Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Do You Bring Along Sewing When You Travel??

The Clover and Violet blog has a linky going for readers to show the sewing they take along when traveling.  These are pics of my travel sewing complete with kit.  I make yo-yos for the most part, but have put in some hexagon supplies now, too.
Recycled containers to hold everything.  The Pandora box holds my scissors,
thread, and needles.The padded top is perfect for the needles.
The plastic zippered bag is recycled from some Adidas item.

Yo-yo makers, material scraps, box with needles, thread and scissors, a bag to
 keep the hexies separate, and another for the finished yo-yos.
There you have it!  I hope you will head over to Clover and Violet to let us all know what  sewing projects you do when traveling.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Literary Quilt Top is Together!

I really need to take this outside for a photo.  The colors look drab here.  Actually they are drab in comparison to most of the print out there right now, but it's supposed to be a manly/scholarly kinda quilt.  It does still need a border, but I'm getting there! I'm going to practice my machine quilting on an old quilt top before tackling this one.

Now the rest of the day is for playing OUTSIDE!  The weather is just beautiful.  Here in the northeast, one needs to make the most of these kinds of day.

Happy Memorial Day to all those who celebrate it!  I do love having my best friend home for these long weekends.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We Survived Graduation! (and I even got a little embroidering finished)

That's Kyle, Brian, Kiefer, and me.  The brand new graduate also has a brand new job--in his field.  That's not easy to do in this job market!!  Here are the two graduates, Melissa is Kyle's girlfriend.

The speaker was Judge Judy.  Yes, that does say Judge Judy.  Turns out her three kids graduated from the University at Albany.  I expected the judge to give the graduates a hell fire speech about how to behave.  Instead she was funny, informative, and motherly.  I was so glad when she said her kids had beach wear under their robes when they graduated.  My boy's jeans didn't seem so bad then.

Who else graduated from UA?  Me.  I liked it so much I got a master's there, too.  

As for the embroidery, it proved to be a way of relaxing at the end of these last two weeks of hectic days. Since I'm going to have 20 blocks instead of 12.  I took some of the embroidery designs Clover and Violet used on another project to fill in.  This is the fifth block (as in the actual block everyone else is doing) in the garden steps series with a few minor changes.    I tried to make that one on the right look like Queen Anne's Lace.  

Here are the pilfered designs.  Is it wrong to take designs from another project?  I hope not.  These work well with the garden theme.
All around happy with this one.  Played with some new stitches.

Those are supposed to be little windows and window boxes on each side of the
door, but I could not make it work right.  Mostly happy with this one, however.

Mostly happy here, too. That butterfly is pathetic, though.  It looks like
a mutant!

Happy as a pig in you-know-what with this one.  

Not bad.  The leaves didn't work out as I wanted.

This does not photograph as well as it looks.  I tried seed stitches in the
clouds.  I think that gave them a nice look.  I took the butterflies
from another one of the designs.

Love this except for the beak.  I don't like the
black outlining.  I'm trying not to keep making
changes, though.  I'd be at this forever if I did.

Now I've just got to finish this quilt, the two Craftsy quilts, the literature quilt, the baby gift, and the apartment warming gift.  Did I mention that I'm taking a Craftsy course in machine quilting?  I'm going to need to know how to do that for sure.

I'll leave you with a pic of two other graduation attendees.  Since they were not wearing robes, I assume they are undergraduates.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garden Steps Quilt Top is Together

I'm such a rebel. I'm supposed to be getting my house ready for the double graduations coming up in a couple of weeks.  I was also supposed to wait to put this quilt top together until after finishing all the center square embroidery designs.  However, I HAD to see what it was going to look like sooo....

I love it!!  I'm even becoming fond of my amateur embroidery--looking forward to the next design being posted.   It will fit a twin bed with a border added, but I really want to make it fit a queen-size bed. My husband suggested making six more blocks. The thought of keeping all the pieces in the right piles and colors in the right direction is daunting--tough work for my small brain. Maybe by the time I'm finished embroidering these blocks, I'll be in the mood to make six more.   Maybe now that I've run out of the Poetica fabric, I'll get some housework done.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Little Quilt Progress

I'm a bit behind on my hand embroidering for the Garden Steps quilt.  The next one is probably already available, and I've FINALLY finished these two.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is my first experience with hand embroidery other than cross stitch.  The black flower center--who knows where that came from.  I thought I could just put in a few french knots, but it looked bare.  I just kept filling and filling.  Now, it looks furry!  Same with the centers of the petals.  I thought they needed a bit.  I think I was supposed to use a single strand instead of two.  Of course, actually doing the stitches right would help, too.  I could not remember which side I was supposed to be coming up on.  Sometimes--those loopy areas--I was just making it up as I went along!  No more late night hand embroidery for me.

