Friday, January 27, 2017

Finish it up Friday: Hello Kitty Quilt

 I completed the Hello Kitty quilt!  It's been so long since I've done a Finish it up Friday post, especially to document the completion of a quilt.  My daughter is very thrilled: she even joined me at the place I rented the longarm for the last 1.5 hours of quilting.  She really was so excited and I was too!  I didn't love having this top laying around: all those tiny squares needed securing pronto and there's no better way to do that than quilt and bind it!

I quilted it last week on a Friday and had it bound by that Sunday.  It really dwarfs Charlotte's  toddler bed and she said she's ready for a "big girl bed."  (I wouldn't mind putting her in a twin sized bed, but we don't have one, so that will have to wait.)  I contemplated keeping this finish a secret until her birthday but bringing her to the longarm place proved to be a lot of fun: she was really beside herself with happiness.

I rented a Statler Stitcher and chose a daisy pattern stitched in white thread to finish the quilt.

Most of the quilt backing is made up of some very "old" stash fabric from Erin McMorris's first-ever  fabric line, a find from Marden's from at least 7 years ago.  I bound it in the only purple fabric I had more than a half yard of: Joel Dewberry True Colors woodgrain.  The quilt measures 78 x 88.

Since moving to Colorado, in order to rent a longarm, I've taken occasional trips to Ft. Collins and stayed the weekend with my sister, renting a longarm from an official Gammill dealer.  My experience there has been okay but it's definitely not been convenient and I've been a bit underwhelmed with the customer service there.  I decided to try out renting from a lady advertising on Craigslist to use her machine in Colorado Springs.  I visited her studio before making the rental appointment, I wasn't impressed with the amount of "stuff" in her storefront: it was truly packed from front to back with consignment items and her own things.  For completing the quilt, I chose a day my husband had off and arrived on time.  The store wasn't opened; I called her.  She said she was "on her way." If I'd known it would be another half hour before she arrived, I probably wouldn't have waited but she gave me the impression that she was simply running late.  It was a freezing, snowy morning.  When she finally arrived and I asked her what had happened, she confessed that she had completely forgotten our appointment and there was "no excuse."  I was really disappointed but we proceeded to get started.  I told her how I wanted the backing to be oriented on the quilt and she did it completely wrong.  She offered to re-do it but I declined, we were already way behind schedule!  Besides a very rocky beginning, I was happy with the quilt and how it turned out.  The rental price was also extremely reasonable: it cost me just $54.  But I am honestly not sure if I want to return.  I am so used to the professionalism I had at Laurena's studio in Burlington.  This experience furthered my determination to purchase my own Gammill- now is definitely not the time of life for that kind of purchase and commitment but I am so looking forward to someday having my own machine!

Thanks for reading.  Linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  Hello Kitty QAL instuctions can be found on the Sukie blog here.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Scraptastic January: Unicorn Block

Close to Christmas, I decided I wanted to make this unicorn block for my daughter.  I have always been impressed with this amazing pattern but was intimidated by the complicated look of it... but one of my mantras is, "I can do hard things!"  So I went for it and I am so glad I did.

I used only scraps to make this beauty and it worked out so well.  I separate my scraps by color but also have a completely different storage system for solid scraps that are mixed all together (it's very sophisticated: two big giant zip lock bags stuffed under my cutting table).  As you can see, I used quite a bit of both solid and print scraps.  I dug into stash for the silver asterisk fabric for the horn.

Someone on IG mentioned they might frame a complicated paper pieced block rather than make it into a mini or a pillow- which is an awesome idea I wouldn't have thought up myself!  On Christmas Eve, I drove to my nearby Michael's and grabbed the perfect 18" square white frame with a 50% off coupon.  It was a great time saver and I already knew I didn't want this block suffering the abuse that a kids pillow gets around here.

Here's Charlotte after unwrapping her gift:

The whole theme of Charlotte's Christmas seemed to be unicorns.  Oh to be four years old!

Last month I won a giveaway on the Scraptastic Tuesday linkup from Fluffy Sheep quilting and it didn't take me long to zero on these beauties from Dashwood Studio.  These fabrics are so adorable and soft!

Thanks for reading!  Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Playtime Outfit with Birch Knits from MalinisQuiltCo Etsy shop

Shortly after I moved to Colorado from Massachusetts, one of my friends from the BMQG, Hema, opened a fabric supply Etsy shop.  I was excited for her but also a little bummed about the timing: wouldn't we all love to live near an awesome modern fabric store run by a friend?  When I visited New England this summer, I made sure to visit Hema to catch up and I also took the opportunity to enjoy seeing her shop inventory in person.  

When Hema and I were participating in the guild, Hema was all about practicing free motion quilting on her domestic machine.  She really became quite skilled.  Since that time, she's also been developing her skills at garment making - she's very prolific.  The theme of her shop does lean heavily towards apparel fabric selections: lots of knits and double gauze.  She has quilting cottons too and seems to have a unique selection; including Dashwood Studio (UK based fabric company) and lots of organic selections.

Periodically, I will be featuring a product made out of fabrics available from Hema's shop.  Today's post features Birch knits: Wildland and a red solid.  I decided to use the Playtime pattern by my favorite pattern designer, Liesl Gibson- of course.  

My fabrics arrived on Christmas Eve and I promptly threw them in the wash.  I always prewash knit fabrics.  I quickly got everything cut and ready to sew and put it all together this past Sunday evening.  Previously, when I made a quick shopping trip for buttons, I picked up a "twin needle" - something I only barely knew existed.  It wasn't too hard to use and I liked the way it helped me hem the tunic.  

I'll admit that I had some challenges making this outfit, all mistakes of my own doing: I only cut out one tunic/skirt panel and panicked when I wasn't sure if I could salvage another one from my leftovers (I did but it was close), I sewed too close to the edge of the skirt which resulted in some seam-ripping, and I experienced some stretching on the hems of the sleeves that made me feel pretty frustrated.... I expect that to improve with practice!  There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to sewing knits but there are some things that are easier than working with woven fabrics.  For example, I didn't have to do basting stitches and gathering to set in the sleeves.  Winning!

As you can see, Charlotte loves the outfit and I am very happy with how it looks on her:

The leggings were a breeze- I haven't blogged this but I have made at least six pairs for her and a friend from that pattern recently.

Here's a shot of another knit selection I selected from Hema's shop: Tall Tales knit paired with more of the red solid.  I am going to take a little garment sewing break but when I'm ready, I hope to transform these fabrics into a raglan tee ala Hey June.  I LOVE the Tall Tales collection - the jackalope slays me.

Thanks for reading... Next up is lots of cutting for a Patchwork Swoon... I can't wait to start working on a big quilt for me.