A new duvet cover

My room decor is mainly black and white.  Last year I got a duvet cover but I’ve never been that fond of it.  It was a budget choice rather than what I really wanted.  This is the cover we’ve been using.  Nothing wrong with it, but I don’t love it, and it is a little more floral than my husband would prefer.

Duvet cover

Now that I am gainfully employed, I decided to sew one that I would like better.  I waited until one of the fairly regular Fabric Depot sales happened and got this stack of black and white fabrics:

Black and white fabric for duvet

I ended up deleting the mini polka dots from the project, but all the others made it in.

This was my original design plan (I lost the pencil half way thru somewhere in the piles of fabric in the craft room.  I have entirely too many projects going on right now!) –

Duvet design plan

Not the most formal of designs, but the general idea was one long strip of the main fabric – the circles -with different width blocks of the other fabrics on either side.

Duvet cover in progress

But when I got the three main center strips sewed together, I didn’t like it. The center one fabric strip just looked weird and the whole thing didn’t balance.  I neglected to take a picture of it, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I went back to the cutting table and slashed and sliced and added new columns and halved others.  I like the results much better than the original plan.  I’d started out with French seams to prevent it from getting ragged in the wash – it made for a lot of extra sewing once I added in all the extra pieces!

Duvet cover in progressAs I sewed I laid the strips out on my bed to make sure that none of the prints touched the same fabric in the next colum.

In this pic you can see the five fabrics I used.  Two are batiks and three are regular prints.

Duvet cover fabrics

The backing fabric is still in the mail – I ordered a gray and white wide backing fabric – so it won’t get finished today, but it is already an improvement on the former cover.

A bit of progress

My new job started this week, which dramatically cut back on the amount of sewing time.  But well worth it for the upcoming paycheck!  It has been almost two years since I had a full time job, other than a couple of months subbing last spring, so getting up in the morning is taking some real adjustment.

But there has been some progress on the Night Sky quilt background.

Night Sky Stars in progress

I put in a secret star to amuse myself, and also had a lot of fun with the wonky flying geese row.

Night sky background detail image

And I dug through my stash and made a trip to the fabric store and have collected a lot of greens for the upcoming hills and forest parts.

Night sky quilt - greens

Actually, I’ve added a lot to the stash in the last few days.  Yesterday my sister and I went to the bulk fabric sale at Scrap.  I ended up with several grab bags of fabric, plus a big bag of upholstery fabric samples that are going to get added on to a long-in-progress patchwork project I’ve been working on.

The upholstery scraps dredged from the store’s giant bins:

Upholstery scraps

Scrap fabric grab bags

Above are two of the three grab bags.  Not everything will be loved, but I got a lot of great pieces to add to my scrap bin, some larger yardage to work with, and a bunch of great black and whites to add to my mini projects for the bedroom wall collection.

Black and white scraps from grab bag

And now back to making a little more progress on getting that sky finished.

Mini finish

I was supposed to start my mom’s duvet cover first thing this morning, but I realized that I’d forgotten to pre-wash the fabric, so while that was in the machines, I finished up my black and white hexagon mini to add to my wall collage.Black and white hexagon mini

I probably should have glued down the hexis, but I couldn’t find the right kind of glue and I was a little impatient, so I just pinned them.  A couple shifted a little, but nothing too off.  And I have never been a slave to perfection. 🙂  I’d never get any project done!

The pinning in process
The pinning in process

I quilted it minimally, just appliquéing the individual hexis and then stitching around the outline.  It sort of reminds me of a molecule diagram.

It joins the others on the wall.  Now I need to decide on the next black and white project.

Black and white hexagon mini

Bits and pieces

It has been a little hectic around the house the last couple of days.  My sister, who has lived with us the past year, went back to Mississippi last month to pack up her family and household.  Sunday night she, her husband, and two of their three kids arrived with a 27′ rental truck, two French bulldogs, and a cat.  It rapidly got very crowded around here.  But in a good way!  The apartment hunting has already begun, but we are enjoying them in the meantime.

