Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

I just couldn’t resist any longer. Over the weekend I finally bought Ayumi’s book, ‘Patckwork, Please!‘.

{side note: my husband can’t stop saying it like this: “Patckwork? PUH-LEASE!” He’s also the guy who will always say, “I have Du-puis” when we watch a hockey game involving the Pittsburgh Penguins and the announcer mentions Pascal Dupuis. Also, he never fails to say, “I guess he’s just in a bit of a pickle” when we watch a game involving the San Jose Sharks and the announcer mentions Vlasic’s name. *sigh* he’s such a goofball, but aren’t we all ūüėČ }

We spent Saturday afternoon at The Grove and Farmer’s Market having lunch and picking up some goodies. There is a Barnes and Noble at The Grove so I insisted we stop by since I may have checked earlier in the week if the book was in stock (it was!). It took a bit longer than I anticipated to find the book because a sneaky stock person placed it in the knitting section instead of the sewing section so I had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find it. I felt so smart and victorious when I found the book.

I knew I needed to make a project from this book ASAP or else it would just sit on my bookshelf for weeks and months. The main reason I was hesitant to start on these projects is because I don’t think I have the “right” fabrics. I don’t have quite the fabric stash that most of the quilting blogging universe appears to have. I don’t have any quirky text prints or linens and most of the fabric I have runs on the darker side, but I made do with what I had. All of the fabric I used was purchased at Momen+.

I made one bell pepper coaster and one pincushion.

Pincushion Top

I have one small, itty bitty gripe with the book. I would have preferred if all the templates were positioned close to the book’s free edge. In some cases, the templates are closer to the bound edge and there is text closer to the free edge. Why couldn’t they have switched positions??? I don’t like “cracking” a book’s bind, it sorta pains me when I have to make creases in bound books. In this case I have to really open the book in order to make sure the template is copied correctly. Thankfully, most of the templates are drawn to scale so you don’t need to worry about magnifying the copies. However, I noticed one template needs to be copied at 133% magnification and my home printer doesn’t offer that magnification size, so I’ll have to go to a copier store.

Top of Coaster

I was too lazy to change the top-stitching¬†thread to match the light fabric. I sorta like the contrast, although I would have liked it better if my top-stitching was even….whoops!

I have to admit that these two items took me way longer than I had anticipated. This was my first foray into paper piecing and I didn’t quite read through all of the instructions in the sample block. My points aren’t perfect, mainly because I think my grid ruler is a bit off, which caused my traced templates to be off in size. However, as Ayumi explains in the intro part, you shouldn’t have “perfect” projects when you start because improving your work is part of the fun of paper piecing. And she’s right! I’m excited to make more and improve my technique. After having completed these two items, especially the pincushion, I feel way more confident in tackling more paper pieced projects. I really want to try freezer paper piecing next.

Side View of Pincushion

The projects in this book are so freaking adorable. This book inspires me to collect fabric based on colors and scale of prints.¬†I just found out a good friend of mine is expecting so I’m definitely going to whip up some bibs from this book. Now I just need to get my hands on more fabric….


Read Full Post »

Last weekend I stopped by Momen+ in Torrance, CA (located in the suburbs of LA County). It’s a cute little sewing/quilting shop filled with tons of fabric, patterns, notions, and tools and there is a small workspace area in the back where I think they hold classes. Since the owner has Japanese roots (I think), this shop carries lots of Japanese fabric, including the ever popular Kokka and Echino, but there is also plenty of “modern” fabric too.

Fabric at Momen+

Side Note #1: Funny story. My mom, who is from Japan, didn’t know about double gauze even though it originated in Japan. She looked a bit unimpressed with the “thin” fabric {her words}. I told her about the popularity of double gauze, but that didn’t seem to help the cause. $20/yard for double gauze? *gulp* Where’s the sale section?

Anyhoo, my mom has visited Momen+ a couple times and has been sweet enough to buy me some Japanese fabric (not the popular stuff, but super cute nonetheless) and a couple mini quilt block kits. Since I didn’t have any specific projects in mind I naturally spent what seemed like forever looking at every single bolt of fabric. I really didn’t want to buy something I could easily find at either Sew Modern or Sew LA or that I’ve seen online and could easily search for at Hawthorne Threads. At first I couldn’t decide if I wanted to buy fabric for a garment or for a quilt or small project. Lately I’ve been more hesitant to buy quilting cotton for garments and I didn’t want to spend the beaucoup bucks on Echino or double gauze, so by the process of elimination, I decided I was searching for fabric to add to my small fabric stash for a future quilt (or more likely, a super mini quilt).

