Tuesday, August 25, 2015

quilting while travelling

I haven't been posting to WIP Wednesday due to travelling. So far, Vietnam and the UK, with the transfer over to America on Wednesday.

I have been looking at/buying fabric, and doing some quilting - I just haven't really taken photos of it.

Vietnam has some lovely, extremely cheap silks. This was in a shop near the Tan Dinh markets - patterned silks:


They were 500000 VND/m which comes to about 22 USD/m according to my exchange rate calcs. Which is pretty cheap for silk, even before you argue the price down in bargaining.

I bought some ao dai silk from another shop - a formal one, where there's no bargaining. The ao dai is a traditional Vietnamese gown worn by men and women, although these days it's mostly just the women and for formal occasions like weddings/functions/events.

hanging silks hanging silks

The fabrics are printed, patterned silks, and are designed with the ao dai in mind. There are also silk brocades:

brocade silks

I bought two fabrics, same design, different colours. I'm going to make slip dresses out of them, hopefully suitable for parties and summer days out!

sunflower silk

Of course, no travelling is complete without a little handwork that needs doing! I brought my #plainjanepassacaglia of course, in little bags, and a quilt that's a gift for one of my hosts, which still needed binding. The quilt took up a quarter of my luggage space, so I decided to send it on to the West Coast USA by mail, so I wouldn't have to lug it the long way around.

Which meant I had to finish the binding!

USA Hurray. Bound and finished. Going to mail it to the west coast rather than drag it to UK.

And the back:
Fabric and cats

So it's off to it's new home in the US. Hopefully it reaches there before I do! :)

Anyway, I'm working on my #plainjanepassacaglia, when my stepmum and her sister start asking me what I'm doing. Then they pull out the sewing kit and start helping me!

the family that sews together...

They did all the pentagons I brought along with me for the trip. ALL OF THEM. Seriously, I couldn't stop them. They kept on asking "More? You have more? We do them!" *shakes head* At least I don't have a bajillion pentagons to sew, though...

On my way out of Vietnam, I was in the taxi when I spotted sewing machines, including an industrial JUKI which I was too slow to pull out my camera to take a pic of! But I did get its Brother:

Last shot of Vietnam: that's a Brother industrial sewing machine! Alas for I missed getting a shot of the juki - I was in a taxi on the way to the station...

And that was Vietnam. I wish I'd gone back and bought the patterned silk, but it should be there the next time I visit my Dad, and I have too much fabric as it is. (Yes, yes, I do...)

24 hours or so after leaving Vietnam, I arrive in London. 10am. I'm exhausted, I feel disgusting after 24 hours in transit. I check into my homestay, get a wash, and then go out into London. Because I knew if I didn't, I'd lie down and fall asleep and never get my body into the time zone.

So out I went on a mission: find Liberty of London. And I did!

London Saturday afternoon

Fabric and cats

I had lunch, bought some Liberty Tana lawn, then wandered around Soho for a bit before going back to the homestay and pretty much falling asleep with a six-hour nap. Got up, had dinner, went back to bed and slept through until morning (okay, so 5am, but my body has been doing about 5 hours for the last month so this is not unusual).

Sunday was wandering with a non-quilty friend, but Monday I was back on the trail, hunting up the quirky little fabric stores in Soho:

The Cloth Shop is - as it is says - a fabric shop that also sells buttons and trimmings:

Fabric things

And some closeups of the trimmings:
Fabric things Fabric things

The Silk Society has a lovely array of formal and wedding fabrics - this seems to be the thing with this area: a lot of old, tucked-in-the-corner type shops that are the remnant of what used to be a much larger garment district in London, but has since been taken over with a lot of pubs, foodie shops, and a few clothing chains.

But their array of silks is LOVELY.

the Silk Society

A shop whose name I don't remember - I ducked in and out of plenty of these on Saturday afternoon, took photos, but never remembered the shop.

bolts of silk

more silk

It kind of matches my nailpolish!
matching nails

Amidst all this I have been doing some handsewing - some of it on the London Underground, which makes people stare: I gather they're not used to people pulling out handsewing and basting paper pieces together! Ironic, considering it's English Paper Piecing!

I don't have any photos of the #plainjanepassacaglia yet, but I'm getting some of my hexie flowers done. More now means less later!
Fabric things

Today (Tuesday) I'm going to head out into the city to do more touristy things - mostly markets, I think. I doubt there'll be much by way of fabrics there!

