Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review

Everyone else is posting a year in review, so I thought I'd do the same.  Or at least a review of stuff I blogged about :)  I finished A LOT of projects this year.  This will mostly outline the projects I completed, but I added in a few other main points. 

In January the only project I made completely was the Stupendous Stitching wall hanging from the Craftsy class (my favorite class to date, and I've done a lot of them.)  I also made a jelly roll race quilt top.  The non-highlight of January was that I badly sprained my wrist.  That sucked.

I managed to get a number of projects done this month: Pajama Pants for Kevin Headbands for Courtney,Embroidered Towel for Melissa, Butterfly Shirt for Me, Bib for Violet, and a Mug Rug for Swap

In March I finally finished the first twin quilt for Mom, made Vogue 1224 for me (love this dress!), and some snack baggies for Courtney.  The non-highlight of March was getting a retry (fail) on my bronze freeskate test.

The highlight of April was seeing my family, meeting my new niece and going on a cruise.  I also made a wine bottle bag and Vogue 1208 dress (which I was proud of at the time, and wore, but Kevin has since told me doesn't look good on me.)  I also completed a mini wholecloth quilt, my first micro quilting project- this would turn out to be the year of microquilting! 

In May I finished second twin size quilt for Mom, one of my favorite quilts ever, and quilted the colorful quilt I made for myself last year.  I also made a dress for Josefina and started a dresden plate quilt, which has since been abandoned.  I wonder where it is...

In June I started my shadow trapunto snowflake quilt.  I did all the prep work for each block andfinished snowflakes 1, 2, and 3.  This is also the month I took up rowing and the highlight: finally passed my bronze freeskate test!

In July I made a wallet, a rosin bag for Cole and snack bags for Kristen.  I also finished Snowflakes 4 and 5.

In August I finished the Jelly Roll Race quilt, did the project from the Painted Quilt class from Craftsy (love it), and finished Snowflake 6, 7, and 8. Kevin made me a spool stand which is one of my favorite sewing accessories (he says he made it in June.  I wonder why it took me so long to post).

This month I only finished Snowflake 9.  I started Snowflake 10...and then the snowflake quilt entered UFO territory.

October was a low project month because of an awesome project- we moved to a new house!!!  We had the shortest house hunt ever.  I emailed our realtor at the beginning of August that we were sort of kind of thinking about moving, and would he be willing to give us an idea of the market.  By Oct. 1 we were in the new house.  We are SO happy with it- six years in the old house we put together a wishlist of exactly what we were looking for, and as an added bonus, we have the greatest neighborhood.   In random updates, I also attended my first hockey game.

This month I finished a pair of knitted socks (well, I haven't closed the toes yet, I should do that tonight to finish them before the new year.)  And made the project from Quick Strip Paper Piecing class on it is hanging in the entryway.  We also joined a gym and I am really enjoying the aerobics classes.

The big news for December was that I switched jobs.  I am enjoying my new position and it seems like it will be a good fit.  I also did a number of projects, the Side Setting Table Runner, a fabric wreath (possibly my first pinterest craft?),Violet's stocking, fleece blankets for Violet, Rylee, Conor, Luke and Brody, and a pennant for Cole.  I finished snowflake 10 and 11, dyed my first fabric and

began Mario Quilt.

So entering the new year the projects I have in progress are the Mario Quilt, the Snowflake Quilt, and the Dresden Plate.  I have also done a few Craftsy classes that I haven't done the project yet (Jeans, Alterations, Thread Art) and would like to.

Overall, it was a good year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Project- Mario Quilt

I missed the quilt-along, but I remember seeing the Super Mario quilt when it started.  Now that I've seen the final quilt, I decided Kevin needs a Mario quilt.  So during's 12 days of Christmas sale I ordered some fabric, and it was scheduled to get here the 21st- perfect, as I would have multiple days of uninterrupted quilting fun. 
Then we had a blizzard, so it was delayed.  It was scheduled to get here on the 24th.  I can handle that, still will have Christmas day to quilt.  Nope, at 8:15 pm an "emergency condition beyond the control of UPS" popped up on the tracking.  But get this- the UPS man had JUST delivered to a house on the corner.  I was pissed off, as there was no tipped over UPS truck, so I really want to know what the emergency was!

Needless to say, I didn't get to quilt Christmas.  The fabric came on the 26th while I was at work, and I got it prewashed and then ironed and starched, and yesterday I started on the quilt.

Kevin's favorite characters are Boo and Dry Bones, neither were in the quilt.  I found a Boo, but haven't been able to get Dry Bones as 18 x 18 (anyone talented want to draw him for me?)  I may put his on the back in a larger size.

Since he was only a few colors and would be easy to cut the squares for, Boo was up first.

Now that I decided it worked (but not as well as my practice piece...) I am cutting the almost 4,000 squares needed for the quilt (each block has 324 squares).  I have the star and mushroom pressed and ready to be sewn, I will probably sew them tonight.

The process.

Step 1: Mark grids on cheap interfacing (99 cents a yard, plus I had a 50% off coupon- way better than the $100 on wash-away the QAL call for, even though it does change the hand of the fabric a bit.)  This is what I spent the holiday doing.
Step 2: Lay out all the squares and press.  (This Boo is 27" x 27")  Make sure to use release paper or a press cloth, as there is a lot of fusible interfacing that may still be exposed.  I also got out my older iron.
Step 3: Sew seams in one direction
Step 4: Cut open seams (well worth it to press seams open instead of to the side, this is going to be a 'B' to quilt.) and press, again, use release paper.

Step 5: Join top and bottom piece together.  (Up to this point, I was working with a group of 13 rows and a group of 5 rows-  18 rows won't fit on the interfacing.)  This is the only step I used pins for.

This will give you a big squished Boo.

Step 5: Sew seams in other direction.

Step 6: Cut open seams (This time I tried with a rotary cutter, much easier to cut, but the smaller seam allowance made it harder to press, I won't do this again.) 

 Block Finished (see opening photo).  It measures 18.25 x 18.5- so  I wasn't perfect.  If you look closesly not everything is square, but for my piecing, I have to say, this is pretty darn good.  And quick.  I can't imagine doing these individually, and even doing them a clumps of color I would have never been this accurate.  Can't wait to see more characters come to life!

Here is what he looks like from the back.  See- lots and lots of seams, and because of the interfacing quilting this is not going to be easy!

Adventures in dyeing!

