Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Pink

A charm square quilt using the same pinks as my blushing squares blocks.

Anybody Want it?  I'll refund shipping to blog readers.  Just leave me a note in the comments.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Upcoming Series

We love KNITS!

In case you hadn't noticed.

Within the next couple of weeks (goal of mid-Feb.) we are going to start a T-shirt / Knit series.  We'll be featuring some tips about sewing with knits (very similar to swimwear), along with some of our favorite styles or patterns.  We'll try and give you some tricks and shortcuts that work great too.  Our cousin Tiffany will be helping out with some posts.  We're working on it as we speak, but we'd also like to know what questions, if any, you may have about sewing with knit fabrics.

If you have a question just leave us a comment on this post.
We'll try to incorporate as many as we can into our posts and the projects we're working on.

Here's some of the stuff that I'll be playing with, besides the bin of solids I have.  Can't wait...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's days like this that my husband thinks I've lost my mind...

Towards the end of the year I was cleaning out my sewing closet when I came across my pile of batting scraps.  Ugh!  I'm not a mug rug, mini quilt swapping kinda gal, so what the heck am I'm going to do with all those small odd shaped pieces?  Well, I knew... I'd done it before.  Frankenbatting!

In a moment of pure craziness on my part I decided to use EVERYTHING in the pile.  No skinny/small scrap left out!  I wanted to see how big I could get it.  I mean, have you noticed the price of Warm and Natural these days?!  I must of saved myself at least 20 bucks!  :)

Well, I got it big, alright!  Big enough that I used it for this quilt.  WooHoo!

  But when I showed it to my husband he just shook his head.  I'm sure he was thinking something along the lines of "Wow, look how resourceful my wife is!" rather than "This confirms that Emily has lost her marbles!"  Either way I was happy to get rid of "the pile" that was taking up residence in my closet.  It felt very satisfying!

 The good news is, I don't use enough batting to necessitate making this but once a year.  Thank heavens!! It's a bit tedious.

For the record:  I don't butt the pieces side by side, but rather just overlap them a 1/2 inch or so.  (easiest method for me!)  I haven't ever experienced any negative effects from using this technique--no noticeable bulges in my quilts.  But I wouldn't recommend using frankenbatting with a quilt that has an abundance of white/light colored fabrics.  Then you might notice the seems.  ...just my two cents!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Charitable Sewing

Just an update:
I got a very nice email response from Rita regarding our "same" quilts.  Just proves she is a class act and doesn't take herself too seriously.  So refreshing!
So, I've been doing some New Year's purging in my sewing room this week.  It's been a flurry of activity as I chopped my way to a couple of charitable quilts tops.

I used my I-Spy squares from the swap Renae and I did for a little boy version.  For some reason I think boys get the bum end of the deal when it comes to sewing/charitable giving. 

Nothing But Blues
For this top I went through all my charm square scraps and pulled out the blues.  I think it turned out cool!  I may even have enough yellows in my stash to make a similar version later on. 

 My favorite part is the pocket square!

Pink/Purple Ballerina
I bought this ballerina fabric for some birthday party favors that never got made.  Surely some little girl will love this one, right?

I am donating these to Margaret's Hope Chest in hopes that they can be used for their prison ministries program.  A worthy cause, indeed!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This is the post where I look like a total thief

I have been known to make literal copies of quilts I find beautiful.  I'm not ashamed to admit I've done it more than once... Like here, here and here.  I don't think that it's necessarily a bad thing, as long as you're not claiming it as your own idea.  You know, give credit where credit is due.

Blushing Blocks

So, after I posted about some pink blocks I was making last year, I decided somewhere along the way to see if my other colors were as prolific as the pinks.  Sure enough, I could make monochromatic blocks in each color of the rainbow.  Cool!  I could come up with something quilt-worthy with them, couldn't I?  Since I am a slow, process kind of sewer the blocks have lingered on my design wall all this time.

