Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From Quilting to Cardigans

Do you remember when you first learned to sew? There are handfuls of people out there that a big part of their life story began with creating at a young age... and I am no exception to that rule. I cannot say that I remember when I first started sewing, although I imagine it was around seven or eight, but I do know that clothing was one of the first things that I learned how to sew.

Just because I started out sewing garments, does not mean that I enjoyed it. Almost after every clothing piece that I completed, I was always frustrated because it either didn't look right once I tried it on, or it simply didn't fit and needed adjustments way beyond my sewing abilities. So, I started sewing other things... until recently.

Generally I am pleased with the way my Julia Cardigan turned out, although I have to admit that I had that same sinking feeling when I finished and first tried it on. The sleeves were way too big and there was extra material on the sides, so of course my first thought was... "Note To Self: THIS is the very reason why you don't sew clothing!" It ended up that I did have to make several adjustments, but at least I can live with the end result.

One fun new discovery on this project was using a twin needle. Since I've not sewn with jersey before, I never needed one.  I stupidly didn't buy enough fabric to make the doubled over/no hem version (eeekkk!! grumble, grumble), but I stumbled on this alternative solution, and love the look of the finished hem. Nancy's Notions has a great how to tutorial here.

Even with all the clothing items that I whipped up way back then, I never made anything with Jersey. And despite what your feelings are about pre-washing or not pre-washing fabrics, with my quilting fabrics, it's just a no go with me. So, needless to say, two big "firsts" with me on this one.

Do you have any garment sewing love/hate stories to share?

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Size Surprise: Chrurnstile Quilt Top Finish!

Don't you just love it when you carefully and gently pull all the finished blocks from your quilt wall to assemble them into your long awaited quilt top, and realize once it's together, that it appears that it is now half the size? (please note the obvious sarcasm)... the wonder and the mystery of "the great Shrink"

If you've been around here since I've been quilting, then you know that I'm a quilt size debator... usually battling the back and forth if I should make it bigger. (I suppose I figure that if you're going to do it at all, you might as well do it big) Even for this quilt, I seriously contemplated adding more blocks, because I had calculated that it would be a mere lap quilt after "the great Shrink".

So once the top was together, I quickly ran upstairs to take advantage of the bright, sunny day, and the fact that the kids were out of the house. I excitedly threw the quilt over my son's twin size bed and had my first surprise... it was too big and too long for the bed! (hardly a lap quilt!) Then I even more excitedly ran to my bedroom and threw it over my queen size bed... and much to my astonishment, found that it was almost big enough to fit my bed! (not quite, but again… not a lap quilt!)

Well, don’t you just love it when you over estimate, and are later pleasantly surprised with more than what you had originally calculated? 

Quilt pattern: Churnstile from Stitchery Dickory Dock, Curn Dash block from the January Sugar Block Club
Started: February 2016
Fabrics: Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton & Steel, Lizzy House, and various additional prints from my stash. Low volume with color background fabrics
Finished quilt top size: ca. 66 x 82 in. (168 x 208 cm)

What are your “the great Shrink” experiences?

Linking up this week with Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Making Connections

Once all the blocks of a quilting project are finished, one is all a flurry with excitement having reached the top of the first mountain. The next up hill climb is connecting it all together, where it can sometimes be slow moving.

After much debate about what size to take my Churnstile quilt, and some really good advice like "go with your gut", "consider the recipient", and probably the best advice from Kate to "let the quilt decide"... I actually decided to go for it and work on connecting the blocks! If it still feels like it needs more once it's all together, then I can keep going, right?

I've decided on using some of the same low volume fabrics that I used in the block backgrounds for the connecting sashings. I have fallen in love with using low volumes with a hint of color... Alison Glass has several in her Abacus series that I just adore, and Erin Michael's fabric Preakness from her Purebread collection, has reached favorite low volume status with me.

I've also been working on connecting the leaves on my Green Smoothie quilt. Once all the individual drunkard's path blocks are made, they have to be stitched together to make the beautiful leaf shape.

... and then a white strip to the top of each leaf before joining them all together.

What are you working on? Linking up the week to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How Do You Know When It's Finished?

Size, size, size? It's always a matter of size isn't it? But how do you know when you've reached the right size with a quilt? I suppose it really is quite simple, isn't it... simply follow the pattern, right?

Well, I would have to say that I'm the kind of person why places like Burger King came up with the idea to "make it your way". Everything on my burger is ok except for ketschup, but I like to add mustard... so I have to customize it! Well, that same need to adjust, modify, change, and make it my way doesn't stop at burgers... 

My version of the Churnstile quilt has developed, though quite unintentional, like many of my other quilts... making the rules up as I go. My first debate was whether to set the blocks on point or straight... the pattern is on point, but my gut said straight. The confirmation that I was on the right track was the feedback that I got on Instagram. Second decision was where to set the cornerstones... again going with my gut. And of course the never ending debate with myself... size.

I started out with eight different color combinations for the blocks, and repeated several, but with its current size, not all blocks are repeated. Without a particular recipient in mind, I also don't have a particular size planned either. Do I stop now or let it keep growing with each block being repeated twice? Hmmm, I guess I'll be thinking about it while I am quilting this quilt.

When it comes to your own quilts, do you make it up as you go, or do you go by the book? If you do make up the rules as you go, do you struggle with issues like size and layout?

LInking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.
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