Thursday, January 27, 2011

the stash grows

As I mentioned, I seem to have gone a little nuts fabric-wise this month. Let me start off by saying, that although I have a cabinet full of fabric that may suggest otherwise, I am not generally a stasher. I tend to buy things for specific projects and not "just because". I have a lot I have been given and just recently got some clearance fabrics at joanns since they were $1.50/yd and I still have ideas for most of them. That said, I do love a good deal :)

It started with an order from connectingthreads. There were a few things I needed, just a couple of fabrics to finish up what I need for my christmas quilt, and it was on sale for like $2.50/yd so I got the green print that I needed and a fabric for the back, and I figured I would get more white thread since that is what I usually shop there for. I love their cotton thread and use it all the time. Then, I saw that the Antionette line which I keep loving, was on clearance, so I picked some of them and THEN, Handmade Beginnings (which I have been eyeing for a while) was on sale half off. Long story short, then I had to make sure I got free shipping, so everything pictured below (10 yards of fabric by the way) was $50.14. I do actually have some ideas for that pretty fabric, but we'll see how I feel by the time I get to it.

Then I found out much to my dismay that my favorite local quilt shop (Sew Many Quilts) was going out of business! I had been planning on going there and getting myself a little birthday gift since they gave a birthday discount, but obviously that was not to be. Their going out of business sale had all fabric at $5 a yard though so I braved the crowd to get some beautiful prints that I have been loving for ages, but since I had no specific project, I couldn't justify just buying fabric that expensive just to sit around. I am so excited about these but out of the million things I want to make with them, I don't know what will win out.

Finally, I finally got to Ikea to get some things. What I really needed was the acrylic coated fabric to cut down and put under the high chair so that we have something easy to clean (see those big polka dots there, that's it!) and after reading that acrylic coating is better than vinyl, I had to find some and at $7.99/yd this was the best. I actually kind of love it but we'll see how it washes up and such. I also wanted to get a fabric that my sister loves to make her a few things and I got the small scale print version as well. The blue fabric was on sale in the childrens section, the green flowers were marked down to 1.99/yd, and I got a couple yards of an unbleached cotton which I am planning to pair with bright solids to make grocery bags.The gray piece in the front is actually a pillow case from the as-is bin that I think will make a beautiful lining for a clutch or something, and I got two dishtowels to practice embroidery on and that gray pillow also from the as-is bin to embroider for the bedroom. I have been itching to practice some embroidery so hopefully this will give me a little kick in the pants since I have specific things to work on and practice.

So there you have it. I have way enough fabric right now, and at least need to complete a few projects before I get any more. I think the only things missing are some solid fabrics for specific projects which I will get when I get to them. I did finally get a few small things done the other day so my next thing is my Little Folks quilt which I have been planning and waiting to make since June. It has been cut and I finally laid out the blocks today so I can hopefully start sewing. Okay, enough for now!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meet Merrylegs squared

Well that was a longer absence than I intended. I was indeed relaxing in some nice warm sunny weather, well as relaxed as one can be traveling with a 6 month old which I suppose is not very. And then we came back and all got a bad cold which we are still recovering from so it's been a crazy few weeks. Needless to say no new crafting has been completed despite the pile of half finished things on my table.

For now, here is the end of my christmas gift making. Have you heard of Fat Quarterly?Iit is an eZine and blog which I happened to run across and order the special christmas issue. By far my favorite thing in it was this little doll. Merrylegs. It seemed the perfect little gift for a few little ladies in my life. Both recipients are very cute 2-year-olds. The dolls came together easily and quickly and I think they came out super cute. One lucky girl loved hers so much and just kept swinging the legs and making her dance on any available surface. It was way cute :) I guess that's really all there is to say about them. I have a matching embroidery sketch that came with it that I am hoping to put on a pillow sometime in the near-ish future.

And now back to trying to clean up the house in between coughing fits. Hopefully soon I will get to complete a few of the things lying around waiting for me. My list is just way too long at this point and my fabric cabinet is exploding so I have to get some things done soon. I have been working out a loose goal schedule for at least the first half of the year so I'll get that up too so hopefully I will have an easier time keeping track of myself. And man, oh man, you have got to see all the fabric I got recently, so I will get on taking some pictures of that too. I may have gone a little crazy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

pretty clutches

Well, if you are reading this, I am hopefully off somewhere warm and sunny enjoying some much needed relaxing family time. More on whether that is actually the case next week when I return...

S0 my sister and I are always on the lookout for the perfect clutch. You know, one that fits the essentials but isn't too bulky. It is amazingly hard to find and usually they don't fit everything. I don't know why it is so much to ask for a bag to just be big enough to hold a phone, money/cards, and keys. We spent a long time using the new york and company zip clutches, but they just aren't quite big enough. One day as I was wondering through blogland, I came across someone talking about making a bag from a keyka lou pattern so I went to check out the etsy store link. So many beautiful patterns! After much deliberation (seriously, ask my husband, it went on for days), and a sale of 2 patterns for $10, I bought two clutch patterns and set about making one for my sister. In the meantime I also decided my mom could use one for going out. The pattern is for 3 different sizes and I got the curvy clutch and zip clutches but opted to just make the curvy clutches for christmas.

For my sister, I used a black and ivory home decor fabric and black cotton for the lining. I made it the medium size and used different things I had on hand for the interfacing, batting for the body and a double layer of flannel for the flap. I opted for a single snap even though the instructions call for two and I think that holds this size shut just fine.

For my mom, I used a black/lavender brocade and a lavender satiny lining to make it a bit dressier. They were definitely more difficult fabrics to work with but the results are good. This is the large size and needed the double snap. All the interfacing is a double layer of flannel in this one.

So far everyone who has seen them has been impressed. My mom actually seemed amazed that I made it. I have a few modifications in mind for next time, perhaps another pocket in the front or something, and my sister has requested one with a zippered change space, so I may have to try that for her one of these days.

I have plans for a few more for various people I think, and I am looking forward to trying the zip clutch, which I think I may use to make my sister the makeup bag she requested. We shall see. Next week will be the last of the christmas gift posts, so at least they will be posted within a month of the holiday :-P And then I really get going on 2011!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some little things

I am clearly very slow on the posting right now, and not for lack of things to post. It's been pretty busy with hubs teaching a winter course and me trying to ease into working, and to top it off we are going on a mini vacay this weekend :) I'm going to go ahead and call it a birthday gift haha. Point is, life is nuts. You should see my to-make pile, it's sick. Oh and I've been fabric shopping like woah recently, but that is another post for when I am done...I still have one more stop :)

Back to things created. I have a handful of small christmas gifts to share, starting with these two. The first is something I made for my dad, and it is a repeat of something I made for myself; a camera strap cover. Of course it is a manly plaid fabric (a theme?) and I put a lens cap pocket in it, but this time used a different fabric so it's easy to find. It came out nicely and hopefully he gets a lot of use out of it.

Next up, I made a table runner for my mother-in-law. It is a pattern and fabric that I got from my quilt shop hopping last year (as in 2009) and finally decided to try making. I admit I was a bit scared of the triangles, but I didn't do too bad. I have to imagine it would have come out much better if I had been using my 1/4" foot already, but what can you do. It came out a little small, due to the uneven seams and we won't talk about that upper right corner there...I don't really know what happened but cutting gone wrong apparently. I used the back to wrap around for the binding and machine sewed it down. I kinda liked doing it that way actually. And for the quilting I just traced around the stars. It is very much a project not my style (not exactly my fabrics of choice) but I was pleasantly surprised with how it came out.

I believe I have two more posts of christmas gifts, by which point maybe at least one of the three projects sitting around half done will actually be completed. When I get back next week I will have to make my game plan since I don't even want to tell you how many things are on my various to-make lists right now. Seriously, it's bad.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

the zigzag quilt

This is it, the big one! It turns out I only make one big impressive gift per year and this year it was for my brother. I had been asking him for a while if he wanted me to make him a quilt and to let me know if he did and over the summer he mentioned that he needed a new blanket for his bed and I jumped right on it. We went through a few color options, first lime green and gray, then purple and gray, but I couldn't find enough good purple fabrics and he told me that he trusted me. I initially wanted to do a different pattern too, but the design would have been hard with it being such a large blanket.

Obviously it had to be kind of a manly blanket, but also had to very much reflect my brother and I am happy to say that it does. I used a tutorial linked from crazy mom quilts for a zigzag quilt without using triangles (thank goodness!). I had wanted to try it for a while and a combination of solids seemed perfect. I wanted a neutral color, a bright color and white and the neutral needed to be dominant so as not to make the blanket too loud. The brown, white and green worked perfectly. I obviously had to make the pattern larger and well, my calculations were a bit off so the blanket is much larger than I thought it would be, but really it's just better to snuggle with that way :) Of course I didn't have anywhere to lay it out in it's entirety....since finished size is roughly 69"x100" (it was only supposed to be 63"x88" haha) so basting was rough, but that's okay. And I've started pin basting since I am pretty sure that spray is bad for the lungs, so for the sake of my baby girl and the fact that it is too cold to open the windows I made the switch; it was quite an experience.

I have this picture of before it was trimmed and basted and quilted and all that

And this of him opening it Christmas day. I may or may not have forgotten to take pictures before wrapping it....I was so focused de-fuzzing it and getting it wrapped before the cat got to it again and so we could leave the next morning...
Unfortunately this blurry picture is the only one that shows the white binding. It looks really awesome though, promise.
Of course the reason for the white binding and not the green polka dot I had originally picked out is the back. I was searching and searching for the perfect back and somewhere along the way I came up with the brilliant idea of plaid. It's manly but still cuddly...and trust me, my brother is a plaid kinda guy. Naturally I wanted brown, white and green, but it was nowhere to be found. Seriously, nowhere. Even on the internet! I thought they had everything on the internet! While at a local quilt shop, I stumbled upon this pink, gray and black plaid and it just screamed to be used...but I couldn't bring myself to do such a mis-matched back. Until I talked to my sister who reminded me that it is very appropriate for my brother, both pink plaid and mis-matched. So I got it. And I love it. It is like two separate quilts really, but somehow they work together.

Of course it was way bigger than anticipated so I had to add a bit on to the backing, hence the squares of pink/gray/black/white. Not my favorite part, but it looks good.
As for quilting, it was a beast, but I decided to just trace the top of each non-brown zigzag, so every other one. It kept the quilting light so it still moves well. I had to use white thread on all of them so that it would look good on the back...and I had wanted to just do both sizes of each white zigzag but it left the stitching too far apart.

So that is the story of this years large quilt gift. The lesson here is really not to forget to take pictures of big, pretty, impressive gifts before you give them. I have already gotten word that it is a warm snuggly blanket :) Next up. the smaller gifts!