Thursday, June 13, 2013

D9P Quilt

D9P stands for disappearing nine patch. A super easy and effective quilt block. You just sew nine 5-inch squares together 3 rows by 3 columns into one big square and then you cut in the middle from top to bottom, and left to right. You get 4 blocks that you can arrange in any way you like. 

I ordered one charm pack and one layer cake in Moda's Odds and Ends fabric from Etsy. Originally I planned for a totally different quilt pattern (square in a square), but then I changed my mind. As I often do when it comes to buying supplies for a craft project, whether it's sewing or knitting. 

Giving up on the original plan meant that I didn't have quite enough fabric for a proper sized quilt. I ended up making the quilt a little shorter that the standard duvet cover, but it's not too short. The finished dimensions are 130x180 cm. I was going for 190 cm in length. I could have just added a border around the entire quilt, but I gave up on that because I couldn't decide which fabric to use and I only had batting that was 135 cm wide. I didn't want to buy new batting. 

Sewing the top together took about a week. Worst job was trimming the blocks to the same size. As I wasn't quite precise while sewing and cutting the 5-inch squares, some of my finished blocks ended up being smaller than 7 inches. Another reason is Moda's pinked edges on their precuts. Since I cut the layer cakes, my edges didn't quite match up. Or maybe I just suck at matching pinked edges.
Anyway, I had to trim all sqaures. All 88 of them. Took forever. 

I quilted it with my standard free motion squiggles. This is my fourth quilt that I free motion quilted. And guess what? Instead of getting better at it, I'm actually getting worse. I had so many puckers at the back, pinched the backing and sewed bits of it together too many times to count, ripped stitches out just about every 15 minutes, swearing all the time. This quilt gave me so much anger and frustration. Not even chocolate helped. 

Lessons for next time: use more pins! And try to quilt so that the pinned parts are to the left of the machine, flat on the table and not getting wrinkled on the right, under the sewing machine.

The only saving grace is the fact the front is so colorful you can hardly even see the stitching.

None of the fabric have been prewashed, so I'm hoping once I wash the quilt the puckering on the back will get smaller. 

But all in all I'm pretty satisfied. This will be my new couch quilt for the winter months - the last one I made was way to short to provide enough warmth. The real question now is - where am I going to store all these quilts I'm making?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Little lavender pillows

As I was packing my hand knit sweaters away for the summer, it occurred to me that it would probably be a good idea to protect them from moths and other bugs. So I decided to make some lavender sachets.

First up (actually the last one I made) - little quilted star. The points don't match, the seams are way too bulky, and sewing and ironing all those little triangles nearly drove me mad, but at least I tried. I like this star block, I will probably make it in a bigger block. The one above measures about 8 cm. The entire pillow is about 12 cm. That's actually pretty large for a lavender sachet, but I bought way too much, and I'm trying to use it up quickly.

So yesterday was pretty much all about sewing tiny pieces of fabric together, trimming the sewn material into squares, sewing little pillows and stuffing them with dried lavender buds. And then blind stitching the opening I used to pour the stuffing in.

I have tons of scraps from my quilting projects, so much in fact, that I realized that I could make a massive amount of tiny sachets, or pincushions. I'm well on my way of doing just that. 

Here are all the lavender ones:

These two above include my attempts of stamping on fabric. Too bad I don't have a lavender stamp. It was either the flowers or a little tractor and a garden bucket. So I chose the flowers.

Little log cabin quilt block. These little pillows are a great way for me to try out different quilt blocks. 

Totally randomly pieced scrappy block. I just kept adding more and more fabric until I was happy with the size. It turned out great, I think.