So a little while ago I got a procion MX dyeing starter kit.  I asked my parents for larger bottles of the 3 primary colors for Christmas and they got them for me (plus 10 yards of white fabric!!)  The starter kit also had black in it.

I thought the starter bottles were 1 ounce, so I asked for 8 ounces- it turns out they are like a half ounce, and 8 ounces is A LOT, so I should have dye for quite some time.  I think it has a shelf life of a year or two (but have read of it lasting up to 10!) so I'm going to need to go on a dyeing spree.

Christmas I had a good start at it, I wanted to do gradations and saw a tutorial of how to dilute the same amount of dye more and more in successive dye baths to get a gradation.  Sadly, it didn't work for me.  (Well, it kind of did on the blue, you can see it is lighter on the last one.)  But I did get pretty fabric.  There were 4 of each color, but I already broke into some of it for a fused one yellow is missing.

So after doing that, I did some snow dyeing.  Snow dyeing is when you put the fabric in a container, pile snow on top of it and then put the dyes on it like a snow cone.  The melting is what determines the patterns in the ice.  In the above picture you can see the first two I did, with Radiance fabric (half silk).  I actually like the patterns on cotton better.  I love the orange (made with fuschia and yellow), which is good because I accidentally put in two fat quarters instead of one.
I also took a craftsy class and tried a few of the folded manipulations.  The black is just accordion pleated and folded in half.  The purple is folded like a flag and then a resist is created using jar lids.  I asked Kevin to take pictures, and really appreciate that he did (his camera is confusing, I can't use it much) but I don't think he did the best job of showing off the fabrics. (The green is snow dyed.)

For my gradation, I didn't plan to use a resist, but it came out like one on the Pimatex, the technique I used was putting them in large solo cups, but one of the resist techniques was scrunching in small cups, so I guess I didn't have enough room.  I also thought this little pattern was quite funny:

And like many dyers before me, I was looking for something else to dye.  I hate the white underwear that comes in packs of cute underwear (why do they always throw in white? I don't want white!) so I dyed all of them too!  They went into the snow baths with the fat quarters.  Now I love my adorable undies.  And we spiral tie-dyed a shirt.  Again, sorry you can't see the pattern, it looks awesome!

Also, none of these fabrics are PFD.  I prewashed regular fabric- this is all from and it all dyed beautifully.  I had written what was what, but other than the pink being Pimatex, I can't remember.  So my lesson learned: buy what is on sale, prewash.  I tried the Timeless Treasures Broadcloth, the Cotton Broadcloth ($2.98/yd!), the Cotton Supreme Solids, the Premium Broadcloth (kind of thick), and the Moda Bella Broadcloth.  Everything looked great.   I also dyed some Kona I had on hand.

Snowflake quilt

So the snowflake quilt is nearing completion.  I have a small block and the big block left to go.  I plan to stipple the large block and do circuit board (square) stippling on the small block.  I had planned to McTavish, but in the end decided against it because while my McTavishing is good, I think it looks best in a complementary color to the fabric.

This quilt really got stalled for awhile because I ran out of designs and motivation.  And then a bunch of projects came along, but in the end, it is going to get there.

So here are the two squares I finished over Christmas.  The triangles have been in progress for months.  Not sure why I didn't get them done before. They weren't really that hard.  (You should be able to click to see bigger.  This one is hard to see the design.)
The loops were a design I didn't want to do, but I just wanted to have it done.  I wish I could quilt paisley- I pull it out to practice all the time, but it just doesn't look right, no matter what variation I do. 
Sadly, this loop design will always be a sad one for me.  I was interupted while stitching it by my husband yelling down the stairs- he needed to go to the ER.  He sliced his finger on the router while making a bedside table.  For a woodworking injury, it is probably best case scenario, just a few stitches to reattach the skin flap to his finger and a badly torn nail (but not nailbed, they don't think) that will have to grow back.  I'm so thankful he still has the whole finger, though I don't want to minimize the amount of pain he is in.  This block is always going to be tied to that.  Not the most fun Christmas Eve.

So, like I said two more and then the challenge of putting on the border.  I am not sure if I will do wavy joining of the blocks, but I decided not to do scallops on the edge of the quilt.  I am also really confused how to add a hanging sleeve to it (I usually use triangle corners) because quite honestly, I'd really like to show the quilt (the websites for the shows I'm looking at all say you can use someone else's design, though I plan to email the designer for permission)- we had a speaker at the guild really talk about how show quilts are NOT perfect quilts, so I figured I can try, but everything I read about attaching the hanging sleeve talks about how it shouldn't go through to the front, which makes sense, but this is quilted so tightly there is no room to just get the backing. Maybe if I put my loosest blocks in the top corners?

Next post- about dyeing!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A few more gifts

My sister's kids have a lot of stuff, so I generally don't do gifts for them, but contribute to the college fund instead.  (They are starting to get old enough to know who gifts are coming from, so I'm probably the crappy Aunt- eh, they'll thank me later!)

However, I thought the twins might like the blankets I was making this year, so I made them a set for their birthday.  They are still just getting Christmas checks though.  I was told that The Hulk and Cars are the height of coolness, so that is what they got.  My sister assured me if I monogrammed them it would be okay, and not cause fights over who got the better one.  In her words "everything causes fights, this way I can say, 'no, that is not yours'" 

I think I finally got the binding down- heavy fabric, and starch!

I actually got my machine binder in the mail yesterday.  It has a learning curve though, so I don't think it would have been ready for prime time if I received it earlier.

My sister also told me that Cole "owns" a baseball team called the Osums (Awesome- she told him he spelled it wrong, and he said he was the owner, he gets to decide how to spell it.)  She asked me if I could make him a pennant for the team.  Of course I can!  This was a fun project- I basted the letters in place using steam-a-seam, and then used a blanket stitch to sew it in place. Kevin told me I had to add a white strip to the side, or else it isn't a 'real' pennant.  This is more a vintage pennant, as the new ones are very stiff, and this one is just felt.
Turns out Cole has the flu :( so we were suckers and let him open it early.  He pronounced it amazing, and then searched the house looking for somewhere to put it.  He found the perfect location.  What do you think? 
Cole told his Mom "Aunt Jessi is the best sewer in the world.  She can sew anything."  (He also thinks Uncle Kevin can make anything...which is probably true.)  If he keeps that attitude up, he'll probably get any sewn gift he wants!  (For his birthday, he might be getting an Osums t-shirt.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ready for a New Project

So awhile ago, I remember reading a blog doing a super mario quilt-along.  I recently saw it again and thought "why didn't I do that?"  Kevin has decided he definetly needs that quilt, so I'm going to do it.

