Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tabbed Baby Toy

I made this tabbed crinkle toy for the little man tonight. It took me about an hour and most of that was spent on making the improv block for the top. I just set my blue and green scrap basket next to my machine and dug out pieces. Then I kept building those pieces together until I had a piece that was larger than 9x9 inches, because that's how much crinkle plastic I had from my cereal box insert.
I cut the improv block down to 9x9 and then attached the crinkle paper to the back of the block with a 1/8 inch seam just so I didn't have to deal with the lose plastic while sewing the layers together.

I pulled out the leftover flannel fabric I had from my nephew's quilt and cut a 9x9 inch square from that as well. I pulled out my bag of ribbon scraps, cut them up, and pinned them in between the layers. Sewed around the outside with a 1/4 seam and left one section in the top open so I could turn it. Then I added one more ribbon to fill in the gap and top stitched the entire outside of the toy.

I think it turned out great and I think the midget is really going to love it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I'm Alive!

I can't believe I haven't posted anything in two months. I promise, I'm still alive. Just super busy. I started back to work last Wednesday and before that I was trying to cram as much sewing and baby time as possible into every minute. So I've got lots of stuff to share and don't even know where to start. Well, baby pictures are always good.

Let's see, the Hexie quilt has been set aside. I've sewn together about 12 out of 25 rows, but wasn't even close to finishing it in time for the wedding. So, since I have a ton of other things I need to get done with upcoming deadlines, I figured I'd set that aside and work on other stuff. I have 3 of these panels stitched together.

Then I decided that I should join the DCMQG Bee. Lynne had the first month and I'm queen bee for the second. Here are the blocks I made for her:

She wanted aqua and purple wonky stars with low volume backgrounds. I think I did alright, although aqua is one of those colors that completely frustrates me.

And here is the block I chose for my month. I made two test blocks and they were way more fun than I thought they would be since I don't usually do scrappy improv:

They will become a baby quilt for my nephew Jackson, who is due in August. That's the great thing about having two siblings who are 15 months and 3 years younger, we all end up with babies at roughly the same time (the same year). In this case, three boys who have already been dubbed the Three Musketeers.

Next up we have a whale baby quilt, using the Preppy the Whale pattern from Elizabeth Hartman. I bought the pattern and it made the quilty math so much easier because I had actual measurements for each piece to base it off of, not just eyeballing a design. First I blew up the whale times two, then I chopped the pattern into 4" (finished) sections. There was much scribbling on scrap paper before I was satisfied and I'm happy to say that it worked out.

I also pieced a back, basted, quilted and started making binding for it. But ended up stuck because I didn't have enough red solid to make the binding and the red and white striped binding I had leftover from another quilt also isn't enough. Unfortunately, since we're on a super tight budget until I get paid again, I have been unable to buy more. Hopefully it will get done soon though and I can write a post just about that quilt, because I think it's turning out fabulously! It's for the son of our friends, Kevin and Jess.

I also basted the braille alphabet quilt for the son of a coworker.

I'm extremely happy to say that I received the Pixel Michigan quilt back from the longarmer and didn't waste any time making scrappy binding for it and finishing it off. It's been hanging out on our bed since I presented it to my husband for his long overdue birthday, Christmas, birthday present. Here is a sneak peek, as I'll be making an entire post for that finish as well. It more than deserves it.

I am once again working on the wedding quilt for my brother-in-law and his fiancĂ©e. I'm making a Scrappy Swoon quilt, just a bit bigger than the original, so it fits a queen sized bed. Here's where I am with that, I just have to sew this layer together and onto the center and then have one more layer to go:

Although I think the greenish blues really stand out, the purple and the black blend together a little more than I would have liked. You can barely see that the center is supposed to be a star and not an X. But I like it anyway.

I've also done some work on the Layer Cake Sampler QAL and have paired one Sunnyside print with one white solid and drawn the lines on the back. I've even sewn up several of the pairs, cut some apart, and even managed to finish my first block:

I quite like how this first one turned out, we'll see what happens with the rest.

I've also put in some work on my cross-stitch pieces, but mainly on the piece I started most recently. Forest by Satsuma Street. It is coming together much faster than I thought possible, although I haven't had a chance recently to work on it.

I'm making it to go along with the baby quilt for my nephew. My sister-in-law said that she had a pillow that needed a cover, so that's the plan. Not sure how I'm going to "frame" it, but I'm thinking maybe a scrappy border to match the quilt for the front and then an envelope back that doesn't require a zipper.

Phew, that was a longer post than anticipated, but I really have been quite busy. And that's not including the guild meetings and the Denyse Schmidt lecture I attended. Maybe I'll post something about those some other time.

Friday, April 17, 2015

WIP: Hexie Quilt

With my sister's wedding getting every closer (middle of May), I've been focusing almost exclusively on getting at least the top of the quilt done. This has been slow going, because infant (i.e. wailing/smiling, tiny dictator). He's getting so big that we've had to remove the bassinet from the pack 'n play and just bed him down on the mattress.

Anyway, my hexie quilt is coming along. I finished cutting all of my fabrics, and I think I only accidentally cut one green fabric twice. Then I decided to do some quilty math to figure out how many half hexies I actually needed after counting how many I had. Turns out I was about 9 short of my 425 that I needed. Pretty good. So I grabbed another five greys from my hoard of text fabrics and cut sets from each.

Here are my final stacks (minus the final 5 sets of grey):

Then I started figuring out the layout. Problem is I have a tiny space to lay things out in and a king sized quilt. So here was my solution:

I worked from left to right, continuously stacking and adding and stacking and adding until I came to the end of the row. Then I would look at the picture from the previous set of rows to work on the next several rows. Slow, but effective. The only problem is that I can't move anything around once I've put it somewhere and thus I painted myself into a very grey corner because I didn't space the greys out very effectively.

So today I laid out rows 10-25 on our living room floor, where it barely fit and rearranged some of the hexies into a more even layout.

I'm a little happier about this portion of the layout, although I'm not particularly happy about being unable to see the other 9 rows laid out with it so I can check the entire layout. I did send it to my sister and she likes it. So that's all that matters.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sewing and Mothering

So my biggest project is of course my little man currently. He's just over a month old now, my how the time flies.

Because everyone needs some baby pics in their life. :)

However, I've gotten a bit of time here and there to get into my craft room and I also made it to the DCMQG March meeting while my hubby stayed home with the little man.

So here's what I've been working on:

Cutting the grey, coral, green, blue, and blue-green fabrics for my sister's wedding quilt.

Here's my stacks so far. The corals are completely done and I have a decent stack, but that's only supposed to be an accent color. My greys are barely started and I'm about halfway through the blues, greens, and blue-greens and I already have rather large stacks of those (greys are another accent color, and the rest are supposed to make up the majority of the king sized quilt). I've been cutting 4.5" strips and then sub-cutting into these half hexies, two of each fabric.

The other thing I've been working on from my list of UFO's is the Modified Bento Box quilt for my mother.

I already have about 18 blocks from the Stash Bee and I'm making another 7 to make 25. I have all of the strips cut for the blocks, now I just need to finish putting them together. These are the centers with the first frame done. I tried to keep the insides omni-directional, so I can chop the blocks apart if I still feel like it. I'm also trying to decide how big I want to make the quilt and if I'll need some sashing in between the blocks.

I have the backing made for the Michigan pixel quilt and have followed up with my long-armer to see if she's even still interested. She is and so I need to print out the invoice and send the quilt to her so she can get started. Maybe once my hubby goes back to work, I'll load the little man in the stroller and make a trip to the post office.

And then there is the quilt for the little man. I finally decided on the book quilt from Patchwork Please! I've even made the first two blocks for it at the guild meeting.

I'm trying to make all of the "covers" mean something, so here we have Coyote from Native American oral legends and a dragon to symbolize the wealth of dragon/fantasy books I plan to read to him. I'm also finally cutting in my Oakshott cottons for the backgrounds. Well, eight of the 12 fat eighths I bought a while ago. I'm doing two of each color. I already have all of the print fabrics and cover fabrics picked out and matched with the Oakshott backgrounds. I'm making all the spines and corners black to keep things consistent. Sashing and borders are still up in the air. These blocks are only 8.5" square, so I think they'll need something.

I also finally finished trimming the HSTs for my first block of the Layer Cake Quilt Along for my Sunnyside Kate Spain quilt and started sewing the block together. I've got one seam to go, so no picture yet.

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's a Boy!

So our son arrived only a day late, and not for lack of trying. I was in labor for about nine hours from start to finish and only spent about half an hour of that on the way to the midwifery center and about an hour at the hospital complex. I wish I could say I spent that hour at the midwifery center, but unfortunately it's very hard to get someone to take you seriously when you say your baby is arriving NOW with your very first birth. But we did manage to make it to the midwifery center just in time for me to deliver, with my husband assisting the midwife.

Our son was born at 4:35am on February 25. He weighed 7 lbs and measured 10.25 inches. We named him Richard Michael (Richard for both of our fathers: Richard and Erich, and Michael for both of our brothers). The picture was taken by the backup midwife (who arrived as I was getting stitched up) as we were getting ready to leave the center around 8am the same day. Despite stitches and an "interesting" (harrowing) birth experience I am recovering well, Richard is doing great, and my husband has been a rock. And we're totally in love!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Time Spent Crafting

It feels like I'm getting my mojo back a bit. It could also be that I'm finally starting to fight 10 years of conditioning. Here's the deal, my husband has been working in the restaurant industry for as long as we've been together, 10 years. In that time, we either did the long distance thing and barely saw each other, or were living together but working opposite schedules. So what little time we did have together, I felt this strong urge to at least be near him even if we weren't actively doing something together. Then about eight months ago, my husband broke his hand, he couldn't go back to cooking until it was healed and was out of work for two months. During that time he decided that he wanted to change careers because he actually liked spending time with me and so he spent the next few months trying to find something. Unfortunately that hasn't worked out, but the conditioning of 10 years was still there. So between being pregnant, having lost some of my quilting mojo, and that, it's been really hard for me to tear myself away and spend some alone time in my sewing room.

I also recently celebrated my 30th birthday (Valentine's Day) and on my birthday I always do what I want to do. That included sleeping in, cross-stitching in bed, having my husband cook me German pancakes for brunch, going to the grocery store to grab fruit and some other things I wanted, including a fruit tart, ordering Thai food for dinner, and watching something on Netflix in bed at the end of the day, I also decided to spend time in my craft room. I did and it was quite productive. I finished the top of the braille alphabet quilt.

I also cut fabric and put together one of the three blocks for the November queen bee and got the other two blocks to the trimming down stage.

Not wanting to lose momentum, I've been spending a bit of time each day since then in my craft room and have finished the other two bee blocks.

Made a scrappy improv block for the guild.

And actually got the back of the Michigan quilt put together. I even emailed the long-armer to make sure she was still willing to quilt that beast for me, since it had been almost a year since we started talking about the quilting.

We actually got a snow day today, so my three day weekend became a four day weekend, so I managed to get the memory quilt blocks done for the Bright Modern Baby Quilt and kept working on my leader and ender project.

I realized that I'm woefully behind on my memory quilt blocks and need to make myself a list of blocks I still need to make and then actually find the fabrics I used in my scrap bin or stash. I've got the fabrics laid out for the Braille Alphabet Quilt memory blocks, so I may work on those next.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Sports Fish

I've spent so much time in bed cross-stitching because I was sick all weekend that the first fish is almost done. I started this as a surprise for my hubby's 30th birthday, but that came and went and I didn't actually start this until a few days before and there's still two fish to go. So I got him a few other gifts and told him about this one. He was actually pretty excited about it when I told him what it was going to be and that we would hang it underneath his "A fisherman lives here with the best catch of his life" sign once it's done. This one is a Striped Bass. It's still missing most of the face, a dorsal fin and a lure. Then there's going to be a Rainbow Trout underneath and a Coho Salmon above, with a tackle box and fishing rod respectively.

I ironed the borders for the Braille Alphabet Quilt but have not attached them yet. And I actually pulled some fabric for my long overdue November Stash Bee blocks and started cutting. I have fussy cut the three center sections and cut out the churn dash portion for one.

In baby news, I'm now two weeks away from my official due date. Our to-go bag is packed except for my music, the stroller and car seat are sitting by the door (and Sir has discovered that there is the perfect amount of space for him to sit in the stroller underneath the car seat after initially being very leery about this new contraption).

I'm having more and more trouble getting good sleep. This morning I woke up around 5am to go to the bathroom and my right hip and back on that side hurt so bad I thought I was going to throw up. Not fun. Luckily that was gone by the time I had to get up for work. No amount of pillows between my legs or pads under my stomach seem to help me get comfortable for the night. Part of the problem is that once I'm asleep I really don't move, no matter how uncomfortable my body may be getting. But it lets me know in no uncertain terms once I wake up just what a bad idea it was to sleep with my head on my arm or curled up a certain way. I know I won't be getting a whole lot of sleep once this baby makes an appearance, but I cannot wait to be able to sleep comfortably on my back again.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Braille Alphabet Quilt and More Cross-Stitch

So the center of the braille alphabet quilt is done. I have also sewn together more grey squares than I care to remember and now have four rows of grey squares waiting to be ironed and attached to the top. It might actually get this quilt done at some point in the near future.

