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?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Careful, Ladies! We've been outed!

I was just emailed the Fons & Porter newsletter and found this article so funny I had to share. As a newlywed I should probably pass this on to the hubby. Enjoy!

How to be a Quilter's Husband

Details soon! Just finished knitting the first of two baby hats. I swooned. Even the hubby swooned. I've got a sew-in Friday night with the quilt guild here so there should be some major progress on the next baby quilt. Last one!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

From Frustration to Finished

I came home on Friday from a frustrating day at work. What's the best way to get rid of that frustration? Work it out on projects! So I sat down to quilt Baby Baker's quilt. It was basted and ready to go from a late night outside the lobby office but the frustration seemed to just carry over.

I was moving so fast with the meandering stipple! That was a huge success. I got a rhythm and knew where I was headed. But as I stopped and started and had to re-thread it seems like I must have thread it not in track because the thread kept pulling or catching in this one spot. That tension continued to build, no matter how many times I re-threaded until finally... I broke a needle.

That sucked. I walked away for about ten minutes and in the meantime made myself a drink. No, no drinking and quilting. It's a fuzzy water (aka carbonated water) with a splash of apple cider. A new favorite. So I made my drink, chose a new needle, found the threading problem and got back to it. Just when I was finding my stride and my shoulders began to relax the cat jumped up on to my work table while I was in the middle of free motion quilting which yanked the quilt about 8 inches as she landed directly on it. Had to take that out and seam rip. But in the end I finished. Look how much thread I had by the end! Wow! I've never cut it that close!!

Here's an example of the quilting. I'm really happy with it. Practice does help! There are still a few mistakes and not so happy curves but the fabric hides it so well!

And there you have it! I left one single tiny square in the middle blank which allowed me to hand quilt a star for the little star being born. I think it's nice to have that little touch in there. I spent Saturday on the couch watching Breaking Bad (so great! especially for us chemistry nerds) and finished the binding and before I knew it, it was done! 

Labeled and all I folded it up and set it aside. I grabbed some yarn over the weekend as well for some knitted wonders to accompany the quilt. I'm making a baby starter kit, ha! Along with the quilt I'm planning on making a little hat, booties, and a sweater for him to grow in to. 

So I busted out my knitting needles to begin. I needed a break from quilting after all those mishaps. 

One of my favorite hats I made the hubby (found here) is a WWII pattern. So I grabbed a few newborn hat patterns for sizing directions and converted the adult WWII pattern to a newborn size. It is so tiny! With the weather change it's been nice to snuggle in and knit.

Don't worry, I can't stay away from quilting too long. It's literally been two days and I just finished cutting out all of the fabric for the next one. With the layer cake I purchased for the Baby Baker quilt it allowed enough fabric for two of those Building Blocks quilts. I just happen to have a coworker who is 21 weeks pregnant! It has been amazing, not having children of my own, to watch her pregnancy come along. Her belly's getting bigger and I figure who better than to get that other quilt. Pictures to come! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Afternoon Morale Boost

Well, I didn't make it. Last night I came back from seeing Saving Aimee (really entertaining, by the way!) and just crashed. I was too tired to baste my quilt. Let me take that back; I tried! At 12:30 am I said, "Hey Matt, I should baste my quilt" and he looked at me like I was crazy. I was too tired, it would have been a mess. But that means that it didn't get done. And of course you know the drama with the apartment lobby so I turned to a recent inspiration that would allow me to use up my scraps.

The Dresden Plate Star. I found this tutorial and was so inspired! I wanted to make one instantly. I have a lot of chopped up fat quarters left over from the wedding table numbers and rosettes that Devon and I made. So with Glee on the in the background I cut my fabric.

Matt spent the day in the music room and I spent the day at the sewing machine. I had a serious need to work out some stress at the Bernina. So we put on some music, mostly the band Home Videos (a new binge listen) and just worked away. Before I knew it I was ready to baste!

I wasn't totally sold on the fabric combination I chose, I mean, it's all I had but, once that yellow was rimmed around it they started to feel much more friendly. And of course, once the batting came out Neti made herself at home.

On to quilting! I used this little mini-quilt as a sampler for some different quilting ideas I had seen. Especially trying to get that stipple nailed down. So maybe it was a good thing that I had to push off the baby quilt knowing now that I got more practice. I felt SO much more comfortable with it too.

And whallah! Here's the final product.

And here's the back. The patterns hide the stipple really well so I thought I'd show off my progress. It was a blast to do!

