Sunday, November 30, 2014

Some sewing!

We had a "holiday week" and it's fall break for the community college, which my art teacher seemed to think meant we would get lots done on our final projects.

Well, for me, it meant I got in a few full days of work! And then we traveled to Ohio for Thanksgiving this year, so there wasn't much time to work on my project...

But traveling means handsewing, so I finished my English Paper Pieced pincushion:

This one is the size of an orange, rather than the first one that was grapefruit sized. I used this tutorial to make it, with some favorite scraps from my scrap bins. (Remember! 5/8" inch sides, and if you email me, I have a pdf of the templates I can send you). Once again I didn't have enough polyfil, but luckily my relatives had a bag of polyfil on hand, so I could supplement.

Yesterday I took a break from my endless final project for my art class (which you can see if you follow me on instagram, I'm sure I will post it one day here as well!) and tried my hand at the pattern I've chosen to make for my partner in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap. It's Mini Spools by Camille Roskelley/ Thimble Blossoms.

The pieces here are pretty tiny, and I had a few moments of doubt, but it turned out pretty cute. I still have to decide on a background and a spool fabric for the swap, but I'm pretty well decided on my fabrics for the "thread" part.

I used some scraps from my grey scrap bin for the "thread" here. I was thinking that I could use the block next time we had a guild mug rug swap, but maybe the Salt Water with Christmas fabric is a bit too odd?

But at least I know my sewing machine works, after two weeks at the shop.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fresh Water Pearls

I'm not much of a person for jewelry, but I do like the look of fresh water pearls... The more odd and imperfect in shape, the better.

This started off as a study in white, cream, and grey, inspired by Yoshiko Jinzenji's Quilting Line and Color (which I totally regret buying, now that it's fifty dollars a copy!), where she talks about shades of white, and it wasn't something I had ever thought of before, but it's there if you look!

So, the Easter before last I bought all the pale neutral colors of sketch and Carolyn Friedlander's crosshatch (actually, I bought all the colors, or at least most, but I only used the light ones. And as a side note, I am so excited they are making more!) And lots and lots of solids, in shades like parchment, ash, bone, and several just called white. And some I didn't use because they were too dark. And my favorite Pearl Bracelet - sandbox.  There is also a white on white bird print in there somewhere.

I cut out the tumblers with a sizzix die. On the Halloween before the last! And then I started to sew them together. Then I realized I didn't have enough, and cut another round. I finished the top at the end of May, at Camp Stitchalot, then got it basted in June, if the label can be believed. And then it sat! Until a few weeks ago when I panicked and took the day off to get the quilting done, and then a few nights to get it bound. And washed. I needed it washed before the picture, because I used a washable graphite pencil to mark the lines, and I wasn't positive it would come out, but it did, so whew!

I meant to free motion it, but time was an issue! I want to enter this one for quiltcon and the deadline is next week!

The brighter colors, the yellows, pinks, and purples came in at the last moment, because I grew tired of all that pale stuff. I think they give it a nice surprise.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where I shop for fabric

I've been thinking about this since I got my partner assigned for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap. Her likes and mine over lap a little, so I've been doing a little shopping to get a few more prints from her favorite designers so I can make a mini quilt she is more apt to love. (But! that said, you need to be careful not to buy something you hate, because for a mini quilt, chances are you're not going to be using much of it. You need to look to where your taste and your partner's taste overlap.)

So, when I am looking for fabric, here's where I go:

1. Pink Castle Fabrics. I am super lucky that this is my local quilt shop, but most of their business is online, so you can get anything I can get! And even though I can technically go to the store, it is easiest for me to buy online and swing by quickly to pick up. If you sign up for the newsletter you'll be first to know about new arrivals and sales! They specialize in modern, Japanese, and solids, and also carry many fine apparel fabrics.

2. Fabric Shack. My favorite shop for more mainstream quilt fabrics. They don't always have the newest trendy line, but they don't have the turnover that many online shops do, (I suspect because they buy more fabric than other shops), so you can sometimes score something from a few years back. And they put things on sale all the time.... If I'm looking for basics and blenders (dots, stripes, etc) and large amounts of fabric for quilt backs for the least amount of money, this is where I go. Plus, apart from great prices, they discount shipping, and they're one of the few fabric shops that will cut quarter yards. Great for getting a large range on a budget. And they are super fast with getting orders out the door. And if you have a chance to go to their store, do! It's seriously amazingly huge.

3. Hawthorne Threads. Another great modern online shop! If they don't have it, it isn't cool. Also they have a large selection of knits, which is important to me now, I guess.