The wash away interfacing used for the quilt costs almost a hundred dollars, even on sale- that would be a huge chunk of change.  Instead, I am using Pellon 44F Fusible interfacing, it costs 99 cents a yard, and I got it half off! 

This is the sample I made with it to make sure it would be okay to quilt and not too stiff once it was washed.  It is a little thick, but it still drapes okay. (And really with all those seams so close together, I think no matter what it would be thick.)  The quilting on it was difficult- it won't be easy to do, but it is manageable.

Not totally perfectly, but man- the precision on this piecing is way better than I would have ever done without the interfacing method.

So now I just need to get together all the fabrics, and then I have a big project ahead of me!

(Other big project: snowflake quilt.  Just a few left, but I ran out of motivation and interest in that one....  it will get done eventually.)

So Joann was coupon commotion so I was able to get some  good 50% off deals:
15 yards Pellon 44F: $7.43
10 yards Wonder Under: $14.95
45MM Rotary Cutter (a new ergonomic one): $8
Cheapo 4-scissor pack: $3  (figured these won't last long, but seemed worth trying)

Since I have 3,888 squares to cut out for the Mario quilt, I'm excited about the new rotary cutter!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Gifts

It is always a challenge to decide what to do for Christmas gifts.  Kids have so many toys now, and parents seem to always have so little space and plenty of clutter.  But I hate being the Aunt who never sends anything but a check, especially now that some of the kids are old enough to know who gave them what.

So for Christmas this year, all the kids are getting fleece blankets.  I just bound fleece and embroidered their names.  The girls are just 1 yard cuts- so they aren't square.  Conor's is a yard and a half.  It happened to be what I had, but also the girls are littler, so I didn't want huge blankets for them.

It was a very simple project, but everything handmade is time consuming- it took a decent amount of time to make the binding and apply it.  I can do other things while the machine is embroidering, but it does have to be monitored, so you can't just walk away.  I wish I had used a different font for Conor's name- the stitches are just a bit larger than I'd like which causes them to fold weird.  But overall it looks okay. 

Binding lesson learned: thicker fabric works way better than thinner.  Even better if you starch it!

The best thing about this project- it isn't heirloom. So if the kid wants to drag the blanket all around like Linus does in Peanuts, it is no big deal.

Friday, December 14, 2012


One of the Christmas projects I really wanted to do this year was a fabric wreath.  On other blogs, they looked quick and easy.  So I sat down with a bunch of 1" x 5" scraps (cut approximately, I wasn't too careful) and a big crochet hook and started putting them onto a wire wreath.  It was pretty easy (most of the time- I tried knotting and that was a pain, so I ended up slip knotting them with a crochet hook) but it was not quick.  I think it took me about 5 hours of my day off, working pretty much the whole time.

Still- isn't it so pretty!  I have a smaller wreath form, so I'm going to make another for valentine's day I think.  The sequin bows are hanging on our lights inside, so I added the extras to the wreath.

That wreath hangs indoors and we wanted one for the front door too.  So I made this one.

I can't decide if I like all the decoration things just in one spot or not.  This was just a cheapo wreath from Michaels and then some of the stick-ins they have.  I put them around the wreath too, and I didn't really like how it looked.  But with them all in the corner, it was too bottom heavy so I wrapped the ribbon around the wreath.  I really like that, but Kevin doesn't.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Family Tradition

My husband's family has a tradition.  An Aunt makes a stocking for every new baby.  I'm not the only Aunt in the family, but I'm the only crafty one- so I'm making my third family stocking.
This one I used my embroidery machine to put the name on- so it looks super fancy there.  It is fully lined.  I'm not 100% happy with it (I think I just need to iron it out, but I'm scared of melting the fleece) but I think it looks pretty good.  My SIL told me that the stocking needs to be pretty big, so I tried to make it big. 

 I put off sewing it for quite some time- but it was pretty easy to make.  And my machine just goes right on over the 8+ layers of fabric, fleece, batting, and rick-rack.  It is nice to not have to wrestle with it at all!

I hope they like it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Side Set Table Runner

I have a class card to my LQS that allows me take unlimited classes for 6 months.  I try to go once a month to 'get my money's worth', though sometimes that actually means spending more money.

They recently had a class called "Side Set Table Runner" that sounded promising.  We need a Christmas table runner, so I called, and the kit was only $24, which seemed really reasonable for  fun afternoon and a table runner.

Luckily, when I got there I found beautiful Christmas kits.
What I also found is the quoted kit price didn't include the required ruler!  The Nifty Notions Side Setting Triangle ruler was another $20!!!  Grr, so much for an affordable afternoon.

 This ruler is a monster, which makes the price a litter more palatable, way bigger than I imagined, and it does nice work of taking the math out of side setting triangles, but the thing is, I'm good at math, so eh.  Still, since I now have it, I will probably use it.  I hate the whole 'cut for the cure' thing though (I don't like people using cancer to market products, which is what most of the pink washing is, very little actual benefit to the cause), which is one of the reasons I have never bought rulers from Pine Needles, besides the fact that specialty rulers are really expensive, and generally not necessary.

The very good news is I love the table runner I made.  I did all the piecing of the top at the class, came home and found backing fabric in my stash, quilted it up and bound it (binding was in the kit).  I then spent Thanksgiving adding crystals to it while the rest of the family watched football.
The kit had enough fabric that a good amount of the white and red got cut up to use in the wreath I'll blog about next.

I hope to make more of these runners- 4 squares fits our table really nicely, though maybe I'll do just 3 next time, as we roll up the ends to eat, Kevin likes to sit at the end of the table.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quick Strip Paper Piecing

I took this class from and it was fabulous.  It cost about $20, and with it I think there were 5 different block patterns, each with about 3 project variations.

I had never paper pieced before, so I made a block to practice, which I posted earlier, than skipped to a trickier block and made a wall hanging.
This wall hanging is made from the block "Sailor's Delight"- a variation of Mariner's compass.

The strip piecing methods meant it went very fast, but I did make some mistakes- you have to be very careful when cutting the blocks apart from the strip to take notice to where the fabric will cover.  Most of what I did wrong was in the seam allowance though, so it was no big deal.

