Author Archives: Lisa

Hand Piecing = Slow Progress

I haven’t been doing much sewing lately but I did take my Green Tea and Sweet Beans project on a trip to my parents’ lake house a few weeks ago. Since it’s made for hand sewing,  GTSB is the perfect quilt for those times when I don’t want to or can’t bring a sewing machine.

2014-03-15_1394919001The arm of a sofa is the perfect work surface – add in a TV tray or a little end table and you’ve got it made. Don’t forget the coffee!

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Garden Path block in progress above. Lots of y-seams but fun to sew. See one of my completed Garden Path blocks {here}.2014-03-18_13951034422014-03-19_1395247434 My GTSB quilt is primarily from a kit that I bought at QuiltCon. It’s been over a year now that I’ve been working on the quilt (in very small segments of time) and I’ve sadly realized that I don’t like many of the kit fabrics….at least not together. Only one or two of the prints in these blocks is from the kit. It’s a good thing I have so many scraps to add in so the final quilt will be to my taste.2014-03-19_1395247527 2014-03-19_1395247605See the rest of my blocks {here}.

Get Out of My Quilt

Many times, I’ve had the thought of starting a series called “Quilting Confessions” where we can all share our little secrets – slicing off our fingertips with rotary cutters, swallowing pins, and sewing through our fingers. I’ve done many ill-conceived and just downright stupid things in the pursuit of quiltiness but one of my ongoing issues has to do with something that I actually used to be good at….math.

ConfusedCat_medium

I did well in math at school. In college, I took three semesters of engineering calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. But when I’m designing a quilt, the math can still get the better of me.

BRITNEY-SPEARS-duh

I’m fine with the 1/4″. It’s a fraction I can really get behind. Who doesn’t love quarters of all kinds?  Fat ones, scant ones, and silver round ones that allow you to briefly purchase complete happiness for a toddler. To my two-year old son, quarters are magical. He very quickly learned that “money coins” buy things from vending machines and make little horses in the grocery store giddyup. Just after Thanksgiving, I let him, for the first time, buy some candy (in the shape of dog bones) from a vending machine and put it into his favorite skeleton covered bucket leftover from Halloween. Yesterday I asked him what he wanted to do for the day. I’m thinking park, library, bounce house, yogurt place, play date with the neighbor. His response? “Go to store and buy dog bone candy. Put in skeleton bucket.” See what I mean? Quarters bring happiness.

fractions

My problem is the 1/8 and the truly hated 1/16,  When I’m designing a quilt and I have to go to these detestable fractions, I can’t even tell you how many times I have to punch in the keys 7 divided by 8. 3 divided by 8. 5 divided by 8. Because I can’t remember what they are in decimals! And even when I am pretty sure I remember, I still do it just to be safe.

confused-dog

And it goes beyond the designing aspect. I don’t like cutting to the 1/8 of an inch. When I’m using a pattern that calls for let’s say, 3 7/8″ squares, my brain just goes “uggggghhhhhh. 7/8?! Get out of my quilt!” A big part of my disgust is that most of my rulers have terrible marking for the 1/8″ segments. Oh, those tiny specks mark the 1/8″? Or it’s a fat yellow line that doesn’t allow me to even see the edge of the fabric.

ryan-gosling-fractions

How do you feel about quilt math and fractions?

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

I have an infatuation with small, cute storage containers and retro graphics so I could not resist this sewing tin:

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

(order one for yourself {here})

But in a studio space filled with jars, baskets, tins, and bins…I’m not sure what to use it for.

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

The instructions inside indicate that I should use it to store small treasures, keepsakes, and curiosities.

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

What would you put in it? It measures 7.25″ x 5.5″ x 3.5″ – not too big and not too small.

Pattern Links

The site I use for my online shop (Big Cartel) is not allowing people to checkout. I’ve received a few inquiries about purchasing patterns and I’ve found a way to bypass Big Cartel. If you’ve tried to purchase a pattern and can’t, just click on the links below to go directly to PayPal checkout.

