Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sewing my handwoven fabric

This morning was rainy and gloomy.  The rain stopped but it is still gloomy here.  I decided to brighten up my day.  Did I mention that it was chilly this morning?  Well, it was and that helped to inspire me.

As I sat thinking that I would have to get dressed or turn up the heat, I had a thought.  I have several pieces of fabric that I have woven that I want to use to make clothing.  I read that ponchos are coming into fashion again.  It is probably for women that this is true but I decided "Big Deal! I have never had a poncho"   So I took my fabric and started looking at it (and yes fondling it.)
I tried one fabric but it didn't seem right to me.
So I took some fabric that I wove using an orange colored warp and tried it.

Oh yes, I do like that fabric for this idea.
So I decided which parts I wanted to be on the front of the poncho and started working on it. Every seam is a simple straight seam and there are only four seams  in the garment.  This is my kind of garment sewing.  I didn't have a pattern or instructions, but I had seen a picture and was sure I could do it.
It looks like I succeeded!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Backing Up - Quilty Post

Yes, that title says "Quilty Post" - I have finally gotten some work done on a quilt. Or rather the backing for a quilt.

I realized that I had not pieced the backing for the third section of the Wonky Squares quilt. So I decided to get that done today - and I did.

I wanted some pieced block in this section.  So I decided to use the half square triangle method I showed a few posts back. I took the largest square ruler I own and cut two large squares of fabric.  I used my Lapel Stick glue to hold the corners together.  I could have pinned them, but I am so bad about sticking myself that it is almost funny.  One of my friends who has sat and visited while I sew laughs when I jump and says "Didn't you know that those pins are sharp?"  or "When are you going to get it in your head that those pins will bite you?" So I use the no bite'em method.  My fingers appreciate it.

I thought I would show some of the trimming and tell you how I do the trimming.  The ruler I used to cut the original squares is 16 1/2 inches. So the HSTs will trim out to 11 inches.   Most good quilt rulers have a diagonal line.  So I line this line up on the seam. and get as close to the edges as I can in the first corner.

I check to see that the 11 inch lines are within the fabric edges.
As you can see I have about a fourth of an inch leeway.
Then I trim those two sides. I rotate the block and line up the edges on the 11 inch lines and be sure that the diagonal is lined up as well.
I trim the remaining two sides and have a perfect HST block.
Since this method makes four blocks, I combined them into a big block  to use in the backing.  Now I will be able to layer and quilt the third section of this quilt.
Pieced backing part three.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

What am I working on?

Ah yes,  but it is a secret - the "what I am working on" - but now an announcement has been made and I have added a button on my side bar.

I am working on projects (or will be when I get home again) for Patsy Thompson's blog hop.  Patsy is pretty well known as an amazing free motion quilt artist, designer and teacher. What you may not know is that she also does wonderful machine embroidery designs. Or was I the only one who didn't know that?
I was thrilled to be asked if I would participate. Of course I said YES!  I have one project completed and a couple of other ideas that are still in the planning stages. (and I can plan almost anywhere! So I am planning while patient sitting.)
My scheduled day is November 11th which is Veteran's Day. I hope you will visit all of the stops on our blog hop.  I know I want to see them all. I am sure there will be some wonderfully creative projects to see.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Life Interferes - but we go on.

Sometimes life interferes with our plans.  Several things happened that interfered with my plans to start the commission quilt. But life goes on.

I was going to get started on it today, but as I was stretching before arising this morning, my text message alert dinged.  I still did not get up immediately - but I should have done so.  When I did get up, I found that a very close friend had gone to the Emergency Room with chest pains. I decided that I needed to be there as probably, he would be alone.  I called a minister (who is also a friend and happens to be much closer in distance) and told him what was happening. He went to stay with my friend until he stabilized.
I packed the car in record time and headed on my trip -which is just over an hour and a half.  I sang, I prayed, I tried to remain calm and focused.  When I got to the hospital, and got back to the bed, I saw that he was awake and relatively alert.  The doctor came in and gave results - all good ones.  The labs showed no signs of a heart attack, but he suggested a full cardiac follow-up. I will be spending the rest of the week and the weekend with my friend -just to be sure.

I used the time sitting in the hospital (waiting time) to spin some yarn.  The drop spindle is great for that as it is very portable.  I had my original Ashford student drop spindle in my backpack so I used it. I was spinning this lovely hand painted wool roving.
I was told by other spinners that "if you can spin on that spindle, you can spin on anything!"  As you can see, I can certainly spin on that spindle.  The whorl - the round  part at the top - is about 3 1/4 inches across and is somewhat heavy. 

I was spinning when the nurse or tech came in to remove the IV.  She asked what I was doing. I think she was amazed that people could do such a thing.  She thought it was all done on big machines in factories. 

On Tuesday, I received the lovely red "dragon's blood stone" drop spindle that I ordered on Etsy.  The seller kindly included some Norwegian wool roving to get started with. Having never tried the Norwegian wool, I had to use it first. As you can see it spins well. 

 I put the quarter in the photo for size reference.  This spindle only weights 1.25 ounces. It is very light and spins freely.  The only issue I have is that the stone is so smooth that the yarn tends to slip. I am thinking that a dot of hot glue on the edge to form a bump will help.   Say, did you know that you can use "bumps" of hot glue on the back of your quilting rulers to make them slide less?

This stone spindle whorl is so pretty, I just enjoy looking at it. But it will be getting a workout this weekend while I "patient sit."

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Bad Blogger!

