I know I haven’t been posting much lately. In my non-quilting life, I am an office manager/accountant for a small software company. We were just acquired by Pitney Bowes, and the last few months have been submitting thousands of documents to make the merger happen. I’ve been working 9+ hour days and weekends to get my part together. And now that the deal is closed, I will have more time for quilting, since I sure miss it!
I have made some progress on a few things. I finished the quilt top for the Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt-Along. It was a really fun quilt to make and I’m loving how it came out. I’m not sure how I want to quilt it. January is the assembly month, so I caught up with the group and am eligible for the giveaway prizes.
Mostly, I have been working on my cross stitch. For the last month, I’ve had enough energy when I get home to put something on the TV and stitch for 30-60 minutes and then pass out. Bad for quilting progress, great for the cross stitch. The letters are wonderful (it will say “Zelda”) since I can do the outline and then mindlessly fill in while I watch something.
My life should resume a normal pace and balance now, so there will be more regular updates. I’m getting ready to pattern test a beautiful quilt for Desert Bloom Quilting (more on that later). I also have two wedding quilts to put together, and signed up for an NES Block of the Month. Plus, of course, my 2016 Quilt-Along which it’s not too late to sign up for.
With a whole 3 days to spare, I have the last of my Christmas gifts finished. This year, I made two sets of pillow cases. The first is for my friend’s son who is obsessed with the Avengers.
Next, is for my buddy who is obsessed with Spider-Man. I promised him a Spider-Man quilt when he graduated from college… and then I moved and ended up getting rid of the fabric. So though this isn’t a quilt, hopefully it will be close enough to what I promised him.
I mailed my Mega Swap gift for the SpriteStitch.com swap on Saturday. It was going all the way to the UK, so I was expecting it to take 1-2 weeks to get there. It completely shocked me by arriving on Wednesday. And that means I can share the presents now.
My buddy is BlackMageHeart who is one of the moderators for Sprite Stitch (no pressure). When I first saw her name, my first thought was to make a quilt with a Black Mage sprite from Final Fantasy. I was inspired by this quilt that Quiltoni made a few years ago… until I remembered the Quiltoni made it for BMH for the Swap a few years ago *face palm* I then got the idea, with Quiltoni’s permission, to make matching pillow shams. She sent me the sprite so it was easy to put together.
I made 2 pillow shams. Quiltoni uses batiks so I tried to match her colors. It was also my first time making shams, and I’m very happy with how they came out. I inadvertently got a body fabric that blended in with the background for the one pillow, but I think it gives it a neat effect.
In addition to the shams, I made regular pillowcases.
I cross stitched a Black Mage sprite onto each one. This was my first time cross stitching onto fabric and it was easier than I was expecting. I drew a grid (1/8″ increments) onto the fabric using a washable marking pen. And then I got to stitching. When I was finished, I washed the pillowcases and the stitching held up perfectly (phew!)
Lastly, I was trying to think what Black Mage items BMH didn’t have and I decided to make a clock. A buddy is a carpenter and gave me some left over cabinet wood. Another buddy has a jigsaw and cut out the outline. I painted it using acrylic paints. I bought a clock kit from Klockit where they provide you with the movement, hands, and nuts in one kit and you just need to put it together. Making a clock was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The clock is 12″ x 18″ which did require an expedition to find a box that would fit it.
I’m participating in a craft exchange through SpriteStitch.com. I’m participating in both the mini and mega swaps. Until our buddies receive their gifts, we’re on a media blackout for talking about what we’re doing. And for me who gets excited about anything and loves sharing, it’s been rough!
My mini swap buddy received her gift so I can talk about them. I made her a set of placemats, featuring appliques of some of her favorite games. From the top left, clockwise, we have Skyrim, Zelda, Dragon Age, and Fire Emblem. I used the Soft Fuse brand fusible web and then blanket stitched around the edges. The pink fabric is gradated and though it looks like there is some funky lighting from the top two to the bottom two, that’s actually the fabric. The placemats are machine washable.
My buddy also told me that she loves Disney and her favorite is Belle. I found this beautiful stained glass fabric on Spoonflower.com. People can design and print their custom fabrics, and make them available for others to purchase. And my friend Heather is again modeling the apron. The lighting was a little bright that day 🙂
Close up of the rose pocket. I knew I had this rose fabric … somewhere. I had to dig through all of my boxes to find it but I finally did find it at the very bottom of the last box. But it looks really good so I forgive the fabric for being hidden.
