Saturday, March 23, 2013

Handprinted fabric

My fat quarters have been printed and sent for Handprinted: a fabric swap III.  I tried block printing this time, and, in the end, was happy with how it turned out.  This was a new technique for me, though, and the design truly evolved through the process from my original intention.  I'll post soon about the printing and design process.

The photo above shows the colors best.  I selected Kona solids in a soft blue, soft green and chartreuse, then printed with white screenprinting ink.

Here are the fabrics all folded before I mailed them out.  Hope my swap partners like them!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quilt plans... and a pouch received!

I did not go to QuiltCon, but my mother-in-law did.  She just happened to be visiting a friend in Austin (who happens to be a quilter) and happened to plan the trip for the week of Quilt Con.  True story.  I'm not being sarcastic here.  She told me she was going to Austin and that there was some sort of quilt show going on then that her friend was planning to take her to.  I'm not (yet) a quilter, but I am completely inspired by the modern quilt movement (see my modern quilt inspiration board on Pinterest) and I would have loved to take some of the amazing classes that were offered at QuiltCon, as well as see the fabulous quilts on display.  I wasn't able to go with my mother-in-law, though, so, of course, I sent her on a mission for fabric!

I specifically asked for a couple of fabric lines that had not yet been released in stores.  In particular, I was interested in this line:  Comma, by Zen Chic (aka Brigitte Heitland) for Moda.  I love the bold graphics and the color palette.  Happily (for me!), she was able to bring me a charm pack.  (Yay for nice mother-in-law's!)  As soon as I had the chance, I started laying out the squares to see what I could do with them.

Since then, I've come up with a design for a very simple cross quilt (inspired by this quilt top) which uses the charm squares themselves (no cutting!) as the pieces.  This will be a new throw quilt (54" x 72") to keep on/near our sofa (along with the beautiful house quilt my mom made for us years ago).  My goal is to keep this simple so I can piece it quickly, then get to the quilting of the thing and actually finish it!  It will be my first real quilt (as opposed to a quilted project), and I want to be able to get it done, rather than leave it sitting around, half finished, or barely started... not that I ever do anything like that!  Ha!

I sketched it all out, and then ordered six more charm packs and the extra fabric I need for the backing and border.  The additional fabric came in the mail yesterday, and I plan to get started as soon as I finish up my projects for the Covert Robin and Handprinted Fabric swaps.

Another package came in the mail last week.  (I love packages in the mail!!)  This one came all the way from Malaysia!  I actually danced around the house, I was so excited.  I knew it was my pouch from the sweet pouch swap, but I had no idea it would be coming all the way from Malaysia (since the swap senders were meant to be secret!).

Suziana made this cute pouch for me, owls and all!  She must have been peeking at my blog, because she also got the color palette just right.  And there was yummy chocolate.  Mmmmm.  Thank you so much, Suziana!!

I think the back is as cute as the front with the fun patchwork and quilting.

What new (or not so new) fabric lines are inspiring you today?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Roly-Poly Pinafore: pattern test

When Rachael from Imagine Gnats asked me to test this new pattern she's developing -- called the Roly-Poly Pinafore -- I happily agreed.  I'd never tested a pattern before, but last year I made Rachael's madeleine bag (from the free tutorial on her blog).  I found the instructions to be well written and easy to follow; plus, I love the bag and use it daily!  I've also now written more than half a dozen patterns myself for Stitch magazine and Martingale Press, and, although none are garments, I thought I might, possibly, be able to offer feedback from that angle.

I was so happy with how this turned out!  I'm also grateful to have a willing model who's not the least bit camera-shy.  Ellie chose the outer fabric from my stash, then she and I went fabric-shopping for a lining fabric to match.  After choosing the lining fabric pretty quickly, Ellie spent at least 20 minutes at the wall 'o fat quarters, desperately trying to choose one print to take home for herself.  In the end, I put her out of her decision-making-misery, and let her pick two!

The Roly-Poly pinafore has a wonderfully wide size range (sizes 1 through 8), which I think is fabulous.  I made a size 6 for Ellie and it fits her well.  She adores it and, after convincing her (it didn't take much!) to do a photo shoot this morning, she asked if she could please wear it to school, which she did.  Other pluses to the pattern are that it's reversible, it has an adorable box pleat at the neckline, and -- my favorite feature -- it can be made with pockets!

The pattern provides instruction to make it with integral pockets (cut as part of the main pattern pieces), with separately cut pockets, or with no pockets at all.  I chose the variation with the separately cut pockets so I could add the surprise element of a third fabric print.  See the cute little pink grid fabric peeking out?!  Honestly, I think just about every garment should have pockets -- especially ones made for little girls (or boys!) who find treasures everywhere.  Where else will they put that feather, or bottle cap, or precious penny?

Rachael has a call out for more pattern testers; go here to see the details if you're interested.  And, if you're not already following Rachael's blog, Imagine Gnats, you should be!  If you're more the facebook type, you can find Imagine Gnats there, too.  You may also want to check out her craftsy pattern shop and this shop (where she sells her embroidery kits).

In other news, I'm auditioning for Family Ever After's Sew-vivor sewing competition.  You may have noticed the button in my sidebar.  The rules are that you can enter only one project for the initial audition, so I chose this appliqued messenger bag from the past.  I thought it showed technical and design skill more obviously than some of my other projects.  It seems a far stretch to actually be selected, but if it does happen, the challenges need to be done quickly!  So I've been sketching an idea for an Easter dress for Ellie to meet the first challenge requirements.  And if I'm not selected... Ellie might still end up with a kick-ass dress!