Friday, May 26, 2017

Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone

There's been very little sewing going on here lately but with a surprise free afternoon and good weather finally making an appearance this seemed like the perfect time to break out my Espadrille making supplies and try something new.   Exactly a year ago I bought everything I'd need from Fabric Depot with dreams of a closet full of adorable shoes - then nothing.  Story of my life;-)

alidiza: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone - DIY Espadrilles
After a quick shop thru my stash and closet I decided to start with this Midnight metallic Essex linen paired with Hot Pink Add It Up by Cotton + Steel.  There are only 2 easy to cut out shapes plus the interfacing so it's a quick and easy project to get all your pieces assembled.  I did notice some of the tutorials online mention needing to add the seam allowance to the templates but the Dritz templates I used include the seam allowance.

alidiza: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone - DIY Espadrilles
I did a crazy amount of pinning to work in all the ease but once that was done the actual hand sewing was really easy.

alidiza: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone - DIY Espadrilles

It's not too bad stitching thru the soles because of the rope braid but the finger grips definitely help with pulling the eye and thick thread thru the fabric.  Nancy's Notions has a great video on the whole process with a good demo of how to do the ladder stitch.  You can't really see it here but I basted a 1/4" around the bottom edge of the fabric form and used that line to keep my stitch height uniform.

alidiza: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone - DIY Espadrilles
Ta-dah!  I love how these came out but I do have some fit issues to work out before I start my next pair.

alidiza: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone - DIY Espadrilles
Lessons learned:
  • I feel like the linen/quilting cotton combo is a bit flimsy.  Next time I'll add interfacing to the linen in addition to the stabilizer on the lining.  
  • I definitely was a bit scant on my 3/8" seam allowance which means my pieces are a bit too large.  I'm going to try using a 1/2" seam allowance next time.  I'm pretty sure these will stretch so I want them to be snug to start.
  • The heel pieces seemed way too wide where they attach to the toe so I tapered the top edge.
  • Make the first shoe completely before starting the second.  That way you won't have to redo both shoes to adjust your fit.  
Any suggestions on a good way to temporarily attach the pieces to the sole?  You can't really get your foot in and out to check the fit when everything is pinned.  I'm already planning my next (several) pair!
alidiza: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone - DIY Espadrilles
Kicking off the long weekend with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Going Coastal

Struggling to write this post today I realized I enjoy talking about the process of making quilts a lot more than the finished product.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this quilt - there's just not much else to say at this point.

Quick recap: I pieced the top and back of this one last summer.  Since then it's been hibernating in the UFO pile waiting for summer to return to do duty as a beach blanket.  I finally rescued this to quilt at Laurena's before she closed.  The Surf's Up panto is the perfect wave to meld everything together and the orange thread blends nicely on the front but gives lots of texture to the back.  

I don't tend to use a lot of orange but this Tangerine binding seemed perfect!

I wish it was really warm enough to head to the beach for a photoshoot but I took a practice run on the volleyball court at Kimball Farm.

Can't you just feel the sand in your toes...

Dreaming of summer with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 80" x 72"
Pattern: Inspired by Cluck Cluck Sew's Squares and Strips quilt
Fabrics: Going Coastal by Emily Herrick.  Michael Miller Cotton Couture: Love, Tangerine, Creamcicle.  Free Spirit Designer Solids: True Red, Miracle, Burst, Sap, Leaf.  Kona Cotton: Storm.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: Superior Threads King Tut in Orange Zest (1014).
Quilting: Surf's Up pantograph by Dave Hudson.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: No Rest For the Weary

It was love at first sight when Heather Ross released Sleeping Porch.  Those pinks and greens...  how could I resist but once I touched this all cotton lawn collection I was head over heels.  I couldn't wait to jump in and make something with this but as usual my life had other ideas...

I knew I wanted to only use cotton lawn for my first quilt with this collection but I was also unsure how piecing would go with the lighter weight fabric so I opted for a pattern with simple pieces.  A triangle quilt has been on my bucket list for a while so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I cut all these triangles thinking this would be a perfect retreat project but never got to it.

There are tons of great tutorials out there for making a triangle quilt but I found these tips from the Triangle Quilt Along at Sassy Quilter to be the best.  I used the Triangle Squared ruler which solves the problem of offsetting your points.  The cotton lawn isn't as sticky as quilting cotton so it was slow going pinning every seam when sewing but still good for chain piecing.

Cotton + Steel put out some great tips for quilting with lawn.  I didn't prewash as they suggest but I did switch to a 70/10 sharp needle and used 50 wt Aurifil for the piecing.  I don't find Best Press to be as effective on the lawn.  Next time I may try regular old spray starch.

Our vacation week schedule is pretty packed but I've been sneaking in some after dinner sewing breaks and chipping away at this one.

