Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fresh Lemons Giveaway

I have become addicted to blogs featuring quilting with a fresh, modern look. Fresh Lemons is a great example. I have been inspired by Faith's artistry, in fact she's on my blog roll to the right! To celebrate her new blog-home, she's giving away some Amy Butler yardage -- WOW and *swoon*!
Thanks for such a great opportunity Faith! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Check out this great giveaway!

I'll be back soon with another report of recent sewing, but I wanted to share a fabulous giveaway opportunity. If you haven't had the chance to experience Stella & Dot jewelry, this is a great time for an introduction. My friend Kat is hosting a giveaway at her clever gifting blog, Penguin's Gift. You have the chance to enter to win a great little girl's bracelet. Head on over and take a look--I know I have my eye on one for Sadie!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blake's Vintage Jungle quilt

When I attended the baby shower where I gave the Knot Dress, another friend had made the lucky baby a quilt using this pattern: Vintage Baby quilt by Kati Cupcake. I had another baby gift to make and knew I wanted to try it.This gift would be for my cousin James' baby boy-to-be. I knew the nursury was mostly blue and brown with jungle animals. I ordered a fat quarter bundle called Nutty Acorn by Timeless Treasures: I added a cute jungle animal scatter print that used the same colors. I was soooo tempted to add that cute ruffle as per the pattern, but left it off to save fabric and to "preserve" the masculinity of the quilt. I'm definitely going to go for it next time.
The other big news with this quilt is that I free-motion quilted for the first time. I was thrilled to learn that my basic but trusty Kenmore machine actually COULD be fitted with a open-toe darning foot. I was so nervous--and probably ripped out half a spool's worth of thread. The stippling is far from perfect (lots of sharp angles and crossovers), but the overall effect was still achieved--YAY!!!
I was terribly slow, and boy was it strenuous! I had chest pains for a week after I finished it, LOL. Half of the strain of quilting it came from the stress of the free-form design. Not having a set pattern to follow is WAY out of my comfort zone. I had to stare at each little section sitting on my machine, imagining the flow and direction I would take before I could even take a stitch. I hope I can improve, because I just adore the crinkly finished look.

One of the things I admire most about the quilters whose blogs I haunt (see the list at the right) are their innovative pieced backs. I made sure to add some interesting blocks from the front and a strip of that stripe that ties in all the colors. I like that the back isn't just solid (though I love that color green that I was able to match from my local quilt shop!). It is bound in a great brown dot.
The strip on the back even lines up with the thin strip on the front!
I'm super happy with the end result. The finished size of the top was 36.5x 42.5, and it lost a couple of inches each way once it was quilted. It didn't shrink much more after being washed and dried, but did soften up quite a bit. I used that yummy soft bamboo batting. I hope Baby Blake will enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Knot Dress by Sandi Henderson

I made this cute, cute knot/apron dress for another baby gift. The pattern is Claire by Sandi Henderson. This is a wonderful collection that includes 4 different patterns. The first dress I made is a size 1, made with a couple of different Moda fabrics from the Eden and Santorini lines. Also Henry Glass, Red Rooster. There are some nice construction details: the apron is two-sided, with the border being sewn between two pieces. There is also a lot of topstitiching which adds to the overall effect. The bodice is Moda Hushabye Droplets with blue/green/pink on brown. They have this on pink and brown too, you'll see the brown in another project soon. I love this--it is so versatile!
Here is the back:
I bought enough fabric to make a second one for Sadie in a size 3. This time, I added applique embellishments to the apron as suggested by the pattern. I cut out circles from the fabric, ironed it to fusible interfacing and machine stitched close to the edge. There are also ric rac stems and button accents. I was nervous about doing this, but so glad I did. I love how Sadie's dress turned out!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Amy Butler Quilt for Joshua

In January I made a quilt for a coworker's baby boy. Technically this was my second quilt but the first to be machine-stitched through all layers and a hand-sewn double-fold binding. My first quilt made from Sadie's baby clothes, was stitched-in-the-ditch to the batting only, and then tied to the back. The binding was an insertion edging.

This quilt was made using the patchwork crib/playtime quilt pattern from Amy Butler's Stitches for Little Ones book.

I made it using these fabrics from Jo-Ann's despite the fact I was already becoming somewhat of a fabric snob.

I folded and rolled and posed this thing in a million configurations, and I can't believe this is the only picture I managed to get of the finished product. I used bias binding, thinking this was the most proper method, but it would have looked much better on straight grain. The pattern calls for high-loft batting for playmat purposes, and I think I used a medium loft. It is quilted using stitch-in-the ditch method.

It was a pretty simple and successful beginning quilter's project. And it's owner, Joshua, apparently uses it all the time as a playmat. Yay!!

Hello Again, and Fickle Me

Long time, no post.
I am mom to 7 year-old Mason and 3 year-old Sadie as well as a Middle School Science teacher, so my sewing time is precious. (And I have discovered that I am no multi-tasker when it comes to sewing. Housework and parenting seem to take a back seat when I am working on a project.) Nevertheless, some sewing has been accomplished in the last year. I will be documenting my projects in the last year in a series of new posts.
I've described myself as a Jack-of-all-fiber-arts, Master of none. I guess this is because I seem to grow tired of techniques just as I get close to becoming proficient. I guess I really am fickle when it comes to crafting. Or at least attention deficient. This blog previously concentrated on heirloom sewing and smocking. I guess the closest I have come to heirloom-quality sewing is mastering French seams. Since I can't seem to sew a decent sleeve, I'm having trouble mustering the desire to go much further. I don't even enjoy smocking as much as I used to--though that will not stop me from sewing at least one smocked garment (hopefully) each year for Sadie. And, it is a good trick to have up one's sleeve for unique baby gifts.
Which brings me to my newest diversion: Quilting. This will be the subject of many future posts, and I've found a wealth of breathtaking modern quilting blogs from which to draw inspiration. For now.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grummie's Pillow

My grandmother is 84 today. There isn't much in the way of new and exciting gifts to give her, so I decided I would make her something. Since my latest crafting involves sewing and smocking, I made her a little pillow. It measures about 10'x15' without the ruffle.

I used leftover fabric from Brooke's Dress, which are colors that remind me of Grummie anyway :). The plate is an Ellen McCarn pattern I used for Sadie's first bubble, and also the smocked insert for Jackson's bubble.

I actually had everything on hand, even the blank pleated insert! I literally used every scrap of fabric, because I was intent on putting a ruffle on the pillow. It is made of many smaller strips, and barely was enough to go around, but I like the end result.

Stuffing the pillow was a little tricky. Even though I didn't overstuff, it is difficult to keep the stuffing from lumping up behind the elastic smocked insert. And while I pieced the front quite evenly, I guess the smocking still wasn't perfectly blocked because it seems to be a little wonky still. And the side pieces curve for some reason.

Even so, it was a good learning project--I've never done pillow before. (Well, unless you count the snail!) Also, I've never actually sewn a smocked insert into anything, those baby bubbles were made for me. The other garments I've smocked directly on.