Outlander Stitch Along Block 2

Hi guys! I hope you are having fun with this project. I am thoroughly enjoying it and working hard on the next few blocks to get them tested and ready.

You may notice a few slight differences from my pattern and my stitched sample. I slightly changed my placement of rain drops when I stitched them just because I was feeling rebellious and I rounded off Jamie’s chin a little, just because my satin and chain stitches went a little awry in the process. You can do this whole piece in outline stitching, no worries! But, I added all the info on the pattern  just in case you want to know exactly what I used and did. Have fun! and if you share your pieces on instagram or twitter, please use the hashtag #outlanderstitchalong or tag me so I can see! thanks!

 

Click here to go to Craftsy.com to download the pattern.

 

LDQ #65 Embroidery on the Brain

I am obsessed with embroidery lately. I love this book. The Encyclopedia of Stitches

I loved Christa Watson’s new book!! Machine Quilting With Style. It’s the perfect book if you want to try quilting your own quilts on a regular sewing machine.

I talked about all my embroider projects going on, and which quilt I’m working on currently, which is my postage stamp blocks that finish at 5″ .. I love them!

Here’s what I am currently reading…

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

 

Scroll to the next blog post if you’re looking for the second Outlander Stitch Along block!

Go Stitch Something!

LDQ #64 A New Order

Hey everyone! I apologise in advance for the inconsistent sound quality in this episode. I’m not feeling well and apparently I kept holding the mic in different positions and it changes a couple times throughout the episode. Today I talked about making some organisational changes in my sewing life, reading life, and mental life. Thus the title.. It also happens to be the title of a book I am destroying in my art journaling.

Here’s the paper pieced block I made yesterday.

It’s the first in the Sewhooked 2016 My Favourite Things block of the month.

Now.. Go do whatever you want to do.

Outlander Stitch Along – Block One

Hey Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderfully blessed holiday season. Are you ready to dive into some stitching? ME TOO! Our first block is the standing stones where Claire’s exciting adventure begins.

I’ve chosen to use specific colours for my Outlander blocks. All the numbers given are for Presencia colours. You could follow me, or you may prefer to choose your own, or do redwork, or blackwork. I’ve given the colours of thread I used on the pattern itself, so you have all the info you need on one print out. Our blocks will finish at 8″ and we will have at least 12 designs, one coming out at the beginning of each month in 2016. There may be a few bonus blocks, but I am promising at least 12 :)

I am using a small, 6″ hoop, and Pepper Cory’s Big Stitch Quilting Needles, simply because they have huge eyes, and I don’t have to fight to get the thick perle cottons threaded onto my needle. I move my hoop as needed. I’m using Kona Cotton in the “Bone” colour because I thought these would look nicer on a softer tone instead of stark white. It is also a lot easier to stitch through than the tightly woven muslin I used for my Dr Who blocks.  This will reduce finger fatigue quite a lot and eliminate that maddening needle squeak that happens with tight fabrics. You do want something fairly light and neutral for these designs.

Cut your background square about 10″ so there’s enough for the hoop to grab onto. I mark an 8″ square on my fabric using the same marking pencil I am using to trace the picture. I am using a silver marking pencil that washes out. Use whichever kind you prefer, as long as it washes out. You may want to test this first!

When you print your pattern, make sure to click “print actual size”

Trace your pattern onto your fabric, and you are ready to go! If you don’t have a lightbox, simply tape it to a window for tracing.

I am using a simple outline stitch or backstitch for these blocks. I try not to use any big knots on the back, instead I weave about an inch of each thread tail into some stitches. When starting, I simply stitch over my thread tail to secure it. You may choose to change it up with some stem stitches, chain stitches, lazy daisy stitches, whatever you like. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. There may even be some opportunity for beads and baubles later on.

Pay special attention to any stitching lines that go all the way to your drawn 8″ barrier. You don’t want to stitch past those. Those are your finished sewing lines and you don’t want to cut off any parts of hand stitching when you trim your block, because your embroidery will come out.

