Thursday, January 30, 2014

Complicated in Color

Alright, so a few days ago, I posted a tutorial on making Drunkard's Path blocks using a four patch for the quarter circle. A technique I used to make a gift for a friend.

I got a bit wrapped up in the tutorial and didn't show you the quilt! So! Here it is! The blocks are 4" (so a full circle is 8") cut on my big shot with the Drunkard's Path dies. I gave it a border of neutral, pastel and low volume 2.5" squares.

Wall hanging size- about 2 feet by 3 feet
And some close ups:

A little bit of everything!
It was the hunt for orange fabrics that made me realize I needed to sort my scrap bin!
These airplanes are my favorite!
The binding is made from scraps of the Frippery Peacocks from Thomas Knauer.
It's backed with an old Amy Butler print, and free motion quilted by me in a swirly design:

The pic is a little washed out, but you can see the quilting!
 And it's the first time I've used my new quilt labels!

It was a fun quilt to put together, and I've got a few extra blocks (and the black ones from the tutorial) that I've been messing with. Maybe a new quilt is in the works? We'll see, though I already have a queue!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Complicated when Drunk, a tutorial

I will freely admit to having drunk the low volume Kool-Aid.  I had to make a surprise gift for someone recently... and I was browsing her pinterest quilt board, and seeing a lot of awesome things, but nothing really spoke to me until I saw some drunkard's path quilts:

This one and this one especially.

Now, I love drunkard's path! Love it. And low volume, I've already said I drank that Kool-Aid, so I started drafting a combo of the two - the alternating layout of the first, with the low volume background of the other, and then I thought, huh, it's just not complicated enough.  What can I do to complicate this fairly simple idea?

The answer, is this: 

Add more piecing! I did it magically right the first time through, but then I got cocky and cut out all the pieces, and realized there was a trick to it. And if you want to do it without weeping, too, follow this advice:

Start with 2.5" squares, and whatever camp you are in about pressing seams, press them to the side! When you have four joined, it should look like this:

And the back:

If you look at it, starting at the top, going clockwise, all the seams are going the same direction (pressed clockwise) except the one at 6 o'clock.  So! It is possible to press your seams so they are all but one pointing counterclockwise! I have done this! And you don't want to! So you need to pay attention when you are joining your pairs into fours, that the seams start out the right way. Here's a graphic:

When you press the final seam to the right, the seam at the arrow with be the counter clockwise one.

You need to cut your curve through two seams that a) going in the same direction, and b) pointing in the direction you will sew the seam.  Clockwise!

Once cut will look like this:

As you travel down that curve, the seams are both pointing towards the end. Piecing curves is complicated enough without fighting additional seams.

As so! When you're done, I would suggest pressing the curved seams outward, so you don't double the bulk in the circle itself.

And I was going to do the big reveal of the finished quilt, but that'll have to go in another post...

Until next time, then.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Captain America Wall Hanging

So, I had this idea. I bought some fabric:

I chose Kona Pacific. The Bella Country Red I had on hand.
I did my first paper piecing:
Sadly, I pieced the third section upside down so that instead of a square it was something... else. It was not much fun, paper piecing.  I'm hesitant to attempt it again, though it's a crazy useful tool, at least, in other people's hands.

I used the techniques taught to me by Rossie Hutchinson to make reverse applique circles....

I pieced a back, basted, straight line quilted, and added a camouflaged hanging sleeve and a gold binding:

And found I made a Captain America Shield wall hanging:

It's some what hilarious and ridiculous and it will be hanging above my friend's desk, where I can visit it often, and yet not have to explain why it exists. That's her problem now!

The blue stars on the edges are also reverse appliqued, in a similar manner, but without doing the whole circle, just a quarter each, I didn't have so much fabric to make it much bigger.  As it is, there are some awkward seams. I broke 3 needles (at least? maybe it was 4) putting a machine binding on it (I always machine bind! I have issues with my wrists that make holding needles deeply uncomfortable) because of all the layers the applique added. But we got through it in the end.

Most of this was done over Christmas-New Year's break, but I finally finished up the hanging sleeve two days ago, so I finally feel justified in blogging about it. If it's not finished - it's not blogged. So, it may be a few more weeks for, say, the tree skirt to appear... even though it's 98% done!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Scraps! Sorted!

Last night my scrap sorting boxes came! I made a list of 24 color categories, but having only 18 boxes, I cut back. And 18 just fits on the shelves in my closet!

Pardon my ugly closet! Yes, those are exposed pipes...
That map box is selvage storage, and it is stuffed to bursting, though why I am saving them, I don't know.  I made a selvage pillow, one time, and haven't really used them again.

Anyway, there was some interest on Instagram about where I got my boxes.  These are the ones I am using. They seemed reasonably inexpensive for the purpose, even with shipping, and clear, which is important here, and fairly sturdy. One was broken when it arrived, and so, one of these bins is not the same as the rest... one is a ringer; it's the one in the far right corner. But, overall, I am very pleased with the purchase.

