Friday, March 30, 2012

Henry Ford and Assembly-line Sewing

My scraps runneth over. A lot. So once in a while I try to use them up, except scraps are like dust bunnies. They never go away and they multiply exponentially. I had a bunch of 2.5" squares that I pieced together assembly line style to make 8 of the patchwork baskets from the famous Pink Penguin tutorial. I have just as many scraps as before, but now have 8 additional baskets to store things, such as fabric scraps:

The baskets are small, but the perfect size for holding spools of ribbon and other miscellaneous items. Sewing together assembly line style is very effective, but so boring. Major kudos to all the seamstresses who sew for hours on end in factories to make our clothes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Whale of an Idea

The Sew Mama Sew blog had a great idea of converting a dingbat font that uses origami pictures into paper-pieced blocks. However, rather than go through the rather lengthy process of figuring out how to convert a line drawing into a quilt block, I prefer the easier cut and paste method using sew and bond. Because I'm lazy.

My first idea was to make a tote bag using the whale character:

but it didn't have the cute factor I wanted. Too many angles; not enough softness. So I ended up drawing my own, much rounder version. Notice the stylized heart that serves as the tail?:

 and then because the drawings are reversed, the final result:

a much more eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper or a paper gift bag. Despite the starting piece measuring a healthy 14" x 16", the resulting tote is much smaller. Perfect for a small child to carry. Next on the list are a squirrel and elephant.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Emily's Quilt

My cousin had a second baby girl. A new baby = baby quilt to welcome the little one.

I had two charm packs and yardage of the Make Life fabric line and so combined them into a fairly quick and simple design. All my quilts thus far, even despite the seeming randomness of the blocks placement, are actually all carefully planned and laid out. This time though I tried to be completely random when piecing the top together.

The scattershot of the blocks works for this quilt's design, but my mind keeps wanting to see patterns - hidden stars, broken dishes (a traditional quilt block), or something else recognizable - only there is nothing to see.

I think this quilt works because the fabric all came from the same designer, so all the mismatch still matches. But in the future, I'll leave spontaneity and randomness to the pros.

The other thing I'm trying to get better at as well is to use up as much of the fabric as possible to minimize scraps and help destash. So the backing is a pieced back using the leftover quarter square triangle blocks and the remaining yardage. Happy to report that all that is left over is two blocks and a few scrap strips.

A close up of the back and the titles on the selvedges. The quilt will finish at 40" square. Someday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Quilt

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, pictures of a new quilt top that needs to be basted and quilted.

This quilt uses the remaining blocks from the first Irish Chain quilt. That quilt's main colors were red and aqua. This one has all of the greens and more grey.

The last quilt took me about 4 hours to quilt all those squiggles and three bobbins of thread. Unless I can think of a better quilting idea, then this one will be likely the same meandering quilting design. Other quilters make the designs they select look so effortless.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Geeking Out Over Zippers

On a recent day off, I voluntarily, even eagerly, drove in morning rush hour traffic through downtown L.A. to visit the FiDM Scholarship Store. The merchandise in the store is hit or miss depending on who donated what that day or week, but this visit was worth the drive. I scored bags of zippers for super cheap, but only when I got home did the full worth of the bounty hit me. Rather than the usual no-brand zippers that sell for a dime in the Fashion District, the zippers are top-of-the-line riri zippers.

At the time I only knew that YKK zippers were the gold standard, but holding the riri zippers in my hand I could tell they were high quality. The heft of the zippers; the smoothness of the zipper teeth, the quality of the zipper tape. A quick Internet search revealed that riri zippers are even better than YKK zippers and are used in high-end designer bags. And I saw these same zippers selling for retail in downtown L.A's Fashion District for upwards of $5 each. Score!

I was tempted to go back and get more, but really, what would I do with them? So to justify the purchase, I made some pouches using some high-end cotton/linen Japanese fabric.

These zippers are designed to allow the customization of the zipper pull. One of the other finds from my FiDM shopping expedition was spools of suede lacing for a great price. I used them to make the pulls to finish the pouches.

Thus, thanks to sewing and the Internet, I can geek out over zippers, of all things.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ladybugs in Miniature

Over the weekend, I had the chance to scale down the weekend bag pattern to a hand bag. And the bag is cute. At first I thought the bag seemed too small, but that's only because the weekend bag is so large in comparison even though the size differential is only 30 %.

The little ladybugs are so cheerful. The inside is a complementary yellow that is like a bit of a sunshine.

The bag is on its way to its new owner. I hope she enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nautical Quilt

Almost done hand sewing the binding on a very overdue quilt. Good friends of mine asked me to make a quilt using red and blue colors, which to me suggests either a patriotic or nautical design. Nautical won.

The center blocks are nautical flags that have English letter equivalents and spell out the recipient baby's name, Jack, clockwise from the top left corner.

The design's simplicity belies the amount of sketching, thinking, and rethinking that went into this quilt. Even after committing to an idea after months of thinking and rearranging, I ended up altering the design as I laid the various pieces together. I am pleased with the end result because although the quilt is still playful and a baby quilt, it is not completely juvenile and should be able to grow with the boy.

Plus, the backing is this awesome cotton/linen blend that cinches the deal.

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