Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quilted Needle Cases

Quilting, linen, hand stitching and patchwork all come together with these two needle cases.  I had two sources of inspiration - a photograph on Flickr and the tutorial used to make it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Repetitive Themes - Christmas, Mugrugs, Hexagons

I didn't have a Santa mug to use for the photo shoot or any fresh cookies, for that matter.  These small projects use up leftovers, though,  and satisfy the strange notion of sewing pieces of fabric around small paper shapes and then stitching them together, edge to edge.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ninja Quilt

We had a few minutes downtown before a haircut appointment and Ray came in to the fabric store with me.  There is not much else to look at in such a place and he saw one bolt which warranted a comment.  "This stuff is cool," he said.

An offhand remark from a teenage boy is enough to inspire a quilt but I was also working from a memory of this quilt when I bought the Chisai Ninja fabric and some more red and black coordinates. As it turns out, my finished product looks nothing like the pretty art quilt that I liked.  The kanji characters on all of the prints are oriented vertically and Ray said he thought the quilt should mimic that layout. 

It is sort of an Asian fusion design because there is some Confucius text fabric in the mix and Chinese dragons on the back.  I had the quilting done by Gretchen Monti.  She said the pantograph characters spell out "Challenge, Conquer, Success", but I don't know what the red characters say on the fabric.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Intentions to blog on a regular basis fall away when life gets busy. I am back to work and seem to have stepped in to a new role as a band mom. Certainly I wanted to help with the uniform alterations and I had some pillows to donate for fund raising and some of the kids were making spirit bracelets out of parachute cord (I can help with that, methinks) and then there was discussion about buying all new uniforms or perhaps supplementing what we have and, well, I had an opinion about that so I took charge of gathering information - so, yeah, I am a band parent now.  It's good. I really like the band director who is a young, new teacher with enthusiasm and reasonable plans to build a strong music program throughout the schools.  I am happy to help.

I still feel like sewing non-stop but it has actually been nice to take a break from the Bernina and do some other things.  One doesn't want to miss the Steam Engine Show every year, after all.  There are trains and water pumps and buzz saws to look at. And it is nice to be out on a warm day with your dog, or to sit in the sun with an old friend and talk about the trips you have taken in your boat.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Band Uniforms

Ray started high school last week and we learned that taking a band class means being in the marching band.  Our daughter went to a high school in Juneau that didn't even have a football team, let alone a marching band, so it has been interesting to learn a bit about the traditions and practices of these loud and colorful groups.  A fellow parent talked about her history with a BIG, seriously competitive band that her son was involved with in San Diego, which made me realize how relaxed and easy-going this year is going to be by comparison.

School started on a Wednesday and three days later, Ray's band marched with 28 other high schools during halftime at a University of Washington football game in Seattle.  There were 3000+ musicians performing in front of 62,000 (or so) people.  It was a dramatic start to the year. Ray's favorite part of the day was a flyover by a military C-17 jet but I think he had a ton of fun just riding the bus and hanging out with his 40 some band friends all day.

All of the new students and some of the returning students needed to be fitted for uniforms. I helped with some of the alterations and was duly impressed by the excellent quality of the fabric and tailoring that went into these military style garments.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Cathedral Windows Pillows

I accidentally bought Christmas fabric.  It was an online purchase and having chosen one line of Kate Spain fabric, I spontaneously bought a second charm pack without looking at it very closely.  Candy canes and snowflakes would not have made the cut, had I only been paying attention.

Ray and I like origami so this folded fabric method of sewing was fun for me to learn.  I can see that there are a lot of different things one could do with the basic techniques.  It takes a fair amount of fabric and is time consuming but the finished product is great.  No batting is necessary as there are four or five layers when complete.

The back

Main Fabrics:  Kate Spain Flurry
Kona Red and Kona Snow

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Zen Rain Shawlette

Dianne spun this lovely yarn from a roving which was a blend of Tencel and merino wool.  The skeins were hanging on her studio wall and I had to have it.  The yarn was a real pleasure to work with, soft and pretty.  To show the lacy fabric, this is modeled as a shawlette (dumb name), but it would actually be worn more as a scarf.

The pattern, Zen Rain Shawlette, is on Ravelry, here.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Hexagon Pillow

Sometimes it helps to ask someone what they want.  A few years ago, at work, we were having a potluck to  mark some occasion around our friend Ruth.  Her favorite dessert, she said, was tapioca pudding.  I would never have thought to bring a jiggly bowl of goo to a party but Ruth got what she loved best because I remembered to ask.

I told Patty I was sewing like a fiend and asked, What shall I make you?  She said, A small pillow for my back to use when I am driving my car.

I had trouble with the zipper and fought the fraying linen. The hexagons were English paper pieced from scraps and the colors seemed all wrong in every combination. I decided, at one point, to throw the whole thing away, but it rested a while and eventually became a suitable small cushion for my pal.

The back