Friday, June 21, 2013

I hardly know myself anymore

Seriously, I am going to have to change my middle name to "Finisher". Whipped up this little tote as a birthday gift for a friend next week. I just loved the fabric (purchased at Sew Modern)! It's a pretty basic little tote, a little narrower than it was in my head, but still cute. It's a bad picture, but the lining fabric is adorable! Who doesn't need a bunch of tall hippy chicks gathering in the bottom of your bag?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finish it up Friday!

Supersize Update

So I haven't been writing, or doing much else. I've been madly piecing and trimming hexies. I am quite pleased to announce that I have a finished quilt top! I don't have a great picture of it yet, but here it is spread out over my cal king bed. I love the racing stripe. The pattern called for linen, but I really liked the look of the Kaffe Fasset shot cotton, so I used that instead. I am working on sketches of quilting plans while I wait for the backing to come in. It ended up waaaay too long, so I'll have enough to make a tote at some point.

Las Chingaderas

I was so energized by the finishing of the hexie top that I dragged the Chingaderas out of the box and tackled the raw edge binding. Since I (once again) ended up with a slightly larger quilt than planned, I was worried that I wouldn't have enough binding to go around. I did, but since I cut it before I knew I wanted to do raw edge, it was a little tight. I also wanted to make the binding a double fold, so while it is a little more scant than I wanted, I got the look I was going for. Happy to have this one in the finished pile, bring on the summer picnics!

Finishing felt so good that I moved onto a tote made with some laminated fabric. I fussed with how to line it and ended up using the same laminated fabric on both sides. That way if it gets gross from groceries, I can just wipe it out. My favorite bit is the bee in the belly of the frog.

SDMQG Road trip

All this finishing of things can go to a girl's head! I signed up for a shop hop to LA with the guild girls. So emboldened by finishing, I purchased fabric with abandon, frenzy and other caffeinated ways. I purchased unnecessary fabric for unplanned projects. It was fun with a side of sparkly fabric. Even a side trip to the garment district.

Sew Modern

Momen +

Sewing Party

Up close of the tree fabric above... It is the sweetest fabric.

And the maxi dress I made from a $2.50 remnant from the Michael Levine outlet!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Supersize Me

That is the working title of the Hexie Project. Did I happen to mention my little run in with, erm, directions? Oh, the directions are correct, it’s my interest and ability to follow them that is of concern here. With memories of painful evenings cutting shapes for Las Chingaderas still fresh, I did not want to hand cut a bazillion hexagons, so I bought a ruler instead of using the template in the directions. They recommended So-and-So’s #6 ruler. So I went off and bought a 6” hex ruler. (PS - #6 and 6” not the same thing) Zipped through the cutting of the fabric and worked out my layout on the bedroom floor. I had to lay it out in sections because it was so big. (No, no warning bells going off yet) Pieced two rows together and started to wonder why there was so much fabric sitting in my lap. (Mildly curious at this point, but not concerned) Had to stand on a chair to get an initial picture of the pieced rows. (Alarm starts to build) Reread the directions. Catch the subtle difference between a #6 ruler and a 6” ruler (about 2”, I’d say). Multiply that out over the dimensions of the quilt and what you get is a big-a$$ quilt. Cal King size, to be precise. I thought about just trimming it down to the original dimensions and using the left over hexies for a baby blanket, but came back around to my usual out-of-my-mind decision making quilt process and decided to make a massive quilt for my bed. And while I was visiting quilt la-la land, I also thought it would be a good idea to enter it into the San Diego Quilt Show this fall. So my little “can I do this” project with no deadlines has turned into a sewing frenzy with a schedule and everything. I am considering setting up an MS Project workflow/timeline. In the meantime, progress on all other fronts has come to a halt.  

 I am 6' tall and standing on a step stool in this photo with my arms extended over head. You can't see my face, but I am alarmed.
 Piles of fabric in my lap as I piece together two rows of two. Four rows together is huge. Supersize indeed...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stop the Press(ing)!

I have an important announcement! I finally finished something! Six somethings, in fact. Too bad if the first three weren't quilts. There was sewing involved though, so it totally counts.

