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