Thursday 22 June 2023

Kimono Rose

There are some advantages to writing a blog, even if I don't post often or regularly. By searching in my blog posts, I was able to determine that I bought the Asian Influences e-book, from which I got this pattern, some time in 2014, and that I purchased a large part of the fabrics used in this quilt top at the Creative Stitches/Crafting Alive show in Edmonton that same year. I was also able to find out that I was working on the quilt in 2016, but wasn't able to finish it in time for that year's fairs. Or any fair since then. But it's finished now and I should be able to enter it in this years' fairs and then send it off to the recipient (my brother's widow). 
If you're interested in the pattern, you don't have to buy the book, like I did. There's actually a free e-book available now that contains this pattern. I think I need to explore more of the freebies available on Quilting Daily. Not that I really need any more patterns, but just in case... 
Because I started this quilt so long ago, I don't remember much of the process. I do recall having to rip a seam out because the blue lattice strips were not lining up properly. I also vaguely remember fussy cutting these cranes
so that they would fit nicely into the squares I was cutting. I'm thankful that none of the already fused and cut out applique pieces went missing during stage 2 of my craft studio renovations that prepared the space for my longarm  I actually took this out last year (or was it early this year?) and got a little more of the applique finished. But it lanquished some more until I determined to get it finished THIS YEAR! 
I also had to choose a quilting pantograph. Originally, I purchased Jessica's Ginkgo as an appropriate oriiental-themed design. 

Then I found Kyoto Fans and decided that it would coordinate much better with the theme of the quilt. 
However, it's a much denser, more intense design and now that I'm finished it, I really don't feel that it was the best design for this quilt top. Even on the backing, you can't really discern what the quilting is supposed to be. 
It looks like just a bunch of scribbling with my longarm. I think it's too dense a design for such a busy quilt top, and I should have probably gone with Jessica's Ginkgo. Nevertheless, it did meet with Mystery's approval. 
I'm happy to have another UFO finished. UFO no more!

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Winnings and Updates

Have you ever entered those contests on social media and wondered if anyone actually wins? Especially when no winner is announced after the contest ends. Or if they "win", do they really receive the prize? Well, several years ago, when Google+ was still a thing (I really liked Google+ and I'm sorry Google retired it), I won this thread collection. 