1301-Turkish-Delight-main 1302-Midcentury-main 1303-Lucky-Strike-cover.indd
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

 

Tutorial: Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

I have a fun tutorial today as part of the Pillow Collective hosted by Amy Ellis over at Amy’s Creative Side. There are lots of creative and super talented ladies participating so be sure to check out all of the links below.

My pillow design was inspired by an obsession with a set of mini templates I purchased earlier this month. They are made by EZ Quilting and are designed to be used with 2½” strips (jelly rolls) and they also work really nicely with Moda Candy (2½” squares). The specific template I used for this tutorial is the 60° diamond – you can purchase one here. You can also download a template here.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

You will also need:

  • 24 – 2″ squares (scrappy or choose a palette and focus fabric)
  • Background fabric:
    1 strip measuring 2½” x WOF, subcut into 6 diamonds using the template
    2 strips measuring 4″ x WOF
  • 1 fat quarter for pillow backing
  • Needle and thread
  • Polyfil for stuffing

Fabric placement and color is important to this pillow design. My test block used a traditional 4-patch with repeated prints set diagonally to each other. I decided that this block would look better with a scrappier feel, but kept the mini diamonds in the same fabric.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

Let’s start sewing!

1. Create 4-patch units from your 2″ squares – you will need a total of six 4-patches. Press and starch the 4-patches.
2. On the wrong side of each 4-patch. draw a line from corner to corner with a pencil or washable marking pen.

3. Line up the diamond template along the line and use a rotary cutter to trim off excess fabric.

4. Piece together the 4-patch diamonds to create a six-pointed star. Starch and press.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

5. Piece the background diamonds the the star. Yes, these are y seams but don’t be intimidated. The key is the start at the outer point of the star and stop sewing a scant ¼” from the edge of the background diamond. If your patchwork foot has ¼” markings that makes it super easy to know when to stop, but you can also mark the stopping points. Then flip the diamond and start sewing up the edge of the adjacent star point. Starch and press once you’ve sewn all six background diamonds.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

6. Now we are going to use our 4″ strips to make this hexagon shape a bit bigger. My finished pillow measures 17″ across at the widest point. If you want a larger pillow, cut these strips wider than 4″ (but this will affect the size of the backing fabric you’ll need). Line the raw edge of a strip along the edge of the pieced hexagon and sew together. Press and starch. Use a ruler to trim up the overage to match the adjacent edge.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

The above photo shows my hexie after I’ve added 4″ strips to two sides and “squared up” (really hexied up makes more sense!). Repeat this process until you’ve outlined the pieced hexie with background fabric.

7. Trim the fat quarter backing to match the front hexagon shape. Place right sides together. I like to put two pins in to remind me to leave an opening – one marks the start point and the second pin tells me to stop sewing. Turn pillow right sides out and press.

8. Stuff with polyfill and blind stitch closed. All done!

Eventually the filling will become lumpy and you can either open it up and re-stuff or turn it into a mini quilt (that’s probably what I’ll do).

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed my project. Here are the other stops on the Pillow Collective:

Don’t Let This Happen to You

Oh my gosh, you guys. I follow a local thrift/vintage shop on Facebook and yesterday they posted some photos of someone’s fabric stash that is now sitting in their shop.

This is what they said about the fabric stash:

We have a MASSIVE lot of fabric for sale! It’s 68 boxes & tubs full! It’s about 1,280lbs!! (I actually weighed them!)   It ranges from vintage to modern, and there’s every type of material imaginable! We’d really like to sell this as one big lot, so we can move it on outta here! We’re asking $1,200 for the whole thing. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! It’s insane.

And it is. Insane. The idea of all of the once-loved fabric in sad busted boxes just seems so depressing to me. I don’t ever want to amass so much fabric (or anything!) that it ends up like that.

