Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oakshott Lipari blog hop

Welcome to the first stop on this month's blog hop to show off Oakshott's newest line of gorgeous shot cottons, Lipari. I'm so happy that Lynne and Michael let me join in! These colors - oh my goodness - they are so rich and yummy. I had the hardest time deciding which was my favorite. I have this thing where too many choices are a bad thing. So I'll just take a yard of everything! I finally decided on Salina for my main color.

Lipari is made up of 18 colors woven with black thread on the warp and a color on the weft. It makes them shimmery and iridescent. You can see close-ups of each on the Oakshott site  and find out more about the inspiration for this collection here.

These fabrics definitely have a shimmer that makes them look different when they are turned different ways. If you're having trouble figuring out which color is which (the differences in some are very subtle!) here's a trick I learned - the bundle picture above shows them top to bottom in the same order as you'll find them here.

All the heart eyes for those weft colors!
I expect that you'll see some pretty wonderful quilts over the next few weeks from some amazing quilters. I love making quilts too but when Lynne mentioned the 54" width of fabric, the first thing that came to mind was apparel. It just so happens that we're getting in the swing of Me Made May right now too so, a Washi dress it is!

I've been wanting to try a woven Washi with a patchwork band around the hem and this was the perfect opportunity. I drafted this outlined plus block and went to town.

Maybe you'd like to make something similar? Here's how I did it.

Start with a pattern you've already adjusted and fitted if needed. There's nothing worse than wasting time and good fabric on a garment that does not fit you when you're done! Prewash your fabric while you're at it so there will not be any shrinkage surprises. When I prewash my wovens I like to serge the edges beforehand to keep them from fraying in the wash.

Now measure the width of your hem, remembering to double the measurement for anything cut on the fold. My dress hem length was 32" in the back and 36" in the front. My block finishes at 4.5" and I'll be adding some sashing so I divided the measurements by 6" to calculate how many blocks to make (11 total). It doesn't have to be exact as we will square up the pattern later.

Make your blocks. Take advantage of strip piecing where you can. Measurements can be printed out from here. I was able to make all 11 blocks with 2 fat eighths and some of the main fabric for background but you could also mix and match the colors.

On each seam, I went back and stitched a second line in the seam allowance to make sure there would not be any unwanted fraying. Zig-zag stitching would also work but I'm using my straight-stitch-only Juki. Once you have all your blocks, sew them into strips for the back and front, adding 2" x 5" sashing pieces between each block and on the ends of the rows.

Next up, cut your dress pattern pieces from your main fabric. On both the front and back, cut it 8" shorter than you normally would. I simply folded that part of my pattern up out of the way so I would not need to cut and tape it back together.

Cut 4 more pieces from your main fabric - 2 that are 5" by length of your patchwork sections and 2 that are 4" by just a little longer than the patchwork sections.

Lay out the folded front pattern piece with the patchwork strip (folded in half) below it and the additional 5" plain strip below that. We're going to sandwich the seam so the raw patchwork edges will be enclosed all the way around.

Matching the center of the dress to the center of the patchwork, pin them right sides together. Pin the plain strip to the wrong side of the dress piece. So your sandwich is: plain piece right side up, dress piece right side up, patchwork piece wrong side up.

Sew these together, adding a second seam as before. Press the patchwork and the plain piece away from the dress, hiding all of those pesky raw edges.

Pin the 4" strip right sides together with the patchwork section. Make sure you're also catching the plain strip in this seam so as to completely hide all patchwork raw edges on the inside of the dress. Sew or serge - this seam will be exposed on the inside of the dress so you'll want to finish it with a zig zag stitch if you don't have a serger. Press the strip down away from the patchwork. The thickness of it will naturally go that way anyhow. Your front dress piece is complete, you just need to even up the sides to where they should be.

Carefully fold the front dress piece in half and get your pattern piece back out. Line the pattern up carefully with the part you've already cut out and then go ahead and finish cutting the along the pattern.

Repeat these same steps for the back of the dress.

Finish sewing the dress and hem as you usually would. Voila! I love the way the Oakshott gives the dress a little body in the way it drapes.

Whew, you made it to the end! You still with me?

Make sure to visit all of the other stops on the tour - I am definitely looking forward to seeing what they've made! Until then, I'll just be twirling around in my pretty new dress.

5 May     Allison Dutton       that's me!
10 May   Nicholas Ball 
12 May   Helen Purvis
17 May   Lynn Harris  
19 May   Kitty Wilkin 
24 May   Jessica Skultety 
26 May   Karin Jordan 
31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan 

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016 Finish Along Q2 Goals

I don't know whether to call these goals or a never ending list of WIPs but I think there's a chance I'll actually finish most of these in the next 3 months. Whether I blog about them is another story but I'll try.

