Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Shopping

Its a nightmare for everyone. But take comfort this year that it isn't as difficult for you as for the poor TK's who have to do it all in uniform.

What aisle did I see those droids on?

Stay safe, get in and get out, and survive this holiday madness. For those interested, shots from my latest troop with the 501st Ireland are up over on Flickr.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving in to the Social Media

As the title suggests, I've given in.

Without A Stitch On is now also on Facebook. This should complete the social media setup, so there should be something for everyone. For those who want a breakdown, this is what's likely to be where:

Facebook is likely to be primarily cosplay/costume/photography based, but certainly updates from here will get posted there too.

Instagram is primarily shots of works in progress of all sorts, but I also like to throw in random shots that I like too.

Flickr is for good shots, proper photos, and anything that I feel is too good as is to be chopped up for Instagram.

Twitter is the most comprehensive of the offerings outside of the blog itself. The updates from other social medias are likely to show up here.

Hopefully, this will be the last addition of places I have to curate. The blog, as ever, will trundle on. I've some possible plans for a revamp, but right now that won't be happening until 2015.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Art at the Knitting & Stitching Show

One of the aspects that I love about the Knitting & Stitching Show but never talk about is the textile art. Every year, textile artists, patchwork quilters, embroiderers, and more get the opportunity to show off their skills and artwork. It is a part of the show that I love and am always inspired by.

This year’s art was particularly gorgeous. So many of the artists who chose to exhibit their work were incredibly original and truly beautiful.

"Avocado" by Horst Couture

Horst Couture had a number of felted dresses on display, this being my favorite. It reminds me of moss and nature and also Cthulhu (and who doesn't love Cthulhu?). I'm sure I'd die of heatstroke, but would love the chance to wear such a piece to an event.

Felted skull by Stephanie Metz

Stephanie Metz was probably my favourite artist this year. Her felted creations make me consider learning how to felt wool. Her bone creations were incredibly captivating. I couldn’t believe how real they looked. It was almost like being in a slightly fuzzy museum of history collection.

Felted Ruxpin skull by Stephanie Metz
Her Teddy Ruxpin skull was especially charming and nostalgia-inducing. Her work was so incredible that I would seriously contemplate learning to felt.

"Dress Code" by Rose Mary Cullen
My embroidery love keeps going back to this piece: Dress Code by Rose Mary Cullen. The details were lovely, especially the nearly hidden whitework. It was a shame the piece was so high on the wall as it was difficult to see the detailed collar, but I still loved it.

"Eye am a Quilter" by Tracy Wardle
Every year there is a quilting show put on by the Irish Patchwork Society. This year’s theme was “Explorations” and there were quite a few stunning examples. Tracy Wardle’s “Eye am a Quilter” was the first to catch my eye, even before I was looking at the exhibition. I’m a sucker for pixel art anyway, and quilting works beautifully to bring it to life. I like the modernity that mixing the two brings.

"A Blog" by Irene MacWilliam
My favourite quilt though was “A Blog” by Irene MacWilliam. Every day for just over 365 days, she made a square and it was all put together. It was fascinating to see what she chose each day. It reminded me of my 100 Happy Days. What makes the quilt says about as much about her as the things that didn’t make it. From happy moments to deaths, the artist will always have these memories to look back on.

There were other exhibitions, other artists. There were a number whose talents just somehow wouldn’t translate to my camera on the day, like the 7 Deadly Sins by Rachel Olin, the painted fabric animals of Rebecca Connell and the pieces on display by the Silkfelt Collective.

The Lockout 1913 quilt/embroidery collaborations bringing the graphic novel alive was very cool, both in idea and execution. And, of course, the Royal School of Needlework’s stand was stunning as ever, once again reminding me that I really need to find the time and money to work with them.

I look forward to the new and inspiring things at next year’s show. As always, it will make my day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Trooping at Temple Street

If you’ve been following on Twitter or Flickr you will have seen an influx of photos around Halloween. Back in August, I attended Dublin Comic Con and met the 501st Ireland Garrison. With fabulous costumes, and a love of Star Wars, how could I resist? So I signed up, and yes I have made moves towards my own Star Wars-based costume. 

