Friday, December 31, 2010

Sewing Resolutions, revisited

I've just reviewed my sewing resolutions for 2010. Possibly if I'd done that on a regular basis throughout the year, rather than leaving it until 12/31, I'd have accomplished more of them. Or not. Regardless of resolutions met or abandoned, much fun was had in the sewing room during 2010:
Anyway, here's how I did:

"spend less, sew more"
I'm as stunned as you are that I can say I achieved this. Barely. $122 less on fabric purchases this year than last, although the difference in yardage accumulation is a threadbare 1.5 yards. And when fabric received as gifts is added, I'm up on last year by close to 10 yards, thanks to lovelies like these:
On the "sew more" front, I used less total yardage by a good amount but sewed more items. (2009 sewing included lots of curtains, which tilts yardage use heavily.)

Other resolutions accomplished:
"Make pants that fit"
"Sew some knits"
"Learn to machine quilt"

I did well on "delete all fabric sale emails unread" until about 2/3 through the year, with a noticable lapse in December which I blame on Santa.

"work on one garment and one quilt project at a time"
hahahahahahahahaha! Complete and utter joke.
Don't know what I was thinking.
I am just not wired that way, so why fight it?

"complete one UFO before starting a new project"
I did finish up some UFOs, but am confident I ended the year with more of them than I started. There's one on my design wall right now:
Frankly, I'd completely forgotten about that resolution (yeah, maybe don't wait until the end of the year to review the resolutions list?), although it's a good one. I might even attempt it again. I also forgot to "use stash patterns before buying more."

For this coming year, I am keeping it simple. "Spend less" for sure is a goal. "Sew more," though, is not likely. I did about as much sewing in a year during 2010 as I'm ever likely to do. I would like to maintain that momentum. Some clothes will be produced, but quilts are where inspiration and creative ideas are flowing for me right now. I'd like to end 2011 with a personal best in the total yardage used department, even if I produce fewer items. It will be tough to beat 2009's curtain-heavy total, but I see no reason not to try and if I tackle the UFO quilt projects I could do it. The 100-yard Challenge should keep me on track.

I might even aim to end the year with fewer UFOs piled up than at the start. First, though, I need to go count them.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"NTG" Quilt Details

More pics of Mr. de Hilo's "Nothing Too Girly" quilt. First, the arty draped shot:

I quilted this from the Monkey Wrench side, figuring (correctly, as it turned out) that the other side could absorb contrasting abstract thread lines more easily.

The purple "monkeys" got long swirly lines down the arms and through the centers with purple thread. The orange/green background is filled in with a meander in light green. Although they are contrasting colors the orange and green are so close in tone that the green thread is less noticeable on the orange bits than I'd thought it would be (click pic for full size):

I finished the boarder in random wavy lines. Overall, my purple swirlies could be more graceful in many instances, but I'm very happy with the background meandering. Best part, Mr. de Hilo is unlikely to notice or care that the quilting demonstrates that this was a learning piece.

Pink Lattice Quilt Details

More pink lattice quilt pics, for those interested in the details. The little dining lanai off the kitchen is a nice spot for artier, draped shots, like this one:
There's space for photos out there because I moved the kitchen table into the sewing room (no way could I do any actual quilting on my tiny 18x30" sewing table), and the lanai table, rarely used, came inside to be the new kitchen table.
Here you can see (click on pic for full size) that I pieced the binding from some of the rusty orange prints used for the lattice intersection squares. All the pink sashing is straight-line quilted just inside the seam.:

My original plan was to echo that with an additional line of quilting about 3/8" inside each edge line, but I way underestimated how mind-numbingly tedious straight line quilting is, even with (or maybe especially with) a walking foot. The outermost pink sashing pieces are longer than the inner ones, due to triangle geometry, and needed an extra something, so they've got a meandering vine thing going. I felt the inner sashing would not be improved by additional quilting (and couldn't face more straight lines) so left it alone once the first set of straight lines were done. Each inner lattice piece is a scant 1.5"x3", so the edge quilting is ample.

The piano-key border is free-motion quilted with a swoopy almost-leafy-in-parts randomness that was lots of fun to do. The outermost edge has one or more lines of echo quilting to fill in the gap between the swoops and the binding.

