30 June 2016

An Umbrella Workshop & A Guild Friendship Block Exchange

This year I have these "have-to" projects that I have mentioned ad nauseum lately. It always makes me happy to consider projects for all of the time I like to think that I will have "after". Better yet is taking the time for a break from have-o's now and then. Nothing better to get ou loosens up and ready for more.

Our Textile Guild invited Joan Buse, otherwise know as "Umbrella Joan" or "the umbrella lady" to our island to teach a class. I am not a huge umbrella kind of gal, but that is partially because they tend to be so boring. Shelter from both sun and rain can be appealing at times though and I was eager to take the class. Our team leaders, Tori and Robin, helped to make to sure that we were all well prepared by encouraging us to cut out the pattern in advance of the class. Robin had made them before and so the pattern was available and she graciously opens her wonderful home to those of us who waned to her up on the pre-cutting offer. Talk about a win-win situation!

Our teacher, Joan Buse (in the image below), and her helpful spouse, Bob, arrived on the ferry at about 10:15 am and we for going. As things turned out, having the pattern pre-cut saved about 1:15 minutes. The total wonder of the class is that we ALL had our umbrellas sewn together and pinned to the frame by about 3:30!! That is about the time I generally need an afternoon respite. We all needed to do some fishing hand work at home ....nothing very taxing or difficult though. The umbrellas are treated with a water proofed before the finishing work is done. Our hardware stores were out of the best ones anyway!

Suggested options are :

Scotchguard Outdoor Water Shield

Thompsons Waterseal for fabric

Candy Hoeschen (above) was the first to complete her umbrella
and shop owner, Bonnie Turman (below), adds cheerful Pom-poems to her colorful Mickey Mouse umbrella
Blow: Brooke, crafter extraordinaire, and new sewist, finished hers in record time!
Above: Guild member...I believe her name is Barbara ...finished her colorful version
Below: Cool Strum used some of my all time favorite Diamond Textiles embossed fabric in roaring red
Lovely Diane made hers for her historical recreation work...circa 1860-ish
Below: our wunderkind sewist, Barbara Snider, made this fantasy umbrella of her grand-daughter
Below: Sheila and her version
Below: Krispi Staude made us all smile
Joan's husband, Bob, brought sound the samples....

My ' fabric find' was a brilliant cobalt blue with white lightening bolts.
A great EBay buy and made by Anthology Batiks.
In another break from the "have-to's" is quilt guild project. Friendship blocks! We have not done this sort of exchange for a long time....years really. Each month one person chooses a block design and color and those of us who have signed up make a block. Next week, July, is "my" month. In the past I was fond of asking for circles of one kind or another. Wanting o not hear sighs I chose one of my all I've favorite blocks - the versatile, traditional log cabin. I am asking for a red and white color scheme using cut 2" strips to finish to finish at 12" (12.5" unfinished). If anyone has a hankering to make one I would be thrilled to have a bit of your work in my friendship quilt! I can send you the simple directions....

Breaks over ...back to more hand sewing!

I hope that everyone is enjoying the summer (here in the northern hemisphere) and that, for us USA types, I sincerely hope that your 4th of July will be happy, safe and filled with good memories .

 

10 June 2016

An Unlikely Shirt Among Quilts

What?! Me wear this???!!!

This is most definitely NOT the kind of shirt that I would usually make or wear. I am not much of a floral kind of gal and I am just beginning to embrace my inner appreciation of blues (with the exception of deep indigos and navy's which have always appealed to me). That being said, yesterday I just felt a compulsion to make something wearable. Something easy, loose and summery.

I wanted something quick and something that I could make without fear of 'wasting' my 'good' apparel fabric. What I had on hand that fit that order was plain muslin...meh...and this piece of 2013 Robyn Pandolph "Notinghill" fabric that was a slight mess of several leftover pieces from a wide quilt backing. Since I had a very limited amount of the fabric left I had to address a few considerations.

  • I did want the the large bunch of roses enhancing an area of me that needs no enhancing what-so-ever
  • I wanted to consider a trying a few slight pattern alterations without making a muslin. Good to go! This is a very easy...yes, you can do it in two hours....pattern. Kwik-Sew K3895 which I have had for some time and meets my needs for a good "knock-around-the-house" tee.
  • Since I used various sizes pieces I needed to try my best to make the front, back and sleeves look as cohesive as possible. I was able to mirror the front and back and found small pieces that would allow me to have "roses on both of my shoulders".