I confess!  I have been a bad blogger lately.  I have been working on a project and experimenting with options for it. Since it is for a blog hop later, I can't show it yet.  I have spun some yarn and ordered a lovely drop spindle.

And done a bit of weaving - using an inlay technique that allows me to "paint shapes" in the fabric.  
My sewing machine has been calling my name.  I now have a commission quilt to work on also.  So I should be getting back to sewing this week. (yaay)

I am very happy to tell you that the Lapel Stick promotion has been extended until the end of this week, October 25th.  So you can still catch this great bargain.

Lapel Stick Promo

This is a great bargain.  I used my lapel stick just this weekend to attach a fabric bow onto a cloth bag that contained a birthday gift.  The uses for Lapel Stick are truly limited only by your creative imagination.  

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Design Wall Monday

After showing the tutorial on quick half square triangles, I made a few more and did this simple layout.
oops my picture is a bit crooked!
Now I have to decide whether to make more and make a quilt or add just a bit more and make a table runner.  I am linking up with Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

If you are looking for the Lapel Stick special deal here is a quick recap.
You can get a box of Lapel Stick - that is 40 Lapel Sticks  - for only $50.    This is an amazing deal.  The price includes Fed-Ex shipping with tracking. This offer expires on October 20th.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fast HSTs - And a DEAL

I had lots of comments and some email discussions on HSTs (half square triangle blocks.)  There are many methods to make HSTs.   I think I may have tried them all.  Some have you marking a line or several lines on the back of the fabric like I showed in 2009.   Most of them are truly easier than cutting triangle pieces and sewing them together

A couple of years ago, I saw a video from Missouri Quilt Company on making four at once with NO drawing lines.  It is super easy and as accurate as your quarter inch seam.  However, if you are going to trim them, that is easy to adjust also.

I find that sometimes the pieces want to shift, especially when I am pivoting at the corners.  So, I have typically pinned them.  But now - No more pinning!   I decided to try using the Lapel Stick glue that I reviewed.  So let me show you what I did.

First I pulled out a layer cake and of course my Lapel Stick.
 I chose two squares from the layer cake with nice contrast.
After putting down a sheet of wax paper to protect my sewing table,  I placed the darker square on the wax paper.  I glued at the corners -about an inch each way.
And at the center of each side - again about an inch.
You can see the glue here but it is almost invisible and it washes away completely.
Next, I placed the light colored square on top with the fabrics right sides together.  Then I finger pressed the areas with Lapel Stick to hold it in place.
Next I sewed a quarter inch seam around all four of the outside edges, carefully pivoting in the corners.
Once sewed, the block is cut diagonally.
Line up the ruler so that your rotary blade will cut exactly into the corner seam.  Then rotate the block without shifting it. (I used a rotating mat so I didn't have to pick up the block at all.)  Next cut the other diagonal.
 When you open these up you will have four HSTs. You can then trim them to size.  With the 10" layer cake blocks, I got a 6 3/4" HST that I will trim to 6 1/2"  This will make a perfect 12 inch finished block.
Jean mentioned that the outside edges are now bias cut.  I always starch first.  But the bit of stretch allows me some "fudge room" when I am joining the squares. I find it a plus rather than a flaw.  Of course you should avoid stretching those edges.

Keith at Lapel Stick is offering my readers a fantastic deal on Lapel Stick.  You can get a box of Lapel Stick - that is 40 Lapel Sticks  - for only $50.    The retail price on these is somewhere in the range of five dollars each, so this is an amazing deal.  The price includes Fed-Ex shipping with tracking.
I think that this deal is too good to miss.  I rarely pin anymore except for garment sewing.  No more pins sticking me is a good thing.
This offer is good until October 20, 2014.   You could buy a box of Lapel Stick and have a gift for everyone in your Guild or sewing group.  I hate to mention it, but Christmas and Hanukkah are approaching quickly. If your group does a Halloween party, you could use these for "Trick or Treat" also.  But then again, you may want to keep them all for yourself after you have found how much easier they make your sewing.

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Play Time - Half-square Triangles

After seeing that Wanda at Exuberant Color  had made a few half-square triangle blocks, I decided to make a few and play with them.  I conveniently made them the same size as my blocks for the Charming Batik squares.   I will probably use them in that project to add another shape to the mix.

But today, I used my blocks to play with layouts.

Squares on point. 

Zipper (my name for this one as I don't know what it is called) 

There are multiple ways you can do a layout using half square triangles.
I found the image below from a computer programmer who used PERL (programming language) to make symmetrical blocks.
You can also make non-symmetrical blocks...  Imagine the possibilities.  Now don't you want to make some half-square triangle blocks and play?

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Using some Stash Fabric

I had a great reason to use up some stash fabrics.  There is so little we can do in some instances to help someone. When we have the opportunity, we should grab it and rejoice.

I took some Connecting Threads leaf print, some batik, some Kaffe Fassett print and a solid pink from my stash.  I cut it up and sewed  these caps.  I hope they make the recipient feel lovely.  I understand that Chemo can be painful, both physically and emotionally.

I have lost some of my hair but it has been over years - not days as a chemo patient can lose hair.   I have been blessed with generally good health for all of my life. For that I am so thankful.

So it is with joy that I share my talents for those who are not so blessed.  I always like to find out what colors a person enjoys when I am making these caps. I was told pinks, blues and aquas were good colors for her. So I searched my stash for pinks, aquas and blues.  The Kaffe print is more pink than it appears in this photo. I truly hope that wearing these chemo caps bring some small comfort.

Remember to do good in all that you undertake for in doing so you bring joy to others and to yourself.

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