Square Hearts

This one has been finished for a while now, but… you know how that goes… Tomorrow it is going to be gifted, so this was the last chance to get some pictures taken. Here it goes:

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Is this upside-down? It was not my intention to make hearts, but you’ll see in the next one, the bright squares do look like hearts, right?

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Quilting: not very exciting I must say. Straight line, both sides and close to the seam. This past year, and I mean school year, I have not done many projects, due to a few factors, heat being among top reasons. Here in Southern California we did not have a winter. Not that we ever have much of a winter, but we went straight from summer to summer. And not our usual mild summers (here on the west side), we had record highs almost once a month. Temperatures that we might get only in the first part of September, the hottest part if out summer. And we don’t have ac in our house and fans can do only so much. So you can imagine then how inspired I was to have a blanket over me for hrs at time while sitting in front of a machine in a hot room. Not so much. Anyway…

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I did do something new on this one… The corners, see? I thought it would be fun and by the time I had all the squares and triangles (for edges) cut I was a little sick of cutting. I know it’s only four more triangles, but it’s four more triangles to cut!!!

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I cannot believe I started making this quilt 1/1. I didn’t pull all the fabrics out at one time, I was selecting fabrics on the go. I started with this gray fabric with big flowers you see in the middle if the next picture. That was my color inspiration even though I think the whole color scheme did change as I progressed.

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I started with the basic block you can see on the picture below: one 3×3 square and one 3×5.5 rectangle in bright fabric, and one 3×3 square In coordinating low volume fabric. When I finished all of those squares I had this:

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I could have just added white squares to fill in, but that seemed a bit boring and unfinished. So I decided to go with a square made up of two white 3×3 squares and two low volume 3×3 squares which created the final pattern that seems a bit like bright and low volume ‘hearts’ are interlaced vertically. I really liked the outcome.

To finish this long post two more pics. And a wish that next year, that is next school year is cooler and more productive. See YOU in about 5 weeks.

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Do I really want to share this with you?

Obviously I do… I was debating writing about this, but I figure I should write about failures as well as successes, right?
OK, so since last week I have been obsessed about sewing underwear and bras! I know, crazy! But it seems that everybody is trying and there are so many lovely, gorgeous handmade bras out there, I really really wanted to try it. This is not a bra, I know, but I thought starting with a simpler project that uses same kind of fabrics and involves sewing elastic trim would be good. And who doesn’t need more underwear…
But not this one. Nobody wants this one. And this one is n o longer. Gone. Trash. But I did learn a lot. Which I will share with you.

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1. Pattern… I think that’s the only good part of this project. I used a free Rosy Ladyshorts pattern, by Amy of cloth habit (I will refer to her often I’m sure because she makes awesome bras and blogs about it). The pattern is easy, and she had a tutorial which gives you all the details. The only problem is that I did not read everything. Well… So what happened? The crotch width ended up too narrow (you can probably see that in the picture). Not the pattern problem, mind you. The pattern assumes you will be using lace trim of certain width. As I opted for a thin elastic trim – i did not get that extra width. No good.

2. Fabrics… I chose a simple knit cotton. I know I could have used an old t-shirt, but I needed elastic trim so I had a reason to go to the fabric store. This was on sale and the guy called it ‘cotton spandex’ (I have no idea if that’s right). I looked for stretchy cotton, the kind that goes back after you stretch it, even if you stretch it all the way (I always do this test when I buy knit tops, especially long sleeved, because I cannot stand when the they stretch at elbows and they just stay stretched). This one passed the test. But it is on a thicker side, not too think but thicker than any of the other cotton underwear i own).

3. Trim… a disaster! I liked it at the store but when I started sewing it. Everything and anything that could go bad – did. Just look at the picture below. It started disintegrating at the top, where the decorative (or whatever) loops are. I guess this elastic is not meant to be served together (in a loop). I guess you work with it – with the ends – in some other way. And then, because the surface is ribbed (I think more than your generic white elastic), it kept moving while I was sewing it. I was using a very slow speed, but it seemed I cannot sew a straight line. I tried to attach it as described in Amy’s tutorial but it kept slipping from the yellow fabric that I had to rip the seam (not recommended, I almost chugged everything at that point) and actually baste it by hand. Well, that was a problem because now I had to stretch, slightly, but still stretch a bit both fabrics while sewing and that made the edge wavy. Not good (ok, you can’t see that once you have it on, but I want my underwear to look nice on and off). And still I could not keep the seam straight. Argh!

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4. And finally… the inside seams. OK, not a disaster, but I really do need to get the wooly nylon treads (Amy wrote about that too). With the thickness of the fabric and the regular thread (I did not even have a fine thread in color close to yellow), the seams were very bulky and stiff. Surprisingly that did not bother me when I wore this pair (oh yes i did, the whole of Friday afternoon. had to test them). Maybe because the fabric was thick anyway. I don;t know, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to use this kind of thread on finer fabric. Which is what I also bought on that trip to the fabric store. Very nice lace and some lace trim (thick trim so no more narrow crotch).

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So all in all, bad. But I still want to try again, determined that the second time will be better. And then the third time… well, we all know what happens the third time, right :) Just waiting for the treads to arrive, and I am planning a trip downtown (LA) to look for bra supplies, more lacy fabric, trims and.. ah yes, the foam.

More to come…

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I hope that spring us coming for many if you who went through a tough winter. For us here in Southern California, this winter was dry and warm and I have a feeling we’ve had summer temps since last August. Here is to warmer temps moving east and some fog and rain west…

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I pass this tree very often on a hike I do three times a week, every week. And there is almost always at least one (sometimes two) ravens on that very branch. I like to think it’s the same bird every time.

Paper Piecing Play

Sunday afternoon I drew a pattern in illustrator, thought about how it could be pieced using a method similar to the one used for my Tolva quilt, but then realized it would be a pain to try to match up those kites and half hexagons. My next thought was… paper piecing. I have not tried paper piecing yet. I never had a need really. I though it would be tedious, messy and besides, I don’t mind the cutting process. But then this design came along and I needed to educate myself. These are the tutorials I used to go into my first paper piecing project:

Starry Night Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts
Foundation Pieced Quilt – Design Phase by Dunawi Creek
Paper Pieced Kaleidoscope Tutorial by Pitter Putter Stitch
Hummingbird Quilt Block Tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts

And this is what I have to show for it… I made two of these diamond blocks, showing only one here. 20140325-221359.jpg What do I think? I am still not sure. It is a bit of a pain to cut the paper patterns (I never liked using templates to cut fabrics). I made a few mistakes and it’s not fun ripping a seam with such small stitch length. And then the paper is useless, so you have to either start again or use tape… tedious. I am hoping this would disappear once I get better at it. And then… this triangle (half of the block) pattern has only three pieces, or two seams, as you can see. So the fabric pieces are not attached at the corners, and then tend to curl up from the paper, especially after ironing. So when I tried to sew these two triangles together, I had to align the papers, while at the same time making sure that the fabrics is not slipping between the papers. Maybe there is another way? I don;t want to use glue. More pins? 20140325-221408.jpg And then the biggest disappointment – alignment (see above). One of the major benefits of this method is crisp, sharp points. Not so much for me. Can you see? I have a smaller problem on the other block, but it still does not match exactly. Why? I matched the papers perfectly. A little frustrated. But I am going to finish it. These are fairly small blocks (maybe that’s an issue?) so It will be a mini quilt. I will let you know how I feel after I make a few more of these…