Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Long-awaited Walking Dead Quilt is DONE!

Warning: this will be a very picture-heavy post. I've tried to restrain myself, but...too much goodness to share.

This all started over Thanksgiving. Shopping the JoAnn Black Friday sale, my mom stumbled upon some Walking Dead fabric right before our number was called at the cutting counter. We had no idea what we were going to do with it, but we knew that we had to have it. Three were cotton prints, one was a flannel (the latter of which I haven't used yet). I'm not exactly sure when the idea for this baby came to me, but it was sometime during the making of my wanderlust quilt (around Christmas) that I thought about doing something similar, using a quote or catchphrase combined with a visual symbol of each person.


I eagerly started crowdsourcing ideas from my parents (both loyal fans) and friends, though I will say that I already had quite a list of ideas going (more ideas than what made it into the quilt, actually!).

I wanted a good representation of all of the main characters, or as many as I could get. Some were easy to think of (Michonne = katana, Rick = sheriff's badge, hat), and some proved much more challenging.

[Rick's badge, Michonne's katana, and poor Carl, copied from a design found here.]

Re-watching the New Years marathon certainly helped come up with more good quotes. Rick and Carl ended up over-represented, Lori got left out (spoiler alert: I was so happy when she died!).

[More Rick, asking the important questions. Daryl's wings and best quote ever. Maggie's quote coupled with what she's (not) afraid of - she doesn't have an easily recognizable symbol, does she?]

There are a few designs that I just think are kind of brilliant and/or particularly well-executed:

[Sign on the tree Daryl and Andrea found, along with a (grim) noose that I really like the look of. Rick's pistol, with the "Python .357 very intricately made (better up-close). Carol's revolver with some pretty flowers.]

Another favorite: the map leading to Terminus, with the same handwriting as is found on the signs. And, drum-roll, please...a signed logo square (more on that in a minute)!

That's right, as soon as I found out about Walker Stalker Con Chicago (Feb. 21st), I knew I had to finish this and take it with me. The deadline was pretty tight. I had 20 squares to finish embroidering, interfacing, squaring up, and then the back to create. 

The back...I am really proud of. I got the idea to blood-splatter it, how fitting is that? My first idea was to use some fabric dye and really get in there and splash it around. But where to do it? I wanted to hang it over the fence, but my yard was covered in three feet of snow - not very practical. Then a friend suggested doing it in the shower for easy clean-up. Great idea in theory, but in practice? I ended up with dye in my nose (for DAYS afterwards), bruises from slipping and sliding in the shower, dye splattered on everything in the bathroom, and when I washed the fabric and all was said and done...I had a blotchy pink sheet. Sigh. So much for that idea. 

Luckily, I found some good fabric paint, and after some trial and error, developed a method to my madness (involving some painting and some really fun splattering).

Now, back to the con: 

I met T-Dog (a.k.a. Irone Singleton), who gave me a HUGE hug and signed my quilt! He was such a sweetheart, spent several minutes with each person in line, had conversations with them, and seemed to really care what they were saying.


I also met Daniel Thomas May (Allen, one of Tyrese's group) - before things got too crazy we were able to have a nice convo with him. I apologized that I didn't have a square for him, but he was still impressed, ha. He actually asked me if he could take a picture with me and the quilt!


I also chatted for a bit with the actors who played Jackie and Jim. They admired my quilt, but no autographs or pics because I was feeling cheap (who knew cons charged so much for that stuff?)

Finally, Jay Bonansinga, author of the Walking Dead novels, first admiring, and then signing, my quilt. Turns out my friend knew him!

I also had to include a shot of my favorite group of cosplayers - these people were seriously impressive:

[Daryl, Beth, Maggie, and Glenn]

All in all, it was a pretty fun day. I caught lots of people admiring my quilt, pointing, staring, and some even asked me where I got which I proudly got to say, "I made this!" I handed out a few business cards, and am even thinking about offering custom designs on Etsy (though I never have much luck with sales!)

And, if you're still with me, some more close-ups:

[Rick encouraging Lori to have hope after Carl was shot, because instead of talking about horrible things when he woke up, "He talked about the deer." Beth's best quote, along with the instrument she used to take her revenge. Shane's necklace with Rick's quote (because Shane didn't have any good, short quotes). The prison, and "pulling together."]


[Can't remember whose quote this was, but that brain is seriously impressive. More Daryl, because you can't have a Walking Dead quilt without a crossbow. The group's motto (when they can follow it).] 

[Herschel's quote and crutches. Glenn's "walker bait." And of course, baby asskicker.]

This turned out to be a pretty decent stash-bust. Almost 3 yards of Walking Dead fabric, a huge king bedsheet (which I'm counting as 4 yards), and some interfacing and batting I had on hand. The only thing I bought for this was the fabric paint (and dye, whoops), and the bias binding. I really got my nerd on with this one, and I love it!

*Edited to add: I'm now taking custom orders! Visit my Etsy shop here:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finally, pretty curtains!

Remember that Black Friday shopping I told you about last time? Well, during that ridiculous spree, I also bought some sort of icky-feeling (but pretty!) polyester bedsheets to convert into curtains!

(Seriously, they're like 100% polyester and I would not recommend using them as bedsheets, unless you like imagining all of the terrible things that could happen to you in the event of a fire in the middle of the night.) They're not draping very nicely in these pictures, and the ones in the middle are just a bit too short (I want to say I'll go back and fix them, but...we all know that's not happening anytime soon, right?), but I still really like them! They're definitely an improvement over my last curtains:

The old ones weren't hideous or anything, they just kind of clashed with my decor and weren't very "me." Oh, and when winter rolled around, I did a really *ace* job of pinning up the ones in the middle, as you can tell.

These feel much lighter and airier, and even though they're a little crooked, ha, I love them! I have a ridiculous amount of windows and just wasn't finding anything I liked (that also liked my budget), until I saw these advertised and had my light bulb moment. Each set of twin sheets was $5.99, and I used two sets for these 4 panels (one set of the damask and one set of cream lining). They're not exactly blackout curtains (that would be nice!) but they go well with my decor. 

I've only done 4 panels and have at least 2 or 3 more to go, unfortunately. They are a pain in the ASS (seriously, I do not recommend ironing bedsheets, have you tried it?), but I think they're worth it in the end? What's your opinion on big projects like this - would you rather pay for the convenience of having it done for you? 

P.S. The Stashbusting Sewalong group was the perfect motivator to finally get going on these. Thanks for the encouragement, ladies! If you're feeling overwhelmed by your stash, I highly recommend checking them out. These curtains used up about 10 yards total (the 2 packages I mentioned above). I still have 4 more packages, but might get to take a couple of them back since I think I over-bought. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The knitting saga that was (and wasn't)

Pro v. anti Black Friday shoppers have always been very vocal, and I have always fallen very firmly in the "pro" camp. I try to resolve to buy less every year, but this year I really failed on that point, oops. I ended up buying a lot of things that I'm very excited about and will certainly use (unlike in previous years - oops again), but one of my favorites was the huge pile of yarn I picked up at Michael's. At less than $2 a skein, I couldn't control myself and ended up with...13 of them? 

I've been wanting a big comfy white sweater for a while so that I could create a look kind of like this:
[Gotta love Pinterest outfit inspiration, am I right?]

Well, the yarn I bought ended up being way too bulky to create anything like those beautiful cables, but I scoured Ravelry trying to find something that would give me a somewhat similar look. (P.S. It is HARD to find something super cute that uses a reasonable amount of bulky yarn, FYI. I did find a million other patterns I hope to try, though!).

I bookmarked a bunch of patterns but was finally won over to the Hellebore seed stitch jacket by Drops Design thanks to Mille Frederiksen's beautiful long-sleeved version:

I spent a few days toiling away at this, trying to lengthen the sleeves in the process, and by the time I'd almost finished one front side, I realized that:
A) I'd already gone through 3 skeins for only 1/4 of this jacket,
B) The sleeves still weren't long enough, and

C) I just didn't love it anymore.

I put it aside for a few days trying to figure out what to do with it so I could avoid wasting all of that work, but I ended up deciding to frog it and put the longed-for white to better use. Top 2 contenders: the Fezziwig and the Josephine:

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that, following such a disaster/disappointment, I wanted something cute and cozy and above all, easy. I turned to the Muse, one of the patterns I bookmarked during my original look-through. It wasn't the long-sleeved white beauty I'd had my hopes set on, but it was crying out to be made up in the bright blue I bought! 

I whipped up a huge portion of this during a Sunday funday of crafting, Netflix, and Mexican food with a new and wonderful friend. I ended up needing to run to the store to buy 2 more skeins (for a total of 6 used) to finish it up, but all told, this only took me a week (and some very sore fingers)!

In general, the pattern's not too bad, but I did have some head-scratching moments. However, considering that this was the creator's first attempt at a knitting pattern, I'd say she did a pretty damn good job! The sweater is super warm and I've been wearing it about once a week, sometimes in place of a coat (though my arms tend to get a little cold, ha). 

 [Pretending I'm not that cold.]

[Giving in to reality.]

Are you as ready as I am for this winter to be over with?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge

Are any of you guys taking part in this year's Vintage Pattern Pledge sponsored by A Stitching Odyssey?

You may recall that I made a pledge last year...and then did absolutely nothing about it. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love vintage patterns, but the thought of cutting into one kind of scares me. Add that to the fact that most of the patterns I have aren't really my size, and you can see why I'd shy away from them (well, shy away from sewing them - I certainly can't stop buying them, I have over 50 to prove it!). 

So, rather than commit to another year of something that I'm 95% sure I'd let fall by the wayside, I figured I'd offer a shameless plug: in the hopes of passing these patterns on to people who will love them even more than I do, I've set up an Etsy store. It's taken some time, but I've finally listed a good number of my patterns up there and would be thrilled to see them go to better homes. I've still kept a few for myself of course, these being my absolute favorites:

As a thank you for reading this little blog and helping me feel like I'm not talking to myself, I'm offering a 20% discount off of purchases of $15 or more with the code 20OFF15 (creative, right?).

I'm on a pretty tight deadline for my Walking Dead quilt right now, but I have some posts queued up and hope to get back to sewing clothing very soon! (It's probably for the best that I don't have time to sew anything else right now, since all of the things I want to make are way too summery for early February!)