Nov 30, 2014

and still there is learning

1. Threading a needle. Basic. Tying a knot in the thread - there's a hack for that. It blew my mind, I tell you!

It goes like this ... you hold the end of the thread against the needle and then wrap it (from the non-end) around the needle 5 times. Then you slide the whole thing down the needle and down all the thread, to the end, where you'll have a beautiful knot ready for hand stitching. There's a YouTube video if you search "knotting thread needle".

2. When you're burying quilting thread ends, you can pull up any threads left on the bottom so that you're doing all the burying on the top. If you're bringing up your bobbin thread at the start on a quilt line, you may just have threads on the bottom where you ended a line. Just pull on the top thread and watch for a hint of the bottom one, poke it with a pin and pull it up. Bam.

3. When you're burying those ends, you can do more than one at a time when they're right next to each other.

4. When you're quilting, you don't need to alternate direction on parallel lines unless you like the slight herringbone look.

And here's the front of this 29x37 inch stroller quilt - my second quilt.  :-D 

I hope the wee baby likes it when he's born.


Nov 15, 2014

more learnings...

1. When quilting, easing is necessary or you get weird foldy bits from excess fabric in one spot or another. Kind of like gathers. If you follow the three-foot rule and don't look too closely, you won't see that sort of thing.

2. One regular and one extended episode of Sons of Anarchy are not enough to bind a 55inch square quilt by hand.

3. Corners are really tricky. It's best to watch a person in person or on video because verbal instructions are difficult.

4. Modern quilting, as a concept, is not an easy thing to grasp. I'm catching on, though. It's a little bit of turning the traditional askew.

5. Whereas I had no second quilt ideas when I was initially sewing this one up, I now have cut and/or planned a Christmas table runner, a baby quilt, a Christmas swap item and a quilt for my niece. And so it begins.

6. I had no real stash to speak of, but I've started picking up odds and ends that appeal to me. And so it begins.


Nov 2, 2014

a sandwich

Yeah, so the delicious sandwich has been safety-pinned together and all is right with the world. It's about 55 inches square, so a good snuggle size, and it has four groups of four green sea turtles (honu in Hawaiian) who will forever stare at each other playfully. When we swam with them on Maui, we saw one smack another with his flipper, but these guys aren't close enough to each other to fight. They also have happy looks frozen on their faces because they aren't real. Duh.

I also have all of the binding pieced together and ready to roll. Aside from about 20 squares of 2.5", there is hardly any fabric left. It was a good calculation on a clean budget with no stash enhancement. I have fabric lined up for two more projects, so don't worry about me.

Now I have to do some practice with quilting. I've never done that before, whereas I have sewn a fair bit in my life. The difficulty I see is getting used to a walking foot, being super-precise in the ditch, and warming up to the idea of free-hand wandering.

Practice, practice, practice is what they say, so we will give it a whirl and see how it goes.


Oct 30, 2014

multicraft adventure

My fabric came from Etsy and the baby quilt is taking shape in my head ... about 4 shapes, but I have an appointment with Mum and Nanna on Saturday and a decision will be made. I picked up super cute brown and white striped fabric for the binding today. It was on sale. Don't give me grief. I can hold my fabric stash easily with one arm at this point. Yarn is a different story....

I'm still waiting for the buttons from France, so no update on the cardigan.

The socks ... I like to knit until the yarn runs out, but that doesn't work with an afterthought heel. So I decided, with one inch of leg knit, to go back and build the heel from the other end of the ball.

Sorry, Mrs. Ohhh, no fancy nails at the moment.

That yarn, by the way, is Two Tigers Yarns' Sock Attack in the Papa Smurf colourway. And yes, I do two socks at a time. One more heel to go and then onto the legs!

The turtle quilt top will be ready tomorrow. I'm going to fuel myself with candy (and not hand any out), and make that top come together with everything lined up. You'll see.


Oct 27, 2014

freaking out

So here's a wee recap of the goings-on since the blocks were all built:

1. I went to A Great Notion and got a new blade for my ancient rotary cutter. I also got a walking foot, a foot with a guide in the middle for stitching in the ditch, and an arm/guide thing for quilting evenly-spaced lines. I had sold my spinning wheel, so I had a bit of a spree. That same day, I picked up a 12.5 inch square ruler and a smaller square ruler. The larger square let me properly square up my blocks. I wasn't about to sash them before I did that.

2. I owned the new rulers for over a week before I could muster up the nerve to do the sashing. The more pieces you put together, the more chances you have of things not aligning. The turtles are in 4 rows of 4 now. I have to do the longer, freakier horizontal sashing yet. I have to get it done before Saturday.

3. I finished all the knitting on my greatly modified cardigan. I ordered buttons on Etsy. They're coming from France. I've sold a fair number of my brioche cowl knitting pattern (cowl, not bread), so I had enough in my PayPal account for buttons plus 4 fat quarters in cute baby boy prints.

4. Was in Portland this past weekend and went to the Fabric Depot. Wowza! I was overwhelmed. There were a trillion fabrics. I ended up finding a 13-stack of Robert Kaufman fat quarters in some pleasing basics at 40 percent off. Woohoo! I also got some Halloween costume supplies for the kid and some iron-on patching for the fave jeans with holes just starting.

5. I cast on a really cool tank top in linen.

6. I decided on afterthought heels on the socks-long-in-progress for hubby. The only downside I see with that heel is the kitchener stitch, but I can live with that.

7. I cast on a second Bad Oyster pattern for Auntie Inflammatory that will be just a bit bigger than the first one to sit around her neck better.

8. Once the turtles are sashed, I'll hope that the baby boy fat quarters have arrived and see what pattern they want to be. Can't wait!

The beginnings of the bad oyster.