As I was surfing in search for cute block patterns, I stumbled onto this tutorial for a Cathedral window pincushion. Instant reaction: must make this. How cool does this thing look? And it's so easy!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Linda's Quilt

My quilt for my friend's baby is finished. She gave birth to a baby girl a while back, so I decided to make a quilt for little Linda. As far as colors go, I realized that my talent for combining colors is practically non-existent, so I bought a pack of fat quarters in my local quilt shop - I left the color combo choice to people smarter than me. I like the purples and lilacs, I just hope baby Linda will too. Or, you know, her mother ;)

This quilt only took me a week to finish. I got the fabrics on Monday, prewashed and cut them on the same day. On Tuesday I pieced together the 35 blocks that make this quilt. Squared them all up on Wednesday, sewed all the blocks into rows and finished the quilt top on Thursday. Basted on Friday, did free motion quilting on Saturday and finished sewing the binding on Sunday. One week. I probably would have finished sooner, but there's this thing called work that I have to go to. But hey, it enables my yarn and fabric purchases, so it's fair trade. 

The pattern for this quilt is called Falling Charms. I found the tutorial on the Missouri Star Quilting Co. on youtube. I love, love their videos. This is a really easy one, and it comes out super cute. 

My original plan was to quilt this using straight lines. So I sewed four lines along the long side of the quilt. And then I had to rip all those long lines out. Turns out that you really need a walking foot for straight line quilting. Really, you do. 
My backing fabric bunched up and sort of got pulled in the direction I was sewing in. Since I sewed all the lines in different directions, I got a wrinkly mess on the back, that kind of looked like chevron. Not cool. So I ripped everything out, cursing my stupidity all the time. Note to self: check what's happening on the back of the quilt! 

Eventually I did my standard free motion stippling. And then I went out to get a walking foot. They didn't have it in the store, so they had to order it. I'm impatiently waiting for the shop lady's call, can't wait to try that foot. I have such high hopes for it. ;) 

Linda's quilt measures 82 x 113 cm (45x32 in). The batting is polyester, everything else is cotton.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring = Sewing

After a long, cold, rainy winter, the sun is finally here. For some reason, this means that I'll pull out my sewing machine and sew something. Must be all the light, my brain and my eyes tell me that the conditions are optimal for stitching time.

Another reason is a friend who just had a baby girl. I'm making her a baby quilt. It's all I've been doing this past week - cutting fabric, pinning, sewing. The quilt is almost finished, I just have to hand-sew the binding on the back. 
As a break from all the quilt-sewing, I sewed some random pouchy thingies from the scraps I had from the quilt. 

A zippered pouch that turned out meh. I always sew too close to the zipper tabs, and the result is a distorted looking top once I turn the pouch right side out. Note to self: Don't sew so close to the fricking zipper tabs. 

A drawstring pouch from this tutorial. No idea what I'm going to put in it, but it turned out cute.


An iphone cover disaster. Let's ignore the fact that my points don't exactly match up, my measurements are also off. It's a tight fit for my phone and a bit too short too. 

But the biggest disaster was my idea to iron the seams open. Once I started to tug and pull while I was sewing these seams started to pull apart. Not to self: Iron seams in quilting projects like this to one side. Or at least secure them by backstitching.

I also did a crappy job on sewing the lining, so this cover will be one of those things that I'll use until it gets dirty, and then it's going to the trash. 

Fake leather iphone case. I saw this color in the fabric store and just couldn't resist. I bought about 20 cm in width, just so I could try to sew with it. Also had to buy a new set of leather needles for my machine. I'm pretty satisfied for my first try. And pretty proud of my Elna machine. It really does sew everything. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sarah's Delight

I've come to the conclusion that I should only knit for myself, because I suck at knitting for other people. 

I promised my great-aunt a vest, chose a pretty pattern - Sarah's Delight - and cast on for a size somewhere in between the ones in the pattern. 
My aunt wasn't here for me to test if I had the right size, so I just went with my gut. And knitted on, even when I had that little nagging feeling that it might be too small. Turns out that nagging feeling was right - the vest should have been shorter and wider. It's still wearable, there is a little strain on the buttons when she buttons it up, and the length reaches practically the half of her thighs. My aunt is of course delighted, she would never say anything bad about the vest, but for me this was a total learning experience. Namely - if you think it will be too small, it's probably too small.