Hi all -
Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I continue to feel better and haven't had to use a cough drop since Friday, so that's great! The little coughing I still have has been managed by water and tea. My stomach is very happy about that!
I've even started a little bit of quilting. I wanted to start with a couple of mug rugs that I promised to some online friends. For the first mug rug I thought back to a quilt in a magazine that I wanted to make sometime. It's a pieced Sunbonnet Sue-type block. I looked through my magazines and found the pattern in an old Quiltmaker:
I had actually thought the block was paper-pieced, but the pattern uses templates and I would have had to add a lot of lines to make a paper-piecing pattern. The block in the magazine was 10" square, but I wanted something smaller so I started by reducing the templates by 80%:
Of course, this also reduces the seam allowance so I then had to trace the piecing lines and add the 1/4" seam allowance back:
I went ahead and traced complete templates for every piece in the block, including 2 A templates since the block uses two of these. My idea was to print the templates onto some Quilter's Select Print & Piece Fuse Lite, fuse them to the back of the fabric and then piece them. The Print & Piece Fuse Lite is a product that can go through your printer, has a light fusible on one side and is partially water-soluable so should be fine when left in the project. Since this block has some complex pieces, I thought this product would make the cutting easier, keep the fabric stable while sewing and have all of the match points already marked for me. As I went to print from the traced templates to the Print & Piece Fuse Lite, I realized my first mistake. The tracing paper I used was 9"x12" while I was assuming it was 8.5"x11" so some of my templates were cut off a bit when I copied them:
Oh well, all of the sewing lines were still there so that was fine. I cut around the templates and fused them on the back side of the fabric:
Then I cut out each piece aligning the sewing line with the 1/4" line on my ruler to make sure I had my seam allowances all right:
Then I just had to do the piecing. If you look back at the picture of the pattern, the only piecing instructions were the little block diagrams to the left of the quilt picture. The first thing I had to take care of was the hand, which is appliqued on top of a square. I didn't get any pictures of the process, but what I did was trim the hand template on the sewing line around the curve. Then I fused the template on the back of the hand fabric, ran a line of glue stick on the stabilizer around the curve, folded the fabric onto the glue and used the iron to smooth it out and activate the glue. Once I had this done, I glued the hand on top of the appropriate fabric square and just left it like that. My plan was to stitch the hand down while doing the quilting. This worked really well. Here are the pieces of the block laid out after sewing some of the simple seams before any of the many set-in seams:
The first set-in seam I did was sewing the large background piece to the leg and dress front. I just took it one seam at a time and it went together easily:
The stabilizer really made the sewing easy and the lines made matching the points a breeze:
I continued on with all of the seams until the whole block was pieced:
Then I just had to sandwich it, do the quilting and add the binding. When picking out the binding fabric, my first thought was to use the dark purple. I realized that I have a tendency to always bind with the darkest fabric in the quilt, which tends to be a good choice but is also very predictable. I didn't think I would like to have the dress merge into the binding so I decided to bind it with a brown that would look kind of like the girl is in a frame:
I think it turned out very nice. I was going to soak the mug rug at the end to break down the stabilizer, but it actually feels good with that extra stability so I decided to leave it as it is.
For the second mug rug I got out a bag of hand-dyed raw silk that I picked up from another quilter in November. I'm lucky to live near Lynda MH Faires, a quilter and teacher, and she had a bunch of cool supplies in a quilter's garage sale. I had actually missed her sale, but heard about it from a friend and had a class with Lynda in Houston and she invited me to stop by and go through all of the stuff she had left. I went crazy and will try to remember to post pictures of all of my wonderful silk scraps in a future post! Here's the bag of raw silk that I was working from:
It's so gorgeous and has such a wonderful texture! If you can see the little label, I actually got this whole bag for just $1. I decided to do some improvisational piecing. I wasn't sure if the raw silk would be difficult to work with, but it really was no problem to work with. I used a 3/8" seam allowance, just in case, and here's what I came up with:
For the quilting, I decided to follow the modern movement and do some walking foot quilting using a curvy stitch. This is a stitch that I've wanted to use for years, but didn't have access to it until I got my new machine. I used a nice variegated 50-weight silk thread that I found in my stash. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I got this thread because it's beautiful and sewed like a dream. I'll be keeping my eye out for more in the future:
Now I just have to decide how I want to finish up the edges.
Besides the quilting, I've also been doing some knitting and tatting. These were nice projects to work on while I was sick and couldn't sit at the sewing machine without coughing my lungs out. Here's the first scarf I made:
This is a nice, light scarf that can be worn inside and outside. It was nice to wear while I was coughing. Here's my runway model showing you how fashionable it looks:
And here's my second scarf, which I just completed this week:
Although it looks nice now, I think this one will look better once I've blocked it. Here it is on my beautiful and patient model:
Finally, I've also been doing some tatting. I originally taught myself to tat from books about 20 years ago. I was curious about tatting because it's such a common crossword puzzle clue. I made a few things, then just kind of forgot about it. Then I found some tatting in my mom's stuff and also saw some tatting classes on Craftsy, so I decided to pick it up again. The first thing I made was a pair of earrings:
I still need to add the hardware and they should probably be blocked, but they aren't bad. I've also started making a necklace:
I just got to the step where I need to add a bigger bead, but realized that I don't have a crochet hook thin enough to go through the hole in the bead, so I'll need to wait for my new crochet hook to arrive before I can continue work on this piece.
That's about it. I was feeling like I haven't been accomplishing anything lately, but I feel better now that I have it all down on "paper."
Hope you are all having a great week!