Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Penny Sampler: the finale

I finally did it. I finally sat down and finished up my penny sampler quilt. I don't know why I kept putting it off. The top has been done since November and I have had the backing since before the holidays. I really have no excuse, but I do think I fell a bit out of love with it once it was done. Somehow it is much brighter than I imagined and while I like it, I am just not as in love with the whole as I was with the individual blocks.

Anyway, you may {vaguely} remember that this was a class that Rachel at Stitched in Color held. It started in August and finished up in November, doing a few blocks per week. Considering I had a baby days before it started, I kept up surprisingly well. It was easy to just do a few blocks and kept me at least sewing something.

I had this grand idea that I was going to quilt the dogwood pattern on this quilt, but I think that was another reason I kept putting it off. It would have looked awesome, but on a quilt this size, it just felt like it would take forever. And I'm just going to be honest here, I stink at free motion quilting. I am working on it and I will keep working on it, but I just suspect this is something I will never be very good at. I am not a good doodler either and I suspect this might be related. I ended up with some nice...what would you call them...loops? And as easy a pattern as it is, it has an awful lot of mistakes and....sad loops. It was also really difficult to quilt over some of the thicker applique, and there are more than a few puckers if you inspect it closely. Still, it is a nice overall pattern and it turned out pretty well.

The back is a dottie quilt backing in tonal steel which I love a little. The binding is mostly gray with dots (I totally forget what it is right now but I think it's from bella) with a splash of pink in the corner which I would love to call intentional but I was actually just short that much ha.

So there it is. And now that it is finished I do love it. And I will be perfectly happy snuggling under it...if someone else doesn't claim it as their own first :) Woohoo for finished quilts! In other news, if my blocking attempt goes well, I will be returning soon with my finished shawl!

Monday, February 24, 2014

right now

I am knitting and crocheting and plotting

-finally working on the crochet blanket, planning a baby sweater, just finished knitting my shawl

I am reading (I know I am late to the party, but I am really enjoying these)

-I just started the second book

I am sewing

-these double wedding ring arcs mostly. I need 224...and I have something like 29 done. And I am going to bind my penny sampler, really I am.

And I am loving it all. Just loving. Trying to sneak in bits and pieces of peace when I can and slowly working my way through these things when life will let me. It feels like a long road and I am working in spurts, but it's good. How is everyone else doing this week?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

finished placemats

I admit it, I've never really liked quilted placemats before. I love quilting, I love sewing, I love handmade, but I kind of like it to be subtle. One day though, I happened upon this pin, and I was kind of in love. And I knew I needed something similar.

Really, I wish I could have used smaller triangles, but I just couldn't make myself do it. As it was, these took 75 each and these finish at about 2.5" tall. I started with scraps and filled in what I needed using every different gray I could find with some navy and white too. Each one got a bright color too just to add pops of color. I think I wish I'd used different binding, but oh well. I quilted on each side of each line and the binding is zig-zag stitched on so hopefully it wears well. I figure these will need to stand up to quite a bit of washing. The backs are each coordinate with the pop of color on the front and I had a lot of fun picking those out. They finish around 18.5" x 14"

Now to clear off the table and get them on there! Also, I am just about done quilting my penny sampler, close to finished my shawl, and debating what to tackle next, so hopefully I'll figure that out soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

more little things

Happy Wednesday! I decided that since pretty much nothing has changed, I am going to skip the wip round up this week and see where I stand next week. I've slowed down since I've run out of nice small, quick things to do. So here we are, the last of all those little things I've made recently. I think. Unless I dig something else up. But I don't think so, I think this is it for now :)

I am ashamed to admit that making a new pincushion has been on my list for well over a year now. I made one years ago, like 2009 maybe, when I started really sewing, and had meant to upgrade for a while, but never made it a priority. Finally I decided to just go for it and I am glad I did. I used the pattern from Liberty Love, but I don't have any liberty scraps, I made it a round smaller, and I used piping instead of rickrack, because that's what I had. Honestly, even though it is quite different from what's in the book, I really love it. I did one side of the log cabin more low volume and it came together quite nicely. Also, it felt good to use some of the much smaller strips I had been saving with no idea what to do with. It has happily taken up residence next to my machine.

This last thing, is just a little hairclip holder for the bigger little one. One day upon questioning where all her clips had disapeared to, she told me she had put them all in her piggy bank (thankfully it has an opening so we could get them out!) and I decided she needed a more appealing storage option. I had seen something similar on pinterest, but I didn't even pin it so I have no idea where. I used a 9.5"x3.5" rectangle to make a little holder with a ribbon down the center to clip the hair clips onto and elastic and a button to close it up. It was so quick and easy. I did add a layer of batting to give it a bit more structure and it worked just perfectly. She picked both the fabric and the button which she was pretty happy about. And voila!

So that's what I've been up to. Now I am left with mostly things that will take a bit more time which is kind of shame since I was just loving this super productive feeling. Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bend the rules sewing

Have you ever read Bend-The-Rules Sewing? It is one of the first sewing books I ever bought and I have probably made more projects from this book then from any other at this point (Liberty Love is catching up!). It's just got some cute/quirky/simple projects that I happen to love. And recently I got it out again and made two more projects from it.

First up, I made an art smock. I don't know how I hadn't thought to make her one before, but I decided it was time. It is a super simple pattern, only one piece, and it is simply bound with bias tape on the edges to finish it off, leaving long tails for tying on the top edge. It really took no time at all and is just so cute! I left out the pocket since I was feeling lazy and don't think she would use it, but I could always go back and add it if I change my mind. I did add some length, but I'll be honest, I didn't even measure, I just stuck some scrap paper in that was left after cutting out the pattern, but it was something like 2-3" since she is so tall. The fabric is one I have had for ages, you know, one of those clearance purchases that sit around, and the bias tape is ancient from a friend's grandmother that I happened to have. I am all about not having to buy anything. I do wish I'd added a second layer or used a wipeable fabric or something, but at least this is nice and washable and should, for the most part, protect whatever she is wearing. As soon as it's nice enough we will go outside with some paint and give it a test drive. Also, these pictures are the best I get from my little model at this point; please note the tongue sticking out haha.

I went on to make some bibs. I have another little lady who is very very near starting solids (we are going with baby led weaning again, having loved it with the first and found it simple and sensible) and we had no bibs. I suppose they are used a lot and don't tend to last for multiple children very often. Anyway, I went with the instructions and used one layer of cotton and one layer of flannel, using a knit for two of them and quilting cotton for the other two. The flannel is actually from some cut up receiving blankets I held on to. Once again, so, so simple and cute. Came together so quickly and look so nice. I had to wait on the snaps but now they are ready to go! They seem a little thin, but we'll see. I may make another batch with some batting or PUL or something if she needs them.

This book has just proven more useful then I would have guessed even when purchasing it. I have a couple other tiny things to share and at some point in the near future, I hope to finish the placemats I am working on. I've been knitting too, but my shawl has now become large enough that it is hard for me to find the time to do a whole pattern, so it is less often that I can sneak that in. I am hoping I will be done by the end of the month though! Also, I think I am going to finally quilt my penny sampler soon! It is ready to be basted and then I will just have to find the time to do it. And maybe by then I'll have decided on binding.

Friday, February 7, 2014

super sweet lunch bag

Happy Friday! After another rough week (how long will this teething/growth spurt/whatever development is sucking away the sleep go on??) I am ready for the weekend. But right now, I really need to share the awesome that is this lunch bag. It is one of those things that I am disproportionately proud of. It just ended up looking so...professional! Let's step back a minute. Can I tell you that my husband has been taking his lunch to work in this:

Sad. Just sad. I finally decided that it was time to upgrade and went searching about for a pattern that would make a big enough bag without being monstrous. I had a couple of contenders, but in the end, I loved this one for it's design and size.I was really into using what I already had on hand, so the outer is some solid black leftover from a getaway duffle and some ikea fabric from another bag. The handles are some brown webbing covered in black fabric (which was almost more trouble than it was worth) and the zipper is an orange one I have had laying around waiting for something the right color.

The inside is actually two different color pieces of PUL that I had since I didn't have enough of either color. And the only modification I made was to change the zipper installation to the open wide pouch style from Anna of noodlehead. I love the way it opens up completely and I think it makes it much easier to pack up. I even had some insulbright laying around to make it insulated. It was really quite wonderful.

The tutorial was good and it went together quickly and with no problems and the end result just about makes me squeal with delight! So far he has been using it for a few days and says it works just fine and naturally all his colleagues are jealous haha. I am just happy to be rid of that other bag. If I need another lunch tote in the future, I will definitely make another. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday {2.5.14}

Well, I'm still awfully tired, but friends, I have been busy. And I think it's about time I gathered all this in one place so I can keep track of myself since my little post-it notes everywhere are just overwhelming. In my sleep deprived state, I have just been knocking out tons of small things that have needed to be done for ages. It keeps me productive and remains one of the few things I can control in this crazy life. And believe it or not, I am actually running out of smaller things that need to be which point I imagine I will start working on the quilts again.

lunch bag- this turned out so awesome it hurts!

hair clip holder - quick, easy, done.

pincushion - this has been on my list for so long it's shameful

art smock - I can't believe she didn't have one of these....

it's a cinch - finally finished and in the mail

in progress:
bibs - I ordered snaps and will finish these up as soon as I get them

placemats - currently cutting the rest of the triangles. I hope I like these in the end.

pony club - 30 blocks done, templates for the next set are all cut and ready

penny sampler - I need to baste and quilt it

double wedding ring - I need to print the rest of the arcs for paper piecing and get cutting

knit shawl - I was moving right along until I was so tired that I couldn't make it through a row. All that repetitive motion puts my already tired self to sleep. I hope to resume soon.

I also have grand plans to organize some clothes sewing for myself to begin in a few months, a summer wardrobe for my girls, and I am currently contemplating doing a digital version of project life so that I feel like I am actually documenting this crazy life with these little girls. I need to face the fact that I am going to have to go digital since I will never ever keep up with picture printing as I go, but printing a book once a year I can handle. More on all that as it unfolds. *whew* I feel better now that this is all in one place.

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's a cinch!

And then there was that time my sweet little babe decided she didn't need to sleep all night anymore....or nap...or be put down. Yes folks, that's where we are these days and So instead of tackling some of the larger or more demanding things on my list, I have opted for the little and simple things that I have been avoiding for ages. I'm not really sure why I've been avoiding them, but I'm glad now that it gives me some easier things to do. I'll round all that stuff up a bit later, but right now, I am finally going to share the now quite belated gift I made my sister. It is finally in the mail so hopefully she'll get it soon.

The pattern is the It's a Cinch Tote and my version was very much inspired by the one that Sarah at Stitching and Bacon made a while back. I used a lot of her mods and it came together just beautifully. Unfortunately I didn't have the recommended interfacing and was too lazy to get it so I used what I had on hand which was much stiffer plus I used heavier fabric so the bag doesn't really lay as nicely as I might like, especially when it is cinched. Still, it is quite nice.

For fabric, I used some faux suede for the bottom and handles, which worked out pretty well. The outer is a home decor fabric my sister picked out from joanns, some pink pindot fabric for lining and a touch of zebra for pockets. I even used a nice metalic zipper which is pretty sweet. My handle pieces are all 1.5" since that was the size of the hardware that I already had. 

So yeah, I like the bag but I don't love it as much as I thought I would. I had planned on making one for myself when the diaper bag can be downsized, so we'll see how I feel about it by then. Anyway, I think I'll be back Wednesday with a project round up because as it happens, things are taking over and I can't keep track of it all. I just have piles of things laying around waiting to be turned into pretties and I need to get it straight in my head. And sleep, I also need sleep although that is much less in my control. I hope we are coming out the other side here but in the meantime we keep on keeping on.