Sunday, December 4, 2011


I've been... uninclined to sew these past few weeks. I'm phase-y that way. I've been reading a bunch instead. Mostly junk, since I realized I could get library books on my Kindle (finally!) but a few quality things. I'm thinking about starting a book review feature on this blog, just so I can get out some of the thoughts I've had about interesting books. Stay tuned.

In actual sewing news, though, I made a scarf!

The fabric was an impulse purchase at Joanns, kind of a flannel with embroidered dots/stripes. The ribbon was given to me by my grandma, who has all kinds of stashes of cool sewing and crafty stuff. I have a few more from her (I think they're from Switzerland?) that I think would look nice on future scarves.


And speaking of future scarves, now that the first one went off so well, I've got big plans!

Maybe some Christmas presents?

My other sporadic achievement has been some work here and there on my pink and gray zig zag quilt, which I've come to think of as "Le Zig." It's basically 8 zigs in a pink/yellow fabric, alternating with Kona medium gray. One zig down:

After making, ironing, and trimming several hundred half-square triangles I have a newfound respect for the quilters who make them with any kind of frequency! Cutting is my least favorite part of the quilting process (except for maybe basting) and there is a lot of cutting involved in the HST process. Usually in a multi-step process like with making HSTs, I like to to each step all at once before moving on. With this project, however, the trimming was just too disgustingly boring, so I've stopped to sew together a few parts just to break up the monotony. I'm 1/8th of the top down!

Now that Christmas is rapidly approaching, I've really got to get sewing again. I've figured out what I want to make, and read most of the library books I could get outside of the wait list, so hopefully I'll be able to get some more things done lately!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday: More Plans than Finishes

First of all, the view out my window as I type this? So pretty:

Now that's done, on to the one thing I managed to sew this week: my completed Drunkard's Path Baby Quilt! Inspired by a comment on last week's WIP Wednesday, I think I'm renaming it the Mod Baby quilt, which sounds cooler. Plus, the little guy who will be its owner has two seriously cool parents who fell in love through a classic rock/Beatles appreciation club that his mom started - I think mod is probably a good style for him! So without further ado:

The Mod Baby Quilt
It took me almost a week to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I ultimately settled on diagonal straight lines. It's in keeping with the symmetrical style, and it was such a pleasure to use my cranky walking foot on a small quilt for once; it went off without a hitch! The back looks nice too, I think:

I started a knitting project, something I do for a month or two every other year. I'm hoping to keep my interest up until I at least have two gloves.

I had originally planned to make the gloves fingerless, but changed my mind; when I showed my husband my progress, he asked me why I had decided to leave those particular fingers exposed, not realizing the thing wasn't finished! I've been trying to imagine what purpose a finished glove of this type might serve...

The only other crafty thing I managed to accomplish this week was some fabric shopping.

These will one day be purses, probably for the arts and crafts gallery at my work.

The leftmost fabric is so soft and pretty it can't be anything other than a scarf for me! The other two I plan on making into large purses; if I have my way they will be very cool, so stay tuned!

Awesomely weird Swiss fabric for 25c at Goodwill. For the coffee table, I think.

This one was just to cute to pass up, and from Joanns of all places!

The sheet pile keeps growing... I'm going to get to it any day now, I swear!

So now I'm off to cut some of the fabric I talked about last week, I think starting with the pink/yellow/gray zig zag quilt. I love having the whole afternoon free to get some quilty work done. Happy quilting to everyone else!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Knitting break

I like to do something with my hands while we watch tv at night. Usually it's a bit of handquilting on one of my long term projects, but last night I needed a change. Enter a new pair of gloves, to help get me through thus cold Oregon winter! I'm close to finishing the first one, but only because I was having so much fun knitting again I had to watch an extra movie...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday

At last, a post coming from the comfort of my own home! Internet access has been established, although I'm still working on adding Wifi. And to be perfectly honest, home isn't quite as comfortable as Starbucks has been, given that's it's been below 50 degrees outside and our baseboard heaters don't really keep it much warmer than that inside. Luckily, there are lots of quilts here to wrap up in! So on to the quilts themselves!

Finished: Disappearing Parisville

Ok, I actually finished this a week or so ago, but I haven't gotten to brag about a finished quilt on WIP Wed for awhile! I'm also really happy with this one, since it's a large full size and is currently living on my bed! It's not the first bed-size quilt that I've made, but it's the first that I've actually finished - there are in fact three WIP large quilts in various parts of the quilting stage! Now that it's so cold here, especially at night, I might have to make an effort to really finish some of them.

