Wednesday, December 29, 2010


As I sit here, returned from our holiday journey and waiting for the new year, I am inspired. Overwhelmed by all I wish to accomplish and a little being who simply will not have it, but inspired and excited for the coming year none the less. I have some awesome new books to read which just keep giving me idea after idea. I plan to spend the next couple of days relaxing with the family and getting myself in order for the new year. I have some priorities to figure out and I'm really hoping to start the new year out with a clear idea of what I want to accomplish. Right now my list is 10 miles long and I am feeling pretty disorganized so hopefully I will be able to iron some of that out.

With that I wish you a very happy new year. Next week I will be back [hopefully] renewed and refreshed and with some great christmas gifts to show off and some sort of plan for 2011. We know how well I stick to plans....but I'll keep trying :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


And running out of time. 16 Days until Christmas. 9 Days until we begin our holiday travels. 5 gifts to finish.

Since my lovely little lady has decided that naps are for babies (but not her) unless, of course, she is snuggled on mommy's lap (right now for instance), my time to sew has been severely limited (I am enjoying it though, she is already growing so fast I know I have to soak it up while I can!). Thus, out of the many things I had planned to make, not too many of them will actually be done for christmas. And that's okay, I think I should be able to do the rest of the things I have in progress and have something for everyone in the immediate families, but I had to put a lot of things on hold. Sad times. I have only one quilt that I think will be is half quilted right now, I just need a couple more hours to quilt and then I need to make and attach the binding and sew it down by hand. Easy, right? Ha. But it should be done and at least hand stitching the binding is portable so it can travel with us and be finished in the week before christmas. I have 3 other things cut and ready to be sewn which hopefully will go pretty quickly and then another thing I need to wash the fabric for and then get started on which is a less pressing issue since I suspect I won't see the recipient until after the holiday.

So it is doable, it's just a lot, and the time is that much shorter until the middle of next week when hubbys semester is over and we have a little more breathing room. Somehow it will get done though. And, I have decided that I am just going to go ahead and make the blanket for myself that I have had cut and waiting since June once the holidays are over. I ordered the back and binding and I am super excited. And I think I even have enough to make a baby blanket out of the leftovers :) I also ordered some sweet double gauze to make a set of security blankets for the little one so that once she reaches that attachment stage, we can encourage her to use these. They should be pretty soft and wonderful! I also have the other quilts to make and plenty of other ideas floating around.

I guess at this point I don't know if you'll hear much from me until the holidays are past and I can start posting the things I am giving. Which reminds me, I better take some pictures before I go giving them away. I am very much looking forward to a couple of relaxing family-filled weeks before the start of a new year. Until then, I better get my craft on and get these things done!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My new best friend

So. It's been a little while. It's a weird combination of busy and that chunk of time before Christmas where I can't reveal anything I am working on for fear of the recipient seeing it. Not that I am making a huge amount of stuff this year due to obvious time constraints. And since we are doing our Christmas traveling the week before Christmas, time is even more limited. It's alright though, I am pretty sure everyone in the immediate families will get something.

Anyway, what I do want to talk about is the best thing that has happened in my sewing life. Seriously, I don't know how I survived or what I was thinking. I would like you to meet my 1/4" foot.

Why someone didn't alert me to their existence sooner, I have no idea, but it seriously has changed my sewing forever. We all know I have a particular problem with accuracy. And I've come to terms with that and recognize that my project still look good. But this just changed my life. I now have even seems and they meet where they are supposed to almost every time (the remaining times I attribute to my inability to cut, even with a rotary cutter and mat). It's amazing. I didn't think I would ever be able to do that! It has been particularly good for my most recent project with lots of piecing and seems that need to match up, and they do, and it looks freaking awesome! More on that particular project after it is given. And finished for that matter.

