Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Table Runner - In Progress!

I decided to give QST (Quarter Square Triangles) a new try for my table runner.  I modified my design from a piece I found in a magazine I bought from the dollar store (Quilt It Today).  My modified design matches the accent wall in my living room, and is a bit longer because we have an abnormally large coffee table. You can see a little snip-it of the pattern to the left there in the photo. 

So here are all the little QST's  and HST's waiting to be turned into Quarters for my runner. 

Table Runner

Here you can kind of see the design starting to come together.  I still have a ways to go. 

Table Runner Design

I think the colors are nice, and there's a nice mix of patterns.  Planning to hand quilt this one - bought my little hoop yesterday.  Hopefully I'll finish it soon. 

My other big project is texturing and painting my living room.  My husband and I live in a 103 year old home in Tyler, TX, and it was in desperate need of some TLC when we moved in.  Two of the walls in the living room were suitable for paint right off, but the other two had some cracks that needed repair.  We did that, and now I'm to the texturing part.  I have to do it in small bits, as it's 100+ degrees outside, and our A/C struggles as it is.  (in other words: it's HOT!)

Living Room Texture

I really cannot wait until our house is finished.  Next thing I'm tackling after the living room is the kitchen.  Right now, I'm thinking open shelves up top, and I have some really nice cabinets that I'm going to refinish for the bottom.  We're doing a retro theme.  It'll be nice!

Lastly, a little painting I've been working on since I was featured in the Downtown Tyler Art Walk back in June.  I started it as a demo for mixing paint from primary colors.  This is how it has evolved since then.  I still feel like it's a WIP. 

Painting - Colors Well, now you all know why I have cut back on my sewing/quilting the past few days.

Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday - Freshly Pieced

Accent Wall

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Birthday Celebrations!

Yesterday was my birthday party.  It was fun! 

My friend Deisi and I stayed in the studio late last night and painted.  She painted a deserted zombie town and I finished a painting for a job - a friend of mine wanted it to hang in her massage studio.  So, for a day, I took a break from the sewing machine and went back to my roots as a painter with a good friend. 

Here are our paintings :)

Deisi's Deserted Zombie Town
My Cherry Blossoms Painting
While I didn't sew a single thing yesterday, my mom gave me my birthday present when I saw her, a travel sewing machine case and a thread spool rack.  I was so excited!  I also got to show her my baby quilt.  She was impressed. 
That's all for now, I think I'll be spending some time with my machine tonight.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Machine binding and the finished baby quilt

I did it!  I finally finished a whole quilt all by myself!  While it's not perfect, it is done.  I did not expect perfect for my first quilt, anyway. 

Here are links to a few things that helped me:

Machine binding tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew
Tutorial for Baby Lattice Quilt Top

I also watched a free class on Craftsy from Elizabeth Hartman on creative quilt backs.  :)

Lessons learned: don't machine quilt without the right presser foot.  I'm both too broke, and unsure of where to buy the right foot.  I'm uneasy buying one online because I can't find one that has my machine's model number specifically listed.  So, until I can catch Wait's open, and I have the money for the walking foot, and darning/free-motion (still don't think I have the guts for that..), it looks like I'll be trying my hand at hand-quilting for the next one.  I'll show you why in a minute... 

The machine quilting/binding process I went through -


I decided to grid my quilt top.  Using the regular straight stitch presser foot both cause bubbling in my fabric when stitches crossed and it caused a lot of shifting in the quilt top.
So before I machine quilt another quilt, I'll be getting the proper equipment.  Other than that... it wasn't bad!


I am so not used to taking pictures during any of my processes.. but I did manage to remember to take a few. :)  If you want to know where I got the original tutorial that I read for machine binding it can be found here.

First, I started with the typical strips of fabric used for binding.  I needed 5 strips joined to complete my quilt.   I chose to use the same baby footprint fabric that is featured on my quilt back in the pieced strips and squares. 

After squaring my quilt and trimming the excess back/batting, I pinned my binding strips to the edge and took it to my machine. 
I was a little nervous about going over or under on my seam allowance on this.  Though in hindsight, I shouldn't have been.  I had plenty of room once I turned my binding to the back.  I'll show you what I mean:
The stitch line on the top is after binding the back of the quilt.  There's a good 1/4" - 3/8" difference there.  Granted, this was my first corner, and I did improve as I went on, but still, good to know :)

Anyway, back to the process:

As you continue binding on the front side of the quilt and approach a corner, simply stitch to right before the end, and turn your fabric, as shown:
Start stitching at the very end again.  I did a couple back-stitches since I know baby quilts go through the wash quite a bit. 

After you finish binding the front turn the binding to the back and pin in place, especially around the mitered corners. :)

The tutorial says to stitch the back just to the left of the original stitch showing on the back from the front side.  Since I don't have a walking foot, and I was fighting to keep everything lined up and feeding through my machine properly, I didn't manage this so well at the start.  Again, after I got the feel for it, I improved. 

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the finished baby quilt:

Full Quilt Top
Back detail and front corner turned.
Front detail and back corner turned.
Final dimensions are 45" x 37"

Thanks for reading!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it up Friday!  Hope to have another next week :)

- Cassie

I'm on Facebook!

I just made a Facebook page to share things about quilting and promote my blog.  I'll be sharing giveaways, patterns, and the like there. 

Sew Simply Facebook Page

Getting ready to post pictures of the finished baby quilt!  I just need to finish binding it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Baby Bib

A few weeks ago, Hancock Fabrics (website) was having a sale on Simplicity patterns.  I think I paid $0.99/ea for them...?  Anyway, I picked up this adorable pattern for a bib.  As I mentioned in my last post about the baby quilt, she's pregnant with her first baby - a little boy. 

Here's the pattern I picked up:
Here was my attempt at making the bib pictured on the right:
I realized after turning the bib right side out that my ric rac was much smaller than that in the picture.  You can barely see it in spots!  However, I do like how the choices of fabric matched up nicely :)

Anyway, that was a little project I just put together one afternoon.  It was nice to finish something. 

Stash started!

I have been really fortunate in my sewing escapades so far.  I got a huge old Hon desk from which is large enough to host my cutting mat and my sewing machine, plus it has tons of storage for whatever.  As the name suggests, the desk was free!  I just had to pick it up.  Then the husband and I had to maneuverer  it into my art studio/craft room.

My mom has been accumulating a fat stash of fabric for quite some time.  I had no idea how much she actually had in her craft room.  I had been talking to her a lot about sewing, post catching the sewing bug - she seemed mildly interested, but humored me by listening as I gushed about being so happy that I'm finally getting the hang of the techniques and the latest idea I had for a project. 

She and my dad happened to be around town a few weeks ago, so I made the hour trip to visit them.  To my surprise, she shared her stash with me.  No, literally, she halved every piece of fabric that she had and gave me half of her stash.  When I got home and asked my husband to help me bring it all in from the car, he gave me this accusing look like I had spent a fortune.  When I told him it was from my mom, he looked relieved. 

So, here are a few pictures of the "stash" I got from my mom, combined with what little I had leftover from my Victorian Modern QAL (found here). 

For someone who has only been "collecting" for a month or so, I don't think my stash is too shabby!
Now for another project I'm working on: 
I found this tutorial in the Moda Bake Shop.  Baby Lattice Tutorial
My mom gave me some super cute flannel for a baby boy.  My sister-in-law is pregnant with her first baby (and my first nephew!), so like any loving aunt, I'm going to make plenty of goodies for him.  :)  I pored over hundreds of baby quilt designs, both free, and paid.  Of course, after my experience with the first quilt top I made, and the crooked corners, I wanted to find a more forgiving design.  This one was perfect!  And it was free. (Thanks Moda Bakes Shop!!)
So I made the quilt top out of these fabrics:  
I had to devise a sort of design wall for this project, since it called for a bunch of littler squares that were random in placement.  So I put up a piece of batting (next time I will use all cotton or fleece, I think) on the wall to figure out my placement of the blocks and start piecing them together. 
The piecing was definitely a breeze without the guesswork of where each piece belongs.  I was able to complete the entire quilt top in a few hours (not sure if that's good or bad - I'm a newbie (: )
Here is a picture of the top completed.  (Sorry, it's basted in this picture, going to take a stab at quilting this afternoon!) 

I also did something a little creative with the back.  Since we live in Texas, and it's a thousand degrees here, I made a cotton back for the quilt, so it can be used year-round.  This picture is also of the back post-basting.. sorry again.  You get the picture though.   
The fabrics I used for the back were a yellow and white striped and a random baby footprint fabric.  I think post-quilting, the back will be nice.  I was picturing something much cuter in my head.
Anyway, this is how this one stands right now - I'll post (hopefully better) pictures of the finished product once it's done. 

I think I missed my calling

Over the past month or so, I have been sew crazy. I picked up my first sewing machine - a Janome 7330 Magnolia - from Wait's Sewing in Tyler, TX last year, but barely used it, as I was a work-a-holic. (He doesn't have a website, but his YP entry can be found here)

As a stroke of good fortune, I have had the opportunity to spend much of my time lately in front of the machine. My husband wasn't thrilled about it at first, but then he started to see how happy it made me to create something beautiful out of a few scraps of fabric and time. (Plus his grandmother does a lot of quilting, and I think he's hoping that I can eventually create the beauties that she does - I hope so too!)

  Right now, I don't think it's anything more than just a hobby, but I would eventually love to do some design work - maybe put my painting skill to the test and come up with a fabric design. (How do you even get something like that started??)

Let me show you what I've been working on so far!

I have never been shy about jumping right in there and trying something new. So I started Googling and YouTubing quilting tutorials. (After all, sewing a quilt top must be easier than garment sewing....) I came across Crafty Gemini's blog and YouTube Channel. She had just started her Victorian Modern Quilt-Along. You can find her Victorian Modern QAL here.

...I decided to give it a go. This is what happened:

There are a few things I learned while putting together this quilt top:
  1. Be careful when picking replacement fabrics if you don't want to use the ones from the tutorial/pattern/quilt along. I found that my fabric selections didn't really have the same "feel" as the original that Vanessa made. Anyway, there are only a few fabrics that I used that, in retrospect, I would have selected a different fabric instead. Namely, the green and corners on all the blocks, and the sashing strips. Other than that, I don't feel that I did such an awful job choosing fabrics for my first project.
  2. Corners are not easy if you're careless with measurements and seam allowances.  A little here and there can really add up to the end result being off by quite a bit.  

Long story short: I started paying a lot closer attention to my seam allowances.  I still don't have a 1/4" piecing foot, but I did attach a little stack of sticky notes as a guide on my machine. That definitely helped - A LOT.

So that this post does not get too long, I will share my other projects in a future one.  Thanks for reading!

Special thanks to Vanessa, the Crafty Gemini - she came up with the design for the quilt featured in this post.  Here is a link to her blog: Crafty Gemini.