Thursday, July 24, 2014

Work in Progress: Eugene Approved



Eugene approves of this work in progress.

Not to fret, I cover up my works in progress when I'm not around to supervise.  So there won't be a big ole ring of "I slept here" hair on anything.  Or, worse, pieces won't go missing.  Miss Olive did that just the other day when I was making Nessie.  I went outside to take photos and when I came back in herself was on the floor chewing at something on her foot.  It was a pattern piece, fully destroyed.  Good thing it was just cut from notebook paper.  That pattern took a big hit.  Between the two of them I lost the fin pattern pieces and they mutilated the body gusset piece (from the larger version).  SO BAD.


I got two of the large ghosts ready for the machine.  I'm going to make one of each face on each size.  I have the "dad" (mustache one) and "boy" (just regular eyes) ready for the machine.  I have the pieces cut for "mom" (has a purse!) and "daughter" (has a hair bow).  I'll try to get those ready for the machine tonight.

The one issue I'm having is the white fluff from the flannel pulling through when I stitch on the black face pieces.  I'm sure it's more annoying/noticeable to me then to anyone else but it's still bothersome.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fluff Project: Work in Progress Wednesday

After I finished my mini quilt yesterday (I did it start to finish and it was fabulous) I got down to some prep work for some Fluff Project items.


The cutting.  OH, the cutting!!

And it's not all done yet, either.  I still have all the face pieces to cut and the scarves for the reindeer.


Yes, I'm doing ghosts and reindeer.

I cut all the body pieces for 4 reindeer and 16 ghosts.  That's four of each size.


That is all that remains of the approximate 1.25 yards of white flannel I scored in the remnant bin.  I'm so glad I could not only use it all but that the totals came out even.

It was as I was pressing all the fabric that I realized I had picked the HOTTEST day of the year (almost 90 degrees) to cut corduroy and flannel.  Head, meet desk.

I still have a good bit of the corduroy (I got a yard of it for $2.50!) but I'm going to stitch up what I have cut already (20 items) then do another round of cutting.  I'm hoping the ghosts will go quickly since the faces can be as simple as two eyes and a mouth.  Of course, you know I'm going to makes at least two of the "dad" version that has a MUSTACHE!!!

I also have to stitch up some more swap items.  I have two open swaps on my dash right now and a few more will be assigning partners soon.


I Made a Quilt!!!

Holy crap, just like that I made a quilt.

Not a full sized one.  It's probably what would be considered a doll quilt.  I made it for an art quilt swap and the only real requirement (aside from it being cat themed) was a size min and max.  I think the min was 6 x 6 and the max was 15 x 15.  Mine came in right around the max (didn't get an exact measurement on it, just held it next to my 12.5 square ruler and it was at least an inch larger).


I'm not 100% done with it just yet.  I think I'm going to add a few cat buttons and/or some small felt cats (on pin backs).  But I was so happy to get the actual quilt part done I had to show it off now.


I put my fabric stash and my new walking foot to good use.

I deliberately stash cat fabrics because I like them and I want to make myself a full sized cat themed quilt.  In fact, seeing how cute this one is, I might just do the same for my scrappy kitty quilt (only larger).

I used 4 inch patches and just did a generic light/dark checkerboard arrangement.  It worked out well because I had four of each light and dark.  I had a few other fabrics but they didn't quite meet the requirements.  One was christmas themed and a few were too busy (wouldn't make for nice small patches) and some were pink/blue based.  I do have this super funky fabulous cat panel set and I was *this* close to using one of the panels but I was in love with the idea of making a "real" quilt so I'm saving the panels for my own use.  I think I'm going to take each panel and make a little art quilt with each of them.


Ok, technically the fabric there in the upper right corner is a super light yellow.  Probably the lightest yellow I've ever seen.  But the pattern was perfect for small fussy cutting.  And SO CUTE.  It's so much more cute than I originally thought (and I thought it was super cute or I wouldn't have bought it).

The black cats in the upper left has been featured here before.  I used it to make a pouch and a dotee doll before.  I love that fabric and bought a yard of it back in the day and don't regret it.

The bottom left fabric is so adorable it gives me pains.  The cats are all little doodles based on the fabric designer/artist's fingerprints.  There are so many cute images, like a cat licking its belly and one cat rolled over on its back and you can see it's wee little nips.  So effing cute (and makes me jealous that I can't make super cute doodles like that).

