Posted in Quilts

Adventures with the Longarm

I finally took a longarm class in order to rent time on a longarm machine at The Quilted Rose, here in San Diego. I would now like to offer up my right kidney to the highest bidder so that I can purchase a longarm machine and use it everyday. The machines at TQR are pretty old and huge, and when I rented time, they actually gave me the clunkiest one. I was not super pleased about that, but it did not deter me from longarm quilting in the slightest. It just made me google my other San Diego county options. 

So my pieced quilt began with the central fairies fabric which is an out of print Alexander Henry print that I had no idea what to do with, but loved intensely and purchased from an etsy seller that specializes in out of print goodies. Then after our guild (SDMQG) did a Lizzy House challenge during Lizzy house’s visit, I was inspired by my fellow runner up (yes! I was totally a runner up!) and her Unicornio quilt. It was a large scale log cabin with a variety of colors and featuring a Lizzy house unicorn right smack dab in the center.

So I have been adding rich log cabin walls around these mysterious fairies slowly slowly slowly. 

   
   Then I spent some time with it at TQR, choosing a very intense teal thread for the quilting, and bound it in deep green Constellations by Lizzy House. 

If you look closely at the quilting, you’ll see that I basically tried everything I had practiced on paper from An Angela Walters book that I have, Shape by Shape. And it’s very beginner, but again, that machine was a rickety pile, so I am not totally to blame. And the prints are so busy, it doesn’t matter at all. I see it as a longarm sampler for me, and my daughter loves it on her bottom bunk (for when friends come to sleep over, she tells me). It couldn’t possibly go on the top bunk because, speaking of Lizzy House, that spot is reserved for the forthcoming Meadow Quilt (top is already complete!)

Posted in Quilts

Postage stamp quilts

postage stamp quilts. Those are the only projects getting finished round these parts as I postpone a slew of other more challenging projects. They are not challenging. Some people might find them mind numbing, but I am not among those people. I love to pick a bunch of fabrics, spend a morning pressing them all with Flatter or Best Press until the inside of my nose smells permanently like figs or yuzu or what have you. Then nothing pleases me more than to follow it up with an afternoon of cutting 2.5″ strips from my chosen lovelies. I save a few strips for strippy fun, then keep cutting cutting cutting everything into a beautiful stack of 2.5″ squares. That’s a whole day gone, if you’re keeping track, and no fabrics have been sewed to any other fabrics. Nothing has been done, but that day ends up feeling so productive to me. I’m a loon.

Then comes the learning and creating and playing. Btw I use a pinking blade on my rotary cutter so all my squares are in it for the long haul. Ain’t no way I’m using a full day’s worth of squares in a single quilt, so I like to know my leftover squares can be stored for an indefinite length without any fraying. So anytime I have a few hours, I can pull out my squares and do some playing. 

   
  I use the method that Elizabeth Hartman shows in this  tutorial (http://www.ohfransson.com/all-projects/stamp-collection-blocks) on her Oh Fransson website, laying out all the squares on a sheet of very lightweight fusible interfacing over a grid drawn on muslin. One, I like how this method makes all my squares line up because when I just sew squares together using the regular method or strip piecing, my fabrics are always going to have some stretching or shape shifting or wormhole travel where they will end up off by what seems like a half inch at least once per row. 

Two, I like this method because I get to lay out all my fabric squares however I want and play with them and rearrange them freely and once they’re exactly how I want them, I don’t have to take them apart again to chain piece them all into oblivion and try to put them back together again. They stay put on the interfacing while I stitch column by column and then row by row. It is so meditative and quick. 

I worried that the interfacing would make the quilt stiff, but after a washing and drying, I honestly cannot feel a difference between an interfaced quilt and a traditionally pieced stamp quilt. I found it so much easier that the other method feels like going commando; obviously a lot of people love it, but it’s a bit too loosey goosey for me. I prefer a little clothing under my squares. 

Being able to play around with the placement helps me learn about the ways colors play with one another and also allows me to prevent adjacent prints. Were the placement of the prints truly random, you’d be likely to have some prints adjacent to themselves. I think they look more random though when they are placed intentionally so that there are no adjacents. Like how my nanny used to tell me that the secret to makeup was to make it look like you weren’t wearing makeup. The secret to making it look random is to very carefully and intentionally arrange placement. Or you could just pull them from a paper bag and sew them together. A more efficient and equally acceptable method. Suit yourself. 

   
  Anyway, I have a million 2.5″ squares and it is incredibly satisfying to produce a quilt top in about 2 days that can put a major dent in a scrap bin to boot. So my total so far for postage stamp quilts in 2016 is 3. But it’s only March, so let’s see if I can hit double digits.

Posted in Quilts

Workin’ It Wednesday

work in progress Wednesday and I thought I’d be much further along with my linen and pinks quilt, but here is the top so far. The center panel has been entirely pieced and pressed, but it still needs a chunky linen border. 

   The pattern is from Rashida Coleman-Hale, of course, because she hearts linen, from the book “I 💙 Patchwork.” It is a lap quilt, that she did in shades of turquoise and yellow, although I’m wondering how weird it would look if I bordered it to be bed sized.  

  

I used bright pink, coral, and yellow fabrics, including some of my faves from Tula Pink’s Eden collection and True Colors, plus a funny little constellation pattern from Spoonflower.

Maybe by Finished Friday, this puppy will be ready to make a reappearance?

Posted in Quilts, Sewing Projects

Flying colors on a cloudy day

i completed this baby playmat slash quilt last week on a rainy day, just in time for it to never be cloudy again. 😢 I love weather; it makes no sense for me to live in Southern California. 

I used a layer cake of Flying Colors by Momo for Moda (love love love Momo), and some cloudy blue linen (Essex cotton linen from Robert Kaufman) to do the back and the appliqués. First time doing appliqué and it was fun. Especially fun quilting around them. It makes them puff up even more after washing and gives the clouds and raindrops a cool texture. That’s important for babies. They can’t read. Interesting textures are all they have for entertainment. 

   
    
  
 

Posted in Quilts

February? 

Oh man, I have so many projects completed that I need to catch up on documenting. 

But first, look at this seam. Look at that corner alignment!! I did that. And I thought it was photo-worthy. That’s where I’m at. 

   I’m also getting very into linen (obviously). Been reading up on zakka-style, etc. can’t wait to finish this current project and show it off.

Posted in Sewing Projects

Still stitchin’

i am terrible at posting on blogs consistently, but I am amazing at always being sewing & quilting with adorable fabrics. I am trying to get one million swirling crafty ideas to spill out of my head and see the light of day. But you know how it is. 

My quilt guild is currently on a lovely retreat that I was unable to join them on, so I just wanna show the interether that I, too, am turning beautiful fabrics into fun things. 

  
Specifically I am turning a couple moda candy packs of Zen Chic’s Just for You and Background Ink into a large patch for a table runner or baby quilt. Haven’t decided. Does this say “baby” or “mealtime” to you? Don’t say both…

Posted in Uncategorized

Gittin’ Quilty!!

i am so in love with this month’s Quilty Box delivery, that I can totally overlook its late arrival. They are understandably busy and expanding.

They must have known some things about me because I like to think that all quilters and makers aren’t totally the same. (We probably are) like, how did they know about my love of cotton and steel and how I am making a mug rug for my quilt guild this month?? Well they knew. Because they included this melody miller charm pack and some teeny tiny batting, just right for my project.  

 
They even included robin’s egg blue (Tiffany blue?) cotton yarn and a size 5mm crochet hook. Crochet season IS fast approaching! Thanks for the reminder, Quilty Box! 

And finally they have the coordinating Egyptian cotton threads and the entire book! Entire book, folks, of bird appliqué projects. In case you ever forget to put a bird on it. (You won’t). 

So glad I hopped on the Quilty Box train cuz this thing is most likely full steam ahead at this point. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Mystery flip flop 

After the longest two week childcare vacation of my life, the kids went back to school on Monday. I cleaned the house top to bottom, the way I’d been dreaming about since August 3. The floors were spotless, thanks to my robot butler, and much of our massive toy collection “got disappeared,” or “sent to live on a farm,” or what have you. 

This made our morning discovery all the more disturbing. My daughter was up first. She is almost four. She had her bowl in front of her, waiting for someone to fill it with cereal, when she  calmly informed us that she found a shoe under the table. A shoe?! Hm. She seemed excited. Like she had won the game we must have set up for her last night. She had found the shoe. 

The shoe was a women’s size 9 Roxy flip flop, and it does not belong to anyone in our house, nor has anyone been here recently that would have left a shoe. It was covered in bite marks. 

The only plausible explanation we came up with was that someone had slipped in through the car door, and the cats, protecting their family and property, had eaten her. Among the three of them, they could eat all but a single flip flop. 

I took a photo, intending to share it on Instagram and ask friends for alternate theories. But then I got worried that people would try to rationalize it. “You must have forgotten a recent visit from someone with size 9 feet,” they would say. Or, “obviously your house wasn’t as clean and tidy as you thought.” No, you idiots. It was clean. Either time travel or man-eating cats are involved. Don’t be daft. 

  

Posted in Uncategorized

A Desperate Plea for More Austen

Just finished reading Persuasion. If you’ve ever read it, then you are probably feeling so jealous of me right now, in the bloom of first-time Persuasion completion. I have only recently decided to become crazy obsessed with Jane Austen, after I rewatched all the film adaptations of Pride & Prejudice (and everything else with Colin Firth in it, for good measure), and decided I had better legitimize my film binge by reading the novel.

Sense & Sensibility and Emma soon followed, and then I finally hit Persuasion. The best of the Big Four, in my (obviously correct) opinion. Why had I never even heard of this book before?! My guess, no good film adaptations. I’m of the Clueless generation; why has no one bothered to reboot this of all the novels? Possibly because it is already so relevant. A reboot might seem disrespectful of its undimmed brilliancy. But come on, so many Pride & Prejudices, can’t we just have one more Persuasion…(btw, I’d be fine with a new P&P film adaptation as well. I don’t think annual adaptations is an unreasonable request, Hollywood. Or, BBC. For your consideration).

To help Hollywood & the BBC along, I have some suggestions about Persuasion on the big screen (or slightly smaller screen, as TV has become). One, the book did NOT feel so dramatic. I mean, there was a lot of drama. and desperation. and feelings. and probably fog; this is England. But, the 2007 BBC Persuasion with Sally Hawkins was such a downer, and I think the spirit of the book is ultimately comedic. Like Emma, like Clueless, like Sense & Sensibility, like Bridget Jones’s Diary, for goodness sake. Jane Austen’s wit was lost. The only comedy relief in that version was Mary, played by Amanda Hale, who succeeded in becoming a caricature, which was intended. In the next adaptation, let’s have a George Clooney type playing Sir Walter, because that’s how I pictured him, comically vain and handsome. Or let’s have Hugh Grant in that role, since he’s already got the appropriate accent, and he is no stranger to Austen. We should, in that case, also have Colin Firth somewhere. Admiral Croft, maybe? Mr. Musgrove? It doesn’t matter. He’ll totally nail the role whatever it is.

Two, this is not a long book. I think a film adaptation could remain pretty faithful to the plot and sequence of the book without exceeding a normal runtime. I don’t know why the 2007 version had so many rewrites and mixups. Don’t mess with perfection. Why did it turn into Run, Lola, Run at the end? That wasn’t in the book. I just read it today. I know.

And finally, you really gotta cast Anne Elliot properly. If time travel is an option, let’s get mid-90s, Sabrina-era Julia Ormond in there. Honestly, she’s barely aged. Maybe current day Julia Ormond is my second choice. If both Julia and Julia refuse, let’s aim for mature 20’s, able to pull off vulnerable and invisible and underappreciated, and maybe steer clear of anyone in the Harry Potter movies or Downton Abbey. Who does that leave? Also, maybe we should go redhead. I pictured her as a redhead. But there are few protagonists that I DON’T picture as redheads. Oh I know: Lily Collins. Not a redhead, but she’ll do.

Also, BBC take note, Cillian Murphy as Mr. Elliot. Because he can play hot & evil so well. Also, put Cillian Murphy in more things. Full stop.