Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sulky Sews Cardstock

The wedding sewing is winding down.  Just have hemming of a pair of pants, and tacking the straps on a junior bridesmaid dress left.

But meanwhile, I am abusing my sewing machine: 100 program booklets, bindings sewn on my trusty Singer

Sweetie saw some Pinterest inspiration, and we were off.  With a book-themed wedding, it seemed fitting to put everything we wanted to say to our guests into a "book" instead of a more traditional program.  (And how is this book getting bound?  Why, the sewing girlfriend, of course!)  The booklet ended up being 3 folded half-sheets of paper, plus cardstock covers front and back.  For those keeping count, that's 8+ layers.  My sewing machine did not mind too terribly much. 

Got shiny?  Coats & Clark (left) vs. Sulky
Just switched to a topstitching needle, and used Sulky thread.  I chose the Sulky because the color was so vibrant.  Did not have any troubles with thread breaking or snarling, so I was pleased with my choice.

I like how unique this feels.  Totally "us".

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Scrappy Bargello

Couldn't help myself: I saw a project on someone's blog, went and got the book, and started cutting.  I am on my way into a new quilt.  (What is it about finishing--or even almost finishing--a quilt that gets me to start something else?  Don't I still have a closet full of WIPs and UFOs?)


Can't remember whose recent blog post featured a bargello quilt, but I managed to get the designer's name: Eileen Wright.

I am making the wall-hanging size of Ocean Waves, a basic bargello (at least among this book's designs).

Auditions of blue scraps: 20 fabrics needed
Subtle differences due to sizes of the scraps

And I am doing it in scraps.  Crazy me.  But I am bound and determined to make a dent in my blue scrap bin.

So, the scrappy nature of my endeavor has made the strip piecing a bit more complicated.  But it's all good--I am totally enjoying the process, even though I'm sure it will take me five ten times as long as using width-of-fabric strips would.

I know me: I can complexify anything.

Four rows in and looking mighty fine.

This is my New FO project for June, so I'll be linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches come the end of the month.

Meanwhile, it's Wednesday!  I might as well check out WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  Give some love to all those crazy souls who just keep a-startin and a-sewin on endless fabric projects.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cutest Baby Book *Ever*

I am, of course, biased.  But when I saw this baby book pattern over on Spoonflower, I was just waiting for the proper baby to come along to be the recipient.

No grandchildren (yet).  Where to find the proper baby?  Enter Monkey (her nickname, not her actual name).  The family logo on their minivan features Star Trek characters.  I think the family pet is on there as a Tribble...

Monkey's bedroom is decorated in Star-Wars-and-Winnie-the-Pooh.  (Featuring artwork by James Hance.)

Yay!  Perfect combo of nerdy-geek-baby to bestow this present upon.


Product Review: sew-it-yourself baby book from Spoonflower

What you receive: fat quarter of basic combed cotton (or optional Kona cotton)

Extra items needed to complete the book: basic sewing supplies; optional closure notions (hook-and-loop, button, or snap)

Ease of assembly: all the directions are printed on the fabric, seam allowances are marked, and diagrams are easy enough for someone with basic sewing experience to follow.

Finished product: I was most interested in this book both because of its nerdy theme, but also because of the flaps, as I am a big fan of interactive elements in children's books.  I did not particularly like the way the flaps were meant to attach to the book (but hey, it's a book for a child, not for a perfectionista like me).  I ended up improvising embroidery to attach some of them.  Everyone who has seen it has given the sewn-together book a big thumbs up.

Improvements?  If I were making this again, I would perhaps choose the Kona cotton as the base fabric.  (I have been spoiled by quilt shop fabrics, so the quality of the basic combed cotton was an affront to my sewing machine.)  Also, I would use interfacing, and maybe even some quilt batting.  I might try and make the flaps with topstitched zigzag stitching, so those tiny bits didn't need seam allowances tucked inside.

Mostly, I just wish there were more pages, so the cuteness could go on a little longer...

I think Monkey will like her present.  I think Monkey's parents will love her present more!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Love Inspiration

So many ideas, not enough lifetimes to complete them!

Saw this version of an abstract LOVE, when it was linked up to TGIFF.  Vera, the intrepid blogger at Negligent Style, thoughtfully provided a link to her previous projects using this design.

She also pointed out that this idea came from a Jason Mraz video.  A quick Google image search on "Jason Mraz love" yielded page after page of the same design:

And there you have it: a perfect marriage of Geometry and text, just waiting to become a pieced design on a modern quilt.

