Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hunting for Fleas

I went to the market to buy some fleas
But when I came home, I was toting these:
Antique quilt blocks, a dollar for three,
Three cross-stitched embroideries...

OK, I never claimed to be Emily Dickinson, but I'm fine to amuse myself...

Sunday was my first flea marketing since childhood. I am proud of the restraint I exercised as well as the finds I came home with! In addition to a few pieces of china and bit of silver (not pictured), I found the following:

I think I'll stay away from the flea market for awhile. My budget will thank me!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baby, Belt, Board

In alphabetical order of what I've been working on...

The PI ("principal investigator", a.k.a. my boss) is having a baby girl! I attempted crocheted booties, but they were too involved, so I opted for baby shoes instead! I used this tutorial, lined the soles with batting, and kept the uppers unlined. I've cut several more pairs of shoes, plus a few bibs. Consider this your warning for an impending baby theme.

Up next... a new belt! A friend gave me several bags of fabric oddments, among them some chunks of orange corduroy. The shape of those chunks inspired this belt! I based it off one of my favorite d-ring belts and used rings cut from curtains (repurposed here). D-rings might have been better than circles, but I've been spending time around MRIs lately, and as these rings don't respond to magnets, I can wear this belt to work on Saturdays. I'm wearing it now... because I'm going to work... today... Saturday... ok, so it's a drawback, but hey, no job is perfect, and I am full-on LOVING my new field!

Speaking of work...

Everyone has a work accessory they're rarely without. Mine is a clipboard. Inspired by this photo, I decided to glue + Mod Podge my favorite paint chips onto the back of my basic board and bring a splash of colour to the lab. Mmm... something delicious for the eyes to drink in... Life in the midst of data and screens... I love it.

Alright, off to the imaging center! Happy weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Bee Blocks

What my garden lacks in volume it makes up for in colour...

I thought the orange a fitting introduction to the blocks I made this month for the Orange You Glad bee! Leslie was incredibly brilliant, I think, for giving us this block. The package arrived full of pre-cut squares, ingeniously luring me into believing the block would be an easy whip-up.

Well, easy is one thing. "Whip-up" is another. All those fiddly HST's to sew, iron, trim, position...

All the effort was worth it, of course. I love how fabulously the blocks turned out, and I am newly confident in my HST skills! We call that a win-win.

I must say, I'm glad to have these finished. I've several projects waiting in the wings, and I look forward to bringing them front and center!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lab Lunch Bag

Remember this puppy?

She's looking kind of sad.

And the interior is beyond help.

Guess it's time for something new to tote my veggie-rich lunches!

Scraps of home dec dots and a remnant of denim make up the body of the bag.

I hacked off part of a t-shirt destined for yarn-ing to make the lining.

It's finished with a flowery button brooch.

I didn't document how this came together, and nothing is terribly precise, but I love how it turned out. My honest first impression once it was done? "Aw, dang. It's cute. I can't help making cute stuff. Ugh." Seriously, I don't think I'd ever pick this out in a shop, but coming from my hands, I'm feeling it. And I can remember that red lining came from a punk concert! Mmm!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Practice Blocks

Funny how a change of career saps your sewing time! For the record, I'm loving the learning curve. My coworkers are dedicated, passionate, precise and thoughtful. They accept my strengths and encourage me to grow. It's a wonderful feeling!

But it leaves little time for hobbies. It took me over a week to put together a couple of practice blocks for the Orange You Glad bee!

Although there are two "hives", I'm making practice blocks from each. Thus far, the beginner hive's blocks have been more challenging overall! I'm definitely getting in lots of HST practice. Now to square up bits in the fabrics I was sent!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Final Marlowe Blocks

Let me give you a peek into my professional life as of late:

June 1:  initial interview with lab
August 4:  HR website posts position I interviewed for
August 18:  position has been taken down, but as I haven't heard from the lab, I check-in
August 19:  second interview
August 24:  job offer
August 29:  first day of work

From the day I began until Saturday, I didn't sew a stitch. I'm thankful to have Labor Day off to make up for lost time! (Hence the rapid-fire rate of blog posting. I have so much catching-up to do!)

I added one more sampler block to my Marlowe Quilt design. I'd seen the Crossed Canoe block in a photo of a barn quilt. The image resonates with me as it recalls memories of canoeing with my dad or kayaking with fellas and family, of peacefully drifting with the current or the exuberant joy of flipping an overturned boat. I felt it would be a great opportunity to work my favorite flower into the quilt as the block showcases fabric nicely.

But wait... wasn't the Double Wedding Ring to be the last block?

Originally, it was. But then I got further along and realized the thing is HUGE! My other sampler blocks are 18", but this one was making up to be about 22"! I was so far into it (and loving it too much) to abandon the block, so I reworked the design, added in Crossed Canoes, and finished my Double Wedding Ring last.

I love it. My cousin helped me decide on the final arrangement of the arcs. For one of my first attempts at piecing curves, I feel like it came together remarkably well! Paper-piecing the arcs helped, but stitching by hand kept it challenging.

I think I'll set the Marlowe Quilt aside for awhile, at least until after the holidays. My machine has been back for a week, but I haven't even tested it out! I'm thankful for a long day ahead of me. Hopefully Kenmore can forgive my neglect!

Square Scrap "Wreath" Tutorial

'Cause it's hip to be a square.

You will need:

1) Cheap square picture frame
2) Those scraps of batting you kept from the quilts you've trimmed up, assuring yourself you'd use them
3) Long strips of fabric (I used scraps from quilt backing sheets)
4) Hot glue gun
5) Embellishments--fabric yo-yos, fabric scraps, buttons, needle + thread, etc.
6) About an hour


Take the backing and glass out of your frame. If it is as cheap as mine, it has staples sticking out. Bend these down, but don't worry about removing them since you'll be covering the frame anyway.

Start by hot gluing a piece of batting on the diagonal of the back of your frame. Start wrapping, overlapping edges slightly. Glue the end in place, then start another strip where the first left off.

Wrap the entire frame once... twice...

... until it's fat enough to feel like a wreath form. I ended up with about five layers.

Don't worry if it's messy, especially at the corners.

With fabric strips, follow the same procedure as with the batting. Glue a strip on the diagonal and start wrapping, overlapping the edges slightly. Don't make the fabric too tight so the wrinkles and imperfections of batting won't show!

When you come to a corner, skip a little space, then wrap the corner first.

Come back and cover the bit you skipped, tucking in the raw edges from the corner.

Skip back over and keep wrapping! Continue adding strips until you secure the final one. Make sure you secure these strips on the back!

My stripes are disjointed and uneven due to different strip widths. For a more uniform look, go with a less-graphic print.

Now for embellishments! The rosette I made consists of a loooooong strip of fabric gathered with a long running stitch and secured with a few backstitches.

I also pored through my stash of vintage buttons. Among them were some large buttons I'd backed with circles of scrap fabric!

Artfully arrange your embellishments and hot glue them in place.

Now try it out on your door!

I like mine set on point, framing the knocker nicely, almost as if I intended it to look this cool!

Happy making!