Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Equilter Booty Packs

I had a $5 gift certificate for eQuilter (I did a survey for them--so that reward made my shipping only $2.95-ish versus $7.95 ish that it normally is) so I knew I'd get a Booty Pack (aka themed scrap pack).  But then I couldn't decide which one I wanted (I had it narrowed down to two) so I decided to get both.

See, eQuilter *knows* that's how folks work.  Eh, I've been really good about buying lately so I didn't beat myself up over it at all.

So I decided to get the Critters pack (all animals) and the Pop Culture pack.

Time to show off what I got!

There were nine different prints ranging from about 6 inches (by WOF) to almost half a yard.

The dog print was the smallest one.  It was one row from a panel of dog breed faces.  Each image is intact and they'll make for nice fussy cut pieces.  If memory serves, there were four breeds (shepherd, cocker spaniel, lab, and one other I can't remember now).  I would have peed if there had been a Dalmatian.

The cat fabric at the top left is also a panel.  I was happy to get some cat fabric in my bunch (since I'm a crazy cat fabric lady).  I was also happy that there weren't any shells.  The description does note that "critters" includes fish, birds, and shells (along with all animals from farm to jungle) so I was worried I'd get stuck with a lot of shells.  Not that I hate shells but they're just boring.

I love the variety in this pack.  It wasn't too heavy on any one animal which I really appreciate.  And even though there were two "bugs" they're different enough that it's not annoying.  That purple there in the right corner is actually dragonflies among flowers.  The color is great on it, too.

Birdies, sparkly butterflies, and MOOSE!  I really love getting the wildlife prints.  I love those kinds of fabric but it's not something I want in a big amount.   Like I'd never buy a half yard of moose fabric (eQuilter is 1/2 yard minimum) so getting a 7 inch (or so) strip in a scrap pack is PERFECT.  It's exactly what I want in a scrap pack.  Stuff I like but don't want in big quantities.  (though I have bought odd ball stuff in quantity--I did once buy a half yard of opossum fabric--I regret NOTHING!).

So the Critter Booty Pack was a big success.

But what about the Pop Culture one?

Again, there were nine prints in various sizes (all WOF).  The sizes were a tiny bit smaller this time around but none was under 5 inches.  A few were crooked cuts (but not so bad that the images were sacrificed).

That Eiffel tower print was a crooked cut.  So it gets more narrow as it goes along.  But still plenty of good images and even if the images are cut off it's a good print for postage stamp charms (it's a busy print).

Lots of travel type fabrics in the group.  I like them all because they have a lot of different images so they'll be fun for fussy cutting.  I already have my eye on that pizza on the Chicago themed piece (the black fabric on the lower right).

WHAT IS THAT!!!!????

Rodeo fabric?  But not merely rodeo.  RODEO CLOWNS!!!!

(the other fabric is nice, too, but what can really compare to rodeo clowns, the only clowns that aren't creepy--yeah, so weird that regular clowns creep me out but not rodeo clowns).

Look at his fabulous jazz hands!  STOP, clown time!

Yeah, I can't wait to use this fabric.  The only sad part is, it's a smaller piece so I think I only have two of these fabulous clowns.  This fine fellow is going to become a patch for my personal collection (and if I do have another clown, I might just have to use that for one of my random patches I swap).

I'm also tempted to make the bull into the patch I need to make for the Favorite Country Song patch swap but I kind of have my heart set on a different idea (I could totally do Garth Brooks' "Rodeo" with that bull but I really want to do "Going to Hire a Wino" one of the best country songs EVER).

The other four prints are great, too.

I was very happy this pack wasn't full of Maxine (or stuff like that).  I know that she's part of the "pop culture" theme and I don't hate her or anything but a little of her goes a LONG way.  I got a part of a panel and I think there aren't any repeating images.  Each image is big enough to make a cute coaster (so each is about 5 inches square or so) so I might just tuck Maxine there away for now and wait to see if a project comes along where someone really loves her.  Or I'll show her to my sister and see if she wants to use her for something (my sister thinks Maxine is cute--more than I do).

Maxine aside, the other four prints in this group are AWESOME.


I love this fabric so freaking much.  It's all roadside attractions including Wigwam Village (which I've actually visited but we didn't stay--were were on a road trip and it wasn't on the schedule to actually sleep there--but I want to).

That bronto immediately made me think of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, when he's up in the mouth of that t-rex with Simone and he asks her, "What's your big but, Simone?".  I think that bronto is going to become a patch entitled "What's your big but, Simone?".  The only sad part about that fabric is the piece is just not big enough.  I want to see all the images on it.  I may have to track it down on eQuilter and invest in a half yard (the next time I splurge).  For now, I'll just use my little bit as wisely as possible (and love it while I have it).

I still haven't quite figured out what the fabric on the right of the pic is.

I think it's "germs" as seen under a microscope.  A lot of the images look like bacteria (oval shapes with little hairs along them).  I love these cuties.  I call them square sperm.  Look how uptight they seem.  They must be the sperm that make super uptight type A people.  They mean business and will get the job done in an efficient and organized fashion.

The germ fabric was pretty large which made me happy.  Lots of fun germs to play with.

The other biggest piece from the pack was the Matisse print.

The photo just does not do it justice.  It is FABULOUS.  Bright colors, tons of images all inspired by Matisse paintings.  I'm tempted to see if it's big enough to make a bag with it.  That way it won't get cut up too small.  It really deserves to be kept as whole as possible to really show off all the variety on it.  It's a great fabric (high quality, too).

If I was pleased with the Critter Pack, the Pop Culture Pack was EVEN BETTER.  Tons of whimsicle stuff in it that 's so my bag.

Overall rating (for both):   A

Comments:  Great variety in the packs.  I especially appreciate the variety in the critter pack (no duplicates on the animals).  Great size variety too.  Each pack had at least two larger cuts (around 1/2 yard) and no cut smaller than 5 inches.  Not too many crooked cuts and no pieces with random nicks or nips taken out of them.  All of them are WOF, too.  All fabric is high quality, too.  Nothing thin or flimsy.

Good pricing.  These were $15.15 each.  That was on a small sale.  I think full price they are $15.95 which is still very reasonable.  Especially if you just want a little bit of something random and fun and/or you have coupon like I did.

Personally I wouldn't get a scrap pack as my only item because it's not worth paying full shipping for it.  But if you have a gift certificate (like I did) or are getting other items these are always a great add on idea.

I have never been disappointed with a scrap pack from eQuilter.

They also shipped same day (I bought in the morning so that helped there) and their basic shipping is priority mail so I had my order in only two days.

High marks for eQuilter once again.

For a Swap: Purple Dotee

It's for the rainbow/color series.  Purple this time.  For this series I'm doing patchwork for each doll.  I wanted something different so I used the bunny pattern I have (from the Fluff Project bunnies) which worked really well.

Tail in the back, of course.

I also figured out a smarter way to do the patchwork, too.  At least for these dolls where I trace the shape onto a double layer of fabric then sew right on the line and then trim it out.  I made a sheet of patchwork and then sewed the ends to each other to make a tube.  Then I could roll it around to find the best placement for the pattern piece because I really wanted to preserve this:

I just had to have that scrap whole on the bunny.  It's just kind of cool and I really like it.  Sewing the fabric end to end made that possible and I think I wasted less of the patchwork in the long run.

This one will get mailed out shortly.  I want to get one more patch finished then I can mail out this bunny, the two patches I showed off previously, and the new patch.  But I have to draw up my design for that patch, first.

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.