I sewed from the medium size this time around and :

  • I raised the neckline 1/4" which worked out very well for me.
  • Graded the pattern to add 1/2" to the sides as they went from the underarm seam down to the hem. Another good result.
  • Added 2" to the bottom. Excellent!
  • Added 2" to sleeve length. NOT good. I went back, ripped-out, and re-sewed them adding only 1/2" to the original sleeve length which was a good compromise.

I have also used the Scout Woven Tee pattern and they are similar. I like them both. For my preferences, I need to raise the neckline just a bit in both and I prefer a slightly longer length for both.

I have my eyes on the Onyx Tee. I like the small details on it and expect to buy it soon.

My quilting commitments have overtaken my life this year and it was so much fun to just "whip-up" a shirt as a diversion. Each time I sew a garment now I seem to get just a bit better at refining techniques. So no,apparel sew is a waste of time! I have a plethora of new patterns and fabrics ready to make some "new-to-me" patterns. I am so looking forward to having the time to learn some more about about sewing by making them.

As for my quilting projects:

  • I have managed to keep up to date with "quilt-that-cannot-yet-be-named" projects (2 versions; traditional and modern). When you finally see it you may realize why it has been so time consuming....
  • I am, more or less, up to date with my version of the "Glorious Hexagons" project.
  • Just slightly behind with the "Sweet Surrender" appliqué project.
  • Left behind, on the back burner, for a bit is my Farmer's Wife 1930's. I am continuing to print the patterns and read the posts but am close to 10 blocks behind.

Just a few of the latest blocks....



Above...this block looked like a frame to me and so I added my maternal grandmother, Thea Elizabeth Kavanaugh Ellery (1898-1976). It is a picture of her taken in 1916 when she was 18 and it has always been an inspiration to me just as she was.

Onwards and outwards...or maybe inwards a times....now I at least have assuaged my garment sewing need just a bit....but I need to be able to find time to try those other patterns that are tugging at me!

  • Vogue 8585 loose pants that will be in blue linen
  • The Sewing Workshop "Mixit Shirt"
  • Butterick B6183 top with princess seams
  • Butterick B6324 shirt
  • By Hand London "Sarah Blouse"
  • Paprika "Onyx Tee"

What has your early summer and late Spring been like?

 

  • Have you accomplished what you wanted to?
  • Have any great sewing patterns to suggest to me?

Enjoy the moments ...each and every one!

 

22 April 2016

When To Say "Enough Is Enough!"


This block is one of those in the "secret project". Hopefully using this one, lonely, example will not get me kicked out of the group, but it has a special place in my soul now. This is the block that has "sunk" my self-esteem and caused me days of frustration. There are small 'v' points on each piece at the center...that are made to form a neat little point on each section. Our leader is an amazing, highly talented, pattern drafter and her measurements are always spot on. I have made the block as directed with picture perfect results all the way as I sewed the blocks together.....until I began to join the sections at the center! I tried hand piecing and machine piecing...with the same results. After making four I decided that it was, after all, just a quilt block and so I decided to "solve my un-ability" problem with a masking circle at the center. I actually don't mind this look...but....

I was still frustrated. So. I decided to give it one more go and try EPP. Again, it all looked perfect , until I went to join my perfectly crafted inner points....

