Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Organized for hand work - your favorite needle?




How do you organize yourself for "on the go" handwork?  I feel like I've finally got a minimalist system that works for me.  Julie Fukuda has a neat post about this  with an idea for a chatelaine.  I always admired her little sewing tin (to my mind, very wabi sabi) and have since tried using similar containers, but for actual "on the go" I tend to always come back to this little indigo pouch I purchased in Japan.

This pouch works for me because it sits on my lap or next to me in a chair without falling off, it can squish into my purse easily enough, and it's just a pleasure to use.


Isn't the little cat adorable??  That little touch of sashiko, and the silk striped tail - so cute.

I love the cheery red interior, and I just keep a few pins and needles tucked there.  The key for me is just a few, so that I can account for them.  It's very anxiety provoking to lose a pin or needle during a church meeting or in a waiting room!


Plus... thread, small scissors, thimble, and a few batches of patches (well now that has a nice ring to it).



What needle do you prefer for hand piecing??  I like these Richard Hemming & Son Large Eye Sharps size 9 and have used them for years for hand quilting too.  However..... I have ordered some other needles to try, and find I really like this John James GoldnGlide Quilting Size 9 as well.  It really does glide through for hand quilting and piecing.  It feels a little too small in my hand though.



I also ordered these John James Sharps and will have to try them, but they are longer than the Richard Hemming Sharps.  There is so much variety across brands.


I'd love to know your opinions.  I have a couple of glass vials of Roxanne quilting needles as well, which seem teeny tiny.  What do you use, for hand piecing and for hand quilting??


Not having a portable sashiko project at the moment, I've decided to make a bunch of these nine-patch diamond units, pieced with yellow diamonds at each narrow end.  Five diamonds can be combined, and so on.  The yellow pieces will form stars, surrounded by indigo, and further ringed by scraps of red/pink, green, light blue, etc.  We'll see how this evolves.  It's FUN to have some hand piecing to carry around.


And, for hand quilting at home, I have finally basted my Sashiko Sampler:



Crazy how hard it is to accurately show the indigo blue!  Perhaps when I upgrade my iphone I will do better. 

Turn my head for one minute and Dandelion steps in... 


I will miss him (sort of;) when Noelle takes him back to Boston next month. 



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Steps to the Altar, step by step

I'm hitting my stride with these fun Steps to the Altar blocks.



More on this block here

Here's how I am assembling the blocks.  I know, not the most efficient, but works for me!


Cutting:

"Steps" fabric:  2" squares - cut 9
"Altar" fabric: 3 1/2" squares - cut 2

Background fabric:
2" squares - cut 9
6 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangles - cut 2
3 1/2" square - cut 1
3 1/2" x 2" rectangles - cut 3



To assemble a block: 
1.  Layer one "Altar" square with one 3 1/2" background square.  Sew and flip:



2.  Sew the 2" background squares to the 2" "Steps" squares:



3.  From the units made in step 2, make three four-patches: 



4.  Make three of these units:




5.  Using one of the unit made in step 4, layer with a 6 1/2" x 3 1/2" background piece, sew and flip: 






6.  Make another unit like in step 5, but be careful that the "steps" square is oriented in the opposite corner. 




7.  Using the last unit made in step 4, plus the second "Altar" fabric square, sew and flip to make this unit:  


6.  Assemble your pieces!












Old Molly enjoying a cozy nap as I slowly add blocks to the wall...