Monday, March 18, 2013



Sampled paints and shapes

Drew and cut paper stencil

Hacked up an old picture frame (instructions)

Printed a sample (instructions)

Loved it.

Digitized design and ordered silkscreen (it was only $7).


This was my first time screen printing, although I already had the paints from my previous foray into stenciling.  I improved a ton between my first sample and my last ones, but I still find it tricky and time consuming to print these.  My silkscreen is only 4" by 6", so there are 24 repeats in a fat quarter.  Next time I will definitely use a bigger screen! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Curves class and the Drunken Star block

I mentioned before that I have been taking Rachel's Curves Class .  I just finished my last "homework" for the class.  At 18", this block is the start of a round robin that I'm doing in my local quilt guild:

I love this quilt on Flickr and I have been dying to make that block, so this seemed like the perfect time.  Also, since the curves class pace was super fast for me, the final posts were coming out while I was still on the week 2 homework.  Eeep!  I jumped ahead a bit and combined the homework for weeks 3 and 4 by using the week 4 lesson to draft a drunkard's path template in just the size I needed.  The template that I drafted is available here - feel free to use it.  It makes a 4.5" finished drunkard's path block where the concave section is smaller than normal.

I wanted to share some general thoughts about the Curves Class.  If you are thinking about taking it, read on.  If not, feel free to skip past the wall o' words and tell me if you've ever done a round robin.  This is going to be my second one and I'm pretty excited about it!  It is a much better fit for me than bees. 

So - Curves Class.  The class starts with really basic curves and moves through improv curved piecing, precise curves, and drafting curved templates.  Before the class, I had previously done improv curved piecing and set-in sleeves.  There is a lot of fear in the quilting community around piecing curves, and I guess I caught some of that without even thinking about it.  Setting in a sleeve is at least 5 times harder than a drunkard's path block.  Basically, I found out that I had already learned more than half of the material presented in this class.  I just picked it up here and there without realizing how much I knew about sewing curves.

One of the best things about the class is the variety of small projects.  I love creating things.  More than the act of pushing fabric through a sewing machine, or cutting, or ironing, I like the aspect of coming up with an idea and turning it into an object.  So, I don't want to sew a throw-away block just to learn a technique - I want to make something useful.  The projects for the Curves class include a table runner, rug, journal cover, bib, bunting, and notecard in addition to pillows and quilts.  You can try out the techniques and make an actual product without spending a huge amount of time.  There were 14 projects for the class, all with patterns and tutorials - three per week!  I only managed to complete three projects total.  I got the Premium class, though, so I have all the templates and instructions so that I can do the remaining projects anytime that I'm ready. 

I am finding out that I might not be much of a "class person."  I like to learn things on my own, when I want to know them.  However, all told I definitely don't regret taking this class.  I finished up a quilt that had been a UFO for several months, and I gained confidence at drafting and sewing curved blocks.  I could have roamed the internet for curved piecing tutorials and eventually learned the same stuff for free, but thanks to the class I did it now.  So, if you think you might also be the sort of person who doesn't love sewing classes - don't take it.  If you like classes and you have never sewn any sort of curve, it would be a great idea to sign up.  Another good reason to take the class is the projects - they are pretty cool and very plentiful, so you might find it to be a good value just for that part. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Smaller sewing projects

I have done a lot of little quilting projects lately, and it's so much fun!  Generally by the time I have pieced an entire quilt, I'm tired of a particular block or color combo.  The little guys are perfect for a fun piecing session and for quilting or other techniques that would be killer to do on a whole quilt. 

The typewriter pouch...a staple.  I think it is practically mandatory now to make one of these.

A cushioned iPad case:

Can I just say... I love Anna Maria's feather pattern.  LOVE it.  Preferably small and super scrappy.  I have an informal formula when it comes to saving scraps - the more I love the fabric, the smaller the pieces that I save.  So when I find a use for teeeny tiny pieces, that means I get to use my most favorite fabrics.  Which is awesome.

The pattern/tutorial is by one shabby chick, and it's perfect. Velcro or loop & button closure, double batting for protection, and the tutorial has a million pictures so it's really easy to follow.  Recommended!

And a composition notebook cover:

I was shooting for the midwinter morning color scheme that Adrianne posted back in February, but it was quite difficult - I was lacking in olive-y yellows.  Don't worry folks.  I went fabric shopping later and fixed the problem right up. 

Anybody have suggestions for more little projects?  (Besides pillows.  Husband does not think that we need any more of those.)

Patterns and tutorials:
gathered pouch by Noodlehead (minus the gathering)
iPad cover by one shabby chick
Free feather pattern by Anna Maria Horner
notebook cover by Rachel at Stitched in Color