I love the precision of paper piecing.  Peggy Martin recommends removing the paper from the block before assembling, so some of it isn't as precise, but in the whole quilt, I think I only lost 2 points.  Pretty impressive :)

This is hanging in our entryway right now.  Even if you've paper pieced before, I highly recommend this class.  I just love Craftsy- all the quilting classes have been great.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Workout Class Review

So I have actually completed a wall hanging quilt recently, paper pieced-  but what has not happened is photographs.  I get told I use the camera wrong, so I try to let Kevin take all my photos, but then I don't get them on the blog in a timely manner.  Sorry,

In an effort to not abandon the blog, let me tell you about something else in my life.

I joined a gym.  

Well, actually, I won a 6 month membership to a gym, and they agreed to split it between me and Kevin at 3 months each, but then they were running a promo where your first month is $4, so it just seemed like a really good deal to go ahead and join.  It is month to month, so we can cancel at the end of 4 if we want to, but I don't know that we will.  This likely means I'm not rowing anymore, as the monthly fee for both of us to go to the gym is about what it costs to row.  That makes me seem selfish to pay for the rowing.

Anyhow- the gym had a Friday Dance Party as part of their open house where they promoed 3 different exercise classes: Sh'Bam, Zumba, and Body Jam.

I think everyone knows what Zumba is.  Sh'Bam and Body Jam are Les Mills fitness classes (Les Mills is the program that has taken over gyms everywhere so there are no longer step classes there are "BodyStep" classes, etc)   Here are the class descriptions from their website:

Featuring simple but seriously hot dance moves, SH'BAM™ is the perfect way to shape up and let out your inner star - even if you're dance challenged.

Set to a soundtrack of chart-topping popular hits, dance music that is heard in the hottest nightclubs around the world, familiar classics remixed and modernized Latin beats, SH'BAM™ is the ultimate fun and sociable way to exercise. Each 45-minute SH'BAM™ class is vibrant, unique and varied - and like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new SH'BAM™ release is produced every three months with new music and choreography.

BODYJAM™ is the cardio workout where you are free to enjoy the sensation of dance. An addictive fusion of the latest dance styles and hottest new sounds puts the emphasis as much on having fun as on breaking a sweat. Funky instructors teach you to move with attitude through this 55-minute class. So grab a friend, get front and center, and get high on the feeling of dance. Like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new BODYJAM™ class is produced every three months with new music and choreography. Each new class will be a different dance experience depending on what's current and hot.

 Based on these descriptions, I expected to want to take the BodyJam class, and since everyone loves it, I expected to want to take Zumba.  I wasn't sold on Sh'Bam- it kind of sounds ridiculous.  But this class seemed the best way to go- and there were free Margaritas afterwards (which I actually didn't have...but a neat promo).  The class was an hour long and packed.  I was told that it is normal for Zumba to be this full, but the other classes are usually lighter on attendance.  Which is good, because BodyJam apparently often requires leaps!

So what did I think?   First, I was really worried I'd be way too out of shape, but my dance instinct kicked in and I think I did a pretty awesome job.  I wasn't always exactly right, but I was never lost.  And while I was sweating like crazy, I was never that tired.  I didn't do any of the add on moves, so I can definitely up the intensity next time.  Since I can't run 10 feet, it is nice to know I have some cardio capability.

As for each class component, well:

Zumba: Didn't like it.  In fact, I felt ridiculous, and I really didn't like how it was run.  The instructors don't cue verbally (there were two, and one occasionally would say something, but I think the other was silent the entire workout.)  That was really weird.  The silent one would point with her fingers, and a lot of time she would face away from the class which made it hard to tell what she was doing- she wasn't in front of a mirror.  I also felt the dance moves were too repetitive.  It reminded me of learning to salsa in Ms. Lamine's Multicultural Literature class in 10th grade.  This was the part of the program that had me watching the clock, and hoping the song was over.  I was bored.  Sadly, it is clearly the most popular class and all over the gym's schedule.  If I want a regular workout schedule, I'm going to have to Zumba.  Which is kind of sad, because then they will think "oh, Zumba is so popular, lets put more on the schedule".  I will definitely have to figure out which instructor teaches which class, because I really enjoyed one instructor over the other.  I think we did 6 tracks of zumba, each one stand alone.

BodyJam:  This felt like a dance class to me.  A relatively difficult one too.  The instructor was very good at cueing, but occasionally there was a "march while I explain" and I always feel like that isn't ideal in a workout class.  The 20 minute section was just learning moves that would be put together as one combo in the end.  Some of them were somewhat complicated, so this is the class I had to think about the most, but it was a progression and really fun to do. I think the instructor said that in class you learn a few combos, but that it is additive, where the moves get put together.  I will defiantly plan to attend BodyJam again.  I think it could be very challenging as I up my intensity level and don't 'mark' the really tough moves.

and then the surprise.
I freaking loved Sh'Bam!  There were a few moments I felt ridiculous- like dancing to 'Born this Way' and strutting down the room like we were in a music video, but it was so much fun.  The moves were super easy to pick up, so there was no frustration in this class.  It was just dancing, and great exercise.  In this class there are 12 different tracks (We did 4) and each one is different and stand alone.  Two different instructors demoed Sh'Bam and I thought both were fabulous.  Their cueing was perfect (don't you hate instructors who cue right as the move starts, instead of preparing you for the move?)  I cannot wait to go to another Sh'Bam class.

The gym has a bunch of other classes I want to try (like spinning- but I feel like spinning is something you need to be in shape for).  But the one that is on their schedule more than anything else is BodyPump.  My sister told me it is an awesome class and I should try it- but it looks HARD.  Like too hard for me to attempt.  Maybe a few months of dance classes will get me in shape for the other classes?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Paper Piecing

I took a Craftsy class called "Quick Strip Paper Piecing" and really liked it.  I am slowly working my way through the various projects.
I did my first paper piecing last night.  This pinwheel block is made up of 4 paper pieced block.  I wasn't exact- I still have issues with sewing directly on the line... but the paper piecing made my work way more accurate than I normally am.  I am really impressed with this method.

The strip paper piecing is also very cool- much quicker than the normal way of cutting each shape on a template.  It does waste some fabric, but I think I need to just start saving scraps.

I ordered the white fabric to put together my snowflake quilt (which still has a few blocks to go), but other than that I am sadly on a fabric fast.  I have so many ideas and no money to do them.  :(   This block was done from the scraps from my Mom's bed quilt, but I don't have enough scraps to make more, so it will only be a block, not a project.

The one thing I forgot to do was cut away the bulk, so there are some places that are 3 layers thick... oops.  Next time I will remember that step!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Roughrider's hockey game

My company holds recognition events after 5 years of service (well, after 6- you get invited to the event the year after your 5 years).  As part of the event we were given an outing- there was a choice between a Mississippi River Dinner Cruise for two or tickets to a hockey game for 4.  I chose the hockey game. We got tickets plus a food ticket (hot dog, popcorn, drink) and a drink ticket.

I am SO glad I did.  We went to the Roughrider's game on Saturday and had just a fabulous time.  The game was exciting, the crowd was wild, we had dinner (hot dog was good, popcorn was like eating salt with a spoon).  The whole evening was great.  Especially the part where they interviewed season ticket holder's and the woman said her favorite part of the Roughrider experience was hearing the national anthem.   That's the best thing about the game? Um, okay...totally worth buying tickets for!

The only sad part is the friends I had invited were unable to come- she came down with the flu :(  So we gave their food tickets away, and just collected their drinks- after the game we came home with 4 bottles of soda :)

So once again, driving to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, we got lost.  In fairness this time it was because a train distracted us, so we missed the turn right after the train tracks, but Kevin and I have a terrible track record with this place.  We get lost EVERY time we go there or next door to the Kernel's baseball stadium.  I have been up there so many times for skating, and on my own not gotten lost maybe 2 or 3.  It is ridiculous.  Usually we miss the highway exit, so this was a new mistake.  We thought we were going to be late, but we got there as the national anthem started.

It took us awhile to find our seats.  The sections are marked on the wall, but the first section marking we saw was on like a press box or something, so we were looking at them at that level.  Once we noticed the wall markings, it was easy to find our seats and we had pretty good ones. Third row (I wouldn't want to be any closer) and just slightly off centered.

The game itself was fabulous.  Very fast paced.  From what I can tell, there are very few rules to hockey, so it was easy to follow.  The only rule I picked up was off sides which had something to do with the position of the players to the puck as they go over the blue line.  Kevin mentioned something to me about 'icing', but I don't think it happened, because I never noticed anything in play about it.  I think the defenders are also only allowed to go a certain distance down the ice.  But overall it wasn't like baseball or football where there are a thousand rules so the game is confusing.  This game is simple- get the puck into the goal.

The thing that I enjoyed the most about the game was watching the skating.  These guys skate hard and fast.  The puck handling also looks incredibly difficult- like trying to dribble a really slippery soccer ball! There really wasn't a dull moment.  It was a high scoring game, and ended up going into OT and then to penalty shots.  Unfortunately the Roughrider's lost.

The only negative was the fighting.  While we were at the game we noticed how young the guys look, and when I came home we found out it was a junior league (amateur, not paid).  So the players are from 16-20 years old, and in some cases could be as young as 15!  I don't want to see teenagers fighting.  It certainly riles up the crowd, and I'm apparently the only one there with that opinion, but while I personally still wouldn't like it at an NHL game, at least those are adults making a lot of money.  For the most part, it seemed the fights were harmless, quick little tussles were punches were thrown mostly into padded shoulders, but at one point a guy left the game with blood pouring from his face (I later read he had a tooth cracked).  Not only is that sickening, thinking this is a kid getting pummeled for adult entertainment, but it also took forever to clean up the blood from the ice- maybe that is why most of the fights are minor, they are probably discouraged from delay of game!   From what I have read online fighting isn't that common, but in the game last night there were probably at least 5 fights, and two that involved almost every single player.  (At one point there were two guys, one from each team, standing center ice talking to each other, while all the other players fought in pairs...)  The linesman stand by and watch.  I'm not sure what the criteria is for starting to break them up, but it appears to not happen until someone falls to the ice.

So, now I'll be honest about the other thing that was entertaining.  This will be in stark contrast to not liking to see fights. While I admired their skating, I also cracked up every time someone tripped in the hockey version of 'toepick'.  It happened about ten times.  Skating along, no one around, and then just bam- face plant.   Because the skating was so amazing, I think it amused me because I SUCK at skating in hockey skates and fall over the front of them all the time.  To see that it happens to guys who are super competent in hockey skates was pretty amusing.

I'll definitely be going back to a Roughriders game.  Maybe a graduation celebration? Anniversary? Birthday?  Tickets weren't super cheap if you have to buy them ($18), but not too bad for an exciting night out.

Coming soon...

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Kevin and I moved to a new house so I lost internet for a few weeks and lost my sewing room.  I have internet again and the sewing room is back together.

I hope to start blogging again soon.

I will try to blog about the new house (it is fabulous) and our great neighborhood, and of course crafty stuff.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Snowflake #9

UFO Sunday

OMG!  This is a UFO I am SO happy to be done with.  Now, it isn't a long standing UFO- it is just another piece of the snowflake quilt I've been steadily making progress on... I started this three weeks ago, took it off the machine and set it aside to do the charity quilts, and have been steady working on it ever since.  A three week snowflake!  (To be fair, I spent a few hours with it on the weekends, then about 15 minutes a day the other days, if at all)  Yesterday I finally sat down and really tackled it.
Pebbling is a design I hoped not to use.  Not because I don't like it- I actually think it looks great, but because it takes FOREVER.  There is just nothing that can be done to pebble quickly, and because, unlike some designs it doesn't create really interesting designs that make you want to keep going- I get bored and stop quilting and leave, and that just makes it take even longer...

But snowflake #9 is finished and I have 3 more left to go.

Unfortunately, one of them is this one.  (Note: This is a cell phone picture, not one Kevin took. He would be appalled if anyone thought he took it, as he usually does my quilt photos.)

 I had sketched out an awesome idea based on Bubble Path (but filling in the in between space more densely), but when I sewed it, it didn't work.  I used water soluble thread to try out some ideas that might work to fill the spaces that existed, but none of them looked good.  The only solution left is to rip.  (Normally, I'd just go buy more fabric -I'm out of pink- and make a new one, it would take a ton less time.  But because of the new house, my anything budget is $0, so it isn't possible. I do have an extra piece of organza if this one doesn't make it. But it is slightly different from the organza I used for most of the project, and I was hoping if it is just in the corners for the two squares I needed it for it won't stand out too much. Using it for 3 might ruin everything... already I'm sad this quilt has been such a success, because if I knew I'd rock at it, I would have used better materials - LOL)

Last night I ripped for 3.5 hours, and the picture is how far I've gotten- you can barely see progress.  I did get to watch a disc of Better of Ted though, and I love that show.

Today, no sewing- I have a lot of homework to do.  7 weeks until I'm done with my Master's!  And this morning we stained the deck getting the house ready to rent, and this afternoon I'm going rowing.  It is a busy day, and I have a really busy week ahead.

The craft room is getting packed up, so all I have left are snowflakes, white thread, my machine, and a ruler/cutter for the snowflakes.  No other projects this month! (If I have much time to sew.)  I still hope to do 1 snowflake a week.  The one I'm doing right now is Trippy Triangles.  After that I plan to do some McTavishing, and some Stippling (for the large one).  I need one more design- any suggestions?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Spool Stand

I don't think I ever blogged about this, but it is one of the greatest additions to my sewing room.  A spool stand!  Once I got into the snowflake quilt I realized that those 12" squares EAT thread.  Seriously, I had a mostly unused 1000 m spool and it was gone in just TWO squares.  

So I researched my options and found out that I definetly need to go with large spools. I order my Isacord from  The shipping isn't cheap (it's the actual shipping price, so it is fair though, I'm just used to cheap shipping), so I usually get 10 at a time, and it is the best price per spool (with shipping) I've found online. (Have you found a better deal?)  Without shipping, a 1000 m spool of thread costs $3.25 (a fantastic price, btw). But a 5000 m spool- it costs $6.95! It would cost $10 more to buy that much thread if I only bought the small spools. But large spools, well, they don't fit on the machine.

Enter a solution.  The spool stand!  Again, I'm cheap.  I looked at those and they seem to range from $15 to more than $50!  The cheapest ones had lots of bad reviews about them being tipsy, the most expensive are decorative, and the one I decided I wanted is about $25.   Now, $25 buys a lot of fabric.  I didn't really want to spend that.

So I showed it to Kevin and he told me he could make it.  And he did. And it is perfect.  And the best part: free.  It was made entirely with scraps that were around his shop. And it fits the spool perfectly, and it isn't tipsy at all, and now I have PLENTY of thread to make snowflakes.  If you sew with the same color a lot, I highly recommend going this route.  It is MUCH more affordable!

Kevin was also very smart when he made this.  The hooks up the top direct the thread in two different directions.  The thread moves so slowly when I sew, that I really only need one.  But when I wind a bobbin, it flies off the spool- so it usually comes out of the bottom hook.  The top hook is oriented differently, so it stays in. So this does work for winding bobbins!  And they aren't hard to thread at all- there is a teeny opening on the side, so I just slip the thread through that (and that is how it escapes) I don't have to actually thread UP through them.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

UFOs down!

So today is UFO Sunday, and I took it to heart.  First, let's talk about unfinished objects: anything in the sewing room, that is not done.  Even if I'm currently working on it, because once I go work on something else, I'll have to set it aside, making it unfinished!

Here is what I can think of.
1) "First" quilt.  Finished piecing this in 2004ish.  I need to reapplique the center square. I didn't know how to applique at all then.  Then I need to see if it is quiltable (may not be, my piecing probably stunk then) and come up with a quilting plan.  Priority: Low
2) Snowflake Quilt.  Current project, making progress.  Prioirty: High
3) Dresden Plate Quilt:  This project is stalled.  I need more fabric, and have no budget.  I also need to decide if I want to make more plates or quilt blank squares.  I need to determine the finished size, I went into this without a plan.  Priority: Medium
4) Navigator's Compass:  This is just an applique piece, glue basted together.  I need to decide what it is being appliqued on.  Another project I went into without a plan.  Priority: Medium
5) Mandala Wholecloth:  After the feather/hearts wholecloth I traced this.  I wanted to use colored threads to make it like the Mandala designs I loved to color. Priority: Medium
6-8) THREE Charity Quilts: Picked up in July, these need to be turned in at the September guild meeting.  Priority: High
9) Eye Spy Quilt:  I got some of the squares sewn together.  But I've changed my mind.  I want to machine applique them all into alphabets, so this actually has to come apart so I can start again.  Priority: Low

So what did I do?

First, on Friday I attacked the Mandala.  After having a great experience painting, I decided to paint it.  Disaster.  The paint bled into the fabric so badly!  So then I took a more viscous paint and outlined and it saved it a bit, but I decided I didn't like where I was headed.  I took a deep breathe and threw it into the trash.  Project status: Finished.
Today I attacked the Charity Quilts.  Three quilts, DONE!  I think I quilted from breakfast until about 3:00, and knocked them all out.  They aren't perfect- all have some pretty bad wrinkles in the backing  fabric, but the fronts look good.  Two of the quilts are actually quite nice.  The "fall" one was this reall ugly panel, and I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I outlined the panel, but did some design quilting on the outside sashing, so at least the sashing looks nice.

UFOs left:  5
Probably won't make much more progress, as a lot of these rely on buying new supplies.  My quilting budget until about November is ZERO.  All money is being saved to replenish the bank account after our down payment is taken out.  But I have plenty of stash to quilt with (and snowflakes to work on, plenty of thread to go for awhile!), so it will all be worth it for the new big sewing room!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Snowflake #8

Seriously?  #8? I can't believe it. I'm making actual progress on this quilt.  I need to start thinking about how I am going to do the wavy binding strips.  I'd like to do the waves, but I'm not sure I'm good enough at binding to do wave edges.  Will definetly need to practice on something else.

I got a little bit of bearding on this one, not as bad as the first two squares, so I clearly need to make sure I'm changing my needle more often.

This design is Leah Day's Brain Coral, but I think it looks like oil slicks.  Maybe because I echoed more than she did.
I'm happy with this one.

I have #9 in progress- pebbling, and not sure what to do with #10- I had a great idea for it, but it didn't really work out.  I don't know if I should keep trying to adapt what I have, rip out what I have, or see if I can find the backing fabric so I can just start over from scratch on this one.  #10 is the first one I've been disappointed with...  I'm of a mind to just finish it, and then decide if it needs to be done from scratch.  It seems like ripping it out (it's about 1/3 done) is not a viable option.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Snowflake #7

This is the first snowflake I breezed through.  This design worked up SO quickly.
I like to think it is my own invention, I call it "tire tracks".  I designed this when thinking about how the C curves fill the space on McTavishing, and decided to see how they might travel along the quilt.  Originally I thought it looked like a snake, folding up upon itself, but now all finished, I think it looks like someone might have had a wild time mudding.

I know the design isn't really original though, as it looks a lot like Bananas which I've seen Diane Gaudynski (Bouncing Bananas) do, and are a design suggestiong in the pattern by Leah Day (Swirling Bananas), but I designed this idenpendently, and I think it moves along the quilt a little differently.  My tire tracks are always a continuous line.  Looking at the picture, I think Leah's Bananas sometimes start again in a new direction (maybe not).  I don't know how Diane quilts hers.  Actually, now that I look at the picture, the proportion isn't really like bananas, so maybe this is my design.

