Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WIP Wednesday

What a week! My daughter became ill with that cold that has been travelling around and then the rest of us got it. No surprise there when you get a wet hand stuck in your mouth unexpectedly. Add a hospital trip for an eye swollen completely shut, a trip to the 'baby doctor' for a swollen belly, then an allergic reaction to the meds for said swollen eye (no surprise there), a ton of snuggling, and you have the last couple of days pretty much covered. Needless to say there wasn't a ton of sewing going on. However, I did manage to finish my daughters new sleep sack complete with zippers and snaps.

My brother's quilt hasn't progressed any further. But I did manage to try thread sketching for the first time prior to getting sick. I'm not 100% happy with the center of the poppy, but it's my own fault for not stopping and looking at an actual picture before stitching it. I used 2 layers of stabilizer since I knew I'd be putting so much thread in the center area.

I'm behind in following along with Leah Day's FMQ along. I don't want to just FMQ a sample piece, so I have to keep stopping and getting something I'm working on prepped to use. I get that a LOT of people are afraid of messing up their masterpiece. I've just decided that I know it's isn't going to be perfect and I don't want the waste of just doing practice. Not that the other way of thinking is wrong, it just isn't what works for me. 

I did manage to get half of my sister-in-laws table runner quilted during one really, really short nap. Thank you to the makers of Benadryl for putting sorbitol in the children's version of their medication, my daughter is hyped up and can't really sleep. 

Now a warning to everyone out there learning to FMQ. I'm really, really thankful that I wear glasses. Not quite sure what I did (probably had something to do with forgetting to switch needles), but I ended up shattering a needle and a very small piece landed in the corner of my eye. After a couple minutes of flushing my eye out, the problem was solved. However, I'm certain that if I wasn't wearing my glasses, a trip to the emergency room would have been necessary for me. I personally recommend wearing glasses while learning to FMQ on your own. Then again, I truly am one of those people who is an accident waiting to happen.

And last but not least. . . our daugher is turning one in a couple of weeks. Yay! Allergy testing can finally happen.  :oD  I'm super excited about this! I decided it would be nice to have a birthday banner made from outgrown sleepers and some scrap hot pink interlock. I used one of my new AccuQuilt dies to cut the triangles. I'm still trying to decide between ribbon or cotton binding as what I'll sew the triangles to. But I better decide soon, her birthday isn't going to wait for me to make up my mind.

Check out what everyone else is working on here:

the Needle and Thread Network

and here:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I still can't bring myself to do a full tally on what I'm working on. . . I have a strong feeling that the list is a little bit insane, so I'm avoiding that knowledge. I'm also avoiding starting a couple projects that are calling my name until I finish a couple things. 

I did some FMQ this past week and blogged about it on the post before this one, so I'm not going to talk about it here. But I realize that I have some other WIP progress I haven't shared here yet.

I have the quilting design for my Asian Bargello prepped.   :oD  The picture is the process I use for tracking out large scale designs on really, really cloudy dark days.
I'm super excited to get quilting this, but I really need to finish off my last couple Christmas gifts first. (Our TV isn't a plasma, it's glass so for those of you having a heart attack seeing this, it's OKAY. No TVs are being harmed in the making of my quilt.)

Speaking of which, this table runner for my sister-in-law is ready for quilting.
Don't mind Bella. She thinks the camera loves her and therefore she should be in all photos taken. I swear she sees the camera come out and comes running. It's quite comical to see. It's also the reason that I don't press prior to photo taking. I'd have been seriously annoyed if I had pressed it and then cat paws wrinkled it up again.

Then of course, My red piece. I thought M-R's idea of exploring colour this year was a great idea. To read more about it go here http://www.quiltmatters.blogspot.com/2012/01/colour-my-world-colour-your-world.html I don't know that I'll get a chance to follow along every month, but there is no harm in trying. This is where the piece is at right now. 
I still have to thread paint it, and I probably should have read a little bit more about the technique I was planning on using. I should have used something to control the bleeding. But it was a lot of fun and I think it will make a cute cover of a book or pencil case, or something.

Check out what other's in Canada are doing here:
the Needle and Thread Network

And the linky party on Lee's WIP Wednesday here:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

PS. I'm using flickr to upload my pics instead of blogger for the first time. It's sooooo much easier. Why didn't I try this before?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cat's and quilted items and a little bit of FMQ

What is it about cats and quilted items?

I've been learning to FMQ using Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and decided to take some pictures this morning. The light filtering in was perfect. Well it turned into a bit of a cat photo shoot! 

This isn't the actual course of events. Really you could hear me saying things like, "Pia, stop blocking the light!", "Bella, you fatso catso get off! I'm trying to take a picture.", "Pia, do you have to lay on everything that's white prior to letting me take a picture?!?" Clearly they did have a bit of a fight over who's quilted item it was. Jokes on them though, it's for my daughter.

Anyway back to the original point of this post. 
I'm pretty happy with the advice Leah Day shares in weeks one and two on quilting. She's moved away from the little 4" blocks and decided to go back to the basics. If you want to see what advice she has to offer, check out here website here:
Free Motion Quilting Project

I, of course being me, didn't follow her instructions to a "T". But I did stop and listen to what she had to say and learned a lot. These are my results so far:

I know, I know. I was supposed to not cross over the lines I already made.
But I got bored and like crossing lines so I did it any way. 

My version of a worm. We sometimes call my daughter a "wiggle worm".
Needs some work, but was a lot of fun to quilt in.

A shot from the back so you can see the stitches.
Considering this is my first project with any type of actual FMQ. I'm pretty please with results. It's only up from here!

Where are all the cool knit fabrics?

Okay, I have a confession. I love knit fabrics!

They're comfortable, snuggley, don't fray when you cut them, and come in 100% cotton. Why do people hate them? What makes people afraid to sew with them? And where the heck do I find more selection of them?

There isn't a lot of fabric manufactures printing knit fabrics out there for the retail market. I know the fabric exists. Almost all of my daughters clothing is made from the stuff. Yet, when I go fabric shopping there isn't much out there. Patty Young seems to get it, maybe it's because she has two young girls and makes a lot of children's clothing patterns. 

Many people would recognize this:

or this:

But I want more! And I'm not willing to accept the polyester garbage. 

For now I'm focusing on projects with small pieces, so it's fine, I can re-purpose my daughters old clothing. But at some point, it would be nice to just purchase 100% cotton yardage.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Victoria and Albert Museum--super cool patchwork generator!

Have you tried the patchwork generator over at the Victoria and Albert Museum website? I've known about it for a while, but I was always trying to use images of actual people and was really unsatisfied with how unrealistic the result was. 

Well today it dawned on me that the patchwork Canadian flag quilt that I want to do would be the perfect project for trying out the patchwork generator!
What do you think? I always see Amercians making all kinds of quilts for the 4th of July. Maybe this is my year to make a Canada Day quilt?

I'll probably simplify it and only do the maple leaf as patchwork. Oh how I wish I had a bunch of red scraps to do this as a scrapy quilt! Hmmm...maybe I go rerun it with just the maple leaf. If anyone wants a copy of the pdf that they generate, let me know and I'll email it to you.

Edited to add:
Looks like this is my WIP post for this week. Check out what everyone is doing here:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
and here:
">the Needle and Thread Network

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday (mostly)

It's official! I'm back to work. Monday was my first day after being off for a full year. It's a bit of a shock to the system, but my daughter is taking it like a champ. . . and I get the most amazing hugs when I get home and see her. Not that I don't get hugs from her all day long when I'm home with her, but these are different hugs. The kind that come with the biggest smile you've ever seen and really have a way of warming the heart.

Now back to all things fabric. Do you remember when Lee of Freshly Pieced posted about her lego play mat? (If not, you can read about it here.)

Photo belongs to Lee of Freshly Pieced.
This is not my work, just the inspiration for what I am working on.

Well, I fell in love with the idea, but realized right away that I just didn't have the necessary skills with the rotary cutter to cut the angle pieces accurately. There was no way I was going to use scissors to cut it all. And I really didn't want to order a custom die that I may only use a few times (although I do have a lot of ideas how pieces like that could be used to make a reproduction of a quilt from the Infinity Quilt Show that was in New York some time ago).

Well, I want to make similar bags for my daughter, but with a lot less time invested. Anything that makes cleaning up and organizing easier is a good thing in my mind when little children are involved. But at the same time, I want my sewing time to be for me and what makes my creative juices flow.

So, I made an easy-peesy method out of knit fabric! It's my go to fabric when I don't want to deal with fraying edges.

I started by using a ruler as a compass to make a quarter circle.

Then after folding the fabric in quarters and cutting out the 1/4 circle

Then I cut holes spaced equally apart.

And then ran a matching ribbon through the holes, long enough to stay in while the 'play-mat' is laid out.
Now I plan on cutting out some funky flowers out of some knit fabric and stitching them to the outer edge. I was annoyed with the fact that it's really difficult to find a variety of 100% cotton knit fabrics. And then it dawned on me, clothing that my daughter wore out and isn't good enough to sell at a Mom-to-Mom sale is the perfect source for making flowers!
So my next step is to chop this up.

I'm also working on a blanket for a little new arrival, but I didn't do the letters on the blanket in a knit and they've already started to fray! No wonder I love my knit fabrics! Because the letters didn't start to fray until after I had put in the last stitch on the binding and now I need to cut out the woven cotton print without ruining it. :o(

What is everyone else up to? Check it out here:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

and here:

The Needle and Thread Network

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week has been all about embroidery.

I finished embroidering this:

And I've been working on learning how to use an embroidery machine (thanks Mom!) and digitize my own graphics. A lot of the celtic/norse knotwork I see out there isn't what I want, so. . . I'll make my own. It's fun too!

I also finished my Dad's laptop bag.

I had a lot of fun making it. My Dad drives all day long and his laptops are constantly being vibrated and can be in and out of the cold sometimes. Since "this grade of felt is suitable for vibration absorption, resistance to abrasion and wear" (from www.thefeltstore.com) I'm hoping that this helps reduce the wear and tear on his laptops for him. 

Now, back to digitizing this file so I'll be ready to make my equilateral triangle quilt soon:

Check out what other Canadians are working on at The Needle and Thread Network. Hopefully Lee's WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced is back soon. Check out what everyone has been up to here: 
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced