Sunday, April 8, 2018

Quilt Project: Cat Pillowcase

I like checking out quilt projects on Pinterest. I've been checking out animal designed quilt projects and found this easy to make cat design. I then thought I'd make it for a couple who loves cats.

For the quilt I decided to use a set of fabric my Mom got for me from the US. The rulers I bought from trips made it easy to make the template.

It took me a few nights to finish the set of cat pillowcases and managed to give it to my friends last night. Here's Shirni with the cat pillowcase -

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Quilt Project: Wonder Woman Bag

I found this really nice fabric from Spotlight and thought I'd make a project for friends who love Wonder Woman.

I thought about making a bag and realized that for character fabric it's better not to cut it up into small pieces. I decided to put it as a spread so that the design can be better appreciated. I matched it with light colored jeans-like fabric since the Wonder Woman fabric had a vintage tinge to it.

I had fun piecing together this project. I was stuck in the San Francisco Airport for a couple of hours waiting for my next flight. I parked myself in the food area to kill time. I made two sets to give as gifts for my friends.

It just took me a few more nights to finish the project. The most difficult part was putting the strap on and making sure that the zipper was evenly placed.

Here are the measurements of the fabric:

Wonder Woman fabric - 2 pieces - 7" x 12"
Bottom - 2 pieces - 2" x 12"
Sides - 4 pieces - 9" x 1.5"
Base - 15" x 3"

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Second Look at Yuzawaya

Since I'm in Tokyo I thought I'd visit Yuzawaya to check out what's new. The place was buzzing with activity since it was Sunday. The last time I visited there was only a handful of people visiting since it was a weeknight.

I made sure I had eaten lunch before visiting Yuzawaya since we know what happens when you go to a store with an empty stomach! There were a couple of things I was looking for: (1) bag handle to match a project I made last Christmas, I have not been able to finish it because I couldn't find the right handle to use; (2) tiny polka dot fabric; and (3) dark colored fabric pencil, I really liked the one I got from Tokyu Hands in Nagoya.

The store had a lot of bag straps available, but they didn't have any that would match the fabric of the bag I made. I then proceeded to the fabric pencil section, but didn't find the one I was looking for. I then head to the fabric area and then found another section that held other knick-knacks. That's where I found the pencil I wanted. Looked through the fabric and just got three fat-quarters on sale. They had so many beautiful fabric it took all my will not to buy any!

I didn't hang out long in the fabric section because it proved too tempting! They didn't have the tiny polka dot fabric I wanted though. On the way to the cashier I found a bag handle that would match the bag I'm making and then I paid for the stuff I got.

One thing I learned about this trip to Yuzawaya is you need to really go around a couple of times to find the item you are trying to locate. Especially for knick knacks since they have this scattered around the store. I really like how they set-up Yuzawaya because it's so organized, clean and welcoming. Most of the other fabric/craft stores I've been to tend to just stuff in everything they are selling. High shelves, fabric all stocked up is kinda unsightly and common. Yuzawaya's set-up is what makes it distinct. I hope other fabric/craft stores can learn a thing or two about how to make their stores more inviting for crafting. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Quilt Project: Pillowcases for Dr. Koo

My quilt projects are usually made for a purpose. Last Christmas I thought I'd quilt for my family and friends. I underestimated the time I needed to make it so I'm still working on some until now (haha). I found some fabric that I thought would be perfect for my cardiologist. I bought it at Quilting Bee in Mountain View, California.

I went for a very simple pattern so that the lines and hearts on the fabric would be better appreciated. I matched it with black fabric and red fabric with thin squiggly lines. I bought the red fabric from Fabric Outlet in San Francisco. 

Piecing together the pillowcase was quite easy and I finished two sets of three in less than two weeks. The other set is for my surgeon Dr. Shankar. Dr. Koo was really happy about my gift he immediately pulled out a pillow from his examination table and put it inside the pillowcase. He wanted me to sign the pillowcases haha. I have a photo with him looking very happy, but he asked not to post it online. I'm really happy that I made him happy with my simple gift.

Update: My cardio has just sent me an email. He really had the pillowcase framed! And it's now hanging in his office "hall of fame".

Project Name: Hand Quilted Dr. Koo's Pillowcase
Fabric Used: ECG hearts fabric, red fabric with squiggly lines, black fabric
Size: 14" x 14"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Craft Shop in the United States: Michaels

I just recently spent a week in New York City. I didn't have much time to go around but made it a point to visit at least one craft store. I decided to visit Michael's since my Mom had visited the same shop when she was in Virginia a few months ago.

The branch I went to was located in bustling 6th Street. I'm always excited when I visit a new store so I rushed in and promptly looked for the sewing section. There was the usual sewing materials - rulers, pins, scissors, fabric cuter, buttons etc.

Thread. I love that they had a lot of DMC thread options.

There were not too many fabric options though...

But there were lots and lots of yarn.

Quilting magazines and books were available too.

There was a lot of fabric paint too and inexpensive shirts and bags you can customize.

Ribbons and a nice section for weddings.

Finally found some colored fabric pens.

If you get bored just go to Michaels and I'm sure you'll find something to do. Aside from crafts, there was also a section for baking, frames, decorating, some toys, woodwork, and for scrapbook folks there was a lot of stickers/tapes/paper.

Hubby would've loved the stamp selections.

The friendly cashier was happy to hear that it was my first time to visit Michaels and said they do have a wide selection of stuff. I'd probably come back if I wanted to try other crafts. The mini-embroidery projects were quite interesting. I was so tempted to buy.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Hand Quilting Tips and Tricks

I've now been quilting for almost 2 years now. I started to spend more time in Singapore (and away from my family) in 2015 when I moved teams so I had to fill up my evenings with something that would help me de-stress. The last time I quilted was 20 years ago and most of the time my Mom would finish my projects since I found it difficult to put the bias and attach bag handles. This was something I forgot when I started to quilt again so I had to learn by myself. Thanks to the many resources available online and quilt books my friends gave me I learned a lot.

Here's a few things I learned and re-learned in the last 2 years:

1. Plan your project - I normally get inspiration for my projects by reading quilt books and magazines. I've started to make a list of projects I want to do, but I decide on whatever I feel like doing at the moment. Once I decide what to make I start by plotting the project on a math notebook. I do this mainly to know how much fabric I need to cut and what other materials I'd need (i.e. zippers, buttons etc.).

2. Set a cutting day - before I embarked on my Christmas project I set a full weekend just to cut all the fabric I needed. It's also less messy when you cut stuff one time big time.

3. Making your quilt less clumpy - I never had formal training so I had to learn and unlearn stuff as I went along. I noticed that sometimes parts of my quilt would be clumpy. I read that it's better to sandwich your project by putting loose thread on it. I used to use pins which made it clumpy.

4. Use tiny clothespin for holding bias - better than using pins! This also helped make the wadding more evenly distributed across the quilt.

5. Needles do affect the number of stitches per inch - I've been trying hard to make my stitches evenly distributed per inch. The tiny quilt needle does help in making the stitches more even. I use different needles though and realized that they affect the size of your stitches (especially if you use thicker needles). Try to stick it out with the recommended quilt needle.

6. Iron before sandwiching your project - one of the reasons why my earlier projects ended up clumpy was because I didn't iron it before I sandwiched it with wadding. I bought a tiny iron and it's done wonders to my projects and have been handy in making bias too.

7. Use the right wadding - I had no idea there were different types of wadding since they only had one type in Manila. I read up more about wadding when I saw that there were many types in Spotlight. I like using the thicker one although it's easier to quilt with the thinner ones. I've yet to try the bamboo type though.