Let’s get stitching!

Click Here to download this free pattern

Armchair Buddy Tutorial

Hi guys! I trust you had a merry and bright holiday season. Now that all of our gift obligation sewing is done, how about we whip up a quick little something for ourselves? This is my step by step instructions for an armchair pincushion buddy. It has pockets to hold your thread, scissors, etc.. whatever you need for an evening of relaxing handwork, whether that be embroidery, quilt binding, or hand piecing. It will come in very handy to keep your tools at the ready when we start our Outlander Embroider Along in January!

Supplies:
A pre-quilted rectangle of fabric, measuring 7″ x 27″
Needle
Strong thread
Your preferred pincushion stuffing
Approx. 50″ of leftover quilt binding

Step 1, start with a pre-quilted rectangle that measures about 7″ x 27″. This may vary a little depending on the thickness of the arm of your chair or sofa. When in doubt, measure yours and add the needed amount for the pocket areas. My sofa has big puffy arms, and these measurements are perfect. You can buy a pre-quilted fabric, or quilt it yourself to have something done in your fabric choices. Keep in mind that you want them to coordinate. (see pics) I cheated a bit here, and used the scraps that I trimmed off of another quilt at work. A client brought in bought quilts, a twin and a full, and wanted one cut down to match the other for a guest room. So, I have these long strips of pre-quilted goodness just waiting to be made into something. An antique cutter quilt would be perfect for this. (gasp) Cut away what is salvageable, preserve it in a usable item, and discard the rest. (I know, I know!)

Step 2, Machine bind the short ends of the rectangle. I re-pressed it with both edges in toward the middle, instead of in half like when binding a quilt. This way I had plenty width, and was able to wrap it round the edge, and stitch through all layers in one go.
Then flip the ends up about 4″ and stitch in place. (indicated by green lines in the pic)

Step 3, Machine bind both of the long sides, catching all layers. It will be thick, take it slowly. I just tuck the ends under and machine stitch them down. Keep it simple and easy!

Step 4, Use something round to trace a circle for your pincushion. A wrapped jelly roll is the perfect size for a small cushion. A saucer will give you a little bit bigger cushion.

Step 5, After cutting out the circle, use a strong thread to sew long stitches around the edge, for gathering. A button thread is perfect. You want something that won’t snap when you tug hard on it.

Step 6, Pull the thread tails, gather, & stuff the pincushion pretty tightly. You’ll feel like you don’t have enough hands. Gather it a bit, leave a small opening, and use one finger to stuff, stuff, and stuff in more fluff. Tighten & tie off. (your fingers may sting a little after this step)

Step 7, Last part! Use the same strong thread to attach the pincushion to the center of your armchair buddy. And you’re done!

Now, you’re ready to Go Quilt Something!

Announcing a Stitch Along for 2016!

I am having so much fun with the Doctor Who stitch along blocks that I finally got around to doing from Fandom In Stitches. You can see pictures on instagram under verylazydaisy. I’ve got all the doctors done, even 8.5, and I’ve done River Song, and K-9. I’m currently on the Vincent van Gogh block. What does Van Gogh have to do with Doctor Who, you ask? Well, he was the subject of my very favourite episode of the show, wherein Bill Nighy’s character says of Van Gogh, “to me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of colour most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.”
I still cry every time I watch this episode. It is truly moving.
I am thinking of adding a swirly starry night sky effect to the background of my Vincent block.

While stitching away the hours I have thought of what other fandom quilts I would like to make. I added a Firefly quilt to my growing list of projects.

I have been planning an Outlander quilt for many years, well, “planning” in my head with no concrete plans on how to achieve this. Since I read the first book, way back in 1991, I have been obsessed with all things Outlander. I thought of paper pieced blocks, similarly to the Harry Potter quilts I have made. But, I decided embroidery would much better suit my goals for this quilt, and I truly am enjoying the process of stitching.

I know many of you are also Outlander fans, and thought how fun would it be to share the designs with you in the form of a stitch along, starting in January! I will post one block pattern per month, so you will have plenty of time to work on them, or just print them out and save them for a later time.
I will share all the info with you on which products and notions I am using. The supply list will be very simple! Needles, threads, background fabric. That’s it! We will talk block layout towards the end of the stitch along, and I will post full finishing instructions along with measurements and detailed directions.
The embroidery designs will be simple line drawings that will work with a basic backstitch or could be embellished with your own choice of stitches.
I’m looking forward to sharing the first block with you in January!

Go quilt something

LDQ #63 The Cursed Quilt

Happy Halloween, my Pretties! It’s my favorite time of year. In celebration, I bring you an original short story, read by me, and written by Stephen Mier. Yeah ok, he’s my little brother, and we sorta collaborated… and by “collaborated” I mean that I asked him to write me a very short story about a cursed or haunted sewing machine. MWAAAAHAAhAAAAA! This is what he came up with. It’s the last 7 minutes or so of the podcast. The first bit has two book reviews, and then I talk about what I’m sewing, briefly.

Relax, it’s just PG-13 or so :-)

The Cursed Quilt

I wiped my sweat as I leaned over the sewing machine, frantically stitching in a vain attempt to finish the quilt before Halloween. I had one day left to complete the quilt I had promised to raffle at the party the following evening. It was by far the largest and most intricate I had ever undertaken, borne of thick and luxurious fabric for the cold of the coming winter. It was becoming clearer by the moment that I had bitten off far more than I could chew. Hour after hour I worked at a nearly inhuman pace, and just when it looked as though I might finish, as I set my eyes upon the last few stitches needed to complete my creation, the thread in my machine ran dry. My last spool.

I had special ordered the thread weeks ago, as no local shop had stocked the one perfect color I needed, a color which no other could approximate, and which no other could so perfectly complement the shade of the fabric. I stood, clutching the sides of my head in my tired hands, expletives erupting from my heathen mouth.

In a fatigue and frustration induced stupefaction, I bundled the quilt angrily, though I loved it so, and threw it into the backseat of my car. I set out for the one quilt shop in town with which I was less than familiar, hoping against hope that it might have my thread. It was very old, and an unnerving mood hung all about the place. There were stories, warnings really, that the owner was not quite right, and that a couple of noteworthy local quilters had walked into the shop and never walked out. Silly stories, I always told myself, though I never did tempt fate by going there.

Have you ever felt such a chill that it snapped you from near-sleep to full alertness so suddenly that you felt as though waking from a dream? That is what I felt as I stepped into that grim place. The air was dusty and stale as I walked to the counter where an old woman stood, staring through me.

“Do you have Aurifil in teal feather?” I asked, nearly tripping over my words for the anxiety belaboring my every word and every thought.

“Teal feather?” She croaked with a crooked smile. “Yes… You have distinguished preferences, I see?” She smiled. It was scarcely a question rather than a statement.

“I guess so,” I nodded. “Look, I just need to get my thread and get home so that I can finish this quilt,” I didn’t have time for idle conversation.

“I don’t get many visitors anymore…” She lamented. “Let me show you something,” she said, wholly ignoring my previous request. She opened a drawer beneath the counter filled with unusual threads, most of which I had never seen, and plucked a spool of Aurifil, teal feather. “Come with me,” she said as she walked towards the back room. I pursed my lips and stepped around the counter to follow her, still clutching my quilt.

We stepped into a room which could have immediately curdled the blood of the devil himself. Blood red carpets streaked with black in indescribable, arcane patterns stretched across the floor. The walls were entirely black, and seemed to have been sloppily painted over and over with little regard for technique, with uneven runs and bubbles riddling every inch of the paint as though mess after mess had been hastily covered up. In the middle of the room stood an ordinary chair, and an ordinary but old machine on a dusty table.

