Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Gift Bag Collection

One of my personal Christmas traditions is making fabric gift bags to wrap presents in. As usual, I used Jeni Baker’s Lined Drawstring Bag pattern. This year, I started by making a few Artist Bags, and then made Project, Everything and Snack Bags with the leftover scraps and yardage. That system worked better for me than starting with Everything bags made from fat quarters, as I seem to use up the bigger bags the quickest. In addition to the ones I finished in November, I made seven bags in December, for a total of eleven bags. While they all turned out lovely, next year I’d like to make more, and sooner in the year. By the time December rolls around, I find myself knee-deep in festive activities with little time to sew. I still have a stack of Christmas yardage on hand, so that should be an attainable goal.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Linen Cocktail Napkins

After Plan A for handmade Christmas gifts bit the dust, I needed a Plan B, and fast. Remembering my mom’s recent interest in handmade napkins, I decided to try out Purl Bee’s Linen Thanksgiving Napkins. Given the amount of linen in my stash and the number of recipients I had in mind, I decided to make 10” cocktail napkins instead of 16” dinner napkins. Pulling sixteen fat quarters didn’t even make a dent in my stash of quilting cottons. Once the fabrics were chosen, I set to work. Less than three days later, I had four sets of four cocktail napkins ready to gift.

For my mom, who shined the light of inspiration on me, I used Sun Print Feathers by Alison Glass.

For my mother-in-law, whom I treasure dearly, I used long-hoarded Lizzy House fabric from the 1001 Peeps line.

For my grandma, who taught me the value of using color boldly, I used Jeni Baker’s Color Me Retro fabric with coordinating colors of Sketch by Timeless Treasures.

For my husband’s grandma, a fellow quilter who feeds my Christmas bag-making addiction, I used some of my favorite Christmas fabric by Kate Spain.

This tutorial was so easy and so much fun to follow! I genuinely enjoyed making these napkins and will keep them at the top of my list of last-minute handmade gifts.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Christmas Hexagon Trivet

Of all the projects in Patchwork, Please!, I thought that the Happy Hexagon Trivet would be my favorite. Originally, I had intended to make one for most every person on my Christmas list. In the end, I counted it a success that I finished one at all! While I think that it’s a very cute design, I am still not sold on paper piecing as a technique. It’s just so fiddly with all the folding back of the paper and whatnot. I made things unnecessarily difficult for myself as I misplaced my copy of the book, and so had to muddle my way through the binding without the benefit of Ayumi’s instructions. Of course, I found the book during my post-Christmas decluttering of my sewing nook. At least I know what book to reach for next time I need to bind a hexagon!

My hexagon trivet was made with scraps from the Christmas gift bags I made this year, so most (but not all) of the fabric is from one or another of Kate Spain’s holiday lines. This project would be a great scrap buster, for those of the paper piecing persuasion.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day: November 2013

Well November was a resounding success! I finished not one, but two quilts that had been long-standing WIPs. On top of that, I managed to make a few gift bags for birthdays and Christmas. I had better start churning out even more bags, because Christmas will be here before we know it! 

Lily's Quilts

Friday, November 29, 2013

Perseverance Prevails Quilt

While it's a little out of season, I am pleased as punch with my latest quilt. When I first started reading quilting blogs, the Internet was awash with red and neutral half-square triangle quilts, such as this one by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew. When I signed up for Katie Pedersen's Half-Square Triangle class over two years ago, I figured it was the perfect time to get started. However, the local quilt store provided the class materials list for a different class, so I started off the project with the wrong yardage. Then I decided to make two different sizes of half-square triangle blocks, 2.5 inches and 5 inches. Between the itty-bitty blocks and the level of scrappiness that I was going for, the making of this quilt ended up taking longer than I would have liked. However, perseverance prevails and now it's finished! Even better, my little quilter-in-training loves it and was more than happy to help with the photoshoot. It took some time, but now I have a new quilt that the entire family can enjoy.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Dare To Be Different Halloween Quilt

Yay! I finally finished my first ever Halloween quilt! The pattern for this quilt is “Dare-to-Be-Different” by Karrie Winters, and can be found in the Summer 2011 issue of Stitch magazine. I should call mine “Dare-to-Be-Difficult,” because I voluntarily made several changes to the pattern that resulted in a slightly more difficult and much more time-consuming quilt that the one laid out in the pattern.

Change #1: Instead of using five solid fabrics for the quilt top, I used upwards of two dozen prints (one purple, a dozen oranges, and a dozen blacks).

Change #2: I made the sashing scrappy instead of using the same fabric throughout.

Change #3: After machine quilting the sashing, I hand quilted the center of each block.

Change #4: The binding is scrappy as well.

To add to the difficulty of this quilt, we recently experienced a day-long power outage, so I ended up hand quilting by the light from our living room window, which resulted in some very unhappy shoulder and neck muscles.

The only easy part of this quilt was choosing the backing: Pearl Bracelet by Lizzy House in black, of course.

