Thursday, June 28, 2012

Speed Sewing

It's beach time! Woohoo! Friday I'll be driving 12 hours, that's right, 12 hours to Oak Island, NC with my 2 1/2 year old son to spend 10 days at the beach with my parents. Did I mention I'll be in the car, alone with a toddler for 12 hours? Oy. I'm not sure how that's gonna go, I'm a bit nervous but I'm hoping for the best. When I get nervous, I do frenzied last minute sewing. While at Joann's last week, I found some great lightweight shirting fabric on sale and decided Jack needed a "beach" shirt. I started looking around online for a good pattern, when I remembered that I had this book:

Unfortunately, we've been packing up the house for the big move and the books are already in boxes. After opening up a few boxes, I dug it out and found the Easy Linen Shirt - exactly what I had been picturing. This is what I came up with:

It fits perfectly, a little bit big for growing into, but he's not swimming in it. Yay! While I was sewing this, I was flipping through the book and found a pattern for the "To Go Artist" and decided this would be perfect for the looooooong trip down. So I dipped into the fabric stash for my "Outside Oslo" canvas and whipped one up.

I love how this turned out - I wasn't convinced at first. But after finding a sketch pad at Target that fit into it p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y and setting it in front of Jack, I'm a convert. He drew in it for over half an hour! That's forever in toddler time. And long enough for me to finish this:


I've been wanting to make Jack a Toddler Backback from the Made By Rae pattern, like this one. I was eyeing the Happy Drawing fabric line from Cloud9 and the Dragons fabric especially was  calling me. Not only is it a bit of an inside joke (don't wake the dragon!) but if Jack eventually goes to the local high school, their mascot is the Green Dragons! Pretty perfect, right? I needed a zipper and some piping, and luckily my local Walmart actually had the almost exact shade of green - which I found in the clearance bin. It was fate. Now Jack can shove whatever he wants to take with us in there and carry his own stuff!

And as if all of this wasn't enough, I made up this little blanket and a couple of burp cloths for a friend about to have her second baby. They aren't finding out the sex, so I tried to be a bit gender neutral. Her husband is a French professor - believe me, I quadruple checked the accent marks on the hand embroidery!

Not bad for 8 days work, eh?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quilt Fail (sorta)

So this sea glass prism quilt drove me a little bit crazy. The top is done and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

It's definitely not what I pictured in my head when I started out. It's...lighter than I had intended it to be. But the sheer fact that it is finished is sort of a miracle. I spent sooooooooo much time on fabric selection, its not even funny. I would cut out the shapes in the fabric I had, put them up on the design wall and hate half of them. Then I would order replacement fabric, cut out and put that up and still hate one or two of them. I bought WAY more fabric than I wanted to for this, especially since I was trying to do a little stash-busting. Needless to say, the next several quilts will be scrap quilts! Don't get me wrong, its not a bad quilt, I'm just disappointed in it. *sigh* I've decided to put it aside for now, until I forget a little about how much trouble it gave me. Maybe I'll like it more when I pick it back up.

I went back to the Craftsy Block of the Month lessons to help get over the disappointment. I really enjoyed the May wonky log cabins, both the process and the results, which is kind of amazing since I don't really like wonky.

I got to use up a lot of scraps on that last one, which made me feel better about generating so many scraps on the prism.

The June blocks - modern nine patch - were not as fun, but they were pretty mindless which I very much needed.

I also decided to finally cut into my Flea Market Fancy and start my Swoon quilt. I love how this first block turned out and it is HUGE. You can really tell the scale, as I used the same hanger for the blocks above. Eight more of these suckers and I'll have a quilt.

I really like the cream Crosshatch Sketch for the background fabric - I wasn't sure I would, so its a good thing for my quilting soul that I do. This is definitely a precision piecing project (say that 3 times fast!) - not really my forte - but I did a decent job on this first block, so I think it'll turn out well. Now if I could just get over the prism quilt...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A log cabin for a log cabin

This past weekend, I finally got a chance to visit my friend Lesley and her husband in their new house in Virginia. It was a "me" weekend, the first one in almost a year, and it was loooong overdue. I had actually planned to go several weeks earlier, but the stomach flu visited our house that weekend and it was a no-go. I was also going to give her the housewarming gift I made her that weekend, and when we had to postpone, I couldn't wait, I had to mail it to her. She loved it (thank goodness!) and this weekend, I got to snap a few pictures of it in its native habitat :)

First of all, Lesley and her hubby's new house is a log cabin - an actual, custom-built, middle of the woods log cabin. So of course I had to make her a log cabin quilt! I followed the Bright Furrows Quilt pattern from Modern Log Cabin Quilting: 25 Simple Quilts and Patchwork Projects by Susan Beal, a Christmas present from my husband. This particular pattern uses distinct light and dark colors to make the pattern stand out. The colors were inspired by looking at pictures of the house and surrounding flora. Not my typical color scheme, or Lesley's either, really, but it felt very "log cabin-y" to me. I wanted to make the quilt as personal as I could, so I tried to bring in some fabrics that said "Lesley" to me.

A little Castle Peeps by Lizzy House, a nod to Lesley's love of Renaissance Fairs.

Venice from The Grand Tour, the Victoria and Albert Collection - a reference to their honeymoon in Italy. By the way, this fabric has A Story. I knew I wanted to use this fabric in the quilt from the beginning, but it is out of print and pretty much sold out every where. I emailed several online fabric stores who had carried it, begging for even scraps. They were all very nice about it and emailed me back, but there were none to be found. I even emailed the company that distributed it - nothing. When I had finally resigned myself to not having it in the quilt, I went browsing through my fabric trunks to try and find a replacement - and I had a fat quarter of it already in my stash. It was in a bundle I picked up from Fabricworm. Total forehead smacking moment.

Now, Lesley loves her some Star Trek and I desperately wanted to find some fabric that matched the color scheme, but green and brown are just not Star Trek colors. So I decided to name the quilt "Live Long and Prosper" - which not only gave me my Star Trek reference, but also is a pretty good housewarming sentiment, I think! I tried to hide the name by embroidering like color on like fabric, and it's actually pretty subtle.

For the back I used some faux bois fabric to sort of frame a window around a scene of trees and birds - what I imagined her view to be from the cabin.

And of course a little hand stitched label.

I used some Heather Ross Wildflowers, one of my favorite fabrics, for the binding. I wanted the binding to contrast the green and brown and pick up the little bits of yellow in the Castle Peeps fabric. And of course the wildflowers fit right in with the theme.


I followed the quilting suggestion from the pattern and just did horizontal (sort of) straight lines. I really feel like it makes the whole thing actually look like a log cabin - especially on the back with all of that Kona chocolate solid and the "window".

This is the first time I've ever used wool batting (Quilter's Dream Wool) and I have to say I love it. It was easy to sandwich with minimal bearding, no shrinkage whatsoever when I washed it, and it didn't crinkle like cotton does, so the pieced top stayed neat. Sometimes I like the antique look crinkling gives a quilt, but often I'm disappointed by how you kind of lose the look of the piecing after it's been washed. Not this time! I also really like wool in general, for its warmth and breathability.  Lesley wrapped herself up in the quilt while we were enjoying our vino by the fire pit this weekend, and she looked pretty toasty. Here's to many more glasses by the fire with my oldest (not in age) friend!