Sunday, 28 December 2014

Eight Doctor Embroidery + Pattern

I'm very proud to announce that I got actual work done on a Doctor Who related project this weekend! That's right, I started quilting my TARDIS blue improvised block, which has been waiting patiently for attention all year. I hope to finish it this week, as well as another half dozen of the blocks for the colour block quilt. I'm excited to see this one finally coming together.

To celebrate, how about a Doctor Who pattern? Meet Doctor number eight.

This is one of my favourites out of all the blocks I drew for this project. It's easily recognizable, even though this Doctor only appeared in one movie. The costume came off particularly well, considering the tie/collar/lapel overload going on. Ditto the hair. I think my sketch was originally based on this picture.

The pattern for this block can be found HERE.

This project is part of a series of embroidered blocks I made while participating in the Doctor Who Stitch Along at Fandom in Stitches. Check them out for a whole collection of Doctor Who designs! I'll be posting my version of their ninth Doctor block shortly.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Frozen Snowman Mug Rug

The theme of our latest guild swap was a Frozen holiday, using blues instead of the usual green and red. I made a hexagon and felt mug rug, based on this one from Simply Put Plus found on Pinterest. The advertised pattern was nowhere to be found, but it wasn't hard to improvise.

I'm happy with how the snowmen faces turned out, and will have to remember that hexagons make such cute snowmen for future winter projects. Instead of using batting for this one, I sewed the hexagon flower directly onto the light coloured felt, and used a darker felt for backing.

I got to bring this little beauty, made by Brass and Baubles, home with me, which is exciting! Love the raised hexagons on this. It's hard to see from the photo, but the white background fabric has some silver highlights, and the whole thing is quilted in a minty coloured thread.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Cybermen Embroidery Pattern for Cyber Monday

As you may recall, I participated in the Fandom in Stitches 50th anniversary Doctor Who Stitch Along, and have so far shared my blocks for Doctors 1 through 7, along with some of my own patterns. Before we get into more Doctors, I thought I would celebrate Cyber Monday by sharing my attempt at a Cyberman block.

Given the evolution that they've undergone over the course of the series, I wanted to show an original Cyberman from old Who, as well as a present-day Cyberman from the new series. I tried to keep the design simple, while still doing justice to the complexity of the suits.

Not sure if this embroidered block is as successful as the others. I started with a mixture of black and white thread to try and achieve a shiny metallic texture, which didn't really work. Black thread alone ended up looking much better. The other issue, I think, are the details of the face and logo, which might be a bit too fine to be rendered properly with thread. Despite that, they're certainly recognizable as Cybermen, and will look great as part of the Doctor Who quilt I'm planning.

If you'd like to try your hand an embroidering a Cyberman (original, new, or both), the pattern is posted HERE. More Doctor blocks coming soon!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Safari Monkeys Blanket

My newest completed project is a safari themed baby blanket. It's made from two layers of flannel, and loosely quilted with a boxy design. The front is entirely made of the cute blue animal print that you see above, and the back is pieced from two Riley Blake Snips & Snails prints. I probably didn't actually need this fabric in both colours, but I couldn't resist tiny monkeys. Tiny monkeys! So how many tiny monkeys actually make up this blanket? This many:

I also put together a quick baby wipes holder to accompany the blanket, similar to this one from a few years ago, but without the cream compartment. (Couldn't find a travel-sized tin of diaper cream anywhere.) Instead, I made the pouch a tiny bit bigger to fit a diaper or disposable changing pad.

The safari monkeys blanket is currently on the way to its new home, where I hope it can provide lots of warm snuggles!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Zen and the Art of Hand Sewing

Greetings fellow crafting and quilting enthusiasts taking part in Blogathon Canada. I'm happy to be participating again this year, and excited to get acquainted with, and be inspired by, other Canadian makers. To find out more about the event, head on over to the Sew Sisters blog, and be sure to stop by and visit today's Albertan hosts: Leanne at She Can Quilt, and Kelsey of Everyday Fray. Did I mention that there are prizes?

So what have I been up to lately? Well, there wasn't much time to spend in my sewing room this past summer, and I started looking for a way to get my sewing fix without having to spend hours in the cold dark basement. The solution: hand piecing.

I started out with a fairly simple Wheel of Fortune block inspired by the Spin It Again quilt from Vintage Quilts Revival. I traced out all of the pattern pieces on foundation paper using my laptop screen as a lightbox, and then stuck them in a ziplock bag with some scraps of rainbow and background fabrics, my needle book, clips, and some airline-friendly scissors. A week later, I had most of a quilt block completed and a new addiction.

Foundation piecing done this way turned out to be much more approachable for me. It's easier to hold the fabrics in place and see what I'm doing when things aren't zipping by at sewing machine speed.

I ramped up the complexity a bit for my next attempt, with the Starlight block from the Quilting Gallery's Delightful Stars QAL. I decided, in my naive enthusiasm, to change the order of assembly to make the seams nest together more tightly. The result was in fact the opposite, and it made my points a little bit unbalanced. Important lesson learned. It isn't particularly noticeable though, and I'm really happy with the block.

I also attempted to adapt an English paper piecing design so that it would result in a square block (without applique). I came across this excellent Rose Star tutorial over at Summerfete. It not only shows how to draw the templates from scratch, but also has some examples of how to set it into the background by adding hexagons. I look forward to many more hexagon-turned-square EPP blocks in the future.

Stay tuned for the next hand pieced sampler block, a Circle of Geese, which is only one goose short of completion!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Bookcase Runner

Now that winter is upon us, it's time to catch up a bit on the past summer's projects, starting with this small quilt that I made as part of the Modern Quilt Guild's Michael Miller Challenge.

When we first received the fabrics for the challenge (a set of six fat eights), I wasn't too sure about the prints. The fabric that really caught my attention was the solid coral, so I decided to base my design mostly on that one bold colour. I used a nice warm linen as a background, and added a small pop of each print. I think the concept of wonky squares within squares worked out really well.

With the front being rather minimalistic, I had a lot of fabric left over. The best way of using prints that were so different from my usual aesthetic seemed to be as a backing, that no one would have to see if it didn't work out. With a bit of improvisation, I came up with this, and I'm surprised how much I like it!

There's nothing very complicated about the improv technique I used, but somehow it mixed the bright prints up just enough to make the whole thing look really fun. For the most part, these aren't fabrics I would have chosen on my own, but I'm glad I got a chance to experiment with them and be surprised.

I quilted the whole thing with straight(ish) lines, and found it was pretty much the exact right size to display on the end of a bookcase, so here it is brightening up our library:

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Seventh Doctor Embroidery

This is the seventh block of my Doctor Who quilt, as part of the Fandom in Stitches Doctor Who Sew Along. I designed this block to offer a different perspective on the seventh Doctor than the oft referenced image of him hanging by his umbrella.

I used this picture of Sylvester McCoy as a reference for the pattern. I think the design actually captures the posture pretty well, considering that it has no face. It looks like he's laying claim to that seven under his foot. Originally, his jacket was billowing in the wind, but that got vetoed in the final stages of the design process.

The pattern for this block can be downloaded HERE.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sixth Doctor Embroidery

Continuing right along with the Doctor Who quilt blocks, I present to you the sixth Doctor! This block is based on the Fandom in Stitches Doctor Who Stitch-Along block.

The intention behind this design is to show the Doctor's trademark coat in full. I used this picture of a Doctor action figure as a model. If you've been here before, you probably know that I'm really bad at following patterns. That's why I drew my own block in the first place. In this case, I took it up a level and didn't even end up following my own pattern.

The pattern for the sixth Doctor with jacket can be downloaded HERE. I warn you, however, that it's slightly different from the block I ended up making. I turned his head to the side at the last minute so that he would look more like the original stitch-along block.

The orange Architextures print is the loudest of all the fabrics I've chosen for this project. It was a fun background choice for this specific Doctor, since it does actually look a little bit like the plaids in his jacket. This particular fabric was so thick that even with optimal light it was very difficult to trace the design through it. This is great news in terms of the quality of Kaufman fabrics, but if you're tracing, be sure to check your fabric first to make sure you'll be able to see through it.

Monday, 31 March 2014

My Very Own House Hippo

If you grew up in Canada in the eighties, there's a good chance you'll remember the House Hippo. It was the subject of a memorable media literacy PSA that I encourage you to check out. (Second only to the War Amps PlaySafe PSA.)

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the Henrietta Hippo pattern from 529MasonStreet in order to make my very own. The best thing about this little dude are his repositionable limbs. This leads to nearly endless action shot possibilities! Here is my hippo playing outside:

At this point you may be wondering why Mister hippo has a white butt... This is what happens when you try to mess with a pattern before knowing how it comes together. I thought it would be cute if he was all grey, with a white tummy (the bottom of his paws is also white), so I cut the part that I thought would correspond to the stomach out of white felt. Turns out I overestimated by a long shot, and the white patch goes all the way up his back. That's ok, no one here is judging.

House hippo likes to spend his days daydreaming on the windowsill and hanging out with his best bud Sigmund.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fifth Doctor Embroidery

Last fall, I posted my first four embroidered blocks for the Fandom in Stitches Doctor Who Sew Along, but have been taking forever to follow up with number five. That's because the fifth Doctor is the favourite around here, and due to design difficulties it ended up being the block I made last. I wanted to continue posting them in order, so I've had to wait until five was completed before sharing the others.

Here he is at last!

This block is inspired by the sew along block number 5, which I really like. My resident whovian pointed out, however, that the Doctor's very distinctive Panama hat was missing from the design, so I set about adding a hat onto the original block. It turns out to be rather difficult to position a natural-looking hat onto an image that didn't originally have one. All of my attempts looked strangely awkward.

Instead of pursuing that, I traced out a new design, based on this picture of the Doctor wearing a hat. I think he has turned out to be pretty recognizable. I have the pattern for this design somewhere, and will upload it when I find it (Update: pattern is now available HERE). In the meantime, there will be plenty of Doctor Who posts coming up, with blocks six through twelve that I've been waiting impatiently to share.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Exploring Modern: A New Sampler

In my early quilting days, I signed up for the Earthly Goods Primary Patchwork class (good times!) and made my first sampler quilt from traditional quilt blocks. Our instructor mentioned that this was likely to be the last time many of us made a sampler, as most quilt designs were composed of multiples of the same block.

One thing that I've discovered about myself since then is that I'm not one of those people who can make one block over and over. After I've made it once, I feel like I've learned what there was to learn and I'm ready to move on. For this reason, I've decided that my principal project for 2014 will be an updated take on the traditional sampler.

This is also an exploration of the MQG's "official" definition of modern quilting, which is something our guild has been discussing. In particular, I'm focusing on modern traditionalism with the use of greys, negative space, bold colours and solid fabrics.

This updated Ohio Star might be my favourite so far:

I made two variations on the traditional Jacob's Ladder block. The purple and pink one turned out to be especially modern, since I seem to have attached one of the corner squares upside down and didn't notice until pretty much right now. (I'm tempted to take it apart and fix it just as an excuse to realign the point that came out crooked, but that doesn't seem very modern of me, so I probably won't... Maybe?)

I also made the 2014 Sugar Block Club January block, which fit perfectly into my theme. I'm still on the fence regarding the February block.

The dark grey will be making more of an appearance in the next couple of blocks, and the light grey will continue to be the main background colour throughout the project, including setting squares and joining strips.

This sampler is a light, self-contained project to work on while I baste and quilt unfinished projects from last year. Things tend to get backed up at the basting stage (I really don't like basting) but over the past few weeks I've been getting it done, which has led to some cool FMQ progress. So much progress, in fact, that I've now run out of black thread and batting. Looking forward to more!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Felt Brain Slug (with Templates!)

If you're a Futurama fan, you may remember these Delta brainwave eating parasites. I've known since I first saw them that I wanted a Brain Slug of my very own. It took a few tries to work out the shape and size, but I got him ready just in time for Halloween last year.

This little guy is made entirely from Eco-Felt and attached to a headband, which makes him secure and easy to wear. His antennae are made from the metal wire inside a twist-tie. I'd meant to give him felt antennae, but forgot to attach them while I was assembling the slug. Metal wire was the only thing I found that was just thin enough to slip through the fibers of the felt, and pliable enough to be shaped into wonky antennae. It ended up being perfect for the job. I secured a tiny scrap of the green felt onto the ends to make them stand out.

Finding a plain headband similar to my hair colour was actually one of the more difficult aspects of this project (and the most expensive - all of the other materials together cost under a dollar). The accessory shops had walls full of glitter headbands and feathered headbands, but it took some work to find a plain one. Once that was dealt with, attaching the Brain Slug only required sewing through a tentacle on either side and looping thread around the headband a few times, as you can see here:

If you know about Brain Slugs and their politics, you won't be surprised to learn that once I put him on, I had the sudden urge to attach a Brain Slug to every Earth man, woman, and child. To this end, I've created a pattern... consider sponsoring a hungry Brain Slug by sharing your Delta Waves today!

Want to make your own Brain Slug?
Download the templates HERE.

Fellow Futurama geeks might also want to check out the Approved by #5 Futurama sewing project currently unfolding over at The Bored Zombie. The design for Leela has just been revealed, including templates and technique tips!

FYI - The recommended procedure to deal with a Brain Slug victim is to act natural and switch to a garlic shampoo. Helmets also work. (Source: Futurama Wiki)