Work-in-Progress Girl


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Radiant Orchid Mini-Quilt

It took me a long time to warm up to making a project for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge – I didn’t have many purples in my stash, even fewer of them in that sort of reddish-pinky-purple that Radiant Orchid seems to be, and I just didn’t have any ideas. But then I read a blog post at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread that introduced me to the hand over-dyed threads produced by Colour Complements. Mary was running a giveaway for threads from their Etsy shop and I got sucked into thread heaven, a place filled with pretty, pretty cotton and rayon, and I forgot the giveaway entirely: I just had to buy some thread immediately.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I paired up my sampler pack of threads (three sizes of perle cotton, a rayon chainette, and another very fine rayon thread) with three shades of Kaffee Fassett shot-cotton – Grape, Granite, and Lilac. I choose very quiet fabrics because I wanted to try out something called Kantha quilting and I wanted the stitching to pop, rather than blend into a busy print background. Kantha is a type of embroidery used in parts of India and Bangladesh to give new life to old saris – women would stack up several layers of old, worn saris and stitch them together using a running stitch which could be done in long straight lines or could used to create patterns or pictures. Most of the newer kantha quilts I’ve seen are done exclusively with the running stitches running across the quilts with little extra decoration, but if you do a Google image search or even go to Wikipedia, you can see pictures of some of the more decorative patterns that can be made with Kantha quilting.

Radiant Orchid mini-quilt

I did a little bit of both types, I suppose, since I did largely just straight lines, but also interrupted myself to include a very literal interpretation of the Radiant Orchid challenge. (So literal that I also brought an orchid home so that I could do a triple orchid take – plant, representation of the plant, colour named after the plant.) Because I was working with a sampler pack of threads, I had a little of a lot of varieties of thread, but not a lot of any of them, so I did five repeating rows of (six) different threads, which I also hoped would give it a nice texture and maybe kind of draw the eye around with the different shades of purple and pink (and little splashes of gold) .

Straight Stitching

I stitched the whole thing without a hoop or pins or anything – it was small enough it didn’t feel like it needed much support to keep it together, though I did start with the rayon thread and stitch it every 1-inch or so to help stabilize it enough that I really really didn’t have to worry. I was surprised by how much (overall) I enjoyed the process of stitching – it felt like it should have been tedious, but I didn’t get tired of it until I was near the end and using the worst of the threads – a 100% polyester (which feels scratchy and horrible) and the very thick perle cottons, which my needle was resistant to threading and which then didn’t want to take more than a single stitch at a time. The sparkle chainette (the one with gold flecks) was also a bit difficult because it was incredibly stretchy: I started with a piece of thread the width of the cloth and somehow managed to stitch TWO full lines without starting another length of the stuff.

Orchids

I free-hand stitched the orchids following a tutorial from Drago Art. For the flowers, I used another variegated perle cotton, this one in a blue-green-purple blend, but I found it sunk back into the background too much, so I outlined a lot of it with a very pale lavender DMC floss. Unlike the rest of the stitches in the piece, that back stitch does NOT travel to the back of the quilt – it’s all on the surface. A third thread was used to stitch the stem – it’s maybe a little too bright, but I like it anyway, so we’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

006

Anyway, this project absorbed a lot of my time throughout the first couple weeks in March, so much so that I feel like I should be sick of it now, but I’m pretty proud of how it all came out. It kind of dresses up that weird little nook in the strairwell/kitchen along with that print of one of Rodin’s Cambodian dancers and the actual orchids. My sister will likely hate the purple, so it won’t last there too long, I don’t imagine, but eventually it’ll go dress up my Mum’s house for spring.

This was finished on 17 March 2014 and stitched entirely by hand, by me. The binding was sewn to the front and hand-stitched to the back. The fabrics are all Kaffee Fassett shot cottons: the binding is “Grape,” the front is “Granite” and the back is “Lilac.” The threads are all from Colour Complements, except for one shiny purple one (directly above the gold flecked rayon) and the orchid outline, which are both DMC, though one is cotton and the other a horrible, scratchy Polyester. (Seriously, I don’t recommend it.) The quilt measures 15.5″ x 19″ and it is nameless, as are most of my quilts.

