Friday, March 29, 2013

Finished Blocks + Pillow

I did it! I achieved my goal of finishing the rest of my scrappy trip blocks yesterday! I was super tired by the end of it, though. Mostly because I decided to do Insanity (again- I did it once last summer) and as this is my first week, I am SO SORE. But! I can still keep up and even do almost as many push-ups as the super fit people in the videos, so I'm pretty please with myself :) But that made for really sore arms during my sewing fest. My obsession was such that I gritted my teeth through the pain and now I have 36 pretty, scrappy blocks. Please excuse the crappy phone picture. I didn't remember to get out my nice camera while I had the blocks all laid out... and I really don't want to move the furniture and do it again!

finished scrappy trip blocks

I can't wait to get it all sewn together! Then I just have to put together some sort of backing and quilt! Question: if you were me, what color thread would you use for quilting? I feel like white would stick out too much, but there are so many colors, I just can't decide. There is more blue than anything else, probably, so I was thinking maybe a lighter blue. Or light grey, maybe? Hmmm. Help??

Also! In between the scrappy madness, I managed to finish another Sister's Ten pillow:

finished sisters ten bom pillow

For this one, I just did straight line quilting. I couldn't decide what else to do and I didn't want the quilting to distract too much from the block itself, which I am really quite fond of. I love it so much! I need to redecorate my living room to match my new pillows, I think.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Scrappy Edition

I have become obsessed. All I have done since my last post is make scrappy trip blocks... Well, and eat, sleep, and spend time with my boyfriend and dogs. And volunteer at the Poetry Center. But all my other time has been spent on this:

scrappy trip along quilt
Please excuse the huge wire mess... that's what happens when a puppy trips on an errant wire and tangles them ALL up.

This is my scrappy trip quilt at 22 blocks. I am now at 30! I made... 7... of those today. See? I told you I was obsessed! I just need 6 more and I can start putting them together! I really want to try to get those done tomorrow. Then I can spend the weekend putting the top together and cobbling together a backing and then! Next week can be spent quilting! I am SO EXCITED about this quilt. I plan on laying them all out and snapping a couple of photos when I get them all done. I might be lazy and do this with my phone. Follow me on Instagram (@crookedbanana) if you wanna see!

So that's been my week. I haven't really responded to e-mails (sorry!) or spent much time interacting with the outside world at all unless I had a prior commitment. I have a problem. I will rejoin the land of the people shortly, I promise! And hopefully have new projects to show you in the next couple of weeks :)

Linking up to WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Little Break...

I took a little break from the scrappy trip madness today to make this:

I turned one of my Sister's Ten BOM blocks into a pretty little pillow :) I decided to try a loopy FMQ pattern on this one. It's a bit inconsistent as far as spacing goes. But that's what practice is for, right? I really love how it turned out! I had put these blocks away because I could decide what color to use as borders for the pillows... I thought I would use a neutral, but I didn't like any of the ones I held up to the block, so into a bin they went to wait. Then today I decided I needed a little break from scrappy tripping- I'm up to 11 blocks! And now I need to cut more strips. Which I really didn't feel like doing. It was quite by chance that I settled on this green for the borders. It was laying on my cutting table waiting to have a strip cut from it for my scrappy trip and they just looked so perfect together! I cut a couple more strips and a little while later I had a pretty finished pillow. The back is a simple envelop closure in the same green as the border. The other block is waiting to be quilted and will join its sister as a pillow hopefully this weekend. Yay!

I also finished my bee block for the month.

Isn't it pretty? I don't think I would have picked these colors, but I really love how it looks now that it's all together! It will be making its way to Virginia tomorrow morning :)

Okay. So I didn't achieve my goal for the week, which was to knock out all my BOM blocks. My scrappy trip quilt is still totally distracting me... and covering my sewing table! There is a fabric explosion in here and I really don't feel like cleaning it up to make a couple of blocks and then have to get it all out again. So I'm probably going to fall behind in the BOM department. But for my scrappy trip quilt... that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make!

