Friday, December 16, 2011

Just in Time for Christmas Dinner

Well, I finished all but one project, the stockings. I'm ok with that. They weren't completely necessary and to be honest may be a chill project for when I come back from Christmas to tuck away for next year. I have a lot of Christmas fabric left over, I should try and get rid of the majority of it. My last big project/present was finished just hours from gifting. Thank goodness!

Reading a lot of other blogs I heard about this batting called Insul-Brite that has heat reflective properties so it's perfect for potholders, oven mits, etc. I'm having dinner with a friend tonight and figured it would be a great way for me to play with a new batting as well as some new quilting styles on such a small scale.

The best part of this project? 100% SCRAP-MADE! Yay! My scraps just recently started getting out of hand. From the baby quilts (this one and this one) and the brother's Kindle pouch (here) I had a lot of oddly shaped scraps leftover from the Moda Summerhouse line (I've decided it's my ultimate favorite) and a Kona solid in gray. This allowed me to be able to just kind of "free-form" some stuff together. Such crazy colors paired with that solid just made them pop! I LOVE these. I may need a pair.

All basted and ready to pin I realized I was kind of over-doing it on the taping to the (kitchen) floor routine. These were pretty small, the second one I didn't take as great care of and it turned out just fine. I put the Insul-Brite batting under the top (pinwheels above right) and regular good ol' Warm & Natural (my favorite) under the back (on the left) so it would be extra plush. This caused some issues on piecing which ended up making my binding a little lumpy in places, but I'm super happy overall.

I wanted to use the same half square triangle (HST) layout but in different ways. I started with the pinwheels and then just did a grid pattern. Because they were so busy on the front I wanted a really structured grid pattern around it so as not to distract but add to texture. I picked a black thread for quilting and LOVE how visible it is. So with the grid one, see that blank space where it's not quilted? That was not intentional. I literally ran out of thread, right there. But I liked the blank so I left it as is.

For the backs you can see I went crazy and WOW are they busy, haha. I probably should have used a solid for the interior. The shell pattern looks less busy. See how overly-large the cutout is on the flower quilted one? That was an accident. I much prefer the shell quilted one for sizing... but not for quilting. It was my first crack at the shells and although I think I spaced them nicely and overall it looks good, it could look better. I have some flatter tops, some leaning shells, but pretty good for a first time. The flowers I am in love with.

 These are pretty cool! Super bright colors made more so by the gray. Super functional to use for setting a pot on the table OR getting things out of the oven. I think she'll love them!

As pre-warned this will be my last post until after Christmas unless I have some knitting time in Virginia. Merry Christmas, everyone, and happy crafting!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas Gift for Devon

Another weekend spent sewing! I will admit that the majority of Saturday was spent baking Christmas cookies, so my priorities weren't totally straightened out. I have forgone the stocking project in lue of no time until traveling begins. I also still have potholders to make for a friend I'm having dinner with on Friday, so I have a few evenings to button those up. But enough about failures, let's talk about finished projects!

Devon, peek if you want, but they are spoilers!! Here's what you'll be getting in the mail...

Intriguing, but what are they?! Well, that big, gorgeous pop of red below is your tree skirt! It matches the one I made last week, although I did rearrange the panels so we wouldn't be matchy-matchy. Neti helped me quilt, purr the usual (get it?! purr?! haha).

I just did a simple meandering stipple. Can you see how much this thread dusted? I mean, look at the housing for the needle. It's COVERED! I owe my machine another good clean after these projects. I even got an oil light! Which means I have WAY been overusing this thing.

After free motion quilting it I cheated and machine bound. Hope that's ok, Devon! Again, it's matchy-matchy with mine, don't worry. I half-assed mine too. Look at that cute Santa face!

As I put on the finishing touches Neti was having fun digging in to it.

A little to much fun.

And whallah! The finished tree skirt. The binding is a little messy on that inner circle, I need some more practice there, but your binding looks WAY better than mine overall. Shucks. :)

So I added a tag, so you'd always remember it was from me and folded it up in readiness to ship. But Devon had also requested a mini-quilt for her coffee table. So I pounded one out in a day!

Tadah! All the same fabrics you see in the tree skirt, but so much more fun, at least I think so. I had a lot of fun just drafting this pattern as I went. A little bit crazy quilt, a lot a bit structured. I'm crazy about the plaid binding. I usually like to bind in a darker color, but I think this looks just great! I was going for something square but I kind of like that it's more rectangle.

I did some really simple grid-squares quiling which I think looks great without taking away from the mix and match Christmas trees. The tree trunks are even from a fuzzy fabric (left over from the skunk quilt made a million years ago) so you can pet it if you want, haha.