This was also my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal for March (goal post here), so success on all fronts!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge My Button

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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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Little Things

I’ve made a lot of little things in the last little while, so here’s a big photodump of an entry talking about all of them.

I guess I should go back in time to the thing I made longest ago, back in September or October, I think, which was a little mini-quilt, based on the Ravenclaw house crest:

Ravenclaw Mini

I made this for Mari-Ann/RockIslander, who is a Ravenclaw. I took a picture of the Ravenclaw crest from online, blew it up a fair bit, traced around the edges of the eagle and transferred the pattern (in reverse) to fusible web. So then I cut it out (using the sharpest cuticle scissors ever, which are so much more awesome for cutting delicate fabric bits than for mangling finger tips) and fused the bird to the background. It’s actually two layers of fused fabric – the background wing was done separately, so that I could use a darker portion of the fabric, which I hoped would give some depth and sort of visually separate the two wings. Then I stitched around the bird, creating feathers in the wings and tail. (You can see a photo of that here from Mari-Ann – my own picture of the back turned out terribly, but I’d already sent it away and couldn’t try for another shot!) In the crest, the stripes run the opposite direction, but I paper-pieced that portion as well, and forgot to reverse that pattern! Oh well.

I like to think that if I were a Hogwarts student, I’d have been a Ravenclaw myself, but I bet I’d have wound up in Hufflepuff because I was really far too lazy a student to have made Ravenclaw when I was in high school. Hufflepuff sometimes seems to be the fall-back house: you don’t fit anywhere else? Well, Hufflepuff it is, then.

Children's Wash Cloths

About two weeks ago I was clearing out some stuff from the plastic cabinets in my sewing room, and I found a pile of children’s fabrics I didn’t even remember I had. I tend to avoid buying children’s fabrics because I never know what to do with them and I don’t have children, so no particular need for items made using children’s fabric. But I do sometimes buy scrap packs of fabric, and I’ve started to amass a fair collection of children’s prints from those scraps and from the occasional times I’ve bought children’s fabrics to make gifts for friends who are having babies. When I found this particular print, I just got the urge to do SOMETHING with it, but it was a small piece of fabric – about 8 to 8.5 inches wide at the largest point by width of fabric – and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then I remembered having seen a tutorial ages ago for making wash cloths out of terry cloth and cotton. Well. Terry cloth I’ve got. Several years ago I had the genius plan to make little hooded bath towels for babies. Which, needless to say, didn’t happen. So yeah. Wash cloths. (I didn’t go look for a tutorial because… it’s just not that complicated.) I’m torn between making wash cloths till the end of time (or just the end of that million miles of terry cloth) to use up all the ginormous pile of children’s fabric I didn’t realize I had and just giving away the fabric. I was thinking about getting rid of it all on Sew Mama Sew’s December giveaway day, but to be honest, there’s such a big pile, I’m not sure I’m going to want to pay to ship it all away!

Liberty Pincushion

This is another slightly older one. Back in September I bought some Liberty of London fabric to try it out and see if I’d like it as much as so many people seem to. I don’t. I find most of their prints to be fussy little florals (which is pretty high up my list of dislikes) and while I’m sure it’s wonderful for clothing, it’s so thin that I can’t understand why (some) people want to use it for quilts. Yes, it’ll last for a while, but it’s kind of delicate stuff: I don’t think it’d stand up to continual use in a bed quilt. Anyway, in the pincusion, I blended the slightly thicker than quilting cotton Essex Linen with the slightly thinner than quilting cotton Liberty Tana Lawn, so I used interfacing on the Liberty fabric to give it a little more heft, which probably did it some good. The edges of the cathedral window, particularly near the bottom ends of it, are kind of loose and open in a way I don’t love, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make them crisper, tighter corners. Maybe putting in a few whip stitches or something to join one edge to the other? (And also, maybe using a thinner fabric than the Essex linen.)

