Hand piecing

>> Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So I've tried it out and it looks like I'll be hand-piecing the single girl quilt. I didn't sew the pieces together in the order it suggests in the instructions since I wanted to see a finished square and see whether I was happy with using the muslin for the background fabric.

Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl quilt instructions suggest sewing all the first quarter rings first, then all the second quarters etc. It makes a lot of sense to put together batches at a time and then you could also chain piece as well and save time and thread.

Part of the reason I went ahead with a full ring was that I had laid out the whole quilt and made sure I was happy with the prints in each ring. Mainly I was checking that there were no duplicate prints in each ring.

The rings are mainly all the same, except you substitute in a few different prints so the overall effect appears random. I had done that and spent some time making sure I liked the placement of my random prints. So I want to keep all the pieces for each ring together as I go along.
Now that the first square is done (11 more to go!) I'm really happy with the results. When I sewed my last quilt I quickly machine pieced it and while I was fine with the way it turned out in the end I was a bit bothered by the way some of the squares didn't line up perfectly. In retrospect that was also about cutting out imperfectly - some of the little pieces of fabric I had were just slightly too small and I wanted to make them work.

So as I was methodically hand sewing my ring together I found I was able to line up the quarter rings almost perfectly. And I was thinking of a saying that my grandfather used to say from time to time: If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well.

This simple phrase haunts me. Anytime I do something in a rushed, haphazard way and I know it's not going to turn out as well as it could I have a sort of guilty feeling. I question whether it's worth doing, and if so why am I not doing it well?

So in this case I'm slowing down and I think it will be worth it in the end. Not that I'm against machine piecing! Not at all. I may very well go back to it for my next quilt. Which I'm trying not to think about so that I can focus on this one. But I will say the next one is going to be made up of yellow prints. I love yellow.


Single girl cut out

>> Monday, February 23, 2009

All my Single Girl quilt rings are now cut out and ready to sew. I finished up with the cutting at the workroom during Quilt Sunday, then when I got home laid out everything on our living room floor. After a few more tweaks I'm finally happy with all the prints I have and how they're arranged so it's time to sew it together.

Katrina asked me about whether I would do hand piecing and I said "no" to doing that. But tentatively because I was thinking about it. I did a little reading online last night, and found an appealingly simple discussion/tutorial on the purl bee.

I started hand piecing but I'm not sure if my patience will hold out. I actually like the idea of having a little portable craft project on hand. Especially as we're still showing the house, so setting up my sewing machine and putting it away all the time is an extra chore. But it still means really slowing down the creation of this quilt.
And seeing all those circles lined up on the floor got me really excited about the quilt top!


Mini makeover

>> Thursday, February 19, 2009

My chair "after"

So recently I was in a shop coveting some refurbished mid-century modern armchairs but they were over $500 each and we're feeling poor lately. Just like everyone else I'm guessing?
the chair "before"

But a few days later I found a chair at Goodwill that was really similar. The arms didn't have the exact shaping of the other chairs, but the joins were dovetailed rather than butt-joined which I liked. Of course the upholstery was really shabby and the wood finish was also very worn and patchy.
Also one of the arms was dislodged at the join. The woman at the cash looked at me like I was a bit pathetic for buying this dodgy chair and charged me $5.99.

So I bought the chair, took it home and took it all apart. The first step was using some carpenter's glue to fix the arm at the join. After adding the glue, it was just a matter of tapping it gently back into place with a hammer over a tea towel (so as not to mark the wood).

Then I sanded the whole thing with a fine sandpaper to keep the smoothness of the wood. Then I stained the wood with a dark colour (Royal Mahogany) then varnished with Polyeurethane. Then one last sanding and one last coat of varnish. I think the wood is mahogany but I really don't know my woods. It's definitely a nice hardwood.

The last step was reupholstering the chair. I really wanted to use something I already had, so there wasn't a lot of choice. I actually got the fabric I used at the workroom fabric swap, it's a creamy white chenille that has a texture of tiny squares. I had just enough! This kind of upholstery is quite easy, just wrap the fabric and staple on the underside. Just take care to tuck the fabric neatly around the corners.
The final touch was a pillow made from an old cashmere sweater. I've been meaning to do this for ages, I see them in magazines all the time and they always look so nice. The best part is this one is also so soft and cosy because of the cashmere. Perfect for that last little patch of winter.


The Long Lost Shop

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Love & Rummage sale was so great! We had crowds of people walking through all day and it was really busy. The rummage was very popular, and I sold lots of fabric grab bags and lots of buttons carefully selected from my stash. I spent hours the day before the sale sorting my buttons by colour and putting aside a few I couldn't bear to part with! It was a very relaxing way to spend the afternoon at Starbucks.
This was my table. I sold lots of odds and ends (such as the two vintage sewing baskets at the back left) which I really wanted to do as we'll be moving someday soon (not sure when... depends when we sell the house). So lately it's all about clearing things ruthlessly out. Yesterday I made two trips up to our local clothing donation box laden with bags of clothes.

The hard part was not buying a whole bunch of new things at the Love & Rummage sale - there were so many wonderful things there. I did buy two pieces of fabric from Karyn and did a couple of swaps. I love the beautiful hankie cosy (above) I swapped for from Jen of Toronto Craft Alert fame. She even gave me an adorable matching hankie to go inside.

Thanks to everyone who came by and it's always nice to hear that you read my blog. But just in case you aren't nearby or always seem to be busy when these sales are on (and maybe you're feeling like you're missing out) I've decided to stock my etsy shop again.
This is the first item, my bird art postcard set, but there will be more items coming up soon.


Hallway hoops

>> Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thank you for all the positive comments about our house. It can be pretty stressful selling your house and our case is no exception! In the meantime, as requested, here's a detail of the hoops in the hallway. I posted them a while ago but didn't get a great photo of them as it wasn't a sunny week.
I got this idea from Blueprint originally, I think, then saw Karyn's fabulous version in the workroom.

Today I'm getting ready for the Love & Rummage trunk show at the workroom. I'm going to be selling my usual handmade things plus some extra vintage items. I've been trimming up some business cards as I ran out at the City of Craft show which was so busy.
The show is this Sunday so please visit!


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