I needed/wanted some major contrast on the back and look at this fabric! I had planned on making some Christmas placemats like two years ago and got bored, so I had never touched the backing fabric. Finally I have some use for it. I love the giant snowflakes. The hubby said this was his favorite fabric. I always seem to the put the favorites on the back.

I tagged this one as well, folded it up, and am ready to ship! Hopefully you get it before we all head to Florida so it gets a little use. I'm excited for Devon to see it in person! I didn't have time to wash these though, so you may want to prior to use just for that crinkle look. I'd love crinkle pictures. Just one more project and then it's Christmas time! So expect a little hiatus. I'm traveling everywhere!

This Sunday- Boston, Tuesday- Tampa, Thursday- D.C., Monday- Seattle. I'm going to be exhausted!! Maybe I should get a new knitting project for all that air time. And an extra book.

Merry Christmas & Happy Crafting!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Very Neti Christmas

My aunt tells me that the star of the blog is not the crafts, but the cat! She should be happy about this post because it is Neti heavy! Warning: Lots of pictures!

This was our very first Christmas with Neti and although she was adopted at two years old the hubby and I like to think this is her first Christmas ever! And she sure was in EVERYTHING. We put the tree up, decorated, and (I) quilted Christmas cheer. As you can see in the next few pictures, Neti was a part of every step.

Friday afternoon my fabrics were delivered! Look at the all the beautiful Christmas fabrics. Unknowingly, I seemed to trend towards a vintage look. Go figure.

And as I ironed them Neti straightened them.

And then gave me a back massage, which is a bad habit she has picked up when I spend too much time sewing and not enough time playing with her.

She kept stock of the fabrics as I pulled and mixed and matched.

She even helped me fit it to the batting I had picked out for quilting.

But more about the pattern! It was HORRIBLE. I don't even remember where I got it, but the way it directed me to cut the fabric I ended up with double! I was so mad! That's money I could have saved, fabric I could not have wasted. However, I was in the Christmas spirit and look what happened...

TWO CHRISTMAS TREE SKIRTS!!! I figured Devon would want/need one. I called to check and she said that yes, she would also like one. AND... remember that Dresden Plate mini-quilt last week I made and gave to her for fun? She kindly requested a Christmas one. Oh, Devon... :) Of course! But I need some time. As you can see I went completely crazy and did nothing this last weekend except quilt. I got both of them basted and ready to go!

Neti oversaw the quilting of the first one.

I just did a simple meandering stipple after a grid for clovers fell through. I love the end result!

And of course, this is now Neti's favorite spot. More Christmas projects to come... like the second quilted tree skirt (goal is to have it done by Friday night!), some pot holder gifts, a mini-quilt for Devon (and maybe myself), and a stocking or two. I've got three weeks until Christmas. Think I can finish it all? Stay posted to find out! Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank you, Grandma! & a Dresden Plate

Remember that post awhile ago about the puckering issue I kept having with the baby quilt? Well, I got a phone call not a day later from Grandma. She let me know, with all seriousness, that I was using the wrong foot and that I needed a walking foot. Of course! THANK YOU, GRANDMA! You were so right (aren't Grandma's the best?!). You can see that awesome walking foot below and how flat and straight those seams turned out! I love it. Totally worth it. But of course, this wouldn't be a proper story without some drama...

I looked through my Bernina book and saw the walking foot I needed. I remember using a similar (if not the same) one at Grandma's when sewing in the past. Cool. Easy. Well, I went in to Bernina that weekend and of course they are always so helpful, "What can we help you with today?" "Oh, well, I need a walking foot please for my 440QE". Both of the ladies looked at me, and then each other, like I was crazy. "Do you have any in?" I timidly filled the silence. "You should have gotten one of those with your machine. Did you open it here or at home?" I was stunned! I should have already had this?!! "Um... I opened it at home, brand new, but it was already threaded so I assume a tech must have oiled and threaded it for me." They kept asking me questions like I was trying to swindle them out of a walking foot. "Oh wait, I remember you picking up your machine!" (Thank goodness!). Long story short(ish) one of the ladies remembered me and they apologized that a walking foot wasn't included when it should have been. No problem, I just need one. And... they were out of stock!!!! Oh man! "They should be in in a week, we'll give you a call".

1 week passes.
2 weeks pass.

Luckily, I had other projects that didn't require the walking foot going (aka I cheated with binding and dealt with some wrinkles). I called in to see if they had any yet. Again, they remembered me and I think my insistence on getting this foot was humorous to them for some reason. Finally I got the call. I ran up, grabbed my foot and ran out. Time to sew!

