Tuesday, August 20, 2013

End of Summer Catch-Up

I had a fantastic summer with my boys!  But there really weren't many tears when I sat down to my sewing machine in an empty house last week.  They all left for school and work, and I could hear my own thoughts again.  Ahhh....

My Bernina was out for a tune-up, so I did some quilting on the beast.  Lots of it.

I finally finished the flannel Man Quilt.  I used Woolies by Maywood Studio almost exclusively for the front and back (I think one of the reds is something else).  It's got an interesting feel to it, it really does feel like wool without the scratchy bit.  I did a regular cotton binding, though, as I was worried about it being super thick.

Man Quilt, Front
 (yeah, they kind of do look like swastikas, but I assure you, they're the good luck kind, so says Wikipedia)

Man Quilt, Back
That little maze quilting pattern took forever, and then some.  So proud to have this finished!  Still need to wash it, though.  There's a laundry backlog with all the sewing going on.

I also got out a kaleidoscope quilt top that I finished well over a year (or two) ago.  Quilted and bound!
Binding, pre-hand-sewing.

Look at the nifty stars the quilting made on the back!

Earning his keep after school.  Better photos (with sewn binding) to follow.

In the box with the quilt, was a zip lock baggie full of scraps.  And I had some extra batting sitting right there, thread in the machine, why not?  

Happy Camper Hot Pad

Last but not least, and before she started middle school, I was able to get my friend's daughter's graduation quilt to her.  I'd never made a t-shirt quilt before, it was fun trying something new.  The back and binding is Kona Black, and it's stitched in the ditch.  I toyed with the idea of an all-over design, but couldn't think of how to make it work with all the crazy colors.  Pretty cute.

That's it for now.  Phew!

Hope you had a great summer!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Giveaway Day Winner

I am currently taking advantage of an empty cabin and a hot cup of coffee (and wireless that reaches to the porch swing), but didn't want to miss the deadline to announce the Giveaway Day winner!  

Thank you all so much for the fantastic tips and ideas, I had a blast reading through all of the responses.  They were creative and thoughtful and smart; just what I would expect from a bunch of sewists!

And the winner is...says the random number generator...number 37!  

Sowing Stitches!

"I love the thought of the bullet casing. My imagination is running wild with this one...but from experience I know that they make great whistles...maybe she used it to store her needles."

See?  Creative.  And I never knew you could whistle on a bullet casing!

Thank you again to all who participated!  Happy Saturday!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Giveaway Day!


I know you're probably busy blog hopping, I will be too in a bit, so I'll try not keep you long!

I love vintage notions, and look for sewing bits whenever I'm at an estate sale or thrift store.  They often tell such great stories about their owners.  Once, I bought a sewing box at an auction that belonged to a nurse, she had suture silk, surgical blades, and bandage scissors stashed in there, along with a bullet casing!  Clearly, your imagination must be a large part of the story.  I've found old letters, Girl Scout patches that never got sewn on, promotional needle books from banks, campaign buttons; all sorts of treasure!  I even found template pieces cut from old newspaper that someone had bought from another quilter for $0.25...by mail...almost half the price of a stamp today.

I display what I can in my sewing room, but my collecting has gotten a bit out of hand.

l:  framed needle books above my machine  r:  shelves of tatting and crochet thread, hooks/needles, pins, etc.

And so, today, for my first ever giveaway, I have some vintage notions to offer!

I'll be adding some more buttons and things throughout the week, it's spring cleaning time, here!

Giveaway will close on May 10th, at 5pm PST, and is open to US residents (sorry international friends).
The winner will be chosen by random from the comments section of this post.

To enter, please answer one of the following:

  • Your best sewing tip, or favorite sewing notion?  
  • Are there any household items that may not be made for sewing, but that you use in your sewing arsenal? 
  • The bullet casing...what in the world do you think she was using that for? 

Bonus entry for followers of my blog.  Just tell me what method you used.

Follow on Bloglovin

Good luck, and thank you for stopping by!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee, Blocks 4 and 5

A little bit behind on sewing #4, but decided doing both at once was better for my tendency to leave things out longer than I should.

For some reason, I had trouble with #4, my machine (always blame the machine) kept eating the edge of my fabric when attaching the squares on the bias.  Even with a leader.  She never does that.  I'm thinking I may need to change the needle and tune her up a bit.  Anyway, it pulled in places, but overall, lined up at the points well enough to call it done.  The fact that the dots weren't printed on the grain evenly bothers me too.  Oh well.

block #4
Then came block #5, which took probably a third of the time, and turned out just fine.

block #5

Thanks again to all of you talented ladies hosting:

Virtual Quilting Bee

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Build-A-Bear Pajamas

Several years ago, we took my oldest to Build-a-Bear for his birthday.  And for some reason, this week, the bears have made a comeback in popularity.  Perhaps it's a last ditch attempt at saving them from the spring cleaning donation frenzy?  And yesterday, my youngest informed me that his bear didn't like sleeping in his hockey uniform.  Could I please make him some new clothes?

A quick Google search, and I had a free pattern for pajamas.  I love it when people share (thank you, it's always autumn!)

I let both boys raid the box of old clothes we had waiting to be donated.  Evan came up with one of his Dad's flannel shirts, and Ryan found a pair of his own outgrown pajama pants.

For Ryan's, I cut the pattern on the cuff of the pants, to reuse the hem.  I wasn't as lucky with the shirt Evan chose, but the flannel didn't fray much, so I just turned them under once.

The pattern is super easy to use, one piece of paper, no taping.

I did my elastic using a trick I learned in a serger class.  You don't need a serger to do it, though.  It works especially well for tiny clothes like this, where double turning a casing and threading the elastic can be kind of tedious.

First, you mark your elastic (cut to final size) in quarters, with pins.  Then, starting at the front seam, you zig-zag (or serge) your elastic to the right side of your waistband, stretching it as you go.  Use the pins in the elastic to line it up with the four seams of your garment.

pulling as I sew...

Once you've made it all the way around, slightly overlap the two ends, and zig-zag them together.

matching plaids...total accident.
You can leave it like that, boxer-style, or you can fold the elastic to the wrong size, and zig-zag it down, enclosing the raw edge.  I folded mine.

And that's it!  Happy bears, and happy owners!

And the hole for the tail...could it be cuter?

Hope this helps someone else save ten bucks on bear pants!  :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee, Block 3

We have a camellia that grows over our back deck that seems to be prime real estate for the birds.  Though why, I don't know.  Our house is loud and full of boys that slam the back door, and throw sticks in the yard.  But for years, a cardinal family had made their nest there, and this year, they got a few twigs laid down before a robin came to claim it.

She is one hard worker.

The cardinal seems very put out.

about 8 feet away from the robin's nest...he hangs here pretty much all day keeping an eye on things
She doesn't care.  You snooze, you lose (early bird gets the worm?)

Anyway, onto Block #3!

This one reminded me of one of the blocks from my Farmers Wife quilt.  I really like the traditional look of it.

After much mulling over the green/blue/green-blue in the last block, I've decided to embrace all shades together.  With sashing, I think they'll get along after all.

blocks 1-3

Hope your weekend is also filled with signs of Spring.

Join in!
Virtual Quilting Bee

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Work(s) in Progress Wednesday

I've been a busy bee, though not a busy blogger.  Been trying to do some spring cleaning, so not much to show and tell about!

But here are the few projects I've been sneaking in between dusting, washing, organizing, and tossing.  At least when quilts are done, they stay done.  Unlike my cleaning efforts.

 1.  Quilting on The Man Quilt.
first time quilting flannel front and back...it's been...educational.

quilting close-up
look!  it's spring outside!
2.  The Graduation Quilt, for a friend
first 7 of 12 blocks, fused and cut; will be adding black sashing and borders next

3.  Fussy cutting some border corners for a spring-ish Scrappy Trip quilt:

love that Amy Butler
amazing how quickly things come unpressed when thrown into a corner for a few weeks

Hope you're having a lovely April so far!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee, Block 2

I was bummed last Friday when there wasn't a new block to do.  I knew there wasn't going to be, but I really didn't want to have to put away all the fabric I got out auditioning for the first block.  I'm great at getting out, but putting away is not my forte.  Unfortunately, I think my children have inherited this gene.

Anyway, new block today, yay!

It's a fun one.  Kind of reminds me of a card trick block.

Block 2

Blocks 1 and 2
Seeing them side-by-side, not sure if the greens/blues in the corners were the right choice.  One is definitely more blue, maybe I should have gone solid?  But, I have more opportunities for other blocks...just a 2 week wait away!

Not to late to join the fun!

Virtual Quilting Bee

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meet: My Machine

Today I'm linking up to meet:  my machine at The Tiltled Quilt.  

This is my machine.  She's a Bernina Activa 230PE.  I love her.  This is her story.

One day, I was looking on eBay for a used serger.  I was mainly searching for a Bernina because I was confident that even an older model would be sturdy and run well.  I wanted it for finishing unlined garments, and making kids' Halloween costumes.  Nothing fancy.  The machines I was looking at were 20+ years old, and probably hadn't been used in half as long.  But my husband caught wind of what I was doing, and went out an bought me a brand spankin' new one as a gift.

My first Bernina, the 700D

The sweet ladies at the sewing machine store, also told my poor man that this machine is excellent for quilting (ha!)  He brought her home and I attempted my very first quilt with her.  Needless to say, the points (nubs!) on my pinwheels didn't exactly lay very flat.  I felt a little guilty for having a machine that cost twice what my regular machine, a EuroPro Shark, did at the time.  Especially when I couldn't even make a simple quilt on it.  So, my husband "fixed" it by going out and buying me a proper quilting machine.  The Bernina Activa 230PE...the PE is for Patchwork Edition (and if you ask me, PErfect!)

The #57 Foot

And this is why I wouldn't trade her for the world...the #57 Patchwork Foot.  A true 1/4" seam without even trying!  See the little arm on the right side?  It lines up your fabric for you.  Genius!

But after making a quilt or two, I discovered her Kryptonite.  She's petite, and it's almost impossible for me to quilt a big quilt on her with her itty bitty harp size.  So, my husband fixed that, too, and found a mid-arm Babylock on Craigslist for me.

Baby Lock Quilter's Choice Professional
My favorite thing about this one is the power.  She can GO!  And she has a thread cutting feature that I've gotten spoiled by.  She also has an even feed pin that's neat, but I mostly use her for FMQ'ing.

Even though I didn't pick any of these out for myself, they couldn't be any more fitting.  They are fantastic machines, but also remind me how lucky I am to have someone who supports me and my interests, even when he doesn't share them.

And he puts up with my disaster of a sewing room.  He's a keeper.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee, Block 1

I saw the first block for Diary of a Quilter's Virtual Quilting Bee earlier this morning, and then got out some Farmer's Wife blocks to work on.  But while I was rummaging through my bins, I came along this stack of Hometown charms, and some Urban Cowgirl I had put with it, and that star block was calling my name.

So, I have begun yet another new project.  

Even though I've made this block before, I usually don't take the time to trim all of my HST's.  But for this one, I decided to do it the "right" way.  I admit, it did come together well.  However, as I was cruising along, I accidentally trimmed the top right block on the wrong side!  Ooops!  It's a little short (~1/16"), but it'll work out into the seam allowances.  I made sure the points still ended up in the right spot.  I would have cut another one, but I used 2 of my 5" charms (3" x 3" each), and didn't have extras.

One down!

Join in!

Virtual Quilting Bee

Friday Finishes!

This first project has been on my to do list for a LONG time.  We spend a lot of time in the car going to and from the cabin, which means we may or may not be eating food in there.  And I desperately needed a way to contain the trash that accumulates.  Particularly in the back seat, where some little boys sit.  So, I made a slightly smaller version of this grocery bag holder from a few extra charm squares.  The charms were assembled in rows, and then sliced and rearranged before being resewn into a block.

Looking a little lumpy with all those bags stuffed in it.

I used my serger for the final seam, but I don't love it.  At the top around the elastic, it's bulky.  I plan on making another one (or two, or three), and will change that next time.  I'll probably still serge the inside, just stop before the end.

But, it's perfectly useful, and headed for the back seat.  Now the trick is training them on how to use it.

My second finish is a little knitting project that took much longer than it should have.  It got lost in my knitting pile.  The Asheville Hat!

Malabrigo is soft, washes well, has lovely colors, but one of my favorite things about it, is how much I always have left over!  I think I've got enough for mitts or maybe a small cowl.  Love that.

Next up, a little Triple Zip pouch for my Nana's birthday (shhh...I just mailed it.)  I used an alternate method for the last seam, since I had some trouble last time.  It's similar to my regular pouch making method, and went a bit more smoothly.

And finally; impulse-buy fabric, a couple zippers, and three boys out ice skating; equals a perfect storm for some new couch pillows!

The stripe was a result of me being cheap and only buying *just* enough for two pillows.  I had to center the medallions, and ended up a bit short on doing solid fronts and backs.

I also tried a new zipper method.  I basted the opening, applied the zipper to the back, and then removed the basting.  I liked it, but on the bottom of a pillow like this, where it naturally folds open, a small flap may have been neater.

No doubt they'll need replacing before too long, anyway!  Pillows don't spend much time on the sofa here.

That's it for this week.  Happy Friday!

Linking up to finish it up Friday @ crazymomquilts

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Farmer's Wife (WiP Wednesday)

This is long (long) term WiP, but I got the blocks laid out this week to try and decide if I'm at least close to a quilt.

 Please excuse the un-trim-ed-ness...this is a rough draft.

I think I've decided on the suggested on-point layout.  I considered doing every-other-block, but there aren't any that I really mind, maybe other than Pine Tree, on the diagonal.

Still need a row or two.

And I think I may use the navy from this block, for the sashing corners, to break up the pink a little.

Back to the box!

Linking up to WiP Wednesday at FreshlyPieced