Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Quilt, some Tea Towels & my Bags

I have one quilt that really got me to love quilting. In the early 90's I was taking a printmaking class and decided to start printing on fabric, it was cheap and I had access to a lot of cheap fabric at the thrift store. Paper was getting too expensive so I figured that fabric was better because I could use the printed pieces in a quilt. This red & pink quilt was what I made in that class. I screen printed some images that I found in various clip art books as well as printing actual clothing such as the bra and the  teddy. I have had this quilt on display in my house some place since I made the thing, I used it often to stay warm while watching movies. It reminds me that all you have to do is sew scraps of fabric together in ways that appeal to you and you have a quilt. I did not follow a pattern, I did not match up corners, I squared some of the blocks after I made them only to make them all fit together. I love this quilt. Three years ago my husband took this quilt with him when he went to San Francisco to help built a living space in a warehouse for a friend, it kept him warm. I always think of this quilt as my crazy quilt because I mixed so many pieces of fabric together, wool, velvet and cotton,  I stitched some cute ribbon and did some little embroidery on this quilt.  
My tea towels from Spoonflower arrived. When they arrived they were a little stiff and I was afraid that they would not be absorbent. I hemmed the edges with a simple double fold hem and washed the fabric, the fabric softens up nicely. The test of how absorbent they are will come tomorrow on Thanksgiving when we cook, eat and clean up.  I think over time the linen cotton canvas will soften up quite a but and make this wonderful kitchen towels. I'm thinking that a nice fat quarter of a kitchen themed fabric would make a nice tea towel as a Christmas gift. 
I also saw my bags for sale in a bookstore in downtown portland. I was down there buying a used copy of Fabric Surface Design. I can't praise this book enough, it's full of all types of printing, dying, stenciling and stamping techniques on fabric. It's a great reference book for any one that works with textiles. I'm looking forward to trying several of the processes in the book. I had the book checked it out from the library and after 2 months they wanted the book back...I had to buy my own copy. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sewing with Knits

I have crossed a couple of things off my sewing bucket list. I have seen several of the T-shirt quilts on blogs and I finally decided to follow a tutorial and make one. It's fairly simple I used this tutorial &  this tutorial that I saw in the Handmade Holidays series on Sew Mama Sew. I didn't have a lot of batting, so I used part of an old blanket in-between the t-shirt squares. This is a small 36"x36" blanket perfect for a cat bed. It's also amazingly soft. I want to make a larger one now. It's the effect way to use up small pieces of batting and puts old t-shirts to good use. I'm all about recycling whenever I can and I been hoarding t-shirts for a few years just for this type of project. I see a couple more of these t-shirt quilts in my future.
I also made a pair of leggings. I've had the Jalie 2920 pattern for a while but was afraid to try it. Strange that I would be afraid to try to make something. Sometimes I get it in my mind that it will not work and that puts up a barrier and keeps me from every trying. Well I was cleaning up my fabric collection and pulled out some stretchy black fabric that I bought 3 years ago to make yoga pants. The fabric was a little too stretchy and the pants fell right off me. I decided to make the leggings. The pattern is only one dosn't get any easier then that. I also found some non-rolling elastic to use for the waist. These leggings were so simple I made them in about an hour...that includes re-threading the serger and a couple of mistakes in my stitching. These black leggings fit great. This pattern would also work nicely as a pair of long underwear for my husband in the winter months. A serger makes this project go very fast but if you don't have a serger you can use a regular sewing machine too. I used my Brother sewing machine to put in the waist band, you can see the zig-zag stitch that I used in the waist band above. I love simple and quick projects that I can make is less than an hour, especially if they are things that I was afraid to tackle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Skirt and another Quilt Top

I finally completed the Facet Skirt from Alabama Chanin. This design took me about 3 months, I kept putting it down because the pattern was so detailed. Cutting out all the small designs took me forever. I do like the beaded detail. I used size 8 clear glass beads to accent the design. the breading was the easy part. I want to bead all my clothes now. If you look close at the first photo you can see two of my cats watching me with interest as I took photos in our was very cold!