Work in Progress
Fast forward to last week when I am browsing my favorite blogs and I come across this post.  My reaction?!  "Oh, Crap! When I post about my blocks/quilt everyone is going to think I'm a total HACKER thief!!" 

So, I guess this post is my way of saying I swear I don't steal other people's ideas and claim them as my own!

Rita, if you're reading (which I'm sure you're not--I'll send you a nice little email instead) I know that you are way cooler and smarter than me.  It just so happens that we came up with a similar looking quilt at about the same time.  Go figure!  By the way, I love your work!!


P.S. Has this ever happened to anyone else before???  So weird!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Finished Challenge Quilt {Pinkalicious}

I finished up the first of my quilt club challenges over the holidays.  And just like that, it has already  been claimed by my 5yr old.  She is a lover of all things pink so when she caught a glimpse of it during construction she attached herself to it real quick.  That was fine by me as I had no real plans for it other than completion.

When I was laying the quilt out for a little picture taking she asked, "Can (my friend) and I lay on it while you take pictures?"  I thought, why not?!  So, they promptly got a book and started reading to each other without a care for what I was trying to do.  
Isn't being 5 grand?!

For the back I just pieced together some large pink leftovers from my sheet collection.  

Quilting Detail
And the quilting...  I had no plan so I told my quilter she could do whatever.
Hearts on pink -- How could the girl not love it?

 For the time being it is residing on her bed...
And she couldn't be happier to be surround by all that pink!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sewing Group Preview

For the past month or so I've been mulling this idea around in my head, trying to decide if I really want to put together a sewing class/group of sorts.  There are ladies out there who want to learn to sew, or improve their skills, or just get away from their families for a couple hours and do something creative.  They've told me.  Or they've asked me sewing questions.  So...I think I've come up with something that will work for a variety of sewing skill levels.  And I have a group of about 8-10 women who are "in".

During my time spent meandering at the library I have found some great quilt books for inspiration and The Block Party--Modern Quilting Bee was one of them.  Just about every quilt in there is something that I think you could have beginners do--because most are wonky blocks and therefore precise-ness of cutting, matching and sewing isn't really required.  That's not to take anything away from the work these ladies did, but many beginners are so intimidated that I think that this will just be liberating for our group.  Plus, I could a little more exercise in "wonkiness".

I decided that the quilt from Oh, Fransson!, the Wonky Stripes Block, would be the one we would try. (For whatever reason I couldn't find the quilt on her blog to refer you to it).  One afternoon I turned to my scrap bin and sorted thru what I had to see what I could put together.  It seemed that oranges, blues, and yellows were calling out to me and so I put together little packets for everyone with their scraps.

After that I decided to make a sample.  I know for sure that one of the ladies coming is not a great visualizer.  Thought this would help her out and anyone else.  Made one....

Decided it was a little too straight forward and symmetrical so I made another one that was a bit more "wonky"...

I am getting excited about this and I hope the others will be too.

The only downside to this was I was hoping this activity would make more of dent in my scrap bin than it acutally did.  Guess we'll have to keep playing and sewing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Futile Exercise in Dressmaking

Today I am going to report on a sewing failure (as I am waiting for the furnance guy to show up and determine why ours is not currently working--and its about 12 degrees outside--57 inside.)
Anyway, I'm positive we all have had at least one sewing failure.
We just don't talk about them.
Lots of times they can be fixed.
I've done it on many occasion with both my projects and others' projects.

This one...well, I couldn't come up with an acceptable solution that made me happy.
And this was a dress intended for me.

I tend to like to wear tailored type dresses. 
So when I bought this pattern, McCall's 6434, I was pretty excited.

That model looks nice, don't you think?
Well, I can tell you that the dress I made looked nothing like the model above. 

First problem:
I didn't read close enough.  This is a PETITE pattern, not petite adjustable, but petite.  There is a difference.  Well, at 6'2" tall--petite I am not.
So that seam in the picture above that goes right under the bust (empire style) goes right across the front of my bustline.  Goofy looking for sure.  Granted I could cut a new bodice, I have more fabric, and lengthen it about 2" for me.  But there are other problems.

