Well Happy New Year's to you all! Thank you everyone so much for your kind wishes to my previous post about my 2012 rundown...I have the best blog readers and friends ever!! I decided to spend my New Year's Eve dying some fabric! I got some Architextures in the mail today...I ordered 4 yards of the 'Scribble Notes in Charcoal' print, to use as background fabric for Elizabeth's Lucky Stars Block of the Month. I dyed it using turquoise procion dye from Dharma Trading Co.
My first attempt at fabric dying turned out pretty well, but I knew I could do better. I referenced Jeni's post on one of her fabric dye outings and altered my previous method a little. Here's what I did for 4 yards of fabric:
- 2 tablespoons turquoise procion dye
- 6 gallons cold water
- 6 cups salt
- 2/3 cup soda ash
- 4 teaspoons calsolene oil
(all ingredients available on the Dharma site)
The instructions are available on the Dharma website, but here is my cliff note version. I mixed the dye with a tablespoon of warm water until it turned into a paste, then I added 1 cup of warm water to make it slushy. I added this solution to the 6 gallons of water waiting in the bathtub. I then added the salt and stirred, followed by the calsolene oil. I added the fabric to the mix, and left it for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. After the 45 minutes (Dharma suggests 20, but Jeni liked 45 minutes, so that's what I went with). I dissolved the soda ash in about 2 cups of very warm water, then I slowly added the soda ash to the bath over a gradual 15 minutes. I was careful not to pour the soda ash mixture directly on the fabric (instead, I poured it on the side of the tub then stirred). After the 15 minutes, I let my fabric sit in the tub for an additional 60 minutes (the Dharma site suggests 30-60 minutes for this step), stirring frequently.
After all those steps, I rinsed my fabric until the water ran clean. Then it went into the washing machine on the hot cycle, followed by the dryer.
I'm really happy with how the fabric turned out! As you can see, I laid the fabric I dyed right next to this fabric that I first dyed (which I made into the background for this pillow, which I completely love). You can notice the difference in the colors, in the extra time that I allowed the fabric to be in the dye before adding the soda ash.
And here are my fabric choices for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month...my dyed fabric is the background, and I've chosen Kona Clover, Chartreuse, Black, and White as my main fabrics. The first block comes out tomorrow, but of course there is still time (any time throughout the year) to sign up. I've heard there's over 400 people signed up so far. ;-)
Happy New Year!
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Whew! 2012 was certainly a busy sewing year for me. My kids started sleeping in their own beds this past spring (they're 6 and 4-1/2), whereas previously we co-slept, so that freed up a bit of sewing time for me since I usually work in the evenings after they are sleeping...I didn't have to spend that extra hour or so in bed with them until they fell asleep, lol!
|Paper-pieced Space Dust dress, and Miss Tula Pink!|
I certainly learned a lot. I still have so much to learn, but every day is a new adventure! I dove into hand sewing (hexagons and English Paper Piecing), I actually started sewing quilt binding on the correct way (not my lazy topstitching), I figured out recessed zippers for bags, and I experimented with making a paper-pieced dress.
As far as my blog goes, this year we had some fun things happening! There was the New York Beauty Quilt Along, the great Purse Palooza 2012 (which I will be holding again this June, as it was massively successful!), and the Tula Pink Sew Along.
|Thomas Knauer (fabric designer extraordinaire), Amelia from Pellon, me, McLisa "Epic Shit" Longarmer, Erin from Pellon|
I met so many wonderful people this year! It's kind of crazy that this "thing" that started out behind a computer where I never had to see anyone in person, has moved to a whole "new thing" where the community of people I am talking with on-line on a daily basis are people I actually know IN PERSON. More than that, these are all super-talented individuals, and I don't think I've met hardly anyone that I didn't just love dearly.
Going to Quilt Market twice this year and teaching at Sewing Summit has definitely changed my sewing life for the better! I have gotten so many ideas and great things happen and met so many wonderful folks. I wish I could show pictures of all of the beautiful people...there are too many to name.Hot Mess Casserole Carrier, 2. Sis Boom Rebecca Dress, 3. Space Dust Dress, 4. Tutorial: Convertible Clutch, 5. Tula Pink 'Space Dust', 6. Serendipity Studio Paige Pillowcase Dress, 7. Serendipity Studio Monique Dress in Amy Butler fabric, 8. My Market Bag, 9. Mermaid Zip Organizer, 10. Echino Quilt, 11. Tutorial: Embroidery-to-Go Case, 12. Typewriters Dress, 13. New York Beauty Quilt Along: Block 5, 14. Tutorial: Planetary Mini Quilt, 15. The Urban Jungle Bag, 16. Salt Water Quilt
And I sewed up a storm! Here is a small sampling of the things that I made this year:
And I sewed up a storm! Here is a small sampling of the things that I made this year:
I had a couple of bag patterns published in magazines this year, and I wrote a bag sewing pattern book (due out the first week in November). That was pretty stressful, but I think I made it even harder on myself by insisting to sew 2 bags for each of the 12 patterns...24 bags in about 5 months time (not to mention actually writing the patterns). I taught 2 classes at Sewing Summit in October. I made a dress for Miss Melody Miller's booth at Fall Quilt Market. Oh, and I met Amy Butler twice. And hardly said two sentences to her ::gobsmacked:: Hmm...now that you mention it, there were a lot of people I met and hardly spoke to, I was so in shock.
