Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Let the Quilting Commence!

It feels like it's been a million years since I posted last. Trust me, I have been getting a ton done on this Swoon giant while also dabbling in making jam and pickles on the side. Let's just dive in, shall we? Oh, and be warned, this is a very heavy cat picture post.

Finally! With a layout approved we moved on to chaining.

Neti helped me as I started chaining my stars, keeping as eye on orientation and what connects with what. Thank goodness for cameras! I had to reference back to placement more than once, but I got it done. Having finished, I now needed sashing between my long chains of stars. This was much harder than it looks. 

Or maybe it was exactly as hard as it looks.

I got hissed at a few times making her get up and leave so I could iron and cut fabric, but all in all, we know we will both get a lot of use out of this quilt once finished.

Sashing on and it was time to link all of my chains.


The apartment started looking like a fabric shop. I was literally drowning in fabric. Maybe this quilt is too big.

I found an AMAZING-I'm-so-in-love-with-the-back zigzag for the whole back panel. Pieced (9 yards!) and ready to go it was time to baste the quilt. This also proved to be very difficult.

You know my only favorite spot to baste quilts, right? The apartment lobby. Well, let's just say I didn't realize until a closer inspection that the "area rug" in the lobby is not just placed on top of the tile but built in. Man! This sucker is so big I had to baste it one half at a time. I also had to slightly compromise on my safety pin spacing, but I think it will still be just fine.

1.5 hours later, it was basted. 

And folded up to head back upstairs. I have actually started quilting it, after changing my mind a few times on the design I'm settled and really excited about it. I have three lines done from top to bottom of quilt and this thing is so heavy I was exhausted from continually re-situating it on my little machine. Oh for a longarm. Now I know why those things exist. Baby quilts? Easy! Giant King Size quilts that weigh 10 pounds (a guess, not actual)? Yeah right. This is going to be my new arm workout regiment. 

This may take awhile, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, 

Happy Crafting!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Swoon Blocks Finished

This weekend it was all about finishing the piecing of my Swoon blocks. It happened!!

Neti, of course, was front and center. It was HOT this weekend. Well, for Seattle it was hot and for no air conditioning it was hot. With the sewing machine burning and the iron steaming I somehow managed to push through and finish the last four blocks. The hubby called me the Desert Fox all weekend as he was amazed at my ability to stand up to the heat.

Swoon #13- Finished!

Swoon #14- Finished!

Swoon #15- Finished!

Swoon #16- Finished!

Of course, by the end, I had a serious efficiency that I wish I had had in the beginning. This specific to how I pieced and how many chained pieces I could link to speed up my sewing. Oh well, if you don't learn along the way you can't grow, right? Now I know to look for piecing patterns instead of following the given pattern verbatim. 

Once finished I laid out all of the blocks on the floor. I swapped this one for that one. I rotated corners. I moved one here one there. It just didn't look right. So I did what any self-respecting girl does in a similar situation. I called my Mom. 

We spent an hour on FaceTime together repositioning blocks. It was GREAT fun and so nice to have a second pair of keen eyes on the quilt that weren't my own. This quilt is so big and my apartment so small in comparison, that I had to stand on my kitchen counter with the phone near the ceiling in order for Mom to properly see the whole quilt. She would then suggest, "move the second one from the left third row down to first on the right top row". I would set the phone down, climb off the counter, run over, reposition the blocks, and run back up on the counter. "How about this, Mom?" It took us about 20 minutes to both agree on an arrangement, but we did it and it looks awesome! Thanks, Mom!

I had all the gumption to keep going and start ironing and cutting my sashing, but it was too hot! I decided I'd done good work and took the rest of the day to whine about the heat with the hubby and drink a pitcher of fresh brewed ice tea with mint from the patio. With the 4th of July off work I'm hoping to get it all to a point of basting by the weekend. We'll see, I don't even have a backing for it yet. Lots to do! Excited for a short week and a long weekend to make it happen. 

Happy Crafting!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Swoon #10- #12 & Momentum Returned

Finally back to the sewing machine! I had an incredibly productive weekend. So much so, I feel like I deserve a break and so went back to work (yeah right). This weekend was exhausting yet fulfilling. Here's a brief run-through of fun stuff (all chores excluded):

Well, I guess laundry is a chore. Laundry day is Neti's favorite because the basket is empty and she can knock it over and curl up inside. It's her favorite place on the weekend, when not on the sewing table. She occupied herself here all day so I don't have any sewing pictures with her. She couldn't be bothered.

I spent Saturday morning with an old friend who I used to sew with constantly. She's off at grad school in Illinois. Now home for the summer we met up for our usual coffee & pastry and something fun afterwards. We decided to hit up a local quilt shop-- The Quilting Loft. Twist my arm, right? I think we were both happy to go browse.

Yeah, I found something. This adorable Hexie Garden quilt kit! I'm a big fan of kits but somehow always feel like I'm cheating when working on them. They had a demo of the finished quilt in the Loft and the minute I saw it I wanted to throw it over my shoulders and take a nap. That's a good sign, so I had to grab it.

These are the included fabrics for the hexagon flowers. Apparently, hexagons are all the rage right now. I hate to follow the masses, but the quilt just screamed vintage with its creams instead of stark whites. I couldn't resist. I'm a sucker for vintage.

Renewed with a sense of urgency to sew so I could get to this quilt kit, I went home and got my other big project out of the way. 

I bought some strawberries from a local farm near work. Peak of the season, best berries I've ever tasted, seriously the best berries I've ever had! They were picked that morning and although I felt like I was cheating (kinda like a quilt kit, all the choosing and cutting done for me) I grabbed and ran with great expectations. I made strawberry jam and strawberry balsamic jam and ended up with 2 more jars each than anticipated! 

Needing time to set overnight I waited until Sunday and then made some currant cream scones. I slathered them with strawberry jam and poured myself a tall glass of milk.

The jam (and scones) are HEAVENLY. Seriously. Heavenly. The hubby and I have already eaten half that jam jar, haha. Excited for more fruit seasons to rear their head! They don't know what's coming!

Between dirty dishes, oven loads and jamming I was able to squeeze in some girl-TV (Drop Dead Diva Season 4!) and a few more Swoon blocks. I actually missed piecing these. It'd been too long.

Swoon #10- Finished!

Swoon #11 (love that pink stripe!)- Finished!

Swoon #12- Finished!

All this activity! Including church, cleaning, laundry, World War Z, using the remaining strawberries to make homemade strawberry ice cream, chats with the sister, and zero naps made the kitten VERY sleepy. She was a doll this weekend.

There you have it! A super fulfilling weekend and only four more Swoon to go! I know what I'm doing this weekend!! Can't WAIT to start quilting it!

Swoon Count: 12/16 Finished!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Devie's Getting Married!

Wowee! It's been awhile, hasn't it? The summer is starting off with a bang! I've been traveling and just overall super busy with some new commitments on the weekends while enjoying a sunny Seattle. I'm also getting ready for in less than 10 days seeing my sister get married!!!! SO EXCITED!

Just before my wedding, almost two years ago, my sister sent me a surprise preparation gift, filled with make-up and beauty supplies. It was amazing! I thought I would return the favor, but I don't really know make-up like she does, so I didn't even try. I stuck to what I know best-- sewing. (Warning: Picture heavy post).

I decided that the one thing I could help her prep for was the honeymoon! Or, at least packing for the honeymoon. This meant the sister needed a bunch of travel bags and goodies for getting ready. Let the pattern search commence!

I found the following:
1. A Make-Up Brush Holder (top left)
2. A (Hot) Curling Iron Carrier (top right)
3. A Clean/Dirty Bag for Undies & Socks (bottom left)
4. A Toiletries Bag (bottom right)

I tried to keep all the fabrics in sync with one another and focus on Devon's main squeeze (at the moment): turquoise. I found all the patterns at Sew4Home online. They have somewhere around 8 million free patterns. You could spend hours lost there. Neti and I got to cutting!

Finish #1: The Toiletries Bag

This little bag was a pain to make! But it turned out super great. The best part is the inside, which is a laminate fabric. How smart is that?! That way, if anything spills along the way it can easily be wiped out of the bag, no harm done and no staining. These were my favorite fabrics to work with. I also love that the bag holds its shape on its own, due to those nice boxed corners. Inside were two little surprises. You can't send a bag empty!

Finish #2: The Make-Up Brush Holder

This was the easiest to put together. I went most challenging first and then gave myself a break. Mentally, this is the best way for me to work. A super simple pattern with another super smart use of laminate on the backing. That way, any make-up left on the brushes gets held by the laminate and can easily be wiped off. Each little pocket perfectly holds a brush of all shapes and sizes. I included a little baby one, just 'cause. These fabric combos were by far the most fun. I may even have a little left over for one for myself. :)

All the while, Neti was nearby during the process. Since I haven't been sewing much she's really been missing the time spent at the machine and sewing table with its rulers and cutting mats.


Yes, that's Neti on my lap while working on the toiletries bag. It was impossible to sew, but I love it.
Finish #3: A (Hot) Curling Iron Bag

By far the most ingenious of the bunch and the most plush. I used that awesome batting (Insul-brite) that has the metal fibers woven in to it. This will allow Devon to grab her curling iron, just after using it, and shove it in to the bag, close it up, and run for the airport! It will hold that heat in without burning fabric or damaging anything else around it in her luggage. The back even has an "invisible" pocket for putting the wound up cord away. These people think of everything! I say invisible only because I lined up the pattern perfectly on the back. 

Finish #4: The Clean/Dirty Bags for Undies & Socks

My very favorite project to put together were these bags. I got the ideas from ladies in my quilt guild who actually found some fabric with bras and undies all over it and made similar bags. I decided this fabric was a little more Devon and went to work! I designed my own pattern, but that's not too exciting seeing as I could have made these with Grandma when I was 8. They are ridiculously simple. I did try and make them extra special though, with top-stitching around the bag's border and around the zipper. I even hand embroidered the Clean and Dirty labels and then appliqued them on to the fronts. I love these bags and almost kept them. Almost. These should help keep the clean undies/socks away from the dirty ones during their week in paradise. I made them big enough so she could share with her new husband (but she didn't seem too keen on that idea).

Needless to say, they all look great in a group and now Devon will be able to travel in style to her tropical honeymoon destination. These were super fun to make for her, I hope she loves them!

Sorry for the delay in posting, but I had to make sure she got the package first before sharing. This also delayed posting for about two weeks as I got them finished, but all is good now.

This weekend the hubby is racing mopeds down in McMinnville, which means I have a weekend to myself sewing. Swoon, I'm coming back to finish piecing you!

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Happy (Warm) Husband

The Problem: Below you will see a picture of the hubby's "neck warmer" while riding mopeds in the cold, winter rain of Seattle every Monday night. He recently started complaining about it slipping up out of his jacket and exposing his neck, leaving a crack in his otherwise impenetrable wall of thermals and rain gear.

The Solution: Throw your weight around in reminder to your wife (ie me) that you should benefit every once in awhile from the sewing machine that you purchased for her in celebration of your wedding. Well, shucks, how can you compete with that? Hence my solution:

This was a VERY simple project, which I emphasized, but the hubby remained impressed. I basically just went and bought your standard fleece, in black because God forbid we change the color! Haha. I also got some velcro and some bias tape for a quick binding.

First things first, I pinned out the current neck wrap so I could get the shape off of the top. This one fit perfectly, it just wasn't long enough. Why waste a good thing?

I then trimmed around it, had him try it on. He showed me how long he wanted it in the front. I marked it, traced the bottom shape to that length, ran bias tape around the edges and whallah! A brand new, non-exposing neck warmer for the hubby!

Not too shabby! Fusible velcro did the trick and he just kept saying the whole time, "it looks so professional!" Ah, the pleasures of bias tape.

That's one happy hubby!

To thank me for my services he kindly lubricated my ironing board, which now squeaks no more!

Oh yeah, and this furry little one was no where to be found, because Seattle has just started to see some sun. She found the one sun spot in the whole apartment and I found her belly-up! See the look of shame at being caught? :) 

The Swoon-ing continues! It's taken me awhile to get back in to the swing of things of sewing in our old apartment again. I forsee a very sewing filled weekend.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Swoon #6- #9 & We're Back!

It's been a crazy few weeks since the last post. First and foremost, we are FINALLY back in our apartment! I'm actually kind of sad to lose such a good sewing space with room to throw a quilt top down on the floor and walk around it. However, it's nice to not be stretched over two apartments.
I got my sewing space put back together, mostly. There is still some organizing to do, but overall the apartment is looking good. Living in such a minimalist apartment and then coming back to this one, full of our stuff... well, let's just say it's time to get rid of some things. Seriously.
In other news, in the last three weeks I have finished 4 more Swoon blocks! Yay! This is actually coming together quite nicely. I had some time before the return move to pop these two out:
Swoon #6- Finished!

Swoon #7- Finished!
I then had the pleasure of attending a SMQG Sew-In at the Quilting Loft in Ballard. It was a blast! It was even more fun taking my machine with me to work, keeping it seatbelted in the back seat, mind you. Going straight from work to sew-in was a huge stress buster and made the weekend feel even longer. I finished the following: 

Swoon #8- Finished!

Swoon #9- Finished!
I also have a partial Swoon block done, but will only show you finished progress. We are more than halfway done with block construction and you know what that means!! On a recent weekend a dear crafting friend visited and on a jaunt to Bainbridge I finally found a ruler with the perfect diameter for the Parson's Fan quilting pattern I have in mind for this quilt. I can't wait to quilt it. Yes, I realize I have a few steps in between still to go. It's all about the process.
Summer is just around the corner and our bed will need a quilt. Challenge accepted!
Happy Crafting!