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It’s been a while OR, what I did in my year-long hiatus from blogging

It’s been quite a year in Alyson-land.  I mean, I worked, I played, I made some quilts, oh and I had a baby.

The heck you say? Yes, yes, I know.  Most of you already know.  But I did kind of leave the blog hanging and I thought i would catch you up, just in case.  So here she is, Erica Beth. Born January 31, 2014 at 7:22am. I couldn’t have been more surprised when I discovered my ‘condition’ and I couldn’t be more in love than I am now. She’ll be 11 weeks old tomorrow and she grins all the time, babbles near-constantly, sleeps almost enough for my liking, and is loved by everyone who knows her, including her big brother and the dog, much to my relief.

But this blog is about sewing and sewing we shall discuss. The quilt pictured was made not for Erica but for another new little friend of ours, Emily.  The pattern is “Bathtub Gin” by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. I don’t have a Sizzix, so I created my own 8″ tumbler template and rotary cut the pieces. The fabrics are from Mod by Annette Tatum.
FSmod

I tried glue basting for the first time on this piece and I LOVE it. I will never pin again!  I mean, look at those perfectly matched points:

If you’ve never tried glue basting, I suggest you give it a go.  No more pin holes in in your fingers! Here’s the video that I worked from to learn the technique:

When the quilt was pieced and sandwiched, I quilted it using a watery free motion quilting design:

I have another quilt top that I put together with these fabrics but that hasn’t been sandwiched and quilted yet.  I’m thinking about finishing it up and putting it up for sale in the HastyQuilter Etsy shop.

Just as an aside piece of business, I unpublished the HastyQuilter Facebook page. It just became too overwhelming to even think about maintaining it. I doubt I will bring it back, but you can still talk to me through this blog and on Instagram, and if you’re a friend, my personal Facebook page too. :-)

My Aeroplane Bag

I took a little break from sewing but I started back up again this weekend by pattern testing Sew Sweetness’s new pattern: the Aeroplane Bag!  It is super heavy-duty and the perfect size for a large carry-on.  I can’t wait to use it on my flight to Massachusetts in a few weeks.  In fact, I couldn’t wait at all, so I used it to carry my gym clothes to work this morning.  It is PERFECT.

Lotus Stripes - my Aeroplane Bag

I’m calling it my “Lotus Stripes” bag, and it’s made using a bunch of the canvas pieces I got for free ages ago. Sara kindly pointed out to me that what I have here are some beautiful Amy Butler prints!  I really had no idea…

Lotus Stripes - my Aeroplane Bag

The bag is fully lined and has two beautiful, huge, zippered pockets on either side inside the lining. This is the second of Sara’s patterns that I’ve tested and I LOVE this method of making zippered pockets.

I did have a time inserting the large zipper across the top – maybe it was because I was not used to working with such a large zipper, or maybe it was that my fabrics were too heavy, I’m not sure. I am sure that with practice I could make it perfect, though.

If you want to make your own Aeroplane Bag, Sara has released the pattern (just today, in fact!) be one of the first to buy it – HERE!

Something Different Saturday: Building a Pirate Ship

I thought I’d try a little something different…on Saturdays…Something Different Saturdays! Sewing is of course my main recreational hobby but I work on so many other projects throughout the week, I thought I would throw a little of that stuff in here too. Today’s random project: building a pirate ship!

Today's important life skill lesson - building a pirate ship.

Bill is off playing a game today and has the car. It’s cold and its rainy and it’s hard to convince Caleb that it’s worthwhile to change out of his jammies on days like today. Instead, we are staying in our jammies and building  a pirate ship.

I’m (mostly) following the instructions and pattern pieces found over on Molly Moo. This morning we (I) built the ship with a large boot shoe box and masking tape.  Then together we did “papier mached” it using Mod Podge.  It took a while, but I think by the end Caleb had the hang of that process.  When it’s dry, we’ll paint and add our masts and benches and other fun things. Including the future denizens:

Future denizens of the pirate ship

If you’re looking for more little guy projects and things, I have a board for that over on Pinterest: For My Little Guy.

Sunset Star

 

Sunset Star

Here’s the finished Doll Quilt Swap 13 Mini!  I decided to call it Sunset Star.  I based my color choices on a sunset photo taken by one of my friends and used the 3 Layer Star paper piecing pattern by Mommy’s Nap Time.  My partner, who I can now reveal was Paula, asked for modern quilting and bright colors.  I found out through the message boards that her favorite color was purple, but that she’d also been into the pink/orange combination and that she loved paper piecing.  A match made in heaven? Maybe… :-)

Enough about that, though.  What I really wanted to talk about was the QUILTING of this beast:

Sunset Star label

Starry (can I call you Starry?), Starry and I did NOT agree on its quilting.  This was a battle to the death and I did not come out on top.  I really, REALLY wanted to do something different than my usual, and settled on “Feathered Hearts” from Leah Day’s 365 free motion project.  I had the perfect thread for it too: a pretty peachy-pinky one that went perfectly with the star. I did a little scrap test and adjusted my tension. I got myself all comfortable. Then I started. My thread broke. I re-threaded and picked up where I left off. It broke again. I checked the tension – the thread seemed awfully tight in the machine. I adjusted the tension again. The thread broke AGAIN. I thought it must be because I was starting the middle and there was a lot of seams right there in the center (you know, since the star pieces all meet there).  I decided to tackle the feathering parts and leave the hearts for later. Skipped stitches. MORE skipped stitches. Another thread breaking incident.

At this point, I didn’t know if I could recover the quilt.  I mean, it was pretty dense quilting since I was going so slow. I pulled the whole thing out of the machine and walked away.  When I came back to it, I started the long, long process of picking out the quilting I had already done. Luckily, with lots of picking, spritzing (with water) and pressing, the quilt recovered almost completely. Except the center. It was then that I decided the star needed a literal focal point at the center, both to cover the battlefield and to complete the piece.  I was super worried that it would just look thrown on there, but in the end, I think the little circle does complete the piece.

After that, I changed out my thread for some yellow in a different brand, gave up on the feathered hearts and got down to the business of stitching that sucker in happy, flowing little loop-de-loops in the star and echoing angles in the blue areas. Some much more relaxed!  Of course, this was too good to be true…as I reached the outer edges it quickly became apparent that my blue thread was running dangerously low, so I made a quick switch BACK to the yellow for those little loop-de-loops along the sides.

For a piece that really DIDN’T WANT to be quilted, I think it turned out alright. But I am going to get those feathered hearts right if I have to die trying.

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday!

I received my amazing mini from Uberstitch last night! Isn’t it beautiful?

Look what arrived in the mail for me today!

She can’t possibly have known how well it would fit in with my collection of pink-ish flowery quilts that I have received in swaps over the years. Seriously! Amazing. I need to reorganize my wall of quilts but when I do I will definitely post a picture of them all together.