One of the things that drew me to the club is that the 501st is not just a costuming club. I joined the Irish Garrison, but the 501st is worldwide. Not only that, but they wear their costumes not just for fun, but for charity. 

There is something that has drawn me to charity work lately. In the last year I’ve become a proofreader for Project Gutenberg (which everyone should consider doing), and found the work to really be fulfilling. No pay, no credit, but there’s a personal satisfaction that comes with working for charity. The 501st, then, seemed a fantastic fit for me.

While I didn’t have a costume ready yet, I finally found an event that didn’t conflict with the rest of my hectic schedule, and volunteered to crew (which is essentially being a dresser if you’ve ever done theatre work plus occasionally talking to people and helping out) as the Garrison trooped its way around Temple Street Children's University Hospital. It happened to be for a cause that I knew would mean something, not only to me but to everyone else involved. 

Perhaps you’ve seen the stories before about superheroes visiting children’s hospitals. Perhaps you’ve participated in some of the superhero fundraising events that take place. Until you are standing in the doorway, watching their little faces light up with delight as Batman, Spiderman, and a host of Star Wars characters walk over to shake their hand, you just can’t understand what these visits mean to the sick kids in a hospital. 

My Halloween this year didn’t consist of getting in costume, there was no candy devoured, but it was one of the most fulfilling I’ve had in a long time. I look forward to when I am one of those characters bringing the smiles to their faces.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Knitting & Stitching Show 2014

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely enthused about going this year by the time the Knitting & Stitching Show came about. I had followed The Plan for attending shows like this in preparation already. I had booked tickets with a Groupon months ago for cheaper tickets. I had organised meeting up with a friend. I had a small list of things I needed and a budget worked out. I even had my outfit worked out. I was as ready as I could be, but I just wasn’t… keen

Possibly the most important step of the plan: fortifying at 3fe
Man am I glad I didn’t skip out on it. It was good that I had my pre-prepared plan, as having everything ready to go made showing up on the day easy, even though I wasn’t terribly excited. I was more than pleasantly surprised though. My partner and crime and I met up at 3fe for morning fortification, then taxi’d up. We skipped the queue with our pre-paid tickets (score 1 for organisation) and were straight into the thick of it. 

This year’s K&S Show is probably the best I’ve been to in terms of vendors. I’m not sure whether we just stopped at more, as our interests had broadened since last year, but I found a lot of new vendors, some of which I am quite certain were not there last year and others who were there but had branched out into new things that drew us in. 

The usual suspects were there. Coleshill as always has loads of useful tools. Surprisingly, I didn’t buy anything at Village Fabrics, despite stopping and staring longingly at their stand at least three times.

Swincraft2 was new to me, with lots of furs that I don’t get to see in Dublin often, and particularly not for the prices they were offering them at. Naturaleigh was full of gorgeous stuff that I didn’t need but really wanted. Sew Law Di Da had some really lovely patterns, with full sized mockups which means now I’m certain I’m going to have to go look more in depth at a few of them as I’m quite certain some would be lovely on me. 

This year's haul.
My new favourite though has to be Create with Kate. I’d always seen her stand and ignored it as it was mainly papercraft, which while I love the look of I desperately do not need to get into. However, my partner in crime was looking at papercraft stuff now, so I stopped too. I remember her stand from before, as her aesthetic is unique and gorgeous. This year, she has fabric. GORGEOUS fabric. The Absolutely fantastic, unique fabric. I completely fell in love with the Eclectic Elements line and considered myself lucky getting away with a single metre of my favourite of the prints, but I’m fairly confident that I’ll be looking for more later. 

My gorgeous Steampunk-y fabric from Create with Kate.
It was a successful year again. Came out within budget, with everything ticked off my list. Sticking to the plan has made the hardest part of these shows deciding what I definitely want to buy and what I’ll leave, but I found myself in the position where I have most of what I need for the projects that are WIPs, which helped in the decision making.

There’s one day left of the show- Sunday 2nd November. If you haven’t been, I do recommend it. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Accidental Art

I had intended to make a baby quilt, but somewhere along the way I realised that I had true art beneath my finger tips. 