Now I can't decide if I should finish my pillow this afternoon or make a few more scrappy trip blocks... Decisions.

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A New WiP or A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

I did it. I drank the kool aid. I just couldn't resist any longer.

scrappy trip blocks

That's right. I started a scrappy trip quilt! I kept telling myself I didn't have enough scraps or it would be too tedious and the blocks I did manage to make would end up languishing in a bin somewhere.. But you know what? I'm glad I gave it a shot. Because I am already in love :) What really pushed me over the edge was Couch's scrappy trip beginnings. Because she's a noob like me and since she just decided to go for it I thought, well why not? I can cut strips from fat quarters since I don't have many 2.5" scraps. I can make it work! So I am. Making it work. I couldn't be more pleased. Just 33 more blocks to go to get to the size I want! WOO! My goal is to finish this quilt before I start work, which gives me almost 4 weeks. I CAN DO THIS.

Back to work now! WEEEE!

Linking up to WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vegas + Driving + Clothes

Yes, finally, I have returned.

I didn't really go anywhere, mind you, but I did have a silent blogging weekend. But it was definitely not an idle weekend! I have been sewing up a storm the past week since I returned from my little vacation and now I'll show you what I was doing! Well. After a couple of other pictures of fun times :)

bad weather driving

First, a photo of the kind of weather we faced on our drive up to Las Vegas. Ridiculous, no? I'm glad Mario was driving through the worst of it! It was such an unfortunate weather weekend. I live in the southwest... I should be able to plan a vacation and expect sun pretty much anytime that isn't monsoon season. But of course, this is what happens when I finally take a vacation. The little black thing in the bottom of the picture is a headlight, by the way. I drive a mid nineties Mazda Miata. It has pop-up headlights and is totally adorable :)

in front of the fake sphinx

This was our ridiculous hotel. The Luxor. We stayed in a pyramid room with sloped windows and pyramid shaped hand soap.

luxor view

View from outside our hotel room door!

burgr time

At Gordon Ramsay's Burgr. Just the ladies of the group because this is the picture that turned out best :) I missed these girls!

Most of the rest of my pictures are of silly things that I won't bore you with ;) I didn't take many tourist-y pictures because half the time I forgot I even had my camera on me. I was much more excited to be seeing my old friends than I was about Vegas, anyway!

Speaking of spending time with friends, we also took a trip up Mt. Lemmon last weekend with the Volvo crew. Yeah, there's a crew.

volvos in a row

These are the cars that came up the mountain with us! We invited more people, but for various reasons they couldn't make it. Still! It was a ton of fun.

top of the mountain

Here's Mario and I at the top of the mountain! See the snow in the background?? It was over 90 degrees in Tucson that day. But at the top of Mt. Lemmon there was still snow! Exciting! We're leaning on the green Volvo :)

do not attempt

Our friend, Beau, got some really fancy pictures and videos on the way down. I don't recommend doing this, though! It looks rather terrifying to me. But he's crazy. Anything for a good car picture!

Whew! Okay. So those are some of the fun things I've been doing lately. Well, the fun non-sewing things. I have also been making more clothes! Look!

shirred tube dress

pleated wrap skirt

elastic waist skirt with pockets

skirt from old t-shirt

Three skirts and a dress! I made the first two from scratch. The top one was my first time shirring anything and I am pleased to say it was pretty easy. And it fit when it was finished and didn't fall apart! The second one is a (very wrinkled from wear) pleated wrap skirt. I loosely based it on this tutorial found via Pinterest. I didn't have enough fabric left after making the dress to follow the pattern exactly and still have it wrap around me, so I made the pleats much smaller. I think it still turned out pretty cute! I wore it all day (hence the wrinkles!) and got a lot of compliments :)

