Wednesday, July 01, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Circus Mixtape Quilt

This past Sunday was a calm, easy day that afforded me an unusual amount of sewing time.  I managed to pull fabrics, do all of the cutting, and sewed  all of the blocks for this baby quilt.  It was amazing!  Settling on small pieces of "Urban Circus," complementing stash blenders, and an Oh Fransson pattern called Mixtape (now retired) proved to be a winning combination for this baby quilt.  I am also psyched that I was also able to incorporate the colors gray and yellow (which match the couple's existing baby stuff, due to not finding out the gender ahead of time) - while still making this very girly. 

I am backing this with some quality flannel from my stash, already prewashed.  I've never made a quilt with flannel backing, so I am a little nervous.

I am feeling frustrated because just a few weeks after receiving my machine back from being serviced, the same problems I had been having have resurfaced.  I am going to finish this project up and bring it back to the shop.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Finish it up Friday: Clothes for Me

I feel like I need to begin with a disclaimer to this post: all sewing done since the arrival of my baby has been accomplished in intermittent little bursts here and there; mostly when my husband was home from work for "paternity leave."  If I ever have the privilege of choosing between a nap or sewing, I always choose sleep.  I am obsessed with sewing, but not that crazy.  Sewing has been a big emotional boost for me lately, I am glad I've still been able to do it occasionally.

While my regular machine was in the shop, I finally opened the box to the Hello Kitty Janome I bought several months ago.  I am pleased with how well the machine has been working, but I don't have the patience to figure out how to achieve a perfect 1/4" seam.  So I decided to work on a few clothing items for myself instead of quilting WIPs.

I made a pair of pajama pants, a wardobe staple these days:

The "Lolita Skirt" made out of some Tammis Keefe crocodiles: 

I've spent a fair amount of time on IG and Bloglovin via my phone while nursing the baby.  I came across a few whole cloth quilts sewn by IG user sevenpretty, and it inspired me to make one for Owen.  I love this Moon Phase print by Lizzy House so much, and this gave me an excuse to use and see it frequently.  The reverse side has another fabric favorite: tiny elephants by Diawabo. It measures 36 x 42.

Now that my regular machine is better and working well (fingers crossed it stays that way!), I've been chugging away at a mini quilt destined for decorating my sewing room:

It was tempting to stop there, but I decided to add one more border.  It will look something like this:

On one of my first kid-less outings, I made a trip to a local yard sale of a woman who had run a home quilting supply business.  Most of the materials were not my taste and the prices were kind of high, but I was quite excited to treat myself to several new publications from Stash Books, discounted to at least a third of the list price.  I buy very few quilt/sewing books, so this was a real treat.  I am really enjoying "Sew Organized for the Busy Girl" and it's inspired me to clean out and organize my sewing supplies.

While organizing, I pulled out several stash selections to make a baby girl quilt that's due to be finished in two weeks (!).  Friends of ours had a baby just after I had Owen.  It's pretty exciting because they had tried to have a child for over five years and got pregnant with no special intervention.  They didn't find out the gender beforehand, so they have a fair amount of gray and yellow nursery decor.  The mom didn't have many requests pertaining to the baby quilt I'd like to make: just that I include some "girl colors" and she did mention she has a thing for giraffes.

I want to stay committed to using my stash but I am finding these choices a bit uninspiring.  Most of them are small/odd measurements and I have a tight deadline.  I may go ahead and order this, Stand Tall in Grass, by Tamara Kate.  I blame my friend Heather for bringing that fun fabric to my knowledge.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 6.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 59 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  65.25 yards

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Baby in the Hood Jacket

Hello friends.  Thank you for all of the kind words, congratulations, and comments recently.  I apologize for my lack of response and engagement.  Recovery from the birth of Owen has been difficult for me in the extreme but I think the worst of it is finally over.  I had a scheduled c-section and anticipated the recovery to be similar to the last two, but it ended up being a lot more than I bargained for.  Nothing life threatening, thank goodness, but difficult nonetheless.  Thankfully Owen has been healthy overall but my health problems resulted in some feeding issues for him, so life has been pretty crazy lately.  

