Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Relaxing Robin April Check-in

It's the end of April.  I scurried to make visible progress on my Relaxing Robin sew-along.  Even though I haven't finished this month's step (which I made a carryover from last month's step), I feel pretty good about where I am at.

4. add some triangles. this could be flying geese, pinwheels, etc. again, have fun with this. there are many blocks and ideas with triangles.

I based the "picket fence" choice for add some triangles on another Relaxing Robin project, made by Sunny at Quilting Dreams.  This border will go all the way around the quilt, with a cute corner treatment inspired by my friend Dwynn.  (Stay tuned!)

Design wall floor:  envisioning what this border will look like when it goes around the sides of the quilt.  Ooh, I am impressed with my progress!  Can you tell how large this is?

Honestly, a quilt top usually takes me years.  I have only been working on this one since... December January.  Go me!  I am wanting it to finish out at twin-size.  The next row is planned out


5. using some of the fabric in the first border make another border of your choice

But first, I need to finish up my April step. 
Just keep working along, at my relaxing pace...

And I'm not even a cat person...

Thanks to Dawn at Sew You Quilt 2 for hosting this Relaxing Robin.  There's a link-up on her blog; I hope others who are participating will feel bold enough to post their progress, too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fabriholic: Compromises

I bought fabric this month.  Even though it might be in the "exceptions" category--meaning that I haven't technically fallen off of the fabric fast--I have felt guilty about it ever since.

Here's what I bought:
10 yards white tulle
6 yards aqua opalescent sheer
4 1/2 yards aqua satin

Notice a theme?  Wedding!  Less than 3 months to the big event, and we are DIY-ing the decorations.

So here's the bargain I struck with myself immediately upon returning from JoAnn's with specialty fabrics in tow:

1)  Offer up a stashed fabric to continue the wedding decoration theme.

Here it is--a fun and whimsical dot from Moda that has been in my stash for many years.  It will become a table runner on the dessert table (a RAINBOW themed cake; could you have guessed?)  And after the wedding, I might make cloth napkins from it.  Win-win!

2)   Look for an excuse to use another stashed fabric.  Quickly.


Done!  I jumped right into making a yoga mat carrying bag for Sweetie, using both stashed fabric and on-hand notions.  Win.

3)  And then there were the scraps of free fabric that I found at the dog groomer's.  Here is the discussion that happened when I got home with my mini-score:

ME:  Look what I found!

SWEETIE (aka MY CONSCIENCE):  Nice.  You gonna report that to the Fabriholics Police?

ME:  But it was free.

CONSCIENCE:  Is it for a project?

ME:  Well no... but it's just tiny scraps.

CONSCIENCE:  Unless it is for an actual project, you are just collecting fabric to collect fabric.

ME:  <sad face; pouty lower lip>  But...

CONSCIENCE:  Or you could just go and return it.

Scraps of dark green, bright green print, modern-looking plaid with stylized daisies, and dainty pastel.

Larger scraps of very light mottled pink/tan.

The punch line?  Sweetie said I didn't need to report the final scrap: a novelty football print.

*Sigh.*  Boys.

Linking up with the Fabriholics Anonymous check-in for April.  I don't feel bad at all about this month.  I am doing the best I can, and my fabric choices have been more thoughtful and focused than at any time in the recent past.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Know Your Satin

Ah, the joys of working with difficult fabrics.  One satin in particular has given me fits.

This satin, my test fabric for Oakie's bow-tie, was actually a dream to sew with.  Surprisingly.  Made me forget how other satins might behave.

And then there's the other satin.  Oakie's choice, of course. 

First attempt at turning the bow-tie resulted in shreds.  Darn. 


Second attempt had the stiletto poking through the end of the tie and leaving unsightly holes.  Double-darn.

Imperfect finished product.  Oh, wait... it's finished!

But I persevered.