And yes, I actually received it! And have since put it to good use.
Then a few years back, on Instagram, I "won" a gift card from a quilt shop in California. I never heard from them after I supposedly won. And when I contacted the coordinator of the contest to ask her about it, I never heard from her again either. Very disappointing!
But this year, I've had a little more success in my online winnings. Probably because I was dealing with more reputable organizations. 
First there was an Alberta Quilt Shop, Crafty Creations Quilt Gallery, that ran a contest on Facebook asking for designs to use some fabric that they got into their store. The fabric looked like tweed, but was a quilting cotton, and it came in three different colours. The winner would receive 2 metres of the fabric. Because it looked like tweed, I chose the bowtie block to use in my quilt design and called it Tweed Suit and Bowtie. And I won! I chose to receive 2 metres of the grey fabric. 
I origally planned on making the bowtie quilt using fabric scraps from my stash. 
But then I thought about the book, The Secret Lives of Colour. 
One of the quilters I follow on Instagram participated in Pat Sloan's The Secret Lives of Color Quilt Along, where she made a churn dash quilt block in each colour in the book, 75 colours in all. And I thought that I could do that with the bowtie block. 
Top left: Fluorescent Pink; top right: Shocking Pink; middle right: Blonde; bottom left: Indian Yellow; bottom middle: Minium; bottom right: Avocado
Initially, I was just doing the blocks as I found the colours in my stash. But I found that jumping around in the book was just too disorganized, and it would make it difficult to keep track of which colours I had done and which I still needed to do. Instead, I chose to complete them in order, one section at a time. 
Left: Isabelline; middle top: Silver; top right: Lead White; middle centre: Whitewash; middle right: Beige; bottom middle: Ivory; bottom right: chalk
These are the blocks from the white section. 
Interestingly, the author of the book did not choose the same number of colours from each family. Or the prettiest or brightest. Rather, she chose "individual shades with particularly fascinating, important or disturbing histories." p. 11. I'm not going to share the histories of the various shades. That would be too exhausting. You'll just have to buy the book, if you're interested. Or borrow it from your library. 
I had hoped to use mostly fabric from my stash, but trying to match as closely as possible to the colours in the book is making that very challenging. So, I will be buying fabrics as I see fit. Most of the fabrics in the white section were purchased for this quilt. 
My goal is to make a quilt to fit a twin-sized bed, so I plan on making 96 blocks, not just the 75 colours in the book. I calculated that if I make 10 of each colour family, not including white and black, I will end up with 96 blocks including the 7 whites and the 9 blacks. That will give me the opportunity to include some of the prettier shades not included in the book (but often found in my stash). 
The next winning up is the Hobb's Batting prize that I won on Instagram. And yes, it's an awesome prize. 
Not only did I receive various types and sizes of batting, plus a couple of pillow forms, but a batting information card. 
That was definitely a prize worth winning. 
Finally, I receved this prize from Ladybug Threads, also on Instagram. 
A cone of Omni thread in a nice neutral colour, a journal, a poster that says, "Sewing Forever, Housework Whenever", a lens cloth and a retractable measuring tape. Another lovely prize. 
Now for quilting updates: it seems that lately I'm only able to finish small projects. I've started numerous quilts, but then I run out of steam and start a different one. There's always excitement in a new project, but then the endorphin rush rushes on and it's easy to lose motivation. I do have a couple of smaller quilt tops done that just need quilting. I still have to order the right colour of thread...
I did get a few blocks done on the Log Canada quilt for my middle sister. 
I got another block done on the Tales of Ireland quilt, but then set that aside as not a priority.
I tried my hand at Fair Isle crochet and got one pocket finished for the Poet Shawl. (still need to work in all the ends).
I designed and started a quilt in honour of the coronation of King Charles III. 
This is the King's Crown block, originally designed as a 6" block, I made it 24" and it will be the centre of the quilt.
Just look at the difference in size for the templates for a 6" block versus a 24" block. 
This is the Coronation Block. There will be a border of the gold fabric around the King's Crown block, surrounded by a square of 16 Coronation Blocks, and then I think a border of the purple fabric. I think the fabrics I chose are awesome and just as rich and opulent as the coronation itself. But also not a priority. 
I finished a commission quilt, Face Off, which I will blog about later. 
Finally, as I realized that fair season is getting closer, I decided I'd better get some projects finished so that I have some articles to enter. I pulled out the Kimono Rose quilt, finished the applique and the piecing and it is currently on my longarm.
Another UFO on its way to being finished. 
When thunderstorms in the forecast prevented me from working on the longarm, I pulled out the biscuit quilt and determined to finish that as well. 
I think I only had 3 rows finished. I'm now up to 10 out of a total of 19. It's tedious and challenging to stitch the rows together, trying to push that bulk under the presser foot. But I am determined to finish it.
I've got a few other UFOs that I'm hoping to finish in time to enter in the local fairs, plus a few that will be start to finish. We'll see how much I can accomplish. The bowtie quilt may or may not be a fair entry. As it's for me, it's not a huge priority. And finding all of the colours is somewhat of a scavenger hunt. 

Hanging Kitchen Towel Dress

 When I was looking for a tutorial on making a hanging hand towel, I found several for making one to look like a little girl's dress. I thought they were adorable and saved several of the videos to one of my YouTube playlists, intending to try making one later. 
This is probably my favourite of the several videos I referred to. 

But after reviewing several, I found that there were different options and also some things that required clarification. Plus, I switched some things up. So, I decided to write this blog post to help anyone who would like to make one and show my process and options.
The first challenge that appeared was that I could not find the fabric requirements. I'll admit that I didn't watch every video all the way through, but one would think that it would either be near the beginning or listed in the description. Maybe I missed it, but I certainly didn't find it. So, here it is. If you plan on making this one without the optional ruffles on the bottom, then you need one fat quarter. 
That gives you enough fabric for the bodice and lining and 4 ties. If you plan on adding the ruffles, then a second fat quarter should be enough. 
These are the measurements given in the above video:
Bodice - body 6" wide across the bottom, 3" long from armpit to bottom
            - sleeves 2½" from fold to bottom, 1½" from armpit to end of sleeve
            - neckline 3" wide, 1½" deep
Ties 2" x 14" - cut 4
Ruffle - 6" x 24" - cut 2
          - 1½" x 20" - cut 2 pieces to cover seam where ruffle is attached to skirt (towel)
I chose to add ¼" to the bodice length as I wanted a half inch for the bottom seam allowance where the towel is attached. I also rounded off the underarms, as in the video. You can find my pattern here. Honestly, this is the first time I have created and shared a PDF file, so I make no promises or guarantees.This particular video does have a link to the author's pattern in the comments. 
She chose to use a vertical rather than a horizontal fold for her pattern.
My pattern has a round neckline, but I later decided to do a square one. It can depend on how you want to finish the neckline. Unfortunately, the first video above does not indicate how to do that. In another video, the square neckline was finished by folding in the seam allowances and topstitching. In another, a rounded neckline was finished with bias binding. I really didn't like either of those options and was hoping to figure out how to stitch it together from the inside, doing one side at a time. No, there really isn't room enough to do it that way. So, I opted to use one of the seldom-used decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I used a scallop stitch and trimmed off any fabric extending beyond the stitching and ended up with a pretty scalloped edge neckline. Using this option, you can probably make any shape of neckline you want. 
Regarding the ties, I chose to press them in half widthwise, then pressed in the ¼" seam along both sides and one end. It isn't necessary to do the other end as it will be inside the seam of the bodice. Topstitch along the side and end of each tie. 
This way, you don't have to fight to turn a long narrow strip sewed right sides together right side out again. Clip or pin in place ½" from the bottom of the side seams on the bodice before stitching the bodice. One of the videos uses velcro instead of the ties, but I think it looks prettier with the ties. 
I made this one for my youngest sister. It is necessary to put a seam in the ruffle if you want to make it as full as the indicated in the video. 
I included a coordinating hot pot holder. 
I also gifted her a couple of regular hanging hand towels - one Christmas and one Dad-themed (tools and buffalo plaid) because she said these towels reminded her of our mother since Mom usually had one hanging on the fridge or stove. You can find the video for these here.
And I did finally get around to putting the ruffle on the lemon kitchen towel dress. 

Lovely Lemons


Last year, you may recall, I made the Take Four placemats using a lemon-themed fat quarter bundle. Except that it had 5 fat quarters and so I made 5 placemats. For whatever reason, the lemon theme really appeals to me. Whether it's the bright, cheerful yellow, or what, I'm not sure. 
Then later in the year, I found a second lemon-themed fat quarter bundle, this one with black as the accent colour instead of blue, and purchased it as well and made a table runner. Other projects superceded that one, however, and I didn't get around to quilting it until this year when I bought another of the same fat quarter bundle to make a wallhanging. 
As I was working with fat quarters and not yardage, I wasn't sure what to do for a wallhanging. In a quilting group on Facebook, someone suggested the Fat Quarter Shop, and I ended up choosing the Cobblestone pattern. In addition to the 5-fat-quarter-bundle I had recently purchased, I was trying to use up leftovers from the previous projects, but still ended up having to buy some individual fat quarters. That's how I ended up with some fabrics from both fat quarter bundles in this project. I honestly am not really that happy with it. While it is bright and cheerful, the design just doesn't speak to me. However, one of my Facebook friends liked it well enough to offer to buy it, but when I quoted him a price, it didn't happen. No surprise there. Although I do think he wanted more green in it... I would have been rather happy to sell it: more money for my projects and I don't have to look at it any more. 
Meanwhile, I had decided to add more projects to my lemon collection: 
When looking for kitchen towels to use for projects in the dollar store, I found this one that actually had lemons on it. You can find the kitchen towel dress instructions here
Hot pot holders - I made the hourglass blocks and quilted them on the longaram along with the wallhanging and the table runner. Then I used some cotton yarn to crochet some hanging loops and stitched them in when I added the binding. 
I managed to find some brighter yellow cotton yarn and added this lemon slice dishcloth to my lemon collection. This is the Orange Slice pattern from A Year of Dishcloths by Maggie Weldon. If I use this pattern again, I will make the long white spike stitches looser because they tend to pull the dishcloth up into a bowl shape instead of lying flat. 
Of course, I have my lemon salt/pepper/cream/sugar set that I picked up at an antique mall that completes the ensemble. So, it's all very coordinated. I have enough scraps left of the lemon fabric that I will likely complete another small project or two. 
I don't plan on using most of these items until after fair season is over as I may wish to enter them. The wallhanging is on the wall and the table runner is on the table, but it's covered in plastic. So neither is likely to get dirty before I have a chance to enter them.