The last two were refashions of clothes I was planning to donate or throw away (for the really worn out items). I stumbled across the blog Refashionista, written by a lovely lady named Jillian Owens and after reading about 200 posts, I became a little obsessed. I immediately starting digging through my donation clothes to see what I could come up with. The pink and brown skirt used to be a shirred tube dress, much like the one I made. But I LOVED that dress and wore it to death. The elastic was just dying and the top was starting to unravel... But I thought maybe the bottom was still salvageable so I cut it off and added an elastic waist band and voila! My adorable dress is now and adorable skirt! With pockets!! The last one actually used to be a t-shirt that was sadly way too big for me after I lost some weight. The material was pretty heavy for a t-shirt, so I thought it would make a cute, comfy, casual skirt. again, I just cut the top off right under the sleeves and added an elastic waist band (I need to buy more elastic now...). It's so comfortable! And purple! I love how it turned out :) 

I will definitely be doing more refashioning. I think each of these skirts took me about 30 minutes (maybe) and the results were so cute! Plus, I was able to give new life to clothes I still loved but couldn't wear anymore. Jillian's blog is so much fun and so inspiring. I definitely have a new awareness of the clothes I own and I think after spending so much time reading her blog I will take to my next shopping trip with heightened awareness of the spending choices I make. If you have any interest in making cute clothes from thrift store purchases, you should definitely check out her blog! 

Did you make it to the end? WOW. Good for you :) Don't worry, I haven't abandoned quilting. I just needed a little break after Mr. Hounds Tooth. I'm working on Bee and BOM blocks this week- my goal is to have them all done by Friday. Wish me luck! First up is my March block for the Newbee Quilters Bee, a Sawtooth star in red, blue, and gray. Better get back to work!

newbee quilters march sawtooth star

Linking up to Let's Get Acquainted, hosted by Jamie Lee at Busy Bee Quilts this week!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finished Hounds Tooth

It's DONE. And I am SO HAPPY. :D I am going to preface these pictures by saying that there is no where in my house to showcase such a large quilt, inside or out! I tried to take it to the park this morning, but the sprinklers were on. I was definitely not willing to risk getting it wet/muddy! I was also not willing to take a picture of it on my bed... because my room is a mess. So you'll have to be happy with these.

finished houndstooth quilt
Draped over an Ikea chair
finished houndstooth quilt
On my ironing board
finished houndstooth quilt
Folded up
finished houndstooth quilt
Back detail
I did straight line quilting on either side of ever long seam, about a walking foot's width apart. I really love the grid it made! Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad quilting it at home. It made my shoulders hurt some, but for the most part it wasn't much more difficult than smaller quilts I've done. I did have to lower my ironing board and put it behind my craft table so there would be more surface area for the quilt to rest on behind my machine. But that wasn't really a big deal.  I also had to pick out one row of stitches due to severe crookedness (it was done before I thought of adding the ironing board) and tension issues, which were fixed fairly quickly. I don't know that I would try FMQ with this size quilt- at least not yet! But it is good to know I can successfully quilt something this large at home!

I really like how everything came together. I wasn't sure about the binding fabric at first because it is so much lighter than the purple bits. I'm still not completely sold on it, but it is growing on me. I like the little sets of stripes. I machine bound this quilt. I have never tried hand stitching the binding down and I think I will try it on a much smaller quilt first ;) The backing fabric is a 108" from Henry Glass fabrics called Baroque Ivy Swirls. After how long the top took to piece, I really did not want to piece the back, too, so I went the easy route.

I am SO pleased with this quilt! It took quite a while, but I have dreamed of a hounds tooth quilt for my bed since I first started quilting. And now my dream has come true! I feel like I learned so much from this quilt- from accurate piecing to basting technique to quilting more consistent straight lines. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it in the end! I am going to pop it in the wash now so we can start using it ASAP!

I'll show you some pictures of Vegas soon, promise! There is a delicious Gordon Ramsay burger to talk about and another sewing project I finished yesterday- details soon!

Thanks for stopping by! Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF at Dreaming in Patchwork!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WiP Wednesday: Hounds Tooth

This is what I'm doing today:

Yes, that is my enormous Hounds Tooth quilt- all quilted and ready for binding! I promise there will be a post about Vegas and about quilting this bad boy, but I'm on a roll right now and can't stop! Hopefully I'll have a finish to share with you tomorrow :)

Linking up to WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finished Velocity Girl Bag

I DID IT. I finished my first "real" purse (as in not a tote bag). I messed up a few times, but I love it!

Eep! :D It's a bit bigger than I expected, but I think it will make a great travel purse! The Velocity Girl Bag pattern by Sara at Sew Sweetness was really great and easy to follow. I have only ever made a tote bag before (and I forewent the magnetic snap and zipper pocket because I had no time) and one simple shoulder bag and I didn't have any trouble following the directions. Most of the mistakes I made were my fault- pinning bits incorrectly so I had to go back and re-sew a few parts, mostly. And my machine does NOT like sewing through so many layers. It had a lot of trouble with the strap... I used home dec weight fabric, which probably had a lot to do with it. I think next time I'll use lighter weight fabric or forego the interfacing for the strap and hope that helps. Other than that, it came together pretty easily! Even the zipper! I am definitely no zipper expert and it is definitely a little crooked, but at least I feel like zippers are less scary now :)

Aren't the giraffes on the inside silly? I used all relatively cheap fabric from Joann. Since it was my first attempt at a more complicated pattern, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on fancy fabric for it. But I really like these funny giraffes! I have no idea what I'm going to do with all these pockets... Maybe my little zippy pouch has become obsolete! We shall see.

The only thing I did differently was to not make the strap adjustable. I couldn't find a slider locally and I really didn't want to wait for shipping from an online store. I'm thinking now I might order a slider and add it in, though. The strap is the perfect size now for a cross the body purse, but I might like to wear it shorter some day!

My new bag and I will be off to Vegas in the morning! I'm linking this up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, but I might not have a ton of time to comment on all the other lovely finishes until I get back. Have a great weekend! I know I will :D

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Make a List... Tuesday?


It was a quiet weekend on my little blog. I took a little break from sewing after the whirlwind of finishing my sister's quilt. I was a tad obsessed with it and pretty much spent every hour I wasn't working or eating or watching a movie with the boyfriend (I couldn't neglect him completely...) with that quilt. No regrets! It turned out great and my sister loved it :) She just got a new job, too, so I decided I was justified in giving it to her 6 weeks before her birthday.

After that I needed a break. I was also scheduled to work Saturday, so that was part of it. But then that afternoon I got a job offer from the place I REALLY wanted to work, so the rest of the weekend was spent celebrating. And, you know, booking a hotel room in Vegas since I won't be working this weekend anymore. It wasn't a total whim! Some of my old coworkers have been planning a reunion in Vegas and I soooo wanted to go. And I thought I would be able to when I finally got a job except then I got scheduled for Saturdays! But now I've left that position and have another couple of weeks off, so I decided to splurge and just GO. I can't tell you how excited I am! I haven't seen most of these people in almost a year... some much longer than that. We all worked together as undergrads. They were like my family. SO EXCITED. It is going to be legendary.

I also did this while on a break from sewing:

painted lampshade

Yeah! Painted lamp shades. I was originally planning to cover them in fabric, but then I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to go for it. I love how it turned out :) The other one is not quite finished yet. Hopefully I can get to that this week and show you the finished lamps!

But sewing is what you came for, right? Well. Yesterday I did this:

basting hounds tooth quilt

Oh, man. Basting a queen sized quilt was a HUGE job. My fingers still hurt! I had to move most of the furniture out of the living room to do it. But it's done and basted and I've already started the quilting! YAY! The quilting is definitely going to take a while. That quilt it heavy. My shoulders get tired just thinking about it. But it's going to be so worth it when it's done... Just have to keep my mind on how pretty it will look all laid out on my bed!

