Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday #15: Oh, Bother

You'd think after my experience on Alien Invasion, where I challenged an unborn child to a race and managed to get beaten by someone who was literally "born yesterday," I'd have learned my lesson. But, apparently not. 

I have a little girl due October 9, I want to make her a pooh quilt before she is born. Because it will be a focal point of her nursery, it can't be too simple; and being me, even though I only have 5-6 weeks to go, I am still working the design out. 

What I have: 

This is what I have so far. It's a 36 x 45 panel trimmed to ~25 x 32, and with "fast and easy" pinwheels that are perfectly sized to go along the sides (link). Sorry about the flash glare, it was late last night when I was taking these.

I still would like to sash the quilt, including a window box around the center panel like I did with Charity Quilt For a Princess, and have different blocks in the corners to break up the pinwheel theme.

What I still need to figure out:

Sashing: I bought a bright yellowish/orange honey-colored fabric to frame the print in, but now I am reconsidering because of its overall brightness (see below). It works well with pooh, but kind of fades out the pinwheels.

 I also have a blue in my stash that might work for the occasion:

I'm not sure I like the way it downplays the panel plaid, though.

I also saw a lighter solid that was a near-perfect match for Tigger's tummy, which I left at the store but am now considering going back for; It'd blend in a little with some of my pinwheel backgrounds, but keep the color pop effect.

And I'm at least considering just putting the pinwheels next to the panel plaid, I don't think they look half-bad that way. But I do think I want a little sashing around the outside before the binding, and it'd be nice if that pulled colors from something closer in.

Corners: There is a voice that whispers in my ear, four more pinwheels and I could be done; but when I first conceived of the quilt, I thought little suns in the corners would be cute. I'm not sure I am ready to give up on that yet.

I bought Moda marbles in three complimentary colors, and I was thinking about using the Evening Star pattern from the Summer Sampler Series. The bad part of this plan is that is incredibly inefficient and  involves paper piecing, but the good part is, I do like the block and it would look incredibly cute. Oh, decisions, decisions. Does anyone else have a simple sun pattern that they like using? I am definitely open to ideas.

And, that's where I am. Still wide open to suggestions on several fronts. Linking up to WIP Wednesday to see if anyone there can help me out, and to show off what I've got so far!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Alien Invasion for Baby G

Baby G's quilt is finally done and on the way to its new owner. Whee! For those of you just tuning in, I challenged Baby G to a race, where I would try to bind his quilt before he came out, but as fate would have it, he beat me by about a week. Here is his prize:

Titled "Alien Invasion," this quilt uses one roll of Alien Invasion fabric by Amy Butler, in a pattern inspired by the Turning Corners Table runner over at Moda Bake shop.

It measures about 40" by 50", and is quilted in Royal blue thread with a black Micheal Miller binding.

Here's a close-up of the quilting: I went for wide, sweeping arcs that I hoped neither added nor took away from the "diamond effect." Again I am reminded of why smaller patterns are easier to do during FMQ, but overall I was pleased with how it turned out.

And I am completely in love with the backing; a whimsical, colorful space print I got Fort Worth Fabric Studio that has all the planets in the solar system, plus rockets and comets and moons and other fun stuff. The picture doesn't do it justice, the print is stunning in person.

and as with Baby S, I couldn't resist adding my own label. Again, this label is free motion quilted and then appliqued on with fusible lining + blanket stitching.

This quilt went in the mail Friday. Here's hoping Baby G enjoys it for years to come!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Throwing the Gauntlet

Alright, Unborn Baby G, here's the deal:

You are the family's first - and much anticipated - nephew, and we are all dying to meet you. Not only that, but while we all want you to grow as big and strong as possible in the womb, you are starting to really REALLY outgrow the space your poor mother can afford to give you with her small frame. You're also making her ribs burn and her digestion not work. We got all excited to meet you last Tuesday when the Dr tried some natural methods for induction, but it appears you'd prefer to wait inside a bit longer. That's OK.

BUT, before you decided that's where you want to stay for another 2 weeks, let me sweeten that whole "outside" deal for you. This is your quilt:

It is not quite done yet - I've had a lot to work on - but it is very close. This WILL be yours shortly after you are born. And in the meantime, I would like to offer you a challenge: I know how stubborn your genes predispose you to be, but I also know there's a competitive streak in your family*. So here's the deal. I am going to work on this quilt, night and day. And you are going to work up to that whole "getting born" thing. Whoever finishes first? Wins.

On your marks, get set... GO!

UPDATE: I have officially lost! Baby G was born a healthy 7 lbs, 15 oz on 8/14/2012, much to everyone's joy - and, I am sure, the epic relief of his mother. I'm maybe 30% of the way through the binding, but in light of all the excitement about it, I don't really mind at all.

*I know I should pick on someone my own size but trust me, if this gets you to come out even a day earlier, your mother (my SIL) will thank me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Make your own Roller Shade!

It works it works!

First off, I started with the Cotswold Industries Fuse-a Shade Roller kit, which I bought off Amazon for about $34. This kit claims to have "everything you need to make and install a roller shade, except for the fabric," but unfortunately, that claim is a little grandiose. Even though mine was completely brand-new and sealed, it lacked screws, a dowel to weigh down the lower end of the shade, staples to attach the shade to the roller, and instructions on how to use the mounting hardware. We also had to use my husband's chop saw to cut the roller to the correct size, but now I am getting ahead of myself.

For my material I picked a mid-weight drapery fabric from Hancocks, something that would normally have been $24.99 a yard but was on sale for 50% off. I had a 27" by 72" window to cover, so I bought 2-1/4 yards of fabric  (an extra 9") "just to be safe," and ended up using pretty much the full length of it. I removed the fusible and folded it onto my large (24x36") cutting board, and cut the fusible to width (in this case 29" so I had an extra inch of coverage on each side).

7 or 8 line items down it also told me I would eventually hem the drapery fabric by 3/4" on either side, so I cut my Drapery fabric a little wider - 3l.5" and was very grateful I read directions before proceeding. They didn't exactly tell me this at the cutting stage.

Next step was "test fuse" - I cut a 6x6 or so square out of the spare fusible (the fusible was 41" wide so I had plenty of extra), and a slightly larger square out of my spare drapery fabric. Despite some of the negative reviews on Amazon, the fusible held to my (mid-weight drapery) fabric great.

The instructions say you should give the fabric and fusible to a professional dry cleaner to steam, but I found this wholly unnecessary. It might be required if your fabric is heavier, stiffer, or more textured than mine. But my medium-weight fabric stuck just fine.

Next up as aligning the shade and the fusible backing, which went pretty well since with the rotary cutter it was easy to get good cutting accuracy. Hand-fusing a 29x81-ish piece of fusing to material was not a particularly fast-moving task, and I moved the ironing board over to the kitchen table to prevent the hot fusible from getting creases as it draped off the ironing board, so definitely don't recommend this step if there are kids underfoot because it created a huge trip hazard in my house. But, I think I had the thing properly fused in under 45 minutes; my fusible was a little longer than my shade so I trimmed it, (about 2" to spare on top, and 6"+ on bottom) and then it was on to the hemming.

For hemming, I folded the fabric over using the fusible as a guide, pinned like it was going out of style, and ironed the crease as I went. Then I dragged my fully pinned shade to my sewing machine, where my little Janome DC2007 made short work of it. I don't have any pictures of the sewing because it went so quickly, but here's a picture of the finished shade, back on the roller.

I sewed a little 2" pocket at the bottom for a wood dowel, but ended up not needing it.

The roller is cardboard, and theoretically could be cut by a box cutter but we had much better luck with my husband's chop saw - the instructions don't say, but we cut the roller to 1.5 inches wider than the shade, and that seemed to work. The roller comes with a sticky strip that works all right, but doesn't seem too hardy by itself: the instructions say supplement with staples, which are hard to get into the thick cardboard with a regular stapler but I did get it done. Having an extra 9" was helpful also because even fully extended, the shade still wraps around the roller twice.

The mounting hardware doesn't come with screws - you'll need 4 - but the mounts themselves are pretty straightforward. Slip the plastic parts into the cardboard tube, mount the metal parts at the edges of where you want the roller shade to go, one side threads in and the other side has a latch that can be lifted to lock the other side in. At the end, I had a roller shade that looks like this:

All for the price of about $65. Good luck to anyone else who wants to try it, I hope this summary of my experience helps!