When this post publishes, I’m going to be sitting in the Portland airport on my way to Toronto, Ontario, to celebrate my birthday with my mom. But before I left, I wanted to post an update on the Helix Nebula cross stitch.
I’m working on page 3 of 12, and you can see how close I’m coming to the far right edge! It’s actually starting to look like something now. I am going to clean up the pattern and plan to release it on Etsy and Craftsy soon.
And here’s what my quilting and sewing space looks like this morning. I finished piecing the top of the cat quilt. I’m waiting for a chance to borrow my mother-in-law’s nice big kitchen floor for an afternoon to baste it together for quilting. In the meantime I started on this Colorwash quilt kit from Craftsy.
The cutting instructions leave a lot to be desired, so thank goodness there was enough extra fabric in the kit to recut pieces (and by the way, pattern designers, would it kill you to take ten seconds to put a scale on your printable pattern pieces so I can check that the printer actually printed your templates correctly?) So that setback was kind of incredibly frustrating, but I’ll live.
What are you working on today?
I learned a lot from my flag-making journey these past few weeks, figuring out how to cut nylon without egregious fraying and also making up my own technique for appliqueing with nylon. I honestly made it up as I went along, which also entailed removing and redoing about two days’ worth of work. So that future flag-makers won’t have the same problem, I humbly present to you my guide to applique for nylon flags.
When I’m not doing something with needle and thread, my other hobby is creative writing. Like everybody else it seems, I am writing a novel. It’s set in an alternate universe, which meshes very well with my spouse’s hobby of designing flags. He’s been begging me for a while to make the flag of Arcadia, the country where my book is set, and I finally did it!
The flag is 3 feet tall by 5.5 feet wide (about .9 by 1.7 meters) and made entirely of nylon. The stars are appliqued onto the background fabric (a tutorial on that is coming later).
I must say that working with nylon is a pain in the butt. I couldn’t cut a good straight line with a rotary cutter, both because of the size of the pieces and because this fabric frays when you just look at it. I read a lot of different opinions on how to cut synthetic fabrics, and ultimately went with using a soldering iron. It melts through the fabric, so you get a clean, finished edge. You need a heat-proof cutting surface and rulers for this to work. I cut it on a concrete garage floor with a metal yardstick. Ventilation is also extremely important, because it smells as good as you would imagine melting, burning plastic to smell.
The sewing was also a challenge, because the fabric is very slippery and won’t hold a crease. Pinning was right out, so I ended up gluing each seam down with a washable glue stick before sewing (but you have to let it dry, or else explain to the sewing machine repair shop why there are blobs of glue inside your sewing machine).
I didn’t want to spring for a grommet setting device, so right now there isn’t a way to hang it from a flagpole. I just hung it on the wall behind my sewing table with some binder clips.
It’s been two months since the last Helix Nebula stitch update. I haven’t finished the second page of the pattern yet, but not for lack of trying.
I’ve also been trying to finish the quilt top for my cat-block quilt. I have to finish it so that I can put the big ironing board away and we can get our living room back.
I have three (of six) rows sewn with sashing. Today I don’t have classes or any pressing homework, so my goal is to finish the rows and (maybe?) start sewing them together.
(Cat-block pattern is from here.)
I put a lot of pins and needles in our couch’s armrest, and it doesn’t seem fair to the poor thing. We do celebrate its birthday, after all, and it is just rude to be poking it all the time. So I made a little pincushion and sewing caddy to keep all my sewing and cross stitching supplies in one place, and out of the cushions.
I roughly followed this tutorial that I found on a blog called During Quiet Time, with some extra inspiration from Poppyprint’s rendition of this armrest pincushion.
The thing I like most about this is the big pocket for holding bags of embroidery floss while I cross stitch. No more will they be strewn all over the table next to the couch!
Pictures of the work in progress, and notes on what I changed from the original tutorial, are under the cut.
This was a productive week for me; I finished two commissioned sewing projects, most recently this fun leopard print foldover clutch:
And yes, I did take the clutch to a local café for a photoshoot. The light in my apartment has been miserable since autumn has fallen; we had so much rain yesterday I forgot the sun exists.
The leopard print, lining fabric, & the zipper were from Joann Fabrics. I made a little wrist strap from a strip of the leopard print folded over some stiff interfacing. I used lightweight interfacing on both the lining and the leopard print, so the bag is nicely sturdy and can stand up by itself. There’s also a little pocket inside for a phone.
The customer was very pleased with it and is excited to take it out on the town this season. Are you making any new accessories for fall?
I have so many cross stitch works in progress going at the moment; I had them spread all over the coffee table, in dangerous proximity to open cups of tea and such. So I decided to make a nice case to hold all my supplies, keeping them safe, clean, and easy to pick up and take with me!
I made the bag from five fat quarters that I got at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon, plus some interfacing I had lying around and a zipper salvaged from a bag that I bought a pillow in. Like the cat & woodgrain bags, I used the basic technique from this Design Sponge tutorial.
For the lining, I sewed three fat quarters together and folded them up to divide the inside into three sections. I put one project into each compartment, and I still have a bit more room. And the bag is big enough to fit a clipboard for pattern pages.
If I had to do it over, I would have put some more/thicker interfacing in the lining so it wasn’t as floppy. The bag stands up alright on its own, but the dividers would be better if they were stiffer.
I also made some more floss bags to hold the flosses for the Steotchalong project (which I still haven’t finished, oops), and for another surprise Christmas present project that I’m working on.
They’re so pretty and useful!
About two weeks ago I spent the day making some cute and useful zippered pouches out of fat quarters. I learned how to make these pouches from this Design Sponge tutorial and they are really so simple that I think anyone who can thread a sewing machine can make them, too. It was so fun picking out fat quarters from the quilt shop to use. Here’s what I made:
If you don’t want to make your own bags, you can buy the ones pictured above in my etsy shop. Supplies are limited (at least until I order more of that adorable cat print)!
I cut my fabric into rectangles that were 9 by 6 inches (22.9 by 15.2 cm). At that size, two fat quarters will give you 3 lined bags, or 6 unlined bags, with very little waste. Two whole yards of fabric would yield 12 bags — that’s a lot of bags, but I have found infinite uses for them. Pencil cases, holding sewing and cross stitching supplies, bags for toiletries and makeup, &c. What would you keep in a little pouch like these?
This past weekend I had the pleasure to visit Sisters, Oregon and the 40th Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show! Although I’m not a quilter (yet), it was so amazing to admire all the gorgeous quilts that they had displayed — and there were even more I couldn’t see before my feet got tired and I had to call it quits. Take a look (warning: this is a super photo-intensive post):
The first quilts I saw at the show.
“Galaxy Grays” exhibited by Susan Cobb, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe
Assorted colorful quilts
Two quilts exhibited by Robert Kaufman Fabrics to celebrate 30 years of Kona cottons. Left quilt made by Empty Bobbins; right quilt by Red Pepper Quilts (both quilts from Los Angeles)
That mannequin stole my dress! (actually, I stole the mannequin’s dress — we’re both wearing Sew Liberated’s Ashland dress. Who wears it better?)
“Red Giant Dahlia” made by Jan Larson of Redmond, OR.
“Remembering Mondrian,” exhibited by Susan Cobb and quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe
detail of quilt titled “One” exhibited by Kristin Swan and quilted by Sandy Lachowski — I loved this one because the design reminded me of Necker cubes
“Trees Around the World,” exhibited by Jean Wells Keenan, made by an unknown quilter
Quilts & quilts & more quilts. It was almost impossible to get a picture that didn’t have other people in it.
“Robot at the Whitehouse,” made by Mary Ann Pettway and exhibited by Gee’s Bend 2015
“Railroad Crossing” hand quilted by China Pettway and exhibited by Gee’s Bend 2015 — I love this one but it was $13,000 to take home.
This is getting my creative juices flowing and making me excited for trying my hand at some quilting! I’ve posted even more pictures from that day on the PDX-Stitch Instagram. I think the last quilt here (“Railroad Crossing”) is the one that inspires me the most, but I love the quilts that use lots of blacks and greys with just a little pop of color. Which quilt is your favorite, and does anyone have plans to attend Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2016?
Like last week, I have two projects in the works this Wednesday. First, the old and familiar:
And next the new and fabulous!
I know it looks finished, but it technically is still in progress — I have to slip stitch the lining closed and also wash & iron it.
I bought this great Adventure Time fabric a few months ago, hoping to make a pair of pajama pants. But alas, I foolishly bought about half a yard too little to make pajama pants, and even more foolishly, discovered this after cutting the fabric into several pieces. So I had a bunch of small and oddly-shaped pieces of the fabric, but I found a great use for them: making bags. I made this lined, zippered pouch today, and later I’ll use this fabric as the lining in a needle felted tote bag that I am also dreaming up.
Making a zippered pouch like this is really quick and easy. I follow this tutorial from Design Sponge.
What are you working on this Wednesday?