Anyway, you can make your own Cathedral Window pinnie using this pincushion tutorial on YouTube. The first one that I made, above, I made a little larger than the tutorial recommends. She says 10 cm squares for the patchwork back, which is about 4 inches, but I made mine 4.5 inches, and I shouldn’t have because it looks much nicer on the second one, which (though you can’t tell without scale in the photos) I made at the recommended size:

Liberty Pincushion

Okay, the tutorial creates a pretty great pincushion (I think) – I love the cathedral window look and it’s a pretty easy way of creating it – but it’s not the best tutorial out there. The words don’t always line up with what’s being shown in the video and there is one crucial bit of information that doesn’t get talked about that is only shown in text on the sidelines of the video (and if you’re watching the woman’s hands, as I tend to do, you might just miss it). So here’s the most important bit of information: the section that you leave open to turn the pincushion is in the patchwork portion of the sewing NOT when you sew the top to the bottom.

Liberty Pincushion

My stitches are pretty well hidden in the back, but that slightly rippled edge in the top right seam is where I left it open. When I made the first one, I sewed shut the patchwork and left open part of the side, which Did Not Work At All. I had fused on interfacing after stitching the patchwork section, so I had to rip it open and rip through the interfacing, and then restitch it closed by hand after stuffing it. Pain In The Ass.

Anyway, I made this pin cushion (and the following two projects using Liberty fabrics) for Cathy of Blueberry Patch, who won a giveaway prize from me alllllll the way back in August. Yes, it really took me until now to make and send it out. Cathy and I both own shoes made with Liberty fabrics, and I know she’s a fan of Liberty, so when her name was chosen for the prize, I decided to pick up the a Liberty scrap pack (and a couple Fat Eighths) from Pick Click Sew on Etsy so that I could try it out and have some fabric for making the prizes. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, but I kind of love all the things I did make.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

The next thing I made was the good old fabric basket from Ayumi’s tutorial at Pink Penguin. This is a great tutorial and a great size and a great way to pull together some of the smaller scraps of Liberty that I’d gotten. The scrap pack had a real mishmash of colours and prints (because I used up all the good red ones in that first pincushion) and I had hard time figuring out how to make them all work together.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

In the end, I just went crazy with the colour combos and didn’t try to match things up at all. I added the little flange of green between the patchwork and linen portions to tie in the lining fabric a little more (especially since there was none of that fresh spring green in the rest of the prints). Some of these prints are just kind of crazy – scroll up to the other photo and look on the far left side at that little carriage print, can you imagine making clothing out of that? who would want to? Anyway, I think it all comes together better than I thought it would, even though there’s nothing in particular tying one print to the next. I used the Essex linen here again, which I think is nice for the base, since it gives it a little extra heft, which helps hold the shape of the basket. (I also put a fair bit of quilting into the basket bottom because I think that helps give it some structure as well. Though really at this small size it doesn’t need too much help. The one larger one I made was too loose and kind of floppy and really could have used a few layers of a nice stiff interfacing.)

Anyway, part of the reason I didn’t have a good grouping of colours to go into this was because I used up most of the red/pink prints on the first pincushion and then I set aside most of the “good” blues (all my favourite ones, anyway…) for making the next item I sent. I don’t have a good photo of this because we’re all light-shunning vampires at my house and I couldn’t find enough sunlight anywhere to photograph it properly, but a Tiny Tree Garland (tutorial/pattern by Noodlehead):

Tiny Tree Garland

I so wish I’d had some blue perle cotton to string these up, but all I had was gold, white, pink (sashiko thread), and red. I went with red because it was the most vivid colour (and white just looked… wrong).

Tiny Tree Garland

I made these using the aforementioned Liberty scraps, but also bamboo felt from TaDaa Studio Felt. I like the bamboo stuff – it’s as soft as nice wool felt, but doesn’t have the allergy issues I know some people have with wool (or the animal ethics issues some vegans have with wool — not that I’ve got that issue myself, but I’ve made things in the past for people who have).