4. Etsy. Little shops sometimes hold on to things that are sold out in big shops.

5. Fabric dot com. It's hard to beat free shipping. I have heard horror stories about poorly cut fabric, but I personally haven't had an issue, though I only go with them when I can't find something elsewhere. I prefer to go with the littler shops, who love fabric as much as I do.

About shopping online. Color is an issue, and scale, it's hard to know what you're getting, so you need to be prepared for a surprise. I have firm opinions about what I like in a quilting cotton, hand-wise, so when I shop online I stick to brands that I know and trust that their substrate is one I approve of.

What shops do you like?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Baby quilt with diamonds

I don't really have a name for this quilt. Or I have several. I made this for a friend who had a baby recently. She requested grey and lime.

I chose grey fabrics that seemed neither too warm or too cool, just grey, and for the most part only solids or white, grey or black prints (though there are two exceptions, at least). I paper pieced each block, dividing the blocks (and the fabric) into light, medium, and dark. Once they were rectangled up, I lay them out and moved them around until I liked them.

This color looks more true to me than the outside picture.
I pieced it together, but ran into trouble with the half blocks, they were too big! so it's a bit skewed from what it was supposed to be.

I quilted it with wavy lines and swirls, with a sort of argyle pattern in the larger diamonds.

And here's the back, one of my favorites, Modern Metro in apple (I believe...?)

I'm thinking about writing up the pattern, but I also kind of don't want to see it again. We'll see. When I begin to sew again.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


My Color Theory class has spent the last two weeks on value, starting with gray scale exercises and moving into color. One of these gray scale exercises was to find, through mixing paint, what appears to be by eye ten even steps between white and black.

I don't paint. And I while I do dye, there is such a difference in value between wet dye and dry I figure it would be hard to judge what you had until after it's dry.

I did it in fabric, using solids I had in my stash. I even opened two of my Kona charm packs to get a few options, though I only used two of the charms in the end. (Actually, I laid it out with prints first, then prints and solids, then I realized I had enough solids to do the whole thing.) The hard thing with grey is hitting that middle hue, which is neither too warm or too cool...

It's got kind of a dreamy focus on, because my lens wasn't clean, but it's too cold to reshoot!

Let's see if I can reconstruct it. I think the top white is Windham's Optical White, the next is RJR's cotton supreme Argento, the next is one of the Kona 2013 colors -Shadow, the next is a Peppered Cotton, Kona Pewter, not sure on the next one, then Kona Steel, not sure on the next - it may have been a hand-dyed fabric, then Moda Bella Washed Black, and Windham Black.

I used the supposed Optical White on the sides, and started quilting with my default all over swirls, but then my machine died, and I had to finish it with my straightline only machine. I bound it with a white on white dot, because I had it left over from last year's tree skirt (oddly I also used the same backing fabric as the tree skirt, though the connection did not occur to me until a day later.)

Linking to Sew Solid Sunday!

In other news, Spoonflower is having a 2/1 fat quarter sale for another day or two, so feel free to buy from my shop!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A week

I was going to pass this week by, since I don't have any finishes, but I've done a lot of stuff, and I may as well share, though most of this you've seen if you follow me on Instagram.

I got buttons for the QuiltCon button exchange (yes! I'm also going to QuiltCon!):

Hayley of Hayley Sews did mine, and I recommend her highly. My husband pointed out that I'm not super associated with this bird, except maybe in my head? It's on my quilt labels. And also, huh, well, I thought it was on my Etsy header, but it's not. Uh. Well, it's my bird, anyway, even if I'm not getting it out there. Oh, here, it's my Spoonflower logo.

I made this collage from magazine pages. I'd like to use it as a color scheme for something... no idea what yet.

I made a lot of progress on this English paper pieced pincushion:

I think it's funny that the collage and the pincushion share several colors. Also, if you want to make one and can't get her templates to download I have a pdf I can send you - blotchandthrum (at) gmail (dot) com.

I made a grayscale mini quilt for my color theory class, using white, grey, and black fabrics I had on hand:

And then I had to stop quilting it cause I broke my sewing machine! (cries) I think I chipped the bobbin case. It may be the shop for like two weeks, because if that's the case, they have to order the piece. I still have my straight line quilter, so I may still finish this. Currently, the plan is to take it in as is for a critique tomorrow.

And I worked on another assignment about value for color theory involving dye:

This was last night.

And here it is today, glued on paper. I would sure prefer to quilt it, but it takes too much time, and also, did I mention my sewing machine is in the shop?

So, that was a pretty exciting week after all!