Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hexagon Block, With a Bit of a Tutorial

Sewing has been light this past week as our family tries to find our new routine. And the little bit of time that I have had, has been eaten up working on a project that was supposed to be simple but has been a nightmare (me and stretchy knit fabrics don't get along).

So yesterday I wanted to work on something that wouldn't frustrate the heck out of me. I've always liked paper piecing because you can sew up an accurate block without actually trying that hard—just sew on the lines. But I didn't have a particular block that I wanted to make, so I grabbed a hexagon and a pile of scraps.

hexblock2

hexblock1

Don't mind the crinkly, pin-holed paper template. I borrowed one of the templates from my grandmother's flower garden quilt and it's been well-used. I cut out my hexagon shape and then used a dab from my glue stick to keep it in place on my paper foundation. I decided to sew strips to the hexagon, log cabin style. It's not a traditional paper piecing pattern, since I'm not sewing along pre-drawn lines, but the paper foundation helps keep things nice and crisp.

hexblock3

Line up a strip along one of the hexagon edges, right sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam.

hexblock4

Press the patch open.

hexblock5

Line up a patch along the next hexagon edge and sew.

hexblock6

This time, trim the extra fabric past the seam allowance before pressing open. I just fold back the paper and use my scissors to trim, but I know some people actually get out the ruler and rotary cutter.

hexblock7

hexblock8

Continue attaching strips in the same manner. Here's my block with a complete round of strips around the hexagon.

hexblock9

And here it is with another round. At this point I had an epiphany about what I should do with this block—it would make a cute zippered pouch! So I abandoned my original square block idea and decided to go rectangular.

hexblock10

Rather than continuing all the way around with my strips, I started only sewing them to the left and right sides. Here it is trimmed down to a rectangle.

hexblock11

You'll notice there's a little bit of the white paper showing at the top and bottom—oops! But that's also where using a foundation comes in handy. It makes up for a wee bit of seam allowance error and keeps everything held together properly until I sew the next piece on.

I didn't quite get this project done during naptime, so I had a little helper for a while. Here she is gluing fabric bits to paper- no scraps shall go to waste in this house!

hexblock12

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mr. Dinosaur

dino_rawr

I made another project from the Wee Wonderfuls book– this time a big, bad dinosaur! I always feel a bit guilty because I make so many things for K, but let's face it– girl stuff is just more fun to make. And a dress is much easier than a button-down shirt; the thought of matching up multiple buttons and buttonholes makes me shudder.

dino_3

I'm pretty happy with the finished product, and so is the recipient. I had intended to make it a "good luck at kindergarten" kind of gift, but time got away from me. Hand sewing those spikes on the back took me DAYS. My poor little fingers were sore from trying to maneuver the needle through corduroy and stuffing. That profile is pretty striking, though.

dino_2

I dug through my stash of corduroy (surprisingly, I had several options)and laid out three different fabric combinations for A to choose from. He choose the grey with the green and turquoise dots, which was my favorite too.

dino_fabs

I changed the face from the original pattern because I wanted something that looked a little more friendly. Don't ya just want to give this guy a hug?

dino_1

My first project from this book, the Marian bear, has been finished for quite a while but I just can't seem to get the facial features right. So the bear has remained face-less. I tried sewing on some felt circles for eyes, but the quality of my felt must be pretty poor because the circles were just kind of falling apart after the needle had gone through a few times. So I guess I'm in search of the perfect tiny button eyes. Or I could just leave it alone because K doesn't care either way.

pink bear

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Clutch

I finished another gathered clutch as a birthday gift for a friend. I was already half way there with cutting out the pieces from the first time I made this clutch, so I whipped this one up pretty quickly.

clutch take 2

I was hoping the new sewing machine would magically make zipper installation make sense to me, but alas, I still felt like I was muddling my way through it. But the zipper's in there, and it works just fine, so I guess it's all good in the end.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

oliver + s sew along: bucket hat

I realized a few days ago that August is just about half way over and I needed to start working on my bucket hat for the oliver + s sew along August project. The next couple of weeks are pretty busy and I know August will be gone before I know it. I buckled down and finished it tonight!

