Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Shiloh Satchel: Oh, Deer! It's Gotses Pocketses! [pattern test]

You know when you make an offer and discover you're in over your head?

I offered to test the Shiloh Satchel when Alyssa Lichner of Pile O'Fabric requested for pattern testers for her Shiloh Satchel. It was so pretty! And purse-y! And it had piping!

Four weeks later, a missing delivery, the *facepalm* that I didn't order enough leather, the realisation that the linen is loose-weave and probably not a good idea for delicate work, three broken leather needles, a flat-out 'are you effing kidding me?' from my Juki DX, a reluctant 'okay I can do this but it's going to take everything I've got' from my Juki TL98-P, and an almost-pulled shoulder and I have the first one done.


Echino linen, Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen in Indigo, Arizona Leather in Black (available from Pile O'Fabric), and Kate Spain for the linings and piping:

I fussy-cut the panels because Echino Linen designs are so gorgeous how can you possibly not try to incorporate them?

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

Essex Linen for the 'Exterior Accent' which includes Strap Connectors, the upper sides of the bag, and the pockets.

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

And then I realised that the linen was entirely too loose a weave to do the fiddly little bits of the smaller Exterior Accents, so I went and used a piece of leather for certain parts of the Exterior Accent - namely the Main Strap Connectors, and the Side Strap Connectors. Which I think gives it just a touch of professionalism!

So, the thing about this bag is that it has a LOT of pockets. A LOT. Pockets on the front, pockets on the back, pockets on the sides, pockets on the inside. The only place it doesn't have a pocket is on the strap and on the base, and I'm sure you could work something out if you really needed it, but frankly there are so many other pockets, I don't know why you would...

And then I added at least one pocket on the inside (and took one away). But more on that later.

This is the lining, with pockets:
#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

This is the bag exterior, covering the lining and pockets, held by my sister:
#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

And yes, that's a zipper pocket on the front.

It looks pretty stunning when you've fussy-cut your fabrics! And I thought it would look ever more stunning if (assuming you use a woven Exterior Accent fabric) you FMQ'd motifs into the fabric instead of just sewing straight lines. But my skill was not up to my ambition, so perhaps in future, but not this time...

There are a lot of pieces to this. Half the battle of this was in cutting everything out, working out what went where. The other major battle was sewing the exterior of the bag together; my 'dressmaking machine' (Juki DX) wasn't up to the task, so I went for the workhorse machine: Mako Mori, my Juki TL90-P, who struggled with some of the fabric thicknesses but slowly managed to get it all done....breaking three leatherwork needles in the process.

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

I'm going to have to get Mako serviced before the end of the year.

One of the issues is that at one point the needle is trying to go through about 8-9 layers of fabric and interfacing, including some serious craft stiffener because that was what I had, and I'd procrastinated enough in making this that I didn't want to keep going. I think next time I'll try the recommend Peltex 71F (when I manage to haul my ass out to Spotlight) I saw the needle actually bend in the shaft, trying to get it through, and often it required manual repunching (turning the handwheel) to get it through. So, it was a Herculanean effort to get this done.

Exterior on Saturday afternoon:
Pattern testing the #shilohsatchel for @pileofabric - it's a gorgeous bag, but what a struggle to sew together the exterior! (Don't look too close at the seams! 😳😳😳) Now I'm going to have some ice cream and jelly, and a lie down. I

Finished at the #saturdaynightcraftalong (hosted by @barefootcrafter in the Eastern hemisphere and by...someone else in the Western hemisphere).

Whew! After several false starts, interruptions for work, and three broken leatherwork needles, I've finished the #shilohsatchel at the #saturdaynightcraftalong with @barefootcrafter! Better pictures tomorrow in the daylight. Also: #honestworkroom.

Pay no attention to the mess of my workspace. The cleaning lady was by just this morning and has vacuumed it so it's now beautifully clean. (She loves cleaning up my workroom; apparently it gives her a feeling of great satisfaction, and who am I to deny her that? ;D)

The front:
#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

The back:
#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

Now, as I said, this bag has SERIOUS POCKETS. But Alyssa designed it to have lots of space for baby things on the inside, and probably her notebooks/tablet/phone on the outside.

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

Me? I live in a city, I'm a single woman, and the biggest thing I'm carting around in my bag is my laptop. I don't want to give anyone with light fingers the opportunity to nick my stuff, so I tend to prefer my pockets on the inside - including a padded pocket for carrying a 15" laptop! I took out one of the two internal zippered pockets instead, because I don't need that many zippered spaces.

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

#shilohsatchel It's Gotses Pocketses!

The next version I make will have more pockets on the inside, fewer on the outside. That should also cut down on the layers when trying to sew the bag exterior, and will give Mako (my Juki TL98-P) an easier time of it!

It doesn't look as professional as some of the other testers' bags (they look like they could be sold in a fancy shop for a couple hundred bucks), but I rather like it, and I'm thinking I'll gift it to a friend who's been having tooth issues all year and is struggling. Fill it with goodies, box it up, mail it off! All good.

And now to type up my notes on the pattern.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Swarm by Sel

Welcome, most of you presumably from the Bloggers' Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.

This is the story of a bunch of buzzy bees bumbling around in my brain, and how sometimes ideas come together in unexpected id-tugging ways...

Swarm (by Sel) took me two full years to actually complete from piecing to binding, but I think it was kind of worth it.

"Swarm" - photographed square! Such a labour of love and inspiration. And yes, @2bees, I'm filling out the competition forms now! #swarmbysel

Name: Swarm
Size: 75" x 88"
Design: original by Sel

The fault lies entirely in hexagons. I rather love hexagons, but they're kind of a pain in quilting - all those y-seams! However, I have designed multiple quilts based off hexagons (including a rather fun and complicated 'colourwash' kind of quilt) and am always on the lookout for cool hexy patterns. But I really liked Elizabeth Hartman's "Honey" quilt, featured on the cover of her book 'Modern Patchwork'. A friend of mine, Penny Poppleton made a spectacular version of it back in 2012, and while I liked the design, I didn't want just the honeycomb, but also the bees...

There were designs. Triangular grid paper, pencils, and design after design after...hey, I like that idea...

And then RJR fabrics announced the Cotton + Steel collection, with the 'blenders' and the 'low-vols' and I went "OOOOOH!" Bought most of the basics range and started cutting and sewing.

Most of the long story is at this post I made in December last year, however the addendum is...that it got accepted into QuiltCon!! I blame my friend, Bec, from SydModSQuad for encouraging me to submit it.

And it got photographed by the C+S official Instaccount! *boggles* *wibbles* *squees*

Then I sent it to Houston.

Uh. But not the Quilt Show. If I'd thought about it, I'd have submitted it to the 2016 Houston Quilt Show first, but instead, I opted to gift it to some friends in Houston who've let me stay in their spare 'oom nearly every time I've visited the US. Ah well. I did get to see it in use when I went to visit them in July, though!

Hey that quilt looks familiar... Glad to see #swarmbysel in its new home! #Houston #SelAndTheWorld2016

It's one of my favourite quilts, to be honest, and I do regret giving it away just a little. Guess I'll just have to make another one... Streamline the process... Write that pattern...

Swarm #swarmbysel

Submitted in the Original Design section of the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bloggers Quilt Festival: The Promises Of Spring

For the BLoggers Quilt Festival - 2016 Fall Edition, I'm submitting The Promises Of Spring - a quilt with a relatively long tale in my quilting history.

The original block was developed by Madame Parfait (whose site has since lapsed) in 2011, and was brought to my attention by a friend who wanted a pattern for it. So I developed one using strip-piecing, and called it 'The Snowflake Block'.

I did them in the rainbow colouring as per the original, and then didn't know what to do with them. So I made cushion covers, as you do.


The pattern was pretty popular, but I also found it bloody inconvenient and didn't think it was a particularly fantastic way to do it, as I discovered while trying to piece together another six of them!


And now it's time for layouts! And working out how to sew the thing together. Y-seams, eek! #snowflakeblock

Don't look too closely at those seams...


So what do you do with a handful of blocks that you don't want to make more of, but which you don't otherwise have any purpose for? Why, make a quilt with a lot of whitespace in it!

WIP Wednesday: sprint for the show

Um, yeah, that's a lot of whitespace. A LOT OF WHITESPACE. But I did quilt it all! ALL OF IT.

It just turned out to be a year late for the quilt show I'd intended it to be entered in, largely because I did my calf muscle in a week before I planned to book the longarm at the local quilt shop. So it got delayed a year - Sydney Quilt Show 2016! I called it 'The Promises Of Spring' and entered it with the blurb: "Every winter's flake carries the promise of summer within it."