Quilting this has already taught me one thing.

variegated thread bobbins

Variegated thread makes pretty bobbins :)

Before I get back to quilting, though, I need to organize my thoughts. There are so many things I want to do and make! I feel like I need to write it all down so I can get a handle on all my ideas and plan what to do next.

Things I need to do this month:

March Sister's Ten blocks
Quilt February's Skill Builder blocks
March's bee block (a sawtooth star! Yay!)
March Skill builder blocks

Things I want to do not necessarily this month:

Finish quilting Hounds Tooth
Turn my finished Sister's Ten blocks into pillows
Plan a quilt for Mario's birthday
Make a Velocity Girl bag (I already have the supplies!)
Make another dress
Make another skirt
Start my pinwheel quilt
Make myself some pretty potholders
Start a herringbone quilt using my other FQ bundle of Les Amis (I started designing this with the Quilt Design Tool at Thread Bias)
Learn to make blouses and shorts
Turn some silly flannel I bought at Joann into PJ pants
Make a Kindle case
Make a plastic bag dispenser

WOW. Okay, I want to do more things than I thought. And I will probably think of more. But at least I got them out of my head for now. I don't think I will be able to do all of this list in a month! Maybe they should be more long term goals? Ah, well. We'll see how I do. And now, back to sewing!

Linking up to Show and Tell Tuesday with Randi at i have to say... and WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced, hosted by Claire from Sewing Over Pins this week! :) Have a great week!

Friday, March 1, 2013

First Quilty Finish of the Year!

YUP. I did it. I finished my sister's quilt!!

Isn't it great? I love it! I almost don't want to part with it... but I do have another stack of Les Amis fat quarters for myself, so I guess parting with it won't be too hard. I want to give it to her today (it's 6 weeks early, but whatever) so I didn't have a ton of time for pictures before I popped it in the wash. I'll try to get an up close shot after it's all nice and clean :) An up close shot right now would reveal all the dog hair it has somehow accumulated already. Hazards of having a husky!  I fortunately had some fun brown polka dots on hand for the binding, which I love. It is entirely machine bound, which I also love. I like the way machine binding looks, though I might be alone in this! I backed it with some silly animal fabric from Joann that I had around- it doesn't match terribly well (except that it's owls and foxes!), but I was running out of money and didn't have a lot of options. Well, I could've waited until I got a job and some money. But... well, I'm not good at waiting :P

finished les amis kitchen window quilt back

Still, I love it! I am so proud of myself for just jumping in with FMQ and doing it. I think it turned out pretty well for my first time. My stitches are pretty uneven in places and there are a few spots where it slipped and caused a sharp corner instead of a round one, but it's really not that noticeable. I think I will get some quilt gloves next time to prevent the slipping, at least. I feel like I learned a lot from this quilt. My quilting towards the end was much more consistent and pretty than the beginning. Next time will definitely be better.

Also! I forgot to show you. Remember when I said I decided to join my first ever swap? Well I finally got my pretty low volume charms in the mail last week!

This is just a small sampling. Aren't they wonderful? Look at those fun little pins! And the hounds tooth! I couldn't be more pleased! The swap was organized by Lori of Lori H. Designs. She did a fabulous job of it! It was my first swap and everything ran so smoothly. It was definitely not as scary as I thought it would be! I will definitely be on the look out for more swaps in the future. I'm trying to decide what to do with all of these pretty charms. I kind of want to make a low volume pinwheel quilt. Maybe with a few scattered pinwheels with bright, bold solids for interest. What do you think?

I already have so many ideas already spinning in my head of the next projects I want to start... I think I need to make a list. I'll spend some time thinking about that this week and tell you what I come up with!

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts! YEAH! So excited to have a whole quilt finished!! Next I need to tackle quilting the Hounds Tooth quilt... but first I need to find a place in my house big enough to baste it!