Carson’s Critters

This was such a fun quilt to make. Partly because I didn’t have to think about it thanks to Dani’s wonderful directions! I do not have an Accucut and I didn’t use Dani’s templates, but instead I used my own Eliza’s Backporch Drunkard’s Path templates.

Drunkard's Path templates @ Sewfrench

In the images below, you can see I didn’t use the entire template for the white part of the blocks.

Drunkard's Path templates @ Sewfrench

No need to waste the fabric that would be trimmed away anyway.

Drunkard's Path animal quilt @ Sewfrench

Stitch the pieces together with a 1/4″ seam, the colored piece on top, keeping it lifted up as you sew. The only spot were the seam allowance matters is directly under the needle.

Sewing Drunkard's Path curves @ Sewfrench

I then trimmed them to all the same size squares keeping that 1/4″ seam allowance on the white. Because of the size templates I used mine trimmed down to 6″ square.

Drunkard's Path quilt @ Sewfrench

Add sashings. Notice the different size vertical sashing for the larger turtle block. For this row I used 11.5″ x 1.5″ vertical sashing pieces. For the remaining 2 rows I cut  11.5″ x 4.25″ vertical sashing pieces.

Horizontal sashings are cut 4.25″ x the width needed.

I then added 3″ borders.

Wee Animal's quilt @ Sewfrench

I opted to machine quilt, this one.

Animal Quilt @ Sewfrench

I went with a serpentine, wavy, zigzag between 1/4″ and 1/2″ apart, similar to my original “Flower Garden“.

Drunkards Path Animal quilt @ Sewfrench

I actually got the instruction manual out for my machine and figured out how to create a custom stitch pattern for this one.

Settings for machine quilting @ Sewfrench

I like this curved stitch better than the more pointy settings I have used in the past.

serpentine quilting setting @ Sewfrench
Though they are much easier to set up!

Drunkards Path Animal quilt @ Sewfrench

It creates such beautiful texture. I just love it!

Drunkards Path Animal quilt @ Sewfrench

This one went off to the newest blessing of our oldest daughter’s college roommate.

Drunkards Path Animal quilt @ Sewfrench

There are plenty of quilt ideas for little girls, fewer for boys, this one is perfect!

Drunkards Path Animal quilt @ Sewfrench
A little hand embroidery brought the Critters to life!

Carson's Critters Drunkard's Path Animal quilt by Sewfrench

“Carson’s Critters”
by Sewfrench
Machine pieced, machine quilted
45″ square
Kona cotton
April 2015

Linking up With:
Needle and Thread Thursday
Crazy Mom Quilts
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Posted in 2015 completes, Gifts, machine quilting, Quilting, scraps, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Press Here by Hervé Tullet ★★★★★

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!”

From the first page, of Press Here by Herve Tullet, “Ready?” to the last page “Want to do it again?” I knew this was a magical book! Our nearly three-year old granddaughter was transfixed with this book. First time through the delight, wonder and sense of magic was palpable. She even pointed out her “fingerprint” on one of the red dots, something I had overlooked.

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

I would contend that Press Here is actually more interactive than many digital picture books. Touching, rubbing, shaking, blowing, tilting – can you name an app that registers all those different actions? The design of the book is also memorable. Press Here arrives without a jacket and sporting the old school Golden Book-like raw cover edges with exposed gray cardboard. The page stock is thick and glossy hopefully helping in the wear and tear department.

An interactive book for interactive times. What a fun book!

Posted in Books, Reading, Review | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Color Explosion quilt

It started out just playing with leftover Kona cottons on a rainy day, at the cottage.

Color explosion quilt @ Sewfrench

And because my space is in the loft I can just leave it out and add to it when I feel the need to play with fabric.

Color explosion quilt @ Sewfrench

Sometimes guests stay in the upstairs bedrooms and I find willing quilt testers. All quilts must be tested before gifting. Usually I do it myself, but I had a helper for this one. Who knows whether a baby quilt will work better than a toddler??

Color explosion quilt @ Sewfrench

We’ve got a heavy reader here.

DSC_2507

Tried my hand again at stippling free motion quilting. Not my favorite way to finish a quilt but I feel the need to conquer this method. It is much more difficult than it appears. Just getting the machine set up, tensions properly set… And it really takes a lot of practice!

DSC_2519

Love the backing I found for, my great nephew, Ben’s quilt. It is a Kaffe Fassett, I believe. It sure looks like his anyway! I knew I should have photographed the selvedge…

Color Explosion quilt

“Color Explosion”
an experiment in shape
Created by Sewfrench
Kona Solids
Machine pieced and quilted
37″ x 42″

Linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts

Posted in Design, machine quilting, Quilting, scraps | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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★★★★★

“I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”
― Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline surprised me. Not being into video games at all, I would have never thought that I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did. I’ve never read this type book and really enjoyed it, not because of the topic, but because of the author’s writing style. Very engaging.

The plot is a curious mix of past and future, a sort of Willie Wonka but with video games. It is about friendship, acceptance, inclusion and being courageous enough to live in the real world. The action was very exciting and there were a lot of great plot twists.

I didn’t realize this book was classified as YA, it didn’t feel like it, until somewhere around the 75% point and then something shifted. And then, and then and then… Still a 5 star in my book!

Ready Player One, the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, is in the pre-production stage and, according to IMDB, has a tentative release date in 2018. I’m excited to see it, already!

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The annual clothing sewing one

After spotting this cardigan on Ebay, and deciding I “needed” it for spring, worrying about the quality and sizing, but mostly not wanting to wait the 6 weeks to receive it from China, I went in search of materials to make it myself.