Tiny Tree Garland

I was trying to leave enough space between trees that Cathy could cut it down into a set of seven hanging ornaments if she’d rather use the trees that way (garlands can be awkward! and I couldn’t figure out a NICE way to end the dangling strings – I was sure I had some giant shiny gold beads that I was going to string onto the ends, but I couldn’t find them for the life of me), but looking at the photos, I’m not sure I really left enough string for loops. Anyway, it’d be pretty easy to pull out what’s there and swap in something else. (I did knot the thread on either side of each tree, but… that’s what scissors are for :D)

Anyway, that was my special prize package for Cathy, who received it excitedly yesterday 😀

Okay, jeez. Epic length post here. One last thing:

Flannel-Voile Receiving Blankets

I’ve been all about using things up lately because I’ve been going through another crisis of OMGTOOMUCHSTUFF and these receiving blankets were a way of using up some voile and flannel I had laying around. If I had more flannel in the right colours, I’d use up the rest of my (small) voile stash on blankets just like these. These were made using a Self-binding Blanket tutorial. Mine are a bit smaller than in the tutorial because I only had 1 yd of each cut. I think I cut them in the end to 34″ square for the voile and 30″ square for the flannel, but I can’t quite recall. (I do know neither of the voiles were very well cut yards because I couldn’t get the full 36″ out of them!) Anyway, it came out to about 32″ square for the blankets. They’re not perfect by a long shot – the top-stitching is pretty appalling (I couldn’t find matching thread, so I just went for contrast, but ugh, every flaw is magnified) – but I think they turned out pretty cute anyway. And they’re so lovely and light-weight. Almost makes me want to make a giant bed sized one. (Not that I’ve got a source for extra wide-width flannel or voile, but.)

Okay. 2000 words. That’s longer than some essays I wrote in university. Time to wrap it up.


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Beauty is You wall-hanging (#1)

Last year for Christmas I gave my mom a quilt rack from Robinson’s Woodcrafts and a couple of mini-quilts to hang on it. The mini quilts were this Halloween(ish) themed quilt and (I never wrote a proper entry about it, having never gotten any decent photos) a Christmas wall-hanging, which my sister and I made together. The two options didn’t exactly cover a great deal of the year, so back at Christmas, I promised my Mom that I’d make her another quilt, a more generic one, so that she’d have something else to put on the rack the rest of the year. It was due to be done in time for my parents’ next visit out here, which finally rolled around this past weekend.

My Mom’s house is decorated in some slightly… difficult colours for matching things. In the upstairs/main floor, some of the walls are a sort of buttery off-white, but some are a kind of dark brick red, and some others are a mustardy yellow. In my experience, quilt fabrics do not come in the colours that my parents’ house comes in. I had pulled a few fabrics that I thought might match, so that I could get my Mom to pick some favourites for me to work on another mini quilt for her, but when we were up in my sewing room, looking through them, she found my collection (small though it is) of Cori Dantini fabrics and fell in love.

I can’t pretend to understand the whys and wherefores of fabric sales, but I’m always sort of shocked that Dantini’s line for Blend Fabrics, Beauty is You, wasn’t some massive runaway juggernaut of a line. It’s utterly gorgeous, but I’ve seen very few pieces made using the fabric. (You can still buy it from some Etsy sellers and in part at Lark Cottons. Hawthorne Threads will be selling Dantini’s next line, which drops in July.) I imagine there is a lot more of it out there in people’s stashes than I know about, but every time I see someone post a picture of it on Flickr, there is an inevitable Oh my God, what is that where did you get it how come I haven’t seen it before? response. Which actually was my exact reaction the first time I saw it.

As it turns out, Cori Dantini is an artist who has moved, in part, into fabric design. She also has an etsy shop, Corid, where you can buy prints of some of her artwork. Before I ever got any of her fabric, I bought a print of one of her pieces, which I think is called “From Here on out, It’s You and Me.” I had to do my photoshoot at midnight in my bedroom (my little sister was sleeping in my craft room), so I taped the wall-hanging up beside that picture. As you’ll see, Dantini has a very distinctive style…

Cori Dantini x 2

My photos were all a bit dreadful, I’m afraid. As I said, I photographed this around midnight, just after I finished stitching up the last of the binding. I knew my parents were coming up this weekend, but I’d been putting off making the wall-hanging because I was afraid I’d ruin the fabric and I only actually started it Tuesday last week. I was stitching on the binding when my parents and sister arrived on Friday, and then didn’t finish working on it until the night before they left. (Look for a video post tomorrow or Wednesday in which I’ll talk a bit about the wall-hanging.)

