Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cruise Wallet & Jewelry Organizer

I'm going on a cruise with my family this summer, and it's my first cruise post-pandemic. Of course, I had to make something for it. Or, as it turns out, somethings.

I made a Turnpike Convertible Wallet a few years ago, but I've been itching to make another one since then.

It's not as practical as other wallets I've made (it doesn't hold as much), so I haven't had reason to make another one until now, but I figured for the cruise, easy and relaxed is what it's about, and this wallet is just perfect for that. Hands-free with the strap (which is removeable as well), with just enough room for my phone, and just a few cards. Plus, it's absolutely adorable!

The other item I made for this cruise is the Calliope Jewelry Organizer. I was fascinated by this pattern as soon as I saw it, as I just loved all the little bits and bobs and compartments this organizer had. Also, I was dying for an excuse to use this turquoise vinyl fabric I had in my stash. It was a bit of a pain to cut all the pieces for this project though, but once the sewing started, the real fun began. I won't pretend this wasn't a challenging project with very thick layers, but once it was done, I was so happy with it ... even if I put in one of the panels upside down, but hey, it still functions just fine!

Both the Turnpike Convertible Wallet and Calliope Jewelry Organizer are patterns by Sew Sweetness. I've become completely addicted to Sara's video workshops, and I just find myself finding excuses to make more!

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Handiwork (Build-A-Block) Quilt

I'm always shocked by how quickly time passes, and I'm definitely reminded of it when I decide to pull out a quilt to finish it, and realized I pieced the top 4 years ago. It just didn't feel like that long! But it does feel like time has been on a speed warp ever since 2020, it's like COVID warped my view of time forever.

I finished piecing Handiwork in November of 2019. Handiwork is a Build-A-Quilt (block of the month) run by Angela Walters, and the fabric is Handiwork by Alison Glass. I really loved working on this one because the fabric is stunning, and of course, the final layout is very interesting, definitely not like a typical sampler quilt.

I've worked on just a few sampler quilts in my time, and one of the things I really enjoyed is going to town designing something interesting for each block. If I didn't enjoy quilting it, it doesn't matter because there's only the one anyway!

The background of this quilt definitely calls for swirls. I do love filling large swaths of the background with swirls, and though I occasionally I think I overuse this design, most of the time, I'm fine with it.

I did leave out a border from the original design, because I didn't like the way it looked, and I hate putting borders on anyway. I really love the end result, and of course, the cherry on the top is the lovely binding fabric!

I think I've already finished more quilts this year than all of last year, and it's only the middle of the year, so I'm really happy with my progress this year! But now that summer is in full swing, all bets are off, as I know I tend to get really slow in the summer and then have a hard time revving back up the engine after.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Minikins Galore

Since I was on a break from sewing quilt tops for much of the year but still had the itch to sew, I ended up making a lot of smaller projects from Sew Sweetness. I decided to use this opportunity to try out a variety of shapes, sizes, and techniques, and it is a great way to use up my yardage and loose fat quarters. All of these projects are from Sara's Minikins collections, and there's a video workshop for each of these projects, literally the only way I can make them.

I intended to sew just a few, but found myself addicted. I've previously had a difficult relationship with pouches and bags projects, loving the end result but wanting to cry at the process. However, aside from the cutting (which I still hate) I think I've finally learned to enjoy the whole process. Well, 90% of the process, at least. And after each project is finished, I kept wanting to make another one, which is how I ended up with 8.

Sidewider Pouch: a really cute pouch with a great useful shape. I was rather surprised by the drop-in lining, but overall this was not a difficult project.

Zeppelin Pouch: the shape makes it extremely useful for knitting projects, and I adore the name. I had a lot of trouble with this one, so this was definitely a skill builder.

Brumby Pouch: By far the easiest project in this set, I could not believe how easy it was to make this and it looks fantastic once pressed. However, the pattern shape is a bit odd and makes it difficult to cut fabrics and interfacing efficiently.

Grab 'n Go Sleeve: This is my 2nd Grab 'n Go Sleeve, and overall this is a great and pleasant sew, and I love that the size is totally customizable.

Moto Pouch: I made this to force myself to try drop-in lining one more time, and I found this project easier than the Sidewinder Pouch due to the shape, but it's constructed very similarly.

