Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Pillow - a few lessons learned

I decided to make a pillow for my secret partner in the For the Love of Solids Swap. I don't really know why since I've never made one before, but I dove in and went for it. I had a few parameters. Most were taken from my partner's sign up form with dashes of her mosaic mashed in:
- Ohio stars pattern
- make it improv/wonky
- include log cabins
- use blue, green, lime, aqua, grey, etc
- use only solids (obviously)
- make each block different in some way.

So here is the front:
Yep, my small item is a zippy pouch!
 For the back I used her mosaic as inspiration:
- abacus blocks
- use a berry colour + those above
I decided that I wasn't confident enough to attempt a zipper in my first pillow, so I opted for an envelope style adding binding to each flap sewed on with one of the machine's fancy stitches I rarely use. I found one with blocks (greek keys?) and went for it. Well, it adds to the wonky and a little character that's for sure. I think I'll need a bit more practice on how to get those stitches straight.

Here is the back:
Lots of wonkiness in these blocks
 Hubster helped me out with some photos so they would have decent lighting, but then the camera battery died and I haven't been able to find the charger. Sheesh. So these photos will have to do. Hopefully my partner will be a better photographer and share some photos with me.

Next up: the small item I made. You can see it in the collage of the pillow front. I made my second zippy pouch. Good thing I have had recent practice with the Mouthy Stitches Zip Pouch Swap.

Lessons Learned:

  • You do have to have a game plan when making something a certain size. I was aiming for a pillow about 16" and ended up with it at 22" (I trimmed it down to 20")
  • I'm not so good at teeny tiny piecing
  • I'm an over presser. There are some seams where the threads show more than I would have liked
  • I love solids, but I still need practice with values so I get them a little more varied
  • I really need to plan out the placement of blocks for the pillow - the back on this pillow is where the abacus blocks needed to be centered a little better
  • I spend too much time playing on Picasa, and should invest more time in taking better photos to begin with. I sense an online photography course in my future, or a search for useful info on blogs...I know I've seen a few recently. A light box will be in my future as well.
Well, maybe I'll still spend time on Picasa for things like this:
Love the neon filter
 Now I'm off to watch the red carpet coverage for the Oscars - lame I know, but it is a tradition. I need a Tim Gunn fix for the night.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crushing on Kona Crush

I am loving working with Kona Crush fabric lately. I've used it for both swaps, and still have piles left. woo hoo. I actually bought it without knowing it was Kona Crush - I thought it was normal Kona Solids fabric. I'm so glad I made that happy accidental purchase from Pink Chalk Fabrics. Unfortunately it seems it isn't being restocked, which probably accounts for the wicked sales price I received. I'll have to find a new source with decent shipping rates to Canada. It doesn't come in as many colours as the straight up solids range, but they do have a few gems (I got Aqua & Red). I think Julie at Jaybird Quilts uses Crush in some of her projects. I really do love it. It's soft, and adds texture and interest. L O V E.

We will be hosting my father and sister in law next weekend visiting from Australia so I knew I needed to get a move on with the pillow. I was so gung ho I made the project a touch bigger than intended. I've ended up with a pillow that would measure 22 inches square finished. Hurumph. I was aiming for 16 or 18 inches.

I've popped a picture up on the Flickr group for feedback and asked if my partner would rather have it still be a *large* pillow or a wall hanging (something she did not ask for in her questionnaire) and I'm hoping she'll comment or the project might be on hold until the weekend after next. Yikes. I'm super happy with the results so far, but if my partner says its a no go I will just finish this as a wall hanging for myself. So win-win.

This shows a truer colour of the border, and teals/aquas in the blocks
These are truer colours in the blocks, but the border is actually aqua

I really should try to finish a project in the daylight so I could take a decently lit picture. Pshaw. I've tweaked it with Picasa to compensate. The colours are greens, aqua, teal, blues, greens, yellow and olive. Oh and touches of grey just because i put grey in everything for some reason.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It is Officially a Finished Pouch

So I'm going with the pouch being the finished product I'll be sending my partner in the Mouthy Stitches Swap. It is partly because I'm afraid of running out of time to make another since i need to switch focus to the solids swap, and partly because of the amazing support of my fellow swappers. I received so many lovely comments and words of encouragement so I feel better about it. My partner might even have commented to help me decide ;)
Can you tell I'm enjoying playing around with Picasa's different styles?
Now bring on the For the Love of Solids Swap. Sketches to come.

I will be glad and a little sad when the swaps are over. Glad for getting my time back with less time at night on the computer, and sad to lose that focus on a project with a deadline. i think i work well under pressure - it's just like being back in school.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Finished Pouch or Practice?

I finally got some photos together of the pouch i finished with the intention of sending it for the Mouthy Stitches Swap. Now after seeing the perfection of other projects I am tempted to just call it a practice and do another one, but I will have to make sure I don't run out of time. Decisions decisions.

If I do a redo pouch i would focus on the pattern specifics and getting all of the blocks to be shown as I intended. i think it would involve more planning and less improv - things i'm not usually known for. I'm waiting to see if my partner comments on it and go from there. I still have time to finish another pouch, though I might have to go a bit smaller given the scraps i have left of these fabrics.

I need to get my scraps together for this swap too. I want to give them some of the leftovers from the pouch because i know she likes these colours, and i have a few more things in mind.

Now on to my For the Love of Solids creations. I'll try to get my sketch scanned tomorrow and up, but i know i'm unlikely to get any sewing done until next weekend. silly day job getting in the way of my crafty pursuits. maybe i should check those lottery tickets - i think someone won the jackpot after all.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Swap-a-palooza - an update

So signing up for 3 swaps set at the same time might have been a little overkill. I realize that now.
I am happy to report that my fabric charms for the iSpy swap are posted and should get there just in the nick of time (fingers crossed). I ended up scoring a sweet yard of fabric from Ki that I chopped up into 56 5" charms. I even received several kind comments from fellow iSpy swappers. Woo Woo.
The fabric is Frolic by Wendy Slotboom. It is very cute.

I also managed to start & finish my zip pouch for Mouthy Stitches today. Phew. This one is a total load off. I was worried since I hadn't made a proper zippered pouch before. I don't know why i was so scared of it really, just one of those things. I can now say that with proper planning and extra attention to my cutting it was a success.

It's late and it's dark so I'll have to save photos for tomorrow. I managed to include a vintage zipper, owls, acorns, cloud 9 organic fabric and inner pockets. I'm including a little extra gift for my swap partner too. I'll blog about it after the swap so I don't give it away.

I haven't decided yet what I'm showing and what will be a surprise, but I'm pretty sure my partner will like it. Oh how I hope she does. I spent a pile of time looking over her mosaic, looking out for comments in discussion threads and on other mosaics or projects. I feel pretty confident. Now on to filling the pouch with my fat quarter of scraps. Very productive day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mouthy Stitches - first glimpse

Okay here is my fabric pull for the Mouthy Stitches zipper pouch swap as promised:
The photo is rubbish - i should have taken it during the day in proper daylight. Since I didn't the flash washed out some of the fabrics and some look darker (wtf?!?) That aside I am happy with how I managed to make the fabrics look a bit like the pattern I will be going for - a bonus.

I think I am ever so slightly leaning towards the aqua Kona Crush fabric for the main fabric, and will use the darker fabric on the right in the scrappy log cabin. I think the acorns will now feature as an interior pocket, and maybe a bit on the back.

The back is a secret project until i get the chance to test out some ideas - i'm possibly getting overly ambition for my skills so I want to quietly try it out and play around before I decide. One good thing is that I am super sure I'm on the right track for my partner. woo hoo!

I am hoping to get some cutting ans sewing done for this on the weekend after a trip to Perth for some fabric provisions. Why don't the local stores stock a range of solids?!?!? If I can't find what I want in Perth I'm heading back to Pam at Mad About Patchwork for some more goodies. I have a Kona colour card thanks to Ki so its much easier to internet shop.

Giddy Up Partner

I forgot to post about receiving the Mouthy Stitches partner assignment. I lucked out again with a wicked person. I did a fabric pull for her pouch and will get that posted after work tonight. I think its going to be a decent zippy pouch in blues, aquas and oranges with a little grey thrown in too. Oh and an owl and acrorns. I guess a little woodlands feel will be the go. I can't wait to get cutting and sewing. More to come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Delayed and Determined

I have been sick since Thursday with a bad cold and sometimes flu-ish symptoms. As I type this my head is throbbing, nose is stuffy and my sinuses are screaming. I hate whatever it is I have mostly because it kept me from getting anything done this weekend on my 3 swaps. Argh. So, here is what I'm behind in now:
1. fabric for iSPy Charm Swap purchased (what I was going to use didn't end up being enough) and cut and shipped

2. fabric for For the Love of Solids Swap sorted and ideas sketched. I've got some stuff on paper, but nothing i'm willing to show at this point. All i know is that I am likely making a pillow or 2 and something smaller. Although I could also make baskets/containers but they scare me with the pins required to keep them lined up - so not my style.

3. I did manage to pull some fabrics for the Mouthy Stitches Swap swap after getting my partner assignment Saturday or was it Sunday? Anywho, I know that will be in blues, oranges and some greys so luckily I have some of those colours in fun fabrics. I just have to decide now between a scrappy log cabin or paper pieced front and what style of pouch I'm making. I think I will need to order some zips as well, so I'm off to zipit to order supplies and look at the zipper pulls.

4. Finish up my strip pieced Innocent Crush quilt. I managed to score fat quarters for $1.50 and yardage for $6.00 from a canadian supplier I love - Pam at Mad About Patchwork.
I get annoyed at the price of shipping to Canada from US Etsy peeps and even some of the bigger US fabric shops. I know its not necessarily their fault with the prices, but adding $5 or more on top of the flat rate pack price is a bit much.

If I get anything properly sketched out I'll make sure to post it, but right now I'm just enjoying the rest since the only time me head & sinuses don't hurt is when I lie down. Bleh. The only benefit of this is that I have had several lovely days of snuggles with the dogs. Ruby & Crosby are lovely nursemaids - if only i could teach them to make me food.

Monday, January 16, 2012

FTLoS Assisgnment Received

I am so excited about my swap partner - i just checked out her mosaic which is one I really liked when I was looking at everyone else's ideas. Yeay!
It is a secret swap so I can't say who the partner is but rest assured I am going to make sure to take loads of pics for this project.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Colour Scheme Designer

Thanks to Ez at Creature Comforts I have been playing with the Colour Scheme Designer, and the Colour Palette Generator. They should both come in handy for the swaps I'm in if I need help coming up with colour schemes.

Sunday = For the love of Solids partner assignments

Jan 22 = Mouthy Stitches partner assignment

In the meantime I'll keep looking for tutorials and getting scraps ready.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mouthy Stitches Zip Pouch Swap

Wow from none to 2 in a week!

I'm in a new swap organized by 3 bloggers I've been following for some time now
Susan from Canadian Abroad, Hadley from Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle and Cindy from Fluffy Sheep Quilting.

I'm going to be so busy!
Check out the Swap info here:

Here is my mosaic for better or worse - it is late and I had trouble deciding.
I think I've pinned everything on this inspiration board:

Now back to waiting for the swap partner assignments then the creating starts.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

FTLoS Swap - Woo Hoo!

I'm an the list!
I'm so excited!
Great start to 2012 crafting.
I can't wait for more information.
I just squeaked in to the group too - number 98 of 100. Phew.

Thank you so much Susan for putting the information on your blog or I would have missed this!

For the Love of Solids Swap

I'm keeping all of my fingers and toes crossed that I am accepted into my first ever swap. I'll understand if I'm not since part of their rules state you have to have been active in other swaps, but I thought it might be worth a shot - you've got to start somewhere.

I've been thinking of joining a swap for ages and finally took the plunge. Now on to coming up with an inspiration mosaic for the swap.
 Here are the things involved in the mosiac ( I think I'm missing some):
1. 2-tone drunk love - Denyse Schmidt
2. Birds of a Feather by Red Pepper Quilts
3. Michael Miller Violet, Lagoon, Meadow, Charcoal, Clementine
4. Solids Cabins - Ellison Lanes
5. Fish Baby Log Cabins - A Stitch in Dye
6. Flying Farfalle Quilt - Film in the Fridge
7. Gees Band Quilt 1945
8. Improv Block - Knit One Quilt Too
9. Improv Quilt - My Patchwork
10. Pint Sized Swap Quilt - badskirt
11. Prism Quilt - Fresh Lemons
12. Number Signs Quilt - Quilt Story
13. Chevron Quilt - my own
14. Scrappy Triangles - Film in the Fridge
15. Everything Coming Up Rainbows - Spotted Stone

I realized when I was looking at the blog that I never photographed my Getting Comfortable with Colour course wall hanging. It is still just a top basted to the batting - no finish on this yet because I can't decide how to finish it off for binding. The colours didn't photograph all that well, but here is a photo anyhow:
I did dazzle it up with my Elvis pin from my trip to Graceland - this photo gives you a better idea of the background fabric true colour:

It was the best class I've ever taken - I think I like theory classes much more that project classes. There is a huge age gap at the quilting shopd around my hometown so I am usually the youngest by decades at the classes I've taken which can be fun, but usually involves the other ladies rolling their eyes at my fabric and colour selections. The best is when Ki takes classes with me - we laugh together and I don't feel so out of place. Of course her stuff is always more amazing than what I can produce.
Here is her colour class finished product:
That's Ki's mum Jennifer holding the wall hanging. Ki & I were the first people finished in the class - we did these in less than an hour while everyone else was still having trouble not using rotary cutters and making perfect lines. Sometimes it pays to be different :)

I also really like Kiley's quilting, and how she does her signature:

As a bit of a side note: she makes these amazing scarves and hubster & I love love love ours:

She made our save the date and wedding invitations (inside) and cake toppers - I told you she was talented! Check out her work at her k-doodles blog.

I'll keep you posted if I'm accepted in the swap, and on my progress. Fingers & toes crossed.