I have squeezed in a little sewing nonetheless.  The backing for my cousin’s quilt is completed.  There was quite a lot of seam ripping, a function of not having quite as much fabric as I needed in length, and changing my mind in mid stream about how I wanted to solve that.

I couldn’t get a good picture of it.  Too large for the iPad camera.  But here are some awkward shots.

The first attempt had strips at the top and a wide blue border on one side. I decided it looked unbalanced and needed to be wider, so I added a blue border on the opposite side later.

The first attempt has strips at the top and a wide blue border on one side.  I decided it looked unbalanced and needed to be wider, so I added a blue border on the opposite side later.

(The top, in the background, will also have borders, but I’m adding them later to reduce the bulk I will be wrestling through my machine.)

Adding an additional side border to the back made the strips on the top too short, but I had only inches left of most of the fabrics so I added in a four patch block.

Adding an additional side border made the strips on the top too short, but I had only inches left of most of the fabrics so I added in a four patch block.

I’ve asked my cousin to see if she can get another yard of the dark blue that is going into one of the front borders and I’ll use that for the binding if she can. Otherwise I will need to head to the fabric store again.  I don’t have enough left of anything for a border.

Other than that, not a lot accomplished, fiberwise.  But I did go with my sister to a very cool crafting store this morning.  Scrap is a shop of recycled materials, anything that someone might find useful for artistic pursuits.  There is yarn and paper, but also empty thread spools and plastic bits and tubes and fabric remnants and old cards.  It is a lot of fun, and the stock is constantly changing.  This time I found some possibly rayon yarn, some big spools of thread, and black and white fat quarters, among other things.  I came home and immediately made a few more paper pieced hexagons for a mini quilt I’m building up.  Every black and white fabric I come across loses a corner for this.  I think I’ve almost got enough.

Black and white hexagons

A mini finish

With the kids back to school today, I got a little sewing done. The Lover’s Knot block is up on the wall. I think It needs friends, however. More minis to be made.

Lessons learned: I need to continue to work on precision in seam allowances, and when cutting strips for this block, cut how many background strips I think I’ll need and then double that amount!

I quilted around the black lines with white, and then machine stitched the binding. When I’m not going to hand sew the binding on, I sew the binding to the front first, and then stitch in the ditch at the front binding edge, capturing the back edge of the binding. It looks better on the front that way, but if I don’t sew the binding on precisely in the beginning, I can sometimes not catch all of the edge when I go around the second time with the ditch stitching. I need to get better at judging the seam allowance I use when originally attaching the binding to give me enough to work with on the back.

I only machine finish bindings on wall hangings so far, because the back isn’t ever going to show, so I can work to improve without too much consequence. All my blanket bindings I hand sew.

Black and white

I was going to say that it has been a productive day, but that would imply actually completing tasks from the to-do list, or even packing for the weekend away that starts in a about an hour. So instead I’ll say it was an activity filled day.

Started off right with two 60% off coupons that let me buy a new cutting mat and a smaller square ruler to make things go more smoothly with planned projects. Such a deal with the discounts!

Then I went online and bought this pattern for a lover’s knot block (though the designer calls it a carpenter’s square) to make into a mini quilt for our bedroom wall. Our room is black and white overall, with a little yellow and tan thrown in, and I want to make a few minis to cover a blank wall by the closet.

This block requires a lot of precision, in both cutting and sewing.

Neither of those are my strongest skills, but working on this should help.

I’m adding extra rows to make it a little bigger. The dramatic contrast is great, but if I do it again (and I plan to) I will put a color square in the very center. Yellow, perhaps.

This is also giving me practice with my new Juki sewing machine. I’m crazy about the auto cut feature, but I keep forgetting I can use the foot pedal to use it. And the leg lever to lift the foot makes things so much faster. I can’t imagine I’ll ever get to use the rabbit speed though. Medium seems like I’m racing beyond my fingers as it is.