Friday, 31 May 2013

New Fancy Handbag!

I made a plan before I moved back to DC. I would spend my jetlagged first week making myself a pretty handbag, just for me, while Paul was at work. That didn't happen. Instead, I slowly cut out all the pieces and then last Friday I took a vagary and sat down and made the whole bag! I've never made a bag before. I was stunned at how quickly I got it together. There was some unpicking along the way, but no cursing (if you know me you know how astonishing that is!). I think that once you start to see it come together it is promising to be so pretty that you're happy to do whatever it takes to get it all worthy of that promise.

Made with Tsuru ...and Old Lace in Indigo by Rashida Coleman Hale,
Salt Water Submarines and Seaweed in Coral by Tula Pink,
and piping in Flamingo from Free Spirit.

Now, all of this is not some previously untapped well of bag-making talent. Oh no. Helpfully I have inserted some zippers before (and don't have super high standards in getting them put in, that they work and no fabric gets caught in them is all I'm after!). But most helpfully I was making my bag from one of Sara's bag patterns. Sara is the wee genius behind Sew Sweetness and she is just really lovely and helpful. At the end of her pattern she gives ways to contact her in case you are pulling your hair out and need some guru-like advice and a cup of tea/cold gin!!

The bag's first time in the Metro - the Metro is not as well
lit as it looks in this photo. We can't understand
why it looks so bright here...

I made the Velocity Girl bag. I needed a non-giant hand bag to replace my last one which I got a year ago for my birthday and proceeded to use to death! Especially since I hurt my back at Christmas I've needed to cut down on the amount of stuff I carry around with me, and since that is directly a result of how much space I have in my handbag I've needed to downsize (a lot). Velocity Girl is perfect! PERFECT! I carried it around all of Memorial Day and my back and shoulder didn't get sore once. It stands up by itself because I used some of Annie's Soft and Stable as recommended by Sara. I love it. And I love having some really pretty fabric with me all the time.

The bag in the wild at the Bethesda Farm Women's Co-Op!

Oh, and Sara put in plenty of pockets. So many that I even have one or two still free of purpose which is amazing, cos I love pockets. I like to put my phone, some tissues, some spare food, my keys, my metro card, and lip balm all into pockets. I love having them right at my fingertips and not having to root through the bottom of my bag as soon as I reach the Metro or my building!

Outside Pockets - there's five overall, just on the outside!!

I made a mistake - there's excess fabric in the interior because
I thought I knew it all and didn't actually read the steps right... There's
a lesson in there somewhere! But look, pretty magnetic clasp and zipper!!

Yeah, as you can tell I love this bag. I will definitely be making another bag from Sara. I own some more patterns. Hopefully by the end of June I'll have an Accordion Bag of my very own too! Secretly, when I was planning making Velocity Girl once I got here, I also bought fabric to make Accordion... Hence my current self-imposed fabric shopping ban! So worth it though, look at my bag!!!

Memorial Day exploring with a cardigan!! I enjoyed needing a
cardigan. Also, fancy bag hardware in the shape of a big metal O!

Linking up to TGIFF, over at Charm About You this week!! I hope to share the other bits of sewing I've been getting done this weekend with Fresh Sewing Day, because holy shit it's June tomorrow!

Aoif :)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunday Stash: Dresses and Japanese Fabrics

The last couple of weeks I've added some patterns to my stash. I plan on trying to make a few dresses this summer. You've already seen the fabric! But here are the patterns that have caught my eye.

I bought two patterns from Sewaholic, one supposedly easy and one intermediate (for when I feel super confident!). I love Colette's patterns and opted for Peony because it's gorgeous and is supposedly for beginners!! Stitch with Style is the first sewing magazine I've every bought. I was swayed when Sara at Sew Sweetness posted that she had three patterns in this issue of the magazine. I also got the pattern for that dress on the cover! As well as patterns for all sorts of other bits of clothing and accessories - good value for less than $15. This is Sara's bag that I'm contemplating most (though I just made another one of her patterns, keep your eyes peeled for the outcome later in the week!).

And here's the Sewaholic 'easy' pattern I'm planning on making first, and the fabric I have in mind!

The fabric is by Dan Bennett for Westminster Fabrics

I got my May Bundle of Japanese fabrics from Blossom Heart Quilts' Etsy shop!

May's theme was Sweet Spring!

I've been getting these bundles for a few months now and I'm building up a lovely collection. The fabrics are so soft and vibrant. Alyce has a great eye!

I've even been coming up with plans for a Japanese fabric quilt! I think I'm still a little short on fabric for the whole thing though... (cough cough). I might dip in and out of the months as money allows. There's no recipient in mind for this quilt. Though I've drawn out the plan so I can remind myself every so often what I'm aiming for!

It's based on Imagine Gnats' Blast quilt. I've blown up one of her blocks to baby quilt size. I really like it, so I hope when the time comes I do it justice!