"Ready for my close-up"

Reminded myself multiple times that I am sewing an outfit for a stuffed penguin.  Have to say it out loud just to keep the perfectionist voices from taking over.

And I finished: bow-tie, tuxedo pant, and cummerbund.  This boy is ready for the wedding in July.

So stylish. 

And, as I've heard tell before: Done is Beautiful!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ugly Fabric/Pretty Block

My LQS does an Ugly Fabric block challenge for April Fool's day.  Last year the fabric wasn't so very ugly: a soft yellow with burgundy/pink swirls and such. 

A pretty block from last year's "ugly" fabric challenge

I made one of my paper-pieced teacups from it, and was pleased with the results.

Last year's blocks put together: see my teacup?

This year, I really think the fabric is ugly: brownish/orange-ish, kinda low-volume, but not in a way I consider pretty.

My block:  I had in mind a 3D technique on a rather traditional block but then I got distracted...

Adventures in BlogLand:  I stumbled across a Peter Rabbit tutorial on The Crafty Quilter.  It seemed so perfect: the recent Easter holiday and my abundant scrap bin would both be represented.  My previous experience with square piecing on one of the Christmas aprons, as well as my cat applique on the Relaxing Robin, taught me a few things about placement of fabrics in a "random" pattern.  Pretty good looking face on that bunny, I'd say.

There are over 50 blocks in this year's Ugly Fabric Block challenge.  I think some of the blocks entered are not beautiful, but some of them really caught my eye.  I think the little birds above are my favorite--but they don't use enough of the challenge fabric!  So my vote goes to the block on the right.  (Don't know the name of that pattern, but I like it.)

How would you have used this Ugly Fabric?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Relaxing Mid-month

I talked to a friend today about the progress of the wedding sewing.  Ummm...

Oakie and friend.  At least he's not alone.

Well, despite Oakie's best efforts to coax me to his corner of the sewing room for some satin-y creating, I have just been playing in the other corner this past week.  That corner contains my Relaxing Robin.

My favorite part of this project right now?  That I can set a timer for 15 minutes--or 30, or 45, whatever time I have to spare on a weeknight--and just sew a little.  Cut a little.  Iron a little.

No pressure.  No keeping track of progress.  No deadline looming (yet); it's just the middle of the month.

This is truly relaxing.

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Yay for little bits of progress.  Soon it will grow up to be a quilt.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yoga Mat Cover

A finish!  A week and a half ago a new yoga mat came into our household.  The following day, it needed a cover.  I would say I swung into action at that point, but that's not quite how it happened.  I might have looked through my stash to see if I had a large enough chunk of a heavier fabric... 

But I definitely didn't start work until last Sunday.

Finished: yoga mat cover
 Very proud of the fact that I didn't have to buy anything to complete this.  I had the yellow canvas, the rainbow stripe cotton, the zipper, grosgrain ribbon and interfacing (both used for extra strap support) and the drawstring all within my amazing all-powerful STASH.  Big win in the Fabriholic column there.

 I relied heavily on YouTube videos to help me conceive of this.  The "How to make a Yoga Mat Bag" video was super-helpful, and really well-done for a single-camera how-to.  This video showed a bag with a pocket, but did not give directions for the pocket.

 For the pocket, I wanted both a zipper portion and an open portion.  Fortunately, another video helped me out: DIY 5 Minute Zipper Bag (EASY).  I made the zipper bag, assembling it so the zipper was near one end of the bag, rather than in the middle.  Then I  just attached that zippered piece to the bag as one would attach a patch pocket.  Presto!  Both types of pocket in one.

 One change I made from the video was to have a circular base for my bag.  I simply traced around a plate that approximated the size of the rolled-up mat, and gathered the tube of the bag to fit around it (no math needed).  I made sure to double stitch that seam, as I'm sure it will receive more stress from the weight of the yoga mat.

Sweetie loves her new yoga mat carrier.  She is not a big fan of yellow, but since this fabric was from my STASH, I made sure to include lots of RAINBOWS so the bag would be distinctive and fun.

