Archives for August 2013

Star Dresden Pillow

I bet a lot of you saw Nicole’s Star Dresden Tutorial a few weeks ago, right? Wasn’t it great? I knew I had to make one right away.

Star Dresden Pillow

I have to confess: for whatever reason I’m not really drawn to the traditional Dresden block. But something about Nicole’s idea of making the inside of the petals pointy as well as the outside just completely transforms this for me. Maybe it’s the star shape that then appears in the center, which has a vaguely Islamic feel to it. It goes pretty well with my Palatina Pillow, don’t you think?

Star Dresden Pillow and Palatina Pillow

I modified Nicole’s instructions slightly to make twelve petals instead of thirteen. The template I used is here if you want it. I basted both the front and back pieces to batting and some muslin before assembling the pillow. The only quilting I did was some hand quilting around the star. The starting point for my fabrics was this cute custom bundle from Fabricworm, with some other fabrics from Amy Butler, Tula Pink, and (no surprises here) Carolyn Friedlander thrown in.

Star Dresden Pillow Detail

I was about 90% done with this two weeks ago before I left on a trip (hi, future in-laws!), but I had a little snafu with the binding. I’ve never made a pillow with binding before, and I didn’t make it wide enough to cover the multiple layers of batting. So frustrating! I had to buy more of the binding fabric to redo it, because by that point my heart was set on it and nothing else would do. Here’s the back closure.

Star Dresden Pillow Back

Another confession: there is just the tiniest voice in my head that’s telling me the star shouldn’t be quite so off-center. I was trying to be all modern and out-of-the-box, but the voice says maybe I went just a little too far. It’s telling me to take my seam ripper, remove the dresden, and make a whole new pillow. I’ve decided to ignore that voice. Sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand of your own craziness.

However, this brings me to another thing I feel compelled to share with you, which is that I finally figured out how to use my seam ripper… as a ripper! Don’t laugh. I don’t know quite how this eluded me for so long. I had been using it to pick out individual stitches from one side of the seam, but somehow I never thought to position it so that it could slide along the seam between the two layers and pop-pop-pop them apart in one fluid motion. I feel like I discovered the freaking wheel, you guys!

In other news, I’m excited that the Penny Sampler class starts this week. I’ve got all my supplies and am rearing to go. Now that it’s been driven home to me what newbie sewer I am, I just know I’m going to learn a ton!

Indigo Dyeing with Stitch Resist

Hi all! I have a guest post today on the blog Likes To Smile. My friend Stacey issued a challenge to come up with a craft project involving a bandana and embroidery thread. I show how to dye the bandanas using indigo, stitching with the embroidery thread to create interesting resist patterns.

Shibori patterns

I did the indigo dyeing with my friend Liz. In addition to the stitch resist, we also had fun dyeing some commercial fabrics with Rossie’s plexiglass resists. Here’s one of my favorites that we made.

Indigo dyed fabric

Anyway, head over to Likes To Smile to read all about indigo dyeing!

Penny Sampler Fabric Choices

I’m excited to be taking Rachel’s Penny Sampler class along with my new friends Laura and Nicole. (Anyone else taking it too?) Here’s the quilt we’re going to make. The class officially starts August 19th, but this past week Rachel posted some ideas to inspire us with our fabric choices. Here’s what I pulled together.

Penny Sampler Fabrics

I took a new (to me) approach to choosing fabrics, which is that I started with an inspiration photo–this piece of embroidery from a Swedish blogger–and then chose specific colors of Kona cotton to match the photo. (Check out the newly improved Palette Builder at Play Crafts, which matches the Kona colors for you!) I cut up my Kona card a few weeks ago, and this is the first time I used my new little fabric chips.

The quilt we’re making has a lot of detailed patterning, so in addition to ordering yardage of the Kona cottons, I pulled together primarily simple fabrics, with just a few big prints. I was able to pull about half of the fabrics from my stash, and then I gathered up my little chips and hit the fabric store! Even though it isn’t an exact match, I couldn’t resist buying a quarter yard of this print with Dala horses!

Dala Horse fabric

It was interesting to me how hard it was to find fabrics to match my blue chips. I would say about 80% of blue fabrics I saw were somewhere in the blue-green spectrum, whereas I was looking more for sky blues. I guess blue-green must be what more people are buying right now. I would never have noticed something like this if I hadn’t been looking for a very specific shade. Although, now that I see these fabrics together, the sky blues do have a more vintage look.

Penny Sampler fabrics

I took the quilt design file Rachel gave us and started coloring it in on my computer. The light blue area on the right hand side is a focus fabric. I’m thinking that maybe instead of blue I should choose a low volume print to go there, to keep things more balanced. Or buy more Dala horse fabric for that spot! What do you think? It’s clear I’m going to have to use a light hand with the pale pinks and blues to keep this from looking too much like a baby quilt.

Penny Sampler Design

It’s not too late to register for the Penny Sampler. The class covers appliqué, machine paper piecing, and precise piecing in general. I can’t wait to take my quilting skills to the next level!

Garnets and Gold Quilt Top

I briefly mentioned a while ago that I was working on the Garnets and Gold quilt. Then I kept thinking I was SO CLOSE to finishing and so didn’t post in-progress photos. But now I finally am finished, at least with the top!

Garnets and Gold Quilt

This quilt is from Little Bits Quilting Bee by Kathreen Rickertson.  Like the rest of the craft community I was so sad to learn of Kathreen’s death earlier this year. I never met her, but I’ve drawn so much inspiration from her blog and from this book.

I decided to draw up my own paper piecing templates to help with keeping the piecing precise for this quilt.  For the most part I’m really happy with the alignment. When it came to the few exceptions, I decided there was just no way I was going to rip out a line of stitching at eighteen stitches to the inch.

Garnets and Gold Close Up

The fabrics are about 90% Amy Butler and a few other random ones that fit the color profile, like that gorgeous orange Anna Maria Horner feather print. Honestly, I go back and forth in my thinking about whether this quilt is just too loud. Sometimes I love it, and other times I start feeling vaguely grossed out by it. It’s definitely not in my usual comfort zone, but it’s good to bust out every once in a while, no? I have a more subdued plan for the back, with scattered wonky diamonds like the ones in this quilt on an almost black background. I think the scraps from the front should really sparkle.

I made myself a little mock-up to audition some possible quilting designs.

Quilting Diagram

I’ve been watching Angela Walters’ Craftsy class on quilting feathers and have gotten kind of obsessed with them. I think I’m going to try putting feathers up through the warm sections of the quilt and then densely quilt back and forth over the cool colored diamonds. But I need to practice a lot first. I’m particularly concerned about avoiding the lumps where all those points come together. That could turn into a total nightmare!

Garnets and Gold Quilt

So, have you ever made a project that you couldn’t make up your mind if you liked?

Oh, and unrelated bonus question: have you guys watched The Great British Sewing Bee? My friend Stephanie clued me in to the fact that you can watch episodes on YouTube and I love it! It’s kind of like Project Runway except it’s specifically for home sewers and everyone is nice to each other. I may be the last one to this party, but check it out if you haven’t yet!