Sunday, March 31, 2013

March's Lucky Star

I finished March's Lucky Star block in the nick of time, not only because today is March 31, but because I'm bring my sewing machine in for a tune-up tomorrow.

This month's block is called the Ninja Star and I am so happy with how it turned out. I wasn't sure that my colour combination would leave to a winning block.
I selected a very busy red print as the focal fabric, and then tried to pull out the pink and green. It felt risky, but I needed to start bringing in more colours from my Liberty stash besides the blues and reds and this focal print provided the opportunity.
I'd call this a success, wouldn't you? I'm extremely pleased with how well I was able to line up my seams. I'm not sure how I managed it. The beauty of paper piecing, I suppose!
Here are my January, February and March blocks all together. SQUEEE!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sewing for Baby: The Swingset Tunic

Yesterday, I shared photos of my progress on the Swingset Tunic, a pattern by oliver + s that marked my first foray into sewing for our baby-girl-to-be, and this morning, I finished the dress. Levi kindly agreed to allow his doll to model it for me.
The pattern (that includes a skirt, which I didn't make) is meant for an "advanced beginner." I'd say that's a fair assessment of the skill required.  There were "new to me" techniques, like sewing a gathering stitch to make a ruffle (easy!) and constructing buttoned placket for the back (not so easy). Putting together the back yoke (lining, outer fabric) was really challenging and required a fair bit of googling. I'm a visual learner, and although the pattern was well-written and included pictures, I still struggled. It was hard to keep track of which piece of fabric was my lining, which was my outer piece, etc.
Another factor that added to the difficulty is the size I made: 0 to 3 month. The pieces are so tiny! I know that I messed up the armholes, especially when I look at photos of the tunic in larger sizes on Flickr. My mistake was sewing the the front and back yoke together and lining up the seams precisely. I think there should actually be a space between the yokes. But again, because of the size, I'm not certain that there was enough fabric to leave a space! I do plan on making several more of these - including a 12 to 18 month version for next summer - so I guess I'll see then whether the space is present in larger sizes and simply eliminated in the smallest size.
I still need to add a button to the back but I don't have a pretty pearl-like button in my stash so it will have to wait. For now, I'm thrilled to have finished my first dress for baby and am anxious to get started on another one. Any recommended patterns for baby girls?
I'm linking up with TGIFF this week. Click on over to see what everyone one finished this Friday!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Cuteness! Ack!

I started sewing the Swingset Tunic today. Being an inexperienced garment sewer, there were a lot of firsts for me. I read the oliver + s pattern many, many times and headed to google for clarification on several occasions.  So far, so good!
My first gathering stitches ever! Much easier than anticipated.
Could this be any cuter?! I forgot how tiny newborns are!
All of a sudden, the fact that baby girl will be here in 10 weeks is becoming very real.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Starts & Finishes

It's Passover, which means that last weekend was dedicated to house cleaning and the days since have been spent preparing food for the seders. I took this week off to celebrate the holiday and for some much needed rest. Now that the seders are over, it's me time! You know what that means right? Power sewing!

I'm pleasantly surprised to share with y'all that I met my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  I had to reread my goal setting post to check exactly what I'd promised to complete: three final blocks for my 3x6 Plum & Chartreuse quilt top.

Last Wednesday I showed you the two blocks I'd finished during the first half of the month. Today I completed the third and final "goal" block:
I loosely followed the Curves tutorial from the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild's 2012 September block of the month, but I found the explanation of how to cut and sew the curves very confusing. After some googling, I found a Curved Piecing explanation by Sarah Fielke on Sewn that helped me visualize how to cut my curves and then I resorted to my tried and true method of "pinning the heck out of my curves." Yes, it's time consuming, but I end up with fabric that lies flat (and no puckers!) so it's totally worth it.

Here are my three blocks together:
I love them all!  Here's the thing: my math in my goal setting post totally doesn't add up. I posted a photo of the 8 blocks I planned to use and then said that I'd finish three more blocks, one of which would be my hexie block, in order to complete the blocks needed for my quilt top. Ummm, that's 11 blocks total and I need 12! Also, you'll notice that my hexie block is missing from the photo above.  Y'all, hexies take me forever to stitch up!
So, you might ask, can I really say I met my March ALYOF goal? I sure can! I said I'd finish three blocks AND I DID!  Plus, I do have 12 completed blocks, because I decided the slate grey backed block doesn't clash quite as poorly as I'd thought. I may ultimately switch it out for the hexie block, but regardless: GOAL ACHIEVED! 

In other news, I've started something new this week and this project is a true challenge for me. I recently realized that I haven't made anything for baby-girl-to-be yet. Sure, I've chosen a pattern and fabrics for her quilt, but I haven't gathered the energy to get started on it. By this time in my pregnancy with Levi, I'd knit a sweater and crocheted a blanket for him. Part of my excitement over having a girl involves ALL THE PRETTY LITTLE GIRL THINGS. Time to start making them!
Since she'll be arriving in late spring, I opted for the Swingset Tunic by Oliver & S. I'm making the 0-3 month size using Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House. The fabric is all cut and I'm ready to start sewing. I'm nervous, due to my inexperience with garment sewing, but I'm excited to give it a go.

Just for fun, let's talk about my most recent fabric purchases. First up is an FQ set of Pearl Bracelets. I placed my order in January when I heard The Workroom was getting them. It took two months for them to arrive. It's a good thing I had pre-ordered, because by the time I picked up my set, only two days after the bolts arrived, several colours were already sold out! I also grabbed an FQ bundle of Liberty's second quilting cotton line, Stile, in blue. I ordered this the minute I saw Karyn post a photo on Instagram. It's stunning. I got an extra metre of one of the prints to make another dress for baby-girl-to-be.

Round up time!

On Deck
Tula Star Quilt for baby-girl-to-be

In Progress
3x6 quilt/March ALYOF goal: done!
Lucky Stars BOM - March block in progress - fabric cut
Sunset Tunic - fabric cut
Triple zip pouch - fabric cute

Hibernating projects

Farmer's Wife QAL - no new progress
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress

NY Beauty QAL - no progress

We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Catch-Up Edition

Oh my goodness, it has been almost two months since my last WIP Wednesday post! I'd say this is hard to believe, but truth be told, I'm exhausted so it doesn't surprise me in the least. Growing a new person while running after a toddler AND working full-time takes a lot out of you! Despite this, I have been sewing, although much less often than I'd like.

Participating in A Lovely Year of Finishes has ensured that I complete at least one item a month. In February, I actually finished two projects: a Triple Zip Pouch and my Wonky Star Bungle Jungle Quilt.
My March goal is to complete four blocks to round out my selection of plum and chartreuse blocks that I've collected over two quarters of the 3x6 mini-bee. So far I've completed two blocks: a Drunkard's Path:
  and a Four Patch (or what I like to call a 4x9 Patch!).
Plus I'm plugging away at my hexie block which will be block #3. I keep wavering over what to make for the final block, and filling my Pinterest Quilt Block board with tutorials. Since the end of the month is fast approaching, I really need to make up my mind!

I've been keeping up with the Lucky Stars BOM too! I tend to split the work over several evenings. Last night I cut the fabric for the March star and I hope to get it pieced over the weekend. I continue to love working with the Liberty of London quilting cotton. I'll be adding to my Liberty stash this week because The Workroom just got in the new Stiles collection and there's a fat quarter set of the blue prints waiting patiently for me to pick it up at the store!
Finally, I've added some new projects to my list, most importantly, a baby quilt for my daughter-to-be! I wrote a post about what I'm calling the Tula Star quilt which focused on ensuring I had a variety of colour values in my fabric selection. A few of the fabric choices have changed since that post and I haven't cut a single piece yet, but it's on deck (I'm due in 12 weeks!). I also want to start making some dresses for my little-Miss-to-be, but did I mention my waning energy level? 

On top of all of these quilty projects and the human growing project, I'm also engrossed in the "optimize the space in our under 1000 square foot apartment to accommodate a fourth person" project.  Here are Levi and Kivi standing beside our Ikea haul. Note: we'll be spending the next several weekends building bookcases/shelving. Or at least, Kivi will be. I'll be offering encouragement from the couch!
Please note the exhaustion on Kivi's face, mixed with mild terror at what the bill would come to, as well as Levi's fake toddler smile.

Oh wait, I almost forgot to show you the Royal Reversible Crown I made Levi for his birthday/Purim! 
You must be bored out of your minds by now!  Let's get on with it, shall we? Round-up time!

On Deck
Tula Star Quilt for baby-girl-to-be

In Progress
3x6 quilt/March ALYOF goal: 2.5 blocks of 4 done
Lucky Stars BOM - March block in progress

Hibernating projects

Farmer's Wife QAL - no new progress
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So, I'm jumping on the bandwagon and trying out Bloglovin'. Apparently, I'm supposed to "claim my blog." So, yeah, that's what I'm doing here.

Just to keep this post from being completely lame, here's a photo of my men at Ikea today.
We appear to have bought out the store, in an effort to add storage before adding another resident! My husband looks a bit shell shocked, and Levi is practicing his fake smile. Why is it that around age two, toddlers learn to smile for the camera with the most ridiculous grimace ever?  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eenie Meenie...I WIN!

