Monday, September 15, 2014

Swap Stuff: Patches and Dotees

Big fat post full of fun swappy stuffs.

First up, the patches:

These are for the CQ September patch swap.  The only requirements for at are a min and max size range.  This fits the range so it's all good.

Details.  I used some glow in the dark thread on the top cassette and some sparkly floss on the bottom one.  Machine quilting between the tapes and a row of fake pearls along the middle.

And the back.

It's all lumpy looking because I made it using the exact Teesha Moore tutorial (on youtube).  I'm in a second swap that specifies to make your patches in the "real" TM way, so I decided to practice it on the CQ September patch swap.

Nice lead in to the two patches I made for the "use the tutorial" swap (I can't remember what the official title is for that swap).

The requirements were pretty specific.  You had to follow the tutorial, had to include stitching on the patch (either machine or hand--not including the edging) and have an embellishment of some type (button, beads, etc).  And there were size requirements, too (min and max).  OH, and you had to use bright fabrics.

This one is very random.  I just focused on "bright" and having stitching and an embellishment.  I was also trying to make sure I didn't travel too much with my stitches since it all shows on the back and you don't want a great big line of floss along the back because it could catch on stuff.

I have to say, making patches the "real" TM way was a challenge for my uptight self.  I really like making them the "little quilt" way I do (with mitered--or as close as I can get) corners and all that.  But I also liked doing these because it was fun to try out a different way and not get so crazed about how neat and perfect they were.

I did find it harder to set up my theme with these, though.  I think that was more to do with all the limitations set by the swap then with the technique being used.  These had to both be rather small so I had less of a canvas to work with.

But I did manage to get a bit of my style (if you will) on this patch.

I don't think the fabric was manufactured to make it look like this fish and seahorse were kissing but dang it all if they don't look like they are, huh?

Underwater LOVE!!

I do really like the puffy-ness of the "real" style TM patches but I'm still not a huge fan of having to leave my work all exposed on the back.  I know that's the whole point (for them to really look homemade and scrappy) but coming from a stuffed toy making background, you don't let all that mess show on a finished project.

I think I'll start doing a few more patches in the "real" way just for fun.  I liked it and it definitely sparked my creativity (I've been in a bit of a "meh" mood lately regarding crafty stuff and this swap really did get the juices flowing).

Next up are the dotee dolls.

First is the mermaid for the mermaid dotee swap.

Full body shot there to show she does indeed have a hanger and tail (two requirement for dotee dolls).

I really like how the tail worked out on this one.  A lot of times I get irked that I have to put a tail onto a dotee.  It kind of feels like an afterthought.  But not in this one.  It's truly part of the doll which made me so happy.

I used the Wee Wonderfuls mermaid pattern as a jumping off point for this doll.  I did the body in the same way that pattern does, where you have the body and then pull the tail up over the bottom and put them together that way.  Also the generic shape is very similar even though I free hand drew this (didn't just shrink down the original).  So I have to give a shout out to that great book.

I changed the pattern up a TON in that I didn't make a multi layer tail.  The original pattern has you cut four total tail pieces and then you make two tails (sewn, turn, embellish) and then join the two double sided tails together around the body to make a finished tail.  I just cut two tail pieces and stitched them together (turned and stuffed the end) then pulled it up over the body.  I didn't need to do the extra layers since I wasn't going to add a ton of stitching to the tail.  Using the camo print fabric made that unnecessary.

I completely scrapped the wig in the original pattern.  I wanted actual string/strand hair not a fabric wig style hair.  At first I was going to use yarn (done in a row of little frizzy knots around the head) but then I spied this trim in my craft bag (the one I keep at my sewing machine and it's full of fun stuff for dotees and patches).  I got it as an extra in a swap and wasn't sure when it would ever get used (how many times have I said that?) and BOOM, it became a wig.

It's a basic pigtail wig which are the easiest to do.  You just sew strips together (two rows of stitching just off center to make the part) and then stitch it to the head and pull into tails.  I did add a bit of bangs.  I just trimmed the edge of one little strip of trim (with the pinking shears).  It gives a little something extra to her face.

She has a very adult face (versus the cutesy faces on the original mermaid pattern).  In fact, she has a very Mimi Kirchner style face.  I love Mimi's dolls so I'm not surprised I made a "Mimi" face without really thinking about it.  I really like the nose and how neutral the mouth is.  She's not smiling, she doesn't have to smile.  She's a mermaid.  If she wants she'll just swim away and leave you wondering what the hell just happened.