My husband still has this week and next off of work and has been an amazing help with everything.  The kids were hyper and a bit unruly following our hospital discharge, but have soon calmed down and even have been very helpful on occasion.

Thanks for letting me share.  I am trying to be a little more personal in this space but will always be focusing on sewing here.  I have one last pre-baby project to share:

I was incredibly nervous before the scheduled c-section and spent the day before the procedure making Charlotte a coat to keep myself distracted.  I ordered the Anne Kelle kitty corduroy off of Etsy on a Monday and it came on Wednesday from Ohio.  Thankfully, the purple lilac pearl bracelets from my stash was a fun match for the project.  This pattern is called "All Set Kid Pattern Set" by Anna Maria Horner, also found in smaller sizes from her book Handmade Beginnings.   I made the jacket is size 4T, Charlotte fits perfectly in most 3T's, so I think it's safe to say that the sizes run a little small.

Unfortunately, this jacket gave me a lot of trouble.  The most aggravating part was getting the sleeves to line up with the arm holes of the jackets- there was way too much extra fabric to get it to all connect neatly.  I finally gave up following the directions and gathered the sleeves to make it work, luckily they didn't come out puffy at all.  I also had issues with one jacket placket being longer than the other!  Really not sure how that happened but I did manage to fix it.

I also had lots of trouble with my machine doing button holes correctly: the machine would stitch them incompletely, too long, and inconsistent in size.

I made this pattern two years ago in sizes 18-24 months with a different Ann Kelle corduroy print.  The sleeves didn't give me trouble then and I did the loop button method instead of traditional buttonholes.

Despite some frustrations, I love this pattern and the look of the jacket.  Charlotte wore the whale version quite often and I am sure the kitty one will be just as favored.  

Currently, my machine is being looked at by a local Janome Dealer due to all the problems I have been having with it.  A few different people have told me the computer may be dying in the machine: which is not good news, especially after owning it for less than two years.  A postpartum mom in the throes of illness and breastfeeding problems does not take that kind of news too well!!!  Let's just say that there have been a few tears shed and a few prayers given that it is a more minor problem causing issues.  Having it looked out now is good timing, I have not had time or energy for sewing although I do miss it!  

Posting will be sporadic but I hope to sneak in some sewing now and then, if only for my own sanity and enjoyment.  Thanks for reading!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts at Finish it up Friday.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 57.75 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  59 yards

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Random Pre-Baby Projects

Another scheduled post-baby blog post:

A while ago, I finished the new diaper bag and later finally got around to making the matching changing pad/wipes holder.  This pattern/free tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew is one of my most favorite items to use with a baby.  It comes together in about an hour, which honestly seems long but working with stretchy/soft fabric definitely slows me down.

 I don't love the orange fabric I chose but made the hasty decision when I only had 20 minutes to spend at Joann's and didn't want to hesitate too long when there was miraculously no lines at the cutting table.

Another project that felt like it had a definite deadline was teacher's gifts for my son's preschool teachers.  I can't believe he's going to kindergarten this fall and I am going to miss his preschool program and teachers so much!  I made the Noodlehead divided basket pattern with no divider.  Homemade bags of caramel popcorn filled the baskets.  I love those Floressence fabrics for this project!

Finally, I wanted to share some new fabrics that joined my collection for Mother's Day.  Lizzy House's Natural History is to die for, she really is one of my most favorite designers.  Here are some of my favorite prints from the collection:

A while ago, I couldn't resist the Japanese import sale at Pink Castle.  Fairy tale and text motifs are some of my favorites!

Here are some nice vintage fabrics I bought at a yard sale.  I especially love the floral on the far right:

I also picked up these lovely scarves at another yard sale for .25 cents each.