After my flurry of quilting for babies this summer, I was rather burnt out. It was difficult for me to get excited about the next few babies that were on the way. I was also low on inspiration. Fortunately, the next mother-to-be provided the inspiration herself, by naming her "bump" Hawkeye- as in the comic book hero/Avenger. I knew I had to do something Hawkeye related, the question was what?

Our culprit, Clint Barton aka Hawkeye on the backing material.
First I went looking for fabric with Hawkeye on him. I scoured the Internet, looking for Hawkeye fabric in vain (unless I wanted to support the University of Iowa Hawkeyes) until I stumbled upon the idea of looking for Avengers fabrics. It was still a struggle, but I eventually found a line that had Hawkeye on it, and I scooped it up immediately. It would do for backing material, but what for the front?

David Aja's beautiful Hawkeye covers.
In researching Hawkeye, I came across the beautiful new comic covers by David Aja for the most recent Hawkeye comics by Matt Fraction. They were gorgeous, elegantly simple and stunning- which had the perfect potential to be translated into fabric. Hawkeye was confirmed to be a Hawkguy and so I wanted to use the blue/purple/white/black palette.

My first plan was to use the Hawkeye title lettering with a smattering of pieced concentric circles behind them, a la Vol 1. But then I realised that if I did that the quilt would end up an odd shape that I wasn't keen on, longer than it was wide. I considered other titles, but kept coming back to these, as I loved them. 

Layering up the appliqué.
As time went passed and the crunch of baby deadline loomed closer, Vol. 3 looked more and more appealing. It was had enough detail to be clear what it was, but not enough that it would be difficult to translate in the fabric. Then I went shopping and the perfect fabric just appeared on the shelf. I chose to go with a navy instead of black, as it just felt wrong to use black on a baby quilt.

It had to be appliqué. I couldn't face piecing all of those crazy angles and bitty bits. With my deadline, it had to be machine appliqué. Without large appliqué sheets available in Ireland and no hope of getting them in on time from the web, I had to make do. So my 505 did overtime, and I doubled up the edged both with straight stitch and buttonhole stitch. 

Pencil lines for quilting.
When it came to quilting, I went back to the concentric circles idea. Its Hawkeye, so there was no way he would be missing his target, right? I struck on the idea of a circle for each arrow, with the echoing circles spreading along the colour the arrow was on. So the large blue and purple arrows were on the white, where the navy arrows were on either the purple or blue. I began by digging out my compass, however soon realised that there was no way it would stretch far enough so most of the guidelines for the circles were made using a pencil attached to a string.

Best shot I have of the quilting lines. Each layer had its own circle pattern.
I considered doing the circles in the color of the arrow, but was worried it would make it overly busy. It would also have changed the art significantly, and by the time I got to the quilting I was starting to be shocked at how much like art and less like a quilt that a baby would play on this was beginning to look like. So the threads matched the fabric. 

The change I did have to make with the quilting was to add more lines in the figures themselves. My quilt batting couldn't live without lines in those areas, so I had to somehow quilt them. The concentric circles didn't make sense for the figures, so I tried to add details like T-shirt sleeve lines, a chin, neckline, and then followed the classic chevron on his chest. I also added in the lines to delineate the hand from the bow. Those lines are difficult to see in the shots I took, but I'm happy with my attempts at giving dimension to the figures without breaking the overall look of the piece.

The obligatory hanging shot.
There are things I would do differently if I did it again, there are points where I still made mistakes, and it was only after I had given the gift that I realised I had swapped the colours, but I am very happy with this quilt. I was so nervous giving it to its new owner, praying she liked it as much as I did, but her reaction made all the effort worth it and I know its gone to a good home. 

He's not here yet, but this Hawkeye has inspired me beyond simply this quilt. I love that I got to work with true art, and create something that is so breathtaking, both to others and me. Hopefully you will see that inspiration echoed in my next creation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hand Embroidering Leather: Part 1 General Leather Tips

When I came up with this idea, it sounded simple, like so many do; bracers made of leather, hand embroidered with beautiful patterns in a similar color. While I have sewn leather for projects, I've never embroidered on leather before and was leery of just trying my same old tricks with it. So I researched.