Navy striped cardigan elbow patches
I found a lovely navy and white stripe that has a really good feel to it, just a small amount of lycra for just $2.99 a yard! I also picked up 1/8th of a yard of a caramel ultra-suede to use for elbow patches. I can’t tell you which exact one I bought but I do know it is available online and the lovely women who work at Field’s Fabrics will help you find the perfect one over the phone.  I chose ultra-suede over suede, or leather, because it is so much lighter weight, machine washing is a bonus.

I couldn’t find a pattern exactly like I wanted so I went with Butterick 6328. I started out using the vest version D, then adding the sleeves from version A.

B6328 review

It went together easy enough. The pattern’s directions use a traditional sewing machine, I did use a serger which made for a neat and fast finish.

The pattern I bought was multi-sized and the smallest was an 8, this correlated to a size small, in ready to wear, no matter what the measurements on the pattern envelope says! Sleeves were still too long and the shoulders a tad wide, but nothing that couldn’t be altered.

Navy striped cardigan with elbow patches @ SewfrenchOnce I finished it, I quickly realized I had more altering to do. While I have, and love, two of these long cardigans, for winter, I decided this one was just too long for spring and summer. I decided the points had to be cut off. I cut them straight off from the side seam to the point on the front edge which allowed for a perfect drape.

Sewfrench sews
The other major change I made was to remove the inseam pockets. I like pockets, but these just added bulk to the hip area, they hung in a lump. I think because the material is lightweight the pockets just hung. If a person wanted pockets, they could probably inset them as written, but then topstitch them to the front of the cardigan, preventing them from sagging to the hips.

As for the elbow patches, I drew up a pattern, cut both out with a rotary cutter, at the same time, to keep nice crisp edges.

DIY elbow patch templateTraditional, store-bought patches are 4 3/4 ” x 6 1/4″. I cut mine slightly smaller at 4 1/4″ x 6″ which was perfect for a size small and slimmed down sleeves. I first found something round that I could trace around for a 4 1/4″ circle. I then drew a rectangle of the size I wanted, (4 1/4″ x 6″), in pencil, on the backside of the ultra suede. I used the tin and traced a circle at one end of the rectangle, scooted down to the other end and drew another circle. I then used my small rotary cutter to cut along the edges, switching to a ruler for the short straight section. It worked perfectly!

I temporarily basted the sleeve seam closed, I had altering to do though, the sleeves were wider than what I wanted for this lightweight fabric. I seamed them in 2″ almost all the way to the armpits, tapering to the pits 1″, that is total measurement, so half those numbers on both the front and back edges of the sleeve.

I then pinned the patches where I thought they belonged. Once I had it where I wanted it, I opened the sleeve, transferred the measurements to the other sleeve and sewed the patches on while the sleeve was flat, topstitching, with a topstitching thread, 1/8″ from the edges.

Knockoff striped cardigan @ Sewfrench

Instant gratification and I couldn’t be happier with this one. Now for some warmer weather so I can actually wear it!

Linking up:
Fabric Tuesday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
TGIFF
Crazy Mom Quilts

Posted in Design, fabric, Review, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Setting Sun quilt

Sunset Quilt @ Sewfrench

Not a great day for taking pictures. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the vibrancy, of my Setting Sun quilt, to shine. We, in Michigan, are in the gray days of winter.

Sunset
A flip-flop of a real sunset because it seemed better “weighted” that way.

DSCN1302-1024x768 (2)

This one is being shipped off to a sweet, little nephew. I have read all the horror stories, and it always makes me so nervous when shipping quilts. I hope it arrives safe and sound!

Setting Sun quilt @Sewfrench
Setting Sun
Created by Sewfrench
Peppered Cottons
Machine pieced and hand-quilted
30″ x 38″

Linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts
TGIFF
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?

Posted in 2016 Completes, Design, fabric, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

How to Mark a Baptist Fan

With a little help from my friends, I settled in on the Baptist Fan quilting design for my Garden Party quilt, I shared last week. I do mark the entire quilt top before I start quilting and ideally I mark it before I baste it. This one was pin-basted, before I marked it, because I originally thought I was quilting it a different way. Pin-basting, before marking, means you are constantly moving pins out-of-the-way, to mark. Doable, but more time-consuming.

This is how I mark mine. I created a template out of a piece of template plastic. I used a small hole punch on the 1″ marks, and an extra punch 1/4″ away from the 10th one. I use a pin to hold it in place, on my cutting mat, as I put the blue water erasable marker in each hole and swipe it back and forth. I start out at the bottom, right corner, 1/4″ in, from both sides, in the corner. Once the first fan is completed, I move across and mark the next one starting 1/4″ up from the bottom edge, putting the pin in the blue line of the outermost previous fan. I then mark until I run into the previous lines. Make sense?

How to Mark a Baptist Fan

I am loving this look, especially when quilted on as gorgeous a wool batting as Dream Wool is! I think I am going to love this batting even more than the Hobbs Heirloom Wool I used in Blowin’ In The Wind.

Garden Party quilt @ SewfrenchHere you can see how the 10, 1″ fan quilting looks with the double line on the longest, topmost one. And yes, I use multiple needles, especially when I am quilting longer rows, it keeps me from having to move my quilt around too much. It also feels like I can quilt longer before stopping to rethread!

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend II

Linking up with:
Sew Cute Tuesday
Fabric Tuesday 
Let’s Bee Social
Be sure to visit Needle and Thread Thursday Thanks for the shout out Kelly!:)

Posted in Design, fabric, hand quilting, Quilting, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments