Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Busy as a Bee

It's WIP Wednesday and I actually have some stuff to share..WOO! I've been making pretty good progress sewing lately (by my standards, anyway) and even though I've got a small handful of things going on, I feel like I've been in a pretty good groove of making progress on each of them. 

First off, I made my do.Good Stitches February Bee Blocks this weekend. This month was led by the lovely Sarah of Sarah Stitched and she chose the Triangle Play block, found here at Sew, Mama, Sew!  We were given free reign on colors which both excited me and stressed me out a tad, too many decisions! This block looked alot easier going into first block involved LOTS of "reverse sewing" and a few choice words. I just could not get my points to match up or rows to line up straight.

Feb 1

I did finally manage to finish it and it turned out decent, but I ran out of white so couldn't finish my second right away (which honesly was probably for the best at that point...) In the meantime, it was suggested to me to try starching my pieces before sewing them together.  I've never used starch before but was planning on getting some anyway for my curves projects so I decided to give it a go and OH.MY.GOODNESS. Lets just say starch is my new BFF. It made a world of difference! Not only did the second one wind up looking better, but it made it a much more pleasant experience...

Feb 2


Looking at this picture, I just realized that I think because I had to skimp so much with the seem allowance to get my points to line up in the first one, the triangles seem to be a bit bigger than the ones in the second one...huh...well, they are off in the mail already so hopefully it won't be noticeable in the final quilt.

This week I've also gotten some work done on some curves projects:

Rainbow Road in progress

Rainbow Road table runner: This has been pretty fun to make.  I usually do not do solids, and I usually do not do total improv, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it! Okay okay so it's not really that daring, but it was a stretch for me and I'm glad I did it because what's the point in learning something new if you're not going to step outside your comfort zone?  The directions call for this to be squared off then bound, but I really like the curvy edges, and like I said I'm "throwing caution to the wind" so I'm going to attempt to bind it curvy...

Drunkards Paths

First try at a drunkards path!

Drunkards Path potholders: These were actually alot easier than I expected.  Rachel gave us directions to try to do these both with pins and without.  The without pins method was kind of blowing my mind so I did the first set with pins but then decided "aw what the heck, let's get crazy" and gave no pinning a go, and what do you know? It was not scarey at all!  I did the rest without which made these really quick to make.


I've also gotten to work on the next bag I had planned. This was supposed to be a Christmas present, which of course didn't happen, so I was going to try to make it for her birthday instead.  Her birthday is the 12th so I *should* make it in time, barring any unforeseen pattern issues/massive mistakes/laziness...yeah, we'll see...Anyway, notice anything about this one?? Yup...I *finally* learned from my mistakes and labeled the pieces! Aw, my mom would be so proud....

In addition to this stuff I've also got a few things sitting on my table waiting for their turn to be cut.. 
-Curves Projects: Orange Peel block, Slices floor mat, O'Christmas Tree mini and Retro Flowers quilt
-Modern Mini Challenge: I'm really hoping to enter this but need to decide quick. I've got a few ideas rattling around, but none have fully hatched yet so I'm not really sure if it'll happen in time.

So, what have you got going on?? How do find a groove to keep multiple things going on at once? Or are you a project monogamist and like to finish one thing before starting another?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Party Time!

Remember when you were a kid, and at the end of the school year there'd always be a party to celebrate? Well, I decided to throw my self a party for the end of Curves Class and splurge on some new fabric for my final project!

Lou Lou Thi!!

For the final project, I am going to make this Retro Flowers quilt (although a bit smaller than the pattern, as I'm deathly afraid of trying to quilt a larger quilt...) and I decided to make it just for *me*. I haven't made myself anything special in quite a while, so I'm pretty excited about the idea.  I was looking for fabrics I wanted to use, and wanted to go with a fat quarter bundle all from the same line to give the quilt some unity and so I didn't have to stress over what fabrics go well together. My hubby convinced me to treat myself so I wound up splurging a tiny bit on this Lou Lou Thi fat quarter bundle from Marmalade Fabrics, with some Mod 51 that was on sale to use as the binding.  I've always thought this line was sooo pretty, and I'm really pumped to get to use it to make myself a (hopefully) pretty quilt!  My fabrics came really quickly, and they came all packaged neatly in some tissue paper with a ribbon around it, it really was like getting a present in the mail! I have a few other Curves projects I need to do before I start this one to make sure I'm ready for it, but hopefully in two or three weeks I can start.  So seeing as this is my first actual quilt, I have no idea about sizing...I've decided I'm going to make it 3 blocks wide by 3 blocks long and then have a border around it, and also I think there is sashing between the blocks. I am guessing that it will wind up being around 48" square...think that's a good lap size quilt??

