Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIP-py Skippy!

Corniest title ever (self-anointed).

Anyway, I've got a couple of things in the works today.

Margaret's Hope Chest Blocks

First, a bunch of blocks for Margaret's Hope Chest. I've wanted to help out with this group ever since I read about it, because they do really fantastic things, but when I read about this call for blocks on Crazy Mom Quilts, I figured I could do some of those quite quickly! I'm actually in Grand Rapids until next week, so I'm motivated to get them done before I leave!

The orange ones are my favorite.

Here was the problem: I'm away from my rotary cutter, mat, stash, and pretty much everything helpful in quilt making besides my sewing machine. I decided to take advantage of JoAnn's fabric sale right now and pick up some fat quarters for $.99 each. For nine fat quarters, I got 18 blocks! Not bad for under $10. And since the edges fray a bit when washed, the fact that my cutting is less precise than usual shouldn't be a huge problem.

Anyway, it's a fun, quick project! Please consider helping them out!

We all help in our own way.

Tropical Table Runner

Second, I bought some fabric for a table runner I'm making for my sister-in-law's birthday in early July. I'll make an admission: batiks are totally not my thing. At all. I love the colors, but it just reminds me way too much of tie-dye. And I don't think they go very well with prints, so the few that strike my fancy just seem impractical to me. However, my sister-in-law loves all things tropical, and batiks really fit the bill there. So, with much deliberation, I came up with this collection. I actually kind of like it! Hopefully she will too.

A Fail Tale

And finally... get ready for a big, fat fail! Maybe no one likes reading about failures, but if you enjoy a little schadenfreude, get a load of this.

It all started with a desire to make my boyfriend a little something with fabric from his alma mater, Michigan State, since I'm actually in Michigan and able to easily get my hands on it. (I am a fan of a better, redder team).  I decided that an oven mitt would be the perfect quick and easy project (mistake #1). I found a tutorial online and embarked on making my wonderful surprise.

When I bought my insulated batting, the woman told me that she didn't think a single layer was enough when she had made potholders before. Of course, I didn't want my boyfriend to burn his hands with my delightful gift, so I decided to double the layers of insulbrite. This probably would not be a big problem with a regular square potholder. With a mitt, however, adjustments for the increased thickness should have been made, adjustments I did not make (mistake #2).

The tutorial recommended quilting a rectangle before cutting out the pattern, which is an excellent idea. Here is how amazing my quilting is:

But the back was even better:

Apparently, I forgot everything I ever knew about quilting, like "use lots of pins to keep your layers together so they don't bunch up like this, stupid." Oops. (Mistake #3) I forged ahead anyway because it was just the inside, and who really cares, right?

I used masking tape to mark my quilting lines, but they still ended up rather wonky because 1) I was in a hurry, 2) I don't have a walking foot on this machine, and 3) the layers were about an inch thick. But pay close attention to my layering here. Do you notice a problem?

I didn't. Not until I started sewing and realized I had my pattern under the tape and pins and would have to quilt through it (mistake #4). (Mind you, this was after I had quilted a couple of lines.) So I unpinned, re-taped, and forged onward. I'm considering this my introduction to paper piecing, without the piecing.

Sewing it together went about as well as you would imagine at this point. I turned it inside out, and this happened (mistake #5):

After reinforcing the seams, I turned it all the way out again. Or, I tried. Unfortunately, since I don't have access to a printer at the moment, I had used an existing oven mitt for the pattern instead of the tutorial one. As I didn't allow for seam allowances (mistake #6) and because there was increased bulk, I could not get the thumb to turn out. After finally trimming it, I got it most of the way turned out. As you might expect, the whole mitt is a little bit small:

Look how it appears to be floating in mid-air. That's because my skin almost matches the pale beige walls. Awesome.

I am going to tell him that I made him half a pair of mittens.

So... needless to say, this oven mitt was not my finest hour. I think I have enough supplies left over to make him just a plain square potholder. Maybe I'll be able to handle that one. :)

Linked at Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

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  1. You're blocks are looking great!
    Loved your commentary about the oven mitt. Kudos to you for finishing it up. It looks pretty functional to me. And yes, I agree, a square potholder would be much easier, but I think either way, he's probably going to love it!
    Are you an OSU fan?!? And your boyfriend is a Spartan! I'm sure that makes for an interesting time during football season. I'm with the Ann Arbor team. Go Blue!

    1. The mitt isn't terrible, but it's a little too small, thanks to my disregard for seam allowances. So it's a bit tough to grab things. Oh well-- a learning experience, right? My boyfriend suggested it be "decorative." That's one idea, I guess!

      The Ann Arbor team? Oh no! The MSU fan is influencing me that they are the worst. ;) I'm not an OSU fan, but a Nebraska Cornhusker fan! We're new enough to the Big Ten we haven't really teed anyone off too badly yet. :) Go Big Red!

  2. Love the blocks!!
    I have had similar disaster with an oven mit for my Mum, needless to say I now stick to the square variety ;-)

    1. I am glad to know I'm not alone! Live and learn, right?

  3. Oh I just made two oven mitts the other day - and I'm not about to repeat the process any time soon! I only did one layer of insulbrite (or whatever it's called!) on each side of the mitt and have found it works okay so far! I did however make the stupid mistake of cutting the insulation on my cutting mat with the rotary cutter - I have fluff stuck through the mat everywhere! Argh!

    I like the decorative mitt idea if it's too small to be usable!

    1. I'm sort of glad to find out that oven mitts are deceptively difficult to pull off. :) And I agree about the insulbrite! I keep finding little flecks of metallic stuff everywhere from trimming the seam allowances! Messy stuff.

  4. I made [errr...tried to make] oven mitts about 6 months ago for a craft fair. I used my own oven mitt to make the pattern, and I did add seam allowances of half an inch, and only had 1 layer of Insul-Bright and the one I finished turned out like mittens too! Perfect for my itsy bitsy tiny hands, but not anything useful. And I had already cut out about 10 pairs of mitts. So sad.
    So you're not alone! I don't know what the secret is, but I think I'll stick with buying oven mitts :)

    1. The dark secret of the sewing world: it is actually impossible to make oven mitts. :)

  5. Oh dear! I did nt write about it in my mitten post, but I did the same thing as you with an oven mitt! Never did get that thumb to turn...