Here & There: Quilting Edition

 

This post was meant to have Florrie’s story about her hexagons, too… but temperamental internet has kept her from finishing.  She will post hers as soon as she can.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss her project.  Read on for my story –hex

Down at the Flat I was wandering through some few of my favorite blogs a few weeks back and I read about Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy starting work on some fabric hexagons. It jogged a memory of my mother, an avid quilter, making hexagons when I was a girl and carefully hand stitching them together into a quilt top.  Alicia’s hexagons were so pretty. Shades of pink and cream, green and blue.  The combination of nostalgia and the twitchy fingers of my craft mania meant that it wouldn’t be long before I started some of my own.

I’m an OK seamstress at best, but this seemed easy enough.  I did a little research on construction and Florrie ordered us a few sets of paper hexagons online.  We ended up with 1 1/2 inch and 2 inch paper hexagons.  I was to go up to the Croakery for a long weekend and we were set to get started.  While I was there we took a trip to JoAnn’s (which is extra exciting for me as we don’t have any of them down in the City) and we spent 20 minutes picking out fabrics. Initially I wanted aqua and browns, but the greens kept creeping in and the palette seemed to sort itself out. I bought a quarter of a yard of eight different fabrics, four green and four aqua of varying shades, patterns and intensities.

I knew I wanted to make a small project (a quilt seemed a bit daunting to start in case it turned out making hexagons made my teeth squeak) so I settled on a pillow cover.  Turns out making the hexagons is a quick, easy and pretty fun process. I cut out rough squares (why be fussy and cut a hexagon when you really don’t need to??) with my teeny Ginghers.  You just need to make sure that your fabric squares are big enough to comfortably wrap around the paper pieces. Basting the fabric to the paper was quick and easy, soon I had a decent sized stack and started the work of composing my layout. I settled on diagonal stripes of a dark and light of each color, and laid them out to alternate green/aqua/green and so on. I thought the flower motif might be a bit too twee for what I had in mind.

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Stitching the hexes together turned out to be a breeze. The instructions said to use a whip stitch, but I somehow fell into blanket stitch and it seemed to be fine.  I picked up a 20×13 inch pillow stuffer and got to work making my piece large enough to cover the front. I’m going to make the back with strips of the remaining fabric.

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I haven’t decided if I want to fuss around with a zipper yet, or just make a flap. I do plan to line the inside with muslin to make sure no disasters occur while inserting/removing the pillow. Should I do a layer of thin batting for the cover and do a little bit of quilting, too? Decisions, decisions… Also, would anyone be interested in directions for the hexagon pillow? Let me know and I may be able to take the time to create a PDF.      -Marie

 

DIY: Tile Back Splash Part One

I’ve been seeing white subway tiles on Pinterest, and in magazines for ages and I have always loved the clean fresh look of them. While I do rent the flat,  I figured this would be a nice inexpensive way to give the kitchen a little refreshing face lift. After getting the all clear from the landlord I took a trip to Home Depot with my roommate’s contractor girlfriend. (she’s a good person to know if you’re planning on doing a construction project) 🙂  Here’s a photo gallery of the back splash project.  In this episode we removed the hardware, in this case a shelf and electrical outlet cover, and prepped the wall. We sanded it down since it was a painted wall and made sure all the grease and oil that accumulates on kitchen walls was scrubbed off.  We used 12×12 inch sheets of pre-spaced tiles and started putting them up with the mortar.

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Before. Painted white with a faux steel trim (contact paper!)

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Removing the hardware and starting the wall prep. A good scrub and a sanding happened next.

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Applying the mortar and getting the tiles on the wall!

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We’re getting into the corners, time to trim the sheets to fit.

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Only halfway done and I LOVE the way it looks already.
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Added a grey glass decorative edging along the top that matches the dark grey counter top.

Now we let the mortar cure for a day. I’m waiting a couple of days because I’m a busy girl, but we may grout as soon as tonight. Not too shabby for $100!  I’m really pleased and I was surprised at how simple the process really was.  Stay tuned for the final product in the new year. -Marie

Vogue Knitting Live 2014

VKL2I know I should be concentrating on Thanksgiving but I am starting to get excited for Vogue Knitting Live NYC! Its still nearly two months out, but you all know how time flies. Florrie and I have signed up for classes, a lecture and we have our marketplace passes ready to go.

Our Schedule looks like this:

01/17/2014
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Adding and Inventing Colorwork Patterns – NEW!
01/17/2014
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Lecture: Journey Inside the Great White Bale with Clara Parkes
01/18/2014
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Hand-Painted Yarn: Customizing a Palette with Natural, Botanical Dyes – NEW!
01/18/2014
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Secrets to Writing Your Own Sweater Patterns  

So excited! The color work class is with the Color Work Queen, Mary Jane Mucklestone. (I have just dubbed her this… I’m fairly certain that she doesn’t go around introducing herself this way) the class is about incorporating color work into design.The class notes said to bring 3-8 colors of wool to work with.  Florrie and I promptly bought 8 shades of Cascade 220,  you know we don’t do things by halves.

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I can’t wait to see what we come up with. I have always loved color work, but find it a bit daunting. The few times I have tried it it didn’t work out so great (getting the tension of the travelling strands was trickier than I thought!).  So my hopes for this class are that it will demystify the process for me and help with my design work.

We’re also taking a foray into hand dying yarn. That is something that Florrie and I have been chomping at the bit to try for years now. This class will focus on natural dyes, its pretty incredible what you can do with plants and minerals. Our last class is all about sweater design. I have been sketching sweaters for ages and I can knit one for myself but the idea of grading sizes to fit a multitude of body shapes scares the pants off me so I have my fingers crossed that I will get the courage to plunge in after taking this class. Bring it on, sweaters! If your classes don’t scare you at least a little bit, they aren’t the right classes, in my opinion.

Our lecture is the Yarn Whisperer herself Clara Parkes. We are especially excited about this lecture because its something that we have been thinking, planning and dreaming about for a couple of years now.  Wool. More specifically production of wool into gorgeous, squashy, lovely skeins for hand knitting. I’m just saying… its a very exciting prospect.  Don’t you think so?

Hurry up January! I can barely wait. Will we see you there?

-Marie

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DIY: Easy Candy Corn Trick or Treat Tote

Done! The marker only looks pale on the left because of the light coming in from the window, its writes quite dark, and it doesn't belld, even on this thin cotton. Now you're ready to fill her up with candy! You can also stitch some scary black ribbon onto the handles if you wanted to....

What you’ll need:

Plain muslin tote

Freezer Paper

Pencil

Ex-acto knife

Iron

Paint brush

Fabric Paint in White, Yellow & Orange

Fabric marker in Black

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Sketch out your design on the freezer paper. If you are making letters, numbers or words, make sure you’re drawing on the dull side of the paper.

I used a sharp Exacto knife to carefully cut it out.

I used a sharp Exacto knife to carefully cut it out.

Cut out and ready!

Cut out and ready!

Position it on your tote where you want it. I decided on the middle, tilted slightly in a jaunty fashion...

Making sure that the shiny side is down, position it on your tote where you want it. I decided on the middle, tilted slightly in a jaunty fashion. With a moderately warm iron, press the freezer paper onto the tote.

You don't need fancy brushes, I used these inexpensive sponge brushes to paint my fabric paint on the tote. I slipped an old magazine inside so that the colors wouldn't bleed through to the back side.

You don’t need fancy brushes, I used these inexpensive sponge brushes to paint my fabric paint on the tote. I slipped an old magazine inside so that the colors wouldn’t bleed through to the back side.

Once its dry, carefully peel the paper off and discard it.

Once the paint is completely dry, carefully peel the paper off and discard it.

So CUTE! Now you are ready to add some detail with your fabric marker.

So CUTE! Now you are ready to add some detail with your fabric marker.

Done! The marker only looks pale on the left because of the light coming in from the window, its writes quite dark, and it doesn't belld, even on this thin cotton. Now you're ready to fill her up with candy! You can also stitch some scary black ribbon onto the handles if you wanted to....

 

I hope you fill it up with loads of your favorite candy! -Marie