Sunday, November 30, 2008

I absolutely love Thanksgiving, but its not a good holiday for productivity. You sit, you eat, you chat, you watch football. Oh, and you shop. Nowhere in there, do you craft. The baby belle blocks below I finished a week ago and never posted, because over Thanksgiving break, you don't blog either.
I'm really pleased with the way these turned out. I like the the background block uses a large piece of the pink, so it really gets shown off. I love the small pieces that I used in other blocks, but you can't really see much of the pattern. Its nice to have a good mixture of both. I like the randomness of the foreground block too. I just sewed the pieces together randomly, not really worrying about whether the pieces were straight or not. I think they both came out really well.

This is a busy couple of weeks for me, so I'm not really sure what I'll have time to do, but up next are my triangle blocks. I'm excited to play with those!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes I can't sew (aka s***t happens)

I finished sewing the border on my belle quilt a few days ago, but I didn't actually spread it out and look at it until this afternoon. I cleared a space on the floor of the living room, spread the quilt down and started to smooth out the rumples. I smoothed, and smoothed, and smoothed some more, before I finally realized that it just wasn't working. My belle quilt is a bit of a disaster.

The borders are not attached correctly. I have hopeless ripples. I don't know whether that's a result of the diagonal rows or of lazy sewing; probably both. All I know is that its really unacceptable. I think this might be a "take me home to mom" quilt. I'll have her tell me how I messed up, then rip out all the seams and do it again. Tedious for sure, but worth it in the end. Especially since I think I'll really love the quilt once its done. The borders added a lot. I think the thin white border helps to integrate the white squares with the rest of the quilt, and the pink floral really pulls all the other fabrics together. I like the proportion too. The whole thing works together really well I think.

Oh well. I'll set that aside and fix it over winter break. In the mean time, I have a new project. I sometimes feel like my lack of scrap usage makes me a bit of a quilting failure. I often shove them in a plastic bag and ignore them, or give them to my mom. I decided though, that scraps are what separate the women from the girls (or the men from the boys, I shouldn't be sexist here). Its time to grow up. I am going to make a scrap quilt.

I had quite a bit leftover from the belle quilt (above) so I decided to stick with those for now. I'm going to make a scrappy baby quilt with (gasp) no pattern. I'm just kinda playing around with traditional blocks and giving them a new spin and seeing what results.

This is what I have so far. They aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination (especially the split nine patch...that one is pretty messy) but I'm happy anyways. Its fun to just sorta go with the flow. Hopefully I'll have time to make a few more blocks this weekend before I leave for Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On Embracing My Inner Cavewoman

Remember that scarf I started a while ago and then never talked about again? I bet you were all a bit worried that I had given up in frustration, shoving it deep into the recesses of my tub of abandoned crafts. Never fear, however, for I have perservered. I, the woman who has never finished any of the scarfs she has knitted, have used up an entire ball of yarn. I have knitted 22 inches of warm woolen goodness. Actually, not woolen, but I like the alliteration.

I am really ridiculously proud of myself. I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away when he runs around and bellows in his caveman voice, "I HAVE MADE FIRE!!!" Well, my inner cavewoman is jumping up and down and screaming "I HAVE MADE CLOTH!!!" The creepy dum-dum-duh-dum music is playing. Seriously, I have attained a new level of civilization. Ok, maybe I'm getting a little silly here, but I want to emphasize how excited I am. I can't wait to have my scarf finished so I can wear it around. The weather's starting to get nippy. It was only 23 degrees out this morning when I was waiting for the bus.

On another knitting related note, I read a knitting romance. It's called "Casting Spells" by Barbara Bretton. Its not fabulous, but its a cute, easy read that might come in handy for long Thanksgiving travels.

BTW: Thanks for the encouragement. Your comments were really encouraging!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Take that cynics! There really are nice people in the world!

Film in the Fridge has achieved a blogisphere milestone...100 posts. Yay her! To celebrate, she's giving away a fantastic package of quilting goodies! Go congratulate her and enter your name for the giveaway.

Camille over at Simplify is having a giveaway too! Presents galore!!! For one of us, Christmas is coming early...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Belle Progress

I haven't had a terribly quilty weekend, but I did make some progress on my belle quilt. I laid out my blocks and sewed them together. The diagonal rows of the quilt actually made that a lot of fun. When I was making the blocks last weekend and even when I laid them all out, I had a hard time visualizing how everything was going to come together. I even disliked it for a while. It was really surprising, therefore, to finally see a lovely quilt emerging every time I added a row on. I haven't really had that feeling with other quilts that I've made.

I still need to put my boarders on. Unfortunately, the cool uneven ends get trimmed off, but I'm looking forward to seeing this one completed. I'm going to add a thin white border and then a wider border of the dusty rose floral.

I have a lot of scraps from this one left over, so next I might play around a bit and see what kind of scrap quilt I can come up with. My lack of scrap usage is a bit embarassing...especially in light of all the creative uses I've seen in the blogosphere. I'll have to get to work and change that!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I think I need a dog because I've taken to petting my fabric...

