Thursday, August 21, 2014

Done: Green Skirt

I finished my green skirt. It is McCalls #2255 and it went together very easily. It is cut on the bias, which made the cutting layout a bit weird, and it told you to let the skirt hang for 24-hours before hemming it which I had never come across before. I'm happy with how it came out and would consider making another skirt from this pattern.
Detail of the fabric

The fabric I used was a pretty batik cotton with kind of an autumn feel to the colors. I prewashed the fabric so I can put this in the washer and the dryer without worrying about the skirt shrinking.

This is one of the projects on my Q3 list for the Finish Along at The Littlest Thistle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Done: Flowered Purse

Flowered purse, my own 
I made this purse, from an original design I have made many times, as a present for my niece. It is a messenger-bag-type design with 3 pockets (one inside, one under the flap, and one on the back). I make the handles really long and then tie a loop in them so the bag can be slung across you or carried on your shoulder. I also find that the tied loop is handy for hanging the bag on a hook (like the ones on restroom doors).
This is one of the projects on my Q3 list for the Finish Along at The Littlest Thistle.

There is a pocket on the back

Flap secures with a velcro dot
and there is a pocket under the flap

Loop-de-loop quilting in purple
and teal variegated thread
covers the body of the purse

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Finish Along - Q3

In April I decided to link up with the Finish-Along at The Littlest Thistle for Q2. By July 6th I was going to finish 5 projects. I only managed one finish. I made progress on the zoo baby quilt and worked on 3 purses but haven't finished any of them yet. On a positive note LOTS of other people in the Finish Along completed LOTS of beautiful projects which you can check out at the Q2 Finish Linky Party.

I am going to give this another try for Q3 and make a list of projects I plan to finish between July 14 and October 6. Most of them are from last quarter's list.

Here is my finish list for 2014 Q3:
  • Complete the zoo baby quilt (ready to bind)
  • Make green skirt (fabric + pattern in a bag waiting to be cut)
  • Make yellow & gray skirt (fabric + pattern in a bag waiting to be cut)
  • Complete William's quilt (pieced and still awaiting pin basting)
  • Finish three purses (all started and at various stages of completion)
  • Complete one flag quilt (I have pieces cut for 2-3 of these)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Done: Crayon Box Quilt

Block detail, Crayon Box
I started this quilt in a class taught by Mary Will Sussman. My best guess is that it was in 2002 or 2003. I kept putting the quilt away for various reasons and it was in a box for years because I couldn't figure out how to machine quilt it. I finally worked that out and this past spring I got the whole thing quilted. It is now bound and has a sleeve on it. I really like how it turned out. The finished quilt is 54" square.
Crayon Box, made and quilted by M. Russell 2013
Block Detail, Crayon Box
Each block has a spiral quilted into the center and each colored box has a loop-the-loop pattern quilted into it. For these I used 2 different variegated threads: a yellow/green/orange for blocks in those colors and a blue/purple/pink for those blocks. The background is quilted with a wiggly grid in black thread so it blends in. I think this is a really good quilting design for the blocks, but there were a TON of threads that had to be tied off and buried in the batting. An eyeless needle (aka an easy thread needle) was a huge help in getting this done.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thoughts on Show Your Work!

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get DiscoveredShow Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

This is a thought provoking collection of ideas (both Kleon's own and other people's) about sharing your creative work with the world. If you are doing creative work (or want to) this book and Steal Like an Artist, Kleon's previous book, are worth reading.

Here are the bits that struck me:

  • "On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast, mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something." This comes from Clay Shirky's book Cognitive Surplus
  • A quote from Dave Grohl: "I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you f---ing like something, like it." This comes up a lot with books and I totally agree with Grohl, if you like something, own that. You have no reason to feel guilty for your taste. Also, liking something at some moment in time doesn't define you for all eternity.
  • "Tell good stories" is one of the 10 things and there was a lot of useful insight for me in that section. The illustrations of various story structures were really clear and the variations gave options for telling different types of stories. There is a page that is several triangles (identical to each other) with different captions on them (mountain, tortilla chip, etc.) which was an amazing way to point out that the caption defines the image for the viewer. 
  • A quote from John le Carre: "'The cat sat on a mat' is not a story. 'The cat sat on the dog's mat' is a story." 
  • Improvisation (in theater) is about saying yes to every situation that is presented to you. Kleon posits that growing as an artist is about saying yes to whatever opportunity that will let you make work you want to make comes your way. This makes a lot of sense to me.
I have one complaint about the book: there are a bunch of images in the book that aren't explained (where they were actually taken, etc.) until you get to the end of the book where there is a list of info about the photos. I wondered about several of them as I came to them and was annoyed that no info was there. It would have been nice if the details were with the images or if there were something to tell you to look in the back for more info about the image.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blogging Advice

Molli Sparkles posted an excellent set of instructions for improving your blog. If I do all the stuff she recommends (including #13) I will have an awesome blog. Her post was part of the Plum and June New Blogger Blog Hop which promises to include lots of good stuff about being a better blogger over the next couple months. 
In the interest of cross referencing (It's the librarian in me and I can't help it) there are also a lot of good blogging resources from the book-blog world at Bloggiesta.
There may be renovations ahead here at Urban Quilter.