipient and then we make something small for that person (out of scraps!), send them some kind of notion or other, a postcard from wherever we’re from, and a fat quarter’s worth of scraps. The whole thing has been a lot of fun and I think I’ve gotten better at figuring out what to make for people (my first two were… meh, my last two I’ve been pretty happy about). Anyway, last week I got my package in the mail, which came over from Balu51 who lives in Switzerland.

MSBSwap Received

She sent me a really fantastic collection of scraps in yellows, oranges, reds, low volume, text prints… all sorts of good things. Up top in the picture is a stack of blue strips that she sent for doing a string quilt, since someday I would like to do a string quilt with my scraps. (I always say that, I never get around to it… One day!) I was talking to Balu51 via FlickrMail and she sent me a link to a really neat idea for doing a string quilt, a Stripey Lonestar Quilt block. (I find that website kind of hit and miss as to whether or not it will work – hopefully it’ll load for you if you’re curious! If you Google the name, the picture of it will come up in any case.) So now I’ve got THAT idea in my head instead of the standard style that looks like boxes on point.

She also sent me two skeins of what I think is perle cotton (the label is in German! but I recall that ‘baumwolle’ means cotton so at a minimum, it’s a cotton thread) in very lovely Griffindor colours (though I don’t suppose that was her intent! I just have Harry Potter on the brain for some reason right now).

MSBSwap Received

Also, Balu51 made me this pretty mug rug, which is now hanging in my sewing room. I can’t remember what I’d said in my sign-up form, but it was probably something wishy-washy about kind of liking everything and being happy with whatever got made for me because I’m always so happy to get mail and especially hand-made mail. Which is always true, but also probably the most ANNOYING thing to read when you’re trying to figure out what to make for someone you don’t really know 😀 Anyway, this mug rug is beautiful. The blues sort of match my bedroom walls and I find it sort of soothing and lovely to look at. I love the hexagons and the fabrics and the satin ribbon binding (which looks amazing!). I had admired this mug rug when the photos appeared in the Flickr group, and I’m lucky to have it come home with me. This is my first bit of art that I’ve hung up in my sewing room (which has my brother-in-law’s hockey related artwork and memorabilia on the walls – it’s actually his office, I just wanted more space, so I pay a little more rent so that I could have it and his desk has been stuffed into their over-crowded bedroom) and it’s great to have something so nice to hang up in there.

I keep thinking I should sit out a round and get to work on some of MY projects instead of always finishing the things that will be sent away, but I LOVE participating in this swap. There’s always something beautiful to look at and long for in the photostream.


4 Comments

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug
(Artwork by Liese Chavez.)

I’ve talked about this one a few times and shown a few pictures, but here are my final pictures of this finish before it gets sent away.

This mug rug was made for my partner at the Flickr swap group Modern Scrappy Bits. This is the fourth round and the fourth time I’ve participated. (There’s some discussion going on already about the fifth round, so if you’re interested in joining a swap where you make something small – from a list of 2 or 3 types of projects – for someone to send away with about a fat quarter’s worth of scraps of modern fabric, go join the group and keep an eye on the discussions! It’ll likely be a couple months before the next round starts, usually there are 2 or 3 between.)

My partner and I have some fairly dissimilar tastes in fabric, which left me a little undecided about what to make – I didn’t have the right types of prints, so instead I decided to use mostly solids in her favourite colours (with a few colour additions of my own just to round it out and some bits of prints for some interest) and I used the triangles because it’s something she had a few photos of in her Flickr favourites. She’s left some nice comments on the previous photos at the Flickr group, so I really do hope the blending of her tastes and mine will work out for her. (It works out for me! I’d love to make a bigger quilt using these same colours – teal, sky blue, lime, and a very minimal scattering of pale pink, yellow, and grey. Much larger triangles… could be fun!)

This wasn’t my first time working with triangles – that was Deanna‘s triangle block! (See here for the one I made and here for the finished, amazing, top) – which is probably a good thing since that previous experience helped me work out what to do with the seams on the back so I didn’t end up with a ginormous wad of fabric at any of the join points. I also kind of took from that experience the attempt to keep from making patterns with my colours – I struggled to keep from making a star on the inside or having hexagons that stand out too much

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The fabrics are a real mish-mash of different things – the green is a Kona cotton, but the rest of the solids are some combination of Moda Bella, Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, and Art Gallery’s Pure Elements solids. (I’m pretty sure the purple is Art Gallery, but it might be Cotton Couture – they have a similar feel. The others I’m pretty sure are Moda Bella, but I could be wrong.) Of the prints, the pink triangle is a Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet and the two roundish lime bits in an otherwise blue triangle are from an Amy Butler print. I think the blue dots are a Kei honeycomb print. The two teal blue prints are maybe from Art Gallery (certainly the one beside the yellow triangle is – it’s from the Nature Elements collection). I don’t know what either of the text prints are – someone told me a little while ago what the yellow one is, but I’ve gone and forgotten. The grey one looks a bit like some Benartex ones that I’ve got in different colours. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. It’s scrap happy.