I like how the hair is kind of wild and all over the place.  More like how a real mermaid would be (if there were such a thing) then perfectly coiffed hair.

Next up is my Halloween Dotee.

Eee, eee!  It's a bat!

Again, the tail actually kind of works with this one.  It's spider web print ribbon (three pieces).  That's it.  Nothing more.

Hand embroidered face.  And it's an original face.  And it turned out just about exactly like I drew it on the pattern (the eyes are a bit different--the original drawing had more sad/cute eyes--these are a little more devilish).

The whole doll is felt, machine sewn.  The body is lightly stuffed.

The wings are two layers of felt with a piece of pipe cleaner along the top.  So this cute little fella can give you a little hug (and scratch you with his wee claws).

The claws and ears are just scraps from cutting out the pattern pieces.  The pattern is original (but not that tricky, you can see it's just a little peanut shape for the body and then some basic wing shapes).

One more peek at that face.  I'm really pleased with how nice the stitching turned out.  Some of my best, if I do say so myself.  The pic doesn't show it very well but the eyes are bright yellow and the teeth are white.  The rest is a light gray to just barely contrast against the black felt.  French knots for the eyes and nostril dots, stem stitch for the nose arches, tied down stitches for the eyes and mouth curls (not sure the exact name for them but you make a stitch and leave it a tiny bit loose and then scootch it up or down with the needle then tack it down with a tiny stitch to make a little curve--works well for mouthes or eye curves--but best for small stitches not big long curves), back stitch for the mouth and teeth.

All of these (but one) were mailed today.  The pair of patches hasn't been assigned yet so they'll just wait until that happens.

I have one more open swap to finish (it's a purple dotee--so PATCHWORK!!) and I still need to finish up those Fluff items.  Maybe now that my crafty spark is flared back up I'll get on those Fluff items.  I just have to do faces for the four smallest ghosts and assemble them.  Then I need to do the reindeer (and stuff and close everyone).  It's just a matter of starting on them, then I'll get in the groove.  But the ghosts just feel so BORING to do so I'm avoiding them and I won't let myself move on to the reindeer before the ghosts are done so. . .yeah, I'm just being lazy.

I also want to make that whale and I want to make a quilt from a jelly roll I won (I won a random prize from the Pets on Quilts show and I want to make a quilt from it).

Ok, time to stop rambling and get some stuff done.

Friday, August 29, 2014

For a Swap: Mother Nature Dotee

Super fancy dotee for the win.

The background is all busy in that pic so it's tricky to see where the dotee ends and where the messy background begins.  I just had to get this photographed last night (around 9 p.m.) so I could mail this today with a few other swaps I already showed off.  Now I be all caught up on me swaps.

So. . .the dotee includes that leaf but not the brown stuff.  The brown are the reindeer I have cut out but not sewn up (for the Fluff Project).

Smile for your closeup!

So it's a wee dotee (that does look a bit like a pickle or a big ole phallic stamen, take your pick) inside a fake flower (which originally did have a VERY phallic stamen--so phallic that I made it into a peen on a fuquerie project--yes, I tore apart the fuquerie project to make this dotee).

I was thinking "plants and animals" for the Mother Nature theme so you get some leaf and flower sequins, elephant sequins (which are so effing cute I could poo) and a bee button.

Oh, and a fabulous tail.  It's beaded and tied to the stem of the leaf and includes a fish bead and owl charm.  So I have water, air, insect, land animal, and flora represented.  Mother Nature, beetches!

What am I up to next?

Cutting some fabric.  A lot of fabric.  Into 2.5 inch charms.  I need 150 for a swap and then as many groups of 100 as I want to swap (for the Curious Quilter charm swap coming up).  Cutta-cutta-cutta.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday: Fluff Stuff

Boo Crew!!!

Last night was some serious assembly line machine stitching, let me tell you what.  I sewed up 10 of the 16 ghosts you see there (2 of the big ones were already done).

I've had the faces on them (and pinned and waiting) for a few days.

How stinking cute are these, huh?

I just have the four tiny ones to do now.  I have the bodies cut but that's it.  Then I have to move on to the reindeer (bodies are cut for them but that's it).

What else am I up to?

Well, I'm going on a cutting spree here shortly.  I need to chop up some scrap fabrics into 2.5 inch charms.  Some for a Swapbot swap (need 150 for that) and some for the Curious Quilter swap (happening in September).  I need groups of 100 for that.  Good thing I just changed up my cutting blade!

