Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a yarn bag

I just had a ridiculously productive two days. I am now finished all the sewing projects that I wanted to do that weren't quilts. A few of them are gifts so their posting will be delayed, but I have a few goodies to share next week. This weekend the hubby and I are taking a little drive down to Jersey for some family festivities, but once we get back, the quilting will be in full swing :)

Anyway, since we are going to visit and my dad asked me to make him one, I have created a little yarn bag for him to hold his current project. I tried one once before but it was a bit too small for some of the yarn he was using so this time I tried it out with a bulky yarn I had sitting around and it fit perfectly! I didn't really use a pattern, I just kinda made one up....ya know, hemming the top, sewing around the sides, and putting a handle on. Easy peasy. One day I may try one that with a little slot for needles too, but we'll see when I get to that. So here, in wonderfully manly fabric, is a yarn bag for my dad (and yes, it matches his needle holder) :)

You'll just have to excuse the crappy images....the sun has apparently decided it has had enough of Binghamton for the year so I have some major flash going on. Next week I have a few other little projects to put up and hopefully in the next month, a quilt that I can post! The quilt I am starting next week is a gift so that won't be up until after christmas since you never know who is reading these things.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Lola is my sewing machine :) As we finished up our first project together the other day, the song Lola came on the radio and I just knew she was speaking to me. Ha, don't think about it too hard, it doesn't really make sense. At any rate, project 1 is done and so far I love her. The sewing goes quick and the stitches are even. It is a quiet machine which is nice and in general, things just went well. The only problem I ran into was putting the bobbin in the second time. The tension is supposed to be adjusted automatically and if you don't hit the tension spring right, it won't be adjusted I put it in again and it worked. I am still not sure what made the difference, but I assume I will figure it out in time. I can not, at this time, reveal the project due to it's gifty nature, but I promise to do so as soon as possible.

I am also curious to see how Lola handles a quilt. I read some reviews that some of these machines don't seem to be able to handle thick fabric or too many layers, but we will see. I love my attachments and can't wait to use them. As it turns out, I have become quite obsessed with quilting recently. I just want to make so many quilts! I believe I made that clear a few posts ago haha, but seriously, I can't stop thinking about it. Tomorrow, I am even going quilt shop hopping! I have been avoiding the quilt shops (and didn't even know there were so many in the area) because, let's face it, I'm pretty poor and can not be spending $15/yard for fabric and I didn't want to get sucked in. But now I have a friend that I have slowly coaxed into the wonderful world of quilting and we are going to venture out together. Now, the last time I went in search of a fabric shop around here, I could not, for the life of me find it and ended up very frustrated, so let's hope tomorrow goes better than that. I am super excited though, even if I don't end up buying much it will help give me an idea what is out there for when I plan future projects. We have four shops we are planning on hitting and we'll see where it takes us.

Looking forward, I have 3 projects I would like to try and complete next week and then the following week I plan to start on a quilt (the Ragged Square quilt for a christmas gift in fact). All the squares are cut out and I am ready to lay it out and start sewing but I want to finish a few smaller things first. And I should really do some knitting too but we'll see how that goes. In fact, I think I'll go work on that now for a bit. Next time I promise to put up something involving pretty pictures :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Going Green

I like to think of myself as an eco-conscious person. I try to stay aware of my impact on the earth; I recycle, I use my reusable bags whenever I grocery shop and even keep one in my purse for those random shopping trips. I try to use the plastic bags I do get for other things instead of throwing them away, and slowly but surely I am trying to transition this attitude into my cleaning.

Enter: the knit swiffer cover. Made of cotton yarn, it is a washable cover that just slips right onto the swiffer. I ended up spending a whopping $.97 to make this glorious little number and let me tell you, it picks up cat hair like a dream. It comes from a free pattern that Lily, the makers of Sugar n Cream cotton yarn, made for Michael's. I actually think it may work better than the disposable covers that you buy, and then you can just throw it in the wash and you are good to go all over again. I think, assuming this first washing goes well, that I am going to make a bunch of them and have them around when I need them. The only problem I can foresee, and this may be a personal issue, is that to avoid putting so much cat hair in our washing machine I have to pick a lot of the hair off before I can wash it, but I don't really mind so no big deal. Here is what it looks like (I am not showing pictures of after it was used because I don't even want to admit how much cat hair was hiding on our fur blends in with hard wood you'll just have to take my word that it works)

This also may have inspired me to make some cotton cleaning cloths to cut down on our paper towel use. I will have to knit some of those up and see how it goes. Every little thing helps!

P.S. an update on my sewing machine, which I love so far, is coming as soon as we are better acquainted and make something together :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


There are many things in my life that I wish to accomplish, and my crafty life is no different. Ever since I discovered this love of quilting, I have gone absolutely crazy with ambition and the number of projects I would like to accomplish. While there are certainly other projects that will have my attention, a variation of sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, and other random things, I think that quilting is going to become a main focus for me. I like to set goals for myself although often times the achievement of said goals is inconsequential, largely, I think, as a way to keep myself organized. And when I realize that I may not get it done, I don't usually worry, I just reevaluate and figure out where I stand and what I should be working toward. All this by way of saying that my goals are constantly changing as I think they should be, especially when the goals are long term. That said, I am still writing a post about my current goals as they pertain to quilting and we will just have to see how it goes. Currently I have 7 quilts that I have found that I would really like to make, and I have most of the fabric (or will once it arrives) for4 or 5 of them, which should keep me pretty committed I would think. Here they are:
  • Ragged Square Quilt -I just have to buy the backing fabric for this....It should be done by christmas seeing as it is a gift
  • Stacked Coins Quilt - There was this fabric I had been eyeing that went on sale for 45% off (um hello $3 a yard!) so once it gets here I will have a pack of strips, the backing and the binding fabrics and just need the sashing
  • Scrap Quilt - I have a lot of scraps and I save them all, so I am aiming to get a quilt like this one out of only fabric I currently have in my posession...that should lead to some interesting creativity since I don't know what I have big enough for a backing but I will absolutely make it work
  • Ticker Tape Quilt - I am in love with this and I think it would be a good way to use a lot of my smaller scraps that won't work in the other scrap quilt.
  • Log Cabin Quilt - I saw this posted and could not get over how beautiful it is. I am getting a bag of designer scraps that I think will be my starting point...I love the bright colors and fabrics and hope to come up with something similar
  • Tumbler Quilt - Ridiculously cute. Enough said.
  • Wonky Log Cabin Quilt - I think this looks so cool and would make a really interesting quilt. I may actually try this before the regular log cabin because it gives more room for error I would say.
I am giving myself a time frame of approximately 1 year to complete these if I can. I am guessing I will at least get half of them done and hopefully be on my way with the others. I am not going to stress myself about it, I just wanted a record of the things I would like to do. I will try to check in and give a progress update every once in a while too which should be a good thing. Of course I don't know what in the world I am going to do with most of these which is the one thing that might slow my progress. Most of them will be lap/baby size and I don't know many people having babies right now so we'll see. Many of them will probably turn into gifts or something. There are also other quilts I have seen that I would like to do, but they don't seem as pressing right now....I may or may not add and subtract from this list.

Before I end this, I have one other goal that I would like to share. I have come a long way with my quilting, especially in the past few months. Over the next 6 months, I would really like to learn to free-motion quilt. So far I have only done stitch in the ditch, and a grid and I am ready to expand. The ragged square quilt has the quilting already set out, but with some of the others I would really like to try something different. I am planning on doing the swirly like quilting on the seams of the scrap quilt as it is pictured so I think that may be my starting point. So there you have it, my possibly ridiculous quilting ambitions :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An early Christmas

It seems my sewing machine is sick :( Yesterday I went to work on a project and it sounded kinda funny and kept skipping stitches...which I might have been able to deal with if I wasn't topstitching, making it ridiculously obvious. Needless to say, all that will have to be ripped out and redone....with my NEW MACHINE!!!! That's right, I ordered a new machine yesterday. I have been using my parents machine for the past couple of years (the one they got around the time they got married 25 years ago...) and well, it was time for an upgrade. After a couple hours of research, this Brother machine was the winner. I am really looking forward to getting it this week and spending some time getting to know it. I have a lot of projects planned for the next couple of months and hopefully this baby will help me get through them with ease. I am particularly happy it has a table attachment which should help me quilt!

In any case, I am really excited, but it also does put a number of things on hold. I am hoping that by next weekend we will be familiar enough (me and my machine that is) to get to work on a few things. In the meantime, I am hoping to get to work on some knitting projects that have been sitting around for ages. I am also working on some project goals for the next year or so that I will be posting soon, kind of a sneak peak of the different things I am looking to accomplish.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

my first *really real* quilt!

Here it is, the moment you have all been waiting for! That's right, the wonderfully bright yellow quilt is finished! Now, like all my projects, it certainly has it's imperfections and I don't pretend to ignore them. However, I am ridiculously proud of this quilt. I say it is my first really real quilt because I would consider it my first proper quilt -- the cat quilt was my first real quilt, one involving quilting and binding, but this one is so much more special then that because I took the time and hand sewed the binding on the back. I think this gives it such a nice finished look and it makes me really proud. It only took me 2 movies to get the binding all sewn too, which isn't bad at all. I even managed to wash it and it didn't fall apart which is definitely a good sign!

So let's see, the quilt stats: I got the pattern from Your Space which I got for my birthday and is the same book that gave me the instructions to cover my memory box. The pattern itself seemed to have some issues (like not accounting for how pieces were put together when measuring...or I could be crazy, I'm not ruling it out) which did not help my already handicapped measuring, but that is besides the point. It measures 40.5"x46.5" instead of the intended 45"x51". I got some really great binding help online from a number of sources, but primarily used a tutorial from Heather Bailey, and some great instructions on turning*turning for both how to do an invisible stitch, and believe it or not, how to knot the thread (as an aside, I am being completely honest when I say that not being able to easily knot my thread was a major hand sewing roadblock for me....mine were ugly nests and endlessly frustrating....I think this discovery may have turned my life around, no lie). Anyway, on to the pictures!!!

Now I have a bunch of smaller projects coming up and I am going to start working on some christmas gifts. Of course what I really want to do is make approximately a bazillion quilts now that I feel like I know so much more and have a TON of cute patterns I would like to try. I will just tuck them away and slowly gather fabric for them :) I think I may have found my crafty calling here!