May 13, 2013
We took our summer vacation very early this year, last week in fact. When we left Minnesota for Florida it was too chilly for shorts, I had to make Isaac try on his summer clothes to make sure we packed things that fit. Turns out he had plenty of shorts and shirts but had outgrown all his hats.
I used the Betz White bucket hat pattern for probably the seventh time, this time in a medium. I can’t say enough good things about the pattern – it is easy, comes in a wide range of sizes, and fits well. It’s a little big on him but he likes to pull it down over his eyes so it works out ok. Here’s the little dude playing his first game of mini golf in his new hat.
I used Kokka Trefle vehicles, linen, and 2 layers of medium-weight fusible interfacing. I like the amount of interfacing, it keeps the brim from flopping in his eyes.
May 3, 2013
There has been a lot of cute map-themed decor on the interwebs lately. I’ve been motivated to make some wall hangings lately. Hence this “where-we’ve-been” map.
I downloaded and printed a US map, then enlarged it. To transfer the map to the fabric I taped the map to a window, taped the fabric over it and traced the state outlines using a water-soluble pencil.
I used fusible web to iron states to the map, then I machine-appliqued them to the map. I quilted the outline of the US with a walking foot, and free-motion-quilted the background. This is my first free-motion project in years, and this is definitely the best looking one yet.
I washed the fabric to get the nice wrinkly look and hide a few flaws in the machine quilting. This also washed out all the state outlines I had drawn, and now the middle looks empty. I’m debating whether to quilt some of the outlines, all of the outlines, or just wait until we visit more states and applique them on. What would you do?
May 1, 2013
Pattern: Fly with me by I Heart Linen
I finished my first ever paper-pieced pattern! It’s a little wall hanging for Isaac. He calls it “mai hairplane!” I love that he says everything with an exclamation point.
Paper-piecing is not so bad. I did not follow the directions and cut the pieces based on the templates, I just cut scraps that I thought would be big enough, thinking that would save time and be less fussy. Turns out that’s a good way to waste a lot of fabric and time. Next time I will either use the template or cut scraps much much bigger than I think they need to be. I also had some trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that I was putting the fabric on the wrong side of the paper and sewing on the right side of the paper. Sigh. I unintentionally reversed a few pieces, and had to redo them. I think I also unintentionally mixed up the ordering of the background fabrics, too.
Even with all my mistakes, this took only an afternoon. And I was super happy with it until I washed it. One of the batiks bled and stained the white fabric. Sigh. It wasn’t even the dark batiks that bled, it was the lightest one – third from the right. I used the same fabric to bind a quilt made with other not-pre-washed batiks – it was a block of the month quilt, pieces were distributed by a local store precut and not pre-washed. When I wash the block of the month quilt I will definitely be using color catchers, and maybe retayne or synthrapol.
April 26, 2013
Now that I think about it, I have finished some things in 2013. I made a couple hats for Stash & Burn’s Use it Or Lose It challenge.
Pattern: Top down bonnet by Adrian Bizilia (ravelry)
Yarn: S.R. Kertzer Down to Earth Cotton
Pattern: Quynn by Woolly Wormhead (ravelry) modified to have 8 extra stitches.
Yarn: alpaca, bought @ Shepherd’s Harvest festival
April 24, 2013
Me in my Uptown Coat, Isaac in his “papa hat”. This was back in November when we were waiting for snow. Now we can’t wait for the snow to leave.
Isaac loves his papas. He calls this his papa hat. It is in fact a Huck Finn cap that I made using the Sew Liberated pattern. It was not easy – I had a lot of difficulty with the brim, but it was worth it. He wears it often, he loves it, and he gets a lot of compliments on it. I’m already planning a papa hat in the next size up.
I made my jacket years ago in a class at Crafty Planet. It is probably the sewing project I am most proud of, definitely the garment I am most proud of. I am planning another jacket for next fall that will hopefully top this one.
April 21, 2013
I designated 2013 as the year I finished things. Hmm. Well, I’ve finished one thing. I made a baby quilt for my high school BFF, who just had her baby last week.
I wanted to make a hexagon quilt, similar to this one that I made for my niece. I wanted to make it with a rainbow of fabrics and have it be kind of an I-Spy quilt. I dug through all the bits of fabric I’ve saved from past projects, which was super fun. I had previously made my friend a quilt for her college graduation and her wedding, and I was able to work in fabric from both those quilts. I also used fabric from two quilts I made for Isaac, the quilt for my niece, from the big pink quilt, and more. I love that I can remember where I used each fabric.
As I sorted through my stash I found a plethora of greens, blues and purples. The three red pieces you see are all of the red fabric that I own. That is all of it. Three pieces of red. Tied for second-to-last in my stash are yellow and orange with four pieces each.
On the back I put three prairie points on the bottom right side. I think they are pretty cute, I will probably be adding prairie points to more quilts soon. I love that these prairie points are the same fabric as the binding for my friend’s wedding quilt.
This quilt was so fun to put together that I am already planning a duvet cover for myself.
April 19, 2013
I organize my embroidery supplies in a small ArtBin.
I’ve got the usual floss, thimble, hoops and measuring tape. I also keep a stock of extra bobbins, printouts courtesy of Wild Olive, a box of Thread Heaven, and a Prismacolor water soluble pencil. If you use thread, you should use Thread Heaven! That’s the motto on the box – cheesy but true. I only bought it a few months ago and I wish I’d bought it sooner. It really keeps thread and floss from tangling while stitching, and it makes stitches look smoother. The Prismacolor pencil is my favorite for drawing or tracing patterns on fabric. It washes out with water – I don’t even use soap or agitation. It doesn’t stain fabric, doesn’t smudge like chalk and it doesn’t fade like marking pens. It’s the best!
I made an envelope clutch using this (free!) pattern from See Kate Sew to hold projects. The only change I made to the pattern was using magnets instead of a button. I used the Prismacolor pencil to doodle on the faux addresses – you can see the pencil markings totally washed out. My sister made me the cute envelope needle book a few years back.
The clutch is 7.5 x 12.5 inches, just big enough to hold one project and tools. I always keep my needles, needle threader and Gingher scissors in here. My current project is (gasp!) cross stitch instead of embroidery – a pendant. I found the laser-cut blank at the Workroom, and took inspiration from their flickr gallery.
This post is my entry in the &Stitches embroidery toolkit competition. Go check out the other entries!
January 15, 2013
Pattern: Mortimer the Dog (ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US5 DPNs
This is the last toy I knit for Isaac for a while. This is the first and only time he has snuggled with it. He usually just throws it on the ground and yells “No puppy!” Even though he loves puppies. Sigh.
January 11, 2013
I stocked up on Marty goes to Mars fabric this summer during a couple trips to the S.R. Harris outlet. I got enough for 2 toddler-size pillow cases, a quilt, and some leftovers. The quilt is made of mostly 4″ squares, with a couple 4×8 and 8×8 pieces thrown in. It’s 52×36 inches, the perfect size for Isaac’s toddler bed. Which he used for a month before he switched to a twin bed. Sigh.
I wanted this to be perfectly square since (I thought) it was going on a toddler bed (for at least a year) it would be painfully obvious (to me, anyway) if it wasn’t square. I also had pieced the back and I wanted the quilting lines to be parallel to the seams on both the front and the back of the quilt. I have been making quilt sandwiches by taping baby quilts to the floor with painters tape, but I’ve noticed that method doesn’t always guarantee that the front and back seams line up perfectly. Painters tape is only so sticky, and it can only hold fabric for about an hour before it starts to give up. To make sure everything lined up I used a quilt frame.
My husband helped me make the frame. It’s canvas tacked on to strips of hard wood. I think the strips are 2.5 inches x 6 feet. There are 4 strips. The first two are set up on parallel sawhorses. I use a tape measure and carpenter square to make sure the frame is set up squarely.
I start by laying the back of the quilt wrong-side down and pinning it to the frame, starting with the center of each side and working out. I pull it pretty tight. Then I smooth the batting over the back but I don’t pin it. Last I pin the quilt top down, again starting with the center of each side and working towards the corners.
Once everything is pinned in place I baste the quilt using really long – about 3 inch – running stitches. Then I take it off the frame and it’s ready to be machine-quilted.
My grandma taught me how to stretch quilts like this. It does take more time and I don’t do it for every quilt, but this is my favorite way to stretch quilts.
January 9, 2013
I made this super cute elephant softie for a friend of Isaac’s second birthday. I used the Effie and Ollie pattern by Heather Bailey. I highly recommend it. It didn’t take too long, especially considering the amount of tiny pieces and curves you have to sew. I’ve found that the keys to sewing curves are going slow, decreasing the stitch length, and using the handwheel for a few stitches when curves are especially tight. I only had to rip out and redo one seam for this little guy.
I feel like it took a quarter bag of stuffing to fill this small elephant. I used a stuffing fork, which really helped to fill the trunk and legs.
When I do this again, I would do two things differently: 1) iron the fusible interfacing to the fabric before cutting the pieces. Every piece is interfaced anyway, so this would save you from having to cut each tiny piece out twice, and then iron them together. 2) the tail is impossibly tiny and you are supposed to turn it inside out. Sure it looks nice but it took 10 minutes. There are other ways to do it that would be a lot quicker and not require pins, tweezers, another smaller pair of tweezers and cursing.