Destash. Destash, Destash.

 

Gypsy Wife BOM

This is the first block of the month (BOM) that I’ve actually (mostly not really) kept up with and I’m really enjoying it. BOMs tend to cost you more than just buying the materials and pattern outright but part of the fun is getting a new mini project in the mail each month. Plus just working one or two blocks a month makes it easier to keep up with. Supposedly.

(P.S. The colors are way over-saturated in that photo. The fabrics in the BOM aren’t really that bright or even quite those hues.)

Gypsy Wife is another wonderful pattern from Jen Kingwell. Like many of her patterns it started as a unique BOM at Amitie Textiles in Australia. It’s now available stateside as a pattern booklet (a far cheaper alternative than a BOM from Australia!!!)

Here are my completed blocks so far:

Gypsy Wife BOM

There are lots of fabrics and fabric combinations I wouldn’t have picked but I know the end result will be fantastic (Jen Kingwell can pretty much do no wrong fabric-wise). There’s only been one print so far that I hate too much to use:

Gypsy Wife BOM

Would you have used it? I know that every time I looked at the quilt I’d see that one fabric and it would make me crazy. It’s just too weird and sorta 70s in a bad way. Most of the fabrics are Japanese and/or very difficult to come by in the US (I tell myself that every month to justify what the BOM costs…it doesn’t seem like all that much each month but when you add up the total for the quilt it’s pretty shocking. But maybe all quilts are that high and I’ve just been in denial because I never see the materials broken down quite like that?)

Month 7 just arrived in the mail late last week as I was in the throes of a hideous cold but now I’m feeling up to finishing it (and months 5 and 6, as well!). It’s good to be back doing some normal things after spending way too much time with my TV and sofa last week.

Economy Blocks…Hello, There

Economy Block Quilt-Along

The Economy Block Quilt-Along (perhaps better known stateside as the square in square block) is in full swing. It’s 2014′s version of the crazy popular Scrappy Trip-Along that started about this time last year. (Raise your hand if you’re still working on the quilt!).

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I usually let these quilting trends just pass me by because they distract me from other projects, but given my need for fun sewing this year, I jumped in with both feet.

Ages ago I went through my Munki Munki stash and pulled out bits that were fussy cut or duplicates. I set them aside with some coordinating scraps thinking someday I’d make an I Spy quilt…one day. The economy block is absolutely perfect for this!

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I’m doing the 5″ block pattern from Red Pepper Quilts, but if that’s too small for you, there’s a handy calculator for making the block at your preferred size. I pre-cut dozens of blocks and have them in a basket next to my sewing machine for easy access (see this post for more info).

Table Top Sewing

Are you making these blocks, too? Link up in the comments so I can see yours!

More inspiration from the quilt along in the {Flickr group}.

Featherweight

Pale Celery

Meet my new sewing machine. It’s a 1964-ish Singer Featherweight.

Pale Celery

I never wanted a Singer Featherweight until I saw the “white” ones. It’s hard to tell in photos but they actually have a greenish hue and Singer called the color “pale celery” which is pretty dang accurate. There is just something sort of mod and cool about these. I can imagine the woman who used to live in my 1954 house sewing on one of these.

I almost bought one on Ebay right before Christmas for around $500. I’m glad I didn’t because I found this one locally for $275. It has fewer presser feet and the case is not as pristine but it sews beautifully.

Pale Celery

The name Featherweight is a bit of a misnomer because for such a tiny thing it is pretty heavy. The threading took me some getting used to and this is probably one of the only machines ever made that needles have to be inserted sideways. I read it in the manual but my brain thought it couldn’t be right. I can’t tell you how many times I re-threaded it thinking that was the problem before I finally turned the needle.

I joined a Facebook group for vintage machine owners and it seems to be a bit of an obsession. I’m not sure that I want a whole collection of them.  Do you have a vintage machine? And are you now addicted to buying them?