Unfortunately, most of what's out there on the web primarily relates to machine embroidery. It is one of the really frustrating things about hand embroidery is that there just isn't the same kind of easy access resources out there for it. However, I did learn a few things from all my articles on machine embroidering leather that I figured would also apply for hand embroidery.

Knowing I did not want to screw this up, I was smart enough to dig out the extra scraps of leather and play with them. With the price of leather, I am so glad that I did. My guess is that embroidering on fake leather would have similar issues to these, but I haven't tried it out.

I'm going to leave talking about stitch selection for another post (or two), but here are some general tips.

1. Not all leather is equal.
How your leather is tanned makes a big difference. I was lucky that I had bought my leather in a fabric shop so it was actually designed to be made into wearables. Some leather isn't so good at that (trying to make belt leather into a coat or even into an accent on clothing just is not going to happen).

If you want to hand embroider, you should really be looking at something that is tanned for wearing. The softer it is, the easier it will be to embroider and the less likely it is to cause you major hassle. Then again, too soft and it will fall apart. I found that suede is more likely to become problematic and more difficult to prevent holes from growing while I worked.

2. You can't hoop leather the way you would hoop fabric. 
For starters, you need to put padding between the hoop and the leather if you want it to revert back to normality after you take it out of the hoop. Leather will also get "hoop burn" and look nasty if you don't put something between it and the hoop, so there's extra incentive to make sure you do it.

The part that drove me a little nuts is that you can't pull your leather drum tight like you can with fabrics. It stretches the leather and you get literal stretch marks by doing so. Not pretty. So you have to stitch it while it is a bit loose still. I really prefer working with my embroidery surface as tight as possible, so this was very frustrating for me.

Because the leather was stretchy, I was also concerned about putting it on my Millennium Frame (or any other frame) as I could see me easily tightening it to a point where it looked dreadful once it was relaxed. That, and I was fairly certain the areas that would hold the frame in place would end up with "hoop burn" just as badly meant that I didn't even bother with that option.

I ended up just stitching with the leather in my hand rather than hooping it. With the stabilizer on it, it wasn't stretching or moving anywhere and this gave me much better control overall as I was already having to finger the leather a lot as there aren't holes there for you to aim for. On the plus side, this meant I could keep these projects in my handbag and bring them out quickly and easily on public transport without needing any setup.

3. Leather needs a stabilizer
Leather stretches, and that's no fun for us embroiderers, particularly because of the issues with putting leather in a hoop/frame (see below). So using a stabilizer is vital.

I tried three- stiff Sulky tear-away stabilizerGütermann Sulky Solvy, and good old fashioned iron-on interfacing. The Solvy was way too stretchy and stretched with the leather. It also was more difficult to punch through with the needle than the other two options.

I wanted to go with the Sulky because it was better at not letting the leather stretch. A little stretch would not have been too much of a problem, but because I also didn't end up hooping the leather I liked how well it kept the leather from stretching. It was very difficult to get a needle through, however, with almost every stitch requiring me to use the pliers to pull the needle through.

Which is why I eventually compromised on a mid-weight interfacing. It had enough stability to prevent the leather from stretching too much and did not add any real difficulty in punching through the leather. While I wouldn't use the interfacing if I was doing normal fabric embroidery, it worked well for the leather, and I would probably try it again.

4. Do not embroider with leather needles. 
It sounds daft, but I tried exactly 4 stitches before I realised leather needles were a Bad Idea TM. The machine embroidery guides all suggested using normal needles, and they were right for hand embroidery too

The problem is that leather needles will cut as they go in. That isn't actually too much of a problem with the leather itself (although the holes are a bit larger than with normal needles), but if you're doing any hand stitching where the needle is coming up near the previous thread (like, you know, most stitches) then the cutting needle will partially cut your thread. In the 4 stitches I did this was not only visible, but annoying. Your thread becomes extra frayed looking. That might suit some uses, but definitely was not my intention.

Leather needle (top) compared to standard embroidery needles. Note it doesn't have a point but an actual cutting edge.

Standard embroidery needles worked fine. They were more difficult to get through the leather and stabilizer, and sometimes so difficult that I had to break out my pliers for every stitch.

