Saturday, March 24, 2012

What is done? What is not done?

Not done- My paper.  BUT once I finish this blog post, I have gotten ALL distractions out of the way (except maybe dinner.)  Seriously. I have to stop procrastinating...

What is done- tracing the wholecloth with thread.   This took me a little under an hour and a half.  It went better than I expected.  I was worried because I've been having a lot of trouble travel stitching on the quilt I'm doing. I'm now blaming a) the heft of the twin size quilt or b) the weight of the cotton thread.   Travel over the Isacord was a breeze (as was moving the tiny quilt sandwich).  The other nice thing about Isacord is that as long as you are pretty close with the travel, it looks nice.  It is thin thread, so even if it is side by side instead of right on top, there isn't too much build up.
Beautiful Backside
So there are a few mistakes- where I wobbled off the path, where I took an absurd route that required too much back tracking, where my chalk lines were off, thus forming a strange shape, or where my line wasn't completely straight- but for the most part, I'm pretty happy with it.

In other news: marking with chalk is MESSY.  My foot kept filling up with chalk dust.

I'm quite worried about the next step: micro-stippling.  Teeny tiny stitches are not my forte.  My hands move too fast, and I feel out of control if I make the needle move super fast.  I'm not sure if I'll keep the top the top or not.  If I flip it over, it will be easy to see the lines I need to fill in,but I worry about getting chalk into my machine.  If I don't flip it over, it is hard to see the lines I need to fill in.

Chalky front side.
I wish I could wash it- but I think there is no way to do this at this point.  It would remove the starch, and who knows what other mysterious shifting/extra shrinking might occur?  So I'm not sure.  I think fear of dusting up the machine is going to win over not being able to see.

Wholecloth Adventures...

Leah Day is doing a wholecloth-quilt a long, that I have been intending to join since the beginning, but haven't been able to.  Well, today, I have time to quilt!  (Well, actually, I need to be writing a paper, but this is more fun.)

The very first step was a departure from my normal quilting routine: pre-wash the fabric.  That wrinkly vintage look I love on my quilts is not something that is desirable here.  So the fabric needs to get any shrinking out of the way.  I washed once, on hot.  Hopefully that is enough.

Then, like always, I starched the fabric.

And so begins the wholecloth adventure.

I don't have a light box, so I used my door:

Mistake #1.
I thought it would be easiest at eye level, so I don't have to crouch at all.  The problem was that meant some of the design was a bit too high for me.  I had to stand on my tip toes to get the top part.

 It was actually harder to race than I expected.  My left arm hurt a bit when I was done. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to mark a bed sized quilt.

This is what mine looks like right now, ready for the lines to be quilted.
I ended up using sidewalk chalk.  I'll have to wait to wash it out to find out if that is mistake #2.  I was going to use the Frixion pens, but decided not to.  Leah actually wrote a post about why she recommends not using them.  It was basically "what chemicals are you putting in your quilt?"  That really doesn't concern me.  I've written to Pilot and learned they are acid free.  Plus, this is a practice quilt.  It doesn't matter to me if it doesn't last long enough to be an heirloom.  But this is what bothered me:
Kevin took the good camera, so I can't get a picture but I did a test.  I wrote "test".  I ironed it off.  The ink disappeared.  The word "test" stayed!!!  When I ironed it off, it bleached out the fabric.  So it isn't that it won't last long enough to be an heirloom, it will be ruined from the start.

So what color thread to use?  I have a blue that matches perfectly, but a perfect match- while great for an heirloom isn't good for learning.  Do I want dark pink or yellow?  The pink might be hard to see against the blue, but blue and pink look great together.  The yellow will really stand out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Snack Baggies

My sister saw some cloth snack baggies on pinterest and asked if I could make them.   She even sent a tutorial.  I did look at it at the time, but it was essentially: make bag, add velcro, so I didn't go back to it.   The tutorial called for a lined bag (neater look inside) but I read a few "mom blogs" that mentioned the crumbs work their way between the bag, so they don't like them lined- so I made two that are unlined (serged edges inside). 

I'll send these down to my sister and see which style she likes and, if she wants, make a bundle more.  I'm suspecting with twins the snack baggies go fast- and it sounds like she is trying to reduce plastic use.

Hopefully she'll go for the unlined option- as it takes only a few minutes to make.  These bags are practically free, as they just use scraps- only need to purchase velcro!

Saturday Sewing...Sunday cleaning

I did all the straight line quilting on my block quilt from AGES ago.  I need to wait for some thread to arrive before I can do the free motion quilting.  I decided I was going to quilt it in a gajillion different colors. 

THEN something awful happened.  When I was snipping a thread, I cut into my backing fabric! 
I wanted to darn it the best I could, but I can't find the clip!  It's tiny, but I know the washing machine will find it...

So now I just have to wait for it to fray in the wash so I can find it and do my best to repair it.

I can't believe I did that.  Such a stupid mistake...

