Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's FINISHED - Whew!

Quilter's Tip:  Do not wear black corduroy pants when clipping the seam allowances of a flannel rag quilt.

The rag quilt is done, finally. It took a lot longer to clip than I thought it would, but that's OK. My client is very happy with the quilt, always a big relief at the end of a piece of custom work. So here it is:

I'm really happy with the way it turned out. This is the first rag quilt I've made, so it's something I've added to my skills.

My daughter is here visiting for a while. During her time here, we'll be making a memory rag quilt for her - sadly, her fiance died not long ago and she asked if I would help her make a quilt from his jeans. Some may think that's a little morbid, but I don't. I think it'll be something she'll cherish forever. Before we do that, though, I need to teach her quilting basics because she has no experience. So we'll be making a simple wall-hanging for her home using her favourite colour - purple!!

Check in tomorrow for a few Etsy shops I'll be featuring, and some pics of fabrics projects-in-progress.

Cheery quilting!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Rag Quilt is ON THE DESIGN WALL !!!!

Today I finished putting together the last of the blocks for the rag quilt, and quilted the giraffe and flower panel. Now all the pieces are on the design wall. (Note: the design wall is the flannel back side of a cheap vinyl tablecloth hung on the wall. Hey, whatever works, eh?) A few words before you get to the pictures. First, this layout is of the pieces only. There is no ragging yet, so it'll definitely look different when it's finished. Second, ignore the little bits of crookedness - that's my pinning!

So here's the whole quilt laid out ready to join together and rag:

And here's a close-up of the giraffe and flower panel, which is free-motion outline quilted:

A word of advice if you ever make a flannel rag quilt - clean your machine often. It's amazing how much flannel lint builds up around and on the foot, the needle, the bobbin and the bobbin case.

Tomorrow I'll be joining all these pieces. At that point the quilt will look like a quilt with the seams "inside out". Those inside out seams (they show on the front) and the edges of the quilt will then get clipped every 1/4 inch, the whole thing goes in the laundry a few times and voila! Rag quilt.

I hope the Grandma-to-be who commissioned this quilt likes it!

More pics tomorrow.

Cheery quilting!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Rag Quilt and Pamela's Quilts

Today I did the last of the cutting for the rag quilt. Tomorrow comes the final sewing of the layers for the blocks then it's design wall time! Can't wait and I'll have pics tomorrow night. This is going to be one cuddly, warm and cute quilt!

I want to show you another Etsy shop, this one a quilt shop named Pamelaquilts. The shop owner has been a quilter for more than 20 years and is a teacher and published pattern designer - very accomplished. Beautiful quilts and other quilted things like table runners, luggage tags, totes, journal covers and more. Good prices too. I aspire to quilt like this lady! Have a look here:


I'd especially like to show you a picture of this quilt, I think my favorite in the shop because of the happy colors:

You can also follow Pamela on her blog at http://pamelaquilts.blogspot.com/

See you tomorrow with new photos of the rag quilt on the design wall.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Etsy Shop Farragio and Other Etsy Things

Today I'm introducing you to another Etsy seller's shop and yakking about some Etsy stuff.

A self-described "indiepreneur" from House Springs, Missouri, USA (near St. Louis), Angela has a lovely Etsy shop called Farragio. You can find it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/farragio . She enjoys a variety of crafts, including sewing and quilting. Here's one of the items in her shop, beautifully made and beautifully photographed - a quilted Dora the Explorer kid's backpack.

Isn't it sweet? She also has up-cycled tote bags (from men's shirts - what a great idea!), fabric totes and bags, Christmas card tree ornaments and more. Pop into her shop and have a look. It's worth your time!


On to other things Etsy now. I've discovered how to make Treasuries. Treasuries are collections made by Etsy members of items gathered in a group and published. The items can have a common theme ... or not. Sellers can include their own items ... or not. The Treasury, once published, becomes available on Etsy via the Treasury search on the home page. Treasuries let sellers help promote each other, let buyers see what sellers like, and is another way buyers can search for items they're interested in. Ready to see the Treasuries I've made in the last week? Hope you like them! Follow these links...

First, of course, a Treasury of stunning quilts  http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4cf04d870d456d91be335644/give-them-a-quilt-to-cuddle-with?index=3

Next, a Treasury of a variety of sapphire blue items (sapphire is my birthstone)

Then, a Treasury of a bunch of Black Labrador dog items (our dog Hugo is a Black Lab X)

And here's a Treasury of purple turtle items, dedicated to my daughter the purple turtle lover

Finally, a Treasury of pig things for my husband the pig collector

Treasuries are fun to make and fun to share!

Etsy introduced a new feature for shop owners (sellers) this week - the Activity Feed. Now sellers can see a bunch of activities that have happened with their shops and items with one click. Items sold, items or shop favorited by other users, who's in their circle (sort of a 'friends' thing), treasuries sellers have been included in, and so on. This is a great feature and I love it. No more digging around the site to find these things, if you could find them at all.

Have you been to the Forums on Etsy? They tend to be more .... ummm .... civilized than the forums on ebay (if you've ever been there, you know what I mean!). Pop over for a cruise through. Not only is it loaded with information on how to use the site, it's also a great place to meet other folks and, if you're an Etsy seller, do some self-promoting (just make sure you self-promote in the right place). Check it out here:


Finally, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that entering the coupon code PEACOCKPERCENTAGE at checkout will give you 15% off all items in my shop through December 5, 2010. I'm here on Etsy:


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just When You're About To Give Up ...

... I've figured out how to put photos in the Photo Gallery! There's just a few for now of completed projects, and I'll put some up of works-in-progress over the next day or two. Wheeee!!!

The Rag Quilt and Lack of Photos

I did somemore work on the rag quikt today, sewing the layers of flannelette squares together for the blocks. Almost done that part - tomorrow for sure! Then the funnest part starts. I get to lay out all the blocks in the shape of the quilt, arranging and re-arranging them until the final design emerges. All these pretty dots and stripes and birdies and flowers ... can't wait to see how they mix together! The giraffe and flower panel needs to be quilted and it's always fun deciding on a quilting design too. After that, it's just a matter of stitching all the blocks together then clipping all the exposed edges.

Then the unveiling happens. The quilt will go in the laundry a few times to rag the exposed clipped edges - and thereby revealing the charm of a rag quilt. I can't wait!


My apologies to everyone for keeping you waiting for photos. I'm still trying to figure out how to get them on here. I'm about to give up and get some help. This is supposed to be easy haha.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Naps R Us

I'm a big believer in naps. I love them. A short nap is refreshing. A little luxury for no reason other than I can.

This afternoon I thought a short nap would do me good. I haven't been sleeping well at night lately so I was tired. I put the dogs out for a piddle and, once they were back in the house, all of us sprawled all over the bed and settled in. There's something about napping with four dogs that makes me think of living heating pads, so warm and cozy and cuddly.

Now, one of those dogs is a five-month-old puppy named Andie. She's just recently housetrained but I figured if she started wiggling around and whining I'd wake up so I could get her outside on time.

A few minutes later I was in that drowsy half-asleep state when Andie leaped off the bed. My first thought was, "Oh noooooo wherever she goes she won't wake me up and there'll be a puddle." My second thought was, "I don't care, I'll clean it up, this feels too good."

I heard her wander around the bedroom for a minute then go into her night-time pen and start playing with a toy. Beyond that, I have no idea so I must have drifted off to sleep. It was somewhere around 2 pm.

The next thing I knew one of the other dogs, JinJin, was licking my face and wiggling around, her signal for needing to go out. I suddenly remembered Andie was loose and got out of bed pretty darn quick. Only to discover Andie was sound asleep in her night-time pen with her toy tucked between her paws.

I looked at the clock.

It was 6 pm.

Now THAT'S a nap.

Good doggies!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Custom Work - To Do or Not To Do

I quilt because I love it. It's an expensive hobby, and that's why I sell some of my pieces. Recently a few people have asked about custom work ...

I'm working on my first custom-made quilt now. It's a sweet flannelette rag quilt for an expected grandbaby (not mine!). The fabric is cute little pink and blue birds, stripes and dots and there's an inset quilted giraffe and flower panel - yup photos would be great ... they're coming.

This quilt is fun to make but at the same time, the pressure's on to get it done for my client when she wants it. Yes, it will get done on time but it does cut into the time I could spend on creating other pieces. Yes, I will be paid for my work which helps ease the impatience to get to other projects somewhat and it will help pay for those projects. This begs the question, is it worth it to me to take on custom orders?

I think the answer, for me, is yes. Not only do I get to quilt, I can make something special that someone will cherish a long time and maybe it'll even become an heirloom. I may learn a new technique or method as I make a custom quilt (like I am with the rag quilt - I've never made one before). Whether the custom piece is big or small, simple or complicated, I can help support my addiction ... umm ... quilting with it.

There is a risk to custom orders. My client might not be thrilled with the finished quilt - perhaps it isn't what they envisioned or the fabrics don't work together as the client hoped - and decide they don't want it after all.

But that's OK. The world becomes just a slightly better place whenever any handmade quilt is finished.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chaos in My Sewing Room

OK, I admit it, I'm a fabric-oholic. I'm not kidding. If you could see my sewing room you'd believe me. And when I can figure out how to add pictures I'll show you.  But I digress. I read somewhere once that, as a quilter, if you see a fabric you like you should buy a yard. If you love it, buy two yards. If you can't live without it, buy the whole bolt. Operating with that philosophy I have now reached the SABLE point. SABLE = Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. I suspect I have that in common with many quilters.

When I open the door to my sewing room all I see is stacks of fabric everywhere. They're even on top of the sewing machine (thankfully I have two machines)!!! A riot of color and pattern that makes my head spin with possibilities. And groan with frustration about where to put it all. I could put hooks in the ceiling and hang bags of fabrics and still have more that needed to be stored. My shelves are full. My bins are full. My cutting table is stacked high. Stacks have migrated to the kitchen table and a card table in the living room. I think I have that in common with many quilters, too.

Lately I've developed the habit of peeking into my sewing room before I go to bed at night. I don't do it to make sure everything is okay in there or to whack myself over the head about the mess. I do it because it's a cheery end to the day to see what could be in the future and mull it over while I fall asleep. Would that brocade-y looking dark turquoise swirl fabric look best used with a lighter turquoise or a bright white? What to mix with my collections of red fabrics to bring the reds to life? Should I make a scrappy postage stamp quilt out of the fabric scraps in my scrap bin? How many more animal skin prints should I get before I start that African-themed crazy quilt? Does that green fern print really look good with the pink roses?

Am I going to tidy up my sewing room? Well, maybe I'll just work the stacks down as I arrange and re-arrange fabric groups. So many possibilities, so little time!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Still Day One ....

My sewing room is still a mess (I did think about sorting some of it out today ... then I thought about something else). Tomorrow. I swear. I really do. Honest.

In the meantime, I've changed the look of my blog already. I like this a lot better. It reminds me of one of the fabrics in a mystery quilt I'm working.

What's a mystery quilt you ask? A mystery quilt is a quilt pattern that you only get one piece of directions at a time. First you're told how many fabrics and how much of each you need. Then you're told how to cut it all. Then you start getting the piecing directions one step at a time. Somewhere down the road, you have a finished quilt top but you won't know what it's going to look like until it's all done. They're a lot of fun. On the down side, I already know what this quilt will look like since I'm in charge of it for our Guild! But I'm having just as much fun getting to see everyone else's fabrics and answer questions.

Tomorrow's "learning" for blogging will be how to include photos in the posts.

For now, I'd like to show you a neat little website run by Moda Fabrics. Loads of free patterns for lots of quilty stuff - projects big and small, and all of them easy! Have a look, I'm sure Moda won't mind:


Day One on My Blog - Why I'm here and my Etsy shop

Hi and welcome to my blog. Blogging is new to me so pardon me while I figure all this design stuff out to pretty it up.

I'm here because quilting is my passion and I want to share it with others. And I want to promote my Etsy shop - PlumpPeacock - to you. As well as quilted things, there are knitted things in the shop. I like knitting, but I like quilting more.

I won't bore anybody with nothing but pictures of new listings in my shop. Instead, I hope to not bore you with all kinds of things mostly about quilting. I'll show you my projects in progress, things I'd like to do in the future, techniques I've learned and techniques I want to learn, and share my adventures in quilting. I'm a member of two quilting guilds: The Sunshine Quilters Guild of Grand Forks, BC (and this year I'm the secretary of the guild) and a guild in Republic, WA.

Sometimes quilting goes very slowly for me even though I try to do some every day. That's because our home is blessed with four dogs and four cats ... yeah, you're right, I must be nuts.

So two things today. First, try to pop in to my Etsy shop for a look at some of my work. And second, come back again soon to see what's on my cutting table and sewing table now.