Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Clothes Sewing

A while back I bought some cute denim intending to make a denim panel skirt.  I finally got around to it a couple weeks back and decided that I'd put some cute embroidery on it as well.  I wanted it to be fairly neutral to go with lots of things, so I kept the embroideries tone on tone.  The embroidery pattern is from urban threads, my favorite embroidery source.  The skirt wasn't made from a pattern, just google panel skirt and you'll get tutorials. The denim has just a bit of stretch, making it very comfortable. I love the way it turned out, the only thing I'd change if I made another one is to add a couple pockets.

Then last week, I found some cute striped stretchy fabric on clearance and thought I'd take the dive into sewing with knits, which I've never done.  I used McCalls 6513.   The top came out ok, but I had a really hard time with the hem.  The hem along the neckline in particular still rolls back, exposing the edge.  I used my twin needle, but that wasn't enough I guess.  I think part of the problem is that the fabric is very thin and floppy. Provided I can get the top neckline seam fixed though, I think it's wearable, if not my most successful garment.  The stripes are pretty stripey, so I picked up some more cute non-directional knit fabric on clearance the other day so I can try again with something a bit calmer.

What has been your experience sewing with knits?  Any tips?

Monday, August 26, 2013


I've actually been making good progress on my art quilts in the last two weeks.  I have three done that I haven't shared yet, but I'm waiting to get some good pictures before I show final finishes on them.  My parents are coming this weekend and I'm hoping to get my dad to help me with the photography.  He's also bringing me a new-to-me camera. He got a new one and is passing his old one along to me.  I'm looking forward to some photography lessons!

Anyway, I do have a finish to share today.  I got the Wallet Trio pattern from Sew Sweetness and made up wallet 3 over the weekend.  I was excited to try this type of zipper closure and I loved the accordion sides and central zip divider.  The binding and zipper on mine are actually dark purple, not black.  It came out so cute, and I just love that dahlia fabric.

The pattern was great, really easy to follow with super clear instructions.  Putting the binding on was time consuming but just required a bit of patience.  I only made one change; in the original pattern, the  card slots are sewn down on both sides (creating 9 card slots on each side).  I decided I wanted one of the back pockets to be the full width (for cash or larger notes) so I did that.  You can see what I mean in the third picture.  It took me a few minutes to figure out how to stitch it to accomplish that, but it worked out fine.

It turned out a bit bigger than I prefer my wallets (I should have guessed that based on the pattern pieces), so I'll probably save it for a giveaway later in the year.  

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Zip Pouches

Is the world tired of zip pouches yet?  Probably, especially since these aren't particularly innovative or anything, but they are very useful.

I wanted a couple small wipeable ones for a specific application so I dug out these two pieces of vinyl coated fabric or oilcloth (not sure what they're actually called) that I'd had for ever and never done anything with.  The top one (with the purple flowers) is much lighter weight and came from Hancocks.  The middle one is from my LQS.

The first one is just a regular zip pouch.  It's slightly trapezoidal because I was going to make it boxy at the bottom but lost interest at the end.

For this one I decided to do my first ever curved-around-the-side zipper.  It's small (3x4 ish) and the heavyweight oilcloth.  Definitely should have used regular fabric for my first attempt at that.  It came out fine, but the curve is not very smooth and fabric didn't turn or lay nicely flat like I would have preferred.

Third, a regular zip pouch and needle book made out of my favorite print ever.  These are for a quilty friend of mine and since I used regular fabric they both came out very nicely.

And finally, another pinchushion/thread catcher to put over by my embroidery machine.  Hooray!  I love getting to use all my fun print fabrics.

My conclusion:  the vinyl covered fabric isn't hard to use or sew, but it is a bit challenging to deal with when making small things (just like any heavier weight fabric would be.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Winter in Lincoln County #1, Finished!

I'm so excited to have a finish to share with everyone today!  I love the way this quilt turned out and I wish you could see it in person (for some reason the varying whites in the snow just don't come out well in pictures).

For those of you who haven't been following along, you can find out more about the whole process for this quilt by clicking the Orchard label in my sidebar.  This quilt was based on several pictures of my parent's mixed fruit orchard in Ruidoso Downs, NM, the home I wish I could get back to more often.

Enjoy and happy weekend!
Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, c. 2013 Shannon Conley

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, detail

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, detail

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, detail

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, label

Linking up with lots of wonderful places including Nina-Marie's fabulous art quilt linky Off the Wall Friday, TGIFF today over at Amy's Crafty Shenanigans, and Link a Finish Friday over at Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Actual WIP Wednesday

I thought I'd just give a status update-WIP today, as much as an action-item list for me as anything!

For anyone who doesn't care about my random to-do list, I'll just share this (sad iphone) picture of the quilting I just finished on the black and gold quilt!


Black and White and Gold Quilt
I finished quilting this and got it blocked/sqared up.  The next step is to make the piping (need to buy piping cord) and do the binding, pocket, and label.

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard
I made great progress on this week, got it blocked, square up, and bound.  The pocket is on and the last step is to sew on the label (which I printed this morning).  Final reveal on this on Friday (hopefully).

Winter in Lincoln County #2: Sierra Blanca
This is the mountain quilt that has been on the design wall incubating since April.  I've decided it's time to finish it.  It's blocked and squared up, but I think I'm going to try to embroider/thread paint/stitch some trees in the foreground before adding the facing.  I hope to get to it this weekend.

Ahhh Star
The next step on this is the piano key border.  I've pulled the fabrics for this, but haven't actually started it yet...

Black and White and Red all Over 1 and 2
These are the two thumbprint projects.  I did a bunch of coloring on the one that I hated so much which helped some, but not necessarily enough to make me love it.  I'm thinking about trying to quilt up the other one though.

