Saturday, June 29, 2013

Quilt 911!

Okay everybody, if you have any experience in paper piecing, now's the time to share your wisdom!

I reached home today and my mom has been working very hard on this very complicated paper pieced wallhanging.

She has made almost all of the units. Unfortunately she didn't notice the part of the instructions that said leave a 1/4" seam allowance around each unit, and she trimmed them all down to the line.

So now we have no seam allowance with which to sew the many units together. Are we screwed? Is there a solution? She has already made so much of the wallhanging that she can't go back and do it all again...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


 Hi everyone,

I am not planning on using bloglovin myself, I instead have switched to Feedly. However, since it seems many in the quilting community are using bloglovin, I have added a little "claim" below.

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Thanks for sitting through this post.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mermaid Class!

Today I took a sewing class on mermaids, and I came home PUMPED. It was so much fun to work on a project just for me, with no deadlines over me, no worrying about what someone else would like or not like. Aaaaaah...what a great break from all of the UFOs I have been trying to finish!

The class topic of mermaids may sound dumb...but the techniques we learned were anything but. We learned how to paint on fabric, which was AWESOME. A while back I bought a book called "Fabric +  Paint + Thread = Fabulous" and tried to learn how to paint fabric based on it. But learning from a book is a lot harder for me than learning in a class. I feel like I finally have the confidence to go paint my own landscapes, and use paint and colored pencils to enhance fabric in subtle ways. 

Check this out:

Here are the photos of our teacher painting the sample. It's crazy how dark it looks like she is putting it on, but once the paint dries it is very subtle. This is something I just didn't understand from reading my book and trying on my own...wondering why my paint was never showing up!

The first good sign was that she uses the most basic, cheap paints she can find, which is what I use too. Yay!

Here she is putting what looks like a terrifying amount of paint down.

 And here is what her sample looked like after the first subtle!

 Here are two shots of the second coat being applied.

Okay, so feeling encouraged after watching our (totally pro) teacher, here is what happened to my sample:

Here is the "before" shot, where I just have a pencil line of her outline

Here is in progress of painting:

And here she is nearly done..stills needs some finishing touches on the eyes.

All done!

(she will eventually be holding a seashell, that is why her hand is like it is)

And below is what she looked like at the end of day one. Her tail fins were actually pretty difficult because I had to use mistyfuse to attach multiple layers of sheer fabrics together. The tail is actually somewhat translucent in real life.  She will also eventually have lots of long flowing hair!

This was a fun class to not only learn about painting and cool embellishment techniques, but to learn more about designing your own art quilt. We were able to pick our own mermaids and tails and I was able to see how to put a new tail on an existing pattern - sounds simple, but it helps me wrap my head around how to alter existing shapes/patterns/etc for future art quilts.

Anyways, a super fun class! Now unfortunately I must pack up my entire sewing are in preparation to move, so she will have to wait some time to be finished.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust!

Woohoo!! I have finally finished this BOM project - just in time (barely) for next week's guild meeting.

I started this for my guild's BOM, which I am in charge of organizing/running. It is a BOM that is to be made with a layer cake. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that you really need a single color unifying your quilt, and you can't just make it with a bazillion different fabrics.

I noticed this as I looked up many patterns recently for precuts - almost all require some yardage in addition to the precuts so you have one overarching/unifying color in addition to your jelly roll/layer cake/FQ bundle.

Once I laid this quilt out, I was actually pleasantly surprised with how it looked. I think the purple I chose actually did a good job of toning the whole thing down a bit. I was going to give it to my guild but now I'm considering hanging onto it as a potential future baby quilt, last-minute gift, etc.

If you look closely (which you can't because that photo came out really blurry - sorry) you'll notice that all of my points are cut off. The squares were supposed to be 12.5" but one of my was only 12" (my fault or the instructions' fault, I am not sure but I hope was mine or everyone in my guild will have a wonky square!) so I ended up trimming all of the blocks down to 12," which meant a lot of cropped points. That's okay though! I quilt for fun and if I beat myself up over all these errors I would never enjoy my sewing time.

Pepper likes the quilt too.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Getting Back into Needlepoint

Thread shopping! Look at all those threads!
Recently I went to the needlepoint store to buy all the threads I will ever need to finish my needlepoint tuffet, which consists of eight canvases. It is a very intimidating project, and I have struggled with making much progress. Just even thinking of all the threads I needed to get for all of these canvases was giving me heart palpitations! We had to get all the thread now because I am moving out of the area and need the local thread brand.

Here is the full project. Ack!
Visiting the store actually gave me a great opportunity to consider what the barriers are that I have been experiencing on this project. What has stopped me from working on this project? A few things:

  1. Since we got our cat, I can't leave threads strewn everywhere. I need to lay out a lot of threads to get my colors straight. Having to pack all those up every night instead of being able to leave them out is a big hassle.
  2. I have a really hard time deciding what thread colors to use in a particular area. I worry for very long periods over which colors to use because I want it to be perfect.
  3. I never know which stitches to use! It's impossible to know what a stitch will really look like when you are just looking at a diagram, and it's also hard to tell how easy it will be to stitch in many colors.
So on my trip to the needlepoint store, I took steps to address all three of these issues. First, I don't have a good thread organization system right now. All the threads are in baggies, tossed together in a giant shopping bag. I dealt with that by getting this awesome storage bin, which is actually for hardware like nails.
64 drawers!
 Each drawer holds a different color family of threads. The threads are the perfect length for the drawers.

And here are two shots of it all filled up. Lovely! Now I can just pull drawers out when I need to work.

Now, my other challenges were colors and stitches. I decided to go ahead and ask for help. Betty, our intrepid needlepoint expert, helped me decide right there (under the great light!) which color families to use in which spots, and we actually wrote them down so I don't forget.

Betty also helped with picking out stitches. On the left you see an actual printout of the canvas photo. We are writing directly on the printout what stitch to do where, and what colors to use.

Does this take the creativity out of it? A bit. Does it take the stress out of it? A lot! I am excited to get moving again on this project and have decided it will likely be my main stitching work for the next few months since I have not really gotten organized to do EPP.

Anyways, the moral fo me was to know my limits and know when to ask for help.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Finally, a Finish!

Okay, this wholecloth quilt is DONE. Phew! This was a charity quilt for my guild that I picked up literally a full year ago. I quilted it part way, then lost steam and interest. I have only gotten back around to it because I am moving and have to get this thing done so I can return it to the guild.

This quilt is so big I couldn't actually hold it all up at once. It is probably the largest thing I have machine quilted to date. I did enjoy picking quilting designs that worked with the pattern.

However, this was a lot of hours to put in to a quilt that I'm not going to keep. I really think I need to second-guess myself before picking up random charity projects at the guild. At least it's done! I now have one more project that I really really need to finish before my move, and I am planning to tackle that this week. Then, no more quilting for two months! Instead I am hoping to work on my needlepoint, which is more portable.