Then I want to get working on a great big whale I found at HERE.  No exaggeration, he's a big boy.  And I have some flannel in my stash that just might do him justice.

Patch for a swap

Time to play:


Using just this patch, name the disco song. . .


I'll give you one hint:


If you guessed "Love Rollercoaster" YOU'RE RIGHT!!  (but sadly, you win nothing more than the satisfaction of being right, enjoy that).

The coaster frame is all embroidered with just back stitches using variegated floss.  And the coaster is some cute little buttons (yes, the "bunghole hearts" I used on the cat patch I made for my sister at Valentine's day).

Sing with me:


Aaah, the Ohio Players make it all better.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two things for swaps

Time to make a post showing off some swap stuff.

First up, some wacky 9 patch blocks.

That's the whole set of six.  I keep two (one of each color) and then swap the other two sets to my partners.

The pic doesn't do the colors justice.

The pinks are a lot deeper and the yellows much more bright.

I really like the fall ones the best.  I love food print fabrics like that, where the images are really overlapping and kind of busy.  That leaf fabric is nice too (same idea of really busy print).  The yellow just worked so nicely with it (and has what kind of looks like little wheat shafts on it--but they're not just little leafy things).

The other block I'm just "meh" on.  It looks good but that fabric in general doesn't make me leap over the moon or anything.  I got it as a set from a traveling stash box and I took it for just a project like this.  Made it easier for me to pick the fabrics.

I used my walking foot for these and that's when I discovered it's acting up.  The little lever that gets bumped up and down (by the screw that holds the needle to the shaft) to make the top feed dog move in time with the bottom (built into the machine) ones was getting stuck in the up position and causing some issues.  Also, I hadn't measured to see what a 1/4 seam allowance was for that foot so my seams were pretty dang fat.  Thankfully, you start with 11 inch fabric squares to end up with a trimmed 9 inch block so I had wiggle room.  I plan to remove the walking foot and see if maybe it needs a shot of oil to prevent that catching.  I'll also measure to see what a 1/4 inch seam is for it (I might need to move the needle all the way to the right to get the sizing correct).  But for now I can just put my regular foot back on.  I don't really need the walking foot for projects like this (just making a block) or regular sewing and I don't have any truly quilty projects on the horizon right now (so I have time to fiddle with the foot).

Blah blah, so much talk.  We need more PICS.

I finished a patch last night.  There was no theme for it.  I love a good anything goes patch.

Funky Monkeys!

My partner likes sock monkeys so this should go over well (same partner I made the bag for months back).

Thanks to having some fabulous fabric I didn't have to do much to make this patch work.  Just embellish the images.

I added felt hair, french knot eyes, and stitched mouth line to the top left corner monkey.  The top right monkey got stitching on her fabulous eyebrows, french knot eyes, and some lace.  The bottom left monkey got stitches on the eye marks and some beading.  Bottom right monkey got CRAZY EYES.

Those need a closeup.


I love this monkey so much.  I was going to put google eyes on but these beads are so much better.  The pupils don't match which makes the overall effect that much more crazy.  I didn't do anything else to that monkey.  I mean, after the crazy eyes was there anything else to do?  Exactly.  This monkey is now perfect.

And the back.  Of course I had to find something with a banana.

That's all I got for now.

What's up next?

Well, I've been working on Fluff Project stuff.  I just have four tiny ghosts to face up (put the faces on) and then I can put a whole mess of them through the machine.  In fact, I might machine up the ones that are ready before doing the minis.  Then I can move on to the reindeer I've had cut for an age and a half.

THEN. . .I'm going to make a big ass whale.  Yup.  Totally impractical and will just take up space in my house but I WANT IT.  I haven't sewn really big lately and I'm in the mood.

I also have a few swaps to do.  One is a super fun Disco themed patch.  I have my idea all sketched up and feel confident it will turn out well.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where do little yellow piggies come from?

Little Amarillo Piggie asks, "where do little yellow piggies come from?"

He is SHOCKED to learn all the facts.

Come on over here, Amarillo.  We need to get a closer look at you.


Right down to the 'tocks!

Amarillo is off to Canada with the pink monster dotee.  He's an ANGEL.  A yellow piggie angel for a swap I hosted where one of my best participants got shafted.  Her partner left her high and dry for TWO dotees (it was a double doll swap).  She said she didn't need an angel but I just couldn't leave her hanging like that.

