Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another day of avoiding my quilt WIP

Why am I not quilting this week?  I think I'm just trying to get the kind of fulfillment this week that comes from short projects, being able to fully complete something.  I've got three quilts in progress right now, and I'm itching to start a fourth, but I'm trying to pace myself.  There's too many things I want to sew.  I go onto Flickr and I find a million inspirations...and then my munchkin wakes up from his nap and I have to put all of my quilty thoughts away and be a mom for a while.

I did, however, finish sewing my nephew's Superman cape for Halloween.  I made a matching applique iron-on for his mom to sew on to a blue shirt to finish off the costume, which will hopefully be a breeze for her.  My nephew is way smaller than my son, so he couldn't quite model the cape for me, but he did do a great job holding it up!



I used a pattern from The Long Thread and simply shortened it to fit an 8 month old baby.  Here's hoping it fits, that is, given that he's over 1800 miles away.  Alternations would kind of be a pain in the neck.  I used Kona Cotton for the whole thing, and made a Superman applique stencil out of some line art I found on Google Images.  All in all, this took less than 2 hours to complete, and a good chunk of it was tracing and cutting the applique out.  Definitely a fun, easy project!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My first skirt and a pseudo pattern review

So, I guess if you can't call me Betsy, you can at the very least call me ambitious.  Always have been.

Naturally,when I came across a pattern for a little girl's skirt on The Long Thread, I fell in love with it.  It didn't hurt that they used Patty Young's knits for the photograph, which are adorable.  Well, I wasn't going to break the bank and buy any (sorry Patty!), but I did find a cute knit print at Jo-Ann's, and set about sewing a knit skirt.

Keep in mind, I've never sewn any clothing from scratch like this.   I've appliqued, and I've sewn bags and quilts, but never clothing.  Perhaps there's a good reason for that...


Well, having been burned by my amateur-ness with my sewing machine in the past, I did the smart thing and practiced on some scrap knit.  I even dug out the book for my machine to read about stretch stitches and such.  After cursing while attempting to cut knit in straight lines (argh), and getting up to speed with the stitches, I started following the pattern, which was quite well written, with good diagrams to make sure you're sewing the correct sides together at all times.

It's very not perfect.

This was SO not the only mistake - just one of those moments where the machine ran away with my fabric!

The final product is far from perfect, but I'm proud of myself, both for trying something completely different and not giving up when it got hard.  I'd never basted anything for the purpose of gathering it before, and it was actually a little fun once I figured that part out.  

From a distance, though, pretty good looking little skirt.  Just need to finish off the last seam, and ta da!

But, naptime's over, so Mommy's funtime is over for today.  Stay tuned to see what I manage to get done tomorrow!

WIP: Park Avenue Quilt

I'm making a lot of Christmas gifts this year.  In the past few years, I've had a hard time shopping for a lot of the people on my list at Christmas-time, so I'm going to try to go the handmade route this year.

My in-laws are going to be the proud (I hope) recipients of a quilt this Christmas.  They are quite possibly some of the hardest people to shop for, and I've spotted my mother-in-law admiring the quilt I made for my living room when she's been over at my house recently, so I thought a quilt would be a fantastic gift for them this year.  Choosing the fabrics was a huge challenge.  Their taste is very different from mine, and I worried that if I picked fabrics that were 100% their taste that I would drag my heels on making this quilt, not feeling the love for the fabric and such.  So, I kind of compromised.

I found a collection of fabric that seemed to be their style, would match their house, but bring in a new color to the mix - blue.  I'm truly hoping they won't have some kind of hatred for blue.  Cross your fingers for me.  I know a lot of modern quilters aren't fans of pre-cut fabrics, like layer cakes and such, but I think they work out great as gifts.  Many of the other quilts I've made I've hand selected each fabric, but with this one, I knew it would be easier if I could find a whole collection that would work for my in-laws, rather than hand-selecting each fabric.


I found this pattern on Moda Bake Shop, after getting a stellar deal on a layer cake for this quilt.  The pattern was super easy to follow, and I'm nearly done with the quilt top, I just need to sew the rows together.

I've laid the whole quilt out, so I've got an idea of what it look like all put together, and I'm debating whether or not I will add the borders that the pattern calls for.  I'm not a huge fan of borders in a quilt.  I guess I'll decide when I get the whole thing sewn together and go from there.  I tend to be kind of awful at cutting long strips of sashing.  The mixtape quilt I made for my niece was a perfect example, both the doll quilt version and the twin sized version.  Either I truly suck at folding the fabric correctly to yield a good result, or I am in need of some remedial rotary cutter schooling.

