Quilt Project

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birthday Gift for Sister-in-law

My beautiful sister-in-law, Eliza, recently had a birthday. Not too long after we arrived in Pittsburgh she mentioned she would love to have an assortment of cloth napkins to use for dinners. She said she would love to have an assortment of fabrics that didn't necessarily match but were color coordinated.

A variety of napkins
Peter and I selected 15 different materials from Marmalade Fabrics, which is an online fabric retailer. Tammy, the owner, has incredible taste in fabric and she has quickly become one of my favorite resources. She's really good at selecting highly sought after fabrics as they come out each season.  The napkins measure out 15.5" square. They were serged, to help avoid future fraying, and then hemmed.

Napkin rings
In addition to the napkins I also altered some napkin rings we purchased. I used some of the scraps and some buttons I found to liven up the simple silver rings. The embellishment is held together by a snap so it can easily be removed if she wants to only use the simple ring.

"Fancier" set
I also made a "fancier" set for when she hosts dinner parties. I have always liked the idea of napkin rings, but hated the idea of having multiple sets for holidays and fancy dinners taking up space in a cupboard. This ways the she only has the one set of napkin rings with interchangeable embellishments, which will take up a little less room.

New Studio Space and Craft Table

Craft Table
I have a studio space after many years on living in tiny spaces and like a semi-nomad. (I mean, seriously, when I moved back from Canada the majority of my belongings fit in my tiny hatchback, Yoshi.) Texas homes aren't really known for basements, so you can only imagine my excitement when I moved into a house with a basement spacious enough to allow for a designated space for crafting. Aside from just having the space, the basement is also equipped with an industrial sink and shower for when I need to blow out screens or work with dyes. I've been feeling like a kid in a candy store every time I'm down there- even if it only going to get the laundry.

The space I selected for crafting had some pretty gnarly wood paneling, which we recently finished priming. Our plan is to paint it a clean, light color with grey trim. It will brighten up the space and not drastically effect colors in the fabric I am either making or using for projects.

Studio space before priming and table construction

Awesome built in with cool red light fixtures
The first thing I needed to do was craft a workspace large enough for the various media/projects, such as pattern cutting, screen printing, quilting, etc. We went to Construction Junction and picked up two used lab cabinets for cheap. I wanted to get something to act as the base of the table but also could be used potentially for storage. The day they went to Construction Junction they had a ton of cabinets that had been donated from some lab.

Table in progress...

We also picked up two large 4X8 sheets of plywood to act as the tabletop. Peter then screwed the boards together to help avoid each individual sheet from warping.
Peter in action
After the table was screwed down it needed to be covered. I used a sandwich of plastic, quilt batting, and muslin, which we stapled to the underside of the table top.

Quilt batting layer
In order to really support cutting out fabric and screen printing I think a good craft table needs a little bit of spring or cushion. To do this I bought queen size quilt batting, which I doubled over.

The layering technique makes it easier to pin down fabric when cutting out patterns, when printing t-shirts, or dying fabric. This table easily holds T-pins and fabric pins. When stapling just make sure you do it one layer at a time and each layer is pulled tightly to the edge. Over time the muslin may wear out or get dirty. As well, the batting may lose its fluff. Fortunately it can easily be pulled off and replaced with a fresh batch of new materials.

It's been a little while...

Sam's feet
So, it's been a little while...
Sam was born Thursday, April 21, 2011. Since then we have also relocated to Pittsburgh. We did this when Sam was a mere 4 weeks old. (I have been called crazy a few times over this.)

The last 19 weeks have been about Sam and getting settled into our new world. We still have a lot to settle, but I finally feel like enough progress has been made that I can get back to crafting regularly and blogging about the things I make and experience.

The above photo was recently taken by local photographer and incredible person, Renee Greenlee. Aside from being amazing, she is so talented. The train name was a gift from a long family friend, and it is sitting on a beautiful hand-knitted blanket from my friend, Denee. (Denee also recently completed a 12 foot long replica of the 4th season Dr. Who scarf.)