Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A tiny bit of crazy and my month for the Make it Modern Bee

I know I whined a bunch about getting everything finished last time I posted.

Well, guess what? I spent all weekend sewing (well, the time I was not socializing/hosting a batchelorette party) and I am doing great. I am not going to talk about my April goal progress now. That will come later this week along with a whole bunch of pictures. For now I give you this outtake.

I was off on Thursday and Friday (because I spent all last weekend working) and I just made some quilty goodness. By Saturday, I could work on (more) fun stuff.

My design wall was looking lonely so I pulled this stuff out of my WIP box.

Color! Glorious crazy colors! These are so much fun!

Most importantly, May is my month in the Make it Modern Bee. 

Directions for my Bee Mates:

I have chosen the Lone Starburst Block. It is a free PDF paper pieced star designed by Six White Horses. You can click on the link to download the templates.

It finishes at 12.5"x 12.5".

I would like you to do your star in either blue or green fabric on a gray background. I am not picky about the shades of blue or green (really anything from turquoise to lime green, to true blue, anything...). I also do not care what color gray you choose, just use something from your stash. I would ask that you make the narrow band of the star a coordinating solid and the two star colors separate coordinating prints (as in my example below). 

This block is paper pieced. Rather than writing out a tutorial, I thought I would just walk through some tricks I used to make this block, give you a (rough) cutting chart, and direct you to some awesome paper piecing tutorials. If you are a pro at paper piecing just ignore this (better yet, read them and tell me if there is something I can learn).


- You need to print 4 copies of the pattern. I start by using paper scissors to roughly cut each star section out (for a total of 8), be sure to not to trim off the gray seam allowance.  Make sure your printer scaling is set to 100% and that you check the scale on the paper to make sure that it printed correctly. The next thing I do is use a pencil to label where I am going to put each fabric (ie. gray, solid, print 1, print 2).

- Adjust your machine's stitch length to 1.

- I start by cutting all of my fabrics for the whole block. I am going to pass on my cutting dimensions, but I warn you they are a tiny bit generous, because I find it easier that way and I want to make this beginner friendly.

8 - 4.5"x 3"- center print (number 1)
16 -1.25"x 5"- coordinating solid (blue or green) (numbers 2 and 3)*
8 - 4"x 1.5" - outside print (Number 4)
8 - 5"x 1.5"- outside print (Number 5)
8 - 4"x 3.5"- gray solid (Number 6)
8 - 5"x 5"- gray solid (Number 7)

*this has been updated to 1.25" wide to make it easier to position.
- If you have never paper pieced before here are two tutorials. They are both very good and offer directions.  I am sure there are also tutorials on you tube or elsewhere on the internet. Whatever works for you.
  • Six White Horses tutorial (I pretty much use this method, except I use a washable clear glue stick to attach the first piece of fabric instead of a pin).
- I use a washable (clear) glue stick to stick my first piece of fabric to the paper and trim as I go using an add-a-quarter ruler (but any ruler will do).

- I leave the paper on until I get half of the star all sewn together. Then I rip off the paper before I sew the two halves together. I have encountered different opinions on this, but I have found this helps me get the seams matching at the end.

- I use lots of pins when I sew together any of the segments to make sure all of the points align. 

Ignore the dirty ironing board... it is gross. Sorry...

- I press the seams with a hot iron and no steam as I am assembling the segments. Then, right before I remove the papers, I add steam and a spritz of Best Press (a spray starch alternative, but I think starch would work the same). This is probably also controversial, but it works for me.

- I also press my segment joining seams open, cause I like the look. But, I am not picky about this.

Whew! If you got through that you deserve a medal. Seriously, thank you for helping me make these block. I am so in love with these stars! I really appreciate you all paper piecing for me.

Thank you.

PS - If you have any questions, email me, message me on Flickr, comment here, whatever works. I am sure I am incredibly unclear and I would be happy to explain.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

I made a tool kit.

This post begins with a story.