While doing these, my machine was helping with the other quilt. I finished two more of the literary figures squares for the other quilt.  I feel guilty taking credit for these.  My machine is much better at this than I am.

Wow!  I'm gonna be late for work!  How is it that I can get up at four in the morning and be late for work when I don't need to be there til nine??  Must be off!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

To Wash or not to Wash--The Fabric: It's No Longer the Question

I fell for it again!  I read all the pros and cons about pre-washing fabric before sewing and let myself be lulled into a sense of security about not washing--as long as you buy the "good" fabric.  Joann's fabric is all lumped into the "not good" fabric despite the fact that the store is selling some good stuff.  (In fact, I seldom come across a fabric in Joann's that is so low quality that I don't want to use it)

Back to the pre-washing.  The "good" fabric is the stuff you get in quilt shops or online quilty stores.  I bought a bunch of pre-cut squares a few years ago from a quilt shop and made a quilt that had some serious issues with colors bleeding the first time it went into a cold water wash.  I managed to get most of the mess out, but swore there would be no more unwashed fabric.

HOWEVER, there was an ongoing argument in a online class recently about whether or not to prewash .  With so many people saying they don't prewash and so many places selling the charm packs, jelly rolls, etc.,  I decided to try again.  I bought a few packs of Barbara Brackman's Robert Morris squares and some matching Bella yardage to make a special quilt.

I cut and pieced the squares and started embroidering the solid squares.  While ironing out the folds in the solid fabric, though, I noticed that spots were developing in some areas where I sprayed water, kinda like sizing was puddling.  I didn't want to start washing some of the fabric since I hadn't done the other, but after the third square, I knew I needed to get whatever was creating the spots out.  This is the fabric prior to washing.

(Yes, I can see that my embroidery puckered a bit.  The designs are quotes from
 literary greats inside silhouettes.  I really wanted to use them, but didn't want to use
 a heavier fabric.  I was willing to put up with a little puckering which I figured I could quilt into
submission later)

This is after washing in cold water and drying on a low setting.

Steam from the Rowenta was not sufficient to get out the wrinkles.  I had to get it soaking wet with spray to iron it out.  The 44-45" wide fabric was down to 42 inches after ironing, too.  I've had fabric from Joann's that didn't wrinkle this much that was half the price before using a coupon.  

So now, I have the Morris fabric squares and 3 embroidered squares-- that each took over an hour and a half to complete-- on unwashed fabric.  The rest will be preshrunk.  This was going to be a really special quilt--lots of time into the embroidery. I fear what this thing is going to look like after it is washed!  Never, never, never will I use unwashed fabric again.

Anyway, I do love these embroidery designs.  They are perfect for my bibliophile son.  The stitching is very dense--like patches really.  (I think there is a way to cut back on the density with Embird, but I have no idea how.)   They'd be perfect on tan denim.  I may make some library bags for my book club.  Check the designs out here at the Embroidery Library if you have a book lover.  The packages start at the third one down.  There are two separate packs in two different sizes or you can buy them individually.  I waited for one of their dollar sales and bought them individually.  There are 13 in all.  Twain, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Margaret Mitchell, Dickens, Austen, Lewis Carroll, Tolkien, Arthur Conan Doyle, and those below.

Emerson's quote would be fitting for any good friend.  I love that one--so true!

Oh yes, I vote for washing the *#@%*  fabric.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kelsey's Orange and Fennel Salad

Looking for a new salad instead of the same old salad bar stuff?  Kelsey, a culinary arts student with a brand new blog,  posted about Orange and Fennel Salad.  Quick, easy, and beautiful on the plate.  It will be great any time of year, but especially for the summer months when looking for something light.

Here's a link to Kelsey's blog.  Stop by for the recipe and to welcome Kelsey to the blogosphere.  If we're all real nice, maybe she'll share some more of the culinary arts with us.