And finally I got to use it! I've had it for about a week and just haven't been doing a lot quilting that required it until last night. I finished Devon's Dresden Plate! I hope you don't mind that I used you as a guinea-pig, Devon! I found a cool clover/flower quilting pattern and wanted to try it out. Again, far from perfect, but I got a rhythm toward the end and am really happy with the turnout. There are definitely some ugly-flowers, but hopefully Devon won't look too closely (Right, Devon?!).

Here's a picture of the back, I think that the quilting shows up better on this lightly printed yellow. Don't you think?

A close-up of the clovers.

And a close-up of the front. I love the color combos. Pretty muted. Should look good in her apartment (plus they were all scraps left from wedding fabrics).

You know, it's funny. I had a friend ask, "What's she going to do with that sized quilt?" and I whittily replied, "Put a basket of fruit on it in the middle of her table... or something like that". I think mini-quilts are pretty impractical but the instant gratification and honest practice time I get making them is TOTALLY worth it. I forsee many table and nightstand surfaces in my house, my sister's house, my parent's house, my grandma's house being daintily covered.

Oh! And, the hubby and I are picking out our Christmas tree and decorating on December 3rd! I've got Christmas fabrics on the way from for a paneled tree skirt. I was thinking of quilting it with the clovers above. What do you think?

But I'm getting ahead of myself:  Happy Thanksgiving!! and Happy Crafting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Smattering of Projects

Tadah! The BBSK was completed, blocked, and sent with love! You can see the buttons made it on the booties and everything was packed up! I did a simple tissue paper wrapping with a purple ribbon to seal it up. I then took up way too much space inside a card detailing how baby-safe all the materials were. I know the package made it to VA on Nov 17th just two days before the shower! Whew! I made it! No feedback yet, but I'm so anxious to hear how she liked it. Below is just how I packed it. Pretty visual to open, huh?

And from afar, just before sealing it up. Neti helped, of course. She was sad I was taking away her soft little quilt. I feel like she deserves a quilt, but that's just crazy, right? ... Right?

I've had this fabric cut for the next Dresden Plate for awhile now and just needed the BBSK out of the way before I would allow myself to move on to other fun sewing. I got it all sewn together and the batting ready. Hopefully I can get it basted tonight and quilted for my darling sister by Thanksgiving. She's doing a huge favor of letting a million (slight over-exagerration) people come enjoy the holidays with us, so the least I can do is give her a mini-quilt. She deserves a big one. The mini will have to do for now. Don't think I haven't been imagining a big one for her. :)

And then there is my Saturday project. My brother just had a birthday! We are celebrating it together over the Thanksgiving weekend and he doesn't know it yet, but we all chipped in to get him a Kindle! Thank goodness he doesn't read my blog, ha! I found this great tutorial for an IPad case that I just loved. Anything with a zipper I'm a sucker for. So I got online, found the dimensions for the Kindle we purchased and shrunk the pattern. Needless to say I'm a little nervouse it's too small, but here's hoping! I haven't really played with Kindle's too much. I'm really relying on those technical info dimensions. I guess we'll find out this weekend. I can't wait to give this to him.

Super excited about the pocket being a different interior fabric. My brother is incredibly picky about his stuff. If he had it his way the whole case would have been black or navy blue with no fun. I like fun (obviously) so I had to work really hard to compromise on the fabric. I went with green, because who doesn't like green and not lime green either. He's gotta like that choice. Plus, all boys like robots, right? :) I love this Robot Factory line from Robert Kaufman. I allowed myself a little artistic flair with the inner pocket lining being very colorful. But it zips closed so he can get over it. It's all the gearing also from the same fabric line.

The big pocket for the Kindle itself isn't part of the Kaufman line, in fact, I don't even remember what it is (I'm terrible with fabric names). But it just matched so well! I think he'll be happy with it.

And to suit is blasé mood I topped it with a Kona solid (LOVE these solids) of dark grey. It's not called dark grey, I think it's called Charcoal, but whatever, it's awesome. I think it works well. Look at those happy little robots! I hope he likes it! Regardless, he better use it!

Once finished with the birthday present, the BBSK shipment, and the dresden plate I moved on to the next Building Blocks quilt. Neti of course helped ensuring my fabric didn't slip off the table. She's a great helper that way. (Sometimes a little too good, if you know what I mean).

Super excited about this one. My coworker is pregnant and right on cue with Baby Baker's mom! The timing couldn't be more perfect. I had a bunch of layer cake squares left from her quilt so I figured, I should just make another one for my coworker and hubby. Although it makes the baby sound like some sort of awesome DJ, I have lovingly been calling their soon-to-be born son, Baby F-M (future last name initials). I think it has a certain ring to it. Before I knew it I'd cranked out the whole top! I LOVE the blue pop on the sides. I got the backing and batting all ready to baste. Maybe I can get that done tonight after the office closes... we'll see.

 Sorry for the delay in blog posts, as you can see most of my time has been spent over my machine. And how! The hubby is excited that once this little quilt is finished his is up next. I think he's really looking forward to picking out his fabric. I am slightly terrified, but it's his quilt afterall. For a full-sized quilt he's now telling me I have to do all the quilting. I was not expecting that.

Three more days until Thanksgiving! I can't wait to see family. Now what knitting project should I take on the plane? Hmmm.... Happy Crafting!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Spoiler Alert for Baby Grayson

The BBSK is FINISHED! Even the little extra surprise. How adorable is this stuffed elephant?!

I got the pattern from a good friend of mine. The elephant is so small my friend has made about 5 of them and turned them in to a little baby mobile, which is the cutest thing I've ever heard! I figure sending 5 elephants may be overkill, really, along with all the other gifts. I'm just so happy I finished the BBSK by the baby shower, I should have these put together and mailed mid-way through the week, getting them to Virginia in time for the shower. Yay! I feel so accomplished.

I keep walking by this elephant, who is standing on top of Baby Grayson's quilt and just oogling over him. The heart was a last minute decision and I'm so glad I added it, that teeny zig-zag just makes it for me. I love the pop of red on his adorable patterned body. Stuffing him was so much fun too. In fact, I have so much stuffing left over I may just have to make a million of these.

Plus, I found the fat quarter of fabric for the elephant in a massive pile at Pacific Fabrics here in Seattle. What an awesome find! The fabric matches so perfectly with the quilt. I washed and dried the quilt in order to ship and look at those wrinkles! That is absolutely my favorite part of quilting, getting that wrinkle. It just looks amazing.

Finally, the elusive baby sweater. I didn't even have time to post interim pictures of it. I have never knit this fast in my life. I started this on Monday! My hands were cramped last night finishing the collar but I love the look of it! I may have put that buttonhole a little too high, but it's pretty stretchy so I hope it works.

I also realized that seaming is not my best or most favorite part of knitting. If I can avoid it I will, but I'm satisfied with how this turned out.

I also sewed the buttons on the little booties. All the knits are blocking as we speak so I figure I've got at least a day before I can ship. I'm super proud of myself for finishing all these projects by the shower. I feel like this is a huge load off my back but I'm so tired today I'm not sure I can start a new project, which is very unlike me. I'll just take a quick break. The next quilt is calling me.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Fresh, Winter-ready Look

Hope we didn't scare anyone with the new layout! We just wanted a cleaner look where the crafts could shine.  Speaking of... that baby sweater is almost done! Can you believe it?! Progress pictures soon. Plus, a little extra surprise craft for the BBSK.

Happy Crafting! It's almost Friday!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Weekend of Knitting

I'm working on getting a care package together, a baby starter kit, if you will, for Baby Baker. You've seen the finished quilt but I wanted to throw in some other knit items for a well rounded gift. The Mrs. is one of my dearest friends and her first born deserves some Dina-lovin'! What do you think?

One of my favorite patterns is the WWII pattern hat we talked about in this post. The hubby also loves this pattern. I was able to take the pattern for an adult head and squish it down to the size of a newborn head. I haven't actually tried this out but it's pretty stretchy. I think it will fit perfectly. So in the Baby Baker Starter Kit (aka BBSK) I wanted to make sure that with a brand new baby quilt the Baker's got a hat to come from the hospital in, little booties to grow in to, and a sweater for warmth after his first growth spurt. Where's the sweater?! I haven't even started it yet.

I put the quarter in there so you could get some perspective. I could round this hat on my fist. It's so tiny!! And look at these teeny booties! They are so adorable!! I haven't been able to put the buttons yet as I don't have them so I just pinned down the straps for the photo's sake. I also think this project is giving the hubby some ideas. He has been swooning over these little items just a-gog that they are so tiny. He says I'll have 9 months of knitting for our (far-off future) child and he wants lots of booties. What I have started?!

So back to the sweater... the Mrs. is due early February so I figured I had plenty of time, but then I got the invitation to her shower and it's November 20th! That means I have like a week to make the sweater and another sweet little surprise. My hands are cramping just thinking about it and my Bernina is crying that I won't be using it. Or maybe I'm crying thinking about not being able to start my next quilt. All of the fabric is cut out and staged. Yes, it's me. I'm crying about it.

But I guess I can give the Bernina a rest, this is for a good cause. I've gotten some advice to send just the quilt and the knits later but I have this elaborate need to send them all. I can picture them all together in one box of love, wrapped in tissue with a note: 100% handmade by Dina. (le sigh)

I'm traveling down to Portland for work today and tomorrow and the knitting is packed. I'm imagining a night in the hotel knitting until bed. Room service anyone?