I also am celebrating this weekend that I *finally* finished the second Sophia Carry All and got it delivered to it's recipient today.  It's not really my style, but it turned out nicely and my husband's Gramma seemed to really like it, so a success in my book!

Second Sophia Carry All

Second Sophia Carry All Interior

I am so relieved to get this thing out of my life...I was tempted to not even keep the pattern, but of course I can't get rid of anything, so it got filed away neatly in the very off chance I ever decide to torture myself by making another one of these...I will say that this one was easier than the first though. I trimmed out some of the fleece from the seem allowances which made it less bulky once I got some layers together, so it wasn't *as* bad this time around. Oh well, I still love me some Amy Bulter...

Well I'm off to dream about my future pretty pretty quilt ( that weird?) Any exciting finishes or plans for you all this weekend?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Adventures in Paper Piecing

I finally finished my first paper piecing project! (Ok, I actually finished like a week ago, but the weather was crummy all last week and I wanted a nice picture of it all finished up)

I have been wanting to try paper piecing alot lately, but I'm not the type to just make a "practice" block just for the heck of seems like a waste to make something I don't have any intentions on using, so I was about to jump right in to a (probably difficult) full blown paper piecing block that I really want to make.  Then it's as if Sew, Mama, Sew! read my mind (isn't it funny how blogs do that?) because soon popped up this tutorial for a paper-pieced mini quilt that was super cute and looked like a good way to try out paper piecing. 

I was a little nervous at first, trying to read the directions without doing it seemd overwhelming and confusing, but as soon as I started it was really quite simple and nothing to be scared of!

Colors all picked out..

Paper Piecing start...

Not so difficult!

I did have a few close calls where the fabric just barely covered the seam lines once I flipped it, the whole- not having to line up edges thing -was really throwing me off, and something about sewing backwards on something that was already backwards was kind of blowing my mind, but as long as I took my time thinking it through and double checking the position of the fabric against the light before sewing it, it went together quite well.


I had SO much fun making this, and I am now in love with paper piecing. I finished all of these in one evening and it didn't take long to get it quilted and bound!
All finished!

Close up of some quilting

Close up of more quilting...

The binding is actually where I hit a snag...I was using Rachel at Stitched in Color's zig-zag binding tutorial again, and had confidence that I remembered the directions from the last time I did it and didn't need to re-read them.  WRONG! I accidentally did a 1/2" seam when I sewed it to the front (it's supposed to be 1/4") meaning I had no room to flip it over to cover the back...I almost unstitched the whole thing, when I had a genius idea to trim it off in the seam allowance to make it 1/4". This worked pretty well except I didn't consider the corners, so my nicely mitered corners got messed up...oops! Oh well, I made do..  I am proud to say though that I finally joined the ends of the binding together correctly! Every time I've done binding the part where you join the ends at a 45 degree angle gets me and I give up and just fold one end over the over. This time I was determined to get it right, and after 6 tries (no kidding...6...I was so close to giving up again...) I got it!  I was so proud (one of the main reasons I didn't want to unstitch the binding when I found my mistake, hah!)

Anyway, binding mishaps aside, I am super excited about this finish. It was one of the most fun things I've made in a while and can't wait to try some more paper piecing.  I'm actually considering finding templates for the whole alphabet, sizing them down and making a baby blanket with them. Hmm...right now I have about 10 ideas for baby blankets, so we'll see which make the cut! 

Today I'm linking up with {sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations AND with Little Quilt Monday at Pieceful Life, make sure to stop by and see all the gorgeous stuff people have been up to, and maybe show something of your own off! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finished Curves Projects!

I am so proud to say that I FINISHED the two projects I did for this weeks curves projects! I had a lot of fun making these and it was a nice way to ease into sewing curves.  The first project was baby bibs (how perfect!)
Bib 1

Bib 2

Bib 3

I tried to find gender neutral prints since I do not know whether I'm having a boy or a girl yet and wound up with these cute are those frogs??  These were quick and simple-I definitely plan to make a bunch more of these later.

