Thursday, July 23, 2015

I did it!

It's done! I've taken the first step! I've jumped off the deep end! I've ordered my longarm! 

I can't believe it but there it is. I placed my order on the 10th and put my name of the waiting list. My longarm will be constructed and shipped to me in 4-6 week from the order date. The time cannot move fast enough... 

But if it flies by that means that my summer vacation will be almost over...


One the one hand I get to take the next step in my quilting adventure, on the other I have to set it aside and jump back in to teaching music. 

The timing could have be better...

Bu that doesn't really matter since I AM GETTING A LONGARM!

Now to figure out what to do until it gets here.

I could sew or paint or draw. I haven doing a lot of that and it feels great. It's as though my lack or creative energy during the last school year was simply pent up to bursting and finally started to escape after the first say of summer vacation. It has been wonderful. Really wonderful! I have created something everyday. I have tried out different techniques and mediums and really expanded my horizons. It's a good thing that I have a little over a month left before school starts because I am not nearly ready to stop :)

And with that I think it is time for me to go make something!

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Creative Overload

        It's hard to believe that it has been nearly a month since the last day of school. I am almost scared by how fast the days pass by, but as they say, "time flies when you are having fun" and I have been having a lot of fun. I have filled my days with creating of all sorts: sewing, quilting, embroidery and most recently watercolor painting. On my birthday, while wondering around West Seattle wasting a little time, Nate and I stopped into an art supply shop. I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to any art supplies, fabric, paints, beads, you name it. I have an especially strong fondness for pens. I LOVE pens! Fine point, ball point, felt tip, calligraphy, I love them all. On this trip I was enticed by a certain pen in particular: a water pen. I had read about the Koi watercolor brush pens by Sukura and was on the hunt but having no luck. Feeling a bit let down I wandered to the painting section and what do I find? A Koi watercolor "pocket field sketchbook" with a water pen. How cool is that?!?! It's brush that has water in it! This may be old news to some of you but I was enthralled. I have been playing with it all week. I even up loaded a few designs to Spoonflower. I can't wait to see how they print. Spoonflower is such a wonderful idea!

        I was even inspired to pick up some other brushes for watercolor. And by pick up I mean spend way to much money on. I have an addiction, and addiction to art supplies... but more on that later.

        Among my other endeavors recently I found myself once again pursuing garment construction and, on the fourth of July, haberdashery!... Haberdashing?... Haberdashering?... Hat making! That's right! I celebrated my freedom by making a variety of hats. I found a quick tutorial on Creativebug and had to try it. Only problem is that the pattern printed out too small. I had to attempt to blow the pieces up but had no idea what the correct proportions were supposed to be. After several hours and one hat that was way too small I ended up a nice that that was only a little too small. It sort of fits.

        After dinner I felt revitalized to make a second attempt. Truth be told I ended up cheating a bit. I slightly dismantled my original hat and altered it so that it could fit around my hair when it is in a bun. I always want to wear hats but never want to take my hair done. And now I don't have to! I worked perfectly!!! I wore it out yesterday and it fit very well. Both hats are fully lined and reversible. 

        All in all I have come away this week with a well improved wardrobe. I can't wait to wear my second new pencil skirt. Who doesn't love polka dots!?!

             Until next time!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Here Comes Another One, Just Like the Other One

        Alright you've caught me, not "just" like the other one, but the point remains:
I seem to be on a bit of a roll when it comes to making skirts recently. I've completed two more since my last post and I have plans for a few that I would like to tackle....fabric waiting in the wings as it were.

        The first of the two I actually completed on a school night! That's right, I came home from work and made a skirt! I couldn't believe it myself. It's just a gathered skirt with a polka dot waist band but I like how it turned out. It's already a bit wrinkled after wearing it once :( and as I hate ironing clothing that may or may not be remedied.... I picked up the fabric last year with plans to make a different skirt which I did end up making, just not in this color combination. Now that skirt is a bit too big. I might try to take it in. Well see.

         I am a bit more excited about the second skirt. I found the pattern online and fell in love with it and just had to make it, in one or more color options. I had plans and ideas bursting in my mind right away. Initially I was on the hunt for either a plain navy or a big black and white polka dot, neither of which I have found yet. While hunting through an unnamed fabric store I did find the most perfect peacock fabric. This fabric is like a peak into my soul. It is so me. It is also upholstery fabric and I wasn't sure if it would work. After much inner struggle I put it away. Only to return about a week later to purchase it. I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.    

          This awesome peacock skirt is fully lined in green silk and all the seams are hidden. The lining is sewn in by hand and zipper is hand picked! 

        Look at that lining! And it feels amazing!

         I am so excited about this skirt and I feel like it has given me a bit more confidence about clothing construction. I used to love making my own clothes and I might be experiencing a bit of a resurgence of that old obsession :)

         In other news I am participating in my very first instagram mini quilt swap: The Text-Me mini swap. I've been toying with the idea of participating in a swap for a while. Thought it might give me the motivation to get my butt in gear and do some sewing. I have yet to actually start but I am building some ideas and collecting fabrics (The best part of any project). Here's what I've got so far. Hope my partner likes it!

        Also! I am getting closer to purchasing my very own longarm, so you know, there's that :)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bringing Bustle Back

        I will not deny that I have been remiss in both my blogging and my sewing duties since I started my job in September. I honestly thought I would have more time, or better yet more energy to climb the stairs to my sewing room and get some crafting done. More often then not however I didn't make it past the couch when I returned home from work. Even weekends seemed to fly by without a thought of sewing... I am sew ashamed!

        Well, yesterday I broke the cycle. Last month I fell in love with a skirt on display at Calico Threads. It was so poofy and bright that I knew I had to have it in my closet. Only problem: the pattern is designed to fit a child... and I am obviously not a child... Hmmm... So after much thought, I decided to forgo attempting to recreate this adorable skirt and promptly forgot about it. This weekend however, after teaching one of my beginning free motion quilting classes at Calico Threads, I rediscovered the skirt in question and figured "Why not?!" I flipped through the pattern then set about deciding on fabrics. Much debate was had. In the end I opted for the original coloring, I can always make another if I want to... which I may rather soon... with a few alterations. I purchased my fabric and set off to my sew-micile (get it? Sewing domicile? hah!).

Look at how freakin' cute that is!!! Pattern is by Izzy and Ivy Designs.
        The pattern required roughly 4 yards of fabric for the largest 3 sizes. Looking at the yardage alone I don't know how this skirt couldn't fit me. Because the skirt is gathered the pieces were all rectangular I didn't need to wrestle with the provided pattern paper. YAY! I hate pattern paper. Especially trying to fold it all back up. It's a nightmare. I cut out my pieces and decided that it was finally time to try using my serger. If I am going to make a ridiculously poofy and ruffled skirt I might as well do it right.

        Oh serger! Where have you been all my life?!?! Oh that's right, in the closet... I can't believe I waited until this far along in my sewing journey to really learn how to use it. Sergers are amazing.

        I spent all afternoon serging and ruffling and rolled heming. Lots of rolled hemming and ended up with something that looks like this:

        I am pleased.

        Ok, ok, I am really excited to wear this. I think the reason I love it so much is because it is like a ruffly bustle and bustles are awesome.

Bustles are neat!
        I feel like my summer is off to running start, and I am not even out of school yet! A few more weeks and I will be free to pursue all of the sewing I could possibly imagine. I think I may have to make another one at some point with only a few minor alterations. Turns out a child's size 14 is too large for me. I needed to shorten the elastic by about 2 inches this morning, but I am still very pleased. I might even make my next one... shorter (SCANDALOUS!) 

Until next time, happy crafting!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Years Resolution Time!

         It's that time again, it's that time again, it's that wonderful holiday time again! Actually, I guess the holidays are officially over so I take that back... but I think there is still time for me to set the new year in motion of my resolution. I am not very good at keeping my resolutions but I there is a first time for everything! Since starting my first teaching job in September I have been terrible at posting and updating and (as much as I hate to admit it) actually sewing. I get a few small things done here and there but nothing major and that has made me sad. So, for my 2015 new years resolution I vow to not let me passion for quilting get totally pushed to the wayside. I want to continue to create! Even when I feel like I am too tired to accomplish anything. This probably means for hand projects... or finishing the ones I've had in the works for a while... I would also like to continue posting on this here blog more than once every 3 months for sure!
        On that front I have some catching up to do. I did make a few things that I deemed blog worthy over the past few months. Of course that means I now have to dig up some photos...

