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February 28, 2011

technicolor dream coats

Okay not really, but there are so many of them, and they are so colorful :)

coats waiting for homes

You may have seen two of them, the green raincoat and the blue runabout jacket. Before I knew it, I had two very excited four-year-olds in desperate need of new a spring jacket. One of their moms (also another coworker) got to see my jacket(s) in person and decided she needed one for herself (who can blame her? this pattern was great aside from my fabric rant from a while ago). If you are counting along, that is a total of five coats.

coat collection

I can't wait to see photos of the little ones in their new coats (solid pink and solid yellow) - they are going to be absolutely adorable :) However, I can officially say I am patterned out of this jacket...time to move on!

What do you think I should sew next? Any ideas for something [non-apparel] maybe from my scrap bin?


February 25, 2011

process, practice, pillow

For a brief moment as I was finishing this pillow this morning, I thought to myself "This sucks. There's no way I'm going to share it with anyone."

matching strings pillow

Don't get me wrong, I still don't love it, but it is all about the process, right? And this is my process in learning what the heck I am doing with a lot of things. A BIG thank you to the folks that offered advice last week on FMQ! I practiced and practiced on scraps, but I wasn't taking it seriously enough. So I whipped up a pillow to practice more using Elizabeth from Don't Call Me Betsy's tutorial that she shared on Sew Mama Sew's blog. I improvised a bit because I didn't have long enough scraps.

easy string piecing!

I'm hoping to retry this in the near future, the paper piecing was so quick and easy! Here's a better view of the FMQ from behind.

FMQ attempt 1

Looking forward to practicing more. I need a better feel of the pace and tension (lots of ripping out!) and just in general, the flow. You'll notice a lot of inconsistency in spacing and loop size/shape :)

Here is the finished product with my matching postage stamp quilt (Dad note - remember dad? We talked about how the "postage stamp" is just a pattern style? Not real stamps. You can't mail anything with this quilt. Love ya!)

pillow and quilt together

So there you have it. A pillow. Thanks for reading :)


February 23, 2011

patchwork of sorts

Linking up to WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced...go check out what everyone else has been up to!

I took some time off from sewing this weekend to cook with my husband.  We did an 'iron chef' style challenge on Sunday, with chocolate and strawberries as the not-so-secret ingredient(s). I chose chocolate baklava as my dessert, and when I finished it, I realized why :)
patchwork dessert
Doesn't it just look like a culinary patchwork of HSTs? I laughed at myself after cutting it up!

Anyway, focusing back on sewing...last week, I finished another jacket, and now I am working on three more. Apparently 4-year-olds grow out of their jackets quickly and have a real sense of fashion (along with their mommas)?
more coats

Notice my (gasp!) paper scissors on the table. Yep, my nice, expensive, spectacularly awesome fabric shears are out of commission. Haven't heard yet if they are repairable, but the top shear is bowed inward. It made for a really sad Monday. These were a Christmas gift, and a new pair of scissors won't be in my budget for a while.

I also started cutting for the memorial quilts (how I discovered the broken scissors) and did some piecing for my monochromatic challenge quilt. [still trying to not reveal too much!]

monochrome challenge

-innocent crush runabout jacket

-three more runabout jackets (2 pint-sized)

-sliced coins quilt (no progress, still need to get batting!)
-crochet scarf for just me
-monochrome quilt
-first quilt
-memorial quilts
-Hideaway quilt

 Thanks for stopping by! I'm excited to see what you have been up to :)


February 22, 2011

boy things

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story today!

I go wild for a lot of things, not the least of which is fabric. My husband is amazing and lets me buy a lot of it with our budget ('lets me'...HA...so 50s) Regardless, we can just say that my hobby is a priority for both of us, and he does not reap enough benefits. Until now...
tie for my man

I took a Boxers and Ties class at Whipstitch Fabrics just in time for the month of love. Sadly, I am not a patient hand sewer, so I came up with a way to finish this voile strip at my machine. Still needs a good press, and a little skinny for his liking, but I am going to make the pattern wider for the next one. He especially likes it because it is easy to tie and doesn't slip too easily like silk.

Speaking of skinny...I also finished his pair of boxers. The pattern I received at the class was for the 'average' man.  Sean is quite a fit person and measures a little/lot smaller than average, so I asked for my pattern to be altered a bit. It went very well with a bunch of flat Fell seams until he so excitedly tried them on. Way. Too. Small. My nephew will probably be getting these for Christmas next year since they are more appropriate for a 2-year-old than my husband.

too-skinny boxers

What kinds of things do you make for your man?


February 21, 2011

memorial quilts

Round 2, because I already made a set of three of them from my sister's clothes in conjunction with gifting [yours is still coming, Nic!]. This 'second round' will consist of my grandmother's fabulously 80s house coats and housewife dresses.

Love. Synthetic bliss. I debated just keeping a few to alter and rock out on the street. But I must live in this century, spread the love, and give some memories to the rest of the family.

My plan is to make a thousand-million HSTs and organize them in different patterns for each quilt (at last count, 8.) To that end, I have been cutting squares like it is going out of style, because by the time I'm done, they probably will be out of style. Or at least I will be sick of them.
stack of gma fabric thus far

I've seen a few HST quilts out there, but I would love to hear / get links to some of your favorites! Thanks for swinging by :)


February 17, 2011

runabout jacket

right off the bat, any tips for someone whose new darning foot will be arriving in the mail today? this person does not have any experience using said presser foot or free-motion quilting...[FYI this person is me]

on another note, I scrambled this morning to finish button holes, buttons, and the belt for my runabout jacket (a.k.a. raincoat redo) so that I could switch the thread color in my machine and get back to quilting.
runabout jacket

Here it is on the back of my chair at work today! It kind of resembles a cross between my grandmother's couch and a certain pair of pants I used to own as a child (zubas), but trust me, it's a beauty in real life. Check out my raincoat if you want to see it full scale. I figure I will save you (but mostly me) another posey picture of myself :)

February 15, 2011

blossom shoulder bag

Linking to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday (yay it's back! congrats to the block party winners!)

more than a yard of leftover raincoat fabric was just begging for a bag pattern.

blossom bag

That's where the blossom bag pattern from Amy Butler comes in (free at Sew Mama Sew!). I can't pass up free, but I also suspect that Ms. Butler has stock in interfacing because I ended up with 3/4 yards leftover timtex. I needed practice sewing littler things, cleaning up my stitching and improving my patience. Note: not a good idea when I already have an aversion to raincoat fabric (you can now add timtex to that list of aversions).

Anyway, it's done, it's pretty enough, and it's springtime. Which brings me to my next topic: I did not get enough of the first go-round with the raincoat pattern, so I am remaking it with these non-raincoat home decor beauties:

innocent crush jacket

I learned my lesson and cut a half-yard of fabric off the requirements. What do you know, I still have almost a yard left. Seriously, such waste, both $$ and cotton (and we all know cotton is scarce this year).  There are only so many things I can have that are made out of green houndstooth (or now innocent crush).

Question: Are all patterns this wasteful? Or just particular designers?

February 11, 2011

addicted to hideaway

A few blogs recently have been asking what everyone's current favorite line of fabric is. "favorite" is an understatement...I am obsessed with Hideaway. And this obsession has recently been validated by Katie B., who shares my sentiments of this dreamy line.

Mmmmmm...Such a great reminder of my family's trek through Europe when I was young (young enough to pretty much only remember specific buildings, like the B&B we stayed at in Bavaria). It started with that charm pack, and the strategic placement of the "Alpine Village" print on top. Then, it turned into grabbing a fat quarter or half-yard here and there...you know, because I needed some matching prints for the charm pack. Then along came Katie. She tried to tempt me by sending me a link to an etsy shop with a really great deal. I am happy to say that I resisted, because I thought I knew what was good for me.

Then came time for a friend of mine to pay up for a crafty favor, and she gave me free reign across the fabric shop. I nearly sprinted to the Hideaway section, and now it's all I can think about. Clearly I need a bigger variety. Clearly. Which means I need to go get more now, right? YES.

Thank you, mom & daughter pair Lauren and Jessi Jung. If I could afford it, I would buy every single scrap. And share with my fellow addicts, maybe.

Do not get between a sewer and her favorite line of fabrics.


(PS Katie also posted about her "appreciation" for this line today too. We did not plan this same-day post. We just both love it that much. And she started a flickr group, so if you are looking for some validation too, head over)

February 10, 2011

whipstitch groupon [not just for atlanta]

Just wanted to drop a note - Whipstitch Fabrics is offering a Groupon today - $20 for $40 worth of merchandise, and Deborah is accepting them through her etsy shop! So hop on over to www.groupon.com/atlanta and get yourself fabric money to spend!

February 9, 2011

work[s] in progress (central park finished!)

better late than never right? hop on over to Freshly Pieced and check out what everyone else is working on.

late was worth it, I was able to get some photos of my latest finish, the Central Park quilt (aka my first commissioned quilt).

commissioned quilt 1

I love this quilt.

commissioned quilt 2

Have I said how much I love this? I'm not sure why. Probably because I am excited to play with all the leftover pieces now. (there are a LOT!)

Laura and her sisters asked me to embroider this quote on the back...inspiration for their aunt in the hospital.

commissioned quilt 3

So, as far as other projects...umm...I did finish the sashing on my sliced coins quilt.

Then, everybody and their brother discovered that I can sew (apparently it is a lost art?) and my list of commissions has grown. I have no charging scheme in place, so I'm still holding the "Will Work For Scraps" sign.  I am, however, closing the waiting list so that I can decide if I want to pay the government to be able to charge other people :)

-central park quilt

-quilting/binding for a friend
-another raincoat for a gift (but still waiting for a commitment)

-sliced coins quilt
-crochet scarf for just me
-monochrome quilt
-first quilt
-memorial quilts (right now, 4 in process)
-Hideaway quilt (formulating a design and bought yardage this week!)

Let me leave you with my view for the day. Laura is a coworker of mine (we share an office space), so we decided to hang the quilt over our wall hangings. Made the day so much better :) and led to a lot of drifting off into Central-Park-goodness.
commissioned quilt 4

thanks for swinging by!

February 7, 2011

the raincoat.

here it is, my first garment!

raincoat 1

And a peak at the lining...
raincoat inside

I worked my butt off to finish this in time to make use of it during our five-day streak of rain. What do you know, the day I am ready to photograph, it is finally sunny out. Never did I think I would wish for rain quite like I did when this photo was taken :)

raincoat 2

So pretty!


Did YOU know how easy covered buttons are? When I first read the pattern, I thought about all the modern gadgets and gizmos I would need to make covered buttons, and how much that would cost me. Turns out it is an extra buck. One dolla, make me holla. WHAT?! You seasoned sewers are probably rolling your eyes and clicking next by now...for the rest of you, check out how easy it is!


The package with the mold runs about a dollar more than the package without. Seven buttons (plus an extra) cost me $4.98 plus tax. Much cheaper than the big plastic buttons I was thinking about.

Here's to hoping that it does not rain too much, but just enough to be able to admire my handywork every now and then :)


February 6, 2011

super sewing.

Don't get me wrong, I like football. I started dating my husband on Super Bowl Sunday. I just like to craft a little more. Especially at the end of the season when I am really sick of the pigskin.

Worked on my commission quilt for the most part. Finished the piecing and pinning.
commissioned pinned

Decided on a straight-line pattern drawn out ahead of time (something I never do. ever. but after unquilting a portion, I decided it was a must.)
commissioned quilting

Seriously, where do these things come from?
commissioned jump rope

They look like all of the following: a jump-rope; a mini St. Louis arch; a U-lock for a bike. Got any others? Better yet, how do these things come about? I've played with speed, tension, feed...pretty much the usual suspects, and they still appear every so often, like just long enough that I have forgotten about them, and then BAM they're back.


February 4, 2011

happy anniversary hubs!

It's our dating anniversary. And the anniversary of our engagement. Two for one :)  It's the first anniversary that we celebrated as a couple, so it is hard to let our wedding anniversary completely replace it.

anniversary gift

Made him this little gift. I had plans for it before I heard about "Put a bird on it," but it adds a little extra humor I suppose. All this needs is a hoop for a home, and we'll be all set. I used scraps from my most recent quilt, and muslin from my grandmother. She put a note on it saying "very high quality muslin, they do not make it like this anymore, do not burn!" She put that kind of note on a lot of things before she passed away. Lots of concern for burning :)

Anyway, that's the secret hubs gift. Happy anniversary, my love!

February 3, 2011

my first commissioned quilt

Just after I finished my post for WiP Wednesday, I was commissioned to make a quilt! Okay, so let's be real. By "commissioned" I mean I don't have to pay for the fabric. Perfect! I get to play around with some awesome fabric - specifically Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda (with a slice of sugar pop) - without having another quilt around.

Central Park fabric

[Insert: giddy smile] I am hoping my pay will be the scraps, and I am 100% okay with that. Wouldn't that make a great sign? "Will Work For Scraps" :)

I am making this one for my coworker Laura and her three sisters. Their aunt will be spending some extended time in the hospital in the upcoming months, and they wanted to give her something to keep her company. Done and done, this one just skyrocketed to the top of the list. Purchased fabric yesterday at 7pm, already have two blocks done. I am using the North Meadow quilt as inspiration to make this quick, yet stylin' quilt.

central park quilt

My goal is to have it done by next week. Yikes!


February 2, 2011

work[s] in progress 2.2

Linking up to WiP Wednesday today over at Freshly Pieced. Thanks for all the comment love last week :)

Big progress here this week. I finished my postage stamp quilt and have been using it since!

postage stamp 4


-secret hubs gift (will reveal on Friday, because otherwise the secret would be spoiled!)
-postage stamp quilt

-Moda Hideaway quilt (not really new, I just forgot to list it last week :) )

-sliced coins quilt
-crochet scarf for just me
-monochrome quilt
-first quilt (yep, several years later, still not done)
-memorial quilts (right now, 4 in process)

next quilt on the list - sliced coins (quilt along with Don't Call Me Betsy). I got a little too excited and started sewing the sashing before reading the instructions for this week. I guess I thought I was farther behind that I actually am. I was worried this quilt would just end up being an extra, but after a stroll through the park during the 70-degree 'heat wave' this past weekend, I decided to make it our picnic blanket :)

sliced coins

Finally, I JUST finished my rain coat - all that's left are the pictures! Learned a lot with this one, like (1) how [not] to do gather stitches, (2) covered buttons are cheaper than plastic ones, (3) when in doubt, edge stitch, (4) you don't HAVE to use a button hole foot to make a button hole, and (5) patience makes perfect.

covered buttons for rain coat!

The pattern suggested a teflon or rolling foot. Like I mentioned last week, I used masking tape as a work-around. Well, I eventually gave up when the regular cotton and laminated cotton were pulling at different speeds, and I just decided to use my walking foot and risk damaging the fabric (are walking feet more common than the others I listed? I get the sense that they are). Let me save you a headache - if you are sewing such kinds of fabric, buy/use the walking foot. It was magic. No damage, and I could feed the fabric in any way, shape, or form (including both the top-facing and bottom-facing fabric being laminated). Maybe this is a "well, duh!" kind of lesson? Here's to hoping it isn't, and that the world is less one headache today :)

Now that you've read my attempt at advice, what random or fun lessons have you learned through sewing / crafting? Can't wait to hear 'em!


February 1, 2011

postage stamp quilt

It's finished! My very first quilt just for me, completed with the postage stamp quilt along. By the way, linking up to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday again :)

postage stamp 4

Lots of you asked about the purple color - I think I answered each of you, but just in case, it is Kona cotton in berry (you can purchase it here). I cheated the quilt along by using a fat quarter set of Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush line that I received for Christmas for the pattern patches, as opposed to purchasing a jelly roll of fabric. I think this resulted in a lot more duplication of prints, but it also saved me a chunk of cash. You win some...you lose some... Since I had a lack of variety, I decided to do a random construction. I like it. A lot. Even if some of the prints are corner-to-corner.

postage stamp 1

This is my proof that I did indeed finish this mammoth. Not sure why, but 60"x80" just did not click in my head.  Regardless, it sure felt like an eternity to assemble this thing. After assembling half, I had to think long and hard about whether I just wanted to make two separate quilts, especially with my husband exclaiming "That's HUGE!" in the background. Go big or go home, right? Oh well, perfect end-of-the-bed-in-the-warm-springtime quilt.

postage stamp 3

For the backing, I chose Parisville by Tula Pink's Damask Dot in pomegranate with white fleece 'batting,' and I just did straight-line quilting in a 1-2-4-2-1 pattern (every 10 rows). Just in case you missed the last three photos, here is another one :)

postage stamp 2

(I ventured into our courtyard for this one, city dwelling => no backyard, and my window sill was getting old. Needless to say, I snapped photos pretty quickly in hopes that I would not look like the crazy lady taking pictures of a blanket :) )

I had to fight the urge to pull out some chess pieces and set them up on this quilt :) Thanks for reading!