Saturday, February 25, 2012

Purchases at San Mateo Sewing and Craft Show

Usually when I buy stuff at a show I leave it out on the family table for a week or so to admire and remind myself what I got.  I like blogging about it, better.  I can describe why I like it, feel content that I bought it, put it away, remind myself of it when I re-read my blog, recall what I intended to use it for or with, and know where I got it should I want to buy more.  Blogging about it expands the pleasure and makes the money spent feel like it went a lot farther!

Here are pictures of all the fabric and notions I bought yesterday.  In keeping with my penchant for dots I got these three fat quarters from Fabric Chicks from NV. The picture does not do the funky color combination justice.  The yellow is quite stale egg yolk eerie and the olive has a slimy tone to it. Yes, this is good. This evokes a definite aura.  It will be good for Halloween or monsters.

There is a vendor called A Quilter's Dream out of San Dimas, CA who does incredible pattern designs.  I have bought some of hers before. They are straight forward and simple to make, but I love the whacky, asymmetric, quirkiness of them.  I bought these three yesterday. From left to right they are called Dash in the Box, A-Mazed, and The Space Between.  The quilt samples made from them on display are generally in earth tones or have a painted desert flavor but I can envision them in brights or monochromatic of a particular color family.

The woman from A Quilter's Dream also has a very artsy way of displaying her fabric; she folds it into equilateral triangles where the raw edges all tucked in neatly.  I will agree that presentation is everything (almost), and admit that the display suckers me in (somewhat).  These triangles are 1/2 yard cuts that I bought, not to go with each other but just because I like the level of color saturation in each.  I usually am not into such graphic prints, but this particular paisley combination called to me.  And when have you ever seen butterflies in such a muted neutral? Very different I thought.  Hmm- maybe they are moths? Still, moths are unusual, too.

The next 1-yard cuts I bought from A Rabbit Hole out of Chico, CA.  I will admit the initial allure was the price- $6 a yard for good quality cotton, when around here the prices are $11-$12. The vendor said she was doing this pricing at the show because she wanted to attract a lot of customers to see the versatility of her shop.  There was quite a variety she displayed in this manner, rather than transporting full bolts of a narrower selection to the show. I replenished my "reads-like-a-solid" pinks and oranges with these, all nicely tied with raffia string you see.

The Alice in Wonderland print was too cute and girly-colored to pass up and I thought the martial arts print was boyishly unique. I have slated both prints for potential pillowcases, one of my simple projects I am becoming addicted to. I could not pass up her beige dots, my "signature".

The raffia tied rolls to the right, also from the Rabbit Hole, are potential binding fabrics since I like to use stripes for that purpose.  The ship print on the left was a purchase my husband liked from Quilters Cove.  I will make him a pillowcase out of it.  The main fabric will be cut 36" long for a king size case instead of the normal 27" long for a regular pillowcase.  I may go for a deep blue border with a charcoal grey accent strip or vice versa.  Maybe I will come across an ocean waves or clouds mini-print for the border.  A narrow black/white pin stripe might also pick up the delicate ink lines of the sails.

One of my favorite vendors at these shows is Laurel Leaf.   I think I just must like the taste of the buyer.  Here I bought a packet of eight fat quarters, sea prints in saturated blue and green tones with an occasional splash of hot pink for the kelp. Of course I love the presentation again, all wrapped up with a sheer deep blue organza bow.

And here are the fabrics laid out separately to see the selection.  My favorite is the seahorse and surprisingly pink kelp. Hmm - those bubbles or deep blue may get confiscated for the ship pillowcase.

I also bought the cutest panel, designed to be a soft cover book but I may make a quilt out of it.  The pudgy baby bunny and fuzzy duckling look so whimsical - ya just wanna squoonch 'em!

Here are some close ups of the frog, bunny, duckling, bear, and puppy. Don't ya jus' love the red flippers on the frog? 

A wall hanging panel was also included but it does not float my boat. It will not be part of the quilt or book. It is 10 inches wide by 14 inches tall and would need surrounding blocks or borders to make a decent size quilt, even for a baby.

These two random fat quarters were also from the Laurel Leaf.  (I did say it was a favorite vendor of mine.)  I continue to gather pink for an upcoming baby quilt for my grand-niece. This season's pink seems to be more of the coral tone so when I see a pure pink I snatch it up. The mottled green was bright and cheery and again I have a weakness for the unusual- green hummingbirds.

My husband is into model trains and he has an attraction to rows of houses so this firehouse lengthwise print from Bear Paw Quilts in Lake Stevens, WA caught his eye. He may want to run it along the wall behind his train layout. It is so nice to have my husband willing to come to these shows with me. I think he enjoys seeing me happy and I can point to at least a small percentage of the purchases instigated by him.

I also bought a panel of a coordinating set of scenes of firemen, if not for my husband's trains, then perhaps for my son-in law, a former fireman.  I do like the rich brown stone color. It is unusual since fireman prints are usually associated with black.

I bought two fat quarters for only $1 each from Sew Blessed. I picked the red/white swirly print and the multi-striped and when I went to pay was told if I bought two, I got a third free. I added the two tone green/teal. I was pleased and surprised on closer look at home that the swirly red/white print was actually swordfish. How unusual- red fish!  (One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish... sorry, Dr Suess, got distracted.) Maybe I should plan a quilt of anomalies - beige butterflies, green hummingbirds, and red swordfish- and look for additions to this day's purchases?

I attended a seminar in the upon first arrival from a vendor, Quilters Haven, website The teacher showed a technique for Less Than Traditional quilts that made table runners, quilts etc. from circles with four edges folded over to make squares and then joined. The technique was interesting but I did not buy any of the starter sets because I thought I would tire of it.  A women at the seminar, though, said she had bought the set in all three sizes and it was addictive. I figure right now I have enough addiction with pillowcases and burp cloths and spiral table runners, all patterns I have used more than once. The vendor also demo'd a bunch of notions, however. Many that were demonstrated seemed worthy of purchase and here they are: 
  • a yellow magnetic wand to pick up straight pins and needles
    • a marker pencil with a very fine white "chalk line", so fine your sewing lines cover it, and just to the right, green refills for fine lines on light fabrics
    • a pencil sharpener that makes a fat stubby point, not a long slender one so marker points do not break when you press on them
    • "thread heaven", a substance that keeps thread from tangling when hand sewing and leaves no stain on the fabric
    • "that purple thang" for rolling inside seams, for directed fine work under pressure foot, for grabbing pulled up bobbin thread, etc.

    And finally, before heading home, and I almost forgot, I bought a crib size roll of bamboo batting for my daughter's gift projects and a twin size package of bamboo batting for the doll quilt. Whew, a lot of purchases. But in looking at them all again, I have no regrets.  And I can look at them over and over again by reading my blog- no fuss, no mess!

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Dolls and Tools and a Bit of Crochet

    One stripe inset or two?
    Click picture to enlarge.
    This week I finished the paisley border with the inset hearts on the doll quilt.  Getting the hearts lined up took a bit of care but my math calculations for the pieces of border to cut, which I checked and rechecked many times before cutting the fabric,  were accurate and so adding the borders went fairly smoothly. Now I looked at it and decided it may need another striped border before the binding.  Aaargh!  Well that should not be too hard to add - only an inch width plus seam allowances and no insets.  Right now I am leaning toward no second stripe but it will need to ripen on the wall a bit before the decision is final.  Yesterday the decision was to include the second stripe border.  Then I will need to piece the backing fabric and make the binding.  It is hard to believe that finishing up a project takes so much effort!  And here is the book and pattern that started it all off.

    Book by Debbie Mumm
    Country Cousins Pattern

    At least I made some progress on other items as well.

    Completed projects:
    1. Tool quilt - see details here 

    Ongoing projects:
    1. Doll quilt - heart border on 
    2. Pastel crocheted afghan - ripped it out- not laying flat- restarted- much better
    3. Pink/lilac/green baby quilt for grand niece - pattern decided, cutting out pieces 
    4. Chicken quilt - made binding and picked backing
      No progress:
      • Hexagon Mask Quilt - layout begun but overwhelming
      • Fire and Ice Quilt- sitting in closet awaiting decision on backing
      • Grinch Quilt - ripening on the design wall
      • Pumpkin/Iris/Blossom square wall hanging- needs backing and binding
      I want to start:
      • Presents with Bows quilt kit
      • The Ghastlies- strip quilt
      • Rubber Duckies strip quilt
      This week's stats:
           Completed  projects - 1 
           New projects - 1 (started crocheting small afghan)
           Currently in progress - 4

      WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

      Saturday, February 18, 2012

      Tool Quilt - Completed

      Miters and routers and drivers and nailers,
      Hammers and saws and drill presses with lasers,
      Silver steel hardware like hinges and springs,
      These are a few of my favorite things.
      I sewed the last stitch on the binding of the tool quilt this afternoon. It was made from a pre-printed center panel with borders and corner blocks sequentially added.