And then tomorrow I'm off to Chicago!

I'm debating whether I should even try walking into quilt shops while in the US; on one hand - cheap fabric! On the other....I have a really large stash and it's not getting any smaller! Tough choices.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one before the holiday

So, we're all mad around here.

Okay, so it's mostly just me.

And it's mostly just that there are too many things to do and not enough time in which to do them.

However, I have finished the SHIELD dress!

SHIELD dress

The design really suits me and I'd love to do it in the green/black shot dupion that I purchased from the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair at $10/m. (This is incredibly cheap in Australia, for the record.)

Although I might have to adjust the waist. I'm a size 10 bust and hips, and a size 12 waist:

SHIELD dress

I let out the seams as much as I could, but it's not quite enough. I'll have to drop some weight around the waist. *wince*

Otherwise I started a scrap log cabin project:

WIP Wednesday: scraps, charms, and cats.

Received my Tula Pink True Colors bundle from Massdrop, a bunch of hexies for the #hexiedownunder flower swap, and the charm squares for the C+S charm swap by Ms Midge:

WIP Wednesday: scraps, charms, and cats.

Smokey promptly claimed the Massdrop box, of course.

There'll be a charm-along for the C+S charm swap, probably running in September:

WIP Wednesday: scraps, charms, and cats.

Have to think about what I'm going to do with them. And with the Amy Butler charms I got a while back...

And finally, binding for the gift quilt I'm giving to the friend I'm staying with in the San Fran Bay Area:

Binding to sew on later tonight...

I've stayed with her and her family on and off for ten years (possibly more) and while I've brought her other gifts, I've never yet given her a quilt.

Yes, that's the USA Hurray.


Things to do before going away:
1. sew binding on USA Hurray
2. pick fabrics for the #hexiedownunder participants
3. begin pulling out the papers of my Plain Jane Passacaglia - start from the centre and work outwards
4. sew up the last of the AHBC Party 3 presents and get it packed up

I think any gifts I'm going to give to my hosts are going to have to wait until I get back. UGH.

Anyway, there may be a little WIP Wednesday while I'm travelling (Ho Chi Minh City, London (Oxford), Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco Bay Area) but it'll depend on the internet connections, and mostly be the Plain Jane Passacaglia. I will, however, be posting plenty of travelogues - and probably some fabric related things: most particularly in Vietnam (the markets), and London (Liberty of London!), but also possibly in the US... :)

Hope your endeavours are productive in the coming month!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Agent of SHIELD dress for DragonCon

The brief:
Agent of SHIELD dress: halterneck, close-fitting bodice with waistband and flared skirt to be worn with petticoats. Black/dark-grey silk with gunmetal/silver overdress/lace edging, and embroidered/beaded/appliqued SHIELD logo to either be on skirt or else as a back cutout (underarm zipper), with HYDRA-themed underskirt.

The pattern:

Butterick 6404 classic

The result:

SHIELD dress

SHIELD dress

A better indication of the colour is in this pic; I think I had the white balance set to 'incandescent light' while photographing in daylight.

SHIELD dress

There was some awkwardness with the waist: I have a size 10 bust and hips, and - at my current weight - a size 12 waist. By the time I realised this, I'd already sewn and interfaced the front and back with iron-on interfacing, so realigning the seams was awkward.

As it is, I'm going to have to lose a bit around the waist (the waist isn't difficult for me, it's the belly pouch that lingers):

SHIELD dress

Note to self; in future, make a muslin first...

The beading I can do in Vietnam - it's mostly just an outline of the logo - a little painstaking, but not impossible. And the HYDRA-themed underskirt is probably out.

If I had time this week (haha) I'd make a Maria Hill "Age of Ultron" dress - one of the business suits she's shown wearing in the various scenes. Considering I have dinners with friends tonight and tomorrow, bible study on Wednesday, a remedial massage on Thursday, and will be packing on Friday to leave early Saturday am... I don't really have time between work and sleep and doing all those last minute travel things.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with QALs

One finish (of sorts): the Soroptimists Raffle Quilt!

Quilt for my mother's Soroptimists chapter to raffle off. Quilt stats: 76" square, fabric is Domestic Bliss by Liz Scott, pattern is Swell by Camille Roskelley.

I have backing, and now it's time to get it off to the quilter!



The Gothic Summer Sampler is three years old and still hasn’t been quilted. I’m over it now, the friend I was going to give it to has since “de facto’d” (legally not-married, as compared to being married or unmarried: cohabiting? IDEK what it’s called anymore) and her style/tastes have significantly changed, so I think I should make a new one for her and her partner and maybe give this to another friend who’s still in a gothic phase and seems less likely to move out of it.

All Around The World is one of the first quilts I made – I was in a bargello state of mind and would rather love to do it again, albeit with a very different fabric aesthetic! But this will make a wonderful floor covering, even if it’s not to my taste for a quilt.

And The Shattered Star is a quilt pattern by Penny Poppleton, that I tested a couple of years back and haven't yet gotten quilted. It's large. Very large. Which makes quilting it myself rather inconvenient.

Plain Jane Passacaglia

I have a bunch of rosette diamonds and small pentas cut from my selection of Reece Scannell shot cottons:

Reece Scannell shot cottons: my choice of fabric for the #plainjanepassacaglia

Now I need to baste them and sew them together!

1. need to find the E-star points! (unless I’ve run out of them, which is possible)
2. need to take the papers out of the blocks I’ve already finished and sewn together so I can reuse them...

SHIELD dress:

The pieces are cut out for this, and Saturday is the planned sewing day. It works, because otherwise I’m liable to discover I need something and not be able to buy it from the shops at a time when anything is open. However, I’m going to have to do the beading in my spare time while on holiday, I think…

I hope it fits. I hope it looks okay. I wish it was a more 1950s style, but the fitted bodice & flared skirt should be enough with the princess seams to give it a nice, fluid line.

Drawstring bag:

I need to work out what size I need to make this so I can make two, so one will go as a gift and I get to keep the other!

Gifts for trip:

One is easy; her quilt is done and just requires binding:

Quilted quilt: the USA Hurray quilt, a gift for a friend. Now to find binding...

One is relatively easy: my stepmother – she’s pretty easygoing, so making her a couple of 1-hour boxes will probably be fine.

One is a little tricky: friends I’m staying with in Chicago. They already have one of my quilts (although I’m trying to remember which one right now), so I could maybe make some bags/1-hour boxes, or possibly matching cushion covers from the scraps of the fabric I made the quilt from?

And the last is is really tricky: a guy I’m homestaying with in London. I’m thinking I might just buy him a bottle of Aussie wine on the way out of the country or something…

All those QALs

Yesterday, I posted about a bunch of QALs that have popped up in the last couple of weeks (at least to me) and then realised that at least one other has been going for a while: the Yuma QAL hosted at Gotham Quilts.

Now, when I first saw this quilt, what attracted me was what I thought were all the little white pieced triangles wandering across the quilt surface. Except they’re not pieced triangles at all – they’re one of those fabrics that’s deceptive and makes you think it’s actually pieced when it’s not. (Lying fabric that lies. Hates them we does, my preciouss…)

Feel my disappointment. SO MUCH DISAPPOINTMENT.

However, it occurs to me that the Yuma Quilt would do PERFECTLY for my HR Mendocino collection, with a few reads-as-solids fabric additions. And as I’ve been vacillating about what I should do with my HR Mendocino (apart from give it away) before the reprint comes out, this is perfect.

So now it’s on the list for when I get back!


Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday post!

Monday, August 3, 2015

in the spring, a quilter's heart turns to quilt-alongs...

I know, I know, it's fall (or autumn) for the northern hemisphere. But the sentiment remains the same: all of a sudden, the QALs have sprung into action - I count three in the last 24 hours.

1. The Farmer's Wife 1930s sampler QAL run by GnomeAngel of GnomeAngel.com in concert with Marti Mitchell and the Fat Quarter Shop

2. The Gypsy Queen Mystery QAL run by Cora's Quilts

3. The Think Big QAL run by Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side

So many QALs, so little time.


Speaking for myself, I need to finish several more backings, complete several tops, and use up a whole lotta scraps in some project - any project!

But not until I get back from my vacation in Vietnam, (possibly) Russia, the UK, and the US. During which I plan to do a LOT of handsewing. Hopefully there will be plenty of progress on my Plain Jane Passacaglia and #hexiesdownunder!

It's gonna be a busy couple of weeks for me, as I prep to travel and finish sewing the things that can't wait until I get back.