Apparently, this was the year of the quilt for me. In addition to the ones in the mosaic above, there are two more tops that didn't get quilted, one in the process of being quilted, and two more tops in progress. (And a partridge in a pear tree!) I only knit three things, two of which were worsted-weight socks and one just a wee baby sweater. I think I crocheted a couple of things, but other than the hand-warmers, I can't remember what I hooked. I started teaching at gather here, which has been a wonderful experience, and I hope to continue in the new year. I've got a ton of new quilts planned for classes! As for my other crafty endeavors, I released one softie pattern, but I have a few more that I only need to polish up & release. Maybe I'll finally get to that in the coming weeks since I don't foresee too much sewing getting done. Right now, I'm in a frenzy of nesting. Matt & I are putting the finishing touches on the kiddo's room. He is successfully sleeping by himself there through the night. We're tying up all our loose ends and getting ready for the New Tenant to join us. Fortunately, there isn't much that's left to do, just little last minute things like washing all the crib bedding. I have no idea if this will be my last post for the year or not. In case it is, I want to wish all of you a very happy new year full of love & laughter & all that good stuff. Happy New Year to you all!
Hope you all had an awesome holiday! Yesterday was so full of everything, and I am content and exhausted now. Before we went in for the family festivities, I decided to bang out a quick gift for my brother-in-law just because.
There are two things my brother-in-law is completely in love with - trains and maps. Any combination of the two brings him immense joy. Usually I just get him books or posters related to maps, subway maps, trains, or subway art. This year I was inspired to do something different. It all started with the fabric. I had bought this fabric months and months ago with the intention of making something for him this Xmas. I debated whether to make him a shirt but figured he would never wear it because that would be too flashy. He's not into ties, and I really couldn't think of any other form of apparel to make for a dude.
Thanks to over-thinking this and then becoming hugely distracted with other projects and life and stuff, I found myself wondering what to make for him just a couple of night ago and on a whim decided to go with pillows. There really isn't anything exciting to say about these pillows. They're just super easy envelope pillows I was able to whip up in about 15 minutes. Really, the appeal is in the fabric, so hooray for Timeless Treasures for printing this!
Funny thing, it took me longer to find a solution for wrapping them than it did to actually make them. In the end I just used some leftover binding as a ribbon. Didn't make for much of a surprise when presenting it as a gift, but meh, it's pretty.
Why look at that! This year we hid our tree's shame with a stripey tree skirt I whipped up for a class at gather here. I'm rather fond of it, though I will say I should have made the center hole much narrower. That would have provided us with a tidier skirt with a smaller circumference. It would have also involved a lot less panels of fabric and made for an even quicker, easier project. Now I know for next year. I'll just tweak it to reflect these bits of trial and error and come up with a better, more badass skirt (to hide the tree's shame, of course!).
I know it makes me such a mega-nerd, but really, nice corners please me to no end.
Once again, I machine-bound something, and I did not want to stab said project after I was done. Hooray! I'm getting better at this thing. I like that the print I chose for the binding is kinda subtle and doesn't overpower or compete with the pretty saturated prints I used to the skirt itself. Funny thing about this binding, too. Originally, while sewing at Stacie's, she made 5 yards of binding for me while I worked on something else so that we would have time to play Settlers of Catan because Stacie is awesome like that. The thing is that I needed bias tape but did not communicate that. I just said binding. Derf! It's gorgeous, though, and I know I will definitely use it (for my current project, actually). Thanks again, Stacie! During class I made bias tape for my students hoping I could make mine work for the demo, but of course it didn't really work with the curves because, well... it wouldn't. Way to go, me! So Virginia made the bias tape for me seeing as I had just made yards and yards of it and must have looked like some defeated schlump when I realized I had to make more. Thank you, Virginia! Seriously, I am so grateful for these ladies. Also, talk about a close call - I had this much tape left:
I *just* made it.
The basic stripes in this design work well with our tree's decorations which consist mostly of little old painted wooden ornaments, a couple of my softie ornaments, wee fabric stockings, and these glass ornaments I took with me when my sister decided to throw them out. She thought they were old and tacky. Maybe they are, but they're shiny and remind me of some of the happiest time in my childhood. Therefore I love 'em.
Happy holidays, folks. Hope you have a wonderful time filled with laughter, surrounded by the people you love.
Forgive me. I've been a little distracted these days. I finally got around to making those Anna Maria Horner voile blankies I had been meaning to make since the fall. It turns out the baby might come a little sooner than expected. Blah blah cholestasis. Blah blah induction. I don't want to think about it much less talk about it. I'm hoping everything will be ok.
It was my first time using a serger so my edges are far from perfect, but they'll work. I have to say it was actually a lot of fun to get behind one of those machines. I'd love to get more practice in. ZOMG! It might just open up the doors to garment sewing for me. It's totally a gateway tool.
I was hoping to be done with this today, but I'm also working on a couple of other projects that are a little more pressing. I'm almost done with the quilting though. I am planning on doing the binding by hand, so this may not get finished until after the holidays. We'll see....
This rainbow-y chevron quilt was my demo for the class at gather here. I whipped up the top itself in a couple of hours because really this entails SUCH an easy method of construction. It took me forever to get around to quilting & binding it, however. The quilting itself is very simple, even less complicated than the prototype since I only quilted each row once (on one side of the seam) as opposed to two times as I did with the prototype.
To further expedite the process, I machine-bound this one as well, again using 3-inch strips instead of my normal 2 1/2. I am super-pleased with the corners:
Being as this quilt might end up going to a baby, I backed it with a sweet, cozy flannel. Again, I made pockets for hanging it with a dowel, using the same flannel:
I'm not sure this is a palette I would normally use, but it's kinda refreshing to slowly branch out a bit. It's rainbow-y without strictly adhering to ROYGBIV.
I can't get a decent shot of the quilt I wanted to share today because it's dark in here and wet out there. And I don't think a crappily lit photo will do the colors in this piece justice. So instead I'm going to blather on about something that's been on my mind about quiltmaking (or just sewing in general). It always baffles me a bit when I hear people say, "Oh, I can never do that," or when they request a pattern for something that is essentially just a bunch of squares. My belief is that YES, you CAN do that. All you have to do is think about it for a minute, deconstruct it, and make the time to do it. The making of the time is the hardest part of this process as far as I'm concerned. Everything else is just math and numbers. Look at what you want to make - does it entail a technique you're not familiar with yet? Well, there are tons of excellent, clear, concise, well-written tutorials on the internet that will teach you these techniques and guide you through the process. If you already know how to make, say half-square triangles, for example, you can make a top that uses half-square triangle easy as pie. You're not sure of the dimensions? Here's the wonderfully liberating thing - you can make them any size you want in order to determine the ultimate size of your own top. Don't be afraid to wing it. Don't get too caught up in creating something precious. Don't overthink it - just get to it.
I'm hoping to follow my own advice here. Lately, I've been thinking about my own sewing because a) I get a lot of joy from it and b) I want to take it to the next level. I feel like so far I've only been scratching at the surface, and I am starting to dig deeper. I want to play with curves & color. I want to experiment with recycled fabrics and simplicity, to try out different forms of type and text, to play around with shapes and techniques I haven't tried before, to develop a better sense for free-form and improv design. That's basically my list of goals for the new year, once I wrap up all the projects that I'm currently working on. The good thing is that I am checking things off of my to-do list at such a rate that come the new year, I may actually start off with a clean slate which opens me up to so many possibilities for my next endeavor. I'm already looking forward to it.
Inspired by my bunting baby quilt, these two were for a class I taught at gather here. Well, actually, while they were both made for the class, one is ultimately going to go to our friends Jason & Holly and their adorable baby boy. As a matter of fact, I'm shipping it out to them tomorrow. This is the one that's going to them, the one that's backed in a soft organic flannel:
It took me forever to get around to blogging about these because it took me forever to finish binding the second one. It just sat there with the binding attached waiting for it to be tacked down. It only took me an evening in front of the TV watching old SVU episodes (mmmmm, Elliot) to get it done, so it was silly of me to let it go for so long. Besides, I feel bad about letting quilts languish. Socks go without partners for years. Shawls hang out in a box waiting to be bound off. I feel no guilt about that. I'll get to those projects when I get to them if I ever feel like getting to them. Quilts I feel the need to see through to completion.
I had a little help with this top. Since we had no power at the time due a fallen tree that thankfully only took down a power line and didn't hurt anyone, I went over to Stacie's to work on these. I like to have two quilts ready for class - one to show as my finished prototype and another to use as the demo for whatever techniques we'll be covering in class that day. While I quilted and attached the binding on the first one, Stacie assembled the second top for me. I had already pieced the strips of triangles (the bunting); she put together the strips for me. Thanks, again, lady!
While they may seem identical, I quilted one using a warm cream thread and the other using white. This resulted in one seeming slightly warmer and the other a slightly cooler shade of aqua. Funny how that can be achieved just through the quilting, but I guess with a certain amount of echo lines, the color you choose for the quilting is going to have a greater impact on the finished piece.
One of these quilts has a corner that's opened a bit. I'll take care of that in the morning when I have good light here. For now, that's the story on these two.... I may be teaching the class again in March or so. We'll figure that out in the new year.
This quilt has been finished for a couple of weeks now; I've just been a slacker about writing a final post about it. So let's see.... It started with this graphic that I fell in love with. I became a little obsessed actually. Eventually, I made the top because I just *had* to explore this. Then came the class, where I put together a tutorial for folks to make a smaller version that would work as a crib quilt. At approximately 48 x 72 inches this one is too big to be a crib quilt but maybe too small to be a throw. It is, however, ideal for a certain toddler's bed especially being as he seems especially fond of it. I can't unfurl this quilt with him in the room as he immediately runs over to grab it and hug it, which is kinda the most awesome reaction I could hope for.
I have to admit, this is my favorite quilt that I have made so far. And? It was really easy to make. In fact, I encourage anyone who likes this to make themselves a quarter circle template and get sewing. Quarter circles are super-easy to sew. I don't bother with all the pinning when running them through the machine. I just ease the fabrics together gently at the curve (without any pulling or stretching) with a slight overhang at the beginning and the end of the seam and zip along. The most time-consuming part of the process is probably trimming all my squares down to size before I start piecing the quarter circle squares (drunken steps?) together. As far as quilting it, the design lends itself to a plethora of quilting options. I chose a pretty obvious one - circles within the circles and implicit circles - but it works well.
I went with a white binding because it just worked best with the clean, modern aesthetic of the quilt. It's almost like an invisible binding since it blends in with the background fabric. I like that - it's understated and quiet yet ties everything together. And of course (OF COURSE!) I have to include the detail shot of my corners. Really, neat corners are so very satisfying.
So this one is going to be on display at gather here for a couple of months, and then it will go to my little dude for being so awesome about adjusting to his new bed and making this period of transition so smooth and stress-free. I have a feeling he will be extremely happy to see it again.
And so I begin the parade of finished quilts on the blog. There have been a bunch of them waiting patiently in the wings - a few for classes at gather here, a few for the fun of it, and a couple that I need to send off to friends. I'm not sure what more to say about this one here other than it was a prototype for a class on how to make easy zig-zags and that the color scheme and design were inspired by a fabric by Ann Kelle - the very same fabric that I used for the backing, in fact. I like to drive my point home.
Two things that worked out neatly and have pleased me oh-so-very-much about this quilt are my successful attempts at making corner pockets for a dowel, a la Oh, Fransson! in her book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, and my victory at machine-binding. Past attempts at machine-binding have been... less than stellar. Or we can be blunt and say they have sucked ass and been fug as hell (because it's the truth). Heh. This time, however, I put to practice what I have learned from past mistakes and used a wider binding, resulting in this:
See? Sweet! I am TRIUMPHANT! And I am also way too excited about this teeny success.
I wish I had noted the measurements before I parted with it. I think it measures approximately 38 x 44 inches. All I know is it's a great size for a baby quilt and expect it will be used as such.
...this bias tape totally reminds me of fruit-striped gum. Gad, I used to love that stuff as a kid. Sometimes my dad would buy me a megapack as a treat, and I would save and savor every stick, stashing it somewhere that my anti-chewing gum mom wouldn't find it. Anyhow, this tape? It's going to make an awesome binding or edging for some fun project. If you're at Bazaar Bizarre Boston this Sunday, you should swing by gather here's table to check out this and a ton of other tapes, kits, and DIY goodies to get for your favorite crafters for the holidays.