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!