Saturday, 11 October 2014

Quarter 4 FAL goals

Goals might not be quite the right word here.  Wish list might be more appropriate considering that I'm engaging in a fair bit of wishful thinking.

My priority this quarter is a quilt that I'm making for my mother for Christmas.  Any quilt design would look good made with this gorgeous Butterscotch & Roses fabric (Fig Tree Quilts), but I really like this Garden Fence block.  It's been on my to-make list for a while now, and the fabric has certainly had a chance to "mature".  I just couldn't bring myself to cut into it before now, but since I needed something really special for my mom, it was time.

I started this one --The Christmas star quilt (Oh My Stars! designed by Sheila at Thought and Found.)-- over a year ago, and even included it on my Quarter 4 list last year.  It's at exactly the same stage this year as it was last October, which is the same point as it was in July of 2013 when I added it to the Quarter 3 list.  Still, unless I chuck it in the bin, there's always hope.  And Christmas comes every year (actually, it seems to come around much more quickly than that), so there's always another opportunity.

Then,  my friend and neighbour brought me this gorgeous fabric back from her trip to Hawaii.  I'm thinking flying geese.  They'll have to go on a Kona Snow background because they'll be snow geese--very appropriate considering how many Canadian snow birds fly away to warmer climes ones the snow starts to fly.  I'm going to test out my new Bloc-Loc template on this.  The fabric is a bit slippery, so I'm hoping that it helps keep things under control.

So, that's three quilts by the end of the year.  Certainly doable, if you don't consider that I've only finished one since January. 

Of course, I still haven't managed to make a cover for even one of these cushions.  Maybe this time.  I live in hope.

Linking up to Katy.

Finish Along 2014

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

3rd quarter finish!

It's so nice to have a finish that was actually included in my 3rd-quarter goal list.

It's been quite some time since I managed that, and this project has been a goal for several consecutive quarters now.  At least the timing is right.  It's still pleasant here (at least, it is on the weekends), but definitely cooler in the mornings and evenings.  Even so, neither kiddo will need a long-sleeved wool sweater for a while--they're a couple of little furnaces.  In the meantime, these little bamboo toppers will be just the ticket worn over a long-sleeved T-shirt.

And, the obligatory silliness.  This part is so much fun.  The camera was acting a bit odd today, so I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked, but these will do.  Both girls liked their sweaters--the heart-shaped buttons were a hit, and I only heard the pink word mentioned once and not too loudly. 

All part of
Finish Along 2014

Monday, 29 September 2014

Summer skirts

Elyse was rummaging through my fabric stash a while ago, and came out with a piece of fabric and a length of eyelet, and asked for a skirt.   Frankly, I was surprised--not that she wanted me to make her something, but by her fabric choice.  I would have never have picked the soft Jennifer Paganelli print for Elyse.  And, then, when Keira and chose the bright abstract floral for her skirt, I was even more surprised.  It's a good lesson for when they get older--never assume that I know what they'll like.

So, following instructions from my creative directors, I ran up simple gathered skirts with eyelet around the hems (wider eyelet for Elyse because she's older, and narrower for Keira because she's smaller--it appears that they already understand scale).  I decided to elasticize the waistbands in the back, but make them flat in the front.  I'm not fond of elastic all the way around.  It seems to bunch up in the front.  And, the cute little pleated pockets were essential.  If they don't have their own pockets, someone else has to carry the little stones, leaves, feathers, etc., etc., etc., that they pick up throughout the day.

And then came the fashion shoot and all of the silliness that entails.

And yes, this all took place earlier in the summer, so at least they had a chance to wear them this year, and they'll still fit next summer.  If not, they can be let down or the elastic can be replaced as needed. 

I actually have another pair of sun dresses cut out, but I think that I'll hold off on sewing them until next year.  There's really no point in making them now, and by waiting until next summer, I can make sure that they fit properly during the construction stage rather than having to alter them.

So, I guess that will be the last of the summer sewing for this year. I'll have to see what I can come up with for fall.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Third Quarter Goals

Well this is going to be short and sweet.  Since I did so abysmally last quarter, I'm just going to bring a couple of things forward from that list. 

First, I haven't made any headway on the cushion covers.  None at all.  So the daybed still looks like this.

If I can manage to finish just one this quarter, I'll count that as a win.  Two would be a miracle.

And, these little toppers are still in progress.  I've gone from this

to this

It would be nice to finish them for the fall.  All I have to do is block the pieces, sew them together, and knit the sleeve and collar bands. 

That's what I call a pretty minimalist list.  Too minimalist, perhaps, but of course, there are some non-list items to consider.  I want to make another summery tunic while it's still warm enough to wear it.  And Kid's Clothes Week is coming up on 21 July.  I can't justify adding either of these to my fal list, though, because I haven't actually started.  I haven't yet pulled  the fabrics or even the patterns.  Well, I'll definitely be making some Monkey Bar Skirts ( really cute little pattern by crafterhours) and a couple of summery dresses for the girls during KCW, but that's as far as I've got in the planning stage.  This is in contrast to the cushion covers since I consider purchasing the forms and selecting fabrics, patterns, and techniques as having started.    A subtle difference, I know, but it's one I can live with. 