Fabric used: 1 yard yellow canvas, scraps of rainbow cotton

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Your Daily Inspiration

Sometimes working in a high school yields surprises.  New poster appeared in the hallway near the art room.  Looks like a student was learning technique: stencil and spray paint.

I love to be inspired.  Especially when it comes from an unexpected source.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Making Lists

Oy! I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed by all the things that happen in spring.  As sewing is my refuge, I am trying to take back a sense of control by making a list of sewing/crafty things.  I was inspired by Jess over at the Elven Garden, who made a goal list for the upcoming quarter: what do I want to get done by July 1st?

Since July 1st is two days from my scheduled wedding, the upcoming quarter seems like a great timeframe for making said goals list.

1.  Yoga mat cover
Ya know how projects just seem to fall in your lap?  Well, in my lap, at least.  Sweetie started taking Yoga.  The new yoga place has flimsy mats, so she purchased a substantial mat online (delicate flower that she is).  And this new mat needs a cover to protect it.  Enter the sewing girlfriend, with her endless stash of fabrics and notions.  I'm almost done, just gotta get the carrying strap and drawstring inserted.

2.  Oakie outfit (for the wedding)  

Here is our intrepid Traveling Penguin, auditioning fabrics for his tuxedo pants for the wedding.  He has already chosen the silky aqua fabric for his bowtie and cummerbund.  Stay tuned, it's gonna be a dapper outfit.

3.  Wedding sewing & crafting (see related list--I have to post this separately, for sanity reasons)

4.  Two rows for Relaxing Robin

 I am only setting a goal for 2 rows, although there are 3 months in the quarter.  My project is getting large, and my plate is pretty full, so that seems more than ambitious enough.  Plans and fabrics are in place, and the one row (theme: "something with triangles") has all the pieces cut already.

 5.  Rainbow bathrobe 

Wow, where did this project go?  I was all set to have a Year of Sewing Garments, and my plans went awry quickly.  It's all cut out.  Sewed the pockets and the waist tie.  Well, maybe I can get this one garment sewn before half the year is over.

6.  Mending/hemming for summer wearing

I should probably make a separate list for this category, because the pile is getting larger and items toward the bottom may start composting soon.  I know I have three pairs of Capri pants to hem to appropriate lengths, a pair of skinny jeans that needs some love, and a lovely summer frock that needs hemming.  And a pair of pajama shorts waiting on elastic.  And a summer t-shirt with a hole to mend.  And lightweight running pants with a hole.  And... and... maybe that compost quip was not too far off the mark.

7.  Binding for Sweetie's t-shirt quilt 

It's at the quilter now, so will just need binding when it gets back.  Although I love the geometric black fabric for a binding, I don't think I have enough of it.

8.  Two blocks for daughter's t-shirt quilt

I have plans, big plans for this quilt.  Just got excited by other things before I really got going on it.  But I'd like to do the piecing associated with these 2 particular plays as my beginning foray.  This quilt was promised with a 3-year timeframe; sounds about right for my stops-and-starts.

As always, my list is more aspirational than solid goals.  I just need things in writing to keep them sorted out.  That way I can check back in on myself when I get to spinning in circles and stop making sense.

Since my list of goals includes at least one quilt to complete, I'm linking up with Finish Along at The Littlest Thistle.  That way, I can celebrate in public (I am a showoff and I know it.)

And, if I'm really at a loss for things to work on, these items have passed from WIP into UFO status, and could be revived:

9.  Cloth baskets

Um... Yeah... These were supposed to go with the aprons that I was making in the fall for Christmas gift giving.  Ran into a snag, which will require some un-sewing and adjusting of sizes.  And there they sit, all ready for Mr. Rippy to come along and fix things.  Too bad my seam ripper doesn't have an autopilot setting...

10. Sun hats
So buried in storage that I won't dig them out now for a picture...