Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sewing + Sewing + Sewing

Hi there.  Yeah, I have more stuff to show from the kids clothes week challenge.  I've just been too busy sewing to do any posting.  Two big projects in the works that I am determined to have done by Thanksgiving.  So, posting has to wait.

In the mean time, as I sew, I'm reflecting on how long it's taken to make substantial progress on the project for which I purchased these fabrics...back in April of 2010...

It feels so good to be nearing the finish line!

Friday, October 28, 2011

KCWC Project #1 - The Pirate Hat

Last night I made up this little felt pirate hat as part of my daughter's Halloween costume.  I put it on her tonight expecting shouts of glee. She promptly declared, "I don't like it!"

Luckily the puppy had no such complaints.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sewing (+ Shopping) on Vacation

This past weekend we spent a couple nights in WI Dells.  It was a trip with extended family, and even though I knew we'd be spending a lot of time in the water, I couldn't make the trip without a few little projects to keep me company.

After making little piles of in-progress projects all over the floor I packed no less than 10 projects that needed some hand work (the machine stayed home).  All of it fit neatly into one small tub, plus my indispensable Amy Butler bag with hand sewing kits + ruler, and my 24" cutting mat.  Projects included things that needed some seam ripping, embroidery, hand quilting, cutting, etc.  I completed the hand work on five of the projects, and made progress on two others - yay!  Lest you think I spent all my time holed up by myself sewing - I did make two trips to the waterpark, went out to dinner, and spent time hanging out with family.

I was able to put in time each day toward the Kids Clothes Week Challenge, getting all the pieces cut out for two pieces of clothing.  Now I just need to get the sewing part done so I can share the finished products!!

I also finished the embroidery on this block:

I made this block for a Crazy Quilt class I recently took.  I've had the pile of fabrics pulled for months just waiting to start a quilt and this seemed like the perfect chance; especially since I've also been wanting to play with log cabin blocks.  This block is foundation-pieced on muslin.  My plan at the moment is to do a bit of embroidery on some of the blocks, sort of sprinkled throughout the quilt.  I might go back and add a few more stitches to this block...right now it's hanging out on the design wall while I think on it.

Now for the shopping...

Pretty sure I have the BEST husband in the world.  Yup.  He drove all over the state, taking hours longer to get home, so that I could stop at quilt shops.  It was GREAT.

I used the awesome directory over at (BH&G's American Patchwork & Quilting website) to help me figure out which shops were roughly along the route home.

My first stop was at The Quilt Corner in Sparta.  The shop is in an old two-story house.  Lots of Civil War prints, flannels, and a good selection of black & white fabrics.

Next up was Olive Juice Quilts in Onalaska.  AMAZING.  Seriously.  I had a hunch as soon as I saw the building, which was obviously custom-built for the shop, that there would be something good inside.

I was not disappointed.  As soon as I walked in the door I caught a glance of Aneela Hoey's latest line, Little Apples.  Behind it was a whole room of fabric that was calling my name - Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, japanese imports, Echino, Alexander Henry, Kaffe Fasset dots, and lots more.  I had to walk through the entire shop twice.  They had the best classroom area I've ever seen in a shop; huge, nice sewing desks, and these great tall cutting table units that also had tons of storage.  They also had some great samples - both quilts and bags, lots of trims and ribbons, loads of awesome books, and I loved that they had the new Basic Grey canvas samplers in stock.  And as if that wasn't enough - I found an out-of-print Oliver + S pattern I've been hunting for.  Here's what I couldn't resist coming home with - LOVE the buttons:

I also stopped at The Quilt Yard in Osseo, and The Calico Shoppe in Eau Claire.  There were a few great "text" fabric finds at The Calico Shoppe (check out the awesome aqua and white recipe card fabrics), and they carry Cosmo floss (made by Lecien of Japan).  I hadn't heard of the floss before, but the advertising on their website sounded pretty intriguing, so I picked up a few colors to try out and see how it compares to my standard DMC floss.

All in all a relaxing weekend; now I need to get sewing!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge...

So, I ended up NOT being able to participate in the Kids Clothes Week Challenge last week.  (Late work nights + missing my sewing night makes for one grumpy mama.)  This week didn't work out either.  The good news is, I am still going to have a Kids Clothes Week - this coming week.  So stay tuned!

At least I managed to finally get this in the hoop - yay!

I was planning to write a more in-depth post this morning, but alas, I got sucked in to Pinterest for way too long.  Check out my latest pins here.  My favorite find this morning was

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge!

Have you heard?  The fall Kids Clothes Week Challenge is coming up next week!  I'm definitely joining in this time around.  I have a pile of stuff I was wanting to have made for this fall; this should help me make a decent dent.

Anyone else joining in?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Impromptu Sewing

A couple weekends ago I was thinking how my daughter really needed a new pair of pajamas.  I've been wanting to make her a nightgown, but was in the mood to make something that minute, so didn't want to take the time to trace a pattern, etc.

So while she was napping I grabbed a dress that currently fits her and was close enough in form to what I was imagining.  Then I went to the fabric closet and pulled out a pillowcase; purchased with a sheet set at a garage sale a while back for a few bucks and waiting to be re-purposed.

I laid out the dress over the pillowcase on my cutting mat, and just cut around it with the rotary cutter, leaving room for a seam allowance.

The dress fit across the width of the pillowcase; so I put the edge with a seam at the bottom of the dress, and the other edge at the top, so that there would be no uncomfortable seam over the shoulder.  Then I cut just along that seam at the bottom:

I pinned and sewed the two side seams - accidentally pinning and sewing through the armhole as well.  (Moving too fast...)  I used about a half inch seam allowance, pressed the seams open and then sewed down each edge.  There's probably a name for that, but I don't know what it is.

Next I narrowly folded over the fabric around the arm holes, twice, and sewed.  Same for the bottom hem. I think it was a this point that I realized the dress I had used as my template had buttons down the back; hmm - how to get this over her head...

I cut a slit from the neck in the middle back of the nightgown, and after she woke up from her nap gently tried pulling it over her head, cutting the slit a bit longer until it would go over her head easily.  My plan was to add a button and little elastic loop to this; but after zig-zag stitching the edges of the slit, I decided it was fine to just leave open, and probably more comfortable than having a button back there.

She didn't seem to mind and loves her new pajamas.  Now when I ask her if she likes a piece of fabric she asks me if I'll make her pajamas out of it - not a bad problem to have.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quilt Guild Shop Hop

Last weekend we had our first quilt guild shop hop.  We went to six shops (would have been seven but a local art fair meant traffic was crazy and parking not to be found).  I of course forgot to take pictures of us out and about, but I did get some pictures of fabric. :)

Our first stop was Millie P's, where we arrived just ahead of a bus tour.  I really like their fabric selection.  They had some great Alexander Henry prints, and were also the only shop on our trip that had the new Farm Fresh line in, which I've been waiting for the last few months.  I picked up a few Christmas prints there for a couple projects I'd like to work on this fall.

Next up was Fat Quarter Quilting.  I hadn't been to this shop before; probably wouldn't go out of my way to go back.  It was a smaller shop with a variety of fabrics.  They did have a dress sample that caught my eye, but didn't see a pattern for it.

Next was Crafty Planet.  We arrived a few minutes before the shop opened so headed down to the coffee shop.  I got a "Killer Chocolate Almond" soy chai; mmm.  The fabric selection was also delicious.  Thank goodness I don't knit yet as they have a lovely selection of yarn as well.  Picked up a couple of cute matryoshka prints.  Been on my wish list for a while but hadn't been able to find quite what I was looking for. Also picked up a Heather Ross print.

After that we stopped at Treadle Yard Goods.  Oh how I wish I lived closer.  I love this store, and the staff is always so nice and helpful.  They stock apparel fabrics and always have such lovely voiles, linens, corduroy, and flannel.  I picked up the softest organic blue knit here, as well as this print I've been eyeing for a while (slated to be jammies for next summer):

We missed Glad Creations due to the aforementioned art fair, so continued on to Sewtropolis, the other shop on the list that I hadn't visited before.  I will definitely be going back.  They had a great selection of Joel Dewberry's latest line, Heirloom.  My favorite print:

They also had a nice selection of knits and a great selection of patterns.  AND I couldn't pass up this lovely; on the wish list since seeing these cute knot shorts:

Last stop was Eagle Creek Quilt Shop.  I also wish this was closer to home.  The shop is not big, but they have lots of fabric, and they always have some great clothes samples on display.  Super helpful and friendly staff as well.  Their oilcloth / laminate section rivals that at Treadle.  They also had the Children at Play line, which I had been looking out for all day.  I think Treadle had a couple of the boy prints, including the cute paper hat print. I especially love the hopscotch print, and the pinwheels:

I've been busy tracing and cutting out patterns this weekend, so will hopefully have some fun projects to show soon. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

MN Quilt Show

I was thinking about the Quilt Minnesota shop hop that's going on right now, and realized I forgot to blog about this year's MN Quilt Show, which was held in June.  Oh yeah, I forgot to blog about the 2010 show too...well, let's go with 2011 for now.  I felt like there weren't as many quilts on display this year, not as much variety in the kinds of quilts on display, and it seemed like I wasn't taking as many pictures.  (After a quick glance at my 2010 pics it looks like I took pictures of half as many quilts this year.)  I also noticed that the vendors this year were selling a lot less fabric - more patterns and pre-packaged kits, which was kind of a bummer.

All in all, I'm glad I went and I was glad to support the show.  I'm hoping that they start making it a little more young-mom friendly, but being able to at least bring in the stroller was much nicer than last year's experience of trying to straddle a baby on one hip while carrying purse and camera and trying to take pictures with said baby constantly grabbing at the camera.  I thought this was going to be a happy post, but I guess I'm getting on my soapbox for a bit. It does get to me that this is one of the most kid-unfriendly events I attend - and the attendees are about 99% women!  How do they expect to attract more young women to quilting if it's a huge hassle for young moms to attend?  Lots of us moms tend to take our young kids with us when we go out, and being told that you can't bring in a stroller, or having to hunt down a bathroom that actually has a changing station doesn't really make ya feel welcome.  This year the bathroom did have a changing table; it folded down over the sinks...and should I mention the faucets were too tall to actually allow the table to fold down all the way?  Argh.  Okay, I think I'm done ranting.  How about some pretty pictures?

Here are my favorites from this year's show:

I like the fabrics, quilting, and overall visual effect of this quilt.

Pretty sure it looked the edges of the fabric had actually been burned.

Intricate machine applique; not to mention the quilting.  This quilt also featured some decorative embroidery and embellishments.

I have a soft-spot for Churn Dash blocks.  They evoke a comfy, homey feeling.  I will make my own Churn Dash quilt some day.  Maybe one like the cover quilt from this book, but they're also so pretty on their own... 

  And a close-up of the appliqued center medallion.

Antique quilts on display.

I don't think I will ever make a quilt like this, but I couldn't resist taking several pictures of this one.  The detail on it is amazing.  Check out the two pics below for further proof:

Wow.  I love when you can tell that the quilt has really been a labor of love. (Something I try to remind myself of when I'm feeling behind - it's OK to slow down!)

I think someday I'd also like to experiment with making a (small) quilt like this; making a person that actually looks like a person, and conveys the emotion you intended.

A crazy quilt - also on my someday list.  I think in general I like quilts that you can look at over and over again and always find something new, some fabric or detail that you hadn't noticed before.

Not the best pictures on my part, but I like the colors used in this quilt.  Looked like the blocks were all from the recent Rose of Sharon book. (The book is on my maybe list as I like the Rose of Sharon pattern, but don't know that I would make a whole quilt of these blocks.)

This one?  Definitely a labor of love.  I like this quilt.  I also really like cows.

I like that this quilt is more complex than it looks.  Each hexagon is made up of 6 carefully cut and pieced triangles:

And the same quilt, but different fabrics: 

This picture just does not do this quilt justice.  I've come to the conclusion that I am just not a fan of the snowball block.  This is the only snowball quilt I've ever liked enough to make me think I might change my mind.  Seeing that this picture just doesn't match the effect it had on me at the show makes me wonder if I'd like other snowball quilts more in person.

I like quilts that tell a story; especially applique quilts.  I have this quilt pattern; I don't think I'll ever make this exact quilt, but I'd definitely like to use some of the pattern pieces, and then add some other things, and make it more my own.  It's a king-size quilt.  There were two of these on display at the show; this one and then one in the Glad Creations booth, appliqued by Glad herself, who I think is now around 92, and spends her days appliqueing.  You should check out the rest of Kim McLean's applique patterns.  I want to buy them all, but I'm pretty sure it would be in the realm of decades for me to actually finish them.  I especially like this one, and this one - I love the leafy borders on that last one...maybe it will seem less insane to think about making that quilt once I'm faster at hand applique?

Okay, last quilt.  These two pictures show very different purples; I can't remember now which one was closer to the actual color.  The close-up below of the center shows a little more of the sparkle added to this quilt.

There we go.  All done.  I like each of these for one reason or another, but it feels a little odd to present them here as a group, because I wouldn't say that this set of quilts really defines my overall style.  At the quilt show, you essentially have traditional quilts, with heavy / intricate quilting, and art quilts.  So, that's what I take pictures of.