And those evenings add up...  a finished flimsy:-)  I'm feeling the loss of my LQS again, of course I don't have any batting on hand.  I decided to go all out with Quilter's Dream Wool from Fat Quarter Shop (with a few treats thrown in for free shipping).  Hopefully their quick delivery will get it here before I lose my momentum...  Dreaming of snuggling up with this one should keep me going!  How do you find time to quilt when life gets crazy?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

Spring is slowly starting to arrive to New England but this quilt makes its own sunshine.

I started this one on retreat with the BostonMQG back in 2015.  The pattern is Strawberry Fields from one of my all-time favorite books, Material Obsession by Sarah Fielke and Kathy Doughty.  It's easy to construct the blocks but there were errors in the version of the book I have.  Here is the errata with the correct cutting sizes.  I'm so glad I made a test block before cutting all my pieces!!!

This is an excellent pattern for layer cakes.  I love the way it showcases larger scale prints but also is a great way to use up scraps.  For this one I used a Sunkissed layer cake mixed with low volume scraps from my stash.

Of course by the time I finished the top Sunkissed was long out of print but I scored this fabulous Anna Griffin print at Marden's.  I love these two together!!!  This had been languishing in the UFO pile but when I heard Laurena's was closing this was at the top of my list.  I used Elizabeth Hartman's glue stick technique for pattern matching the back...  look how perfect that seam is.

And of course I had to go with a striped binding to pull it all together.

Soaking up some Sun with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 60" x 74"
Pattern: Strawberry Fields from Material Obsession by Sarah Fielke.
Fabrics: Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda.  Assorted low volume prints from stash.  Backing from the Carmen Collection by Anna Griffin.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: Superior Threads King Tut in Sunstone (982).
Quilting: Daisies Galore pantograph by Irene Steele.

Friday, April 7, 2017


It's time once again for the BostonMQG's annual quilt show.  This year's mini quilt challenge is Improv.  If you know me IRL you'll know I'm more of a "planned to the point of compulsion" kind of quilter so this truly is a challenge.

While we were on retreat the amazingly generous Alexis gave me her Kaffe Fassett charm pack.  With no plan in mind I pulled a Denyse Schmidt and randomly pulled pairs to make HSTs and then some again to make QSTs.

From there they went back in to the bag and I pulled them out and sewed them together into rows.  No thinking about it or moving things around, just taking them as the were.

I tried to channel the same mindlessness for the quilting and just let the blocks lead me where they wanted to be quilted.

I love all the texture!!!

alidiza: Unplanned!
It was down to the wire but I managed to get the binding on and despite a freakish April 1st snow storm delivered to Fabric Place Basement.  The show opens tomorrow and will be open weekends thru May 8th.  If you're in the area you should definitely check it out!

Winging it with this week's Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 18" x 18"
Fabrics: Kaffe Fassett Woven Cottons charm pack
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50 wt. Aurifil in  Arctic Sky (2612).

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: Sewing into Spring

With the delivery date for this year's BostonMQG quilt show rapidly approaching I was highly motivated to finish things up this week...

With the quilting done I really wanted to show my Snake Trail quilt.  I'm so happy with how this turned out so getting the binding on and tacked was my top priority.

Once that was out of the way I moved on to finishing up my Improv challenge mini quilt.  I really need to remember to keep it simple when I'm on a deadline but with the freak April 1st snow storm I wasn't doing anything else;-)

With my quilts delivered I could get back to the rest of those quilts that need bindings tacked.  There's nothing like a gymnastics meet (with 2 hour car ride) to get things done. I'm *this* close to being finished with this one.  How's your Spring shaping up?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

W.i.P. Wednesday: On the Go

Taking stock of my UFO stack always inspires me schedule some longarm sessions to finish things up.  This year has started off busy but when I heard Laurena's Longarm was closing I jumped to schedule some sessions before it was too late...  since then it's been quilt, quilt, quilt:-)

I started with my Sloops quilt.  I usually prefer hand guided pantographs or FMQ but in the interest of time I went with a computer driven pattern for this one.  I love how perfectly the waves flow across the sailboats!!!

While I was babysitting the machine doing Sloops I was also able to load up my Blue Plate Special on another machine.  I plan to use the same technique I used for my Ghastly Games to quilt the Dresden Plates on to the quilt sandwich but it's so big it was definitely easier to baste it on the longarm.

The next day I was back again adding this wavy Surf's Up pantograph to my Going Coastal quilt.

Then in a true fit of insanity I used my last session to not only baste my City Sampler quilt to custom quilt at home....

I also quilted Here Comes the Sun with this adorable Daisies Galore panto.  The good news is that Laurena has a buyer so it seems like I'll be happily longarming again.

And then I just couldn't resist quilting the Snake Trail quilt top I finished last week on retreat with the BostonMQG.  I'm so in love with this one now that it's almost done.

 Since I was on a roll I went ahead and got all my bindings on...  I predict some binge watching in my future.  Netflix and Quilts;-)  Any suggestions for a good movie marathon?