A Year of Creativity: May – Rag Quilt

Or as I like to call them: Quilts for People Who Suck at Making Quilts.

I won’t really go into my quilt making history much.  But let’s just say that RocketPuppy has a few failed attempts that I made for her, and from then on I stuck to fleece blankets.

Until I found the world’s greatest bowling fabric.  Fabric I knew I needed to have.  Fabric that went clearance when clearance was half off.  And I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but at that price I knew I needed to BUY ALL THE FABRIC!!!

So then I was left wondering what a girl was to do with 7+ yards of bowling cotton.  Trust me, it was an amazing deal….

At some point I remembered that I had some grey flannel sitting around–thankfully not prewashed–enough to back a duvet cover.  My wheels got turning.  I’d always wanted to make a rag quilt, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Problem was, I didn’t really want a black and grey quilt.  That didn’t seem like fun.  I needed to throw in one more thing to make it “me.”

Luckily shortly after this flannel solids went 60% off.  And it was also shortly before I’d stop having my sweet employee discount, so I needed to strike.  And strike I did.  Aqua.   Because it’s me.

And then I put it off for a really long time because I was skurrd.  There are plenty of things I haven’t made yet because of fear.

Then I got bored.  So I decided to dive in.

First I figured out how big a square I could make while still getting an even amount of squares out of the width.  I settled on 10″ squares.  And I cut a million of them (okay 216).

I started with this:

72 triplets in layer order

Then I stitched giant Xs across all my triplets with aqua thread on top and black in the bobbin, and I ended up with this:

Then I followed a little pattern my buddy The Hooker (she crochets, get your mind out of the gutter) drafted for me, because she convinced me I shouldn’t have all print on one side and all solid on the other.  And I sewed and I sewed, piecing 8 squares into a strip and nine strips into a blanket.  And it was just about the fastest sewing I’ve ever done.

And then I had to snip.  And snip.  And snip some more.  Every seam needed to be snipped, and it took me a couple evenings.  The first evening it was cool, and I welcomed the blanket on my lap.  The second evening it was hot and humid.  I think that made me work faster.

Next up was washing to shrink the fabric and fray the edges.  I can’t remember if I washed in hot water–I doubt it, since I don’t wash anything in hot water unless I have to–so I don’t think it really shrunk that much.  I washed and dried it twice.  The first time there was so much lint that it blew the lint trap on the washer hose clear off and filled the entire lint trap in the dryer with almost an inch of lint.  The second wash there was about a quarter as much.  There’s still little balls of lint/pilling on the flannel, but I’m not going to worry about those.  They may require a sweater shaver, and I just don’t have that kind of patience right now.

But, frankly, I’m sure you guys don’t care about that… You want to see the end result.  And I’m happy to report it’s one of my favorite creations to date.

You can see the lint on the back.  If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.  And by suggestions, I mean solutions that require almost no work at all.

The quilt will not stay on the bed, although I have used it myself on a couple of the cooler nights.  It’s really just not big enough for the whole bed with two bodies underneath.  72 10″ squares would be PERFECT for a twin sized bed and doable for a full with only one person.

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February Sewing

I know we’re already in March, but never fear, I did some sewing in February.  Here’s a reminder of the list:

January: Pirate Blanket √

February: Lunch Bag  Finish Apron and Oven Mitts √

March: Suede coat

April: T-Shirt quilt

May: Fur throw

June: New chemise and pirate bodice

July: Bowling rag quilt

August: Patricia Peppermint the Duchess of York

September: Orange Coat

October:

November: Steampunk Sinbonnet Sue 

December:

You’ll notice I crossed off the lunch bag.  I decided that was CRAZY TALK.  I had a giant plan for a divided bag that would allow me to carry all my various bottles and drink containers that I bring to work (two water bottles, one Cupco straw cup, and sometimes a shaker bottle).  But I really didn’t know how to create all the divides, and I was able to find a cheapish bag while shopping one day, so I decided it would be better to finish the apron and oven mitts I started in November.

The results:

The apron is reversible with an adjustable neck strap.  I made it using  this pattern, but not constructing it exactly the way the directions call (mostly because by the time I was putting the actual apron together, I no longer had the instructions available).

The oven mitts were patterns designed by my friend ArtisticEdition and they exhibit my complete and utter inability to use bias tape.  I’m working on it.  I’m currently considering these prime example of this Adventure Time image I came across (I literally know nothing about AT, I saw this on Google+).

adventure time

So, yeah.  There’s that.  I’m going to keep plugging away at bias tape.  I’d really like to not suck at it.  I’d also really like to not have to hand stitch the back side.

March’s project should be interesting.  I’m going to attempt a muslin with the pattern that I have.  It may not fit, due to the fact that I have a tiny chest and large everything else, and the pattern was purchased when everything else wasn’t quite so large.  It will certainly test my pattern alteration abilities.  See above graphic…

PS: I’m aware the check marks are square root symbols.  I rather like it.

Prepare to be Astounded

No, really… this post is going to blow your mind for multiple reasons.  First of all, prepare to be blown away by my terrible photography skills!  If anyone knows of a way to photograph a blanket that doesn’t make it look like a giant lump of fabric, let me know.  My space is limited, so this is what you get.  Sorry.

Secondly, I shall amaze you with my follow through.  Yes, folks, I have managed to keep my January goal!  Granted, I gave myself a ridiculously easy one, but I followed through nonetheless.  Here’s the proof!

D’awwww!

Innit cute?  Little pirate boy and his swashbuckling whale friend!  And a little octopus that you can just barely see in the photo!  What could be better?

Funny you should mention it… That brings us to astoundingness number three.  THE MOST PERFECT FABRIC IN THE WORLD.

I am known for hyperbole, yes, but in this instance I am not kidding.  There are a few things I’m obsessed with, and this fabric brings them all into one perfect little bundle.

image

 

Let’s get a close up on that, shall we?  And also ignore how freaking blurry it is.  No matter what I did, every picture of this side came out blurry.  That’s life.

image

 

It’s a monkey.  It’s a monkey pirate.  And this fabric completes the hat trick with a monkey pirate pun.  Puns are quite possibly my favorite form of humor in the history of ever.  But folks, while this fabric is completely made of win, it also tells me one very terrifying thing.  There is another person out there that thinks exactly like I do.  I’m not really sure the world needs that.

My only regret about this blanket is that it’s only 2 yards long.  Despite my short stature, I prefer 2.5 yards for my blankets.  But the first pirate fabric had been something that someone got cut and decided they didn’t want.  I figured I’d take it off the store’s hands.  Since I had that fabric first, when the MOST PERFECT FABRIC IN THE WORLD came along, I knew I needed to cut it to match.  But at least I have my new favorite blanket.  I won’t even tell you how long I’ve been holding on to the fabric (at least two years….).

Wonder Clips

I can’t recall if I’ve talked about Wonder Clips before.  I would be equally surprised if I had and if I hadn’t.  Because for the former, I’m forgetful, and for the latter, they’re just so freaking awesome.

I was introduced to Wonder Clips by my friend ArtisticEdition because she is, frankly, the coolest person in the world.  And also on top of the latest advances in quilting notions by virtue of her workplace.  So she gave me the opportunity to get my hands on these babies before a lot of other people could (ie, before they hit the shelves at places like Jo-Ann) and I was immediately in love.  And this was, like, three years ago, so I’m way overdue in blogging about them.

I was reminded of their awesomeness on a recent project I worked on.  I was replacing the zipper on a winter coat.  If you’ve ever put in a zipper, you know that pinning frankly isn’t a very good option.  Pins warp things, especially zipper placement (or maybe that’s just me).  And in a winter coat, pins can’t even begin to be an option.  I would have U-shaped pins by the time I was done.  Wonder Clips, however, refuse to shy away from the task at hand.  See for yourself:

Ooooh, aaahhh…

No buckling, no bending, no warping.  The zipper is held in place exactly where I need it and every single layer is held tightly.  My only complaint about Wonder Clips is that they aren’t magnetic.  When I sew, I like to be able to throw my pins in the general direction of my magnetic pin “cushion”, instead of slowing down to get them in their home or leave a mess to clean up later (I already do enough of that).  But, really, the pros of the Wonder Clips far out-weigh that con.

So, there you have it… Wonder Clips.  As in, “wonder how I ever sewed this long without them” clips.  You can find them now at Jo-Ann for sure, and probably Hancock and Hobby Lobby, maybe even Michaels.  Quilt shops will most definitely have them.  But if you get them at Jo-Ann when the quilt notions are half off, they are a steal.  And don’t bother with the 10-pack.  Go with the 50, even if only just to get the case.  At least then there’s something to throw in the general direction of…

Creative Goals

I decided it’s not enough to say I’m going to be creative, or even to have the goal of doing all the projects I’ve been planning but never made.  I need deadlines, people.  Without deadlines I’ll just think “Oh, I have plenty of time to do x,y, and z.”  So for every month of 2013, I am going to do one of those projects I’ve been putting off.  And here’s the list… to hold myself accountable.

January: Pirate Blanket

February: Lunch Bag

March: Suede coat

April: T-Shirt quilt

May: Fur throw

June: New chemise and pirate bodice

July: Bowling rag quilt

August: Patricia Peppermint the Duchess of York

September: Orange Coat

October:

November: Steampunk Sinbonnet Sue 

December:

For now, October and December are going to be free.  December will likely be dedicated to Christmas and October might be Rocketpuppy’s halloween costume.  I will check in each month with this list and with the items that come out of it.

2013, You Say?

Well, that last year sort of flew right on by, didn’t it?  It seriously feels like it was only a couple weeks ago that I was dressing up for Halloween and regretting painting my nails black and green because I had a job interview all of a sudden.  But now it’s 2013, and everyone is doing the resolution thing, and I’m contemplating jumping on that bandwagon.

Rather than resolutions, I’m going to try to have some goals.  Resolutions fail because people generally don’t have a plan.  Goals require planning and steps and follow through.  Since I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, my “resolution” is to plan my goals this year.

imga3f390d8

 

Since I consider this poster (and the video from which it sprang) highly instrumental in putting me on the path to changing my life, I’m going to use it here as a reminder of what I can accomplish this year if I just freaking do it.  I unofficially gave last year the theme of “fearless” about halfway through the year.  I’m going to continue with that and officially make 2013 the year of being fearless.  And that’s goal one.

What will being fearless look like?  Well, maybe it will be as crazy as sky diving.  One friend in particular will be thrilled if that’s the case. I think it definitely needs to include attempting the ropes course at the Mall of America (and yes, I understand it’s intended for kids to be able to participate).  It might involved doing karaoke.  Fearless might look like speaking up when I need to speak up and going for things at work that will help move me forward.

Goal two is to get things organized.  This is going to be a slightly more involved goal.  I’ll need to sit down and go through my closets (clothes and fabric).  I’ll need to find storage solutions and get rid of things.  I will need to pare down room by room.

Goal three is to relearn how to eat.  2012 was a year of convenience.  I went out to grocery shop yesterday and realized I no longer remembered how to plan meals or how to eat healthy.  Ideally I’d like to lose weight, but first I need to learn how to eat again.  I think goal two will take the most man hours, but goal three is going to take the most planning and educating.  If I want to be successful and not rely on convenience, I’m going to need to have a detailed list of recipes and snacks so I don’t need to flounder.

Goal four feels like it should take a back burner to goal two, but I also think this one is important toward my sanity just as much as getting organized.  Goal four is to create.  It’s sad when someone needs to schedule in time for fun, but it feels as if we often don’t leave ourselves much choice.  So my goal is to work on the backlog of ideas–things I’ve wanted to make for years and just never have.  And in some ways, this will help with goal two.  How much fabric do I have laying around?  How much better would it be to see that fabric get turned into something awesome, something that I’ve wanted for a long time?

Four goals is probably ambitious, but I think each has a different level of difficulty and a different level of conscious involvement needed.  And this is really just a brief overview of each goal.  Ideally, I will plan each of these out more than what I’ve just said here–two through four, anyway, goal one is a little more spontaneous.  So in this I seek your support–if you have any suggestions toward achieving these goals, feel free to leave a comment.  If you have any goals of your own that you’re attempting, share those puppies as well.