The bottom right fabric was a whim purchase and it turned out to be a really nice quality fabric.  I just liked the stylized look of the cats.  They remind me of the porcelain statues you find in vintage stores (right next to the ceramic poodles!).


Top left fabric (fat black cats) has been featured before too.  I used it on a patch and the more I use it the more I like it.  The only negative thing about it is it's so dark.  The purple is really deep.

Top right and bottom left were from the same cat fabric buying splurge I had months ago (yes, my whole order from fabric.com was totally cat fabrics).  I like the Japanese feel of the top right one and the bottom left one reminds me a bit of the Happy Drawing books/fabric line.  Same kind of style to them.

The bottom right fabric is also a halloween print.  It's all the same black cat doing crazy and sometimes sinister things (like harassing a rat or tossing a bird in the air or just scowling).  I don't think it's from the Ghastlies line but it sure reminds me of it.

I'm so happy with how the backing/binding fabric looks, too.  I had pulled two different fish bone print fabrics (one white with black bones, one black with gold bones) but the first fabric I thought of was this yarn print.  The bone prints were just too light/dark against the patchwork.  The yarn was a nice neutral but still super cute (and busy, I like busy).

I just quilted along the seams, nothing fancy.  The binding is wrapped around and (if I may brag) the mitered corners look excellent.  I have to say, all the patch making really helped me with this quilt.

For future quilts (bigger ones) I'm not sure I'd do wrap around binding.  I'm thinking I want to try quilt as you go.  I think I'll do that for my (never going to be done) postage stamp quilt.  That might encourage me to work on it again.  I could practice my free motion quilting on each little section AND use up some of my oddball fat quarters (some of the fug-o ones I have that I'm wondering what the hell I'll ever use them for).

But first, I want to stitch up some stuff for the Fluff Project.  I'll show that off in the next post.

Monday, July 21, 2014

For Swaps: Dotees and a Patch

I managed to get three items (all for swaps) done Sunday.

First up, the patch.


This was for a monthly swap where you can make anything you want (there are just size min/max to stay in).

Man, I had one of those "dare to be different" posters as a kid.  Mine was Dalmatians, with one covered in colorful spots (amid all the black and white).  I decided to give a nod to that cheesy poster and make a dare to be different zebra patch.  He is FABULOUS with all the color and some sparkly floss.  Shine on, you crazy star!


The back.  I just wanted polka dots to clash with the stripes.

Next up:  Paranormal Dotee.


Is it true?  Does he really exist!


YES, it's NESSIE!


Here you can see his whole self complete with ric rac tail.  Man, I was so worried it would look like a string of poo, you know, like when goldfish poo and it just hangs there from them.  Nasty.

The tail is just three strips of ric rac in different widths, sewed at the center.  Super easy and a nice break from all the boring beaded tails I normally do.  The hanger is just embroidery floss (I forgot to put something nicer into the seam when I was sewing).  And I had a bitch of a time with the hanger too.  I was trying to get it centered well but failed.  I didn't find the balance so Nessie pitches to the back a bit (which is better than when he was pitching forward).  Now he looks like he's launching himself up out of the water, which we all know he'd never do because he's coy and doesn't want folks seeing him.

Next up, August Unique Holiday dotee.


CUTE!!


Cute with a pom pom = fluffy cute!

But what on earth is it?

Well, August 2nd is ice cream sandwich day.


See, there's the ice cream!


Big thick ice cream sandwich with cookies that (given how warped they are) are clearly stale.  That's how ice cream sandwich cookies are best, when they bend when you bite them and they stick to your teeth and fingers and when you lick your fingers you have to scrape the residue off with your teeth.  Mmmm, ice cream sandwiches.

I got away from felt with this one and used flannel for the ice cream and some odd fuzzy fabric (the same I used for the turd!) for the cookies.  I stuffed the cookies with a layer of cheap acrylic felt to give them some stability (and I was too lazy to go get actual quilt batting, which would have worked too--though I think the cheap felt was a better choice, it was really stiff and only good for use as a stuffing--scratchy and icky).

The eyes are safety eyes and the pom pom came from some stuff my sister got me at the thrift store. Again, I wanted to do something different than just another *yawn* beaded tail.

The flannel came from the remnant bin at Joanne's.  I got it to make some ghosts for the Fluff Project but decided to use a tiny bit for this project.  I had some great scores from the remnant bin this weekend.  I went to the store to get the green floss for Nessie and to get some white flannel for the Fluff Project.  I scored about 1 1/3 yards of white flannel (two remnants both large sized) for around $4.  And I got a yard of small wale light brown corduroy (for use on reindeer, also for the Fluff Project) for $2.50.  OH YEAH.  That's th way to do it!

Next up?  I'm working on a Billy Joel patch and a mini cat themed quilt and the Fluff Project ghosts and reindeer.

Friday, July 18, 2014

REVIEW: Pink Castle Stash Stack Club

I haven't done a purchase review lately because I haven't been buying much which is a GOOD thing.

I'm still trying to limit my purchases but when I did those pink blocks I realized there were colors I was lacking in my stash.  So I decided to join PInk Castles Stash Stack Club.

It's pretty straight forward.  Every month you get blenders in a certain color family.  July was pink (perfect!).  You can buy in at different stack sizes (full or half) and fabric cuts (FQ, half yard, full yard).  I opted for the fat quarter half stack.

So every month I get 6 fat quarters for $19.95 (that includes U.S. shipping).  So that makes each FQ $3.32 each which is just about the going price for quilt shop quality fabrics.  I've noticed fat quarters are a tiny bit more expensive than a straight 1/4 yard and I'm ok with that to get the shape that better works for me.

Now I have to have a true confession time here.  I was kind of wondering if these stash builders clubs would just be a way for the company to unload some of their sale/clearance stock.  I didn't totally believe that, but I wondered how much of the fabric might be from the clearance bins.  So, being the cynic that I am, I expected to get at least a piece or two of sale items.

I am here to state I was WRONG.  There was (as far as I can tell from just comparing what I got to Pink Castle's website) NO clearance items in my stack.  And, there were items in it that weren't on the website, leading me to believe fabrics are purchased just to make these bundles, which I appreciate.

So, here's what I received in my half stack.


I love the range of pink shades offered.  Of course, my pic doesn't do the fabric justice (it was overcast outside when I got this pic).  The bottom two fabrics are as light as they appear, but the third from the bottom one (with the squiggles) is more on the peachy side of pink.  The next two (geometric and numbers) are more what I call "classic" pinks.  The scallops are an antique type pink (the dots have an antique shade to them, not white or beige).  (I LOVE the number fabric, it's my favorite of the bunch, followed closely by the polka dots)

Now, those descriptions are just the way my eyes see these pinks.  Your mileage may vary.

Overall, I'm VERY PLEASED with my purchase.  Yes, it's a smidge more expensive to buy fat quarters this way (versus bargain shopping) but this way I know I'll get 6 excellent quality blenders to help round out my stash.  And with it being the half stack, I'm not going to end up with a TON of fabric.  Just enough (to get my shopping fix, yeah, I can't lie I like getting a treat every month--I'm a spoiled brat).

Now that I've signed up for the club, I plan to keep it for one full year.  I've also decided I'll use my monthly purchase as motivation to organize my stash by color.  Last night (after this arrived and I fawned over it) I went through a scrap bucket I keep at my sewing machine and pulled all my larger pink scraps.  (I have two buckets, one is for itty bitty scraps--I won't be organizing it, that's too tedious).  Now I just need to go up to my craft room and pull any and all pink fabrics.  I already have plastic bins but I got too lazy and never did the actual organizing.  This way, I'll only have to organize once a month.

I plan to organize by the color wheel for the club and just plain old ROYGBIV.  It will depend on if I have a ton of one color and not much of another and all that.  But for now, I'll organize by the Pink Castle wheel then shift things around as necessary.

Right now I'm organized by size.  I have a drawer of FQs, a drawer of "smaller than half yard, but not officially FQ" size, and then "1/2 yard or bigger".  Then I have a tote for charm sizes and other pre-cut sizes (strip rolls, etc).  I also keep my holiday fabrics and cat fabrics separate and any fabrics I bought for a specific project (so my Happy Drawing fabrics are all together and my Frog and Toad fabrics are together, along with some yardage I got to make a skirt).  I think I'll go through my 5 inch charms and pull them by color but for manufacturer pre-cut sets I'll keep them together and not sorted by color.  I'm not color sorting my 2.5 charms and I'll still keep my "special project" fabrics together (not color sorted).  I'll also have a separate stack for non-quilting cottons (flannels, fur, etc).

Slowly but surely I'll get it all organized and cull some things I really don't want or won't ever use.  So I just might have some giveaways coming up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday



I have a couple of things in progress right now.  The one that's the furthest along is Nessie.


I started last night only to discover I don't have enough of the proper embroidery floss. So this weekend I need to pick up some more (yes, I keep a shopping list on my phone just for crafty stuff!).

Nessie is for a swap.  It's coming along nicely. I 'm toying with making him a tam (tam o shanter).

The other in progress item is a snail.  I got the pattern cut out yesterday but that's about it.  It shouldn't be too tricky.  It's also for a swap.

I have a third item on my list but haven't technically started it yet.  It's a mini cat themed quilt (again, for a swap).  And I'm also pondering some Fluff Project sewing.  Now's the time to get Halloween and Christmas themed items stitched up.  I'm eager to try out two My Funny Buddy patterns (ghost and reindeer).  I just need to check my fabrics.  I might need to pick up a some solids to make them.  I know I don't have a lot of white on hand and I think I want flannel for these.

I'm on instagram now and hope to share my WIP pic for the Hawthorne Threads weekly giveaway.

That's all I got for now. . .OH, wait, I got some new presser feet for my machine.  I now have a walking foot and free motion quilting foot (among others) so I'll be playing with those a bit.  Big fun!

Monday, July 7, 2014

For Pinks Sakes: Quilt Blocks for Charity.

Anna at Life So Crafty did a blog hop, For Pinks Sakes.  I couldn't commit to doing the blog tour (they posted on weekends and I don't "computer" much on weekends) but I did want to get in on the sewing portion of the hop.

Anna is collecting pink quilt blocks for inclusion into a charity quilt she's making to help raise breast cancer awareness AND (more importantly) funds of her mother in-law's treatment.

She's collecting any style as long as they are minimum 4 inches (finished) and contain pink fabrics.  Also, square/rectangle is better.

So I decided to make some more blocks.  I made one a few months ago (just a simple 2.5 inch patchwork one) but I pawed through my stash and found all the pink I had and realized I needed to make more blocks.  I've been trying to bust my stash and this was PERFECT.  It was also a perfect chance to try out a simple/basic block I've been wanting to try.

BLOCKS AHOY!!


Log cabin blocks for the WIN.

I made them one round smaller than the instructions I found.  But these are around 10 inches in size (didn't measure, but the longest log on them is 10.5 inches so they're in that ballpark).



Those were the first two I made.  I did a fussy cut cute print for the centers.  I just HAD to use that piggy.

(oh, any wonkiness you see in them is because they're on a lumpy picnic table--the blocks aren't crookedy like that).

Once I made that pair I was kind of hooked.  I just had to make a few more.




And since I was cutting fabric, I felt obligated to keep using the fabric, trying to use as much of the cut bits as possible.  Then when one print would get low, I'd try to use it all up.  It was like a game!




I tried not to duplicate the center square on any of them.

(beware, my toes are in the next pictures!  these little piggies were putting the sewing machine pedal to the metal)




I ended up with a total of eight log cabin blocks.

And all kinds of little pieces left over.  SO. . .I had to make two more blocks to bring the grand total up to 10.


2.5 inch charms in a nine patch style.  Very basic.  (again, any warbly/wonkiness is due to the surface they are on, they turned out very neat--except for one seam on each of them.  It curled over and I shook my fist at it and put a pox on its home!)

They measure at about 6 inches each?  I put my 5 inch square ruler on them to make sure they met the minimum size requirements and they were larger than it so I was all good.




I had so much fun making these.  It was nice to do some actual quilt block making for a change.

And I realized I like the smell of hot fabric.  When you're ironing (pressing--whatever) some unwashed fabrics and you get that sizing smell?  Yeah, I like that a lot.

I mailed these off this morning and I hope they are of some use to Anna.  Hell, even if she thinks they suck, I had fun and busted some of my stash so I'm a big winner!