Here's hoping Amarillo brightens up her day.

What's next?  Well, I have a few swaps but none are assigned yet so I think I need to put some stitch time in on the Fluff Project ghosts and reindeer.  Halloween is closer than I want to admit and I want to have the holiday items mailed off long in advance of the holidays.

But I also got a great free quilt pattern over at the Fat Quarter Shop and I'd love to try it out.  So. . .maybe I'll set a ghost stitching goal and once I meet it reward myself with some quilt making.

Busy busy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

For a Swap: Giving Tree Stuffie

Ok, I'm not even going to try and hide it.  I'm so effing proud of this I have to show it off and ramble about it in its own little post.

Backstory:  I made this for a swap.  The requirements were that it be handmade, no bigger than 4 inches, and be based on one of your partner's favorite cartoons.

I freely admit I was disappointed when my partner listed The Giving Tree as one of her favorites.  BOR-ING!

But there-in lay the challenge.  I'm no fan of the glurgy, kind of preachy feel of The Giving Tree but that doesn't mean I can't make a kick ass item for it.

Yeah, I totally chose the stump on purpose.  Kind of like a protest.  But a super fabulous cute as a freaking bug's ear protest (if I do say so myself).

The stump is two layers of corduroy (sew inside out, then turn) attached to a piece of cardstock/thin cardboard paper covered with muslin (embroidered onto low loft cotton quilt batting).  I attached the muslin circle to the cardboard circle doing the running stitch to gather the edges around the cardboard (then tie it off).

Attach the muslin/batting/cardboard disc to the corduroy bark just above the top seam (helps keep it even) and only stitching through one layer of the bark and just along the edge (and slightly under) the muslin disc (so you can't see the stitches when you're done).

Then cut a piece of cardboard tube (paper towel tube in this case) and cover with a layer of batting (I just tucked it in, no sewing or gluing necessary).  Insert the padded tube into the corduroy bark.  Make sure the roots are fully stuffed (polyfil) and lightly stuff the bark where it looks necessary.  THEN seam up the bark over the tube.  I did it in layers.  The part of the bark that touched the tube I tacked down first (but didn't close up the opening--only tack down one layer).  Then I tucked the free end into the tacked end and finished closing up the seam being careful to make small stitches and get as clean a closure as possible.

Then I needed to tie down the muslin a bit.  It was poking up and not laying smooth, so I ran one anchoring stitch over the french knot in the center (up from underneath and back down) and then all the way through the tube and tied off on the bottom of the piece.

But first I needed to make the heart (it was just a bit of batting with embroidery, then stitched on with minimal stitches) and add the grass.  The grass is just ric rac attached with clear thread.  Clear thread is a bitch to work with but SO worth it.  You can't see the stitches at all (the whole point!) and it really made the grass pop (so did twisting the ric rac a bit to give it more dimension).

Free hand embroidery for the rings.  No need to make it perfect since trees don't have perfect rings.  I did back stitch for this but stem would look really pretty.  It's single strand (except for the french knot, I think that was double strand).

With the whole stump done, I added a bit of polyfil into the tube (minding the thread hanging out--the thread that will anchor to the base) and got ready to make the base.

The base is just a basic square with batting in it and straight quilting.  It could have been fancier but my free motion skills are non-existent so I decided to play it safe.  My walking foot got a good work out.  I love it so much I haven't taken it off the machine yet!

Then attach the base to the stump.  First do the anchor stitch, which is the only one that will show on the bottom.  It really can't be avoided.

Then, cinch up the roots.  Hold the stump down onto the base (on a flat surface) to see where the roots naturally gather and fold onto themselves and then tack them down.  Keep the stitches small and deep in the crease so you can't see them.  THEN, sew the whole stump to the base, making sure to hide the stitches and NOT go through all the layers of the base.  You want the bottom of the base as neat as possible (except for that anchor stitch, which is an ugly necessity).

I was so happy that I got such a great finished item ON THE FIRST GO.  I only re-made one part of the whole thing.  I made the first embroidered disc on brown felt but it looked bad next to the corduroy.  Then I remember I had the natural color muslin and it was PERFECT.  I also had to edit my bark pattern a bit after the fact.  I had to lop a bit of the sewn bark off because it was just too long and made for too bulky of a seam.  But that turned out to be a good thing because it left me with two open ends (instead of one) which made attaching to the tube (and then seaming) much tidier.

I can't wait for my partner to get this.