Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quilt Shop Hop

While recent blog posts attest to the fact that I've been logging a lot of time at my sewing machine, I am by no means a quilter. This is evidenced by the fact that the one quilt project I actually started is still languishing in the corner waiting to be finished. Despite my mixed success with quilting, I've discovered one thing I really love about the hobby: the quilt shop hop.

The Wisconsin State Quilt Shop Hop is currently taking place until the end of the month and I participated this past weekend in conjunction with the (extended) extended family: my brother-in-law's girlfriend, her mother, and my mother-in-law. The premise of the hop is to visit stores statewide in order to shop and participate in shop hop activities. The later includes getting your shop-hop passport stamped, buying special shop-hop quilt-square kits, and entering into drawings.

Despite not being a quilter, I really enjoyed touring the fabric stores and even came home with a few items. I got:

  • a pattern book to make 4 placemats and a table-runner using yardage and a charm pack
  • two lovely fleece fat-quarters (to be gloves using McCall's 6450)
  • some laminated fabric (to be a rain-proof hat)
  • an embroidery stitch guide
  • a small bag kit that uses this mini charm pack

And though it's cheesy to say, the best thing I came home with is honestly the inspiration to get sewing!

I really had a lovely time with the ladies and would definitely do another shop hop in the future. Since we visited 5 stores near Madison--Stitcher's CrossingSaving ThymeJ.J. StitchesMill House Quilts (first photo), and Village Creek (above)--I think next time I'll hop in some shops near Milwaukee.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Game-Day Knitting

I'm not much of a baseball fan, but sometimes I think that knitting and baseball are a match made in heaven. I mean, I can't knit without watching something and I can't watch baseball without doing something with my hands, so it's really a perfect combination. And when you throw in a Gretel hat-in-progress and a dominant Brewers win, then you have a great day at the ballpark.

The Gretel hat in question may look familiar, as it's inspired by the one I'm wearing in my avatar. I sometimes think of that hat as 'the one that got away', as I was in love with it but gifted it to a friend. Thankfully, I'm finally making one for myself. Because I obviously do not have enough hats.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Problem of Pins

While making my new Peony dress last weekend, I noticed that I don't have a very good way to deal with pins as I sew. I obviously have a pincushion, one of the old-school tomatoes, but it's not possible to pull a pin out and stick it into the cushion without stopping my sewing momentum. Dealing with pins is currently a two-handed job, one holds the cushion and the other the pin.

It's seems to me that a pincushion mounted to my wrist may work better for me, as it would only require one hand to put the pin in the cushion. I'm willing to give this new cushion type a try, especially because I had an urge to do a little embroidery this week.

To put the cushion together, I used two 3" square pieces of felt and embroidered one of the pieces using lazy daisiesfrench knots, and split stitch. I then machine-sewed the two felt pieces most of the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance, simultaneously sewing both ends of a 1/2" strip of elastic in place. I turned the felt right-side-out, stuffed the cushion will Polyfill, and hand-sewed the hole closed. Voila! Pincushion!

I'm not sure how easy this pincushion will be to use at my sewing machine, mostly because I made the elastic too short. It is definitely not comfortable to wear it around my wrist, though it may work to wear it around my fingers as shown above. We'll see how useful it ends up being when I sew up my next project!