All in all, this quilt took me almost thirteen months to complete. I may have made this quilt unnecessarily complex, but that’s why I love it! I didn’t have to hand quilt it, but I am so, so happy with how it turned out. Even though Halloween has passed, this quilt will be left out until I decorate for Christmas.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day: October 2013

Well, October was definitely a departure from my normal sewing routine! Most of the time spent at my machine was for garment sewing, and all my quilting was done by hand. I’m really happy with the clothes I made, but am looking forward to focusing on my quilting again. I have several WIP that are close to completion.
Lily's Quilts

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Really Random Thursday

There’s a new fabric store in Seattle! I can’t wait to visit District Fabric in Fremont. It looks to be mostly apparel fabric, which is good considering that I’ve caught the garment sewing bug.

The other day at Cupcake Royale, I tried Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade and loved it! I’m a sucker for flower flavored food in drink. Case in point: I ate a Lavender Cupcake while I drank my Rose Lemonade.

The last thing I need right now is a new WIP, but I’d love to join in Canoe Ridge Creation’s upcoming Giant Starburst Quilt Along. The pattern is so striking in its simplicity, and I hope it’s a quick sew.

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pearl Bracelet Wiksten Tank

Recently, I made another Wiksten Tank. (This is my fourth one, if anyone’s counting.) This time I used one of my favorite prints: Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House. This particular yardage is actually the leftovers of the backing for the Halloween quilt I’m currently working on. I don’t have anything new to say about this pattern, so here are some pictures.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Domino Staple Dress

I am determined to master garment sewing, no matter how long it takes. However, I’ve run across a few bumps in the road along the way. Last Fall, I make my first garment: a Wiksten tank dress. After that, I kept using the pattern again and again and again. As much as I love it, I really wanted to branch out and tried two different Colette patterns (Laurel and Taffy). Alas, I was stymied by fit issues and never got past the muslin stage on either of them. Instead of giving up, I decided I needed professional help.

In order to improve my garment sewing skills before I attempted a very fitted pattern again, I signed up for the Intro to Apparel | The Staple Dress at Drygoods Design. The dress is loose and forgiving, but called for the use of elastic thread and a serger, neither of which I had used before. It seemed a good next step in my sewing journey. Before the class, I washed my fabric (Waterfront Park by Violet Craft Domino Dot Navy), took my measurements, and traced the pattern onto freezer paper, which turned out to be a very good idea.

Did you know that Drygoods Design’s studio provides sewing machines (and a serger!) for you to use during classes? I didn’t, so the first night I ended up lugging my beloved Elna across half of Ballard, and arrived late to the class. Thankfully, my fellow students were still tracing their patterns, so I wasn’t behind! I spent a lovely two evenings sewing and soaking up Julienne’s tricks and tips. I think my favorite was that you can align the pocket pattern to the dress pattern before you cut it out, to reduce the number of seams you have to sew.

Sadly, the class ended before my dress was finished, and the elastic thread wasn’t cooperating. Luckily, the interwebs came to the rescue, and I was able to fix the problem. For my machine, I have to hand wind the bobbin assertively, leave it on the default stitch length, and apply generous amounts of water and ironing after stitching. (Due to an unfortunate encounter with a cat who thought the ironing board was her territory, my iron’s steam feature no longer functions. Otherwise, I would apply generous amounts of steam.)

What I love about this dress:
  • Pockets!
  • It’s easy if you’re comfortable with sergers and elastic thread.
  • It has a high-low hem.
  • It’s flattering (and not fitted).
  • The sleeves are part of the main pattern piece.
  • Did I mention it has pockets?

What I don’t love about this dress:
  • The quilting cotton I used is too bulky for this pattern. I should have used actual apparel fabric.
  • If I don’t wear a belt, the dress slides off my shoulder when I put my cell phone in my pocket.

All in all, this class did what I hoped it would do. At the end, I was left with a new garment, new skills, and increased confidence. Not bad for just two evenings!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

URHere Swap

Those who know me well are fully aware that I adore Starbucks. When I saw on Instagram that Suki was hosting a swap for the new You Are Here Starbucks mugs, I jumped at the chance. Living out in the ‘burbs like I do, I had to go on a mini quest to find the Seattle mug, but find it I did. Inspired by the colors of the mug, I whipped up a quick mug rug for my swap partner. To me, the mug rug looks like one of two things: the Seattle skyline on a cloudy day, or majestic Mt. Rainier. I also sent a few other things, including a bar of Theo chocolate, which is made locally.

On the flip side of the swap, I love what my swap partner, Melissa of Crafty Goods, sent me. Instead of sending me a mug from her home state, she picked up the Banff mug for me while on vacation, which was super sweet of her. (Banff is in Alberta, Canada. I had to look it up.) Melissa also sent me an adorable zippered pouch in typewriter fabric, which I love, several fat quarters of Alison Glass Sun Print Feathers, tailor’s chalk, and lots of chocolate. I feel quite spoiled.  

A big thanks to Suki for organizing this swap and Melissa for being an awesome swap partner. If you are interested in participating, I believe there is a waiting list for the next round. Stop by the Flickr group for more information.