10 February 2012

Punch Drunk Adventures, Part 2

I finished the sample square for my two-tone Drunk Love quilt. Since this is the first time I’m using a pattern, I wanted to make sure that it was all going to come together before I cut up yards and yards of the fabric I’m using for the actual quilt.

I proudly showed this off to my mother (whose fabric and tool stash would make one suppose she is a quilter, although I have never seen any finished projects or even seen her sew), and she looked at it for a moment or two and then meekly said nothing is straight. I explained that it wasn’t supposed to be straight; that it’s probably harder to make because none of it is symmetric, and she said, “Well, won’t that be unique!”

So what have I learned? Each square is a lot of work! It took 21 pieces of fabric. I realized that it is really really important to cut the pattern pieces as precisely as possible. I also confirmed that because none of the pieces are symmetric, it’s especially important to keep everything facing in the right direction. This is something that Denyse Schmidt's book explains how to do in great detail and works really well! I also learned that this quilt is going to take me approximately 4 years to finish!

08 February 2012

Fabric Alphabet Book

Here’s another project I just finished as part of my big Catch Up. It has been bothering me because it’s time sensitive. The recipient is growing up fast! (Actually, it’s for two recipients – twins.) 

I just loved this panel when I saw it and it looked like it would be so easy to do! It was easy, but it should have been easier. The pattern was just printed a bit off the edge of the fabric, so nothing really lined up as well as it should have in theory. Plus, I don’t know if it was the printing, or how the fabric was wound on the bolt, or what, but the print was seriously skewed – as if the fabric was stretched out. When I cut out the pages, nothing was straight, and so it all came out a bit wonky. Finally, when it came to the final stitching up the center of the book, it was too thick to fit through my machine, so I (clumsily) hand sewed it. It all just adds to the charm, right?!

There is a page to add who the book is for and who made it, and this was my first time writing on a piece of fabric. I went to the regular craft store and bought a permanent fabric pen, and then practiced trying to write with it on some scrap fabric. It looked pretty awful, but better when I put a strip or two of painter’s tape on the back of it. I searched online to see if I could find any tips to make it look better, and I found a few people swearing by gel pens. The very next day I was meeting a friend at the local quilt shop, and lo and behold – permanent fabric gel pens! I still used painter’s tape on the back of the fabric when I wrote on it, but I had MUCH better luck with the gel pens. They both look fine, but the gel pen is so much easier to write with, and it caught on the fabric less than the other pen. Good to know!

06 February 2012

Catch Up

I know I’m not alone in having a bunch of unfinished projects, but they make me kind of anxious. While I appreciate that having all sorts of projects or a huge stash exhilarates some of you, for me it’s like I’m a step closer to becoming a hoarder. (And this brings up all sorts of personal fears that I’m going to inherit the hoarding tendencies that seem to plague my mom’s side of the family tree!)

So I’m on a mission to play catch up to get these projects finished and follow through on as many of my crafting/DIY plans as possible. Over the weekend I made some headway by sending out some cards and working on two little sewing projects. I started these Christmas pillow covers over a year ago!

Altogether it took only a few hours to make these (so why did I drag it out over a year?!?!). I bought a charm pack and made the front, and then added a border with the same fabric I used for the back. (I followed the simple instructions HERE for the back of the pillow.) That’s it! Simple, finished. Now I can put them away for the next 9 months.

03 February 2012

Punch Drunk Adventures, Part 1

I’m going to make a quilt! With a pattern and everything. I’ve always loved Drunk Love by Denyse Schmidt, especially the two-tone versions. (I have to admit that I have a name blockage on this and always call it Punch Drunk, so that is what I will call it henceforth. For some reason, I'm more comfortable talking about my Punch Drunk Adventures than my Drunk Love Adventures...that's for my other secret blog...) Anyway, I bought this gorgeous shot cotton for it, which has really rich beautiful colors. The bottom two blues in the photo are going to be the top of the quilt, and the top two purples are for the back.

So far, the fabric is bought, washed, and ironed! I got some good thread to sew with, and I have also read the book. Yes, I actually read it, and followed all the directions to a T so far. (Like cutting the edges of my fabric with pinking shears before washing, and ironing everything while the fabric is still damp.) Until now my quilting experience is just what I’ve made up on my own, so I sometimes worry that I am missing out on some big secret they would teach in a class.

I took the book to a copy shop and enlarged the pattern to size called for. It was a little harder than I expected, and the copy shop clerk was super accommodating while not being able to actually help me do anything because she’s not allowed to copy copyrighted materials. The full-size pattern pieces would not fit on one page, so I had to cut parts of each block pattern in smaller pieces and then enlarge the pieces on 11x17. I ended up with these.

So, I’m off to a good start! Next up – cutting the fabric. I’m strangely nervous about this. There is so much, and I don’t want to mess it up and waste all my beautiful fabric. Do I cut enough for a square at a time, or cut it all so I am ready to go on all 36 squares? I’m leaning towards cutting everything all at once. Actually, I think I’m going to cut a sample square and sew it up and then decide. Wish me luck!