So, I'm not running down this stuff so I can be all "look at me!" I took a look at my blog and realized that I started blogging in September of 2010, which was only 2 years ago. It seems hard to believe what's gone on since then; I couldn't even properly get through using a sewing pattern back then. What!!! It just goes to show that if your heart is in something, and you believe in yourself, good things can and do happen (and they will happen to you if you give it your best!)!!
|Me 'n my buddy|
So long 2012! In 2013, I hope to keep writing lots and lots of bag patterns (and some dress patterns too!). I got a better web cam for Christmas, so my goal (and it was my goal last New Year's too) to shoot the step-by-step videos to accompany each of my patterns. I will have to make myself stick to this, as my norm is wanting to finish up a pattern and get it out there quickly! But I think a day or two of shooting a video will be worth it. And I'll try to make a few quilts, just to prove I have street cred, lol. And I hope to meet many more sewing friends in 2013!!
Friday, December 28, 2012
Whew, there are a bunch of excellent sales going around, and many of them with no coupon codes needed! Here's some ideas on how to spend your Christmas $$!!
Newly-stocked sale section, including many fabrics starting at $3/half yard! I saw a ton of text prints that were very hard to resist! Echino, V. and Co., Liberty, Notting Hill, Jay McCarroll, Thomas Knauer, Lotta Jansdotter, tons! Just tons!!
Another huge sale section, many starting at $3.50/half yard! Field Study, Out to Sea, and more!! Also, use coupon code FREEOVER50 to get free shipping on your U.S. order of $50 or over!
Sale section includes Chicopee for $6.95/yard!
Today only on-line, get a 20 yard bolt of Pellon Polyester batting (60" wide) for only $39.99 or a 25 yard bolt of Pellon Nature's Touch 100% Cotton batting (90" wide) for only $124.99. Use coupon code SDW363 for $2.95 flat rate shipping. Nature's Touch is definitely my favorite cotton batting!!
10% off on organic fabrics such as wonderful prints from Birch! Sale ends Friday, January 4th.
Posted by Sara @ Sew Sweetness at 8:15 PM
This free pattern is to make a structured zippered bag that will hold a 13" x 9" baking dish. The bag is also made with Pellon Insul-Fleece, so it is insulated to keep your baked goods nice and hot during travel! I have some great ceramic 13" x 9" baking dishes, and this definitely fits the bill! I hope you will enjoy the pattern, and please add your photos to my Flickr group; you can also e-mail me with questions anytime at sara[at]sewsweetness[dot]com.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! Did Santa have something good (perhaps made of the cotton-variety) to leave in your stocking if you were a good girl or boy this year??
I was super-surprised to open the Christmas present from my parents yesterday. They got me the Simplicity bias tape maker and a book by Angela Walters (which, incidentally, I had ordered earlier this year, but after a month of waiting...because the book was going into it's SECOND printing [go Angela!], I cancelled my order...finally got it! Yeah!). But the biggest surprise was that they got me this half-yard bundle of Michael Miller Mirror Ball Dots from Westwood Acres on Etsy!! I was blown away!
I asked my mom...'how did you know?!?' but then I forgot that she follows me on Twitter and I had a big love-fest about these fabrics last week. I forget that she does because she usually doesn't tweet, haha. :-) The funny story about this was that I tried to purchase this exact same bundle of fabric last week, and the shop owner, Amanda (whom I know) asked if I'd mind waiting until after the holidays because she was swamped (not that she would normally say that to a customer, but like I said, I know her, and I know that she has a busy little family, so I was like 'no prob bob'). The real reason that she asked me to wait was that my mom had already contacted her about ordering the bundle, and asked her if it would ship in time for Christmas.
Not to get on a rant about Amanda, but I spoke to her about her shop at Quilt Market, and she told me that because of her location and cutting hours, she is able to (don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure that's what she said) ship out any order in the U.S. and have the recipient get it in 2 business days. For real. So when my mom told me she had asked if it would arrive in time, I had to smile because I knew that it would.