My family (minus my husband), my dad is the old guy on the left. 
Many months ago, my father called me up to ask me if I could sew him a tool kit for his airplane tools. You see, my father is a private pilot (meaning he just flies for fun, not money) and he had a set of tools in the plane that were jingling and not organized. We can't have jingling tools can we? Side note: if you have ever been in the non-pressurized cabin of a small plane (my father flies a 1950's era Cessna 1982) you know it is so noisy, the LAST thing you will notice is anything jingling.

We talked about the tools and his needs (keep it light, easily accessible, small). Then a few weeks later the tools arrived. I am not sure I remember him telling me I was actually going to have the tools to fit, but okay.

This project was hard for me! For some reason I totally lost my creative juices when I was trying to develop the precise wrench pockets. I wonder why? I had an easy enough time with the outside design...

There is really no pattern for this, I sort of based the design off the knitting needle rolls. But I fit each pocket to the tool as I sewed it.

I also did everything in the wrong order, the flaps, the velcro, even the strap. I made it work, but if the walls of my sewing room could repeat the words I used... There is more hand sewing here than I am comfortable admitting or than was strictly necessary.

I stamped the numbers for the wrenches, because I thought it would be confusing not to label them.

This was supposed to be a Christmas present. I think he got it in February, but he LOVED it. I just love giving presents to people who really appreciate the work. It is small and light and gets cinched in even smaller. No jingling at all!

Now, true to form, I am blogging about this several months after it was gifted. Let me know if you have any questions about the construction or fabrics, honestly, I made this up as I went along so I will do my best to remember.

xoxo friends!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Progress (of a sort) {WIP}

I know you are all on the edge of your seats, waiting for me to tell you how I am doing on my list (see last week for details)

First, I need to say, I could have done better. I am in Tennessee/Alabama for the next week and I did not bring my sewing machine. There was no room in the truck (I was also a teensy bit embarrassed to be seen loading up my machine). It is all good because I told the editor of a journal I would have an article finished by the end of April. So, I am writing about archaeology in the evenings (except right now I am blogging... dedication). Don't get jealous. Also, the work is hot and hard... I am tired. I am so full of excuses.

My List (excluding the things I have to finished):

1.) I got my bear block and associated fabrics ready to mail. This will go out next week (as I am away this week).

2.) My embroidery project is almost done. I am posting no pictures here because I want it to be a surprise.

3.) No progress on the whitewashed quilt.

4.) No progress on the voile infinity scarf (as predicted).

5.) I printed the template for my Make it Modern block. Is it fair to ask them to paper piece something? Thoughts? Anyone from Make it Modern reading this?

6.) Baby Quilt. I am proud to announce that I have made serious progress on this task. In my typically intelligent way, I decided to make this quilt out of 3.5" (finished) half square triangles. I made this decision because, I wanted to experiment with some half squared triangle papers I got from the free table at Sew South. Yup. Just for future reference, that is a lot of sewing. They come together really quickly with the papers, but all of those little squares need to be sewn together.

Le sigh.

It looks good though. The nursery is going to be decorated with orange, green, and blue. All the fabrics are from my stash. I think I nailed it.

Last point, I went to the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild meeting on Sunday. It was pretty fun. I will admit it was hard for me to go (I am actually a little shy). When I got there, there were people I knew! Yay for friends! It was nice to see them! I think I may have also made some new friends. I think I will be going back.

Thanks for reading friends! You are looking good!


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Work in Progress: My List

I have been sewing so much these past weeks friends. I think Sew South totally got my creative juices flowing.

One problem.

I may have bitten off a titch more that I could handle. Put another way, my commitments are threatening to make me crazy. Earlier this month, on Instagram (follow me @stitchingandbacon, I am hilarious) my friend Susannah Kate expressed a similar overwhelmed sentiment and suggested the folks on IG informally commit to using April to get works in progress done (check out #aprilwip). I interpreted this to mean that I needed to tackle my list.

By the way, I had not actually written this list down. Now, I am putting fingers to key board and keeping myself honest letting you know how my list is going.


1.) April Blocks for Make it Modern. Done. Going in the mail tomorrow.