While Momen+¬† {yelp review link} has a decent selection of fabric (including a couple clearance tables), the BEST part of Momen+ has to be their stock of bias binding and sewing tools. My jaw must have dropped when I saw this display case of bias binding and pre-made piping in all sorts of wonderful colors, sizes, and patterns. It’s so eye-catching!

Bias Tape and Piping

White and purple gingham bias binding? Linen bias binding? Yes, please! (Although I didn’t buy any…)

Day 82/365

Towards the back against the wall there were even more options (I seem to recall metallic bias binding too). All of these are from the brand Captain 88, made in Japan. Sure, you could always make your own bias binding (and I think most of us do for quilts), but when I finally get my grubby paws on the Robson Trench Coat Pattern, you bet your butt I’m going to buy some ultra cute bias binding, even if I have to buy several packs at $3-$6 per pop. Also, I’ve been wanting to make a new pillow cover and bind it in piping, but the thought of making my own piping really bores me. Now I know where to get piping! (yes, I’m that lazy!)

One of the best items my mom bought me (yes, my mom still spoils me because she doesn’t have any grandkids) is a Karisma mechanical pencil for fabric. (I searched online and found it available on Superbuzzy, in case you want one, yes you do, trust me.) While I was looking at every single piece of fabric, for some reason my mom was looking at the sewing tools picking out things she thought I needed (even though I didn’t mention needing anything). However, I really did need a new chalk pencil because the pencil I normally use always breaks and never marks very well and my pencil sharpener sucks so I never have a fine point.

Second side note: I swear my mom can read my mind. There have been numerous occasions throughout my life where I’ll be thinking about needing something and then all of a sudden my mom will have bought it for me without even talking to me about it. Mom, get out of my head! No, wait, stay there! I like receiving unexpected gifts.

Anyway, when we were checking out the saleslady mentioned this pencil is really good so my mom bought one for herself too. This lady wasn’t kidding. This pencil is amazing! It’s a bit pricey at $10, but it comes with a refill cartridge and when you run out of lead you only have to buy another refill pack. I’ve only used the white lead on a dark fabric and it works like a charm. This is the only photo I’ve taken of it. The photo is crappy, but look, I can write legible words on fabric!

Day 83/365

There was also some other stuff in the store including needlework patterns, mini quilt block kits, some felt kits (according to my mom these felt things are apparently all the rage in Japan right now), Japanese quilting magazines (although no awesome Japanese patchwork books (BOO! and I looked through every single book on the bookshelf)), and laminated fabric. I’m sure I’m missing some other stuff, but you probably get the idea.

After all the time I spent looking at fabric I only ended up getting half a yard each of these two prints.

Momen+ Fabric Haul

I think they’ll go well with some fabric I currently have, but who knows what I’ll make and when I’ll get around to using them. But at least I have them.

Unfortunately for those out of the area Momen+ does not have an online store. But, if you live nearby, then definitely take a trip over to Momen+. I don’t know of any other shop in the area with this type of selection so I think it’s important to spread the word about this fantastic shop. My mom told me that I’m only allowed to go if I also stop by to see her. Lucky for my mom the shop is located just a bit too far from me to warrant frequent trips, so my mom doesn’t have to worry about me ignoring her.

Read Full Post »

6 continuous days of photos. I’m almost at a week. If I take a photo tomorrow, then I’ll consider it a streak.

First up is January 5, 2013 and, yes, it is a cat photo.
I love trying to get ¬†close-up photos of my cat, especially when his eyes are super big. Only his eyes are in focus because I had to shoot wide open (and at 1600 ISO) in order to get an appropriate shutter speed and exposure and I set the focus on his eyes. My external flash can’t arrive soon enough…

Today’s photo, January 6, 2013, is of a zipper pouch I made a couple months ago.


One day I had an urge to actually make something as opposed to just reading about everyone else’s wonderful sewing projects in my Google Reader. I decided to make a zipper pouch since it looked somewhat easy and I had enough scraps to make one. I used Ayumi’s zipper pouch tutorial and scraps of Tula Pink’s Prince Charming collection. By the way, Ayumi has the most amazing tutorials on her blog, Pink Penguin. There are plenty of other zipper pouch tutorials on the interwebs (here, let me Google that for you), but I think her tutorials are far superior to others you will find.