      The challenge in this project was not in the color selection. Borders were from the coordinating prints within the same fabric line. The trick was to create an end quilt that was square since the center panel was not printed on the grain. Do you follow the print and wind up with a parallelogram that gets worse and worse with each border? Or do you the square it up and lop off some of the edges of the featured ruler or saw blade or plank?  I compromised, lopping off on a few of the borders where the  pattern would not be so revealing that I had done so.

      The real craft in this quilt lies with the talented lady in Oklahoma who free-motion quilted it for me. Mary Ann patiently followed every thread of each bolt, spiraled around each circular saw blade, outlined each letter of the poem, squiggled through every hinge, and detailed every tool, be it hammer or drill or handsaw.  I've shown some of her work on this quilt in the following photos. Click here to see some of her other gorgeous work. 


      The finished quilt is 63" tall x 44" wide. Maybe it will be a wall hanging, but we are out of wall space.  It could actually be put on a toddler size bed for a little boy. (Or a little girl, too – how sexist of me!)  I plan to wash it several times and see if it softens. I even signed and dated it today, even though I view putting on a label as a pesky detail.  The lettering stitch on my machine always seems to distort when I use it on the grosgrain ribbon for the label.  I wanted to be 100% finished today so here is my hand stitched alternative since I did not want to fight the machine version. The backing fabric is nuts and bolts! What else?

      Wednesday, February 15, 2012

      Doll Decided- Full Steam Ahead

      I have been spending time calculating how to cut my limited one yard of paisley fabric to get the border all around.  Good old Microsoft PowerPoint comes to the rescue.  I may not have my equipment at work to sew, but I still can use my lunch time to do the planning. Here is my cutting layout.  Pieces I need to cut out are to scale ( in pin stripe)  so I can see if it will all fit on the paisley fabric (shown in solid blue).  They will, but I will still need to piece the top and bottom borders - just barely - but, dang it, I still have to have seams in the paisley fabric.  I will not be piecing the sides since they are broken up into sections by the inset 4.5" x 4.5" border hearts. At least I can run all borders the same orientation. Side borders will be with the grain and top and bottom borders will be cross grain. Looks like I will have almost a fat quarter of the coral paisley left. Don't ya just love the cute little paper doll and fun heart images from Google?

      I've finished the five 4.5" x4.5" hearts for within the paisley border.

      I eeked these hearts out of the partial hearts. Here is what I have left of the partial hearts and blue background - pretty good use of available resources I'd say! My husband has learned never to empty the trash in my sewing without checking with me first! That "random" 1.5" x 1.5" square may be critical!

      Then, the other morning, right before I woke, I dreamt that I should check my fat quarter drawers and, sure enough, I did have more of the solid coral heart fabric.  Oh, well. I did not have any more background blue print, so I needed to rob the partial ones anyway. 

      The stripe inner border is now on.  I did take the advice of my followers and put the stripe as the inner border and the wider paisley as the outer border.

      Next update should have those outer borders on and be ready for quilting.

      Completed projects:
      1. Decisions on dolls made- finally  (I should get some credit for completed decisions)
      2. Dazzle knit scarf - here
      Ongoing projects:
      1. Doll quilt - stripe border is on- adding paisley/heart border
      2. Tool quilt - hand sew binding
      3. Pink/lilac/green baby quilt for grand niece - narrowing down pattern choices 
      4. Pastel crocheted afghan - started last night 
      No progress:
      • Hexagon Mask quilt - layout begun but overwhelming
      • Chicken quilt - located backing and potential binding
      • Fire and Ice - get from closet and decide backing
      • Grinch quilt - ripening on the design wall
      This week's stats:
           Completed  projects - 1 + decisions 
           New projects - 1 (started crocheting small afghan)
           Currently in progress - 4

      WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

      Friday, February 10, 2012

      Dazzle and Ribbon Knit Scarf

      This UFO was in one of the drawers in my sewing room and since I am working toward finishing projects, I had renewed interest in it.   These types of accessory scarves were very popular quite a few years ago.  Now I will just think of it as "Vintage". It is wider here than when worn around your neck, where it narrows and stretches to about 6 feet and can double wrap, kind of like a necklace.