I finally cut into my Tula Pink jelly roll pack that I bought several months ago. The collection is called Moon Shine. It's described as a "fantasy camping trip full of mystery and wonder". I bought a roll of 4" strips, there were 27 different strips. I did not know what I wanted to make but I loved the fabric so I bought it. I thought some triangles would be nice but then sewing all those small parts was not how I wanted to spend my day. So I decided to cut everything into 4"squares. I sewed all the squares into 9 patch then sewed everything together. My husband  looked at it and said it looks like's so bright and colorful. It's 50" by 60", i'm  not sure if I will quilt this one on my home machine or make this a tied quilt. I have some lovely turquoise fabric for the backing. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Winter is coming

My obsession with crocheting rugs started with this small rug over a year ago. I bought some balls of fabric from Scrap in Portland. I started to make the rug but was very frustrated. It turns out I had a needle that was too small thus I had problems actually crocheting. I took a 1 hour class on crocheting with Pendleton Wool Salvage and realized I love it. So I finally completed this rug for the kitchen. You can see it is not really a square or a rectangle...that is because when I started I made the knots very tight. I have more cotton fabric strips that I want to try another rug. I also want to try some knit fabric...oh so many thing to make over the coming winter months. 

If today is any indication of how the next few months are going to go.. I should be able to get several rugs and quilts made this winter. We had our first snow fall...actually it was the first ice fall. There was a nice dusting of snow then it all started to freeze. The lovely white trail in the park is really ice, it's a little slick and you can slip and fall. You can see the icicles on my neighbors garage, and the ice on the back porch. I've been working in my studio in the basement and it's cold. I just recently bought a new heater, one of the radiant oil heat type. It's keeping the chill out but there are still a few drafts that need to be filled. I usually hang large curtains in the space to make it smaller and more cozy during the winter months. I think this the new heater will make a huge difference once I hang all the back curtains up. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cute Bear & Fox Tea Towels

I have a slight obsession with tea towels. I love getting tea towels from places I visit. Most recently I have been picking up tea towels at garage and estate sales that have a calendar. I love finding a ones from the late 60's and early 70's. I remember my aunt having the most current year on a towel in her kitchen whenever I would visit La Grande. That brings me to Spoonflower. Last week they ran a 2 for 1 special on fat quarters, such as their tea towels. I figured that this was the perfect time to try out the fabric. So I ordered 6 fat quarters that had tea towel designs. The price of the linen/cotton fabric is $27 a yard, the cost of a fat quarter was $14. I was able to get each of the pieces for $7. Now they have a special that you can win 10 tea towels. If you have even been curious about their fabric now is a good time to enter this contest.  If you win you will get 10 tea towels with the 2015 calendar. Just in time for Christmas!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

LUKE HAYNES Pendleton Wool Quilt

I missed Luke Haynes at Pendleton Woolen Mills store last week. I don't know how I forgot, but when I stopped by on Friday I saw the quilt he and made out of Pendleton Wool. If you are in the shop look up. I was in the shop to find some more wool salvage to crochet. I made my largest rug to date, it's 54" x 64"....about 4 1/2 ft by 5ft. Not's heavy. I have gotten down to the last few balls of salvage and needed some filler. I didn't find anything that struck me in the wool salvage bins but I did get some wonderful cream wool from the scrap bin. It's $5 a pound for end cuts and scrap. I found some nice plaids, a lot of cream and some wool/linen burgundy (it will make a nice shirt for my husband for the holidays). I spent $30...not bad for a shirt and enough wool to make a simple blanket.

That brings me to selling...I finally got some items up on Etsy. You see a link to shop on the right...MarciCupcake is the Etsy shop. They make you come up with a name and I have yet to really decide on what to call brand? Company? not sure what I'm doing yet. I want to make things and we do not need all the things I can that is where the shop idea came in. A friend of mine convinced me to screen print some tote bags and that really started the whole idea of a business for me.

I do need more time to myself so I can finally complete the Alabama Chanin Facet's Skirt. I stitched it all together and then cut it out as a reverse appliqué. The pattern is so dense that really I should have done a appliqué, cutting around the printed parts design. That would have also added another shade of burgundy to the skirt. I did add some beading to the centers of the large facet design. I think the all over effect is nice, there is a little shinny part everywhere you look. So this makes number 11 Alabama Chanin skirt and I have another one planned from some very large tee shirts I got last summer...they are 6X.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I have officially made bags to sell. It took me a while to get through the process of what bags, how much and what image. I started with three images that I like and we will see where it goes from there.  When I ordered the bags I was not sure what to get, so I got these canvas totes that seemed to be cheap and nice looking. When I washed the bags they wrinkle quite a bit, so I may have to find another canvas tote. I will get through this first order of 200 bags and get a more expensive and nicer bag for the next batch. It's hard to find bags...there are so many companies that have bags on the internet but it's hard to really get a feel for the bags till you print on them and wash them to see how they perform.

I was in Powell's Home & Garden store the other day and it was nice to see a shelf talker that listed all the local fabric stores. It was very eye catching and there were two shops that I had never heard there is a trip to a fabric store in my future.