Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Half-square triangles finish

It's done.


And I'm linking up to the Festival of Half-Square Triangles over at Canoe Ridge Creations. I'm so glad the festival was happening, because I needed some serious motivation to finish this quilt.

These aren't the colors I'd normally use, but this quilt is for someone else to give as a gift for a new baby. So they picked the fabric from a fat-quarter pack at Fabricworm.

I took a long time deciding what sort of quilt to make from the fat quarters. I wanted to feature the animals from the Urban Chiks Hullabaloo Zoology print, but I didn't want big blocks. So half-square triangles it was. I like how you can see snippets of the animals peeking out.

I cut charm squares (5-inch) from the fat quarters, and then divided the fabric into a blue-yellow pile and a pinkish pile. I then paired up squares (one from each pile) and sewed two lines just off the middle and cut each in half. Like this. I used a Clover Hera marker to mark the lines and it worked great.

I trimmed each finished block down to 4.5 inches to make it extra accurate. It was a lot of trimming, but worth it. There are 121 squares on the front, and all the leftovers on the back.

It took me several days to pick out the backing and binding fabric. When I work with colors and fabric I wouldn't normally use, I lose all instinct for making choices.


As hard as picking backing and binding fabric was, the quilting was a breeze. I think I spent longer trying to decide how to quilt it than the actual quilting. It's a good feeling when you can do something that use to be so hard with a measure of ease. It's not perfect, but it's much better than the results from the hours I spent on my first quilt.

I went with an all-over free-motion pattern. I like the drape it gives the quilt, and (I have no idea if this theory is legit) it seems like this type of quilting will hold all those seams down.

When I make a quilt, I want it to last a lifetime, but that thought is especially true for baby quilts. I think of all the blankets and quilts I've drug around my whole life, and I hope that what I'm making gets packed up for college in 18 years. Or something like that ... you get the idea.





I ran off to Butte this weekend for a much-needed escape and tried to get a cool photo there, but it just didn't pan out.


I sure miss that town.

Throw a quilt down on the floor and dogs will emerge. It works 100 percent of the time.

Tom checks it out

Pup paws

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I sewed a shirt! And then another one!

The Tova shirt, in fact.

It was awesome.

Tova top

Placket, collar

It fits and everything!

This was my first garment sewing that I actually finished. I've started a skirt (six months ago), but it's not done yet.

The pattern was super easy to follow, and the whole thing only took four hours, including reading through the pattern a few times and assembling and tracing the pattern pieces (I bought the PDF version, only $10!).

I started when I got off work at 1:30 a.m. and finished at 5:30. I didn't plan on it going that way, but it was one of those snowball things, like:

"Oh, if I finish this hem, I might as well attach the back."

And then 30 minutes later: "Now it looks like a real shirt, so I might as well sew on the sleeves."

Then another half-hour passes.

"And since it's basically done, I might as well finish it ..."

And then it's 5:30 a.m.

But so worth it.

So worth it that I made a second one the very next day. I'd been eyeing this Lisette collection fabric at JoAnn for awhile. It's twill. And I sort of thought the extra-small would fit better than the small I made the first time (it does).

So, this happened!

Tova again!

Tova again!

I wore it to work today and got a complement on it, BEFORE I bragged about sewing it.

The second time around, I realized I over looked a step on the first shirt -- topstitching the inset. It makes it look so much nicer. It's funny what you catch the second time through.


And on the quilting front, I'm ready to sew the binding on the HST baby quilt!


I basted and quilted the thing last night, all in like an hour. I probably spent longer deciding how to quilt it than the actual quilting took. I had all these grand plans for some straight-line quilting, but in the end I went with an all-over free-motion pattern. I think that will make a nicer drape and longer-lasting quilt, especially with a baby quilt that will get washed lots.

Picking the binding and backing was hard. Those colors aren't easy to match. I planned on using the binding fabric for the backing, but I didn't want to use a different thread in my bobbin, so I went with some lighter blue dots on a natural background.


Here's hoping I finish it up soon. There are lots of distractions lately, with the warm weather and these two mutts (who escaped for SIX HOURS on Easter and ended up having a sleepover at the shelter. Super lame.)


One thing I've learned from this quilt (besides how awesome trimming is) is that it's hard to pick fabric for a project that doesn't fall in your normal color zone. I've got no instinct in what looks good.