Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby Liam's Quilt is Quilted

Remember that quilt facing and the pieced backing I'd made in an earlier post? The little quilt for baby Liam? Well it's almost done! I had an easy-go weekend and spent the majority of it at my machine. It was awesome! Let me warn you now: this is a cat-heavy post.

I finally got some batting so I could put this all together and just couldn't keep myself from pressing forward. I would have pictures of me laying it all out, taping it to the floor and spending 45 minutes pinning it every 4 inches, but I was rudely interrupted and felt a wee-embarrassed for where I was. You see, you need a hard surface to lay out the quilt and I don't have a table big enough or hardwood floors. Therefore, there was only one spot in my entire apartment complex that would allow it: the lobby. So I waited patiently (ok, impatiently) until the office was closed at 5 pm on Saturday. I then took everything I'd need: quilt top, bottom, batting, teacup of safety pins to the lobby. What luck! The door was locked and closed up. So I picked the most open spot and set to work! I taped down the backing and just as I was shaking out the batting to add to it... the property manager walks in with prospective new neighbors. I got a GLARE from this lady and was forced to rip up my backing and move to a squished area "out of the way" which was totally still in the way. I then proceeded to nervously take my time. I actually did have about 4 people who stopped to watch and ask questions like, "you're making a quilt?!" like I was from some other dimension. Ah city folk.

Regardless, I finally finished pinning, ripped it off the floor and headed upstairs. I got some tailor's chalk (to ensure it would wash off) and created this awesome grid pattern on the quilt since my free motion stipple still needed some work.

Neti of course joined in for the fun. Doing the first bit where I was gridding in one direction was perfection. My pins held well, no problems whatsoever.

Like I said, Neti was giving me a run for my money. You have to constantly adjust quilts to keep your seams straight and the fabric from bunching. She would not have it. We had quite the battle that day. I was constantly picking her up and setting her on the floor while she screamed at me for moving her from such a wonderful nap-site.

But once I was gridding the other way I ran in to some serious problems. Look at those puckers!

This seemed to happen just constantly! Maybe every 10th gridline. Maybe I didn't set the fabric as well as I'd thought? Maybe I should invest in some basting spray? Once it started happening it just got worse and worse, too. I tried adjusting the fabric, creating a smoother path, and nothing worked! I couldn't figure it out so I just kept going, hoping that once it's washed they will be less noticeable due to that crinkle look that makes quilts look so snuggle-able. It was incredibly aggravating.

It was pretty sweet though. I showed my husband the finished product and said, "but look at this mistake, look at this mistake!" and he said, "Dina, that's how people know it's real" and I thought about that for a long time. I don't think there are too many people out there who do this (in the grand scheme of things). It is also a grand gesture accepting a quilt that someone has made from start to finish with their hands. Quilting I prayed for Liam that he would grow up big and strong and respectful and happy. Picking a quilt up off the shelf yields none of that love and hope put into a homemade quilt. Plus, I don't think anyone is going to be critiquing every seam. I figure this is going to be drooled on, spilled on, the works. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Once quilted here's a peek at the full quilt (I let Neti sit on it for awhile finally)...

And a close-up of that grid pattern, which I completely fell in love with...

So I made the binding (while watching Robin Hood Men in Tights) and began sewing it closed by hand.

So that's what I'm working on. I promised myself I wouldn't "waste" anymore time on finishing the binding this week until I finished my wedding thank-you's (yikes!). But I'm down to addressing envelopes and getting stamps by Saturday. The goal is to have this binding finished and the quilt labeled by the start of the new week. Pictures of the finished product soon! Until then...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Quilted Sewing Machine Cover

Tadah! A new project I just snuck in here! A cover for my brand new Bernina! I spent a long Labor Day weekend down in Portland for time with a friend and a moped ralley. When I came back, after only having this lovely 440QE for a week, it was dusty! I was just appalled! That's like letting your silver get dull. :) So I needed a cover and... tadah!

Quilted sewing machine cover

Crazy fabric, right?! Well, I was working on a baby quilt for Baby Baker (yes, another baby, updates on this one soon) and I had a TON of scraps. Plus, I am so in love with this line of fabric, Summerhouse by Moda, that I wanted to keep them all.

Scraps of all shapes and sizes

So I gathered up all of the scraps I thought would work. I'd read another blog that had a great tutorial, but it was a little grandma for me (no offense, Grandma!). I loved these bright, overly patterned fabrics so I just thought I'd use the great idea of incorporating space for my extension table, but not make any sides or anything. I didn't have THAT many scraps.

Arranging the scraps

I measured my machine and figured out about how much I would need. I drew a really simple diagram to make sure I'd remember my dimensions and that it would work out in the end. I did this very impatiently, by the way. We had company coming over and I was in the middle of laying out the scraps when everyone showed up. Oops.

Once I had them layed out in a way I liked and knew would fit I went to the machine. It only took a little while before I had them all sewn together. I had some big scraps left over from a quilt I made ages ago (it's the black, white, and red one from this post) for the backing. I also had a few smaller pieces of batting laying around. How lucky!

Taping it to the floor, no bunching here!

I then taped the ironed backing to the floor, placed the batting on top, and then my scrappy masterpiece on top. I am completely in love with this fabric.

Neti of course helped monitor my pinning progress as I set the fabrics and batting together in order to get a solid quilting space.

Safety pins galore!

And then I remembered I had the BSR! I have NEVER done any quilting more than stitch-in-the-ditch so I was really excited to try a free-motion stipple on my new machine. I read through the instructions on set up and went to work!

The BSR in action!

With all of my excitement I forgot... this is hard! I made some MAJOR mistakes. I was actually laughing at myself while I did this. Everyone makes this look so easy. I watched tutorials and read blogs on tips and whoa buddy this is HARD! I made some major mistakes.

For example...

My stopping and starting lacked a certain seamlessness, if you will

But I just kept going. This is just a sewing machine cover by the way. And it's also my first try. Which would explain this...

I got a little over-zealous and without realizing it had sewn the extra batting into the bottom. Quilted it in to the bottom. Well, I was way too far in to this to stop so I just kept on keeping on. But eventually I actually got a feel for the machine and was doing beautiful things, like this...

So overall I was really, SO proud of myself. I ran it to my husband when I was finished with a huge grin on my face. He was also impressed.

Not the greatest picture to see the quilting, but below is

Not the prettiest, but I'm happy

Finally I just added the binding, some elastic stays to keep the sides together, and hand stitched it closed while watching Top Gear with the husband. Then the best part: I showed off my work... which was quickly appreciated by being donned as a hat. Not bad as a hat, really.

Matt in the machine cover "hat"

So again I say, Ta-dah!! Not too shabby. And so exciting to see on and done when I woke up this morning. Now I won't feel too quilty about a dusty machine.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Long time

Devon here. Reporting live from the disorganization that is my sewing closet.  :/  In an attempt to re-organize my life apartment, I decided it would be a great idea to clean up this sewing closet and see what projects I could be working on (but obviously am not working on).

Gasps of horror. I know. But with the evening to myself and plenty of episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians on the DVR it seemed an excellent time to take stock of what I have.
Did I mention that I am cutting myself off from buying any more potential projects until I finish everything that I have. That means EVERYTHING, including knitting. Besides I don't think my closet could take much more of this!

So, let's take stock of what could be some up-and-coming projects in the Land of Devon's Crafts. Sorry for the less-than-perfect photos, but it was nighttime and I didn't want to get crazy with lighting because I am lazy.

Project #1: McCall's 6070 in blue polka-dot micro jersey knit

I had planned on making a cute summery dress this season and thought this polka-dot would be super cute. It says it is an easy pattern so maybe I could sew this up in no time. I plan on making view A which is the shorter version of the dress worn by the model on the cover. Simple, cute, and summery.

Project #2: Butterick B5613 in 100% cotton pin dot black fabric

This skirt was inspired by a skirt I saw at The Limited but didn't want to spend the money on. This is the original inspiration.

I liked the cute pin dots with the black piping for a classy work look or just to wear out on the town. But I also like skirts that feel simple and easy like this skirt from Forever 21. I like the black elastic waist band and decided that I could make the pin dot skirt and attach a 2" wide black elastic band for a simple finish that was easy and wearable.
 Project #3: McCalls 5591 (again) in khaki cotton fabric with black accents
This skirt was also inspired by a look from The Limited that would work well for both work and play. The original look is actually a dress, but I thought that I could easily re-create this look with a two-toned skirt and a black tanktop but still have the versatility of pairing this skirt with other tops.
This would be from the same pattern as The Bird Skirt that I completed back in June. It should come together easily since I'm already familiar with the pattern.

Project #4: Butterick B5555 in shirting fabric with cadet blue dot clusters
I also liked this pattern for a blousey work top. I'm not completely inspired to do this pattern right now so it probably won't be one of the first ones I dive into. I will definitely do one of the tops instead of the dress but I haven't really made a hard and fast decision on the long or short top at this point.

Beyond these projects I have 2 finished projects that I need to make alterations/corrections on to perfect them, a few knitting projects that could use some finishing, and a blanket in the works. I didn't want to overwhelm you with all of my multiple unfinished projects grand ambitions so perhaps those can go up in a different post.

The funniest part about all of this is that I haven't even been inspired to sew since my previous project (that needs alterations) sucked out all of my sewing mojo because I had to finish it for a friend's wedding. Let's just say that staying up until midnight the night before after sewing all day kind of sucked the fun out of it. But never fear, I did pick up my knitting to get some crafting juices flowing. Updates to come. Just for fun I will leave you with a teaser of the dress that killed my mojo. Once I finish the alterations (i.e. busted zipper and disattached bow) I will post a nice, long finished project post.