Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

Today my brain is feeling a little bit fuzzy. This might be a little stream of consciousness, so welcome to my musings.

I'm not feeling creative or witty or energetic. I'm thinking I might go to bed really early. After I eat an ice cream sandwich. Because ice cream is my favorite dessert. Since I don't like chocolate. Please don't leave me because of that.

I do love pie though. This past weekend I went to the annual pie festival out by Disney that my little sister and I love. I ate 15 different kinds of pie. Then I felt sick. Totally worth it.

I also finished up my mini for the Fab Little Quilt Swap on Flickr. To tell you the truth, I was going to stop on  swaps for a bit after DQS13, but then I got invited to participate in that swap. You have to be invited. I guess I was just so flattered that I figured it didn't matter that I had no free time.

I started out with a completely different plan. Sometimes I like working under the wire because I think I like my final design better than my original sketch, and it just worked out to be like this because I was in a pinch. Figuring out those corner triangle pieces was a bitch. Mathematically it should be simple enough [I'm actually a math tutor, so that is the especially ironic part], but I guess my sewing is just off enough that it made the triangles I cut not work out. I wasted a lot of fabric. Sad. 

Then I broke two needles while quilting because I forgot with my new fancy machine that the bobbin thread gets tucked away behind like 3 little hooks in the bobbin case. I missed one of them because it's less obvious than the others. My tension was fine while sewing a straight line, but when I went to FMQ it all fell apart. I was about ready to tear my hair out when I figured out what was happening.

I discovered that I had a tough time pebbling on white because I couldn't see where I was going and where I'd been. And I was trying to watch the Project Runway finale, and pebbles actually require that you pay attention while quilting. Incidentally, my favorite designer won. Her style is totally me.

It all worked out in the end, although if I were to redo this pattern I think I'd want the setting triangles to be lower volume, so that the "flower" shape in the middle sticks out more. Next time.

Tune in on Thursday for a tutorial for that pillow project that was originally going to be in Stitch Craft Create!

*linked with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Progress and the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool

I've been working on my mini for the Fab Little Quilt Swap...I'm really loving my color combo! This mini actually started out with me thinking I'd paper piece strips of different widths into diamond shapes and then assemble in a traditional layout. But as I was drawing the design out using the Threadbias Design Tool it morphed into this!

I'm still adding more low-volume prints in the negative space, but I'm excited to get to the quilting stage on this project. And um, hello, look at those giraffes that will go on the back. Adorbs.

So back to the Threadbias Design Tool:

I've spent many, many hours over the past two weeks working with the Design Tool, and I have some opinions that I thought I might share:

-$10 a month is great to try it out and see if it's your thing.

-I love that I can just add fabrics to my "Stash" without having to save the swatches myself and upload them into the program [like if you want to add more fabrics in EQ]
-It's basic, and not overwhelming with functions, so it makes it seem more accessible to learn to use it
-You can access the fabric requirements for your designs

-I wish they had more automatic shapes, like a clamshell. I could not draw that shape to save my life, despite about two hours of trying.
-I had a lot of problems with the "Snap-to" feature; you can choose to have your shapes snap to a quarter of an inch, an eighth, etc. But sometimes the snapping would just change on its own, making me very frustrated as I was building my quilt
-You can't choose to "fill"your background. This was also particularly infuriating because the designs I was working with were very modern, so they didn't always have a block structure. If you're making a quilt based on blocks then you can make your blocks and tile them across the quilt, filling in all the space. When I had motifs just scattered across the canvas I was filling the background by just making a large rectangle the size of the canvas and pushing it behind all the other motifs. But then it messes up the fabric requirements listed for each type of fabric. Frustrating!
-You can choose your canvas size for your design via blocks or the entire quilt space, which was nice. But I wish the space within the browser would fill completely with the canvas. One day I hooked my laptop up with my 50" TV, thinking that I could have that huge workspace and would be able to see my entire quilt while working on it. Sadly, the workspace didn't enlarge! It was really hard for me to even out my composition [especially for the quilts that aren't block-based, again] when I couldn't see the entire quilt at once.
-I think a crop tool would be really handy. For instance, in the block above I had to save that design with the low-volume diamonds as the full diamond. Then I cropped it myself in a photo editing program. Some of the shapes you can "separate" them, but those quarter diamonds in the corners wouldn't have been as easy to achieve, because not all of the shapes necessarily cut down to the size that you want.

Even with all of those cons, I appreciated that the software was there for me to use without paying a small fortune. I know that the Design Tool is in its early stages, so I'm anticipating that maybe some of these concerns will be voiced by multiple people and will be addressed by the creators.

So that's my two cents, do with it what you will :)

*Linked up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sartorial Saturday: What is peachskin?

I'm making another version of the Colette Laurel with this super special fabric I got from Korea. I cut it out in a size 4 this time [last version was a size 8 and was huge!] and was thinking about what to do about underlining since it's pretty see-through.

Then I got to thinking that it was too sweet for me. I love the border print, but all of it together might be a little much for me.

I went wandering around for a fabric to pair with it so there's not as much of the floral print. I found a beautiful shade of blue, but the store had it labeled as peachskin.

Does anyone have an opinion about this type of fabric? The floral print is a double-gauze, so can I pair a 100% polyester microfiber with it?

On another note:

I signed up for Me-Made-May '13 over at So, Zo...What do you know? and pledged to wear at least 3 handmade garments per week for the month. I'm excited!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Does anyone want scraps?

I'm doing Spring Cleaning this week, and my scraps aren't immune. I have about 4 piles that look like this, and I'm wondering if they might have a better home out there. I've discovered that I'm just not much of a scrap-sewer, try as I might to be.

I'll stuff scraps into whatever size Flat Rate USPS box you want, and just ask that you pay shipping. They're unwashed, quilt-shop quality pieces of all shapes and sizes.

Comment here or email sewfestivehandmade [at] gmail [dot] com if you're interested.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vacation is a girl's best friend

A few weeks ago I made the executive decision to take a week off work for some recharging. I called up one of my girlfriends from college and asked if I could come visit. So last Thursday I headed off to Atlanta!

If anyone lives in Atlanta you know how crazy last weekend was...without even knowing it, I chose to visit on the weekend that the Final Four was in ATL, and there was also a huge free concert at Centennial Park. But because of all the craziness, we also convinced some other college friends to visit the same weekend, so there were some 14 of us who were in and out the whole weekend.

Kadi lives in an old high school that's on the Historic Registry - so much character! They kept a classroom building and the gym, and renovated the inside into lofts. Her mailbox is a locker, and some of the lofts in the gym building have original sets of bleachers in them! It was amazing.

I took a few pictures of her space because I want to make her a quilt. She just recently moved in and yesterday she started a new job...lots of things to celebrate! But I'm having the hardest time pegging a pattern, or style for this. I want it to be as completely awesome as Kadi, and reflect her new minimalist style.

I was originally leaning towards purples and greens, with lots of low-volume background. And then I pulled out this large piece of flannel that I bought on sale a while back.

After combing my stash, I came up with quite a selection of prints that go with the flannel. And I like the color combination, but I'm not sure it's right for this quilt.


Do you have any patterns in your back pocket that look like they're begging to be made into a quilt for Kadi's space? I'd love some advice!

While I ponder that, I'm off to make another Laurel...the amount of fabric I have here will determine whether it's a dress or a shirt :)