Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Gift Quilt

The Christmas season has been survived. Let there be rejoicing! Now I can share with the 'Net what I've been spending the last month working on.

This quilt is based on the "Nough Said" Layer Cake Quilt posted over on the Moda Bake Shop site and was designed by the talented Cindy Sharp. It's a ~ 67" x 67" machine pieced quilt made for my youngest sister Lindsey. I did a bit of hand quilting of the yellow & orange diagonals, but not all of them due to time. Oops.

Lindsey knew I was working on a quilt for her but I didn't discuss much with her beyond collecting the initial input. She wanted "Arizona" colors: turquoise, red, tan. And black, which I forgot. She likes "traditional" looking quilts and "geometric" ones... presumably she would have liked more triangles but I had just seen Cindy's quilt posted when I was about to start and couldn't shake the urge to try it. It's my first quilt pattern followed and I've learned a lot.

There were some hiccups along the way. First the flooding of the basement, which mangled a couple squares. Then my killer cold, which made bending over a sewing machine and breathing at the same time rather difficult. Then I bought not enough border fabric- first time ever. Then I ran out of time quilting the already limited area I planned to quilt. I purchased fabric 11/15, finished cutting 11/28, started piecing 12/12, finished piecing 12/19, and wrapped it up on 12/23.

Overall I'd rank it as a success. Never would have gotten it done in time if I hadn't been unemployed. I've no desire to rush anything like that again, but I am interested in perhaps trying another one at a slower pace that I get to keep this time. Never mind the fact that the Catan Quilt still isn't "officially" done-- not all the tiles have snaps, nor have all the snap bases been added to the quilt.

I'm most happy with the border- which came about due to two failures on my part. First- I've never cut 2.5" squares before and it's soooooooo easy to do that I cut quite a number more then I needed. I wound up with enough to edge the entire quilt, and then some. I also, as mentioned, didn't nab enough border fabric and was forced to fill in the gaps with scrap yellow/orange pieces. These things combined really makes the quilt pop I feel. The strong blue/orange contract is definitely a Rebecca-ism I couldn't prevent from leaking in.

I wish I'd gotten better "final product" photos. Alas. The colors are somewhere between the flash brightened images and the blurry muted no-flash images. I hope the images remain available- they're in a Google+ album... not sure how good of long-term that solution is. Not pictured (how?!) is the backing fabric which was a PERFECT print of cow skulls, lizards, and red diamonds. Very Arizona and it matched the top colors dead on.

Some of the things learned along the way:

  • Iron. Iron everything. Iron before sewing, iron after sewing. Leave the iron on the entire time you're at the machine.
  • Rotary cutting is amazing. I already knew this, but it was a refresher course. Also- having exactly the right plastic guide shapes helps a lot.
  • It never hurts to have & cut extra pieces
  • Always collect input from others when picking out fabric in the store- even if you only have strangers on hand
  • Never spare thread. Always sacrifice thread in place of time/effort. Tangle? SNIP IT- don't bother to untangle it. Always cut more then you think you need when quilting by hand.
  • Quilting cotton is not that expensive. DO NOT SKIMP. Having extra is so calming and I *know* I'll find a use for it- in this case it was "sooner" rather then "later".

The important thing is that Lindsey claims to love the quilt. She said it was a good "Rebecca take on Lindsey interests" or something like that. I hope she enjoys it and puts it to good use while studying.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays : 2012

2012 SF Christmas Tree
Christmas is almost there. Hard to feel the season in San Francisco with its year-round crowds of shoppers, non-stop sunshine, and international and not particularly "seasonal" selection of food. Adam and I did at least secure a tree on the 2nd to get in the spirit of things.

I miss our midget tree of last year with its popcorn and yarn. This year has candy canes, official glass ornaments, and Adam's dapper hat as a tree topper for lack of anything better.

Spending my free time getting pummeled by a cough & cold. Ick. Did manage to get a lot of gift shopping done early though, which is nice. Presents wrapped more then 24 hours in advance! How novel!

All craft energies (which have not been lost to said cold) are being channeled into secret home-made-gift which will be mentioned after the 25th.

In other news I accepted an offer at Rdio. Am very psyched for a number of reasons. Some of which are : everyone I've met so far has been super awesome, I actually use the service on a daily (near hourly!) basis, and it's approx. 10 blocks away from where I live. My first day should be Jan. 7th... wow...

On that note, let me link to the top songs stuck in my head this month on repeat.

  • Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz) by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
    Just too much fun. TOO. MUCH. FUN. (I enjoy several other tracks on The Heist as well- Ten Thousand Hours, Same Love, Wing$, Starting Over)
  • Revival (DJ Skee & THX Remix) by Neil Davidge
    Good electronic/techno music is soothing to the soul

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The joy of a fine looking gentleman

Dr. Sketchy's was last night*! Again I must state that it makes me stupidly happy to attend the event and that ever lasting mad props needs to go out to Alice Stribling and Diane Olivier for all the hard work they put into organizing it.

Last night's theme was Dapper Tweed Gentlemen and our models were the delightful Colin Fahrion and heavenly Randal Alan, both of whom I'm sure I've seen about the city at some point. Colin runs SF Tweed Ride, something I'm going to keep an eye on going forward. They were ambitious models who struck great poses and held them like pros. Costume changes abound and a hearty soundtrack (of course featuring Fighting Trousers) made it one of the best Dr. Sketchy's in a long time- and there have been some mighty fun ones this year so that's no trivial feat!

Dapper gentlemen : Contest entry
Brought my Inkling pen out in full force (also intentionally forgetting my pen purse at home so that I couldn't back out). The sketches definitely were weaker no doubt in part due to lack of practice but also because the ballpoint ink in the pen isn't that fancy and the sketch looked a little weak. Oogled some lovely brush pens people were doing and had to struggle to not convert. Wonder if I can get different/heavier/darker ink...

Dapper gentlemen : sketches
I cheated and used pencil for the rough base sketching, but I think it helped more then hurt. The No Maps picture was my entry into the 60 Days Around The World contest and I placed first! Booyah. I pieced together the bits to resemble the original sketch, but a lot is missing. Digital coloring is so not my thing... The gentlemen are in their shorts because the 2 20 minute poses were somewhat "Strip Poker" themed. There was a brawl poise pair for the 10 minutes as well as a billards shoot and a penny farthing mounting. Shirts were ripped, umbrellas used, and the line "Lay back and think of England" put to good use.

Finally found the photography of Mr. Johnny Crash, our session photographer. He takes great photos, people. Seriously, check him out. His Dr. Sketchys SF gallery is a great representation of how awesome it is to attend the event.

One of the things he has started to do this year is photographing the contest entries as well as the winners. Very kind of him- nothing makes you feel more like a winner then getting your photo taken. And let me say, I know this, for I shall be a smug bitch and now proceed to list/link to the (small) set of photos of me winning. (for the record, there used to be two sessions a month)

Thus concludes my gloating.

Now, seriously, if you enjoy sketching or dapper gentlemen, you should go check out Johnny Crash's gallery for this session

* Written Wed 12/5/12, delayed in posting so that Johnny Crash might update his photo gallery for further images for me to link to.
Saw Randle at the Dicken's Fair on 12/09/12. He was well dressed and "acting" in the home of Charles Dickens- a set from which I'd been shooed away from in previous years by being called a street urchin while I looked through the window. :)