Thursday, April 16, 2015

Growth Cycle

Moving can be such a growth experience!  I thought we had purged and downsized our belongings before the move, but as I unpack box after box of stuff, I'm not so sure we got rid of enough.

Came across a stash of USB memory sticks full of pictures.  Where did all these pictures come from?

Thought for the day:

Almost like reading the tarot cards...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Feeling Caffeinated

Just before my move to California, a fabric package arrived in the mail.  I had to pack it away (of course), and found it in one of today's unpackings. Yay!

All of the fabrics in the package were part of the Have a Latte line by Dan DiPaolo for Clothworks.  The photo above also includes a fat quarter of a locally purchased random coffee-themed fabric.

Why would I mail-order?  Well, you see, I needed these particular fabrics.  I am participating in a blog hop that uses this fabric line; I went looking for them at several Oregon stores, to no avail.  Internet to the rescue!

The Have a Latte blog hop takes place April 13-23, hosted on Sew We Quilt Stitch. The amazing Joan at MooseStash Quilting is the cheerleader for this hop, and she graciously scheduled my reveal day for the end of the hop, due to my move (and my propensity to procrastinate).

Which fabrics would you choose to use?

The full schedule for the blog hop is posted here.  I can't talk too much about what I am creating, but you can see in my purchases the palette that I have chosen!  I decided to use more of the "blender" fabrics from the line--which means I will have to let my design spell out the coffee theme.

One sure bet is that this tea coffee cup shape will appear somewhere. It is a favorite design of mine, and the ability to use it yet again was the impetus for signing up for this blog hop.  April 22 is less than 2 weeks away--Yikes!! 

I better brew up some beans and get to sewin'

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ugly Fabric Hides Again

My last sewing act before moving away from Oregon was to make a block for the Ugly Fabric Block Challenge.  This challenge is held every year at Something to Crow About, to celebrate April Fool's Day. The staff picks out a fabric they deem "ugly", and customers are given a free square of the fabric with which to create a 12" block.

2013 Uglies -- sashed and sewn together

I have participated the past 2 years. Challenge blocks get hung up in the shop. Hoppers on the Quilter's Safari shop hop vote on their favorite.  The winner gets pretty fabric from the shop, and all the blocks get sewn together into a charity quilt.

Why does "ugly" = browns?
This year, a Hunter's Star pattern caught my eye (on someone's blog--sorry I didn't keep track of it).  An online pattern search led to directions for a 12" block--which included both a template version and a paper-pieced version (yay!) 

Thank you to Marcia Hohn at the Quilter's Cache for her many many FREE patterns.

Hunter's Star is a dark/light contrasting block. I let the ugly fabric form one of the dark choices, and dove into my scraps for 7 other fabrics.  I used some pretty bold patterns (cringe--would they play together well?) but tried to balance with low-volume.  This has/has not worked out for me in the past.  I am a risk-taker, for sure.

What do you think?  Did I manage to create a block that was not-so-ugly?

And how might you have used this brown-and-pansy-purple fabric?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Apron Alternative

Back in the fall of 2013, I sent out an announcement to family that I would be making them each an apron for Christmas, and requesting color and theme ideas, so I could personalize everything.

"My kitchen is red & pink"

Well, one of the honored elders of the family said, "No thanks" to my apron proposal.  No thanks?!  Did they not realize how very much they would covet everyone else's apron once they saw the amazing, personalized, lovingly hand-created vision?  Obviously not.

Oregon Duck fan: yellow & green

I was not to be deterred by a "No thank you".  I put on my thinking cap, trying to come up with another fabric item that could be decorated with the same recipe theme.  And, lo and behold, the quilting blog-o-sphere provided.  A tutorial from A Spoonful of Sugar for a gathered round basket got me started.  Even better that there are directions for 3 different sizes, so I could make some nested baskets.

First little problem: interpreting the fusible wadding needed to go between the layers of fabric.  (Maybe I'm dense, but I interpreted it as fusible interfacing, rather than fusible batting.  A quick Google search straightened me out.)

Second little problem: size and scale.  I knew I needed my fabric basket to be much bigger than the ones shown in the tutorial, as my screen-printed recipe measures 9" in the longer dimension.  So I had to super-size...

Canned goods for sense of scale

When I tried to keep the proportions the same as the tutorial, the sides would not stand up.  They flopped over most unattractively.  I ended up cutting my circle smaller, so the sides ended up about 3" tall.  Worked great!

[Math note: for a 9" circular base and 3" height of sides, you need to cut a 15" circle (9+3+3).  The contrast edging strip needs to be 9*pi (approx 28 1/4") long, not including joining seam allowance.]

Obviously, this lovely, recipe-enhanced fabric basket was not delivered for Christmas 2013.  Or even Christmas 2014.  Just gifted it this week, at a large family dinner (where most of the other guests had received an apron from me).

Here are the lucky recipients--our family's elders.

So happy to have a big, boisterous get-together with the whole family.  Before my upcoming move away from Oregon.  Miss you guys already!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We interrupt the crochet interruption...

Shunted aside already? But I just started... Knit!

Went with my lovely sister and two of her very passionate knitting friends to the Rose City Yarn Crawl--like a (quilt) Shop Hop, but for the fiber-obsessed.  Fifteen shops on this route, all in the greater Portland area.

I stood firm: no need for yarn, thank you.  My plate is full (more than full, actually).  My stash overfloweth, and I recently culled my yarn supplies down to a very minute amount--an amount I might actually be able to use up on reality-based projects.  (You know, projects you can see yourself finishing.  For reals.)

Fabriholic? Poseur with the yarn enthusiasts

I succumbed.
Saw a cute pattern from ArgentGal Designs, and I was a lost cause.

(New stash: Cascade Yarns Superwash Paints in Rainbow Sherbert [discontinued, I believe]; Euro Yarns Orion, a fantasy in gold and sequins; Plymouth Yarns Encore Mega in color 0692)

Ended up buying two patterns, getting a free cowl pattern, and adding to my yarn stash.  Although I showed restraint.  All purchased yarns have a known pattern to nestle themselves next to.

Arrived home from the Yarn Crawl and got my knit on.


Gotta love a super bulky yarn--size 15 needles, a few romantic comedies on the dvr, a few YouTube videos on the knitting increase stitches I didn't know how to do (LIL? LIR? how many different kinds of increases are there?)

Impetuous! neck ruff from ArgentGal Designs

Couldn't quite get it to stand up like the photo on the pattern showed, but it's a cute design.

I chose the Encore Mega yarn because of its indefinable color--is is mustard? is it chartreuse?  I held up the skein in several different light sources in the store before purchasing it.  I am nothing if not unique, and a seeker of the eternally odd.

Gonna make this pattern again as a gift.  Next time I want to incorporate some of the wacky Orion novelty gold in the rows towards the ends.

Thanks, sis!

Help me out, fellow stitchers: Is there a website equivalent to Ravelry for quilters?  How about an online site for garment sewists?  I thought maybe Pattern Review (for garment sewists) might be kinda similar to Ravelry, but I don't think it's as universally used, and I don't see a place to keep track of your fabric or notions stash, just your patterns.  And I know of no unifying web community for quilters--are we just too diverse to all line up in one corner of the Interwebs?  The folks on the yarn crawl seemed to all be big Ravelry users...

Molli Sparkles

Linking up with the always-fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday stash.  I am going to have to give an accounting of all my 2015 acquisitions soon, since one of my goals was to use up a (cough) significant (sputter) amount (ahem) of my stash this year.  Oh dear; day of reckoning ahead...

Finally, for your viewing pleasure: yarn bombing, flamingo-style.  This photo taken at Wool 'N Wares Yarn Shop, the site of a festive flocking in honor of yarn crawl weekend.

Monday, March 2, 2015

On a Magic Carpet Ride

And we're off!

Off on a new project, leaving plans for finishing old projects cast aside along the way.  I am helpless to resist, I tell ya.

Anyone out there recognize this fabric from the 1970's?  It was a sheet.  In fact, the very sheet that was on my brother's bed when he was in junior high/high school.  (Don't ask why I have it.  Some questions are better left un-asked.)

This is what happens when you take a full-size sheet and rip it into 1" strips, knot them together securely, and roll them into a ball.  A rather heavy, dense ball.

And then, you take your size Q crochet hook, and begin a single crochet adventure, making the turns up as you go along, hoping that you end up with something more rectangular and less oval.  And you start to appreciate the colors, now that they are reassembling themselves randomly.

Don't know how far the sheet will take me, but I have a coordinating solid sheet as backup (outer edges of rugs look better with a darker border, I have found).  I will keep going until I either run out of fabric strips, or decide that it is "big enough".

Should I happen to finish this magic carpet ride anytime in the near future, I have a backup rag rug all planned out--using strips from t-shirts.

Got a lot of t-shirt pickings, and random perusal of blogs on the internet found a tutorial for a knit rug.

Oh yeah, not gonna let any grass grow in between my toes.  Or whatever...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Inspire your Heart with Art

I have been seeking inspiration--things that uplift my heart.  It's been a heavy couple of weeks, so I'm looking to lighten my spirits.

Connie's Twisting Heart Valentine (tutorial available)

Found out about Inspire Your Heart with Art Day--January 31--I'm a little late to the party.  Nevertheless, I will plunge ahead and feature some art and artists that inspire me.

1) Mary Engelbreit

Whimsy; cheerful colors and graphic geometric patterns; positive, uplifting sayings.  What's not to love?

2) Shanna Trumbly
Trumbly is a local visual artist in Oregon.  I have long admired her work, especially one where the queen is eying the beet.  (It was hanging in the winery where we had our wedding.)

And my dear Sweetie just got me a Trumbly print for Valentine's day.  *swoon*

3) Patience Brewster
Patience is a one-artist company producing small-batch whimsical art; I love her images, but I especially love that her art often adorns useful things (I am not much of a nick-knack  person).  So, although her Christmas ornaments are the most popular part of her business, I am drawn to her tea towels, and purses, and even furniture.

 Embroidered tea towel (above) and clutch purse (below).  Yeah, that's my kind of art--the daily delightful kind.

4) Yarn bombers everywhere

 This image from Knits for Life.  Installed in San Francisco Ferry Plaza in 2014.  I do so love public art--of all different kinds.

5) My own humble artistry

Okay, so technically I didn't make this tissue cover/couch; but I have made several others.  I have to credit one of my fabulous Sewing Sisters with this version, which was done to adorn our wedding.