Wednesday, August 01, 2012

table runner obsession

One of the first things I decided I MUST make for the wedding was table runners. Of the Double Wedding Ring variety. A quilter has to have a quilty wedding, right? Right. I knew that the traditional method of making the block was out of the question. Not sure where I first heard of the Quilt Smart interfacing method, but for better or worse (ha!) that 's the method I decided to go with.

Please understand this is going to be a small wedding. Very small. Nevertheless, we're still talking about 225 arcs--that means 1350 little segments. I knew I'd need to cut and stitch everything all at once or I'd end up talking myself out of the whole thing and would end up with one runner. Or maybe a pillow.

I discovered (too late) that Quilt Smart apparently decided at some point to improve their interfacing.
I'd purchased a kit at a local shop because it had the little template and instructions in it. Since I'm insane, I had this idea that maybe "someday" I'd also like to make a quilt out of the same fabrics, so I purchased enough interfacing by the yard to take care of all the blocks I'd need for the runners. The shop sold me what I'm assuming is the old version of the product but I didn't know any better. 

Basically what you do is stitch the segments together into sets of 6. Easy as pie. You end up with strips that are way bigger than what you need so any little bits you might be off in your seam allowances are no problem. Actually I think a dog or small child could stitch these together and you'd still have plenty of seam allowance to play with. 

 Next up you stitch the arc shaped interfacing pieces to the strips. Here I'm stitching onto one of the old style strips. The BAD strips. But again, so far so good.

 Here they all are ready to be trimmed and turned right side out. Luckily I ran out of interfacing and had to dip into my kit--which has the GOOD interfacing. See the pieces that have what look like tabs on them? That's the new kind.

 The next step is to turn the pieces right side out. Here's where I first encountered problems. The old interfacing is no matter how careful you are, it stretches and ends up bigger than the front side. It can tear as well. Obviously that will become a problem when you go to fuse the pieces in place. My next complaint? Well, I can't really fault the folks at Quilt Smart for this, but it really REALLY bugged me that I ended up with a puffy pile of wrinkled bits. You can't press the arcs or you'd be fusing them onto your ironing board. But the OCD part of me didn't enjoy it!

 Then of course you fuse the arcs in place and stitch. Again, the old interfacing was a bit of a nightmare. The stretched out sections just didn't want to stay hidden underneath--had to keep my awl by my side all the time. And it didn't seem to fuse as well either. Very frustrating. The new style arcs did fine, btw. Those tabs are for placement on the corners of the blocks--once you fuse those down the middle just goes right into position. Had a GREAT time (sarcasm alert) with the monofilament thread breaking constantly...but it's a huge relief that they're all appliqued now. As you can see they're all different creams and tans on the brown background. Next will be adding the corners and then assembly...trying to decide how important it is to bind the runners the "traditional" way or if I can get away with turning them into rectangles since they are, after all, "just" table runners. What do you think?

Monday, July 23, 2012

an engaging post

...about fishing??? Are you kidding? Well, here's the story. Fishing, or more accurately the activity known as "fishin", is just one of the many things I've tried in the last year or so. It's safer and more relaxing than skiing, but at least I don't actually fall asleep while going down a ski run. And within five minutes of being out on one of the lakes up here, I'm asleep on the bow of the boat. Can't help it. Something about the sound  and the motion just puts me right out. It's a little embarrassing really.  So I haven't gotten much use out of my fishing license or the tackle box full of the cutest, sparkliest, and most pink lures I could find. But the outdoor air can be awfully nice.

 Let me introduce you to Porkchop Rock. That's one of the sights to behold on Spicer Reservoir. Didn't catch any fish there.

Here's one of the lovely views from Wolf Creek. A place we had to hike to get to.  BTW?
I don't hike. Had to hold onto two men for dear life crossing one area. That had no path. And was steeper than any ski slope I'd ever go near. Discovered how strong a current can be when crossing a small bit of river. Again with the man-clutching. Didn't catch any fish there, either.

Now here, this is my favorite lake.  It's Lake Alpine. Didn't catch any fish there, either. But there are nice smooth boulders to sit on while you listen to the birds chattering in the nearby trees and you hear the "plop" sounds of the fish as they leap out of the water mocking you. It's so peaceful there when you wait until everyone has left and you have the whole place to yourselves. And then something happens to make this lake become a Favorite Place.


And you suddenly find yourself willing to use up some of your favorite pieces of fabric. Like this one from the year 2000. Because sewing must be done. And quilting must be done. And planning and decorating and fussing over details must be done. I'm already trying to calculate how many miles
of double wedding ring table runners must be completed.

