Thursday, March 22, 2012

typography pillow DONE!

Here it is! The fabulous typography pillow is ready!


I was lazy, I was reluctant, I did nothing, I wandered back and forth among lots of half-baked ideas...
And then I rolled up my sleeves and whipped it up in a few days! YAY!

Check out the rest of the completed creations (and creations in progress) here

If you don't know the saying, you are probably not a computer programmer. 
Read my explanation at the bottom of this post.





What I love about this pillow:
  • The saying is cute.
  • I love how professional and precise the text looks.
  • I like the colorful band around the pillow.
  • I like that the pillow has a somewhat unique shape, rather than with the "pointy corners".
  • I love the running stitch around the letters





What I've learned and would have liked to improve:
  • The saying looks a bit harsh, next time I'll find something cuter.
  • I would like to stencil the letters on using freezer paper and fabric paint rather than write them using a fabric marker
  • I would like it to be more colorful - the colorful band doesn't really show when looking at the pillow from the front.
  • I'd like to try other, happier, colors of fabric paint / marker.
  • I'd like to have a more improvised / funky / free design
  • The inside filling is rather lumpy... Maybe I'll buy a new one.




"premature optimization is the root of all evil"
Here's my explanation about what this saying means:

As a programmer, you face technical / design / engineering problems that you need to solve. 
Many times, the solution is simple, but the simple solution is sometimes costly in terms of performance, memory consumption, etc.
So sometimes the programmer says "hey, I have a complex solution for the problem, that is less costly" (for example: runs twice as fast, or uses less memory).
This is called optimization: taking a solution that works and tweaking it to make it better.
Why is the case I described above called premature optimization? Because the penalty of the complex solution (hard to implement, maintain, and debug) many times outweigh the benefits. Sometimes you have code that takes an hour to run, and you improved a tiny part of it, that used to run one second, and now runs half a second. You wasted time achieving something negligible, while complicating the code and made everyone hate you.

In short, always go for the simple solution. In the end, test the system's performance, find the bottlenecks, and carefully optimize those areas only. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

typography pillow progress

I got a lot of work done on my typography pillow.

Sorry for the blurry iphone photos :-( I'll take proper photos when the pillow is done!

Isn't it lovely? I sewed a long strip of different colors of quilting cotton, and then attached it around the edges of the center orange piece, turning the corners so that it will be a "chubby" pillow with "height", and not a pillow with pointy corners, if you know what I mean!

The pink piece on the left will be the back of the pillow. It has a zipper installed in it.


Here's a closeup of one of the corners:


I decided to embroider around each letter using a running stitch, for all of the text. I got everything done except for the first word.


What's left for me to do:

  • Running stitch around the first word
  • Finish attaching the zipper to the back side (pink)
  • Stitch the back side (pink) to the colorful side
  • Possibly create an inner pillow with the same dimensions as the outer pillow. This will look nicer than if I stuff the "pointy shaped" inner pillow into this pillow case. 
I love the result so far :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

photos: Typography Challenge - closing soon!

Here are the finished creations and some creations in progress for the typography challenge.
I'll update this page on an ongoing basis as more photos arrive!

DONE!

NEW 29/3 - Paula of Paula Castro Crafts

[ source ]

NEW 29/3 - Lacey's submission

[ source ]

NEW 27/3 - Jaime of that's my letter

[ source ]


NEW 27/3 - Tanya of Craft Couture by T.C.

[ source ]



NEW 25/3 - Laura of Quokka Quilts

[ source ]


NEW 22/3 - Keren of sew la vie!

[ source ]


NEW 21/3 - Pam of Threading My Way

[ source ]


Kei of Unfortunately Oh!

[ source ]


[ source ]

Rikka of Ricochet and Away!




IN PROGRESS...

Gray of Gray in Berlin

source ]

more typography progress

I finished writing the text onto my future pillowcase. The colorful pieces of fabric are quilting-cotton that I will use to make a 5 cm wide "bevel" (like a wall) around the orange part. The back of the pillow will be that yellow piece on the left, with a zipper installed.


Here's what I mean when I say that the pillow will have a "bevel" / "wall". 
Do you know of a better way to describe this type of pillow?
I'd love to add piping like that, too. But I think it might be too much for me all in one pillow.

On another note, I'd like to share with you the perils of my workplace.

People returning from overseas trips leave such temptations in the communal kitchen:


Here are my other everyday temptations - especially the pretzels on the left:


and my newly found biggest enemy - the chocolate wafers 
(here we call them waffles, how do you call them?)


I've not touched any of these nor other evil treats in three days and counting. As a seamstress I know my measurements and I want them to stay the way they are!

I'll leave you with Shugy's philosophy on how to live life, which I find to be very wise.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

typography challenge - in progress

Here's a quick post to update you on my typography challenge progress. I know the iphone pics are rather bad quality - I'll try to take good-camera pics later on.

I went and cut a brand new piece of fabric for this challenge. At first I thought I'd use an existing pillowcase, but at a closer look I realized it was stained and old. So now I'll be making a square-ish pillow (with - how do you call it - a bevel around the edge?) I think I'll have some fun with improv patchwork around the plain orange too. We'll see how I flow :-)


Here's my text, all aligned and centered and with proper kerning :-)

I pasted it up on an inner glass door, so I can see through the fabric using light, and traced the outline of the letters with pencil.