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I'm linking up with Fiona at Finding Fifth for the Sunday Stash and am off to peek at your stashes now!

Oh, and don't forget to go and vote in the Blogger's Quilt Festival - there is some spectacularly awesome talent on show there! Amy's doing a great job and I've learned things I never knew before, totally worth it :)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Freya's Quilt

This is my second entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival. You can find Paul's Rainbow Skittle Quilt here!

Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -
Find out more here!

Freya was born to friends of ours last January. But I didn't start making her quilt till this time last year. I waited to find the perfect pattern, which arrived, after much internet surfing, in the form of I'm A Ginger Monkey's Fat Quarterly tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for the 'Fit for a Princess!' picnic quilt. Then I fell in love with the Apple of My Eye collection by The Quilted Fish.

I sewed the top over last Summer, falling in love with how the pressed seams looked on the back of each block!

The quilting didn't happen until I moved home to Ireland last August. I chose a bright pink thread and to not stitch in the ditch (cos on your second ever quilt, why not be completely crazy!?!). I loved how the quilting turned out, outlining some centres and crossing through others.

Even though the sewing took me a long time on the top. The pattern is really easy and goes together beautifully. I fell in love with this quilt completely while I made it, and the idea of giving it away seemed totally nuts the closer it got to finished!

I bought a jelly roll of the Apple of My Eye collection and cut it up into 10" sections to make the binding. I love scrappy binding now, and need to use it more in my quilts.

Just washed!

I made Freya a little embroidered label for the back, trying to get the letters large and clear and colourful! I added my initials and a strawberry, which is my little added signature emblem thing.

This was the first quilt I got to deliver in person. It was lovely and I've since been told that Freya sleeps under the quilt each night, which feels amazing! I think it's the best part of quilting (which seems mental what with all the pretty colours and fabrics and designs and satisfaction of just making use-able items!). One more picture, cos I can't resist!

Quilt Measurements: 45" x 45"
Special Techniques: Diagonal quilting (special for me, that is!)
Quilted By: Me!
Fabric Used: Apple of My Eye collection by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake, yardage and a jelly roll, IKEA sheet for backing, embroidery thread, and Warm and Natural batting.

Entered into the Baby Quilts Category.

Thank you so much for coming to visit my blog and quilt!!

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Rainbow Skittle Quilt

Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -
Find out more here!!

So I only discovered the Blogger's Quilt Festival last week from Gemma's post over on Pretty Bobbins. It looks like a really fun event and one I want to dip my toes in, so I can learn more about it. I do know that it's on twice a year to coincide with the Quilt Markets and run excellently by Amy at Amy's Creative Side.

I'm entering two of my favourite quilts so far. This post is about Paul's Rainbow Skittle Quilt, which was first posted about here! When looking back on that post I realised that I didn't have very good photos of it all finished. It was packed up to go back to America with Paul too quickly for that, plus it's really dark and wet in Ireland in January. So we went out and took some more this morning!!

A year ago, now, I bought a jelly roll of Moda Marbles in citrus. The colours in there are exactly the kind Paul absolutely loves. But then making it into a quilt dropped down to the bottom of my priorities. Once we decided to get married around Christmas, I knew it would be the perfect wedding gift for Paul. So I got my ass in gear and bought a white jelly roll, and began sewing the colours and white into pairs.

Once I had the big long strips made, I cut them all into squares. Then by rotating each square, which were half white and half a colour, I laid out a design (not before agonising through several). All it took then was lots of aligning seams and pinning and sewing. But once I got a few squares together the happiness of the colours really carried me through the repetitiveness!

The hardest part was keeping it secret from Paul and off the blog. I made an embroidered label for the back, from a picture drawn by Britta who has a blog about her awesome art here. But I just realised that I haven't put mine or Paul's name or the date on the back, so I think that will be my evening handstitching this week.

Originally I wanted to quilt around each of the zig-zags with the machine, in thread the colour of the pieced zig-zag. Creating coloured outlines of zig-zags on the back of the quilt. However, about 10 minutes after starting that (and two weeks sourcing all the right coloured threads) I knew it was not going to work on my home machine the way I imagined. So instead I moved to my embroidery threads and hand-tied the quilt. One knot for ever corner of each zig-zag! All in matching colours.

This was the 4th quilt I made, and the first I planned out by myself instead of using a pattern. I found using Adobe Illustrator really useful for auditioning layouts.

Quilt Measurements: 62¼" x 61½"
Special Techniques: Hand-tying and embroidered label.
Quilted by: Me!
Materials: Moda Marbles in Citrus jelly roll, Moda Bella White jelly roll, Michael Miller Rainbow Stripe for binding, white sheet for backing, Warm and Natural batting, and assorted embroidery threads.

Entered into the ROYGBIV category.

Thank you so much for coming to visit me! I hope you're enjoying the blogger's quilt festival as much as I am :)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

WIP Wednesday: Leftover Charms

Things are on a real stop and start around here. Last week in about a day I made a patchwork quilt top (the pictures are coming in just a few paragraphs!). The weekend was jam packed with exploring markets, grocery shopping, cooking, and planning.

Monday started well, with me beginning to cut out the pieces for the Velocity Girl Bag by SewSweetness, and then we went to our first pilates class. I'm still sore. It was good, but too intense for my still-recovering back. So back to google to find a new class to try.

Then yesterday came, and all the go that had been happening over the weekend died. Just died. I was tired and cranky, and there were arguments. I didn't do anything on my to-do list. I did start watching Craftsy classes I bought last Autumn... And got an idea for a new quilt, which I then mocked up in Illustrator instead of making chilli for dinner. Thankfully it was only me for dinner here last night, so I just microwaved some frozen lasagne and kept right on playing with quilt ideas.

Anyway, I don't really have a point. But I feel guilty for not getting more done, for not replying to emails sooner, and for finding settling in here harder on some days than others. I am not blogging or sewing as much as I'd like, but I'm guessing you can't force it and instead I'm trying to go with the flow.

Here is the quilt top in progress. I started with a bundle of mixed charms that have been languishing in a cupboard for over a year. I needed something simple to get my sewing courage up after 3 weeks of no sewing! So it started off super basic:

But then I thought that was kind of boring. So I cut it up,

rearranged the strips, and sewed it back together.

Then, I thought, why not cut it up in the other direction!? So I did!

And I sewed it back together again, and said, done for now.

It is just less than 30" square. I woke up at 5am last Friday with the idea that I could surround it in a mosaic of 2" squares in various shades of white and bind it in a mauve colour. Then my mother suggested that I quilt it as is and use it to make an enormous cushion (I got an enormous cushion as a teenager and it moved all over with me until I came to the States).

I honestly don't know what to do with it, so it's folded up and living in the corner right now. My quilt idea would keep it on the long finger for a while because I don't have a variety of whites on hand, and would need to wait for off-cuts from some upcoming quilts. The cushion would mean looking for an insert the right size or buying foam or something... Do any of you have an idea??

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced today! And heading off to do some more work on my new handbag - I'll leave you with a picture.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday Stash: Part 2

Happy Sunday!!

This has been a strange week. I might be finding my groove, though actual sewing has yet to take place. But every day more things are getting done, leaving less in the way between me and the sewing machine! However, blogs have been getting neglected and I just realised I've about 100 unread posts from all you lovely people. Which also means my commenting on other blogs has plummeted (that and I've realised that using Feedly from my Kindle Fire means I can't comment - I need my phone or laptop for that (typing on the phone is too irritating and I've largely been avoiding the laptop because once I sit down I won't get back up for hours!! too much internet goodness).

Anyway, hopefully this coming week will see the start of me being slightly more on top of things!

Onwards, to the photos of fabric goodness. These first fabrics are destined to become clothes for my own wardrobe. This is my summer of starting to make clothes! First time doing so unsupervised so it's going to be interesting. I just need my first two patterns to arrive and then I can get started on dress #1!!

Clockwise from top: Airplanes in cream from Piper by Dear Stella; Sinister Swarm in Vivacious from Field Study by Anna Maria Horner; Soft Serve in candy green from Asbury by Thomas Knauer; and, Whirl in warm from Asbury by Thomas Knauer.

I have no plans for the next fabrics.

Clockwise from top: Crystalline Cobalt from Luxe in Bloom; Delicate Sautoir Grey from Splendor 1920; Trellis in Gentian from Floressence; Extravagarden Hush from Luxe in Bloom; and, Flights of Fancy in Day from Splendor 1920 (centre).

The navy fabrics might get used in a quilt I have planned as a baby boy quilt. I really love the two Splendor 1920 fabrics, but still no inspiration yet. I'll just have to stroke them for a while longer. In the grey fabric there are geckos on the branches, they make me smile!


Then we have some fabrics that are planned as future backings, most likely!

L-R: Red Mosaic from Frippery by Thomas Knauer; and, Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey

And, finally, another bundle that I bought as a cohesive unit in the Black Friday sales but now I'm not so sure of them all together. Also, no quilt idea has popped out at me as would normally happen... I'm loath to separate them, but stymied by the idea of keeping them together. Any ideas??

From left to right: Submarines and Seaweed in coral from Salt Water; Topograph in tangerine from Architextures; Star Charts in purple from Constellations; Crosshatch in peach from Architextures; Bike Path in peacock from Lucky Penny; Blueprint in grass from Architextures; Sketch in Denim; Sketch in Kiss; Leafy Stripe in navy blue from Simply Color; Annie's Farm Stand Seed Catalogue in white on white; and, The Block in cream and mist.

Seed Catalogue in white on white is amazing. Here it is on it's own catching the light at an oblique angle!

So lots to play with here thanks to pretty much any fabric sale in the last six months! Hopefully I'll be back on Wednesday with some sewing progress on something :)

Linking up to Sunday Stash over on Finding Fifth!!