Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back in the Saddle

After much too long an absence, both from this blog and sewing, here I am again. To make a long story short, I am no longer am at the J-O-B, and everything is coming out of storage. I start in a new and exciting position on Monday so I've pushed myself to make a major effort on completing some U.F.O.s.

I've made some nice progress on the Swoon quilt I'm making for my niece's tenth birthday. We'll ignore the fact that her birthday is already past. She'll probably have it by Christmas (the quilter said with a laugh). I had a real brain block with this quilt, and it has been sitting and waiting for my love for much too long. I think the main issue was that I wasn't in love with the fabric that my niece chose. When I took it to a guild sew day someone said the combo made her eyes hurt. Sadly, that’s not too far off the mark, and that is why I only let my niece choose two of the fabrics for the quilt.

I cast around for a bit trying to decide WHAT to do with this fabric since it didn't really fit into my typical cast of characters. Being that the main fabric was a larger directional print it lead me to decide that it needed to be a center block rather than cut into pieces. After struggling with this idea for longer than I would like to admit I decided to make my niece Thimble Blossom’s Swoon quilt

The rainbow butterfly fabric is the center of each of the nine blocks making up the quilt and the rainbow stripe fabric will be the binding and on the back. The thing I love about the Swoon pattern is that each block is different and uses two fat quarters plus a solid to create it. I ended up using a beautiful purple for the solid fabric rather than white. White fabric and ten year-old just don't go together, especially since the other fabrics she chose are so colorful and vibrant. 
One of the completed blocks on my design wall.

The other thing i altered about the pattern is that it makes an 80" square. I wanted a twin size quilt so I added an additional border at the top and bottom to make it 80" X 90". I would share the completed top, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for my sister or my niece.

I'm working on piecing the back (another challenge for me) with scraps from the quilt's creation and other coordinating fabrics. After I get that put together I will be taking it to a long-arm quilter. I couldn't be more excited!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Absent Blogger

Hi everyone. Sorry that I've been missing in action with out explanation (I suppose that's absent without leave). Hubby and I recently decided to put our house on the market and as you might imagine that's brought any creative endeavors to a grinding halt.

In the mean time, Brittany took me to a Portland Modern Quilt Guild Meeting, and 30 minutes in I was hooked:

Then again, I'd been joining Brittany for their monthly sew days for a while, so it wasn't to far of a leap when I started to look for a guild that I would join up. I did audition a few other guilds at their meetings but this was the only one that really got my creative juices flowing and I think that's the most important thing when you're joining a group of fellow enthusiasts.

I may get time for some little projects here and there, but posts may be sporadic for now. Thanks for bearing with me!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Finished Jewel Box Quilt

My house has been in an uproar for the past month, plus the little girl is sleeping less in the morning than she used to. These things lead to a reduced amount of sewing time for me. So, even though I feel like I should have been able to finish quilting and binding the Jewel Box Quilt a month ago - well you know what they say about even the best laid plans...

So here it is!
Finished "Jewel Box" Quilt, 60" X 60"

 I took a short cut at the end that I never thought I would. I wanted to use the backing fabric for binding the quilt rather than solid using solid black, but I had used up all of my yardage for the backing.

Michael Miller's Apothecary Bottles

I used a trick I had come across on Pinterest (big shocker, I know). I pulled the backing up and folded it over to make the quilt binding. (Instructional Here)

It's a quick finish, but not as clean as I would typically prefer. This quilt has gone from almost being a donation item, to a UFO, to taking pride of place on the family room couch. Though, Hubby complains its not big enough and I told him he need to learn how to make himself one that is big enough.

Have you started a project hating it and end up loving it? 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

So Little Time to Sew

My big brother came out to visit from Nebraska for my mom's birthday over the weekend through yesterday. As you might imagine, I wanted to spend as much time as I could with him. This doesn't leave much time for sewing. What little time I did have I spent on quilting my Jewel Box quilt. 

Satin stitching around the Log Cabin medallion center.
Trace quilting other blocks.

I tend to forget how much "fun" it is to quilt a large project on my home machine... shove, pull, stuff, roll... we all know the game! I'm hoping to finish this up soon so I can get started on the quilt for my niece. I've dawdled enough that I'm down to two month for the whole thing. Whoops! Let's see if I can pull a rabbit from a hat on that one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Small Projects

I'm still trying to clean up my sewing room. I've been having a hard time avoiding the distractions that are inherent in trying to control creative chaos. This means lots of quick little projects to try to keep me in line. My main goal is still trying to cut my scraps into uniform sizes. I've made progress, but it still seems like there are SO MANY that even after the time that I've put into it there is still a lot of work to do. Eventually I'll be caught up and hopefully I'll stay that way. 

My 2.5" squares box was starting to get a little full so I started sewing them together in sets of 4. That night I was over at my parents' house with Hubby watching my little girl play with one of my old dolls in a wooden cradle. The blanket that accompanied that little bed was horribly '80s. And girly. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a fan of pink or "girly" things. So I decided to fashion the 2.5" squares into a scrappy doll quilt.