The panel that I used for the main part of the mini is the centre panel of three large pictures. My mom’s favourites were the two on either end, but I wanted to quilt them by stitching around the pictures and I was terrified of ruining the two favourite pictures, so I started with the one my mom was least interested by. If it didn’t turn out well, then at least the others would have still been waiting!

Beauty is You wall-hanging

I do think it turned out pretty well though. The quilting doesn’t show up in any of my photos, but I stitched around the outlines of most of the elements in the picture. It wasn’t perfect – some of the tighter curves came out a little bit more… angular than I’d have liked, but it went pretty well. I didn’t use a free motion foot or anything for quilting, just used a regular foot with the feed dogs up, which makes for slightly more difficult movement, but more even stitching than I’m capable of with free motion just yet. On the pieced border, I just quilted in the ditch through the triangles, travelling from top to bottom.

Beauty is You wall-hanging

The seed fabric in the pieced border (and making up most of the binding) is from the same line as the printed panel, but the script print is Michael Miller’s Old Script. And that bit of red in the binding is something random from my scrap bins.

Every time I look at this, I just think the artwork is so exquisite. I’m really pleased with how it all came together and my mom seemed pretty happy too. Eventually I’d like to turn the other two panels into wall-hangings as well, so that I can give my mom the one she REALLY wanted, but for the time being, I think this one works perfectly. And the colour will probably suit her house a little better anyway!

This project is 16″ wide, but I’m not sure how long, perhaps 22″? It was finished on March 2, 2013, late enough in the day that it was almost March 3. I think this is my third finish for the year, which feels kind of good considering how slowly I usually finish anything.


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WIP Wednesday: Not the things I was expecting…

Looking for my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day post? Find it here. I will accept entries until noon my time on Saturday December 8. Giveaway is now closed!

I thought for certain that my work in progress for the day would be the quilt top for my Vintage Modern Wonky Stars quilt (or even better, the basting/quilting rather than just putting it together). And I thought I’d also still be working on the giftie for my recipient at the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr. And I thought I’d be done with my wall-hanging from last week.

Well, I am more or less done with the wall-hanging from last week. I’m still not totally sold on the centre bit, but this might be as good as it gets. Mom, if you’ve followed a link to my blog, please close it now because this is your Christmas gift and I don’t want to spoil it.

I tried a lot – a lot – of things to solve the poof problem with the middle panel of this wall-hanging. I stitched around the outline of some of the words in a variegated green thread, but the green stitches on the back really, really bothered me. Some were up/down left/right, but others were kind of angled or… I don’t know. It bothered me. I tried coming up with some kind of miniature snowflake pattern that I could stitch in white on some of the white places so it wouldn’t stand out on the front, but wouldn’t be out of place either, but again with the way it’d look on the back. I tried outline stitching the few red places so that they’d blend on the back, but I used one strand of floss too many and it looked too heavy and dark on the front.

Finally I made a kind of peppermint stripe around the outside edge of the cross-stitched area, stitching with white perle cotton, and then weaving in red around it. Which I should have done in reverse because the white shows on the back (a lot, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s just a nice looking square) and the red wouldn’t have.

Christmas hanging close up

I really like the look of it, except that it was a bit pointless because it doesn’t hold down ENOUGH of the poof and, well, the white is totally invisible if you back away from the macro setting on the camera…

Holly Jolly

(I haven’t, by the way, had a chance to take proper photos of this yet, in decent light. We’re all light-shunning vampires at my house, so all the blinds and curtains are closed at all times and this was photographed in my kitchen, by the light of some our energy-saving area lights. I won’t do a proper post about this until after Christmas, with better photos that don’t currently exist.., just because if my mom hasn’t paid attention and is looking at this, at least she shouldn’t get the full-on rundown of it now.)

Anyway, I’m thinking that I just need to suck it up and stitch some snowflakes into the white area, back of the quilt top be damned. It’s going to be hanging against a wall and anyone who looks at the back deserves to have an ugly view for NOT doing the right thing and just admiring the front. Right? Right… I’ll keep telling myself that.