I got it into my head that I wanted to make a Cal King size duvet cover. Again, my blatant disregard for measurements worked to my disadvantage. You see, I hate working with really large pieces of fabric, like the 8 yards I needed for the duvet. But I learned a new skill using a blogged tutorial: I learned how to French seams. Tedious, but the results are very nice looking. I frenched the holy heck out of those seams, let me tell you what. I'd take a picture, but the lighting in my bedroom is horrible and none of the pics are turning out well, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Made matching pillowcases too. Frenched, natch.

Superhero Day
The Wee One's school had Superhero Day right before spring break. All he asked for were capes on his socks. So capes on his socks he got.

Cold Necks
I am against them. And for voile. Totally for voile. No matter how it is pronounced. I bought some fun stuff and made myself an infinity scarf. Took about two hours, mostly because I took an hour to decide if I wanted an infinity scarf or just a regular scarf.

And now on to the quilting
Finished the binding on the red and white quilt in the car on the way to AZ. It washed up fabulously. With five color catchers in the washer, the white is still sparkling. While a little dense, the quilting softened up and it drapes well. I hope to get a label on it at guild this weekend and then donate it to the UCSD Medical Center. I never gave it a name in my head since its always been marked for donation.

Abby Road
Finished, but not in the car. There's only so much sewing one can do in the front seat of a Prius. The back seat may have had more room, but came with a seatmate who likes to play never ending guessing games.

And last but not least, The Minkee Monkeys
I whipped up a quick blankie for a baby shower gift out of fabric I already had in my stash (I love it when I can do that!). I felt guilt about the lack of work on the quilt top, so I backed it in the dreaded Minkee. I didn't even bind it, just turned and top stitched, tacked it at the corners of the squares. The mama liked it, I think.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Where were we?

Yes, I have been sewing, quite a bit actually. DH was traveling a lot, so we (the royal we) caught up on a few things.

Abby’s Rainbow of Quilt flavors
Almost done! Finished the quilting two weeks ago, have mad plans to bind it in the car over Easter. Still need to stitch the binding down as I did not manage to purchase enough binding fabric to get that done at Guild like I planned. I hope I get to that before next Friday. All in all, it turned out really cute.  I used Ticklish by Me and My Sister and did a spilt rail zig zag. I saw a picture of a finished one on line and thought it was really cute. When put together, the fabric was a bit busy, so I took it easy on the quilting and just went crosshatch in white thread. With all of the (not so) straight line quilting, it went very fast, think I got it quilted in three evenings of sewing.Will bind with one of the lime green fabrics.

I think it stands for something dirty, but that could be because I don’t like Half Square Triangles (what HST really stands for) very much. What a hassle! But, a very fun design even if I still can’t predict the finished size of anything, even with dimensions plainly given. It ended up a wee bit smaller than I wanted, so I ended up adding a column to each end. Problem was that I had run out of white and couldn’t remember which “white” I purchased. I will tell you that it was not the same one that I bought more of, though that was not apparent until I had everything pieced. It was too late then, so if you look closely, you can tell I used two different colors of white. It’s alright, the red is so striking that you don’t notice the white so much, especially since I quilted the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of it. I mean, made good use out of the negative space.  And used about 500 meters of white thread on it. But I gotta tell you, the Mistress is quilting like a dream machine since she was serviced up in December. Nary a squeak, squeal, or dropped stitch. No tension issues either, that must have been fixed with the new bobbin case. But back to the HSTs. I did not follow advice and square the little troublemakers up, and think it went together OK in the long run. There are a few points that are off, but overall it looks good. I think anyway. I hope to get it bound in time to pass off at the next Guild sew-in for donation. 