And then today I did my best to clean my sewing room.  I don't know why it always looks like a bomb went off in there, but I did my best to straighten everything out.   I need to use up a bit of fabric- I'm running out of storage space.  Hopefully I will be able to make another dress this week, so that will use up some yardage. 
The hardest thing for me is throwing out scraps.  I keep a lot of the quilting scraps, but the garment scraps- although it seems wasteful, I will never use. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vogue 1224

OMG- this may be my favorite dress ever. 
It looks TERRIBLE without the belt (a source of frustration last night) and I am really happy that the cut I put into the underarm when I misread the directions was easy to fix.  But once I got past all that- I LOVE it.

Possibly the best thing about it: I didn't have to shorten the hem line!  It is an appropriate length as is (haha).  And because it was lined, I did a bubble style skirt, so no hemming!  Huge plus in my book.

Will everyone tell me I'm brilliant- because I LOVE it.
Want to hear more about it? Read my Pattern Review

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Hobby...

In addition to fabric collecting, my hobby is now seam ripping.  I feel like I do this more than sewing, and I'm fairly good at it (more so than sewing), so let's make it official.

In other news, this week's dress is not going well. And I cut somewhere I don't think I was supposed to- so now I need to figure out if there is a way to fix that...

And this is an "easy" dress- a best of pattern review that like a million other people have made. But I can't...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Top 10 things I have 930 days to do...

1) Learn to eat fish (just in case...)
2) Learn to enjoy wine (maybe...)
3) Learn to snorkel without freaking out that when I surface I can't breathe out of my nose (a necessity)
4) Find a pair of hiking shoes suitable for water (like Keens) that fit my feet, and break them in.
5) Learn to use Kevin's fancy camera on the non-green square settings.
6) Get in hiking shape
7) Learn some basic Spanish
8) Save money...
9) Pack (this can wait awhile)
and finally-
10) Read the Origin of the Species.

Why?  Because Kevin and I are going to the Galapagos!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quilt done!

So around Christmas my Mom reminded me that I told her I would make two twin quilts for the "blue" room.  I had actually bought this pattern a while back, but well, other things got bumped up in the "things I want to make list".  When I got home from Christmas, I figured I better get cracking.  So this is what I came up with:

This kit is Bernatex Pot Luck Key Lime.  I got it from Pine Needles, and I actually bought two.  I have plenty of fabric left, because the kit came with backing fabric.  I am going to try to incorporate the leftovers into the second quilt, but most are green.  In the store, I thought it looked blue dominant, but now I worry there is too much green.  The pattern is available here

The piecing went fairly quickly*, but then the wrist accident came, so I had to wait for another month to quilt it (quilting is strenous).  I basted it Friday night**, quilted it yesterday***, and bound it today****. 

*I think there is an error in the pattern.  Or my reading comprehension sucks.  Despite doing exactly what I was told, my pieces didn't turn out the way it said.  I even re-did all the steps.  So this is an interpretation of the pattern.  Since I had to make extras, to turn it from 60" square to twin, I had to make sure to make "the same mistake" again- but I just followed the directions again and it turned out the same.

**Kevin tried to help me.  Not to mock him, but I learned that pinning is a learned task.  I thought it was just something that people did, but apparently there is some actual sewing knowledge in knowing how to put a pin into multiple layers, and have it come up without pinning into the carpet, puckering the quilt, or just getting the pin stuck in the layers and not coming back up.  He only helped with about 2 pins, but I would like to thank him for helping me straighten the backing.

***Holy crap did that go quick.  I cannot sing the praises of my machine enough.  It is FAST.  It is also a pleasure to quilt on.  Last night at 9:00 I was so tired, but said I was going to go quilt for a few moments.  Two hours later Kevin comes down and asks me if I want to go to bed.  I thought like 15 minutes had passed.  I had already put about 2 hours into it- and had less than a square foot of quilt left to do.  So of course, my bobbin ran out.  (It took just over 3 bobbins to do the quilt.)

I don't have an asterisk for this, but I used Isacord to do the quilting, rather than Connecting Threads Essential.  My quilting idol, Leah Day, recommends Isacord.  It is nice for quilting, however, for stippling like this, I don't care for it.  It is just too thin.  And the fact that I matched my thread really well, you can't see it at all.  I like the heavier weight of essential.  However, for the fillers she does- it is likely ideal- you can easily layer it without too much thread build up.   I also tried her "quadrant" method and found it didn't work for me.  I named my method "sphere of influence".  I started at the middle side and quilted to the middle, and then back- then I went around it, gradually increasing the area my quilting took up.  It isn't entirely "round", as I would square up areas, so as to not have a predictable pattern, but each time I went back around my pattern I picked up more area.  It helps that I can fit the entire quilt into the harp of my machine so I don't have to keep turning it.  Seriously- I love this machine.  I was wondering if I would regret not getting the larger harp of the Janome, and so far, I'm good.  (I also embroidered the label on the back- so I'm loving having embroidery.)

****I finally managed to mitre the beginnings and endings of the binding.  Rather than the awful bump I get when I join them square, you can't even tell where the join is!

The other thing I did that was new- I put a label on it.  So generations to come will know who made the quilt with the giant pucker in the backing :)  I've never labeled a quilt before, often because I make them for babies who don't have names yet, and just signing mine seems silly.

It is in the washing machine right now.  Say a little prayer it comes out in one piece!