If, by chance, I come to the finish line of summer-sewing-on-deadline, I might just try this out.  Maybe on placemats?  Jess at Elven Garden is holding a sew-along for FMQ, and I desperately need to polish/practice my FMQ, if I'm ever gonna get outta the starting gate on that skill.

Elven Garden Quilts

Parking lot for now; possibility of making it later.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rainbow T-shirt Quilt Finished

 A finish!

Back from the long-arm quilter sooner than I expected.  (And I must say that I am now spoiled by custom quilting; I may be hard pressed to go back to all-over designs, even though my checkbook doth protest.)

Custom: each t-shirt's design carefully outlined

Binding by Linda.  THANK YOU!!!

I worked out the ideas for this quilt in September of 2012.  Finished putting together all the blocks in a crazed dash in September 2013.  Put the border on in January, then sent it off to the long-arm quilter.  I usually say I have a 3-year timeframe for quilts, so I feel positively speedy with this one. 

I had time to put the binding on during a mini-retreat at the end of May, and I was blessed by my friend Linda offering to do the hand-finishing for me.  (I owe her.  Big time.)

Just to reveal the age of some of my fabric: the binding print says "Millennium 2000" on it.  (Gee, how old does that make it?  And, let it be known that this is only one of two millennium-themed fabrics in my stash.)

Linking up with Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday, being hosted this week by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Finishes don't happen often, so I gotta go celebrate!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Here Comes the Sun

Finished the May step of my Relaxing Robin at a mini-retrreat, and I am so pleased!

If you recall, the May step was

5. using some of the fabric in the first border make another border of your choice

first border seems so long ago...

I chose to feature the pink flannel as the background for a pieced sun.  The inspiration was a pattern I received at quilting retreat in January.

Just enlarged it a bit, and made the sun's rays out of a taffeta instead of flannel.

Oh, and they're dimensional rays.  I really love dimension in quilts.

I had intended to piece the stars, but ended up just going with fused applique.  They aren't actually fused down yet, because I am waiting to see where they look best with the side borders.

Scrap of bright pink flannel demanded to become a star

What's next?
Did some thinking about what I wanted to add on the sides and bottom.  So many ideas. 

Sketches.  Consulting of magazines, books, patterns, blogs. 

Ooh, an ADD adventure of possibilities!

June's step is

6. make a border that has squares in it; 4 patch, checkerboards etc would be welcome here. again have fun

I am still undecided on what those squares might entail.  My quilt is approaching twin size, so I'm almost out of room.  In fact, when I checked the dimensions, I really only have about 6" more to add to each side.  Not quite enough room to play with some of my wilder design ideas.  Plus, it's getting so busy that I don't want to make it into a giant mess.  (I have done that before; it's not pretty.)

So, I have the competing desires of "use up those flannel scraps" and "make something pretty".  Heavens! This open-ended idea stage may have to marinate a bit...

Linking up with the Relaxing Robin folk over at Sew You Quilt 2.  I just love seeing everyone's progress, ideas, and interpretations.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Drama and Paper-Piecing

Daughter's Drama T-shirt quilt is now underway!

Actual piecing started with a bang: a monster of a paper-pieced block.  (And I made 2 of them.)
Yellow brick road, anyone?

The design is called Dorothy's Cabin, and it came from the book 101 Log Cabin Blocks by Linda Causee. 

I don't have too much experience with paper piecing, so I didn't know enough to be intimidated by a block that has 44 pieces in it.

Fortunately, I only wanted a 6" finished block instead of the 7" pattern, so I was able to cut off 4 of the outer pieces!

Needless to say, it took me hours of tedious going to make just two of these blocks, but I think it was all worth it.  I chose this block to represent the musical The Wizard of Oz, which my daughter was in during high school.

Since this particular production didn't have a t-shirt to advertise it, I am going to pair the two pieced blocks with a generic drama t-shirt...

I thought that I might have to retire from making paper-pieced blocks after that adventure, but I hopped back into the fray with a much simpler design

This is my smaller version of a design available as a free pattern, called Dream Machines by Barbara Weiland Talbert.  I first saw the pattern being made by Barbara at Cat Patches.  I think the full-sized blocks are 12" each, but I used EQ to draft a paper-pieced version that is only 7.5".

In this case, 2 of these pieced blocks will be used to accent a t-shirt from The Pajama Game (another musical); the play is set in a sewing factory.  I have a special fondness for that production; my brother and I worked backstage on it when we were both in high school, too.

I feel good about actually starting this quilt.  It has been in the works for so long.

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced Quilts.  We'll see what others are up to mid-week!