In Progress: Drunkard's Path Quilt Along

For my Drunkard's Path baby quilt I now have a top (blogged Monday) and as of today, the back:

It's not exactly what I had imagined, but it will do. I'm just glad it's finished; I must be out of practice or something, because I had to take apart and redo about half of these seams! I just kept sewing the wrong pieces together, and even made some cutting errors (one of my worst fears!) I think I just wasn't as focused as I could be because I'm not really interested in this quilt anymore; I need to finish it up so I can send it off and start something new!

Speaking of finishing projects, I made myself a little checklist to help keep me moving along.

It's fun to check things off, and helps me see where I need to put in my sewing time! Which brings me to...

New Projects: Could there be more things I want to do?
1. Brian's Christmas quilt: I have several yards each of Kona Bone and Schoolbus; I'm just trying to figure out how to deploy it. Ideally something like this, which I've been wanting to imitate forever; although I'm not certain, since I hate all the fabric waste the comes from cutting curves.
2. I have a yard each of seven different pink/yellow/gray fabrics that I bought almost a year ago, and finally decided to make a nice zig-zaggy quilt. I even sketched out a plan:

Alternating stripes will be Kona Medium Gray; there is probably even enough fabric for two quilts!

3. And finally, my vintage sheets collection has gotten awfully large; I think it's time for a new Superstar quilt! I put all of my prettiest, bright-colored sheets in a stack, and will have to refine the collection to eight:

One last thing - since I have at-home internet access now, I'll be starting up my empty little Etsy shop for real, hopefully next week. There will be fat quarters of all these lovely sheets there!

So now to link up and check out everybody else's progress!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, November 7, 2011

Little Quilts

So, I have a job now. Which is a good thing; it means I can justify my fabric spending, plus it gets me out of the house a bit. It also means I have less time for sewing, but that's a necessary sacrifice. And even though I'm not too psyched about being a productive member of my community again, especially for a minimum wage, not-super-stimulating sort of employment, it does have two very exciting, unexpected benefits:
1. I'm getting internet at home! Now that I have my own means of paying for it, I can override Brian's refusal to get it on the grounds that it's overpriced and a huge time suck. And yes, I know that it's both of those things, but I don't care right now, because it should help immensely in my blogging and etsy-ing endeavors.
2. The dessert bakery I'm working at now (I know, dessert bakery; I should be buying as gym membership rather than internet service) runs a small arts and crafts gallery out of their wedding cake salon. On weekends it's open to the public, and displays only work done by employees, which group now includes me! I'm going to see what small crafts I can whip up to put up for sale - maybe some coasters, potholders or bags? A small quilt might be fun, just to have my work out there for people to see. Anyway, I have to work a bit on this, but updates to come!

So while I've been spending most of my time these past few weeks working and eating delicious cake, I managed to finish one little quilt top.

Drunkard's Path Baby Quilt (sounds kind of awful, doesn't it!)
I made this as part of the Drunkard's Path quilt along, and I'm pretty pleased with it so far. I wanted to do a simple version, thus the choice of just two solid colors rather than prints. My grandmother has a bunch of antique quilts, including one really beautiful drunkard's path version in white and red, and I love the clean, classic style of it. Maybe I'll get a picture next time I visit her!
Now that I've pieced this top, I don't love how the values of the blue and gray are so similar- they kind of blend together a bit. On the other hand, this quilt is being made for a baby boy, and I guess babies might prefer a soothing pattern? I don't really know.
I auditioned several different patterns before settling on these sort of circles:


While I was cutting, sewing, and trimming all those blocks I vowed never to do another, but now, seeing the finished product, I would love to have a full size version. I even bought enough fabric to make it in a nice bright orange and white (as a gift for my husband, as he loves orange). I'll have to think about whether I want to go through that all again!
I'm hoping to sew up a backing and quilt this guy soon, as I think its intended recipient has just about been born! A friend of mine from college is having her first child, and I'd like to surprise her with the quilt. It's the first baby quilt I've made, and I love how easy it is to maneuver with such a manageable, small size!

On another note, I was thrift store shopping last week and couldn't resist buying this baby for a mere $3.99:
It's machine pieced, I think paper pieced onto the batting, or some kind of felt, and then quilted with ties onto a piece of flannel. The fabrics look fairly old, but I'm not sure what decade they are from. It's beautiful work though, and I'm trying to decide what I want to do with it. I may take the layers apart and add some borders to enlarge the top, then requilt it to make a larger quilt all together. It would make a great baby quilt, but I don't have any babies, and I'm afraid it might be a bit weird to keep it around until I do! Stay tuned, but first, check out this detail shot:
So pretty!
Anyway, my next post should be from my own house, hopefully in time for WIP Wednesday, which I've gotten sadly behind on!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Disappearing Parisville

I love Parisville! I have had a yard of each print from the Sprout colorway in my stash for almost a year. Every fabric but one, that is! Enter the anniversary sale at my local quilt shop, Piece by Piece. There it was, Spencer Stripe in Mint, and 20% off, too! And thus a quilt was born.

