Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Alternate Ending

So after working on a pouch for the Triple-Zip Along a couple of days ago, I left you with this. 
If anything, it's the finish of the tutorial that's a little, shall we say, sketchy? When writing it, this last step was really hard to photograph. So I took a couple more shots this time.

Reach in through the main lining fabric fold and turn the pouch inside out, so all you see is the main lining, right side out. Don't forget to reach in and unzip the main zipper. Now work on one side edge of the pouch at a time. Line up edges, pushing main lining out of the way as best you can. Pin edges together, and starting from bottom, stitch up the side of the pouch, removing pins as you go and going up as far as you can. Repeat for second side.
Now bring the lining back where you can work on it, pushing the seam you just sewed into the pouch, out of the way. Press edges of lining in 1/4", pin sides together, and starting from bottom, stitch up the side of the pouch close to the edge, removing pins as you go and going up as far as you can. Repeat for other side.
Turn pouch inside out through open main zipper, pushing out corners to shape. Press edges with your iron for a clean finished look.

Except even though I 'get' my method, and it works fine for me, my friend Marci of Marci Girl Designs came up with an alternate method that I think will be more straight-forward for many of you. And though others hinted at "turning through the main lining," Marci graciously documented each step with terrific photos, and yes, I think you should give her method a try. In fact I did on this pouch, and it worked great.
Though I didn't catch that I should have sewn just 'up to' the last zipper, not clear on over. If I had, I wouldn't have ended up with rounded corners. So do yourself a favor and check out Marci's Alternate Ending Tutorial and you'll see what I mean. She explains it all so well, and I'm confident you'll have a finish you'll be pleased with. "Live and learn" they say. I'm happy to do both.

Two Years

Two years ago today, I took a deep breath, and created A Quilter's Table. At One Year, I shared about my blogging journey through that first year, and of course, the journey has continued and expanded.
G.O. Modern
What I love about a journey is that no matter how well you plan, there are usually elements of surprise, new experiences you could not have anticipated, and often growth in unexpected ways. And this last year has held all of that for me.
Pleated Coin Purse
The first block swap hosted by A Quilter's Table was a roaring success, and as overwhelming as it was at times, totally fun. And now I'm in the midst of the Triple-Zip Along, which is proving to be equally enjoyable, and honestly, the whole side-trip with the Triple-Zip has been one of those "who would have thought" experiences that continues to reap rewards.
Mod Pop Complete! 
When I began blogging, I never could have imagined the great friendships that would be forged, and to actually meet many of those friends this past year has been a pleasure beyond words.
A Maisy Quilt 
I still find surprise around every corner, it seems. Whether it's the month's batch of bee blocks, a sew-along that pops up, new techniques I find to try, or sweet comments that just make my day. All of that is just so gratifying.
Scrappy Super Swoon 
Thank you for being part of this last year's journey. You know darned well we're in this together, and it all wouldn't be so wonderful without our individual contributions. The community we've built is an amazing thing, and I'm honored to be a part of it with all of you.
Kindle cover 
So again Thank You! I'd love to mark this occasion at A Quilter's Table with a little giveaway. Considering fabric is never far from my mind, and probably yours too, I thought a gift certificate would be appropriate. So celebrate with me by leaving a comment on this post, and on Saturday, I'll choose a random winner to receive a $40 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics. ***This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!***
Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap Group3 
Have a great day, and savor the journey.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zipping Along

So how's it going? The Triple-Zip Along is only three days in and I count 33(!) pouches that have already been made. Wow.

I finally got to work on mine tonight and took some more pics, hoping they'll be helpful to those of you who are just getting going. Here's the zipper ends ready to stitch on to the zips. I took a hint from the flickr group, and used fabric glue instead of pins for every step of the zipper installation - worked like a charm.
It helped me to lay the main fabrics out (fleece already adhered) along with the prepped zippers, before continuing on with the tutorial.
The photo below shows zipper #1B already stitched on. The lining piece gets folded face UP, topped with the  zipper and first accent piece. And an added note - there were several suggestions in the flickr group to use a walking foot when sewing on the zips, rather than a zipper foot. I found I still needed to stop mid-way across the zip, move the pull, and then continue stitching. But it's an option you can definitely try and see how it works for you.
Similar process for the second zip.
And again for the third:
Main (largest) lining face UP
Zipper #3 face UP, zipper pull to the left
Main body fabric face DOWN
And this is what you end up with before the finishing step. I'll be back to share that soon, along with an alternative method!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

W.i.P. Wednesday

Considering we were out of town most of the last week, there has been very little sewing done. But I do have several projects nearly finished!

Completed projects
Quiet Book - This project, started as a Christmas gift, was almost done when we left on our little trip, so it didn't take much to finish it up! It'll get it's own post soon.

Ongoing projects
Woodland cross-stitch sampler - I managed to get January's frame and text done on the flight last weekend. Unfortunately, I made a little goof. Pretty sure I'll leave it and move on, hoping it won't be too noticeable in the big scheme of things.

Modern Crosses - This quilt arrived back from the quilter in record time {see progress here}, so I hope to get the binding started this week.

Scrappy Trip Along - No progress. snif. I'm really anxious to get to stitching these blocks together!

Triple-Zip Pouch - I've started but haven't gotten half as far as many of you!

Upcoming projects
* Hubby's Christmas stocking - no progress yet
* Binding for Mod Cross quilt
* plan for FAITH Circle's February quilt
* Emerald mini
* Mod Angles cushion
* flannel pillow for grandgirl
* table topper for mom
* scrappy Metrolink
* x and + blocks {#xplusalong}
* Polaroid block projects
* placemats

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday at the Table

Don't be surprised if this post reads like a sort of travel commentary. Indeed it includes mention of every meal consumed this past weekend on our jaunt out of town. Hubby and I flew 1200 miles to meet up with son and his fiancé, with our primary intent being to meet L's parents. And what a delightful meeting it was, filled with great conversation, the fun of getting acquainted, plenty of laughter . . . and the Table.

Friday lunch was at Ruby's Diner. And on the California coast, Ruby's is at the end of a very long pier. Nothing like a little atmosphere as we gathered for our first meal together.

That evening found hubby and I at Taco de Ojo, where in addition to some tasty enchiladas suiza, there was a fun chips and salsa bar.

Saturday breakfast at CremaCafe came with the double pleasure of meeting up with Susan of The History Quilter! What a treat in so many ways! Susan has been such an ardent supporter and participant of Tuesday at the Table. And we have connected not only over the table but over projects (she being the first to encourage me to try a zippy by sending me her fab pattern) and just plain sharing about life in general. What a pleasure to finally meet in person and share a meal together.

Lunch at Sandy's Beach Grill was as well-planned as anything last weekend, being THE much-anticipated 'meeting of the parents'. I had a salad I wouldn't mind trying to duplicate at home: Grilled Hearts of Romaine, which included tender romaine warmed on the grill, charred corn, pico de gallo, roasted pumpkin seeds, creamy cilantro-Caesar dressing. mmmm. And even better was the simple joy of gathering around the table.

As our offspring took off for other events later on, we were invited by our hosts to their home, where we enjoyed each other's company, as well as the most tender, delicious manicotti we had ever eaten. The pasta wrappers were made from scratch(!) and oh boy what a difference that made. I'll never see my own recipe in the same way. I mean it's tasty, but not like this. I've been enlightened.

For lunch Sunday, we all stopped at Las Golondrinas Mexican Food, which was a local treat that we enjoyed taking as a picnic overlooking the ocean.

Deemed a celebration of our children's engagement, dinner at Duke's, complete with Mai Tais and exotic fish entrees, was a celebration indeed. We are all feeling so blessed as our families join together.

Yesterday, hubby and I said farewell to the kids over breakfast at a local hangout, The Sugar Shack, where we definitely got some local 'flavor', plus the pleasure of eating our meal out on the back deck. You won't find us doing that at home this time of year!

And then on our way out of town, a quick stop at Kéan Coffee was totally spur of the moment, found via the 'Places' app on my phone. The menu alone was interesting enough to make us glad we had come! And then there were the actual beverages .... hubby had a Honey(!) Vanilla Latte (below), and I, an iced Dark(!) Chocolate Latte. Both were extra good.
You know how you can tell care was taken? Well we could tell, and it was worth it. And obviously, it's always fun to benefit from a little latte art!

Any random foodiness you want to share? Feel free to link up here!

Monday, January 28, 2013

And the Triple-Zip Along Begins!

Finally! It's time to officially begin the Triple-Zip Along! If you haven't already:
  1. Join the Triple-Zip Along flickr group by clicking this link and 'join this group!'
  2. Take a pic of the fabric and zips you are planning to use and post it in the group. For those still trying to decide, you'll get some ideas there! Just be sure and choose some fabrics you really enjoy. They can be coordinating prints and solids or all the same. Same with the zips. Use what you like or use what you have - it'll all work!
  3. Locate the tutorial we will be following and get a copy you can refer to throughout the process. You'll find it in a blog post here, and a pdf version is here
So to start, let's cut out our fabric and fleece!

Cutting Instructions
1 –  main body fabric, 8” x 9 ½”
1 – fusible fleece, 8" x 9 ½” 
2 – front accent pieces (can be the same or contrasting), 8" x 1 ¼”
2 – pieces fusible fleece, 8" x 1 ¼”
6 – zipper ends (all matching or matching pairs), 2 ½" x 3”
1 – main zip lining fabric, 8" x 12 ½”
1 – center zip lining fabric, 8" x 9 ½”
1 – bottom zip lining fabric, 7" x 8”

So this is what you'll have:
fleece for main body + two accent pieces

main body fabric + two accent pieces

3 lining pieces

two zipper ends for each zipper

So let's get started! Go ahead and start cutting out your pieces, and I'll see you all over at the Triple-Zip Along flickr group! Let the fun begin!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

In Progress

My quilter was kind enough to take some pics of Modern Crosses as she was being quilted! The first one is a peek at the back. Next up: scrappy binding!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Look

When I showed off my Scrappy Trip Along blocks on W.i.P. Wednesday, I shared a pic taken at night in my sewing room. So today, still with design wall peeking through between blocks, some blocks on the floor because they wouldn't fit, and some literally hanging off the corner of the wall . . . I at least got a picture with some natural light.
And then, what I also wanted to see was how the value distribution looked in a black and white picture.
I see a couple of placement switches are in order, but overall, it doesn't look half bad. 

My schedule has me away from my machine this weekend, but I'm anxious to get these blocks sewn together. It's been such an enjoyable trip.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

W.i.P. Wednesday

The last week has been a teeter-totter, the 'up' an unexpectedly delightful revisit to paper piecing, and the 'down' being some cross-stitch confusion. The constant pleasure has been my #scrappytripalong! The more blocks I've done, the more I love it, and I am so excited to move on to the #xand+along in February.

Completed projects
Lucky Stars BOM - I was able to complete both the practice block + January's block. These were great fun and I can't wait for the next one! Plus I'm really happy to have gone the 6 1/2" route and with the fabrics I've chosen.

Ongoing projects
Woodland cross-stitch sampler - Whew! After much encouragement, I have finally begun stitching!

Modern Crosses - This quilt's at the long-armer's. I might even have pics to share soon, and better yet, should have this back by week's end!

Quiet Book - I have made real progress on this project! Can't say it's the most fun I've ever had, but I'm on the downhill stretch. Just have had a few 'issues' along the way, and there's lots of fiddly pieces to deal with.

Scrappy Trip Along - This one may be the most fun I've ever had! The 30 blocks are done! There's not enough room on the design wall to show them all off, but I can live with that. There will be another row along both the side and the bottom (5 blocks x 6 blocks). I don't expect to be overly thoughtful about block placement for the final layout, so hopefully the top will go together fairly quickly.

Triple-Zip Pouch - The 3ZAL officially starts Monday, January 28. Meanwhile, fabric and zip choices have begun to pop up in the flickr group. Here's mine:

Upcoming projects
* Hubby's Christmas stocking - no progress yet
* Binding for Mod Cross quilt
* plan for FAITH Circle's February quilt
* Emerald mini
* Mod Angles cushion
* flannel pillow for grandgirl
* table topper for mom
* scrappy Metrolink
* x and + blocks {#xplusalong}
* Polaroid block projects
* placemats

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday at the Table

Tuesday's Table posts seems to be pretty topical in general, but we're going random today - reporting on one very fun afternoon, and numerous recipes - it's just been one of those weeks where I've been in the mood to try new things.

To start, I tried Amy/Sukie's Curry in a Hurry, which was so delicious, but I thank my lucky stars I only had 3 Tb. Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste in my fridge. Amy uses 4(!), but 3 was plenty hot for us. As advertised, this was a great meal to fix on a work night - quick and easy, yet mighty tasty.

And then, needing a change-up for breakfast, I baked Katie/There and Back's recipe for granola. I think it's general knowledge that if a working pastry chef posts a recipe, you'd best try it. And I have been celebrating breakfast ever since. I am particularly enjoying it either with a bit o'milk and fresh berries, or topped on yogurt. yum.

We celebrated staff birthdays last week, and the request I covered was that of cake balls. These are send-you-over-the-moon delightful, and deemed the absolute favorite of several in our circle of family and friends. And for good reason.

Then, wouldn't you know it, there was a potluck to go to, and that called for my #1 potluck dish - a dessert of course - Chocolate Toffee Crunch Poke Cake, or commonly known in these parts as "poke cake". It's also dubbed our "stand at the fridge and eat" favorite, for no better reason than we do!

There was also the very delicious carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen, which was a real treat, and on top of that, very fun to make. I thought the lemon-tahini "dallop" and chickpeas made a really good soup even better. This dish will definitely be making another appearance at our table. (And I also now have za'atar in my spice rack, which was used on the accompanying pita wedges.) I served it with the iceberg stack with blue cheese and radishes from Smitten Kitchen's cookbook, and it was a perfect go-with.
photo by Sharon Brendle, who thought the salad dressing tasted like Ranch

Now that I've bombarded you with all of the above, how about a quick peek back at my Sunday afternoon? I went over to daughter dear's to help her make mini pies to take to work. She was celebrating National Pie Day(!) just a tad early. It was really quick and easy with this handy mold . . .
 which resulted in these awesome mini pies. {See her pie post here.}
From what I hear, they were very well-received, which of course, was as it should be.

So, yeah, there was plenty of time in this kitchen this week. Hoping you have some yummyness to share, or a table project even? Go ahead and link up here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Beginning

Your response to A Halted Start several days ago was a very clear reminder of why this blogging thing we do is so meaningful. In the midst of my trepidation about starting on my Woodlands Sampler, your words of encouragement and good advice were downright uplifting. And it got me to the store, where I picked up appropriate needles, plus plastic floss bobbins and an organizer ring. Today, I stitched some markers, per Gnomeangel, though I admit even with reading glasses, it was a struggle for me to count the threads. I may be in for a workout.
But I was able to confirm from the many comments on that post that for linen or 28ct. evenweave, which I have discovered is what I am actually working with, you do stitch over 2 threads. That in itself was such a relief.

Several of you suggested taking a look at this post by Posie gets cozy, which I did find very helpful, and will definitely be referring back to. And Patricia of Tapestry of Dreams was oh-so-heartening, and went on to post on the basics {here and here}, which again, set me in the right direction, feeling more confident indeed. To start, I'm using a size 24 needle, and so far, I have found stitching in hand is working just fine for me.

Anyway, thank you for all the tips and opinions and such! It encouraged me greatly and got me going!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lucky Stars - January

After my happy success with the practice block for the Lucky Stars BOM, I was eager to do this month's block - "Funky Star."
Again, I used the Architextures map fabric as the background. I pulled other prints from the collection, plus the solid Kona Berry from my Architextures Coordinates charm pack (see below for colors included).
Carolyn Friedlander - Architextures FQ Solids - Click Image to Close
top row: flame, ice peach, plum, lake; 2nd row: cadet, pond, honey dew, kumquat; 3rd row: meringue, kiwi, berry, cactus; 
4th row: cerise, delft, lagoon, mango; bottom row: pacific, peacock, teal blue, fern; photo courtesy of Pink Chalk Fabrics

On the practice block, I included the Cerise. Along with using the same background for each block, I also plan on including one of these solids, a different one each time.

I'm really glad I decided to do the 6 1/2" version of each block. I've just enjoyed doing them so much, and can hardly wait to work on February's.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Halted Start

At the risk of sounding like the complete novice I am, I have some serious questions about cross-stitching. And really, it's not that I'm a novice, but it's just been a very, very long time since I did any. And I don't think I ever used linen. So when this came to my mailbox the other day, I was excited, but.
When I pulled the beautiful linen out of the package, I noticed that *oh my those holes are close together*!

You see, I've joined The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Woodland Sampler, and I'm seeing all those "big girls" on instagram going gung ho on this month's design, and well, I'm pretty much scared to start. There I said it.

So I started searching on the web and found these on stitching with linen and "stitching over 2":

Also, something about where to start 'the first stitch' and beginning at a vertical thread:

And I'm realizing I should have paid better attention about what needles I should use, because apparently I don't have any of the right kind. 

BUT, I do have this very helpful post from GnomeAngel telling all about stitch markers, which I saw her share on instagram, and begged to know more about. I will definitely be following her lead.

Sooo - I'm off to work, will pick up some tapestry needles while I'm out, and then will start finishing the edges of my linen for safe-keeping and hunt down my frame. Meanwhile, I hope you can tell me I'm not the only apprehensive starter out there. And if you are using linen, are you stitching over one or two threads for each cross? Any other helpful hints and resources to get me going would be much appreciated. Cuz I really want to get going.