I have a couple more photos of this pouch on Flickr if you’re interested. I like how the bottom seam turned out, which was a total surprise accident. The wristlet part is a bit longer than I would like, but better that I can fit my hand through it than not. I’m actually sorta embarrassed to carry this around because the colors are so bright and I typically only carry black bags (along with my black boots, black pants, and black jacket…). I’m sure my coworkers, who are 90% male, think I’m weird when I carry it, but whatever I need to embrace my me-made projects especially ones that I’m proud of and I really do like this pouch.

One last note on this 365 photos project. My husband just saw the title of this blog post and asked if I was doing a photo a day. He quickly asked if all photos were of our cat. Hmph….no! And they won’t, dear readers, they won’t. Maybe tomorrow I’ll carry my shitty old digicam with me to work and get some shots of my commute to work or from my “office” window. ¬†Next month my phone contract is up so I’ll finally be upgrading to a smartphone (or as they say in Canada, SUPERphone! haha!!), which will probably help in the “take a photo outside” goal.

Hope everyone had a happy weekend!

Read Full Post »

I made some progress on my Prince Charming quilt in the past couple weeks. ¬†I finished the half square triangle block for the corners of the main block. ¬†I recently came across a tutorial on how to create 4 HSTs with two large squares of fabric. ¬†I can’t remember where I first read it, but a quick google search provided this Half Square Triangle Tutorial. ¬†The nice thing about that tutorial is that the blogger provided an easy formula for determining the size you need for the two initial squares of fabric to yield 4 HSTs (although I think her formula is for a block including seam allowances.) The original tutorial I read didn’t provide such information so it took some time for me to figure out the sizes I needed. ¬†Eventually I figured out that for a finished (meaning, after it’s all sewn together) 3″x3″ square, I would need to start with two (2) – 5.5″x5.5″ squares.

Half Square Triangles

half square triangles all cut up


Half Square Triangles

neatly pressed!

After those suckers were done I moved onto the flying geese blocks. ¬†I wasn’t sure what size fabric to start with so I did a google search and found a Flying Geese Tutorial with 2 methods. ¬†I don’t particularly like “wasting” fabric so I knew I had to use the second method because it doesn’t waste any fabric. ¬†I tried the tutorial on some scrap fabrics and was very pleased with the results so I moved onto my “real” fabric and then sewed some onto the main blocks:

Flying Geese Block

Flying V! No, Flying Geese!!

Note: I usually sew a quarter inch seam allowance by placing the edge of the fabric along the edge of the walking foot and moving the needle one stop closer to that edge. ¬†But for the flying geese blocks I shifted the needle over two stops and was able to get nice pointed corners once the flying geese blocks were sewn to other blocks. ¬†Who knows how will this impact the seams matching from row to row……

I haven’t made as much progress on this quilt as I had hoped, but at least I have the most difficult pieces done (or so I think). ¬†I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I have enough fabric. ¬†Although, the tan fabric in the flying geese is a Kona cotton that I purchased a couple weeks ago and the white is another Kona cotton that I bought several yards of a couple months ago and hadn’t used until this project. ¬†I’ll probably use these two fabrics on the back of the quilt and incorporate little leftover pieces of the Prince Charming collection. ¬†I wonder how much longer this quilt will take to finish, but I am enjoying learning how to create new blocks during this process.

Read Full Post »

This past weekend I got my order of Tula Pink’s Prince Charming fabric!! ūüôā ¬†This was my first time ordering fabric from Hawthorne Threads and I was pleased with the quickness with which I received my order. ¬†I was a tad bit concerned that they didn’t include an invoice or receipt with the package, but there were no issues with the shipment so I’ll definitely order from them again.

Tula Pink's Prince Charming Collection

Tula Pink's Prince Charming Collection

As I mentioned last week, I didn’t have a pattern in mind for this quilt, so I spent most of Sunday sketching ideas with the NFL playoff games in the background. ¬†I developed a couple ideas and eventually decided I needed a pattern that would highlight the frogs and turtles; I think these will look good as 6″x6″ finished squares.

Fabric and Pattern Sketch

Fabric and Pattern Sketch

I totally f’d up fussy cutting the first two frogs. ¬†I have a 6″x24″ ruler and completely forgot that I couldn’t just cut along the narrow sides because I need the frog squares to be 6″x6″ finished, which means that with a quarter inch seam allowance on all sides, I needed to cut them 6.5″x6.5″ , but I ended up cutting them 6″x6.5″. ¬†I saved the two that I messed up and will probably incorporate them either on the back of the quilt or in some pillow covers…..oooooh, pillow covers, they’re so fun to make!

Tula Pink's Prince Charming Fabric

the frog is so adorable I could kiss it!

I’m hoping this quilt will be 72″x90″, but I have no idea if I have enough fabric for the pattern I have in mind. ¬†We’ll see how this goes….Anyone have any words of advice for developing your own quilt pattern? ¬†Hopefully the more patterns I develop, the easier it’ll get.

Read Full Post »

Soon after I first discovered how awesome quilting can actually be, I thought it should be pretty easy to develop my own patterns. I mean, I’m an engineer! How difficult could it be? Apparently, I need a refresher course in basic geometry because I totally F’d up my first pattern. Thankfully, I actually like the outcome, BUT it’s definitely not what I initially wanted and I spent an embarrassing amount of time agonizing over the correct measurements so that next time I can create the pattern as it was intended {by me}. Here’s a photo of the pattern I sketched for a 16″x16″ pillow cover:

Diamonds Quilting Pattern

Initial Pillow Cover Pattern

Look at those pointed corners! (and my old engineering paper…..awwww, I love that stuff)

Annnnnnnnddddd, here’s how it turned out:

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Front

Little Apples Pillow Cover

ACK! What happened to the pointed corners???!!! ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love how the pillow looks, but my heart sank when I first sewed a couple blocks together and realized I had completely lost the pointed corners. ¬†Even though I was pretty upset over it I decided to roll with it and keep sewing.

I used pieces from a¬†Little Apples charm pack. I pre-washed these pieces so even though they started their lives as 5″x5″ squares, they got distorted in the washing and drying cycle. I wanted the finished blocks to be 4″x4″ so I think I did some slight trimming on the charm pack pieces.

If you’re a moderately experienced (or even a beginner) quilter or perhaps a better engineer than myself {who can actually do simple math in your head} then you can probably figure out pretty easily where I went wrong. Basically, I took the pieces from the charm pack, cut off the corners and then used those corners to sew onto other pieces that had the corners cut off. But I can’t use the corners that were cut off from these squares and end up with pointed corners like in my pattern because these corner pieces are now too small. I don’t know why I thought it would work…..I guess I forgot about the seam allowances and how it would affect the size of my blocks. I was also trying to not be wasteful….oh well. Lesson learned! After all the trouble I went through with the front of the pillow cover, I decided to do a very simple design on the pillow back: SQUARES!

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Back

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Envelope Style in the Back

The border on the front and the binding on the back is a grey fabric that I got on super sale at Jo-Ann Fabric. It doesn’t quite match the grey in the Little Apples collection, but it’s close enough for my personal taste. (Also, I didn’t even notice until I took the photo below that the greys in the fabric collection aren’t even exact matches.) Since I didn’t have any zippers lying around and I really didn’t want to leave the house just to get a zipper AND I was super anxious to get this project done, I decided to design the pillow back with an envelope style and I really, really like how it turned out. I think the finished size of the pillow cover is slightly smaller than 16″x16″, but it fits the pillow form almost perfectly.

Here are some close-up detail shots:

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Front

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Front Details

The pillow cover is lined with muslin, but I didn’t use any batting because I didn’t think it was necessary to provide additional bulk to the pillow. ¬†Even though I didn’t use any batting I still “quilted” the front and back, but wanted to keep it fairly simple to highlight the blocks and prints on the fabric.

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Back

Little Apples Pillow Cover - Back Detail

Pillow Cover finished size: approx. 16″x16″
Pillow Cover style: envelope with binding on back flap edges
Fabric: Little Apples charm pack and grey fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric
Lining: lightweight muslin
Batting: none
Quilting: White thread

If you’re even the least bit interested in starting to learn how to quilt, I would highly recommend making a small project first before jumping into a large quilt and a pillow cover is a perfect first project. ¬†It’s a decent size to incorporate larger cuts of fabric and/or practice creating blocks with smaller pieces. ¬†And if you don’t want to worry about sewing in a zipper, the envelope-style is super simple to design and sew.

I really enjoyed creating this pillow cover and am looking forward to creating more. ¬†They’re fairly quick to make, especially compared to a full size quilt, and don’t require too much fabric. ¬†I definitely see myself making more with leftover scraps from (future) quilts and possibly for different seasons and holidays since it’s so easy to change the pillow cover (not to mention I don’t want to have hundreds of throw pillows on my couch). ¬†The possibilities are endless!!!

Read Full Post »

I have been following the lovely gals at IPB living for quite some time and always marveled at their quilts and blocks and close-up photos of the most beautiful fabric. After seeing one of their recent finished quilts I had had enough. I needed to learn how to quilt! The gals gave me some recommendations on how I could start learning and off I went on the interwebs searching for more clues to unlocking this mysterious world of quilting.

I came across Moda Fabrics and was thrilled to see they have so much information and free patterns! Since I was terrified of screwing up my first quilt I picked a pattern that looked easy for a first time quilter and lo and behold, it was made with the Little Apples fabric collection (by Aneela Hoey) aka one of the most adorable collections I had seen. I HAD TO HAVE IT!

The quilt top was super easy to make, but I think it took me way longer to complete because I was so anal retentive about how I wanted the colors and designs to line up. I spent quite a bit of time lining everything up on my living room floor rearranging the pieces until I was satisfied. Trying to get the seams to line up was definitely a challenge. I tried not to obsess too much since there wasn’t much I could do if a seam was way off. It’s my first quilt, I have to have fun, right?

Little Apples Fabric Layer Cake

My Design "Wall" aka Floor

The free pattern on Moda didn’t have any directions for the quilt back so I was kinda stumped for awhile about what to do because I didn’t really want it to be completely plain. Since I also had some Little Apples charm packs (because the online store sent me the wrong fabric collection!) I decided to incorporate some of the 5×5 squares on the quilt back. I was feeling frugal so I went to Jo-Ann fabric to get red and grey fabric that closely matched the red and grey in the Little Apples collection. They’re not exact matches, but they’re pretty, pretty close!

I should mention that I totally screwed up making the quilt back. I drew a design on paper and did the math in my head {HUGE MISTAKE!} and I divided incorrectly so the width of the quilt back was too narrow. I didn’t even notice the mistake until I laid the batting on the quilt back and saw the batting was so much wider than the quilt back even though I had designed the back to be wider than the batting. I ALMOST cut the batting to fit the quilt back, but decided to lay the quilt top to see what the problem was. And that’s when it hit me that I did the math wrong when I designed the quilt back. I had some leftover red and grey fabric {hooray, for always having leftover fabric because I can never figure out how much yardage I need!} so I added some fabric to the quilt back to get it to the appropriate size. Disaster averted!

Little Apples Quilt - Back

Little Apples Quilt Back

Then the quilting process……….it was so daunting! Elizabeth Hartman at Oh, Fransson! has really good posts about free motion quilting including some inspirational and motivational suggestions. For instance, who says you have to finish it in one sitting? or even in one day? Thank you, Elizabeth, for reminding me that no one is going to take away any quilting points if I don’t slave away for hours and finish a quilt in one sitting. I attempted free motion quilting in a stippling type pattern over two days. It was stressful. It was tiring. It was a learning experience. Lesson learned #1: make sure you have enough thread!!!!! I ran out of thread on the day after xmas. I couldn’t believe it. I was SO MAD at myself! I really wanted to finish the quilt that weekend before I went back to work the next day. Thankfully Sew, LA was open that day so I zoomed over there and bought a spool of thread. (Note: it was a different brand than the first spool of thread I was using, but white is white, right?) Lesson learned #2: make sure the quilt edge doesn’t get caught in the sewing path! Thankfully I was able to remedy the disaster by making small snips on the fabric edge to pull the fabric threads out of the stitches as opposed to having to rip out the stitches and redo them.

After quilting I trimmed it and then bound it following Elizabeth Hartmann’s binding instructions. This quilt was definitely a labor of love! It was time consuming (mainly the free motion quilting) but so much fun to complete. Here are some photos of the finished product.

Little Apples Quilt - Top

Little Apples Quilt Top

Little Apples Quilt - Center Back Detail

Little Apples Quilt - Center Back Detail


Little Apples Quilt - Side View

Little Apples Quilt - All Folded Up!

I can’t wait to start on my next quilt!

Quilt Details
Pattern: Little Apples Pattern by Moda Fabrics
Finished Size: Approx. 51″x59.5″
Quilt Top fabric: Little Apples – 1 Layer Cake
Quilt Back fabric: pieces from Little Apples charm pack and red and grey fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric
Quilt Binding fabric: red and grey fabric from Jo-Anns
Batting: Poly-Fil Fairfield 80/20

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: