Friday, December 30, 2011

A very crafty year

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2011, and ring in 2012 I've been thinking a lot about this year. It has been a crazy one. I have definitely pushed myself to be more creative and try a lot of new things. I thought the best way to illustrate my crafty year was a few collages of the things I've made. Quite honestly, seeing it all together surprised me a lot. I really did make a lot this year. And I learned a lot too.

Quilting is an area that I have really grown in. I made 12 quilts (not including my ongoing samplers)! I learned to paper piece, got involved in some QALs, linked up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and achieved one of my big goals: I learned to Free Motion Quilt! I am really quite proud of myself :)

Quilts are impressive. They are {often} big, they have a lot of steps, and require a lot of time. But even more impressive to me is the huge pile of other things I've sewn this year. I tend to do a lot of small projects, mostly when I need something to make me feel accomplished quickly. Most of the time it is useful things that I need an don't feel like buying. I made quite a few bags (some with zippers!!), and much to my amazement, learned to make clothes for my little girl! I am so proud of the cute dresses I made her this summer! I learned to embroider too! This is a collage of most of the things. There are even some things not pictured (and some that I'll finish today) and some pictures have more than one thing. I must have gone crazy!

Even with all that, I found a bit of time to knit a few things and learn to crochet!

Considering this was also my first full year of motherhood, I didn't do too bad :) I have some more big goals for 2012, but I'll have more on that later as the year starts. I can't believe all that I did this year and all the skills I learned.  I am very much looking forward to what the new year will bring. Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

handmade holidays {2011}

How was your Christmas? Mine was exhausting but great :) We had a great time with lots of family, stuffing ourselves full of yummy things and running between houses. Now we are finally home and getting settled back in and I thought it was time to share the remaining handmade gifts from this year. Most of my pictures are a bit blurry since I had to take them at night before I wrapped them if I wanted pictures.

I decided at the last minute to make 2 aprons, one for my mother-in-law (she requested one) and one for my sister. I used some tea towels I had been saving for just such an occasion. My mother-in-law got a full length apron using this tutorial. The only problem was that I used another towel for the ties so they are a bit short, but it works. I also should have topstitched the ties. I don't love it, but she does and that is what matters.

My sister got a half apron because it was just so cute I had to. Tutorial here.

I also made her a scarf (which I don't have a picture of) and an emmy clutch (oh man do I love these! what a great pattern!). I used 2 DS fabrics from Joanns and I lovelovelove the outer one.

For my hubby, I made an e-reader case (no picture, it didn't come out didn't really fit it so I'll have to try again) and a really sweet laptop case. It all started with the robot fabric for the lining. It took me quite a while to embroider those robots on the outside, but it was so worth it. I really love it and so does he :)

I also gave 3 quilts, a christmas quilt for my grandparents, swoon quilt for my parents, and the star quilt for Edie.  Not too bad. I love making Christmas gifts. So much that I am already planning for next year. Is that crazy?? I just thought of things after the fact that people would really like. I guess I'll have to make a list....and not lose it! If I am lucky I will slip things in all year and not be so crunched in December.

I'll probably be popping in again this week. I am hoping to finish cleaning up my to-do list before the new year, but clearly my days are limited. That's okay though. New Years is my favorite so I'll be looking forward to it even if I still have a pile of things taller than me to do :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

From our family to yours :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

final 2011 progress report

This is, I would say, my last wip post of the year. And I regret to say it comes without pictures (I actually forgot my camera so I won't have pictures of some of them until I get home next week and I can't share the gifts quite yet). In the next week or so I am hoping to get myself together for the new year and figure out my goals and do some reflection and all that good end of year stuff. I am still having a hard time grasping the concept of 2012, but I better wrap my head around it quick since it's practically here!

The List:
Fabric bin (x2)
Stars for Edie quilt
Hoodies (x2) - one is done, the other is started
Gifts for hubby (x2)
Laptop bag
Travel sewing wallet
gift for my sister (x2)
FW quilt -Top almost done!! Which is as done as it is going to get at this point!
apron (gift)
slippers for the little one
keep up with Skill builder blocks -not going to happen until after Christmas
work on embroidery 101

I am very pleased to say that Edie now has her quilt and she absolutely loves it. She even commented on how great the colors are. It is always such a good feeling to give a quilt to someone who appreciates it so much.

