FF: Long awaited dissappearing nine patch

Finished Friday.  After putting off quilting for so long I managed to finish two quilts last December, the already shown Ducky Quilt and this quilt for my niece B.

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I had to practice another free motion quilting design, since I wanted to quilt this with randomly placed flowers.  When I was doing my practice piece I tried traveling from one flower to another but found the traveling stitches too distracting and chose to do each flower individually  – never again – soooo many ends to bury (4 per flower if I was lucky). I aimed for each flower to be about the size of my hand.

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The quilt measures about 45″ x 60″.  I used 5 fat quarters and 2 half-yards of the black & white prints for the front, a whole piece of green polka-dotted yardage that was just barely wide enough for the back (I had to quilt this, because it didn’t have the fabric overage a long-arm quilter requires) and 1/2 yard of a third black & white print for the binding.

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The quilting thread I picked out, a light green that looked subtly variegated on the spool but not at all on the quilt, was just different enough that I could see what I was doing as I quilted but it did not stand out – which meant that my random spacing left a few holes that I didn’t notice until the quilt was washed and crinkly.  Luckily the unquilted spots are still within the quilting distance minimum prescribed by the batting.

March 2, 2012. Tags: , , , . quilting. 2 comments.

FF: Ducky Quilt

This is a story of small risk and big reward. I had a quilt top lingering, it started as practice, but I feel in love and feared screwing it up. “Just send it out,” my mom said, but I had declared I’d do it myself. Last November when Christina of A Few Scraps, announced that she was teaching a free motion quilting class, I jumped at it.  We brought our own machines and she supplied small quilt sandwiches, instruction and trouble-shooting.  I was so excited and proud of my little practice pieces. But then the fear set in… the risk felt too high, my free motion quilting wasn’t really that good, what if I screwed up the quilt?  So I decided I needed to practice some more.  Except I’m still in love with most of my fabric stash and making stacks upon stacks of FMQ swatches wasn’t sounding appealing.  That is when I spied the remaining 1/2 yard of the duck print used in the on my crochet-edged ducky blanket (such creative naming, I know).  I quickly plotted a low risk quilt, made of large squares, alternating solids with the duck print.  I ended up buying another yard of fabric, two solids (Kona Papaya and Honeydew) and two prints (Tula Pink’s raindrops and a Navy & White polka dot) from Cool Cottons.  And then I pieced two remnants of flannel pieces I had bought along with the duck print so long ago for the backing. And then I had to go back for another 1/2 yard for binding (I often forget to buy the binding while I buy the other fabrics).

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I started thinking about what I wanted to free motion quilt, an all-over pattern, something that reminded me of moving water.  I settled on the curvy key from Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project.  I practiced on paper with a sharpie, then I practiced with a couple bits of spare batting and the flannel that wasn’t needed for the back of the quilt.  Finally I sat down and quilted. Halfway thru, I started getting worried, the prints read much cleaner on the unquilted side, but the whole point of this was to free-motion quilt a quilt. Perhaps not surprisingly once the entire quilt had the same texture that was no longer a problem.

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Of course I did make a few mistakes, my sizing/spacing is inconsistent (design feature I tell you), sometimes my curves are choppy, my stitch length isn’t consistent, and at the very end I made a wrong turn that nearly resulted in crossed threads… but I saved it with this little drain (design feature!). I conquered my FMQ fear (with help).

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I did however forget to take a photograph of it once I “washed out” the mistakes and turned it into a perfectly crinkly quilt.  The quilt itself is just over 40 inches square.

February 24, 2012. Tags: , , . quilting. 2 comments.

Finished a wearable skirt

I literally cannot remember the last sewn item I made that was wearable in public.  It might have been the knit pj tops I made last December (which technically are not meant to be worn in public).  So I was quite happy when I finished the Pintuck Skirt from the winter 2008 issue of Stitch on Thursday night.  Of course I had to wear it on Friday. One “done” checkmark off my fall challenge (not to mention, my Friday outfit was practically my fall palatte when you could see my peacock socks).

