Monday, July 30, 2012

Mail Day!

I am not a patient person. Every day for the last week, I've asked the conceirge at our condo, "Did UPS drop anything off for me today?"  And every day she's said, "No."  But, finally, today, when I opened our mailbox, there was a first class mail envelope with my name on it.  YES!

My Kona colour card arrived! I've been anxious to get started on my Sew Intertwined Quilt, but when I went to The Workroom to pick up solids, they didn't have any of the teal shades I was looking for. I'd already disassembled my Sea Spectrum FQ bundle so although I'd selected two blue/greens from my stash, I didn't know what they were called so I couldn't order more. Now that I have my handy dandy colour card, I will never have this problem again! By the way, if you want to pick up your own Kona colour card, Fat Quarter Shop has it on sale for 20% off. The sale ends tomorrow.

From left to right: Jade Green, Glacier, Olive (although it looks very much like Artichoke), Avocado, Bright Pink, Cerise & Ash. The Heaven and Helsinki City Block print will be the back of the Sew Intertwined Quilt.
These three prints somehow made their way into my Fat Quarter Shop shopping cart. I really have no idea how it happened! It might have had to do with them having been on sale. You'll recognize the middle print from my Happy Melon Quilt (it's from Grand Bazaar, and is called Melon Persian Wall). It was the last half yard the Shop had and I couldn't resist it. The other two prints are Lime Sundae from Ruby and Moss Dahlia from Terrain. I bought a yard of the first and a half yard of the second. I usually just get fat quarters, but these larger cuts are good for the pieced backings I so adore.

Now, I must be off! I started a new project yesterday which I'll be blogging about for WIP Wednesday this week. Talk to you then!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Melon Quilt: A Photo Finish

Well, it took eight months, but I am happy to report that the quilt I made as part of the Sew Happy quilt-a-long is done. And not only is it finished, but it has a name too!

Introducing the Happy Melon Quilt...

I love everything about this quilt: the bright happy colours, the straight line quilting, the scrappy border and the wonderful crinkliness that emerged after washing.

Fabric: Grand Bazaar by Patty Young, Moda Grunge, Outfoxed Jewels and some random stash.
Finished size: 64 x 51
Quilting: organic vertical straight lines and horizontal lines on the top and bottom.

I'll be linking up with Manic Monday tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pass the Mustard!

Last night I had a difficult choice to make. It was Wednesday. I could either write my (semi) weekly WIP Wednesday post, or I could plan the layout for my Stacking the Odds quilt.

Once my Kona Colour Card arrives (please hurry!), I'll be totally focused on my Sew Intertwined quilt and I'm sure Stacking the Odds will take a back seat so I figured that I might as well seize the moment and get as much done as I can now.

My first step was to make four copies of the bar diagram. Next I numbered the 14 fabrics. I sorta, kinda, but not really, followed Denise Schmidt's fabric placement from the pattern booklet. Except she used 15 fabrics in three colourways (five of each) and I'm using 14 fabrics in four main colours. Also, at the last minute I decided to add a few pops of mustard, for visual interest.

Tonight I plan to get a whole lot of pressing and cutting done. If I don't get too distracted by the internet, I might be able to get half my blocks cut. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Don't Like Templates

I really can't believe it's been almost a week since my last post. The weekend was a whirlwind of family visits, first with my sister's family and then with Kivi's dad and his wife.

Seeing my sister inspired me to get started on her quilt. Denise Schmidt's Stacking the Odds quilt uses templates. I've decided I hate templates. These templates are printed on one large sheet of page, double-sided, so you can't simply cut them out. You have to trace them on to template plastic or cardboard. Of course, I didn't have enough template plastic. And cardboard isn't see through, so you end up having to get all creative and use multiple rulers and stuff to do the "tracing." Did I mention there are 23 templates? I got so annoyed with the whole process that I put everything away on Saturday night and went out first thing on Sunday morning to buy big sheets of acetate so that I could simply trace and cut the darn things out. I still have a few more to do and then I can start planning my layout. The actually sewing of this quilt should go very quickly. It's the tracing and cutting and planning that's all the work.

In other news, I ordered a Kona Color Card and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive so that I can choose the colours for my Sew Intertwined Quilt. I really want to get my ordered before the first tutorial is posted.

And now, back to those templates...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Sew Intertwined Edition

Have you heard about the gorgeous new QAL being run by Jenna from Sew Happy Geek and Melissa from Sew BitterSweet Designs? It's called Sew Intertwined and it is stunning! Here's a link to a graphic of the quilt. Go take a look. I'll wait.

It's pretty amazing right? Of course I simple must make it. I loved Jenna's last QAL so it's really a no brainer.

I've decided to make this quilt in solids and I've been auditioning colour schemes. I stumbled upon an amazing website yesterday called Color Scheme Designer. It lets you manipulate the colour wheel and play with various schemes: complimentary, triad, tetrad, accented analogic, etc. WARNING: you will lose hours on this site. I sure did. I've narrowed my choices down to two colour schemes.

Option #1

Option #2
I'd be so appreciative if you would let me know in the comments which of the two you like best. I'm leaning towards the first one, but going with the second would be more outside of the box for me, which is appealing as well.

If you want to QAL along with me (and you know you do!) pop on over to Jenna's site for the details and timing.

Sew Intertwined QAL

And now for my WIP progress. Y'all know I've been Wiksten tank obsessed. You can read about it here, here and here. Having worn Sir Wiksten the Third yesterday I've concluded that the fit isn't good after all. Sigh. The neck gape is real problem. I'll give the tank another go next week.
I've picked a pattern for my La Dee Da skirt. I'm going to make the Colette Ginger skirt. Given my tank experience, I think a muslin is in order. I don't have any cheap material hanging around though so I'll need to pick some up this weekend.
I've picked two more quilt patterns for fabric I already have on hand. My Curious Nature is destined to become a Stacking the Odds quilt and my Kona Sea Spectrum bundle is bound for the Retro Friendship Bracelet quilt. Because I don't have enough quilts in progress. HA HA HA HA HA!
Here's where my WIPs are at:
NEW Sew Intertwined quilt - pondering fabric colours
Liberty Wiksten tank - on a break
La Dee Da skirt - Colette ginger muslin to be made
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Farmer's Wife QAL -
no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/
Levi's Bed Quilt - June is my month and I've received 9 out of 10 blocks received so far
Sew. Happy. Quilt - almost done; binding is in progress
Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress

In the Queue

Curious Nature quilt
Kona Sea Bundle quilt 
I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sir Wiksten the Third

First, I wore my navy blue Wiksten tank to work today and decided that it isn't too big after all. It's comfortable and can be dressed up or down. And the light cotton makes it perfect for this hot and humid weather we are having in Toronto.

Pinning the binding: my least favorite step.
But! Wiksten the third, size large in rayon, also fits, albeit differently and slightly imperfectly. It has a bit of gape in the back, but I know how to fix that for next time (Made by Rae's tutorial is here).

You guys, I think it's finally time to break out the Liberty of London! Wish me luck!

P.S. I'm linking up with Manic Monday. Oh! and Jenna's hosting another QAL. I'll tell you more about it in the next few days because you know I can't resist a Sew Happy Geek QAL!

Sew Happy Geek

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wiksten Woes and a Winner!

I sure was proud of Wiksten tank that I showed you the other day, but the truth is it was too big. Much too big. I decided to try another muslin, this time in medium. Don't ask me why I didn't try the large size, which would have made much more sense. Because, you guessed it! The medium was too tight around the bust.
My apologies for the terrible photo, I used my Blackberry.
Making a third tank required a trip to the fabric store. I picked up some delicious turquoise rayon. And this one appears to fit, with one small modification. I raised the front and back by 1/4 inch. Sewing with rayon is extremely difficult. It's so slippery! I think I'm managing it alright. I still have to finish the binding on the arms. I'm hoping to finish it either tonight or tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

And now...the giveaway winner! Thanks to everyone who entered.  I get a little thrill every time someone comments on my blog and I'm so grateful to each and every reader. Thanks for joining me on my sewing adventures. The winner of the FQ bundle is...

KELSEY of Kelsey Sews! Kelsey and I both participated in the Sew Happy Quilt QAL. She used Little Apples for her version. Do check it out, as it's adorable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Plan Foiled

What I'd hoped to do tonight? Make a second Wiksten tank in a smaller size.  Alas, it's not to be. I'd forgotten that I still needed to prewash my fabric. Ah well.

So instead, I've decided to share with you a block I made over the weekend. It's a wonky lightening bolt block in aqua and red for the July host of my We Bee Learning bee. We used this tutorial by jenn of all trades.

Now, I'm pretty sure I've shared with you that I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it closes to my crafting. I like perfect points and seams that line up all pretty. This leads to a bit more time with my seam ripper than I'd like, but it's worth it in the end, because to my eye, my mistakes are glaring. Good enough just, well, isn't. Now, one of my stumbling blocks in life is that I am speedy. It sounds like a good thing, right? I do everything super fast. I like to think I'm efficient, but I have to admit that at times, being quick leads to errors that could be averted if I just. slowed. down.

Case in point: the photo above. The red vertical stripes are supposed to start in the top left corner.

Luckily, a little surgery was all it took to get the block back in tip top shape.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my 100th post giveaway!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wiksten Tank!

After lusting over the beautiful Liberty tana lawn cotton prints for the hundredth time, I decided to tackle my biggest sewing fear...and make a garment. The intro to sewing class I took last summer taught me how to read a pattern and Karyn at The Workroom assured me that the Wiksten tank was the perfect entry level pattern.  I'd seen the Wiksten tank top all over Flickr and it looked like it flattered just about any body type.


My former colleagues gave me a gift certificate to King Textiles as a parting gift so this weekend I picked out a two cotton solids and one cotton/linen blend. I wanted to try making the shirt in a less expensive fabric before cutting into the Liberty, so that my mistakes wouldn't hurt quite as much (the Liberty is pricey!).

The Wiksten pattern was extremely easy to follow, even for a newbie like me. I made an extra large, due to my, ahem, ample bust. I think the next time I make this top I'll modify it, or perhaps  use the large or even medium size and increase the bust using this tutorial

I was concerned that I'd run into difficulty with binding the neck line and arm holes but it worked out perfectly!  One other modification that I'll make next time is to shorten the straps a tad, even half an inch would be enough to ensure no gaping at the arm holes. 

I can't wait to make this pattern again. This fabric is a bit stiff and I can just imagine how awesome this tank will be in the soft and flowy tana cotton! 

P.S. I'm going to link up with Manic Monday over on Sew Happy Geek (see sidebar for details).
P.P.S. Don't forget to enter my 100th post giveaway!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

One Hundredth Post Giveaway!

This, my friends, is my 100th blog post! Can you believe it? I started Modern Balabusta on December 25, 2011. This blog, along with Flickr, Pinterest and Twitter, has enabled me to connect with modern sewists and quilters all over the world. It's an amazing online community that I didn't even know existed a year ago. I've gotten great joy out of sharing my quilting adventures with my small, but very loyal readership.

To thank you for joining me on this journey, and to celebrate my 100th post, I'm hosting a giveaway.  On offer is a fat quarter bundle, hand-picked by yours truly.

I started with the middle fabric from Valori Wells' Cocoon line. It's called Ruby Wine and is a favourite of mine. The rest of the prints are, from left to right: Bear Essentials, Pink Tiny Springs (P&B Textiles); Martha Negley Classics, Red Twig (Westminster Fabrics);  Denyse Schmidt, Flea Market Fancy, Flower and Dots (Westminster/Free Spirit); and, Alexander Henry House Designer, Heath, Heath in Pink.

Giveaway details
  1. This giveaway to open to everyone. I will happily ship internationally.
  2. One entry per person.
  3. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. There are no hoops to jump through, but if there's something you'd like to see more of on this blog, I'd love to hear about it.
  4. The giveaway will remain open until Sunday, July 15 at 10:00 p.m., EST. I will use a random number generator to select a winner. 
  5. Friends, your odds of winning are VERY high. Modern Balabusta is still a baby blog with a relatively small readership. I'd LOVE to send one of my regular commenters this bundle of lusciousness!
Thank you to each and every one of you for joining me on my crafty journey!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Piecemeal Piecework

It's said that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Well, this busy person is just too tired to do much of anything these days. I find this extremely frustrating because I really want to spend my evenings sewing, but now that I'm getting up an hour earlier than I used to, I'm exhausted at day's end. Granted, it's my choice to start my work day earlier. It means that I'm not scrambling to get to daycare on time to get Levi. He and I are now able to play for fifteen minutes before the dinner, bath, bed routine, which is time I am loving (and he is too!). But the downside is less energy for my creative endeavors.

My "solution" is to do things in spurts. Half an hour here, forty-five minutes there, and eventually things will get accomplished. Tuesday night I drew stitch lines for the last batch of HSTs for my Flora quilt:
This evening I cut and stitched the beginnings of a wonky zig zag block for this month's We Bee Learning bee's host:
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed. Yes, at 9:15 p.m.  Mama needs her sleep.