Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Your 15 minutes are up!

I have been following the 15 minute idea that Tilly has been talking about. I was working on my quilt backing, as seen under my assistant. Perfect for the man quilt, right? Anyway, my phone went off at 15 minutes and my assistant promptly walked in, sat on the fabric and gave me "the look." What would I do without my little regulator? Do you think she is thinking, "Do my ears look fat?" I just love that dog!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sewing for a Cause: Sewing Machines & Life Skills for CSEC

Have you ever had a person in your life that just being around them makes you want to do great things and be a better person? Jenny Gabriel is one of those people for me. She is a fellow seamster and taught me probably 90% of everything I know. I am so excited for her because she has launched a program with Freedom Place which helps commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) get back on their feet. She is teaching the children to sew!  Jenny has been coming up with great ideas and projects for the girls, and one of her ideas is that each girl that makes it through the program will get to keep her sewing machine. I think it is a brilliant idea and a huge confidence builder to have such a useful skill. Jenny has just launched a Go Fund Me page site to help her get her program going. I know it is the holidays and money is tight, but if you would like to learn more about her fantastic program please visit her page.

In the mean time I am back to working on a project for one of my classes and hope to get some sewing done this week to report in on! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

I seriously finished the quilt top

Yes, the one that I blogged about cutting out about four hours ago. It's done!

I know, it is a crappy iPhone picture, but it is proof it is done. I have two suggestions:

1. If you ever thought about making a quilt Thimble Blossoms Piece of Cake 3 is all straight lines and easy blocks.

2. Serging a quilt is awesome and super fast! Check out how nice that back looks! 

Now I'm off to work on state testing. If you hate soap boxes, go ahead and quit reading while I drag mine out and dust it off. I work with severe and profoundly disabled kids in the state of Texas. First, Texas tests all children to death and is being sued by multiple districts over it. The federal government says kids have to be tested four years between third and eleventh grade. Texas tests every year in multiple subjects. Kids lose days of learning to days of testing and companies that make supplemental testing materials get big bucks.  Second, as a teacher of middle school kids, some of whom cannot recognize all the letters in the alphabet, I get to write and develop the tests myself. Plus my kids don't use pen and paper, so I have to create task driven tests. Here is the math:

1  6th grader - 2 subjects
3 7th graders - 3 subjects
4 eighth graders - 4 subjects
Each subject = 4 tests = I have 108 tests to write and get approved before January.

They are tested on things like identifying 2/4 (no, not half, 2/4). Which would be the more valuable term to know, really? HALF! That is just one of many things they are tested on that I just don't find as useful as other things. That means less learning things like their phone numbers or how to use a microwave. Gah! It is very frustrating. OK, off the box!

Finally, a man quilt

I am so tired of hearing about how my assistant got a quilt for Christmas, but Mr. Thinks He Can did not. As a quick reminder, this is the quilt I made for Brindy.

It has hot pink squirrels on it and purple hedge hogs. It became in experiment in the absurd and somehow worked out amazingly. In the end, she loves it, does not share, takes complete ownership, and even if it had turned out horribly, would have felt the same way. For my second quilt ever she was a perfect giftee. A grown man would not be swayed by such adorable gimmicks.

I saw this quilt at quilt market ad thought it would be a perfect man quilt. Nothing cutesy, but still pleasant. I felt this would be perfect. It was sold as a kit that contained a layer cake, background fabric and binding from Moda's Basic Grey Little Black Dress Line. It is very menswear inspired. The pattern is Thimble Blossoms's Piece of Cake 3. I have never really been drawn in by precuts like a layer cake or jelly roll, but I am totally won over now! 

I cute out this whole quilt in 15 minutes. Also, Holly taught me that sewing a quilt top on a serger is super fast and easy, and I'll be danged if she isn't right. I love this pattern and this quilt! Updates to come soon! I'm thinking about backing it with minky. Has anyone ever done that? Yay or Nay?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Art Gallery shirt

This post is going to be all over the place. I have made this pattern a few times, but each time I try something new.

This is Simplicity 2599 which I made with some Art Gallery fabric I bought at the Quilt Festival. It is quilting cotton but has such a nice feel to it. I loved so many of their prints! I made the usual short waist adjustment and cut the back on the fold to skip the button since it is unnecessary.

On this one I removed quite a bit of ease out of the sleeve cap after I was inspired by Green Apple's tutorial on how. What I did find though is having less sleeve brought my shoulder down a little bit more, so next time I will cut my shoulder in a bit, but I do like the way the cap fits.