At first I tried a back stitch (see the upper p in the below photo?) But I didn't like the result.
So I filled in the letters with a grey fabric marker, and outlined it with a running stitch. I like it much better.

I wish I had some freezer paper - I could have used it as a stencil and used fabric paint to get the letters printed on, rather than use the tedious fabric marker which will probably dry out really fast.


And here I am in an A-line skirt with patch pockets that I drafted myself.

And here's the project after a bit more progress. I think I might add the running stitch only around the letters of the word "optimization", and leave the rest as is, just grey fabric marker. What do you think?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

hand-stitching on skirt

Despite my tendency to be ultra-lazy after work and do nothing, I picked up some embroidery floss and a needle, and started hand-stitching a running stitch along the seams of the skirt I'm making.


The purple stains are trick marker lines, just to guide my stitching. They'll wash off.

Reminder: here's the skirt (in progress):


I stitched about an 1/8 of an inch from the seam, on either side. I used three out of six strands of embroidery floss. I separated the strands one by one from their "friends" and then put them back together. I heard somewhere that the stitch comes out nicer that way.



I really like it!

I think I'll hand-stitch along the side-seams as well, and possibly along the top and bottom of the (straight) waistband, once it's installed.

I also want to share with you this link that my dear friend Pam from Threading My Way sent me. It could make a really great handmade gift for kids learning their ABC's and numbers. And maybe other uses could be found for this, not necessarily with letters/numbers, like a puzzle game or a memory game? 

[ source: Happy Together ]
Moms, what do you think?

While you're at it, read Pam's excellent post about refashining / upcycling / repurposing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

fabric, skirt, typography

In the name of blogging effectively, here's a quick post.
Photos courtesy of my iphone 4s right before I dashed to work this morning.

I hopped over to the fabric store yesterday for some lining for a skirt I'm sewing, and ended up getting these clearance fabrics, for making stuff for pattern making class - maybe a few dresses / skirts / shirts. I like them :-)

fabric - clothes-to-be :-)

Here's the A-line skirt (6 pieces) that I'm making out of an off-white loose weave fabric which may be some sort of cotton/linen blend. Here it is on my ironing board (ignore the messy cords on the floor...)


And here it is again, right side out. I need to re-press the hem and hand hem it. I also plan to hand-stitch a running stitch along each side of the seams. I need to line it and add a belt and yay, new skirt!


As for my typography challenge creation - I've decided to stop fussing thinking about it and just go with one idea. There's this saying that's relevant to software development that I believe in and want to apply to a large pillow. I dunno yet if I'll print it on, embroider it, or applique it. What do you think?

Here's my explanation about what this saying means:

As a programmer, you face technical / design / engineering problems that you need to solve. 
Many times, the solution is simple, but the simple solution is sometimes costly in terms of performance, memory consumption, etc.
So sometimes the programmer says "hey, I have a complex solution for the problem, that is less costly" (for example: runs twice as fast, or uses less memory).
This is called optimization: taking a solution that works and tweaking it to make it better.
Why is the case I described above called premature optimization? Because the penalty of the complex solution (hard to implement, maintain, and debug) many times outweigh the benefits. Sometimes you have code that takes an hour to run, and you improved a tiny part of it, that used to run one second, and now runs half a second. You wasted time achieving something negligible, while complicating the code and made everyone hate you.

In short, always go for the simple solution. In the end, test the system's performance, find the bottlenecks, and carefully optimize those areas only. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

textured play mat for baby

I made this play mat for my 3 month old niece.


The idea was to combine a variety of textures to help her development. Don't ask me - it's what I was told to make by my her mother :-) Anyway, I made this project in no time - rather than fussing about it being perfect, I just got to work and finished it in a couple of hours. I sewed stretchy fleece to woven fabric without even flinching. No measuring nor planning, either. There's no binding, just a felt backing.


Please accept my usual apology for the really bad photos... 


If I ever sew such a diverse combination of fabric types again, I would probably underline them and maybe even baste before sewing.


Nevertheless, the recipients were very pleased with the gift!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Naughty Notions" Challenge WINNERS

The "Naughty Notions" Challenge (Jan 2012) is officially closed for voting. Here are the winners!

Gold Star: Kristin of pritty tings


Find out more about Kristin's creation HERE.


Kristin, here's your badge! Wear it proudly! :-)

Silver Star: Kei of Unfortunately Oh!

Find out more about Kei's creation HERE.



Kei, here's your badge! Congrats!



Bronze Star: Cindy of Raspberry Sunshine



Find out more about Cindy's creation HERE.




Cindy, here's your badge! Great job!


Congrats to the winners! Thanks to all of you who participated. Rikka and I enjoyed seeing your interpretation for this challenge and your lovely work. As always, it has been inspiring!

Check out the "Naughty Notions" creations made by each of the hardworking challenge participants here.

If you haven't already done so, consider signing up for this month's Typography Challenge. It's going to be amazing!
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