bucket hat 1

I bought this fun fabric a while back without a particular project in mind, but who can resist a good weiner dog fabric?

bucket hat fabric

I made the reversible bucket hat once before, so there were no surprises with this pattern (not that there were surprises the first time- it's an easy to follow pattern). However, I decided that I should make the next size up in the hopes that it will still fit next summer. So I had to trace and cut out a new pattern- blah. A. has requested a bucket hat of his own, so I guess I'll be tracing the large size of the pattern as well. *sigh*

bucket hat 2

bucket hat 3

K kept calling it her "puppy hat" and marching around the house with it on, so I'm hopeful that it'll actually get some use. However, when she was called upon for modeling duties, she let her two-year-old side show and most of the photos looked something like this:

bucket hat x

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dresden Plate Pillow

I finished my dresden plate project today- it decided to be a pillow!

dresden pillow front

This was a fun little block to work on. I always thought dresden plates looked difficult, but after seeing the tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew I decided to try it out. If I make another one of these I think I'll actually hand stitch down the blades and center circle- I'm not crazy about the look of zigzag stitching. But it's a lot faster!

dresden pillow detail

I'm a little hesitant to show a close-up of the center. I wish the circle would have turned out more "circle-y" and less "misshapen oval". But I had already spent all the time embroidering the K so I wasn't about to re-do it. This actually sealed the deal for the block becoming a pillow, rather than a wallhanging-- I figured the not-so-roundness would be less noticeable on the puffiness of a pillow.

And here's a shot of the back, a simple envelope closure:

dresden pillow back

All the fabrics I used were leftovers from a quilt I made for K before she was born. And here she is with the quilt, all brand new!

baby k quilt

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting to Know My New Friend

I spent some quality time with my new sewing machine this weekend. One of the projects I started working on is a dresden plate block. Those cute little wedges are fun to make!

dresden wedges

I'm stitching up a little embroidery on the center circle and then I think I'll work this into a pillow. Or maybe a little wallhanging. Who knows?

dresden

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kaleidoscope Quilt Top Finished

kaleidoscope-top finished!

Finally finished piecing together the top of my kaleidoscope quilt. Now I have to figure out what I want to do for the borders. I think I want to do something kinda big to make it a more substantial size. But I don't have much of this fabric left, so I either have to go the scrappy route or buy more fabric. And then there's the quilting to consider. I've been wanting to try out hand quilting, but I should probably try that out on a smaller project first. Plus, I have this fancy new machine that needs broken in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Janome? I hardly know her!

I told myself I wasn't allowed to open this:

new janome!

Before I finished piecing this:

kal_almost there

But I can't wait any longer! Plus I've just about lost my patience with this one:

old brother

The ol' boy just doesn't have any oompf left anymore. Try to stitch a couple of matched up seams together and he has to be coaxed over it like our dog Riley trying to walk on hardwood floors. And don't get me started on the last time I tried to quilt with him... He's been a good machine to me the past 5+ years, but it's time to move on. I said some things; he said some things (in the form of grinding and some sickly little squeaks)... it's probably best to part ways now before any more feelings get hurt.

So pretty!

janome2

I purchased this at an honest-to-god sewing machine store, so I got to try it out at the store, which is awesome. Much better than reading reviews on Amazon and hoping for the best. So, although it's not completely foreign looking to me, I'm still a bit intimidated. It has adjustable speed controls and I think I'm going to have to keep it set to low until I get used to it- it can really take off on you! It makes a very noticeable whirring sound when it's on (not just when sewing) and that's going to take some getting used to (I'm praying it's not some sort of malfunction).
Here's the best part of buying at a sewing machine store-- after I've used the machine for a while, I can schedule a (free!) private lesson and ask any questions I may have, etc. I'm looking forward to figuring this new toy out!