I didn't care for how the armpit seams come together.  90 degree angles there.  Not too comfy and a bit awkward to sew and then get your seams ironed out flat and nice. 

And this is the big one.  This dress was a TENT!!! 
Granted the description of the dress does say "loose-fitting dress with raglan sleeves", however, that picture, doesn't show a loose-fitting dress in my book.  Slightly fitted, yes, loose-fitting, no.  I do prefer to see pattern pictures on a live body and not just an artist rendition drawing.  I think they are more accurate.  Not this time.

As I have recently remeasured myself so that I am making correct sizes for myself, I had to take the side seams in at least 3 inches on each side and it still didn't work the way I would've liked.

So after a bit of thought, trying to think of my options, or how I could adjust this and make it work, I've decided it isn't worth it and the pattern is going in my giveaway pile.  I think I can salvage part of the fabric I used for the dress.  And the other part will either be cut up for a quilt, used for my serger scrap, or just thrown in the trash.

Sometimes it just doesn't work.
And that's O.K.

Thankfully this lesson didn't cost me much.
$.99 for the pattern.
Linen fabric from the stash that has been there for years and I know I didn't pay more than $1/yd. for it.
So probably I am out $5.

Moving on to the next dress project for me.
Hopefully it will go much better than this one.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday's Fantastic Finds

.....Or lucky Friday the 13th.

At one of my local thrift stores they have a 25% off card that you can sign up for and use every Friday.  I don't go every week, but I go often.  It seems like I haven't been in awhile since all the holiday stuff is over so I went this morning.

I was so happy with what I found.

Right outside their doors when I walked in was this Wingback Chair.

Pottery Barn has a seagrass wingback for $600.
You can buy slipcovers for wingbacks for $50 or more.

The chair was marked:

I had to do a double take on the tag.
Really, $1.99.
Which means with 25% off I paid $1.49.

Yeah, the upholstery on this chair is disgustingly nasty stained.  This was the side of the cushion that they didn't show when trying to sell it.

But seriously, $1.49!

The bones, legs, sturdiness of the chair are great.  I'll just go buy some fabric to make my own slipcover for this one and the other wingback that I already have in my house that I grabbed off someone's curb last Fall when they were throwing it away.  The upholstery on this one is much better.  I just put it in the house after taking down the tree.  My kids LOVE this chair and are already fighting over who gets to use it. 

I also got a nice basket organizer for my kitchen and all the paper madness that drives me N.U.T.S!

2 Queen size sheets for $2.99 each.

That top sheet looks pink in my "lovely" light, but it is tan.  I have some quilting ideas for that one.

An 8 x 10 frame for my daughter's swim team pic. $1.43
That only needed a quick once over with some white spray paint that I already had.

And lastly a square red tin with lid that I'll use for some Christmas stuff/storing. $.74

Grand total this morning:

Hope you all have a great weekend crafting or sewing or just plain doing nothing.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Skirted Leotard / Ice Skating Outfit

This is an outfit that I made for display at my fabric store. 
I made the pink version as per the instructions.....mostly.  To be quite honest I can't remember the last time I've followed a pattern absolutely, completely, as indicated. 


I have used this pattern before for tankini tops for my daughters--blue version.

I must say that I don't love the contrasting band in white.  However, when we picked this piece out at the fabric store there was nothing to match it.  And the yellow and 3 different pinks I have in my swimsuit stash didn't match either--I tried, in various lights and they all looked nasty.  I tried using the same fabric for the band, but that looked lame, in my opinion, too. So I figured we'd go with white.

