29 July 2014

Hex on the Beach and other WIPs

I'm about to head to lovely Honduras for a little fun in the sun and sand. I've got a few things to share while I'm away, but I'm going to focus on relaxation...even though I am bringing some work with me! And I figure, if I'm bringing some work, I may as well bring a little hand sewing project too!

 photo Hexona_zpsb786418e.jpg
3/4" hexagons...it's really going to break the collection down to it's basic colors. 

I bought the Arizona collection and wasn't sure what to do with it. It's so pretty, and so GRAPHIC. That makes it harder for me to use in a quilt (which is probably why my stash keeps growing - I keep buying fabrics I WANT, not fabrics I can USE). Suddenly, it hit me! Tiny hexagons! I'm going to try my hand at English Paper Piecing, with my goal to make  a large enough panel that I can make another glasses case. It should be possible, I only need about an 8" by 6" section...it'll more depend on if I actually take the time to sew!

 photo foxypillow_zps12dcb0f9.jpg
I just couldn't pass this fabric up! The neutrals are a heavier weight chambray. 

I've also been thinking about projects in the pipeline. I don't want to get overwhelmed, so I'm only starting new projects as I finish them. Since I recently finished the Zipper Pillow for my friend I'm going to make a couple of neutral, improv log cabins based cusions for myself. Yes, you heard it right, I'm sewing for myself! I had found the backing fabric in San Francisco last spring, and have been waiting for inspiration to strike regarding what to do on the other side. I realized that I'd love to play around with log cabins and a neutral palate, so the pillow project was born.

I've got some other ideas as well, but as I mentioned, no new project may be started until I finish an old one! Now to get this pesky vacation over with already...

25 July 2014

Zipper Pillow - Finished!

I finished the zipper paper pieced pillow cover for my friend! Just in time too, her birthday party is tonight.

Zipper Pillow
Zipper Pillow!
I had fun with this cover. I tried out some new quilting techniques, and I made a lapped invisible zipper for the first time!

I tried out the negative space quilting I learned from Jacquie Gering's Creative Quilting with your Walking Foot class through Craftsy. It was fairly straightforward, but with my clunky old machine I decided to outline the letters as well. I'm not sure I like the result, but that's why it's fun to practice new things on gifts for other people!
Matchstick Quilting with letters. 
I wanted to do a zipper closure, and usually I just put them in along one edge. This time I decided to do it under the cassette piece, with a tab to cover the zipper. I didn't like the tutorials I saw, so I made up a method, which I liked a lot. I also used an invisible zipper, which I installed per the instructions on the package. It totally worked - invisible! The lapped part just helps with the transition between the two 'fabric zones'.

Zipper Pillow
Detail of the zipper closure. The lap is folded up. Meow!
I did minimal quilting on the cat panel, matchstick with letters around the cassette, and minimal around the zipper. I wanted the designs to really shine.

Zipper Pillow
Side A and Side B. Both patters free from Sewing Under Rainbow

And, of course, a stamped label.

Zipper Pillow
One of my favorite parts. Except I almost always forget and have to add it after I finish!

I think she'll like it, and it'll make up for the pillow she bought from me that keeps having seams pop open! In my defense they're all handsewn, and I didn't reinforce them or anything. This one should hold up much better!

Linking up at Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts!

22 July 2014

Summer Slow Down!

Well, it's about time for Summer VACATION! I'm working hard to finish up a few school related things, and a few quilt related things. Last week I posted about my log cabin love affair, now you can see how the blocks are going to be used! I'm still tweaking the layout a bit, and I'm loving the bold colors. They're all Kona solids. I think.

Next layout: Graphic Southwest
Nearly final layout. Some more strips,
and a narrow border will complete it. 
My goal is to at least finish the flimsy before I leave, keeping in mind my other commitments and that we're leaving for Honduras for 10 days next Tuesday. Plus I have a finish to share as well, and one other project I want to make before I leave!

I thought I said this was the summer slow down...guess that starts with vacation!

Any suggestions for the name would be appreciated as well. I've been working with Graphic Southwest and Pixelated Southwest, neither of which really roll off the tongue. 

16 July 2014

Log Cabin Love Affair

When I first started quilting I took a hand quilting class, then a machine quilting class. Both involved learning to piece in the respective methods, and then a basic lesson on how to quilt. In each class we made samplers so we could learn about the different techniques for creating different types of blocks. I loved hand piecing for the precision it generates (never, ever lost any points, every block was exactly 12.5 inches every time!), and I loved machine piecing for the speed, and the rotary cutter friendliness of the pieces that got sewn together.

Something I hated? Log cabin blocks! I thought they were so ugly, so old fashioned. I wouldn't make one, or if I had to I modified it so it didn't look like a log cabin. And therein lies my current obsession: Log cabin blocks! It started with my Broken Umbrella quilt, and now I've realized how very versatile this block is, and I can't stop thinking about how I can use them!

