Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Time is my dushman

I was checking blogger today and was completely shocked to discover that it has been a month since my last post.

I've been busy, and there's no end in sight. My job is really demanding a lot from me right now and I'm finding that everytime I turn around there's more to do in my apartment. I bought a power tool yesterday...that's how serious the situation has become!

BTW, I named it Mr. Tool. Pictures might pop up at a later date, I'm a fan.

I need to continue with the hiatus. In addition to all the rest, I'm way behind on sewing. I accepted a commision for a king size quilt that is due in October. I haven't even started yet.




I'll see you soon.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder

Sorry to disappear there folks, but I've had a couple of very exciting and very busy weeks. I started a new job, I may have found the perfect apartment (if I can just get the landlord to send me the lease) and I took a trip out to the far suburbs and got hopelessly sunburned. Suffice it to say, blogging was not a top priority! I've missed it though, and I'm brimming with things to share, so here I am, back and better than ever (except for the aforementioned skin issue).

Thanks to those of you who played along last post. The mysterious packet was, in fact, a grocery tote! Congrats to Sarah C. who was 100% correct! I love to use reusable bags, but so often I find myself stopping last minute after work, or forgetting my bags at home, etc. My roommate and I, despite the best of intentions have still accrued quite a collection of plastic bags. I'm trying to design a bag that can be easily folded up and placed in a purse, so its always available!

They're fun to make and I would imagine that they'd be great stash-busters. My mom was telling me how she has more florals left over from a Grandmother's Flower Garden project than she'll ever be able to use. Florals would be so cute in a project like this. Pair them up with plain canvas, and voila! Instant earth-friendly chic!

I still have quite a few kinks to work out and unfortunately not a lot of time to work with, but hopefully I'll have a pattern for these babies ready soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Can Anyone Guess What This Is?

I have a new project in the works! Do you know what it is? I'll give you a hint...it's not a wallet.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Best Day Ever!!!

I'm given to hyperbole, but lets just role with it...

First, I got a job!!!!

Second, I got a Kona Cotton color card!!!!

Third, I get to give away an amazing pattern!!!!

Speaking of which, the winner, by a random number generator, is Quilty Goodness! Congrats, and thanks everyone for playing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another One for the Shop

If you are looking for the giveaway, you can sign up here until Friday at noon!

Months and months ago I got a package of precut squares on Ebay for a steal. I can't remember exactly how much they were, but it was definitely under $5 for 35 6.5" squares with shipping included. They have been sitting in my stash for a while, but I was inspired by the summer to whip them out again. I added some white linen that I had on hand and ended up with a simple zig-zag pattern. I think it goes really well with the Seventies feel of the fabrics.

I wanted to do something a bit different with the quilting. Normally I stipple my quilts, but I thought that the smaller size of a baby quilt was perfect for experimentation. I used a fairly dense straight line style that I thought would be a nice counterpoint to the zig-zag design. I absolutely love how it turned out! It looks great, but I think the best part is the texture. It feels so amazing.

Here's a view of the back. Don't you just love this fabric? Its on sale here, and I'm debating whether I want some of the other prints or not.

This one is destined for the shop. I love this one, and its a little hard for me to let it go, but I have a finite amount of storage space. My housemate already thinks I'm a huge packrat!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mixtape Giveaway!!!

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a winner in the Fresh Modern Quilts giveaway last week. It sometimes feels like I am the most unlucky person alive, because I NEVER win anything. For giveaway day, I entered so many drawings...dozens really...and I didn't win any of them! Needless to say, I was thrilled, THRILLED, to see that loosing trend change.

Elizabeth from Oh Fransson sent me a copy of her Mixtape pattern. I however, being the avid fan that I am, had already purchased the pattern when it first came out. I've been a bit slow getting it together, but I'm loving the way it's looking so far. I'm using mostly Surf and Sand fabric that I bought over winter break when I was shopping with my mother. I also threw in some coordinating fabrics from her stash that she was kind enough to give me.

So anyways, since I don't really need two copies of the pattern, I emailed Elizabeth for permission to do a giveaway and spread the love around. She said that was fine with her, and she also sent me a copy of her wristlet pattern! How nice is that!!

So, for your chance to win a copy of the amazing Mixtape pattern, comment here. Just to make it a bit more interesting, tell me what fabric you would use with the pattern. If you post about this on your blog, leave a second comment with the link for two chances to win!!! I'll leave the giveaway open until this Friday at noon EST. I'll pick a winner then and email the pdf on!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Two (or Twelve) Heads are Better than One

Take a look at what my Live Piecefully group came up with! I'm beyond thrilled...its even better than I expected. I would never have come up with some of these blocks. It truly a unique and beautiful quilt.

It's a big one...about 80" square. I didn't have a big enough space in my apartment to take photos, so I had to go down to the park. People stared at me a little oddly, but I got the pictures taken :)

I had to order a bit more fabric for the backing, and when that comes in I can't wait to get it quilted. I've mostly been stippling smaller quilts lately, so this one's going to whip me back into shape!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus

Somewhere around hour 15 of working on this quilt, I came to a realization. Some quilters are Spiderweb people...some quilters are not. I fall in the latter category. Now don't get me wrong, I LIKE Spiderweb quilts. They use up scraps, they're unique, they're beautiful. Seriously, I give them two thumbs up. What I don't like, however, is putting them together. I don't like paper-piecing, I don't like the mess, and I definitely don't like spending an hour making a single block.

There were times that I didn't think it was ever going to be more than a bag of scraps and partially completed blocks. I went months without sewing a stitch on it. After beginning the project though, I was determined to complete it. Last week, after a few marathon days of sewing, I did it! It's done! I was originally going to make it bigger, but I decided 40" square was sufficient. I can't imagine making a twin or full size like some people that I've seen!

The front is made up primarily from scraps of Heather Bailey's Freshcut line. I threw in a few extra pinks for good measure too. I used white linen for the center kites. The back is a beautiful purple shot cotton that I pulled from my stash. It's almost too pretty to hide on a back! I might have to buy more of it and incorporate it into a quilt top someday.

This little beauty is going into my newly opened etsy shop. I hope it goes to a good home where it will be well loved!

Necessity is the Mother of Invention...

While I'm hunting for my dream job (which is a rather slow and daunting prospect) I'm without a consistent paycheck. That, as I'm sure you can imagine, blows. Big time. I've decided to take advantage of the situation though, and launch myself into business. I am opening an Etsy storefront.

This has actually been something I've been thinking about for a while, but I just never got around to starting it. I mean, there are so many things to think about before you can get started. For example, I had a huge amount of trouble deciding what to name my shop. A friend suggested that I not use my blog name because, and I quote, "I don't think I'd want to shop somewhere called Ripping Out Seams. It's too violent." As much as I love her, I totally ignored her advice. I named my shop Ripping Out Seams. I figured most people could figure out that I'm not a homicidal psychopath.

So anyways, if you care to risk associating with a seam ripper wielding weirdo, swing by my shop. There's nothing in it right now, but I plan on changing that very, very soon...:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Tutorial!

I've made two of these Prairie Braid Blocks for virtual quilting bees, so I thought a tutorial might be in order. This is my favorite way to use up scraps and its so easy and fun! You can find the tutorial here!

Last time, people had trouble downloading the file, so I used a different program this time. Please let me know if there are any further issues.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's an Ill Wind That Blows No Good

Much to my dismay, there's still no luck on the job front. I've been applying like crazy and networking, but the holiday really slowed things down. Hopefully things will pick back up again now that we're past Independence Day.

There are some upsides to not working though. I've had plenty of time to rediscover some of my favorite places in DC. Case in point, the fountain at the National Gallery Sculpture Garden (affectionately referred to as "my fountain").

I bring everybody who visits me there. It is absolutely my favorite place in Washington. I love to go with friends and chat or by myself and read. The people watching is fantastic too...and the duck watching. My friend Jessye and I named the ducks. There's Flirty Duck and Dapper Duck among others.

My sister and I took these pictures a year ago when we went one afternoon. I haven't bothered to take new ones, since I like these so much. It was such a gorgeous, sunny day.

It was hot though...hence the reason we went to the fountain. Dipping your feet in it is soooooo refreshing.

Wading too...

As long as you don't get caught...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

To Err is Human, AKA June Quilting Bee Blocks (Part Two)

Sorry for the lack of posting. With moving, settling, etc, I've been preoccupied. Things are starting to establish themselves into a routine though, so posting and crafting should be more regular (in shah allah). But first, a bit of catch up...

Rachael had the month of June for Another Quilting Bee Two and she sent out some great fabrics. I have been dying to get my hands on Paula Prass' Flights of Fancy for some time now...ever since I discovered that it is full of medieval and Gothic elements. If I ever design a fabric line, I want it to be like that; a seamless blend of old influences and contemporary flair.

But I digress...suffice it to say that I couldn't wait to get started. For the first one, I made a modified log cabin block. Rachael had also requested that we incorporate a piece of ricrac, and I thought that this block would lend itself well to it. I also had a lot of coordinating fabrics in my scrap bin that I could add in to make a really scrappy looking block. The block turned out really well in the end, I love the result.

The second block posed much more of a problem. Rachael had mentioned that the butterfly fabric was her favorite, so I wanted to do something special with it. She had also mentioned that she loved the pink woodgrain I sent out with for Live Piecefully, so I wanted to work that in somehow. The block in my head excited me a bit more than its actualization does, but I've been assured that its not that bad, so I'm not going to wine about it anymore. I do like the placement of the ricrac, and I thik the little butterfly in the center is pretty cute.

I'll be back moderately soon with my final June Blocks post!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ode to Virtual Quilting Bees, AKA June Quilting Bee Blocks (Part One)

June was my first month participating in three virtual quilting bees, and I found it so inspiring. Each block that I made presented a really interesting creative challenge. I had to present my creative vision through the filter of someone else's fabric choice and design limitations. Sometimes these limitations really push me out of my comfort zone and make me think a little differently. Some of my most creative work comes under limitations!

It was Mary's month at Live Piecefully Two and her fabrics really challenged me. I usually don't have too much trouble coming up with a design, but I mulled for a long time this month. Scraps of paper with half finished designs or scribbled out ideas were all over my room!

Finally though, I saw a picture of this quilt and knew that I had a winner. I decided to take advantage of the fact that many of the fabrics blended quite a bit, and use that quilt design to inspire my block.

This is what I came up with. Triangles aren't my forte, but I LOVE this block. It came out exactly as I envisioned it.

I used my leftover scraps to make this one. While the triangle block was meticulously planned, this one just grew organically. I wouldn't say its improv, but its improvizationally-inclined. I love it too. Eventually, this is going to grow into a quilt design.

I'll be back with "June Quilting Bee Blocks (Part 2)" early next week!

Monday, June 8, 2009


The craft fairy has been blessing me lately...

This adorable little creature's name is Mr. Man. My dear friend Sammy made him for me as a thank you gift. He's a rice bag; you stick him in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and voila! Instant heat pack, and it smells jasminish and amazing too. Only one thing about Mr. Man disturbs me: I have a pair of underwear that are made from EXACTLY the same fabric. I'm not sure what's wrong with that, but something is...

THEN, this little beauty came from my Spring Swap partner. Cat over at Made by Maisie really outdid herself. I love these little dolls. The workmanship is amazing, I am just in awe! Plus, she sent me an Australian quilting magazine all wrapped up with a little note. Could she get any sweeter? I'm afraid my swap item was quite inferior...hopefully Cat won't mind :(

You should all be very, very jealous. I am one lucky ducky.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Here Comes Peter Cottontail"

Yes, I know that Easter is long over, but Heather Bailey's Freshcut fabric won't quite let me move on. Have you ever seen anything that SCREAMS (in a good way) Spring more than these?

