Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More fabric (what else??)

lots of new fabric
I've gone a little crazy with the fabric buying lately. It's so hard to help myself! There are so many beautiful fabrics out there that I *have* to have! Above is a pic of fabric I brought back from Wisconsin (not including 6 yards of backing for our two YBR quilts) and two different fabric orders that were waiting for me upon my return. I think the photo above shows *gulp* 27.5 yards!?!?

Bear Paw Quilt Co. order
This is my order from Bear Paw Quilt Company. They were having a sale (and they are now, too), and I got these 11 yards for around $4.75/yard, including the shipping! There's some Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, and Urban Garden! I just checked and they still have some Heather Ross prints, and some of the Katie Jump Rope. Definitely worth bookmarking... 

Jo-Ann fabric
This is my haul from the Jo-Ann's that I went to with my grandmother while I was in Wisconsin. I got two scores on Alexander Henry prints, plus two packs of five fat quarters for $9.99 each, and the one on the right is all Heather Ross prints! Total score. 

Laura Gunn fabrics
And last but certainly not least are these gorgeous prints from Laura Gunn's Lantern Bloom line, which is unbelievably gorgeous. Seriously. I saw these online and ordered them from here because I had to have them, and they are even more beautiful in person. I am definitely thinking dresses for these, but not sure about the patterns yet. Of all the fabric shown above (and there are more shots in my Flickr album here) these are my favorites. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weekend finishes

scrappy friendship quilt top
I feel like I'm still getting back in the swing of things, craft-wise, but I did get some good finishes done last weekend. The biggest was my "Scrappy Friendship Quilt," which I started way back in April. Every time I go to my LQS I'm asked if it's finished yet, as the other two in that class have theirs done or off at the quilter as I type. So, finally, I put mine together (but not until after I'd pulled out yards and yards that I'd pre-washed and wanted to turn into skirts and aprons. But I was good and wouldn't let myself change my foot and move my needle position until this was done.)

It's a really interesting project. There are fabrics in there that I hate and didn't want to use, but if I wouldn't use them in a scrappy project with 100 other fabrics, what would I ever use them for? So I cut them up, thankful to be rid of them, and added them to the stash. Turns out, I love this top! I used the barn-raising layout (obviously), and I love the way that the pattern of lights and darks jumps out at you from a distance. 

Iris close scrappy quilt
Little Miss Iris had to get in on the picture taking, too, and this is my new favorite picture of her. Curiosity is so adorable! 

A smaller finish occurred on Saturday, when I finally finished stitching down my binding on my June STUD swap quilt + twin for me. This month's theme was "texture." Above is a sneak peek, but it's not a very good photo so I haven't uploaded it to the group page. My partner should be receiving it this week, so I'll post finished pictures then. I really like this one! 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quilting with Gramma

us with quilts 2
I've been back for over a week, but I'm just now uploading pictures from my Wisconsin trip in early June. My main reason for going home is pictured above: to make some quilts with my gramma. (Side note: how amazing is it that the borders totally change the quilt?! Everything inside the white "stopper" is exactly the same.) My gramma has been a seamstress all my life and probably most of hers. I don't remember when she started quilting, but I do know that in my family it is tradition that she presents each grandchild with a handmade quilt on their wedding day. Mine is beautiful and is a treasured possession of ours. I came to quilting less than three years ago (when I was already living on the East Coast), so this interest that we now share was never shared when I lived a mere 30 minutes from her. 

Gramma hands 2
I chose to take this trip because I don't want to have any regrets. My grampa is not doing so well; he has Parkinson's, and my gramma is falling into the role of caretaker, which isn't easy on her, either. I know they won't be around forever. Each time I've made the trip home to Wisconsin, it was for a holiday or a family reunion. I've seen my grandparents, but I haven't been able to spend much time with them since my extended family is big (nearly 50 people, I think). So this trip was just me at a time when nothing else was going on. My grandparents were gracious enough to let me stay overnight at their house, even, so I was with them for two full days and one night. 

Gramma sewing 2
The experience was one I will never forget. I learned so many things about my grandparents, and I am so incredibly grateful I was able to have that opportunity. I know how lucky I am. My gramma was away at a church meeting for a couple of hours the night I stayed there, so my grampa and I had uninterrupted time to just sit and talk together. I don't think I've ever had that much one-on-one time with him before, and honestly, I don't know if I'll ever have that chance again. 

Gramma hands 5
I learned that my gramma and I are very similar sewers. We took a trip to JoAnn's and picked all of the fabrics for the quilts together. I wanted to do that, but I wasn't sure what kind of color scheme we'd end up with. I don't know why I had any reservations--we share excellent taste! We also share a great belief in the fudge factor of piecing patchwork. Seam allowance too big? Oh well! Just trim it up. Everything will work out. And it did. 

ETA: Pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs. We were able to complete both quilt tops in about 6 hours of work, with my gramma doing all the sewing and me doing all the cutting and pressing. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Spring Ruffle Top

spring ruffle top
Well, I'm back from a week in Wisconsin and still trying to download all my pictures and process everything that happened. In all, it was a really good trip and one that I am so thankful I was able to take, though I must say I am also very thankful to be home with the husband and the kitty, too. Just before I left I spent a long morning making my own Made by Rae Spring Ruffle Top. Unfortunately, it was too cold and rainy for me to wear on my trip, though I made sure to pack it. 

spring ruffle top 2
I bought one yard of the green focus fabric and 1/2 yard of the blue accent from my LQS specifically for this project and used most of it. I think the top turned out pretty well, though my mom says it looks like an apron. I'm happy to finally have some 30s fabrics to wear! Pretty much all of the 30s repros in my stash are relegated to my (very neglected) Dear Jane. 

So, this is my 150th blog post! Craziness. I did have a very crafty May, so that was a big contributor. So far, June has not been as productive, but I think I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. I want to do a give-away, but I'm not sure what to give away! Anyone have any suggestions? 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby booties, take 2

blue baby booties 1

I made some baby booties a few months ago for a friend's baby shower. Some other friends just had their second child, so I figured I'd make him some little booties as well. The pattern is from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. It came together easier for me the second time. It's nice, but the pieces are small and it's a little fiddly to put together.

blue booties lining

I used a bright lining because I liked the way it pops against the dark blue. I also like the fusible fleece in these--it adds softness and just enough structure to keep them from being too floppy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dunny dollhouse

Dollhouse front

I hinted at this in an earlier post, but a friend just had his birthday and here's the full reveal of the gift I made him. He has an extensive collection of Dunnies, so I thought a house to hold them would be great!

Dollhouse open 2

I used this tutorial, which is great, plus a few of my own modifications. I omitted the handle, and instead of wrapping the canvas with batting I cut fusible fleece to size and then inserted the canvas after I'd sewn the pieces together.

Dunny + house

It's a silly gift, as I mentioned before, but was very well received. This is one of my Dunnies posing to show scale. This picture cracks me up! That doorknob is a puffball I glued on, so it's 3D. Very realistic!

I'm posting from Wisconsin right now, where I'm spending time with my family. Yesterday my grandmother and I went fabric shopping (and I got some total scores, but those will have to be documented when I get back next week). Today I am going to her house to spend two days working on quilts with this pattern, matching ones for each of us. The plan is a little ambitious, but this is more about the process than the results.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekend Sewing Weekend Away Travel Bag

weekend away bag outside

My friend's birthday was the other day and she is currently spending two weeks in Greece, so I wanted to make her an early birthday present she could take with her on the trip. I settled on the Weekend Sewing zippered travel bag because it was small, cute, and useful.

weekend away bag zip

I used linen for the outside but added some iron-on interfacing, too, just to give it some structure. For the inside I used some Heather Bailey Pop Garden zigzag fabric. I wanted the lining to be really fun. I think the hot pink zipper alludes to it.

weekend away bag inside

I had some issues with this pattern (and, if you have this book or have been looking around online, you probably know that the patterns have lots of errata). First, I'd like to state that I love the way the zipper goes into this. It looks so clean and had me feeling like super professional crafty lady. Unfortunately, when I put all the pieces together, I ended up putting the zipper part in a little crooked on one end. That's my fault. Sewing the entire thing together was a little tricky, especially around the curves. My sewing machine was not all that pleased with me, and I had to go over some areas multiple times. The area I had the most trouble with was the lining pocket. I didn't use elastic thread, but instead stitched on a small elastic band using an elastic zigzag stitch, pulling the elastic while I stitched so it would gather the fabric. This actually worked pretty well. It wasn't until I stitched the pocket to the lining that I realized it only comes up about 1" on either side! It looks nothing like the sketch in the book. Ooops. That's not my fault--the measurements for cutting the pocket are incorrect. Guess I just need to chalk that up to a learning experience...

I've written this blog post ahead of time because I'm actually on my way to Wisconsin right now to spend a week with my parents. I'll be spending a couple of days with my grandparents, working on some quilt tops with my grandmother. I'm very much looking forward to that! I'll also be attending my ten-year high school reunion this weekend. Oh my. I have a few more pre-scheduled posts that will go up while I'm on this trip (I can't call it a "vacation"). May was an incredibly productive crafty month for me!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Leaf dress

leaf dress 2
Here's yet another dress I made recently. The pattern is similar to the one I worked up last summer on this dress, but with some changes. I used a pre-made bias tape to bind the neckline (duh! that was my major problem with the previous dress!) and this one has sleeves and a gathered ruffle at the hem.

giant sleeve!
The sleeves are awesome and huge! I adore them. I think they're the best thing about this dress. There are a lot of pleats at the shoulder. Instead of just hemming the sleeve, I made a casing and threaded through 11" of elastic. Oh man. I can't believe how awesome the sleeves are, and how comfy this dress is! Though 100% quilting cotton will do that, I guess...
leaf dress 3
There are still some kinks to be worked out of this pattern, including the bust darts, but in all I'm satisfied with the progress I've made on it. I'm loving my technique for zipper insertion, and I'm loving the fit of this dress! And also my new blue shoes from Target. Because a girl can never have enough blue shoes.