The fabric just lines up so nicely along the guide...clearly I am easily impressed. And I can't wait to use it to quilt and make nice lines 1/4" from the seams. Yep, way too excited about this little gadget. Is it even really a gadget? Ah well, either way. The point is, awesome. And with that I must go. I have some serious basting to do this between the family pictures, cleaning, hot chocolate and christmas decorating that must happen :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

hexies :)

So here it is, finally. The real start of project hexie. By way of description, this project is at least starting as a travel project for me. I want something I can do in the car (I tried knitting but my elbows kept hitting the door) and when we are away from home to keep my hands busy. I have recently fallen in love with some hexagon blankets and decided to try some english paper piecing. I am feeling pretty good about it so far, but we'll see how it goes once I am really into it

I didn't want to end up killing myself or having a never ending project so I am doing pretty large hexagons. The finished sides are 2.33" and I am using the It's a Hoot line by Momo for Moda (which I love) and started with a layer cake cut into quarters so basically charm packs, or 5" squares. Once I sat down and figured out the blanket size I determined I needed one more charm pack and will end up with 210 hexies (some of them halved) doing 14 rows of 15 hexies and I am planning on two borders, one small one larger.

The hexagon pieces are a very custom size that I made myself in photoshop and then printed on my Silhouette machine (something else I love, more on that another time) so I didn't have to cut them out and they all came out the same. They fit perfectly on my charm squares with minimal waste. So far I have cut 45 of them so I have enough for 3 rows, but I'll probably have to cut more at some point. We'll see how long this keeps me busy.

I am planning on going through one charm pack at a time and putting them together in clusters of 9 (3 rows of 3) and then arranging them when I am done since I think that will be easier than long rows and I'll have more control over the colors and arrangement of fabrics.

So there you have it. I have my little travel box all ready to go on Tuesday when we start our holiday travels and I am super excited. I did two test hexies to make sure I knew what I was doing and they came out great. Who knows how long this project will take, but I'm not in much of a hurry. I will probably end up working on them at home too after the holidays since it gives me something to do while I'm sitting around on the couch relaxing but for now it is a travel project. I'll keep updating my progress as I go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yoga Mat Bag

So before you ask, yes, I should be working on christmas gifts. This I know. But, I started going to a really awesome mommy and me yoga class...and well, it turns out it is really hard to juggle a baby, a diaper bag and a yoga mat. The solution: a yoga mat cover with a strap! It was a pretty quick project, although let's be honest, everything takes longer with a baby. Still I got it done in a day and I love it and it works wonderfully.

I used a free pattern from Amy Butler and since I really didn't feel like a trip to the fabric store, I was determined to use what I already had. A couple of years ago when I started sewing, I made myself a dress. It came out okay, but had a few problems. Well it is now a yoga mat bag. I still haven't decided if I feel relieved or sad, but really it looks so good that I can't be too upset and the dress never fit right anyway. The lining is a yellow check fabric I got from my husbands grandmothers stuff when she moved out off her house and since I did not have any interfacing, I used flannel. It gave it weight and made it sturdy but kept it soft and flexible, and most importantly, I already had it and thus did not have to buy anything! I am really happy with it and it works so well and makes it so much easier. This is one of those projects that I saw and saved for "eventually" and when I started this class it just had to become now.

So anyway, now I am working hard to put together a christmas gift quilt top :) It is pretty big so it is taking a while....I really want it done before we leave for thanksgiving next week which is a tall order since I am in the midst of training for work and everything but I think I can manage it. Hopefully tomorrow I will journey to get a fabric for the back and this weekend finish piecing it together. We shall see! And if I'm honest, the main reason I am looking forward to our holiday travels is that I want to work on my hexies! It is nice having a portable project to bring and work on in the car and when we are all sitting around and people are stealing my child :) More on hexies soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Couch Pillow Covers

Well we are certainly entering that incredibly busy time of year. Ya know, the time where I start training for work and the holidays are like, right there. On top of the normal stuff, my parents were visiting this past weekend and the hubby had to get the final draft of his prospectus in so he can write his dissertation at some point....yeah, it's been nuts. At some point in the next few weeks I fear I will have to come to terms with the fact that I may not get all my christmas gifts done in time. I am certainly going to try, but with a whole week of training next week and thanksgiving after that, I am running out of time. It will all get done eventually...

Anyway, one of my smaller projects recently was to re-cover our nasty couch pillows. They were not beautiful and really, we needed something we could take off and wash at a moments notice. They are all envelope back (my favorite) and really brighten up the room. The one is just plain and two others are square in square fronts. Very simple and used some fabric that had been waiting for the perfect project. I think it is a great improvement!



One of these days I think I am going to make some bed pillow cases, but it's really not very high on the priority list. I have some small sewing goals for this week so we'll see how that goes. If only I could pause life and get some uninterrupted sewing time....what a nice dream :-P

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Play Quilt

a.k.a. peekaboo-textures-colors quilt

a.k.a. sensory overload

This is one of those quilts that I am incredibly happy with the final product, but I really hated making it and could not wait for it to be done! It started when I saw the peekaboo quilt that Anna Maria Horner has in her newest book Handmade Beginnings. I really liked the idea of the flaps that lift up to reveal something and decided I could make something similar but instead of just a color pattern under the flap, I thought felt animals would be nice. and then I decided that instead of just using two different versions of the same color for each block, I could make them each have a textured square so the red has a minky square, purple has velour, pink has terry cloth, green has satin, yellow has fleece, etc. And so I set about making it.

The blocks are 14" squares with a 6" center square. The animals were printed off the computer and traced onto some sewable heat and bond which I ironed on and then did some nice chunky stitches with embroidery floss. I like it a lot actually, it looks really cool. I made the mistake of using a poly/cotton blend for my solids, mostly because they were cheap and I figured they would be less likely to wrinkle which is true, but it just didn't sew up as nicely. And of course many of the textured fabrics were stretchy and a pain to work with so that wasn't fantastic...

[the white one is a bunny in case you can't see it]

The back and binding is Michael Miller Loli Dots which is seriously just perfect. It really makes it. I decided to try something different since the quilt is pretty small and wrap the backing around to make the binding and machine stitch it down and it came out really well. I think I like the stability of that for a play quilt that. To be honest, I am hoping it survives the wash since I think it will need to be washed many times, but we'll see. All the fabrics are pre-washed so that should help (and yes, I absolutely made sure that all the different types of fabric were washable before I bought them).

Overall I am really happy with how this turned out and I can't wait until the wee one is big enough to really appreciate it and play with it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am feeling kind of brave today and have decided to participate in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy of :)

I feel a little weird about it since I haven't been quilting as much recently and have just been doing smaller sewing projects when I have time thanks to the wee one and her constant demands. And really I am such a beginner quilter anyway. But I love my quilts and I'm proud of them and and opportunity to participate with so many other quilters who are truly amazing, probably better than I will ever be, is great.

With that, I spent days trying to figure out which of my fairly small group of finished quilts is my favorite and have decided that my most recent pink and brown quilt is it. There are a few reasons for this, not least of which being the fact that it is the most 'perfect' quilt I have made to date. Add to that it is the one my husband is most impressed by, the fact that I was totally 9 months pregnant when I made it (yes, somehow that makes it more special), and the fact that it makes an appearance in our professional newborn pictures and we have a clear favorite emerging.

It is such a simple pattern and the quilting is straight lines across (which sounds easier than it is for me), I love the back so much and polka dots can't be beat. It only took a day or two from start to finish, which was a great thing since baby was due any day and really I just made it to keep myself busy and distracted from the misery of late pregnancy. I just kept hoping the whole time that I would finish before baby decided to arrive. The pattern is from Bend the Rules Sewing and I just made it slightly bigger and reversed the use of patterns and solids. I use this quilt all. the. time. It tends to travel with us a lot so that we always have a blanket to play on the floor and it's just perfect. It helps that I get a lot of compliments when people find out I made it :)

I am sure that as I keep quilting and learning new things, I will look back and think how simple and unimpressive this quilt is in a lot of ways, but it is busy building its way into our lives so I think it will always have a special place with me.

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Letter

Dear minky,

I hate you. I don't care how soft and luxurious you may be, you are not fun to sew. Consider our relationship least until I am stupid enough to try again. I hope you die.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Cloth Napkins

In addition to grocery bags, my other environmentally friendly initiative has been cloth napkins. We had a few but I decided I could make some more way easier and cheaper. So I did. I made some smalish square ones (8") and some medium square ones (10") double sided and topstitched, and two large squares (16") and some rectangles (9" x 13") with the edges folded over. All are from scraps and things I didn't know what to do with/don't love (that way who cares how messy they get). They are working really well and definitely cut down on paper towel usage :) Now I just have to work out some good cleaning cloths and we can rid our lives of papertowels almost entirely (yes almost, there are some messes I'd rather throw away...and yes I am aware I put dirty diapers in our washer daily).

So there you have it, more of my green living attempt. Hopefully there will be a nice day sometime soon where I can take some pictures of some other things done and maybe I'll even get to work on some things one of these days....I can hope anyway.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grocery Bag

I have been trying for ages to convince a particular friend of mine to stop using so many stinking plastic bags and in an effort to help her along, I made her this grocery bag. I don't love the pattern, but it was a free one from Joanns that I thought I'd try. It's not bad, but not great either. It works though and it's pretty! I think sometime in the fairly near future I will try out some other patterns and see if I can find some I actually like. We'll see when I get the time for that.

Did I mention that my project list just keeps growing and growing and growing??? It's okay, by the end of the week I should have something else crossed off and will be on my way with a few new ones. And hopefully 10 more things won't get added in the meantime.....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here it is, the sweet pile of goodness that is the result of a weekend of quilt shop hopping!

It was a lot of fun! I found some great stuff and got a lot crossed off my list. The remaining things are things I can get cheaper elsewhere. And actually I already ordered a layer cake for my crazy hexagon quilt that I can't wait to get here. The downside to shopping online: lack of instant gratification. Oh well, worth it. More about hexies later :)

Out of all that I got, the things not on the list were some sweet kaffe fassett polka dots and 6 bright colorful fabrics that were on sale that I just couldn't pass up. Oddly enough they are from Ikea which explains why they looked so familiar ha! How they ended up in a quilt shop in upstate NY, I do not know, I thought you could only buy ikea fabric at ikea, but there you have it. So now I just need time to get busy....and I need to stop adding more projects to the list. Tomorrow I go to a final quilt shop that we didn't make it to this weekend and hopefully they will have the 1/4" foot that I need for my machine to hopefully help with my seam accuracy. We shall see. A Joanns run is also in the works. Today I am just trying to get myself organized and so some things around the house (hello laundry!) and hopefully be ready to get some things done this week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big Plans

Tomorrow the quilt shop hopping begins!!! I am so excited and have my fabric shopping list all in's pretty long, although really not as bad as it could be. And really, since last year I think I bought like a yard and a fat quarter total, I'm okay with it. We'll see if I can find what I need or if I come back to the trusty internet.

Anyway, I sorted out a lot of things I would like to make this week to figure out where I stand. I still at some point would like to make all the types of quilts I posted about last time, but we'll just have to see where I can fit them in and what they will work for. I also eventually hope to get decent at free-motion quilting, but we'll just have to see about that...part of the problem being that I need to make something I don't care much about so I am not too upset if it looks bad. We'll see.

The current list:
  • A quilt for my brother. I promised him one for christmas so now I just have to figure out what fabric I can find which will determine what it looks like. It needs to be a serious twin size which is bigger than I usually go.
  • A Christmas will also be a gift so I will refrain from posting more details at this time
  • A belated wedding gift quilt...all planned out, I just need to find the fabrics....also withholding details for the time being
  • A log cabin quilt for me. I have all the fabric cut and ready, it's just that projects for me get put on the backburner when it comes down to it. It is Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks line and I am super excited. I love the fabric and can't wait to see what it looks like.
  • A quilt for the little lady's eventual bed....only because I fell in love with this Ann Kelle line :)
I also have a number of eventually projects including, but not limited to a pieced white duvet cover and a queen size irish chain quilt for our bed. At some point I will also be working on my clothes sewing skills since I know I can make my little darling some amazing (and simple) things starting with most of the projects in Making Children's Clothing which I am really looking forward to. I am not going to try and actually list those eventually projects because it will just overwhelm me and I need to organize them first....still working on a system for that. Which I suppose is another goal, figuring out how to organize my patterns and ideas so I can find things and might remember I have them when the time comes.

Perhaps the biggest challenge I have set for myself, and naturally the one I am most excited about, is a hexagon blanket. That's right, english paper piecing, hand sewing, the whole nine yards. I'm crazy but excited. More details on that as I work them out. I am going to start by scouting some perfect fabrics this weekend :) That will hopefully be started before the holiday travels so I can bring it with me...what with not needing a machine and all.

I think that's all for now (I say that like it's not more than enough...). My to-make list is always growing and changing, so as usual I'm not too worried about it, I just like to try and keep track. And if I'm honest, these are just the sewing projects, I have a whole bunch of scrapbooking and such to do as well! (Catch up on Hubby's book, do the first handful of months for the little one...) And some assorted other christmas gifts, plus the WIP I already have, hopefully to be finished up as soon as I get the batting/backing/binding etc. Okay, really have to stop now....update to come after the shop hop!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sneak Peek

good things are coming :) eventually...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Netbook case

Well it has been a crazy couple of weeks, some good, some bad, but we made it through. This week I plan to sit down and really figure out what I am doing for the rest of this year craft-wise, and what my larger goals are. This weekend I am going quilt shop hopping again (yay!!!!) and I have to have my fabric shopping list together so I have an immediate goal pushing me. I have to figure out what my projects are and how much fabric I need, so it will be a busy week, hopefully ending with a lot of pretty fabric to play with :) Not to mention I have to get the house and everything straightened up from the last two weeks of crazy, but that is another story I suppose.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. This isn't a completely new project as it is a revisit of the laptop case I made my hubby last year. If you want the pattern link and whatnot, you can check out that post. I needed a case for my netbook and liked this pattern enough to give it another go. Let me just say, it went much better this time! It's amazing what a difference a better machine, the correct needle (yep, I actually got one for heavyweight fabrics) and a walking foot make. I mean, I knew I wasn't following the recommendations last time, but I was working with what I had, and the result was quite good, but it was so much easier and went so much smoother this time....someday I will learn that these things are recommended for a reason. The outer fabric is actually an ikea pillow case that I got with the intention of ripping out the seams and using for a project and this is perfect. I also love the navy blue flannel inside, it tones down the busy outside just right. It is actually a bit too big because of the weird dimensions of the netbook thanks to the battery upgrade, but that just means I can fit my power cord inside. I messed with a bunch of ideas for a place to put the power cord from a pocket on front to a strap on the side, but none worked out quite right...part of the problem is the proportions since the netbook is so small. I'll revisit that issue when I make my husband a new one, his is bound to wear out some time since it gets so much use :)

Hopefully my computer will cooperate enough for me to get more posted this week. I will be one busy bee!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bandana Dress

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I really like making little kid things. They are small and consequently quick and very rewarding. I try not to make too many complicated things for kids, especially clothes since I know they will fit for only a short amount of time. A while back I saw this 15-minute dress pattern and fell in love. It is just so super cute and I figured it would be perfect for my cousins daughter (the one I made the various other things for). She will be two in a month and this little dress would grow with her into a shirt if she wanted (although it might be too big for now). Her parents are also very much the bandana types :)

It is a really simple dress. You pretty much take two bandanas and sew up the sides leaving an opening for the arms and a little extra for a ribbon casing. I used a silk ribbon actually that I found in the jewelry section at a.c. moore because it was just so soft and I think it ended up looking great! I love using things where the edges are already finished so no worries about hemming or anything. I used a nice bright blue bandana with white ink which I think will look just wonderful on her very blonde little self.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pink and Brown Quilt

This is it. The last thing that I had made before the baby was born. It makes my 'quilts completed this year' total 3 (and if I'm lucky, that will be at least 6 by the end of this year). And as my husband said, it may be the best one yet! It came out just about perfectly, partly thanks to a simple pattern and limited piecing.

I first saw this quilt in Bend the Rules Sewing, which I know I've mentioned before as I have made quite a few things from it. I had this perfect stash of 1/3 yards of pink and brown fabric that I had seen at a local quilt shop and loved so I got it for the stash, having no idea what I would actually make with it. It was perfect. As usual, I tweaked the patterns to fit my needs, making the strips patterned with solid interruptions instead of the other way around, and adding some strips to make the blanket a bit longer and balance it out. I also decided to do a nice little pieced strip on the back and honestly, I almost like the back more than the front! Lesson: polka dots are a great back and an even better binding. The quilting is simple straight line quilting at random intervals on the strips, and it is actually close to straight most of the time, quite an accomplishment for me. The finished size is 39" x 43" and it is really a great floor blanket. The cat really loves to burrow under it and play. And believe it or not, although it is a girly blanket, I made it before we had any idea whether we were having a girl or boy and it just worked out, but I wouldn't say this was made for the baby. So here it is, my best quilt yet according to some:

I love that the sun came out between the front and back pictures so the lighting is different haha. I think the colors look a bit better in person, but you get the idea.

I already have a bunch of other things done to post when I get the time and I am working on a bunch more. There is a sneak peek coming as well!! And at some point, I am going to sit down and really write out where I want my crafting to go and work out some goals for the next year or so. So far every time I cross something off my to-do list, something else pops into my head that I must make and I end up adding more than I accomplished. That's normal, right??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cloth Wipes

So I don't know if I've mentioned our use of cloth diapers, but either way I am now. We use cloth diapers and we love them. And she loves them; no rashes like the few times we have had to use disposables and super soft, not to mention they are just about the cutest thing ever :) Anyway, really it would be silly to use cloth diapers and still use disposable wipes. I mean as far as waste goes, do you know how many wipes a baby can go through in a day?!?!?! We used them when we were visiting our families and it just felt so...wasteful.

So when we were getting our cloth diaper start-up stuff, we got a few different kinds of wipes to try: bamboo terry cloth, cotton flannel, and....I don't recall what the others are made of, but it is like a terry on one side and more velourish on the other. In any case, the flannel is too thin and the bamboo terry are the best but also started coming apart in the dryer (they were supposed to be hung to dry, who has time for that??) so I decided to make some to help our stash. I went on and found some organic bamboo terry cloth with loops on just one side and bought a yard of that. It turned out to be a pretty stretchy knit. I got the one sided because I don't have a serger so I knew I would have to finish the edges anyway and figured I could back it with something else. I decided to use a used flannel receiving blanket we had been given (we have about a bazillion) for the other side.

I used a straight stitch since I didn't want it to stretch since only one of the fabrics is stretchy and used a walking foot to keep the layers together nicely (best.decision.ever.). I just sewed 7" squares right sides together, flipped right side out and topstitched all the way around. They came out perfectly. We love them and actually they are now our go-to wipe. I only made 10 of them to start but once some of the others wear down I will probably be replacing them. It was pretty cheap considering how many wipes I can get out of the yard I purchased. They wash wonderfully and so far, for the weeks we have been using them, stay soft and clean well.

So there you have it, aside from hemmed yoga pants (not very impressive really) this is my other very successful knit fabric project. We'll see where it goes next, but let me say, I have learned to love my walking foot, mostly for things other than quilting so far. I have actually been able to do a fair amount of sewing so far and have a handful of complete things crossed off my list, which feels great. And I only have one more project that I finished before giving birth and then we start in on the new stuff :) I have a whole lot to get done in the next 3.5 months!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Battling with Knits

Let's talk about knits. Knit fabrics. Knit fabrics and I have a....developing relationship. It's funny, the first thing I ever sewed was a t-shirt blanket. The entire middle of the blanket was knit t-shirts and man, it was tough. I had no idea what I was doing and just kinda made it up as I went along. The result was a lot of frustration at the stretchy fabric (no one told me to put interfacing on or anything to make it behave) and a vow not to sew with it again. Well of course that didn't last, but it was over 2 years before I tried anything with knit fabric again, and that was the newborn gown. I figured if it was smaller it would be easier, plus I had been sewing for a while and figured I could handle it. I had a pattern and everything! And easier it was, but still not great. Of course that could have been because I don't like sewing clothes, sleeves in particular. So 7 months later, I decided to try again, but this time I did a simple applique on a onsie and some baby legs. I figured if the patterns got simpler it would be easier. Ha! How little I know! Neither project came out particularly well, but let's take these one at a time, shall we?

First, a baby onsie. I decided my baby would need something cute to wear for 4th of July. As it turned out, it didn't matter since 1.) we spent the holiday in the hospital and 2.) she was pretty small so the 0-3 month onsie I decorated would have been way too big anyway. Ah well, I guess that makes it okay that it didn't come out well. It's not too bad I suppose, but I really should have stabilized the fabric and since I didn't, the zig's are missing some zag. It just wouldn't catch in the fabric very well at all. Enough to stay on, especially with the heat and bond I used, but really, not great. (the pictures actually make it look pretty good, but I promise up close there are many many missed stitches).

Second I wanted to take some socks and turn them into a version of baby legs. What are baby legs? Well they are the cutest most adorablest baby leg warmers which are infinitely more practical than tights and make a diaper change a breeze. It is a simple pattern, but let me tell you, it did not go well. I could not get the stupid fabric to cooperate! There are pieces sticking out every which way making it look sloppy. *sigh* I'll try again with my new found knowledge and if that doesn't work, I'm buying some.

But, things have gotten better since my insanity of June. First, I now have the book Sew U Home Stretch which deals with sewing knits and gives helpful information even if you don't have serger (I do not). It has been great and helped me complete my first knit fabric project that I would consider successful, yoga pants that I hemmed to capris. Second, through the book and yoga pants I discovered the perfect stitch on my sewing machine and also that despite the fact that my instruction manual says no walking foot with a zigzag stitch, it can be done and it makes things much much easier.

That said, I have another project that deserves its own post that used a knit fabric so that will be coming up. Although actually I didn't use the zigzag for that, oh well. Anyway, the point is, I am getting there and I have high hopes for my relationship with knits becoming a good one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Burp Cloths

You'll never guess what I just did! I sewed!! The little lady has been napping for a bit so I took advantage of some things I had cut out and went to town :) This gives me hope. For now we are just taking each day as it comes, but if I can do this one or two days a week I'll be happy and I'm sure eventually there will be more routine to it.

Anyway, clearly, this post is not about that; it is about burp cloths. Do you believe that not one person gave me any burp cloths before the baby was born? I thought it was odd, but I was okay with it because, let's face it, I wanted to make some of my own. Which turned out to be a good decision since, and I don't know if you know this or not, most of the ones in the store suck and liquid goes right through. Um, worthless. I also think that a burp cloth should have a groove for the neck and many of them don't. So, what did I do? I looked some up online to figure out dimensions, got a layer of flannel, a layer of cotton batting, and a layer of white muslin and cut it to a 10" x 18" rectangle, and got a CD out to round the corners and put a neck space in. Oddly enough, perfect neck size (it also fits nicely around baby's neck in a pinch)! I sewed them right sides together, flipped them, topstitched around and added some lines to divide it in thirds-- good for folding and to keep the batting from going crazy in the wash. They work beautifully, and the husband loves them too! I made 6, and while the flimsy carter's burp cloths are good for wiping faces (we've since gotten a pack as a gift), these are much more absorbent for the actual burping and consequent spit up.

So there you have it. Simple. Functional. Cute. And now I think I hear naptime ending....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Knit Hat

Here I am, back after a journey to New Jersey for some family time. And, although I don't have anything made recently to share yet, I actually sat down at my sewing machine yesterday for a bit and worked on a few things so there is hope that I will really start working on some things occasionally sometime soon. Right now we are working out the little lady's naps, so once we get that down things should get easier.

Anyway, the other knit project that I made before the little one was born was a hat! I had wanted to make it so she could hopefully wear it in newborn pictures because let's be honest, not much is cuter than a newborn in a handmade hat and a diaper :) Alas, it was not meant to be. The hat was finished, but you bet your butt it didn't fit on her head. It's alright, at least it was on the big side so there is hope for the future...speaking of which I should probably try it on her again so as not to miss my small window of opportunity. Back to the topic at hand. I made it a combination of the two hat patterns in the Easy Baby Knits book since I was using cotton fabric but wanted stripes. Actually I used Cotlin, a cotton/linen blend once again from the knitpicks site, and I love it. I have some left that I can't wait to turn into washcloths or something. I figured a cotton blend was a much better choice for a summer baby. Going with my gender neutral thing I made it green and ivory striped and then decided to knit a flower (from this site) that I could put on it if it ended up being a girl. The perfect finishing touch really, and I took pictures both with and without the flower. It is a really nice hat even if she doesn't end up really wearing it. My favorite part was that the pattern was on straight needles so I didn't have to worry about circular or double pointed needles, which I probably wouldn't have bothered with.

So that is that. I have already overwhelmed myself with projects so one of these days I will organize all that and get to work. I am hoping I can at least find a couple of hours every week to work on things, so I suppose we'll see how that goes in the upcoming weeks. But, I do still have a few more finished projects to post :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Knit Blanket

I think it's time to switch gears for a bit and talk about some of the knitting I did while waiting on this little one. I didn't do much sewing during the time I was actually working, in fact most of the projects got done between April 15 and her arrival. Because I saw this coming, I decided to knit a few things for her since that is easy to do a bit at a time after work, although to be honest most of that got done after I was done working too haha. Anyway, it all started with a book. Easy Baby Knits to be exact. I was shopping around AC Moore one day and saw it and fell in love. I love almost every pattern in it and if I had the time I would try to make them all. Who knows, maybe at some point I will. But anyway, I bought the book and gave it to my dad because he knits quite a bit more than I do and then decided that I loved it so much that I went back and bought myself a copy. I picked two projects that I wanted to have done for baby and went over to to find some yarn (they have some great natural fibers that don't cost an arm and a leg). I wanted cotton blends and found the perfect ones.

The first project was a knit blanket. We settled on our 5 gender neutral colors in a cotton/acrylic blend yarn. It is a bulky yarn and, because I knit tight, I used a size 10.75 needle (I didn't even know they made those but my dad found one on clearance and gave it to me!). It is 25 squares of garter stitch for the center,with a roughly 4 inch border, also garter stitch, so it was super simple. I could whip up a square in a half hour, which was awesome. I am terrible at the sewing together part so the finished product doesn't look quite as good as I might have hoped, but it is soft and pretty. Hopefully it will hold together through multiple washings, but only time will tell.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I often debate whether it is actually much cheaper to make sheets rather than buy them. You figure with how much fabric you have to buy to fit a bed, many times it may not be, but in this particular case it was well worth it. We were lucky enough to have my grandfather build a cradle for our little girl while I was pregnant. It was one of the most beautiful and special gifts we received. He put so much time and effort into it and it is absolutely wonderful. The only problem that we had is that it is an odd size. It is neither a traditional cradle or bassinet size so finding a mattress and sheets was a bit difficult. After some searching we found a great company that makes custom mattresses and that left us with the sheets which I knew I could make. And so I did.

I had two different fabrics that I had purchased at Joann's on clearance for $1.50/yard that I hadn't made plans for yet and this was perfect. I even already had elastic so it was pretty much a free project! I searched online for patterns but most of them had measurements for cribs which would obviously have been too big. I ended up using a combination of this to figure out the measurements and this to figure out how to sew it. I wanted to use the french seams for the corners because I figured with all the washing that will inevitably happen, it would be a lot easier to not have to worry about fraying and stray strings and that has proven to be a good decision. Because of that I had to add a bit extra to my measurements (I realized after I made the first one), but it worked well. Even though we have only been using them for about a month, they have been holding up well through the washings. It is unfortunate that it looks like she will soon outgrow the cradle, but at least there will be some sheets and a mattress already available for the next inhabitant :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baby Banner

So this is probably my favorite project for baby. We were trying to come up with a fairly simple way to brighten up the room without painting and it had to be gender neutral since we didn't know the sex of the baby until delivery. I love bright primary colors anyway and figured there had to be a way to sew something up. And there was, and I love it. I made a banner that went around the room, well around two walls of the room anyway. I bought 10 Fat Quarters of bright fabrics and figured out how to cut and sew triangles in the most economical way and get the most out of my fabric and got two packs of white double fold binding to sew them into. I didn't want any unfinished edges, mostly because I want to be able to wash it when it gets dusty or we move or we redecorate or whatever.

I decided to cut out rectangles of fabric that were roughly 18" x 7" so I could get 3 out of each FQ giving me 30 triangles. I folded the rectangles up to 9" x 7" and traced a triangle template onto them and then sewed along the lines. After that I cut away leaving a 1/4" seam allowance and clipped the point and turned them right side out. I needed a few more triangles so some of them are scraps of two colors put together. I tucked the triangles between the binding layers and sewed it all the way down. I sewed ribbons to the ends and in the middle so it could easily slip over some nails and voila! It was so simple and really only took a few hours start to finish, although my pregnant self did take it in stages and didn't try to push through it all at once. It looks just as I'd hoped and really brightens up the place :) Really, it makes me happy every time I walk past the door and every time I enter. Obviously, this is one of the projects I am most proud of; I made it up and it worked exactly as I had wanted, and there really aren't any mistakes which we all know is unusual for me! Here are some pictures, but I only have some of it already hung up (and it was hard to get those since it is such a small room and hard to photograph).