I decided that they would be perfect fabrics to use in Oh Fransson's Simple Modern Baby Quilt pattern. I started cutting and sewing and realized that I was humming "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" over and over to myself. I gave in to the inevitable and instead of using the included (and adorable) applique designs, I went off in search of a bunny that I could use. Lolly Chops had an cute one that I was able to modify and use.

The really unique aspect of the pattern is the instructions it includes for attaching a chenille or Minky backing. I was tempted to try the Minky (its so soft) but its stretchiness turned me off. I chose a really cute pink cotton chenille instead and I couldn't be happier. It is so fuzzy and has a great weight to it.

I'm planing to give it to my niece for her 1st birthday. She doesn't really need another quilt, but I'm rather lacking in babies at the moment. She is just going to have to deal with it :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Thank You for the Music"

I'm one of those people that always has a song stuck in my head. As I'm typing this post, I'm singing "Thank You for the Music" to myself. Fitting, considering that I now have TONS of new recommendations to check out!

Some were old favorites. Believe me, Mary on Lake Pulaski...I've got the Boss covered! Bylulu...I LOVE country, and before my cable stopped airing GAC and CMT I listened to a lot of Zack Brown Band.

I've already found a few new favs: Sandyandcosmo, that White Stripes cover of Jolene is soooooo good. I love it! And Jeanne, just like you promised, Buckwheat Zydeco is pretty amazing. I envision playing a lot of their music while quilting! It will take me a while to check out all the suggestions, but that's a good thing! It will keep me busy for a while!

Anyways, thanks again, and on to the winners...

The winner of the first bundle (bag plus fabric) is A Joyful Chaos! She wrote:

Hi, I'm Maryann my favorite band right now is The Smith Band If you are more into bluegrass type thing you might want to check out the Downing Family
I have contact info on my blogger profile. Love the bag! Here's hoping I win.

I love bluegrass, I will have to check them out!

The second winner (just fabric is BKelly. She wrote:

I LOVE the fabric. The strip bag looks great to me.
the only newer music I have been listening to is Ocean the Legend. My cousin is in the band, they are pretty good.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Different Kind of Giveaway

If you're here for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, you're not too late! You still have until 11:59 PM on Sunday the 31st the enter here!!

On another note, however, in the midst of all this staggering Giveaway Day generosity, I wanted to take a moment to highlight another type of giving. I'm sure many of you have already heard about the Mountain Baby Blankets Project that provides donated blankets and quilts to babies and children living in extreme poverty in Appalachia.

I wanted to join in. Monday morning, this quilt will be in the mail on its way to someone who needs it much more than I do. I loved making it but I love knowing that it will be useful and treasured even more.

I should donate more quilts. There are only so many that I need, and it always seems wasteful to me to have so many sitting around in boxes and drawers. I know that there are several domestic violence shelters in my area. In a time of such fear and stress, a quilt could make a big difference to a child whose entire life has been thrown into upheaval. Maybe next time...

I've also discovered that my photography isn't as wretched as I thought. It finally stopped raining here, so I packed up my quilt and headed over to the gardens to take pictures. Lush grass and stunning flowers apparently serve as a better background than industrial carpet. Beautiful surroundings make for beautiful pictures...huh! Who would have imagined that?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Giveaway Day

I just couldn't resist joining in the fun...

Here's what you get:
  1. A prototype of my Strip Tease Bag. Disclaimer...its not perfect, I had to work out a few kinks, but I still think its really cute.
  2. A half yard of this Alexander Henry semi-naked man fabric.
A second winner will receive a half yard of the Alexander Henry fabric as well.

Here's what you have to do:
  1. Leave one and only one comment by MAY 31. Leaving two messes up the way I plan to generate the random winner.
  2. Include in your comment the name of a musician or band that you would recommend. I'm on the prowl for new music and this seemed like a great opportunity to pick people's brains!
  3. Make sure I have a way to contact you.
  4. Finally, you have to live in the US. Sorry international friends, but this will be heavy enough that I really don't want to ship internationally.

Here's my sample entry...

Hi, I'm Kat. I would recommend The Derek Trucks Band. They're an amazing band with a fusion of styles including rock, blues, and Indian music. I have a blogger profile with contact info listed, so you can find me there!

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks in advance for the recommendations!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Etta Says it Best


This tutorial for the Strip Tease Bag has been in the works for so long. It is a relief to finally get it finished and published!

This is definitely my favorite bag to date. I used a round bottom of vinyl which not only looks cute, but is durable and water resistant. The new handle style is also a big plus. They are much stronger than my other designs.

Durable and darn cute...a pretty good combination in my opinion! Get the tutorial pdf here, and let me know what you think!

EDITED TO ADD: I have been told that some people are having trouble opening the file. It works for me, so I'm not really sure why that is happening. I'll try to figure it out, but in the meantime, if you can't open the download, email me at smithie09@gmail.com and I will send you the file.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pinch Me...

...because I can't quite believe it's real.

First I got this...

Then I got this...

Sometimes, I really love my life.

BTW, despite my crappy and sporadic posting lately, this is post #50. Yay me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

WIP-ing Myself into Shape

I have a LOT of WIPs that I need to finish right now. I'm not an official member of Jacqui's "Spring to Finish" but its probably a good idea for me to work on a few of them!

  • First, my item for the 6 O'Clock Stitch's spring 8 by 10 swap. This is priority numero uno...I was already supposed to have sent it off to its new home. Oops...mea culpa.
  • Second item on the list is my Strip Tease Bag tutorial. I started a long time ago, but I just haven't had time to work on it recently.
  • I started making Oh Fransson's Simple Modern Baby Quilt using Heather Bailey's Freshcut fabrics, and finished the top, but the applique has been waiting for attention since March! I wanted to use a bunny instead of one of the designs she provided, so I've been trying to sketch one up. So far, no luck with that.
  • Fixing my Belle quilt. The boarders are all crappy. I have NO motivation to do this.
  • I knew this was going to be a long term project when I started it, but the rate I've been working on my spiderweb quilt is pretty ridiculous. So far I have made ONE complete block. That's it! I should start trying to make a few more so I can get rid of these dang scraps!

I so want to start new projects, but I can't allow it! I think its fair to start one new thing if I finish three off the list. That's more than half.

Ok...good plan.

Monday, May 11, 2009

May Quilting Bee Blocks

May was Mary's block for Another Quilting Bee 2. She sent out a bunch of prints from Moda's Bistro line. I've been using a lot of under-saturated fabrics lately, so the richness of these prints was a pleasant departure from my norm.

Luckily, I've been spending a lot of time in coffee shops studying for finals and writing papers, so I came up with a design pretty quickly. I started by making modified crazy nine patch blocks. I only used five fabrics instead of the normal nine (due to fabric constraints) and I didn't bother to match up my corners. I thought the more haphazard style looked like coffee shop decor, and I liked that it looked more like a mosaic rather than a quilt block. I then sashed four of the blocks in a cream solid and put a big border around the entire thing. I LOVE it!

I had one crazy nine patch and quite a bit of excess fabric left over, so I started making a simple second block. I didn't have quite enough to finish, so hopefully Mary has a bit left over so she can complete it. I'm a fan of this one too.

I hope these will work for you Mary! I had fun making them.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fabric Friday

I've missed doing these fabric posts! I always looked forward to spending a little time on Thursday evenings scouring the web for my latest heart's desire! Speaking of which...I saw this collection the other day and just about lost my mind. When it comes out, I HAVE to have it.

It's call Eva by Basic Grey, and its due out sometime in September. Interestingly enough, it was originally a line of scrapbooking paper.

P.S. I handed in all my finals and papers yesterday. I am officially DONE with college (a day early too I might add).