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

The back is a little different. I used some of the spare triangles I’d cut to make a strip and then used some scraps of a print from the Cloud 9 line Across the Pond to fill in the rest of the back. The little (ugly) bits of ribbon you see there are for hanging, if the new owner would like to hang this rather than leave it flat. I think the back would be prettier without it, but I couldn’t find anything in a more appropriate colour (and really didn’t want to make little hanging tabs of my own). They’d be pretty easy to cut out, anyway, if she wants to get rid of them.

The quilting was done by hand (obviously) using 3 strands of DMC Satin floss. (I don’t know the colour number – I lost the sleeve for it. It’s a whitish-silver, anyway.) When you look at the quilting on the back, you can see that I lined up the strip of triangles on the back with one of the strips on the front. I don’t know why that felt important to do, but it did and so there it is!

So yeah, that’s that. It’s about 8.5 inches across from point to point (or about 7.5 across from side to side). Just big enough for a mug and a snack (which, why? does anyone actually use mug rugs for that?).

Modern Scrappy Bits Mug Rug

(That cupcake? Delicious. Lemon sugar on top of lemon icing on top of lemon cake stuffed with lemon filling. Yum.) (That mug? Empty. I don’t really like hot drinks.)


14 Comments

RIP My Favourite Needle

For the last year, every single embroidery project I’ve worked on has been stitched with the same needle, a Bohin No 5 Crewel needle.

Molly Mutante, finished last year in July… The Running Stitch on a Pouch… My Crewel Embroidery Needlebook… My Unfinished ABC Sampler… Every one of my Doctor Who patterns…
Molly Mutante (close) Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic) Needle-book with Crewel Embroidery Flower Daisychain ABC Sampler in progress

Anything I’ve stitched on linen or linen-cotton blend fabric or even quilting cotton if I used interfacing to stiffen it, it’s been stitched with that same No. 5 needle. It turned me into a Bohin needle apologist. I’ve got packets and packets of them in all kinds of sizes, I gave one away to someone in a swap who was looking for a good needle, I don’t ever want to use another brand of needle again, but that particular No 5 was my favourite. It felt good in my fingers and was as sharp and perfect as the day I first pulled it out of its packet, so I just kept on using it, until yesterday when it died.

Bent Needle

So that one’s gone to the little needlebook in the sky, but hey! I’ve got a whole packet of them, so I guess it’s all right if that one is gone. I bent it doing some hand-quilting on a mug rug/mini-quilt wall-hanging for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap:

Hand Quilting

I finished up all the stitching with that bent needle, but it was kind of difficult getting it through where I wanted it to be, considering the general kink in the straightness of the thing. I suppose I pushed it too hard – multiple layers of fabric (front and back, with a lot of wadded up bits where the triangles all meet – the front is all triangles), a layer of batting and a layer of medium weight interfacing (I wanted to keep it fairly stiff so that it can be hung without the sides drooping). That needle treated me well, anyway, and it’s a shame to see it go to the little metal tin of bent pins and needles, but it was its time to go I guess.

Anyway, in other fairly ridiculous news (as regards that particular mini), I managed to feature the word BUTT right on the front of it. Or BUTTO, if you want to get technical, but it’s the BUTT that stands out so much to me:

Butto

That’s what I get for not paying too much attention to fabric placement when I stitched all those bits together. Oh well, I think my swap partner will like it regardless of the BUTT in the middle of it.


4 Comments

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

So, you might remember from a couple years back the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge set by All People Quilt. I hadn’t heard anything about it in a while, but recently I saw someone somewhere mention that they’d reached 500,000 and were starting the push for the next half million. (Which, holy cannoli, half a million handmade pillowcases!) Back when that started, I set out to make as many pillowcases as I could using mostly unwanted fabric from my stash – I made 19, which I donated through a local quilt shop, My Sewing Room. At the bottom of this post, I’m going to drop in photos of those 19 pillowcases, because I think they’re mostly pretty awesome. While I was on that pillowcase kick, I also made 2 for my older sister and 1 for a pillowcase swap set up by the lovely Ofenjen of Sewhooked.

