Nov 20 2016

do. Good Stitches

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Grace circle November blocks

I get a lot of joy out of quilting and sewing, but most of the sewing that I do would be classified as “selfish sewing.” It’s sewing that I do for me because I want to. I don’t feel too bad about this because I work hard at my job and sewing is one of my two main outlets for relaxing and having fun.

However, in general, I do feel the need to give back to my community and I found that with quilting, I can actually do both. Last year I heard about do. Good Stitches. do. Good Stitches is a charity bee started by Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color where quilts are made by groups to give to people in need. People can be either stitchers or quilters. Both types of contributors make blocks each month, but the quilters also assemble and ship off finished quilts as well. I figured it would be a manageable way to give back without a massive time commitment so I signed up to be a stitcher on the waitlist.

I was contacted back in June about joining one of the quilt circles. However, the circle was looking for a quilter, not a stitcher. I was a little nervous about the increased commitment as a quilter but I really wanted to be a part of this organization and give back so I agreed. The circle I was invited to was the Grace Circle whose charity recipient is My Very Own Blanket, an organization that gives quilts to foster children. One of my best friends recently started fostering children and I had learned from her about how hard it can be for those children. I’d read all the stories, of course, but it’s not the same as first hand accounts. For that reason, this circle seemed like a particularly good fit.

Through my involvement, I’ve met several wonderful women who are also a part of Grace Circle and I’ve gotten to try out a bunch of new blocks. The quilter for each month gets to pick the size, color, design for the block and sends it out. My first month as quilter was October so I’ll share my first quilt made for Grace Circle in a few weeks after I’ve finished it up.

In the mean time, here are some of the blocks that I’ve made as part of do. Good Stitches in addition to the one at the top of this post. One of the things that continues to amaze me is how cool the quilts look despite varied interpretations of the quilter’s request. The sum really is greater than the parts!

Grace Circle September '16 Blocks

Grace Circle August Block

Grace do. Good Stitches July 2016 blocks

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Nov 17 2016

Chainmaille bracelets and flowers

Published by under Crafts

Chainmaille and scale maille

Right, so among the many things I’ve been up to recently . . . one of those was taking a chainmaille class. I wasn’t taking it to make armor or anything like that. No, it was to make pretty jewelry.

Chainmaille 6 in 1

The first chainmaille pattern we learned was the 6 in 1. It’s pretty basic and I could use it to make chainmaille if I wanted to. But I probably won’t.

Chainmaille 6 in 1

We just made a bracelet out of it.

Chainmaille Byzantine

The second one we learned was the Byzantine round. This was my favorite. I love the two colors and how round it actually feels. I may actually wear this one.

Scale maille flowers

And for bonus we learned how to make scale maille flowers. Scale maille is basically plate armor stuff.

All of these was aluminum so very light and since it’s anodized aluminum, pretty colors as well. The supplies were purchased from The Ring Lord.

It was lots of fun! I hope I have time to make more stuff in the future. I may or may not have already bought some more rings 🙂

Scale maille flowers

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Nov 14 2016

Baby boy flannel quilt

Published by under Quilting

Baby boy woodland creature flannel quilt

Despite not posting for the last . . . oh, 3 months, I have been actually been doing stuff. There’s been sewing and traveling and quilting and preserving and puzzling and dancing and probably more. Which is why there haven’t been posts. But trying to catch up on stuff now. Someday I’ll get this whole blogging thing under control. Maybe.

Baby boy woodland creature flannel quilt

This one is a baby quilt for a friend who had a baby in August. It took me a little bit to get her the quilt (I originally intended it for her shower in June) but I had to get longarm time (and life time) to finish it.

Baby quilt pieces

I found this jelly roll of super cute flannel with little woodland creatures on it. I pieced sets of three strips together and then cut them into squares.

Baby quilt assembly

Then I laid out the squares in a grid, alternating direction.

Baby boy woodland creature flannel quilt

For the quilting, I did some freestyle swirls following the pattern of the blocks. I love how the design really shows through on the flannel.

Baby boy woodland creature flannel quilt

For the back I used minky because it’s so soft and cuddly for the babies.

Baby boy woodland creature flannel quilt

They had yardage of the flannel as well so I picked up some of the striped one to use as the binding. Sewing flannel was a bit challenging — it liked to slide and the binding was no different — but it turned out okay in the end.

Baby boy burp cloths

I ended up with some odds and end pieces that I put together to make a couple of burp cloths backed with minky.

Baby boy burp cloths

It was nice to be able to include a little something extra that coordinated. From what I see on Facebook, the little guy is getting plenty of use out of his blanket 🙂

Baby boy woodland creature flannel quilt

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Nov 11 2016

Sprout Sloan Leggings by Hey June

Published by under Sewing

Sprout Sloan Gingko Leggings

A while back I wanted a quick and easy project. So I ordered some Sloan Leggings from Sprout patterns. I’ve mentioned Sprout before. The Sloan Leggings are a pattern by Hey June. And this is definitely a super quick and easy project.
 
Sprout Spoonflower package
 
The fabric is printed by Spoonflowe so it comes wrapped nicely.
 
Sprout Sloan Leggings before cutting
 
I wanted something kinda “zen” that I could wear to yoga so I went for this gingko leaf design by lauriekentdesigns. I was also trying to match a green top. I did not actually manage to match it, but I did like the print.
 
Folded Sloan Leggings
 
The leggings themselves went together in an afternoon. Maybe an hour? Tops. There’s only a few seams.
 
Sloan Leggings taking in the inseam
 
I ordered a medium based on the measurements on the website. I ended up having to take it in — everywhere. The crotch, the legs. But it’s always better (and possible) to take in than out. This fabric was Spoonflower’s performance lycra. I really like the fabric, but it’s got a lot of stretch. So next time I would probably order an extra small (for those of you thinking of ordering your own).
 
Sloan Leggings cutting interfacing
 
My only real beef with the pattern itself was that they recommend putting in knit interfacing in the waistband. Above is how I cut out the interfacing because I didn’t feel like printing and tracing the pattern. Maybe I used terrible interfacing. Don’t know. But it left it really wrinkled after it stretched the first time. It’s fine when it’s pulled up (sorta — but no one sees it usually):
 
Sprout Sloan Gingko Leggings
 
But looks a bit odd when rolled down. Or maybe it’s just a texture feature 🙂
 
Please ignore that you can kinda see my panty outline in these photos. I usually wear it with a skirt or long shirt over top like in the first photo.
 
Sprout Sloan Gingko Leggings
 
Either way, they work. I’ve since made the Sloan leggings again and not put interfacing in the waistband which works much better for me.
 
Sprout Sloan Gingko Leggings
 
Here’s a side view.
 
Overall they’re good leggings. I’ve got a legging pattern comparison post coming up. But the features I like about the Sloan leggings are:
  • wide waistband
  • card pocket (I can actually fit my whole phone which is great when walking the dogs)
  • extra shaping around the calf
I leave you with one last photo. I need to find something that matches them better . . .
 
Sprout Sloan Gingko Leggings

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Nov 08 2016

More Halloween Fun

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Halloween Table Runner

Some more decoration for Halloween. I worked on a Halloween quilt this year (more details on that in another post). And using the leftover fabric, I decided to make a little festive table decoration.

HalloweenRunner-1

The overall design was pretty simple. Just laid out the squares and sewed them together. After doing so, it wasn’t quite big enough to put the black around the edges using some black strips leftover from a kona black jelly roll. I mitered the corners! That was the first time and I like how it came out.

HalloweenRunner-4

I used fusible batting to give it some bulk and then just sewed the backing around the edges and turned it inside out. I did a bit of stitch in the ditch quilting between the black border and the inside to just give it some stability. In hindsight, I realized I never sewed up the edge (was planning to sew around the edge) but it apparently didn’t need it. If I ever need to wash it, I’ll make sure to do it first though.

Here’s the back in case you’re curious. Pretty basic, but looks great on the table!

Halloween Table Runner underside

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Nov 05 2016

The force was strong this Halloween

Published by under Cosplay,Dog

Leia and Obi-Wan

This year for Halloween we went full Star Wars. Minnie was Princess Leia and Max was Obi-Wan (at least that’s who I based his jedi robes off of. They were a little less than cooperative with the modeling this year than last year, but I think we still managed to get some decent photos.

Leia and Obi-Wan

I like this one because you can see her belt and hood.

Leia and Obi-Wan

Leia and Obi-Wan

Leia and Obi-Wan

His sash did not want to cooperate. Nor did he.

Leia and Obi-Wan

Unfortunately we don’t have any photos where you can see the hood on his robe. But it’s there.

Leia and Obi-Wan

Leia and Obi-Wan

And some behind the scenes of the styling:

Leia and Obi-Wan

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May 23 2016

iPad Pencil Holder

Published by under Sewing

IPad Pencil leather holder

 
My husband has one of those Apple Pencils to go with his iPad but he has a hard time keeping track of it, so he asked me to make him a holder for it that could attach to his iPad.
 
IPad Pencil leather holder
 
I actually made him two. One from leather and one from lycra. Personally I think the leather one came out a little better. I did a better job of tapering the leather at the point and giving the top piece slack to allow for the pencil. Plus the leather naturally has some grip on the pencil.
 
IPad Pencil leather holder detail
 
My leather skills aren’t perfect, but they are greatly improved from my recent bag making. I used some pieces I had in a large scrap bag from Michael’s.
 
IPad Pencil leather holder inside
 
For the inside of both, I used black lycra. I wanted some thing stretchy so I didn’t have to add additional elastic but also thin and smooth since it would be up against the screen. This seemed to fit the bill and did indeed work well. Bonus that it doesn’t need to be finished on the edges making it even smoother.
 
iPad Pencil lycra holder
 
The second one was all lycra. I didn’t give the top layer as much give as the leather one because I worried about it being too loose and not holding the pen. Although I double interfaced the lycra on the bottom part, I should have given it a stable base like peltex. Next time . . . this is good enough for now.

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May 20 2016

Random 8th Grade Sewing Project

Published by under Sewing

Computer softie

Back when I was in 8th grade, you could still take home ec. It was the BEST class. We got to cook and sew and learn about color theory and did I mention, sew? Yeah, we got to sew for school.

Computer softie screen

At that point, I had already been sewing for fun for a while so it was like someone told me I could just have fun in school for a period. One of the projects was to  pick a softie from a catalog of softies the you would make for a grade. You were allowed to buy extras if you wanted (of course, I got one — they were only $5 each for each kit!!). But this was the one I did for my school project. I got an A+++ (yes, three pluses) on it. 😀

Computer softie keyboard

Would you look at the detail and hand embroidery on that thing? All those little felt pieces were sewn by hand. Only the body was machine sewn. I’m quite proud of my little 8th grade self. And also pretty psyched that as a girl, I chose to make a computer. Although we had a computer at home, computer science wasn’t really on my radar as a possible field of study, but maybe the universe knew something I didn’t. 🙂

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May 17 2016

Murder Mystery Quilt – April and May

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Murder Mystery Quilt April (Chapter 5)

So, I’m a tad behind in posting. As usual, getting pictures from my camera to my blog always takes longer than expected. Here’s the block from Chapter 4 for April.

Murder Mystery Quilt April (Chapter 5)

For this one, we did reverse appliqué. Above is after I based the green pieces to the back using quilt basting spray. I also starched the heck out of the top piece and the little pieces to make them easier to appliqué. I used some embroider thread to do the edging. I used the default width of 3.0 but next time I’ll definitely go larger. I had a hard time catching the fabric at times.

Murder Mystery Quilt May (Chapter 6)

And here’s the block for May. She’s making them a bit easier for the summer months because people have more going on. And I totally appreciate that 🙂

In other news, Meadow Mist Designs has announced another mystery quilt for this year. I had such a fun time last year and learned so much that I’m definitely planning on doing it.

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May 14 2016

Swoon Bonnie Bucket Bag in Silver Faux Leather

Published by under Sewing

Swoon Bucket Bag 

Admittedly I’ve been on a bit of a bag kick recently. It didn’t help that I signed up for the Bag of the Month Club 🙂 But this one isn’t from that club — although coincidentally the bag for May is also from Swoon Patterns.

Swoon Bucket Bag inside

This is the Swoon Bonnie Bucket Bag. I really liked the shape of it because I figured it could hold a lot.

Swoon Bucket Bag inside detail

Per usual, I added some details that made it my own — a place to hold pens, IDs and others and key fob. I’ve loved having a key fob in my Backgammon bag so I had to put one here, too.

Swoon Bucket Bag Lining Swoon Bucket Bag  Lining inside

Here are some views of the lining before I inserted it. As you can see this bag has a lot of structure — even without the outside. For the lining, I used some metallic Michael Miller dots fabric that I had. I’ve had it a while and it was good to finally find a use for it!

Swoon Bucket Bag attaching bottom

The bag picture shows it in a combination of quilting weight fabrics and leather/faux leather. But I love my totally worn out silver leather bag so I wanted an all silver one. It did make for some really thick seams as you can see above where I put the extra bottom panel on. In the future, I would only  make that part one layer instead of two, but it sure is sturdy!

Swoon Bucket Bag detail

I’m really proud of how my top stitching turned out. This was really only the second leather thing I made after the Polaris bag last month, but that’s exactly why I like the bag of the month club — it has forced me to try new materials and techniques!

Swoon Bucket Bag hardware detail

I used some existing hardware that was a bit wider than the pattern called for so my handles and tabs are a bit wider to compensate. I think the wider straps complement the all silveriness of it though.

Swoon Bucket Bag inside detail

The inside zipper pocket was by the pattern.

Swoon Bucket Bag zipper

For the top zipper, I actually used a separating zipper that I closed up. I like the way the plastic zippers handle better. It’s smoother than most of the zippers I can find in the store. If I were to make this bag again though, I would put tabs on the end of the zipper so it’s not sticking in the corners. I don’t think it looks bad, but sometimes it’s hard to pull the zipper out.

Swoon Bucket Bag bottom

And the bottom. See what a nice round shape it has?

Swoon Bucket Bag inside detail

Another shot of the inside. Overall I’m really happy with this bag. I may switch over to it, but I’m really loving my backgammon bag at the moment so it might be a little bit. Maybe when the right occasion forces me to.

And one more shot showing how bucket-y it really is:

Swoon Bucket Bag open

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