But moving along: Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt. I STILL haven’t finished my last couple blocks. Tomorrow morning. Or Friday. I’m kind of messed up this week because I work a night shift tonight, which I NEVER do, and my head’s all on backwards until I get back to “normal” night shifts, which is every Thursday night and alternating Friday/Saturdays. (This is my weekend off! So fortunately I’ll be able to spend a lot of time crafting. My sister has a funeral/memorial to go to on Saturday, so I’ll have the house distraction free even.)

Vintage Modern block bits and bobs

This is an old photo, with five unfinished blocks. There are only THREE unfinished blocks left and then I can get the top put together. I am toying with the idea of putting the blocks on point, so that the quilt will be larger, but I need to figure out what size backing I’d need if I do that, because I’ve already bought my backing and it takes 2 weeks to ship it in, so I can’t get more. It’s flannel, so I’m not sure if I’d like to piece the back with non-flannel to get it up to size. Has anyone done that? How weird is it, blending the two, on one surface?

Anyway, I’d planned to do those blocks this morning, but then I realized that TODAY was the fifth of December, not tomorrow, and that meant that I had to get my Scrappy Bits swap package in the mail. I hadn’t made it because I couldn’t get a really clear read on my partner’s likes and dislikes, and I kept wibbling over what to make for her. I mentally auditioned about a dozen types of ornaments and I contemplated adapting a particular paper piece pattern to a circle to make a particular type of pouch and I wibbled about colours and I wibbled about fabric types and if to add embroidery and what sort of embroidery and then time was ticking ticking ticking and suddenly I had to have it in the mail. I didn’t have any more time to figure it out!

Modern Scrappy Bits swap package

I’m a little worried it looks lazy and sloppy (I was hoping the frayed edges on the stars would look kind of blurred, as if they were twinkling) and maybe… childish? Somehow the idea didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped. It looked better brainside than out in the world, I think. I mean, I think it would be great for a little girl, maybe, but for an adult woman? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out. (I rather suspected my last swap partner didn’t like what I sent her – she never talked about it on her blog, though she posted a photo with an enthusiastic enough couple lines about it on the swap group.) I hate to think my indecision might have left me to turn out something my partner won’t like, though. So I’m still toying with making something else and sending her a second package. (God I’m good at stressing myself out over things…)

Anyway, that one’s not a WIP at all, is it? Unless I do make something else…

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced


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TTMT 87: Holly Jolly

Looking for my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day post? Find it here. I will accept entries until noon my time on Saturday December 8. Giveaway is now closed!

In which I show two wall-hangings, talk about the things I haven’t done, and show the stuff I’m offering for a giveaway I’m doing on my blog. The giveaway is part of Sew Mama Sew‘s Giveaway Day/week. Follow the link to find their five blog entries with lists of giveaways.


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Work in Progress Wednesday: Two WIPs

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about my Vintage Modern wonky star quilt-in-progress and I had some goals:

1. Finish the blocks by November 5
2. Piece the top by November 13
3, 4, 5. Baste & quilt & bind by ??? (Have to get the backing fabric for that…)

Oh, yes. Goals. Well, considering it still looks just like this:

Vintage Modern star blocks

You can probably imagine just how well those goals have gone. I do only have 3 blocks left to make, rather than 5 or 6. And I got the backing material, a flannel version of one of the prints, and three different options for the border (of which the stripe will almost certainly be used for binding), but I’m having a hell of a time getting myself to work on it. I’m really, really hoping at least to get all the blocks done before December. So the new goal is to get the blocks done by Friday, and then to get the top pieced (or at least en route to being pieced) by Sunday.

I’ve been working on something else the last couple days – a wall-hanging about which I’m being coy because it’s a gift for someone who reads/checks out my flickr account. It’s a joint project between my sister and I, she did a stitched project, and then I added borders, quilted it, and am now sewing on the binding. I realized last night as I was stitching down the binding that I’d forgotten to add the hanging tabs, so I need to do that before I can finish up that last stretch of stitching across the top.

Dot dot

Let me tell you though, I love stitching down binding. I used to be so terrified of it, but having done it a few times now, I find it such a relaxing thing to do, to just sit back and maybe watch some crappy, but fun tv (I’ve been watching the British series Misfits lately) and get into that stitching zone. There’s something kind of Zen about it, just sitting there stitching almost without thought.