Or at least the plan for a quilt. I had absolutely no idea how I wanted it to look. I knew I wanted to design the quilt myself, and that I wanted it to be big enough to go on the bed. Since I had exactly eight yards of fabric, it had to be a design that used roughly the same amount of each print. I loved this quilt, but didn't want to copy it exactly, but was inspired to do a design based on square blocks, just to keep things simple. And that's the beauty of the Disappearing Ninepatch block: the result is complicated looking; the sewing is simple.

I cut all that beautiful fabric into squares, sewed them, sliced them, and sewed them up again.

I had originally planned to arrange the blocks in this pattern:
When I laid it out on my design floor, it looked a little mushy, so I auditioned a few other styles. Because the fabrics use such similar colors, the end pattern is a bit confusing to the eye. So much so, in fact, that I had to mock up the entire quilt top on graph paper in order to ensure that I pieced it all together correctly. To wit:
In my quest to become a perfectly organized person (I am not) I like to try and plan as much as I can ahead. One reason I've been doing this lately is in an effort to use as much of a prepackaged bit of batting as a can - I have a huge bin of batting scraps that I can't throw away. The finished size of this baby is about 88" by 90" - exactly the width of my by-the-yard batting from Joanns.

Speaking of basting: some problems.
1. My living room is a bit small for basting a double sized quilt. Also, it's carpeted. I don't really like basting on carpet. No problem! I thought. I'm visiting Mom in a month! I'll based on her huge wood floor!
2. I took all my supplies to Mom's. But neglected to check the batting. Mountain Mist batting is really lame, you guys! It was all thin and stretchy and weird. I couldn't use such cheap stuff on a quilt already loved so much! Also, Mom lives in a tiny town. The only craft shopping option is Wal Mart, which, no. So I had to pack it all up and take it back home.
3. I bought higher quality batting. I decided to spray baste in my little living room. I finished off the can on the quilt top; none left for the backing. Speaking of the backing? Nice, stripey vintage sheet:
4. Yeah, it's a twin size. Too small. Also, for the record, I love a pieced backing. But designer fabric is expensive, and I didn't have much left over from the quilt top. So I had to dig through the sheet collection and find another, almost as perfect backing sheet.

Anyway, basting this thing was problematic, but I finally got it done. Since I used up the spray baste, I still had to pin the whole thing to the backing, but it wasn't as bad doing it on carpet as I had worried.

Quilting was fun, since the spray baste kept my finicky walking foot from puckering the seams too much. Princess Fluffbutt, as usual, objected to the fact that I was more focused on quilting than on her, and had to get all up in my quilty business:

I love how it looks like she's the one doing the sewing! Anyway, quilting and binding only took about three days, and I love the finished product! Even though the fabric is in the "Sprout" colorway, I think the fabrics are much more fall-hued than spring. 

I love the sort of faded decadence on the prints, and I think they really reflect the fading of summer. No every time I look outside at yellow leaves and green Oregon trees and lawns, plus the sort of paler autumn sky, I think of my quilt! And thus I'm entering it into the Celebrate Color festivities!

Celebrate Color

There are lots of amazing projects to check out, all Autumn-inspired! Also, there are prizes. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

W.I.P Wednesday (the second)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 

Not much quilting got done this week, but I'm ready to get sewing a hopefully have more to show you next week! At the moment my landlord has some roofers working on our house, and the noise isn't exactly conducive to relaxing craft time; neither is Starbucks, but at least I can upload some pretty pictures!

New Projects
Just the one:
I put together this log cabin block from some of my favorite sheets, although I'm not sure if I'm ready for a whole quilt of these things. It just seems a little fussy. I might try making a few more blocks using the same floral fabrics but different solids alternating, so that there are squares of different color across the whole thing. I think I've got to stare at it for a while longer first though.