In that pillowcase swap, I sent away a pillowcase that I didn’t photograph for some reason, though I’m fairly certain it was using the same fabrics as in these two cases that I donated:

Million Pillowcase Challenge - #5, 6

And in return, I received this pillowcase from Jennifer herself:

Owly Pillowcase

I’ve used this pillowcase every day since I received it and this weekend when my parents and younger sister were here, my little sister (who I sometimes call Squirtus, even though she’s nearly 30, and even though her name isn’t Curtis, which is really the only name deserving of the nickname Squirtus) thought it was cute and wanted to know where I got it from. So blah blah blah I told her I’d make her her own pillowcase, so long as she picked out her own fabric. (And so long as I had enough of the necessary fabric, I didn’t want to go buy anything.)

Today was another in a line of stressful and crappy days in my house and so I did some sewing therapy and made Squirtus’s pillowcase, even though I have other things I should have been doing. These pillowcases, made (like all the others) using Ofenjen’s Hotdog Pillowcase Tutorial, are so easy to make that it’s just the kind of thing you can do without thinking too hard when your brain is focussed elsewhere on other things, and it’s just the kind of thing that if you get lucky, you’ll eventually start focussing on so that you can get your brain off those other things.

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

Woo! Action shot!

The two main fabrics are from the Cloud 9 Fabrics’ line Across the Pond, with the flange in a Joel Dewberry herringbone print (from Aviary 2?). It was dark and rainy out when I took the photograph in my bedroom, but I found a bit of natural light in my sewing room and this photo is a little less flash-happy than in the previous, if you’d like to see the fabric a little more like it’s supposed to be:

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

As I mentioned, I made all these pillowcases using the Hot Dog Tutorial from Sewhooked, and I’ve always made them using the proportions mentioned in the tutorial – 24-26″ for the body and 9-12″ for the cuff – but I’ve also found them just a little long for my pillows. Most of my pillows are from IKEA and I’m not sure if they’re a different size from whatever is standard in the US, but they usually wind up with several spare inches of room in the pillowcase. This time I made the pillowcase using 24″ of the body fabric and 10″ of the cuff fabric, making 34″ rather than the recommended 36-38″ fabric, and it worked PERFECTLY for the IKEA pillows. (Though now I wonder if it’ll go home to Squirtus and be too small for whatever pillow she uses!)

Anyway, here’s a parade of pillowcases I made back in 2010. The first two, with the creepy faces, were made for my older sister, but the rest were donated for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Factory Girl pillowcases Million Pillowcase Challenge - #1-4
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #7 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #8, 9
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #13, 14, 15 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #12
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #10, 11 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #16 & 17
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #18 & 19

(Psst… if the numbers don’t add up, it’s because two are in the shot up top – I didn’t include them down here again – and there were actually three of the green ones in the third row. I had A LOT of that dark green solid. It’s the same fabric in the cases on the bottom row.)

[ETA: I can tell I’m stressy because after ages of not spending money on anything unnecessary and especially not on fabric for my stash… I spent like $150 on fabric/notions today without really noticing it. I hope I don’t have buyer’s remorse when it all shows up.]


9 Comments

A day late and a Doctor short…

Well, I’m officially behind on the Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long. I tried! But last week was a bit of a bad week at the WIPGirl House and then it was immediately followed up by house guests for four days, while I was working every day, on the hottest days of the year (so far, and Universe? Please don’t get hotter). Nothing like a too hot house, featuring 46% humidity indoors, with an extra three bodies in it, right? Ever since the flood, it’s been really humid here and, as it’s usually fairly dry, the heat feels much worse than we’re used to having it feel. Anyway, I finally broke down and bought a window AC unit because I barely slept all weekend. (ACs make me feel weirdly guilty because they do nothing good for the environment and I live in a part of the world where you only really need it for a week or two a year, but once you’ve got one and once it’s blocking a window, you’re pretty much guaranteed to start using it on all those days you might normally have just used an open window with a nice breeze to keep you cool. By and large I feel like I should be able to get by without it because what’s a week or two of being a little hotter than you’d like? Anyway, please realize this isn’t a judgement on people who live in places where ACs really are necessary. In a typical July, we’ll get three days that are hotter than 28C. Should I buy an AC or just, you know, hang out at the mall for the afternoon? Because that seems like a valid solution to three days of hotter weather.)

Anyway, here’s a peak at where my Eighth Doctor is at:

Eighth Doc-in-progress

I’ve mainly just got clothing left to stitch – the left side (our left, not his) of his coat, his cravat, and the sleeve on the right. So close! But what’s the saying? Close is only good with horseshoes and hand grenades? Anyway, I’m hoping to get it finished today/tonight at work (if I manage to take any breaks, it’s my first night solo since my dept. head quit and I’m going to be simultaneously doing his job (which is now my job) and training two new people to do what I used to do) so that tomorrow I can do a proper post about it. Or maybe Saturday, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I have two finished things to show you. I’d like to blame the recipients of these blocks for my not getting Eight finished (;D) but you know… I could have sewn them up a couple weeks ago instead of putting them off. First up is my block for Aalia at Joy of Stitches (and one of the DWSAL designers – she designed One, Three, and next week’s Nine) for the Livejournal Birthday Blocks exchange.

Aalia's Hufflepuff Themed Block

Aalia’s request was for a 10″ block in yellow and black, for a Hufflepuff quilt. The photo she linked for colour/inspiration is this Hufflepuff house crest, and that’s where my idea for the block came from. I do have some fabric with tiny fleur de lis on it, but it’s certainly not in black and yellow, so instead I bought a 6″ fleur de lis pattern from Jennifer Ofenstein (from her Craftsy shop), shrunk down the pattern a little so that it could be a 5″ square, and made two for the corners. The striped bit I actually paper-pieced as well, though I just drew out a 5″ square and then drew lines every half inch to make the stripe. As I was making this, I got REALLY tempted to just make a giant yellow and black bull’s eye for a block (I did the striped units first), but I’m really glad I went with the fleur de lis in the end, I think they’re really pretty. (Even IF I did get the bottom unit askew on BOTH quarters.) I mentioned this is a ten inch block, well… true facts: I used a fat quarter of the yellow and ALMOST RAN OUT. I don’t KNOW where all that fabric went to! (It’s probably all trimmings in my garbage bin – I’m not too good with angles and not wasting fabric.)

In any case, the next finished thing was just finished yesterday. It was due last week, but the aforementioned bad week really threw me for a loop. And it was an improv block, and I have a mental block about improv, so I put it off for a long time before starting it. This was my June block for the Flickr Simply Solids group:

Simply Solids June Blck

The idea behind Carly’s block was flowers and stems/twigs tumbling over a waterfall, you can see more on the idea here at her blog. I think it’s going to be an AMAZING looking quilt, even though a lot of us were a little wary of the whole… improv thing. I drew out six sample blocks before I wound up sewing my first stitch, and while I started out following my plan, I accidentally sewed a triangle on backwards and the whole thing went awry! I think it came out okay in the end, which I suppose is the good bit about improv, but it was still a bit nerve-wracking in the moment.

So next up… a paper pieced block for July’s Simply Solids block and… a mug rug for the Flickr Modern Scrappy Bits Swap and more and more stitched Doctors, but otherwise, I’m a free woman. (Well, I’m going to make a pillow case for my little sister and I think I’ve found my next project to work on – finishing up quilt-as-you-go thing I started working on a long while ago. Only four or five of 20 blocks are finished. Lots go to, but they’re pretty easy to do, since I’m just doing straight-line stuff.)


18 Comments

May Bee/Exchange Blocks

Do you ever lose random craft supplies? Like, say, your good 12.5″ square ruler instead of your crappy one? When you only sew/cut fabric in one room of your house and it’s only like… a 90 square foot room and half of the floor is covered in furniture? Because I did that. My bad 12.5″ square ruler is still hanging around, so I can get some stuff done, but the numbers and lines are all faded and it’s got a slight inward curve on the side I tended to cut on the most, so I have to remember to use the opposite corner. Annoying. I really wish I could figure out what the heck I did with the good one because it’s so much nicer! I really, kind of desperately, need to clean my sewing space because it’s a gong show. But I’m really bad at organizing, somehow, and also it just seems like a boring way to spend my time. On the other hand, knowing where to find my things would probably save me time down the line. Or tomorrow, even.

