On my last day of freedom when the crew was gone I went to my LQS for a free-choice class. Christine, the teacher, had shown her interpretation of Kaffe's Cups at the workshop in January and her finished quilt now hangs at the store. I really like the changes she made to the pattern from the book, and while I don't intend to make exactly the same quilt, mine will be closer to hers than the book's version.
Applique and decorative stitching were mysteries to me, so I was happy to get some pointers for this first foray. It was a treat to examine the quilt with her and talk one on one about the choices she made to give it more movement and pop. I rarely take classes, but this was relaxing and rewarding. I left the store for a long lunch with an old friend who just happened to be driving through town that day, so I didn't get loads done, but I'm happy to work on my own now.
There are a variety of ways to transfer the pattern from the book to the applique sheet. Because I'm insanely frugal when it comes to this kind of thing (more $ for fabric), I can't just run the Steam-A-Seam through a copier. Instead I traced each piece onto the sheet using the space as efficiently as possible - you get three times the pieces to a page this way. I followed Christine's instructions to cut each piece out, then stick it to the back of the fabric and cut again. Fiddly work, but so much like collage and paper piecing from my stamping and scrapbooking side that I fell right into that trance - kind of relaxing actually. There's just one thing I will definitely do differently on the remaining cups: I'll rough-cut each piece, stick it to the fabric, then fine cut it just once. It will save time, and more importantly, I hope it will reduce fraying at the edges, which I've found doesn't get completely fixed by the embroidery.
I've always thought the blanket stitch look cool, but didn't know how easy it is. Like knitting, the trick is not in making the stitch but getting it even. Here's my first, slightly wonky attempt:
Here's my second one in progress:
So much better. Going to retire that first one from the quilt and make it into a tea cozy or something.
Found embroidery is excellent pool-side handwork. It's been too hot and sticky for knitting with this air blowing up from Baja, but this was light and portable. Just load up four or five needles with floss and go. Rowan's River in Kidsilk Haze is five rows from finished, but I can't bring myself to handle mohair when it's over 80 degrees.
Ta DA! My first sewn clothing ... The Twirl Skirt:
Took a break from quilting to whip up this skirt. The little imp would not let me get a good still photo, but she wore it all day, so I know she likes it.
Followed the instructions originally posted by 3 Peas (now blogless, but you can find photos on Flickr) and now on Kuky Idea's blog. I went looking for them and found the old link broken. Was so happy to find that Kuky had gotten permission to post them. Got smart and printed them this time!
I followed the instructions, but next time I will do a better job with making the gathers and finishing the inside seams. Looks good from the outside, so I'm happy this time. Should have thought to look at my resources first, before I got frustrated. Found these books used and they're great. Not a thing wrong with the tutorial, but I'm so new to clothes sewing that the more detailed info in the books helped a lot.
Started cutting a new quilt for Ems yesterday. This pattern has nice written text, but I'm so visual it's better for me to work off a diagram. I colored it in to show which fabric cuts match, not to indicate color.
The fabric shelf got a good straightening yesterday so I could pull this pastel fabric and some dark colors for a gift quilt. Timing was perfect because Sew Mama Sew's blog asked people to comment on how they organize their sewing spaces. Like most people I make use of plastic tubs, but I thought I'd show my recent additions. This over the door shoe organizer is the cheap one from Target. PERFECT. I love it - I open the door and can find things in an instant! The front room across from the living room is my craft room, so I claimed the coat closet as mine too. Because it's the first room you see when you walk in the house I try to keep it somewhat organized.
This 12-year-old cheap shelf from Crate and Barrel keeps my fabric in sight, but in a corner and out of sunlight. I found that when I stored it in bins I didn't create as often, fast or fully (always missed options and half the time didn't feel like dragging it all out). Last month I brought home groceries from Costco in these very strong trays and realized they were great for holding projects and large scraps. I do my cutting and layouts in the dining room, so I have to carry works in progress back and forth and these make it easy to transport. Since it's out of sight of the doorway I usually just shove em on top of the fabric, but they can be tucked away if needed.
Finally. another reason to eat your oatmeal. My favorite new storage ... a cutting can. Don't know why this took me so long, but now I love it. The can's sturdy, wide-mouthed enough to hold the blades and shallow enough to see what's what.
My family knows upon threat of death that no tool in this can may be used without permission and never on paper. This segregation is necessary because everyone goes to my craft room when they need a tool. Mom's the man.