      It knitted up very quickly in garter stitch with size 17 needles, 15 stitches on a row.  I just plain forgot I had started it.  I finished it this week during a few shows of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

      The speckled look comes in with pairing Dazzle "yarn" (also see close-up at this website) with ribbon (gives the shimmery look) and knitting with the two together.  Yes, size 17 needles are like knitting with logs and you need to take a bit of care not to split the Dazzle by poking between the "ladder rungs", but, once you get the knack of the motion, it really is not hard.  The satin-like ribbon has no stretch whatsoever to it though, so beware, those of you who are tight knitters.

      The small white cylinder you see in the picture with the knitting needles is the small plastic spool leftover when I used up all the ribbon.  I has a pretty thick wall and it seems a shame to throw it out.  Hmmm... it must be good for something...

      I'd better hang on to it!   ;•)

      Wednesday, February 8, 2012

      Doll Decisions 2

      Currently I am hung up in the decision mode on the doll quilt.  I am convinced of the fabric for the wide border (coral paisley), the thin border (stripes), and the binding (coral basket weave).  The placement of the fabrics is up for grabs, narrow stripe border next to blue quilt body (upper picture) or next to coral binding (lower picture)?  I think I like the upper picture option better, but it is not a strong preference.

      But, in cleaning out my closet looking for UFOs, I found a few extra block parts leftover and I think I want to incorporate them in the border. Since I only have three complete hearts I will need to cut up the other partial hearts. I want seven hearts in total and I think I can make four more hearts out of six partial hearts- maybe... seam allowances may be my downfall.  My backup plan is fewer hearts or using the basket-weave coral instead of the solid coral for the hearts.

      I have always liked it when a quilt pattern kind of pokes into the border and so I am considering doing this with the spare hearts.  This has the added benefit of avoiding a pieced border.  Yes, the border will still have seams, but not same fabric to same fabric.  Rather, it will have seams where the hearts are inserted, as if it were planned.  And it was... sort of. Here, if I insert hearts, I prefer the stripe closer to the binding so the blue background is uninterrupted in a chain of hearts (lower picture below).

      Here is the lower edge with a heart inserted, both options. The striped border is inside on the upper picture, and outside on the lower picture.

      My goal this weekend is to get the borders on so I ... WILL ... BE ... DECISIVE!!!   And I did decide how to incorporate the signature blocks.  I will make a pillow out of the backing material and have them be sized smaller and patch-worked as the back of that pillow.

      After success with completing the binding on the Halloween wall-hanging I was on a roll and broke out the binding for the tool quilt for my husband.  I sewed it on this week and I just have left to hand-stitching the binding to the back. Oh, and a label of course. I have no pictures of the full quilt yet but you can some details of Mary Ann's free motion quilting on it here.  My goal is to also at least start the hand-stitching on it this week.

      This was a productive week for me.  Several projects finished, some of the small ones started and finished within the same day.  What an encouraging boost!

      Completed projects:
      1. Halloween quilt
      2. 2010 Winter Olympics Knit Cap
      3. Frog Burp Cloths
      4. Ladybug Pillowcase
      5. Hoooo Pillowcase
      Ongoing projects:
      1. Tool quilt - hand sew binding
      2. Doll quilt - add borders
      3. Hexagon Mask quilt- layout begun but overwhelming
      4. Chicken quilt- located backing and potential binding
      No progress:
      • Pick design/pattern for baby quilt- request colors pink, pale purple, pale lime green
      • Get Fire and Ice from closet and decide backing
      • Grinch quilt
      This week's stats:
           Completed  projects- 5 
           New projects - 3 (all small enough to double count as new/completed in same week)
           Currently in progress- 5

      WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

      Saturday, February 4, 2012

      Hoo Pillowcase

      Since I bought that sale fabric yesterday on a whim I was feeling a bit guilty. So, instead of putting it away, I sewed it up into a pillowcase while I was still enthusiastic about it. The main pink fabric of the body, "Whooooo Loves You",  was what I bought yesterday. 

      The fabric of the bottom band I bought on our weekend in Cambria last November.  It was in a scrap bin and I bought it as an 11 inch scrap just because I thought it was so adorable and I loved the color combination.  It was perfect once I squared it up since I needed 10 inches for the bottom band.  The turquoise dots for the accent band I just had in my stash.  Notice the owls have dots on their front and wings, too.  I think dots are becoming my signature... kinda like Coco Chanel.

      It was a short, quick, fun project and finished with plenty of time until Valentine's Day.