Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Quilting with whips, chains, and leather!

Well, ok.  This post isn't really a deviation from my usual G-rated content, nor will I cover actual topics similar to those discussed in an unmentionable song by Rihanna.

I'm not exactly thinking of using whips and chains in my quilts.

I have thought about using chains before since Chanel uses them in their jacket liners to weigh down the garments.  

In this case I actually have leather on my mind. 

It's mostly CreativeBug's fault!

First of all, I ran into the above pot holder when I was in The General Store recently.  It reminded me of the free form stitching that is the crazy cousin of Japanese Sashiko.

It's certainly a quilted piece but the tiny bit of leather dresses it up and makes me think it will last longer than if it had a simple fabric loop.

I also happened to wander past Elke Bergeron's CreativeBug class on making a leather clutch.  I watched the 25 min class and got really excited to incorporate a little bit of leather in some quilted projects like pot holders or maybe small bags.

Elke herself makes some really beautiful bags.  I will be keeping an eye on her work.

Meanwhile, I want to check out some leather in person and may plan an excursion to Tandy Leather in San Bruno.

There is an etsy shop called bookhauathome that has some leather and fabric bags that would also be fun to use to tote around a small hand quilting project and your keys and wallet.  Nice muted colors.  Just beautiful.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friendship Bracelet Central & Giveaway Winner

Summer camp continues around here and the kids have been enjoying some relaxation.

Our 7 yr old has taken up making friendship bracelets like MAD!  

We can hardly make him put them down when he needs to go the the bathroom.  If that's not dedication, I don't know what is.

I'm modeling his first fancy one in a  "V" shape.  It's amazing how much fun you can have making these for friends and how much people appreciate getting them.  I really love mine.

It's been a super busy week for me and I have so many more topics to cover, but they will need to wait for next time.  

The winner of the Sew What! Skirts book give away is Barb!  

Barb, drop me an email at quilt (dot) baby at hotmail (dot) com and I'll send your book out in the mail to you next week.  Enjoy it!

Hope you are all having a nice and quilting weekend.

I've been getting the very strong urge to spend another day in San Francisco.  Calling my name for a visit soon is:

- March - A kitchen shop, but more like a gallery of what your kitchen decor may want to look like when you finally get around to that remodel

- Flora Grubb - My favorite nursery on the planet.  Always a challenge not to spend my entire paycheck in 1 visit, or buy too many plants to fit in my trunk

- Peapod Fabrics - quilt shop with tons of Japanese influenced fabrics.  Nuf said.

- Smitten Ice Cream - using liquid nitrogen, they make your favorite flavor from milk, cream and other good stuff.  Located in the Proxy Project - a 2 block radius of coolness in the previously-questionable-now-hip Hayes Valley area of SF

Friday, July 19, 2013

Quilt Border Debacle & Recovery Plan

When you put some borders around your quilt blocks, you usually think long and hard about what fabric to use, how thick to make them, and if the are 'just right' for the quilt.

In the case of my modern house quilt, I apparently did not observe my usual process.

The fabric I used seemed like a good idea at the time.  

Once I had lived with the completed quilt top for a while, I realized that I was not in love with the border fabric and that the value of it was overall too dark.

At that point, I started to get really intimate with the dreaded seam ripper.

I carefully remove every last piece of it from my beloved applique blocks and breathed a sigh of relief.

The blocks went back into being stored in a huge flat three ring binder and I have not touched them since.

Or until now.

I finally found a better border fabric.  It is polka dot.

I know, really...polka dot?  Wouldn't that be too busy?  Well...not really.

Lecien is a Japanese fabric company that makes many of the taupe fabrics that I like to use in my quilts.  They have a cool list of fabric shops by state in the U.S. that carry their line.

My rotary cutter and rulers are out.  I'm starting to cut new pieces of borders to re-sew them to the quilt.  This polka dot fabric (the lighter, bottom one in the photo above) is the one that I'll be using.

The darker polka dot fabric on top is something I may also play around with, but not sure it will make the cut for this subtle quilt.

Oh, and lastly I finally saw the 200 follow mark being broken for my blog.  To you dear new followers, you warm my heart so.  Thank You!!!  A huge virtual hug to you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Knit Turtle Love

The knit turtle was feeling lonely.

I created him a best friend to hang out with.

They have already started causing trouble together.

It's rather cute.

It seems like they enjoy playing tag in their spare time.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A little something for all of you

When I was listening to a recent podcast by The Spin Doctor (a very good podcast about spinning yarn) Jillian was saying that she would love to make an A-line skirt someday.

I too am getting more interested in sewing clothes, as another outlet for applique and hand work.

This book, "Sew What! Skirts: 16 simple styles you can make with fabulous fabrics" by Francesca Dehartog and Carole Ann Camp is an interesting read if you're looking to jump into the waters of simple garments.

I like the idea of drafting your own pattern since it is very custom, as recommended in this book.  It seems faster to me when a full size pattern is included by the author, but in this case it's a draft your own approach.

The book has spiral ring binding so it sits open next to you as you are sewing.  Oh how I wish more books were bound like this. 

You can probably use some quilting weight cotton for some of the projects here if you have a couple of extra yards laying around and you want to try to have a little fun.

This book got 4.5 out of 5 stars at Amazon from over 100 reviewers.

It could be your very own book, from me to you, if you do the following:

1)  Leave a comment on this post before 9pm PST Sunday 7/21/13 - tell me why you are excited to make a skirt.

2)  For extra credit, say in your comment that you put a link to this post from your blog and I'll put your name in the give away pool twice. 

I am SO close to having 200 followers.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could break past the 200 mark?  Help me out here....good luck!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Turtle Soup Recipe

Eating cute little turtles is hardly something I intend to start doing. 

In fact I was shocked that there are lots of recipes out there for them.  I was thinking that they are too adorable to eat.  Apparently not!

Anna Hrachovec, the mastermind knitter behind MochiMochiLand just came out with a pattern for a tiny turtle. 

I knit this to match my 4yr old's most recent socks.  He is actually willing to wear the socks now that he has a matching turtle!  Wow, a small miracle. 

Mind the Gap self striping yarn in tons of colors, made it easy to find a good color combo that pops.

I'm slipping a couple more photos in here for you, I just cannot resist.

After several hours of hard work, the tiny turtle progressed from the starting link on the ankle to half way up the shin.

He really is small as you can see.  Knit on size 0000 needles!  Yowza.  Teenie tiny.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to make Quilt Binding, or how I make it at least!

Putting the binding on a quilt is like putting the icing on a cake.

Every binding chef probably has their own secret recipe for the perfect binding.

I will tell you my recipe.  It's a bit of religion really.  If you make your binding differently, tell me why and maybe I'll try a taste!

First you will want to know how big your quilt is.  Measure all the sides and add them up.  If you're lucky, the opposite slides are equal lengths.  If that is not the case, you can do some wet blocking with pins to try and help yourself out of that little jam.
I cut 2.25" wide pieces of fabric, all the way across from selvage to selvage (which is usually 44" or so on quilt cotton).  I have found that is the thickness that looks good in my opinion.  Any thicker and it starts to look like more than just a little frame.  It can overpower the quilt.

Some quilters cut binding on the bias, which is also a good practice, but not necessary unless the quilt will get a lot of washing.

Joining the strips together on the diagonal put less stress on the fibers and give you a longer lasting binding.  I always do that.

I make sure that the total amount of binding inches is enough to go around the quilt + 10 inches extra for corners and joining together at the end.  

For example, if your quilt is 80" square, I would cut (80x4)+10 = 330 inches.

Wow, I did some quilting math for you.

Oh, and I don't use pins as I machine sew the binding on the front of the quilt.  I just guide it along with my fingers only.  I know....No Pins!  Horrors!!!  You're thinking I've lost my mind, right?

I use hand applique to sew the back side of the binding to the back side of the quilt.  I use cotton thread, not silk applique thread (pretty but not tough enough for binding I've found).

If you're still awake here, give yourself a gold star.

If you want to see an incredible online class on the topic with really awesome video, see Sue Nickel's Creativebug class on Quilt Finishing and Binding.  I just watched it, and it's amazing.  It might just be the best $15 you ever spent.

I'm also thinking of doing a little give away later this week, so check back soon. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Fourth!

The 4th of July is one of my all time favorite holidays.

Some extra time with the family while school's out is an awesome treat.

This year the holiday weekend was a busy one.  Lots of running around:

Monster's University - enjoyable movie, albeit slightly scary to our 4 yr old at a couple of points

Giants Baseball - fun to beat the Dodgers!  We had some nice seats there this evening

Heath Ceramics - a beautiful shop in San Francisco...if you are looking for Alabama Chanin's new plate, better wait until it's back in stock.  I did not get my hands on one.  We bought a coloring book instead.

General Store - this funky spot in San Francisco is oh so much fun.  Japanese imported household goodies, and adorable hip clothes.  R.P. Miller t-shirt was my favorite discovery.  Unfortunately not shown on the General Store web site, but available here at Gravel and Gold.  I dislike un-soft or itchy shirts.  These T's are 100% cotton and soft as can be.

Oh, yes...and I finished knitting a pair of socks, and finished quilting my secret quilt project!!  How's that for progress.  Heh! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mind the Gap: self striping sock yarn

I am hand quilting away like a mad person, but top secret project so no news of it here.

These little crazy colored socks did get finished recently while on vacation, so I'm sharing a quick snapshot of them with you.  Even the presence of my mom's loving coaxing could hardly get the reluctant model to keep them on for more than a couple of moments.

They are done though, and they look adorable.  Maybe he will warm up to them.  They are slightly big, so he as some time to change his mind and get some use out of them.

The yarn is by British dyer Trailing Clouds.