Saturday, July 12, 2014

At the Beach

Just popping in to say that I am at the beach! Wish I was British so I could say I'm on hols. I'll be back in 10 days tanner and well rested...or more likely sun-burnt and cranky. I was so excited for my trip that I stitched up a new beach bag to take with me.

The bag is enormous. It will easily hold everything I need to relax by the water. I used a free online tutorial from Muse of the MorningOverall a serviceable pattern and it came together fast. I cut all the pieces and interfaced them in an hour or two (taking my time to make sure the directional fabric was going the right way) and then I sewed it up the morning after. I used a medium weight interfacing with home dec fabric from Ikea on the outside and terry cloth on the inside. I used a bit of canvas on the straps for added interest. It does not stand up on its own but looks nice when filled. Consider using heavier interfacing if you want it to have more standing power. A strap length of 22" perfectly fits over my shoulder.

I changed the pattern a little bit. I inserted a pocket into the body of the bag with a terry cloth scrap I had. This should prevent small things like my room keys from getting lost. One thing I wish this had were snaps to keep the bag closed on the sides or a zipper across the top. The bag opening is rather large. I may add some velcro.

It's been a while since I sent you some puppy pics. With tile or hardwood floor all over the new house there is no shortage of a cool spot to veg out. Each pup has found their own favorite lounging spots during the day:

Leuko likes to lie in the major intersection of the house where doors to the kitchen, basement, dining room, office, guest bed and main bath all come together (weird old St. Louis architecture). This way he can keep an eye on anything going on in the main level of the house.

Cypress prefers a quieter existence and can usually be found upstairs in our bedroom on one of the dog beds. She's so prim.

Friday, July 11, 2014

iSpy Quilts {2 Finished Quilts}

My mom asked me to make some iSpy quilts for coworkers who are expecting babies or grand-babies. I made these gender neutral and full of fun things to find. 

Each 9 patch is made up of 3" squares (finished size) of different novelty fabrics. I sashed the blocks in one of the fabrics I got from Korea, a white on yellow dot which was just the perfect complement to these busy prints.
Just a sample of the iSpy fabrics: spaceship, car, whales, atoms, underground creatures, green eggs and ham, pear, Paris map, sharks. There is also a block with DNA so the kids can get to learning science early!

 I couldn't decide how to quilt them so I did a spiral on one:

And a stipple on the other:

I chose a safari print for the back of one and a numbers print in black and white for the other.

I'm really happy with how they turned out. I'll take them with me for my trip to Baltimore tomorrow. I am FINALLY going to the beach with my family for the first time in almost 10 years I can go!!
See... equations front and center for the learning of the maths.

Incidentally, would anyone be interested in a traveling iSpy fabric box? The iSpy fabrics are really fun but you usually don't want to buy a fat quarter of all these different and potentially weird fabrics that don't necessarily play nice with others. My idea is that the box could be sent around to different quilter/bloggers who are interested in making an iSpy quilt. They could fussy cut what they want from the box, add another fat quarter or two to replenish the stock, blog about it and then ship it off to the next person in the queue. Let me know in the comments if you are interested.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baby Wipes Tutoriolito - A great way to use up random flannel scraps

I like to back quilts in flannel occasionally. It is so soft and makes the quilt extra snugly. But what does one do with all the odd shaped remnants left over? No brainer if it was backed with quilting cotton I would just throw the scraps into my scrap box and use for piecing later. But I don't like to mix my flannel or other fabric scraps up with my quilting cottons because I rarely (if ever) piece with a mixture of fabric types. And throwing them out is not an option because the flannel is still good! So I ended up with a pile of weird long rectanglish flannel scraps that I never used.

My friend Cassie keyed me in on a great way to use up the flannel scraps - make reusable flannel baby wipes. These are a great option for when baby goes #1 because they are super absorbent so you only need one and they won't be sopping wet, so less diaper rash. Plus you can just throw them in the wash and reuse over and over.  If you already cloth diaper or are considering it, these are a perfect accompaniment.

There are tutorials already out there such as this one by Sew Much 2 Luv. But I thought I would just give you the TLDNR version.

1)  Take two scraps of flannel and cut them into an 8" square or 9" or 10" or make it slightly rectangular. It doesn't much matter as long as the two pieces are the same size. Really I let the size of my scraps dictate the size of the wipe so that I was as economical as possible with the fabric. 
2)  Sew them together right sides facing with a 1/4" seam leaving a 2-3" gap in the center of one of the sides. 
3)  Snip off the excess fabric at each corner to remove some of the bulk
4) Turn them right side out and press taking care to press the opening down nicely
5) Topstitch around the square 1/8" from the edge making sure to stitch the opening closed. 

 The top row were made with 8" squares and the bottom were made from 10", 10" and 9" squares.

So go ahead and dig through your flannel leftovers and make a few for yourself or for a friend who is expecting. They take 5 minutes each (or less) and you can wrap them up with a pretty bow and be the star of the baby shower (not that these things are competitions, yeah right).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bee blocks

Today's post is all about catching up on bee blocks. I'm a member of That Stash Bee, an online quilting bee where you use your stash to make blocks for the other hivemates each month. I like the challenge of searching through my stash for the perfect complementing fabrics. This has been particularly challenging because I haven't bought new fabric for months and I recently was without my sewing machine for about 2 months so I was a bit tardy on the May blocks.

March - 8 darting bird blocks that were so pretty but uh...I didn't photograph before I mailed them... 

April - 8 churn dash blocks in brights with LV background. Made these at the Stash Bash retreat and sent them off to Ginny the bloggess behind Fish Creek Studio.

May - 2 St. Louis 16 blocks. These were the first things I sewed after moving to St. Louis. How appropriate! These made it to their destination about a month late ooopsie! Sent to Cathy.

June - 2 asymmetrical 9-patch blocks (FREE pattern by Don't Call me Betsy). These I sent to Debbie at A Quilter's Table.

July is my month and I am asking for Christmas in July! 2 Christmas themed 12.5" blocks out of squares. Either a 4-patch or a 9-patch AND a 16-patch or a 36-patch. I mixed up some themed prints with other fabrics that fit in my color scheme. A sprinkling of ridiculous Christmas fabric such as the Chihuahua fabric below is strongly encouraged. I made one of each as examples:

    4-Patch   9-patch

16-patch   36-patch

Once all these blocks come in, I am going to make one crazy Christmas quilt. I will be making more blocks in the meantime. I want this one to fit on my guest bed.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Korea Trip Part 4: Fabrics I purchased at Happy Quilt

This is part 4 of 4 chronicling my experiences in South Korea. I came back  from a 10 day trip to South Korea and thought I would share some of my experiences with you that tie in with sewing and quilting. Of course, through a quilter's eyes, everything can spur inspiration or remind you of something sewing related. This will be at least a 4 part series.

Part 1: Quiltspirations - quilting ideas inspired by things I saw during my visit
Part 2: A finished quilt I made for a Korean colleague and now a new friend
Part 4: Fabrics I purchased at Happy Quilt

As I said in part 3, I bought about 40 yards of fabric from Happy Quilt. They had an amazing selection of quilting cottons and notions. Here is everything I got:

First up Korean textiles. First off, the quality of these fabrics are superb, soft and drape well just as you have come to expect from quilt-shop quality fabrics in the US and elsewhere. The Koreans are rivaling Japan in the cuteness factor. They had a great selection of novelty prints.
The spread.

Horses and sweet elephants.

Amazing sheep- plaid, rainbow, stars, clouds etc. and Russian dolls.

Jars and Robots. If you look closely at the prints that make up the robots you will see a lot of "girly" prints which I think is a fun way to mash up a traditional boy icon with traditional girl prints and colors.

A few florals.

And a perfect dot. The back one is white on yellow so it is hard to see but lovely and subtle in person. I really had to restrain myself from getting these in every color. I couldn't have packed my suitcase otherwise.

 All the Korean fabrics had selvedges in Hangul (the Korean alphabet). Now I am normally not a selvedge saver but you better believe I cut off all the selvedges to use in the future.

Then other fabrics which you can get in the US but not at these LOW LOW prices. It looked like they carried more of the last year's lines which was fun. I picked up a few random fat quarters:

Some great basics:
Just an example of how good the pricing was, that fat quarter bundle of 9 FQs was only $10 (US).

And a few more novelty prints: maps, lightning bugs, hedgehogs, geeky glasses, cross-stitch letters.

I mostly stuck to novelty prints because I thought that would help remind me more of my trip. I have already started using these fabrics and integrated them into my stash so look for them in upcoming projects!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Korea Trip Part 3: Fabric stores in Seoul

This is part 3 of 4 chronicling my experiences in South Korea. I came back  from a 10 day trip to South Korea and thought I would share some of my experiences with you that tie in with sewing and quilting. Of course, through a quilter's eyes, everything can spur inspiration or remind you of something sewing related. This will be at least a 4 part series.

Part 1: Quiltspirations - quilting ideas inspired by things I saw during my visit
Part 2: A finished quilt I made for a Korean colleague and now a new friend
Part 3: Trips to the Dongdaemun fabric market and Happy Quilt fabric shop
Part 4: Fabrics I purchased at Happy Quilt

First I went to Dongdaemun fabric market which is a HUGE 5-story building filled with fabric and notions of all kinds. It is mostly for garment sewing. I would love to see a Project Runway episode here. My plan to wander around aimlessly and peruse was shot for many reasons. 1) I had just walked around the Seoul zoo all morning and my feet were protesting. 2) This place was way too big to tackle in one afternoon. 3) It was packed full of stuff and people that it was intimidatingly hard to get around. I did manage to get one picture where I am trying my best to not look overwhelmed:

Dongdaemun deserves a revisit and my next trip to Korea I will do it justice. I didn't even buy one thing because I was paralyzed with the sheer enormity of it all. Here is a post on the fabric market from another blogger who was braver than me and shot some amazing pics of the place.

Fast forward a few days and I decided to go on a journey to Happy Quilt. A store that specializes in quilting fabrics which I found online while researching Korea beforehand. There is a great blog post by Johnnie and Angela which tells you how to get to Happy Quilt. I went by metro. It took about 90 minutes from Sinchon to the Jije station.

Thank you hubby for coming along with me on this ridiculous trip and for documenting it in photos while I ran around like a crazed fangirl.

Getting out at Jije station

wandering across rice paddies to the quilt shop which you can thankfully see from the station. It is way over there with the blue roof. In retrospect, I could have take the actual road which is just to the right of the field instead of walking through it like an ignorant foreigner. Again reference the Johnnie and Angela post I linked to for good directions on how to get to the shop.

Proof that I walk like a penguin.

 We made it to the shop. Quilters Mecca!! The shop carries many popular US designers both by the bolt and in mostly 1 yard cuts packaged in plastic (left side of pic) and all at $5 (US) a yard.

 There is no organization as far as I could tell so you just have to rummage - which is half the fun of it.

Hubby found the Korean made quilting cottons (another reason I love him so) and I decided that I would mostly buy these since you cannot find them in the states. Plus they were all $4 (US) a yard!

Happy Quilt = Happy Marla. I'm holding some Korean fabrics.

 Outside the store with my extremely stuffed bag of loot. I bought about 40 yards of fabric for about $170 (US). You will have to wait until the next post to see what I got. If you are in Seoul it is definitely worth the trip to head down to Happy Quilt. They only take cash so make sure to bring lots of wons.