Saturday 15 April 2017

FAL 2017: Meet the Host #4

I hope you are enjoying meeting the FAL hosts each month.  I know I am!  This month we hear from Ella.

Hi, I'm Ella, here at throwawenchintheworks. *waves hello* Welcome to a Meet the Maker Finish-A-Long installment, featuring me!

If you're new to the my blog, let me tell you a bit about me. I'm a teacher in Atlanta. (Still trying to wrap my head around the recent bridge collapse on I-85.) I've moved around a lot in my life, but I think Atlanta is home now. (I do miss the fall in Upstate NY, but I don't miss the winters.) I love Atlanta. It's extremely diverse. I love the blend of big city and neighborhoods. I love The Center for Puppetry Arts (and its huge Henson collection).

I love the Botanical Gardens.

I LOVE Dragoncon!

I live here with my husband (commonly referred to by me as The Pirate...because Pirates are awesome), a smooshy senior cocker spaniel (who has ruined me for all other dogs and who I need to clone into an army of lovey dogs), and a slightly evil tuxedo kitty (think Brain from "Pinky and the Brain").

Obligatory animal pictures:
IMG_0282      IMG_0298

(Sorry, the tongue is a bit disturbing, but I still find her forcible grooming, usually limited to his floofy hair, HILARIOUS.)

I'm new to hosting the Finish-a-Long, but I've been a long time participant (and long time overachieving list maker). I started blogging back in 2011. A bit of trivia about my blog name. I'm also a bellydancer (although my knee issue has me a bit sidelined right now), hence the wench part. I tend to throw myself into things whole-heartedly, but I'm also a, um, the wench in the works. I didn't think about how often folks would read it as "wrench" and have trouble finding my blog. Ah well.

Ironically, I used to teach photography and now most of my pictures tend to be taken in my poorly lit living room at odd hours of the night. I *can* take better pictures; I *should* take better pictures; I'm just mostly working on things in the night-time. I apologize for that.

I started blogging the summer I decided to officially learn how to quilt. I've been sewing and knitting since I was little. (My mom taught me how to sew, by hand and by machine. My aunt taught me to knit when I was in third grade.) I made a quilt for my dorm room in college, but I don't count it as a quilt that was completely mine because my mom hand tied it. It didn't survive many washings.

I don't actually have most of my first quilts any more from back in 2011.
When I started sewing again back in 2011, after many years of hiatus, I was initially obsessed with disappearing nine patches. I gave most of them away. The one below went to a friend going through chemo.
batik quilt

In my first foray into non disappearing 9 patch quilts, I made a HORRIBLE quilt. I used crappy fabric that did NOT stand up to being washed, which was probably also a product of my seams being totally inconsistent. Ahem, I was in a horrible Hawaiian shirt theme for the quilts.

Rockin Robin completed top!

It was part of a Row Robin that was launched online. I loved the community that I found there. Folks were supportive and kind. That led to swaps and lots of groups on Flickr. (Remember when Flickr was awesome? *Sigh.*) I did a ton of block swaps, even ran the 4x6 for a while. I admit, I have not been blogging as much as I did in the past. Now, I tend to spend time over on Instagram, but the online community is still HUGELY important to me.

I felt like, as I had with the bellydance community, I found a "tribe" to which I belonged.  I had space to learn, people were so generous with their knowledge, and I could let my geek flag fly.  I got to meet folks in real life from my first do.good.stitches group visiting Atlanta, Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Sewtopia here in Atlanta, Sisters in Oregon, and many years of The Stash Bash.  I'm kind of a spazz and feel incredibly awkward in big social groups.  Going to new places feels like a big deal.  (If you ever meet me, this won't necessarily feel true.  I TALK A LOT.  I TALK MORE when I'm nervous.)  I feel lucky to have met so many awesome, amazing women who remain important to me.  

Charity is still a fundamental part of my sewing.  I run the Serenity Circle as part of do.good.stitches.  My circle makes quilts for hospice.  I do this to honor my grandmother.  She was a maker her whole life, making dresses for mission work, mittens in the winter, newborn items for hospitals.  When she died, I saw how much the crochet blanket a stranger made impacted my mother.  I'd love to do that for someone I will never meet with my quilts, to give some comfort in a really difficult time.  I try to make as many as I can each year.  

I've started doing a kindness project this year.  I was feeling overwhelmed by how mean the world was seeming.  I was constantly stressed.  Sewing helped me deal with that.  So far, I made over 40 infinity scarves to give to women I know to let them know they are amazing and loved and seen.  My next project is pincushions.  This lets me do at least something small to impact others, to spread a bit of love.

I've grown a lot as a quilter in the last 7 years.  I still have a long way to go.  (I still mostly straight-line.  FMQ is still my nemesis.)  I'm still addicted to QALs.  I seem to have to have AT LEAST a dozen things spinning at a time.  I can't seem to walk away from a challenge.  I have only put 2 quilts in shows (the poppy below and the hexy garden).  I'm trying to get braver about that.  Quilting is still my least favorite part.  I want to learn how to use a long arm this year.  Goals!

Here are some of my favorite finishes:

batik challengeBubbles

quilt show!Zelda quilt

Death Star

I have another mahoosive finish-a-long list for Quarter 2 (I'm a card carrying member of Archie the Wonder Dog's #ridiculouslylongFAList)!  

Here are a couple of WIPs that I will hopefully complete this quarter:

sugar skull topViolet Craft lion

I'm looking forward to cheerleading this year. Y'all are amazing!  Thank you to the phenomenal women of the Finish-A-Long for letting me join in the fun.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Quilt Tag Label Tutorial

On the Wonky Stars Baby quilt that I finished recently I decided to add a tag label in the binding edge instead of my usual flat label stitched to the quilt backing.  I thought I might share how I did it in a wee quick tutorial just in case you are interested (and so that I have a reference for the measurements in future).

All seams are scant 0.25".

You will need to cut:
1 piece 4.75" x 1.5" of fabric for the written section of your tag label.
2 pieces 4.75" x 0.75" of contrasting fabric for top and bottom borders of the label.

Fold the fabric for your written label centre in half so that you know where the front and back will separate.  You can just about see the crease in my photo above.  Lay the fabric on a lined page and write the label with a suitable fabric pen.  (The lined page is simply providing you with a guide for writing, so you may choose not to use it.)  Remember to leave seam allowances clear of any writing.  Set your pen according to the manufacturer's instructions.  (My pen is set by pressing with a hot iron.) Also take care that you know which half of your label will be the front and which the back of your finished label and write your message and details accordingly.  As you can see below, I made this rookie error and ended up with my open side of the label in the wrong place the first time I tried.


Stitch the contrasting fabric strips to your label centre, one to the top and one to the bottom.  Press the seams open to help distribute the fabric bulk more evenly in the next stages).

Now fold your label in half, right sides together, and stitch across the top and bottom (where I have pinned).

Carefully snip away the corners on the folded side of your label (not the open side).  This reduces the fabric bulk when turning. Turn the label though, gently pressing out the corners (I use a crochet hook) and flatten the seams into position. Press.

Now you have a label with a folded edge and an open edge (see my Oops! picture a little way above).

After you have stitched the binding to the front of your quilt, line the open edge of your label along the back edge of your quilt where you want to position the tag label.  Stitch the label in place along the same seam line as binding (or just inside it).

Then, as you are stitching your binding down to finish on the back of your quilt, you can catch the label in and voila! one beautifully tag labelled quilt.

It worked for me and I hope to use it on some future quilts too, though maybe not all.  If you prefer a flat label stitched to the quilt backing, I have a tutorial for one here.

Monday 3 April 2017

FAL 2017 - My Quarter 2 List

Another quarter, another list.  Or, maybe the same list with a few variations ;-)
Here goes!

Pot Luck Baby Quilt
This one should be my most likely finish in Quarter 2.  It's only a little quilt (about 45" square) and some piecing is already done.  I need to focus on this one as there's a July arrival expected for another of my cousins.

'Happy Days' BOM - Sarah Fielke 2016
Rolling over from Quarter 1 and probably not a mission that this quilt can be finished this quarter.  But, I'll keep it on here and hope that maybe it will at least progress, if not complete.  I think it will depend on how I decide to quilt it after the borders go on, but right now it does seem to be wanting to be hand quilted so that might mean it takes a few more quarters to finish.  We'll see.

Moda Modern Building Blocks Quilt
Currently out for quilting but a finish could well be on the cards since all I will have to do is trim, bind and label when it comes back. Really looking forward to seeing it post -Trudification.

Quilt Now BOM
Still much hand quilting to do here, but I would love a finish for this one SOOOOO much.  Wonder how I can achieve that?

Cosy Christmas Quilt
I would dearly love not to carry this over into a third quarter, so let's see if I can find time to get it cracked!

Miss Winkle Scarf
I had added one more loop to this scarf in quarter 1 but am seriously considering frogging it and switching to a Hitchhiker Shawl (by the same knit designer).  The loops aren't hard but they do interrupt the flow when I really want to just keep knitting.  Hmmm, what to do?

Well, it's only a list of 6 projects with healthy dollops of deja-vu but I want to see finishes on all of them sooner rather than later, so the plan will be to keep plugging away at them when time allows and see how I get on.  

Sunday 2 April 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long: Quarter 2 Proposed Finishes Linky Now Open!

It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q2 of the FAL. I truly hope you are facing a new quarter with a brand new list - because you finished so many UFOs in Q1!

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q2 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):  

As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ2yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q2 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!! Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q2 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, April 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

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