Ok, just a second....

I know they are here somewhere....

I think I've got something......

Ah Ha! Here we go!

       So when we last left off I posted about our trip down to see all the wonderful quilts at the Portland Sewing Expo. I am still in awe of so many of those wonderful quilts! Well shortly before heading to the expo I got inspired by a group of self proclaimed "Badass Quilters" and decided that I myself might qualify, or at least I could pretend that I qualified and as such needed some sort of method to proclaim this to the world. So I made a bag! I used sharpie to draw and shade my big letters and then quilted the hell out of it. I now carry it with me to all quilting related events.



After completing the bag I took a bit of a break and then jumped on a project that I picked out at Island Quilter during the summer. While I still love all of the fabrics on their own I am not sure how I feel about them all put together... I am a little disappointed to be honest. I think once it's quilted I will be more happy with it... whenever that is...hah!


      I also started quilting a repurposed challenge quilt that I started working on earlier this year. I completely missed the deadline for the challenge but mine wouldn't have held a candle to the ones that won. They are incredible! I've made a bit more progress since this was taken. I will try to post some more pictures soon...


As December grew closer and closer I started to remember that I had agreed to show my quilts at the Artist Studio Tour on Vashon Island. I also started to realize that I had barely any inventory prepared... I tried to whip out a few small things and actually finished another version of my "Come Sail Away" quilt. I almost like how this one came out a little more than my first version... I like the proportions of the central ship to the rope/anchor and tentacles. I have now completed 4 projects with this image, I think it might be time to put it away for a while.


        Here is a shot of part of my set up on the studio tour. The lighting wasn't great and I used my phone so it's not a great photo but that's alright. "The Pandorica Opens" (Exploding Tardis) drew a lot of attention which was really neat. It was published in the brochure as the image for our studio and people came by the studio just to see it!!!

        Finally, at the start of my two week break, I started working on an English paper piecing project from a year and a half ago. I pieced them all together and then had to figure out how to use them. I figured that this was as good a time as any to tackle the "Sew Together" bag. I would need a small sewing project bag for our trip down to Florida and the "Sew Together" bag is just so dang cute.

        I like it so much I might need to make another.... just maybe not quite yet! That is one complicated pattern! Ok maybe not all that complicated but it certainly seemed like it after 6 hours of sewing. I am just glad I had so many opportunities to see the completed bags made by my guild mates. They all did such a wonderful job on their bags.


        As you can see, my brand new bag is packed full of more English paper piecing papers and fabric. I prepped all of those squares while in Florida and promptly prepped more when I got home. I am still not entirely sure what I am going to do with them (or how I will store them) but I am having fun researching ideas. I am thinking diamonds.

Ok, almost done.... one last story. While hunting for storage for my hexies I came across a project I started years ago. I thought to myself, "lets start this year off right and check at least one thing off my list." I laid it all out on the floor and was fairly pleased with the arrangement.

Just then my husband made known his desire for dinner and, as he has been quite sick, I obliged. I was in the kitchen for just over 5 minutes.... and of course a lot can go wrong in 5 minutes.... Unbeknownst to me my cat had found my freshly arrange top... and had her way with it. Be prepared, the following picture is not for the faint of quilty heart.

          I was devastated! I thought I'd never quilt again! All hyperbole aside I was fairly upset. I kicked her out of the room and proceeded to arrange it as close as possible to how it had been. I don't think I got it quite right... (the first picture is actually my "after" pic but the story works better this way! Hah!) but I like it well enough. I then returned it to its box.  Maybe that's what I will do tonight?

         And that's all I got for ya! Happy Quilting!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Northwest Quilting Expo

        Last Saturday I had the a wonderful opportunity to attend the Northwest Quilting Expo where two of my quilts were on display! It was a long day but an awesome one all together. My mother hopped on a ferry at about 6:50 and booked in over to my house so that we could meet up with some other gals at a near by park and ride. We all piled into the car at about 7:45 and off we went! It was a bit of a drive to Portland but the time flew by quickly and before we knew it we were pulling into the expo hall parking lot. After purchasing out tickets and passing through the doors of the hall we were greeted with an overwhelming sight of color and craftsmanship.

        We decided to explore the expo row by row but I was anxious to find my quilts. I started out with my eyes peeled and nearly held my breath around every corner. Of course my quilts were among the last few rows so it took a while to get there and I was quickly distracted by all of the other beautiful quilts haha.

        I got so see one of my favorite quilts from Pinterest! I have been obsessed with this quilt since I found it over a year ago. This quilt held one of the images that inspired my own quilted ship that was hanging in the show! It was so cool to see it up close and really look at the quilting. I later found out that the image was a painting commissioned by the Oregon Coastal Quilters Guild which was then turned into a panel to be sold. This was of course a few years ago and all of the panels are likely gone but I still hold a tiny hope that I might be able to buy one somehow :)

        I was stopped in my tracks by this beautiful quilt! The detail of the background is incredible and the feathers of the rooster are way too cool. I stared at this beauty for a while before even having the thought of taking a picture. 

        Look at the feathers!!! JUST LOOK! They are so cool! Each feather was fused and cut out around a designs. I think the big gold feathers were once a piece of bamboo batik and the little ones are either smaller printed leaves or an actual feather design. Either way this quilt is amazing! I wanted to take it home and just stare at it some more. 

        This one was definitely done by a quilter after my own heart! That horse is beautiful and those feathers pop out so nicely. And guess what! It was hanging right by one of my quilts!!!

        It was really fun to see my quilts hanging among so many gorgeous pieces of art. It was also really fun to stand back while "admiring" another quilt and listen to the comments of other viewers... hah! It's hard to tell but this one is super sparkly. It is covered in hot fix crystals. 

         My other quilt was one row over and further down but I found it eventually. I think that gorgeous bird of paradise applique piece next door stole the show but that's ok :) I heard some lovely comments about both my quilts and that made my heart soar. 

        After taking off from the show we headed to several quilt shops around town. I spent under twenty dollars on fabric! I can't believe how much restraint I was able to conjure up. Of course it was hard to turn down some lovely Tula Pink that I cam across. I ended up coming home with some cute Viking fabric and two pieces of Tula Pink to add to my slowly growing collection. After hitting up Fabric Depot (which was chaos and totally awesome) we were back on the road for home, pulling into the park and ride around 8 pm. The trip was quick and totally packed full of quilty goodness. 
        A few days after the show ended I received a box with my neatly packaged quilts, a few participant ribbons and some very nice notes from the judges.

       All in all it was a very fun weekend!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Long Awaited Swoopy Geese Tutorial: Part 2! The One About Paper Piecing!

        It's been about a month since my post about the swoopy flying geese and so I deem it time to finish up out tutorial! Also it's a Sunday so I actually have the time and energy to blog :) This whole teaching thing is tiring!

        Before I get started I have to apologize to the ladies at the Tacoma MQG. I forgot to mention something at the meeting on Thursday. When I prepared my finished flying geese paper piecing panel I traced the design onto a piece of tracing paper then turned it over and stitched along the lines that showed through the paper. This allowed the finished panel to look exactly the same as my patter. Once again I apologize if this caused any confusion or made me look a bit crazy to those of you who noticed :)

        Alright! So last time we ended with a fully designed pattern, complete with 1/4 inch seam allowance. From here I suggested either scanning and printing another copy of your pattern or tracing the individual parts onto a different piece of paper. I always keep my original pattern that I can make another copy if I accidentally make a mistake...
Which never happens.... ever... not even once.... ;) 

        When I first started making my own paper piecing patterns I would use regular computer paper (as pictured below) for my outside curve templates. I would simply pin the paper to the fabric and try to cut as accurately as possible. More recently I started using freezer paper for those templates. It's not necessary but it is much easier to use as a guide and it made my edges much more accurate.

