July 27, 2011

juicy picnic quilt

juicy picnic quilt

from the moment I picked out the fabrics, I knew this was going to be one of my favorite quilts ever. the construction is simple, but those colors just kill me. this is actually a redo of my miscellany quilt as requested by tom.

juicy picnic quilt

I wanted something that was bright and fun, something appropriate for a summer picnic. innocent crush and habitat always looked like they belonged together to me so I started there, adding some greenfield hill (which is way underrated if you ask me) and a print from magnolia lane. I couldn't be happier with this mix of prints and colors.

juicy picnic quilt

I have this really bad habit of hoarding fabrics because I like them too much to use. I know this makes no sense, but it's what I do! I'm really trying to break away from this and this quilt was the first step. I can say that it felt great to actually cut and sew into this fabric and I survived.

juicy picnic quilt

with no looming deadline, I took my time sewing each block in bits and pieces. I also made the quilt a bit bigger this time, 75" square vs 60", figuring this was a good lounging in the park size for a couple of humans and a boston terrier.

juicy picnic quilt back

to be honest, thinking of actually using this quilt on a picnic gives me a bit of an anxiety attack. just watching tom hold the quilt outside for me put me on edge, I didn't want it to get dirty! I just have to remember what I made it for and that soap and water exists. to help me along, I used kona in black for the backing to hide any dirt. I also used a bright blue thread in the bobbin as an ode to the original quilt and its bright blue binding.

size: 75x75"
top: innocent crush (loves me loves me not, bubble burst), habitat (raise the roof, city planting), greenfield hill (the ramble, griswold plaid, coterie, diamond chevron) magnolia lane (textured plaid)
back: kona black
binding: kona aqua
batting: cotton bamboo blend
thread: aurifil 2600 (top), 1125 (back), 2805 (binding)

July 23, 2011

a forced break

or more like I'm so badass when I sew that I break machines. actually, it's more like I tried to use a poorly wound bobbin because I was lazy and my bobbin case decided to pop out and break. I like the idea that I'm too much of a sewer for my machine so let's go with that one.

while I wait for a new bobbin case I thought I showed you something from two months ago, because I like to keep my blog timely like that!

practice piece

I'm calling this "the summer of learning" because, besides the peter valley retreat I went on a few weeks ago, I took a longarm class over memorial day weekend at olde city quilts (who, by the way, are some of the nicest people I've met). the class started with how to load your quilt onto the machine, which I'll take any day over pinning or spray basting, and then we were off. we tried one pantograph, but quickly moved on to free motion quilting on our practice pieces.

practice piece

just thinking of a longarm machine made me scared and I figured they would be too much to handle. once you relax and just get into the groove of quilting they are quite easy, maybe even pleasurable. at least you don't have a big, heavy quilt on your shoulders or lap to maneuver.

simple charm quilt

we were told to bring a small quilt of our own to work on after the practice piece, so, of course, I waited until the night before to put something together. looking through my scraps I found a bunch of charm squares I never knew what to do with and threw them together with some leftover kona cotton in snow and essex linen in ivory (and a little square in natural). for the back I cut into some yardage of a jay mccarroll print that was in the stash. not bad for a last minute quilt! it measures about 40" square in the end. I stippled on the background and chose different patterns to quilt on the prints. the most fun was pebble quilting on the modern meadow strip, I could never get it right on my machine but it came easily (or easier at least) on the longarm.

wrinkled goodness

wrinkled goodness

back detail

I can see renting time on the longarm becoming a regular thing for me, especially as I finish my sampler quilt and debate on how to quilt it. larger quilts just don't seem as daunting anymore, but rather exciting.

July 15, 2011

a new obsession

swatches and flowers

I've been having a little conflict with all my yarn lately. while I still love it, it's taking up a ton of space that I could use for, umm, walking around or getting to my dresser drawers. I haven't touched my knitting needles in over a year (and I had to look that up!) and have been threatening to post my stash on ebay just to get rid of it. but, I haven't. there's always that "but" isn't there? yarn has too many possibilities spun into its fiber. that grey merino could be a snuggly cardigan while that silk could be a lazy shawl. that alpaca, the design may not exist yet! it's almost too much for me to handle.

I'm crocheting!

before I said goodbye to my stash, I randomly decided to (re)learn how to crochet. maybe this time it would stick and I could use up my yarn? the first time I tried to learn the whole one stick thing seemed like some weird juju. of course I only have it five minutes so there's that. ever since then I've only used my hooks for a tubular cast on and that's pretty much it. I tried to learn from books, but then when I would try to read a crochet pattern it all looked like floating letters and numbers. this time I promised myself I wouldn't give up and decided to sign up for a crochet class on craftsy. I wanted clear videos, instructions, and some sort of forum and this fit all those requirements. there's also the whole not having to leave the house aspect, I could be in my pj's while crocheting. I wasn't slowing down the class with all my questions and there wasn't someone slowing me down when I was ready to move on. it even turned out to be cheaper than going somewhere for a lesson.

flower in progress

I started off with vickie howell's crochet lab and finally got what single, half-double, and double crochet are ingrained in my head. and following along, reading patterns became less mystical especially when she goes over how to read a crochet chart. guys, I didn't even know there were crochet charts! why aren't there more charts out there? or are they out there but I'm just looking in all the wrong places? anyway, I wanted to keep going and learn more about crocheting in the round so I signed up for linda permann's crafty crochet embellishments. the intro included a crochet refresher that I found super useful, I picked up a couple of more crochet tricks there. I haven't gone through all the lessons yet, but I've been having fun making flowers and trying out different ways to start (the adjustable ring finally makes sense!). there are even some earrings in one of the lessons I want to try out. these two courses gave me enough confidence to start on some real projects, I have limited patience for just working on swatches it seems. I started a calm cowl with some malabrigo silky merino I had leftover and a half granny square shawl that's around here somewhere. I even started some japanese flowers, but apparently I need more sock yarn scraps. will I be able to use up all my yarn now? probably not, but I am having fun going through it! I may even need more yarn so I can make blankets later.

craftsy was cool enough to give me a discount code for my readers. if you'd like to take a craftsy class, be it crochet, knitting, or sewing, you can follow this link and your class will be discounted to $29.99! I signed up for sew retro class already, though it'll probably take me a while to get started on it.

July 11, 2011

I think I need more fabric

post vacation doldrums, I have them. after spending five days at peters valley for cal patch's 'design and make your own clothes' workshop, I miss sewing all day every day, only taking breaks for meals. I also miss crafting at night surrounded by super talented and crafty ladies. at least my souvenirs are pretty awesome.

a-line skirt

it was so awesome to have five days to work on drafting patterns, making muslins, and ending up with finished garments I love. I've had cal's book for a year now and in all that time I've read through it a few times and would promptly put it back on the shelf intimidated by it. ridiculous, I know. when I saw cal post about her class I knew I had to take it and I'm so glad I did.

tunic tee

pattern drafting isn't this scary, evil thing most people would have you believe. cal, in both the book and class, walks you through key measurements, how to plot them out, and how to add some design features you'd like all in an approachable and simple manner. there were six of us in the class and even though we all made a skirt, a tee, and a dress we all came out with clothes that were totally our own. I mean, how empowering is that?! I can't wait to draft some more patterns out to practice what we were taught and to end up with more skirts and dresses I want. there are also some pieces in the book I want to try. first though, I need to get my hands on some jersey to make more tunics. I could live in those all summer.

shift dress

cal is an open and warm person who is ready to share her knowledge with you. I think on the last day we all went a little crazy with all the new things we wanted to learn and get done. we could have spent another five days with her and not run out of ideas! if you get the chance to take one of her classes, do so. you won't regret it.

so maybe it isn't post-vacation doldrums I'm suffering from, but cal withdrawal. after eating every meal and spending most of your day with one person you kind of get used to them. so are you ready for 2012 cal?

June 6, 2011

a bit of a journey

have you ever been on a journey that makes no sense? I'm talking about the crafting kind. actually, I should say the crafting gifts kind.

I first started with a quilt:

stars on back

but once the quilting started giving me problems with thread breaking or me losing my spot and creating jagged lines, I put it on time out. the quilting was just not good enough for a gift.

so I started another quilt:

making this a democratic quilt

it started off well and it was even pretty quick. until I had to sew around that outer circle! I tried to cut out a circle that would fit but luck wasn't on my side. off to the ufo pile it went.

after two failed quilts I somehow ended up with six pairs of baby shoes:

shoe parade

I'm starting to think maybe this is where I was supposed to end up all along. imagine if I had been making shoes since I started the first quilt, how many would I have done?!

baby kimono shoes

I started off with these little kimono shoes (both patterns are from ithinksew), which I think are my favorite for the toes alone. think of all the fussy cutting you could do!

baby booties

three pairs weren't enough apparently (I want this baby to have options), so I made three more of the baby booties I made before. just as fiddly as before, but just as cute.

May 16, 2011

the three day quilt

miscellany patchwork quilt

sorry for the silence, but I think I needed a little recovery time after this last project. then I couldn't share it until the fabric officially debuted at quilt market this weekend. I finally get to show you a quick (and I really mean quick), fun quilt that was seriously a last minute project.

miscellany patchwork quilt

when michelle asked for a throw size patchwork quilt, I first thought "that sounds easy" and then "omg I get to see miscellany!". I've been excited for this line since it was first announced. a couple of tweets and emails back and forth and we thought we were golden. we live in the same state, so the mail should be fast right? no, of course not. I lost out on a day of work because of the post office and didn't receive the fabric until saturday afternoon. did I mention I was trying to send the finished quilt back by that monday? I quickly got to cutting after nixing some design ideas based on how much fabric I had on hand. 225 squares later I was ready for a dinner break and to start sewing. I laid out my blocks and even timed how long it would take me to sew each row and then the blocks. I can get a little crazy sometimes.

miscellany patchwork quilt

sunday I was feeling pretty good about getting everything together, but I had to run out and getting batting and fabric for the back and binding. I chose black for the back so that the quilting would echo some of the black and white prints. the blue came from the tree print which I just love. I didn't get to start on the grid quilting until monday morning and I dropped off the quilt at the post office by 4:30 that day. thank god for machine binding! I was ready for a drink by then.

miscellany patchwork quilt

it was a crazy three days that turned out to be 20 hours of work, but it was so worth it. I'm smitten by this quilt and the fabric. I know I'll be picking some of julia rothman's fabric up once it's out, I can't decide which is my favorite print. I think I figured out why I'm so in love with cloud 9's fabrics, besides their unbelievable hand. you can tell each collection is highly edited, there are no weak spots here. I also love that there aren't a million colorways of each print; I think that some lines get a little too diluted with all the colorways. you get eight beautiful prints that work well together and can stand up on their own. a quilt of just these prints doesn't scream "collection" to me.

you can see a photo of the whole quilt and previews of each print over at the cloud9 blog.

miscellany by julia rothman for cloud 9 fabrics
size 60"x60"
backing kona black
binding kona turquoise
thread aurifil
started 5.07.11
finished 5.09.11

May 3, 2011

a very girly quilt

girly quilt

this poor quilt should have been done sooner, but the original thread I bought just wasn't working tension-wise. so I had to wait for an order of, my favorite, aurifil to get here so I could get started again. I'm so in love with how it turned out that it kind of hurts to give away. I even checked the baby registry to order a gift, but I just couldn't do that. so pink quilt it is. I'll have to make one for myself another time.

crinkly goodness

I decided to do a sort of meandering squares in squares quilting to echo the blocks. I love how it came out so crinkly after washing. it was fun to use some variegated thread, sometimes the stitching disappears and other times it just pops. I also used some dream cotton batting, which was new to me. it quilted like butter and the quilt feels so light and soft. this is definitely a new favorite!

girly quilt back

I kept things simple, but still pink, for the back. I just happened to have a yard of some pink gee's bend solid that I had no idea what I was going to use for. perfect! (note to self: make a solid quilt like this for yourself)

stripey binding

I think my favorite part is the binding. I found this striped fabric at my lqs and had to have it. it reminds me of lifesavers or starburst, some sort of candy for sure. add to that the barber pole effect the bias creates and my heart may just go pitter-patter. yeah, definitely need to make something like this again.

size: 36x48
top: baby talk, art gallery living elements, happy camper too, perch, kona yarrow, bone, cocoa, (other prints that I do not know)
back: kona scraps and gee's bend solids in pink
binding: sweetlife sunkissed multi skinny lines stripes
batting: quilter's dream cotton request
thread: aurifil v3660, 2410

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