Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles

Well what a hectic couple of weeks. Lots going on with the family, house and work. I haven't been blogging much and I don't have any exciting new or finished projects to show off yet but I have been steadily sewing throughout the chaos.

I've given myself a deadline of Easter to have the monsters' ruffled quilt completed and  I don't want to jinx myself but I think I might just make it by the end of that weekend (only 12 days from now - must keep telling myself its do-able!).

You may recall from previous posts that I was worried I might not have enough reclaimed fabric to be do the quilt - I was contemplating a shopping trip for more fabric. The monster and I ended up going to the local red cross op-shop a couple of weekends ago and picked up some fantastically cheap sheets and fabrics that are now destined for the quilt.
Samples of the fabric I already had on hand - from the stash and reclaimed from old clothes.
I'm really not sure about the blue and burgundy fabrics at the top of the pile

The op-shop fabric for the quilt top
I adore the bright blue floral fabric. I think its really going to liven up the quilt.

So last week I cut all 63 of the required 21x10.5 inch rectangles of fabric for the quilt top and an equal number of 10.5 inch squares from a plain cream sheet. (The squares get stitched to the back of each quilt piece once ruffled to hold everything in shape.)

Over the weekend I ruffled all 63 top pieces - what a mission - because I'm using a lot of repurposed fabrics and the textures, thickness etc are not consistent like they would be if I used all new quilting fabrics, I had to constantly adjust the thread tension and stitch lengths. I also spent quite a lot of time rethreading the machine and detangling threads. It went a lot quicker with the ruffler foot on the Brother than if I had tried hand ruffling, but it still felt like a laborious task.

Every evening so far this week I've spent an hour or 2 attaching the cream squares to the backs of the ruffled pieces. If I keep up this pace, I should have all the top pieces ready to be arranged and sewn together by either this weekend or early next week.

After that its just working out what to do with the quilt back, sandwiching, quilting and binding then I'm done...definitely do-able by my self imposed deadline right??

While I've been doing all this cutting, ruffling and sewing the monster has been wanting to be involved. She spent a couple of evenings arranging and rearranging pieces to find a pattern/colour layout that she likes best. She even got to the point of deciding on a layout for each row and putting the pieces for each row in individual sandwich bags (1 bag per row) so I wouldn't get the order mixed up. Since then she's decided that there really isn't enough bright colours and definitely not enough purple in the quilt for her liking. I have to agree with her on this point, when she laid all the pieces out, with the exception of the occasional bright blue floral and the white and royal purple print pieces, it was a bit pastel and dull. So I've been to Spotlight and bought a few pieces of really bright, very purple fabric (yeah, more fabric - I must be up to about a million metres of fabric on this quilt now!).

Once I've got the majority of the pieces that are already ruffled sewn to their backing pieces I'll cut and sew a few pieces of each of the new purples to add into the mix. If I end up with too many pieces ruffled and sewn to backing pieces I'll just use the excess for either an accent on the quilt back, or a couple of matching throw cushions or pillow cases.

So back to sewing for now. Hopefully another update with some progress pics over the weekend.


BTW Have you seen the new Pinterest widget on the right hand side of the blog?
I've found over the last week and have been pinning tonnes of stuff - what an amazing site to lose lots of hours to. Now you can see what's been catching my eye right here in the blog (or you can follow my Pinterest boards).

Friday, 15 March 2013

I haven't forgotten or lost interest...

Lightning  blowing up modems, phones and computers, illness, car troubles and getting back into dealing with our nightmare of a bathroom - you name it, its been happening here over the last few weeks. There's just been so much non-crafty stuff going on that I haven't been able to do much with the blog.

I've still been doing things here and there on my WIPs, but nothing major. Hopefully this weekend will be a flurry of creating and I'll have something to write about and some pictures to show off in the next few days.


Monday, 4 March 2013

un-whatever (maybe its just being lazy)

Well there's a zillion things I could and should be doing, but I'm doing none of them. Instead I'm flicking between playing bejeweled, watching Doctor Who (the new Doctor Who - season 1 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor) and staring blankly out the window.

Not sure if its unmotivated, uninspired, lazy or just tired but I'm definitely lacking in enthusiasm for anything today. It could also have something to do with the weather; its been a lovely, wet and cool monsoon day, one of the very few actual wet season days we've had this season. It makes me want to curl up in bed with a book, or laze on the couch in my pyjamas drinking hot soup and watching a movie.

Sadly, life and all the necessary domestic stuff gets in the way and soon I'm going to have to force myself to prepare a quick dinner, get the monster to bed, do a bit of a tidy up and possibly bake something to take to work for morning tea tomorrow before I can get back to the doctor.

And finally I guess just to keep things slightly on topic I should update the progress on my current WIPs...

I've given in and bought some more fabric for the monster's ruffled quilt after rummaging through all the clothes destined for the salvos and not finding enough suitable raw material. I'm aiming to have the new fabric all cut by the end of this week so that part of next weekend can be spent ruffling and assembling the squares and maybe even doing some of the piecing.

