Needle cases

Tuesday, 14 April 2009 05:26 pm
lobsterdesigns: (Rachel's Star)
[personal profile] lobsterdesigns
I am pausing to make some needle cases. I owe a couple of people birthday presents, I fancy a small job, and it gives me a chance to start playing with ideas on a smaller scale before I turn them into wall hangings. [ profile] mirrorshard, this is about your one, so don't click on the link if you don't want the surprise spoilt. Later edit: I've now done the piecing, but I'm going to put the picture next to the one where it was pinned up on the board for comparison.

DSCF2118 DSCF2119

The finished piece will be 7.5" x 5", for a roughly 3.5" x 5" needle book. I'm using [ profile] mirrorshard's "network" design idea, which you can see here, since I've long wanted to try that in fabric. It turned out to be harder than I anticipated. I originally tried alternating the shades, as you can see here (imagine that brown piece with the gold scrolls on the centre right isn't there yet). I wasn't satisfied, especially with the gold on scarlet chrysanthemum print, then tried switching two pieces round, as in here, and realised that the shades wanted to flow rather than alternate. Sam had tried a coloured version himself here, and to my eye it doesn't work as well as the others, plus it's certainly a very different effect. That's not to say that alternating colours in a sort of chequerboard pattern won't work once the right balance is found, of course, plus the context can make an enormous difference.

Going back to my layout, I'm still not 100% convinced, especially by the pink in the top left. Do bear in mind that this is cut pieces with the 1/4" seam allowance included, they'll all be smaller and look much neater once they're sewn. How do you think my fabric choices work? I've mostly been a good girl and stuck to the rule that any pieces on an outside edge must run parallel with the grain, although for something like this I doubt it matters.

A lot of the fabrics I dug out have a suspiciously un-pre-washed appearance. Unfortunately, I've also learnt that hard way that gold metallic is more fragile than I thought, so it may not be a bad thing that so many of my fabrics with metallics haven't been washed, especially since they're headed for wall hangings rather than utility quilts. The metallic on scarlet chyrsanthemum print has been damaged by washing, there are dark crease lines all over the top that don't seem to be removable. I'm frankly rather peeved about this.

This is the first time I've pinned a design to a board, and it's great. I'm currently leaving about a 1/4" gap between pieces, which means they don't fit perfectly but does leave more space for seam allowances. A small wheel of cheap ball-headed pins came with my sewing machine, and they're finally being useful. Strong enough to pin stuff securely, easy to pull out, and the different coloured heads are good for different sections. I think I'll stock up on some glass-headed pins, so I just need to work out how many I'd need for a full quilt. Several hundred, I'd imagine.

Notes on piecing

Arggh, I'd forgotten how fiddly lots of little curved seams are. Nevertheless, despite barely having picked up a needle in months, it went very well. My modifications to the tic mark system work well, though I'm not madly keen on using large dots, they're hard to draw well. I also need to make sure I pick my pencil colours very carefully, so that I've got a big enough range with obvious differences between them, preferably in bright colours. I realised after a couple of seams that I needed to mark the pressing direction on the master diagram, and hastily did so. This is even more important because there are so many X seams, which can be pressed clockwise or widdershins as a set. It's come out a lot better than I thought it was going to when it was half-way done!
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