Last month, I went to PAX Prime* (!!!). My buddy scored tickets at the last minute and surprised me (and I had been having the worst week ever so it was extra special). I had been wanting to do a Chell** cosplay for awhile, so this seemed like a good opportunity. Most of the items were purchased from Amazon. I made the boots with a tutorial here.
Here is Chell from the video game:
And this is me. In the picture on the left, I have just used a portal to come out of the wall. I borrowed my other friend’s light up Portal gun (because of course he had a light up Portal gun… and it made the portal noises).
Here are the boots up close.
In the game, she uses a companion cube to assist while solving the puzzle.
I made a companion cube shirt for my buddy, using fusible interfacing. It has the cube on both the front and back.
In the game, she uses the gun to move the companion cube, so here I am moving my friend.
Probably the coolest moment was when we were at the Alienware booth and the booth person had a Valve lanyard (Valve is who makes the Portal games). He said “you need this more than I do” and gave me his lanyard, which did complete the outfit. Including an Alienware pin (I love Alienware).
*PAX Prime – Penny Arcade Expo. It’s a massive gaming convention located in Seattle that sells out in about 7 minutes. It’s sort of a pilgrimage that all gamers/geeks/nerds must someday take. This is the main convention in Seattle. There are 2 others, but it’s not like a Comicon where each city has its own.
**Chell – Character from the video game Portal. It’s a puzzle game where you’re trying to get out of locked rooms. Chell uses her portal gun to create portals and go through walls/floors/etc. Her longfall boots allow her to safely fall long distances.
I’m still here! This past month has been crazy and very little quilting has been happening. I did finish one of my gifts for my swap buddy on SpriteStitch, but until I finish her other gifts and she receives them, I can’t post pictures.
Yesterday, I took a class at Quality Sewing to make a canvas tote bag. I have very little experience in making 3D items (bags, clothes, etc). There was a Groupon for this class so I decided to take it. It was really fun and fast to make this bag. I was in the classroom for about 2 hours. They provided all of the material and we used their machines. The machine was a Brother embroidery and sewing machine and the first thing that we did was embroider our bag. Then we switched to the sewing mode and assembled the bag. Even though I would rarely use it, I desperately want an embroidery machine now.
The inside of the bag:
I have a Bernina and before that a Husqvarna. I also had a Tin Lizzie longarm in my old life in Arizona. All of them have the presser foot lever behind the machine. I don’t know if it’s all Brothers or these machines in particular, but the press foot lever was on the side. The teacher said “lower your presser foot” and I was rubbing my hand all over the back of the machine and couldn’t find it! After about 30 seconds of me being confused and her saying “just put the foot down”, she had to show me where the lever was. I felt special.
The weirdest thing was that the machines didn’t have a foot pedal. You press a button and it starts sewing at a constant speed. To speed up or slow down the machine, you move a slider. It was an interesting experience. When I sew, I’m usually holding my material really carefully and firmly to make sure it stays where I want it to be, so having to think that I needed to let go and move my hand to a certain button and press a certain thing to get it to stop was difficult. I much prefer the almost subconscious way I do that with a pedal. They also had regular pins rather than the silk pins which I use religiously. Since they were regular pins (thicker), we couldn’t sew over them. I had a “how do I sew if I can’t sew over pins?” moment and ended up sewing without pinning for most of the bag. You can also set the machine to automatically backstitch and cut the thread, which was pretty spiffy. And it told you when the bobbin was low.
It was a great experience and a fun class, once I figured out how to use the machine. I’m thinking that everyone is getting a bag for Christmas.
Remember in November when I bought Doctor Who fabric to make Christmas aprons? I ended up not making them in time and the fabric has just been hanging out… waiting… until my friend’s birthday. Since a Doctor Who apron is a much better birthday gift than Christmas gift … because of … reasons.
Anywho, I spent the day working on the apron. I got the pattern from WhatTheCraft.com and I don’t think I can rave enough about her patterns. I have extensive quilting experience, but almost 0 experience making clothes (and no experience making things correctly, just guessing). Her pattern says that it’s for beginners, but I had my doubts. Her instructions were so detailed and there were pictures for each step, it was so easy to make (all 80 steps of it). For the pattern, you get a 16 page file of the pattern pieces which you print on regular letter paper, tape together, and then cut out the shapes. And that may be a common thing but my experience is just the patterns on the light brown tissue paper so I appreciate her pattern being easy to print.