Linking to Katy at 
Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Second Quarter Wrap-up Post

I'm going to make this easy for Katy.

Here's the link to my second quarter goal-setting post.

And, here's the link to the ta-da post for my single, solitary finish--the Anita's Arrowhead quilt that I made for my daughter.

That's it.  No finished sweaters, no finished cushion covers.  Nothing but the one quilt.  What can I say--it's summer, and after several years of relative neglect, I had to get out and do something with the garden.  Not that I'm complaining.  It was great to feel well enough to weed and dig and plant after being unable to do much of anything physical for so long.  But, now that the garden is looking more or less presentable, I'm hoping that I can accomplish more next quarter.

Linking to the Quarter 2 Finish Party

Finish Along 2014

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Some utility sewing

One of my unmet first quarter finish along goals to to turn a thin piece of towel-covered plywood into a proper pressing board.  I've been using it that way for at least a couple of years, ever since I realized that pieces pressed on the board didn't stretch out of shape as they did when I used my laundry ironing board.

But even though it was a simple enough task, I didn't do it.  Then when I was putting the binding on my Anita's Arrowhead quilt, I realized why.  The entire time, I kept muttering about the board being too small.  I baste with washable glue, which means the entire binding has to be pressed to heat set the glue. It seemed as if I was shifting the board every few inches.  That's when the light bulb went on, and I realized that I didn't have to use this board just because it was at hand.  I could actually buy one the right size.  When I told my husband that I was off to the lumber store, he said that he was sure that he had something that would meet my needs.  Handy guy that he is, he quickly cut a piece down to size, rounding the corners to prevent injury.

Then, I just covered it with a leftover piece of batting, gluing it down around the top, side and bottom edges, and made a slipcover. It now covers half of my work table, leaving the other half free for cutting.

Just goes to show that, sometimes, procrastination is a good thing.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Yay! A Big Finish

Yes, I finally finished something bigger than a breadbox.  It's the Anita's Arrowhead quilt that I've had on the last million finish along goal lists.  Okay, maybe not a million...closer to three, including my second quarter list of goals... but it's done and it's beautiful.  

I did some simple little  free motion loops and leaves with a neutral grey Aurifil 50 thread. 

And I used Susie's Magic Binding to finish it off.  I love that it's machine sewn, so it's very durable, yet you don't have to worry about whether you're catching the binding on the other side as you stitch.  The thin line of colour that almost looks like a flange or piping is a bonus.   
 The texture of the quilt is lovely--soft and drapey. 
 And one more picture, because otherwise I'm not certain that all the lacerations I suffered pinning this thing to the holly hedge was worth it.
Most important, the recipient is happy with it.  That really does make the whole endeavour worth while. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Second Quarter Finish Along Wish List

Okay.  Maybe wish list isn't assertive enough, but given my poor showing the last couple of quarters, it may well be the most likely.  In fact, if I manage to finish the three things on my list this quarter, I'll be very pleased with myself.

The first is my Anita's Arrowhead quilt.  I started this after taking Anita Grossman Solomon's Craftsy course, Traditional Blocks Made Simple.  It took me forever to piece the top, but boy--are those points perfect.  Now, it's  basted, but for the life of me, I can't decide how to quilt it, or even what colour thread to use. 

The second is to make covers for these cushions.  Way last fall, my husband made this lovely little daybed for my sewing room.  He used an old mis-matched head and footboard from the 40s.  It fits a toddler bed mattress (the room isn't very large) and it's perfect for sitting in the sun as well as providing nap space for smaller guests.  Those naked cushions have been sitting there for ages, and I really need to do something with them.  I've pulled some pretty scraps for the two rectangular forms.  One will be get a quilt as you go cover, and the other will  probably be a modified Stashbuster block.  The rest will have covers made from blocks that I love, but don't have the patience to make enough of for a quilt.  Blocks like the Octagonal Orb, and Modern Dresden.

And since no list is complete without something for the girls, this time I need to finish up these cute little spring toppers.  They picked the colours themselves. (What happened?  No pink or purple?  Turns out that wasn't an option in this line of yarn, otherwise it certainly would have been the old standbys.) And it will  certainly be easy to spot them at the playground.  I think that I'll make them matching twirly skirts as well.  You can't go wrong with a twirly skirt, can you?

So, that's it for me. Should be doable. 

Linking up to Katy.
Finish Along 2014

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

First Quarter Finish Number 2

I actually finished this a few weeks ago, but I seem to find it even more difficult to blog about projects than to finish them. 

Unlike my KCW dresses for the girls, this Vogue 8731 tunic went according to plan as described in my goal setting post
The fabric was a tiny bit challenging.  The pattern called for a knit with 2-way stretch, and my fabric had 4-way stretch, but it was certainly manageable.  And, it also called for bias tape for the neckband, but I ignored that and used a strip of cross-grain fabric, just as I would for a t-shirt, and I'm really pleased with the way it lays flat against my chest.  And the horizontal pin-tucks add some very nice front shaping.

 I'd love to make something else out of this beautiful and very inexpensive Santiago knit, but it only seems to be available in the one colour.  It's incredibly comfortable, and looks nice with leggings.  I'm definitely going to make this pattern again in a longer length, though.  And, that's a second finish--a 200% improvement over last quarter.

Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 16 March 2014

First Quarter Finish Number 1

I guess that I'll have to admit that I'm pretty useless at this blogging business.  I only seem to post when I have a finish to report, and that's a pretty rare occurrence.  Still, at least I have a finish this quarter, which is one more than last quarter.

This finish was actually more challenging than I had expected.  I had said in my goals posting that I would be finishing dresses for the girls as part of Kid's Clothes Week.  I'd purchased the pattern (McCall's M6388--discontinued) and traced it.  I'd purchased the fabric and notions.  Easy peasy. 
 Only it wasn't.  The fabric I'd chosen was much too stiff for the pattern.  I didn't have time to order more, so I dug through my collection and found one with more drape that met the all important  "pink or purple" requirement.  Bonus--it had a tiny bit of sparkle to it.  The fabric was a knit rather than a woven, so I needed to take some extra care while sewing.  One advantage of using the knit fabric is that the dress can now just be pulled on.  And, since Elyse is never without leggings, I made it more of a tunic length than a dress length.

Then I had to face another challenge--after I saw how the first one fit, I decided that grading this dress down to Keira's much smaller size was going to take too long if I intended to finish within the week, so I dug out another pattern

 New Look 6169

 from my pattern box, and got to work. The issue here is that the pattern is for a top and skirt and I needed to convert it to a dress that was similar to the first one.  While I was about it, I made a few other alterations, removing the zip (because what three-year-old can do up a back zip) and changing the trim, which is a bit over the top.  

In the end, both girl's  are happy with their new sparkly pink dresses.  If the sun ever comes out, I'll try again for a better picture.
 I still didn't manage to make these within the week, though.  The next KCW is coming up in April, and I swear I'm going to post a finish.  For now, I'm content to be able to count the first dress toward the 2014 Finish-Along.  I'm not going to count the second one, since I had to start that one from scratch after the start of the quarter.
Finish Along 2014

Friday, 17 January 2014

First quarter goal setting

I love the start of a new year--there's such hope--such optimism--so many good intentions.  And with the start of the new year it's time to set my first quarter finish-along goals.  And, I know that I'm going to be focused and dedicated, and accomplish so much this quarter (never mind that I didn't have a single finish for the last quarter of 2013--but that was last year and I'd rather not talk about it). 

I have a couple of carry forwards that I'd like to finish in the next 3 months.  This list should be longer--there were a lot of things I didn't finish last quarter, but I'm going to be taking it slow for a while yet.

First is this Anita's arrowhead.  I've made good progress on it, and finished all of the blocks.  Now I only (love the way that word makes everything sound so easy to accomplish) have to join them together and I'll have the top done.  I'm looking forward to quilting it, as the intended recipient prefers loops and swirls over straight line quilting.  I'm really ready for some loops and swirls.

And then, there's this "art quilt" that came about as part of a challenge.  This one has stalled, but I have a lot more ideas now than I did when I started the project.  It's just a matter of getting them out of my head and on to the fabric.  I'm really not very good with the whole improv thing.

Then there are the new projects.
Kids Clothes Week.  This year KCW runs from 27 January to 2 February.  And this time, I'm actually organized enough that I can include it on my FAL list.  It's been a while since that happened.  I have the pattern, I have the fabric and I have the kids who would like new dresses.

Speaking of clothing, it's time I made something for myself.  I have this great Vogue tunic pattern and the softest knit imaginable.  I can't wait to wear this one.  It should look great with leggings, so I can be both comfortable and presentable.

And I also want to tackle a couple of smaller projects.

I really need to do something about my pressing board.  Right now, it's a piece of (very thin oak) plywood with a towel wrapped around it.  Not exactly a photogenic subject.

Since I already have the towel and the board,  I'm going to follow the tutorial from Missouri Star Quilting and turn this into a proper pressing board.  Not only will it  look better, it should also be more functional.  It's really difficult to use a lint roller to pick up the threads from toweling--especially starched and pressed toweling. 

Finally, I'm working on a really long term hexi project, and I need to make a functional portable project sewing case.  I'm currently using a plastic box that once held blueberries.  As with the pressing board, what I have now works at a very basic level, but is far from attractive.  I'm going to use this tutorial for an English paper piecing travel kit with a few modifications.  I love the way it holds everything without being too bulky. Seriously, have you ever tried to carry a plastic clam shell berry box in your purse?

Now, it's time to link up all these good intentions.
Finish Along 2014