Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays

This is the first Christmas Eve I've had to work in years so I'm all turned around on what day it is. Not to mention the crazy stormy weather we've been getting here leaving everything covered in ice. It really doesn't feel like Christmas is tomorrow, though I guess for our Aussie family it is already over. Craziness!

My resolution is to get back into quilting but with a teething toddler at home and a new job we shall see how that goes. Here's wishing you happy crafty times over the holidays and into the new year.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Isn't it just

So I have been meaning to get back to the blog for some time now, but life just keeps getting in the way really.

First distraction: the lovely little Matilda Hazel Anne born nearly a year ago now on Halloween 2012. She made herself known every time I tried to sit down to sew by doing gymnastics on my bladder or practicing her goal kicks into my sides. I think it is safe to say she was not a fan of me sewing.
Now that she is a little mover she wants me to explore, climb, crawl, and dance with her instead of sewing. My plan is to get her into sewing early so we can do that together. {Maniacal Laugh}

Second distraction: my hubbie opened a southern BBQ food truck. The Big Smoke Food Truck. I knew it was coming I just didn't know how much time and energy it would suck from us to get things rolling. I think it was a bit of our own fault for wanting to do so much ourselves, but the end results made it worth it! A bonus of this was I ate like a southern queen, the downside was no time to sew.

Third distraction: at 4 months old Matilda took her first plane ride. We made the trek to Melbourne, Australia to see my hubbie's family and introduce her to the Aussie crew for a month. She was a trooper & charmed her way around the world. I think it helps when your baby is the youngest flying but the best behaved. The flight crews always loved her and would cluck over her throughout the flight. One of them even held her for me while i went to the loo. Amazing!

Fourth distraction: no plan, no motivation. This is completely my fault. I had the fabric, thread, rulers, machine, but no idea what I wanted to do. Actually no, too many things I wanted to do but no solid plan on how to do them.

Enter stage left - the amazingness that is Tula Pink's new book City Sampler 100 Modern Blocks. I fell in love. Hard. I knew it would get me out of my funk & back into my sewing room. So after digesting it cover to cover I made a plan & went to work. I am not great at remembering to take photos. I will have to learn to stop here & there and photograph what I'm doing. I made enough blocks to do a baby quilt for a friend and that was that. I am hooked on quilting again.

After that quilt got the juices flowing I stumbled on an old project I had on a shelf. Echino 1/2 yards just waiting for the Stained QAL I wanted to do so badly. I got to work figuring out the pieces since i was using directional fabric (would NOT do this again for that pattern!!) and ordered lovely linen for the sashing bits from the lovely Pam at Mad About Patchwork. She has the best shipping. It can get here in no time at all.

Anywho, I will make sure to get a few photos of this man quilt shortly. I'm calling it the Man Quilt since it is a quilt for my hubbie. He thinks it is about time we kept a quilt I made so voila.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Pillow - a few lessons learned

I decided to make a pillow for my secret partner in the For the Love of Solids Swap. I don't really know why since I've never made one before, but I dove in and went for it. I had a few parameters. Most were taken from my partner's sign up form with dashes of her mosaic mashed in:
- Ohio stars pattern
- make it improv/wonky
- include log cabins
- use blue, green, lime, aqua, grey, etc
- use only solids (obviously)
- make each block different in some way.

So here is the front:
Yep, my small item is a zippy pouch!
 For the back I used her mosaic as inspiration:
- abacus blocks
- use a berry colour + those above
I decided that I wasn't confident enough to attempt a zipper in my first pillow, so I opted for an envelope style adding binding to each flap sewed on with one of the machine's fancy stitches I rarely use. I found one with blocks (greek keys?) and went for it. Well, it adds to the wonky and a little character that's for sure. I think I'll need a bit more practice on how to get those stitches straight.

Here is the back:
Lots of wonkiness in these blocks
 Hubster helped me out with some photos so they would have decent lighting, but then the camera battery died and I haven't been able to find the charger. Sheesh. So these photos will have to do. Hopefully my partner will be a better photographer and share some photos with me.

Next up: the small item I made. You can see it in the collage of the pillow front. I made my second zippy pouch. Good thing I have had recent practice with the Mouthy Stitches Zip Pouch Swap.

