Monday, June 22, 2015

The No-Good, Very Bad Sewing Month

Remember how I'm a quilting blogger? Yeah, I forgot too...

June has actually been quite a rough sewing month around here. I forgot how little I accomplish in my life when my kiddos are home all day from school. When they sleep I have been working on a quilt and pattern that will be coming out next spring. I'm so excited about this one! I can't wait to share it down the road. This means that I have very little else to share lately. All my excess time and energy (of which there has been little), has been devoted to this quilt.

On to the "No Good, Very Bad Sewing Month":

First there was this:

My daughter was working on a bead bracelet at my sewing desk (alone and without asking permission to be in my sewing room). A bead rolled innocently under my sewing machine. To get it out she started to push my machine. She kept pushing and it eventually fell off the desk. See that little crack in the touchscreen in the bottom right corner? That little crack has made it next to impossible to use my machine. The touch screen no longer works. With the touch screen dead, I can't adjust any settings on my machine. Nearly everything is controlled by that screen (tension, feed dogs, needle position, stitch length, stitch design, etc). I can't change anything. I've decided it's not worth repairing, so now I'm in the market for a new machine. It's been so discouraging to lose my machine mid-project. It does start up into a basic straight stitch that I use for piecing, so I was luckily able to finish piecing my current project. The tension goes crazy when I sew fast and there are some other issues internally, but I babied it along to make it through this quilt.

Then there was this:

Make sure you watch where your rotary cutter is headed! I looked up at my son when he asked me a question and my cutter jumped the ruler edge and left a nice little slice in my finger. Luckily it has healed up nicely. I pulled out my own stitches the other evening and am glad to have them out.

In some ways I feel like the universe has been trying to tell me something. I haven't been motivated to sew much in recent months. Sometimes I miss it, but sometimes I feel like I need to stop sewing. I've debated if I should just move on and not replace my machine. I have my small starter machine that works fine for little projects and repairs, but would drive me bonkers to use on a quilt or large project. In the end I know I can't let it go completely. I need to replace my machine.

I do very little to monetize my blog anymore. I'll be raising funds for a new machine in a few other ways.

Pattern Sale!

First off, all of my patterns are on sale through the end of the month! Please stop by and check them out on Etsy or Craftsy!

Second, I will be listing quilts for sale. If there is a blue chair quilt you've been dying to own, please email me at fromthebluechair at gmail. Otherwise, I'll list some quilts at very reasonable prices in the next week or so.

Finally, I'll be doing a bit more destashing over the next week or so on Instagram. You can view my main account @thebluechair or my destash account @bluechair_destash.

Thanks for all your support!

Friday, April 24, 2015

On the Design Wall

I haven't shared the contents of my design wall for a long time. This one is almost done! After finishing my Sparkle Punch quilt I decided to pull out a WIP that has been sitting in a box for a while. I started this project more than a year ago for the Michael Miller Challenge through the Modern Quilt Guild. Obviously, I didn't finish in time. I wasn't really that interested in the competition this time. I just wanted to make something with equilateral triangles. I have to finish piecing the top three rows, and then I'm done! I will likely piece a simple back for this one. I want to use up all my leftovers and will incorporate them into the design.

The whole quilt was based around this embroidery project. I needed a summer roadtrip project last year and started this. I traced the design from the large scale print from this line. I chose matching colors and just started stitching. I debated actually including it in the quilt, but knew it would just get put in a box otherwise, so it is placed in the bottom right corner where I often place something unique in my quilt designs.

So close!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Sparkle Punch Quilt

I finished a quilt! This is a big deal since I haven't finished a quilt since December (which my sister assures me still exceeds normal for the rest of the population. She likes to remind me that I'm a tad bit crazy sometimes).

I created this quilt basically using the Sparkle Punch quilt tutorial on Oh Fransson. (I am not linking directly to the posts about this quilt-along because, honestly, I can't find them. This site is under construction, and some content is currently unavailable. I will update links when available). This tutorial requires the squares to be 3 1/2" cut. I chose to make mine 4" cut since that works better with fat quarters. I adjusted the number of stars for the quilt based on the backing I planned to use. I wanted to back this one with minky. I was able to get 17 x 22 finished squares in for the piece of minky I had.

All fabrics used in this quilt are from Cotton & Steel. I love the colors of their basics lines and find myself using them in place of solids. The stars have just enough pattern to be interesting without being overwhelming. I also mixed in just a few of my favorite prints from various lines.

I used this bright plum print from the Mochi line for my binding. I really like how the small circle groups look when wrapped around as the binding.

I used a swirl design for my quilting. The quilting tended to be a bit more frustrating with this quilt. I think a combination of the minky plus the metallic print I used for the background fabric made for an unhappy sewing machine. I had tension issues that were difficult to correct and lots of thread breakage. I was glad when I finished this one up, but I do love how the quilting looks, especially on the back.

The final size is 60" x 77". Just right for wrapping up in on the couch!

Photo lightened to show detail.

Monday, February 16, 2015

One more Sew Together Bag

Here we are yet again! I've made so many of these, I could almost make them in my sleep!

I changed up my normal interfacing combination for this guy. The green fabric is a home dec weight. With the heavier fabric, I tried using less interfacing. I opted to only interface the outer bag cover with two layers of shapeflex. I didn't use any other interfacing. With the home dec fabric, this made for a really nice bag weight. The bag is soft, but holds it's shape well. In the past I have used CraftFuse which makes for a stiffer bag. The CraftFuse still seems to be the best option for quilting cotton.

