Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baby shower gift round-up

Steph stroller quilt front
I know I've mentioned this before, but it really seems like everyone is pregnant! I had a baby shower to attend two weekends in a row! Phew! So please forgive me if this post is a bit all-encompassing, but there's a lot to share!

Steph stroller quilt detail
First was Steph's shower. I made her the gift you see above: A stroller quilt (finishes around 18" x 30"). You may recognize the pattern from the cover of this book. I adapted the blocks to finish much smaller, and just pulled some neutrals and stripes from my stash. The quilting is an easy diagonal cross-hatch, and the backing is flannel for extra coziness. I put the binding on by machine to save more time. I really like how this one turned out!

mobile lambies 2
I also made Steph four little stuffed lambies for her mobile. That last was a special request, and I was happy to oblige! I love softies :) These were my own pattern, made with some faux fleece and felt that I had on hand. Steph texted me a photo of them on the mobile, which you can see here. Aww!

Michelle baby gift
Next up was Michelle's shower. She's having a girl, and the nursery is ladybug-themed, so I gifted her this quilt (which you may remember from way back here) and made her the ladybug softie from Little Stitches. I omitted the antennae because I thought they were too fussy and added eyes instead--blanket-stitched circles of felt. Now I think that I'd include the antennae next time; I think it looks like a little something is missing.

mermaiden front
Since I've been giving my friends two things (a quilt and a softie, usually) for baby shower gifts, I wanted to make another something for Leah, to whom I'd only gifted this sleep sack for her shower. She was kind enough to host Steph's shower while caring for her own newborn daughter (!!), so I whipped up this Mermaiden from Wee Wonderfuls for her. I was in a time crunch so I did most of the assembly by machine. Still, she turned out pretty cute!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Natural Patchwork

NP group 1
I was just skimming through old posts from last summer, looking for a mention of working on a big commission project, but I couldn't find any?? Hmm. Anyway, last summer I undertook a large commission project for the publisher I work for: Make 12 sample projects from Natural Patchwork to be given out to sales reps to help sell the book.

NP group 4
These have all been finished since August (!) but I wanted to wait until the book was actually printed and on sale before I posted them (I worked from a Word file of the manuscript and a photocopy of the Japanese book, which was really tough!). I tried out a variety of projects because I wanted to test some of the patterns and also show some of the range that's in the book.

NP hot pads 2
I spent a lot of time trying to match the fabric choices in the original book, which made everything take quite a bit longer than if I'd been making them for myself and using fabrics I had on hand. These hot pads, especially, were really time-consuming!

NP courthouse bags
These bags took a while, too. Those courthouse steps blocks are really small! I consolidated some of the quilting (I did about half as much as was recommended in the book, and all of that by machine) and they still took a while. Looking back on them now, though, I am really loving them, especially that red bag!

NP mini pouches 1
I learned some new construction techniques, especially with the courthouse steps bags, which are quilted in sections and then have bias binding applied to cover the raw edges. The bags also use an interesting zipper insertion method that I had never tried but did like.

NP pot holder 1
In all, it was a great experience. I really like the book and the variety of projects in it and would highly recommend picking up a copy (and not just because I work here!). It's sweet to look at all this happy patchwork now, and I'm a little sad I had to let it all go. I'm thinking now that I may have to revisit some of it this summer...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bird branch for Hilary

H bird branch 4
As part of yet another crafty/arty swap with the amazingly talented Hilary Emerson Lay, I made her this variation of a bird mobile (softie tutorial from here). I lucked into getting this branch from a coworker and thought it was perfect: It leaves Hilary with the option of mounting it on the wall or hanging it from the ceiling.

bird branch hanging
She opted to hang it, as seen above (this photo was texted to me by Hilary herself). Just like the other two times, the birds are completely stitched by hand. I know this takes me longer to do by hand than it would to do by machine, but I like the portability of the project (I actually worked on some of these during my trip to New York) and I like the control I have by hand. Those curves can be tricky!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

NYC + fabric haul

leaving NYC 6
Part of why I've been MIA is that I was in New York City for work two weeks ago, and have been fighting with allergies / a cold / general yuckiness since I got back. I didn't take a ton of pictures, partly because I've been there before, and mostly because I know I'll be back, but I did take a few, which you can see here.

Mood fabrics 2
I had three stops I wanted to make: the Strand, Mood, and Purl. Even though my plans and what actually happened ended up diverging significantly, I was able to visit all three! Above is a picture of what I got at Mood (which is surprisingly different from what they show on Project Runway, but still huge and overwhelming). I had only a backpack for the three-day trip, and I had to carry EVERYTHING for much of it, so I tried to keep my purchases small and light. I limited myself to the cottons so I wasn't completely overwhelmed, and I ended up with yardage of these two prints, both of which I believe are cotton lawn. Aren't they pretty? I'm definitely thinking of summer wear for both.

Purl fabrics 1
I don't have anything to show for my visit to the Strand (hey--books are heavy!) but above is my haul from Purl, which I thought was surprisingly small in person. I pretty much knew going in that I was going to allow myself some Liberty yardage, but I didn't have my eye on anything in particular. Then I saw this:
How lovely, right?!? I got a yard and a half, and I'm thinking of summer top for this one, too. It is so so beautiful, and so so expensive, but I'm going to try to not treat it as something precious; instead, I'm going to pre-wash it and cut it and sew it and wear it. It will do nobody any good if it sits in a pile as untouchable! The other fabrics from Purl are a yard of Kokka on sale, a random fat quarter, and more yardage of a lovely Japanese print that caught my eye.

NYC fabrics
In all, I got about 7 yards of fabric, plus thread and invisible zippers. Not bad, eh? Now to get through my must-sew list so I can work on my want-to-sew list...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dear Jane progress

DJ A12
My poor, neglected blog! I am behind in posting, and a little behind in crafting (and definitely behind in my Dear Jane progress), but I *am* making progress, which is what counts! Above is block A12, finished a month ago. Where does all the time go?!

DJ A13
And here is block A13, finished a couple of weeks ago. You know what that means? Row A is DONE!

DJ row A
I cut the sashing and pieced the row together by machine (to give my hands a bit of a break from all that hand-stitching, and to add a little extra resilience to the quilt as a whole) on 4/22. It is so amazing to have a row completed and to see it all together! Now I'm onto finishing row B, although I'm behind by 2 blocks at least, soon to be 3. Here's hoping I can shake this cold I have long enough to chip away and make some progress...