Friday, October 30, 2015

Fabric Friday: October 30

Hooray for Friday! This has been one long week of Halloween festivities, and it's not over yet. Wow. Monday, I took them to the photographer we've used for FREE Halloween photos and we painted pumpkins after dinner. Wednesday, we had a Halloween party in our church congregation. Today, my kindergartner went to school and had a Halloween party, and then has to go back at 12:15 for the Halloween parade (oh, joy...), and then we head to my husband's work for a Halloween party at 4 (but they're feeding us dinner, hurray!). And then we still have ACTUAL Halloween tomorrow. Holy. Cow.

So, I hope you'll understand why I just couldn't bring myself to post a Halloween bundle. Although, I actually am working on a quick Halloween banner. I probably won't finish it by tomorrow (see previous paragraph), but I'll have it for next year!

I've actually got a lot of projects going on right now...I'm about ready to start paper piecing the blocks for the 2nd side of a Christmas quilt (it won't be finished this Christmas, either, since I'm sure I wouldn't be able to find a quilter to quilt it before Christmas, and that's okay), I finally finished all the curved piecing for the Arabian Nights quilt and now I need to press them, I've started cutting out fabric for my Terrazzo quilt (another paper-pieced pattern), and I've really got to figure out what I'm going to make my girls for Christmas. Since I love sewing, I want to make them something every year for Christmas, just something special from Mom. But I have NO ideas. *sigh* If you have any, please, PLEASE leave me a comment. My girls are 5 and 3.'s the bundle for this week. Most of them are fabrics I ordered from Fat Quarter Shop when they were having a good sale on Cotton and Steel a few weeks back. Hooray! They actually had a sale on the basics plus a coupon code for Cotton and Steel in general, so I got a great price on the basics I adore.

From top to bottom: XOXO by Cotton and Steel, Hazel, by Allison Harris, XOXO by Cotton and Steel, Picnic by Cotton and Steel, Rhoda Ruth by Elizabeth Hartman, Rhoda Ruth by Elizabeth Hartman, Netorious by Cotton and Steel, and Curiosities by Jeni Baker.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fabric Friday: October 23

I really didn't intend to take off more than a week from Fabric Friday...and I had this stack, and I'd even photographed it, but time got away from me. Last weekend was Fall Break for our schools, so I had my kindergartner at home and was trying to keep everyone entertained (and thus not fighting...). We did have fun; after doing some clothes sorting, we saw Inside Out, and then on Friday we went up the canyon for a picnic with some friends. Saturday we went to an life science museum, and then Monday we went to Grandma's and had another picnic up a different canyon...It kept me all on my toes, for sure.

So. This week has been slightly calmer...but not much. Still, I did get some photo editing done. :-) This is a stack based around the V. and Co. fabric. I pulled it and the houndstooth out to maybe sew together a quick thread catcher for a friend, and though I LOVED the combination, I wasn't sure it was her style. So, I kept it out, and pulled some extra cuts out to finish up a stack for Fabric Friday. I really love it. Despite the pear fabric having brown and using a black print. I still love it.

Top to bottom: (missing line and artist, but it's manufactured by Makower), London Fog by Camelot, Feed Company by Sweetwater, Color Theory by V. and Co, and Mind Your Mummy by Kimberbell Designs.

I love using holiday fabric in non-holiday makes me feel so sneaky. Especially if I managed to snag it on a post-holiday sale. Not the case with this one...but still. Awesome feeling, right?

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Around the World Craft Swap

I am very intrigued by all the mini quilt swaps floating around Instagram, and really wanted to join one, but was super nervous. I didn't have much experience with minis anyway, and what if I couldn't think of something to make my partner? Or worse--what if I made something and it turned out horrible? Or I made something and my partner hated it?? I was nervous.

Then, I saw the Around the World Craft Swap. I was a bit bummed it wasn't strictly a mini quilt swap, but I was so excited that it was travel related that I couldn't help myself! I signed up, and hoped I would get a mini quilt based on Paris. I love Paris. :-)

I always assumed I would make a mini quilt, but when I got my partner email, she didn't really seem to want a mini quilt. I'm sure she would have been pleased with it, but it wasn't among the things she specifically listed that she would like to receive. So I went back to the drawing first I started thinking about making her a bag and adding a small travel-related applique...but then she started posting requests for hoop art on Instagram, and I knew I had to do it for her.