In any case, stay tuned to see how this one turns out...and in a few months, how it's received by the in-laws!  Hopefully, they will adore it!
Monday, September 27, 2010

WIP: Mixtape Doll Quilt

My niece, Katie, is big on all things princess-related, much like every other little girl in the kindergarten set.  When I decided to make her a quilt, after making one for her baby brother that she coveted, I wanted to make something that would appeal to the princess-loving side of her, but that she wouldn't feel was too young in a few years when she becomes a tween.  Then, I found Castle Peeps.

Oh, Lizzy House, there's nothing you've designed that I haven't loved, and of all of your fabrics, Castle Peeps is my favorite.  Talk about adorable!  It was perfect for this quilt.

This twin size quilt was so large it actually hung over the sides of my queen size bed!

My sister and I grew up playing dolls a lot.  I grew up with her hand-me-downs, including a wooden cradle, which my mother is in the process of shipping for Katie for Christmas.  Naturally, when she told me she was passing the cradle down to Katie, I wanted to make a doll quilt to match Katie's big quilt.  I could just picture Katie curling up and taking care of a blanketed doll just like I did when I was little.

Me, in my glory days, cuddling with a dolly, with a hand-tied quilt from my aunt.

Unfortunately, in my haste, I inadvertently used some kind of cheap broadcloth for sashing from Jo-Ann's, instead of my trustworthy Kona Cotton.  Thought I had grabbed the Kona, but I should've recognized that it didn't have the same, smooth feel of the Kona.  Won't be doing that again.  I saw a post recently on Jaybird Quilts about labeling the selvedges of your Kona with a fabric pen so you know exactly which color each one is, and I think I will start doing that to avoid this mishap in the future!

The nasty broadcloth stretched funny and completely ruined my quilt top, so I had to start over.  I cut all of my tiny mixtape squares out of the evil broadcloth, and then began to improvise, using the new tiny squares.  I think I like how it's turning out so far.  Stay tuned.

A very small quilt, indeed!  Just right for the heirloom cradle!
Sunday, September 26, 2010

My first quilt


The first quilt I made was for my son, Ryan.  He was moving into a toddler bed, and I wanted to make a quilt for him.  He was never much for blankets, and rarely slept with much more than a receiving blanket, but this quilt changed things.  He became obsessed with covers after this quilt appeared on his bed, so much so that one of his favorite games to play is the under-the-covers game, where he climbs into my bed and pretends to sleep, after tucking himself in under my covers.

This quilt was inspired by a fabric that I saw at one of my favorite online fabric stores, Fabricworm - Michael Miller's Zoology.  Ryan has always loved animals, and when I saw this print, I knew he would love it just as much as I did.


This quilt is fully machined - machine-pieced, machine-quilted, and even machine bound.  It wasn't until the last quilt I did, my 7th, that I actually attempted hand sewing on the binding.  I'm kind of allergic to hand sewing.  Love, love, love my sewing machine, though.  It was with this quilt that I really learned my sewing machine inside and out.  It was this quilt that made me realize how much I enjoyed sewing, and quilting especially.

I think I did three or four practice quilt sandwiches before I actually started the free motion quilting.  There were at least three or four seriously bad oops moments while I was quilting, but when you look at the quilt as a whole, you'll never find them.  Me, on the other hand?  For a long time, they were all I could see.  Now, I can't even remember where they were.  And Ryan?  His favorite part of the quilt was the corner where the mitering is far from perfect.  He liked the feel of that corner, probably because of its wonkiness.  


Today, the quilt is folded up in my closet, as Ryan now sleeps in his new, big boy room, complete with a twin sized bed, and of course a twin sized quilt to go along with it.  I still smile when I see it in my closet, it's one of those things that will brighten my day when I see a little bit of that fabric.  

I love reading quilt stories, so tell me yours.  What was your first quilt?  Who was it for?  Is it still loved today?

Note: The pattern I used for this quilt can be found here.
Friday, September 24, 2010

Hello world!

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere.  My name's Elizabeth, and I am a 29 year old stay-at-home mom to a two and half year old little boy who constantly keeps me on my toes.  This blog is my creative outlet, where I can share what's going on in my life, what I'm making, and what my family is up to.  I previously blogged exclusively about my adventures in the kitchen, as Type A Mommy, and in the last year, I have begun sewing and crafting, too, so this is my space to share about all of that.

 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?

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