The charm squares and orange intersections were all free-motion quilted in a pale blue. I started at one end of a column of on-point squares and squiggled my way down through the 3" charm squares and orange intersections to the other end. Some are outline quilted (loosely!), others have a leafy or swirly pattern inspired but not attempting to follow the charm print, others got a meander. The orange intersection squares got a variety of spirals, loops, squiggles, and leafy shapes, made up as I went along:
And I think I took a detail shot of the back, too... where did that go? Okay, here it is:

The pink/orange floral was a great find (and on sale from, but not quite wide enough, so I inserted a strip of this fun grass-full-of-bugs print from my FabricDepot shopping spree. I had no idea at the time what I'd do with it, but it's perfect here, so that's a score for stash-building.

"Pink Lattice" and "NTG" Quilts

Both our "deck" quilts (lap quilts, for lounging on our deck chairs on cool afternoons) are done! I test drove mine yesterday, and both Cosmo and I are very pleased with it. Both quilts are about 44"x72", a size I decided on based on best dimensions of the various beach towels we've been napping under on the deck up' til now.

I am still looking for the optimum quilt-photo location around our house. It's tricky. I like the idea of outdoors, for days when light cooperates. But our lot is extremely steep.Nice views from up here, but it's practically vertical. We have plenty of deck and railing to hold a quilt over, but in most places I'd need to rent a cherry picker to get up level with it for a photo.

The side of the house is better than the front, heightwise, so I strung a piece of clothesline between two railing supports, clipped the top of the quilt to it while crouched on the deck, then smooshed the quilt through beneath the railing, then scurried down the stairs on the other side of the house, back and around, and up the side slope to get a photo. Repeat as necessary until all sides are done. Cosmo thought this was a fascinating process. Here's the back of the Pink Lattice Quilt, with cat supervision from above:

And this is the finished "Nothing Too Girly" quilt made for Mr. de Hilo. It has two fronts, rather than a front and a back. I did the blue-green squares side first. Photo colors are brighter than actual, but you get the idea:

I did not have a back planned out for this one. While pondering options and rummaging in the far acres of the stash, I came across a large ziplock baggie of long-abandoned, half-finished, monkey wrench blocks that I had  forgotten about. A little quick punching at the calculator, and I figured out that not only did I have enough extra of the orange and purple fabrics to use as borders for the front, but also that using all the mostly done blocks would fit this one as a back and qualify as finishing an embarrasingly old UFO.
Mr. de Hilo has tried it out both ways up, but has not expressed a "front" or "back" preference yet.

Using these monkey wrench blocks makes this side a winner in "most satisfying sewing project of the year" category. And the Pink Lattice "front" I'm going to call my "favorite" item made this year, even though all of the front except the outer border was made in 2009.

Both of these are (I think) worth a closer look, but I have not yet taken detail shots of the quilting, so you'll have to wait for those.

It's been immensely satisfying to get these projects to the point where I could  machine quilt them, which counts as using a new toy: the extension table thingie for my machine was a much-anticipated purchase for the year.

I had fun doing the quilting, and look forward to finishing up more in-progress quilts this coming year. Hopefully by the time the next ones are done I will have found a better photo location. The back wall of the carport has possibilities... and it would be nice to have an indoor option as well.

I only wish, as I was spending so much money on fabric in 2010, that I'd remembered to save a little for a camera tripod, so I could start taking decent pictures of the finished products. I'm going to make that some kind of incentive/reward for fabric purchase restraint in 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Post-Christmas Show and Tell

So, the big day has come and gone and secret projects are no longer secret. Here's the pillow I made for my Mom, to go with the Cathedral Windows one from a year or so ago:
Recognize it? These are the sample One Block Wonder hexagons I made earlier this year, after seeing what Shelley was up to. They lingered on my design wall for months before I decided to go ahead and do a pillow front and back with them. I filled in the outer bits with blue solid.

All those bias edges looked like a hot mess by the time I was done piecing...

but a brutal pressing worked wonders. I quilted each side with some poly batting that was lying around, with cotton lawn for "backing" to reduce weight.

This was my first-ever free motion quilting, and I had a blast zipping around more or less highlighting various shapes in the hexagons. Objectively, I did a really a horrible quilting job: sloppy and imprecise with wildly varying stitch lengths and all kinds of "ooops, didn't mean to do that" moments. Fortunately, Mom is as forgiving of my adult efforts as she was with kindergarten art projects, and I had no illusions going in that I would be capable of anything other than an exuberant slapdash job, so we're both happy with it.

The  piping, alas, did not turn out well. I do think it makes a nice defining line between front and back, but it's why the edge is so ripply. I've decided to think it looks sort of flower-shaped, and to not worry about it.

My sister got a couple of the prettiest coffee mugs (she's happened to mention needing new ones) with matching coasters I made following this tutorial:

My first one was a bit of a dud, due to user unfamiliarity with my new 1/4" foot and how it would behave, but the rest were easy-peasy. Next time I might get really lazy and machine stitch the binding.

Here's the set of six. As you can see they are a mix-n-match set from prints that play well together:

The "back" wraps around to the "front" (or could be the other way around) to make the binding, which is a nice touch when using two different fabrics for each.

Mr. de Hilo's lap quilt is done and has been put to use. I haven't figured out yet where in (or outside) this house to set up for a quilt pic, but hope to get one soon. My lap quilt is almost done. There's a bit more quilting still to do on it, and then binding. My goal is to get it done before NYear, and I might even beat that by a few days if all goes well.

BTW: Santa outdid herself this year in the gift fabric department! I'll show off some of those new goodies in a next post.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 8-lb Christmas Ornament

... and why we don't have any lights or other ornaments up on our tree yet:
So far, he's only tipped it over once, and he climbed right back in as soon as I'd set it upright. We're waiting to see if the thrill wears off. It's an artificial tree, and a bit ratty; I'm half hoping he does enough damage I'll have a reason to junk it come 12/31.

Cosmo has also been helping out in the sewing room. I'm trying to finish up a lap quilt for Mr. de Hilo to use when we lounge on the deck on chilly winter afternoons (when the temperature might plunge toward 70... brrrrr!). It's already a big hit with the cat, who naps on it every chance he gets. When he's not napping, or out chasing birds and geckos, he tries to remove the safety pins with his teeth:

This my first free-motion quilting project, and I'm having fun. My FM stitching is about as bad as it gets, but that's okay, so long as I feel I'm getting better by the time this is done. Mr. de Hilo is unlikely to notice, or to care if he does, that the quilting is a long way from gorgeous. He'll just be touched that I made something for him, for a change, after sewing so many things for myself.

When this one's done, I do also have a deck quilt for myself to finish up. Chances that will happen before Christmas morning are looking slim, but it might get done.

Hope all your Santa projects are coming along... only a week left for elfin sewing!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Amy B. Origami Bags - Set 2

Here are the other two Origami Bags I made from (from Amy B's new bag book):

The larger one is 14" across the top, the smaller one 7". That's the last small bit of the orange leaf print, which I wish I had more of. Both these bags feature my fave "Persimmons" by Kaffe Fassett. I have very, very little of this left so was thrilled to find it on sale at, and could not resist ordering 2 yards to replenish the stash.  Even though I am not supposed to be doing ANY stash-building until substantial yardage is used up.

My questionable logic is that, technically, "virtual Santa" bought it to go under the tree, but still. More fabric. 2011 will be all about stash busting, because I am close to the point of having no room for more yardage (not to mention a drained hobby budget!).

The larger bag is Amy's proportions. It holds all kinds of bathroom stuff, and got use again last weekend on an overnight getaway to Kona. Amazing how a couple hours in the car and a night at a resort feels like getting away for days. Hoping for more frequent short getaways next year.

The front one is taller than Amy makes 'em, accomplished by taking a very shallow corner seam. It is perfectly sized for those "feminine necessities" we sometimes need to have at hand. Both these have that lovely Heather Bailey print inside. I was so happy to find a good use for that print. It's lovely, but a little too pretty/girly for other purposes I'd considered. It's perfect to line these bags.

I look forward trying out more patterns from Amy's book, after I get some more XMas sewing done.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Amy B. Origami Bags - Set 1

So, I'm really slow getting these pics up. Here, at last, are the first of the Origami Bags (from Amy B's new bag book) I made for corralling travel stuff. I strayed from Amy's exact sizing on some of these, as I was using whatever caught my eye from the scrap drawer, and with whatever odds and ends of mid-weight fusible interfacing I could find.

This is the smallest one. If I'd blogged this closer to sewing day I would remember more precisely how it might vary from the littlest Origami pattern in the book, other than it's made from just one piece of fabric on each side, rather than having pieced sides like all the others. 
I also made it a bit longer than the pattern, partly because I only had a narrow piece of this fabric, and also to fit the intentended contents, which were my pink iPod Nano and my ancient cell phone + earpiece, as you see here. This one came along in my purse. That's a Kaffe Fasset print on the outside, Heather Baily on the inside.

These two are a bit larger. The green one in front was the first I made, so it's the most accurate rendition of Amy's sizing and proportions. That came in my purse, too, as it held the requisite 1qt. zip-lock baggie of hand sanitizer etc. Sure, I coulda just stuck the plastic baggie in my purse, but who doesn't like pretty fabric better than plastic?

This whole project started when I made the green one, thinking it would be handy to corrall all the powercords and rechargers I was taking with me. But, duh, I didn't pay enough attention to the photos and diagrams in the book when I selected what size to make, because these bags are all about 2" longer at the zipper than they are at the base. So when I got the first one done, and went to fill it up, it turned out to be just a little bit small for the purpose.

So I made another: the pink and orange one in the back. It's about 12" long and intentionally wider/flatter than Amy's design (accomplished by taking a deeper cross-seam when forming the corners of the base). From a purely design standpoint, the proportions of this one are not as pleasing, but it's the perfect size for everything I wanted to stash in it: chargers and power cords for the camera battery, the iPod, the cell phone, and my Kindle. It holds a lot of cords. This one went into my suitcase, and I was very pleased with it.
These were so quick and fun, I made two more. Which I either never took or have lost the photos of. I'll remedy that shortly. They are just like these three, only slightly different.

If you are looking for an excellent last-minute homesewn gift idea, I highly recommend one or more Origami bags. BTW: the book calls for making these from home dec weight fabric, but as you can see, quilting weight works just fine, too. And don't worry about having exactly the interfacing called for. I used probably three different kinds and weights in my not-matching set, with no problem at all.

I would have made some of these for XMas gifts, but I used up all but tiny scraps of my mid-weight interfacting stash on the ones for myself, and haven't managed to restock yet. Maybe next year.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Improv Scrap Blocks

Please forgive questionable photo quality, mystery sizing, and iffy color rendering in this and probably my next several posts. I've spent the past week upgrading to a new computer (yay!) which does not yet have Photoshop installed, and am stumbling around in the freebie pre-installed programs trying to figure out if/how they will do what I want. Verdict so far: "meh".
I'm on a mission to free up some space in my scrap drawers (and yes, I will be counting scraps for the 100-Yard Challenge). In addition to Santa's workshop projects I can't show you yet (future recipients have been known to read this blog), I've been busy the past couple weeks piling up the scrap blocks. Here you see 24 Wonky Log Cabin improvisation blocks made from a combo of the "small" (inner bits) and "long" (outer parts) strip scraps on hand.

There's not much log-cabin-ish about these blocks, as the strips are all different widths and I made no attempt at light-dark patterning, aiming only for variation of color and tone within each block. I did start with a square of the same blue fabric at the center of each, but that's it for regularity of design with this batch.

Quite an eyeful, placed all together on the design wall. These have not been arranged in any way, just slapped up there one after the other as they came out of the trim-to-size (9" finished size + S/A) step. I could just sew them all together as they are and call it a quilt top, but I think I can come up with something better.

I have a plan, but nothing further to show you yet...

In the meantime, I've also been stitching away on a set of strip-pieced blocks made on used dryer sheets foundations:

First, I ironed the huge pile of dryer sheets I've been collecting from laundry loads over the past year or so. Be warned, this will make a mess of your ironing board cover, which is why I did that step before putting the new cover on my board. It may make a mess of your iron as well, but mine has some kind of spiffy space-age non-stick super-duper ceramic or teflon or something coating which resists such things, so it's fine.

Next, I trimmed all the ironed dryer sheets to 5" squares, then I placed a scrap strip face up corner to corner, and added other strips to ether side. I made 48 of these (and still have a hefty pile of foundation squares). Trimmed to 4.5" (4" finished size + S/A) and cut the dryer sheet off the back (not as difficult or time-consuming as it sounds). These are up on the design wall in random order as well.

Again, I could just sew them all together this way, but I think they're more interesting in sets of four, with a little breathing room around them.

I have a plan for these, too.
I've even started on it.
I'll show it off when it's closer to done.

The calendar says it's almost Thanksgiving, which means I need to stop playing with scraps and focus on the XMas projects. I'm not making a lot of stuff, but there's one secret project in particular that really should be farther along by now than it is.

* * *
BTW: You might very reasonably be under the impression that I have completely forgotten about providing pics of some finished garment projects that I've gone on and on about here (pants! tops!) -- but that would be incorrect. I do realize that weeks have passed without an update, but somehow I did not get pics of me in my trip clothes while on my trip, and since returning home have not managed to coodinate a day when I'm wearing some of those clothes with good photography weather. Right now the tops are in a laundry pile and the pants need to be pressed. So you'll have to live with the suspense a bit longer. (There's a chance something will happen in this area tomorrow, but if I were you I wouldn't hold my breath.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Super-Quick Ironing Board Cover

I posted a while back my "someday" intention to do something about the truly grubby cover on my ironing board. I finally got around to it a week or so ago.
Key to making this quick and easy was starting with the replacement muslin cover that had come with the ironing board when I bought it several years ago. I came across it when I was tiding up the sewing room, pre-trip, and was smart enough to set it aside where I would see it again when I got back.

This end-of-bolt length of butterfly fabric -- a bit over a yard and part of my in-person FabricDepot binge -- was a good size, so I lay it out on the hall floor, face down, lay the muslin cover on top of it, and cut that shape from the fabric with pinking shears. I lifted up the edge of the muslin as I went along so my fabric cut-out was just slightly smaller than the muslin.

Then I flipped both layers over and added a few pins to hold things in place. Here it is before pinning:
If it looks wide, that's because I have one of those extra-wide ironing boards, which is great for pressing quilting yardage. You can see exactly how careful and precise my cutting was here:
When pinned, I took it to the machine and sewed around the edge with a zig-zag stitch, equally carefully:
Lickety-split and it was ready to go.

The thin padding beneath the old muslin cover was not adequate. My iron puts out a lot of heat and steam on the "cotton" setting (which I use a lot) and the metal grate under the pad would get very hot. I sacrificed a towel from the "workout towels" pile for additional padding. I simple lay it over the board with the old pad on top (you can see the indelible grate impression below), put my new, double-layer (muslin + print) cover on top, and tightened the drawstring to pull it all into shape around the board.
Then I cut off the edges of the towel that were hanging out (didn't finish the edges, or nuthin', just snipped 'em off), and was done.

Total time for task: didn't track, but I doubt it was more than 10 minutes. That was after I waited for the cat to fall asleep so he wouldn't pounce on the fabric laid out on the floor and roll around on it.

How long it took me to get around to this quick and easy task? I'm not saying. If I'd had any sense I would have waited a couple more days and done this on Nov. 1, instead of in October, so it would count toward the 100 Yard Challenge.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

100-yard Challenge

Two weeks ago my sister and I each had a lot of fabric. Here's some of mine:

Now we have even more, thanks to our buying frenzy at FabricDepot and additional indulgences at Bolt during our recent weekend in Portland, OR (partially documented in previous posts). And I bought more when I got home, too: three FQ sets of Kona solids in purples, blues, and greens. All the stash shelves, drawers, and bins in my sewing room are full or very close to full.