Unfinished doll quilt, about 18" x 22"

I decided to tie it instead of machine quilting it because I used a really high loft polyester batting and I hate putting that stuff through my machine. I finished tying it last night and I'll probably machine bind it later this week. 

I'd been courting the idea of making myself a new pincushion. I'd been prowling the internet for fun and interesting designs and came across a quilt guild website that linked to a bunch of patterns for an exchange. I wish I remembered that website, I would share it with you!

I made this lovely "Cathedral Window" Pincushion with a square of my beloved Parisville fabric. I love that shade of teal with it!

4.5" picushion

Quick and easy pattern through the Moda Bake Shop. Have your iron hot for this one! I'm amazed that this pattern takes a 10.5" square of fabric (the teal) and turns it into the window frame. It's beautiful though, I'm looking forward to making another one... some day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In the bag.

The annual celebration of my birth was last week, and I wanted to give myself a little something. I'd been lugging around the same purse for two years and have had the same wallet for more years than I can count and I had fallen out of love with both of them. So, what's a girl to do? I fell back on my Pinterest addiction. I scoured posts for a free purse pattern and tute that wouldn't be too complicated and still fit my needs. I discovered The Madeline Purse tutorial by imagine gnats. I LOVED this tute. She made it so clear and simple, especially with something like installing a zipper pocket, which I had never done before.

Pretty in purple!

I have gotten a ton of compliments on this purse. I used mostly leftovers in my stash for this with the pretty purple petal (say that three times fast!) fabric coming from a baby quilt I made umpteen years ago, the trim of multicolored Maori dots is a scrap from my good buddy Jessica, and the lining was the leftover teal dots from the changing pad I wrote about last week. I love it. I may make more as gifts! :)

Part two of my birthday project was the wallet. Unfortunately the tutorial  I used was horribly written. So much so that the project took me twice as long as it should have because I kept having to re-read the instructions - that will teach me to read through ALL of the directions before I start on something. I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to cause you the same frustration. 

Wallet exterior. Not happy with the interior showing!

The exterior is a print from Tula Pink's Parisville collection. My sewing bud Brittany gave me a quarter yard of it for my birthday. I thought it was from her stash - but we'll get to that later. I was so terribly in love with this print that it hurt me to think I wouldn't be able to use it in anything else once I had started on the terrible wallet tute. I had thought about cutting my losses and scrapping the project. A quick web search showed that since this print came out in 2010 it is not very available - I did find a fat quarter on Etsy for $15... but that's way more than I'm willing to pay. So, I pushed on and finished it.

Inside with a coin pocket, a place for cards, and a slot for bills to the right.

I'm using the wallet, though I'm not incredibly happy with it. I will mention that I'm very happy I made the purse first, because I reused her zipper pocket tute for making the coin pocket. I'll probably track down another pattern in a project lull and try again. 

This past weekend Brittany and I took a trip out to Cool Cottons so I could experience the awesomeness and spend the gift certificate she had given me. On the way there I was telling her my story of woe with the Parisville print and she told me she had gotten it at Cool Cottons. I was giddy. When we got to the store I tracked down the bolt and finished it off to be mine all mine! Maybe it was a little greedy to take the full two yards? My excuse it that it's a great blender and has all of my favorite colors in it.

Have you ever used a favorite fabric on a project that was ultimately doomed?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Changing Pad

A friend of mine is pregnant with her first baby and her baby shower was the last weekend in March, and you know me, I wanted to make her something. Now that I've had the benefit of having a child I started thinking about the things that made my life easier. I thought about the changing mat that came with the diaper bag we had registered for and how nice it was to have that. I am not a fan of putting the kiddo straight onto the public changing station. I also liked that I could easily clean it. I also considered the things I didn't like about that changing pad: 1) It's covered with a thin layer of clear plastic vinyl that started cracking and ripping after a little while and 2) it's really short. Little Girl was hanging off of it after 6 months.

So I started prowling the internet and found two patterns that I really liked this "diaper clutch" and this "sushi roll changing mat" and made a hybrid of the two with my own alterations. I liked the fold away aspect of the clutch making it easier to stash in a large tote or backpack. I also liked that you could put just what you needed in there to have it easily at hand. With the sushi roll I liked the extra cushion of the batting layer making it a little more comfortable experience for the baby. 

Folded away. Closure is a piece of 1/4" elastic and a large button.

I used PUL (the fabric they use for the outside of cloth diapers) for the changing mat side, it's a lot softer and easier to wash than straight laminate. I used quilting cotton for the outside, and a layer of cotton batting in the middle. 

The PUL has owl's saying "Whoooo's Cute?"

I used the width of the backing fabric for the length of the changing pad and folded the pocket up from bottom about 10". I also quilted the three layers together so there shouldn't be any weird shifting after it gets washed & dried. And that's the best part, it can be machine washed!

Just enough space for a few diapers and a travel pack of wipes.

What item can you not live without when you're out and about with baby?