Ongoing Projects
I'm slowly quilting Giant Block Quilt #2.
After the fun of the first one, I sat down and sketched a bunch of 4x4 quilt blocks that would translate well into one large quilt. Then I picked my favorites and matched them to some vintage sheets and cut out squares and triangles. #2 here is the blue one, and while I love the fabrics, I realized while sewing them up that some are extremely thin. I didn't want to make a quilt that would wear out and come about quickly, but I didn't want to start over either. I decided that the solution was to quilt as densely as possible in the weak areas. For my lack of experience with different FMQ styles, this means a lot of pebbling, which is fun, but time- and thread-consuming. I'm about halfway through, and decided yesterday that I needed to throw in some straight line quilting, just for contrast. What I got was this:
pucker up!
This is why my walking foot stresses me out so much: the puckers! The darn thing just doesn't feed evenly. I had originally planned to quilt the entire triangle with straight lines, but the puckers just got so bad in that top left corner there -
- that I had to come up with plan B. I used some painter's tape to tape back the bunch stuff, and just quilted the smaller triangle in the center of the tape. There are four of these triangles total, and I'm in the process of repinning them to make things smoother.
I realize that part of my problem is because the pebble-style quilting adjacent to this block is distorting the edges, but that's not the only reason. My walking foot has always done this, and it's exasperating, especially since I really love the look of straight line quilting. So I'm wondering if maybe the solution here is basting spray? I haven't tried it before, because I don't really like the idea of spraying stuff on my quilts, and it seems like something I could easily mess up, but I also don't want to give up on straight line quilting yet! So anyway, I plan on acquiring some and giving it a shot, perhaps with one of my...

Completed Tops Awaiting Quilting
Parisville, still. But! This weekend we are visiting my mom and here lovely, large wood floors. I'm almost tempted to see if I can put together a second large, though necessarily much simpler quilt top just to take advantage of the opportunity!
Prince Charming's Wedding Ring and the Giant Tree Quilt are still hanging out, getting a bit of handquilting here are there. Those two will be a while yet. I did get some cute flowers under the tree:
I also did a squirrel, but story of my life, forgot to take a picture. Maybe next week.

No Progress
Drunkard's Path Quilt Along - fabric is in the mail though! Fabric requirements and basic instructions have been posted, and I'm really excited to get started!

Sewing Around the House

I didn't get as much quilting done as I'd hoped last week, but I did finish some projects that have been waiting in the wings for a while. The first, and my favorite: the cat mat.

or should I say, the fish mat?
This was a project in a recent Stitch magazine, I think the summer issue. I did most of the work over the summer, at my mom's house, but didn't have anywhere to buy the vinyl covering, which is a must for anything that will live under a tuna dish! I was hoping for iron-on plastic, but the best I could do was regular old clear vinyl. I cut two pieces slightly larger than the fish and just sewed around the edges, outside of the fish itself. It's not the perfect solution, but I think it should hold up to the average tuna splatter. Anyway, it was well received:
...or at least not rejected outright.
A few weeks ago I made some dinner napkins. I have a tendency to buy fat quarters of cheapo fabric when it's on sale at Joann's, and I had amassed quite a stash. Napkins were a nice way to use a lot of that up and not have to worry about "wasting" expensive fabric by getting it stained and washing it all the time. Since I had a lot of fat quarters, I ended up with a lot of napkins.

It was kind of nice to sew something so simple! I just stacked all the fabric in a pile and trimmed to pieces to about 17" square, paired up all the pieces, and sewed them into squares, leaving an inch or two open for turning. I quilted them with a few swirly loops (got to bring out my compass + memories of 9th grade geometry!) and then hand stitched the openings closed. And voila! One of the best results of this (besides 12 reusable napkins, of course!) is that we finally figured out how to use this amazing bowl:
 It's hard to see in the picture, but it's this beautiful blue glass bowl. It looks great with the tablecloth, but we never could find anything to keep in it.

Until now! This way the napkins are always available, no matter how big the mess.

And one more thing the house still needed? Coasters. Oh, so glamorous, coasters. And another great way to practice my free motion skills.
These are just 4.5" squares of sheet scraps with a square of batting in the middle, then FMQd with flower designs.
Action shot!

As I was cutting out the fabric scraps, I thought to myself, this is easy and fun, so I'll just cut out some extra that I can give as gifts! I cut out two extra squares, but then I started to wonder... do people actually enjoy getting coasters as gifts? I know I'm happy to have these guys, but we had a specific need. When people actually need coasters, don't they just buy some and stop worrying about it? Wouldn't a gift of coasters just seem unnecessary either because you didn't need any, or you already had some? I don't know; I feel like if I'm going to give somebody something I made, it should be a little more interesting than coasters. On the other hand, I have given people coasters before. Maybe I was just a lame gift giver then to? I don't know...
I also made a purse last week, but failed to photograph it. I shall endeavor to do so soon, although it does need a bit of tweaking still. Stay tuned!