It's time to use some of it up, so Sis and I have issued each other a 100-Yard Challenge. The rules are simple:
  • Open time frame (we'd considered 100-yards-in-a-year but we both have multiple other priorities competing with sewing for our time/attention). This is not intended to be a lifetime goal, though. Some attention to sustained momentum is implied.
  • Only completed projects count. This is a tough one, and we may regret it, but we are both highly susceptible to the lure of a new project and have long histories of UFO production to show for it. So in addition to using up some yardage, we will be focused on getting things to "done." The exception is that projects to be sent out for long-arm quilting by someone else can be counted when they get to the ready-to-be-mailed stage (since the budget for paid quilting may not be available yet).
  • Only fabric used beginning 11/1 counts. If I now add borders, back and binding to an existing UFO top, I count those when it's done, but not the yardage for the top itself.
  • We went back and forth on scrap usage. Abby is focused on big-piece yardage, but If I don't use some scraps soon (especially the smaller ones) I will need to buy another scrap bin. Adding the scraps generated by 100 yards used for other things to my already overflowing scrap drawers is not an option. So we agreed scrap use is optional. Finished scrap projects will be counted by size of finished project + 10% for seams.
  • NO STASH-BUILDING until the challenge has been met! This is the tough one. There's a little wiggle room here, as fabric may be purchased if, and only if, necessary in order to complete a project. But that's it. The idea is to sew as close to completely from stash as possible until 100 stash yards have been used. I am already wishing that I had a bit more garment fabric (vs. quilting yardage) in the stash, but the quilting yardage is what I most want to make a dent in, and I wear mostly cotton clothes, so I'll make do. Maybe this challenge will inspire me to sew up some of the garment yardage I keep passing over each time I decide what skirt or top to make next.
Every good challenge needs a good reward, and we've got a great one planned: When we have both used up 100 yards of stash, we'll get together for a weekend again! This will of course involve giddy self-indulgence at every fabric store we can find. What's the point of challenging ourselves to use up so much fabric if we don't get to buy more when it's done??

How am I doing so far? Well, Nov. 1 came and went with no sewing done whatsoever, so I'm not exactly off to a full-sprint start.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

vacation fabric scores #3 & #4

Home again, yay! My weekend Portland (OR) hookup with my two sisters was a blast, but I am sooooooo glad to be home. (Not so glad about the fatigue, achy back/neck, itchy throat, and inflamed sinuses that yesterday I was trying to blame on vog and jetlag, but this morning must accept are likely early symptoms of a cold picked up somewhere along the way from Portland, ME, through Portland, OR, to Honolulu, to Hilo: 5 airports, 5 flights, many hours of layovers and delays, and exposure to a few more fellow humans than I typically encounter in 4 days.)

However, not jetlag nor germs, nor a combination thereof, are enough to keep me from jumping right into pre-washing and ironing my recent fabric acquisitions. At this moment washer load #4 and dryer load #3 are in the works, and a lovely pile of yardage is stacking up in the sewing room.

Highlights from Fabric Depot (ginormous) and Bolt (small), both full of goodies and worth a visit when you are next in Portland, OR...

Does this every happen to you: you see a fabric and part of you thinks it's hideous and awful, and another part of you falls totally in love with it? That's what happened to me with these peonies. Which are huge. Each blossom is at least 6" across. I'm seeing a long skirt, full at the ankles, fitted at the hip (long godets, maybe?), so got three yards of it. I may wake up and wonder what I'd been drinking:

This one's big, too, but only a yard, and will probably end up as part of a summer skirt:

This one, I don't know yet. Again, the print is huge; this is about half the width. I have 3 yards of this, too, and may end up wearing it. Or not.

USEFUL STUFF for the Stash (yards and half-yards):

I seemed to be primarily in orange/green mode, so these fit right in:
And I had in mind finding some luscious dots, like these. And look, there's the orange colorway of that leafy green I wished I gotten more of in Maine. Lucky me, Bolt had the green, too, so I did get more of it:

I love this, although it's not my colors:

If Fabric Depot had had a brighter colorway* I would have gone for it. I went with this anyway because I had cut up some jelly roll strips of other Philip Jacobs prints like this for the hexies quilt in progress, and it translates extremely well to random small bits.

*likely they did and it was in someone else's cart; the store was so huge and busy, and the cutting table lines so long, it was impossible not to wonder what beauties were overlooked because someone else had picked them up first.

And, allthough it's not my colors, it is totally my Mom's palettes (pale blue, beige and brown, ashy everything else, yawn), so I got a big piece with a future One Block Wonder in mind. It will look great draped over the arm of her (boring beige) couch.

I thought I was done shopping when I happened upon the "novelty" section and picked up some more yardage with future just-for-fun OBWs and charity quilts in mind. I haven't taken pics of those yet, and they're in the washer, so you'll see them another time.

I also have not yet added up either my total yardage acquired or the damage done to my Visa balance. I briefly considered setting a fabric budget before leaving home, but knew there was no chance I would have stuck to it, so I did the sensible thing and took along a Visa card that's been hanging around with a zero balance for a few years, waiting for me to come up with a good reason to use it again. Fortunately my quilting sister is an even more avid stash-builder than I am, so my pile looked reasonable next to hers.