“Please, finish your quilt here,” she said. “My old fingers can’t sew anymore, and it would bring me so much happiness to see my sewing machine used again, if only for awhile.”

I have no idea why I acquiesced despite my mind screaming at me to flee with every step I took towards the middle of that room. Her words were gentle, yet they made me want to vomit with fear, and still I sat down in that old, wooden chair. She handed me the thread with a cruelly affectionate smile, and I loaded it, somehow without any difficulty despite knowing nothing about this machine.

I brought the bobbin thread through and up to the surface of my quilt, set the presser foot down, and took a shaky breath as I pressed down on the pedal. My eyes brightened as the machine started to sew the straightest, most perfect line of quilting stitches I had ever seen.

“Wonderful, isn’t it?” She asked from behind my shoulder.

“Yes, I-” my reply was cut short as the old woman erupted into an unholy cackle, and I looked on in horror as my hand was drawn under the presser foot, the needle ripping into my flesh, splintering bone and severing sinew with ease as I screamed in agony. My blood sprayed viciously, caking the walls around me as I was drawn in all the way to the shoulder, my arm disappearing into the machine as the old woman’s laughter grew to a deafening level. I caught a final glimpse of my precious quilt which my face was now nearly pressed against, and saw that the thread being sewn into it was not teal feather. It was my own tendons. The fabric itself was being replaced by the supple skin being stripped from my body, and dyed red with my blood.

I awoke with a start, and looked down at my machine. The nightmare was real. I was still out of teal feather.

Written by Stephen Mier   copyright 2015

Go spook something!

 

 

LDQ #62 Back in the Saddle

Hey Twilters!

Today I gave an update on my dad’s recovery, talked about the quilts I’ve worked on lately, and reviewed a book I read. Don’t worry, I gave no spoilers.

This was Dad’s arm the day after the angio procedure. It later turned even darker from wrist to shoulder, before eventually fading back to normal. The Dr. kept apologising for the bruising, and we thanked him for it, since it was the first step that made the whole recovery possible!

Here we are before they took him into bypass surgery.

I’ll have to post a new picture of him when I see him next week. It’s amazing how good he looks! Even healthier than before these surgeries. It’s amazing what good blood flow will do for you :)


 

Now, on to the quilts…

Firstly, here is my Scrap in a Box, because I don’t think I’ve showed you this one yet. I love how the fat sashing turned out.


 

And here is Falling Charms


 

Here’s Birdie’s quilt, with a close up of some of the quilting.


 

And here’s what I’ve done so far on the background of my Twilter Round Robin quilt.

Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas on how to quilt the bright areas of this quilt.


The book I reviewed on the podcast is I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers


 

Thanks for stopping by!

Go Quilt Something

The Great Walmart Debate

There’s been quite of bit of debate going on over facebook quilting related pages lately, over the quality and price of Walmart fabrics versus quilt shop fabrics. Some have gotten completely butthurt over comments like “support your local quilt shops”.. One gem of a lady on facebook actually told me to “suck it” after I suggested that Walmart does not carry the same quality cottons you’ll find in an independent quilt shop.

Since I haven’t stepped foot in a Walmart in several years, because I don’t like supporting that monstrosity, I thought maybe I should do a little field research. So, today, I went to one of the walmart supercenters that is within a ten minute driving distance from me (there are four)

It is a proven fact that Walmart purchases fabrics from China, that are made as knockoffs of designer lines and brands like Moda. Designers have a hell of a time trying to track down all these copyright infringements. It would be a full time job to do so. Taking on a monster like Walmart? Fuhgettaboutit.

A perfect example of this is a line I have in FQ bundle form, called Mint Condition, by CamelotFabrics. The prints are at Walmart, though the names on the bolt are completely different. They look nearly identical in colour and design, except that the quality is very poor in comparison.

I browsed the cotton prints, and actually saw a few prints that turned my head.  An artsy, faded newsprint type design, a subdued print with antique or Victorian style furniture pieces with a text scattered over it, and a charming black and beige print with fancy perfume bottle on it. All for $4.97 per yard. I examined the quality of the cloth, holding my fingers behind one layer of it. It felt rough, thin, and I could count the threads, visibly, without my glasses.

They also had a few basic batiks for $9 per yard. They didn’t feel quite up to par, but they weren’t terrible. The bolts said made in Indonesia.

Now, for $5 per yard, I was willing to give the newsprint one a chance to live in a quilt, because of the three, it was the best quality. Still, it had a rough hand, but I’d hoped it would wash up softer. I really wanted to try it and report my findings to you in whole.

I’d like to be able to give you a full review of this fabric, from purchase to final binding stitch and maybe even beyond on how the quilt would hold up over the years in comparison with Moda and  Northcott and Bali Batiks.. Unfortunately I didn’t end up taking that pretty text print home with me. First, I waited about twenty minutes while the lady (very nice lady whom I’ve interacted with for years while I made many crafts and costumes) tried to find a printer in order to make a ticket for my fabric. After many announcements and pleas with neighboring departments she finally just wrote the information on a slip of paper and sent me along that way.

I should mention I was very patient and friendly up to this point. She thanked me for my patience and I shrugged it off, commenting that there’s no other way to be. Getting huffy doesn’t help anything.

After waiting for a half hour in the “10 items or less” line (screaming in my head the entire time that it should be 10 or fewer) while someone checked out with a $200 school supplies order.. Then the people behind them had someone join their party with an armload of items from the clearance rack with jacked up tags. The clerk started trying to look up the items, gave up, called another person over to help..  I just knew when I got up there with my non-scannable ticket, there would be problems.. I chunked my fabric over a nearby shelf and declared I was done. Done with Walmart, (again) done with the whole experience.

What people fail to realize is that when you pay $6- $12 per yard for high quality fabrics that don’t fade or disintegrate in three washings at an independent shop, you’re paying for quality in addition to prompt and friendly service. If for some reason, you have to wait at a quilt shop, you’re likely offered a comfy chair, and a cup of coffee or tea. You get someone who actually cares to hear about the quilt you’re making for your daughter’s boyfriend’s roommate who is battling cancer. You get someone who is knowledgable about quiltmaking, and most times they will get out a calculator and do the math for you to figure out how much fabric you need.

I’ve said before, if all you can afford is Walmart fabric (I’ve been there!!) then buy it! Quilt with it! By all means, buy it. But be choosy and careful, and try to find the quality pieces. I don’t want anyone to NOT quilt just because they are financially not able to buy quilt shop quality. Also, make friends who have amazing scraps :) Quilter’s love to share!

But also, realize that if you’re thrifty and smart, you CAN afford quality! Walmart fabrics run $5-$10. While quilt shops range from $6-$13 (in the U.S.) Most quilt shops have reward programs, coupons, or some sort of discount system to help you get the most out of your quilting budget.

Just please understand that you get what you pay for. For a couple extra dollars per yard, you get a quilt that will last several times longer and a personal experience with like minded people that is quickly and sadly disappearing from our society.

/endrant

Back to your regularly scheduled quilting. I’m making a modern Dresden Plate quilt (thanks a lot Frances!!)

Now, where did I put that wedge ruler?

LDQ #61 Cake Sauce with a side of Music

I finally quilted Cake Sauce! And I made matching pillow cases. Ya know, cuz I’m awesome.

I also worked on this little quilt I’m calling Moby. It looks like he is caught in a hurricane..

I also laid out my Scrap In A Box blocks.. And I’m trying out some fat sashings to see how I like it.

I inserted a piece at the end of the podcast of my son, Ian playing and singing. He was on the radio this morning, and I’m so proud of him. These aren’t professional quality recordings, but if you’d like to hear more, check him out on soundcloud. He writes his own music and lyrics. My favourites are Brighter Now, Sunset Eyes, and Rest My Heart… and all the other ones.  ha