Trifle Tumbler: the round barrel shape is adorable, and I was able to try out the technique of binding to finish the raw edges.

Jetset Cinched Bag: this was another skillbuilder for me, as it's my first time using foldover elastic and my first time using a drawstring cord. It was a bit difficult however to cinch the drawstring in, and I'm not sure how much I will use this bag for that reason.

Morsel Lunch Bag: I used InsulBright for this bag to make the lining insulated, and I hope to test it out one day with a picnic lunch or something.

***

Well, I had a really, really great time sewing all these! With each one I could tell my confidence level went higher, and I felt an immense sense of satisfaction when they were done. I finally understand why so many people are addicted to making these type of projects.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Glow

Most of my quilt tops reach a few years of age before I quilt them, as I need to distance myself mentally from a quilt top before I finish it. However, Glow is a quilt I finished relatively recently, within the last 6 months in fact, and it's because I had a vision for how to quilt this from the get-go.

Glow is definitely one of my favorite quilt tops in my stash, because it contains some of my absolute favorite scraps. The pattern is called the Scrappy Quarter-Log Cabin, and it's by Christina Cameli.

This quilt is not only scrappy, but also improv, which is mentally exhausting and always scares me a lot, but also usually results in something that is quite magical. I named this quilt Glow because there are so many shiny fabrics on this quilt, it really does glow.

For quilting, I used mostly straight lines for the white space and some free-motion designs in the others. As the focal point of this quilt is the beautiful scrappy fabrics, I kept the quilting fairly minimal in that space.

After a fairly unproductive year in terms of quilting last year, I really wanted to do a lot more this year, and so far, I've finished 5 quilts, one a month. I'm pretty happy with the output, but we'll see what happens now that summer is around the corner.

Even though the year's only half done, I'm calling it now ... this is my favorite quilt finish for 2024!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Singularity

It's been quite a few years since The Midnight Quilt Show ended, and to this day I still miss it. It was always a delight watching Angela Walters every week with her beautiful quilting and her humor! I have made quite a few quilts from The Midnight Quilt Show, some of which are on my to-quilt pile still, but my latest finish is Singularity.

Singularity, designed by Jenn Nevitt, is such a great name for this quilt because it does feel like a geometric wonder. It is in fact mesmerizing to look at with the tiny piecing in the center and the way the blocks expand in size outward. The colors are gorgeous together.

I struggled for several years to figure out how to quilt this, trying and scrapping so many designs, but at the end, I decided the quilting isn't important in this quilt, it's the beautiful geometric look of this quilt that matters, so I stuck with a very simple diagonal design that followed the piecing without being overwhelming.

I tried to keep the spacing between the lines half an inch, but I have a pretty strict "mark only when absolutely necessary" policy so for this quilt, I eyeballed everything. Though I know the spacing is far from perfect, somehow when it's all done, it looks pretty good.

In Angela's video of Singularity, there's a running joke about stress-relievement. I did find the quilting process of this quilt to be extremely zen ... to the point of boredom. But at the end of the day, I'm thrilled that I finally finished this, and I have no regrets about choosing a simple pattern to execute. It's truly mesmerizing to look at!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Newfoundland Pouch

I'm currently on a hiatus from sewing quilt tops (but I have a feeling that may end soon) while I concentrate on finishing some quilts on the longarm, but apparently I still have the desire to sew. After finishing Superbloom, that desire was not quenched, and I found myself looking for a new project from Sew Sweetness. I decided on the Newfoundland Pouch.

I have a lot of beautiful yardage fabric that I picked up intending to make into quilts, but then I end up not able to use them, preferring kits or bundles, and they end up languishing on my shelf. Now, I'm trying to be less precious about them, and just use them to make something because they deserve more than just sitting unloved (and forgotten) in my stash.

One feature I really like about this pouch is the accordion divider in the middle, which instantly makes it the most practical (and the most difficult) of the pouches I've made.

I rarely make pouches without a purpose in my mind for them, and for this one, with all the dividers, I think it would make a great travel organizer, perhaps for all my device cables / chargers.

The Newfoundland Pouch came out pretty well but the process was a bit hairy at times. But it's completely worth it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Stellar

Stellar by Ruby Star Society is a fabric bundle I discovered completely by accident, and given my fascination with star-themed fabrics, I immediately got some. My only regret is I didn't get more of it. Alas, I think this quilt is a good home for it, as it allows the fabric to show off beautifully.

The pattern used is Octo by Brigitte Heitland (aka Zen Chic). It is a foundation paper-piecing pattern, so this quilt took a long time, but I really loved working on it because of the beautiful fabrics, and I do love paper-piecing too.

The more designs I use on a quilt, the more it becomes whimsical, and the fewer designs, the more it veers toward elegance, or I tend to find. For this quilt, I'm going for elegance, and I just used straight lines for the main pattern, with dense swirls at the borders.

As a rule, I don't quilt a lot over foreground fabrics, and I usually stick with straight lines or sparse geometric designs. I can't stand leaving them completely unquilted and having them puff out, so this is a good compromise. This quilt is no exception.

I'm really happy with this quilt. The fabrics are gorgeous and shiny, and the texture is lovely. Straight lines always look so good. When I was a newbie quilter I stayed away from straight lines thinking they were easy and boring, but boy was I wrong. They're not easy, and they're definitely not boring!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Camden Road

Four years ago, shortly before the pandemic upended all our lives (has it really been four years since it all started?), I participated in the Camden Road Quilt Along that was organized by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs. Cheryl also designed this lovely pattern, and I had a good time piecing this quilt, after a good bit of angst with fabric selection.

And now it's finally time to quilt it. I'm always a bit surprised when I pull out a quilt top I haven't seen for a few years, because in my head it usually looks a little different. For this top, I was surprised how much the darker gray and the lighter gray contrasted, which was fun to piece, but presented a conundrum during quilting time.

And that of course is ... what color thread to I use? I definitely do not want to switch threads through this quilt, that's for sure. Well, from previous experience, the answer has to be a light gray thread. For some reason, lighter color threads look much better on darker fabric than the other way around.

These block-based quilts are my favorite to quilt because they're kind of mindless, zen-like experiences when I work on them. I really get to shut out the world, and even shut off my brain, and just get into a flow state.

For the quilting design, I alternated a tried and true swirly mix and a geometric design for the open spaces, and a dot-to-dot geometric design for the blocks.

And after 4 years, it's finished! I'm really happy with the end result, and the whole experience was just beautifully relaxing. I can't say that for every quilt, but it's definitely true for this one.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Superbloom

Last year, I started seriously getting into fan conventions, and I've attended a few and always had such a great time, but I quickly realized I wanted to make a new bag as my con bag. I wanted something that can hold my photo ops and souvenirs, and have outside pockets to quickly access event tickets and badges and the such.

With that goal in mind, I started scoping bag patterns, and quickly decided on Superbloom by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. It fulfilled my needs and also, there was a video workshop to follow along with. I simply cannot make bags without a video workshop, but Sara is my favorite teacher in this regard, and by following her video workshops, I've done things I did not think was possible.

My favorite feature of this bag is actually the rainbow zipper tape and the feather-shaped zipper pulls! I finally learned to use zippers by the yard, and I'm now totally addicted.

With each bag I make, I feel like I level up a bit. Superbloom has a recessed zipper which I've never done before, and I really like how practical it is.

There were challenging moments and choice words used during the final assembly process (as there usually was) and I had to make everything fit together which didn't seem like they went together, but when I saw the end result, it was worth it, and I now can't wait to go to my next convention with this beauty! Which will be ... in May. Still so far away!

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Delicate Beauty

It's no secret that Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic is my all-time favorite fabric designer, so I had to start the year with a quilt that features both pattern and fabric designed by her: Delicate Beauty featuring Sphere. Sphere is a really old and out-of-print collection, as it was printed before I started quilting, but I managed to hoard some here and there over the last few years.

I especially love this pattern because of all the non-standard shapes. In fact I was quite intimidated by the pattern initially, but it was a lot easier to make than it looked, and I'm very pleased with the end result.

I had a lot of fun quilting this! I knew I wanted to showcase the space inside the triangles with some free-motion designs, but also knew I wanted a lot of straight line echoes.

The fabric strips were quilted with some wishbone designs, which is something that's relatively easy to execute on the diagonal.

I love this quilt, and it was the perfect one to start the year. I don't know how much quilting I will accomplish this year, but given that I have no desire to piece at the moment, hopefully it means I will be able to at least make a small dent in my pile of quilt tops. Hopefully.

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