Oakshott dress - I'm working on a tutorial for an Oakshott Lipari bloghop in a few weeks. Can't wait to show you what I have planned!

Seattle skyline Scrappy Applique - I started this piece just this week in Shannon Brinkley's live Scrappy Applique class. It just needs to be attached to a background so I can finish it up!

Seattle MQG challenge with Me+You - I can't wait to sew up a Me+You pillow cover with these gorgeous fabrics!

Clamshell quilt - Started this one last weekend in class with Latifah Saafir. It's flannel so it will end up being super soft!

RJR Riviera mini - I have the top almost finished and then it's time to quilt!

Chaos Quilt - Started last month in class with Libs Elliott, I'm just waiting for more of the blue solid to finish those last two little blocks and then I can quilt it!

RJR Mesa mini - Time to quilt this cute little guy!

Negative Space quilt - From Jacquie Gering's Quiltcon workshop in February, I have some blocks sewn and need to decide on a layout to finish this one up.

Emerge DGS - January's blocks for my do good stitches group are ready and waiting to be assembled.

Washi tops -  I have the green cut and the grey/pink ready to cut. The grey is double gauze so I'm hoping it makes a nice cool top for my travels this summer.

Sewtopia Virtual Challenge - It seems I'm not the only one who added yellow to these B&W fabrics but I have a plan and I'm excited to get started on it!

Looks like I have some work to do. Better get busy! Linking up to the Finish Along.

Friday, April 1, 2016

ALL of the Noodlehead bags for Quiltcon

Another swap item, would you believe it? Of course you would. I really am cutting back but this was a very small private group and we were going to be trading in person at Quiltcon. So of course I was in.

We were to make a bag that our partner would be able to carry around Quiltcon (collecting swag, of course) while we were there. I had had my eye on Noodlehead's Maker's Tote for awhile and I thought it would be great for this purpose. My partner Kelly was a huge Tula Pink fan and I happened to have a piece of these much coveted trees that was just wide enough to work for the pattern. I was also wanting to use a little bit of pleather to make the bottom more durable so I adjusted the outer pattern piece a bit to account for that.

As with all of Noodlehead's patterns, the directions were clear and easy to follow. I did lengthen the straps a bit so the bag could be easily carried over the shoulder. I considered making one longer strap as well but decided that was not necessary. I left out the front snap pocket as well - it would only have blocked part of the print. There is still a zippered pocket on the back and all of the interior compartments. I also added some pleather tabs to the end of the separating zipper to make it easier to use. Plus, it looks good.

The only place I ran into trouble was the binding. Part of it was just the bulk of the bag, the other part was the pleather - it was of course tough to sew through. Don't worry, Juki took care of it. But when it was time to sew down the second side of the binding there was zero chance I was going to try hand sewing through the pleather. I also didn't have a lot of confidence in my ability to sew nice straight lines while trying to manage all that bulk. In the end, I glued it down. I used only a tiny line of permanent textile glue so it would not bleed through and did small sections at a time, holding them in place with clips while it dried. It wasn't quite perfect but definitely far better than it would have been sewn.

I was pretty happy with the end result and Kelly was thrilled. I was hanging out with her during the day before we had the swap and she asked if was for her. Apparently I had my poker face on because she believed me when I said no. Hah! She was pretty excited when I gave it to her at dinner. I had unknowingly used her favorite Tula print!

In return. I received a gorgeous Noodlehead Poolside Tote from Angelina. This bag is amazing! It's soft and flexible because it's lined with Soft N Stable (even the handles - an excellent idea) and it holds a TON of loot. Believe me, I stuff it full while I was walking around. I've been using it back at home too. She also used some really fun decorative stitches on this. I was stopped by several people at Quiltcon to tell me they loved this bag. Thank you Angelina!

There was one more bag I made before I made the trip to Pasadena - a 241 tote for me! The handle top stitching on my Bonnie Bucket bag had come loose and so I either needed to fix it or make a new bag. As someone with a ton (literally) of fabric and dozens of bag patterns, I opted to make a new one. I had wanted to make Noodlehead's 241 Tote for years anyhow. I couldn't decide between my Blueberry Park or Sunprint fabrics but thankfully I had a few that worked well together so I was able to use both. I even managed to sneak some old Summersville in there!

 I did change the handle on this one as well, making it adjustable so I could wear it either over my shoulder or across my body. I also added a flap to install the snap on the outside to leave more room inside the bag. The bag pattern was great but a little smaller than I was expecting once it was finished. Especially since I was taking it to Quiltcon, I would have liked it a bit roomier but since then I've realized the size it just right. It's definitely a good pattern - it's been out at least a few years and there are still new ones popping up all the time. I would make this one again.