I managed to turn this:

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into this:

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A was picture graciously taken by April of Bolt Fabric, where I bought the fabric last fall and stopped in for a celebratory purchase, wrinkly because I’d been wearing it for around 6 hours, sitting eating lunch and ice cream.

This skirt was my first foray into must-trace pattern territory.  I’m sure that pattern sheet is a piece of cake compared to Burda, but it still challenged me (each pattern piece is partially printed on side A and side B of the pattern tear-out sheet).  I ended up tracing things multiple times and coordinating (trace side A of sheet, trace side B of sheet, put side A piece and side B piece together and trace again for whole pattern piece).  And then ran out of tracing paper 3/4 of the way through the process (not good on a Sunday evening) and ran around town looking for a new roll of 24″ wide trace paper (the nearby craft/art stores only carry 18″ wide so I had to stop by a true art store).  In the end I picked up both trace paper and my first roll of swedish tracing paper, though I finished this pattern out with tracing paper.  Of course once I had the pattern puzzle put together I realized that it was way too long as drafted – those horizontal pintucks would have been below my knee so I had to trace it yet again.

Once the tracing was complete I think I cut out and stitched up this skirt over the course of 2 or 3 nights (most of my time was spent bemoaning the tracing process and then worried that I’d cut out too small a size when I held the skirt front up to me); really this should have only taken a day – next time perhaps.  I used a 52″ (ish) wide cotton twill fabric and a 9″ invisible zipper, no interfacing, no hook and eye, oh and bias tape to finish the hem since I probably cut the skirt 1/2″ shorter than ideal.  The waist and hem are simply folded twice and stitched. I didn’t follow the zipper directions, but put in an invisible zipper following my Vogue Sewing book.  I’m still not thrilled with my invisible zipper application – I had to hand stitch about 1″ between the zipper and the rest of the seam), but I do like how it mimics rtw more closely.  Sadly due to side-zipper placement I was not brave enough to add pockets.

The good news is that this skirt, for short me, took less than a yard of fabric and I had almost enough to cut out a second skirt (different pattern, different story) – which I did, riding on my sewing success wave, Friday night.

October 8, 2011. Tags: , , , . Sewing. 3 comments.

FO: Camp Scarf

Due to my self-imposed summer UFO challenge, I didn’t have a great car-knitting project. Every weekend, before we left the house for our weekend fun or errands (drive to the coast, farmer’s market) I’d get frustrated since I wasn’t loving my lace project or its needles. And once July rolled around I was itching to start a new project; I grabbed a single skein of yarn, some needles and added the pattern to my shiny (ipod Touch). Despite my “gauge doesn’t matter” decisions it wasn’t the right yarn-pattern fit so I ripped out that day’s work. And on July 4th I mashed together two, maybe three patterns (Textured Shawl Recipe, Simple yet Effective Shawl and Lacy Baktus) and started this scarf. I’ve made a couple design decisions I regret but it was a fun project and flew by with the large yarn and needles.  Then it languished waiting for blocking. It ended up a smidge smaller than I’d prefer, and I probably could have gone up another needle size or two for better draping.  But now I have a non-precious scarf to keep my neck warm around the campfire (next year). Gauge appears to be about 3″ per inch in stockinette after blocking, but there aren’t any large portions of stockinette for a really good measure. Ideally I would have ended this with a section of garter stitch but I ran out of yarn after the last yarn-over section and when I cast off I had just enough to weave-in my ends. I’m not sure if this yarn will prove to be too itchy for my neck and I suspect I might need to add a cute button to help keep it wrapped since it isn’t long enough to bring the ends back around my neck if I want to wear it “cowboy style”.

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Yarn: 1 skein of Stitch Nation Full o’ Sheep (Honeycomb)
Needles: Us 9 (harmony)
Size: hypotenuse measures 34.5″ after blocking, 14″ from center point to hypotenuse (was is that called?  geometry fail)

September 30, 2011. Tags: , . Knitting. 1 comment.

FOF: knitting plus sewing

FOF=Finished Object Friday.  It is kind of sad when you can’t remember the last project you posted on your own blog; luckily the blog still exists even though I didn’t include it as part of my Summer of UFOs (unfinished objects).  But I did finish several things, which I will be slowly revealing on Fridays.  That is the plan anyway.

In May of 2010 I decided to make this cute pattern (Rav link), the Two Summer Sundress by Natalie Larson, involving a quick knit top and sewn skirt, to be exact I decided to make three of them.  I managed to finish two of the three tops last summer, but only finish one completely, which worked just fine since that little girl lives in the tropics, but once September hit I put the other two away since sundresses are no good in Nebraska falls, winters or springs.  But I tackled them and sent them off before this summer was over, thank goodness they are sized to fit for more than one year (though it is yet to be seen if they will fit the girls for a second summer due to my procrastination).

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The first completed Two Summer Dress.  The 18 moth size was made with one skein of Cascade Pima Tencel (a lovely soft yarn), dot fabric (Robert Kaufman IIRC) and some heart lace trim I’ve had around forever.  I finished the inside with ribbon per the original pattern, but I followed my own sewing-sense for the skirt construction.

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The second Two Summer Dress. Another 18 month size was made with one skein of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, a yard of quilting cotton (I’ve forgotten the line, I bought it summer of 2010 though), and I finished the hem with a fabric ruffle.  I made the ruffle 2x’s the skirt width.  I also used straight grain strips instead of ribbon to finish the inside.  I hand stitched the strips in place, but machine stitched the skirt to the bodice since I could hide that line of stitching between garter ridges.

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And the final Two Summer Dress.  This is the 8 year old size and it took 2 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, the skirt is made from a Robert Kaufman print I found at Jo-Ann’s at least 4 years ago, the inside is again finished with straight grain strips and the rick rack was picked up recently to finish the skirt.  The rick rack is larger than average, but not jumbo rick rack.  As you can see the straps look significantly longer than the 18 month size.  This is the bodice that required re-knitting since my first version ended up not following within pattern schematic measurements and the top originally would have fit me and I don’t fit in girls size 8 tops.  I found the back fastening on this bodice to be problematic.  I think the physical weight of the bodice was too much for the simple buttonholes and buttons so I added a hidden snap to hopefully mitigate gaping in back.

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I wish I could further explain my skirt modifications, but all I remember is this: 1) I attached the skirt to the bodice while it was flat and sewed the final back center seam just before hemming and 2) I followed the pattern’s finished measurements but not the sewing instructions.  A few more pictures are in my flickr account and perhaps a wee bit more information in my Ravelry Project Notes.  And while I enjoyed these projects overall I think I will probably try another knit bodice+sewn skirt=dress pattern that a knitting buddy told me about next time since that pattern uses raglan shaping for a pullover with little cap sleeves instead of long skinny garter stitch straps.  Though that will probably only make a one summer dress.

September 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Knitting, Sewing. 2 comments.

finally, crossed off the list

I’m done I’m done I’m done.  I finally finished my French Press Slippers and am excited so you get an awful, artificially photo snapped at 10:30 pm.  Last Friday I picked up the second yarn (Cascade 220 Sport) in an attempt to find the right yellow trim and over the course of the week I’ve made a few different samples of trim.  The color isn’t quite as perfect of a match but the weight and plied construction is much much better.

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I finally decided on which trim (at the top is a ruffle trim that looked too much like toes, then a scallop trim that ended up being too big, and the pinwheel trim from the stitch dictionary at the back of Crochet Adorned, but only doing half of it for half circles) ultimately I decided on the half-circle pinwheels which look like smaller scallops. Today I hand stitched the trim to the underside of the flaps and then stitched the flaps onto the slippers. I also played with yellow versus peacock colored yarn to sew the flap and button on and settled on the peacock.

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It feels so good to have this project done.

February 25, 2011. Tags: , , . Knitting. 2 comments.