Monday, August 31, 2009

What do you do?

SFQ quilted 1
What do you do when you are quarantined from the office for four days while you take antibiotics for a suspected whooping cough (that is probably more like bronchitis)? You do a couple of things. First you get mad. Then you go to the movies. And then you quilt. 

SFQ quilted 2
These pictures are of my quilted (finally!) Scrappy Friendship Quilt. I started this way back in April and blogged it here and here previously. The top has been sitting around since mid-June, just waiting to be quilted. Finally, last Monday, I pieced the backing, attached the label, and quilted it. 

SFQ back
Here's the back. I LOVE the back! I wish I'd been able to match up the flowers in the center a little better. I've really considered using this quilt wrong side up. 

SFQ quilted close
I was a little surprised that it didn't take me as long as I thought it would (only about 3 hours for the quilting), and that it wasn't a huge struggle. The quilt is about 80" square, and I was worried about wrestling with it on my machine, but it went fine. I still get so nervous about free-motion quilting, but maybe this is even more proof that I shouldn't be? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My year of mini-quilts

My year of minis

Here's a photo mosaic of my year of minis. Each of these is a mini-quilt I made for the Swap Til You Drop mini-quilt swap on Flickr. I joined the group just over a year ago, so September was my first month. It's interesting to see them all together like this. Also interesting that I came full-circle with the bees, eh? I have enjoyed using this format to experiment with different techniques and free-motion quilting. I do like doing this swap, but I think I'll finish out this year (only 4 more, and I've already got ideas for September) and then take a little hiatus.

Monday, August 24, 2009

S.T.U.D. August received

STUD Aug rec'd

Here's the STUD buildings swap mini-quilt that I received, from CASharp. It's so great! The windows are pieced into the buildings, and the window shadows are embroidered by hand. The quilting in the metallic thread really makes it look like a city on a starry night (or in the light of streetlamps).

STUD Aug rec'd detail 1

The detail on this mini is pretty amazing. And I really love the curvy quilting. It adds so much to the mini.

STUD Aug rec'd + goodies

Here's the rest of the package. I got fabric scraps, plus two adorable. new fat quarters, a drawstring bag, and a really clever luggage tag with a sewing kit built in! Lucky me!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

S.T.U.D. August sent

STUD Aug sent
Here's the mini-quilt I made and sent for August's STUD challenge - "buildings." It came from an idea from one of my coworkers, actually. I'd been considering making a birdhouse out of selvedges, but wanted to do something less time-intensive. Then this beehive idea presented itself and seemed perfect!

STUD Aug bee detail 1

When I couldn't find bee buttons like I'd wanted, I made these out of Shrinky-Dink clear plastic. I embroidered the flight path to add a little detail. This what my first time using fusible web, and I really liked how easy it made everything. I stitched around the beehive in brown quilting thread once I had the quilt sandwiched so I didn't have to applique that area and then quilt it, too. I quilted the background in a scribbly stipple. I hadn't done any free-motion quilting in a while and was nervous about it, though I guess I shouldn't have been, because it went really well!

More catch-up posts to come...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lantern Bloom dress

me at waterfire
When I bought this fabric a while ago I had no idea what I would make with it, but I did know that I wanted it to be something extra special. Then I started working through this book from the library, and a plan came together: The Back-to-School dress

anniversary dress 1
I loved everything about this pattern: the neckline, the sleeves, the pockets! But I was so nervous about cutting into that amazing Laura Gunn fabric that I went beyond my usual muslin-making and made a sleeveless version of this dress to wear as pjs. For two weeks. Just to test out the pattern, you know, and see what I thought. 

anniversary dress 2
I'm glad I did. After wearing it for a while, I realized that the arm hole was too low, and if I added the sleeve, that would be a problem. So I made some adjustments. I had made my muslin and pjs in the pattern's size medium, and had then given the book back to the library, so I don't know if moving down to a small would've fixed these issues or not. Anyway, I removed 1" from the middle of the front, back, and neck pieces. I also moved up the inside of the arm hole by about 1" on front and back pieces. And for the pockets, I used this tutorial again. L-O-V-E! Seriously. I am considering adding pockets to ALL of my dresses because pockets on dresses are the best things ever! 

us waiting for waterfire 3
So, there you have it: The dress that Rob says is my best ever. If I could do it over again, the only thing I would change is adding another 1" to the elastic in the sleeve casings, as they're a little snug to get into, but once it's on it's fine. I made this dress on August 2nd, just in time to wear on our anniversary date in Providence, RI. You can check out pictures here. It was a great weekend trip; WaterFire is definitely worth seeing! And 6 years of marriage? Wow--how did that happen so fast?! 

On the crafting front, last weekend was a wash and the weekend before was packed and was when I made this dress, so I don't have much else to document. I'm still working steadily on a replacement apron, and I need to get moving on my August swap minis, so I hope to have more to share soon. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dress refashion

circles dress 2
Sorry for the delayed post on this, and for this being my first August post! Eeep! You know what? Actually, I'm just going to stop apologizing for this stuff. Because life is life, right? And sometimes it all happens at once. 

circles dress 1
Anyway, this is a dress refashion, though I didn't do much to it. I bought this dress at Marshall's over a year ago for $19.95 but never wore it. Why? It was strapless. I don't do strapless. When I bought the dress I was planning on adding straps, but I finally got around to it a couple of weeks ago. I was able to machine-stitch on some grosgrain ribbon straps in the front AND back, which made the entire project go even faster. I also added the ribbon belt (it's a lovely double-faced satin) because I thought the dress needed it. I only wore this dress once so far, when we went to see the local theater do Footloose, the musical, but I loved every minute of it and felt oh-so-pretty. 

So, I'm back, and with a post in the works showcasing the dress Rob calls my best dress ever. Will you agree? Stay tuned...