I love the metal zipper. They are becoming my new favorite. I use 20" zippers on these bags rather than the 18" called for in the pattern. I think they are easier to work with, and I like that it allows the bag to open slightly larger. 

This bag has been gifted, and I'm once again done with these bags for a very long time...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Minnie Skirts

We went to Disneyland! We've been talking about it for a year, and finally decided to go in January. Originally we intended to go the last week of January, but opted to move our trip up a couple weeks for multiple reasons. Because of this I had exactly five days to prepare for our trip once we actually decided and made hotel reservations. Of course in those five days I had to fit in Minnie skirts!

I used the Circle Skirt tutorial from Made. After cutting my red print fabric, I used the same pattern to cut four circles of tulle as an underskirt for each dress. This is what gave the skirts a great poof-factor. My girls loved twirling in them. When cutting the tulle, I eyeballed it at about 1 1/2" longer than the pattern because I wanted it to peek out from under the red fabric. After washing the tulle scrunched up a bit as you can see in the picture above, but still works and peeks out a bit when worn.

I tried out my new rolled-hem foot. It worked like a charm! I still need a bit more practice as I noticed a few spots I didn't turn under completely and unraveled a bit when washed, but overall it went great.

Success! They wore them and loved them! Definitely worth the effort before heading south to the "Happiest Place On Earth". 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Edgar Owl

Meet Edgar Owl:

Around Christmastime I splurged on several new patterns I've been interested in sewing.

I'm excited to get started on these this year, but one just couldn't wait. I started seeing Edgar Owl and Poe popping up on Instagram during Quilt Market weekend, and I needed to make one of those owl pincushions right away! I am not fascinated with owls. I don't particularly love small, fussy sewing. I don't even use pincushions. I've always used a magnetic one. I prefer the method of simply tossing my pins in the direction of the pin holder and allowing it to "catch" them. That's the beauty of the magnetic pin holder. I really have no desire to take the time while sewing to carefully push pins back into a pin cushion--especially when it has eyeballs. You really just can't stick pins in this guy's head!

Despite all of this, I still needed to make Edgar Owl. I have no explanation as to why.

I started working on this guy the day the pattern arrived in my little mail box. And he is so darn cute and so worth all that fussy sewing. He serves absolutely no purpose in my sewing room beyond taking real estate on my shelf, but I allow him to stay because he makes me smile.

I pulled various prints from my DS stash for this guy. It honestly took me longer to decide on fabrics than it did to sew him. I think I'm out of practice when it comes to pulling fabrics!

Seriously, aren't his feet the best! I think they are pretty stinkin cute!

Edgar really needs a sibling...

Edgar is stuffed with a combination of some random cotton-poly stuffing blend I had laying around and lizard litter. That's right. Edgar is full of lizard litter. I can't even remember where I heard about using it, but it's works great and gives him extra weight, plus provides extra resistance to pins (that is if pins were ever to be shoved into his cute little head).

So go make Edgar or Poe! You won't be disappointed! He is adorable and grumpy all at the same time. I've made nearly all of Heather Bailey's pincushions over the years (again, why?? since I don't use pincushions). Her patterns are fantastic, and I always walk away with an adorable little creature or fruit, and the tiny seams actually match up! That is saying quite a lot because 3D sewing projects and I don't always get along.

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Doll Beds

The big Christmas present for my daughters were American Girl dolls. We've done the $20 Target dolls, and I finally decided it was time to upgrade to nicer dolls. Initially, I had grand ambitions of sewing the dolls clothing and matching pjs for my daughters and the dolls, as well as making beds, quilts and new duvet covers or quilts for my girls. As Christmas loomed closer, the list kept getting cut shorter. I learned I really dislike sewing doll clothes so I purchased a few sets of clothes on a great after-Thanksgiving sale. I also knew I didn't have time to sew new bedding for my daughters, so that was checked off the list. Next, the matching PJs got booted from the list. I could either enjoy Christmas or make a pair of pajamas for my daughters that neither girl actually needed.

Finally, I settled on only creating a beds and bedding for the dolls. It was a doable goal in the time I had. I loved this project as well as the outcome!

I started out with two plain wood Ikea doll beds. These beds are a fantastic deal. They are sturdy, plain wood that is easy to finish as desired, and they are cheap! I love Ikea! I spray painted the beds white which was fairly painful. Because it's unfortunately winter here, I couldn't really do this outside, which meant I was painting in our garage. On top of that I didn't want the girls to see so I could just do a few coats each night. A job that couldn't have been done in an afternoon if I were doing it outside dragged into more than a week for the painting.

I couldn't find any great tutorials for the bedding so I had to figure it all out on my own. The little pillow cases are my very favorite. I simply used the standard burrito method for the pillow case only in miniature. All of my fabrics came from the Michael Miller Glitz line. It's so adorably girly. I used the blush colorway for one bed set and the confection colorway for the other. There is only a slight difference between the two.

I also made a fun ruffled throw pillow for each bed. These little details are what made this whole project so much fun for me. Each quilt is reversible with the chevron print on one side and the large dot print on the other.

Each bed has a tulle bedskirt which was a bit of a nightmare, but I got better after three of these. (I also made a third bedding set in the mist colorway for my niece).

Each bed has a foam mattress. I used 1" foam from JoAnn. I originally planned to make fitted sheets, but opted to make a full cover for the mattress. This part was a bit tricky and took a little trial and error with the boxed corners, but I'm so glad I fully enclosed the mattress--no little brothers can pick apart the foam and make green foam confetti.

 I used my Silhouette to cut out the gold vinyl decals with the dolls' names as well as the accent shapes.

Both dolls sleep pretty comfortably now days!