Lessons Learned:

  • You do have to have a game plan when making something a certain size. I was aiming for a pillow about 16" and ended up with it at 22" (I trimmed it down to 20")
  • I'm not so good at teeny tiny piecing
  • I'm an over presser. There are some seams where the threads show more than I would have liked
  • I love solids, but I still need practice with values so I get them a little more varied
  • I really need to plan out the placement of blocks for the pillow - the back on this pillow is where the abacus blocks needed to be centered a little better
  • I spend too much time playing on Picasa, and should invest more time in taking better photos to begin with. I sense an online photography course in my future, or a search for useful info on blogs...I know I've seen a few recently. A light box will be in my future as well.
Well, maybe I'll still spend time on Picasa for things like this:
Love the neon filter
 Now I'm off to watch the red carpet coverage for the Oscars - lame I know, but it is a tradition. I need a Tim Gunn fix for the night.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crushing on Kona Crush

I am loving working with Kona Crush fabric lately. I've used it for both swaps, and still have piles left. woo hoo. I actually bought it without knowing it was Kona Crush - I thought it was normal Kona Solids fabric. I'm so glad I made that happy accidental purchase from Pink Chalk Fabrics. Unfortunately it seems it isn't being restocked, which probably accounts for the wicked sales price I received. I'll have to find a new source with decent shipping rates to Canada. It doesn't come in as many colours as the straight up solids range, but they do have a few gems (I got Aqua & Red). I think Julie at Jaybird Quilts uses Crush in some of her projects. I really do love it. It's soft, and adds texture and interest. L O V E.

We will be hosting my father and sister in law next weekend visiting from Australia so I knew I needed to get a move on with the pillow. I was so gung ho I made the project a touch bigger than intended. I've ended up with a pillow that would measure 22 inches square finished. Hurumph. I was aiming for 16 or 18 inches.

I've popped a picture up on the Flickr group for feedback and asked if my partner would rather have it still be a *large* pillow or a wall hanging (something she did not ask for in her questionnaire) and I'm hoping she'll comment or the project might be on hold until the weekend after next. Yikes. I'm super happy with the results so far, but if my partner says its a no go I will just finish this as a wall hanging for myself. So win-win.

This shows a truer colour of the border, and teals/aquas in the blocks
These are truer colours in the blocks, but the border is actually aqua

I really should try to finish a project in the daylight so I could take a decently lit picture. Pshaw. I've tweaked it with Picasa to compensate. The colours are greens, aqua, teal, blues, greens, yellow and olive. Oh and touches of grey just because i put grey in everything for some reason.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It is Officially a Finished Pouch

So I'm going with the pouch being the finished product I'll be sending my partner in the Mouthy Stitches Swap. It is partly because I'm afraid of running out of time to make another since i need to switch focus to the solids swap, and partly because of the amazing support of my fellow swappers. I received so many lovely comments and words of encouragement so I feel better about it. My partner might even have commented to help me decide ;)
Can you tell I'm enjoying playing around with Picasa's different styles?
Now bring on the For the Love of Solids Swap. Sketches to come.

I will be glad and a little sad when the swaps are over. Glad for getting my time back with less time at night on the computer, and sad to lose that focus on a project with a deadline. i think i work well under pressure - it's just like being back in school.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Finished Pouch or Practice?

I finally got some photos together of the pouch i finished with the intention of sending it for the Mouthy Stitches Swap. Now after seeing the perfection of other projects I am tempted to just call it a practice and do another one, but I will have to make sure I don't run out of time. Decisions decisions.

If I do a redo pouch i would focus on the pattern specifics and getting all of the blocks to be shown as I intended. i think it would involve more planning and less improv - things i'm not usually known for. I'm waiting to see if my partner comments on it and go from there. I still have time to finish another pouch, though I might have to go a bit smaller given the scraps i have left of these fabrics.

I need to get my scraps together for this swap too. I want to give them some of the leftovers from the pouch because i know she likes these colours, and i have a few more things in mind.

Now on to my For the Love of Solids creations. I'll try to get my sketch scanned tomorrow and up, but i know i'm unlikely to get any sewing done until next weekend. silly day job getting in the way of my crafty pursuits. maybe i should check those lottery tickets - i think someone won the jackpot after all.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Swap-a-palooza - an update

So signing up for 3 swaps set at the same time might have been a little overkill. I realize that now.
I am happy to report that my fabric charms for the iSpy swap are posted and should get there just in the nick of time (fingers crossed). I ended up scoring a sweet yard of fabric from Ki that I chopped up into 56 5" charms. I even received several kind comments from fellow iSpy swappers. Woo Woo.
The fabric is Frolic by Wendy Slotboom. It is very cute.

I also managed to start & finish my zip pouch for Mouthy Stitches today. Phew. This one is a total load off. I was worried since I hadn't made a proper zippered pouch before. I don't know why i was so scared of it really, just one of those things. I can now say that with proper planning and extra attention to my cutting it was a success.

It's late and it's dark so I'll have to save photos for tomorrow. I managed to include a vintage zipper, owls, acorns, cloud 9 organic fabric and inner pockets. I'm including a little extra gift for my swap partner too. I'll blog about it after the swap so I don't give it away.

I haven't decided yet what I'm showing and what will be a surprise, but I'm pretty sure my partner will like it. Oh how I hope she does. I spent a pile of time looking over her mosaic, looking out for comments in discussion threads and on other mosaics or projects. I feel pretty confident. Now on to filling the pouch with my fat quarter of scraps. Very productive day.