  • I cut off about 6 inches of strap once B. tried it on and we adjusted the length.
  • Lined the front and panty bottoms--the pattern doesn't call for any lining.
  • Used 1/2" elastic, because that is what I had available quick.  Don't love that width for this, but it'll do.
  • There is no elastic anywhere in the straps, per the pattern--and for an ice skating outfit I think that will work just fine.  If you were going to use this for a swimsuit, I'm not sure about them.  They may sag a bit when they get wet.  We'll have to return and report on that, because I think that B. is considering this style for a swimsuit this summer.

Once again she is not happy this is going on display before she gets to wear it.  I would've had her pose down at the park at the ice rink, doing her thing, but we hit 50 degrees today--crazy weather for MN.  I'm not sure the ice rink is even icy.  Though the forecast is that the bottom will drop out on Wednesday and we'll back to our "normal" temps of about 20 degrees.  I'll miss you unseasonably-warm-winter-up-to-this-point.  You made me happy while you were here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 Reflections and Confessions

I love this time of year.  Even though things really don't change from Dec. 31st to Jan.1st, the new year always feels refreshing.  It brings about a sense of reflection, renewal, and re-evaluation; where I ask myself things like:  What did I learn last year?  What do I want to change about myself?  How can I improve my life and that of my family?   What new things do I want to try this year?

Looking back on 2011, I see a lot of growth and improvement in my life.  I have learned quite a bit about myself and thought I'd share a little of my thoughts in regards to my crafting life.

**I learned that I don't actually hate borderless quilts like I once thought.  This past year I made at least 7 quilts without borders. (Does sashing count as a border, 'cuz I don't think so...)

**Once upon a time I thought that people who didn't quilt their own quilts were cheating a bit.  This year I figured out that the quilting was my least favorite part of the process and changed my tune completely!  Now I am thoroughly convinced that quilters are quilters are quilters no matter who does the quilting. (If you want to call me a "piecer" go ahead, I can take it!)  Besides, my life became a whole lot less stressed when I gave up the quilting duties to someone else.  My family likes me more, too. 

**2011 is the year I figured out who I was really sewing for: ME!  I lost the desire to worry about what others were creating on-line.  I still LOVE to check blogs and search for beautiful things (I spend way too much time doing that!), but I don't particularly feel the need (or pressure) to come up with the latest greatest thing.  I make what I want (even if it's a copy of someone else's idea) because I love making things.  I make stuff for people that I love and who I think will appreciate my hard work.   No one really has to like it but me and recipient anyway, right?

**Another thing I figured out about myself is that I am not really into fabric "lines."  Sorry, designers - I really do love your work!!  But looking back, the only fabric lines I purchased in 2011 were the DS Quilts prints at JoAnn's and some Children at Play.  Both of which I have yet to use.  I guess this guarantees that no large bundles of free fabric will appear on my doorstep in 2012, huh?!  I'm pretty sure this also means that Moda will not be asking me to be a bake shop designer anytime soon either, since I have yet to make a single thing from one line of fabric.  Ever.  I came close once...

**This year I also figured out that I don't really enjoy sewing/creating other people's ideas.  As in, "Hey, Emily, I've got this great idea.  Will you .... ?"  I love to make people happy, and I love to sew, but I probably should've said "no" to more things than I did.  I'm going to work on that for 2012. Besides, how does the saying go?... "Why should my sewing skills save you money?"  ..or something like that.

 **I probably should've done more charitable crafting in 2011.  For some reason it was hard for me to "let go" of some of my quilts.  In 2012 I will try to be less attached to every piece I make.

**And finally, I enjoy sewing from scraps way more than sewing from my stash. I kind of already knew this...but 2011 reaffirmed it!  I love buying fabric, but sometimes I have a hard time deciding how to cut it up.  If it's already a "scrap" then I don't have to decide. Wouldn't that then be considered rescuing it from the garbage as well??  Win, win!!  :)

For 2012 I'm keeping my list pretty simple.
*Definitely one (maybe two!) scrap quilts for the year.
*A few "Solids Only" projects I've got brewing in my head
*Finish my Grandma Quilt
*And a bed quilt for me and the hubs


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