Monday, March 21, 2016

August Lions quilt

Way back in November 2014 at a Seattle MQG retreat, I started a new quilt with a bundle of Cotton and Steel August (by Sarah Watts) and a new pattern by Aylin-Nilya that I had tested before it's release (see my curved version for a Seattle MQG swap). I thought this Diamonds in Diamonds pattern would be perfect for showing off some of those darling lions and other large scale prints. I started this with no clue as to how big it would become or where it's final home would be.

Flash forward to September 2015 and the arrival of my newest nephew. I knew this would be just perfect for him and planned to finish it by Christmas. I had made all of the diamonds almost a year before but was hung up on the sashing since I was doing it differently than the pattern. The math and angles were killing me.... that'll teach me to go out on my own!

I packed this up to work on at Sewtopia Portland in November and finally got the quilt top finished and basted the whole thing (thanks Pellon batting station!). I even had a time slot to quilt this on the midarm and we were totally on track to have this finished by Christmas. But then - breakage. So. Much. Thread. Breakage. The midarm and I were not getting along and he was really ruining my plans. I got just a small portion of the free motion quilting done before my time on the machine was up. Sadness ensued.

Upon returning home from Sewtopia, I kept putting off the rest of the FMQ. I was having some thread issues of my own with dear old Juki. Christmas came and went and my poor little nephew was still without his present from Auntie Alsie. Eventually I mustered up the courage to tackle the rest of this guy and was able to finish it fairly quickly once I stopped trying to use a certain fancy Italian thread that shall not be named. What can I say - I guess Juki just likes cheap and/or poly thread for FMQ!

I do love the quilting I did on this one. To play up the King of the Jungle look, I wanted lots of jungle inspired leaves all over. I made stems coming up from the bottom with a little bit of wild grass to fill in holes where needed and then smaller leaves all over the top two thirds that would look like the leaves in the trees. To make the diamonds a little special, they have a simple elongated figure eight pattern. I used the same off-white threads on both sides so the quilting shows really well on the darker parts of the back.

I finally finished up the binding in January and was able to get this right in the wash and then delivered to little Weston. I think it's safe to say he likes it and it's definitely big enough that it will be with him for quite a few years. What the hell was I thinking making a quilt this big for a baby?!?

Linking up to #IGquiltfest #finallyfinished. I do actually have some longer WIPS but, well, they're not finished yet. It's also an official finish from my 2016 Q1 Finish Along list. Yay!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Take me back to Quiltcon

Some of the quilts at the entry to the convention - see all the winners on the MQG blog

I've been home for almost 2 weeks and I'm still riding the inspiration high that is Quiltcon. I love being part of the Modern Quilt Guild, where I can connect and bond with other modern quilters. In Seattle, I'm lucky enough to have a very large local guild to sew with in person and that bunch is definitely a big part of why I love MQG so much. But I also have quite a few friends who live in my phone, connecting over instagram, swaps, and online bees. To me, the best part of Quiltcon is getting to see all of these phone friends in person.

Scenes from the show floor

If you have not been to Quiltcon, you NEED to go. This was my second time, having gone to Austin last year as well, so I knew a little better what to expect. Such as running straight for the Cotton and Steel booth to check if they were handing out tote bags (they were, love them!!). I also knew to expect to be busy 24/7 and to soak in as much inspiration as possible.

Jacquie Gering's class Activating Space was wonderful

Last year I did not have enough time to look at the actual quilts so I made more time for that this year. There was such a variety of colors and techniques and sizes and finishes. I have about a million more quilt ideas in my head now. I wanted to share a few of my favorite quilts from the show and some other fun happenings as well. I may end up doing another post later with some FMQ details from the show since there were so many that I loved. Enjoy!

My favorite: Falling by Kathy York @kakiyork

Second favorite: Holyoke 1938 by Timna Tarr @timnatarr

My favorite charity quilt: 35 Sisters by Pittsburgh MQG

Fun at Cotton and Steel booth with @kristenballou

Loved seeing Jenn Rossotti's Ephemera Quilt in person as it's inspired a few minis I'm making (including the Valentine Swap)

Eichler Homes by Mickey Beebe, winner of the triangle ruler challenge

So many gorgeous #modernminis4andover in the Andover Fabric booth

Twisted Sisters Quilt by the Denver Metro MQG, 3rd place winner in group/bee quilts

I have not yet decided if I'm going to Quiltcon East in Savannah next year. Before last week I was dead set against it because it's basically as far as you can get from Seattle in the USA. But now... I'm not sure. I think if I get some quilts in I will go for sure. Otherwise, some of you may have to talk me into it.

I was honored to have our Emerging Illusion quilt hanging in the show, with blocks made by the Emerge circle of Do. Good Stitches.

And it was even cooler when I realized that you could see both our quilt (far right) AND the Cheryl Brickey's Use Your Illusion (far left) from the same spot! We used Cheryl's pattern with a different color palette for our version.

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