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy! Last weekend my mom bought me a few pieces of Heather Bailey's Pop Garden collection on sale. She got me the red/blue/green zig-zag stripe and the red/blue/green daisy print. Naturally, I was so excited to have those that I just had to go on ebay and buy a few more prints to go with it. I ended up with these two beauties. I adore the red. It makes a statement to say the least.

Also naturally, I had to buy some of the Fresh Cut collection so I could combine shipping and save money. I am a college student. I am nothing if not economical...;)

The package came today and let me tell you, the fabrics are BEAUTIFUL. I have spent and embarrassing amount of time folding them and refolding them, petting them and arranging and rearanging them. I have shown them off to a large amount of people who have no idea who Heather Bailey is and really couldn't care less that she has lovely collections (that's the beauty of dorm life, there's always someone around to harass). I really can't wait to dive in and make something with them.

I think I'm going to use this giant log cabin pattern for the Fresh Cut fabrics. It is designed specifically to showcase large print fabrics and will really show them off. Plus, I love the scalloped edge. I've never done a 'fancy' edge before and I'm excited to give it a try. I'm going to have to do a bit more shopping (what a pity) to get enough yardage for this one. There's a purple jellybean print in the Fresh Cut line that I think would work really well. I also like the teal stencil print. Its a bit darker than my other choices, so I think it will really pop.

I haven't really decided what to do with the Pop Garden pieces yet. I'm definately thinking something simple and geometrical. Large pieces too I think...I'll have to do some searching and see what I can come up with. I have quite a few things to finish before I can get to that though!

Monday, November 10, 2008

More (mis)Adventures in Knitting

Gentle readers, I have made a discovery. I am TERRIBLE at knitting. Atrocious, abysmal, cataclysmic even. I have ripped out the meager beginnings of my scarf more times than I can count. I accidentally added stitches, dropped stitches, and somehow did the purl stitch backwards. In fact, in so doing I may have invented a new knitting stitch. Its ugly. No one would purposefully want to reproduce that stitch. In fact, after watching the entire first disk of "Brideshead Revisited", I have only produced about six inches of knitting. (Amazing mini-series by the it).

I even managed to bend my needle somehow. If you look in the picture, you can see that its slightly curved. It was worse earlier, but I managed to bend it back a bit. I feel that this entire experiment is quite funny in a pathetic sort of way. I should have been satisfied with sewing, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO...I wanted a portable craft to take on the bus with me! Ah well...regardless...the yarn is pretty, and when I finally finish, I will have a lovely scarf to keep me warm all winter long. And besides, I think I recall being abysmal at sewing when I first started that too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Adventures in Knitting

About a week ago, I was walking back from my local fabric store (where I did not buy anything I might add) when I ran into two friends of mine. They were headed down to Webs, the local yarn store. They proceeded to tell me that this was the largest yarn store they had ever seen, that people came from all over the country to shop there, and that they offered student discounts. I had no idea that the yarn Mecca of America was located less than a mile from my house. Intrigued, I tagged along. It was AWESOME!!!! I don't even really knit, and I still had to buy yarn. I got three balls of this amazing chunky Rowan yarn from the warehouse at a really, REALLY, discounted price. I couldn't wait to get started.

The only problem, I soon realized, was that I didn't remember how to cast on. I asked my friends to help me, so yesterday I finally started work on my scarf. We watched Hud with Paul Newman, ate cannolis, drank some wine, and knitted. It was hard. I had to really focus, so I hardly watched the movie at all. If I didn't give it my full attention, I'd get to the end of the row and find out that I had picked up two stiches somehow. True to the spirit of this blog I was definately ripping out stitches. A LOT of stitches. Its such pretty yarn...I couldn't stand for the knitting to be ugly. I think I finally have the hang of it now. I have two whole rows done ;) I spend about 4.5 hours on the bus each week, so I think I'll take my knitting with me when I go. That way I should be done in no time!

As I was knitting, I was wondering about the origins of knitting. Its a little bit bizarre. Who ever came up with knitting? Who figured out that you can make cloth by twisting thread around two sticks? SO anyways, I looked it up on wikipedia, so if you're interested, check it out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Project Revealed!

As I mentioned in my last post, I need a bit of a break from my "Between Friends" project. I've now made seven of that same pattern, so I think its time to try something new. I've been really wanting to try something with circles for a while now, so I decided on Amy Butler's Belle Quilt. I like the circles on it, and I like the diagonal rows. It will be a lot of fun to try something a bit different. Plus, I think it will work well with these fabrics that I impulsively bought a few weeks ago. I set out to buy plain undyed muslin, which I did, but I just couldn't pass these up. I've been using a lot of blue lately, so its nice to have some color variety too (even if I'm still sticking with green).

I plan to use the white fabric as the background for the circle blocks. The way the quilt is in the example is a bit too wild for me. I want to have that bit of white to calm it down and separate the blocks a bit. I think I'll also add a thin white border between the blocks and the main border as I did in the "Between Friends" quilts. I plan to use the large pink floral both as the border and in the blocks. I plan to widen the border a bit (maybe to 6 1/2 inches) which I think will be more in proportion to the size of the blocks and the quilt as a whole. The rest of the fabrics will make up the blocks. I haven't done applique for a while, so that might be tricky, but all in all, I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Between Friends" Mega Post

One of my favorite things about quilting is sharing what I make with others. Unfortunately, quilting gifts makes this hard to do. That's one of the reasons that I wanted to start a I can share my secret quilts!

In about six months, I will FINALLY graduate from college. Yay me! After my sophomore year, I decided to make quilts for my friends for graduation presents. Several of them had already asked me for quilts, so I decided that this would be a great time to do so. I decided to use the same pattern for everyone. I chose "Between Friends" from the book "Happy Hour". It's an easy pattern that's a lot of fun. Its an anything goes can really be creative with your fabric choice.

This is the first one that I came up with, and I'm not giving it away! I love this quilt. I'm a terrible photographer, so its difficult to see from the picture, but its really cool, I promise! My favorite thing about the quilt is the stripes that I used. The yellow has a thin brown stripe and the larger teal, gray, and yellow is visible. I think they give the quilt a lot of interest.

Above is the next one that I made. I used all Amy Butler Fabrics and I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. Again, sorry for the crappy photography. It looks so much nicer in person. The one thing that I didn't like was the pesky L's that I ended up with (see the orange polka dot on the left). I corrected that in later attempts.

This next one is my favorite. I love the colors and I think it blends so beautifully! I'm not sure I want to part with this one... It was also really inexpensive to make. All the fabrics were on clearance.

The rest of my tops haven't been quilted yet. I don't have a machine that can do free motion at school. I need to wait until I go home for Christmas. This next one is a little wild...I wish I would have put some quieter fabrics in to calm it down. All in all though, I think its nice. I love the green and brown and blue together. Its a nice color scheme.

Next is my least favorite version. The colors just don't really do it for me. While they each individually match my boarder, they just don't really blend so well. I hope I'll like it better once its quilted though. I frequently am dissatisfied with my quilts until I get them completely finished.

And last, but not least, my latest effort. I love this one. I spent a lot of time looking for fabric, but it was worth it. I started with the four Midwest Modern prints and then added the green and blue from the Mendhi collection. I love those two...its hard to see in the picture, but they have a pattern that reminds me a lot of the hashes used by favorite artist Jasper Johns. Plus, neither are flat shades. There are bits of yellow, blue and green in the fabric. I love the yellow too. Its a stripe (which I always like to include) and the brightness of it keeps the whole quilt from being too sherbet-ish.

Well, that's all of them! I have a few more to make and them a lot of free motion quilting to do. I'm getting a bit tired of the pattern though. I might try something different and come back to finish up my last couple gift quilts a little later.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wall of Hotness

Ok all...I have successfully thwarted Sod. I went and bought 20 AA batteries. They were only $6 with my CVS card. Yay me!

Originally, I planned this to be a sewing blog (hence the name Ripping Out Seams). I realized last night, however, that sewing is only a small amount of my creative output. I do a lot of things...I color in my coloring books, I quilt, I knit (badly), I do computer graphics, and I collage. That's what I was doing last night...collaging. When I got tired of studying for my econ exam, I grabbed my magazines, scissors and tape and added a few pictures to my wall of hotness.

The door to my room is set into a little alcove...which is kinda beige and depressing. My friends and I decided that it needed decoration. I did something similar when I was in high school to cover the scratched up doors on my closet.

This is what we got...I love it. Its fun to put pictures together and look for exactly the right image. I can work on it for just a minute at a time or an hour. Its fast and easy, but it really makes a difference. I notice it, and I get a lot of comments from people passing by.

This is granted a very simple effort. An author that I enjoy, Jennifer Crusie, has some lovely examples on her website. She uses them to help create her book universes. Check those out for inspiration, and feel free to inspire me with your efforts. I'd love to see your collages too!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sod's Law

Before I get started on my long vent, I'll define Sod's Law (also known as Murphy's Law) for all you souls lucky enough not to be familiar with it. The evil thing that shall not be named is an old adage stating that if something can go wrong, it will. And believe me darlings it a big way.

Sod first cursed me a year and a half ago when I was in Europe. The Houses of Parliament closed to tours the day before I came to London. When I was in Geneva, the jet d'eau was turned off. I constantly got on busses going the wrong direction. So on and so forth. Some of you may think this is just idiocy on my part, but I guarantee you this is not the case. Sod hates me.

Sod apparantly thinks, moreover, that he hasn't tortured me enough. Here I was tonight, trying to start a blog, and that evil being rears his head again. My camera was out of batteries. I took AAs out of another appliance and those were dead too. I get some from a friend and those died in the 24 seconds when I was deleting pictures off of my full memory card. No one else has any batteries to spare. See my point??? Evil, evil Sod has cursed me! I had such a lovely post planed for you! Now I have to wait until tomorrow!

So in the meantime, while you are waiting for my scintillating post, go read up on Sod's Law. Knowledge is power and forewarned is forearmed. Plus, the wonders of hypertext can keep you entertained for hours.