Adventures in the life of a gorram nerd

Posts tagged ‘How to’

Chell at PAX Prime

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:

Chell Portal Aperture science laboratories  long fall longfall boots portal gun PAX Prime 2015

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.

Chell Portal Aperture science laboratories long fall longfall boots portal gun PAX Prime 2015 Companion Cube Fusible interfacing

I made a companion cube shirt for my buddy, using fusible interfacing. It has the cube on both the front and back.

Chell Portal Aperture science laboratories long fall longfall boots portal gun PAX Prime 2015 Companion Cube Fusible interfacing

In the game, she uses the gun to move the companion cube, so here I am moving my friend.

Chell Portal Aperture science laboratories long fall longfall boots portal gun PAX Prime 2015 Companion Cube Fusible interfacing

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.

 

SpriteStitch QAL – Progress Update 4

As of my prior update, I had all of the panels sewn, cut, and ironed. The next step was to sew, cut, and iron again 🙂

The next round of sewing was fast and surprisingly easy. The pressed seams lined up really well and it wasn’t too bulky.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 

However, when I went to cut the seams opened, I had some difficulty. With the prior round’s seams included, there was more bulk than the first time I cut and often the fabric extended farther out than the fusible. This made it a little difficult since the fusible was what I needed to cut through. I had to cut the seams to maybe 1/8″ (instead of 1/4″) and be super careful to not cut through any of the seams. And since there were more layers, it required more pressure (and probably needed a new rotary blade *cough* ).

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 

After I cut about 2 blocks, it occurred to me to test being able to press the seams open. Because of how small they were, I couldn’t press them open. But I could press them regularly, which was fine with me because it meant I didn’t need to cut anything else. And by “press regularly”, it was more akin to “smash the panels with an iron until they were sort of in the ballpark of flat”. I smash/pressed each panel into submission. I then attached the rows together and ran into an unexpected problem… one row was longer than the other two. I started with 1″ squares that were supposed to end at 1/2″ but there was some variability. The bigger problem was that there was a different amount of shrinkage for the first round of sewing to the second (I’m not sure if this was due to user error, small size of the squares, or is expected. The tutorial recommends quilt shop fabric to avoid fabric distortion, which I am using, so we can rule that out). When I was all “I’m going to be smart and sew whichever side has more seams first”, it resulted in my sewing the vertical seams of 6 panels and horizontal of 3. Next time, I would sew all of the vertical seams then all of the horizontal. I’d end up with a finished rectangle instead of a square, but better than my trapezoid.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 became

 Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

I was able to pin the heck out of the longer piece to get it to attach to the smaller one, so it wasn’t a huge deal and when I go to quilt it, I imagine that there will be enough stretch in the left side to get this to look close to a square. The panel is around 23″ (supposed to 25″… close enough!).

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

From the back:

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

The project is supposed to have 3 more panels but I’m questioning what I want to do. It was fun to make but a little tough on my wrists. So I don’t know, we’ll see. I was thinking of making a larger one with 1 1/2″ squares since I imagine it’ll be easier to work with. The panel would finish at 50″ (theoretically) and I could add borders and have a quilt that way.

SpriteStitch QAL – Progress update 3

As of last week, I had 3 of the 9 Link panels sewn. I finished sewing the other 6. The seams need to be pressed open to reduce the bulk. Since I’m working with a single piece of fusible for each panel, the next step is slicing a tiny piece off of each seam so they can be pressed open. I flipped each panel over and (very carefully) sliced a tiny little bit off of each seam.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

Here is the waste off of all 9 panels. It only took me about an hour and a half to cut and I didn’t cut into any of the quilt (phew).

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 

It also reminded me of this dog art I saw last year on Bainbridge Island. I’m wondering how hard it would be to turn those pieces into the dog.

Shaggy dog art sunglasses sculpture Bainbridge Island

 

Because of the amount of cutting and tools to quickly cut a ton of squares, I knew there was a high probability that I would cut myself. Especially at this stage, my hand was going to be right next to the blade and since I was free-handing it, I bought the Klutz glove on Amazon. [Quick note – none of my links are referral links, so I don’t generate any revenue if you buy something I share. I just want to share the tools I use.] I bought the medium which is a little large, but otherwise, it’s great. The glove has wire mesh in it to protect your hand and the white grippy dots will hold onto a ruler. What’s interesting is that the front packaging says that it’s to protect your hand from the rotary cutter but the back says it shouldn’t be used with a moving blade. I’m not really sure how that works, but I feel much safer with the glove!

Fons and Porter Klutz glove rotary cutter cutting glove protection  hand protection

 

After the seams were cut, the next step was pressing them open. For one panel, I tried pressing it to one side and it made it almost impossible to fold over for the next sewing step, so I should have trusted the tutorial. I put something on Netflix and ironed all of my seams open. This is one of the panels.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 

And here are all 9 of the panels laid out. Each square starts at 1″ and finishes at 0.5″. Because of how I sewed the seams, there is the distorted effect in the blocks. After the next round of sewing, everyone will shrink up and fit together, since it looks pretty funky now.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 

Next up: Everything gets run through the machine again and the opposite seams get sewn. Then more cutting and pressing, and the panels will be complete!

SpriteStitch QAL – Progress update 2

I’m continuing to make progress on Link. I spent a second evening gluing the squares and finished panel 5-9. The last step in the whole process will be attaching the panels.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

This is a close up of the first panel. You can see how the block looks up close with the squares next to each other.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

Step 5 – Sew

After everything was glued, I folded, right sides together, along the previously drawn lines and sewed a 1/4″ seam. I repeated for each vertical seam. When you sew using a 1/4″ seam, you lose 1/2″ total (1/4″ on each side). My squares started at 1″, so they’re going to finish at 1/2″. You can see how much the squares are shrinking up compared to their original sizes. These aren’t pressed so the shrink will ultimately be a little less dramatic, but you get the idea.

This picture is what the panels look like after all of the vertical seams are sewn. The fabric just folds around itself; it’s pretty cool looking. I was able to finish 3 of the panels last night. Once I get the other 6 completed, the next step will be cutting a tiny piece off of every seam so that I can press the seams open (there will be pictures). I am realizing that I won’t be able to do 4 panels in 30 days so I’m either going to do 2 panels in 30 days and then do some regular piecing to fill in where the other 2 panels would be, or turn this into a 4 panels in 60 days project… we’ll see. I do plan to try to keep up with the original timeline.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

As a math person, I usually calculate how many seams I’ll need to sew on a project. For a regular project (without the fusible), it’s one fewer seam than the number of pieces. So this block is 50 squares x 50 = 2,500 pieces. If I were to have attached this regularly, it would have taken me 2,499 seams. But, with this method, it’s only about 200 seams (and could be fewer if I attached the panels first). It’s still about the same amount of thread, but so much faster.

SpriteStitch QAL – Progress update 1

Happy Star Wars Day!

Saturday was the official kickoff of the SpriteStitch.com Stitch/Quilt-along. Officially it’s a Stitch-along, but since I’m doing it as a quilt, it’s a Quilt-along (QAL) for me.

After we submitted designs (52 in total), everyone got a week to vote on their favorites. From our favorites, the moderator randomly selected our first pattern on Saturday. We have a week to work on it and then next Saturday, the second pattern is chosen at random. Repeat for 4 weeks.

Here is the first pattern: Cucco Attack from A Link to the Past

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL

I’m really excited to try the fusible backing technique outlined on Cora’s Quilts. I’ve seen this before and have always been intrigued. The idea is that you:

  1. Take a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (which is lightweight fabric, one side with heat activated glue) and draw a grid onto it
  2. Cut out a zillion squares
  3. Lay them on the grid
  4. Iron to fuse the squares into place
  5. Sew along the grid lines

Step 1 – draw the grid

I’m using the Pellon 906F which is a featherweight fusible. In the picture, you can see how it’s very thin and translucent so it shouldn’t add too much weight to the finished product. This project will use about 17 yards of it (it’s only 20″ wide) so I ended up buying a bolt at JoAnns of 20 yards. I cut out the different size pieces that I’ll need for my first block (what’s in the picture is just for one block).