After a lot of brainstorming, these were the designs I came up with. I couldn't pick just one, so I made her all three. They didn't take much time or effort, so I felt good about sending all three. The two quotes were specific quotes she mentioned liking, and I designed the Eiffel Tower one because she got engaged right around the time partner emails went out, so I thought a romantic tribute would be nice.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out all the shapes, and I'm super pleased with how they turned out! They were so quick and easy.

Because the hoops were so simple, I elected to sew up a little zippy pouch too. I wrote about the zippy pouch here. I love how the fabrics turned out together, and I think it's super cute! I hope she loves it.

I also sent her a black and white print of Paris that I took a couple of years ago. It's of the Musee d'Orsay specifically. She mentioned using black and white photos from her travels to decorate with, and I thought it would be the perfect addition to the package.

I had fun picking up extras for her. I found an Eiffel Tower key chain on a clearance table at a museum (score!), and I sent some note cards and ribbons as well, and a small box of Italian candies from our trip.

I had a really great time doing this swap and am on the hunt for another one. I think one thing that really worked well for me was having just one swap. I initially signed up for just one because I wanted to see how it all went, and I got so lucky. I received a beautiful mini that I can't wait to hang, and my partner loved the package I sent her. It was a really positive experience. Now that it's all over, though, I think part of why I enjoyed it was that I was just focused one. So, while there are many many swaps out there, and lots of people sign up for multiple, I think I'll stick to one at a time for now. It meant that I was really focused on making a great package for my partner, and I think that's about as much as I can handle! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Everyday Zip (Pattern Review)

If you've been following my Instagram feed, you know I'm involved in the Around the World Craft Swap. It's my first swap ever, and while I wish it were sewing specific, I'm pleased to be involved in a travel-related swap. I love traveling!

I made what my partner really asked for, but the designs haven't taken that much effort, and I felt like I wanted to include another small sewn item. She did say that she'd love something useful, and I thought I'd try a zippy pouch! I've never made one, but I found this cute Everyday Zip pattern by Fig Tree and Co. at a local shop and thought it'd be perfect. Simple, but a little fancied up with the prairie points and focal fabric.

I opted to skip the canvas and use regular cotton, and I used the same cotton for the lining as the main bag. I pulled this cute Paris print from my stash and found a number of 2" squares that matched perfectly. They are all from the Hometown line by Sweetwater.

I got everything cut out and sewed it up at my neighborhood sewing retreat!

So, here are my thoughts on the pattern.

I do think it's adorable. I like the boxed corners and that it incorporates a strip of focal fabric and prairie points. It's a great way to show off fun prints. The zipper went in really easily, and with the way it's constructed, the zipper ends lay flat (no ugly pinches!). It's also a great size.

I did have some problems, though.

First, I read through it several times and really struggled to understand what I was supposed to do before I started. I'd hoped it'd make more sense while I was sewing. I chose to make the smallest coin purse size, and the instructions are different because it doesn't have a front zipper. The problem is, she doesn't make it clear where you are supposed to start sewing for that pouch, as the first several steps are all for the front zipper panel used in the other two pouches. I appreciate that she's included a variety of sizes and styles in one pattern, but she didn't execute the pattern in a way that makes it easy to make them. In addition to the difficulty in figuring out where to start the coin purse, the other differences are explained on the last page at the very end of the pattern. It's not easy to pair those noted differences with the actual steps and I actually missed the note to shorten the wrist strap. I wish instead the pattern had included parenthetical notes in the steps with the changes.

Second, she constructed the pouches in such a way that the seam is inside the pouch, not enclosed between the lining and the exterior. She instructs you to zigzag the edge to finish it, so clearly this is what she intends, but it seems a little unfinished to me, especially since I expected the lining to be "finished." And, I used a contrasting thread because I was too lazy to change it and I was sure it was going to wind up hidden. It's not a bad contrast (it matches the focal fabric...) but still. I would have used a matching thread, which I had with me, if I'd known. I have a really hard time visualizing patterns as I read through them, so pre-reading didn't help me.

Overall, the pattern was difficult for me to follow and took twice as long as it should have given the simplicity of the item. Now that I've done it once, I'm sure it would go together much easier in the future, but with the exposed seams, I'm not sure I'll make it again as is. I'm really disappointed in the exposed seams, and I'll probably try to figure out a way to incorporate the focal fabric and prairie points into a pouch with a finished lining. I'd rather have a bottom seam with all the seams hidden than exposed side seams.

I would not recommend this pattern to a friend, and wished I'd purchased a different pattern. And that's okay--I'm embracing the idea that you never know until you try. :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Swoon! {quilt labeling tutorial}

I finally bound my Swoon quilt! This quilt has been in the works for quite a while; I started planning a year ago. But I finally have it finished, and I'm so pleased.