The second project I chose to do was a clam shell pillow.  This was a bit more time consuming, but I still got it finished in one day and it was good to practice slightly tighter curves.
Clam Shells 1

Clam Shells 3

For sure the most time consuming part was cutting and piecing all these little guys together.  I basically had to do it one at a time, which is not how I like to roll, but the pins were getting in the way if I tried to pin a whole row at once. 

Clam Shells 4

Clam Shells 7

Clam Shells 5

Here it is all finished.  I like to make my own pillow forms as I have plenty of pillows to recover and don't want to spend $15 to buy a pre-made one, so I canibalize an old pillow and use an old sheet or pillow case to make whatever size form I need.  This one I think I over stuffed a little bit (which unfortunately led to ripping the zipper a little so I might redo the form later on, but for now it works and looks quite cute in my living room! I used the same scraps on this that I used to make my Quilted Pillow and Piped Pillow.  This also had an invisible zipper which I've never done before (using this great tutorial), and all in all it wasn't that hard.  I don't think I sewed close enough to the coils so it's not quite "invisible", but oh well, it works.  I've done regular zippers before, and I think this was a little bit easier and didn't take as long so I'll probably try it again. 

I must say that today was the most productive sewing day I've had in quite some time... Usually my weekends are mixed with house keeping, running errands and doing stuff with the hubby so I don't have but a few hours to sew at a time. This weeked however, I got all my cleaning and errands done on Saturday and hubby went out hunting with a friend for most of the day so I was able to spend pretty much the whole day sewing--something I don't think I've ever gotten to do. It was so nice and relaxing and very satisfying to finish a few things instead of just adding to the WIP pile.  I also got some work done on a paper piecing project that I'll show in a few days that I'm quite excited about! Hope your weekend was as relaxing and productive as mine! :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Curvy Introduction

To those of you stopping over from the Curves Class, welcome! I'm Jessica and this is my little corner where I share some of my adventures in crafting and sewing. I am SO excited to be participating in this class to get to learn some new skills and hopefully meet some new friends along the way!  I will take Rachel's queue and take this time to tell a little about myself and my sewing journey. I'm not so much a story teller as I am a babbler, so I appologize in advance, but I hope you can bare with me!

I am 27 years old, married and pregnant with our first child right now (though we DO have one furry child!).  I have only been sewing just under a year now and LOVE it.  Before I discovered sewing, I was never a very crafty type person, I always *wanted* to be crafty but just never found anything that stuck...(for instance, I've learned to crochet two separate times, each time with the intent to make my newphew a baby blanket...this started before he was born and he is now 3-1/2 with a 1-1/2 year old brother, neither of whom have crocheted blankets from their aunt...)  Now, my very dear friend has always been quite the opposite of me and is VERY crafty. We lived together during college for 2 years and I always envied her crafty projects, but it wasn't until she had a baby and sewed ALL of her baby bedding and decor last year that I even considered sewing.  When I saw what she was able to do with a sewing machine, I really felt inspired to learn to sew to be able to create things like that myself.  I was nervous to get into it at first, given my poor history with sticking to things and all, but my husband was very supportive and convinced me to give it a go.  I got my first machine, sewed up a really simple pillow, and fell in love!  Since then I've really enjoyed learning different techniques and finding inspiration all over the web through so many wonderful bloggers.  The Curves class will be my first actual sewing class..up until now I've been more "self-taught", reading books and following tutorials to figure out what works.  The only curves I've really done have been in patterns for things like purses, but I don't have much of a concept of how to apply them to "flat" pieces (does that make sense?? does in my head at least..) so I'm really excited to learn this technique to help broaden my horizons! Also, I've never made a full quilt, so this class is going to kill two birds with one stone!

Here are a few of my past projects:
Onesies 1
Appliqued onsies for my friend's baby (the one who inspired me to sew!)

Quilted Pillow
Quilted pillow, this was my first attempt at any kind of piecing, and I still love how it turned out

Hip Quiver
"Hip Quiver" hubby is in to archery, and wanted me to make this for him. I'm especially proud of this one because I had no pattern to go off of, I made my own by looking at one like this that his friend had bought

Quilted Thanksgiving wall hanging...blogged here

Exterior Blossom Handbag
Amy Butler "Blossom Bag". I am obsessed with Amy Butler patterns for some reason...see here, here and here for a few others

Well, that about sums me up.  Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to make yourself comfy and stay for a while, I'd love to meet some new friends and get to see what everyone is up to with the Curves Class! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday-Slow and steady...

So it's W.I.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and as usual, I don't have much to report.  I feel like I have been doing alot, but don't have much to show for it! 

I've mostly been trying to catch up on some Christmas items that never got made and I've tried to keep myself from starting anything else before I get them done (hince the lack of things to show...) I've got one purse I'm working on now, and one to start that will actually wind up being a birthday gift instead. Her birthday is in March, so I should be able to get it done in time.  For some reason, the purse I'm working on now really has me dragging.  It's another Sophia Carry All by Amy Butler (you may recall my previous experience with this bag...) The difficulty I had the last time is probably what's keeping me from getting into this one, but I'd already cut out the pieces and hate to waste it so I'm forging ahead.  There are 2 things that I've learned while making this pattern that I wish I had remembered this time around....
1) Label the darn pieces.  There are ALOT of pieces to this one, and last time I used the wrong piece to make the handles and had to do alot of seam ripping.  Of course I didn't learn from my mistakes and didn't label them this time and as I was applying the interfacing I realized I may have cut something wrong, so now I've got to re-trace my steps and see what I've got...maybe now I should label them to save my self any more heartache? yeah...we'll see about that...
 2) Don't bother with fusible fleece, it's a pain in the butt.  I've been using Pellon brand, and man it is hard to get it to actually fuse.  I've used the non-fusible kind before and just used a spray addhisive to apply it and it was fine, so I'm totally doing that from now on. Not only is the non-fusible kind a little cheaper, it also would save alot of time to spray baste than try to fuse the darn stuff...

Another WIP that has been keeping me occupied:

Yeah so it's not sewing related..but it is DIY! We've been redoing our guest bathroom, and I suppose you could say this is my longest running WIP right now.  We actually bought all the the stuff to do it back in the beginning of September, I started then by ripping down the wallpaper border with the intent to start painting, but then life got in the way and everything sat around in the garage until about 3 weeks ago when we finally decided to go ahead and get it done.  We are not redoing the tub or shower tile as it was in pretty good shape, but we have done all the painting and tiled the floor.  These are terrible pictures, but the second one shows the color a bit more accurately.  This grey was actually the 4th color I tried, I'd originally picked out a purple back in September but when I busted it out to start painting a few weeks ago I H-A-T-E-D it.  So then I decided I wanted turquoise and tried two different shades, both I liked but just wasn't sold on either of them.  Finally I gave in and decided to go with something slightly more neutral and got this grey that has just a hint of blue to it.  I never thought I'd be a grey person, but it just looks so fresh and clean with the bright white ceiling and light colored tile...perfection! This weekend hopefully we'll get the baseboards back on and install the vanity and put the toilet back.  We have been mostly confined to working on it on the weekends, so it's been taking a while to get it all done and man am I ready to get everything back in order!

I did manage to finish some stuff in the last few weeks, but of course I was in too big of a hurry to get it sent out that I forgot to take pictures.  I made little blankets for my two nephews and my sister-in-law says they love them! They were very simple, I just got some Cars fleece (they are big fans of the movie) and coordinating flannel for the other side. I applique'd their initial on one side and made it as kind of a "Self-binding" blanket, with just straight line stitching to give it some detail.  I actually wound up making three of these because the first one I made I attached the fleece backwards and it wasn't until I was completely finished with it when I noticed the print was inversed...oops!  (This was  one of the times that I've enjoyed being able to blame "baby brain" rather than "Jess makes silly mistakes")

That's about all I've got to share...I have this giant stack of brand stinkin new fabric that I washed and folded last night that I just can't wait to use! Curves class (held by Rachel at Stitched in Color) starts this week and I've been holding out on cutting into any of these yummies so I can use them for the class, so hopefully I'll have something fun to share in the next week or two!  Also on deck is some experimenting with paper-piecing and attempting to refashion some clothes into maternity clothes.  I bought some t-shirts at Joanns the other day ($3 each, can't beat that) with the intent to add some rouching to the sides, and to cut one up to make some rolled flowers or perhaps a ruffled neck line to fancy it up.  I've never done any kind of clothing before, so we'll see how this goes!  If anyone has any tips on rouching, I'd love to hear it! I've browsed a few tutorials but right now I'm probably going to just wing it...

So, what have you been up to? Be sure to hop over to Freshly Pieced to link up and see what other's have been doing!