Thursday, August 28, 2014

necessary, very necessary

I wish that I didn't always feel like I was on a search for the *perfect* bag/wallet. It seems like a search that will never end, and even now that I can make my own, I find myself always searching and never finding the exact thing that I apparently am looking for. Honestly, I'm not even sure what it is that I am looking for at this point. Not too big, not too small; not too stiff, not to slouchy; just the right strap length, versatile enough to go out or to the park.....the list goes on and it may be an impossible task. Still, I keep looking and trying things. I am already plotting a new diaper bag/tote, possibly even another super tote since while I love mine, it is pretty slouchy and not sturdy enough. So I am thinking of trying that again with a little more body.

But I have gotten away from myself. The point here, is that I am trying a new wallet/clutch pattern and I have high hopes! I tend to use a small clutch that holds all my necessary items and that I can throw in a bigger bag when I need to. My previous wallet/clutch is the have it all wallet that I made last year. It has gotten really good use and I have loved it so much. My main problem has been that it kind of flings open when I unsnap it and I have been increasingly worried about things falling out. Enter the necessary clutch wallet. You may have seen the one that I made for my sister recently, which ended up being my test version, and here is the one I made for myself.

I used a twist lock for this one, for the first time, and I absolutely love the professional finish it gives. I got myself some special gnome pants lawn for the outer. I was hesitant about the lawn, but figured with some good interfacing it would be fine. It is fine, in fact it worked out great, but it must be said that this is not a light, smooth voile like the Anna Maria Horner/Amy Butler/ Joel Dewberry voiles that have been out for a while, which is what I was expecting. It is a bit heavier and not quite as soft and is only 44" wide. Had I bought it for something other than a bag, like clothes, I would have been really disappointed actually. But for this, perfect. I used some amazing cotton and steel basics inside plus a nice deep pink kona cotton (I forget which). The zipper is one I ripped off a bag that was in the donate pile.

I used decor bond on the outer pieces and shape flex 101 on the lining pieces and that seems to have given good strength. It is a really good pattern that comes together really nicely. I added a piece of ribbon with a d-ring on the side for a wristlet strap, so I am hoping that holds up to wear and tear. It fits everything I need an then some just beautifully. I love when they so nicely fit my phone and chapstick, and I can just clip my keys to the wristlet strap, and voila, it holds everything.

So that is the story of my new clutch. I will continue searching for the perfect bag to go with it, but I suspect a new super tote with a sturdier outside and different inside pockets will be just the thing :) When I get around to it, that is.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

cat love

Do you ever get an idea, and it seems like it should be so simple, and then you try to make it work and it is anything but simple? Because that is the story of this quilt. You see, I found out recently that a dear friend from high school is having a baby boy in a couple of months. I decided ages ago that I would make her a cat quilt at the first opportunity, and this happened to be it.

Now, there are tons of great cat blocks out there, really there are, it's just that I had my mind set on using a Florence layer cake that I have been saving for just the right thing. So basically I wanted a cat block that would use 2- 10" squares, one for the cat and one for the background, and would end up 10". Apparently that is no easy task and I am not kidding when I say that I had one piece that was 1.5"x2.5" left of each background, but I made it work! It took quite a long time to come up with something I was happy with, and a couple of test blocks, but here we are.

The binding is stars and it is backed in some delightfully soft minky. I quilted it with some random grid design. I stinking love this quilt. It will be a tough one to send away, but I know that it will be loved. Now I just have to make some other cute little things to go with it! Right after I finish about 10000 other things ha! I am hopeful that I will be back with some other sweet finishes later this week :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Transmute: update time

After a long weekend of fun and celebration, I think that a sweater update is in order! I have to admit, I was a little worried that I would be bored with a stockinette stitch sweater, but it is actually great! I feel like it is going fairly quickly (until I remember that the sleeves are still coming) and I have made some really good progress on the body of this in the past almost 3 weeks. It even looks like a sweater!!!! It is also super relaxing to just knit away at this while hanging out with my littles or watching something with the hubs.

So here are a few pictures. I don't know if anyone can really tell aside from me, but I did mess up one stripe and do it two rows later than I was supposed to because it was right at the part where I made the sleeves and I was so focused on learning to do that properly that I forgot. I think it's okay though, I just have to remember to make the same mistake on the sleeves. So far this yarn is lovely to work with and is make a really nice, soft fabric. I still haven't tried it on since I am scared of messing it up when I go to put it on the waste yarn/holder, but it looks like it will fit, so I hope that's a good sign.

I think the next update will be when the body is done and I have tried it on and everything, which I am aiming to have done in the next 2 weeks. Then I will just have sleeves to tackle, which I have mixed feelings on. I don't love working with double pointed needles, but I really really want to get this done and try it on, so I hope that keeps me motivated! Anyway, now that all our guests are gone, I need to sit down and regroup and figure out what needs to be done and when. No small task, but a necessary one. As always, so much to do, so little time. Does life ever calm down?!?!?

Friday, August 15, 2014

get well gifts

We have now just about reached one of the deadlines I was up against. You see, my poor sister is having surgery on her hip, for the second time in as many years, trying to get rid of the pain that has been plaguing her. The surgery is next week, but I really wanted to have a little get well package ready to send back with my parents for her. This surgery will be much more intense than the last and will have a recovery period of at least a couple of months. Since she will have so much time lying around, I wanted her to have some little things to make her happy. I bought a few things to entertain her, and made some other things that she has been asking for. Sister, if you found and are read this, stop and don't spoil it!!

Mostly she has just been asking for a new wallet. This was the perfect opportunity to get and try the necessary clutch pattern that I have been wanting! Rest assured, there is a version for myself in the works. But anyway, she asked specifically for a black polkadot exterior and lime green inside. I only had one fat quarter of the green, so I had to use it pretty sparingly, and spent a great deal of time trying to decide on color placement. I hope she likes the additions I chose with the gray, purple, and zebra. I really like the setup of this wallet and it is very professional and spacious. I used a magnetic snap and I think it looks really nice. Adding the wrist strap was a little difficult and I ended up using a piece of ribbon and sneaking it into the top stitching on the side. I hope it holds up.

So that was the biggest thing I made her. I decided a matching key fob couldn't hurt and that one can always use another zip pouch, so those made their way in as well.

Finally, I made her a little knitting project bag. I use this tutorial and it is the perfect size for the hat I am sending her. See, she knits a little, but has been hesitating on making a hat since she things knitting in the round is scary, and has been asking me to make one for her boyfriend instead. To help her out I decided to start a hat for her and send it for her to finish. I actually love how this bag turned out and almost wish I could keep it for myself! I hope she likes it, otherwise I am stealing it back the next time I see her ;)

This is everything together, and hopefully it will make her feel a little better next week.

And now, I have a little person to continue celebrating! Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

birthday outfit time!

So, my baby turns one this week. One of the many bittersweet milestones of motherhood, I suppose. It is so hard to believe that a year ago, she was about to come into this world, a squidgy little blob and now I have a little being who is trying to talk, close to walking, and is just so darn aware and intelligent. I am so proud of what she is becoming, but I still miss her little baby self. Naturally, this called for a new mama-made outfit.

I decided against a dress since crawling is still our primary mode of transportation these days, and opted for a cute little shirt and shorts combo. The top is a shortened piece of cake dress, and the shorts are a pair of bubble shorts. I am actually kind of surprised both pieces were things I've made before, but I am happy with the choices.

The top is the 12 month size again, which fits fine in this style, and I just cut at the 0-3 month size to make it a shirt. I have had this AMH print for a while, knowing it would be part of the birthday ensemble, and I used some leftover bias binding to finish the neck. This is such a cute, easy pattern, I wish it went up to higher sizes so I could make more! Thankfully, this should be pretty wearable and will look just as cute with some leggings or jeans and a sweater when it cools off.

The shorts are an 18 month size, and despite the fact that she is wearing that size in a lot of things at this point, these are a bit big. Wearable, but big. Sadly, I doubt they will fit by next summer, so she'll just have to wear them near constantly for the next month or two until it gets cold. The fabric is actually an old curtain that someone was getting rid of. I have lots left and will probably make them each another pair next summer. The high contrast of the white thread was a little nerve-wracking since mistakes are so, so obvious, but I love it. The button is non-functional since it really didn't seem necessary, and I also made them a bit less bubbly by trimming off about an inch on each side and left off the pockets.

I think she'll look really super cute in this little outfit for her party. Both sets of grandparents will be here this weekend to shower her with love and play whatever her 1-year-old heart desires, which should be lovely. Next week, when all is quiet once again, it will be time to regroup and figure out what is left to be done; I am starting to feel a bit lost again. I got quite a few things off the list, some of which I will be showing soon, but it somehow still feels like there is an awfully long way to go.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

cascade in rainbow

Sometimes, it's the little things that make you realize how fast life is racing by. Sure, I am aware that my baby turns 1 in a week and that I have a kid starting preschool in a couple of weeks, but really it's when I look at a finished quilt that I feel like I just started a couple weeks ago and realize that it was started 2.5 months ago! How did that happen?? How did I let it sit around in my way for so long??  One of life's mysteries I suppose, but in any case, my cascade quilt, started so long ago, is finally finished!

I actually pieced this in a weekend and, get this, I even knew how I was going to quilt it, but I really really didn't feel like piecing a back. So I put it off, for quite a while it seems. Finally, I sucked it up and put something together. I don't really love piecing quilt backs, I much prefer if at least most of it is one piece, but I didn't have anything that would work for this. So I grabbed and shuffled things around and made it work. I am glad that it gave home to so many fabrics I've had sitting around for such a long time. I started with the rainbow stripe from ikea and went from there. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out in the end.

This quilting is something I've wanted to try for a while. I'm not so good at it, but it was kind of fun and I like the result which must be all that matters. The binding is a combination of pac man fabric and crosshatch.

In conclusion, I am glad this is done. I now need to figure out whether it is going to a new home or staying with me. I guess we'll see. This week I am hoping to really get going on a bunch of gifty things since quite frankly, I am running out of time. But really, all I want to do is knit! My sweater is coming together quite nicely and almost looks kind of like a sweater! Maybe I can use that as a reward for getting other things done.....I'll have to try that!

Friday, August 1, 2014

another for me

Ahhh, I can't believe it's August! In just a couple short weeks, my baby will be 1! I just can't even. I definitely need to get going on a few birthday things for her, along with a few other deadline things. But today, that is not the point. Today, I am going to share a bit more selfish sewing, as in, another shirt for me.

Ever since I saw it, I was in love with this lane raglan top. I knew I wanted to make it, I just wasn't in a hurry. I mean really, doesn't tank top weather last forever around here?? Then I was at joanns perusing the clearance as I tend to do, and I saw and fell in love with this polka dot knit. So light and soft! I considered making something for a child, but really I wanted it for me and so this was born (and there may be enough for a kid shirt too! The question is, can I stomach matching shirts?!).

I used some white baby ribbing or something that I already had for the contrast and it's a bit thick for it, but it works okay. I constructed the entire thing on the serger which was nice and quick, and made the sleeves 3/4 length. I decided against the waistband and instead just added some length when I cut it out and left the hem to roll. I kind of love that look on a light knit that rolls well, and it is so much easier. I probably need to pull the neckband a bit tighter next time, but overall, it came out really well and I can't wait to wear it. You'll have to excuse the bathroom picture, but otherwise there would be no picture of me wearing it, so it will do.

I am planning to make a few more of these lovelies in a few variations perhaps, but there is no rush. I will probably have to make a certain little preschooler some fall clothes first. And lots of baby gifts, and a few get well gifts and birthday gifts....not to mention the quilts, oh the quilts! Oh my, I need to go back to not trying to think about it all at once and doing one thing at a time. Next week, I should have a pretty quilt to show though! Happy weekend!!