Other Interests

Cotton Mesh Tunic

So, I was a little worried that this would read as a Macrame Plant Pot Hanging, but I actually love it! I was thinking that I would make an open front cardi cut on the bias, but there would have been a lot of threads hanging. Instead, I used Vogue 8504, with the asymmetrical neckband, where I used twill tape to stabilize the neckline.

I carefully matched all the side seams, and the shoulder seams. There are no darts, and it just fits loosely. I can use it as a cover-up, if I every get to a beach.

It feels great, very natural, clean, and hides any little figure bulges from the summer treats!

I used a small zig zag to do the seams and finished with the serger. Using the serger is what I imagine people feel when they drive a race car . . . a little danger at a high speed. Like running with scissors!

I also bought this fabric in black. I want to make a different pattern. Any ideas?
Just another one of those beautiful fall days!

A Few Shades of Grey!

I needed a win. For the past few weeks, I have been drafting a pant block, measuring, drawing lines and angles, erasing, redrawing, and FITTING. I have made 3 muslins of pants, and am almost there. Luckily, my friends from the pattern drafting class we attended this summer are coming for a reunion. We hope to fit our bodices, skirts and pants, depending on how much we got done this month.

So, I wanted to make something that where fit was less of an issue, and that I could sew up relatively quickly and wear. I found some beautiful terry cloth looped fleece in a soft grey. Grey is drawing me in this month. I have bought 3 lengths of fabric of varying shades of grey--not 50, but . . . let's not go there. Haven't read the book, so will not refer to it again!

The weather is starting to get a little cooler, so this is comfortable and warm, without being too heavy.

 I used Simplicity 2482 and made size Medium without any adjustments. That being said, it is very loose fitting. I might try the small size next time, and use a 28 or 26 inch zipper, as I had to add a false hem to get the separating zipper in, even with trimming the plastic endings. I also added a little faux leather trim, cut on the bias around the pocket openings. My hero and teacher in this area is Diana at Sew Passionista! Check out her beautiful sewing.

So, what are you sewing? Do you have some patterns that allow you an 'easy' sew, once in a while? Even with this, I learned that I should have placed the pocket just a little over, so the zipper would not have too much bulk. I thought it was right, as I used tailor's tacks to place the pocket. I also hand picked the zipper in, which was new to me. Room for improvement, but I was afraid of sewing over it and not getting the seams to match. This is really horrible fabric to pick out stitching. Overall, it is just fine, with a note of changes for the next one.

And On the 8th Day, She sewed the Binding

It took seven days to quilt this. I wanted to create a densely quilted look, with straight and gently curved lines, very close together. Once I started, I wondered what I got myself into!

But, the trick is to keep going. So, I did. For seven days, quilting about 4 hours a day. The last day (today), was spent in making the binding, and sewing it to the front, turning, making the mitered corners and then hand sewing it to the back.

I actually like doing the hand sewing, with a fine invisible stitch. I kept in mind that this quilt will have little toes crawling on it, so none of the stitches are wide enough for a little toe to get caught.

You can see the progress of this quilt here, especially the starching process that helped to keep the blocks straight. I also starched the whole top and the backing again, using a 1 part starch to 2 parts water ratio. It helped to lay out the top and bottom and keep them stretched to allow for all the parts to be spray basted and ironed together to allow for the quilting to begin without pinning.

There are some things I learned about quilting these lines so closely.

1. It is difficult to curve lines closely without causing whiskering. This means that the top fabric starts to pull and turn on itself, or to stretch. So, this being a quilt sewn completely by a fairly new quilter, there are some areas of whiskering. I was able to unpick some lines and correct a few areas, but a couple of curves have some interesting wrinkles.

2. Starching is a bonus that is a surprising aid. I feel like I should have passed on this piece of laundry advice to my children. Ironing a starched fabric is a sensual experience. Really! I mean that. There is a smoothness and crispness to the fabric that provides a sense of accomplishment.

3. I love straight line quilting. But, I need a better walking foot. I am envious of Janice's walking foot, as I think it has a wider foot and would have given more guidance than mine did in terms of 1/2 inch. I will buy one, as I definitely love walking foot quilting.

4. I will follow the guidelines provided in Jacquie Gehring's Creative Quilting with the Walking Foot course on Craftsy. I should have made my design more simple, and started with straight lines, rather than the gentle curve. (Perhaps I was too cocky thinking I had done that spiral on my son's quilt.) But, if you know me, you probably know that I often start things with less planning, rather than more, or any!)

This quilt is a gift for my goddaughter, Stephanie. She is getting married in two weeks, and Tod and I are heading back to Ontario to enjoy her day, with Mike and Sulev, their young son. I hope they can use this quilt to cuddle under while reading stories, and watching their favourite movies. Tod and I want them to know that the lines, and colours of the quilt that echo and dip and swirl, will be like the paths and tracks, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows that their family will experience. We want them to have the comfort of family and a nice, textured quilt to warm them as they travel together through life.

And, it is finished on time!

A Quilt with Botanicals

I had ordered a set of fat quarters from Craftsy, thinking that it would be what was needed to do the pattern that was shown with this set. It is called Botanicals, by Joel Dewberry. I loved the large scale print, and the coordinating geometrics. I paired these with white to make a modern style quilt, from the pattern of Atkinson Designs, Urban Cabin Quilt.

I learned to starch my fabrics from Anita Grossman Solomon.
She recommended washing the fabrics, then while damp, adding them to a large Ziploc bag with liquid starch, at a ratio of 1:1. I added 1.5 cups Evenflo liquid starch to 1.5 water. I kept moving the fabrics around, and ensuring that the fat quarters were evenly moistened. Then, overnight in the fridge! By the way, Canadians have to rely on going to the USA to get liquid starch! We have the spray starch, but you need an awful lot of that expensive spray can to get the effect you want. I find that starching the fabrics allows you to have crisp edges, and it just feels so good. You wash the starch out after quilting the layers together. I will use my new can of spray baste to layer the quilt top, batting, and backing together to quilt. My machine needs a little servicing after my last quilting adventure!

They turned out beautifully sized, with the iron easily making them crisp and smooth. Then, I had to follow the directions very carefully to cut all the pieces out for the Urban Cabin Quilt that I am making for my god-daughter's wedding gift. Here is one layout I tried. I photographed it in grey scale to see if I was balancing all the values, so that I didn't have a cluster of darker or lighter values all in one place. It works; give that a try! You can see that in the middle, I have too many darker values, so it was easy to change them at this stage. I'll post photos of the quilt, when it is finished.