My end needle choice went down to a thin chenille needle combined with an embroidery needle for when I worked with larger number of floss strands. Partly this was due to my stitch selection, partly to the fact that for the actual stitching I was only using one strand of floss, and partly because it flowed through both needle and stabilizer easily. The chenille needle with only 1 strand worked so nicely, in fact, that I never had to use the pliers when I was stitching with it.

One of the guides I found suggested poking the holes that would be used before you began stitching. That would make it much easier to sew, however if your pattern is intricate and you're using stitches that might need adjusting in length, then I wouldn't bother. Just make sure your needles are nice and sharp and it won't be too bad.

5. Transferring designs is Problematic.
This was made worse by the fact that I was using dark blue leather, so stuff that might have been an option on white or light leather wouldn't show up. Machine embroidery guides didn't even touch on this issue since its computerized, so I was really on my own on this one. I tried several options here too.

Most transfer options are designed for fabric, either so they will soak into the fabric or at least not pool on top. Wax based tracing paper didn't transfer at all. Chalky type stuff just fell off the leather as soon as you tilted it vertically.

Pen worked, sort of. It did get provide a solid line to follow, but the ink could easily run and get smeared across the leather When I tried to remove the lines, I found that with my dyed leather I'd be removing some of the colouring if I wasn't careful. Pencil only really worked if you pressed deeply into the leather with it which resulted in a nasty groove that I didn't like.

I was worried that scoring the leather would make it even more likely to fall apart when I started doing the stitching, so I avoided those options, although if you weren't planning on doing satin stitching (like I was) then you might be able to get away with it.

In the end I wanted to run over the pattern with the machine in matching thread, but settled for pen so that I didn't have to poke any extra holes in the leather. I will have to find a better way of transferring patterns if I'm using leather that is not dark next time, however, as the pen did leave marks that were difficult to get off.

Stay tuned for Parts 2+3 where I'll look at stitch selections and a few other bits and bobs

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beyond 100 Happy Days

I may not have said it before, but if you haven't tried out the 100 Happy Days Challenge, I highly recommend it. I posted about this earlier in the summer, but now I've finished my #100happydays and have to say I was proud of myself. I missed 3 days during the 100 day period, but made up for it by adding a few more at the end. 

If nothing else, it was a very interesting experiment to try to find something that makes you happy that you can capture in an image every day. Some days were easier than others. I won't get into how it changed my perspective, as I've written about that before, but I can't not wrap it up.

Looking back on the experience, I'm happy I collected all the photos together. There are interesting patterns that have emerged now I can see my body of photos as a whole. In broad strokes, this is what made me happy this summer:

Food pictures were fairly regular, and I do love it. It ran he gamut from simple fruit to fancy restaurant fare with my own concoctions thrown in. 

This was a productive summer and it is clearly something I enjoy as the images made their way not only to the blog and Instagram, but into my #100happydays. It's a nice reminder that I do love what I do in my free time.

I've always been a sucker for a good vista, and this proved I still am. I've been lucky enough to be traveling a lot to places with lovely views, but even my local areas got some love. I also have a thing for water apparently.

Friday evenings along the quays in Dublin saw me regularly catching the sunlight on the Liffey and they make for a picturesque reminder of the surprisingly good weather we had this summer. I feel like I should name them something as they make a lovely collection.

Surprisingly few people made it into photos, but that was really by choice. While there were people who certainly made my days regularly (like my wonderful boyfriend), I felt like respecting their privacy so generally took shots of what was surrounding us or what we were doing instead. 

Overall, #100happydays was a worthwhile experiment. It wasn't especially burdensome, and I think it probably helped keep me from dipping into a funk at times. I do think it helped my summer be a happier time than it might have otherwise been.

Would I do it again? Not right away, but I'm not ruling it out. 80 days in I began to struggle with what I wanted to share, feeling it unfair to force people to see the same things over and over. But the point wasn't what they saw, but that I acknowledged moments that made me think positively. And in that, I think it was a complete success.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spray Basting for Quilting

I must be "of an age" because it seems like just about everyone I know is expecting or has just had a little one. Needless to say, I'm making more baby quilts than I may have energy for.

In an effort to keep myself interested, I've challenged myself to learn a little or try something new with each quilt, whether that is patterning, cutting, quilting or whatnot. This quilt, it was spray-basting.

It is Just. So. Easy.

Truth be told, I wanted to learn this a long time ago, but Ireland being as backward as it is has been fairly adamant about not getting 505 adhesive spray in stock anywhere and I'm loathe to buy aerosols over the internet because I'm really not sure how that would go down. At any rate, Hickeys finally had it in July and I scooped one up immediately.

This was the first quilt that came along since that purchase, and, well, wow. My life has been changed. If 505 ever stops being stocked in Hickeys, I will have to break down and order it off the web because I don't think I can go back to pin-basting my quilt sandwiches together again.

Sadly, the rest of this quilt's construction wasn't quite as smooth as the sandwiching process, but it has turned out beautiful nevertheless. I liked the pattern, although some of my tips weren't as perfectly aligned as previous quilts, and it was interesting to quilt the pattern, although I really feel the need to buy a free-motion quilting foot and try that out. Maybe next time.

Incidentally, I'm nearing the end of the HST's made with these Tonga Treats. I probably only have 1, maybe 2, quilt tops left in it so I may have to actually go buy more fabric in the near future. Oh woe is me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Needle Packs of Note

The other week I made it out to Sew, a new quilting/sewing/stitching/crafting shop in Dublin. It is a wonderful little shop with a very nice owner who will happily talk to you while you procrastinate leaving due to the pouring rain for probably a bit too long. You should visit it.

While you're there, you should really take a look at these:

I hadn't seen these John James needle packs before, but the colors and design drew me to them right away. I'm a sucker for a good needle, and the range includes a wide variety of packs, all designed to get you started, or just replenish your stocks of the needles you might need for different types of embroidery/stitching. I purchased the basic embroidery pack as I was starting off on my leather embroidery adventures and wanted to ensure I had freshly sharpened needles to make the task easier. I also picked up the ribbon embroidery needle pack as I've been meaning to delve into ribbon embroidery with a kit sitting at home waiting for me to pick it up. The selection of options seemed endless- quilting betweens, generic "craft" needles, tapestry, you name it.

The thing is, these are just lovely little packs. While I was waiting for a customer ahead of me to get served I watched as she chose to buy a pack of the less pretty, standard John James needles. I can't really fault her for selecting the basic, cheaper pack, but I do think she would have been better with one of these. She was a beginner and I doubt the standard pack of all one size needles would be what she really needed. These packs, by contrast, give a range in each- at least three needle sizes and several of each. For just a tiny bit more, you have a selection to work with.

Not only that, but the packaging tells you how to use your needles to best effect!

The needles feel like they're better quality than standard John James needles, but that could just be because I haven't bought new ones recently. They are absolutely lovely to stitch with. They glide in and out without a single hitch.

If you're looking to up your needle stocks, I would really recommend these.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quilt Block of the Month at Craft Hackers

I've always wanted to try this, and Craft Hackers is starting its first quilt block of the month now. 

Officially, the first block isn't starting until September, but you can get all the details now and go on a fabric shopping spree so you're all set when September hits. It is Halloween themed, but most of the blocks would be suitable for other things too.

I'm planning on doing it, although its unlikely that I'll be finishing the quilt as a full quilt in the way its designed or using similar colours, but it seems like a great way to learn new skills and quilt blocks without it being too stressful. There's no obligation to keep up with the rest of the group, and you can skip/join/leave whenever you want to, which is about as much responsibility as I feel up for right now. 

If ya'll would like to join us, we'll be on the Craft Hackers forum.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dublin Comic Con 2014

DCC was this weekend, and was an absolute blast. Comic cons (as opposed to gaming cons) still kind of confuse me. There are lots of traders, but I always wonder what exactly are you meant to do there all day long if you don't attend panels? I did hit up a few of the panels, but I spent most of my time chatting with friends.

Daenerys & Drogo
These two were my favourite cosplays of the weekend. They had it. The costumes were fabulously well crafted and you knew exactly who they were, but even more than that they had a beautiful emotional connection. That love between Dany and Drogo was clearly there and they just made my heart hitch a little bit every time they interacted. Cosplay, to me, is more than just the costume, and these two really captured those characters. If you're interested in the cosplay itself, Pompberry posted progress shots on her Facebook.

I had really hoped to get Korra done in time for this weekend, but it just was not going to happen, so I gave up, bought a TNG Combadge and improvised a quick Star Trek cosplay. It was a really great weekend, full of new people, like the talented Wade's Widdle Workshop.

By far, the thing I'm taking away from the weekend the most was the many, many family and kid cosplays. From Gotham villains, to Father/Son Batman/Robin, it was all adorableness and fun.

You can find my shots from the weekend over on Flickr. If you're one of the cosplayers in the photos, feel free to tag yourself/share the photo, but please credit me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Laughter Quilt Squares

Its a brilliant idea, so I knew I had to help out when the Bitchy Stitcher posted about her plans for a laughter quilt.

Quilts always make me think of comfort and safety. Laughter is definitely a part of that.

My squares will go out this week. The white is new, but the rest were made with leftover charm squares from my stash. If you've a bit of time, fabric scraps you'd like to use up in your stash, and some white fabric, I recommend sending some along yourself. Its surprising what you end up thinking of.

I hope this quilt makes many, many people snort or smile or simply just remember happier/funnier times.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Update from the trenches

I missed this week's blog because I was off busy doing this:

Had to take a brief break from here to manage it, but normal crafty updates will resume next week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Learning From Mistakes

I know this will come to a shock to everyone who knows me, but I'm not perfect. I make mistakes.

It was an accident, I swear. I honestly don't know how I managed to do this, but I did.

Thank heavens it was at the edge and not somewhere in the middle of the quilt. If it had been I probably would have broken down and cried.

I find trying to cover a larger area usually works better than trying to somehow stitch in a tiny patch that will inevitably fall off. Of course, if I'd had more of the backing fabric I would have tried to match the pattern a bit better, but it just wasn't going to happen.

In my angst and fear I cut out the offending piece of fabric altogether, but thinking back, I probably should have left it there for more stability once it was all fixed.

I did at least have the presence of mind to top stitch it all down once it was in place. In all honesty, barring disaster, it should last as long as the quilt does.

I have, however, learned my lesson and will be much, much more careful when trimming things when the backing is on! How embarrassing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Playing with New Toys

Finishing up that baby quilt gave me a chance to finally use some of the new toys I'd bought for myself back in December.

I bought these Clover Wonder Clips having seen the entire Interwebs rave about them for eons. I felt behind the times, they were a good price, and shucks, it was December and I'd bought tons of crap for other people and was going to treat myself. Needless to say, doing primarily cross stitch since then hasn't really justified the purchase, but that's neither here nor there.

ANYWAY, I used them making one of my recent baby quilts. And you know what? They're adorable. I love the size, the shape, the color. They're just so gosh-darn cute you wanna hold em in your hand all day. Which isn't terribly useful for getting a project done.

They did, though, actually do the job they were there for. They held stuff in place, didn't seem to slip, but I wasn't 100% sold. I was worried that since they didn't extend to the far side of my binding that I would end up with puckers and extra fabric at the far end. So I used up most of my clips on one section and then pinned the rest of it down because it made me feel better.

Would you believe me if I said I hadn't even realised the best part about these clips yet? It wasn't really until I sat down and started stitching that I realised just how nice they were because not only did I not get puckering or extra fabric down the line (although I was still reeeaaallllyyy nervous that I would) but I could just glide right on by without having to take them off! This is totally my favourite part about these clips.

Would I pin a whole quilt with them? Probably not. I'm too anal and worriwort for that, but I definitely plan on using them instead of pins if and when I ever get around to working with stretch or PVC material. I do still think they're super cute. 

My other toys, that I now wonder how I lived without, has to be my quilt roll clips. I can't remember where I picked them up or what brand they are, but why have I never gotten these before??? Two clips was perfect for my baby quilt. Larger quilts will definitely need more, but this purchase was worth it, whatever I paid for it.