Sunday, November 7, 2010

Who Knew?

So I really had no idea that when preschool started the rest of my life would be on hold for awhile. 2 days a week of school with lots of shuttling back and forth, and 2 other days of therapy - speech and OT. I'm barely at home these days, and since the little one doesn't nap too much, I'm never alone. My poor sewing machine feels very neglected.

In the past month (and a half!!) since I've last written, I've completed 1 project, and it was already pieced way back here. Regardless, I'm completely in love with this quilt and very proud of it. Yes it's simple, but it turned out really cool and it just may be my favorite one that I've made so far.

I love the minky back, it is so soft and warm! I was afraid to quilt with minky, but it honestly wasn't that bad. I loaded it up with spray baste, and I didn't have any problems with shifting or stretching.

In other news, I had closed down the etsy shop until I could get myself back into a routine, and I think we're almost there. I'm planning on opening the shop back up sometime this week when I can get a few minutes at my computer without anyone jumping on my lap. So look for it, and for a giveaway to go along with the re-opening!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope everyone has been enjoying their fall and is looking forward to the holiday season. Cheers!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Girly Birthday Pillow

Initially I wasn't sure what I'd use these fabrics for. I liked them, but they weren't my usual 'style' (whatever that is!). This week I knew I had to make a birthday pillow for a very special (and girly) 7 year old. As I was going through my stash looking for pink and purple I came across this stack (I believe it's Remix by Robert Kaufman Fabrics), and I knew this is what it was meant for.

I didn't have a plan when I started this, and I didn't have much time. I just started sewing random widths of the print strips to 1" white strips. When I finished that I wasn't in love with it, so I started cutting that up and sewing it back together all flipped around, and this is how it ended up. I actually really like it and think it's a pretty fun pattern.

I almost free-motioned it. Almost. I chickened out though. I really need to get back to Christina's free-motion quilt along so I can boost my confidence a bit. I decided to just do diagonal lines at random distances apart. I like it, I think it works for the pillow, and it went REALLY quick.

The back is a simple envelope closure. I love the striped binding on this. I just love striped bindings in general. Well, it's a sunny day here in P-town, probably not many of those left, I'd better go enjoy it. Or clean up my garden...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A lopsided pincushion...

I had a great time at the September meeting of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild last Thursday. Elizabeth did a great presentation about beer cup fabric dyeing and Jen did a cool presentation on pincushions. As usual there was a great show and tell.

Well, it turns out that at next month's meeting there will be a pincushion swap. So I decided that since I have not made a pincushion before I should try early in case I have to re-do it. Well, I have to re-do it. I named it the color wheel pincushion, and I like the overall look of it, but it turned out all lumpy and lopsided and not quite round. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

At least I now have a pincushion, I didn't have one before. This one should be happy on my little sewing desk. This is the bottom of it - reversible!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Not a Baby?

I can't believe that this sweet, tiny little baby has grown into this little boy, who is starting preschool tomorrow. Seriously, can it have been 3+ years already?

Well, he had to have a special new backpack for the start of school. I had been saving this awesome Japanese train fabric for something special for him, and it was perfect for a backpack!

I did buy a pattern for this because I needed to get it done quick and didn't feel like I had time to think about designing a pattern.

It's fully lined in a bright lime green Kona, and I did buy the piping instead of making it (like I said - super quick).

He loves it, and he can't wait for school to start...

...the little one loves it too. I really hope she kind of forgets about it soon, I don't think I can make another one right away, it was a bit fussy to sew. Tons of layers!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Challenge? I'm Always up for a Challenge...

Well, I'm always up for a challenge that can be completed in 1 toddler naptime...

Last Friday I was at Jen's house with Megan and all of our kids (6 in total) having a little (Mommy) playdate. Jen bought a 3 pack of Moleskine gridded notebooks and gave one each to Megan and I. We gave ourselves a challenge to give the notebooks a fabric cover in our own 'style'. Then we could each post about them and compare what we came up with. Here's what I came up with. I don't know if I really have a style, but I definitely have a philosophy about 'crafting' and creating. Do it quick, get it done, and (hopefully) make it look good.

It's pretty simple, I decided to sew right to the chipboard cover of the Moleskine, there's no quilting and no batting, and it can't be removed without totally destroying the book. I had originally thought I'd do a removable one, but then, I like the idea of making a new one with each new notebook, and since I store my old sketchbooks to reference, this will let me easily recognize the one I'm looking for. I totally raided the scrap bin for this one. I did simple wonky log-cabin-ish piecing (very technical term), and finished around the edges with some selveges.

I added a little strap with a velcro closure to keep it from flying open when I dump my diaper bag, and a little pocket for a pencil and scraps to match or inspire. I think it's pretty cute, and I'm looking forward to a lot of sketching!

Monday, September 6, 2010

To Quilt Along, or Not to Quilt Along, that is the Question

I've gone back and forth on this one for awhile. On one hand, a lot of the fun of making something is designing it. But, on the other hand - won't I learn a lot by following someone else's expertise? Well, I've decided 'to' quilt along. Two 'quilt alongs' in fact. The first one I'm going to do is Christina's from A Few Scraps. She's doing a free-motion quilt along, and this is something I really want to get better at. Plus, the top was a cinch to piece. So there it is, in all it's glory, in the pic above. Ready to quilt along with Christina! (I swear I ironed it before I basted it!)

The second quilt along I'm joining is Elizabeth Hartman's Tokyo Subway Map Quilt Along. You all know her from Oh Fransson! I really like Elizabeth's bold, graphic designs, and feel like this is a quilt I will really appreciate for a long time. Also, what I'm finding about these quilt alongs is that sometimes it's nice for someone else to do all the thinking and math for you. Especially since I can't seem to shake this baby-brain thing. Does that ever go away? Anyhow, I have gathered the fabric for this one, but have not even started cutting. That's how I'm going to roll on these things, I'll always be a few steps behind.

Which online quilt alongs have you all participated in? Doing any right now?

Well, happy holiday everyone. We're heading out to Pacific City today, to spend a few days on the beach with these little beasties before the 'freedom' of summer ends. I'm not bringing my machine, but I am bringing all that fabric to cut up for the Tokyo quilt. Maybe I'll have some piles to show you later in the week. Cheers!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Pass: The His 'n Hers Kindle Cover

I've got a to do list longer than my grocery list right now, and since I haven't shopped in 2 weeks that's saying something. So when my husband's new Kindle arrived in the mail I saw an opportunity to procrastinate even more and make up a cool cover for it. He ordered the new Kindle 3 with wi-fi, it's really pretty stinkin cool. It's super small and it seems really delicate. I had grand plans of making a cool, quilted cover - but those were traded for, make it quick, get it done now because the kids are going absolutely crazy, and what did you feed them??

So I did some quick measurements and calculations (ok, my computer did the hard work) and came up with a pattern that should fit this little guy really snug and protect it pretty well. I wanted something that my husband would be happy to carry, but was still cool. The Echino bus fabric was perfect. I did a simple flap closure, and had the hubby cut 1" circles out of orange velcro on the laser cutter for a closure. I thought of a snap first, but I didn't want to have to put pressure on a point on the Kindle to close the cover. I normally don't like working with velcro because it always looks like a kindergarten craft project when I'm done with it, but the laser cutter and some super slow sewing solved that. I know you can buy pre-cut circles of hook and loop tape, this would work well too.

As I was thinking about all the innards and lining of this bag, I thought about how cute and cool it would be to make a little patchwork pouch. Then I thought, well why not make one for when I use the Kindle? Well, I don't have time for that - it's redundant anyway. Ah ha moment - I should make this bag reversible!

Flip it on through and this is what you have! I think it's really cute, albeit unpolished. Hence, the title - First Pass. It's a little poufy, and the topstitching is terrible. It barely fit around my sewing machine to topstitch it - a problem I haven't figured out how to remedy yet. Having the plain linen blend fabric at the top of the pouch prevents any 'girliness' from showing when it's turned out to the 'his' side, but gives it a clean look on the patchwork 'hers' side. It's lined with a layer of sew-in fleece (I would have used fusible, but it's more expensive so I don't keep it on hand), and a layer of PUL - that's polyurethane laminate - the stuff used in diaper covers to prevent leaks. So it's also water resistant - in case I happen to be carrying it in a diaper bag with a leaky sippy cup.

I think it was a good first pass, it was super quick, I like it and it will get used. However, I feel the need to refine it a bit and do a second pass. Next time, I NEED to photograph my process so I can do a little tutorial. I do have drawings for the pattern too. Does anyone else have the new Kindle? I'd happily share the pattern - it does fit like a glove. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Easy Piece

Phew - that was a busy week!!
Kind of glad it's over - even though there was a lot of fun involved...

I'm starting to think about Christmas gifts (I know - a little late off the starting block...), and I have all of these super fabulous vintage sheets laying around. I decided to try to make 4 comfy couch quilts to give as gifts but I wanted something that went together really quick. This is what I came up with. Just a simple patchwork design, 4" finished squares, with some 8" squares thrown into mix it up a bit. I also added some kona solids to give it a more bold looks, and I love the way it came out. I got some minky at fabric depot for 50% off (!!) to back these with. I haven't done a minky backed quilt yet - so if you guys have any helpful tips or tricks, let me know!

Also, this week was the PMQG's August meeting. It was a blast! Christina did a great presentation and demo on free motion quilting, and she's also hosting a quilt-a-long on her site - check it out. There were several other people demoing as well, and I feel like I got a lot of good tips. Can't wait to have some time to myself to try it out.
There was also a hexagon swap at the meeting - these are the castle peeps (and coordinating) hexagons I brought in, and Tania picked them. Hope she has fun with them!

These are the hexagons I picked - how cute! I don't know who made them though - let me know if they are yours, I want to say thanks!

Last but certainly not least - I want to show off the super adorable needle book and fab lush fabric that Megan gave me. Seriously, how cute is this? I LOVE the wizard of oz fabric, and look at the inside - it's the yellow brick road! It really was a good week - just a long one.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Orange Pillow and a Cool Class

Last weekend I had the chance to attend a Freestyle Quilting workshop at Modern Domestic (our local sewing studio). The class was taught by none other than Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Frannson!. There were some other ladies from the PMQG there too, which made it extra fun! Joan, Amber, and Katie were all in the class.

We started off the class cutting and making 12 mini quilt sandwiches. Elizabeth then went over the walking foot and we all did a bunch of practice quilting with the walking foot using different methods. We did some 'wonky' straight lines, some random diagonal lines, some offset outline stitching, and a continuous geometric design which I ended up using in my mini Castle Peeps quilt.

Next we put on the darning foot and worked on practicing some different styles of free-motion quilting. We worked on stippling, long loopy lines, and pebbling. Elizabeth had us first draw these patterns on paper to get the hang of it. Then off we went. It's a lot harder to get a nice even stitch out of these patterns, but I'm surprised at how quick you can fill up a 12x12 area. The pebbling took the longest, but seemed to be the most forgiving. The stipple went quick but was the hardest to make look good. I have a lot more practicing to do before I use these methods on a whole quilt, but I really like the look, and enjoy doing it.

Thanks to Elizabeth for a great workshop and giving me the confidence to jump in to free-motion quilting. Here is Elizabeth's example pillow, and here is the one I came up with. Covered in a baby:

Monday, August 9, 2010

I've Developed a Leak

Did you ever feel like you have so many ideas bubbling around in your head that if you don't use some of them they will leak out of your ear? I think that's started happening to me. I feel like I've been blogging about the same projects for months with a huge backlog of ideas.

The truth is, I don't really get a lot of time to sew. My 2 little ones keep me pretty busy most days. Last week however, I was able to take a few hours to myself here and there and knock out this little doll quilt/wall hanging that I've had in my head for awhile now. It was intended to hang on the wall in my daughter's room. It matches the decorative painting that I showed you in my last post. It was inspired by this doll quilt. I was able to get it quilted at the PMQG's sewcial at Modern Domestic on Saturday night. Loads of fun. I may have had a few margarita's beforehand, but I don't think the quilt suffered much from it.

Before the Sewcial, I was able to attend Elizabeth Hartman's (Of Oh Fransson), freestyle quilting workshop. It was super informative and super fun! I had never tried free-motion quilting before, and this helped me to jump right in. I haven't finished my project from the class yet, because I wanted more practice time with my free motion skills. Elizabeth is a quilting guru, and I would recommend this class to anyone looking for a jumpstart into quilting, or to hone their skills. I'll post more on this when I actually get the pillow done!

I did finally finish my daughter's new wave quilt, and even got the chance to wash it. So crinkly and lovely...

(This quilt is so bright and lovely, why can't I get a good picture of it? They all look washed out! Any photography buffs out there that can give me some tips? I work with a point and shoot - Canon powershot SD1100. I have no idea how to use it to it's fullest.)

The other exciting thing that happened this week was receiving my lovely package of hexagons from Shelly at PinkPunkBoutique! These were from the flickr swap organized by Heather and Kerri. Thanks ladies for organizing, and thanks so much Shelly for my super cool hexies and pouch, I'm in love with them! I've decided that I need to use the hexagons on something that I will see/use every day. I have a few ideas in the back of my head. I'm hoping I can keep them from leaking out. ;)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Step Closer

I made a quilt for my son, and was feeling pressure to make one for my daughter as well. She loves to climb into his bed and roll around with his quilt and it makes him pretty mad. I love the idea of using old sheets for quilts. Especially the really 'retro-cool' ones from the 60s and 70s. I got some vintage sheets from my Mom, and did a few flickr sheet FQ swaps to build up my stash. Alot of the sheets have really cool patterns or stripes that I thought would look better with a bigger, pattern that has simple geometry. I really love square patchwork type quilts, but thought that I'd do something to compliment the cool painting we did on her walls.

Anyhow, I came across Oh Fransson's New Wave pattern (available for free on her website), and thought it would be a perfect match for Syd's room and the vintage sheets I'd been collecting. I made myself a plastic rotary cutting template with the laser cutter to make cutting the pieces easier, and it really did make it easy. This pattern is quick to piece, and I love that it makes such a statement for not so much time spent.

I really love when you have the binding sewn on and flip it over and clip it, and for the first time you get to see how the 'finished' quilt will look. Such a cool little sneak peak. I wasn't so sure how I was going to feel about this one while I was working on it, but I'm really happy with how it's turning out. My favorite thing about it is that it's made with sheets from my folks. One was a wedding shower gift (the one right next to the blue flower one), and the binding was cut from pillow cases that belonged to my Dad before he met my Mom.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Look Familiar?

I have been pretty busy over the last week, most of it did not involve sewing. My husband's business is finally starting to pick up a bit (phew!), so I've been with the kiddos what feels like 24/7. We all cycled through a nasty summer cold, had 2 more family birthdays, and got a cool new swimming pool. My wonderful husband did feel bad for me not having ANY 'me' time in awhile, and took the kids over for a few hours on Saturday AND Sunday. It was awesome. I worked on a bunch of long overdue stuff. First to get finished was this bag that I made for my friend Lily to donate to a charity auction that she is working on. Yes, it looks just like this bag that I made a couple months ago. I really loved the design, so I just mixed up the colors a bit, and I think I love this one just as much.

The hexagons do take awhile to sew together, but I don't think the bag would be the same without them. I'd love to make this same bag in a bunch of different colors. We'll see if I get around to it. I love the cute polka dot interior with my silly label - I think it makes it pretty fun. I hope they get alot of money for Intercambio de Comunidades, that's the charity that the auction will benefit. I was trying to figure out how many hours I spent on it - but with all the hand stitching it was impossible to track (plus I'm really slow).

Ahhhh, we've finally reached kiddie bedtime - I'm off to relax, or fold laundry...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Traveling Hexagons

Well, tonight is "Hexagon" night at the PMQG meeting. We're learning all about paper piecing and we're going to share projects we've made using hexagons. We'll be breaking into small work groups to cut, baste, and piece together little 1" hexagons. Since I'm leading one of the small groups, I thought I should make myself a cute little "traveling hexagon" kit.

I recently bought the book I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale, and it has an adorable little travel sewing kit in it. I did modify the design a bit, the original had a little pincushion in the middle section, but I wouldn't be needing that for paper piecing. I added a pocket instead, and I also added a spool holder.

Now I can fit my templates, paper pieces, scissors, thread, and needles all into one cute (and very brightly colored) package. I'm really looking forward to seeing the quilt guild ladies tonight, and having a look at all of their wonderful hexagon creations!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Matching Purse

I had some scraps leftover from my summer diaper bag, so little Syd got a new purse. She's very excited about it. She carries it around and fills it with her brother's toys. Oh, and apparently tupperware. Just too cute not to share.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Diaper Bag

I was finally able to finish my summer diaper bag that I had been planning for awhile. I made the piping and the strap way back here. It was my first time doing piping, and boy did it go smoothly with a piping foot. I made the bag at Modern Domestic, and their machines didn't even flinch at the massive amount of fabric, fleece, interfacing and cording that I sewed though. The exterior is an Amy Butler print that I have been drooling over for awhile, I just couldn't figure out what I would do with such a big print. This bag really shows it off well though.

The interior is a Michael Miller ta dot, I love the color of this one. The binding and piping are another Amy Butler print. The strap is a ribbon sewed to plain old cotton webbing - a great way to spruce up a basic material.

The inside has a key clip, 2 big pockets for diapers and wipes, and a cute little cell phone pocket with my fancy label on it. I didn't follow a pattern for this one, I just kind of had the image in my head. That proved to be a bit difficult since I started it one Friday and finished it the next. I really should have written down some measurements. Anyhow, it did turn out pretty nice, and I'm pretty proud of it. I finished it just in time too, it's my birthday today - so it's my present to myself.