Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pillow Talk Times Two

Hello! It's me again...making pillows again.  First off, I'll waste a line or two of type to say how I lament leaving the blog so long and how sorry I am to notice that this trend is growing with tons of bloggers I admire and follow.  We're decamping blogs and Flickr in droves for Instagram which I love but which is such a limited platform to interact and understand process.

So of course, I'm posting two photos I took with Instagram.

I made two pillow covers to spruce up my living room using Anna Maria Horner velveteen from her LouLouthi fabric line and backed them with Minky Cuddle 3.  The minky was a mis-order from - it's labeled "hot pink" but it's such a pale color it just wasn't what I had in mind for the project I intended it -- but it's also too soft and cuddly to waste.

I had green nylon zippers on hand in approximately the right size and I love the contrast they add even if practically no one but me will notice them.  The inner cushions are FJÄDRAR 20" squares from IKEA ($6 for feathers!)

If you're wondering about sewing with minky, it was easy.  I searched for tips online and so I did sew with the minky on bottom using a walking foot (except for the zipper installation which was normal.  The only difference was that as I worked with it, the minky stretched a tad and ended up being more of a rectangle than a square.  I simply stitched using the velveteen as my guide and trimmed the excess Minky before turning the cover right side out.  I also used tons of pins (about ever 1.5 inches) as well as a ballpoint needle on the advice of the gal who sold me the velveteen.  Everything worked like a charm and I'm eager to make more projects with these super soft fabrics.

I hope to continue to post about my projects here but feel free to come find me on IG these days (I'm @Missenota there.)  I'm badly in need of a new computer  and so even interacting with my favorite software and programs is difficult these days on an older Mac operating system.  Until then, the phone will have to suffice.

Are you sprucing up the home for springtime? I'd love to hear about it.

Keep stitchin'


Friday, September 26, 2014

Put into Play: DVD Class Review & Blog Party!

Who doesn't need a creativity jump-start?  While I've spent countless hours, every day, petting fabric and flipping through books and blogs and planning projects to sew -- I haven't actually stitched up much in quite some time.  Sound familiar?  I'm really missing that natural high you get from creating.  After two years of almost constant sewing productivity, I'm calling this a sophomore slump.

The prompt was: "Landmark"
I recently participated in Spoonflower's August drawing-a-day prompts on Instagram. (Search the hashtag #spoonchallenge.) That was a real boost and the feedback was instantaneous and positive which was uplifting.

The prompt was: "Skyline"
Then I heard about the opportunity to preview Carrie Bloomston's Art Techniques for Quilt Design video class; it really intrigued me.  I love a class.

So welcome to the blog party!

Bloomston bills herself as an artist and creativity enabler.  She really stresses trusting your self and your inner vision but she also provides gentle exercises in drawing and two quilt projects which could be taken at face value -free patterns!- or used as a jumping off point for your own designs.

The whole class is a little over an hour but it's packed with tips and confidence building exercises.  While I did take notes along the way, I also paused the video a couple of times to directly participate.  Early on, while Carrie was describing drawing warm ups, I stopped to gather pencils and newsprint.

Then, when she timed her figure drawing segment, I just drew along with her...using her as my model.  It was easier to sink into the meat of the class since I was practicing while she gave instruction.  It helped that I was watching in my sewing room with everything near at-hand.  Just like the Spoonflower drawing challenge, I was more impressed by what I was able to capture than distressed by the shortcomings of my composition skills.

I stopped the video again later on as she was demonstrating the process behind her beautiful Nest Quilt.  Carrie used a Marcia Derse fat quarter as the basis of her design and that reminded me to dig out a stack of the designer's fabric I won a long time ago in an online giveaway.   This stuff is beautiful but doesn't fit in the hip, modern quilt fabric box.  Bloomston works with her own line of fabric but also loves scrap material from saris.  I've heard from many quilters about getting too wrapped up in fabric lines and specific palettes.  It's true that beginner quilters are rarely stymied by such things, they just use whatever they have.  As my stash grows, I find it more difficult sometimes to choose  fabric in order to start a project.

Riffing off Bloomston's prompts as she built her nest, I made a note or two of other forms suggested by her technique.  Afterward, I looked at my fabric stack and suddenly saw possibility where I hadn't been able to before.  Carrie rips fabric or quickly cuts freehand with scissors and then uses a school glue stick to create collage images which she later uses the sewing machine to stitch down.  I decided the best way to utilize the class information would be to put it directly into play.