While binding it I was mind-boggled that I finished this in an afternoon! Start to finish!!

I recently finished a book my dear friend Sara let me borrow. She is my number one crafting buddy. Our regular Sunday craft days have been put on hold due to her move to Illinois! :( Since I was planning on sending her back her book I figured maybe she needed a laptop quilt or maybe a bedside table quilt. You know, just something to add some color and let her know I'm missing her during my craft days.

I completely fell in love with this Dresden Star. It would make an amazing block quilt or even placemats. I'm working on some ideas. Tonight I WILL baste that quilt. Tomorrow is another day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Baby Baker's Back (of the quilt)

I'm ready to start quilting! I pieced the backing last night while the hubby watched a documentary (from the 80's) on rally car racing. Boring! So a good excuse to sew.

Neti of course had to check it out and I'm super happy with the matchy-matchy piecing. The blue is the backing, by the way.

So now I just have to wait for the apartment office to close (remember that?!) so I can go down to the hard tile and baste. I can't wait to get a house. I'm going to see Saving Aimee with a friend tonight, so by the time I get back, like around midnight, the office will definitely be closed and then I can quilt all day tomorrow! Think I can make it? I've been having problems staying up past nine, recently. Wish me luck! More over the weekend on how the meandering stipple is going.

Happy Friday!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Weekend of Mini-Projects

FINISHED! I finally finished Baby Liam's Quilt. I put a label on it (but didn't share due to using his full name) and washed it for that crinkly look. Seriously, when my drier buzzed done I opened up that door and grabbed that quilt and just buried my face in it. I hope he'll do the same. Just two more months until I see that little man and give him his brand new quilt! So happy with how it turned out. I feel like a professional quilter now.

So now that I got to check off Liam's baby quilt off my list (yes, I have a standing list) I decided to knock two more things off the list this weekend. First off....

LOOK AT THIS FABRIC! I pretty much died when I saw it at the Quilting Loft in Ballard. Look how gorgeous!

And I had the perfect use for them. So growing up (Mom, don't get mad!) we had a junk mail pile on the corner of our kitchen counter. No matter how much we sorted through it (and the napkin basket sat on top) we always had mail piled on the counter. I find that I have that now in my own home as well and I have about a third of the counter space. Well I'm sick of it! It's unsightly in our little apartment. It ruins the ambience I'm going for. We have it stacked next to the absinthe fountain. So I (finally) did something about it.

With those gorgeous fabrics I made a mail organizer so I could hang it all on the wall. Not my own invention, however. I got the tutorial here. Now we have a place to keep our stamps without having to remember where I put them last. We have a place to keep our little notebook we make grocery lists on. And we have a place to keep bills at eye level so we don't forget.

Once finished I sorted our mail pile and got to work figuring out a system. I actually ended up filing/throwing away a lot of that pile so it's bare necessities that made it in... well... once the cat got off of it.

I then promptly hung it up so I had no excuses. Our counter is now pristine and we have a little piece of me on the wall... holding our mail.

So then I moved on to a project for the hubby. We have a small den in our apartment that houses our computer and musical instruments. It gets DUSTY in there! I am an avid, some may say obsessive, cleaner and I just can't get a handle on all the dust. City dust, yuck! It gets in the keys of Matt's wurly (aka Wurlitzer Electric Piano) and is causing some problems. So he asked for a piano cover. Ask and you shall receive!

I think he now understands why it takes me so long in a fabric shop. I told him I'd make it if he'd pick out the fabric since he'd be the one looking at it all the time (plus, I would have picked something super colorful with paisley's on it. He would have barfed). He agreed and proceeded to question every fabric choice he made by finding the next great fabric. What about this one? Oh wait! This one would be awesome. No, no. This one! After a grueling Just Pick One! moment he decided, rather well I'd say, on this blue fabric with navy polka dots. Easy on the eyes and a perfect fit for the music room.

I spent about two hours making measurements and sitting down with a piece of paper, a pen, and a calculator. I drafted a pattern and whallah! I'm sure proud of how it fits. It's a really tight fit with a nice hem and yes, my initial pattern didn't quite work. I had to make a few adjustments but it turned out super professional and really perfect. Plus, it's nice to know that when it gets dusty we can just throw it in the wash. He loves it!

Here's a sneak peek at the quilt I'm working on now. It's for Baby Baker who is 18 weeks old in his mama's belly.