Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dragons and Other Celestial Bodies

So of course I can't possibly plan to do anything simple. Applique? Only tried it once before, 3.5 years ago for my wedding, it was a total pain, and messy. Why messy? Because we didn't know what we were doing, so we traced the pieces, cut the fabric, and turned the edges under with GLUE. It wasn't fun and I'm sure everyone involved hated me for making them try it.

But for Jack's Birthday I promised to make him a heraldric surcoat with the Kingdom of Akron Dragon. Here's the Dragon, cut out for a template.

Nice and easy huh? I put Heat & Bond Lite on the back of the fabric, traced the outline onto the front side of the fabric, and cut out the dragon. This is where I oopsed because I was supposed to stitch it to the surcoat first just inside the line.

Oh well. We'll make it work.

And to break up the day a little I started working on a paper piecing project using these fabrics that I got in a box of random 9" squares.

Here's a sneak preview...

Have a happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Design Wall Happiness!

I just wanted to take a second and introduce you all to my new favorite thing ... my very own Design Wall! I've wanted one for a while, but the debate is WHERE and WHAT fabric. I finally just stuck it in the spare room that we are using for storage. I would have rather put in in my sewing room but there just isn't space. I used some fabric I had on hand (its burgandy) and I will upgrade to white felt when I find some on sale. Also, I'll be able to make it bigger then, as it is only really large enough to put a lap quilt on right now.

And now, Kaelyn's Design Wall, featuring Nana's Quilt!

Oh and... cookies!

Yes I made the recipe. They are okay, have a little bit of a muffin flavor rather than cookie flavor. I would probably just use a standard oatmeal chocolate chip recipe next time with the craisins and white chocolate chips. But hey, still cookies!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday/Building Blocks Tuesday

Its been a couple of those weird weeks where when I have time to sew, I'm unmotivated to do so and when I don't have time to sew, I wish I was. I don't want to start a new project before I finish the some of the ones I have. And I still haven't taken the time to fix my quilting problem. I'm not sure how to fix it anyway but I can't finish certain projects until it is fixed.

Anywho, I've been building more blocks for Nana's quilt when I can. I'm working on the medium flower ones, saving the hardest for last. Not a lot of progress, but some is better than none.

I'd also like to take a minute to complain about some spray starch I picked up. Large bottle, brand Niagara, "Biodegradable", in-expensive, and non-aersol. Pleasing scent.

Leaves a residue on my iron, which burns and scorches my quilt blocks. Really, not happy here. Please read the fine print that I discovered a little too late:

Also please note, that it doesn't tell you what the correct iron temperature is. I will be making a special trip to the grocery store tomorrow to get the aerosol brand that I used last time.  I can't remember the name, but I know what the can looks like! I maxed out my iron on the cotton setting and used a whole can and never once had a problem. I'm considering making homemade starch spray, but that takes time! So just to warn everyone, this spray starch is NOT for quilting.

I've been playing around with layouts for my EPP project. I want the colors to fade from one to the next, I like the following layout, or some variation thereof. 

In unrelated news, I found a recipe on the back of a Craisins bag for Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies that I hope to test out tomorrow. Looks delicious!

I will soon have to dedicate some of my sewing time to garbing, as Ragnarok is coming up fast! One whole week of medieval camping, daily battles against the forces of evil, and overcooked campfire food with that delicious charred flavor (not counting Cynar's steaks, which are always done perfectly).  Much of our garb was thrown together with what was on hand at the time, due to both time and financial constraints. I'd like to take some time and design/sew garb I really like, now that I'm not moving, renovating, etc.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Paper Piecing Extravaganza - Sort Of

This weekend didn't go exactly as planned, but I did have great time on Saturday. I ended up working overtime (not fun) but then I got to attend my cousin's basketball game, spend the afternoon with her goofing off, and chilling with my friends. And on Sunday I was fighting with my FMQ. It seems my sewing machine is determined to give me a hard time. Back to piecing until I can come up with a solution to my quilting problems. Right now the lightweight invisible thread is wrapping itself around the spindle as it comes off the spool, getting caught, and breaking.

