Commence the Blending

I promised myself I’d work on a cross-stitch project for myself after I finished The Ark. I have a bunch sitting in my To-Do pile of cross-stitch patterns, so I had to carefully choose what to do next, especially since I’m going to try to make this one as perfect as possible, taking all the comments from the judges from previous Puyallup Fairs into consideration.  A long time ago, I bought a series of faeries from Passione Ricamo (winter, spring, summer, autumn), and as much as I’d like to work on these, I opted for a pattern by a designer I know and love, who kicked off my obsession with cross-stitching almost ten years ago: Teresa Wenztler.  And if you’re familiar with Teresa Wenztler’s patterns, you know there is a LOT of color blending involved. I learned that when I worked on my first project from her.

"The Fortunate Traveler" by Teresa Wenztler

"The Fortunate Traveler" by Teresa Wenztler

I don’t remember when I bought this pattern, but I love it. I love the story along with it, too! Apparently, I’ve been wanting to work on this project for quite sometime, because the linen I bought for it was purchased in 2007. Hah! I spent the better part of this past week gathering the rest of the supplies, and organizing the floss I’ll need for the project. Last night, I spent most of my time preparing the upper half of the project by stitching in the gridlines. I only did a little bit of actual work on the top of the border.

Next, I’ll scan the pages of the project and splice them together and have my husband print it out at work on their fancy printer for CAD drawings, so I’ll have the whole pattern printed on one page, instead of flipping back and forth between pages.  It worked really nicely when I did that while working on The Ark.

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Quilt Top Completed

This afternoon, I finished the quilt top.  I really like the way it turned out. Now, I just need to get some batting, cut and sew the backing fabric, bind and quilt (or quilt and bind, not sure on the order of that).

Finished quilt top doesn't quite fit on my craft table

Finished quilt top doesn't quite fit on my craft table

After finishing the quilt top, I’ve been working a lot on the Unicorn quilt this evening. I was cutting out each of the pieces and stuffing them in envelopes so Mom could adhere them to the block before satin-stitching them, but it turns out that some of those tiny applique pieces were getting lost. And just to speed things up, I’m going to be adhering them to the background blocks before giving them to her to satin-stitch.

The way I place my pieces is by tracing, yet again (that’s three tracings per block, if I’m counting correctly), a rough of the design onto an overhead projector sheet, and then carefully placing (with tweezers) the pieces where they need to go, using the trace on the transparent sheet as a guide. My husband noticed me working on that this afternoon and asked what I was doing. My reply: “Surgery.” :)  It does reminds me of playing a game of Operation!

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Baby Quilt Progress

Got all the blocks sewn together today, and 2/5 of the quilt-top stitched together. It looks ridiculously busy, but I think that’s good for a baby quilt :)  Kids like colors, right?

Two rows of five completed

Two rows of five completed

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First Baby Quilt

Friends of ours are having a baby. Instead of spending another 150 hours on a cross-stitch (since I’m in the middle of one already), I’m doing something a little more practical–and functional: a quilt!

Despite the posts of the appliqued blocks, I’ve never done a real pieced quilt before. I wanted a pattern that was fun, but easy enough for a novice like me to cut, sew, and complete on my own. (Although, Mom did offer to do the quilting part).

When I told her of my plans for my upcoming project, she scoured her Fons and Porter magazines at home for patterns she thought I would like. The first one is the one I decided on. It’s called “Aromatherapy“, and although the fabric choices are definitely “spa-esque”, the pattern is really easy, and would showcase the fabric I picked out. Our friends are doing a “retro owl” theme for their baby, so I found this cute collection called “Bright Owl“.

I’ve been incredibly busy this week, so last night, I finally got around to cutting my strips of fabric after receiving it on Monday and washing it on Tuesday. Caught up a bit on my queue of videos in Hulu, and got most of my fabric cut out.

Owls!

Owls!

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S Block and Mock Design Wall

I’ve been slacking off on the “unicorn quilt” because I’ve been so excited to do some garment sewing.  I do have projects lined up to sew, but honestly, I need to get some more blocks cut out, so I’m not staring at a bunch of un-highlighted rows in the Google spreadsheet mom and I use to track the quilt’s progress.

However, I’ve gotten to a point in the quilt where I have enough blocks I can lay out next to each other to see how to colors from the blocks will flow together. I can also see if I’m using too much of a color in one area of the quilt and if I need to mix it up.  I don’t have a lot of wall space in my “crafting room” (which is actually our spare bedroom), mostly because of the several shelves of penguins that are on display in the room, so I can’t put together a proper design wall.  But, I am taking pictures of all the blocks, and prints are just $0.19 at Bartell’s, and that means I can mock up a design wall!

Design wall for Unicorn quilt

Design wall for Unicorn quilt

After I had the prints made, I trimmed the extra white space off, and laid them out on a canvas made of two deconstructed paper bags. I used blue painter’s tape to adhere them to the paper bag, so I can move them around if needed. Each of the sticky notes represents a block that has yet to be completed, with notes on if the block is with mom or not. Plus, this puts the project in front of my face at all times, so I have a little motivation to keep working on it!

Design wall aside, I gave mom four blocks a while ago, and although she’s been busy with her own projects, she did manage to finish one block:

S is for Stag

S is for Stag

Despite a couple of mistakes in this block (which I’m not going to point out :)) it looks good! This is the first time I’ve used that peachy color fabric in this quilt, too.

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My Lace Arrived!

This afternoon, I had 5 yards of 6″ black lace trim waiting for me in the mailbox. After spending some time at the gym and eating some dinner, I rewarded myself with some sewing time!

Dress with waist trim

Dress with waist trim

I also installed the zipper and gave it a test try-on, but it’s still a bit loose at the top, so tomorrow or Wednesday, I’ll adjust the zipper so it’s a bit tighter at the top of the dress.  I can also try to get some of that rubber grippy stuff to put along the top edge.

Weird thing, while installing the zipper, one side happened to be an inch longer than the other.  I assume a seam allowance got out of whack somewhere to make THAT big of a difference. Fortunately, with the lace along the waist, I was able to fudge it a little and tuck in that extra inch.  Hopefully, no one else will notice, and just think it’s just a little wackiness in the gathering.

But, after I fix the zipper/fit, just have to hem, attach the trim to the bottom of the dress, and then TONS of slip stitching the lining to the rest of the dress!

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Gathering and Waiting

I worked on my dress up until bedtime last night, so I didn’t have a chance to make a post until this morning.

Here’s where the dress is at now, and progress is on hold until I get the lace trim I need for it.

Skirt gathered and attached to bodice, waiting on lace to finish

Skirt gathered and attached to bodice, waiting on lace to finish

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Phase 1 Complete: Cross-stitching Finished

And onto Phase 2: Back-stitching and French Knots. I can’t wait to finish this! (And now that the fall TV season is starting up, I’ll have lots to keep me entertained while I complete this project).  Total time so far: 454 hours and 12 minutes.

454 hours, 12 minutes of cross-stitching

454 hours, 12 minutes of cross-stitching

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Enamored with Pleats

I’ve definitely made some progress today, even with all the extra attention I’m putting towards neatening seams and making sure everything looks “couture”. I couldn’t wait until just before bed to make a post, so here it is!

So much basting took place to get to this point, but I'm totally enamored with these pleats

So much basting took place to get to this point, but I'm totally enamored with these pleats

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Finishing the Muslin

Last night, I started working on a muslin for the dress I’m making to wear to our friends’ wedding in a couple months. (Two months, to be exact, actually!)  Tonight, I finally finished it.

Front of muslin

Front of muslin

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