Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Android Cover Complete

It's been a while since I got a chance to share my crafty adventures, but rest assured crafty adventures are being had. I finished my quilted smartphone cover last week, and so far it's been just as useful as I'd hoped. It fits snugly around my phone, keeping it from sliding out, and absorbs most of the noise from pesky telemarketing calls while I'm at work.

I lined the inside with thick cotton flannel, and it's been doing a good job of cleaning the screen when the phone slides in and out. I'm not sure many people understand what the little android appliqué is about (it is the Android operating system's logo), but I don't mind because it's just adorable.

The only downside to a non rigid cover is that it doesn't actually prevent any of the side buttons from being pressed when the contents of my phone shifts around, but so far that hasn't been an issue. The one issue that I have had so far is with the phone itself. When I first got it, the battery wouldn't hold a charge for a day, even when the phone wasn't used during that period. After much googling, and the installation of apps like CPU Spy and Better Battery Stats, we figured out how to make the device go into sleep mode when it's not in use, as it should have been doing all along. (You'd think the basic functions on a gadget this fancy would work right out of the box, but sadly that wasn't so.)

Now that the battery issues have been resolved, the phone and I are getting along all right. I've even got it singing Gangnam Style for all notifications to annoy the people around me. (I used to have my ringtone set to the William Tell Overture for the same purpose - hear it once and it's stuck in your head for hours. Go ahead, click here to listen to it and see what I mean!)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Matrix Quilting for my Android

After 5+ years of tolerating my semi-functional little dumbphone while everyone else cooed and purred at their shiny iPhone babies, I've finally made the leap into Smartland. Last week, I signed an agreement to spend the next three years caring for a Samsung Galaxy Note II. The store didn't have any protective covers for it, so I am putting a quilted one together for now.

I wanted a little Android applique for my cover, and none of the images I found online were quite doing it for me, so I started by drawing my own.

Android name and Robot logo are the property of and Android™ and being used under Creative Commons Attribution licence
Android name and Robot logo are the property of and Android™ and being used under Creative Commons Attribution licence
I used my template to make this little robot out of felt. It is actually quite tiny and took forever to cut out. The head piece is smaller than a quarter. 

I sewed it by hand onto my fabric, and then quilted the rest of the surface with Matrix, this week's Free Motion Quilting Project design. The design was perfect for this kind of project, and the small scale I used (about 1/4") gave the fabric a lot of texture.

There are some areas of this quilt that could have been smoother, either because I'm out of practice, or because echoing lines is harder than it seems. On the whole though, I'm loving this little quilt and I think it will make a very fun smartphone case. I plan to line it with thick flannel to clean and protect the screen. It should be complete and ready to use on the weekend. I look forward to showing it off!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fun Felt Ornaments

Here we are in good old autumn again, those lovely months when the temperature gets a little brisk and all of the golden red leaves gracefully float free of their branches. Or, in the Prairies, those couple of days that it takes for wind storms to rip the leaves off the trees and bring snow. At least we're too far inland to be affected by hurricanes, and if all else fails, I always feel better after checking out the weather forecast for Vostok.

Around this time of year, I like to make felt flower pins to wear on the lapel of my fall jacket. I've made two so far. They might end up as decorations for my office, since my thick furry winter (or 'prairie autumn') jacket is all business and doesn't have room for pins.

I've also started on a series of handmade ornaments, but not in any traditional holiday sense. We don't tend to decorate or put up a tree, but I did find a very cool branch this summer that is just crying out to become wall art.

I've cut some circles out of different colours of felt to embroider when I need to occupy my hands. All of the designs are freehand. I've just been sewing random shapes until it looks like something, and then turning it into that thing. The blue ornament in the top left corner, for example, started out as a top hat, then for a while it was going to be a lamp, and finally settled into the shape of a cat.

The next step is figuring out how to hang a branch on the wall without making holes or ripping off paint. More on this soon!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Colour Block of the Month: Grey

October's Colour Your World Challenge was to make a quilt block in grey. This worked out well for me, as I'd been wanting to experiment with ways to assemble a skyscraper for my urban quilt block collection.

I've been trying a new improvisational piecing technique for every month's colour block, and I decided to start this one off with strips of two grey fabrics. One selvage to selvage cut was just enough for two strips of each colour, and three striped ones.

I sewed all of the strips together into a rectangle, which was on its way to being skyscraper-esque, but still too blocky. I wanted the shape to taper slightly at one end to give the illusion of standing at the bottom of a building and looking up.

To create the tapered effect, I made a cut down the middle of each strip with a slight angle, so that each resulting piece was a tiny bit wider (1/8" to 1/4") at one end than the other.

It doesn't seem like much, but once I'd sewn all of the pieces back together with their larger ends together, the block did have the slight taper I was looking for.

I added some grey-on-blue sky to define the shape a little more, and squared up the block. Lastly, I added a grey border to match the previous colour blocks. And here it is, my slightly wonky, kinda-looks-like-a-building, grey block!

With the début of Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting a Sampler class on Craftsy, I now have a pretty clear idea of what I'm going to do with these colour blocks next year. But before we get to that, November's colour challenge is blue, so you can look forward to a TARDIS block very soon!