Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Quilt for My Nephew.

My younger sister is expecting a baby, and that baby should be making an appearance this month! I'm hoping my quilt will arrive in time to welcome him in my stead. I finished the Andy Warhol-inspired quilt top in May, and y'all will have to forgive me, but I'm exhausted due to a teething baby, and I'll let you visit that link if you're interested in more specific fabric information or more details on my inspiration.

I had thought about incorporating straight line, FMQ, and handquilting into this bad boy to mimic my niece's quilt, but in the end, I kept it simple and did straight line quilting on the diagonal. HOWEVER, I did shake it up a bit and did 60 degree diamonds. It was my first time quilting with a guide, and I really really really appreciated not having to mark every line. Full disclosure: my lines are a little wobbly. However, I sincerely doubt my super cool nephew will be concerned with that business.

I managed to finish this one in time to mark it off my FAL Q2 list, which is all sorts of exciting! It's finish 7 of 14, so I got halfway through my list. I'll take that as a win.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Memaw's Quilt(top).

My grandma turned 90 this year. I figure she needs a quilt.

My grandma is an amazing lady. Her life is exciting, and the stories she has told me about her past are incredible. (And true!) In her home, there is a gigantic quilt hanging on the wall of her great room that was pieced decades ago out of clothes from members of our family. When I was a kid, I always loved when she would point to pieces of the quilt and tell me where they came from. 

This quilt looks nothing like the one on her wall. It's all from one fabric collection: Bonnie and Camille's Happy Go Lucky. But whenever I would see these fabrics in a project, I always thought of my Memaw, and I held on to my FQ bundle for a couple of years until inspiration struck.

As you can probably tell if you've previously been here, using this line is a bit of a stretch for me. I like extremely bright colors and large scale prints and TULA. And while I can't say that B&C will be my future go-to when it comes to a new project, I can say that I like this finished top a lot.

I considered hand-tying this one, which is something I've never done before, but I'm leaning towards machine quilting. Simple, straight lines on the diagonal, aka, Audrey's favorite way to quilt a quilt ever. (No, really.) But there are a few other projects that will demand attention before then--my nephew's quilt, eep!--so I have time to muse.

Oh, if you're interested, the pattern for this is a free tutorial called the Squares and Strips Bed Quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.

Friday, June 12, 2015

This is not my most glorious finish.

A ringing endorsement to start off this post, amiright? But it's true. This is not my most glorious finish. But it's a finish nonetheless, one that I am thrilled to remove from the queue, and one that has been plagued with frequent pauses throughout its creation.

Last fall, my son asked me to make him a quilt. He has one me-made quilt, an i-spy patchwork affair that I made very early in my quilting career. (I think it was finish #5?) But Banzo is growing up, and it was getting a little too small for him, so he asked if he could give it to his baby brother and have a new quilt for himself. How could I say no? He wanted trucks, and I pulled truck fabric and rainbow blenders, then axed the trucks because the pile sat on my table for weeks without inspiration. Axing the trucks was necessary, even if the only truck will be a label on the back of the quilt.

I FMQ'd the entire thing in a pointy meander, mostly as practice for my nephew's hedgehog quilt. This is the first quilt that I've ever used an all over FMQ style for, and I did not enjoy it. It took forever. It used up a ton of thread. I started with a partially full spool of green thread for the backing thread, thinking, that will be plenty for the bottom bobbin. Nope. I ran out. I could have waited until I made it to the store, but there was no way that was happening, so I switched to blue thread and kept going because apparently I only like to keep one spool of green thread in my house at a time. I probably should have waited. I had to switch to blue thread in the green section on top too, which is horribly noticeable, but I thought if I stopped working on this quilt, when would I get around to it again? (I'm not sure if I will actually use this pattern for my nephew's quilt. The jury is still out. I will say this quilt has a very nice feel to it and my skillz definitely improved.)

I backed it in a green flannel with bits of other flannel scraps to bring it up to size. For binding, I had hoped to use kona black, but I was completely out of black solids--I apparently need to have an epic shopping trip to the LQS--but I did manage to find this black pin dot in my stash. And I had just enough! Except, I cut one strip at 2" instead of 2.25". SERIOUSLY. I almost threw in the towel then and there, but I pulled out my binding scraps, grabbed a handful that would work, and stitched them up. The final product is a non-matching binding with non-matching quilt thread with no trucks, but the quilt is done. You better believe I machine-sewed that binding because I wanted to get this quilt done.

What went wrong with this quilt? Should I have picked another pattern? Gone bolder? I still really love the improv-y quilt I made for my middle son. What made this one go flat? There may not be answers to those questions, but I do know that Banzo loves his new quilt. He loved watching me work on it. He snuggled it the other day in 90 degree weather. Whether or not I've created an epic quilt here, it will be loved, and that's the part on which I'm choosing to focus.

This is finish #6 of 14 from my Q2 FAL list. In April, I had an incomplete stack of blocks, so this one really did come quite a ways.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Slow work.

It feels as though I've spent a ton of time away from my machine lately. This past year was my first year homeschooling my oldest, so with school out of the way, I expected I'd have more time. That was incorrect. I somehow have much much less!

I've managed to keep up on my bee blocks, including this one for June. It was a fun block, but can you believe I had to go buy cream fabric? I had exactly zero in stash. And this was my only true red, which thankfully worked out. I've apparently been using my stash lately, which is excellent, but wow. I've cleaned out a number of colors.

I did pull this stack of lovelies from stash recently. I never thought I'd participate in a mystery quilt, but all of a sudden, it sounded fun, and as I saw the last mystery quilt that Cheryl created and enjoyed watching Quilting Jetgirl piece it monthly, I thought I'd jump in as well.

I turned my attention (briefly) to these blocks for my dad's quilt. I think I have sashing requirements figured out, but do I have kona white or any sort of white solid to sash it? Of course not. Do I have enough navy to handle it? NO. Which is lame.

Know what else I'm completely out of? Kona black! How my reserves got so low all at once, I couldn't tell you. All I know is that I need to seriously replenish my basics. I have finished quilting this quilt--more details on THAT in a later post--and I want to bind it in Kona black or charcoal. I want to get this very late quilt finished!

Off to the store I go! Or rather, off to soothe the teething baby.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I am a 241 Tote Addict.

I might need a support group. I've finished my fourth? fifth? 241 tote. I might have a small addiction to them. But I can't HELP it. I really do love this bag, and I really really love my most recent iteration too. But not as much as my Melody Miller one, thankfully, since this one isn't staying with me either!

I caught sight of an awesome cool crane block on the Stash Bee blog, and I immediately knew I needed to make one, and for my BFF. I had originally planned to make her a 241 with an EPP'd hot pink Death Star in the center panel, but the dimensions didn't work out well, and I wasn't up to trying to figure out how to shrink it properly. Also, my EPP skillz were non-existent at the time. I'd feel much more comfortable attempting the pattern now that I have some under my belt.

But a paper pieced origami crane is just as awesome. The exterior of the bag is Kona black and a hot pink print that shall remain nameless because I forgot who made it.

And can I just say I hate interfacing? I HATE INTERFACING. No matter the project, no matter the type of interfacing, no matter the type of fabric. It always seems to play tricksies on me. (Evil stuff of evilness.) I will say, it doesn't look nearly so awful in person--how is that?

The interior is a bit more black and a pink polka dot. I did not use the magnetic snap, and I omitted the interior pocket.

I'll say that my BFF loved the bag, and she told me at first that she wouldn't be able to bring herself to use it. When I promised I'd make her another when this one dies, she consented.

This is finish 5 of 14 for my FAL Q2 list, woo! I'm hoping to finish at least one more item on the list before it's link-up time. Five of fourteen doesn't feel like that many, but I've made great progress on a bunch of the other projects, so that's always a positive thing.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Banzo's Quilt Top.

This quilt should have been finished last fall for my five year old, but it's just barely made it to the quilt top stage. It started with a request from my son to use some construction truck fabric, and honestly, I was stumped. I pulled a stack of rainbow blenders to go with the trucks, and it sat on the edge of my sewing table, quietly mocking me.

But when I had a bout of inspiration and cut the truck fabric from the mix, I immediately knew that I wanted to make another plus quilt.

Ten blocks in, I started to doubt myself. Would this actually look okay? I had made a lot of the blue and green blocks, and I found myself wishing I had limited the palette to those two colors. (Wouldn't a scrappy blue and green plus quilt look yum?) But I kept pushing forward, and when all sixteen were lined up, I was happy with the result.

Of course, as I was piecing the backing this morning, my son asked me where the construction trucks were going to be, and I still haven't figured out that one. Maybe the quilt label will have trucks?

I'm planning to all over FMQ this one, which will be the first time--I think?--that I have ever done that!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Finished Felicity Dress

I finished my Felicity Dress by Jennifer Lauren this weekend. I slipped it on for these photos and then promptly took it off because in this household, a white linen dress is a luxury item. The entire ten minutes I wore it, I was sure the baby was going to throw up on me or one of the big boys would grab onto my skirt with peanut butter (or worse) on their hands. I escaped, but needless to say, this won't be my go-to mom outfit.

But a girl needs a little handmade luxury, right?

I've had this white linen for a very long time. Like before I started sewing and even had a machine long time.

I'm not gonna lie, friends. This dress was a struggle. Not because the pattern was bad--nope. The pattern was clear and easy to understand. It was a struggle because it didn't fit my body perfectly the way the pattern was written, and I don't have a ton of apparel experience to know what to adjust. The kajillion tutorials on altering garments were also kind of useless because I didn't know what didn't fit, just that it didn't. Cue some extremely frustrated evenings spent staring at this dress and begging it to cough up the information and let me know what to fix.

I started with coming to terms with the fact that the bodice was much too large. At least one size, possibly two, though I went with the size my measurements suggested. I made a muslin of the bodice, but I struggled with knowing how much space would disappear when the zip was added. Apparently I just need to make a practice dress with each pattern. Next time, I'll make a size down. I'll also try raising the waistline an inch, and today I discovered Jennifer Lauren has posted a bunch of alteration tutorials for this dress, which is all sorts of awesome. (And I already have the fabric for the next one, woo!)

By the time I'd come to all of these conclusions, I'd put in the lapped zip and finished off my exposed seams with bias tape, and there was no way I was ripping out that zip to make more complicated fixes that might not actually fix anything. I did go back and sew in the side seams about a half an inch on each side to bring the bodice in closer. I threw in some additional gathers to the neckline. I also shortened the hemline because I'm on the short side.
All together, those minor fixes made the garment look less marshmallow and more dress. And with a cardigan on top, I rather like it. (Since I adore cardigans and try to wear them every moment of every day, that's not really an inconvenience.)

This is finish 4 of 14 for my Q2 FAL list.


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