Thursday, September 6, 2012

Allow me to acquaintmyself!

Plum and June

Hey guys! Welcome to my day on the hop, hosted by the lovely Beth from Plum and June. Tessa, from The Sewing Chick, is also featured today, so click over there too!

I want to thank Beth for putting this hop together - I think most of my followers are fellow hoppers! So many of you may already know me, but for those of you who don't...

My name is Bethany, I'm 30, and I live in Michigan with my fiance and our two cats. I work full time as an industrial designer. If I'm not quilting, I'm probably reading, gardening or hanging out with my fiance. I am a total introvert, so sewing is a good hobby for me... :)

I've been sewing for a couple years, and quilting for about a year. I'm still learning with every quilt I make, but I think I'm slowly getting better. Lately I haven't had as much any time to sew, because I'm gettting married very soon - September 15th! I/we put all of the planning off until June, if that gives you a little insight to my personality. ;) Needless to say, we are scrambling to nail down all the details, and sewing has taken a back seat! 

Blog hopper topics

Quilting tips: Pfsshh! I have none. Fail. :) I will tell you something that has made my life easier though. I keep a funnel and a large container of water in my craft room so I can fill my iron up on the fly and not have to walk all the way to the bathroom! Laziness or masterful planning skills.. take your pick. ;)
Blogging tips: I haven't been blogging long enough to give out tips, but something that I've noticed is that you will get as much out of your blog as you put into it. Taking the extra time to email someone or comment on their blog builds relationships (and gains followers!).
Favorite fabric: My favorite fabrics in my stash have come from thrift and antique stores. I love having something unique!
Favorite craft book: When I first learned how to sew, I had a lot of fun with the book, One Yard Wonders. When I first learned to quilt, The Practical Guide to Patchwork was my go-to reference! (Big surprise there, huh?!)
Favorite book: No way can I pick one! I LOVE reading. My favorite genres are science fiction and young adult. Some favorites (of all genres) include.. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness, 3 book series), The Book Thief (MarKus Zusak), Gone With the Wind, 1984, and of course, Harry Potter.
Favorite children's book: Hmm, I remember reading a lot of Boxcar Children, Babysitter's Club, Road Dahl, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Sideways Stories from Wayside High, off the top of my head!
Favorite quilting tool: Recently I discovered this little bar that attaches to my walking foot to help me sew parallel lines - I never knew what it was for! But if I really had to pick a favorite quilting tool, it would be my free motion foot, because I love fmq. :)
Favorite music to listen to while quilting: My favorite type of music is electronic, and I think you could consider it a "hobby" or at least a passion. My first CD was FatboySlim's Better Living Through Chemistry (1996) and ever since then I've been addicted to the crazy sounds of techno. I love going to concerts and festivals (like the Detroit Electronic Music Festival) and listening to my very talented friend create live mixes. I always feel embarrassed admitting it because it's kind of weird, but what can I say. :P 
If I'm not listening to music I have Harry Potter audiobooks on, or podcasts. I listen to a wide variety of podcasts, including many on quilting!
Favorite TV show while hand stitching: So many! Favorites of all time include Felicity (oh Ben, swoon!), Road To Avonlea (probably a lot of my Canadian readers know of this one!), Downton Abbey, and if I'm feeling lazy I'll throw on HGTV. :) I just finished watching the "Battlestar Galactica" series and I really liked it. I've got to choose a new show to watch now, maybe Dr. Who!
Binding - by hand or by machine?: Always by machine, unless it's a gift.
If I'd only known - what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog: Before I was blogging, I was reading a lot of blogs, so I can't really say anything surprised me, aside from how friendly everyone is.

Tute time! (heh)
I have a confession to make. :/ I really rushed this project, and it shows. If I had time I would make a second one, with all the improvements, but until September 15th free time is sparse. (And if anyone is wondering, my sister isn't getting her birthday quilt in time! LOL)

I wanted to make a travel makeup case, similar to an expensive one I saw in a gift shop this summer, by a designer well known for her colorful prints and quilted texture.

 Oh my grossness, that binding is an atrocity.

Here are my disclaimers before I get to the step-by-step instructions guidelines:
  • I used 9" zippers, but that is the only measurement I knew of while I was making this.
  • There is no way to close it. #embarrassing I just didn't get that far. My plan is to eventually sew a tie to the bottom of the bag so that when it's closed I slip the tie through the loop and knot it.
  • I used pre-packaged binding from JoAnns. I said it, and it's true. :-O
Here we go..
 1. Cut a front piece of fabric, a back piece of fabric, and the batting piece for the middle. I started with slightly larger than 9" (for the 9" zippers), and about 22ish inches long. Baste and quilt as desired.
2. Trim it down to 9" wide by 20" long.
3. Optional. Trace a round object onto two of the corners and cut them out.
4. Optional. Sew a little hook to the short end with the rounded corners, if you think it will come in handy for hanging it up or using this loop as part of the system that will keep this shut.
(Other options to keep the case shut would be buttons, velcro, snaps, another zipper, etc...)
5. This is where it gets a bit murky.. You will need to cut two rectangular pieces of fabric to sew to the zipper, for each pocket you want. I went with two pockets, so I did this twice. The finished pocket dimension is 6" by 9". Fold the fabric over on the top and bottom edges and sew it directly to the main, quilted piece of fabric.
6. This is possibly the worst picture I've ever put on my blog. :P If you'd like to have an area for makeup brushes, you'll need a back piece of fabric and a front piece of fabric. I also included a "flap" to keep the brushes from falling out.

When you have the zippered pockets sewn in, and the brush holder area pinned in, you just have to bind the edges all around, which fix everything in place. Hopefully if you are actually using this tutorial it wasn't completely useless! :D

I leave you with my very pooped looking cat.

Thank you for visiting! And thanks again to Beth!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Chained 5 Patch, Thrifty Treasures

Hey quilters, I have a little bit of progress to share for WIP Wednesday. I managed to sew up a couple blocks for my 5 patch quilt (I need to think up a new name!). They really are fast blocks, which goes to show how much time I've put towards quilting this week with only 3 new blocks to show. And one of them isn't even completely sewn, lol - that's a hardcore "work in progress" picture for ya!

As for that white space.. it looks so awful, I can't stand it! HMMMMMM!  Did I not learn my lesson on the wonky square rings? Didn't I say I don't really care for white space? I'm rolling my eyes at myself right now and trying to remember that I'm always questioning myself until the entire project is finished. Maybe some colorful hand quilting will spruce up those white areas?

I went thrifting again last week.. I found only one new piece of fabric for my vintagy themed stack. I thought it appropriate to throw a picture in here because this fabric stack really is a work in progress! I could always go to etsy and purchase some vintage fat quarter packs, but it's so much more fun to go on the treasure hunt yourself.

I am hoping nobody saw the look on my face when I spotted this pretty yellow pillowcase! I was overly excited, I might have snatched it off the rack a little too fast, as if somebody was trying to beat me to it!

I found this other one two weeks ago, but it doesn't really go with my color scheme so I'm just tucking it away in the stash. I love how a pillowcase costs 99 cents and ends up yielding between a half and full yard of fabric! Sweet.

Thanks for popping by! :D  I'm off to design some custom labels for the wine bottles for my wedding (labels nobody will notice and will end up in the trash.) My mom is pretty much forcing me. Okay, she's not forcing me at all LOL, she just seemed really excited about it and thought it would be cute - I felt too bad about saying no! :P

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dresden quilt finished!


Finally - a finish! Is this really the first finish I've had since June (wonky square rings)? Sadly, yes! I think summer is just a busy time. After my wedding in September, it's game on, a bonanza of quilty finishes. So I say now! :P

Here's the scoop on my Dresden quilt...

The idea began June 5.
The instructions on how I constructed this quilt were posted on June 11.
The progress was featured in a couple WIP posts throughout June and July.
That's 2.5 months in total! I didn't pay it nearly enough attention this summer, but it's done now and just in time for the contest deadline. :)
I'm entering it in the "innovative" category!

Quilt Summary..

Fabric: Poetica, by Pat Bravo, and some Kona solids.
Size: 53" x 72"

The design is based off of an 18 degree triangle template. I used the EZ Dresden ruler to cut wedges from a ginormous (54"x54") log cabin block. I arranged the wedges randomly in 8" rows, using a gray Kona solid as the background.

I did straight line quilting that echos the 18 degree triangle on the back of the quilt. The binding is machine sewn.

I love back! The triangle makes me so happy, and the light purple is such a great contrast to the dark gray on the front. I don't mind exclaiming over how much I love the back, because, to be honest - the front sort of didn't turn out as great as I had imagined! It's sooo dark. Too dark! I think I can live with it though. :)

Lots and lots and lots of pics! I'm really happy about this quilt, but it's future is yet to be determined. This one might be a gifter.

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and really, a great summer - hard to believe it's almost over!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chained 5 Patch Block

I could fill a really long post with a smorgasbord of things that have been going on life-wise lately! Quilting-wise, eh, not so much. It's been a bit slow around here, but I did get a new 1/4" piecing foot and two new quilting books, so that's... somethin... :P

I got the new quilting foot because the old one I had seemed like it wasn't made very well and the guide shook quite a bit, making it not perfectly accurate. It also liked to fold back my fabric, instead of letting it feed through smoothly. The new foot works much better, which will be really helpful in making this quilt for my sister's birthday! (She doesn't read my blog. :) )

I found the block, and tutorial on the Quilter's Cache. I had a lot of fun time going through their collection! I would suggest using their tutorial for this block (duh, lol - I hope this post doesn't come off as a tutorial of a tutorial), as it was pretty easy to follow, but I thought showing you guys photographs might be helpful while going though it. Their tutorial has some computer/graphic images, and text, but for me real photographs are always a big plus! So here we go!

 Color 1:

Color 2:

Color 3:

Color 4: (Eventually you will cut this 18" strip into smaller pieces.)

Step 1: Sew the following blocks together, and then slice it in half.

Step 2: Now sew these blocks together, and slice it in half.

Step 3: Sew these blocks together, slice again!

Step 4: Cut your 18" strip into the following sizes:

Step 5: Now you only have a few pieces left - sew them together as shown below on the left. Grab your pieces from step 3 and sew them together with the strip below. The resulting block will need two white (color 4) 2.5"x5" pieces sewn to the top and bottom.

Arrange your strips as shown in the block layout and you're done! Hopefully that made sense and was easy to follow - like I said, I just wanted to show you guys photos of what I did. I'm not the greatest at explaining things, so I'd definitely refer to the original tutorial. :)

Umm, yea - so I'm a nerd (aren't we all? I mean, c'mon, we have quilting blogs, hehe), and a bit obsessive about making sure this quilt will look really nice for my sister, so I laid out a section of it in photoshop. (Hey, I gotta do something on my lunch break!) I wanted to be sure I was going to like the colors/arrangement. It's not completely accurate, but it helped me make the decision to use brown as the "anchor" color.

I need to make six blocks a week to finish it in time for her birthday! I think I can, I think I can!!

Well guys, I've got a lot of crap going on for the next 3-4 weeks - lots of travel and wedding prep! I sort of saved everything until the last minute, that's just how I be. I'm going to try to squeeze in sewing time wherever I can to take my mind off veils, music selections, decorations, portapotty's (we are so classy) and all that craziness. Thanks for stickin with me while I'm a bit blog-absent! :D

PS AQS in Grand Rapids this weekend! I'm going on Saturday!! Is anyone going?

PSS EZ Dresden deadline is a week away! All I have left is the binding! :) :) Double smileys.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Story behind the name and a birthday quilt

It's been a very busy week for me! I've spent almost every night this week researching and shopping for a new car. I'm really excited about finally making a purchase, but it doesn't make for a very interesting story, so I'll just summarize by saying that I haven't been doing much sewing!

Okay, how about a mini-story that is quilting related? Like, how I came about choosing my blog name. When I made my first quilt and everyone in my family found out, all of a sudden I was hearing a lot of, "Make me a quilt!" And that's pretty much it. :)

One person that wants a quilt that I haven't gotten around to yet is my sister. I've been putting it off because I want her quilt to be perfect... Her birthday is coming up in September, and maybe it's crazy to take on a new project with a month left until my wedding, but I'm going for it!

I LOVE this set of fabric,  I mean.. I really love it. I have been staring at it for a week, folding and stacking the fabrics, thinking about what I want to do with them. I can't take credit for how well these colors go together - ahhh, I totally stole this color scheme from Rachel, (Stitched in Color), who put together an awesome "blogger bundle" called "Berry Picking" for Pink Castle Fabrics. Go buy the bundle because it's perfect! :D

I would have bought this bundle, but I had to stop myself... I decided to look through my stash and see if I had anything that would work, and then use the gift certificate I won to purchase additional fabrics to complete the set as best I could. I still might snap up that Berry Bundle - I just need to cool my jets on the ol fabric budget for a minute!

Now I know why everyone loves Flea Market Fancy so much.. the fabric is even prettier in person, and I'm sure I'll be buying some more of the brown in the future, it's gorgeous!

So back to the quilt I'm going to make from these fabrics. My sister is a more "traditional" type of person. She really likes vintage stuff and "old-fashioned" decor. I don't think she'd like anything wonky or really modern. The colors in this fabric set might even be a little too bright for her taste, but I've picked out a really cute block pattern that has a "classic"/traditional look to it that I think she'll like.

In my next post I'll show you the block and a step-by-step on how to make it. Here's a preview!

Thanks for stopping by! :)