And actually, this post has been finished for a while, save a full shot of the quilt, so we've been enjoying the quilt for a good couple of months. It's been really hard to get a photo of the full quilt, and even then, I didn't do super well. Cheers to my helpful husband for holding it up as best he could! It's a big quilt, and that means it heavy, and he didn't quite have the arm span to hold it from both corners. That's really saying something as he is 6'6"! But, here we are. Finally.

For my Swoon, I chose some of my favorite fabrics from my stash, and paired them with solids. What's nice about the regular Swoon pattern is that it's designed for fat quarters, so I could easily pull from my stash since everything I buy is either a fat quarter or a half-yard.

 I really wanted the prints to stand out, and solids are so in right now I thought they would work well. I also opted to use Kona Ash as my background instead of white. I think it works.

Of course, after I finished binding it, I realized I had forgotten to label it (doh!)...I do that way too frequently. *sigh* so I had to unpick a corner to add it in. Of course, it's worth the extra work to unpick. I think labels are important.

Do you label your quilts?

If not, you should think about it. Especially if you gift a quilt. Here's the information I often include on my labels:

  • The quilt's name. This is hard for me. Often, it's the name of the pattern or a variation on the name.
  • Recipient's name (if applicable)
  • My name.
  • Long-arm quilted by: (if applicable, which it usually is...)
  • Name of pattern/designer (if applicable)
  • Date completed
  • Care instructions
  • Special note (i.e. love you!, thanks for being a good friend!, etc)
I don't always include every item on a label, it really depends on the quilt. I think labels are especially important for gifted quilts so that the recipient knows how to care for their precious gift. If you gift it to another quilter, they'll be familiar with the proper care of a quilt, but many people who don't quilt won't know that they need to be washed gently.

To make a label, I take a square of white fabric, generally 5-6 inches, and fold it in half. I iron it in half diagonally. Occasionally, I'll back it with wonder-under so I can use my Silhouette to "write" the label...but it's a lot trickier to get the pen to sketch the font correctly, so I've kind of given up on that, even though I don't love my handwriting.

Once I've pressed it, I write the information on. Sometimes, I'll type the information up in a document and trace it so it will all be evenly spaced (which is a huge struggle for me to freehand...), other times, I'll just go for it. I use either a fine-tip BLACK sharpie (I've read not all sharpies are colorfast) or a Micron pen (which I bought from the quilting notions section in Joann's--I'm figuring it's meant for exactly this purpose). I heat-set the ink and press it back into the triangle.

Next it's time to install it on the quilt. When I'm binding, I'll pin it down to the back on a bottom corner by lining up the raw edges with the raw edges of the quilt corner. I like to pin it in place so I can include it in the first seam, but when I forget to add it all together, that doesn't happen. You can sew it down when you first sew your binding to the quilt (and if you're going to hand-stitch the binding down, you'll want to make sure to do that). You can also add it when you top-stitch the binding down, and if you've neglected to add it altogether like I did, this is how you'll add it after you unpick the top-stitching around one of the corners.

That's pretty much it--just make sure to catch it so it's enclosed in the binding. You'll end up with a little pocket, and I think that's fun. It's unobtrusive, and easier for me than applying a patch somewhere on the backing. 

I hope this helps--now get to work and label all those old quilts! :-)

quilted by Abby Latimer
Completed July 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fabric Friday: October 2

Last week, April Rosenthal, Amanda of Westwood Acres, and Vanessa Goertzen hosted a fun contest on Instagram. To enter, you had to post a bundle of 18 fabrics from 3 different designers, more or less equally split. When I read the rules, I first thought it meant from 3 different lines (obviously more limiting than 3 designers), and so that's where this bundle came from!

I used my all-time favorite line: Hometown by Sweetwater. I just love it. I wish I'd bought more in different prints, but I'm cherishing what I have left.

I also used Cotton and Steel basics and Wallflower by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew. I think they work really well together. I love that they have the same colors, but that they're just slightly different to add some interest, and that they are really the same tonal range. I think that's one of the most important things when you blend different lines (which is my preference as you well know). :-) It's important to match fabrics with similar undertones. If you can do that, the fabrics will look like they belong together even if they don't really belong together.

Also--I'm going to take a little breather on the Fabric Fridays. I really love it--I just seem to have a lot going on, and sometimes I just don't make it. So, I'm going to take a breather on the pressure. And if it doesn't happen one week, well, I'm going to know that it's okay.