Anyway, I got a few bee blocks done, one for my Simply Solids group, which is this block here:

Triangle Block

This block is for Deanna (at Little D and Me). She sent out the pre-cut fabric to make this great big triangle block. I was a little bit scared of putting this one together – so many bias edges! – but then it really just came together fairly easily. Deanna wanted it to be as random as possible, with no patterns to the fabric placement, so when the fabric first arrived, I pulled each layer of fabric out of the bag one at a time and laid it out into the triangle shape in the exact order they were in the bag, only making changes if two of the same colour were beside each other. And it seemed pretty good, but then I when I actually stitched it together yesterday and today I somehow kept managing to flip pieces or to sew the next triangle onto the wrong side, so my unplanned plan went at all out of whack, and all the greens wound up down the left side and across the bottom and all the darkest purple and blues down the right hand side. But it’s probably actually more random this way, even though things somehow seemed to clump up? So says I, anyway.

I really like that bright patch of orange in the middle of all that – I’ll be interested to see how it all ends up in the final quilt, once Deanna has all the blocks!

My second block is for the only May birthday girl in my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. She requested a Card Trick block in forest greens with a trees/leaves theme on off-white or cream:

Card Trick

We have a few really traditional (and very triangle heavy) blocks in this years LJ group, including this Card Trick block. I’d never done a card trick block before, which surprises me a little because I’ve done A LOT of traditional quilt blocks in my ten years of quilting. I wouldn’t say this is one of my particular favourites, as far as traditional goes, nor one of my favourite colour combos. Every now and then I get the urge to cull my fabric stash and these kinds of prints are the things I tend to pull out to give away, because the colour is pretty muted and they can seem dreary if you don’t find a good way to pull them together, but then I wind up leaving them because you never know when you’re going to need something more neutral like this to tone down or pull back something else that’s a little more crazy. Or you just might need to make something for your Grandma and you know she’ll be all over that sort of thing. And it’s just as well because I might have had to buy a new tenth-of-a-metre of something similar if I didn’t have this hanging around. Anyway, for all my don’t-really-like-it, I really do hope that Suri (the recipient) will like it. And I hope it’ll work well with the quilt she’s planning, since I know she’s been collecting blocks for this quilt for a while.

So guess that’s that! Next up will be a very scary improv block for my Simply Solids group – gorgeous, but scary! I’m not good at improv! – and a birthday block for June, for Miss Aalia, in the brightest most Hufflepuff yellow I can find. (I’m pretty sure I’ve got a few things that’ll work, I just need to choose a block!) I’m hoping to get the birthday block done this weekend, so maybe I’ll have something to show early on next week, and the other… well, I still need to wait for the fabric, but once it gets here, I’m pretty sure I’ll hem and haw over it for a week or two before sitting down to work on it, freaking out about how bad it looks, deciding it doesn’t look that bad really and then questioning every life choice that lead me to quilting in general and bee sewing in specific. And then I’ll probably be happy with it in the end, because one not that improv-y block in a whole quilt can’t possibly stand out that much, right? (Because I’ll confess now: I’ve been looking at photos of waterfalls online and bookmarking ones that look like I might be able to work an improvish pattern out of them…)

See you tomorrow for the Doctor Who Stitch-A-Long! I’m even planning to pre-write my post, so it’ll be up sometime during the day tomorrow! (Still after I get home from work – I want to direct link to the ACTUAL Fandom in Stitches post, so I need to wait until it’s posted, and I don’t like doing that crap on my phone just so I can do it at work.) [ETA: You won’t see the DWSAL “tomorrow” because that’s Tuesday and the DWSAL happens on Wednesday. So, you know. See you Wednesday!]

Plum and June
Linking up to the Let’s Get Acquainted blog link-up!


11 Comments

Hedgie Fabric Basket

Well, I talked last week about what I got in the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr, so I guess it’s time I talked about what I sent away. I didn’t take pictures of everything that went into the package, but honestly the thing I made was far and away more interesting than the rest of it. (Fabric scraps, some embroidery stuff, and some crocheted bits and bobs.)

Hedgie Fabric Basket

Is this not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? The hedgehog pattern was created by Sonja Callaghan, and can be found at her website Artisania. I’ve made this one before (as a postcard) and I just love it ridiculously.

My swap partner had a lot of things made using Sonja’s patterns favourited on her Flickr and also a lot of hedgehog things, but strangely none of Sonja’s hedgehogs, so I thought it would be a great direction to go in for her. (The package hasn’t arrived yet, but she did comment enthusiastically on the one picture I put up on Flickr, so I’m glad to know she likes it!) She had requested a fabric basket, so I made use of Ayumi’s fabric basket tutorial, though obviously I didn’t do it patchwork style and I used the larger sizes recommended at the bottom of the post.