Here is the fabric cut out with the pattern pieces. I found a teal batik to match the colors in the Tardis fabric.
Close up of the fabric. I used a cotton poplin. It’s thicker than I’m used to (compared to regular cottons) and I was worried it was too thick, but since it’s an apron that will be used and washed, I think it’s an appropriate thickness.
I got some off white ruffle trim from Joanns and made the skirt.
Next up was the bodice, including some ruching at the top. And throughout all of this, I didn’t sew myself to anything! Not even once! I was also thinking this could work as a swimsuit, with different fabrics.
I got both halves put together and had my finished apron!
The problem with aprons is that they don’t look quite so fabulous laying down, so when I gave it to my friend, I took pictures of the apron being worn. And I taught Paul how to bevel.
When I was learning to quilt, I took a lot of ___ of the Month classes. I find them really fun and a great way to build skills. I also like that you’re working on smaller chunks or projects so it’s more manageable than making a whole quilt. This was from the Table Runner of the Month club at Quilter’s Market (in Tucson). I think this was the only one that I actually completed… oops. What’s cool about this is that this is one table runner. The class was working on Quilt as you Go so this is a fun, reversible runner. It was a gift to my boss’ wife.
Next up are aprons that I made for my mom and aunt. My mom refers full aprons and loves her puppies, so I found this fabric at JoAnn’s. The bone heart is a pocket. My aunt refers the half aprons, and her heart is also a pocket.
Continuing with non-quilt projects…
First up is the Boo iPhone case that I stitched for my friend Brian. They sell rubbery cases that have the cross stitch holes cut into the case. You then design whatever you want (they provide some ideas) and stitch it up. His favorite Mario character is Boo and any time we play Mario Party or Mario Kart or such, we all know to give him Boo. And purple is his favorite color.
I know that when I think about cell phone cases, I immediately think about scarves … so here are some scarves that I’ve made. I have trouble knitting with needles because I suck at it and it’s tough on my hands. I can crochet find but it takes forever. One day during a break in class, one of my students was knitting on a loom. She showed me how it worked and I went out and bought a set. Brian and I (oh, there’s the connection between iPhones and scarves) both took up loom knitting since it’s easy to do while you’re doing other things and is great for people like us who can’t sit still. Here is my loom with a scarf in progress.
With the loom, I learned some basic stitches and made some scarves with 1 or 2 colors of yarn. Usually, the color blocks are horizontal. I wanted to figure out a way to make them vertically, so I came up with my own technique. It makes a cool zipper effect in the middle. This one used Red Heart yarn and is Seahawks colors for my friend who is a Hawks fan. And I liked it so much, I made myself an identical one.
After doing a few scarves like this and the regular technique, I wanted to see if I could make patterns in the loom. It’s not quite as straightforward as it would be with needle knitting. I started with a Doctor Who / Tardis scarf for my other friend. I used a wider loom than the one above, and I’m really happy with how it came out.
The next pattern was a heart. This is probably my favorite so far. I don’t have a finished picture anywhere, but I did finish it… I think. It has a heart on either end. I was thinking it might be cool to have a whole poker series of scarves.
Today, I want to share some of my non-quilt projects. First up are the pillowcases that I made for my mom and my ex’s mom for Christmas many moons ago. I took a class on how to do paper piecing and these were the projects. I made them entirely with scraps except for the outer border of chili peppers. I made 10 total placemats, 2 of each color.
My dad’s girlfriend had remodeled her kitchen and had added new white cabinets with grey slightly-translucent glass and wood handles. I sneaked a picture and then designed matching placements. She lives in San Diego and I was in Tucson at the time, so I mailed them to her. When I went to visit, she proudly showed me the placements being used to protect her bedroom dresser from the (dirty) tube TV scratching it… broke my heart a little but she was so happy. (She’s also now an ex, so it’s okay to post this story 🙂 ).
Lastly, when I was teaching, I had a student who was struggling at the school (it was a college prep school) and just wanted to drop out, get a hippie van, and live down by the river. For Christmas, I made her zebra print pillows to go in her van.