Saturday, March 30, 2013

Last Minute Pre-Trip Stitches

Also known as "The Post of Incredibly Hard-to-Get Self-Portraits".

Exhibit A:  a necessity for traveling across the pond in a group of nearly 20.

Contemplators tend to require the most time alone to think and recharge. Thus the thought of 3 weeks in another country with so many others makes me quake just a bit. A little embroidered eye mask may be a form of security blanket for me - a way to communicate that I need to be left undisturbed in order to be friendly in the long run.

Exhibit B:  back gap jeans. (Not from The Gap - just that horrid gap between the fabric and the flesh that comes standard with every pair of jeans pulled over my - and likely most humans' with XX chromosomes - curves.)

Well. A little seam ripper action...

A little thimble action...

And voila! No more back gap, and no belts to have to take off when going through security!

It is super-hard to get photos from this angle! Here's an attempt at before/after from the other side.

With three pairs of jeans "edited", my to-do list is nearly complete! Now to figure out how to pack it all... ;-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stitching Sherlock

My geekiness overfloweth.

Ever since I was introduced to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, I've been hooked on the show. If you've not yet investigated the phenomenon, here is the clip that got me interested.

The plot thickened as I learned one of my coworkers is a big fan of the show, too! Alas, she is transitioning to another lab in another state, so I determined to make her a few goodbye gifts.

The phrase "I am SHERlocked" is from Season 2. "Moriarty was real" is a fan phrase related to the final episode in that season.

There is a joke on the interwebs that Martin Freeman looks like a hedgehog and Benedict Cumberbatch an otter. Thus Johnhog and Otterlock - but I decided an otter would be too difficult to capture accurately. I used this tutorial for a teeny hedgehog pincushion, and it was just right!

Fan art in response to Sherlock often depicts Dr. Watson in a black-striped tee or cabled sweater. I combined the two by crocheting his body and stitching over in black yarn.

Now that these gifts are given / received I can finally blog about them - and come clean about my current geeky affiliation!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Going Abroad

I will be spending the first three weeks of April abroad with a team from my School. To prepare, I made a few zipper pouches using my go-to tutorial.

I made a larger one, too! It's about 12 inches square, lined in a bright shot cotton.

The women leading the team are both small group leaders, so I thought it would be nice to give them each a little pouch and encouraging note as we get ready to set out. I only kept the French kitty pouch to go with the larger kitty pouch.

 I plan on doing a bit of watercolor, so I am bringing my brushes. My old brush roll was made (presumably) from a sushi mat and muslin. But not all my brushes fit, so I decided to make a new, quilted roll!

I actually made two. This one was a gift for another small group leader. She also paints and was thrilled to receive her roll (paintbrushes not included) :-)

I made one for myself using my favorite daffodil batik and giant floral print from England Swings.

I love having that extra strap for longer brushes. They all stay in place much better and feel very secure - perfect for travel!

While I'm away, I won't be blogging, but between now and the time I leave I'll try to finish up a few things - like my Lovely Year of Finishes! Gaa! Gotta get to it!

Linking up with Sarah's Whoop Whoop Fridays!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Blocks

I can hardly believe it's Spring! That means we're at the end of the Sew Blues Bee. Sad, I know... I will spare you the puns and show you my blocks for the month instead.

Sally introduced a fabulous technique for "Anita's Arrowhead". These were, I must admit, a bit challenging because starch was a two-edged sword for me. But I do like how they turned out and could imagine making a quilt in this pattern myself!

Marta asked for Denyse Schmidt Simply Woven blocks. I do not have a stock of DS, but I loved working with Marta's prints and was happy to discover some I'd never seen before! Love that grey floral especially!

With the Music City Modern Quilters' BOM, the block this month was a raw-edged reverse-applique string block. I made an executive decision to stick with some sort of string block but nix the applique technique as it does not lend itself to the sort of quilt I am creating. So I chose to try out this block instead and used regular 1.5 inch strips. I like how it turned out, and I even went back and restitched some of the seams to fix the mismatched stripes. I'm excited about this quilt and about the next block, so even though my bees are over, I have a new block to look forward to every month!

Lots of transitions coming up... stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

If You Give A Baby A Bunny

If you are invited to dinner, and your hosts say, "No, no. Just bring yourself, nothing more!" ...

... but you know for a fact that your hosts have a beautiful baby girl ...

... and you have plans for the pattern anyway, but it wouldn't hurt to make a prototype ...

... then, by all means, make that baby a gingham bunny! And give it to her ...

... and she will love it and cuddle it and beam one of her sweet smiles at you.

And you will smile back!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Baby Quilt of Many Colours

I had an impulse, and I went with it. My coworker announced she is pregnant, and immediately I started thinking of baby quilt ideas. Finally, I dove into my scrap bins and this is what came together!

The quilt measures about 40x50 inches. Here's the entire top:

I used three half yards for the back and quilted a haphazard spiral in variegated blue thread.

You can hardly see it, but binding is a bright red print from Moda's Stitched in Color line.

We do not know the sex of the baby, so I figured bright colors would go either way. As I finished it, I got in touch with the mama and learned that in her family, nothing baby-related comes into the home until the baby itself arrives! Whoops. Guess I'll be hanging onto it for awhile!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Goal: Square Knots!

Go with your passion, right? Currently I am passionate about putting blocks into tops! Then I can marathon-baste and marathon-quilt later in the year. For now, I'm challenging myself to put together my Square Knot blocks for a bed quilt! Thus far all my quilts have been closer to throw-size, so this one is a challenge for me! The original post and tutorial for these blocks can be found here.

I really like square quilts (ah, something so relaxing about a perfect square...) but this time it must be a rectangle! I came up with the idea to add some geese to help elongate the quilt, plus I plan on adding borders to make each "knot" stand out. I am trying to figure out what I was thinking because I seem to have made too many geese...

... which is really not a problem. They can become a toss pillow, perhaps?

I'm excited about putting this quilt together, partly because it's my first "real" original quilt block design. Several months ago, I was contacted by a quilter asking to use my block (with slight modifications) for her bee! I tracked her down, and if you're interested, you can find photos of others' interpretations of my block in this flickr group.

And just for kicks, here's a photo of my friend's cat doing her best to intimidate me. (I have to borrow friends' cats until I get one of my own...) 

Linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes!