Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Finish: Economy Block Top!

I'm so happy with this quilt.  I started making the economy blocks at the January Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  We had an open sew, and I decided to bust out a few instead of quilting my Riley Blake quilt.  Procrastination at it's finest, but I did need to make some for the guild's block lottery.  Of course, I hadn't read the tutorial, so those blocks had to be scrapped and more had to be made.  Then I just didn't stop making them.

I was quite obsessed.  I combed through all my fabric looking for fun centers.  I'm really glad that I had so many scraps and charm packs from other people's stashes.  I found fabrics I didn't know I had!

Soon I had about 85, and I had some decisions to make.  I was set on this layout, just put a bunch of blocks together and let their crazy reign, but it just didn't look right.  All those cool prints that I had carefully cut into just got lost in all the noise.

(A little in the shadows, but the sun is a hike through three feet of snow.)

So I decided to ground that crazy in solids that I'd already used in the blocks.  The purple is Kona Berry and the green is Grass, two of my new favorite colors.  And plenty of black.  I've not used a bunch of black before, but all the black prints I used looked so awesome I knew I needed more.

I'm hoping to get this quilted up this weekend.  I'm so in love I want to cuddle with it right now.  I'm going to comb through my pile of flannel to see if any will work for a backing.  Or I might just back it with minky for extra cuddly-ness.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Catnap Bolero... Ole!

Is there anything better than making something and having your kid absolutely love it?  It does get a bit complicated when you weren't making it for your kid.  Oh well, she's too cute and I can't take it away.

This is really an adult bolero.  My crafty partner in crime wanted to enter the Lizzy House Catnap Dress Contest (now closed, but check out all the entries on the Flickr page!)  She made an adorable Washi Dress (the best dress pattern!) but thought she needed a little something extra.  So she bought this Lamb's Pride yarn in Roasted Coffee, and handed it off to me.  I love how this yarn is chunky and fuzzy, but still shows all the stitch detail.  I wish it had a little less debris, but it adds character.  

I used the Bazan pattern from Jane Richmond available on Ravelry.  It knitted up really fast.  I think I spent one week of evenings getting this done.  The method Jane came up with is pretty genius.  You knit the whole thing (minus the ribbing along the edge) as a single panel, then seam the arms.  Then you pick up stitches along the edges and knit the ribbing in the round.  It made it pretty fast with few opportunities for failure, which is what I look for in a pattern.  

And just in case you don't believe that toddler cardigan is really a bolero, here it is on my friend Jess.  All that mesh on the back lets it really stretch.  Also, check out that cute dress!  I might have to make one for myself in the print behind her, and the little girl should get a Geranium to wear with her newly stolen cardigan.


Sew Cute Tuesday

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adventures in Sock Knitting

Behold, the most exciting pair of socks I've knit.  I've been going by patterns and doing as I was told, but these were the first that I felt confident enough to go off book.

I really set out to make those bigger socks.  They're a Christmas gift for my grandmother, but because Christmas is such a crunch time for handmade presents I didn't have time to knit them.  Instead, I gave her the yarn, then asked for it back so I could immediately cast on some socks.  I made them with a really great pattern from On The Needles.  It's the best pattern for just learning how to do it.  And when you use the sock number method, the socks really do fit without any guesswork.

When I finished with Grammy's socks I had leftover yarn that I figured would be enough to make a second pair for Isaac.  And since I had a finite amount of yarn, I did a toe-up sock.  I've had a pair of socks in the works from the book Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, but that meant my super-long circular needle was in use, and all I had was my double points.

So I just combined the toe-up method in the book, with the sock number method of the On The Needles pattern, and voila!

The other bit of excitement was with the rib knit.  I've never been able to get it to look nice.  See that gaping knitting on the right sock?  That's how it always looks, but I learned the secret to nice ribbing... twisting and untwisting your purl stitches!  The left sock turned out much nicer, and is so much stretchier.

So that's my last Christmas present crossed off the to-do list!  I might start working on some generic handmade presents just to have them on hand for next Christmas.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sending My 241 Tote Into the World

So a last minute make gets some last minute photos.  I wasn't even going to bother, but the kids were so excited to get their pictures taken that it had to happen.

I made up this little tote as a going away present for a really great friend.  We only just started getting crafty together, when a new job mean moving pretty far away.  Everyone is bummed, and I'm sure this little girl is going to be asking for her friend (my friend's daughter is the same age)  for a while before she understands what "moved away" means.

So I whipped up a little 241 Tote from Noodlehead as a going away present.  It was the first time with this pattern, but the Super Tote and Open Wide Pouches worked so well, I just jumped right in.  I love Anna's patterns!  They're really easy to sew up, but they have fun details that make them look more involved than they really are.

I left off the zippers because I was chicken, but the rest of it came together really quickly.  I dipped into my pile of Echino to find a fun center print, then picked a nice solid to coordinate and put them together with some black linen.

I love when I don't have to go anywhere for supplies to a project.  I had everything for this already in my stash, including some piping for the inner pocket to make it stand out, interfacing (which I never have!), and the magnetic snaps.  I'm going to have to put in a bulk order of those snaps; they're super easy to install and are the best closures ever.

The bag was heavily twirl tested, and stood up to all the G's the little girl could give it.   Now it's on to it's future home, and hopefully we'll be able to visit it, and our friends, soon.

Photo Bomb!!!

Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

100th Posts! And a Look Behind the Scenes!

It's post 100!  It's been really fun to write up my projects and creativity.  And it's been a really great way to keep my on task.  I've been known to have more ideas than motivation, and this little corner of the internet is a great motivator.

So, for this 100th post, here's a look behind the scenes.  Or at least my current sewing situation.  I started in the basement.  There was so much space when we moved in that I was excited to sew down there, but after moving in, buying more fabric, and sharing the space with a litter box, it became less awesome.