My point being that is is a good idea to know when you have been beaten by a block, a quilt, or design, or , really, anything in life. Perhaps beaten is not the best choice of words....perhaps I should say that it is good to know when to walk away and approach a problem by an alternate method. Time to accept that "done" is better, perhaps, than "perfect". I am fine with my results now. I tried everything that I could think of, checked and rechecked my seam allowances and pattern size, sewed carefully and slowly, read and re-read the directions......it was my "Ah Ha"! moment and I had to accept that for whatever reason this block was my personal "Waterloo". Hey! Being able to say that a quilt block is your downfall is not so bad!
I had been feeling stifled by too many current projects too. I am working on not one, but two copies of the "secret project" (up-to-date), one Applique BOM (I am almost up to date on that), The Farmers Wife 1930's (now 5 blocks behind) as well as my "potato chip" project, Glorious Hexagons. All well and good, but I was not doing anything just for fun and I had no time to make any clothes...which is something that I really miss.
SO.....decisions, decisions. My friend Janet "gave me permission" ...I asked for it....to let one of those projects slide for now and I will pick it back up when, and if, I felt like it. I need to make two small quilts for children and so, to celebrate, I picked Jenny Doan's (Missouri Quilt Company) fun, easy, pattern, "Jack'n'Jill". I have only bought one jelly roll in my quilting life...and, at this point, I had used a few of the strips...but I decided to use them all up for this project since it called for a jelly roll or 2.4" strips. My friend, Barb, had come up with another, similar, pattern using layer cakes, but since I did not have any of those either (well, I have one...but it's not what I would use for kids).
Can I just tell you what a relief it was to just zip through so mole blocks? I spent a couple of hours and almost have enough for a quilt.....love this!
Lessons that I have learned from quilting recently?
  • Know when to back off. Know when enough is enough!
  • Imperfection really is okay and done really is better than perfect (thank you to Brenda Papadakis and Dear Jane for this quote)
  • When it stops being fun - it is time to make decisions that will clear away stress, get you back to your happy place, restore your self-esteem and enable you to move in a positive, forward, direction.
  1. Have anyone had a similar "road block" project? What did you do?
  2. Have you learned any valuable life lessons from sewing and quilting lately? What?
And now...back to my regularly scheduled projects!







21 April 2016

A Lucky Day!

 

I'm am not one of those lucky people who seem to be able to win a things. I'm am blessed, but not in that particular way. So it was with a dollop of incredulity that I read an email from Patricia Beleya (Okan Arts owner and nice person extraordinaire) telling me that I had won a Yoko Saito pattern compliments of Priscilla Knoble and Stitch Publications. I have had my eye on two of Yoko Saito's latest books...but my personal exchequer has, thus far, nixed the idea of adding them to my library.

One of those books is called "Houses, Houses, Houses". Hooray! Wee house designs are featured in this 'Parisian Bag' pattern - and that assuages my desire to have the book - at least for now!

Patricia Beleya - as owner of Okan Arts- sells the most amazing, tantalizing, specialarray of vintage Japanese yukata cloth on the planet. Plus she is a very gracious, talented, and lovely person.

Her friend, Priscilla Knoble, is the owner of Seattle based Stitch Publications (wholesale), while sister company, Willow Lane Quilting Company, (retail) is a purveyor or specialty fabrics, notions, books and all things Yoko Saito.

Thanks to Patricia and Priscilla for breaking my non-winning streak!

 

11 April 2016

Converting Wood Block Stamps To Use On Acrylic Blocks Instead

Not to make anyone have heart failure over my posting twice in two days....but....the siren song called and I followed!
I have tried very hard to stay away from paper-y play...but I always feel so happy when I sit down at my paper play table. Today, despite planning to sew, I have strayed.
Today's simple pleasure is converting my wood block stamps to be able to use them with acrylic blocks instead. Not only is it easier for placement on paper but it is a real space saver. Many of my friends have been doing this recently and I had wanted to try it as well.
Equipment:
EZ Mount Static Cling Foam (if not available locally Amazon and EBay offer good pricing).
Hot Knife, non-stick scissors or hot tool of some kind. Thus far I am having the best luck with non-stick scissors. The hot knife is excellent, but the fumes are not!
Alcohol- not needed really but I have been cleaning the back of my rubber stamp with it prior to pressing it into it new foam home and it cleans as well as removing any stray bits of adhesive residue.
I have noticed that the red foam is easier to remove than grey and also that older stamps are easier to separate then newer ones. The EZ Mount Static Cling Foam offers complete directions and they tell you to gently heat the wooden based stamp in a microwave to facilitate easy removal of the adhesive, foam and rubber....but since I don't have one (a microwave) I needed to try alternatives. Some folks have had good luck with freezing the stamp...I tried it and it does work, but I only needed to do that with one stamp was especially stubborn. If use an Xacto knife to help the process Lang as I did with a few...be VERY careful...it would all too easy to slice the rubber and ruin the stamp. I don't recommend using the knife unless you are adventurous!
The stamp above is removed from it's old foam and the wooden block..now a brief soak in something like Goo Gone easily removes the last of the adhesive. You are left with a clean, smooth, piece of rubber. This stamp is not wavy...but looks that way n the photo for some reason.
Voila! A lot of stamps reduced from the towering pile of wood blocks to the small pile of acrylic block friendly stamps. I will need to get so,e small storage boxes...those slim line flat ones like DVD's come in...but this is really a space saver !