New project

I’m not 100% in love with how the mitred corners turn out on my projects – somehow I always wind up with a little valley along one edge that looks like it’s pulling, rather than just sitting smooth and flat and lovely. But maybe it’s normal… what do I know, really? Most of the quilts I own have prairie points around the edge, so they don’t have a proper binding anyway. I’ve really got nothing to compare it to and I know I can be hyper-critical of the things I work on.

New project

Anyway, I do have one problem with it. The project has a centre panel, which has been cross-stitched. For my quilting, I only went through the white keys on the border, but that panel in the middle seems far too large to not have something done to tack it down a little. (It’s about 10-in x 12-in.) I’d done a basting stitch around the edge before I did my quilting, so that it wouldn’t shift around, but now that the basting stitch is removed, it somehow looks loose and kind of puffy in the middle. I’m wondering if anyone has suggestions for what to do that won’t interfere with the cross-stitched portion. It’s a fairly open design, so theoretically I could hand-stitch around the edges of the design, travelling through all the layer rather than just through the top. Or I have invisible thread, so I could do almost anything over the top with that (but I don’t like working with invisible thread by hand, it’s unpleasant to sew with). Probably you can’t make any real suggestions without actually seeing the stitched portion, but if you have any thoughts, do let me know.

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced


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Talk to Me Tuesday #66: *crinkle crinkle*

In which I show some embroidery, some sashiko, a quilt block, some quilting, and a small quilt hanger.

Places mentioned
Sublime Stitching, with transfers from Tara McPherson. The kit referenced is the Ultimate Embroidery Kit
KimonoMomo: a purveyor of sashiko kits, thread, etc.
TaDaaStudioStitch: another purveyor of sashiko kits, thread, etc.
Robinson’s Woodcrafts

The Birthday Block is in reference to the livejournal group. And the Fabric Postcards are in reference to my livejournal group.

I can’t be certain, but I think the pattern for the Double Wedding Ring tablerunner came from the Eleanor Burns book Egg Money Quilts. I learned to make it in a class, but the teacher didn’t make us buy the book the pattern came from, but I feel like the book was called something to do with Egg Money, so I’m pretty sure this is the book. (Interestingly, several years ago, my mom was given a quilt made by my great-grandmother and traded for eggs. The woman who received it had given it to her daughter and when she died the family cleaning out her house figured out that it had come from my great-grandma and returned it, believing rightly that it would have more value to our family than to theirs.)


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Two Little Halloween(ish) Hooters

This is my slightly Halloween take on Ofenjen‘s Two Little Hooters pattern (available for purchase in hard copy here or via instant download here). I haven’t found the right branch yet, but I hope to find a broken branch, stick, or twig to slide into the hanging tabs (which may or may not get stitched down to the back) for hanging on the wall come Halloween season.

This is the first bit of paper-piecing I’ve done in quite a while. It was definitely more complicated than anything I’ve done in the past – typically I’ve done blocks which contain four units that are exactly the same and join together as a four-patch, whereas this is several unusually shaped units that fit together a bit more like a puzzle. But it was a nice reintroduction and not nearly so hard as I thought it would be. I did have some issues with the size where I didn’t get my units joined exactly as they should have been, so it was a touch too big in some places and a touch too small in others, but I was able to finesse things a little to get it together, and the centre came together only about 1/4-in smaller than it was supposed to be.

Because my centre wasn’t the “right” size, I let my brain get all CONFUSED and OMG about the borders and I couldn’t put two thoughts together to figure out how to make the border fit right, so if you go look at Ofenjen’s sample, you’ll see my border isn’t quite the same. Of course, the easy fix was just to make everything exactly as she said to, but then to scale down the length of the striped part of the border, but CONFUSED and OMG as I said, so I wound up whipping together something similar but not quite the same. Regardless, I think it came out pretty well. It’s adorable! And it has owls! Halloweenish owls!

