Friday, August 31, 2012

Refined, Too

Here is another Creative Sweatshirt Jacket I made from the Refined, Too pattern from Londa's Creative Sewing

I have to confess that I copied the sample Londa shows in the expo booth. I loved the colors and fabrics. When she first introduced this sample I quickly bought the fabric to make my own. The brown fabric is a Japanese cotton and it is all from the same piece of fabric. It had these random stripes as well as the columns of multi-colored dots. Londa's sample had these very nice wood buttons. The kind where each one is different, but still a set. I couldn't find anything even remotely similar so I bought these wood-look buttons. 

I started this jacket a year ago last May--at the first retreat Londa hosted. It was again, a project I abandoned when it was almost finished. It's taken me about 4 hours to finish it this week. I'm embarrassed by how many projects I have that were/are in this state of almost, but not quite finished. I've finished several but still have others to finish up. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This Calls For Doll Clothes

Next week I will be visiting Jeni to help out while Kevin has shoulder surgery. Just call me Grandma Carpool and Nana Mealmaker. And I just couldn't visit Miss Riley and not take her some clothes for her American Girl doll. Here are the 2 outfits I will be giving her. 
I hope she likes them. And, if not, I'll be sure to get some ideas from her about what she would like. I have plans to make her a red velvet Christmas dress or coat for her AG doll. It might even be the next item up in the doll clothes category.

On another note, I just picked up my Bernina sewing machine from the dealer after having it cleaned, oiled and serviced. I a pretty unhappy. When I run it, it sounds like something is rattling around inside it. It's so loud that I recorded about 20 secs. of the sound so I could play it back for the dealer. I will take it back in tomorrow. Part of the aggravation is that they had it for 7-8 weeks already. Vicky told me she was waiting on a new thread spool holder. Really? That long for a part? And she still didn't have it. I picked it up without that being replaced. I'm really sad that I'm unhappy with the service at Make It Sew. Eunice Farmer Fabrics used to be the premier fabric store and Bernina dealer in St. Louis. But since Vicky combined EFF with Make It Sew, it's just not the same. I may check out some other place to get my machine serviced in the future. 

The Dark Side of Me

My husband put his hand to my forehead. "Are you o.k.?" he asks. "That looks like a, a quilt block." "Yes it is," I replied. "But you don't quilt," he states in a firm, matter-of-fact voice. 

I didn't think I would every want to quilt. My one experience with making a quilt (16+ years ago) was successful only because my MIL actually did 99% of the work. I absolutely appreciate the artistry of quilting. But, I don't really understand the concept of cutting large pieces of fabric into tiny pieces and then sewing it all back together to make another large piece of fabric. Unless it is going to tell a story. And I think that is what I am drawn to. Quilting that tells a story. That's what I love about the Calendar Quilts project I have started and that is what I love about the First Ladies of America Quilt blocks I want to make. 

But I had a huge insight recently. There is a skill involved in quilting and if I wanted my Calendar Quilts and my First Ladies to look fabulous, I needed to learn and practice the skills. Which leads me to Craftsy's Block of the Month class. I love the Craftsy website. I have signed up for several classes and purchased a couple workshops and downloaded multiple patterns. There is always something new and fun popping up. 

The Block of the Month (BOM) class is geared for beginners which totally describes me. And, I think the class was free, or least very low cost. What did I have to lose? So I signed up. Of course, Craftsy offers a fat quarter bundle for purchase to use in the class. But I didn't really like the patterns of the fabric. For the past 2-3 weeks there has been a near-constant conversation in my head that goes like this. "Don't buy the Craftsy bundle because I don't really like it. But what will I use? I guess I could go to a local fabric store and pick out 35 fat quarters that coordinate. But, man that will be way more expensive than the Craftsy bundle. Maybe I should get the Craftsy bundle to save money. No, I don't really like the fabric. Maybe I could find something online that will do but still be reasonable in price." (So I spend several hours online looking at fabric to no avail. The head talk resumes.) "So maybe I should just get the Craftsy bundle. No, I really don't like the fabric. Besides do I really want to spend big bucks for a beginner project? Not really. I am investing money in the Calendar Quilts project. Really, I'd rather just use fabric I have. But I don't have a stash of quilting cotton. Maybe I should just go ahead, suck it up, and get the Craftsy bundle. No, seriously, I really don't like the fabric. Wait a minute. I have cotton scraps from aprons, and other projects. Maybe I could use those scraps." Oh man! That was it! What a revelation! I could proceed using fabric scraps and leftovers from my stash. So here are my first 2 quilt blocks. 

First, let me say, I know I need to square up my blocks. I have to purchase the 12" ruler-thingy to do that. But ta-da--here they are. 

If you look closely you will see that not all my strips line up at the crossings. I worked and worked to get them perfect, but, um, yeah, these are, after all, my first ever quilt blocks. I figure lining up the corners is a skill I need to work on. And, that is why I'm using scraps from stash! I don't know if these blocks will ever be part of an actual quilt. And, if not, that's o.k. But after only 2 blocks, I realize what great learning/teaching  tools these blocks will be. 

I'm pretty excited about learning to quilt. But I don't think I will ever call myself a "Quilter".

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blue Rayon Slacks, Finally

Woo-hoo! The blue rayon slacks are finished! I really mean to finish them a couple of weeks ago, but life got ugly and today was the first day I have sewed in about a month. 
It is so hard to photograph navy blue. Consequently no details are visible. I just wanted to show that they are finished! I'm really happy with the fit. And so I'm really glad I took the time to rescue this almost-a-wadder project. 

Next project is to finish a Creative Sweatshirt Jacket that needs a cuff and a collar to be wearable. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sprout Announcement

I am so excited to finally be able to say it out loud. The Son & DIL are expecting a baby in February 2013. I've known for a while but Scott & Sara asked that I not tell any friends, announce it on Facebook or in my blog until they had told all their friends and made a Facebook announcement. So the word is out. I've been busy sewing some baby stuff. S&S will not know the baby's sex until Sprout is born, so everything must be gender neutral. Here is what I have made so far. 
Flannel Receiving Blankets

Burp Cloths for the Future STL Cards Fan
I believe that Sara wants to decorate the nursery in a jungle theme. That will give me an opportunity to make more things for her. I have purchased some Minkee fabric to make a blanket. One side will be baby green, the other side is blue with white elephants. It will be really cute and oh so soft! 

I've also started knitting a blanket. It is from the Bernat website and is called Duck Blanket. The version of the pattern I have is blue with white stripes and one yellow duck in each corner. I emailed the picture to S&S and asked them if it would be ok to make it. They asked me to change it from blue to green or yellow, and could I please change the duck to a jungle animal. Umm, yes, I guess I could do that. The yarn didn't have a green or yellow option, but they did have aqua, so I'm using that. I also searched and found a knit hat with elephants on it. I was able to adapt that elephant chart to the blanket. And I am making the elephants grey. So I hope they like it. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Projects Update

Just a little update on the projects I'm working on and getting ready to work on. 

Blue Rayon Pants-I have these pants to the try-on stage and they fit! I need to tweak the side seams just a bit, but at this point the whole take-them-apart-&-recut-them-in-a-smaller-size seems to be working out. I should have these finished by the end of the weekend. 

Dahlia Knit Cardigan-I'm just knitting away on this cardi. I'm almost finished with the 2nd sleeve. After that, I sew the sides of the lace panel to the body of the sweater, weave in the ends, block it and I'm finished. This should be completed in the next week. 

Calendar Quilts-I'm pretty excited about the Calendar Quilt project coming up. I have almost everything I need for the first month. 
Ready for September
I have all the fabric except the backing for September. I also purchased Steam-A-Seam2. When I bought the fabric last week I found a 6-1/2" square ruler and bought it to use for cutting all the 4-1/2" squares that make up the background and border of each quilt. Today I was at Hobby Lobby and found a 4-1/2" square ruler! Woo-hoo! So I'm thinking I'm about ready to start this project. I don't think there is any way I can complete one quilt every month but it sure would be nice. 

Friendship Triangle Book Cover-I haven't started this yet. In fact, I'm so excited about the Calendar Quilts that I've moved this project down on the priority list, right behind the Calendar Quilts. 

Secret Project(s)-I have several secret projects I'm working on also. Two are knitted items and 3 are sewing projects. None of them are very complicated and all are coming right along. And that's all I can say about those projects.  

I'm heading back to my sewing studio to spend time among all my fabric, yarn and patterns. I have a little saying that fits me to a "T". It is, "My soul is fed by needle and thread." It is so true!