Okay, so the Mirror Ball Dots are FREAKING amazing. You probably can't grasp the full scope of these fabrics in the photo. But they are full of shiny metallic goodness, and the dots are just the perfect exact right size. I'm probably going to have to order more, in fact. And I want a dress. In every color. Sigh.
Westwood Acres is the only shop (that I know of) that stocks and sells the full 20-piece set of Mirror Ball (in fat eighths, fat quarters, half yards, and full yards), so get yours now!! I'm pretty sure they will be sold out soon (actually, I'm surprised they haven't sold out already!).
And...I didn't get these as a gift, but I kind of bought them for myself just before Christmas. This is the full bundle of the Lizzy House 'Pearl Bracelets', which I got from I Don't Do Dishes on Etsy. I have no idea what to do with these fabrics but I had to get them. Don't they look gorgeous?! These bundles are also selling out fast, as I'm told!
I must have been in a holiday stupor last week, because I totally missed the release of this new quilt pattern by Kati of From the Blue Chair. I took Kati's (and Faith's) class at Sewing Summit, and Kati was explaining how to quilt with diamonds and hexagons. She really knows what she's doing. So I knew that I would have a fun time with her new 'Honeycomb' quilt pattern. It's available on Craftsy and on Etsy, and you can read the full details about it here. Plus, I got my copy of the pattern for only $6.50 'cause it's on sale for the rest of the year (after that, it's $8). Score. I'm thinking I'll use some Thomas Knauer 'Asbury'.
Speaking of 'Asbury', I'm working on 3 bag sewing patterns for a certain periodical. I had only 2 weeks to work on them, so I unfortunately had to put my kids' Christmas things (2 Amy Butler pillow patterns and a super hero quilt) to the side. But this particular magazine is the ultimate one that I would want to get my patterns in, so when I found out that they had picked up all 3 of my ideas...sorry kids. :-P One bag is going to be made in Asbury (the red quilted piece above), one in Melody Miller Ruby Star Sparkle (gold texty below), and the final in all Echino fabrics.
I can't show you the 3 bags now, but I will say that I'm really excited about them. I will say that one of them, you may have seen before when I went to Quilt Market in October...just a little hint. :-) The other 2 I had a blast making because I got to use By Annie's Soft and Stable, which is pretty much like a thin foam sew-in interfacing. It completely blew my mind at Quilt Market, and I finally got to use it. I am most suitably impressed. I'll write a full blog post about the Soft and Stable when I can actually show you a bag made from it (these little snippets just don't do it justice). So easy to sew with...it's just a dream.
I did get a small amount of Christmas sewing done right before the wire...the first is this pillow that I made for a friend using Amanda Murphy's Blossoms quilt pattern...it uses applique and it's just crazy good! I used Amy Butler Soul Blossoms fabrics for this pillow.
I also made these two infinity scarves for my mom (Joel Dewberry and Amy Butler). Somehow I've already forgotten which exact tutorial I used, but there are a million out there. I used voile for these scarves, and purchased 4 fabrics, each in 1/2 yard cuts. I think they're really great and stylish!
So again, hope you had a wonderful holiday!! And Happy New Year to you!!
Friday, December 21, 2012
Merry Christmas everyone! If you've gotten all your holiday shopping done, put up your feet and check out these fabric sales!
Pink Castle Fabrics
25% off all precuts and bundles using coupon code BUNDLE25. Newly in stock are Lizzy House Constellations and Pearl Bracelets, Dear Stella Cleo, and Tula Pink Salt Water!
Free shipping on orders over $35 through December 23rd (20% off international shipping). Just arrived: Simply Color by V. and Co., Get a Clue with Nancy Drew, Hello Sunshine by Riley Blake, and more!
75% off all Vogue sewing patterns! No coupon code needed.
10% off all fabric bundles. Good through December 28th.
All patterns are 50% off through January 11th (exceptions: new patterns).
Green Fairy Quilts
30% off precuts clearance sale.
Posted by Sara @ Sew Sweetness at 7:09 AM
Today's spotlight is on Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. I got to meet Shelly this past October at Quilt Market, and it was a real treat since I had heard so many wonderful things about her! Besides being super talented as a long arm quilter, Shelly also has some pieced and applique patterns in her shop.
Me: How were you introduced to long arm quilting? How long have you been doing it for?
Shelly: I’ve been making quilts for almost 40 years, and was a hand quilter at first, but then I realized I’d never get all the quilts finished that I want to, so I found a longarm quilter that I trusted, and started having her do them for me. She suffered an injury that made her have to cut her quilting hours way back, and since I operate on deadlines a lot, I didn’t feel right asking her to do rush jobs or put me in front of others, so I decided to get a machine of my own. I got my machine in May of 2009.
Me: What type of machine do you use, and what are some of the features on it that are your favorite?
Shelly: I have a Nolting 24 Pro, and I love everything about it. I especially like that it’s not as heavy as some machines. It’s not a computerized machine, but I didn’t want a computerized one, because I really don’t like to do the same thing twice, so I didn’t feel I needed that. And I love the Nolting folks – they take really good care of me and my machine, whose name is Ivy, by the way.
Me: When you receive a quilt to be long armed, what is your process usually like?
Shelly: When I first talk to the customer about it, I try to get a general idea of what they want done to their quilt (how they intend to use it, who it’s for, etc.). When I actually get the quilt in my possession, I usually have a more in-depth discussion with the customer about quilting designs, and how much they’d like to spend (which helps determine how much quilting gets done to the quilt). I also find out what thread color they’d like, and I measure the quilt and the backing to make sure the backing is big enough, so that can be corrected right away if it’s not, and I can get thread ordered if I need to. I also fill out a form I use to make notes about what we’ve discussed so that I don’t forget while the quilt is sitting in the “waiting queue.”
Me:What is your favorite type of quilt to work on? Do you like designs with a lot of negative space? Modern quilts?
Shelly: I like them all. I love variety. I like modern quilts, and I also like traditional ones. Negative space is like a huge playground, but applique quilts and traditional block quilts also give me a chance to get creative. All the different types provide me with opportunities to do lots of different things, which keeps it from getting boring for me, and I still learn something new with every quilt.
Me: Do you have a certain quilted design that is your favorite? (and do you have a photo of what the quilting looks like?)
Shelly: I really love feathers, but I still don’t feel I’m as good at them as I can yet be, so I keep practicing. It strikes both fear and excitement in my heart when someone requests feathers: “Ooh, this’ll be fun! But, what if I mess it up?” This is one of my favorites I've done (for a lady in California):
Me: Does thread color play a significant role in your quilting?
Shelly: I’ve never thought about that. I generally discuss the color with the customer, and as for my own quilts, I use what I like, depending on how much I want it to show up. Truthfully, I usually have My Cowboy give me his opinion on the thread colors I choose. His taste is usually right on the money. I tend to use way more solid colors than variegated.
Me: What type of thread and batting are your favorite to work with?
Shelly: I use mainly Superior Thread, and mainly OMNI. But I’m not afraid to try others, that’s just what I tend to buy the most of because I really like it. My favorite batting is Quilter’s Dream (any kind), and I also like Warm ‘n’ Natural a lot. If you’ve never tried Quilter’s Dream Orient, you should – it’s a real treat! Sooo soft.
Me: I have never had a quilt long armed. If someone is new to the process, like I am, what kinds of information would you tell them about your work, and in turn, what kinds of questions would you ask them to make sure they receive the best finished product possible?
Shelly: When I meet with a new customer, I try to point them to some examples of what they might want to start out with, or show them some quilts I’ve quilted during our initial meeting, so they can get some ideas of what’s possible. I also invite them to look at the examples I have posted on my web site beforehand. I discuss the differences in the pricing for the various styles as well, so they don’t end up in shock over a cost they weren’t expecting. And I make sure they know to make their backing at least 4 inches larger on all sides!
Me: What helpful tips can you provide for more successful machine quilting at home?
Shelly: I was never any good at machine quilting with my domestic machine before I got my longarm, so I wish I knew what tips might have helped me. Maybe “medicating” myself before I started, so I didn’t end up with gritted teeth, sore shoulders, and a neckache? Honestly, my best advice to anyone doing any kind of quilting is: don’t be afraid to try something you want to try. If you must, make a little practice sandwich first to get the hang of it. Watch videos – they really do help. Doodle on scrap paper with a sharpie – there’s really something to that “muscle memory” theory. Make it fun for yourself, so you don’t get frustrated and give up.
Me: When you have time to sew for yourself, what kinds of projects do you like to work on? What is your favorite sewing project that you have made (and please attach a photo if you have it!).
Shelly: I’m a truly addicted quilter, so when I sew for myself, it’s still usually quilts I’m making. My favorite things are working with really tiny pieces, and doing hand needle-turn appliqué, so I can be found in my comfy chair in the evenings working on something like that. I do, however, design and publish the pattern for a different Cowboy Boot Christmas Stocking every year, and I also make lots of them ready-made to sell and as custom orders, so this time of year, I’m exceptionally busy with that, and it’s a welcome break from quilting and gives me the satisfaction of being able to finish something in a shorter amount of time than a quilt generally takes. This year’s stocking is called Prairie Stars:
Thank you so much for playing along, Shelly!!
Posted by Sara @ Sew Sweetness at 6:47 AM