Slowly, this reorganization is getting done! Still procrastinating on prepping for painting, though... not really looking forward to that!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Scrap Finds

I promised you some pictures of some delights I found in the scrap pile, so, here are a few:

Low Volume goodies

A few licensed characters, and unicorns.

Monkeys, pinks, and hand-dyed fabric

And these were recent additions, just scraps of other people's fabrics, and if someone could identify that left one, that would be awesome, not that I need more fabric!

Still reorganizing here. Hope to get some sewing done tomorrow, anyway...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In with a new year

We've decided to rearrange our basement, to give me more space for fabric storage!

That's the good news.

The bad news is that it will require time, energy, paint, patching, organizing, and no doubt reorganizing, and lots of swearing.  And a trip to Ikea (wait, I love Ikea! That might be good news).

So, I've started on the organizing, anyway. Some of the furniture has been shifted, some not, it's a bit of an awkward puzzle, and involves moving, among many things, a computer desk and a large doll house, so it's not happening very quickly.

And while I'd like to say this was a well thought out plan, no, it's a last minute shift that has thrown my life into confusion... More confusion, I suppose. And I haven't sewn a thing since Sunday, and only got to sew then because we had a sew in at the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild... My sewing stuff at home is strewn about in preparation of changes. And reoganizing!

But I did accomplish something last night; I turned this:

Ye olde scrap pile.
Into this:

No, I'm joking. I didn't throw it all away! However, I did fill this trash can from the scrap bin; it was empty before I started. I threw away anything that was under an inch wide, anything on a strange substrate, and a few odd bits, you know, that stuff. And some things, I'm giving away.  It took, I kid you not, about 5 hours (and truthfully, I did it a few hours at a time over the course of three days - but I did finish last night).

And I found some treasures for sure in that pile! I'll post a few of my finds later.

The rest I sorted by color into bags, for now.  I've ordered clear plastic shoe boxes for them, as recommended to me by a friend. I've cleared off my shelves in preparation for that... And now I just have to wait for them to arrive! Impatiently! In the meantime, I can always start on reorganizing my fat eighth and fat quarter storage...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Castle Bags

It's been awhile! I can only say... in my defense, that I had a huge work deadline last week, then it was my wedding anniversary!
Ten years!
I  was wearing my Great-Grandmother's wedding dress from the 1920s! My aunt found it in a shoe box at my great aunt's house. Somehow it was in great shape, probably because it's silk. It's pretty amazing to have had the chance to wear something like that.

Anyway, the sewing!

I made yet another 241 tote, this time with Lizzy House prints - my favorite print from Lizzy Dish (the blue plates) and my favorite print from Castle Peeps (which I managed to snag off eBay).  The black is Essex Linen, which I love, the black is somehow so densely black. I did contrast red stitching on the handle, and I love that too! I do feel like my technique has improved, somewhat, on the third bag. I found that I could match the pieces up better without pinning (rather than pinning - I know it sounds crazy!) - as long as I took the curves super slowly.

The inside has the only other print from Castle Peeps I have obtained so far (it's the inside of the outer pockets, as well) and these awesome arrows from Dear Stella, that are just about the right colors. Initially I thought I'd interfaced it too much (both the lining and the exterior got interfacing) but it seems about right now that I am carrying the bag around with me.

The only two modifications I made to the pattern were to make the strap width of fabric (about 40"), so that I could wear it cross-body, and I put interfacing in it, because a friend of mine has experienced strap stretching with hers, and regretted not interfacing it. I also make the pocket a .5" off of square, so that my phone would stay upright inside it, instead of keeling over.

Then I made a matching bag for my daughter, not that she's interested in matching me, but I thought she'd like the fabric, too. Red is her favorite color.

It's a 2/3 scale version of the Super Tote, with the gusset width the full scale size. And I left off the outer pocket. The handle outside is the same black linen as above, and the grey is the yarn-dyed black Essex linen. I love the look of all these fabrics together!

I did the interior zipper - three times! At least? It may have been four. I think when I make the full size one for myself, I will not be including that! That tomato fabric is one of Hoodie's - her fabric is so cute!  As for the ladybugs, well, I found them in the scrap bin and had to include them. The poor child is probably sick of ladybugs, as I keep putting them on her stuff.

And she got this for Christmas! And has filled it with her precious beyblades.

Since then, I've been working on this and that quilt, without making much progress in any (I suspect I have too many projects happening at once, honestly.) And I think I need to spend a few days (weeks?) organizing my stash and projects. Especially the scraps. I've been asking people about what they do with theirs to get some better idea of what to do with mine. Perhaps I'll blog about it. (But, don't hold your breath!)