Sunday, April 6, 2014


This is my last post on this blog on Blogger.  I've moved over to Wordpress:

I've had another blog on Blogger since 2006 and have never had any trouble with it.  But after Blogger was purchased by Google, something happened to the way all of my pictures have been stored on this blog.  I think there's some weird disconnect between Picassa Albums, Google, and Blogger, but the result is that nearly all of the pictures that I added to posts on this blog have disappeared.  Gone.  They show up as broken links.  You can imagine how frustrating it might be to have a sewing blog that doesn't allow for any images to stay linked to the posts.  So I moved to Wordpress and am now trying to re-add the original images to my older posts.  Fun. 

I hope you'll join me over at Wordpress (and update your favorites and bookmarks if you've got them) - I like the flexibility that the design will allow, even if I haven't fully explored what I can do with it yet. 

(And for those of you who've been reading my other/personal blog, I'm not changing it's location, I'm just on a hiatus :-)  )

Saturday, February 8, 2014

string quilt

I bought two cheap-o jelly rolls over the summer thinking they'd be fun to play with. The thing about jelly rolls is that you can't always see all of the fabric they include. Usually you just see the outer fabric wrap and maybe less than a half inch of some of the other fabrics. Boy was I surprised to open up the first jelly role and find this color scheme! An ugly leopard print AND a bright blue - oh boy!  I could not think of a way to use all the fabrics together in a way that I liked and they certainly don't go with any fabric that I have.  I found a pattern for a string quilt in a book that I have and I actually think it works with the fabric.  Ok, sort of works :-) 

string quilt

The pattern is pretty easy - you set sets of the strips together and then cut them on an angle.  The pattern called for a specific tool that I don't have so I had to dust off some really rusty geometry skills to get the angles right.  Then you sews the blocks together.

string quilt

I used a scrappy black border and cream color backing because, what else could I have possibly used??

string quilt

It's definitely not my most favorite quilt that I've ever made but in a way, I think it works.  And I am super happy about how near all my corner joins are! 

This is Project Linus quilt #3. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

scrappy log cabin quilts

We're less than two weeks into the new year and I've already finished two quilts. I started them back in October in an attempt to gain some control - ie use up - some of my scraps. The Log Cabin pattern is a great stash buster and the blocks were really fun to make. I kept cutting and sewing until I was out of the right size fabric for each block and miraculously ended up with enough blocks for two quilt tops.  These are small-scale quilts - measuring just 26" x 34".  Perfect crib size for Project Linus donations. 

I have to confess that I like working with scraps.  I like to challenge myself and my creativity to see what I can come up with using a very narrow selection of fabric.  It's also really fun to take a trip down memory lane and remember every project that the scraps came from. 

The purples really pop in this one.  I used some leftover black, purple and orange binding and a purple paisley for the back. 

log cabin scrap quilt

log cabin scrap quilt

I didn't quite have enough blue fabric to make an even dozen so I threw in a yellow square (I don't use all that much yellow so the scraps were slim pickings).  The binding is mostly leftover from previous projects. 

log cabin scrap quilt

Why, yes, those are the most adorable chickens on the back!  I love this chicken fabric.  I still have a couple more yards left so I can't wait to use it in future quilts. 

log cabin scrap quilt

I made another quilt top last weekend but it was too windy to take pictures today.  My goal of ten quilts for Project Linus is off to a great start!  :-)

Monday, January 6, 2014

a new year

Happy New Year!  Looks like I haven't posted since October.  Oops.  I've been sewing but sometimes I just forget to take pictures and don't want to take the time to post something.  In general, 2013 was a tough year for me.  Things are definitely on an upswing, and with that I hope to get back in to sewing more.  You'd think that when things are hard my sewing machine would have offered some solace; that didn't really happen this time.  I guess I needed a break? 

At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for 2013:

1. Use up some of the fabric I have!  Success!  I've made a number of things with my scraps.  And I've purchased some new fabric to diversify the scrap bin :-)

2. Sell something I make: a quilt, a bag, a potholder, something.  Success!  I custom made a quilt for a friend. 

3. Continue to work on garment fit issues.  Oi.  This continues to be a big challenge.  I'm slowly getting to know my body and what works and I'm learning that what works for most women on the planet doesn't work for me. 

4. I'd like to learn to knit lace.  I took a couple of classes in lace knitting (did I finish the projects or take pictures?  no.  sigh.) so I've got a rudimentary understanding of the stitches. 

5. Learn to take better pictures.  Ha!  I don't think this one really happened for my sewing projects.  I have been practicing taking better pictures in my other (ie non sewing) life, so maybe this year I can transfer some skills?

6.  Make some quilts for Project Linus.  I think I made five Project Linus quilts last year (the Project Linus "season" starts in September).  Yay!

A mixed bag for 2013.  That's ok, I've got some things to work on in 2014:
1. I'd like to make 10 quilts for Project Linus.  Seeings as I have three in progress, I feel like this is do-able.  They're really fun to make and I love experimenting (and learning) with color and patterns.

2. Finish my #scrappytripalong quilt! I need to make 10 more blocks before I can put it together.

3. Challenge myself with a certain dress pattern that has been sitting on my sewing table for a year.  I have the pattern and fabric but it's a lot more sophisticated that the Collete Patterns so I've been hesitant about getting started.  I may need a professional consultation (ie my mom) on this one.

4. Experiment with knits.  Thus far, all of the clothes I've made have been cotton or corduroy.  I'd like to branch out.  I know knits aren't all that exciting but you've got to start somewhere, right?

5. Participate in a sewing challenge through my quilt guild.  I've been intimidated by showing the other members my work since I like to do my own thing and never use designer fabrics, but how am I going to learn and grow if I don't try?  

6. Finish a certain shawl that I started knitting in June.  According to the pattern, it's actually done but I want to add another repeat section to make it a little bigger.

7. Start going to knitting groups again.  I stopped last spring when life got hairy and I miss the camaraderie and seeing what everyone else is working on. 

8 Work on a "challenging" knitting pattern.  This is pretty open to interpretation since all knitting is challenging to me :-) 

Looks like it's going to be a busy and fun year!

Friday, October 4, 2013

a broken curse and back to sewing

After this summer's sewing extravaganza, I took a little break from making anything. Only it wasn't planned and I didn't know I was taking a break while I was doing it.  I think I got a little burned out.  I didn't even feel like fabric shopping when I had the opportunities!  I decided to give myself a goal - once I finished knitting a pair of socks I've been working on for almost two years, I would start sewing. 

This is not the pattern I originally wanted to knit with this yarn.  Unfortunately, I ended up ripping out the first five patterns I started.  That's no typo - *five* patterns.  A couple of the patterns weren't well written, another was far too complex for the self-striping pattern, and another pattern had too much, um, user error for me to finish.  So I went back to my trusty toe-up magic loop socks and finally finished them!  I'm going to wear them around the house and to bed so they're cute, but not complicated. 

knitting socks

I finished the socks last night and immediately took out all my fabric scraps and sorted them by color.  I had a LOT of scraps crammed into a very small space!  This picture doesn't do the mess justice - there are a lot more piles of fabric on my living room floor than it looks like. 

fabric scraps

I've been feeling like I need to stretch myself with my sewing and learn something new so today I decided to tackle some scrappy log cabin blocks.  I thought they'd be really challenging, but they were really fun to make.  The most challenging part was measuring correctly - go figure.  My plan is to make a bunch with all of the scraps and then figure out a way to put them all together. 

scrapy log cabin quilt

scrapy log cabin quilt

I am so happy to be sewing again!! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

scrappy quilts

I finished my last two quilts for Project Linus this week.  I think I made five or six this year?  In keeping with my theme of "use all the scraps," I made these quilts entirely out of stuff I already had.  There are even some scraps from my old doll dresses (!) that my mom gave me.  My scrap sizes kept them small, and they were perfect for continuing to home my quilting technique.  The orange one came out great, but the blue one's quilting got a little out of hand.  They washed beautifully and I'm learning that in quilting, a run through the washing machine can hide a multitude of sins :-)

scrappy quilt

I'm not sure if you can tell from these pictures, but I tried to do a loop-de-loop quilting pattern on the blue quilt.  It was a little challenging wrestling the quilt back and forth through my sewing machine, but nothing worse than I've already had to do before.  Normally if there's any shifting or puckering that happens, it's on the front of the quilt.  This time, all the shifting happened on the back.  I'm not sure if I pinned enough while basting so ended up doing a lot of extra wrestling to shift the quilt "sandwich" to be where it was supposed to be.  To be honest, it was kind of a nightmare to work with but fortunately, running the finished quilt through the wash made the whole thing kind of crinkly which balanced out the problems. 

I used a scrappy binding too.  I've heard of quilters who save the unused ends of their bindings and then combine them into a mega-scrappy binding.  I should try this; I just cut strips from leftover fabric.  

I really fell in in with the orange quilt!  It so bright and cherry - these pictures don't do it justice. 

scrappy quilt

I went back to straight line quilting for this one but I did a chevron-ish pattern vertically and then sewed straight lines on the horizontal.  I am happy to report there was very little puckering!  I am very pleased with how the quilting came out. 

scrappy quilt

I used a black polka dot binding that came from leftover fabric from a skirt I made last year.  Still not sure if using black in a child's quilt is ok, but I really like the look.  I couldn't think of any other color binding that would have matched the cacophony of colors I used. 

scrappy quilt

I'm so happy to drop these off next weekend! 

scrappy quilt

Friday, July 26, 2013

sew Sew SEW!

I got my sewing machine back from the repair shop a couple of weeks ago and I have been sewing like a maniac since. Coincidentally, we've also had a mega-humid, mega-hot, super miserable heat wave. What did I do during this sweatfest? Well, sew and sweat some more, of course! You haven't lived until you've sat in the warmest room in the house, with the afternoon sun and heat pouring in, while you race your machine. 

To be fair, I wanted to make a quilt for my friend's baby shower this weekend.  It's a boy and they love Belize, so I was going for something traditional yet tropical.  If some of these fabrics look familiar, I used them on another quilt this year and thought they were so perfect that I ran out and bought more yardage. 

charm quilt

I wasn't sure about the binding fabric as I was cutting it, but I kind of like the blues. 

The back is the last of my beloved IKEA fabric.  This really is the perfect fabric for a quilt backing; I should check to see if they still sell it and buy a zillion yards.  

charm quilt

In the middle of my sweat and heat induced haze, I got the idea that I would make two more quilts for Project Linus this year, using - of course - only scraps.  My plan is to do some self-teaching on free motion quilting.  I'm ready to move on from straight lines.

scrappy quilt

I'm also working on a new method for putting the quilt "sandwich" together to reduce the amount of wrinkles.  I tried it with the baby quilt, but there's room for improvement, for sure. 

scrappy quilt

Lastly, I finished my second Colette Laurel dress this afternoon, just in time to wear to tomorrow's baby shower :-)  I'll try to take some better pictures soon, but I am super happy with this sleeveless version (although I note that there's something weird with the arm holes - oi)!  It's super comfortable and perfect for the next heat wave :-)

What have you been sewing lately?

Have a great weekend!