        Alright! Lets get started!!! For the actual paper piecing portion of this pattern you will need a few things:
  • Scraps for your geese: The don't actually have to be scraps but they do have to be at least 1/4 inch bigger than their intended triangle on all sides. I take a strip of my favorite fabric and cut out rectangles and are bigger than my geese. It may be a tad wasteful but paper piecing usually is... So, if that bottom goose is approximately 2" x 1" I would use a rectangle that is 2.5" x 1.5". You get the idea :)
  • Background fabric
    • Triangles for your background: You can use various sizes of triangles so that you are not wasting too much fabric. I started with a 3" square cut in half diagonally for the first two rows, a 2.5" square cut in half diagonally for the next two. The remaining triangles were 2" squares cut in half diagonally. Once the triangle is sewn and flipped it must cover all of the seam allowance. If there is paper visible on the front once the goose has been pressed you will need a bigger triangle. 
    • Remaining background pieces will be cut from template created in part 1
  • Sewing machine: Use a new needle as older dull ones may have problems going through the paper (printer paper especially, tracing paper isn't as much of an issue). Set your stitch length to a smaller stitch. I use either 1.8 or 2.0 instead of my machines default of 2.5. Either way you don't want the stitches too small that they will be a pain to tear out if necessary. 
  • Iron
  • Rotary Cutter, Ruler, and Mat 
Here We GO!

Step 1:  For this project your will start your paper piecing on the side with the bottom of the triangle. In other words the side with the longest unbroken straight edge. 

  • If you are using tracing paper like me, turn your paper over so that the drawn lines are against the wrong side of the fabric. You will be sewing along the lines seen through the back of the paper. 
  • If you are using a direct copy you will be sewing directly on your printed/traced lines so the fabric will all be arranged on the back of your pattern. This will create the reverse image of your pattern. 
Align your first goose rectangle with the bottom edge of the paper so that it covers all the seam allowance (piece 1). Next, with your pattern held to the light, try to arrange the background triangle (piece 2) right sides together so that the long bias edge overlaps the line of stitching by at least a 1/4 inch. Pin in place but make sure the pin does not cross or come close to the line of stitching.

Step 2: Turn your pattern over and stitch along the drawn line between pieces 1 and 2, back stitching at the beginning in the seam allowance and at the end near the point. Make sure your line of stitching goes all the way to the edge of the seam allowance but do not go past the end of the line at the point of the goose. Trim your thread tails.

Step 3: Fold back the paper along the line of stitching and trim overlapping fabric back to 1/4 inch.

Step 4: Unfold paper and press to set the seam then press flip and press triangle out.

Step 5: Take your next background triangle repeat the process of lining up, stitching, cutting and pressing. 

Step 6: Once you have one completed goose grab another scrap that can extend all the way across your pattern. With right sides together, align the scrap with the line between goose one and goose two (pieces 1/2/3 and piece 4) so that it overlaps the line by at least 1/4 inch. Turn the pattern over and stitch in place. Repeat process until until all the geese are complete. 

Step 7: Sew a line of stitching slightly within the outer edge of the total seam allowance of the flying geese panel and trim away excess fabric. 

Step 8: Cut out remains background pieces using templates.
  • If you used tracing paper to create an exact copy of your pattern, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the front of your background fabric. 
  • If you are using a printed exact copy, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the back of your background fabric. 
Freezer paper pressed to front of background fabric

Step 9: Cut out around your template. Top piece demonstrates regular curved piecing by machine, bottom demonstrates optional turned curved piecing. If you don't like machine stitching curved seams hang tight! I will explain that method at the end. 

Step 10: With right sides together, pin seam thoroughly and stitch together. 

Step 11: Press to set the seam then press open! Repeat with other side! Trim if necessary. 

Optional Turned Curved Seams!!!

As long as they are properly pinned curved seams are fairly easy to do. If you hate curved seams and want to try something different this may be the way to go.

        Take another look at the bottom background piece. You may have noticed that the freezer paper template was cut out without the curved seam allowance. This is definitely on purpose :)

Step 1: Stitch along the outside edge of the freezer paper to create a line between what will become the finished background piece and the seam allowance.

Step 2: Remove the freezer paper and carefully press the seam allowance in using the stitched line as a guide. The goal is to make the stitched line invisible.

Step 3: Pin the turned down curved edge along the edge of your finished paper pieced panel.

Step 4: Hand stitch or top stitch with your machine along the folded edge to finished up your block.

Step 5: Finish up your block by trimming down if necessary. 

And there you have it! Your very own paper pieced flying geese pattern. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

Happy Crafting!