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

 

I turned on Netflix in the background and drew out my grid. The finished squares will be 1/2″ so the unfinished squares are 1″, as well as the grid. The pieces of Pellon add up to be 50″ x 50″. I just used a regular mechanical pencil to draw the grid lines on.

  Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

Step 2: Cut the squares

Next up was cutting the zillion squares. For this, I (finally) broke down and bought the Shape Cut ruler by June Tailor. It has slots in the ruler every 1/2″ (the slots are easier to see at the bottom) so you lay out your fabric and then cut at the increment that you need. You can cut strips, and then if you want squares, you turn the ruler 90 degrees and subcut into squares. Also, the circle in the center of the ruler is my light fixture… the rulers are very reflective.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting

Since I’m cutting 10,000 squares this month, the ruler seemed like an appropriate investment. This is the first time that I used it and it was amazing. I cut about 3,000 squares in an hour and a half. To hold the fabric and ruler, I did need to get my fingers really close to the rotary blade, so I just ordered the Klutz Glove to protect my hand. The subtitle of this project is “how I finally used every tool and gadget I’ve ever purchased”. This picture is the black fabric after it had been turned into squares.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting

 

And here are all ~3,000 squares (I only need 2,500 but I cut extras of the blacks, whites, and background).

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting

 

Step 3 – Layout in a grid

The next day, I went over to my ironing board, laid out the first piece of the fusible interfacing grid, and started placing my squares. These have not been ironed yet, just laid out. My ironing board can only comfortably hold about 11″ worth of squares, so I’d lay 11 rows and then iron.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

Step 4 – Fuse

Being very careful to not move the squares, I used the iron to fuse them into place. Here is block 1, which is 18″ x 20″

SpriteStitch 2015 Week 1 - Link to the Past Cucco Attack panel 1

I fused panels 1-4 and part of panel 5. The panels are not connected to each other; that will be the very last step in assembling the block.

Sprite Stitch SpriteStitch KG Cross Stitch PC Stitch NES SNES Link Zelda Link to the Past Cucco Cuccos Chickens Attack cross stitch quilt pattern stitch-along quilt-along QAL shape cut ruler June Tailor fast rotary cutting Pellon 906F Fusible Interfacing web Steam-a-seam

Tonight, I plan to finish fusing panels 5-9. Then Tuesday – Friday all involve sewing and pressing seams. My goal is to have this block completely done by Saturday when the next block comes out. We’ll see!

Sewing strips and tricks

I’m making some great progress on the wedding quilt blocks. I started by cutting all of the fabric into 2.5″ strips (which are approximately 40″ long). 2.5″ strips are one of my favorite things to work with since they give you so many possibilities of what you can do. In most (all?) cases, I make strip sets where I sew a certain number of strips together a specific way and then subcut for my pattern. Today, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks for sewing accurate strip sets.

For the wedding quilt, I ended up with 20 inner-beige and 40 outer-color strips. The way that I’m making the block is to sew the strips together and then subcut to get the actual 6.5″ blocks. This is a faster and more accurate way to build the blocks than to cut all of the pieces at 2.5″ x 6.5″ and then sew them together.

Pastel wedding color palette pink brown tan wedding quilt guest book quilt layout Inkscape Rail Fence signature block blocks photo fabric Pacific Fabrics Dots Zig Zag Flowers

When you’re sewing fabric, because of how it feeds into the machine, the top piece gets stretched and pushed back just a little while the bottom is pulled through just a little so things don’t exactly line up the way you had originally had them. This can actually be handy if you have two pieces where one is slightly longer than the other – put the shorter one on top. If they’re more than slightly off, then you may want to recut (do as I say, not as I do…). For my Bernina, I have a walking foot which is great to avoid the stretching problem for sewing on binding but I don’t like using it for piecing. I exclusively use my #37 1/4″ foot for all of my sewing, which is a foot that is 1/4″ wide from the center to the outer edge. Since the goal is to sew a 1/4″ seam, then you try to have the fabric lining up with the edge of the foot and you should get a 1/4″ seam.

Bernina Baby Lock Singer Pfaff Sewing foot 1/4" foot Quarter inch foot #37 37 #57 57 walking foot strip piecing tips and tricks

For strips or any time I’m not sewing over pins, I use my Bernina #57 foot. It’s a 1/4″ foot with a guide to block the fabric when it hits the 1/4″ mark. This makes it so easy to sew long strips since you don’t have to pay quite as much attention to ensure that your seam is 1/4″.

Another trick is to sew the strips from opposite sides. If you’re sewing always from the right, then what ends up happening is you get a bit of stretched out fabric when you get to the left times however many seams you’re doing. So, rather, alternate the direction that you’re sewing from. This mitigates the stretch so it doesn’t all end up on one side.

Pastel wedding color palette pink brown tan wedding quilt guest book quilt layout Inkscape Rail Fence signature block blocks photo fabric Pacific Fabrics Dots Zig Zag Flowers strip set sewing strips 2.5" 2.5 inch strip strips tricks tips

Feel free to share any of your tips and tricks in the comment section!

Christmas ornaments – Tutorial

Recently, I was invited to a white elephant exchange. For those who haven’t done one, you bring a gift and it can be nice, weird, random junk, etc then everyone picks numbers and chooses a gift. Later numbers can steal from earlier numbers. I like bringing nice or weird gifts, rather than junk, and I wanted to make something. I knew that the participants were all big Seahawks fans so I started googling around for ornament tutorials. I found this wonderful YouTube tutorial that showed how to take a clear ornament and glue an image on the outside. It seemed easy enough, so I bought some supplies and made a test ornament.

I bought clear glass balls in 2 sizes (2 5/8″ and 3 1/4″) as well as plastic ones (2 5/8″) that snap in half. I could see pros and cons for both types so I wanted to get both to play with. For my white elephant ornament, I used a glass 2 5/8″ ball.

I also purchased Skittles and Jelly Beans to fill the ornaments with. One of the key players on the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch, loves Skittles, so Skittles is sort of the unofficial candy of the Seahawks. I’m also making ornaments for my office and jelly beans are our official office snack during non-football season (Skittles during football season, of course… gotta support the Seahawks!)

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch blue green ribbon Jelly beans Jelly Belly

Additional supplies: Mod Podge glue, paint brush, and ribbon for the top of the ornaments.

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch blue green ribbon

Step 1) Print out the decals that you are going to use. In the YouTube video, the gal uses an old Seahawks program. I didn’t have one of those lying around. The left is the Seahawks logo. Then the top is the Dalek and Tardis from Doctor Who, the ship from the video game Galaga which my boss and I are fiercely competitive at (though I have the top 3 high scores right now… just saying), and then the bottom right is my office logo.

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch blue green ribbon

2) Cut out the decals

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch blue green ribbon

3) Take out the top of the ornament. Fill however far you want with whatever you want.

Reject Skittles

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch

4) Using the paintbrush, brush a small ring at the top of the ornament and glue in the top piece. Then brush a light layer where you are going to glue the decal.

(Sorry, no picture. iPhone plus gluey fingers plus an unsealed ornament seemed like a horrible idea)

5) Lay the decal onto the ornament. Brush another layer of glue on top. *Important* Have an idea of where you’re going to set this to dry. Oops… I frantically grabbed my tea ball holder.

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch blue green ribbon

6) Let the ornament dry.

Glass plastic acrylic ornament ornaments Christmas DIY tutorial how to make an ornament Seahawks Skittles Mod Podge Doctor Who Galaga Marshawn Lynch blue green ribbon

7) After it’s dry, tie the ribbons on the top to make it look nice and pretty. I forgot to get a picture of the final ornament before it went to its new home … next ones, I will make sure to get pictures.

For my next batch, I plan to put the logos higher. I also had a few creases in the paper. But overall, I am thrilled with how it came out. Though I didn’t anticipate the lack of crafty people at the gift exchange and had to explain that you don’t crack it open Easter egg style to get the Skittles out. Or throw it at people as a Skittle/glass bomb. Luckily the gal who took it home understood what not to do.