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.