February 24, 2013

Second top finish of 2013!

I finished this quilt top today!  My second for 2013, this is a really fun quilt and pretty large for just using one charm pack.  A while back I won a charm pack of Joy from Kate Spain and I must say, it's a gorgeous line! I found some Flurry FQs at a LQS on sale that I was planning on using for the borders but instead decided to use my binding fabric for the borders.  It turned out to be the perfect choice!  Those zig zags really make the quilt complete.  

One thing I'm not pleased about is the inconsistency in the color of the Moda Bella white.  It's not one consistent shade of white.  But hopefully using a white batting will help even things out.  It's actually not as bad as the picture portrays, that's more of a shadow from my boyfriend who is holding it.  He's 5'7" so it's a good sized quilt, perfect for curling up with it and a good book on the couch.  

February 17, 2013

Bridget's Bagettes by Atkinson Designs--a pattern review

I found this pattern at my LQS about 6 mos ago now.  I tucked it away and forgot all about it until I needed wanted to make a pencil case.  Of course I totally forgot where I stashed it so it took me about 20 mins to find it.  Then it took me another 10 to figure out what I did with the huge remnant of vinyl I bought eons ago.  

Once I located all the materials I got started.  I didn't have fusible fleece but I did have a lightweight fusible interfacing which worked just fine, in fact, I think the fleece might be overkill for this project.  

I will say that if you rely on words WITH the diagrams you may be a little lost.  There were a couple steps that took me forever to figure out, whether it was because I started this at 1030 PM or because I'm incredibly dumb or I tried to make it harder than it was but I'll try to clarify the steps in question without giving away the entire pattern.  

A couple words of caution, the vinyl WILL melt if it comes into contact with the iron.  If you need to flatten your vinyl put it on your ironing board, cover it with a piece of fabric, make a couple quick, light passes then put the warmed vinyl under a ruler for it to cool and flatten out.  I've done this method a few times when using vinyl for projects.  Also, put some paper under the vinyl as you pass it through your sewing machine, you'll curse and bitch up a storm if you don't.  

Now, onto the pattern review!

Cost: $6.50
Materials: 2 Fat Quarters, 3 14" zippers, fusible fleece, lightweight fusible interfacing,  & clear vinyl.  
Special tools: Zipper foot, walking foot, tissue paper, Clover Wonder Clips (optional but HUGE help)
Notes: you can very easily get away with using a 9" zipper and two 12" zippers.  There is NO need for such excess zipper, the pattern uses the leftovers to create a zipper pull which honestly, is not needed.  

There are several diagrams but the wording can be poor at times.  There are also some extra steps that an individual experienced with zippers can easily combine.  The most confusing step comes at the very end when you're putting the backing/binding on.  The diagram shows it correctly, the wording is lacking for clear explanation of the step.  You find the centers of both the front and back, with right sides together line up your center marks and match the raw edges of the top and bottom edges.  The fabric will appear bunched in between but this is OK!  This will give you the appearance of binding on the top and bottom edges when you turn the pouch right side out.  

I did the simple corners, which really are super simple.  This is where the Wonder Clips come in handy!  They work SO well to hold the folds in place while you stitch the sides down.  

This is the finished pouch!

A couple things I might change if I make it again, I'd consider using a medium weight interfacing for stability where fusible fleece is used.  I used a lightweight fusible but the medium weight might be a better choice if you want it more rigid.  I'd also use a thicker vinyl.  I think the remnant I bought was something like 50 cents so the price was right but it might be too thin for this project. 

Once I got past my own hangups on this pattern I'd definitely make this again.  In fact, I'm hoping to go get some thicker vinyl and make a couple more!

Fabrics are Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics.  Very cute stuff!

February 13, 2013

Doesn't it drive you batty when...

You make a quilt from a pattern that could use some better directions?!  Not going to say which one I'm having issues with, it's a free pattern but it's missing some cuts and the yardage requirements are off by 4 inches but still, you need room to square up your edge and if you buy from a big box store you know you could be hacking off 2 inches!  Always better to round up.  The pattern I'm dealing with now also is missing 8 pieces from the cutting AND assembly instructions.  (I just checked and the correct cutting requirements are there now, they weren't when I downloaded the pattern 8 mos ago to the date).  Again, I know it's a free pattern but it's still frustrating.  And I do have enough fabric in my stash so it's not a big deal in the end.  Just maddening when you're in the middle of the project!

Then when there is no diagram to show you how to assemble the top, just really dark photos when printed off.  I was going to post a pic but noticed when I looked at it in photo form I screwed up a row!  It's so frustrating when you work on something then have to rip it apart because the directions could've been better.  

I know some will complain about directions being too wordy or picture/diagram overload but when you're dealing with all HSTs it helps to have a clear visual.  Oh, and when you update a pattern as the author did at least make a bold note about it pretty straight off so we all know there are corrections!  I've looked at the pattern online a dozen times and there are NO indications it was updated.  

Ok, rant over.

February 1, 2013

My Hero's Quilt

This quilt is actually completely designed by the love of my life.  He served 4 years active duty in the US Marine Corps and 7 years (and counting) in the Illinois Army National Guard and the Army Reserves.  He also served one tour of duty in Iraq as part of an Infantry unit.  When we first started dating and he found out I quilt he not so slyly mentioned that he would love a quilt of his own.  At first I was going to make a 'man quilt' in a manly pattern with manly fabric.  That wasn't going to fly with him.  He wanted a military themed quilt.  Now I really had my work cut out for me.  I showed him the Moda Quilt of Valor and he literally designed the rest.  He's very proud of his military career and the awards he's earned so this is what he came up with.

Now, a little explanation.  The solid red stripes just help to frame and set apart the other stripes.  So from L-R we have the USMC Blood Stripe.  It's a major honor to earn this stripe in the Corps and is worn on the outside of the pant leg on the dress blues, when this quilt is quilted I will add his ending rank (Corporal) and the Eagle Globe and Anchor.  The next stripe is all of his awards he's earned during his military career through the end of his tour in Iraq.  They are in order of highest importance to lowest importance.  And finally, the ACU stripe.  We went back and forth on this and just using the old Army dress uniform color, OD Green.  In the end he decided on the ACU because believe it or not, his unit was the very first to wear the Army Combat Uniform in Iraq, which according to my boyfriend is odd because they were a Reserve unit, new uniform issues are usually given to those in active duty.  So, that is how this quilt came about.  

If you're interested in colors, I used a LOT of Kona solids.  I couldn't tell you all the color names but I know for sure Royal, Poppy, Red, white, and I think Corn.  The stars are a Robert Kaufman print and the ACU print was actually found as a remnant at JoAnn.  I drafted all the ribbons using a free quilt pattern program called Quilt Assistant.  It can be kinda finicky when it comes to drafting something from scratch but play with it enough it'll work.  I also strongly advise if you want to do this paper piecing is a MUST!  There are some pieces of fabric that are only 1/4" wide and with 1/8" seam allowances due to how they're designed.  The paper helps keep them stable.  They're 8" x 2" finished.

Still unsure of how I'm going to quilt it, I'd love to send it out it's just not in the budget right now.  
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