I made this almost entirely with scraps. Both the oranges for the owls were fabrics bought for exchange blocks I’ve made in the past. I don’t know if I ever used the one that looks like bubbles, though I must have, since I fished rather small bits and pieces out of my bag of orange-peach-yellow fabric scraps. The other one, which looks a little like a painting, was bought entirely because it looked like the stars in Van Gogh’s Starry Nights painting (you’d need to see a larger piece to see the resemblance, though). In any case, the blues for the eyes/beaks were also scraps, and the variety of fabrics used for the branches (which were sometimes pieced mid-branch so I wouldn’t have to cut into anything) were all just blue-grey or very pale blue scraps from other previous projects.

The orange batik strips for the border also came from my scrap pile – I used that fabric in a quilt back for a quilt I haven’t shown online in at least 2, maybe 3, years. (I keep meaning to fish that one out and quilt it – the back is ready, the front is ready, I even have batting cut to size…) The binding fabric was the last bit of a Laura Gunn print from her Poppy line, which I used in a quilt top that I haven’t shown here, but isn’t finished anyway. (The top is finished, but I want to get it professionally quilted. Just haven’t made a move to find some one to do it yet.) There wasn’t quite enough scrap left to do the entire binding, so I pieced it with a little of a mottled blue-grey print, which is mostly behind the leaves of that plant in the top picture.

I quilted it all 1/4-in around all the shapes in the quilt, though in retrospect I think I should have gone much closer than the quarter-inch (either in “the ditch” or perhaps 1/8-inch). It works for quilting, even if it is very basic. I’d toyed with the idea of doing something more in the Halloween imagery line – like a big cob-web – using invisible thread, but I do hate working with that stuff, and I didn’t want to detract from the owls themselves.

In any case, I’m really happy with this finish. I think my mom will probably want it when she sees it, and I may even give it to her. (Although I really love that binding fabric and I might not want to give it away just because of that! I could make a dozen more Halloween Hooter wall-hangings, but none of them will be finished quite the same.)

Anyway, I finished this on 15 August 2011, and it’s about 15″x18″ in size. I feel like I’ve been posting more finishes and less Works-in-Progress the last while, but I sort of find it embarrassing when I think of how many unfinished things I have laying around, so I’ve been working harder to get some things done so I can mitigate that embarrassment at least a little. And that can only be a good thing.


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Finished Project: Flowery Wall-hanging

Wall-Hanging

Wall-Hanging a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

I have the most insipid names for the things I make. Well, I suppose that’s because I just don’t name anything, so I always default to basic description. This is a wall-hanging with flowers on it and too many flowery prints, so flowery wall-hanging. A baby quilt that’s pink? Pink baby quilt. I don’t like to label my quilts, and don’t, so I can’t see any sense in giving names to them either. I tend to think of my projects by certain names – the origami quilt, the brown quilt-along, the reflection one – but I don’t think they’re art that’ll someday be catalogued, you know? If, 200 years from now, some quilt historian finds the slightly tattered remains of this wall-hanging… I don’t mind if it’s called WH200129-94 with no name, creator, or date attached to it.

Anyway, yes. A wall-hanging that is flowery. I made this in the fall/winter of 2010, for my mom, but didn’t actually get it finished until early in January. (My photo is dated January 6.) I bought it as a kit (for a table-runner, which I made square rather than long) because the colours seemed like they might match my mom’s upstairs. I don’t know if it matches as I’ve not been back home since I sent it off to her, but it seemed like it might work. There’s a lot that I don’t really like about this project – the fabrics, the colours, the style, etc. It’s certainly not to my tastes, but when it comes to gifts, it’s best not to please yourself, anyway, right?

Anyway, it’s hard to tell in the photo, but there are buttons on the center of each flower, to help tie in the black thread I used to stitch down the appliquéd flowers. I quilted it using a kind of beige coloured thread, mainly straight line quilting around the outsides of things (kind of rounded-ish around the flowers) and then echoing the shape of the blocks.

This was the first project I ever made where I did the binding entirely myself. Normally I pass my quilts off to my mom for the binding, but it was for her, so it was time I learned to do it myself, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I’ve come to enjoy the binding process. Not so much stitching it on to begin with, but hand-stitching it down around the back. It’s satisfying to do.