Anyway, I've been making versions of log cabin blocks for my southwest inspired quilt top. They all start with a 1.5" square and I add on 1.5" strips. The blocks finish at 9" square. Here's some of what I've been working on:

Log Cabin Obsession
Mixing up the colors changes the feel of these blocks

Log Cabin Obsession
Example of how *I think* the two rows will be laid out. 

Now all I need to do is create a couple of smaller filler rows, and I'm done!

Linking up to WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. 

14 July 2014

Wrist Lanyard - Tutorial

Hello, my name is Liz and I used to be an Apple Computer Snob. Back in those days, I had a Macbook, an iPod shuffle, and an iPod touch. Then my computer learned it couldn't handle it's wine (long story), and if we can't drink wine together, what's the point? I needed to replace it, and when I realized how much more bang you get with your buck for a PC computer, plus the fact that several of the programs I run are only Windows compatible, I switched over. Then my iPod shuffle died. But I couldn't ever shake that iPod touch. In fact I've replaced it twice (other long stories). For one, I don't have a smart phone, so it's handy when I travel and have a wifi signal. For another, when I need to run (because I never 'want' to run), I need to use my couch to 10k app, or else I won't be motivated, which means I needed the iPod!

Why am I telling you this? Well, the version I have (5, maybe?) came with a little wrist strap/lanyard. I promptly lost it. Solution? Make another! And I figured I'd share what I did as a tutorial in case you want to make one for an iPod, or a camera, or a cell phone, or anything else that might be wrist strap compatible that I can't think of.

Wrist Lanyard
Wrist Strap/Lanyard

Wrist Lanyard Tutorial

  • 10" by 2" strip of fabric (strap piece). If you want to make this strip longer, it will make the part that loops around your wrist longer. I wouldn't suggest going larger than 12", it may slip off your wrist!
  • 2" by 1.5" strip of fabric (end piece). 
  • 12" length of thread/floss. This is a generous estimate. I used linen thread, I would suggest that or a worsted embroidery thread.

 photo Materials_zpsec4a475b.jpg
Materials for Wrist Lanyard

The first step is to make the loop that will attatch the lanyard to whatever you plan on attatching it to. For the iPod touch I kept the loop small (1/2 inch, as you will see), but if you plan on using it as a strap for a phone or something else I would suggest a larger loop (around 1 inch).

 photo loopcollage_zpsdbf65ea1.jpg
Adding the loop.
  1. Fold end piece fabric in half crosswise (so it's now 1 inch by 1.5 inches). Press. open back up and mark the middle of the fold. This will be 3/4 inches from each side. 
  2. Insert your thread through the wrong side of the fabric. Return needle next to where you inserted it, along the fold. 
  3. As stated, for the iPod strap I wanted a shorter loop, so it measures 1/2 inch in length. If you're planning on looping it through itself I'd suggest a larger loop, closer to 1 inch in length. When you're happy with your loop knot thread in the back, making sure not to shorten the loop. You can do this with quilter's knots (just don't pop it through!), or regular knots (which is what I chose to do). 
Now put the end piece away for a few minutes. We're going to work on the strap piece. It's pretty straightforward. Just a bit of pressing and then some top stitching.

 photo foldingcollage_zpsb10b41f4.jpg
Folding the strap. 
  1. Fold your strap piece in half lengthwise. Press. 
  2. Open strip up again. Note center crease. 
  3. Fold each side into the center crease. Press each side as you fold it in. Keep folded. 
  4. Fold the long strip in half along that first center crease you made. 
Next you're just going to do a simple top stitch along each of the long sides. I kept it about 1/8th of an inch away from the edge, and started on the open side first. Then I stitched along the fold side.

 photo topstitch3_zpsfdd2b4db.jpg
Top stitching detail. I lengthened my stitch too. 

Now we've got to fold the end piece with the loop to get it ready to attach to the strap piece. 

 photo trifoldcollage_zpsc992e90e.jpg
Folding the end piece. 

  1. Using that center crease we created in the first step while adding the loop, fold each side into the center and press. The piece should measure about 1 inch by 1.5 inches. 
  2. Next we're going to fold one side (the left here) in 1/3 of the way. This is about 1/2 an inch, as you see in the picture. Press. 
  3. Fold the other side in 1/3 as well. Press. Your piece will now measure about 1/2 inch by 1 inch. 
  4. You can stop holding the sides down! Note the tri-fold shape. 
These are all the creases we just made:

 photo creasecollage_zpsdd249d6d.jpg
Highlighting the creases.
We're going to work with the piece wrong side up (image 3) in the next step. 