I also did the other sensible thing and took my machine in for servicing while I was away. I'd hoped to pick it up today, but am feeling less and less inclined to do any kind of errands; a hot bath and a nap and a few more megadoses of Vitamin C are more appealing at the moment. Looks like fabric fondling and daydreaming about new projects will be the extent of my sewing efforts for the next few days.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

vacation fabric score #2

One highlight of any trip to visit "the 'rents" in coastal Maine is shopping in Freeport. Mum and I ended up there on Monday, which given it was a holiday I thought would be a zoo, but it wasn't too bad. Mum did my budget a favor by insisting on buying me this Dooney&Burke bag (super discounted; roughly 70% off), which I coveted on sight:
I also picked up an armful of plain-color (no graphics) summer-weight Ts for Mr. de Hilo at the Gap, not exciting to any of us, but he'll be pleased. We could not have had a nicer day for a drive and shopping, plus we got to stop off at Alewives Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills, which is a wonderful shop full of contemporary quilting cottons (and very little of the dull traditional calicoes which are mostly what I see around here).

I picked up a couple of FQs, some half-yards, and a fistful of colorful zippers, all shamelessly for the stash, no specific project in mind:
 I already wish I'd bought a larger piece of that leaf print in the center. I am going to want to use it in everything. And here's a larger piece (just over yard) that was the end of a bolt. I have no idea what I will do with it, but Mr. de Hilo will like it. It will linger in the stash, too, as I await inspiration:
And that's not all! Mum also insisted on buying me some fabric to be my XMas present, so two large pieces of loveliness went into her shopping bag, to be shipped to me in December. Pics of those will await delivery by Santa. 
On our way out (I thought) of the store, Mum (who sews only under duress, and then without pleasure) saw a "layer cake" of 42 William Morris print 10" squares and drooled over it, saying wistfully, "Gosh, I'd love to buy this, if someone wanted to make me something from it." Um, okay: hard to say no to that when you've just bought me 10 yards of Kaffe Fassett fabric. So, back to the cashier we went, and I've add one pieced jacket for Mum to the projects list. I negotiated a lenient schedule, though, so no XMas deadline for that. Plus, I've been looking for a reason to make a pieced jacket, so I guess this is it.

Here's the foliage shot of the day: this one from late yesterday afternoon, at NW(?) end of Megunticook Lake, near Camden:

I'm heading back to Portland, OR, tomorrow, where I hope to blow the remainder of my fabric budget at FabricDepot and Bolt. Reports will be filed after my return home to Hilo.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

vacation fabric score #1

Aloha from the mainland!

I had an afternoon in Portland, Oregon last week before my red-eye flight to Portland, ME. I used that time wisely by squeezing in a visit to Josephine's Dry Goods. This charming little fabric shop makes great use of limited floor space by filling it with a fabulous selection of garment fabrics. I have no need of anything woolen, alas, but I did snag some of this luscious stretch jersey (enough for a cap- or maybe elbow-length sleeve top of some kind), at vastly greater expense than I usually pay for fabric, but I was ready to splurge:

I also picked up these two pieces from their small selection of cotton wovens, a yard of the larger piece, and a half-yard of the smaller one. I have nothing specific in mind for these yet; don't even know if they will end up as parts of a quilt someday, or (more likely) yet another multi-fabric cotton skirt next spring sometime:

I've also blown a large portion of my vacation fabric budget on BUTTONS, which I can't get locally (other than boring basic plastic ones). My first set of pics did not come out well, and I've bought more since then, so I will post those another time.

I'm enjoying being in Maine again (it's been several years since my last visit). Here's the view from Mom & Dad's guest room, where I am staying (that's a lake at the end of the lawn, not the ocean although we are on the coast):
 I've been enjoying my "self-sewn" trip wardrobe. I've been wearing my two versions of the Jalie 2908 pant daily, and am happy to report that they are divinely comfortable. Hope to get a pic of me in them one of these days. Since I don't have clothes pics yet, here's a look at the autumn foliage from atop a nearby hill.
It was COLD up there: in the 40s, but with wind chill in the 30s. Quite a change from Hawaii!