Archive for the ‘Tutorial’ Category

Mug Rug!

November 8, 2010

This year, I’m all about knocking things off my Giftmas list. My rule has been that I make one major gift per year, typically a sweater, and rotate which family member gets it. This year my mother is getting the red cables sweater in my last post.

My broke ass is making lesser gifts for everyone else. My whole family actually appreciates this.

Enter my father’s gift. I made him the sort of tea cozy that Japanese teenagers might make if they discovered acid.

The tea cozy is simple. I improv pieced 8 blocks that were approximately 6″x5″ and trimmed them to size. I pieced four together for each side and cut a 3″ strip to go up and over. I roughly cut scraps of batting to jam in, overlapping in the top and lined it with a piece of the cutesy deer fabric. I cut a piece that was as big as the outside, minus the expansion strip.

I quiltd with a tapestry needle and bright red yarn, two lines that ran over the top and back down. They begged for a pompom where they met. I bound it by hand since the three layers of batting were too much for my machine to handle.

It needed mug rugs. Once it had mug rugs it needed a bigger mat for the tea pot. I’m stopping myself, really.

I’ll be tacking the binding down tonight.


Are you as crazy as I am?

November 7, 2010

I’ve been awash in a sea of lung butter. I had no idea that my 27 year old ass could get pneumonia. Surprise!

I’m trying not to think about the loss of 1/4 of my month’s income from this week off. Instead, in the days that it’s been possible for me to focus on anything more complex than the Kardashians (and believe me I did plenty of that) I’ve been accomplishing crafty things.

First finished was a quilt for a fundraiser:

It’s made of donated activist shirts from years of struggle. The method I used was simple:

I had 16″ wide lightweight fusible interfacing. 14″ seemed to be a design width that neither exceeded the smallest shirt dimensions nor cropped the largest designs.

I roughly cut the silkscreens out, ironed them to the interfacing, and trimmed with a ruler. Alternating orientation and color I sewed them together, aiming for 4 strips of equal length. A few strips got an extra few inches and a few got trimmed and then sewn together. That’s the quilt top.

There is no batting. The backing is a heavy denim (tee shirt and jeans, get it?) and the two layers sandwiched seemed like a nice weight and drape. There was a moment of horror when my once-huge denim came out of the wash too small. I trimmed and things went on their way.

The quilt is tied with red yarn. Dale of Norway Baby Ull, to be exact, left over from a pair of fingerless cycling gloves made years ago.

When I can breathe like a normal person I’ll be stenciling something on the back in spray paint. Still deciding on what.

Next up was finishing work for a sweater for my mother:

It still needs a good blocking and some ribbon facing on the neckband. Full disclosure, the knitting had been done and the pieces sitting for several months.

It’s Lillian by Lucy Sweetland. Well written pattern that I highly recommend.

I also blocked the Ishbel made with the yarn that was the first ever gift from my darling.

And I finally started the tea cozy that my father has been asking me for since I can remember. (He got a Dale of Norway Olympic Ski Sweater last year in 6’5″ man size. He hasn’t been neglected.)

Improv kinda-logcabin squares that aimed for 6″x5″ dimensions. I used lots of my bird fabrics and several from the generations of fabric stash. I think these will get poly batting, terry cloth, and a backing fabric. I think I’ll tie the layers together.

Do you share my madness? I’m not done here. I’m just whittling away the Giftmas list and the WIPs. My boyfriend’s sister and parents each need something and my best friend’s quilt is still in pieces. I saw this coaster this morning:

and I think I know what I’m giving someone. Linky!

It’s even raining today. Save our dog’s first obedience class, there’s nothing but fabric scraps and cough syrup until tuesday.

What can be slavaged:

July 18, 2010

The simplest repair is the simple replacement of lost stitches between two intact pieces of fabric.

Those were a minority of the problems I encountered. I spent yesterday evening on the mid-grade interventions. Remember the pink star from my past post? Here?

The places that had pulled out of their stitching but still had intact fabric were handled thusly:

Pardon the harshly extra-jumbo photo. I re-stitched ever so slightly inside the original thread. I was able to do this because the creases from its first ironing were, in many cases, inside of the stitching rather than on it. After duplicating the stitching (and tightly corralling any threads that had come free) I flipped the seam allowances over so that the much more stable contrast fabric covered all off the stray bits. Then I tacked it down with the tiniest stitches I could manage, since I was now stitching on the surface of the quilt.

One step up was stabilizing with fabric from behind.

I approached the first steps in the same way as everything else. I picked all the stray threads to the wrong side of the fabric and re-sewed the seam. Here, unlike before, I was barely able to make a stable join. I cut a patch from plain white scrap fabric to stabilize from behind.

I applied it to the wrong side of the fabric but only worked from the right side. Pin from the right side and stitch parallel to the seam, trying to stay halfway between the seam and the edge of the seam allowance on the other side.

It’s anal retentive at its best but look at the difference:

I’m starting the process of snipping out the parts that can’t be stabilized from behind. Stay tuned.

A New Project

July 17, 2010

A few years ago, when I had a stultifying office job, I bought a quilt top for $10 on ebay.

It’s charming and colorful. I expected this to be a shortcut to learning to¬† hand quilt. I wanted to play with something I had no emotional attachment stitched into. Then rainbow unicorns would fly out of my butthole to take me to the quilt shop.

This is an astounding work. These six pointed stars are completely hand pieced. The fabrics look like children’s clothing, 70s blouses, summer dresses, and men’s shirts. There are some issues, which shall be detailed, but the adoration clincher came when I realized this:

Here we see a star that needs a repair and perfectly matching fabric

(wait for it)

From my grandmother’s stash.

It makes me wonder how, exactly, this quilt top came to be listed for $10 on ebay. Was a crafter’s stash being sorted through after his or her death? did this not make the cut during its maker’s cleaning spree? Or, as I’m beginning to think, it was stained, laundered, came out tattered, and a repair was abandoned. Exhibit A:

The fabrics that were less quilt-suitable frayed very badly. Some of the painstakingly hand stitched Y-seams have melted. In one place that I’ve found (so far) there was an attempt at a repair:

You can see the crease from the seam, the re-shaped diamond, and the messy attempt to stabilize one of the most disintegrated fabrics.

Despite the issues, there are such beautiful details. Fussy cut embroidered flowers? Yep.

Bowling shirt? Oh, hell yeah

I’m starting the process of repairing this top so that I can finish the quilt. I’ve identified issue spots with safety pins and I’ll be documenting the work necessary to restore this charmer. Check back.