Thank you so much for weighing in on your favourite option for my Drunkard's Path block. Most of you agreed with my first instinct, which was layout three in my photo mosaic.  Here's the finished block:
In other news, I was one of the random draw winners for achieving my February goal for A Year of Lovely Finishes! I've never won fabric before and was very surprised to learn I'd been selected. My prize was a fat quarter bundle from Riley Blake Designs.  I was given a list of bundles to choose from, which was so great of them! I chose their Shuffle bundle which is one of their newer basics collections. Basics are always great stash editions and I can see using these FQs in all sorts of projects. They sent my fabric that very day and it got to me in record time. Sweet!
As I enter my third trimester, my mojo is definitely waning.  A full day of work and getting Levi fed, bathed and into bed (we are into full on terrible two territory over here) leaves me completely drained. My crafty self desperately wants to get going on quilty projects and to blog about them, but the rest of me just wants to sit on the couch and zone out. The rest of me has been winning the battle lately, although the baby in my belly doesn't allow for long periods of lounging, as she likes to do jumping jacks on my bladder. Here's hoping for some sewing time this weekend.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Which (Drunkard's) Path to Follow?

I've been browsing Pinterest, my quilting books and Flickr in an effort to decide on the three final blocks for my 3x6 Sampler quilt. One will be my hexie block and yesterday, I settled on making a Drunkard's Path block, backed in Steel grey.
At Sewing Summit last year, I learned how to sew curves without pins. Nevertheless, I prefer the "pin the *%#@ out of it" method of piecing curves. Less chance of error. It sure does take a long time though.

Selecting a layout for a Drunkard's Path block is always the hardest part of this process for me. I find photographing options helps me narrow things down. I shot 9 options and am turning to you, dear readers, for help in choosing between my top six.
I'm leaning towards 3 or 4. My husband liked 5 best. I'm pretty sure 6 is out of the running. What do you say?

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Goal Setting for ALYOF

You guys, I'm so exhausted that the thought of setting a goal (let alone achieving said goal) for A Lovely Year of Finishes this month is pretty daunting. Nevertheless, I'm going to do it and hope for the best.

My 3x6 bee blocks have been sitting in a box for over half a year. I think I received all 12 blocks, but I lost one (which was such a bummer because it was gorgeous - I blame the toddler) and one was not useable.  I'd asked for a dark grey background and imagined I would get bunch of different shades. When I pulled them out again a couple nights ago, I realized that 7 of the blocks used Kona Coal, 1 Charcoal, 1 Medium Grey and 1 Slate, and 1 with a tone-on-tone grey print. Trying to figure out how to arrange these blocks in a pleasing manner took a lot of thought. Since, Slate is a very "blue" grey and doesn't really go well with the other shades, so I'm going to either use that block on the back, or use it to make something else entirely. Ditto for the tone-on-tone background. 
In the end, I decided to make 2 more blocks using Coal and 1 additional block in Iron. I'll sash the quilt in Coal so the quilt top will be more or less uniform and there will be three randomly arranged blocks in "other" shades of grey.
And thus, my March goal is to complete the last three blocks for this quilt top, one of which is my hexie block that I've been chipping away for the year block or so (I'm so slow!).  Three blocks is totally manageable, even when run off my feet by a toddler while working full-time and hauling my pregnant self around town. 

P.S. I'm also too tired to proofread tonight - sorry y'all!

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Saturday, March 2, 2013

February's Liberty Star

February's star for the Lucky Star BOM is called the Exploding Star and despite having selected and cut fabric for the 12 inch block weeks ago, I only got around to stitching it up last night.  I love when I've precut my fabric because when I finally get around to putting the block together, it goes really quickly.
The challenge with this block is that there are twelve fabrics that all join in the centre seam. This makes getting that seam to lie flat a real beast. Thankfully, someone in the BOM's Flickr group posted a link to a tutorial by Stacey in Stitches which includes instructions for technique called a spiral seam.
This first photo shows what my seam looked like after my first attempt at pressing. Unfortunately, I didn't read the tutorial before I put the block together. After paper piecing the quadrants, you join the top two, and then sew your final seam. I thought I was being really smart by pressing the last three seams open, something I never do. I figured it would make it easier to line up the points and it would lead to less bulk. This was a mistake, because the spiral seam technique requires that you press your seams in a counter-clockwise direction.  The photo above shows my attempt to do so.
Next, you finger press open the final seam and carefully unpick the seams as indicated in the photo above, and then press your fabric so that they make a tidy square. I encourage you to look at Stacey's pictures to see how to fold your fabric properly. Because I pressed open my seams, I wasn't able to "spiral" perfectly. 
Despite this, check out how flat my seam looks from the front! I'd call that success, wouldn't you?
Here are my January and February blocks together. I've decided to only make the 12 inch blocks for the BOM. I'll use the 6 inch one I made in January for something else, maybe a pouch or mini quilt? We'll see.
I've also settled on removing the brown and orange Liberty hues from my fabric selection for this quilt. I added a few tone on tone prints (line the red quilter's linen I used here) to round out my selections and reduce the busyness of the blocks. I think this allows the Liberty prints to really shine.

Next up, picking fabric for the March block, which just hit my inbox. Stay tuned for more Liberty goodness!