Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Crumb Quilt—first Make Nine finish for 2021

Can I get an exchange on 2021? It didn't start off as expected. Or maybe we'll just say this is December 42. Despite the chaos and horror of January 6, I'm going to take this quilt as a success in my small part of the world. This is my first Make Nine finish for 2021: a Crumb quilt.

Kitty crumb quilt. 22" x 29.25"

One of my Make Nine projects this year is to make something with crumbs—either fabric, yarn or threads. A week or so ago, I found a small bag of leftovers from a foundation paper piecing project—possibly started around 2014 -15. This fit the criteria.

Crumbs: foundation paper piecing project leftovers.

Piecing small crumbs together to make larger pieces, I picked up and sewed whatever pieces were close to the same size.

Paper piecing blocks.

Piecing together small crumbs into larger blocks and strips.

Eventually, the piece grew into a small patchwork quilt top.

Crumb quilt top

The top was pin basted and free-motion quilted this weekend. 

Pin basted quilt top.


The backing is flannel and the binding was attached by machine.

Flannel quilt backing.


I'm keeping this kitty quilt for our own pack of neighborhood cats. Here is a five-kitty pile-up of the tuxedo kitties. Where does one kitty start and another one end??

The tuxedo kitties in a Five Cat Pile-up.

But it looks like Oliver, one of the all-black kitties, tested the new quilt first.

Oliver sleeping on the new crumb quilt.

I'm sure the kitties will take turns on the new quilt. For me, I'm calling it a Make Nine finish!

First finish on my 2021 Stitching Success Tracker.

I love scrappy quilts and enjoy the challenge of improvisational patchwork with crumbs and strings. No doubt this little quilt will not be the only scrappy crumb quilt made this year. 

This stack of string blocks might be next in line for a finish. Definitely a time-span quilt. I know some of these blocks and fabrics go back to the 1990s.

String quilt blocks and a scrappy diamond block.



Sunday, January 3, 2021

A new Stitching Success Tracker for 2021

In January 2020, I found this cool "graphic" calendar from Nerd Bucket.blogspot. I call it my "Stitching Success Tracker" and adopted it to track my quilting and creative stitching activities through the year. Any day I got to work on a project/activity—patchwork, hand stitching, sewing, knitting, quilting, etc.—I'd color in the corresponding "day" on the calendar. 

2020 Stitching Success Tracker.

A Color Legend for daily tracking
Not realizing what 2020 would bring [a global pandemic] or the range of activities I got into [prompted by shelter-in-place], the idea was to use colors for different activities and a "contrast color" for a finished project. So in 2020, the "blue" days indicate a project finish—many corresponding to my Make Nine list. The "gray" days indicate I didn't have an opportunity for creative activities [looks like 28 of them].   :-( 

Turning the page to 2021, I'm starting with a fresh new calendar! With hindsight into last year's experience, I also pre-planned the color-coded legend. 

  • 9 activity categories—blues, greens, purples.
  • 1 "other" category for a new activity that may arise. 
  • 3 contrasting colors—red, orange and yellow—for different finishes. 

2021 Stitching Success Tracker, with color-coded legend.

Three days into the new year, I've made time for patchwork. I also have handwork projects that can easily travel with me. 

I hope not to miss a day of stitching or creative activities this year.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Take the "Make Nine" Challenge in 2021

Happy New Year! I'm thankful that 2020 is in the rear view mirror and I hope everyone is planning creative, uplifting activities to find joy in 2021.

To start, I'll be participating in the Make Nine Challenge in 2021. It's my third year! Worksheets from my previous years' participation are at Make Nine 2019 and Make Nine 2020

My Make Nine 2021 worksheet.


Discoveries in 2020
It was very rewarding and fulfilling to complete all my Make Nine 2020 projects. Additionally,—due to travel curtailment during the pandemic—I had the opportunity to work on other projects this past year. In doing so, I learned a few things:

  • I rediscovered several UFOs from years past, 
  • I reconnected with the joy and relaxation of hand work, and 
  • I discovered a global community of textile artists and makers through social media and virtual technology. 

So, my plan for Make Nine 2021 is definitely influenced by these experiences. 

The 2021 Make Nine Plan
For Make Nine 2021, I’m including finishing or repurposing UFOs, experimenting with a new-to-me textile or technique, and will round out the list with some Make Nine favorites. I’ll be using general prompts and include a Wild Card again as I appreciated the flexibility this allowed in last year’s list.

