Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Show-n-Tell

Ya know, I forgot to show you the things I got from the very FIRST booth I visited!!! This booth, called Quilt Tapestry Studio, is where Wendy Richardson dyes all kinds of new and vintage textiles. I bought several pieces of fabric, as well as several scrap bags...containing a variety of small pieces. I just loved her crocheted/lace pieces! And I picked up one pair of her colorful bamboo socks for a Christmas gift.

When you visit her website, be sure to check out that close-up image of 'Summer Bouquet', the quilt that hangs in her booth. It is awesome! Made from her dyed fabrics and vintage laces and crocheted pieces...look at all that beautiful rayon seam tape that meanders around the piece! And the rick rack...oh my!

Here are the beads I bought, that I mentioned in my previous post.

The faux pearls came from Melek Karacan. I really don't have a special need for these, but I loved them and wanted them!

I was actively looking for leaf beads and finally found them at the Bowerbirds booth. I had picked out 3 different colors of green to buy. While writing up my order, she remembered another batch of leaves she had that was not on display, so she just threw in a string of that color for free! How nice is that? It was the olive ones, in the top right. So I also bought a string of turtle beads...hey! I just couldn't resist!

Here is a closer look at the turtles...the flash creates a glare.

I love turtles...they are at home whereever they go!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Show and Tell

Here is a little 'show-n-tell' of stuff I bought at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last week.

From Pro Chemical, I bought a RAINBOW GRADATION DYEING kit, in the color EARTHY BLEND. This is enough to dye 30 fat eighths (9" by 22"). Since I am a novice when it comes to dying, I thought a kit might be a good start. However, I also bought a 2 oz. container each of GOLDEN YELLOW, INTENSE BLUE, and FUCHSIA. These are kinda 'primary-ish' colors, so I figure I can mix to make just about anything I want. I also bought 8 oz of PAIST MIX (used to thicken dyes if desired) and it's also used with the THIOX...Thio Urea Dioxide...that I bought to make discharge paste. I plan on having some fun with fabrics!

From Laura Murray Designs, I bought a set of 12 Shiva Paintstiks,
which I have been wanting for years now! But I also bought 3 additional colors which are new and not included in that set of iridescents.

From Pinwheels Trading Company, I fell for the Japanese fabrics called Daiwabo. I bought several fat quarters and a half-yard piece and a kit to make a small bag. After making my initial purchase, I went back for seconds, geting a kit to make a small quilt! I am not normally a 'kit' person, but I am learning to be one!

I also loved the fabrics at! Here again, I went back for seconds. I got three fat quarters in the white/golds, as well as a roll of 15-- 9" x 11" batiks in a golden/terra cotta range. But I was also drawn to those 'blenders'...and had to pick up a bundle of darks!

Ooops! I see I have included that smaller bundle in this picture...that was a mistake. It came from Back Door Quilts, and should be in the picture with the next items. This little bundle is in taupes, grays, blues and browns...with some green designs on some of them.

Also from Back Door Quilts, I bought a kit to make a 'penny-rug' style sewing roll-up case, called "My Little Chickadee". Again, not my usual M.O. to work from a kit (nor to do handwork!), but this will give me a project to work on when riding in the car on road trips.

I also got a BALI POP, a precut collection of 40 different 2½" x 44" batik fabric strips. This one is the SPUMONI collection.

Well, phooey! My photo of the lovely rayon batiks just disappeared! I'll try to get it back, but picturess act crazy when they are 'moved' after might not enlarge.
Here it is...I reloaded...cross your fingers.
I found the blue fabric first, then when I saw the purple dragonflies, well...I HAD to get it! And it needed a companion the gold-with-bamboo was 'it'. These came from Indonesian Batiks.

As mentioned before, we visited HIGH FASHION FABRICS on Wednesday, before the quilt show opened. This is the only piece I bought! Can you believe that? I was overwhelmed.

This is a bamboo/lycra blend knit, and I think it will make a lovely top.

From Bold Over Batiks, I got this 'bundle of bungles.' It is a bundle of batiks and hand-dyed fabrics, and you can really only see what is on the buying a pig in a poke! The 'bungles'...flaws...were hardly visible to me--tiny white areas every here and there (no big deal!) I bought one.

Back at hotel, I opened the bundle to check it out. Inside, there were lots of colors! Most of the fabrics are hand-dyed, and a few are batiks...perfect! And as for 'bungles'...well, the only ones I saw were the ones on the outer fabric. I am just not as picky as they must be.

I stopped in my tracks when I came to the booth of Meg Hannon.
Her 'fabric jewels' were so unusual and so beautiful! I had to pick up a few small pieces! Be sure to visit her website to see the demonstration of how she makes this is amazing!

From Lesley Riley, I got some TAP, which is Transfer Artist Paper. You use it in your inkjet printer to do image transfer. For this show, she had packages of 5 sheets which sold for $10...I don't see those on her website.

From Wild Thymes Pattern Company, I got a VINTAGE HUES SAMPLER of Valdani threads. These are colorfast 3-strand cotton floss for punchneedle, cross-stitch, embroidery, etc. I have a punchneedle project in the works and wanted the thread for that.

From Treasures of the Gypsy, I found this rubber stamp with lots of faces. I couldn't resist. It's not that I need more faces, or couldn't draw my own...I just love stamps like this! I know...

Jennifer Zanetti had some wonderful vintage ribbons and trims and I couldn't help myself...I got these "salesman's samples" of beaded trims as well as several yards of velvet ribbon in black and beige.

From the Quilting Arts booth, I picked up a 2010 calendar, which I am sure I will year!

I also bought some beads, which I now see that I forgot to photograph! I'll have to get back to you with those images!

All in all, the only regrets I have are the things I DIDN'T buy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Houston Trip

I have had this song stuck in my head since last Friday! Etta and I ran into Rice (rhymes with Lisa) Freeman-Zachery at the quilt show on Friday. Rice had interviewed Etta by phone back in the summer for the cover article of the July/August issue of Belle Armoire Magazine, but they hadn't yet met face to face. During the conversation, Rice told a story about a post-quilt show dinner where one invited guest who was served fish with the head still on had kinda freaked out---Jekyll and Hyde style! Well, at the mention of heads-on-fish, I couldn't stop myself from singing a little bit of the afore mentioned song, which, it turns out, was pretty much unknown to everyone else in the conversation. There were some strange looks followed by mesmerized silence/stares...I wasn't sure whether to continue singing for their amusement or crawl into a hole!...(they were amused)...long story short, that song has been stuck in my head ever since!

We arrived in Houston last Tuesday, after a bumpy flight on a small plane. We took the Super Shuttle to our hotel (Holiday Inn Express)...this was about a 30 minute ride and cost $23.80 each. After unpacking our stuff, Etta and I walked the 8 blocks to the Houston Center, next to the Four Seasons Hotel. There is a food court on the 3rd floor with many options to choose from, as well as a sit-down restaurant called Ninfa's. We chose Ninfa's and got a table by the window overlooking the city streets. We both ordered a soup which was awesome! Although it had a different name, it was a chicken/tortilla-type soup. It was served as chicken meat in broth in a bowl and was surrounded by rice, tortilla strips, avocado, and pico de gallo to add as desired. Yum!

Tuesday night was the awards show, where the winning quilts were announced/unveiled.

On Wednesday, we met up with two of Etta's friends, Deb and Becky, and took a taxi to High Fashion Fabrics in Houston. Just walking in the door, I caught my This was fun!

Right away, Etta made friends with one of the 'models' at HFF.

Need a black wool? Perhaps a grey, or maybe a navy? Solids and pinstsripes and plaids, lightweights and heavier...oh my! How about a 4-ply silk for a blouse? A burn-out velvet? The selection here was unbelievable! The prices were all over the place...there were fabrics priced at $17 yd which were on sale for half price ($8.50), and other fabrics for nearly $200 yd!

I was blown away by the selection of wonderful fabrics at High Fashion Fabrics in Houston. There were so many 'special occasion' fabrics...there is nowhere NEAR anything like this available to me locally. It was fun to pet these fabrics and imagine what they would be when they grow up!

After our fabric shopping excursion, we AGAIN went to lunch at Ninfa's, as Becky and Deb wanted to try the soup we had raved about. Etta and I didn't mind eating it a second day in a row!

Walking the several blocks back to the hotel took us through this lovely area in the Houston Center Gardens:

This is me, in the pathway through the grove. These big trees were just lovely and created a wonderful atmosphere!

In the Discovery Green Park, across from the GRB Convention center, we found 'Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet', which is "public art with a inspire individuals, corporations and government officials to take action against climate change."

On Wednesday afternoon, we met with another group of ladies for an afternoon chat before the show opened.
Here is Etta and Diane Herbort exchanging ATCs.

Then at 5pm, the quilt show opened for 'preview night'. At this time, we could actually BEGIN shopping! And we did.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm Ba-aaaack!

There is nothing like coming home from a long trip! Even if your accomodations were lovely (which they were), and your traveling companion was delightful (which she was), and you really had a great time (which I did), there STILL comes a point at which you long to be home!

And now I am!

Home, that is.

It is late and I am tired, but I look forward to telling about my experiences at the International Quilt Show in Houston, as well as showing some of the things I saw and bought, along with some of the people I met!

But for now, check out these lovely images.....this is my traveling companion, Etta McFarland, finishing her water before going through security at the Houston Airport (Bush Intl).

Etta and I couldn't resist hamming it up a bit while waiting at the gate. Turns out, it was the WRONG gate...well, it started out right, but then they changed gates on us, so we had to grab our stuff and hike to a different area of the airport. We both look like we need some 'special' help!

The plane was a small one...we had both chosen aisle seats (across from each other) but it turned out that my side of the aisle had only ONE seat per row...that's how small the plane was! So mine was an aisle seat AND a window seat!

This is the view on take-off, as we were leaving the Houston area.

Traveling east(-ish) from Arkansas, we cross the Misssissippi River into Tennessee.

We are descending to land in Memphis!

More later! I'm gonna crash now that I am on land! ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Teal Tie-front Sweater

I am planning to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston next week.

Yesterday, I decided I needed something to wear on the plane that I could take off if it was too warm, so I pulled out a UFO!

Back in 2005, I created a pattern for a tie-front sweater. I had even cut it out, but never sewed it...I had decided to wait until I got a coverstitch machine, to sew those edges.

Well, I have one now so I decided, WHAT THE HECK! Time to sew that puppy!

Yeah, the measurements probably aren't what I'd use today, and the pattern was created similarly to the dartless tops I have done (where the front shoulder is very steep...still haven't shown that pattern!)...but it was *there* so I sewed it!

It was almost fun!

I pulled it out of a box in a cabinet and serged it together with a 4-thread stitch in practically no time!

Then I machine-basted all around the edges at 3/8", to give me a line to follow to 'turn' under the edge for coverstitching. Before coverstitching, I mitered (on the sewing machine) the seam allowances at the points of the ties, then I pinned the edges under and coverstitched along the entire outer edge...including sleeve hems...and voila! it was done.

And it fits!

Well, kinda.

Good enough!

And took only a little time!!!

No ripping every other seam... :)

No I have to come up with something to wear with it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Red Textured Dartless Knit Top

Because this fabric had an interesting texture, I decided I wanted to make it into dartless top, to keep the seams to a minimum. I was relatively confident in my pattern creation, as it was VERY similar to one I have used with success in the past (pre-blog).

I used ALMOST same measurements that I had used to make the last top, the black floral textured knit princess top....EXCEPT that I increased the FSS and decreased the BSS by 0.125" each. The REASON I did this was because I was double-checking this pattern according to the helping measurements I mentioned before...using the MINOTT METHOD to determine/verify the correct size of my armholes....I had forgotten to do that before sewing that last one!

As a reminder--
When using a B cup, my pattern's front armhole height should be equal to what I measure...the back armhole height should be (measured+ 1.25").

These are the measurements I used for this one:

Chest Circumference: 41.5
Back Shoulder Width: 17.75
Neck Circumference: 14.25
Natural Waist: 34
Hip Circumference: 42
Crotch Length: 29
Height: 66
Bra Cup Size: B
Center Front Length: 15.75
Front Shoulder Width: 15.5
Front Shoulder Slope: 19.25
Shoulder Length: 5.5
Center Back Length: 16.75
Back Shoulder Slope: 18.125
Bicep Circumference: 12

To create the Dartless pattern I started with the regular, darted pattern and manipulated it...I'll show you later.

But as you can see by the pics above, the result wasn't all that fabulous. The front swings out like a maternity top, and the back has folds like a swag curtain on my tush! I was very disappointed, because (as I said) I had used an almost identical pattern before with good results. This one was slightly bigger, though...more chest and hip ease than the previous pattern...hoping to prevent the 'hanging up' on the hip that happens with dartless tops. I guess the tighter fit of the other one eliminates the folds.
I began to think that one of the pattern changes I did actually made the back 'drapery' even even though the top was only 'a hem away' from being finished, I ripped out both sideseams to realign them, cutting off 1" at the lower BACK sideseam then moving the front ss upward...basically making the front 1" longer than the back ss...putting 1" of the bust dart back into the front sideseam and just 'easing' the front to the back.

It worked, but the difference is not as great as I had hoped....see above.
The original is on the left, and the right one is after I scooted the front sideseam UPWARD, trimming 1" from the bottom of the back sideseam.

Basically, this top is not as well-fitting as the last one I did, where I used all the darting by sewing princess seam. While I may not want seams in my knits, the fit is incomparable.

Once I 'thought' I was finished, I took some pictures to put on the blog. It was THEN that I noticed that my sleeve hem was exactly in line with the side hem of the top (middle image)...visually WIDENING my hips! So even though I *really* wanted to be finished...I went back into the sewing room and shortened the sleeves by 1.75". The far-right image is the final 'after'. I liked the longer sleeves...I just wish I had curved up the top's hem less! Oh well.

This trio/pic is-- the original top (on left); the front after scooting the sideseams upward (middle); and the final top with the shorter sleeve length (on right).

Oh, and once again, I did a V-neck (will I ever learn?)!
This time, I made sure the neck facing pattern was larger than the garment's neck, to allow for the fabric's stretch. But what I hadn't considered was the interfacing show-through...both black and white showed through this fabric, which is textured with tiny sheer areas. Neither was acceptable...but I knew better than to use a facing with no interfacing. So finally I made a tiny self-fabric ribbing, kinda like piping, to finish the V-neck. And it didn't take me 3 days this time!

To create this dartless pattern, I 'slid' the front armhole downward some, to eliminate some of the bust dart. This makes the front shoulder on the pattern much sttper/lower than on my 'standard' block. When I used the similar pattern before, it had a high scooped neck and the reduced front shoulder didn't cause pulls. However, with this lower V-neck, I can see that the garment is trying to get that front shoulder height back! So this method really only works with fabric that is stretchier; plus, with a higher neckline.

This top is ok, but I like the feel and look of the black one better. Using NO BK SHOULDER DART makes the upper back narrower. I thought it would be ok in a knit, but this knit only has 20% stretch (the black had 40% stretch and DID have the bk shld dart--princess seam) and apparently that is not enough stretch to make up for the loss of width. I am not sure there IS an amount of stretch that will make up for the loss of width...perhaps I should make sure there is NO loss of width on my patterns!

I'll show you how I made the pattern in another post.

Here is the rest of the specs:

Garment Type: Blouse
Closure: No Closure
Front Neckline: Curved Vee
Back Neckline: Jewel
Front Darts: Side
Back Darts: No Darts
Sideseam Shape: Fitted

Front Neckline Depth: 5.5
Back Neckline Depth: 0.5
Neckline Width: 0.75
Neckline Point: -0.25
Back Neckline Shape Right: 0.5 clicks

Armhole Depth: -0.75
Dart Override: 0

Side/Arm Point: -0.5
Side/Waist Point: 0.75
Side/Hip Point: -0.25***not a great idea.

Finished Cb/Hem Length: 25
Hip Depth: 8

Bust Pt Vertical: 10.5
Bust Pt Horizontal: 5

Sleeve Style: Set In
Sleeve Cap Ease: 0.14***must use low cap ease for knits.

The black floral textured knit princess top

Now, where was I with my fitting saga? Oh, yeah! I had just done that blue floral lycra blouse. Based on the fit of that one, I tweaked a few more numbers and settings and prepared to sew another top. But I r.e.a.l.l.y wanted a knit top to wear when the weather becomes a bit cooler (soon?) so I decided to test the new numbers by sewing a Princess-seamed top.

The front is an armscye princess, and the back is shoulder princess. BTW, do you have to capitalize 'Princess' when you are just talking about seams, as opposed to royalty? I am gonna go with 'NO'.

Anyway, despite my own best advice, I chose to make this a V-neck, because I like V-necks. I figured I would use a facing...even though I don't really like facings in knits...and that would make the V-neck ok. Well, it didn't. But lemme back up...

I used 1" of bust ease for this draft. I wasn't sure whether or not I should SCALE the pattern...reduce it in account for the stretch of the fabric, or if just using less ease would be enough. So I went with less ease and printed and cut.

The top was huge.

So I scaled the pattern and ripped and recut the fabric.

Since my fabric stretched from 10" to 14", I determined that was 40% stretch. So, in the PATTERN EDITOR part of Boutique, I scaled the pattern 1% for each 10% of stretch...which means I scaled the pattern 4%.


This is a really complicated way of saying that I PRINTED the pattern at 96% of its original size.
This seemed to fit better...good.

Now for the neck. I interfaced my facing and sewed it to the neck, then understitched and pressed. Then I tried it on. Eeegad! It was awful! The facing had also been printed at 96%, just as the other pattern pieces had been. Well, this was a bad idea! And now that I think about it, it become obvious 'why'.

The REASON you scale the pattern down in the first place is so that, after it stretches, it will fit as designed. But by using a facing that was stabilized at 96%, I was PREVENTING the neck area from stretching to its desired size...the neck was stable and didn't stretch like the fabric all around it did! If I were to do this again, I would NOT scale the facing, but print it at 100%...then I would stretch the garment neckline to fit the facing when sewing. That way, the end result would be proportional.

I ended up binding the neck with some black swimsuit fabric from my stash. It sounds easy enough, but the neck fiasco used up two days of my life that I'll never get back!

Here's what I used:

Style Name: _0_0922_nrrwrBSW_princess_4knit
Date: 9/22/2009
Chart: nrrwrBSW_longrCFL 9-16_Trish_

Garment Type: Blouse
Front Neckline: Curved Vee
Back Neckline: Jewel
Front Darts: Armscye Princess
Back Darts: Shoulder Princess
Sideseam Shape: Fitted

Front Neckline Depth: 5.5
Back Neckline Depth: 1
Neckline Width: 0.25
Neckline Point: -0.25

Armhole Depth: -0.5
Dart Override: 0

Side/Arm Point: -0.5
Side/Waist Point: 0.75
Side/Hip Point: 0

Bust Pt Vertical: 10.5
Bust Pt Horizontal: 5
Upper Front Dart Length: 1.25
Upper Back Dart Length: 0
Lower Front Dart Length: 8
Lower Back Dart Length: 6.5
Back Shoulder Dart Length: 3.5

Sleeve Cap Ease: 0.17
Sleeve Cap Height Adj: -0.75
Front Armhole Shape Down: -0.8 clicks
Front Armhole Shape Right: -0.2 clicks
Back Armhole Shape Down: -0.5 clicks
Back Armhole Shape Left: -0.2 clicks

Seam Allowance: 0.375
Hem Allowance: 2
Facing Width: 2

Chest Ease: 1
Waist Ease: 3
Hip Ease: 4

Body Measurements

Chest Circumference: 41.5
Back Shoulder Width: 17.75
Neck Circumference: 14.25
Natural Waist: 34
Hip Circumference: 42
Crotch Length: 29
Height: 66
Bra Cup Size: B
Center Front Length: 15.75
Front Shoulder Width: 15.5
Front Shoulder Slope: 19.125
Shoulder Length: 5.5
Center Back Length: 16.75
Back Shoulder Slope: 18.25
Bicep Circumference: 12

BTW, another eegad! Look at my hair! I wanted a trim..."take out some of the fullness in the back...but I don't want short hair." This is what I got. Again.

Kevin's shoes

My son came over to cut the grass...he lives downtown closer to the medical center, but still comes 'home' to cut our grass and that of our next-door neighbor.

Well, he was wearing the oddest shoes!
The are called VibramFiveFingers.

These are 'toe shoes'...remember the 'toe-socks' of the 70's? Well, imagine a pair of those where the wearer has walked through a tray of 'tool-dip'!
The bottoms are kind of a hard rubbery stuff, yet flexible enough that you almost feel like you are barefoot!
Yep, I tried them on...but my feet didn't even reach the toe part of his size 12-13 shoes! I had to skooch my foot way in there to get any of my toes into the shoe's toe area. He is also wearing toe socks inside the toe shoes...what else!?
He DIDN'T wear these to cut the grass, though. He bought them for workouts, although apparently they are marketed as mulit-use.


For the first time ever, this year I entered a quilt in the fair. Actually, because we now have TWO fairs, the Delta Fair and the Mid-South Fair, I entered it in both. The Delta Fair was first...Labor Day weekend and the following week. I won a blue ribbon on my quilt, Tastes Like Chicken! This was a little surprising, since this is a really odd quilt. It is dark...who makes a brown quilt?...and it has frogs and dragonflies and painting on it, which is NOT like what I usually see at the fair.
When the Delta Fair was over, I picked up my quilt only to take it the very same day to drop it off at the Mid-South Fair. Well, that one was over this past weekend, so on Monday, I went to pick it up...the fair was held in Mississippi this year, just south of Memphis, so I had to drive a long way to get there! But I won several ribbons this time: a blue ribbon, a best of show, and a chairman's choice! How cool is that? Apparently the judges at the Mid-South Fair liked it better than the ones at the Delta Fair! And I almost didn't enter the second one, since it was farther away...
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