22 October 2014

Autumn Columns (the Oakshott Blog Hop)

I love autumn and Michigan is having a truly beautiful one this year!

Fall in Michigan

I’ve also been excited about shot cottons since I first laid eyes on them over five years ago.  And I really enjoy mixing shot cottons with modern prints, which happens in my DoublePlusGood quilt   and in my megaXPlus quilt. They add a lovely complexity to the patchwork.  Oakshotts are among my favorite shot cottons--the colors are wonderful, the fabric doesn't curl when you press it, and the weight is very similar to standard quilting cottons.

Today’s post shows my first quilt top made entirely from shot cottons.  I made these simple improv columns so that the colors in the Autumn fabric bundle would really shine.  And I’m sharing this quilt with you today as part of the blog hop for Oakshott’s Autumn bundle. 

Autumn Columns

Autumn Columns

Fat eighth bundle of  Autumn Oakshott fabrics
½ yard if Nilgiri (the bluest fabric in the Autumn bundle)
½ yard of white Oakshott


My quilt is 48" x 64"; I could have made it even larger as I didn't use all of the fabrics.  

Autumn Columns

Be sure to catch all the stops on this blog tour--each has a tutorial!
21 October     Sonia Spence               www.fabricandflowersuk.blogspot.co.uk
22 October     Rossie Hutchinson        r0ssie.blogspot.com
24 October     Mary Menzer                 fairlymerry.blogspot.com
28 October     Alison Dutton                www.allison-sews.blogspot.com/
29 October     Nicholas Ball                 www.quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com
30 October     Kati Spencer                 www.fromthebluechair.com
31 October     Wynn Tan                      www.zakkaart.typepad.com

Full disclosure:  Oakshott sent me these fabrics at no cost.  All opinions are my own and are genuine. 

18 October 2014

Bits and Bobs - 2

This is the second of what I hope will become a regular series of posts calling attention to awesome things I have encountered on the Internet. My purpose is to practice gratitude by making a record of the good stuff that I see around me and perhaps bring something fun and new to my readers.

What’s better than Connect Four?  Eternas is.  It’s like Connect Four in a circle.  Also, this wood game is so pretty, we’ve taken to just leaving it out as decoration. 

I have no idea how this video reached 27 million views before I even watched it once! 'My First Hardcore Song' by 8 yr old Juliet OFFICIAL

Speaking of being late to the party, if you’re not already following Humans of New York on Facebook, please go be the 10 millionth +person to do so.   I swear that page is making me a better person. 

Less is more.  I’m attempting to declutter and found this blog post helpful.

Along the same vein, I’m experimenting with a capsule wardrobe (you can read about capsule wardrobes here) I threw out my damaged clothes and whittled down what is actually in my closet to a small subset of what I own (I didn’t do an exact count.) That’s what I’ll wear for the next 3 months.  Wish me luck.

Fall weather = jacket potatoes all the time.  Here’s a decent recipe for the potatoes I do these all the time and like to keep assorted toppings in the fridge, ready to go.  My favorite at the moment is slivers of turkey pepperoni, black olives, and fresh mozzarella. 

print from JodiLynnDoodles.com
This charming print from Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles is by my desk, making me smile….     I bought it at a local crafts fair.

A friend recently told me that she always buys something if she goes into a local independently-owned quilt shop, even if it’s just a spool of thread or a yard of solid white fabric.  The idea is to support the shop.  I’m going to try to do the same from now on; not all of the local shops cater to my taste, but I do really appreciate their being there and if they provide a decent customer experience, I’m happy to buy a little something!

I’ve also resolved to buy more of my books from local independently-owned shops, rather than online.  Yes, I pay 20% more, but I also help support business that I really value (I love Literati and Nicola's books in Ann Arbor)  Both host great events and have brought pretty rad books to my attention.  I figure I can make up the difference by using my library more often!

I just bought this new book by one of my favorite authors at Literati…can’t wait to dive in! The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Full disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links and I will profit if you click through and buy. Though of course I totally encourage you to simply use your library or buy at a local indie shop!  I also get a little bit of happiness kickback if you enjoy anything I’ve written here.  ;-)

16 October 2014

Gardening tote

This post was on Sara's blog exactly a year go  http://www.sewsweetness.com/2013/10/purse-palooza-pattern-review-lotta.html.  I reposting it here for posterity.

Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review : Lotta Jansdotter's Gardening Tote

Gardening Tote Finished

While I'm usually a quilter and not a bag-maker or garment-sewer, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Purse Palooza this year because I've been wanting to make the Gardening Tote from Lotta Jansdotter's book Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for quite some time. In fact, when I took the pattern peices out of the envelope at the back of my book, I discovered that I had already cut out the pieces for this bag.

There is just something so pleasing about this simple tote!

Gardening Tote Finished

First off, let me say that if I were to make this bag again, I would definitely use interfacing so that the bag stands up on it's own.  I really wanted this bag to be more of a bucket/basket and not a floppy thing.

I've stuffed it for most of these pictures so that it has shape.  It's a bit pathetic when empty.

Gardening Tote is floppy

Overall impression of the pattern:  I like the bag that this pattern produces (I'd love it with some interfacing), but the instructions need some work.

Gardening Tote Pattern is in this book

What fabric and supplies are needed to make the bag?
The pattern calls for 2 yards of heavyweight cotton fabric.  This is actually a bit weird because it assumes you are going to line the bag with the same fabric you're using for the exterior.  This is not what is shown in the picture for the bag, however, which clearly has a brown exterior and a red/white interior.  The pattern really should list the yardages separately.

Gardening Tote Pattern

You need 1.75 yards of 1" twill tape.  This is what goes around the tops of the exterior pockets.  It would be helpful if the pattern said what the twill tape was for because I had assumed the twill tape would be inside the handles, so I wasn't concerned about the color.  Since it actually goes on the exterior, the color matters.  I ended up just binding the top of my pockets like a quilt, using quilting fabrics.

My fabric selections: I've used fabric from my stash--Ikea upholstery fabric for the exterior, a Kaffe Fassett print called "paperweight" for the interior, a Carolyn Friedlander print called "blueprint" to bind the top of the pockets, and an unknown print for the handles.

Impressions of the instructions and illustrations:

The instructions are flawed.  
(a) fabric cutting confusion.
In STEP 1: B:  There are two separate lists of what to cut from your fabric.
When making my bag, I thought for a minute that I had lost my place and was rereading an old section,  eventually I figured out that in the first section you are cutting fabric using the paper pattern pieces and in the second section, you are cutting fabric without using pattern pieces (because they are simple rectangles.)  At least it does point out which pieces are for the interior of the bag.

(b) the pleats
I honestly have no idea what my pleats were supposed to look like.  The illustration was not helpful because it didn't seem to correspond in any way to the location of the pleats which I had copied from the pattern piece.  I did my best to follow the directions, and ended up with a pocket panel that was way too wide.  I just ended up putting extra pleats in in order to get the Front Pocket piece to be the same width as the Front Panel pattern piece.  It worked in the end, but I was very confused and not sure it would turn out well.

(c) incomplete instructions for side panels
In STEP 4, you attach the pockets to the exterior of the tote.  However the instructions only have you sew the pieces together (the sides to the front, etc).  The front and back pockets should be subdivided by running some addional seams up them.  This isn't mentioned in the instructions (though the markings are on the pattern pieces and the picture of the finished project makes those seams obvious.)

My modifications:
As mentioned above, I used a quilting fabric to bind the top of the exterior pockets rather than twill tape.  The fabric I used for the lining was also lighter than the pattern calls for, which probably didn't help with my floppiness problem!

Difficulty level: 
Given the flaws in the instructions, I don't think this is a beginner bag.  I think that if the pattern were better written, it could be a good bag for beginners as it comes together fairly quickly and you're rarely wrestling with more than two layers of fabric.

As it stands, however, I think having made a few bags before would help the sewist power through the weird and missing bits in the instructions.

Overall, I do think it produced a nice-looking and useful bag (even more so if you were to attach interfacing to the exterior fabric when making the bag.)
Gardening Tote
I plan on using mine to tote my hand-sewing to and from friends' houses!