 My first English Paper Pieced block! Hand sewing is slow but its very relaxing. Wouldn't recommend it if you are in a hurry though. I'm thinking about picking up a pack of apple core or tumbler templates for use with my scraps.

Check out this stack of batiks and blenders I purchased from ebay for a steal! I'm so thrilled but I can't decide what to do with them. Maybe a stained glass window quilt? Or Mariner's compass, or paper-pieced stars.  Oh the choices! Its about 8 yards of fabric.

And last but not least, the stacks and stack of pieces for Nana's Quilt. This took several hours to cut out and I'm not quite done yet but I'm getting tired of cutting. I think I'll paper piece for a while and finish cutting as I go. Keeping my fingers crossed that I have enough background fabric. It looks like its going to be a tight squeeze to get all the pieces cut.

Friday, March 8, 2013

FMQ Friday - Trials of a New Quilter

Its Friday again (yay!), time for Free Motion Quilt Friday hosted by the Free Motion Quilt Project, and unlike a couple of my unlucky coworkers, I do not have to work tomorrow. Yet. I heard a rumor that they may call me in if they get backed up.

I spent the last week fighting on and off with my free motion quilting. The Thread. Keeps. Breaking. ARGH!!! I "mostly" fixed the problem by replacing my needle with one that has a larger eye. However, after a casual perusal of online message boards, I believe the problem may be the quality of thread. I'm using Coats & Clark and seems that I'm not the only one with problems. I think I'll pick up some Sulky invisible thread for next time and hope that solves my little problem. I'm also hoping it will, well, be invisible because my latest quilting venture displayed another issue - I quilted white thread on a dark fabric. And every single mistake shows glaringly.

Disappearing Cube Trick Wall Hanging
But its finally quilted! Now for binding and hanger sleeve thingies.

Saturday, March 2, 2013



Humperdinck! Humperdinck! Humperdinck!"

Yes I just watched The Princess Bride again.  I love that movie. So many priceless lines that are applicable in everyday conversations.... such as "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." and "You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept"

Anyway, my venture into Princess Bride was spawned by a desire to see how much work I could get done in a specified period of time and a movie is the perfect timer. The trick you see, is to not get distracted by all the projects I want to do but haven't started yet, or to get distracted by all the new and cool projects (like this great Quilt of Valor idea I have, or the English Paper Piecing method I want to get set up to take to Rag with me) that are out there, but instead focus on sewing for an hour and a half. Its tough being chronically creative.

So what did I accomplish in an hour and half? Not quite as much as I would have liked.

Let me first start by saying that this paper-piecing project turned out to be a little trickier that I initially anticipated. I think it has to do with some of the odd shapes of the flowers. I would stitch a piece on, open it up and find that it didn't lay at all where I intended. Oops. So here is my method for eliminating that little problem. Also, reduces waste!

1. Print a cardboard template and cut each piece out.

2. Use a little rolled piece of masking tape, sticky side out, to tape the template to the WRONG side of the fabric. (This seemed to be where most of my mistakes happened while cutting, so be careful)

3. Cut 1/4 - 3/16 of an inch all the way around.

My stack of pieces. This will make 8 quilt blocks.
So, this is where I started (two blocks partially started and one finished) ....

.....and an hour and a half later I had cut all the pieces for 8 blocks and started stitching them

Next up is Prince Caspian, another one of my favorites. I'm also very familiar with it, so I don't need to watch the movie to see it play out in my head! That makes it much less distracting.

Oh and FYI, although I'm probably the only person silly enough to actually do this... spray starch is bad for paper piecing patterns. It makes the ink bleed. Wait until you remove the paper to starch the block.

... I'm not left-handed...

Linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday (see my sidebar for a link), even those these blocks aren't complete yet!