Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Paper Piecing

I recently purchased this book by Ayumi Takahashi, and despite the somewhat cheesy title, love the projects and the book itself. It is a second volume of the Zakka Style book that has become one of my favorites and this one is right up there as far as well written, and beautiful projects. The main reason that I purchased this book was the very descriptive paper piecing instructions. It has been years since I have paper-pieced anything and recently I have really wanted to because of the precision and accuracy of it. I needed a re-fresher and this had the best instructions and a lot of paper templates to copy. Definitely a good buy.

I had to practice, just like riding a bike it does come back to you, but you must make a few to get into the groove again. The more blocks I made the faster I got. The first day I made one block in two hours, it kept messing up and remembering which side of the fabric to face each way became complicated. Then the second day I made 7 blocks in 3 hours so I have definitely gotten back into the process of making a paper-pieced block. 

I either have friends getting married, or friends having babies, every couple of years it happens again like a cycle. (One day this will pass, as we get older, but I enjoy it at the moment). Since there are more babies on the way, and I love making a baby-quilt I practiced my paper-piecing on the book project inside of the Patchwork book. The fabrics above are what I am using (the parents of this baby love Safari animals.)

It took a few trials, some seam ripper action, and lots of patience... 

By the end of the day yesterday I had blocks that were successfully looking like books! I need to remember my notes on color theory though, because its funny how the shape of the book shows so well against some of the fabrics and got lost with others. Good practice, and a fun project in the works.

I took my cross-quilt to be quilted on a long arm machine, I should get it back today... I am nervous, I have never sent anything out, and even debated on if it was cheating for a while. I was re-assured by many traditional quilters that it is ok to send a quilt out to be topstitched. It is easier than working with the bulk on my small machines. Hope it comes back and I love it, then I can send others out. Which will save me time and frustration! 


My scrap bin was starting to look like an overflowing mess! So I have decided to use my scraps and turn them into "hexagon" fabric. I have been creating combinations and making pieces out of the hexagons that can either be combined later to make a blanket or turned into other small projects. I love the quiet that comes with putting these together and the thinking that comes from hand-stitching. It is a good way to use time in-between projects.

june moments.

It has been a productive month, but I have once again become negligent with this blog... apologies! Here are a few things I am currently loving. 

Mr. Handsome above, my little studio mate- Achilles, got a lovely new bow tie. I love how it looks and want to copy the idea and make some. This one came from Target and is awesome it straps onto any collar. 

The July issue of Country Living is one of the prettiest covers I have seen in a long time, and of course the bed frame is from Anthropologie. (One of my favorite places).

Seed packets have the loveliest drawings of flowers and specimens on them. I love all the different kinds out there, but this brand about has some of the most beautiful images.

My fabric stash was getting a little bit out of control and I had to shift and purge some things in the studio to make room for the ever-growing mountain of fabric. The best part is that I not only found space for everything but also got to get rid of some things in the process, which always feels like a battle, with my crafting-hoarding tendencies. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

digging up.

my very overgrown miniature garden. This has really expanded since I planted it. 

My mother has taught me a great deal about gardening and how and where to start and keep going with it. She is very good at this I don't think she has a green thumb but a whole green hand! When we got this house my mother came to visit a couple of weeks after we moved in and she didn't even make it past the threshold before she started planning flower beds and a vegetable garden. I kept looking out there thinking she had lost it, all I saw were weeds and roots from trees and vines thicker than my waist. Well I should know by now, that the woman is ALMOST always right. That first summer I had a nice start to the garden, and the vegetables were plentiful. Then the next year things started really taking on, everything that we had planted in the fall was thriving... It helped that my mother's garden is really established, so she divided some plants and truck full- after truck full, they disappeared into my flower beds. Well this is year three and I must say my lack of patience makes it hard to wait but it has been worth it, everything is really thriving and filled in beautifully. We worked on planting mostly perennials since that first year so that bit by bit the weeds that were there before would be replaced by roses, irises, calla lilies, foxglove, day lilies... etc. etc. I have learned to really love being out there, it is my escape and time to think, without a computer, phone, nook, pod, pad... in front of me. I am thankful that I have a mother that has taught me so much in life, but most recently has taught me how to grow and enjoy nature on a level that I never knew I would. 

Miniature garden number 2. Complete with pool!

 One of the front flower beds, filling in... 

I am constantly amazed at how lush and full things grow. 

I even have poppies this year!!!! 

new trials

I have said it over and over "I don't like sewing clothes, it always takes a long time, and never turns out how I want it to!" Well.... recently I have made an exception to this rule, I have been seeing the WIKSTEN tank top appearing on blogs and instagram all over the Internet. I finally looked it up, and saw that it is a very affordable pattern to download and piece together.... then I noticed there was not one button-hole, zipper, elastic, or anything crazy involved. A nice simple, quick pattern!!! 

So I purchased my pattern, from this website, http://www.shopwiksten.com/, and then started piecing the 22 page printout together with tape. I found that it worked best to tape the front and the back of the pages, for more stability. It took me an hour to piece and cut out two sizes in the pattern. My assistant, pictured above, just took a nap while I did that part. 

As promised it was simple, easy, quick, and very stylish and comfortable on. I made the dress pictured above. 

And two tanks so far. I want to make some more, perhaps some with linen, or some gauze cotton fabric. It is funny how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabric, and the binding. Oh and if you know the WIKSTEN tank pattern, then you will notice that I did not add the pocket, it was an easy step but I prefer not to have a pocket. 

It took about 2 hours to make each garment and the pattern suggested 2 yards for the shirts, but I think 1.75 yards would have been enough. This tank thing is getting addictive... before I know it all my shirts will look the same, can't be that bad of an idea Eillen Fisher did base a whole line of clothes on that principle.