Hedgie Fabric Basket

I somehow managed to take no really good pictures of the hedgehog, but here’s the best I’ve got. The fabrics for Hedgie are both from Art Gallery fabrics – such beautifully soft fabric to work with! I had loosely planned to make a sky blue background (using some Kaffe Fassett crossweave fabric that I’d ordered), but I wound up using some Essex Linen instead, which I really like the look and feel of, but which holds a wrinkle like nobody’s business. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I wish I’d done more quilting on this part of the basket, since it would have given it a bit more body so that it’d stand up a little stiffer, and maybe it’d have disguised some of the wrinkled bits, at least a bit.

Hedgie Fabric Basket - embroidery

Hedgie wasn’t any too big, so I added some button flowers to fill in some space, but somehow left a big gaping blank area beside that – it started to bother me when I took my first round of pictures, and so I had to add – after it was completely constructed and lined – the other embroidery flowers to fill in some of that empty space. It’s all super simple, straight stitches and lazy daisy leaves and French knots in the centres of the flowers. (One of them, alas, is falling apart – it was HARD doing a French knot when I couldn’t stab all the way through the fabric. I don’t recommend it.) Anyway, not a half-bad way to fill in some space, although I’d have loved to have done something more complicated, rather than something so simple. I really need to learn to think things through before finishing them and then going back to fix them afterwards!

Hedgie Fabric Basket (back view)

The back of the basket is more simple and plain, just a bit of a forest scene. I freehand drew out the fabric tree and then paper-pieced it, and after that, just kind of winged it as far as the rest of the trees went. I had loose plans to add a bird to the tree on the right, but couldn’t seem to figure out the scale, so I scrapped that idea. It is pretty plain and feels like it could use some colour, but I still like this side anyway. It’s sort of quiet and restrained. It’s all back-stitching and lazy daises (for the leaves, again), though this side was done using crewel wool rather than embroidery floss (which is what I used for the flowers).

Hopefully it’ll arrive soon and hopefully my recipient will love it!

Although I’d used some scrap fabrics for the hedgie basket, I didn’t feel like I’d used enough, so I also made a second fabric basket (same tutorial, smaller size), but I didn’t wind up sending it. It would have fit in the envelope, but it would have almost doubled the mailing price (WTF Canada Post, WTF), and I couldn’t swing it right then. Sigh. Anyway, here is that second basket, which right now is home to the cutting utensils on my sewing desk. Someday I may mail it away to someone, but I couldn’t say who or when or if at all. Maybe I’ll just decide to keep it.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket (back)

This one is just a plain scrappy basket, using colours that approximately matched the fabric I used on the base of the basket.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket (front)

I did quite a lot of quilting on this basket, and it stands up much better than the larger one. It probably helps that it is so small though too.

Mini Scrappy Fabric Basket


9 Comments

Modern Scrappy Bits Swap

First a quick (okay, not at all quick) note: I mentioned in one of my last couple entries that shipping prices from the US are going way, way up – here’s a handy chart from Sew Mama Sew if any of you are Canadian like me and want to know just exactly how bad it is. One pattern, one fat quarter, itty bitty amounts of things, basically? SIX DOLLARS FIFTY CENTS. If you go up to the larger size, the flat rate envelope (previously about $13) holds (according to SMS) up to ten yards (though I’ve seen other sites say about 7 yds),.. so let’s just say I were to buy a full ten yards of non-organic print fabric from SMS (sorry to pick on them, they just happen to be the site with the up to date shipping chart), it would be approximately 10 (yds) x 10 (approx non-sale price per yard) = 100 + 20 (shipping) = $120. If I were to buy 10 yds of non-organic print fabric from Mad About Patchwork (chosen because it’s the Canadian store I most often shop at), it would be about 10 x 11 = 110 + 6 = 116. It’s not a massive difference, and if anything were on sale in the US or were some of the cheaper fabrics (because A LOT but not all fabrics are in the $10 range, especially if you buy solids) then it might still be more economical to buy in the US. (And I assume shipping prices in Canada are going up this weekend too, so Mad About Patchwork may have to re-evaluate their shipping prices. Don’t quote me on any part of that, just speculating based on the fact that shipping prices go up EVERY year.) So, okay, then it comes down to some other factors: I usually don’t, but might get charged customs or duties (esp if buying a large amount) if I order from the US, it takes 2 weeks pretty much always, if you don’t spread the $20 shipping cost over a full 10 yards fabric your shipping costs (per unit) shoot up (6yds x 10 = 60 + 20 = 80 vs. 6 x 11 = 66 + 6 = 72).