I think I meant to mention this last time and then got distracted. Or something. Anyway. I found a pattern in a magazine that promised tear-free hexagon machine piecing (that's not "tear" as in rip, but "tear" as in to sob, cry, wail and otherwise be sad). I had a stack of Kate Spain Good Fortune that was screaming for such a project. The directions made my head hurt, but I wanted to try anyway. Plus, I got to purchase a new ruler. Cutting 182 hexies did not take as long as cutting the Chingaderas, thank goodness, so we were already off to a good start. I should have known something was up when I went to lay the design out and had to do it in pieces. Got all my rows laid out and stacked, then had to get started marking. The whole machine piece thing works by doing partial seams, so I use my handy fun ruler and mark little dots where it tells me to on the back of the fabric. Then when I am following the head hurting instructions, I start and stop sewing on the dots. I got the first two rows pieced this weekend and the magazine was right. There were no tears, no cursing, only confusion as to why this quilt was so damn long?!? Took me a while to figure out, but my hexies are HUGE, way bigger than the template. My fault for reading the pattern wrong, but actually a good thing to learn how to piece them on a bigger scale. I may leave it big and use it as a bed quilt for the summer when the goose down goes away. 

Speaking of goose down, my random kamikaze project of the first quarter has been a new duvet for my new comforter for my new California King size bed. I couldn’t bear the thought of paying lots of money for something I could make myself (famous last words), plus I couldn’t find something DH and I agreed upon. I really like the look of bed runners, but know that it will just end up on my floor most of the time. So I decided to piece one into the duvet cover. I purchased some paisley fabric and complementing gray solid and got to work. Promptly remembered that I don’t like working with large pieces of fabric. Plus, I had to wash, dry and IRON it all before starting. I won’t even tell you how long it took to press 10 yards of fabric. Since I had to piece the gray for the width of the duvet, I learned how to do French seams because OCQ told me that was fancy. The seams were easy enough, once I got the hang of it. Just lots of straight line sewing. But since the gray has no discernible “right” side, I got a little turned around on my second seam and had to whack it off and start over. I wanted both “right” sides finished the same. I did go the extra mile and Frenched the hell out of those seams by top stitching everything for a nice professional look. I decided that I don’t care about the bottom side and am looking for a sheet to back it with. I'll add pictures of that once it is done. 

Last But Not Least - Las Chingaderas

Got the directions for the raw edge binding at the last Guild sew-in, so I am almost ready to bind that sucker. I first need to decide what to do about the borders. Since it is machine binding, it should go fast from there and I will have a new picnic blanket just in time for the summer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pressing On

The Mistress is back in action! I currently have blocks pieced and pinned for two quilts. I literally spent an entire Friday evening pressing seams for a split rail and a triangle into squares charm quilt. Whoops, I inadvertently let you know that I am a geek with no social life. Ah well, anyway, mad piecing plans continue at my house. As long as the blocks stay in their respective quilts, I think we’ll be good. If all goes well, I’ll have two quilt tops done by the next Stitch n Bitch and will move on to cutting hexies.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy new year!

No resolution here, I know myself well enough to know that placing long term irrational goals just makes me stubborn. I do have some hopes though. I got some lovely responses from recipients of my last minute quilts of 2012. I can only hope the 2013 recipients are half as pleased. I hope to learn a few need skills (more on at least one of those in a minute) and practice some old ones. I hope to continue to find fun and enjoyment playing with fabric. I don't think any of those hopes are irrational.

So the Mistress is back from the shop. Sadly she went straight into the garage due to holiday guests. A little antsy about that. Turns out that quilting, in any form (planning, cutting, piecing, etc) is as much a part of my stress management plan as exercising and time with my girlfriends is. And when I don't do that, I can feel the anxiety lapping at my ankles. So to combat the anxiety, I've been planning the next three quilts. I was indulging in some retail therapy and found a darling jelly roll of the new My Sister and Me "Ticklish". Perfect for a split rail I want to make for a darling little 4 year old I know. It is pinned and ready to go as soon as I can rescue my machine. When I got as far as I could with that, I spent some Christmas $$ and downloaded some new patterns. I have a bunch of red charms from a swap that I wasn't really attached to, so I decided to make a semi-traditional red and white quilt and donate it. Charm friendly half triangles, also all cut and ready to start sewing. I actually need more red squares, but can't get to my stash right now either. having all this "free" time over the holidays and not being able to sew is tough! The last planned quilt involves finally using some Kate Spain "Good Fortune" that I bought a year ago. Quilt Sampler swears that it is easy to machine piece hexagons, so I am going to try it. It involves inset seams, but I am refusing to acknowledge any degree of difficulty because I just received my new hexagon ruler and it looks fun!

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