So unlike some quilters' blogs, this isn't a quilt along. Not exactly. It's more like a wedding journal with a whole lot of fabric thrown in. I do hope you'll come along for the ride--I'm really looking forward to sharing it all with you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

still more catching up

It seems like ages ago that I first blogged about my latest At Home probably was ages ago.
Well, I'm happy to report that it's done now. And adds some much needed color to the room. And gave
me an excuse to go to Pottery Barn for a couple of pillows.

 Speaking of pillows...I finally located my monogrammed embroidered linen pillow top. If you don't remember it--and who could blame you--that's another "from ages ago" project that was discussed and then never came up again. I feel badly because I literally lost the thing...and feel even worse since I asked if anyone wanted it as a pattern and I got pretty positive feedback on that. All I can say is that it'll happen
"someday"--I've got a couple of big events coming up this fall and so embroidery is kinda on the back burner for now.

There's a big quilt show in October here in Murphys at the beautiful Ironstone winery. I'll be vending at that show and have LOTS to get ready for. More information, links, etc to follow once I get
back to being able to use my primary computer. 

There's also another event coming up that I'm pretty excited about and will also be discussing that one soon as well. 

If after my last post you're thinking I've gone nuts with pink and green little girl dresses...not to worry. I've gone nuts on little girl twirly skirts, too. I tell you--if these had been around when I was little? I'd
have been all over them. This is another Little Lizard King pattern and as far as I'm concerned all these skirts cost me was a bit of elastic and a mile or so of thread. Not sure I've complained adequately about all the seam finishing these garments require. And backstitching. Quilting sure spoils a person, you know?

These skirts were chosen because I'm determined  not to hoard fabric anymore and all I had was
a teeny bit of this adorable Japanese cupcake fabric. I think it would be super cool to twirl around
in a skirt with cupcakes on it and hopefully there are a couple of little girls who might just feel the same

If all this girly stuff is boring you silly--don't worry that's the last of it for awhile. Next up will be more quilts. And stuff.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the one about pretty pink ruffles

So where have I been? Here...and really busy. Making stuff even. But it's really hard to blog when your
iMac decides to keep you from getting at any of your photos. And I figure it's tough enough to be interesting without trying to do this without pictures. 

This whole thing started when I moved up here and brought a whole lot of fabric with me. Embarrassingly enough, I had more than an entire car's worth of fabric to donate and still had plenty to spare. Case in point--partial bolts of my favorite "Darla" and "Ava Rose" collections--which I'd been partially hoarding for the last few years. Of course I could make quilts...but to be honest I wanted to do other things. I wanted to get back to the place where I enjoyed sewing. Just for the pleasure of it.

I also decided it could be fun to make things to sell--both from my own patterns (I'm quite fond of them, after all) as well as patterns designed by others. 

As these ideas began to come together, I started looking for patterns. Little girl dresses seemed a logical place to start since I had oodles of pretty fabrics. And a ruffler foot. 

I'm not going to get into copyright issues here...but at the risk of opening a can of worms will address that some one of these days. But...turns out there is a world of patterns out there where the designers not only permit you to make things to sell from their patterns, but they actually encourage it. But more on that later. 

So far these little dresses have been a blast to make. For the most part, anyway. I figure I'll go ahead and praise those patterns I've really enjoyed using--because if you're interested, you might want to check them out for yourself.  I've discovered a couple of really horrific patterns as well...and it's probably best that I just don't talk about those. 

So without further ado...

This first dress is called the "Grace Ruffle Dress" and it's by Funktional Threads. I only made one
of these since it really does eat up the fabric, but I'm totally in love with the tiered back of the dress.
The pattern was effortless to follow and I'd have no problem making more. And just might--the dress is very versatile.

Next up? The "Darla" jumper made out of (duh) "Darla" fabric! This dress is by Kati Cupcake.
This one was really fun to make...but if you don't have a passion for ruffling, it might be a little
tedious. Instructions were fantastic. Took a bit longer to make than the amount of time I figure I should spend...but if I had an actual little girl to sew for? I'd be choosing this dress for sure.

So I got introduced to which is a great site for PDF patterns. And wow did
I ever get into trouble there. Some of the patterns are...ummm...a bit simpler than the first
terms of construction and finishing techniques, etc, but I figure not every dress has to be an heirloom. Some can just be cute dresses, you know?

One of my favorite pattern discoveries is a company called Little Lizard King. The patterns are idiot
simple to follow and I think fall into that category of just cute fun clothes. If you're a stickler for bodice linings being neat and tidy, this might not be the dress for you, but you can't deny it's adorable. And after making the littlest one? I had to make one in each size up to 4T. Just because I couldn't stop.

Another company I've tried is Pink Poodle Bows.  More simple yet really sweet garments. I was
smitten by the way this dress ties in the back. Made 5 of these as well--each slightly different.

 Here's another Little Lizard King design--loved the little apron but plain didn't seem right. The rick rack, which I tend to count on to save the day--well, it wasn't enough either. So I made this patch and love how it turned out.  Just the right little touch.

So here's the end result of all that gathering and ruffling and ohgoodgrief SEAM FINISHING!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

pdf love

Two posts in one week? How is that possible? Well, one of the advantages I've discovered about being in cramped quarters is that it's easier to multi-task. (It's also easier to lose things, but I've already covered that). So today I'm blogging while sewing. In the same chair, even.

I've been working on some projects that are just for fun. Downloaded some PDF patterns the other day and have been having a great time. Gotta love those PDFs--practically instant gratification.
I'll share photos when I can--one of the DISadvantages of my situation is that there's no way I'd be sharing what my space looks like right now.

It occurred to me that it might be helpful to offer some of the Late Bloomer Quilts patterns in the form of downloadable PDFs. Some just don't lend itself to that format, but I found 6 that do. And here are four of them. Pam tells me that every time she carries her Farmer's Market Bag everyone wants one--so here's your chance.

LakeHouse Dry Good's new "Penelope" is arriving in stores as I type this, so here are Pam's patterns featuring that collection.

The patterns are available here and the great thing is that you don't have to pay shipping, you'll get the pattern within a day, and I've cut the price by a buck since you will have to provide your own paper and ink.

So let's all get sewing!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

mohair and cotton

I guess if I wait until I have really interesting things to share then I might as well delete this blog.
And face it--I've been here (not always all that regularly) for too long to just quit. So I'll keep plugging along and vowing to do better.

I have gotten lots of sewing done--it seems that this part of the state doesn't really have that thing
you might call "Spring". We go from snow to surface of the sun in nothin' flat. This weekend has
been the latter so there's been no real desire to leave the house.

I've been on a dishtowel kick. That happens periodically and they're so satisfying to make. A bit
of applique, pull out the old ruffler foot, and before you know it you've got something cute. Something you're not likely to ever use, but that's okay.*

The last time I got out I met some new friends...yes, I'm still making plans to acquire a few
sheep, but these girls won my heart. They're Angora Goats and they look like goats wearing
sheep suits. With fleecy bloomers which are so stinkin' cute. It's hard to imagine from the photos
of the kinda grubby gals (2 weeks away from shearing) but their fleece looks and feels like silk.
It's got a lustre that is incredible. AND they eat poison oak and star thistles and all the other things
that are annoying to deal with up here. So more critter research is underway...and that includes
getting a DONKEY. I'm excited, yet nervous because I have a feeling a menagerie could be here
before I know it.

I really wanted to finish up that pillow that  I showed over here , but sadly I CAN'T FIND IT.
Seriously. I've lost my monogrammed, hand embroidered linen pillow. I know it's in this room
someplace and I also know I can't blame anyone but myself. So hopefully those of you who expressed an interest in the pattern will not give up on me. At least not before I do.

*The chickens are from my Petaluma pattern...I just reduced the size a bit.  The coffee cups are from this pattern and I left them full size. If you would like to make your own, there's a tutorial on my sidebar--the pears towel? All my towels are made the same way--just the applique and embellishments vary.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

tah daaaah!

So where are my Quilt Market posts? Well, I don't have any. Sadly, I wasn't there this time.  Not really all that sad, but Market is always fun and it's hard missing the chance to see all the quilty
people who are so much fun to visit.

That doesn't mean I wasn't busy with Quilt Market stuff. Oh yes, I was. And it's about time I tell you
all about it. Pam has another darling collection coming out and so LBQ has to celebrate by designing
some new quilts around Pam Kitty Love. Which like you, I can't wait to get my hands on. To play
with for real. But in the meantime, due to the (mostly) wonders of the digital world, we can
still design quilts for you.

Pam herself designed two quilts--"Pam Kitty in Love" which makes use of a fun heart print fabric
and "Dolly Hearts" which is super easy to piece and allows for lots of scrappy fun. That's an easy
one to make just a bit bigger if need be. Pretty sure I'm going to be making some hearts myself--
just for the fun of it.

As for me, "Altamont" is a new version of an old windmill block. Most fun of all was "Terrier Town" which is a new 12 month BOM full of flowers, cherries, butterflies, and those cute little pups.

All patterns are now available on my website and are already on their way to local quilt shops as well.