Here's my 2021 list:

  • Crumbs: Crumbs are scraps or bits of fabric, yarn or threads left over from other projects. I'll be using some or all of these materials in a project.
  • Upcycle, repurpose or mend: this project will employ the ideas of recycling, sustainability, and working from the stash.
  • Easy and fun: this project could be pillowcases, a small fabric project or a quick, easy knitting or crochet project.
  • Yarn project: I enjoyed making and using the yarn projects I created in 2020. I plan to again make it a stash buster and pull materials from my yarn stash.

Hand stitching sampler from a Zoom workshop.

  • Mindfulness: This project will employ slow stitching or handwork.
  • New to me: In taking a few virtual workshops, I hope to be inspired to try a new technique, substrate or pattern.

I make kitty quilts for local pet organizations.

  • Charity: I have personal organizations I like to support and my guild has a community service project that I contribute to.
  • UFO: I'll be searching the pile and hope to complete at least one of them.
  • Wild card: I’m including a Wild Card again. Because you never know what interesting technique or inspiration may present itself during the year.

Make Nine badge.
Consider taking a Make Nine journey this new year!
Rochelle at Home Row Fiber Co has tips for creating a list and offers a printable Make Nine worksheet. You can snag the Make Nine badge here

The process of making is very rewarding... and if I've learned one thing from 2020, it's to make more time for art and creativity. It has gotten so many of us through the disturbing and frightful times of this last year... individually and collectively. 

Go grab your threads, fabrics, yarns, paper, colored pencils, paints, brushes—or whatever your mark-making utensil(s) of choice is—and find joy and happiness in the new year.




Sunday, December 27, 2020

Kalamkari Jacket: my last Make Nine 2020 finish

The last Make Nine 2020 project squeaked in with four days to spare in this Make Nine year. This is my kalamkari jacket.

Kalamkari Jacket. Hand stamped with vegetable dyes on cotton fabric.
Fabric from Diamond Textiles.

I have been savoring this kalamkari yardage from Diamond Textiles for some time, so included it in my Make Nine list for this year. My appreciation of the kalamkari technique deepened after taking a virtual workshop through Selvedge magazine this year. 

In the photo below, the individual block print designs can be seen. Each block is stamped by hand and is skillfully registered with the each image across the fabric. 
Kalamkari jacket, front view.

Matching the designs
Because the pattern in this fabric is prominent, it took extra time and thought when laying out the pattern pieces for the jacket. The design needed to line up across the front as well as at the side seams. (There were also a few re-sews at the top and hemline to make the pattern match.)
Kalamkari jacket front.

Kalamkari jacket back.

The collar pieces were also cut with the print design in mind. Here is a back view of the collar. 
Kalamkari jacket back collar view.

Hand finishing
I do enjoy the hand work involved with garment making. For my "quilted" jackets, I leave about an inch of the lining extending out at the fronts and back side seams to cover the raw seam allowances once the side seams are sewn. 
When cutting out the pattern pieces, the lining extends out at the side seams.

After the pieces are sewn, the lining is lapped over the raw seam allowances and hand stitched down. This is done on the side seams and the sleeves.
Enclosing raw seam allowances of the sleeves.

At the shoulder seams, I insert a binding strip.
A 2.5" strip of lining fabric is cut for binding the shoulder seams.

The binding strip is hand sewn over the raw seam allowances after the seam is sewn.
Hand stitching the shoulder seam bindings.

A bias strip covers the raw edges at the sleeve hems. Sometimes I use a contrasting fabric for this detail—to make it show. However, I opted not to introduce another (commercial) fabric into this garment.
Bias binding at the sleeve cuffs.

The button loops are of the same kalamkari fabric and the buttons are sewn on by hand. 
Buttons and corresponding button loop closures.

The inside collar, front facings and bottom hem are sewn by hand.
Jacket lining.

The fussier aspects in the making of this jacket were worth the extra time and effort. Don't ya think?
Kalamkari Jacket. Make Nine 2020 finish.

That's it for Make Nine 2020! 
I checked all the boxes... and colored in all the worksheet diagrams.

My Make Nine worksheet for 2020. All items complete.

Here is the 2020 recap:

My Make Nine completed projects for 2020.

Make Nine 2021
I've been contemplating and planning for Make Nine 2021. I will be taking the Challenge again next year. Here is a link with more details, helpful hints on choosing your list and a printable worksheet. Anyone else want to join me?

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