Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like ...... Halloween!

Who can resist jolly pumpkins, dancing skeletons and black cats. I admit I'm a sucker for halloween prints, and I've been known to hoard a few favorites just in case ... you never know when you might need a good skeleton for an economy block center ...

My picks for this years halloween quilt have arrived.

Let the fun begin.

Shorts on the Line summer sew along

Spent a little quality time with my sewing machine this weekend ... it's been too long.

I've been watching the parade of shorts inspiration over on Imagine Gnats showcasing the shorts on the line sew along, and finally I couldn't stand it any longer .. I wanted to join the fun!

I downloaded two patterns that looked comfortable, and easy to wear, the City Gym Shorts for kids
and the Prefontaine shorts from Etsy Thatmoxiegirl.

Both patterns were super easy to download and print and we were up and running quickly. I've been collecting fabrics for the quilt-as-you-go bag class on Craftsy, so decided to combine my Shorts on the Line entry with a practice run on the quilt as you go technique .. ( cuz a busy mom multitasks like that )

We started with the Prefontaine Shorts .. the pockets were the deciding factor for my 11 year old .. I thought the shorts would end up being PJ bottoms and fun for sleepovers, but to my surprise, they turned out so fun and comfy that my daughter wore them all day, all night and well into the next day ( in fact she only took them off to try on the next pair of monkey print shorts we made from the same pattern )

Even though they are actually quilted with batting between two layers of fabric, they are soft and cushy and easy to wear. My other daughters are clamoring for a pair of their own.

Tutorial to come, I promise.

On to the City Gym Shorts ... So fast to sew up! We searched the stash and found a package of 4" charm squares in fun cowboy prints and set about making another pair of patchwork shorts. This time I did not use the batting between the fabric layers because these shorts are a longer length. They turned out so bright and fun. I cut my own bias binding strips so we could have eyecatching gingham fabric binding with the cowboy prints ...

I think these will be a favorite pair too ... They are so easy to pull off and on that I think they will be traveling to the water park often!

To see many more fun shorts visit the Kollabora page and see what others are making.

My entries are HERE and HERE

Friday, July 04, 2014

And the Chicken Run Winner is ....

My most unfancy Mr Random Number Generator happily selected number 3!

Congratulations to StitchingGrandama!  My wild haired chick will soon be traveling to Delaware!

Thank you to everyone that entered the Texas leg of the Chicken Run. Don't forget to visit Mary over at StitchingGrandma to see what chicks pop up over there and where one of them will be travelling next!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Finishes for June

Well, perhaps this post would best be called STARTS for June ...

I did start to fold my fabric onto boards so I can get it out of drawers and onto shelves. But when I ran out of boards and still had fabric left over, I tabled that idea ( meaning that I have 5 nice neat stacks sitting on the end of my cutting table waiting for more boards to arrive ). 

I did start to iron my #PINK gonna love it or gonna hate it quilt top so I could get it basted and ready to quilt...actually I think I may have started that task more than once, and it's still draped over the back of my chair waiting to become a finish ( there's no room on the table if you recall) ...

Happily I did join The Chicken Run .. and I'm most pleased to say that it is very nearly a finish! I learned how to make a very small ( for me, that is ) 4" log cabin block and turned it into a sweet little patchworky chicken, and then made a few friends for her and now I'm hosting a fun giveaway and will send one of my finished chickens off to a new home on Friday.

You can read more about this fun giveaway project and see more of my chickens here.

I think the one "nearly finished" trumps the many "just started" projects! And I'm off to chase the cat off the ironing board so I can get that #Pink quilt ready to baste ....

Linking to Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet at Lilly's Quilts

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Chicken Run matchstick quilting tutorial

Meet my two rebel chicks....

I loved learning how to piece the mini log cabin blocks to make sweet patchwork chicks but I thought it would be fun to go a little funky and try some improv techniques. The small size makes these chickens a cheap and easy way to try something new

I gathered up some scraps from my stash and combined them with a pair of sleeves salvaged from a light grey linen shirt I found at a resale shop. There was enough fabric in the sleeves to make 2 chicks, so I ended up with one using the slash and insert method, and a second with really easy no-fuss applique.

This tutorial will take you through the slash and insert piecing and the matchstick quilting for the pink and grey chick. I’ll also show you how to lay out the applique pieces to make the chick sporting the orange mohawk!

For each chick you will need: 
  • body fabric - two squares at least 4 inches on a side. 4.5 or 5 inches is safer if you want more wiggle room or haven’t done any slashing and inserting before.
  • scraps of contrasting fabric to insert into the body fabric (at least 1 inch x 6 inches)
  • beak - about 1.25 inch square of fabric
  • comb - a piece of fabric at least 1 inch x 2 inch
  • tail - one 4 inch square and one 3 inch square
  • embroidery thread for the eyes
  • scrap of batting at least 5 x 10 inches ( its easiest to use low loft )
  • quilting thread
  • stuffing ( you can use poly fil, pellets, sawdust, or even grits or rice )
  • Rotary cutter and mat with a plastic ruler (a 3.5” inch square ruler is handy for squaring up your blocks, but if you don’t have one that’s ok.)
Press your body fabric. I like to use spray starch at this stage to give the fabric some extra
stiffness so it won’t distort as much after it’s cut diagonally.

Cut 2 squares for each chick. You can get by with 4 inch squares but 4.5 inches will give you extra insurance.

Using your rotary cutter make 1 or two strait slashes across the body squares. I made both
sides the same, but you can make them different.

Cut your insert fabric into strips at least 1 inch by 6 inches

Fold your beak fabric square diagonally twice and press

For the comb, fold your scrap in half wrong sides together  and cut the open edge all wiggly

Place the beak and comb where your chicken's head will be to hep you visualize the final look .. ( or just b surprised! ) You will make the tail later.

Double check your alignment and seam allowances!

Mark your seam lines. since you are looking at the right sides of your fabric, at this stage, it is easier to just mark a dot with a chalk pencil, or use a hera marker or even a small strait pin to mark the end of the seam line on BOTH fabrics. This will help you get everything positioned correctly again when you flip the body fabric over right sides together to sew your seams.

Flip the top body piece over so it is right sides together on top of your first insert piece. 

Be sure to check that you have both pieces positioned so your planned seam line dots

line overlap or touch each other.

After you sew the first body piece down, flip it back open to double check it is in the right place, then move the next body piece over on top of the insert piece and using your marks, get it positioned correctly and sew your second seam. Now you have one insert done
and it's time to trim and press before you go on to the next step.

Trim the extra seam allowance off each seam, and press all seams toward the body fabric. Leave the extra insert pieces sticking out, you will clean them up later when you square up your final block.

Mark and trim both the front and the back. They don't have to be the same and they don't have to match at the seams unless you just get crazy if they don't match up.

Next it's time to sew the front seam!

Lay your two pressed body parts out side by side. Be sure you have your planned “face” part at the top and on the inside ( yellow dashed circle shows the “face area”. ) 

Be sure your beak is folded twice diagonally and pin it in place with the raw edge lined up with the left edge of your body piece. Keep the single folded edge of the little triangle at the top and the double folded edge at the bottom. Make sure you move it down enough that the top corner falls below the seam line ( white dashed line in the photo )

Check to be sure everything looks right and if so, you are ready to move on to the quilting part. Set your comb aside for later and press and starch again if your fabric has lost some
of its crispness from handling. 

Lay your open chicken body right side up on top of your batting scrap. The beak should not
be pressed down. Leave it sticking strait up.

If it isn't perfect, don't worry .. mine is not perfect. I save the perfect points and exact trimming rules for when I am doing crucial piecing. This is wonky and fun.

I like to preview the quilting thread color before I actually work on the real thing. I tried both the pink thread that I liked with my fabrics and also a grey thread that is a close match to the body color. I decided that I wanted the texture to show more than the stitching, so I changed my mind and used the grey thread instead of the pink.

I usually decrease the pressure foot setting a little, change my stitch length to somewhere between 2.75 and 3.5, and slow down my sewing speed so I’ll have time to get nice irregular wavy lines.

It would be faster and make a lot of sense to do free motion quilting here if you like .. I’m still terrified of the BSR foot and the jumping foot, so I use this embroidery foot since it has a small clear sole it is easy to see my stitching and it manuevers pretty well. I have also used the even feed foot on my machine or a walking foot with success, but this project is so small that I didn’t even try to use any of those bulky attachments.

As for basting .. yes, you should probably baste for a more controlled outcome. You will have less problem with your fabric distorting and getting all out of square as you quilt. I did use some thin little strait pins around the outside edge and it held the fabric nicely. It's a pretty small area we'll be quilting, and you can also easily spray baste, or glue baste if you like those methods.

Congratulations!  I hope you love your rebel chick!  

Using the quilting stitches to applique decorative elements is super fast and easy. Cut out your body blocks ( use the 4 inch size since you won't be doing any inserts ) and skip all the insert fabric steps. Jump ahead to placing and sewing your beak in place.

Plan your applique .. cut out wings, or stripes, or dots, or any thing you like and temporarily attach them to the front of your chicken body. You can make the comb from felt or fabric, or get crazy with it and add some personality with something unexpected.

Follow the directions above to quilt and finish this fun option. I loved how quickly it came together.  

If you want to know more about The Chicken Run, or enter to win one of my chickens, go here to read more, or visit The Chicken Run Gallery here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Chicken Run comes to Texas

I'm joining The Chicken Run! 

I fell in love with these colorful little pieced pin cushions and thought it looked like the perfect weekend project ... small enough to cut, piece and finish in one sitting. Little did I know that they are so fun and quick to put together that I would soon have a growing flock of them.

The Chicken Run began in England in January and has made landings in Australia, Germany and Virginia and Montana, USA. And now it has made its way to Texas! Where in the world will the next chicken fly away to?

That's where the real fun comes in .. I'll be sending one of my little hens on the next leg of The Chicken Run and if you want to be the next stop and win one of the chickens pictured, here is all you need to do:

1. Agree to make another chicken and give it away on your blog within 4 weeks of receiving your prize.

Include a link back to Oh Sew Tempting, where your chicken will appear in the Chicken Run Gallery, along with a link to your giveaway.
( If you do not blog, Avis will be happy to organize the giveaway for you on her blog Oh Sew Tempting )

2. Leave a comment below telling me which is your favorite chicken and where she would be going if you are the winner :)

I'll be selecting a lucky winner next friday night ( yes, that's July 4th, an easy to remember deadline for entries )

This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere!

Want to see more before you decide which one you would like to win?

If you don't want to wait to win one, you can make your own little Pin Hen out of scraps of your favorite fabric. I love these patchwork ladies ... you can find a great, easy follow tutorial by Sarah on her blog Here We Are!

Of course, once I had made a few of the patchwork chicks, I had to try out a couple with matchstick quilting, and I love the way they turned out.

I'll be posting a tutorial to make the upcycled matchstick quilted hens on Saturday so stop back by if you'd like to see how easy it is to join The Chicken Run yourself.

Which will you choose?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Umbrella Prints : Trimmings 2014 finish

I was so excited to participate in the Umbrella Prints Trimmings 2014 competition!

I love the natural texture of the graphic prints and the hand of the hemp cotton fabric. I selected the warm colorway and waited anxiously for my package to arrive.

What a cute little packet of "trimmings" .. I sorted through them several times, loving the juicy warm colors and the different feel of the fabrics .. 

It was hard to decide what to do with them, but I knew I wanted to upcycle so I headed off to the resale shop to find some natural fabrics to use with my trimmings collection of hearts, cats and leaves. I got home with a large shirt in oatmeal linen and a pair of loose pants in a great orangey coral color.

I laid the Umbrella trimmings out on top of my fabric finds and loved the way they both blended and popped on the oatmeal linen, so with that decision made, I only had to figure out what to make that would showcase the prints and colors .. 

I am seriously obsessed with matchstick quilting right now, so I decided to make a mini-size back pack using the quilt as you go method .. and we ended up with "Oreo"... a Fat Cat Backpack that's the perfect size to pack a journal, crayons and a snack or a crafty project for a car trip.

Oreo is made from a simple one piece flat pattern. Her spots are all from my trimmings packet and are attached with the quilting stitches leaving raw edges that work well with the natural fabrics. 

I pieced a few of my trimmings into her tail which doubles as the shoulder strap and is attached at the back of one ear with a repurposed vintagey button.

I found a great orange sport style zipper for the back opening and made it as wide as possible. You can't well inside, but she is lined with Amy Butler scraps in coral and limey colors.

You can see in the closeup that she's quilted all over with closely spaced lines using pink cotton thread.

So what is Oreo carrying today? 

I packed her with a crochet project I am working on during my lunch hour at work. Tomorrow I may have to do a few rounds of rock, paper, scissors with my daughter though, to see who gets to carry her next ... 

The Umbrella Prints competition entry period runs through May 30 (yes, I'm making it just under the wire) ... and then you'll have a chance to repin your favorite entries from June 1—5th ( that's Austrailian time ).

I'm really excited to see what others have done with their little packets of color. This should be fun!

UPDATE!  Voting has started over on Pinterest .. go here to see this year's entries and cast your votes for your favorites. Leave a comment and "like" your favorite "makes" to boost them up in the rankings.