Monday, July 23, 2012

A little bit of Christmas in July

Another pincushion!

Peace...Love...Joy pincushion, front

This was the December kit from the Shabby Fabrics Pincushion Club I received last year. The pattern is the "Peace...Love...Joy Pincushion" from Primitive Gatherings.

Peace...Love...Joy pincushion, top

The kit included the pattern, all of the required fabrics, as well as beautiful Valdani threads for the embroidery. It was great! (And if you are interested, Shabby Fabrics still has some kits available.) The pattern itself was pretty bare bones-- it assumed embroidery knowledge and, as I am not well-practiced, that involved some research on my part. And let me just say that trying to mark on black wool is a challenge-- by the end, I was just kind of free-stylin' it (the oddly angled tree trunk under the star is evidence of that). But it sure is a cute design!

It took me a long time to stitch this one up. My husband commented that this has to be the most elaborate pincushion I've done to date. I don't know about that, but it definitely gave me the opportunity to work on my stitchery skills.

Peace...Love...Joy pincushion, side

Happy snowman!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

On the design wall...

...for the moment, anyway:

my completed Greenpiece blocks

My Moda Greenpiece quilt! I was in the mood to sit and sew at the machine the other night, but didn't have any current projects ready to go. So I went to the project box pile and pulled this one out. I just looked and am shocked to find that it has been nearly two years since I last touched this project (September 2010, to be exact). Whoa.

Anyway, I trimmed all of the applique blocks and added corner triangles to them. I even managed to stitch a few blocks together. I'm not sure I'm committed to getting it all put together right now, but it feels good to have taken at least a few more steps in the process.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A new quilt along adventure!

It feels like it has been awhile since I've participated in a quilt along. But I could not pass this one by:

Super Mario QAL button

It is the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along hosted by Angela of Cut to Pieces. So fun! I have fond memories of a weekend spent playing Super Mario Bros. 3 with my best friend when we were in high school... we stayed up nearly two days straight playing through that game together. And we never did beat it. Ha! But we had a ton of fun. So when I saw this QAL, I knew I wanted to participate.

Yesterday, I shopped the stash and chose my fabrics:

fabrics for Super Mario QAL

The only one I am undecided on is the sashing... not sure what I'll do about that one yet. But I figure I have time to decide.

The only hiccup in my preparations was in finding the suggested stabilizer, Pellon 542. It is a paper-backed, sticky wash away stabilizer. The only one I could find in any local shops was Pellon 541-- similar, but not paper-backed and not sticky. My plan was to use a basting spray to act as the "sticky." Unfortunately, I had problems.

The first issue was that without the paper backing to stabilize the stabilizer (ha!), drawing a grid was kind of challenging-- the stabilizer kept shifting and stretching in odd ways. I got the grid on there, but it was not as accurate as I would have liked. The second problem was that, though the basting spray technically worked (and didn't dissolve the stabilizer like I was afraid it might)-- it didn't work well enough. The fabric squares shifted and shimmied at the slightest handling. They were not stable enough to be able to stitch any accurate seams.

my first attempt at block one

You can see in the picture above how so the squares aren't "flush" against the stabilizer. As soon as I lifted it up to take it to the machine, squares started slipping and falling. Alas!

I know could go without stabilizer and just sew all those tiny (1.5") squares together. But knowing there is an easier, more efficient method, makes me very reluctant to sew all those tiny little seams. So bit the bullet and went online and purchased the suggested stabilizer. I decided to go with a Sulky product (Sulky® Sticky Fabri-Solvy) instead of Pellon, because it was a lot less expensive. But I feel confident it will work the same way.

Now Mario and I just have to exercise some patience and wait for it to arrive. Hopefully next week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

One Thing, One Week Challenge: Catch-up edition

This last week, Amy at Amy's Creative Side hosted another One Thing, One Week Challenge, and I decided to take the plunge and commit.

One Thing, One Week Challenge button

This time, my goal was to catch up on my Adventures of Harrington & Hannah block-of-the-month.

Adventures of Harrington and Hannah button

I needed to finish April, and then complete May and June. That worked out to about 2.25 blocks (because April was all done but for the sashing). And I did it!


Harrington & Hannah, April block


Harrington & Hannah, May block


Harrington & Hannah, June block

I really wanted to be caught up before the next block is posted, so this challenge came at a really good time. And I love that I've finally been feelin' the handwork again lately. Woo!

If you have the chance, check out some of the other inspiring challenge finishes for the week over at Amy's Creative Side!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Navy blue + Linen = Happy!

S4086, pattern cover
I took some time in the quilt mines this week to focus on garment sewing. I bought a lovely navy blue linen four years ago, intending to re-make a skirt pattern I had tried. Well. That didn't happen. So then it sat, languishing away in my stash. Until now!

S4086, skirt, front view

This skirt is Simplicity 4086, View E (the pattern is out-of-print). I cut a size 16 and (based upon how my last Simplicity skirt fit) used 1/2" seams for the sides and back instead of 5/8"-- and I feel like this one fits perfectly. Yay!

S4086, skirt, back view

The only other changes I made were to cut the tie-belt longer (I cut a size 22 length) and then I did an invisible zipper.

close-up of misaligned zipper... whoops!

My invisible zipper skills continue to improve-- but still not perfect. Again, I used the invisible zipper tutorial from I got the top nice and even this time, but somehow I managed to mess up the yoke seam alignment. It bothers me, but not enough to go back and fix it. Besides, it's covered up by the tie-belt, so it is hardly noticeable, right?

I really like this skirt-- the tie front and pockets give this simple A-line design some fun interest. I LOVE the look and feel of the linen-- truly comfortable and fabulous. I was a little worried the length would look a bit dowdy, but I find that I am liking this just-below-the-knee style. I really like how it fits as well. My only qualm is that with this style and silhouette is that I have to wear my shirt tucked, otherwise I look like a giant block (not to mention you can't see any of the details that make this skirt interesting). Tucking is definitely not a bad thing, it is just different for me as I traditionally have always been trying to hide my figure rather than show it off. So I think this skirt is a good change for me, style-wise. It's making me get out of my box a bit.

S4086 skirt, lounging view

Now I am envisioning another skirt like this for fall in a microsuede... maybe view B with the buttons? Or view F with some embroidery accents on the ties and hem? I love thinking about the possibilities!