Status update

Part of why I disappear for a while is always that I'm bad about blogging. Well, probably more truthfully I'm bad about remembering I like to blog. When I'm not doing it it feels like a chore so I avoid it. When I finally sit down and start writing I tend to write a bunch at once.

The other part is that my main project has stalled. I've hit a number I'm pretty happy with piecing together (500 some, I can't remember exactly.) and settled on a layout I like (it involves a large bag of white 60 degree triangles to offset the blocks I'll piece in rows. The problem is this: when I was actively working on it, I would take and make blocks from virtually any piece of quilting fabric I bought or was given. This means I have a lot of stuff that isn't exactly my vibe in here. I found myself laying out rows, trying to distribute the browns so as to minimize its impact (I am so not a brown person) and generally camouflage the blocks I like least amongst my superstars. So I'm left with two equally unappealing options:

  1. include blocks I don't much like into this quilt I'm spending year to make and many more to keep and love
  2. keep offing making more of these blocks. I won't lie, I'm enjoying having other projects to work on. I'm making tops and dresses like mad (especially for the kid). It wouldn't be the worst thing to have a handwork project on the go again, but I've been dragging my feet on it, especially since I'll have to get back to the hand sewing anyway to piece the whole top together.

Oh, also, by laying out my rows, I totally spaced on marking the blocks I've already photographed for the blog (I had stored them separately to prevent duplication) which just adds a layer of complication. I'll stop whining now and give you what you came for, hexie of the day.

Hexie count: 71

Spring, finally!

I've decided to stop fretting about how long it's been since I blogged last and just get back into it.

This morning I let the dog out and it was so much warmer than it has been. In the few minutes I stood outside I counted six different bird calls. I couldn't believe it. Spring is finally here! (Despite my crazy allergies, spring is my absolute favorite season.) So here's a springy hexie I photographed last year.

 

Hexie Count: 69

 

Make it work

Sometimes a block will just scream out where it should be photographed, bugs in the grass, matches on the grill. Sometimes I want to shoot 20 blocks but my kid refuses to leave the house so I have 5 feet in either direction from my front door so I can still see her through the window. There are only so many times you want a concrete backdrop. It's these moments, friends. Necessity really is the mother of invention. My background is a workout dress I'm wearing today. Hey, it works.

Hexie count: 66

Constellations

I've done a lot of these (close to 500 at this point) so naturally there are some I like better than others. My friend Meghann sent me scraps of this Lizzy House constellation fabric. It's my current fave. It just makes me happy. The fabric has a lovely hand, cushy and soft and plush enough to hide all the stitching. This one will get a prominent feature in the final quilt (whenever that actually happens!).

Hexie count: 65

How does your garden grow?

You get a three-for-one deal on this post. I won't lie, I'm pretty sure I picked up this fabric because I liked that there were several different images in rows. I fussy cut enough tomatoes, beets (or are they radishes?) and eggplants for a block apiece. When you're making 600 of these things every extra bit of yardage you don't have to buy anew helps! 

On an almost related note, you've seen Coneheads, right? One of my very favorite movies. My favorite moment is Jane Curtin walking up to the display of eggplant in the grocery store. I'm giggling now just thinking about it. If you haven't seen it, rent or Netflix it now!

Hexie Count: 59-61

Pattern Testing - Lisbon Cardigan

The making of this project has been a bit of kismet and a bunch of firsts rolled into one successful sweater. I got a Juki MO 654 DE serger last month. It had a bit of a learning curve but once I took a class at Handcraft Workshop and had some time to practice I'm starting to get the hang of it. My first serger project was a Lindy skirt (to be blogged soon. It's a great free pattern!) from Itch to Stitch Patterns. It was a wonderful pattern, as expected, much like my go to t shirt also from ITS, the Idyllwild tee. After having made so many of Kennis' patterns, I was really pleased to be selected as a tester for her new cardigan pattern, Lisbon. (That's the kismet part. I was in Lisbon in February and it was one of the most amazing places I've been, I can't wait to go back!)

I cut my Lisbon in a straight size 18, long sleeves and regular length. I skipped the buttons for an open front cardi and instead of using lace as an accent cut my fronts out of some long hoarded, totally adorable, dachsund fabric from Girl Charlee. Since it was a test and I was still learning my serger I basted everything on my sewing machine first using a straight stitch, 4.0mm. This actually worked out really well because I could be more exact with the seam allowance on the sewing machine and then had a sewing line to follow on the serger rather than eyeballing how far past the blade my edge should be. Plus it meant that I didn't have to worry about pins anywhere near my serger (a serger will cut through a pin, but it'll nick the blade and it's expensive to have that replaced). I ended up having great seam matching and only having to pick out one or two little pleats.

My sweater fits really well and is so comfortable it actually took me a few extra hours to finish because I was too interesting in wearing it, even before I had time to attach the cuffs! Speaking of the cuffs, I learned a good trick for serging in the round: cut two slits into the seam allowance about a half inch apart, about 1/8" from the seam line. Cut out the small piece of fabric between the two slits. Lift the presser foot of your serger and line it up so that the blade fits into the cut out notch. Start serging as normal and serge over the starting stitches when you come around the circle and sew in your thread tail as normal. Voila! 

There were only two things I would keep in mind as I sew: 1) I shortened the sleeves by 2.25". I know Kennis is shortening the sleeves by .75" in the final version and I used a slinkier main fabric than I might use in the future. On my next one I will cut the sleeve out as patterned on the final version and then shorten as/if necessary once attached to the body. 2) Make sure when you cut your interfacing that the stretch of the interfacing aligns with the long edge of the front bands. If you use Pellon interfacing like I did, be aware that the stretch is selvage to selvage so you might want to cut a few smaller crosswise strips and overlap instead of one longer strip that doesn't take advantage of the stretch of the knit.

I think my next one (and there will certainly be a next one!) I'll add length and some patch pockets. If I'm feeling adventurous maybe even try my hand at hacking a v-neck so I can make myself the consulate grandpa cardi! You can get your copy of the Lisbon Cardigan pattern here. Normally $10, Lisbon is on sale for $8 right now. If you buy 2 or more patterns you get 15% with code savemore15. Both sales are good through Monday May 9. If you make a Lisbon, let me know, I want to see your makes!

Please note that some links are affiliate links. If you buy a pattern from Itch to Stitch after clicking one of my links I get a commission but there is no increased cost to you.

Light It Up

I just couldn't resist the pun of taking a photo of my matches hexie on the grill. I may have taken one with a fireworks hexie too. It may not be summer yet but I'm loving that it's at least warm enough to be outside grilling.

I love this print. It's Cotton+Steel that I got from Handcraft Workshop. I've got some of it in another quilt that's stalled in the basting phase, too. (I hate basting. It's my nemesis. If you want to set up a hexies-for-basting trade, hit me up in the comments, I am so in.)

Hexie count: 54