And this marks over the halfway mark for small snowflakes!  I also got organza on top of the two I ran short on, and the giant snowflake, and uh-oh, despite it looking nearly the same, the shine is totally different.  I either hope a) the huge amount of thread piled on top of it makes it indistinguishable, or b) if I place them both in corners you can't really tell it wasn't intentional. 

We looked at more houses today and found one I really like.  I dream of a larger quilt room, even though I know I am lucky to have one at all.  Kevin also got me some foamboard insulation and we upholstered it with batting so I have a tiny design wall now.  When we move, I plan to make an entire wall a design wall.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Snowflake #6

This particular snowflake has been a pain to quilt.

I call this design coffeee beans and it is one I came up doodling during a meeting.  It is surely inspired by something I saw at the Free Motion Quilting Project previously, but I didn't look it up there.

Well, it was just slow going.  I started this square 3 weeks ago, and got about 30% done the first day I quilted it, and then left it.  Then, last weekend I did maybe 10% of it.  (The Olympics have taken all my sewing time these past two weeks.)  Friday I have half days at work during the summer, and that is usually when I do a square- well 3 Fridays, and this one didn't get done.  This Friday, I took a nap instead.  Today, I decided to finally finish it up.

Whew!  Overall, I really liked the look of it.  I cut it square and damn it-
I turned it over and I had caught the extra backing in the stitching.  I had to rip out about 3 square inches, and redo it.  I don't THINK you can tell where the fix is, so that's okay.

But I made stupid ruler mistake AGAIN.  See, I have a 12.5" ruler, which is used to make finished 12" squares.  And surely the ruler makers know it is for that purpose.  But the center of the ruler is NOT the center of the square.  No, rather than a quarter inch being added to either side- the extra half inch is on one side (like a proper ruler should be, to be fair).  So half the time I use it to square up, I'm off centered.


In the end though, it's done, and I like it well enough to go into the quilt.

(If you see black lines in the picture it is because I hadn't ironed them off yet.  I use the Frixion pens to mark my boundaries quilting, going just outside them.  But of course, if I don't pay attention to where I am cutting, then they stay on the quilt...)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Painted Quilt

I took a Craftsy class recently about a painting a quilt.  I am SO impressed with my results.  (Although it looks better in pictures and on the wall then it does up close. ) This is definetly a technique I want to explore more.  The problem is, for this quilt, I had someone telling me exactly what to paint where- I'm not sure I have the artistic sense to figure that out for myself.

However paint on quilts is definetly going to be something I do again!

This is the pictorial quilt appliqued and but not painted.

It is amazing how the paint transforms it.  It is like a totally different thing.
The paints I used were Setacolor- they are transparent, so if there is a pattern under them it reads through it.  I got a pack on amazon and it was pretty affordable.  The other supplies I just got at Hobby Lobby. I think I'd want a better brush if I did this a lot.

Sunday edit:
I spent the day Saturday quilting it.  I LOVE it.  Which is unfortunate because as a practice quilt, I didn't use very good materials.  The blue is super thin Walmart fabric, and while the backing fabric is actually brand name-high quality, it was grab bag material and a ridiculous choice (why would it matter? It goes on the wall- well, it makes it harder to bring to guild and such where it might be seen.)  

This is my first time doing McTavishing.  I still need some work with it, but I like it.  Oddly, I did better with it with the Connecting Threads Essential (a thick cotton) than I did with the thin silk thread from the class at Pine Needles- maybe it is because it blends in, but I didn't get too much build up when I had to travel stitch.  A few times I did need to cut my threads and start over- I just got TOO stuck, but I tried to limit that as much as possible.

And here is the back- absurd right.
 But I'm showing this because, even with a practice quilt, I'm finally making it a habit to label my quilts.  I never labeled any of my baby quilts, but now, pretty much everything gets a label.  It is sewn into the binding and then I used steam a seam to hold it down.  I need to learn to hand sew, as the hanging tag hasn't been whip-stitched on.  I didn't do any quilting IN the flower (though I used invisible thread to sew down the formerly only fused applique) and I'm still trying to decide if that is the right look for the front.  I think thread will interupt the painting, so I am probably done. 

I guess now I need to decide if I want to make this same flower again with better materials.

Finished quilt...

I made this top quite awhile ago (it was a Jelly Roll Race, but I didn't use a jelly roll).  It sat, waiting for me to quilt it. Finally, I had the perfect opportunity- I took a class on basting at Pine Needles, and needed a quilt top. Thank goodness for procrastination- I had one!

The basting class was all about how to use a table top corner to pull your backing flat to your batting and then how to layer the top on it.  You let gravity do the work.  I still think it would be tough for a king size quilt, but certainly easier than crawling around on the floor.  I was about as effective at no wrinkles in the backing as normal (meaning there are one or two tiny puckers).
Last weekened as soon as I got home I quilted it.  I thought that an over-all spiral would break up the harsh horizontal lines, but it turns out you can't see the quilting at all on the front.  Still, like always, I love the back of the quilt.  I usually sit with the gray side up- it's about 60 x 60, a lap quilt.

I love it! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A crafty day...

I have been doing sewing stuff since 7:00 this morning.  I woke up and picked out fabric for applique (I need a better selection- I have NO "mottled" colors...I had to use solids) and traced out the shapes, cut them out, ironed the steam a seam on, and assembled the applique.

Then, I painted my first quilt, as part of Annette Kennedy's Craftsy class.  It looks pretty amazing in the photo I took (on facebook for a sneak peak) and from far away- you just have to promise not to get too close...  I will post it here once I quilt it, but the paint needs 24 hours to dry completely.

Then, I was going to quilt a snowflake (I picked a new design to try), but remembered I promised my nephew I would make him a "Rosin Bag" to play with.  Well- I've never seen one of these, so I googled, and almost all of them are labeled (pitchers get easily confused?) and have serged edges.  So out came the embroidery machine and the serger...  I stuffed it with felt.  I thought that would give it a little more weight than cotton, but I didn't want to pay to mail a bean bag to Texas!  I think it looks pretty cute.

Since I was making stuff to send to Courtney, I used some of the Riley Blake fabric I got in a grab bag to make her 3 more snack bags for the twins.  I use these now for lunch and really like them- as long as they don't sit too close to a freezer meal or cold coke. Once they get wet, they are useless.  Turns out my serger tension was a little messed up, so on a the lining and one or two of the bags you can see the threads, but I fixed it on most of them.   If you can count, you'll see there are 6 in the picture.  Three are for a friend I told I would make some for -in March?-  sorry!  But I made them!  And with adorable number fabric too.

Sorry the photo is so bad- I took it on my phone.  Kevin usually does my blog photography, but he was gone, and I am impatient.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Snowflake Quilt: Blocks 4 and 5

I'm making a bit more progress on my snowflake quilt.  I've run into a problem: there just aren't 12+ quilting designs that I've mastered...  I want this to be a sampler quilt, but I also don't want it to be a beginner one.  So once I did the scallops, the spirals, and the checkboard, I was kind of stuck.  I planned on stippling the large center block, so I can't use that.  So it sat for awhile, and I worked on my Dresden plate quilt.

Well, I made some progress.  First- I bought two more sheets of felt and did the applique of the snowflake on the two squares I ran out for.  Then, I tried to figure out what to do about the center snowflake- it's huge, and I was going to have to join felt (would look bad) or use a different material.  After a few small scale tests, I decided to use fleece.  I got it appliqued and after 3 days of cutting and many blisters all cut out.  Now I'm just worried because there is a lot of excess fluff.  If me and the lint roller don't work really hard, it will show under the organza, still I think it will look better than joining felt.  Maybe I should have used batting, but I thought that would look too different from felt.

So, I was back to needing to quilt- but I still don't have mastery of new designs.  I've been sketching a lot of McTavishing, but I'm not good enough at it to want it on this quilt.  I've been drawing echo-arches, paisley, etc.  And I suck.

I am taking a class at the Des Moines quilt show with Diane Gaudynski so I researched her.  She has a design called "Diane-shiko" that I love.  Without reading the instructions on how to do it (I found them after I figured it out), I started sketching it.  Unlike Leah Day's designs, these require marking a grid on the quilt.  So I started on paper and marked a grid.  Then I circumscribed a circle along each- way too much travel stitching.  So I thought that must not be how she does it.  So then I drew the arcs inside the squares- less traveling, but still some.  Then, I figured out I got it- I drew half circles up a line, and then back down it.  YES! The drawing was perfect. So I quilted it.  No, the quilting was not- I got build up whenever I had to change direction at the vertex of the square.  Plus, the 3/4" grid I marked was too large scale for this quilt.  So I ripped it out.

And then, I figured it out- squiggle lines!  Rather than reversing direction at each vertex, cross to the other side of the line and make that arc, cross back and forth down the length of the line.  At the end of the piece- come back down the line making the other circle.  It worked perfectly.  Once you have all the vertical done, do the horizontal.  And this makes the overlapping circles, with no circles to do at all.

Here is mine:
It isn't perfect but I really like it.  If you do a marked design, you have to mark well.  I marked very poorly.  First, the 3/4" lines were done well, but the Frixion pen was very hard on the surface of the quilt, and stretched the organza, making it dificult to stay straight.  Then I eyeballed a line between them to make it 3/8" scale- and that was my downfall.  Don't eyeball things.
I'm happy to report the lines ironed out with no issue at all. 

So the second Diane Gaudynski design is apple core- a common quilting pieced design. 
This is a building block for the previous one- I squiggled up the lines, but didn't squiggle back down to form circles.  It is important on apple core to pay attention to if the block is an "in" or an "out" on the horizontal, and do the opposite on the vertical.  This one had a grid marked at 1/4" scale.  I used a Frixion highlighter and was much more accurate with my marking- the soft tip of the highlighter didn't stretch the fabric.  However, it left prominent white lines when the color was ironed out.  Except only prominent if you get really close to the fabric and look for them.  You can't see them at all at a distance, and even up close you have to look- so I'm going to just cross my fingers and hope they wash out when I wash the entire quilt, but all is well if they don't.

So now I have 7 more small blocks, plus the large block to go.  Uh-oh.  I don't know what 7 other designs I have enough mastery of to use!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Wallet...

I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it on  I purchased it for $10 from  I consider this to be very expensive for a pattern, and I do not usually spend that amount of money.  

The pattern is EXTREMELY well written.  The steps are very clear and mostly well illustrated (a few steps require you to read to understand the illustrations).  The cutting diagrams are clear, however, I chose to not use them.  You use almost all of the 3 fat quarters if you make the optional insert, but not so much that you really need to follow the layouts exactly.

 I had put off making it for awhile because it looked difficult.  Here is my take on that: it would be very difficult to make it really well.  But it is not at all difficult to make “okay”.  A beginner could do it, though there is one seam that has a very big hump in it, so a beginner machine might not like it (I’m still in awe of how my new machine doesn’t even give this a second thought.)  It also took way less time than I thought it would.  Half of an afternoon, less if you don’t make stupid mistakes like I did.  (The materials list literally says “seam ripper- don’t kid yourself”.   She was right, I definitely needed it.)

The pattern is not completely foolproof.  I’m not sure how I did it, but I managed to put the vinyl pocket on the wrong side.  I guess I did the self-binding (a great feature) wrong.    I also loved the idea of the paper piece to guide you sewing the corners, however, I wasn’t able to follow my sewn-on guidelines very well. 

-It is probably my sewing, and not the pattern, but I feel like it has a “crafty” feel. It doesn’t look store bought. The fact that the inner fabric shows a little when it is closed contributes to this.  Maybe I didn’t do a good enough job pressing before doing the final top-stitching?
-The zipper pocket is unfinished.  I think this is necessary, because otherwise you can’t turn the wallet through it, but I would have liked a bag made of fashion fabric to hold the coins.  I don’t like that I can see the interfacing.
-There was one confusing instruction:  for the optional insert, it says to interface and topstitch the pocket fabric as you did before, but the pockets were never interfaced before.  Turns out, I cut a piece wrong (forgot to go on the fold) and don't have enough for the insert anyway, so it is moot.

I'm very happy with my wallet.  It fits everything I need, and has room for plenty more.  Plus the magnet clasp is something I haven't used before, and makes it seem more finished than just velcro would.  I also really like the zipper on the outside of the wallet.  The tabs on the sides makes for a very professional finish on that part.

AND while I probably didn't need to, I got to use a TON of feet for this project.
I used my zipper foot, my edgestitch foot, my applique foot (to trace the curves), my regular foot, my quarter inch foot, and my jeans foot (to sew through ALL the layers, and topstitch them).  Feet are fun.