Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trip to Ashland, Oregon

MisterStitches and I just made another little trip up to Ashland, Oregon, to go to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival again. It was a very nice trip, as usual, on several different levels.

We saw a great production of Julius Caesar, To Kill a Mockingbird which was fabulous, The Language Archive, and The Imaginary Invalid by Moliere, which was hysterical.

* * * * *

And I got to make another visit to one of my favorite quilt shops, Fabric of Vision. Sandy, the owner, always has such interesting fabrics in stock. Besides the usual quilting cottons, Sandy
also carries some intere
sting fabrics like voiles and beautiful linens.

Here are the two neutrals I found that were calling out my name. As Alex Anderson says, you can never have too many neutrals. And that's not a category I collect very much. These are really some beautiful fabrics.

And here is a little "kit" they
had made up including two fabrics and a Valorie Wells pattern for a Little Wallet. I think these will be fun to sew.

* * * * *

I also got a lot of handwork done during the several-hour drive. I finished up this Hawaiian quilt square, which I started earlier this year, working on it a lot while we drove to Phoenix for Giants spring training. You can see the beginning of it here.

Here's a close-up of some of the hand-quilting I did on it. I really enjoy doing this kind of work.

The rhythm of the stitching is relaxing to me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Family of Bears

Here is a nice little family of bears that I sewed recently. Papa Bear, Mama Bear and, of course, Baby Bear. You saw when I was beginning on this project here. I was complaining about working with the faux fur!

But I persevered, and ended up with these cute stuffed bears. They are all made from a pattern by Carol's Zoo. I saw her booth at a quilting show, and fell in love with her patterns. They really were easy to sew, too, except for the faux fur part! I think it would be great to now make these bears out of some other fabric, like corduroy, chenille, plain quilting cotton, etc.

The kit that I bought at that quilting show contained the fur, the pattern, and the eyes and nose and ribbon for finishing them off. It made it so easy that everything I needed was included there in the package. Of course, she also lists specifications for the size of nose/eyes you need for the different sizes of bears. For when I make some more!

Aren't these little bear faces lovable!?!?! The bears are nice and cuddly, too. The pattern says specifically not to stuff them too full, so they will be cuddly instead of stiff.

And you might be able to guess who has them now--BabyStitches, of course! She just turned three, and we went to visit her for her birthday party. What a wonderful party it was! DaughterStitches and her hubby, NathanStitches really know how to throw a party.

By the way, Carol was very accommodating when I called her with a question about the pattern. I was just a little confused, but it was my oversight in pattern-reading, not hers in the pattern-writing. All in all, the pattern was pretty clear to read and complete.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sewing for Aurora's Birthday

With BabyStitches just having had her third birthday, I did some more sewing for her. I'll show you some of it here.

DaughterStitches requested some new pants for BabyStitches, as she has outgrown the ones I made her last year (in this post). BabyStitches is growing by leaps and bounds, especially in her height. So I made these pants in size 4.

For these two pair of pants, you can see that I just reversed the order of two different fabrics. The blue floral is my guild president's quilt fabric. (No, I haven't been working on it yet!) For one of the pairs I put a ruffle on the bottom and used the side pockets. For the other I used a cuff on the bottom instead of the ruffle, and put the pockets on the back.

Then I had the idea to make BabyStitches a t-shirt with her age on it. I know that I made a onesie with "I'm 1" on it for her first birthday, and an appliqued Washington state shirt last Christmas, but I'm not sure if I did a "2" shirt for her.

But here is the third-year shirt. All I did was make the largest "3" in the word font of my choice, then enlarged it even further on a copier. I fused the three onto the shirt and did a machine blanket stitch around the edges. And what better fabric to use than the same red as I used for her pants!

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Applique/Embroidery Project

I thought of a little project the other day. You see, I have a piece of paper on the door out of my studio which says, "Did you unplug the iron?" I just don't want to leave the room and forget to unplug the iron! Having recently had a close call with a fire at my neighbor's house, I've become a little more fire-safety conscious.

Granted, a hand-written note on a scrap of paper is a little tacky, so I decided to make a better sign. Why not sew it!?!?

I searched on the internet for a copyright-free image of an iron. Below is the image I found, and the copy I reduced so the iron was 4 1/2" high.

Using my high-tech lightbox (aka tape on my patio window!), I traced the outline of the iron onto two (yes, two) layers of freezer paper, which were already ironed together.

Now, remember that your final applique piece will be backwards from the pattern you draw. So keep that in mind, if it matters to you which way the iron faces.

I used a sharp paper scissors to cut apart all the pieces. It helps to label the pieces, A, B, C, and D, just to help keep track of what goes where.

Oh, also, be sure to use a pen that is NOT water-soluble to draw the pieces on the freezer paper.
Ask me how I know.

Next step is to iron the pattern pieces onto the back side of your fabric. Then trim about a 1/4" around the edges. With the handle (Piece C), you need to cut a slit in the very center of it.

Now we'll iron down the edges. You can use either a full-size iron, or a smaller hobby-size iron. I sprayed a little spray sizing into the can's lid and used a small, clean make-up applicator to get the sizing onto the fabric edges. This gives a really nice crisp ironed edge. Clip the curves as necessary.

Leave un-ironed the areas that you see marked in red in the photo below. They do not need to
be turned under, because another piece of fabric will be placed over that portion of fabric. On the small piece D (the knob on the iron) press over only the top and two sides, leaving the bottom side raw.

Here it is with all the edges ironed down.

Before we applique down piece C, we will tuck that little piece D underneath C, and sew across it.

Now it is all pinned down onto my background fabric, and I have begun sewing some of the edges. I really like using those very small applique pins, as they are very short and therefore don't get in the way while I'm sewing as much as the longer pins.

Keep posted for the rest of the project.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Baby Quilt

Here is a baby quilt I've just finished for a really good friend's third grandson. Not knowing if this baby was going to be a boy or a girl, I tried to stick with fairly gender-neutral fabrics. If this fabric looks familiar, you may have seen it in earlier posts here and here, when I posted the method for making a Stack & Whack quilt (or Slash Your Stash, or one of many other possible names!)
The baby has been born, a very healthy hearty big boy, who wasted no time coming into the world. Apparently he was born something like 17 minutes after mom got to the hospital!

Anyway, here is the quilt I made for him. I interspersed stack and whack blocks with solid blocks, as you can see in the photo above.

I haven't made very many scrappy bindings, but I did here, and was really happy with it.

The quilting went super fast and was a lot of fun. I made a "crazy daisy" design in the center of each square. A very easy and forgiving design. It was fun to do, too. I used a decorative stitch to go down each side of the sashing strips, and a different decorative stitch around the perimeter of it all.

Here you can see the flannel I used for the backing to make it nice and snuggly for this little baby boy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Project

Here is a peak at a new project I've just started.

It looks like some very odd fabric combinations, but I think it will turn out ok.

You can see that it is pinned down with those small applique pins, and ready for me to start sewing. MisterStitches and I are going on a road trip soon, so I need some handwork to keep me busy in the car.

I'll keep you informed--this should be a fairly quick project, so hopefully you won't have to wait very long for the final product!