Next we're going to insert our strap into this end piece. It's a little fiddly, and a little tricky to get good pictures, hope these make sense.

 photo insertcollage_zps1b7512cc.jpg
Inserting the strap and creating a loop. 
  1. Lay the strap piece in the middle section of the end piece, line up with the center fold. 
  2. Fold each side of the end piece (top, then bottom) over the strap piece. This will encase it. 
  3. It's easiest to do the rest in your hand. You want to grasp one side, leaving the other side like an open tube and ready for the strap. 
  4. Circle the strap around, being careful to avoid twisting. 
  5. Slip the end of the strap into the tube opening of the end piece. You want to insert it 1/2 inch, so that it abuts the other end of the strap piece at the center fold. 
  6. Fold the end piece in half. 
Now you're going to topstitch along the edge of the end piece (where my finger tips are). I just went back and forth a couple of times to secure it. So far it feels plenty sturdy. You can see the loop is hanging out, which is what we want. If you can't see your loop, you might want to make sure you can find it before you topstitch anything!

That's it! You should have a functioning wrist lanyard now!

You can see where I topstitched the end piece here.
A bit larger than 1/8th inch seam, but not 1/4 inch. . 

I've tested mine out, and so far so good. I'll update this tutorial if I find anything of note. Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any questions!

Wrist Lanyard
A meta photo of the dog, the dog on iPod, and the lanyard. 
Linking up to Le Challenge: Small!

Le Challenge

11 July 2014

Colette Moneta

So, I have forayed further into garment sewing. I took a class in how to sew knits without a serger at Brooklyn General. Six of us each worked on making the Colette Moneta dress, most of us opting for the short sleeve or 3/4 sleeve version.

Colette Moneta
Me, my dress, and a bike instalaltion on Valentino Pier. 

I originally bought some great knits from Girl Charlee, but because UPS hates me, they took a few trips across the country before I actually got to use them. Consequently, I had to buy this amazing Birch Organic knit (Flight in Paprika by Jay-Cyn Designs) last minute. As you can tell, I was devastated by this turn of events.

Sewing knits without a serger is super easy, it turns out. You just use a short and narrow zig zag. And the result? You get all the swirly, stretchy, body hugging drape that we all love about knits. 

Colette Moneta
Action shot! I was spinning. And getting photo bombed by the Statue of Liberty. 

The finish isn't quite as professional as when using a serger, but using a double (or twin) needle gives that great double line of stitching when hemming. And anyway, how often do people see the wrong side of your clothes? Exactly.

The other secret: Wonder Tape. It's amazing. It's like glue basting in quilting, and you'll wonder why you ever hemmed anything without it.

Colette Moneta
I love the double needle. Like I could ever free sew two lines like this!  

So, for my first experience with a Colette pattern, and my first experience sewing with knits, it was a great one. I haven't washed anything yet, though, so I'm anxious to see how much it shrinks. It's a little loose on me, so hopefully shrinking will not make it unbearably small. In the mean time I'm wearing it as much as possible - 3 times already this week!

Colette Moneta
Just playing around! Still gotta work on finding the light!
Tyra would be so mad!

Linking up to Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts

08 July 2014

New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop

Wiksten Tank
Me in my first ever personally sewn garment, and Picasso, my doggie. 

Hello! Today's my day on the New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop generously hosted by Plum and June! If you're new glad to have you, and if you've been here before thanks for returning!

Lucky Stars
First full sized quilt I finished (and photographed!)

I'm a new quilter (about two years under my belt), an even newer blogger (just a few months!) I tend to like modern fabric palates and both modern and traditional quilting patterns. I'm especially drawn to graphic designs.

Liberty Trip
Liberty Trip Quilt - most recent quilt finish!

I've done both hand and machine quilting. Both have their perks, but I'm better at hand quilting. Less puckers! I just don't have the patience for it. I'd love to learn how to free motion quilt, eventually!

A great quilting tip I can't emphasize enough is test out any method of marking lines! I keep making lines for quilting (both machine and by hand) with materials that don't readily wash out (who knew chalk wouldn't come out easily??!!) No one wants to ruin their beautiful work with some stray lines!

Broken Umbrella
Broken Umbrella Mini Quilt - 24"square, hand quilted. 

I'm motivated by online quilting competitions and link-ups. Without them I may never finish anything! I also really enjoy making my own patterns for quilts, paper piecing patterns, and other small bags/pouches.

A great blogging tip is to be yourself. I know, I know, broken record! But, you want to make sure that you're enjoying the process of blogging, and not feeling like it's work or an assignment. Along these lines, stop apologizing! I see so many posts by bloggers I follow or click on from linkys apologizing for not blogging, for bad pictures, for mismatched seams, etc. You should only be accountable to yourself, you don't need to apologize if other things get in the way of sharing your work!

Another tip that may be more practical is to host your images online (Flickr, Photobucket, etc). You can share or embed the html into your blog, and then you don't use up all your space on pictures. I had an old blog I kept of my travels and I stopped writing in it when I filled up all the space with pictures because I didn't want to upgrade the blog and purchase more space! Now I don't really worry about that because I host all my pictures on Flickr

Both sides of both cases
Glasses cases (front and back), my own pattern. 

Several things you don't know about me (yet!)
  • I love gossip magazines, and have a subscription to US Weekly. That is what inspired this list (but I won't include 25 items as they usually do!)
  • I'm pursuing my PhD in Environmental Science, and am really passionate about education. I also waitress. 
  • I live in a one bedroom apartment with two cats and a dog and a boyfriend. 
  • Ice cream is so amazing I rarely pass up an opportunity to eat it. 
  • I don't like artificial banana flavor. 
  • I'm the alpha dog in the apartment.
  • I love Flickr for crafty pictures! I like instagram too, but I tend to use instagram for all pictures, not just crafty. For example, I'm doing a series where I take pictures of my dog with street art. (#streetartdog)

Otis Cushion
Otis Pillow

So, what's your opinion on photo hosting? Are you Team Flickr or Team Instagram?

Now that we're best friends you should take my advice and check out some of the other amazing bloggers on the hop:
Kate @ Thread Everywhere
    Cheryl @ Texas Quilting Gal
      Jenn @ Sew Crafty Jenn
        Heather @ QA Creations
          Cornelia @ Pieced with Love

          Thanks for stopping by!

          Plum and June

          Finish Along - Q3

          I decided to participate in the 3rd Quarter of the Finish Along hosted by The Littlest Thistle. I'm hoping it will keep me more focused and get me to finish the projects I'm working on. I am definitely a 'list' person, meaning whenever I need to buckle down I hand write a to-do list, then I work through it, physically crossing off each item as it's completed. Hopefully this digital version will work just as well!

          I want to quilt this (king sized) guy: 
          Birds and Butterflies Quilt
          I've got it all basted and I have a quilting plan in mind, I just need to start marking it and just do it!

          I need to quilt and put together this pillow cover: 

          Zipper for Zipper
          Zipper Pillow Cover!
          I've got it and the back set up, I just need to get everything to size, baste, and quilt them. The recipient's birthday is at the end of the month, so that's a good motivator.

          I'm halfway through my second attempt at this dress:
          Colette Moneta
          My first version is awesome! Now I'm making the version in the image (version 1), and so far it's a little smaller than I'd like...something went wrong with the lining...hopefully it'll finish ok!

          I want to finish this quilt, but probably won't get past the top, if I even get that far: 

          Southwest-speration Quilt Center Panel
          Southwest inspired quilt top
          While I still love this piece I kind of hate how inaccurate (in my eyes) my piecing is. That'll teach me for making a challenging pattern before I worked on my piecing precision!

          I've got a few other projects, but I think this is enough to list for now. The summer heat really puts me into slow motion...especially without any AC in my sewing nook!

          04 July 2014

          Pillow for Sissy Pants

          I finally finished up the pillow for my sister! I like how it came together because I can see all the details I put into it for her. I'll probably include a long note so that she can see them too.

          Pillow for the Sister
          Crested Butte paper pieced pattern by me!

          My goal with this side was to capture my sister's favorite season in Crested Butte. I've got the iconic mountain with a print reminiscent of a winter's day, a beautiful, bluebird, winter's day. It's hard to see here, but I quilted wavy lines down the mountain like ski paths. The border print on this side is from the Ride by Julia Rothman collection, and I chose that because of all the time she spends riding her townie (a townie is a bike you ride around town).

          Pillow for the Sister
          Liberty in Colorado side of the pillow. 

          The second side of the pillow is composed of four Colorado blocks. I used left over scraps from my Liberty Trip quilt to represent Crested Butte's status as the wildflower capital of Colorado and some Architextures topograph fabric to represent the Rockies. I quilted it with straight lines radiating from opposite corners. I learned about it in Jacquie Gering's Craftsy class: Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot (a fantastic class, I highly recommend it!) I only wish I had done the lines from all four corners to create more of a cross hatch look.

          Pillow for the Sister
          Close up of quilting. Also, the itty bitty border of Monaluna birch trees.
          Reminds me of the Aspens in Colorado. 

          I even made her a custom label:

          Pillow for the Sister
          I'm Skizz, she's Sissy Pants. She likes wine
          (and I see it bled a little, we'll say that represents
          all the wine she'll inevitably spill on the pillow.)

          So, a successful finish, and onto the next project! Here's one last look at both sides: 

          Pillow for the Sister
          Pillow front and front. I'm not even going to pretend one side is the back. 

          Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

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