All of which by way of saying that Canadian shopping is looking better and better and better. (Though I assume this means it will become more expensive still for a Canadian shop to bring in fabric, so that base price of approximately $11 may have to go up to 12 or 13 so that shops can still make SOME money off what they’re bringing in.)

Here’s a couple other things I foresee happening:
1. More bees will disallow Canadian/International participants. (Because never mind that when one of us participates we have to spend higher shipping on EVERY non-Canadian bee member where most American bee members might only have to spend higher amounts on one or two people. Yes, I get a bug up my ass about American people who don’t want to play outside their own sandbox because it’s more expensive shipping to the two or three of us on the other side of the fence.) Alternately, more bees might be run with geographic groupings, so that the Americans will play with the Americans, the Canadians with the Canadians, the Europeans with the Europeans, etc. Which may mean I’ll get to know my fellow Canadian sewists a lot better, but narrows the pool significantly.
2. Giveaways will become almost exclusively limited to country of origin. (Meaning Sew Mama Sew’s giveaway day will be by and large a for US participants only phenomenon. Again, not to pick on SMS, they just happen to host the largest giveaway party.) Non-Americans are already excluded from a lot of giveaways and I predict it’s going to become a whole lot worse. (Which, I hate to harp on, because people giving things away for free are still giving things away for free, and that’s a nice thing, even if it’s given away in a limited way.)

Anyway, nothing to be done about it. Except to shop Canadian and get to know my fellow Canadian potential-bee-partners, right?

Moving along…
So I’ve talked in the past about the things I’ve received from my partners in the Scrappy Bits swap on flickr (sign-ups for Round 3 are currently open, if you’re interested in joining in! Join the group if you’re not already a member, and then go to the Sticky Post section of the discussions where you’ll find a sticky post with a link to the sign-up form – you NEED to have a flickr account to join), but I’ve never quite got around to talking about the things I’ve sent away.

I’ve participated in both the previous swaps, so I’ve got two sets of things to show you here. I don’t remember a whole lot about that original swap, though it seems to me that we were able to talk about our likes and dislikes or something to that effect. My swap partner, CraktPot had requested a pouch, if I remember right, and hoped for something in an aqua/red/black colour scheme. Then again, I might be imagining all that. I knew from her Flickr account that she was a fan of Tula Pink, and originally I’d started trying to stitch one of Tula Pink’s clock-work birds in shades of aqua/teal on black Essex linen, which I was going to turn into a pouch. But, holy time consuming! And I didn’t have any of the Tula Pink fabric, so I was basing my pattern on a much-blown up image off the internet, which wasn’t very clear and wasn’t working very well. I’m pretty sure that project is still in a hoop somewhere, and I’ll salvage what I can of the linen someday because I don’t think the bird will happen…

Anyway, I had to re-evaluate, and I made up two different pouches using that colour scheme before deciding which one to send away. I still have this first pouch, which actually makes a pretty good pencil case and has been doing just that for the last few months:

Scrappy Bits pouch #1 (Mosaic)

This pouch, called the Elise Pouch from IThinkSew, is kind of shaped like a computer mouse. It’s a very interesting one to put together, though I found the directions a bit weird and maybe more difficult than they needed to be. I found it kind of fun putting together the outside of the pouch – it’s essentially just a circle, with a bridge connecting the sides (and a zipper through the middle of the bridge), so I made up a big square and then cut slashes through it to insert all the stripes of colour before trimming it down to a circle. (I’ve been contemplating making another with wedges, like a Dresden plate.) After it was done I pretty much immediately wished I hadn’t made the bridge piece in red – it just didn’t seem to fit and that’s ultimately why I didn’t send it away.

The one I did send away is this pouch, made with the open wide pouch tutorial from Noodlehead:

Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic)

I made the outside of the pouch the same way as I did for the Elise pouch (slashes of blue through the black), but this time I added a little stitching alongside some of the slashes of colour (which turned out to be largely pointless – so much of it got cut away when I boxed the corners! Ought to have thought about that…). The black in this pouch is Essex Linen, which is a cotton-linen blend that’s pretty nice to work with.

I really like this tutorial (which is free, the Elise pattern is a for-purchase pattern) and definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get into the pouch-making game. It’s fun and pretty easy, if you’re as scared of putting zippers into things as I am. (And on the zipper note, I can’t recommend the zippers from ZipIt enough. They’ve got a billion colours in a lot of sizes and the customer service is great.)

