Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday :: Moving Right Along

Since my last work in progress report I finished two projects!  That's right, I am actually crossing things off of my list.  Of course they were small items, but it still feels good.

First Finish - Lucille the Lizard

Second Finish - Entrelac Shawl/Cowl

Third Finish (This was not on my list - a post with better? pictures will be coming) - Favorite Purse

My Current Work In Progress (WIP) - Cathedral Windows Sampler
Top (with better picture) blogged here.

I completed the quilting and have machine stitched the binding and hanging fold?  I need to finish hand stitching.  I may add some hand quilting somewhere too.


2013 Work In Progress List (updates in blue)

1.  My Daughter's Farmer's Wife quilt :: various stages of completeness
2.  My Son's quilt :: not yet started
3.  Knit Entrelac Cape :: Craftsy Class/Pattern, I need to practice a small project before I start.
4.  Lark Kaleidoscope quilt :: fabric's stashed away, just need the courage to start it.
5.  Fleece Slippers for me :: I made one in November - I must make the second one.
6.  Cathedral Window quilt ::
Machine quilting done, binding half complete

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Entrelac Shawl/Cowl

My favourite things to make with yarn are hats and amigurumi.  This project is me stepping out of my box!  I enrolled in a Craftsy course, because I really want to make this entrelac cape.  Of course I am still a beginner knitter, so I started with the first project.
Entrelac Neckwarmer
I didn't have a plan for the project in the beginning, since I am not a big fan of the cowl/neckwarmer.  One for warmth while I am out in -40 I am all over, but the trendy ones you see right now, are just not for me.

However, remember I said I am a beginner knitter?  Well that means that I make mistakes.  I knit the whole project too loose.  Lesson learned for the cape.  I will have to practice on a smaller project before moving on.  The best part is...
Entrelac Shawl
I do love shawl/cowls/wraps (choose your descriptive name), and have been looking for a pattern for a while now.  Two for one, a great learning project AND a surprise finish.

Here you can see the project laid flat.  I single crocheted around the top edge to even it out.  Overall it was a good experience and I was able to replay parts of the video that I forgot each time I started a light grey tier, (PUP, pick up and purl...for some reason this didn't stick from one day to the next).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lucille the Lizard

Lucille was created because I really wanted to make something for me.  At first I did not know what I wanted to do, but I wanted it to be fun and personal.  I have seen some beautiful flowers and heart embroidery that I have been dying to try, but it just didn't feel like me.  Then I thought of it, a lizard.

I have a lizard tattoo, it is not cute and colourful like Lucille, but it is a part of me.  You can read a goofy story I shared about lizards when I talked about this project here.  

Meaning of the lizard:

Just as the lizard is able to drop its tail in order to escape danger, 
so the lizard totem shows us the principles of letting go and self-protection 

Here she is on my embroidery hoop.  I have two hoops at home, a little one and a large one, large it is.  The fabric that she is on is the wrong side of a piece of denim.  

Here is the wrong side of her (on the right side of the fabric).  Embroidery is new to me, I have only played a little bit with it, so when I read about keeping the back tidy here, I decided that was the only way I could do it.  I love it.  My three year old really likes to examine things and she kept checking the back as I worked on it, making sure it still looked nice!

At the end of the project I also wound up all the left over threads on to these little card stock spools.  I am proud of myself.  My other embroidery threads are in a bag in a tangled mess.  My eight year old helped me with the organization.

I added corner tabs on the back for hanging.  The only stick(s) I could find at home were some very thin skewers.  Even though this is a small mini quilt it was too heavy for one to hold it up without bending.  So I took 3 of them, some purple duct tape and made a great purple stick.

To quilt it I used monofilament thread.  It was interesting.  I don't think I would like it on a large project, but it was perfect for this mini.  I chose a wind pattern and quilted around the lizard and the border.

In the close up photo you can see her little pig nose.  I love it.  It make me smile, I also love the eyelashes, when I got to that part of the project I felt she really came to life for me.

Where will she be hung?  In my little sad cubicle at work.  My office is lacking natural sunlight, grey (sad grey, not stylish grey), cluttered and dirty feeling.  I need some items to cheer me up.

I have not committed to where I will hang her.  I will have to find a spot that I will get to see her while I work,  you can see in the above a glimpse of what I am dealing with.  

This was my first mini quilt.  It was a lot of fun,  I would love to do another one.  I think this mini is approximately 10 inches square.

Oh, one more thing, I have updated my favicon to match.

Favicon:  small graphic that is associated with a page or Web site. The favicon allows the Web developer to customize the site in the Web browser, both in the tab bar that is displayed in many browsers as well as in the bookmarks when a site is saved.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pillow Finishes

I started writing this post with a whine!  Good thing I read it before sending it off for all of you to read.  In short, I don't have the best photography skills, but that is okay, because I still have fun sharing.

Today I am sharing a scrappy pillow that I made for my step sister and her husband.  I shared the work-in-progress here.  

Any of you crafters know what it is like when you are looking around at all the lovely blogs out there, you see so many beautiful things, but some of them call to you and insist you make it sooner rather than later.  That is how I chose the string quilt pattern for this pillow.  I loosely followed this tutorial.  

If you read my original post you will already know that I messed up.  I cut 4 paper squares for the 4 quadrants, then pieced the fabric strings on two of them, however, when I put them together, there was a problem.  The angles didn't match up!  Apparently, in my excitement and rush to get going on a project, I had cut rectangles instead of squares.  All four of them.  How do you cut all four with the same mistake?  

I was able to correct the problem.  I had to trim them to size on an angle in order to keep my centre black lines on the diagonal.  It worked, the blocks were now smaller, but what I was looking for.  I added the black border on the outside to make up the difference in size that I had lost.

I quilted it with diagonal lines, you can see the quilting better in my in-progress photo below.

scrappy pillow
wip - quilting

Below is a photo of the inside.  You can see the diagonal quilting and the finished edges.  I love my serger, I am always so pleased when I have the opportunity to use it!

pillow inside out
I chose an envelope fold for the back, my original plan was to add a zipper closure, but time was of the essence and I have plenty of pillows with the folds, so I chose that.  

pillow back

I did make one more pillow as a gift this year.  I made it for my Step Mother.  It has a Christmas theme to it, although I am sure you could use it at any time of the year.

My Step Mother's Christmas decor is the opposite of mine.  It is very polished and beautiful.  When I found the gold fabric I was sure it would work in her home.  The green trim seemed the perfect compliment to finish the pillow.  I didn't capture the true color of the fabric very well, I would say it is somewhere between the two photos, likely a little closer to the close up photo.

I am very happy that I changed my mind about handmade gifts this year.  Sometimes they are worth it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lizards and Mending

Lizard Mini Quilt (in progress)
I picked up my Mom's sewing machine at the end of last week, she is letting me borrow it while mine is being fixed (again).  I was so excited to get it, but then my motivation disappeared, I didn't want to sew.  Until my over the top dog bed caught my attention.

Why did my dog bed need mending?  Two reasons:  1.  A very poor choice of fabric for the bottom, and 2.  My dog loves his bed too much and wrestles with it, resulting in holes.

In the before shot you can see the bottom, full of lint and threads that were collected off my floor and nearly impossible to remove from the fabric, and one of the many holes on the top of the bed.

In the after shot you can see I replaced the bottom with a denim fabric (which my dog has already put a hole in, grrr) and I appliqued patches on the holes.  I added 8 patches, one of which ran the entire length of the dog bed.  The sewing didn't take as long as unpicking all the stitches including the zipper.

After the dog bed I was feeling pretty good about my productivity and decided it was time to fix a beloved blanky that lives in our house.  I made the blanket 6 years ago, it was the first blanket I ever made and I struggled with it.  It was made with a fabric panel, layered with batting and a backing.  I fought trying to quilt them together without puckers on the back, in the end the blanket was a LOT smaller than it should have been because I cut so much off and I still had issues, some of my poor sewing in the beginning made it more difficult to repair than it should have been.  

The picture you see below is not the original fabric.  The original panel wore completely off.  The top half and bear was replaced a year or so ago.  This time I had to fix the bottom, what you see in the picture is the batting!  I spent 1 1/2 hours unpicking quilting and removing the binding, then added some motorcycle fabric (a special request).  It is not the fanciest blanket, but it is dearly loved and its owner is very happy with the results.

LIZARD!  I have named her Lucille and she is almost done.  I just need to hand stitch the binding.  I should have a full post about her soon.

Lastly, my yarn order came in!  I am so excited and could not help but start on one of my projects right away.  Do you see those lovely knitting needles?  The project is an entrelac neck warmer, so it is a little wonky right now.  I am happy with how it is coming out so far, much better than the hat I hat to rip apart a few weeks ago.

Work In Progress List (updates in blue)

1.  Lizard mini quilt:: need to finish hand sewing the binding
2.  My Daughter's Farmer's Wife quilt :: various stages of completeness
3.  My Son's quilt :: not yet started
4.  Knit Entrelac Cowl :: I registered for a Craftsy course Done 1 of 7 tiers in this project
5.  Knit Entrelac Cape :: I cannot start until I finish the above.  This is why I took registered in the class
6.  Lark Kaleidoscope quilt :: fabric's stashed away, just need the courage to start it.
7.  Fleece Slippers for me :: I made one in November - I must make the second one.
8.  Cathedral Window quilt :: Top is complete

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Youth Pillow Design

The above fantastic pillow was made by my 8 year old daughter!

My daughter did not ask for anything for Christmas.  She liked the idea of getting something, but could not think of one thing she wanted.  Christmas Morning was a complete surprise to her. Santa ended up with a home run, he brought her a new sewing machine!  (I think his elves must have been to Ikea, because it looks a lot like the one they sell.)

This is a picture of her Christmas Day.  She could not wait to try it out.  I conveniently have a bag of rectangles that are scraps (and rejects). I gave her the bag and gave her a quick lesson.  It did not take her long to discover that she loved it.

I love looking at her concentration face as she sews!  Cute.

One more of her face:)  Her Dad would say she gets that from me.

She is a very quick learner.  I told her the goal was to have a straight seam and you know what, by the end of her project she had mastered the straight seam.  She designed and pieced the pillow top on her own, then she quilted it with a layer of fleece on the back (no batting).  I trimmed it for her because I love my rotary cutter and was not ready for her to touch it.

I asked what type of backing she wanted and she chose an envelope fold so that she could do it all by herself.  She hemmed each edge, we pinned it to the pillow front and she sewed around.  The inside edges are finished with pinking shears, so they won't fray.

She enjoyed herself so much she is thinking of a new project.  Last night I roped her in to helping me with a rag blanket I started 2 years ago.  She did a great job.  Hopefully she can help me finish it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Prospects

At first I thought I was not going to partake in any of this New Year's Resolution stuff, both in real life and my quilting life.  I prefer to live every day to the best of my ability and not be afraid of new things at any time of the year.  And quilting and crafting, well, I just don't need the self imposed pressure.

Then I started thinking about my growing stash, and items I have recently ordered and I decided I better focus myself!!  Each of the items I plan to create are exciting to me, so I hope to enjoy the process.

My first new project of the year is my embroidery, this will become a mini quilt for me.  I am not sure how it will evolve, I am taking it one step at a time.  Last month I decided I would embroider a heart, then flowers, then I wondered what they really symbolized to me and in the end I chose a lizard.  A lizard may seem unconventional to some, but I used to have a 'thing' for lizards and during that phase I tattooed one on my ankle!  I also painted a lizard in every room of my first house.  Some rooms it was visible, other rooms it was hidden.  I am sure the people who bought the house thought I was crazy when they discovered them all.  I don't have any in my current house.  Maybe I should add one or two?

I looked up the meaning of lizards and came up with this:  

Just as the lizard is able to drop its tail in order to escape danger, 

so the lizard totem shows us the principles of letting go and self-protection 

It will have to work.  

I have seen a lot of lizards drawn similar to the one I drew, but it is not a copy of any particular one.  I drew the pattern on paper, then used a transfer pencil to transfer it to my fabric.  Thread is different to work with than pen, so I changed my flower slightly to work with the embroidery floss.  I have also changed my original plan for the tail and am still undecided on how to fill in the body.

Here is a list of my 2013 prospects (I will not guarantee any of the following finishes, because I tend to get distracted and start new projects - but I promise myself to try and make them my priority, one at a time).

1.  Lizard mini quilt:: embroidery started
2.  My Daughter's Farmer's Wife quilt :: various stages of completeness
3.  My Son's quilt :: not yet started
4.  Knit Entrelac Cowl :: I registered for a Craftsy course and am waiting on my supplies
5.  Knit Entrelac Cape :: same as above and the real reason I wanted to take the course
6.  Lark Kaleidoscope quilt :: fabric's stashed away, just need the courage to start it.
7.  Fleece Slippers for me :: I made one in November - I must make the second one.
8.  Cathedral Window quilt :: Top is complete

The biggest thing standing in my way right now, I have no sewing machine!  It is in the shop for the second time in under two months.  I am currently shopping around, trying to decide what I want.  In the meantime I am picking up my Mom's tomorrow.  She is letting me borrow it for a little while.  I cannot wait to try it out.

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
this week guest hosted by Heidi at Buttons and Butterflies.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Package Quilt

I finished this quilt kit faster than any quilt I have ever done.

The kids and I really love how it came together.  The quilt went to my niece, I was told she loves it too.  Yay!

When I ordered the quilt kit online I also ordered backing material, it was recommended by the online store.  The backing did not match at all, so I went to my local fabric store and picked up some minky dot and it was a perfect match, and so cozy.

The binding is cute snowflakes.

I love doing appliques, so the bow was fun.  I love how all the pieces came together in the centre.  I used a variegated pink thread and a zig-zag stitch.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Christmas Package Quilt
Size: approx. 42" x 68"
Kit: Connecting Threads 
Backing: Minky Dot
Quilting: straight line on both sides of the seams
Started : December 11, 2012
Completed: December 14, 2012
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