My mom totally scored some awesome fabric for me at a yard sale recently.  Solids, some of my favorite AMH voiles (1/2 yd each!), Riley Blake, and Amy Butler.  She probably paid about $1 for all of it because the lady just had her make a pile and charged her .50 cents per inch (how tall the pile was!).

Thanks for reading!  Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1.75 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 56 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  57.75 yards

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Five Dresses in Seven Days

I have scheduled a few blog posts for after my baby is born.  This is one of them, I am really not that productive when I have a newborn!

I think it's fair to say that I became obsessive about sewing my daughter Oliver and S dresses the week before the scheduled birth of my third child.  I know I have felt stressed and anxious about the event, and have worried that I will really give up my sewing hobby for quite a while once I have three children under the age of five.  In deciding what to focus on in the last few days that had some "free time," I felt strongly that making Charlotte some new clothes would be a good use of my efforts.  She's only going to be a little girl for so long and she really likes what I make her.  I have so many bags and quilts, and didn't want to start a brand new, long term project.  

This Family Reunion pattern was probably the most difficult Oliver and S pattern I've done yet, but I adore how it came out and I am sure I will revisit it again.  I used some Briar Rose and a pink solid from my stash.  I love the fabric choices but I am sure it won't be her favorite dress because it doesn't feature any kind of animal.  

(Yes, she is sitting on a "bench" that is really meant for flower pots.  Not too comfortable but she couldn't be dissuaded).

I was scared of doing pin tucks for the first time but it was the collar that gave me the most trouble.  I think it was the stiff texture of the pink solid that was the problem.

I love the look of the buttons down the back.  I also love how easy it is to make buttonholes on the sewing machine, I am definitely not afraid of that feature anymore.

I hadn't really planned to make another Rollerskate dress, but I had already prewashed this Japanese Snow White fabric and there wasn't enough material to make a Family Reunion dress out of it (my original plan).  So I whipped this up fast, using a Chicopee print for the collar.

So here they all are: five Oliver and S dresses made in seven days.  The funny thing about them is that she has been excited about each one, but still wants to wear that darn Lizzy House catface Rollerskate dress!  Kids like what they like and Charlotte can be particularly stubborn.

In case you are curious, here's my personal rating of difficulty for these Oliver and S patterns, from easiest to most difficult: Rollerskate, Hide and Seek, Library, and Family Reunion.  None of them should scare you, they are all a lot of fun and this week of crazy sewing really helped me come to peace with my serger.

 Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts at Finish it up Friday.

(I didn't do a "stash fabric used" notation for the other dress posts, so I am catching up here)
Total stash fabric used in (the dresses posts): 6 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 50 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  56 yards

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It's a Boy!

I had a baby boy last Monday, May 18th.  We decided to name him Owen Alexander.  His birth weight was 8 lbs, 6 oz and he is 20" long.

His gender surprised both Nick and I.  Nick had been convinced throughout the pregnancy that he was a girl.  I was more unsure and didn't have a strong opinion either way until the week before he was born: I had a very vivid dream that I had given birth to a dark haired girl.  Instead, we had a sweet light haired boy!

Gregory is particularly thrilled to have a little brother and Charlotte has expressed some disappointment.  Nick and I, of course, are completely smitten and I am so relieved that he is so healthy.  Without having had gestational diabetes this time around, my pregnancy was monitored a lot less than what I had been used to, so it felt like a lot less was known about his growth and development in the womb.

I have had my mom in town to help with everything and I am very grateful.  Recovery has been particularly difficult and obviously I have my hands full with my two older children.  My husband is also taking quite a bit of paternity leave to be home during this time.

I kind of sewed like a maniac before Owen's birth, so there are a few scheduled posts sharing those projects.  I know I will be able to return to my favorite hobby periodically but I am not pressuring myself to do anything I don't have the time or energy for right now.  I am also making a concerted effort to really enjoy this baby - I really struggled emotionally after having my second and I think Owen will probably be our last child- so I really want to savor this special time and not get caught up in WIPs and starting new projects.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Scrappy Category: Girlfriends Quilt

I am excited to share another recent finish.  This is a 70 x 90 quilt I made for my daughter with the collection of Ann Kelle Girl Friends fabrics I've been collecting.  I also used lots of stash fabrics and scraps to create a rainbow, bright look.

This pattern was created from a block I found in Quilty magazine.  I understand that it is a traditional block design that has been around for a while but I like the updated look it has with the fun fabrics.  I paper pieced the four corner units of each block to save time and achieve better accuracy.

I quilted the top on a Gammill Statler Stitcher, choosing a circular pattern with a pink thread that matched the Kona Peony sashing.

I used a big chunk of Michael Miller "Candy Stripe" from my stash that I've had for about eight years.  As I've said on this blog before, my early foray into modern fabrics involved a lot of rainbow prints that I now find difficult to use.  Knocking out six+ yards of this stash fabric felt so good!  I bound the quilt in a rainbow dotty print.

Linking up with Amy's Creative Side for the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Scrappy Category:

Total stash fabric used in this post: 7 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 43 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 50 yards

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Large Category: Typewriter Swoon Quilt

 This quilt came together came together like a whirlwind at the most recent Front Range Modern Quilt Guild retreat.  The idea to use a unique combination of Melody Miller typewriters and other designer favorites was inspired by Nicole's amazing hexie cushion for the 2014 Sewvivor competition.  I've also been intending to make a swoon quilt for ages and loved being able to alter the pattern to accommodate large scale prints and eliminate several tedious half square triangle units.

I used stash fabrics to create this 90 x 108 quilt, buying a small amount more for prints that I only had a fat quarter of.  I am particularly happy with my choice of black scrappy sashing and borders- it's a lot of fun in my opinion.

This quilt almost went into the proverbial "will be quilted someday" pile because of my confusion on how to quilt it.  I had many friends encouraging me to splurge on custom long arm quilting, but when I looked into that option, I learned it would probably cost me at least $500.  I also worried that an all over design might not do the design justice.  But then I came across this post by Angela Walters, and her statement won me over, "The one thing that I love about  [the Swoon]  quilt pattern is the large scale of the blocks. The fact that the blocks are so large means that an allover design won’t take away from their beauty!"  

I also felt that my choice to use only prints in the quilt really would minimize the "wow factor" custom quilting generates when it's executed on solid fabrics.

After finally mentally resolving my dilemma, I went to Jukebox Quilts in Ft. Collins and rented time on a Gammill Statler Stitcher.  I was disappointed in the geometric/modern quilt designs available to me, but eventually settled on the "Scratch Modern" pattern.

I was about 35 weeks pregnant and it was a very long day getting this quilted.  When I was done and back at my sister's, I laid down for three hours.  I was exhausted!

I backed this quilt in a large cut of Hope Valley from my stash as well as some random stash (black) prints that I didn't think I would miss for other projects.  I really had wanted to go with something much more fun, but decided to use the money for quilting and not buy more fabric!  I bound the quilt in Joel Dewberry's True Colors woodgrain teal fabric.

I hope focusing on my thought process in choosing a quilt design is helpful.  I think it's easy to get excited about all of the amazing custom quilting that so many talented artists provide.  But if it's not in the budget or if our fabric choices are really busy, an all-over design is perfectly acceptable.  I once heard a traditional quilt store owner explain that new quilters really get sucked into modern quilts and the amazing quilting featured in patterns and books- but the "$5,000 quilting" is truly what makes the quilt and may not be achievable for beginners or within their budget to have someone else do it for them.  As I worked this all out for myself, I ultimately had to take another piece of advice I've heard from Angela Walters, "A finished quilt is always better than an unfinished quilt top."

Linking up with the Large Quilts Category at the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.  Thanks for stopping by!

spring 2015 BQF Button

Total stash fabric used in this post: 9 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 34 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 43 yards