All that said, the point of the swap really is to give away part of your scrap stash and to receive back a pile of someone else’s scraps. I always have plans for things to do with my scraps, though I never seem to do something with any of those plans, but the way I see it… the more variety the better. If I get back into paper-piecing again, I might get bits and pieces that’d work out in ways my own scraps might not. Officially we send away the equivalent of one fat quarter’s worth of scraps, but I’m not very good at restricting myself like that, so I sent away a fair bit more than that.

Modern Scrappy Bits

I also sent along a little Elypoo notebook (it’s a book of paper made in a way that involves elephant poo, though I don’t really recall too much more about it) and some DMC rayon thread, which I picked out because it was so very, very shiny:

Modern Scrappy Bits

For the second round I made another Noodlehead pouch, though this time I modified the size (and shouldn’t have, since it threw off the proportions of the pouch) and machine appliquéd it with stars.

025

To be honest, I really wasn’t happy with this one. I had this idea in my head, which started with the idea of constellations and I don’t know where the thought came from, but I wanted to make a constellation with the fabric and stars, but then I couldn’t find a small enough paper-pieced pattern for a star and, oh, I don’t know, just the general metamorphosis that happens going from thought A to B to C to reality and somehow it just wasn’t working, so I thought, well, I’ll machine appliqué the stars randomly and fuzz the edges so it’s kind of twinkly around the edges and… ugh. I wasn’t happy. But I was late! I spent so much time dithering over what to do – my recipient, Prsd4tim2, has this lovely blog full of things she’s made, but so very much of it was things she’d made for other people and I couldn’t decide if the things on her site were things she made because she loved them or because she thought someone else would love them, so I didn’t feel I had a real handle on her tastes and what sort of thing she’d really like to have. (If I’d been a wiser woman, I’d have looked at her flickr profile because she’s got a great big list right there in front of your eyes and mine that I could have used to narrow things down!) So dithering lead to the due date lead to me rushing through the project. And being a little more unhappy than happy with the final project. I don’t think it’s TERRIBLE, it’s just not what I wanted, you know? And then I also think it looks more suitable for a child than an adult, which is… frustrating, because she’s not an 8 year old with a collection of multi-coloured gel pens, you know? Anyway, despite my general frustration and slight dislike of the project, happily my recipient seems pleased AND likely to make use of it.

Anyway, I also sent along this collection of fabric scraps:

010

In deference to the Christmas season, I mostly chose fabrics from the red and green parts of my scrap bag (with some aquas thrown in likely because they weren’t sorted by colour but were sitting in a heap on TOP of all the sorted stuff)

Awesome. Okay, I’m writing this in the bathtub, with my laptop propped on the toilet while I awkwardly lean over the edge of the bath to type, and I just managed to pull down my shower curtain rod. Thank DOG it didn’t crack me in the skull or my laptop in the screen. But just for good measure: UGH. Also, note to self: there’s a reason we don’t typically write blog posts in the bath. If I had a camera in here I’d take a picture. Of the shower curtain.

ANYWAY, in deference to the Christmas season, I mostly chose fabrics from the red and green parts of my scrap bag (with some aquas thrown in likely because they weren’t sorted by colour but were sitting in a heap on TOP of all the sorted stuff). That said, I very, very intentionally choose red and green fabrics that WEREN’T actually Christmas prints. (I don’t have any, anyway. Gave them all away.) I wanted the recipient to be able to use them any which way she pleased without being locked into a full-on Christmas project.

Modern Scrappy Bits swap package

I also sent along (one by one the last few attached shower curtain hooks are sliding down the rod, disconnecting, and giving me a little jolt of shock every time one of them slips and clanks down) some crewel wool in two shades of orange, because I know she does some embroidery and also I thought crewel wool might actually be a nice addition to a quilted project, even if you don’t actually do crewel embroidery and also just barely visible (hooked through that bitty square of fabric with the bird on it) a number 5 Bohin embroidery needle. Prsd4tim2 had mentioned on her blog her quest for a great needle, and I LOVE my #5 Bohins. They’re fantastic to work with (though a little large for more delicate embroidery), beautifully made, and just FEEL good in the fingers. They’re the only Bohin needles I’ve used, but I’m in love. (So in love I bought 4 packets of Bohin needles for an upcoming project of mine – they’re all different sizes/types ranging from beading needles to assorted embroidery sizes to tapestry to millners and sharps.)

Anyway, just wanted to remind anyone who is interested that the sign-ups for Round Three of the Modern Scrappy Bits swap are open now. I don’t see a date when sign-ups close, so sign up now not later!