Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rope Bowls

I have been meaning to give rope bowls a try since I saw them on Instagram. I follow @gemmapatford and love how she embellishes them. Inspired by her I finally got some regular 100% cotton clothesline and got started. 

First attempted a bowl with self colored thread.

Second I attempted a dish but this time I used a rayon embroidery thread in a very mild seafoam color. It gives the bowl a mild colored sheen.

I would highly recommend trying one out for yourself as they are relatively easy to make. 
Materials needed:

- 1 pack of 100% cotton clothes line (I made 1 bowl and 1 dish from one pack)
- Thread - color of your choice
- Zigzag foot

On my Bernina, I used stitch #2 and increased the stitch width to 4. You can adjust the stitch length to give the desired density of color, in case you are using a colored thread. Shorter stitch will make the bowl more stiff and produce more color. Longer stitch will have the opposite effect.

At the start roll the rope a few times, pin it and then zig-zag over it. This probably is the most tricky part. After you have secured the initial shape it goes very smoothly.

The key is to keep the center of the zigzag foot aligned to the seam so that the zigzag stitch catches both sides securely.

Once the flat base is done, you have to lift the base to give it the desired shape.

I even managed to curve the bowl in from the top. I added a few handmade kitchen towels using toweling available from Moda fabrics and turned it into a gift for my aunt. She absolutely loved it.

Now that I have figured out how to make a basic rope bowl I would like to attempt more complex shapes. That is next on my list!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1st Quarter Sewing Goals

I feel I need a little more encouragement to complete my WIPs so decided to participate in 2016 Finish Along and post up my first quarter goals. I am going to make modest commitments and try to stick to them.

1) First up, I had taken a workshop from Kaffe Fasset eons ago and the materials list required a lot of large scale prints. I was just a novice quilter then and did not have much of a stash. So I purchased about 30-35 yards of large print fabric in blue, green and yellow without much design or color consideration. (A bit excessive, in retrospect.) The irony was that the fabrics nor the pattern were really my aesthetic and I regretted my purchase almost immediately after the workshop. I had no intention of finishing the quilt I had started at the workshop and since then the fabric has just been laying around. 

I considered using up the fabric but never did find the right pattern for it. Finally I was convinced that the only way I would even consider using this stack was to cut it up into tiny pieces. Over the holidays I came across the Tinsel quilt pattern from Cotton and Steel and thought it was perfect for what I was looking for. It requires me to cut up the fabric into small 2.5" squares. I have made a few blocks and hope to finish it.

2) In 2013 I was part of Scrapbeelicious and received 24 blocks of Anna Maria Horner's feather blocks in jewel tone colors from my bee mates. I want to hand quilt this quilt but first I need to put the top together. It should be a job easily done.

Linking up to:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Synopsis - Year 2015

2015 has been very unique for me. My energy has been focused on a lot of different things which constitute the fabric of my life. From a career, to family, to home, health, friends, hobbies, creativity, travel, books....and every little thing that goes with re-establishing my life as I would want it. It has been an eventful and thought-provoking year.

Narrowing it down to sewing and quilting, Seattle has been both wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. It has introduced me to possibilities and access to creative folks that I could only have imagined. I am thankful and awed by each of these individuals. They have fueled my creativity and I am brimming with new ideas. 2016 will be the year I process and channel these ideas to my quilting.

I had a modest number of quilt finishes in 2015. 5 of these were WIPs I finished in the month of November alone. I plan to continue that streak and finish my remaining WIPs. I am really eager to see some of them to completion.

I made a lot of small items this year..which was a way for me to make best use of available moments to sew. This allowed me to make a few things even when I did not have time for bigger projects.

To summarize my year, 
First the good:
- Having my 'Color Block' wall hanging project published in 'Modern Patchwork' magazine.

- Sewing for Meg Callahan. I have always looked up to her as a quilter and working for her was a great opportunity. I still cannot believe I contributed to a M. Callahan quilt. It was definitely one of the more challenging quilts I have made. For someone who was featured in Forbes magazine 30 under 30 for 2016 she is definitely very down to earth. I am truly humbled.

- 'Wintry Terrain' being placed in the top 10 for Riley Blake Challenge.

- I finally got over my fear of the serger, thanks to Michelle Honey. Made a few quick dresses for my niece who absolutely loves them.

I grew up surrounded by women constantly doing some sort of needlework. Of the many things I grew up witnessing, I reconnected with one, namely 'Kantha'. 
Here are some of my experiments. I hope to teach myself with a few other skills that would be a shame for me not to pick up in the long tradition of my family.

This has also been the year of realization for me that I truly love making quilts for others. It gives me way more joy than anything else. The thank you note I got from my friend for the quilt I made him meant more than any accolade. I love receiving pictures of the tiny tots rolling around on my quilts. It means the world to me. I hope to make a quilt for all my nieces and nephews some day. I come from a large family so that should keep me busy for a while.

And the not so good:
- I did not make a single submission to the holy grail of modern quilting - QuiltCon. I had a few potential candidates but did not get around to finishing any of them.
- I added way too many projects to my already long list of WIPs. I am becoming more lackadaisical about finishing projects.

Hopefully I should be able to turn things around in 2016.

On another note I have been reading a lot of predictions for the coming year and quilting blogs seems to be fading away. Instagram and Periscope are the new replacements. However for me blogging is the same as journaling. I use it to keep a record of all the quilts I have made and the stories behind them. I am not too concerned if no one reads what I have to say. I like to come back to my own posts and reminisce about the time I made a particular quilt. It makes me appreciate how far I have come and how much more there is to learn. In that sense I truly appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to visit and read my blog.

Hope your 2016 has started with a bang.

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