Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rockin' Robin Week 4

Let's give square-in-a-squares a whirl!

If I choose the traditional row robin orientation, I'll have something like this:

I'm leaning towards mixing it up, though. Maybe something like this:

Next week is the last week. It will make all the difference, I'm sure! I wonder if I'll be able to do some sashing? My eye is enjoying the stair-step effect of the rectangles and squares. Thoughts?

Oh, and just because I'm gleeful over it... BEHOLD! My first home-grown tomato! I feel like a proud mama.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just Because It's Awesome

This has nothing to do with sewing, but it is awesome. I made a periodic table from paint chips and pinned it to my wall, and as dorktastic as it is, I love it!

Written by hand, individually pinned, situated above art supply storage space. I love loving what I create! [swoon]

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dog Days of Sewing

House sitting is always an adventure, and I'm happy to embark upon it! This week I've got a couple of canines to keep me company, wondering why there's a sewing machine on the kitchen table and why I won't let them cuddle on a quilt with me. (Elementary, my dear Einstein--you stink!) I have gotten quite a bit accomplished, though!

Week 3 of the Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along's theme is houses. Here are my blocks:

I mixed them up with the other weeks' blocks to play with the effect. It may turn into a sort of "I-spy" quilt, except the task is to find particular shapes, not prints. Can you find four tiny stars? Three houses all in a row?

As I trimmed corners off the Flying Geese shapes, I happened to lay out the scraps as half-square triangles. The size was perfect for a mug rug, so with the help of some strips leftover from my Stained Glass quilt top, I came up with this little wild thing:

I am struck by how closely the shapes resemble a Union Jack. I'd like to try a Union Jack block in the future, so this ended up being great practice! I used some of my favorite Sunkissed for the back:

Recent excursions to fabric shops left me with some glorious daffodil batik and a remnant of red ticking. Daffodils are my favorite flower, and the colors are so saturated and rich that I had to make something wearable with it! My first bit went into a double-sided headband, perfect for making the "messy look" appear purposeful!

Practical and pretty with a side of simplicity--my favorite!

And speaking of practical...

Behold the latest addition to my basket of unmentionables--eyelet drawers!

Perfect for square dances...

... no matter how fast your partner swings you!

I used a pattern purchased when I was teaching a student to sew on machine. As you can imagine, they were a breeze to put together with one pattern piece, a chunk of elastic and a couple of seams to iron! I may have to make another pair for swim shorts--we'll see.

Can you believe how quickly the summer has flown by? I can't. Harvests are in full-swing and the fridge is piled with goodies from CSAs. Sewing makes way for freezing and attempts at canning... Ahh... It's a good, good life!

P.S. Look where (else) my Rescued Threads (tm) tote can be found! (That is, here and here!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dewberry Dress (a.k.a Making Fabric Do All The Work)

May your eyeballs be seared with flaming COLOUR!

Let's face it. I know I could win America's Next Top Petite Model and all, but in this case, I think the print is working it more than me!

Yes, that is pink pocket lining you glimpsed, as well as shockingly clashing pink lining for the bodice. After visiting the Stitcher's Garden (for a few peeks and description of that glory, check out my friend's post here), my best friend and I came home with less cash but more exuberance from unexpected finds! Among my purchases were a yard of Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 and a fat quarter to match. I stole back a favorite pattern from said friend and "made it work" with what I had.

I added pockets of my own making rather than follow the pattern, both for aesthetics and because I lacked enough yardage. I kinda like the obnoxious pink with the grenadine blossoms!

Please excuse the rumples and the lack of hook-and-eye. Those were amended after I wore the dress to church where I received lots of compliments, both from those who knew I'd made it and those who didn't. Such a sweet bit of gratification--beyond self-congratulatory pats on the back for making another obstinate zipper bend to my will, of course :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stained Glass Top--Complete!

It took a bit longer than I anticipated, but I've completed my Stained Glass Quilt top! Lack of planning on the outset had me unpicking some blocks at the last MCMQG meeting, but that didn't make a difference once it was all put together. The only other problem I encountered was having to "fix" a few scant seams with fusible web. As I was working on this top, I declared to friends that it's one of the most fabulous things I've ever made. My opinion hasn't changed now it's all pieced!

I'm stocking up on batting this week (hooray for 50% off at JoAnn's!) but I'm still not sure what do do about backing. The grey is hand-dyed muslin. Should I dye more of that, or should I go with something completely different? I thought of piecing the back with similar colors from the "windows". The only issue is that I worked with scraps and have nowhere near enough for a backing. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? I appreciate it!

Meanwhile, I'm spending restful moments indulging in novels I never dreamed I'd enjoy. When a local bookstore went out of business this past fall, I snagged the first Elm Creek Quilts book for cheap, needing something light to read on planes, buses and trains in Toronto. I found several more at my local library and quickly devoured them, then the ones below came from a used bookstore near my house. Ah, bliss... Summertime, and the livin' is easy...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rockin' Robin Week 2

Stars this week! I made two partial large stars, two medium, and four small for five more row robin blocks. The little guys were a challenge with all the bulk from seam allowances. My HST points are improving, though!

When the quilt-along is finished, I have an idea of how I want to mix each week's blocks. I'm about 98% sure I do *not* want to do straight rows of similar blocks. I pulled out last week's rectangles and mixed 'em in to check the effect. Stars and bars, anyone?

I'm excited! I love the way it's shaping up, the way your eye bounces around, the sense of organized chaos, the colors, the textures... Feels very "me". Looking forward to next Monday for the next tutorial!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baby Binge

Big B, little B, what begins with B? Baby sewing bug has bitten, B, B, B...

After crocheting my first baby blanket for a cousin, I was suddenly seized with the desire to sew for my future children. No, I'm not pregnant, but maybe by the time I am, I'll be too busy with other things to sew a few basics. I'm beginning in earnest to build my modern version of a hope chest.

If you're not into alliteration, I apologize for what's to follow. I assure you, it was not intended, but it fits the theme, no?

First up:  bonnets! A few days ago, Sew, Mama, Sew posted a list of summer tutorials (hey, did you see my Rescued Threads [tm] Tote made it?) I was already in baby mode when I saw the tutorial for sunbonnets. Perfect timing! I used remnants of two different eyelets and lined one with scraps of a vintage sheet, the other with a remnant of voile from a friend's scrap bag. The tutorial was easy to follow, and the bonnets came together nicely! I only diverged by omitting the interfacing and putting buttons on both sides so the bonnets can be reversible. (Of course, I spent a delightful hour poring through buttons for just the perfect pairings!)

Next up:  bibs! I made a few of these for a friend last year based on a bib my mother allowed me to trace (thanks, Mom, for the idea and pattern!) but hand-stitched them. That family had lost their first baby, so this one was extra special. I found a print that said "sweet baby, miracle baby" and bought all I could find, creating bibs from the fabric. For my own bibs, I used seven different prints for the fronts and "miracle baby" for the back. Scraps of batting were used for filling, and the only part I hand-stitched this time were the snaps. I took the opportunity to practice some free-motion quilting forms instead!

For some, I attempted to trace the print of the fabric.

For others, I let the fabric inspire the quilting.

Finally, I practiced lettering using meaningful scriptures.

You have given me my heart's desire... Psalm  21:2
For this child I prayed and God has granted my desire. 1 Samuel 1:27

Last B for the time being (pun intended):  burp clothes! More scrap batting, more vintage sheet scraps, and remnants of flannel I'd purchased some time ago came together to fit my small-frame shoulders nicely. I practiced more free-motion quilting, this time focusing on lettering and drawing inspiration from scriptures. I want my children to know how much they're loved, desired, and destined for good things long before they are born.

Before I formed you in your mother's womb I knew you and set you apart for Myself. Jeremiah 1:5 
You formed my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

Not one of all the Lord's good promises failed. Every one was fulfilled. Joshua 21:45

You wrote in your book all the days of my life before any came to be. Psalm 139:16

I've still a few more baby-themed WIPs, but that's enough for now! We'll see what more comes out of my hands over the next few days. I have a MCMQG meeting on Saturday and a women's open studio at church on Sunday. Should be lovely, and hopefully... not B themed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rockin' Robin Week 1

The Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along has begun! This is my first block-based quilt-along. So far, so fun!

From that big pile of fabrics I chose five or six to play with this week. Here's what I came up with:

I made one block more than the tutorial called for, intending a 60-inch square throw. I didn't sew them together in a row because I expect each week's blocks to be comprised of different fabrics, and I'm not sure I want each row to be so unique they look like they're pieced from separate quilts. It is a much simpler task just making five blocks at a time, though.

In the tutorial they suggested using stacked scraps for the interior rectangles, but I decided to go along with my plan to use that paisley to unify the blocks and cut each background element from a separate scrap. Based on one week alone, I know this thing's going to be WILD! If the paisley isn't enough to convince you, check with the zebra. Thus, my tentative title for this quilt:  WILD THING!