Clearly my goals were a bit too large for the time I had, but that's alright. While I've been gone, I've been mostly knitting. I ran out of yarn for my legwarmers so I need to get to the yarn shop for that so I can finish the second one. I'd be upset that I can't finish them now, except that means I can just go ahead and start the next thing :) I went shopping in my dads yarn stash and got something like 11 balls of yarn, which gets me ready for my next 2 projects and then some. Now I just have to go steal borrow some needles! I must say that I love sitting around knitting and watching holiday movies :)

So I'm off to continue visiting people I love but don't see nearly enough and enjoying the holiday season. Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A home for my laptop

At least while it's traveling :)

I thought I'd pop in and say hi! We are off on our holiday travels and having quite the time. So far so good, we'll see how we hold up for another week though. I miss my sewing machine already. On the plus side, without my sewing machine I have been doing more knitting and reading and holiday movie watching.

I thought I would share some of the non-gift items I made during my mad dash last week. I know it hasn't been very long since I made my laptop sleeve. But then we traveled over thanksgiving. And I realized I have absolutely no bags that are wide enough at the top to fit my laptop in. So naturally I had to make one :) I picked up the outer fabric at Ikea and I love it. I didn't get quite enough of the lining, but I made it work with what I had plus a little extra solid gray for the inside of the pocket.

I used this tutorial which I had pinned a while ago. It is a pretty vague tutorial and I had to read it a few times before I figured it all out, but it came out well. I had to enlarge the laptop pocket since I have a 15" laptop, and I had a little trouble doing it; I just wasn't sure how big to make the foam pieces. It ended up a bit snug, but I figure that just makes it more secure. I wasn't sure where exactly I was supposed to stitch at some points, so it looks a little odd in some places, like where the handles are attached to the bag. I also had some trouble at the end with putting the foam in the bottom of the bag, partly due to the aforementioned trouble with the laptop pocket size. But I made it work and it is a nice roomy bag that so far has been great for traveling.

I'll be back Wednesday for the final holiday edition of the WIPs. Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stars for Edie

My husband has a wonderful Great Aunt. I love her and in the few years I've known her, she has taught me so much. She is so happy and grateful for everything, and is never without her sense of humor. She is really someone I hope to be like, and I try to work towards it daily. Over thanksgiving we were visiting her, as we do whenever we have a chance while in the area, and I got it into my head that I should make her a quilt. It didn't take me long to start pondering my Ruby charm pack and what I could do with it. Naturally I couldn't get it out of my head until I made it....

What I came up with was a quilt of wonky stars. I had been wanting to try some and this seemed perfect. I used this tutorial which I had been saving. {I have discovered I love making wonky stars!} The charm pack was perfect and gave a nice scrappy look but still so pulled together. I didn't want an entirely white background though, so with one charm pack I made the white background stars and with another I did a scrappy background with a white star. The colors worked out perfectly and I am glad I sorted them instead of just doing random and mixing the colors. Using the 5" squares, each block finished at a nice 13.5". To make it a bit bigger, I put on two borders so it rounds out at 45"x59" which I think should make a nice lap size quilt for her.  The smaller border is one of my favorite red polka dot fabrics and the outer border is a houndstooth in a grayish color that frames it so well. 

I love it, I just absolutely love the outcome. It's such a classy quilt :) To make it better, it is backed with a great quilters flannel from Joanns. {side note: I have discovered I love these flannels; both that I have purchased washed up so beautifully, very little shrinkage and so super soft.} It is so snuggly. To keep it light, I did some free motion quilting, but I decided to try some loopys going up the columns. They are far from perfect, but it was fun and it came out really nice. It was softer than straight line quilting and has such a nice drape.You can kind of see it in this picture, but it was quite hard to photograph, especially after it was washed and got that perfect crinkle.

This might be one of my favorite quilts I've made. I love the fabric line, the stars, the borders, the flannel, everything. I hope she likes it too and I can't wait to give it to her :)

And now, I'm off to take a nice long drive. Lots of holiday fun to be had over the next 9 days. I hope. But I'll be popping in to show some of the other sweet things I've made recently on my mad dash to leaving time and I have a few other things planned. Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Still trucking along

So, it's Wednesday again. Already. And while I have made quite a bit of progress, I am finding myself forced to come to terms with the fact that I will not have everything done this week. You know how it goes, too many things to begin with, things take too long, and then I lost a day to work training and we now have to leave Friday instead of Saturday....basically it's just not all going to happen.

So with that in mind, here's the list:

The List:
Fabric bin (x2)
Stars for Edie quilt
Hoodies (x2) - one is almost done, the other is started
Gifts for hubby (x2)
Laptop bag
Travel sewing wallet
gift for my sister (x2)
FW quilt -Top almost done!! Which is as done as it is going to get at this point!
apron (gift)
slippers for the little one
keep up with Skill builder blocks -not going to happen until after Christmas
work on embroidery 101

And of course, I have to leave you with some pretty pictures

So I am aiming to finish up the gifts and the hoodies today and tomorrow, and hopefully find time to get something ready to bring to work on. I'll have my legwarmers to knit and I have to either get hexies ready or embroidery 101 blocks, and I think the hexies will travel better.  And if I can finish my other legwarmer, I have some other knit things to start :) That gives me plenty of time to reevaluate my list and figure out what I am doing when we get back. And now, back to work!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Farmer's Wife -the next chapter

I wasn't going to post this today, I was going to wait, but I got too excited and had to share. My farmer's wife blocks are all together :) They look so happy and wonderful. It took me alllllll weekend. I still have to add the borders, but for the most part, the top is done.

for the record, that is:
111 blocks
252 sashing strips
110 cornerstone squares
32 cornerstone triangles
32 setting triangles

It was such a long process that took over the entire living room floor, but I am so happy it is done. I used the diagram from the book for the layout and then moved some things around so the colors were balanced. I still need to figure out exactly what I want for a back. I am considering flannel, but I think that is just the cold weather talking, so we'll see.

In other news, this is my 200th post :) I hadn't even realized. 

Now I have to go work on other things since my list is still a gagillion miles long. And I have very few days left to get things done before we leave. I did finish the quilt I was working on; it is being washed at the moment, but there will be pictures soon. And hopefully by Wednesday my list will have quite a few more things crossed off!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Farmer's Wife - the one in which the blocks are DONE!

See that stack there?? That is all 111 of the farmer's wife sampler blocks! So many pretty blocks! I finished up the last 6 this week, and the sashing/cornerstones/setting triangles are all cut and ready to go! It is going to be spectacular :) I can't even wait to have this top together! Hopefully tomorrow that will happen. But that is for another post when it is finished. For now, here are this weeks {final} 6 blocks. (please forgive the somewhat unfortunate pictures, it was super cold and windy and there was snow on the ground)

#108 - Windmill
I made this one backwards actually. I don't remember if I had the fabric upside down or the template, but in any case, there it is. I like it a lot though and it was a really simple block. 

#60 - Noon & Light
I was waiting for this block just so I could use the stripes like this and I love it! They lined up amazingly well!

#103 - Whirlwind
Love! So simple and lovely.

#2 - Autumn Tints
Yellow may not have been the ideal color choice for this since it doesn't give it much contrast, but I like it anyway.

#40 - Friendship Block
I love this block. I kind of want to make a whole quilt of it. 

#88 - Star of Hope
 I generally don't love the blocks like this, but since it was the last one, I'm feeling all lovey towards it :-P

I'm not going to lie, I got a little sad {and triumphant} when I made that final block. It was such a milestone. I have loved making these little blocks more than I could have imagined and I am certainly sad that there are no more to be made. I am pretty sure that snuggling under the huge, colorful finished quilt will make up for it though :)

So that wraps up the block posts for my FW quilt. Wow. Next week I will hopefully have at least the main part of the quilt top to show (without borders I suspect, but we'll see). For now I have a star quilt to quilt and bind! Wishing everyone a lovely {and productive} weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Even though there is no link-up this week, I am going to go ahead and do a WIP post anyway. Now that I am putting this together I realize how little I've actually gotten done. Even though it feels like I've been working on things non-stop. Hopefully all the little things I've been doing for everything will add up to quick finishes this week. So here's the updated list

The List:
Fabric bin (x2)
Stars for Edie quilt -top done
Hoodies (x2) - both cut and ready
Gifts for hubby (x2) -should finish up thursday
Laptop bag
Travel sewing wallet
gift for my sister
FW quilt - finishing blocks today, sashing all cut and ready
apron (gift)
slippers for the little one
keep up with Skill builder blocks -started but I need more heat n bond
work on embroidery 101

Stars for Edie



Fabric Bins - the only real finish

As you can see, I have a whole lot to do and only 10 days to do it! I think I have it pretty well mapped out though, so if things go according to plan (ha!) I'll get most of it done. And if I'm lucky I'll be organized enough to bring some things with me to work on when we travel. How's everyone else doing with the christmas crunch?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nothing much

Hey! Just thought I'd take a break from the madness to pop in and say hello :)

Things are reaching the height of craziness around here. I have been working furiously (and training for work), and while I've gotten a few things done, I don't have any pictures to show for it yet. I have a finished quilt top and some fabric bins so far, and a bunch of things cut and ready to go. I am definitely feeling the crunch. And with a teething toddler, it is just a bit harder. Today is going to be spent working like mad on hubby's gifts since I only have 2 more days of him being gone all day at school to get them done. Hopefully I will make it.

Anyway, even though there is no link-up this week, I think I'll go ahead and do a weekly recap tomorrow anyway so that I can actually see my progress. I think it will help me push on through. Sad to say, that's all I've got for today. I am beat and just needed a little break. Tomorrow I'll be back with some pretty pictures!

In the meantime, if you are looking for an interesting article, Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations linked to this one yesterday. I thought it was interesting and really applied to me as an educated domestic woman so I thought I would pass it along in case you didn't see it over there.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Farmer's Wife: the almost done edition

I am so close to finished these blocks I can taste it! I made 5 more blocks this week, so I only have 6 left (one of each color) which I will finish next week. I thought about pushing through and finishing this week, but I still don't have sashing (hopefully I'll pick some up today) and I have so many other things I need to work on. So next week the blocks should be done. I have mixed feelings about it since as much as I can't wait to snuggle under this quilt, I will miss making these happy little blocks. But enough of that, I can worry about that later! On to the blocks!

#92 - Streak of Lightning
This one is a really fun rainbow one. It is a simple block and I love having all the colors in it. 

#102 - Whirlpool
I had a hard time figuring out how to make rainbow work for this, but in the end I just went the random route an I like it a lot. 

#16 - Calico Puzzle
Nice and simple. 

#63 - Ozark Maple Leaf
I like this one a lot more than I thought I would. It's quite a cool block. 

#14 - Butterfly at the Crossroads
I don't tend to love the blocks I make with these polka dots, I am not sure why. But I love this. A lot. I want lots of these happy little blocks.

And there you have it. Tune in next week for the final installment of blocks. And then I kick the hubby and the kid out of the house and put together a very large quilt top next weekend :) I am very much looking forward to it. But first things first, this weekend I have much to sew and some holiday decorating to do, and a parade to go to and hot chocolate to know, December things! Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cathedral Windows

As you may or may not have seen yesterday, my cathedral windows couch pillow is done! It was a much longer project than I intended. I didn't take into account how much longer it would take me to sew through so many layers.

Cathedral windows are something I had been wanting to try for ages. I didn't want to commit to a whole quilt though, and as it turns out, that was a good plan since I probably would never have finished a quilt. I used this tutorial and ended up with an 18" square pillow (more like 17.5", but that's okay). Since the pillow form I was putting it on, the ugly one that came with the couch, was more like 20" I decided that instead of a border, I would add a strip and make the back the same size as the front panel. It worked out surprisingly well.

I didn't really like making the cathedral windows although they sure do look cool. I think the big problem is really that my points sucked so things are not as crisp as they should be so it looks kinda messy. And my hand sewing leaves something to be desired....I just keep telling myself that it is quirky and quirky is cool. In any case, I am happy to have it done and on the couch :) Eventually maybe I'll make a new cover for the other pillow....I'm thinking maybe something a bit different.