Still Life
This will be the next quilt, but it's still in the early designing phases (as in, still in my mind and very rough sketches) so it'll be a while before there's anything to show on this.


Crocheted Scarf
This is a scarf I was making for my aunt out of the yarn from her alpacas.  It's finished and blocked, I just need to get some good photos (not sure how to do that for a scarf) and then write up a blog post!

Crochet Flower Blocks for Afghan
I think I have enough of these for an actual afghan I just need to get them all blocked and laid out.  It's kind of overwhelming to me since there are about 100 of them and they're not all the same shape and I've never assembled blocks of crochet before.  However, I think it's time to bite the bullet on this too; I'm tired of them sitting unseen in a drawer!

Chair Cushion
I have a very traditional rocking chair with a very uncomfortable back.  I have fabric to make a cushion for it, but need to get the foam.

Birthday Presents
Two family birthdays are coming up and I need to get on the secret presents for those!

Linking up with Lee as always and hoping you're all making progress on those WIPs!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Burp Cloths and Bibs

Becky has a bunch of friends having babies, which combined with my flannel scraps means more serged burp cloths.  Because most of my flannel scraps were solid red (fairly boring), we decided to add some embroideries.  The more I use the embroidery machine, the better I get with it (trial and error!).   Some of these designs are from Urban Threads (my favorite design source) and the others are just Bernina standards.

We also made a bunch of simple bibs for Anna, she's at the point where she needs really big ones, both because her neck has grown and because she feeds herself much more (and consequently the mess is much larger).  By the time we got to the bibs, we were down to really leftover scraps, just trying to use up whatever was in the bin!  If only one could make effective burp cloths out of leftover costume fabric, but alas....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WIP: Replacement for Identity

In the aftermath of the wretchedness that was the thumbprint quilt last week, I decided to put that whole idea on the back burner.  I did get some helpful suggestions including painting it and/or leaving it as is and pretending it was a werewolf scratch (which made me giggle).  My favorite was my dad's comment- he said it was like the old bad joke, what's black and white and red all over?  Answer: a newspaper (or in this case over 100 black and white books).

While I let that simmer though, I started working on another quilt for the black+white+one color challenge.  I decided to move away from pink and use gold as my color instead.  I found a small drawing in my sketchbook based on a Greek element in "Styles of Ornament" by Spelz.  As an aside: for anyone who doesn't know about it, this book is filled with wonderful design elements from over three thousand years of art and architecture. There are lots of used copies for pretty cheap on Amazon, my grandfather had a copy from his days doing stage design and my mom has it now.  So many of the designs are great for quilty inspiration.

Anyway, I elaborated my sketch, got something I liked and made it into a full size paper pattern. I pulled out all my gold silky/brocade apparel fabrics and backed them with fusible on which I'd traced the shape of the peice.  After cutting each piece out (with scissors) I sealed all of the edges with my woodburning tool so they're smooth and not ravelly.

After assembling everything, I decided I'd do some faux trapunto so I put a layer of batting (no backing) and quilted around the gold motif with water soluble thread.  Currently I'm working on putting some quilting on the gold sections (just on the first layer of batting) prior to trimming the excess batting off and layering for regular quilting.

I'm already so much more excited about this than the thumb print project, even if it doesn't turn out perfect, at least I'm enjoying the process!

Linking up with Lee and Nina-Marie as always.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

In Progress: Not going so well

The last couple of weeks I've been working on a new art quilt intended for a show called "A Color Runs Through It" being organized by the New Mexico SAQA group.  It's to be 18x24", black and white with one additional color.  Since it's a small format I decided it would be a good chance to experiment with some things I've been wanting to try.

My starting point was the idea of reading and identity.  I've always been a big reader, mostly fiction apart from professional stuff, and have a long list of books that are pretty important to me.  I started by pulling up covers for some of these books.  Some are ones I really feel have helped shape who I am while others are just books I love that I go back and re-read often (much to Mike's amazement).  I turned all the book covers black and white then arranged them by value in a photoshop file.  I then scanned my thumbprint (from a piece of paper), and experimented with overlaying it in different ways on top of the books.

I settled on a few different options and uploaded the file to spoonflower for printing.  I've been wanting to try them for a while and am so glad I finally did!  The print quality was great, you can read all the book titles and everything.  I printed  four different options of my 18x24" panel (it's actually 19x25 so if there's shrinkage during quilting I won't have funny white edges.  The first one, (top left) is just the books while the other three have some version of my thumbprint superimposed on the books prior to printing.

For my first attempt, I decided to use the top left panel with no thumbprint and introduce the thumbprint by printing bits of it on organza and then quilting it.  I have the world's most finicky inkjet printer, and I detest the fabric sheets you can buy (although I do use them), but I found this tutorial for printing on organza.  The main key is using a full-size label sheet, but there are tons of important details in the tutorial so I urge you to click through.  End result, perfect printing and not problems with the printer.

I printed sections of the thumbprint in pink on white organza and in black on pink organza and then layered them on the quilt and fused them down.  I then used a light box to trace the entire thumbprint (from a full size paper printout), and quilted it in various shades of pink.

You guys!  It was a total disaster!  The quilted thumbprint is way too subtle to see unless you're very close to the quilt and even then it's hard to tell what it is.  Even worse, when you step back and look at it, all you see are big giant pink organza blobs!  And don't be fooled into thinking it looks better in person or would look better once the blue washable marker is gone.  It really doesn't.  

One moral of the story: bright pink organza is still bright pink and is not ever going to be particularly subtle even if it's a sheer.  So now I have to make a different quilt for this challenge- I'm going to try to use one of the other three panels I had printed; we'll see how it goes.

Linking up with Nina-Marie as ever!