I decided to go with a series of small projects to stretch my creative muscles in a controlled environment.  For practical reasons, my mini quilts will be place mats.  I took my inspiration  from an all-over bird print that I have a little more than a yard of.  Clipping the edges of my background and backing print, it felt good to rip them apart into platter size and sandwich them with scrap batting.  She's right too, that ripping sound is awesome!  Then, I picked the pencil back up and rough sketched some of my favorite images from the bird print before diving into a simple palette of scraps and solids, letting my intuition guide me.

What you see here is one-night's progress.  And it was fun!  While my projects aren't finished yet --and my camera is giving me terrible problems-- I wanted to get this post out. (I'll add more photos as I finish up the little quilts.)  For now, I just want the world to know that I'm sewing up a storm again and also that you have a chance to win a copy of Carrie Bloomston's DVD.  All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog post between now and October 4th.  On her blog post, you'll also find the links for all of the other participating bloggers.  I especially love this post at einfach bunt -- it's in German and English.  And you can see a beautiful nest mini quilt constructed at Shimmer Skys.

And I'd love to here about how you fight the creative slump.

That's it for now but more's in store!

Keep stitchin'


Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't You Love a Free Pattern?!

Well don't you just love a free pattern?  Me too! And is it my imagination or do some of the very best patterns, from the very best pattern-makers, fall into our inboxes for no charge at all?!

In my opinion, there's just no point in resisting temptation when talented people are so generous with their work.  So I'm here, with my new little friend, encouraging you to take advantage of a freebie you've seen recently.

Don't hesitate.  Just make it!

I stitched up this flying squirrel in a couple of hours for under five dollars.  The pattern was designed by Abby Glassenberg.  She offered a free tutorial at Mollie Johanson's blog, Wild Olive.

I'm smitten!

I used a heathered Polartec fabric from JoAnn's which feels amazing and added the felt eyelashes after gazing at some Siberian Flying Squirrel pics here.  Aren't they the cutest?

And now I'm wondering.  Who made your favorite free pattern?

Do tell!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Designed a Quilt!

Today's the big day.  I've written my first quilt tutorial and it's over at Sew, Mama, Sew!  It's called Ladder Lattice.  (Here's the link.)

The blocks are 12.5" and you can easily make three from a fat quarter so it's really up to you how big of a project you want to make.  Although I agonized over my photography skills -- I usually do -- I am totally pleased with the quilt and design itself.  I think it would look gorgeous in solids or just two colors too so I'll probably be making another one soon.

A couple of firsts on this project.  I didn't use any pins, just Elmer's washable school glue with a fine tip.  You squeeze a thin line inside the 1/4-inch seam allowance and touch press with the iron.  It holds everything perfectly through stitching so I hardly had any trimming to do which saved fabric loss.

The second new thing is my walking foot.  I finally ordered an easy-feed sewing foot for my freebie machine.  Now I'm invested!  Although my stitching actually suffered a little,  especially in-the-ditch; my speed really increased.  I know I'll be practicing more with it and making bigger quilts in the future.

It's really satisfying to see a project from my sketchbook come to life.  This one is so much like my pitch drawing that it's uncanny.  I designed it specifically to use fat quarters (7 prints) from Erin McMorris' Forest Hill by Free Spirit.

I'm still learning and growing as a quilter but the design part of it is a key element for me.  When I brainstormed ideas, this was one of five I pitched and then, as I constructed the quilt, I jotted down notes for two new projects.  I so hope that someone finds the tutorial useful as it would totally please me to see more quilts made from it.  Since I've really learned to sew through online tutorials, it means so much to me to give back to that process.

It's also the Blogger's Quilt Festival this week so I'm entering Ladder Lattice in the Original Design Quilts Category.  Just because I can and it feels so good.

This quilt leaves 10 inch squares (actually, a little more) for scraps so I'm working on a pattern that will use those next.  Please come back to check it out.

That's it for now.   Thanks for stopping by!

Keep stitchin'


Monday, May 19, 2014

Winner Winner!

And the winner of the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day prize is Amanda of Dandelions and Lace.

Off to a good home! I will miss this little one but I know I can always make more.  Isn't being able to sew a little like having a super power?!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented during the giveaway last week.  I love all your suggestions for soft toys from mermaids to sloths and from pickles to cameras.  You keep me inspired!

Tutorial Teaser
To followers of the blog, new and old, I thank you especially.  I've got some great things coming in the next few weeks including a quilt tutorial for Sew, Mama, Sew!  So please come back and visit, your views are always welcome here.

Happy Stitchin'