Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Camp Stitchalot



Late last month I had the amazing experience of going to Camp Stitchalot which is a sewing retreat sponsored by Pink Castle Fabrics held at the Hankerd Inn in Pleasant Lake Michigan. It was such an awesome weekend and honestly I stayed so, so busy I totally forgot to take a lot of pictures :( I've been meaning to write about my experience since I returned but I had a hard time putting this amazing weekend into words.

                             

First of all, the Hankerd Inn is such a cool, unique place. It's a bed and breakfast and it's an experience in it's own. The bedrooms are all themed (I stayed in the Jungle room) and there are several buildings that make up the Inn. Most of the bedrooms as well as the sewing room is located in what they call the "barn". As you can tell from these pics, it is totally not a barn!

                           

Part of the camp cost includes your meals, which took place in the "inn" and it was real, home cooked, soul warming food! We all switched seats for each meal so every one had a chance to chat with everyone. We started our weekend off with a fabric quarter swap and a get to know each other. I scored some fat quarters from AMH's Dowry line...YAY. Our "camp counselors" for the weekend were Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness and Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew. The focus of the weekend was on bag making but we were free to really work on whatever we wanted. Brenda, from Pink Castle Fabrics was awesome as well!

Sara taught her Camp Stitchalot bag (perfect!) which, is absolutely perfect for bringing to retreats and workshops like this! I opted to work on another one of Sara's bags, the Aragon bag, as I just recently made a Camp Stitchalot (see mine here) and I lose interest in making the same bags so soon after each other (I'm just weird like that). Sara is an awesome teacher, and just an all around sweet person and she also did a wonderful lecture on interfacing for bags. 

I'm seriously digging the navy with the orange and corals. 
                                                            

Kristin taught us her "tackle bag" which is a super fun zippered bag that is the perfect size for toting around notions, make-up or even art supplies. It also has an interior zip pocket to secure little items you don't want rolling around the generously sized pouch. Check out the tackle bags on instagram (#tacklebag) to see the fun bags made by all the campers.  Also, Kristin completely changed my way of installing zippers. Hello, double sided sewing tape!!!

                               

The weekend was an absolute blast, it went by so, so fast! I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I had to attend and meet some incredible ladies. A whole weekend of sewing with some of the most inspiring people you will ever meet, who genuinely want to inspire and encourage others. It was from some of the encouragement of these gals that I finally took the plunge at made my first quilt. It also helps that some of them stayed up with me drinking wine and sewing til 3 am ;)

I really, really hope to get the chance to go to another Camp! This was the first time I really had the opportunity to go to anything like this, and I'll admit I was very nervous about being around such talented sewists, but really everyone just wants to help and encourage each other. 








Monday, April 14, 2014

So I made a quilt

                                

I did it, I can finally say I made a quilt. This is much more gratifying than I had thought it would be. 
I decided that I was going to use the fat quarter bundle of Lottie Da that I had won from Little Bluebell during the last Sew Mama Sew giveaway day. 


                                  

I finished this top a couple of weeks ago and then it got put off to the side while I had to take care of other non-sewing related things. At the end of last week, I finally purchased the batting and the backing fabric, as well as a bias tape maker (thanks to the lovelies at Camp Stitchalot for showing me how super easy it really was). After a couple of not-so successful attempts at basting the quilt, I realized I better do some more research into how to properly baste (masking tape, duh). A million pins later this guy was basted and considering I know diddly squat about quilting anything, I just did some straight line quilting. 

                                  

I saved the orange prints from the line to use to make the binding. It was 80 degrees here yesterday, and I sat diligently under this quilt and hand bound the majority of it while trying not to melt. I went to bed with about 8 inches left to bind but my poor fingers could take no more. I brought it with me to work, and finished it up in the morning downtime. 

What? You mean not everyone sews at work?!

                                               

My friend helped me get some photos and snapped this one of me proudly draped in the quilt. I *might* be a little giddy that I completed this.  It's far from perfect, and I can see about 10 things that I know I could do better, but I feel accomplished having it done. Will I make another quilt? At some point I think I might get the urge. I mainly wanted to do this to prove that I could. It really demystified a lot of the process for me and the idea of quilting isn't quite as scary. I still would much prefer projects that I can do from start to finish in short order. Now I'm back to making bags, but maybe I might try to incorporate quilting into some bags.

Thanks to everyone who gave me the confidence to do this. You know who you are and you rock :)









Happenings

Wow, it's been two weeks since I've so much as logged onto the blog. So much has been happening, there has been very little sewing going on in my house. Easter is Sunday (how did that happen?!), and we are moving in little less than a month, so I'm starting to freak out a bit.

Once we move, I am getting a WHOLE room as my sewing room and I'm super stoked about it! Unfortunately that will be one of the last areas that will get my attention since there will be much more pressing matters to attend to first. I'm not sure how much sewing I am actually going to accomplish prior to the move but I hope that once we are settled in I will have a lot to share from our new space.

Happy Easter and have a great week!









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Monday, March 31, 2014

Conquering my quilting fears...First quilt top ever


As I've shared on many occasions quilting has always fascinated me in the same way as quantum physics. They are interesting but both way, way over my head. Quilting may have been quantum physics as far as I was concerned, very cool but nothing I would ever grasp the concept of. 

Math and I have never, ever gotten along, and making a quilt sure involved math. I would glance at patterns from time to time and think "that may as well be written in Dutch" because I just did not see how all those tiny, incredibly precise cuts could add up the way the pattern said. I would then sigh and move on to sewing something more 3 dimensional because that just made sense to me.

Over the past few months I've been the lucky recipient of several fat quarter bundles but really had no immediate use for them. After some encouragement from some of you in the online community and the awesome ladies I met at Camp Stitchalot I decided to finally give making a quilt a serious shot.

I knew I didn't want to just sew a bunch of squares together to make a quilt, and I didn't trust myself to follow a legit pattern so I just kind of completely winged it. I ran across the jelly roll quilts and like the idea of staggered rows so I just made several (or a million) 18 x 3.5 strips and made a bunch of rows, staggering the pieces. I did this while drinking wine and chatting it up at 3 am, it went by much quicker that way :)

So, I did it. It's nothing fancy or impressive but I can now say I finished a quilt top. Now I have to figure out how to quilt it and bind it...I'm not looking forward to that either but now that I've come this far I'm anxious to complete it. 

So thanks to everyone who encouraged me and gave me the extra motivation to just do it :) 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Edelweiss Backpack

                               

I was lucky enough the newest pattern by Sara of Sew Sweetness, The Edelweiss Back Pack. Let me tell you, I had one ecstatic 4 year old over this bag.

                            

I purchased this zombie print by Riley Blake a few weeks back and my little guy was totally enamored by this fabric the second I took it out of the box. He immediately claimed it as his and asked me to make something out of it for him. He initially requested a shirt, but I was not digging the shirt idea so when Sara asked me to test the back pack, I knew it was meant to be. 


                             

The back pack came together very quickly, which was great considering I had very anxious 4 year old asking if it was done every five minutes. The inside is finished by adding binding, which makes it a bit slower for me, as I prefer to finish my binding by hand. 

                       
He was also insisted that I add a tag that says "Mommy made this for me", but he was ok with me just adding a Nosy Pepper label as long as I put it where he said (on the back..."so people can see it"). How can I deny that?

The bag is the perfect size for my little guy and he was super proud to take it to preschool and show it off. It's not as big and cumbersome as some of the book bags out there, but fits in a regular size school folder and some extras as well. He also pointed out that the front pockets are the perfect size to fit in his cars :)

If you have been looking for a book bag pattern, I highly recommend this one! The zipper was totally easy to put in (don't be scared!) and it doesn't take much fabric at all. It only has a few pattern pieces to cut (which makes me happy as I hate it cutting fabric lol).

He Approves!!!


                          





Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aeroplane Bag in Laminate


I spent last weekend in Michigan at Camp Stitchalot hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics and had an absolute blast...but that's a whole nother post. Seeing as how I needed to get my machine there easily, I put together an Aeroplane Bag to tote my machine and fixins to the Hankerd Inn. The Aeroplane bag is a pattern by Sew Sweetness...get your copy here.

I thought this would be a good chance to cut into some Echino laminate I bought off an Instagram de-stash (those are terrible if you are trying to not spend money btw). I've never sewn with laminates before, and I was pretty intimidated. The Aeroplane bag is thankfully a very easy sew, and it's larger version of the bag was more than enough to tote my machine and lots of goodies. 
I had my walking foot at the ready for the laminate, but really didn't end up needing it at all. I was careful not to use pins but fusing the interfacing to the laminate is not for the faint of heart. I used Pellon Shape Flex 101 on the laminate, and as some others have suggested, just did so little by little to make sure I wasn't melting the laminate. It ended up being just fine, but I was so afraid it was going to melt. 

All of the construction of this bag was done by sewing with the wrong side of the laminate so I never had to do anything special (except not using pins). I did wuss out on the top stitching next to the zipper on the exterior, so it doesn't look as finished as I would like but at least I didn't wreck the bag in the last few steps of sewing. 

It probably took less than three hours from cutting to sewing the last seam, but I would venture a guess I spent twice as much time than needed interfacing the bag. I also omitted any additional stabilizers, I usually use either headliner fabric or By Annie's Soft and Stable as I like structured bags. Being an ignoramus about laminates, I did expect the laminate to have more structure than it does. I think the next time I use laminates, I will use same stabilizers as I do for any quilting weight cotton and skip the nerve wracking task of using fusible interfacing on them. 




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Secret Tote Bag Swap



As I am a sucker for bags, I jumped on board for the Secret Tote Swap happening over on Flickr. My partner requested a large bag and mentioned that purple was her favorite color. My mentality is the bigger the better when it comes to bags ha! I purchased the Super Tote pattern by Noodlehead several months back, but never got around to making it. I knew I wanted to do some time of embellishing on the front of the bag, and the large exterior pocket lends well to that. I used a print from Center City for the various purples on the exterior, some Allison Glass text for the pocket and accents and this awesome city clock embroidery pattern from Urban Threads. 

The Super Tote was very easy to assembly and I was surprised how quickly it sewed up! I spent much more time on the embroidery than the construction of the bag. 





Please excuse my terrible job pressing it! I was in a hurry to get it sent off to it's new home!



I was so incredibly lucky to get Mara of Simon Says Sew as my partner, she was my partner in the Triple Zip Swap last year and she does AMAZING things!! I seriously about cried when I pulled out this tote, pictures absolutely do not do it justice, it's gorgeous!!! She made a matching boxy pouch that I adore, and included all kinds of goodies. She was so sweet in incorporating little extras in the bag, an extra front pocket with a magnetic snap, a key holder on the interior and all this incredible quilting. I have been carrying it around as a purse because I love it so. Why not carry a tote as a purse?! I really need to get out and take some more pics of all the awesomness of this bag! Thankfully the weather is starting to warm up so I'm not stuck choosing between freezing or taking pictures inside. 



I'm heading to Camp Stitchalot this Weekend and I'm so stoked! I'm spending this week picking out projects and getting things together. I am hoping to get all the cutting and interfacing done so I can spend the weekend without all the icky business of doing those unpleasant tasks (I hope I am not the only one who hates those things!). 

Happy Tuesday!