Promises of Spring

The 'regions' of the quilting are ocean deeps, rippling beaches, forest and fern, winter winds, and the sun/flower, and it took me two days to complete.

Quilt Show 2016

In the aftermath of the show, though, a friend expressed an interest in purchasing the quilt for what it was worth, but when I named the price, she wasn't able to pay that much. Note: I valued the quilt at somewhat less what it had cost me in time and materials to make, plus 10% profit. Frankly, the hours I put in were probably two or three times that, given that I was piecing the snowflakes diamond by diamond. But that was the cost I named, although I admitted I was willing to accept a lower price.

While the friend was thinking it over, another friend was browsing through my feed and decided she liked it and would pay the price in question - and actually asked if it wasn't a bit low. She does costumes herself, so she knows both the cost of crafting something like this, and tendency of makers to undervalue themselves. I was more than happy to sell at the named price, and she received it a couple of weeks ago and is delighted.

Promises of Spring
Quilt Measurements: 180cm x 200cm
Special Techniques used: Y-seams, negative space quilting.
Quilted By: Sel @ Mad Quilter's Disease (a.k.a. me!)

Have you gone to check out the link-up at Amy's Creative Side?

Monday, September 12, 2016

2016 Q3 Finish-Along: #5 - Curtains!

This post is for the 2016 Finish-along Q3.

My original post is here and the Curtains are Item #5 on the list.

So, it's been a while since I actually posted anything here. Sorry about that - I went on holiday and then work came back with a vengeance and... So many things going on! It's been a busy winter for me...and we're heading into spring.

However, let's talk domestic for a moment.

We moved into the house in late 2014, and one of the things I wished to do was make curtains for my room and the lounge/dining rooms. It is now 2016, and I've done most of the curtains in most of the rooms. Emphasis on 'most of':

My bedroom curtains:
One set of curtains down... Four to go!

The workroom curtains (technically it's *my* workroom since all my sister has is a filing cabinet in the corner, and she uses the dining room as her workspace):
Workroom curtains 1

Sewing room curtains all done!

The dining room curtains, which I finished just before I left to go on my 2016 Round-the-World trip:

And a shot by night from the inside:
Curtain call! Alas only one half of it - have the other half yet to do!

And just this week I completed the living room side curtains with the Concerto quilt pattern by Alyssa of Pile O'Fabric:


And laying out on the floor before finishing with the cat.

When I get the rings for hanging in the windows, I'll take another photo and put it up here: stay tuned!

Now there's just the front window curtains to do - and those are the BIGGIES...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

a question of content (or: going forward)

So, I read a post over at Stitched In Color today called "Where Have All The Blogs Gone?" about the future of quiltblogging in an Insta-focused world. That led to an article over at Generation Q entitled "What The Heck Is Happening In Our Q-niverse?".

And that got me thinking.

My regular blogging used to be largely WIP Wednesdays, thanks to Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced. This summer, she's chosen to focus on her own quiltmaking and patternmaking, and so the impetus to post something every week has kind of drifted away off into the sky.

Some of the resultant slack has been taken up by the 2016 Finish-Along, but that's really just a minimum of two posts per quarter, which isn't quite the same as a dozen posts per quarter.

I guess the thing I'm curious about is what you, the readers, want to see on this blog? Mostly, I just post WIP status updates, with the occasional tutorial. I have ideas for patterns, but actually getting them completed is another matter.

Do you have any thoughts on what I should post? Preferences? Things that you'd like to see?

*crickets chirp*

Friday, August 5, 2016

home with quilty plans

So, I'm back after a month of travelling, with absolutely no quilting done while I was gone. I didn't even take hand-work.

My goals for the remainder of August are:

1. Finish the curtains:
Q3 finish along: curtains

2. Make the young goalie on my hockey team a quilt by presentation night (1 month away)

3. The centre medallion for the Sydney Mod Squad's 2017 group quilt! 18" square, plus a grey border, and I have a design but I have to work it out in colours and the piecing - and that's the tricky part!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Do I Know My Own Worth? Where The Rubber Hits The Road

So, you know about Hunter's Design Studio's We Are $ew Worth It theme, right? Or perhaps you know the concept of We Are $ew Worth It better for Molli Sparkles' post about No Value Does Not Equal Free, where he talks about the cost of making a quilt and does a very handy little spreadsheet to calculate it.

The rubber has just hit the road for me. A friend has offered to buy The Promises Of Spring since I mentioned in another blogpost that I was wondering what to do with it:

Promises of Spring

So, what is this quilt worth?

As noted in the post by Hunter's Design studio, this is an entirely different value to what I can get for it. I can do some rough maths to work out a value for the quilt, probably using Molli's template. However, the sale of the quilt poses a question about how I value myself - which, frankly, is the more challenging question. Numbers are easy; self-worth is difficult.

The question I have is how to approach this. Do I put out a spreadsheet laying out the price of the effort I put in (approximated because I didn't bother to record how long it took)? Do I just give her a number and wait for agreement or disagreement? Do I say "this is how much it cost me to make, this is what I'm happy to sell it for"? The friend is buying it for her daughter, and if she's not rolling in it, she's not destitute either.

I'm more than happy to gift a large portion of it - I've given quilts before and not said how much they cost; I've indicated how much quilts cost in casual conversation, but I've never had to have the conversation about how much my quilts are WORTH. And it's one thing to know that my 'hobby work' should be valued as much as my 'office work' (for which I am paid in easy excess of $50/hr) - certainly my 'hobby work' has brought considerably more pleasure to myself and others than my 'office work' tends to - and yet another to actually sit down and value my efforts.

It won't be easy. But maybe it's time.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Q3 proposed finishes (Finish Along)

Goals for Q3 set!

To Complete

1. Never Did The Quiltmath

Not convinced this quilt is going to work quite the way I envisioned... #neverdidquiltmath

2. Elizabeth In Wonderland

#saturdaynightcraftalong with @barefootcrafter

3. Friendship Supernova

Q3 finish along

4. Large Log Cabin

Finish along 2016 Q2

5. Lounge Room Side Curtains

Q3 finish along

Again, somewhat unlikely to complete all of them given that I'm away for a month in July, but with the best of intentions nevertheless!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Q2 Finish-Along: Valley of the Kings

So, I got a few things on my Q2 Finish Along list off the list - the first item and the last item!

7. Valley Of The Kings

I've had this on my to-do list for far, far too long. I'm glad it's out.


Now I just have to get it quilted and sent off to the original recip. Or else gifted somewhere!

LInking back to the Q2 Finish Along!

Q2 Finish-Along: The Snowflake Quilt

So, I got a few things on my Q2 Finish Along list off the list - the first item and the last item!

1. The Snowflake Quilt

This is me standing in front of it as it hangs in the Sydney Quilt Show:

Quilt Show 2016

This was entered in the Open Amateur part of the show, and titled "The Promises Of Spring" with the blurb: Every winter's flake carries the promise of summer within it.

And for a slightly better image of the quilting:

Promises of Spring

Yes, I quilted it myself. The block was designed by Madame Parfait several years previously - the 'Rainbow Blossom' block, and I posted a tutorial for making the block back about three years ago, which I used to make these blocks. However, I've since had someone draft me a foundation paper piecing pattern, and as soon as I get back from my holidays, I'm going to turn it over to pattern testers and probably release it through Make Modern Magazine.

Linking up to the Q2 Finish Along!

Friday, June 24, 2016

WIP Wednesday: the one with curtains

It's actually Friday here. But whatever!

Bought some Parisville this week at painful prices (and yet I paid it): I think it's going to end up as a bag...

Hey @molli_sparkles: no sooner asked than arrived! Thanks muchly. 😊😊 Going to have to find a nice big print pattern for this one!  #parisville #tulatroops

Now I need to find a bag pattern I like. And possibly a stall at the Sydney Quilt And Craft Fair that sells leather.

I should make a separate post about the things I bought at the Craft and Quilt Fair...


Dining Room Curtains

I know, they look finished, but that's only half!

Curtain call! Alas only one half of it - have the other half yet to do!

But they look pretty spiffy, IMO!


Other than that, there's still heart blocks for #quiltsforpulse:

#saturdaynightcraftalong with @barefootcrafter: #quiltsforpulse

Lounge Room Curtains:

More curtains at the @sydmodsquad super sew-in! #sydmodsquad

And making at least one Liberty dress for my trip away.

This is me at the Sydney #craftandquiltfair the Liberty store run by @the_strawberry_thief

That's me at the Sydney Craft And Quilt Fair outside the Liberty store run by @the_strawberry_fields.

Lots of things to do this week...and today. So I'd better get down to work!