There are two other projects hiding in this picture (well, three)... The sashing for my blue, black, and white quilt can be seen below the quilt top. Unfortunately the next block I ran through my machine came out just a bit too small, despite double-checking the measurements, so now I have to rip it out, cut new sashing, and try again. :(

I also still have some of the Charming Kate Spain squares up, although most have now fallen on the floor and been picked up and stacked haphazardly somewhere in my craft room. And finally, that big box is the crib... which is still in a box... and should go in that corner, where everything else is currently stacked. Sigh. But at least our "to go" bag is packed and our letter from the pediatrician is signed saying they are ok with us giving birth at a birth center instead of at a hospital and that they'll see our child within the first 48 hours after birth. Baby steps, as it were.

I also finished the frame for February on my Story Time Sampler and started stitching the door. The door proceeded to screw with my OCD to the point where I ended up ripping out three rows of stitching to make it symmetrical. I set it aside for a bit and then came back to it last night and have gotten the door past the door knob. February is The Secret Garden, which was one of my favorites when I was a kid. So I'm really excited.

My goal for this week is to actually put together the backing for my Michigan quilt and contact the long-armer I started talking to almost a year ago.

Friday, January 30, 2015

More Cross-Stitching

I found my missing two projects! And then I wanted to smack myself, because I actually remember seeing them fall off the back of my cutting table and thinking, "I'll pick them up later." Well, later never happened and then I ended up crawling around on my hands and knees at eight months pregnant trying to retrieve them. Sigh, why do I do this stuff to myself?

But I have gotten to work on the Carmagua Horses over the past couple nights. It looks more of less like a brown flame, but I love the subtle shading that's going on. It's actually the chest and neck of the central horse. Also, you can't really tell, but the background fabric is an ice blue. Which I had to order specifically for this project, because Joann's refuses to carry anything but white Evenweave, but have Aida in almost every color of the rainbow (ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but certainly several commonly used background colors like beige, black, light blue, etc.).

I'm really excited to get the next clue for the Story Time Sampler on Sunday. Still hoping to stay caught up on that one while working on my other projects once I'm done with that one. My other goal is to get that braille alphabet quilt done before my coworker's baby arrives. But walking into my craft room has me feeling overwhelmed these days because it reminds me of all the things I still want to do in there before the baby arrives. :(

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cross-Stitch Madness

So I've been crafting quite a bit lately, just not necessarily sewing. I did get a little farther on the braille alphabet quilt at our last DCMQG Meeting, and continued to work on it more when I got home that night, but for the most part I've been more interested in something more portable. Something I can do sitting in bed, which for me is currently the most comfortable place to sit, or downstairs in our "new" glider (new to us). Or in front of my computer while I'm waiting for something to happen in World of Warcraft. So I'm back to cross-stitching. I've tried a variety of hand quilting things, including EPP and hand-binding quilts, but none of that has held any appeal to me.

So here's what I've been working on lately:

This is the 2015 Story Time Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I actually ordered and then waited for the background fabric to come in before starting this one. I also have all of the floss I need and I'm very dedicated to keeping up with this one this year, partially because besides one banner across the top, each month has its own frame and I can do the frame along with the inside of each frame without my OCD nagging at me. I made a few minor adjustments to the pattern, but otherwise this is January's Alice in Wonderland.

I've also been making some progress on the 2014 Once Upon a Time Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. This one my OCD would not let me progress to the insides of the boxes until the entire border was done, which didn't happen until earlier this month. I've been filling in the bigger areas of color and will then go back in to do the smaller areas. I still don't know what to do about the white on white, since I just couldn't wait for the background fabric I had ordered to get here before starting.

Finally, I've been making some progress on my Phoenix. I started this ages ago when we still lived in Florida and I've been working on closing out some of the colors in this. I'm completely done with the reds, working on the blues right now, and will continue from there. The most tedious part is the three different tans in the background, so I'll probably leave those until last.

I also started an Excel spreadsheet with all of the DMC floss numbers I have in my possession, although I cannot for the life of me find two of my WIPs. This is bugging me to no end, because our house really isn't that big and you would think I'd be able to find two gallon bags of floss and cross-stitching instructions. Everything else I've sorted through and logged, realizing that I have a lot of duplicate skeins. That list is now accessible to me on my phone and computer, so next time I go to Joann's I can pick up a few floss colors I'm missing in my stash.

In other news, I'm officially an aunt. My sister delivered her baby boy, Henry Erich, on January 20th and I couldn't be crazier about the little man. I think the only thing that will trump having a cute little nephew is giving birth to my own kid in about four weeks (hopefully). My sister ended up being 10 days late, so I'm hoping not to follow suit with that. Here is the cutie: