Friday, January 29, 2010

One of Everything bag

One of Everything Bag 1
I don't know why it took me so long, but a year after getting Seams to Me for Christmas, I finally dove in and made some projects. The first thing I made was the storage box (which I've realized I never took any pictures of but will try to at some point in the near future), and the second thing I made was the One of Everything bag. I really like the shape of this bag, and the fact that the inside is deceptively roomy. It came together incredibly well, and I've been using it for a few weeks now with no complaints, though more than a few compliments!

One of Everything Bag handle detail
The one thing I didn't like about the bag was the braided handle, so I used a trick I learned from an Atkinson bag instead to make round, batting-filled handles. These turned out great and are nice and comfy, too! I also omitted the dangly side things because, honestly, I didn't really like them. And I think the bag has enough going on without them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another hippo

Bijoux hippo
I went a little crazy a few months ago and cut out fabric for four hippos. In early January I finally finished the last of them--this one, which I call Bijoux hippo after the Heather Bailey fabric it's made of. When I was cutting and making these hippos, I saved this one for last because I thought it would be my favorite. And yet, now that it's done, I think I like this one the best. Huh.

Bijoux hippo eye
It might be because of the eyes? They look a little...surprised to me. I triple-stacked them, which may have been the problem? I think it's that white button that throws it off, but maybe that's just me.

Bijoux hippo side
Not sure what will happen with this guy. Right now he's just hanging out in the sewing room with repro hippo, possibly waiting for a good home?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tethered Threads: December

Tethered Threads Dec blocks
I'm a bit behind in my non-Christmas posting, so this is a little catch-up. In my Tethered Threads quilting bee, Kathy had requested light, bright, scrappy, zakka-style blocks. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do; I started making hexagons on Christmas night. But I'm happy with what I came up with.

Tethered Threads Dec block 1
This block came first. The hexes are pieced into the block because I didn't want to appliqué them. Of course, I probably could've appliquéd them more quickly; I think I spent 13 hours making these hexagons! Still, I like the way that this turned out. I actually added all of the green fabric on the right because nothing that Kathy sent had enough to piece on the side and make all of those half-hexagons.

Tethered Threads Dec block 2
For this block I wanted to mix the fabrics up a bit more, really let that red pop, and let that flower Heather Bailey fabric sing. Not sure if I fully achieved the zakka style, but I think these blocks are fairly close.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gifted: Quilt for my husband

plaid YBR
And finally, the last of the Christmas 2009 gifts! And possibly the best, too: a lap-sized quilt for my husband! I'm sure you other crafters know how difficult it is to surprise your spouse with a handmade gift. It's not that it would be impossible for me--in the past I've shut myself into the sewing room and told him not to come in--but then he knows that I'm making him something, even if he doesn't know what. So I planned ahead, big time: this entire quilt was made in July, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when Rob was gone all evening teaching a night class.

plaid YBR quiting detail
The pattern is my go-to one: Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs. The fabrics are all Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt, except for the skinny border, which I think is a Dimple. As usual, the quilt came together really quickly. And those Free Spirit fabrics? So soft!

plaid YBR back detail
The quilting design actually took the longest--a good 8 hours! I think it took me a lot less to hand-stitch the binding on. For the quilting I chose to mimic the plaid of the rest of the quilt and pull in all of the colors. I drew a grid 5" apart and then quilted it with brown thread. Then I switched to green and quilted lines 1/4" away from the brown on each side, then orange, then blue. I stopped at the brown inner border and did one full line of quilting in the outer border so I would have squares at the corners. Even though it took a LONG time, I really like the effect. It's subtle, but it pulls in all the colors and adds a great texture.

Rob Iris nap
The result? I completely surprised Rob on Christmas Eve with a handmade quilt that he (and Iris) totally loves. Sweet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christmas swap

Hilary math swap

In addition to all the crafting I did for others, I did some for a swap with my arty friend Hilary (who you may remember me swapping with back here). Before the holidays, she came to me with the best idea: If she bought a yard of Spoonflower math fabric, would I make things out of it for her math professor boyfriend? How could I say no?!? I'd been dying to get my hands on some Spoonflower for a while, and Hilary is just the best, so having more of her art in my possession is always my goal.

math hippo side

So, what did I make? The original plan was to make him a tie, but once the fabric arrived Hilary and I both agreed that the scale of the formulas was such that it would not work out. Instead, I made the following:

wrist cuff 2

So, how was it? The tutorials were all really great. I especially fell in love with Anna Maria's loop-de-loop technique for making the button loops on the wrist cuff. The one thing that was not so great? The Spoonflower fabric! (I know, right?!) I have been wanting to love this fabric ever since I heard about Spoonflower. I know they used to print their quilting-weight cottons on white Kona cotton fabric. This other stuff has a nicer hand for sure, and a smaller weave, but was really difficult for me to stitch through. My machine hated it and kept skipping stitches, no matter how many times I cleaned and rethreaded the machine. I tried every needle I had and finally landed on one that worked well fairly consistently: My metallic thread quilting needle. Odd, no? But it did topstitch really well.

I'm still waiting for my exchange from Hilary, which will be some sort of painting. I left it up to her and told her it's not a rush at all, so I'm not anxious about it. I know how crazy we all get around the holidays! I'm still recovering. Now I'm almost caught up with my Christmas crafting blogging. Just one more big reveal and we can move on to the more mundane day-to-day crafting. I'm kind of looking forward to that. Aren't you?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gifted: Scarves for everyone!

Xmas scarves 6
As I usually do, this year I chose one handmade gift and then proceeded to make a dozen of it to give out to pretty much everyone. This year? Quilted scarves!

Xmas scarves 1
These are fantastic for a number of reasons: 1) mega stash-busting! including batting and quilting thread! 2) patchwork = they go with everything 3) who doesn't need a scarf? 4) lined with flannel = a quilt around your neck! What's cozier than that?!

Xmas scarves 3
No, really, I love these. I made the first one as a prototype and then kept it for myself. I have a fairly lengthy daily commute on public transportation, and you would not believe how many compliments I've gotten! So, to all you people who I gifted scarves to, I hope you're getting the same compliments!

Xmas scarves 5
There's been such interest in these around my LQS that I may be doing up a little tutorial and teaching a class (!!) Really, though, they are so easy. I just pieced and quilted my fabric onto the batting at the same time. So, put down piece 1, quilt a line or two through it, put down piece 2 on top of piece 1, right sides together, sew the seam and sew through the batting at the same time, fold down piece 2, etc. Then I re-trimmed the batting/patchwork, placed it face down on the flannel, stitched around (leaving an opening), trimmed corners, turned right-side out, pressed pressed pressed, topstitched. Done!

Xmas scarves 2
I used a couple of half-full spools of quilting thread and was happy to be done with those. I can never tell how far I can get with a spool like that, so I'm often reluctant to start using it on a large-ish project. These were perfect, and piecing with the quilting thread didn't make any difference, just added a little color.

Handmade Xmas
So, the picture above shows most of what I made to give away for Christmas. Most. There's still a bit more, so stay tuned...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gifted: Yoga bag for Mom

yoga bag with mat 1
Still catching up on holiday gifting posts... Seriously, I have at least a few more! I guess that just goes to show how busy I was then and still am? Anyway, for Christmas I made my mom this quilt, but I also made her this yoga bag. It was a special request and doesn't have a pattern. It's modeled after one owned by another woman in my mom's yoga class. My mom has done her fair share of sewing and knew exactly what pictures to take and what measurements to give me so I could rub off this design. By all accounts (hers and those of her yoga classmates), the resemblance is uncanny.

yoga bag bottom
The bag is different from most yoga bags because it is roomier. The bottom circle is about 6" across, but the bag is much wider and is pleated in order to fit nicely at the base. That way there is room in the bag for yoga blocks, water bottle, etc. etc. I used all fabric I had on hand to whip this up and it really didn't take that long. If I were to do it again there are some things I'd change, but not much. Glad you like it, Mom!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

STUD December received

STUD Dec rec'd front
My partner was a little behind (don't the holidays do that to everyone??) so my December mini-quilt for the STUD "quilts go green" theme was a bit delayed in getting to me, but it arrived on Monday! My partner, Cathie, used a shirt sleeve, pillowcase, and napkin to make the quiltie--all thrifted! What's really interesting is that I sent her something very similar. Two wonky star minis! I guess great minds think alike.

STUD Dec rec'd back
I love that she used the shirt cuff as the label on the back. What a great idea! And that shirt fabric is so soft--you can tell it was washed many many times before it even showed up at the thrift shop. Now that I've received this mini, I've completed 16 months straight of swapping with this group. Wow! I'm a little sad to be taking a break, but also a little relieved. That was a lot of crafting on a deadline, you know?

I have much more planned for the upcoming year, plus still have a number of Christmas posts to get up. Yikes!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

True Up's Favorite Fabrics 2009 meme

I'm finally getting around to my participation in True Up's 2009 fabric meme. It has been a rough week...

- Favorite Quilting Weight Cotton Collection:
Erin McMorris' Wildwood for Free Spirit. I have a bunch of 1-yd cuts of this that I'm just kind of sitting on for the moment.

- Favorite Home Decor Weight Fabric or Collection:
Jessica Jones' Amusement Park for Braemore Fabrics.

- Biggest Fabric World Story/News:
Mark Lipinski leaving Quilter's Home. This one shook me to the core (no, really, I'm totally serious).

- Favorite Overall Designer:
Anna Maria Horner! I love her blog, her patterns, her book, and all of her fabric!

Laura Gunn fabrics

- Favorite New Designer:
Laura Gunn! I LOVE her Lantern Bloom line (uh, I might have been a little obsessed with it).

- Favorite Novelty Print:
S.E.I. Chick-a-dee chick-a-doo for Robert Kaufmann. Those birds are just too cute!

Connecting Threads fabrics highlights

- Favorite Reproduction Print or Collection:
Connecting Threads' Mama's Cottons 2. Love the colors, love the prints, love it all!

- Favorite Solid/Nonprinted
Kona Cotton, of course! I loved them before, but with 42 new colors?? Awesome.

- Favorite Fabric Shop:
My LQS, MarketPlace Quilts! I shop a lot online, too, and love Fabricworm and, though I'm late to the party on this one, Pink Chalk Fabrics. I think it really is "teh awesome".

- Favorite New Fabric You Worked With in 2009:
Probably Laura Gunn's Lantern Bloom. This quilt is one of my favorites, and it was a pleasure making it.

- (Bonus, number 11) Favorite New Idea in the Fabric World:
A fabric co-op, like Fabfanatic Fabrics. Because "more stash for your cash" is never a bad thing!

Friday, January 8, 2010

STUD December sent

Dec STUD mini sent
It has been a rough week back to work. BLAH. And there was some kind of post office snafu so that my partner only just received the package I sent her three weeks ago! But I'm glad it made it, and now I can show you my last swap quilt for STUD.

Dec STUD mini detail
The theme this month was "quilts go green" and we were all challenged to use non-traditional quilting materials to make our quilt and to not purchase anything. Lucky for my I had the perfect set-up. All materials in the quilt are from my friend JJ, who has been shedding pounds like crazy and graciously donating to me her too-big clothes. (You may remember her from the hippo post here.) I used pants, some skirts, a dress, and a tablecloth to make this wonky star quilt. I bound it in some flannel I had on hand from some Christmas gifts (to be posted soon-ish, I hope).

Dec STUD minis 1
I made my usual "twin" quilt for me, of course, and I made an additional one as a thank-you gift for JJ. And with that I complete my final swap for the group. I really enjoyed swapping mini-quilts for 16 months with this wonderful group, but it's time for me to move on and commit to my Dear Jane quilt and other projects that have been languishing.