Friday, April 24, 2015

A Dash of Rainbows!

This was another fun weekend project - and it took almost no time at all! Little A is a My Little Pony fanatic, so when some pre-shirred MLP fabric showed up in my local Hancock's, I just *had* to figure out how to use it.

It turns out there are a ton of tutorials for making sundresses out of pre-shirred fabric on line, and after reading a few I was ready to strike out on my own. The straps are 8" x 2" strips from my stash folded over twice and sewn, and I went for the two-side-seam model on the body itself.

The whole thing took *maybe* 45 minute to whip up, and little A *loves* it. In fact, the hardest part of sewing it was getting the dress back from her once she tried it on for "strap placement" purposes. Here's hoping for a summer where it gets a lot of use!

And thanks to A for being my lovely little model.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How (not) to sew a dress expediently

Step 1)
Receive a lovely handmade gift for your daughter on her second birthday (which she is crazy about and wears all winter), and decide you'd like to repay the giver with an equally thoughtful gift for *her* daughter.

Step 2)
Identify adorable Octopus Panel online (for friend, who is octopus-crazy), and pore over pattern books at local fabric shops. Select the perfect one to show off the octopus. Round out the supplies for this dress with a some lively coordinating prints from your LQS.

Step 3)
Conceive Child. Get kind of morning sick. Ugh.

Step 4)
Push through to make dress anyway. Pull pattern out of envelope and discover that - surprise! there's a big pleat in the center of the apron that gives it its shape. Ooops; that's not going to work with the octopus! His head will get chopped off.

Step 5)
Panic. Search through PDF patterns on Etsy, downloading 2 or 3 potential candidates, and ultimately and decide on the Baby Peasant Dress by TieDyeDiva.

Step 6)
Realize that fabric selection is a little... less appropriate for new pattern/style, and order more fabric online from Gee Gees Quilting.

Step 7)
Wait for fabric to come. Get EVEN MORE Morning sick. 

Step 8)
Fabric comes, yay! Decide at this point that you are better served making the dress in size 18m than size 12, since steps 1-7 have taken you until well after the child's 14-month natal anniversary.  Cut into fabric.

Step 9)
Realize you made a mistake. Blame morning sickness. Order more fabric anyway.

Step 11)
Third Purchase arrives! Tie Dye Diva pattern is simple and straightforward; make it in a day.

Step 10) Make a complimentary diaper cover the next day (from another TDD Pattern).

Step 11) Mail the goods to friend a mere 4.5 months after child's birthday, and 6 months after your initial fabric buy.

And... That's how I spent my hiatus from sewing. Honestly, once I got on a roll the dress was short work, but getting all my fabrics and patterns lined up took most of the time. I am pretty excited about this dress though - It was easy to put together and turned out really nicely. Incorporating the panel took a little bit of doing, but now that I've done it once, I wouldn't blink at doing it again.

I will admit I was a little sad that my first project in over 6 months (and actually the project before it, now that I think about it) won't be sticking around the house. But it's always exciting to send a handmade gift to its recipient, and I'm glad to have this "late" first birthday gift off my conscience!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Works in Progress: Accidental Hiatus

I have been away from the sewing machine for far too long. But, it's been for a pretty exciting reason; my biggest work in progress these months past is a person! 

In November, Mr. RLQ and I learned we were expecting our second child, and in February the ultrasound technician told us we are having a boy! Cue visions of snips and snails and puppy dog tails, of dinosaur quilts and little homemade vests. 

Of course, those things have had to remain mere visions for quite a while - starting in Mid-December, I got a case of all-day "morning" sickness that knocked me down until well after the first trimester was over. In fact, I'm in week 26 now, and still on anti-nausea meds (admittedly, a smaller dose than I was on at week 14). But just as exhaustion followed me around with baby A, "occasional morning sickness" seems to be my nagging companion with our as-yet-unnamed baby boy. 

But, despite the setbacks, I was able to get unbury my sewing machine this weekend, long enough to make a (much belated) birthday present for a friend. Below is a preview: the gift itself is still in the mail.

The collection is Under The Sea for Northcott fabrics, and I can't wait to reveal the finished product. It sure was refreshing to sit in front of my sewing machine again.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Completions

You know you're tuned in to your hobbies when you have to read your own quilt blog to remember what the heck you did this year, right? Turns out, 2014 the Year of the Overdue Baby Quilt, as I caught up on all my Quiltworthy friends who'd had babies last year while I was still settling into motherhood and moving into our new house. All 3 of my quilt creations were gifts this year.

It was also the year I discovered the joy of smaller projects. Things like a garments for my daughter or a stuffed doll for my friend's nursery could be done in a weekend, and so were much easier to sneak in when I had only a few hours to enjoy my sewing machine's company. Going forward, I think I'll be concentrating on these sorts of things more, because they give me the thrill of a completed item without so much staring longingly at my WIP shelves between sewing sessions.


Star Trek (link)

Completed: May 2014
Star Trek line by Camelot Fabrics
Pattern by Carlene Westberg
Pieced and Quilted by RLQ
First completed quilt since A's birth in 2012, Gifted to Daughter of Close HS friend

ConVivial Company (link)

Completed: September 2014
Wren and Friends line by Gina Martin + others from LQS & Stash
Pattern adapted from Fresh Quilts Magazine
Pieced and (hand and machine) Quilted by RLQ
First-ever (partially) hand-quilted quilt. Gifted to Niece in Oct 2014

Joy to the World (link)

Completed: Dec 2014
Holiday Flourish by Robert Kaufman
Adapted from a pattern by Stitched in Color
Pieced and Quilted by RLQ
An exercise in just how fast I can complete a quilt on a deadline! Gifted to SIL's family Dec 2014


Star Wars Game Mat (link)

Completed: September 2014
Star Wars by Camelot Fabrics + Smithsonian Print
created and Quilted by RLQ
First-ever request from Mr. RLQ

Manipulable Color Card (link)

Completed: September 2014
Class Project for Color Intensive by Stitched In Color
Painstakingly cut out and velcroed by RLQ
Using a 2013 Kona Color Card

Modern Buntings (link)

Completed: September 2014
Created for display at the 2014 OKCMQG quilt show
Paper Pieced by RLQ using colors prescribed by the guild and this tutorial

Lil' Pumpkin Birthday Shirt (link)

Completed: October 2014
Kyoko Pattern by Modkid, Joyful Harvest Fabric by Sandy Clough + others
Made entirely without help from "Grandma"!

Zombie Doll And Crib Sheet (no link)

Completed: Novermber 2014
Zombie Apocalypse by Emily Taylor, Crib Sheet Tutorial from Stitched in Color
Finished in the wee hours before a Zombie-loving friend's baby shower; so late I forgot to take any good photos and so did not post!

Quilts: 3
Other: 6

WiPs that made it from 2012 2013 2014 to 2015 with progress but no completion: Christmas Traditions
WiPs without any progress in 2014Star Wars II

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Joy to the World

And, it's complete! Without further ado, presenting Joy to the World.

I almost named this post "Bind, Bind like the Wind," because really, I don't think I've ever bound a such a large quilt (62" x 74") in such a short timeframe. Joy to the World was somewhat of a last-minute decision, and getting it ready in order to be mailed in time for Christmas was quite an ambitious schedule, but... I got it done!

Joy to the World draws its inspiration (and method of assembly) from the Stitched In Color's Emerge quilt, and to make it I more or less followed the instructions provided in the Angled class I took this past fall. The feature fabric is Robert Kaufman's Holiday Flourish line, and the star is appliqued on top of the finished quilt sandwich, which was its own form of adventure (see here for the full story).

The binding and backing are also from the Holiday Flourish line. I made another handmade label for the recipient (not shown here), and placed it on the back as is quickly becoming another of my traditions. If I ever do this paticular pattern again, I think I'll make a point of hand-appliqueing the star rather than machine quilting it to keep the lines a little cleaner, but overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Joy to the World is my last quilt of 2014. I wish I could have knocked out Christmas Traditions as well, but I figure this is still a good end-of-year achievement. See you all again in 2015!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wrestling the Alligator

And let me tell you, this alligator had teeth!

Phase 2 of my Christmas star started out well enough - I made my quilt sandwich and trimmed everything to size, and while I was playing with which way I wanted to orient my star (on point or traditional lone star position, center or offset) inspiration struck: why not take a couple of my leftover diamonds, and make it a *shooting* star - that would eliminate the need for fussy placement tactics, right?

Right. So I played with the layout a bit, and then pinned my star in place. I set my pins perpendicular to the edges of the star rather than parallel (as the instructions had shown) mostly because it was hard to manipulate them into a parallel position while keeping the quilt flat. And... enter the problem(s).

First off, I (in my infinite wisdom), had selected Quilter's Dream Deluxe loft batting for the center of my quilt. It's a gorgeous batting, and great to cuddle under, but it's also *heavy.* Which was the intent - I want a nice winter quilt that goes to Colorado to have some heft to it - but I hadn't considered how that would interact with my walking foot. Also, it's pretty thick, so when I added it, plus a back and front, plus 2-4 layers of star fabric depending on how many folds were under the seam at the time, the long story short was, my walking foot did a lot of slipping and inopportune backwards-grabbing while trying to advance the quilt by itself. Sigh.

Also, I work off a little Janome DC2007LE which I love, but which only has maybe a 6" throat. And of course, when you're quilting with a walking foot direction matters. So trying to rotate the quilt around its tiny axis - and shove it through that throat as I worked - well, it wasn't working out for me. Especially when you consider I had all those pins in there, making it both bulky AND poke-y. I had to stop twice for fear of bleeding on my quilt. Oops.

Eventually I had to give up quilting with the walking foot (which wasn't really saving any time anyway) in favor of free-motion quilting with straight lines. Which... I don't think is anyone's idea of efficiency, or a good time; but it did work out better for me. The tradeoff in straight lines was well worth the increase in my sanity.

Quilting the straight lines for the "star echoes" and the shooting star effect was trivial by comparison; And I was very VERY glad to zoom through that after all the trouble the star had caused on my still-on-a-deadline project. So while I may have bled for my art - literally - now I have the quilt quilted and two weeks to bind it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sliding One In

I *should* know better than to give myself a deadline. And yet, Pretty Fabric + Online class in Angles + Christmas Quilt Hint from Sister In Law = more than my quilty brain can handle. I had to dive in. I'm not quite sure whether this started with my unhealthy infatuation with Robert Kaufman's Holiday Flourish Line at my LQS (see below)

Or with my love of the "Emerge" Quilt from the "Angled" Class I recently took at Stitched in Color:

and honestly, maybe it was a little of both. But they just fit so well together! And, since I'm itching to practice the skills taught in my online class, it seems there's no time like the present. I cut this out and put it on my design wall last week....

And this week the lone star is pieced. I got carried away during the piecing process, and made an entire star. Next up is making my "quilt sandwich" and attaching my star to it, per the class instructions.