2.) Pouch for Paula. I made my father-in-laws girlfriend a pouch for Christmas that I thought would be easy for her to use for her rheumatoid arthritis (easy to carry and open and close). She loved it, told me it was ideal and that she has trouble finding things that work (um, I almost cried from happiness). Then she offered to pay me to make her another. Ha! As if I would let her pay me, she is totally family. Her birthday is this month though, so I made her another (terrible picture alert). Done. Going in the mail tomorrow.

3.) I accidentally (totally on purpose) signed up for a post-Sew South swap. Got to extend the experience, right? I made this little purse for my secret partner (Noodlehead pattern, which I totally recommend). I am so excited for her to get this! Done.

4.) We started a little medallion thingy. More on this later, but I had to make the center of my medallion and I like bears. I know it is a little hard to see what direction this is headed in, but trust me, it is going to be, wait for it.... legendary.

5.) I am doing a little swap with Susannah Kate and I need to finish my end of the deal. She already sent me this awesome ring. I am doing embroidery, which takes me forever. Slow and steady.

6.) My white washed quilt, which is an experiment in minimalism for me. Slow progress here.

7.) I told my mom I would make her a voile infinity scarf. A 10 minute project that I have all of the supplies for and have not even started. Unlikely to work on this for a bit.

8.) My coworker and his wife are having a much anticipated first baby and I need to make them a little quilt before the shower on May 4th. Pulled fabric.

9.) May is my month for Make it Modern. I need to demo the block for the group before May. Unlikely to work on this for a bit.

That's enough right? Oh, btw, I am going out of town for 10 days starting next Monday. Mwhahaha. I may have to let some things go my friends.

Final note. I am going to the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild meeting this Sunday. At least, I am going to try. Schedule cleared. I am building up my courage.... (I am pretty shy in real life).

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Actually Unpacking from Sew South

It took me awhile to unpack from Sew South. Partially because there was so much stuff, partially because putting stuff away meant it was all over.

I know that blog posts talking about tons of awesome free swag are a little annoying. I will try to keep this short. I just need to show you some pretty fabric and pattern photos. You understand, right?

 So I made some pretties. That duffle bag has already gone on two trips so far!

Max loves the duffle too. As soon as I took the stuff out, he hopped right in.

We had a secret sister swap and it was so much fun! I had a blast sneaking little gifts to my sewing sister. Then, at the end of the weekend we found out we had each other! I got a clutch purse frame (I am addicted to these now), zippers, a miraculous add-a-quarter ruler, a key chain, some swanky thread, wash tape, and the cutest tote bag which I have been traveling with for two weeks.  Not pictured, a bunch of tasty dark chocolate and yogurt (maybe not around to be photographed). Shockingly, I did not take a single picture of the gifts I made her. They were cute though.

Then... we had a sample swap. I made four little zippy pouches and then we divided into groups of five and I traded for these pretties. I love them all so much friends!

There were door prizes all weekend and I won this little print from Pen & Paint.

At the end of the weekend, Jennifer told us that she had a surprise for us. Then she opened the doors and these carts of giant bags were there, full of presents! It was a very Oprah moment. Patterns, fabric, notions, batting, books, and magazines!

Fabric from Windam, Joanns, Andover, Birch (Fabricworm), Moda, Michael Miller, Art Gallery, Alison Glass, and labels from Spoonflower.

 Coats and Clark thread and zipper (in this adorable tin), Aurifil, and Dritz pins, cutter, and mat.

Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe (from Martingale, I actually won this on the field trip), Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee (from Stash Books), Modern Patchwork and Generation Q magazines.

Patterns from Green Bee, Straight Stitch Society, My Favorite Things, Kati Cupcake, Kwik Sew (for our pajama pants, which I have not finished), and Studio Cherie (for the duffle bag)

I don't have a picture of my fancy washi tape from Downtown Tape or my sugar scrub from Old Red Barn Co. Other sponsors include The Warm Company, Pellon, Oliso (for the irons we used during the retreat), We're So Creative (where we shopped in Charlotte, awesome store), While Baby Naps donated the frames for our purses, Brandy Lynn's donated the graphic design, Free Spirit, Rowan, Ty Pennington Impressions, Fat Quarter Shop, Havel's Sewing, Rachel Gresham Designs, The Intrepid Thread, and Swatch Buddies.

Thank you Jennifer! Thank you sponsors!