April 20, 2010

Peanut the Third, Earthtones Edition

Pattern: Peanut the wee elephant from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
Notes: Back in 2008 when I made the first version of Peanut Denise asked for one in earthtones. I immediately went out and got the batik to make this elephant for her. I cut out the pattern. And then I let it sit for well over a year because...I can't say. I am lame. I finally put the poor fellow together in January during my sewing bee. And then it sat forever around the house because...I don't know. I am lame. Anyway I finally got the poor little fellow to the post office and off to Denise. Or more importantly to Kira. And I'm so glad I did.


January 31, 2010

Sewing Bee

I had a (very small) sewing bee today with Katie and Sasha. It's been over a year since I did this. (Seriously? Wow) I finally got around to making a pair of pajama pants for my older son. There is no photo because they came out too small but will fit my younger son once I hem them. I also completed sewing a gift for a friend that I started over a year ago. The pieces were all cut out so it came together pretty quickly once I reacquainted myself with my machine. I'll post a picture once it gets to its recipient.

Now I'm at a loss about what to make next. I had fabrics sort of picked out for a simple Kaffe Fassett-ish medallion quilt but I was not feeling it today. The colors are mainly pink, brown and teal/aqua and I'm just not into that combo at the moment. I do have a bag full of quilt tops still waiting to be quilted. Some have been started, some are basted. I thought it would be a good challenge to try to complete them all by the end of the year. But I'm not committing to anything right now. It was just really nice to have a day with some friends and some sewing.


November 2, 2008

Peanut the Second Has Found a Home

Peanut was given to Susanna at the retreat. Here he is on her bed blending right in literally and figuratively.


October 8, 2008

Sew Confident

When we were in Portland my younger son announced he wanted to be Indiana Jones for Halloween. I knew we could find the hat and probably the whip at a costume shop (ended up finding it at Jo-Ann's at 50% off). He said he wanted a bag like Indy. "I can make that!" I told him. He wanted a jacket like Indy. In an odd moment of over-confidence I said, "Sure, I can make that!" Uhhh, I can? I've never made a jacket. I've never set-in a sleeve. I've never worked with pleather. I found a Burda pattern (9592)and bought the pleather. The original pattern called for imitation leather with a plush reverse side. I went for straight up cheap pleather. I left off everything non-essential. No pockets, no extra zippers or tabs. I whacked it together using the mantra, "Whatever, it's just a costume." Then came time to set in the sleeves. I was really worried about them. I decided to sew them in by starting at the center top and then working to the center bottom in each direction. Not the usual way to sew in a sleeve but I was worried about attempting to "ease" in pleather. I thought if it didn't fit I could redo the underarm seam on the sleeve to make it all work. But the sleeves went in like a dream! I was pretty amazed.

Not bad, huh?

My one pleather sewing tip is to put wax paper on top of the pleather if you want to top-stitch. Otherwise your needle will just sit in place. Also, pleather smells really bad. Not so much a tip as an observation.


September 17, 2008

A Case for My Crap

Pattern: Based on these box bag instructions
Fabric: Peas and Carrots by American Jane
Notes: I need a zipper bag or two to go in my purse. I'm tired of carrying all my lotion and lip balm, etc. in a ratty quart-size ziploc baggie (thanks TSA!)

Again I had an initial moment of completely not understanding how to sew this together. I kind of rushed through it so the seams are a bit off and it is generally a little wonky (it looks wonkier in the photo because I could not pull one corner to a nice point without poking in its facing corner). I don't like how the inside, though lined, has lots of raw edges. I might try to get my head around how to put in the lining after boxing the corners next time. Though this is where I always mess up sewing. I am terrible at visualizing things in 3D so inevitably something gets sewn in with the wrong side facing out. If I hadn't sewn any of it together wrong, this could have been about 30 minutes to sew.


September 16, 2008

Laaaaaadies and Gentleman!

Presenting Peanut, the wee elephant!

Pattern: Peanut, the wee elephant from Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts
Fabric: Peas and Carrots by American Jane
Notes: After I got over my initial confusion this guy came together quickly and easily. I probably should have done a less busy pattern for the body because it makes it difficult to see his eyes. I wanted to glue the eyes before sewing but I only had Fray-Check and it didn't work. I would also top-stitch the ears if I make this again. The pattern is from the 4-8 hour section of the book. I think it took me maybe 4 hours to make this.


May 9, 2008

Lunchbox Swap

When I joined Oh Fransson's Lunchbox Swap I had grandiose visions of beautifully sewn, thoughtfully prepared items for my swap pattern. My first attempt came up short. I was kind of trying to wing things and it was my first time working with iron-on vinyl. I set it aside. Then I got crazy busy. Then I missed the deadline. Then I got really upset with myself and freaked out. I totally psyched myself out. So today I set aside a few hours and forced myself to finish my gift. I started from scratch and didn't use the vinyl. I pretty much used the Vintage Pillowcase Lunchbag Tutorial. I changed a few things for no good reason. It's done and I'm reasonably happy with it. I also got my buddy a blue bento set and some chocolate as an apology for being so late. I was ridiculously tense while working on this. I realized I was holding my breath a lot and my heart was racing. Crazy. Who knew a lunchbag could give me such severe performance anxiety? I'll be very happy when I get it in the mail tomorrow.


March 15, 2008

Moving On

Thanks for all the get well wishes. I have a mighty assortment of welts and bruises but I'm getting around just fine. I'm in denial about the dishwasher. The last time I lived somewhere with no dishwasher was the summer of '91. For now I'm just letting the dishes pile up in the sink.

So what else have I been up to? Even though it's barely had a mention on the blog since I started it, the Tangled Yoke is slowly creeping toward the finishing line. I am a few rounds short of a full tangle on the yoke. I believe this photo of a crumbly, gray mass explains why I haven't been taking a lot of pictures of my progress.

Since this project is far, far from portable, I cast on a new pair of socks.

This is Evelyn Clark's Go With the Flow socks in STR Chapman Springs colorway. I started these socks once before and ripped them out. These are going splendidly and I'm not hating the variegation. I started working on them yesterday while on the way to a quilt show with Molly. It was my first quilt show. It was really interesting to see all styles and skill levels represented. I found that I am always drawn to the hand-quilted ones. I bought a few fat quarters in 30s reproduction prints while I was there. I got some of these at the Sew Expo a few weeks ago. Love the 30s stuff.

I also bought one piece of vintage fabric.

When I pulled it out to photograph I realized it matched the large-scale floral in Blossom I got for the border on my Four Square quilt.

There were two quilts based on Dear Jane at the show too. I came home and finished a block, Dad's Plaids.

This one has reverse applique and regular applique. I think I'm improving since the last one.

I also knocked off two tiny new sewing projects. A needlebook and a camera case with a quilted lining for my new camera.

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December 28, 2007

Can't Blog, Crafting

I've just been too busy to blog.

I finished the first Bayerische.

I started my Sophia Carry-All.

I skipped breakfast (and blogging) to make up these gift bags.

I started my Endpaper Mitts with these yarns (Koigu).

I started a shawl for the shop in Noro Kureyon Sock yarn.

I am so tired.

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December 24, 2007

Gift Bag

Instead of wrapping a friend's present in paper I made this gift bag.

Pattern: Simple Leather-Handled Shoulder Bag from Amy Butler's In Stitches.
Fabric: 30s reproduction fabric from the Aunt Grace collection given to me by Erin.
Notes: I followed the pattern as written except for subbing grosgrain ribbon for the leather straps. It's very simple and fast to sew. I made it up while Wes made dinner.


December 12, 2007


Matching ones for the little guy.

Mismatched for the big guy.

Pattern: Write, Mama, Write Fabric Mitten Tutorial
Fabric: Leftover polar fleece and quilting cotton just lying around the house
Notes: These are fast and super-duper easy. My stitching is pretty sloppy on these as I just did everything by eye. The boys both said they liked them because they "make good boxing gloves."

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December 10, 2007

The Cobbler's Children Will Have Shoes

Last weekend Wes told me that we needed to go shopping because the boys need hats, mittens and scarves.

Uh, hello? Have you met me? I make stuff.

First I pointed out that our older son has the Star Wars hat from last year. There was no way I'd knit a hat, two pairs of mittens and two scarves fast enough for these guys. I decided to go the quick and dirty method on the scarves. I cut out two rectangles of polar fleece that I have lying around. Done! I was going to serge the edges to make them more "finished" looking but screw it. They're just going to lose them anyway so I can't be bothered. I cast on for the hat in Kid Classic which is done (see below). Then I started thinking about mittens. I found this tutorial. I started to make my first mitten. Halfway in I realized I had made it too small. I set it aside. I made another.

Not too bad. I didn't pull the elastic out enough so the cuff is baggy. I thought it would be good enough and went to start the second mitten. Ack! Not enough fabric. I had already used half my fabric for the aborted, too small mittens. Damn!

But wait. I'm a quilter now. Sort of. I can piece together the fabric I need!

You can see the remains of the first pair here in what looks like the female reproductive systems rendered in 30s reproduction fabric. Sadly, it was not enough even after I sewed together all my scraps. I set the mitten aside, wanting my son to try it on first before going any further. It's too big for him but fits his big brother who says he does not care if his mittens match.

Three more mittens to go and the cobbler's children will have shoes.

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November 25, 2007

Weekender Bag

Pattern: Weekender Bag by Amy Butler
Fabric: Forest Passion Vines and Forest Imperial Fans from the Nigella Collection by Amy Butler
Notes: This pattern is a huge pain in the ass. I've been working on it for a month and a half. All the fussy details which make it a pain also are what make it a great looking bag. I don't know if I'll ever make another one but I'm really pleased with the job I did on this one. I was too excited to wait for daylight to take decent photos.


October 24, 2007

Don't Make Me Go All the Way Down to the Car

There's something I haven't been telling you. I am taking a sewing class. It was supposed to be a two week class on Amy Butler's Weekender Bag. (My nearly-complete bag is down in the car and I just don't feel like going down there to get it and photograph it for you. Sorry.) But much like Gilligan's three hour tour, my class has lasted much longer. We had our third class last night because no one has finished her bag. In fact we spent the entire first three hour class just cutting out the pattern. We will be meeting for a fourth class next week. Unless something really gruesome happens I will have a finished bag by then. Which is good because if I can finish the bag without crying or cursing too much I want to make this new Amy Butler pattern. Because it's omygodawesome!

For those of you who feel the Amy love but don't dig sewing she has a new line of bags coming out. I've ordered several for the shop. I can't wait for them to come in.

In other news I made it to the gym today with my gym bag and there was hot water. Yay me. On the down side I lost a lot of ground in my running training by slacking off for nearly two weeks. But I always tell myself, "I'm here making an effort and that's all anyone can ask of me." So there.

In other, other news, I have only knit about two inches on my second SLL sock. The reason the first went so fast is not because I am a fast knitter. I'm really not. It was due to the short size (only 4" from cuff to the start of the heel flap) and the big gauge (Elann Esprit on US2s). Presto, zippy socks!


September 5, 2007

The Thrill of the New

Sorry guys, it's more sewing. It's still all new and exciting to me.

Cute little bucket holding some fabric scraps. You may recognize the cows. I only broke one needle!

Another Dear Jane Block. This one came together very quickly and my seams are all nice and straight.

I'd show you the Tangled Yoke I started but my gauge was too loose so I'm ripping out and starting over. I also seem to have knit and ripped the same dozen rounds of my Stashbuster Spirals. I'm just starting to increase for the gussets.

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August 13, 2007

It's Like the Karl Rove of Sewing Projects

It turns out I'm more persistent than I thought. I took the stupid desk organizer apart for the third or fourth (fifth?) time, trimmed the Timtex and sewed the whole thing back together. I got it to a point where it was still a total mess but I felt I could live with it. Time to sew on the handles. While sewing on the last handle I broke a needle. I replaced it and promptly broke another needle this time getting hit in the face with needle shrapnel just missing my left eye.

Meet the face of evil.

I stuffed it full of fabric (my original inspiration to pick this project back up was this) to create a rectangular-ish appearance.

The sick thing is I keep trying to think of how to do it better the next time. Next time? What am I? Fucking nuts?*

Fabric: Nature's Whimsy by Northcott and Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt

*Seriously, if you've sewn one of these devil-boxes please email me and tell me your secrets. I'm feeling pretty defeated.

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Welcom to Satan's Sewing Room

When I got Amy Butler's In Stitches I thought many of the projects were too complicated for me. So I settled on the Desk Organizer. It's just a box. How hard can it be?

Well it turns out that it's really fucking hard. I have ripped and resewn (and in one instance actually ripped straight through the fabric) so many times. This pattern is evil. I was physically worn out from wrestling with the Timtex in my machine. And when I finally got it to a point where I thought I could live with it (even though it still looked like crap) I found a section along the top where I didn't catch both the interior and exterior fabric in the top-stitching. So I will set this aside and when I'm ready to rumble with it again I'll rip that out and redo it.

It's evil, I'm telling you. Evil!

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June 5, 2007

Not So Longies

Dang, I just ran out of yarn. I still have 5 rounds left on each leg and the feet to go. If you've got any leftovers of Peruvian Highland Wool in Butter, Allspice, Spring Green or Blue Vista laying around, let me know.

***Update: I got some more yarn tonight. I should be okay. Thanks for all the offers!***

There's been more sewing. The hexagon quilt has three strips sewn and 13 to go. But last night I went off on a tangent. I was reading about the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt technique. I wanted to try it myself so I dug out some ancient fabric that only kind of goes together and started cutting.

This morning I started sewing.

Then I cut.

Then rearranged.


I'm going to use these blocks to make a mini quilt to practice my machine quilting on. That should be interesting...

ETA: Itty bitty Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top is done.

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June 1, 2007

Preliminary Layout

I've already moved a few things around since I took this picture. I'll do a little more tweaking then straighten all the pieces out. Some of my lines got a little wonky. I think I'll be ready to start sewing the strips tonight.

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May 29, 2007

Impressing Myself

I can't believe I've not only cut all the triangles for the hexagon quilt but I've completed 67 blocks! As Amanda pointed out it's a lot of sewing and pressing. The hexagon "blocks" are actually two halves of a hexagon. You piece the final quilt in half-hexagon strips. There are still over 30 hexagons to put together. I've been chain-piecing the hexagons. First I stitch two triangles then another two from the same hexagon. I place the stitched together triangles on my ironing board with the two still loose pieces. I do this for a giant stack of triangles. Then I press open the two partial hexagons and place the remaining triangles in the right position to stitch. I do this for all the pieces. Then I chain-piece the last triangles and end up with a huge garland of half-hexagons. I press them out and pin the two halves together. It goes pretty fast. Fast being a relative term here. It definitely goes way faster than the first one that I stitched then hopped up and pressed then stitched then hopped up then stitched, etc. That one took forever. On the plus side it was practically an aerobic activity.

Then I put them up on my "design wall."

This is just my first pass. I divided them up into color stacks then just thwacked them up on the wall. I've already found that if you start to move one hexagon it sparks a chain reaction and I start to want to rearrange the whole thing. There are definitely a few blocks that simply don't fit in right now. I'm really anxious to finish the rest of the blocks and see if they help smooth out the transitions or take the whole thing in another direction.

Cheryl asked, "Will you quilt it yourself or hire it out to do?" To which I say, I can't believe I got this much done. I haven't even thought about what happens next!

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May 28, 2007

Sunday Sewing

Wes took the kids to see his parents this weekend which left me with the entire day to myself on Sunday. I got One-Block Wonders from the library a few weeks ago and am really fascinated with this style of quilt-making (I've seen from some online reading that the technique is similar to Stack-N-Whack). You create hexagons, or octagons, that are kaleidoscopic. Unlike Stack-N-Whack you don't have to do all the fiddly little bits of piecing to make them into traditional square blocks. The quilts in the book are very abstract and really fun. I spent some time at the fabric store on Saturday and picked out a very silly fabric.

This gives you some idea of what finished blocks will could look like.

I picked it mostly because I liked the shades of green in it punctuated by some very small bits of magenta. I cut and cut and cut.

On Sunday I spent a solid 8 hours sewing and pressing. I have 38 completed hexagons and about another 38 that are half-done. There is still a big tower of triangle waiting to be stitched together.

For kicks I laid out some completed blocks to see what they might look like.

I like the colors a lot and I have a much better sense of what to look for in a fabric if I want to do this again. You need BIG prints which are hard to come by in a quilting store since most quilt fabrics have very small patterns. I'd also lean toward something slightly monochromatic with only one or two accent colors.

I still have a huge amount of work to do on this but it was a really fun way to spend a quiet day alone, listening to This American Life.

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April 15, 2007

Sewing Bee

I've long had aspirations of learning to sew competently. I gather materials. I read. But I rarely sew. I thought I would harness the power of Purlygirls and invited everyone to my house for a sewing bee. Amanda, Sasha and Sarah all arrived at 11 am sharp, armed with their machines, piles of fabric and patterns. (And cupcakes!)

I had spent a terribly long time at the new quilting shop yesterday trying to decide on a project. I finally chose one of the desktop organizers from In Stitches. I picked out some fabric (Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy and Nature's Whimsy from Northcott.

While I was standing at the cutting table a wall quilt caught my eye. It was elegant and simple and used a fabric that I had carried around the shop with me for an hour before putting it back on the shelf. It's a free pattern but you can barely see it in the photo. Plus I don't like the way it's quilted in the original. Too busy. I had everything cut out when my sewers arrived.

I started piecing my quilt.

I ran into a bit of trouble when I realized I had cut two pieces of fabric too short. I didn't have enough to continue so I set it aside and started working on the desk organizer. Then I ran into trouble on that when I realized I bought the wrong amount of Timtex.

Sigh. Are you seeing a trend yet? I was starting to feel a little defeated. What do you do when you feel your sewing has gotten the better of you? Why taking your first stab at hand-piecing, of course!

I am inordinately proud of this. My first block for my Dear Jane quilt. Pieced by hand. By me.

Please ignore the wonkiness of the upper corner. When I sewed the bottom strip to the center I didn't pay any attention to my seams so they're not lined up at all. I did a much better job sewing on the top strip.

After Amanda and Sasha left, Sarah and I headed to Ballard. I did a quick dash through the quilting store to get more fabric and more Timtex. We got a delicious breakfast/lunch/dinner (no time to eat when you're sewing) at Hi-Life.

When I got back home I got back to work on my quilt.

Again, bursting with pride here. My first quilt top. Done in a single day. Granted the pieces are gimundous, but still! The quilt top is 40" x 45". I haven't picked out backing or batting yet. That will be my next adventure. Then on to quilting.