This is how the sleeve looked on my last sleeved version. It was pretty dang puffy, but you can see it isn't pulling the shoulder down like the newer version.

I also hemmed the sleeves a new way. I serged my raw edges then used Steam A Seam Lite to hem them after I saw the post on 3 Hours Past the Edge on the uses of fusible webbing tape. I plan on being an abuser, because this method worked quite nicely and was super easy. It also allowed me to leave the length in my sleeves which came out a bit short after the sleeve cap experiment. 

So I love the shirt and please be sure to check out Green Apples and 3 Hours Past for the awesome tutorials. Also two of my students told me (or signed) they liked my shirt. I have eight students total, so either it really looks that good or they were just glad to see something else make the rotation!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

$12 at a good estate sale

I found an estate sale yesterday of a fellow seamster. She had been sewing and quilting for a very long time. She had an amazing stash. She had boxes and boxes and boxes of fabric that women were hauling out, but what we most had in common were her bags of notions.

I grabbed four giant freezer bags of stuff and the handful of lace seam bindings. I got so many great things!

Piping! Including the red and green polka dot piping I must add!

About 20 packages of bias tape. My favorites are the polka dots and stripes.

I got an entire bag of elastics!

I love the rainbow and striped ones. The one I am holding kind of reminds me on men's underwear.

Hem Facing! I love lace hem facing.

And look at all the seam binding there on the bottom left. 

Here is a bunch of snaps and hook and eyes and bedazzling and googly eyes. I like that wooden belt buckle.

And finally a sack of lace. Big lace, small lace, colored and white is all here. I don't use lace very often as an embellishment, but there are a few here I would really like to use.

What a score for $12!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pattern Review

I just got an e-mail from Pattern Review that I am the featured member! Woohoo! I am so excited. I love Pattern Review and always refer to them when I am looking to make a pattern or need inspiration. I can't wait to come home this afternoon and sew something!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Paradiso Designs and Craftsy at the Quilt Market

I was planning a big Quilt Market review, but it was a lot of the same this year. Plus, the other bloggers are doing a great job showing new lines of fabric and designs. What did take my breath away was my discovery of a new pattern line - Paradiso Designs out of Seattle. I met Cheryl Kuczek at the show, and her bags stopped Holly and I in our tracks. Literally. If you are making it by Quilt Market today she is on the front side of aisle 200. If not, don't despair. Paradiso Designs has an online store!

I fell in love with the Urbanista Hobo. It is fun, functional and filled with pockets. That is a balloon inside the bag in the picture above, so it is a good sized bag.

Yes, that is pleather on the bag. I was nervous about working with it, but Cheryl assured me that a walking foot would work just fine. On the pattern she recommends thread to help get the job done.

Here is the official photo from the website.

And here is my bag to be! I have always wanted to work with Echino linen, and here it is. I found a tan ostrich pleather at Vogue Fabrics I was thinking of using, Cheryl gave me this fantastic red alligator pleather that she, Holly and even Mr. Thinks He Can agree would be much more fantastic. What would I do without the brilliant minds around me?

This is the Fancy Shmancy vest Cheryl designed. The front looks like a vest, but the corseted back vest is such an amazing element!  Is it just me or would this vest have a great Steampunk vibe? 

Here is the official pattern photo from the web site.

I did not get to see this live, but how cute is this pug applique offered on the website? Clothes, bags, appliques... I am really excited about this new-to-me-brand and the multi-talented Cheryl Kuczek!

What?!?! You're not convinced yet? They offer a free pattern on their website for a cross body bag that is the perfect size for your iPad that you can see above. I think Holly is planning on making a cross body bag, so I will post our bags when we complete them.

Another highlight of the Quilt Festival? I totally ran into Caroline from Craftsy who gave me the Sewing with Knits Class to giveaway! I was strangely star struck, and I think maybe a bit of a freaky Craftsy fan. I am a little ashamed of my own giddiness actually... Do you see that gray quilt to the right? That is the final product from the 2012 Free Block of the Month Class (did it slip there will be a 2013 BOM class coming up...I think it did!!!). BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE! It has been free motion quilted in their new class with Leah Day, Free Motion Quilting a Sampler. All I can say is amazing! If you have not signed up for a Craftsy class yet, I encourage you to at least sign up for their site because they offer a lot of discounts on classes as well as on fabrics and yarns. They are also a huge platform for independent pattern designers, and some of the patterns are even free! Check it out, you won't regret it.