Work on the Four Seasons Knit Vest is continuing; I joined a new ball of yarn on the weekend (the 3rd so far) which means I'm more than halfway there. Hooray. I pick it up occasionally and add a few more rows while watching TV late in the evening. Its a good one to take with me to the monster's sporting activities so I get a bit more done there too. It probably needs a good solid 2-3 hour  knitting session to make it feel like its really coming together, but the last time I tried that I ended up at the physio and almost unable to move for days (can knitting be considered a sport? I'd like to be able to say it was a sporting injury).

Version 2.0 of the Frankenstein wallet has not moved beyond concept yet. I got a bit disheartened by the lack of success with last weekend's efforts so I think I'm just going to leave the first version on the bench for the next few days and see whether I can get enthused enough some time this week (or motivated or inspired or whatever it is) to start over.

OK. Enough procrastinating... time to move and get some stuff done. What is your favourite thing to do (or not do) on a gloomy but lovely cool wet day?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Wallet - Part 3: Frankenstein

Introducing the Frankenstein Wallet... so named because his pattern is made up of parts from various others patterns and tutorials, he's a little bit crooked and he's really not very pretty. But I guess for a first attempt its not too bad.

The exterior

Inside pockets
I like that he's got all the practical features I was wanting to incorporate - the clear ID card window, lots of card pockets, zippered coin section, tab closure. I'm also really happy with how the different shades of blue decorative stitching worked out on the outside.

The things I don't love so much are:
  • Its  too bulky - even with nothing in it its about an inch thick and just a bit too long and wide, even when folded.
  • Its generally crooked - there is not a single square corner and when unfolded one end is noticeably shorter than the other (Not sure how that happened - I even squared it all up and trimmed it before putting the last layer on and turning it!)
  • The zip pocket - the zipper and surrounding stitching is really crooked and already the zip itself has decided that it doesn't want to close.
  • The grey camo lining of the notes section - its wrinkled and crooked - I originally placed the 2 pocket sections too far apart on the lining and rather than unstitching the pockets and moving them closer together I cut the lining in the centre and stitched it back together - big mistake it looks nasty.
  • The top stitching - looks clumsy and crooked all round - probably something to do with how thick the seams are with all the layers of fabric and the fact that I have a hard time sewing straight lines at the best of times.
  • Pocket under the ID window - I thought it looked a bit too wide for a single card so I stitched down the middle thinking that I could fit 2 cards in there on the opposite axis. Not such a great idea - the smaller pockets are now too narrow to be used for cards.
 So I know where I went wrong, but do I have the energy to try version 2.0 to see if I can improve on this monstrosity?

Not tonight. Time for dinner and an early night, but we'll see what happens tomorrow.


Wallet - Part 2:

I've spent even more time looking at various tutorials and patterns and I have managed to narrow down the requirements for the wallet:
  1. Must be small enough to fit in his pocket so it will need to be not much longer or taller (when unfolded) than a bank note.
  2. Should have at least 8 card pockets
  3. Must have a clear pocket for ID
  4. Must have a relatively large zippered section for his coins
The problem is still that none of the patterns or tutes I've found exactly match those requirements.

Fabric wallet exterior from Narcoleptic in a Cupboard
I like the simple patterning on the outside of this wallet - straight lines of different coloured threads. It gives an otherwise plain wallet a bit of personality, and its so easy to do. Sadly, the rest of the tutorial doesn't really meet my needs. 

Tri-fold wallet from Color Me Pretty.

This tri-fold wallet from Color Me Pretty caught my eye.  I particularly like that the notes pocket is slightly recessed so there is less chance that notes will extend past the outer edge of the wallet if they are put in crooked.

On the down side this design doesn't hold enough cards and has no ID card pocket.  I'm also beginning to wonder if the tri-fold design will get a bit too bulky to close properly once its filled with all his "stuff".

Bi-fold wallet from Modest Maven 

The bi-fold wallet from Modest Maven also grabbed my attention.

The Modest Maven pattern appears to be a pretty popular one - it has been used by many other crafters as the basis of their own wallet designs.

I like that it only folds in half so it probably wouldn't be as bulky as a tri-fold, it has lots of card pockets that all face inwards to the fold rather than upwards (there is less chance that his cards will accidentally fall out and be lost) and I really like the look of the tab closure rather than a full width velcro fold over closure. On the down side there is nowhere to put coins or ID cards.

So at the moment I'm thinking that the plan is to :
  • take the basic bi-fold with tab closure construction of the Modest Maven (with some sort of modification to the card section to include an ID window),  
  • add a few more card pockets
  • use the recessed note section from the Color Me Pretty tri-fold,
  • add an extra notes pocket with a zipper along the top for his coins, 
  • use velcro rather than a snap closure on the tab so there is room for expansion as his wallet fills up
  • personalise the outside of the wallet with some interesting stitching.
Just writing this post has really helped me get my head around what I want to do and now I'm itching to get cutting and sewing so I feel like I'm actually making some progress on this project rather than just spending hours on the net.