Then, during the summer, I took over the porch.  But winter came, and the porch had no heat, so I moved to the dining room.  It's been great.  I can keep an eye on the children, keep warm, and sew my little heart out.

On to the grand tour!  This is my corner of the dining room table.  The table is fully extended, so I get most of the back half with room for the four of us to still eat.  And if I get bored, I can always turn around and play Hot Wheels.

Here's the landing spot for all my current projects.  I've been trying to keep only current things here, and bringing stuff back to the porch when I'm done with it, but it's so cold out there that some things tend to pile up here.  On the left there is my stack of Economy Blocks and a bunch of fabric to be worked into them.  In the middle is a bucket of Lincoln Logs and some 505, both vital to the creative process.  Then there's more interfacing for doodle pads, more fabric, and a bag of stuff that I should have moved back to the porch a month ago.

Under all those random piles is this cabinet.  It was a freebie off the side of the road that hubs and I redid one weekend.  The paint sticks and the legs are a little wobbly, but I love it.  These colorful drawers are usually hidden behind two doors.  The left side is the kids' cars, crayons, and puzzles; and the right is two drawers of the large scraps that I've been using a lot lately, and the third drawer is full of more puzzles.

So there you have it!  It's chaotic, but somehow it works.  I haven't seen my basement stash in a while, but I love the focus of having only a small amount of fabric in front of me at any time.  And the sun!  That's one thing the basement will never have!

Thanks for stopping by my little web space!  If you want to check out the next 100 posts, click the link below to follow on Bloglovin!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Finish: Catvent Wall Hanging!

The cats are done!  I absolutely loved making this wall hanging.  And it's actually the first official wall hanging in the house.  (I may have taken down a photo of how the mister proposed, but this was the right wall.  I'll find a spot for the photo later.  Priorities!)

It's from Elizabeth Hartman's Catvent Quilt-a-long that she started in December.  One cat a day until Christmas.  I loved making one little cat as the start of my day.  It was like a little finish that I could get done first, then feel accomplished the rest of the day.

I used two Kona charm packs for the solids, Sunrise and Sunset, a couple scrap charm packs bought off Instagram, and a bunch of scraps from a guildmate.  It was really fun digging through scraps that were all new fabrics to me and pairing them with the solids.

 I was on schedule until the last week then all the other handmade gifts took over and the cats got pushed to the side.  Then I ran out of Kona Medium Gray, went on vacation, had some surgery, basically life took over.  But I finally got it finished!

I decided to quilt it just like the original.  It looked so good, why try to top it.  I just used some painter's tape to mark out the lines, re-positioning it as I went.  The lines are a little bit more than an inch apart, because I didn't want to stitch too close to the tape and maybe sew the tape to the quilt.

There's just one bad line where I changed directions and the stitching pulled the fabric in the opposite direction.  I might rip it out and sew it again, but I'm living with it right now.

And I finally got the sewn binding right.  I've been trying to make it happen for a while using different techniques, but this one actually worked!  I cut my binding a 1/4" wider than normal, sewed it to the front, pinned it down along the back (so wish I'd had those Clover clips), and stitched in the ditch on the front.  I only missed catching the back binding in two little spots, so I just repinned and stitched those spots again.

The back isn't perfect, but it's all sewn, so that's a win in my book.

Linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday and Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Blocks and Bolero Edition

This super sunny Wednesday finds me working happily on some Economy blocks.  I'm slowly adding to my pile.  I hope to get it up to at least a lap size, but with no deadline, I may just keep adding until I'm tired of the block.

Here's my blocks so far.  Love fussy cutting the centers.  I think I'm going to work more solids into them and maybe alternate solid and print border in the final layout.

And this is the start of a bolero for a friend.  She's making a dress for Lizzy House's Catnap Contest, and her dress really needs a bolero to finish the look.  Luckily, bulky yarn knits up fast!

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Doodle Pad Love

The kids have a couple birthday parties coming up, so I figured I'd whip out a couple of these cute doodle pad holders.  They're super fast to make and the kids can kill hours in a car!

I used a tutorial by Sewing Novice.  It came together pretty quick, and after making one, I realized that I'd overbought all the interfacing, so I had enough to make a second.  All in all, the two only took a couple hours to make, and that included plenty of "pat on the back" time.

These two hold jumbo crayons, but I think I might make a couple more to hold regular-sized crayons and maybe add a loop to hold a pencil.  It's really a blank slate, so I could customize it forever.

Linking up with Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday and My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday!

Sew Cute Tuesday

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Really Finished Rainbow Quilt

I'm officially calling this quilt done!  And I really think I mean it this time.  See, it's all bound and everything, that totally says done.

So the last time I thought it was done, I had only sewn the quilted top to the backing along all the seams.  It was then that I realized that all the blocks were warped from all that dense quilting, and that they bubbled in the center of each block.  I know that only I would ever be bothered by this, but I was really bothered.  

After hiding it away for a couple months, I busted it back out did some hand-quilting on each of the squares to attach the centers of the blocks to the backing and bound it in a bunch of black prints that I've been stashing away for just the right project.

I absolutely loved laying under this quilt and slowly adding all those little stitches.  There was a lot of just running stitches along the quilted lines, or following the pattern of the fabric, but there's also stars, x's, pluses, feathers and zigzags.  I may end up adding more when I'm bored and need something to keep my hands busy, and since the top has so much going on, I could probably fill it with stitches and it wouldn't look overdone. 

This quilt is going to get a bit more time on the couch before I run it through the wash.  I'm a little nervous about what shrinkage is going to do to this quilt, so I want to have some quality time just in case it spontaneously combusts in the dryer.

Linking up to Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday!