Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Birdie sling

So, I made a Birdie Sling in a class on Monday. This is a typically horrible photo of me.
And Molly got to hold Amy's new puppy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Quilting progress

Wow, it's been a busy weekend! So far, we spent much of Saturday at a birthday party and doing some shopping. Today I worked. Tomorrow I'm in a class at the shop (and hope to have more to show from that tomorrow) and my Monday night quilt group.

I also got the top of the golf pants quilt finished!
I spray basted with with 505, and added a couple of pins for insurance. The thing is heavy, even though it's not very big. I ended up going with thin batting because of that. Some of the wool is very thick. I also have almost 2/3 of the quilting done. I hope to get more done tomorrow morning before my class so I don't have to change everything on my machine around and then change it back again. Plus, I'm encouraged by how much quilting I got done tonight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Golf pants quilt progress

Well, I have over half the top finished! I started this morning with only blocks, and some were not even trimmed yet! So, I'm happy. I might even be able to finish the rest of the top this afternoon.
If I do another one of these, I will definitely use half inch seam allowances. All the squishy wools make the seam allowances seem to shrink. And boy, am I happy I used muslin. This is three rows; there will be five in total.

Ironing has been challenging, too. Because there is wool, cotton, poly, and a few unknowns in here, I'm afraid to turn my iron up high enough to get some of the fabrics to lay flat. Ah, well, it should quilt out. :-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sing the praises of pants!

I'm working on my first commission. Well, kind of. I once quilted a very small wall hanging for someone who was putting it in a craft fair. But this is the first quilt commission. I'm making a throw out of a deceased gentleman's golf pants. My cutting area is overrun with pants!I'm doing a simple square in a square. This block is deceiving because the center pants happened to be patchwork already. In reality, there are only two fabrics per block.
So far I have 14 out of 30 blocks done. I'm trying for contrast between the two fabrics so that in the end I can alternate between light and dark for the outsides of the blocks. They'll be set 5 x 6 and the blocks will be trimmed to 9 inches finished (I hope). I am piecing them on muslin, which is a decision I'm glad I made. You can see here where I've done a little fussy cutting.
Wish me luck on this project. They're not the fabrics I'd normally work with, but it's been reflective for me. Plus, getting paid for making a quilt is very nice! If you don't hear from me in a few days, listen for muffled sounds coming from my sewing room. If so, send help!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hey now, I'm a rock star

That song has been in my head since yesterday. Anyway, I found out late last week that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week and that our classroom families were going to make dinners for Molly's teacher and the assistant teacher. Since there are 21 or 22 families involved, it seemed like that might be a lot of food. So I volunteered to make placemats for them instead. This was late last week, but I had so much momentum going on the castle tote bag that I didn't want to stop doing that. So I started the placemats yesterday morning. And I finished them just after midnight last night. Molly had a long day at school, which helped, but I also worked in the evening, which didn't help.

I first worked on this set for the assistant teacher. I found out that she likes bright, trendy, Amy Butler-ish fabrics. These aren't Amy Butler fabrics, and they aren't even all from the same line, but they go well together. I made the tops from some leftovers from a class sample I did (which also happened to be placemats).The next placemats are for Molly's teacher. She likes dark colors (especially purple) and clean lines. The colors here look much brighter than the placemats do in real life. That one on the top left does not read a pink when you see it in person and the purple border is much darker.
For both sets I made the backs about one inch larger than the fronts and batting, and then wrapped the back to the front for the binding. I normally wouldn't do this, but I wouldn't have been able to hand stitch eight bindings even if I had started these as soon as I heard about the dinners. So this was my solution.

On the first set, I used Steam a Seam, which I had used on the auction quilt, and it worked fine there. But it didn't work fine here. My needle kept getting caught by the SaS and skipped a bunch of stitches. I didn't realize at first why the machine was skipping stitches (and panicked, thinking I wouldn't be able to do the second set), but finally realized why. When I did this on the auction quilt, though, I stitched from the front, so the needle was going through the batting before the binding and SaS. Could this have made the difference? Also, the binding on the auction quilt was bigger so my needle might not have been actually going through the SaS. So, for the second set of placemats, I just used binder clips. This worked well and it will be the way I do this in the future if I do bindings this way.

The other issue I found was that I was unable to truly miter the corner's perfectly. So the corners of the bindings meet, but there's a gap at the corner of the placemat. The effect is that it looks a little like the corners get chopped off. On the plus side, they all look like that, so it looks consistent at least. I also didn't have time to quilt the placemats, so they'll have to be spot clean only unless they want to give them back for a day or two so I can quilt them.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Castle Tote

I don't know if you remember the tote bag pattern I bought at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, but I'm finally working on it. It's been taking a long time to make! There are many parts. I've actually done more than what you see here, but you get the general gist of it. There are two pockets on each side, a large one and a small one. The piece on the right will be a round tower and the red will be the tower roof. One will go on each side. I took this photo a couple days ago; now I actually have some pieces quilted. I'm quilting them with green variegated thread to look like vines. The windows are fused on and I still have to satin stitch around them. I'm not great at satin stitch, so we'll see how it goes. The pattern (Castle Keeper Tote by Needlesongs) is well written, if long and intimidating. But the only unsewing I've had to do was when I made a mistake, either by not paying attention (hello, it's right sides together!), or by not actually following the instructions and realizing that yes, she knew what she was saying when she said "a smidgen." If I make it again, I think I might change the order of the quilt sandwich, though. There is some stiff interfacing inside along with batting. The order she has you sew it causes the interfacing to be on the outside and the batting on the inside. I think it might look better if the batting were on the outside. But then it might look too quilty. We'll see. Anyway, I'm very excited to get it done, even though I have other projects breathing down my neck.