Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunny Patchwork Table Runner

Today was a day. I got up in North Carolina and now I am preparing to go to bed in Georgia. 

So much has happened, I will outline it in bullet points.
  • I drove so much. 

  • My cat attacked me (for no good reason... jerk). 

  • I drank an energy drink.

  • I worked at my job site for what seemed like 20 minutes and managed to get totally frustrated. 

  • Went out to dinner with a dear friend. 

  • Embroidery.
That makes me more tired just looking at it. I don't want to talk about this any more, I do want to talk about this sweet little table runner I made. 

Last weekend, I decided I just wanted to sew. I have been obsessed with my low value prints lately and decided to just cut some patchwork.  

A few hours later I had another little square, full of squares.

I added some more fabric, did some quilting, and then I had this sweet little table runner.

I did very little measuring, just cutting and sewing. At the end of the project, I had a big smile on my face. I was feeling relaxed. 

I don't need a table runner (it is a little large for my tiny little table). This is not exactly intended as gift for anyone. It just seemed like something I needed to make, even if it was something I did not need.

Therapeutic sewing. Sometimes a random project in the midst of Christmas gift sewing madness is medicine.

Happy Wednesday!

[No works in progress this week, I left for a work trip and actually did not leave any sorts of unfinished business in my sewing lair... well, not much and I don't have any pictures with me]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunburst Baby Quilt

Finished quilt!

This quilt is going to a special home. I grew up in close proximity to this baby's father. His little sister and I were born months apart, and we all spent a great deal of time together throughout childhood. I mean, how many people (other than your siblings) can you say you have run naked through the sprinkler with? Now my friend and his lovely wife are going to be parents themselves. They are the first of our tight group to join that exclusive club and I am so happy for them. We have sort of grown apart recently, but I still feel a little like my brother (or close cousin?) is having a baby! Yay!

I based this quilt design off of Denyse Schmidt's, Crazy Star Quilt (in Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration). I am saying based, because I did not so much follow the pattern as look at the picture in my book. Then I decided to make a quilt that looks sort of like it. 

 I ended up paper piecing my strips for the points (instead of using the cloth base that Denyse recommends). Obviously, I scaled it down a bit to be baby sized.

This baby is entering life during a cold, dark, Chicago winter, so I wanted this quilt to be bright and cheerful. I also intentionally did not make the quilt that baby-ish... It is just downsized adult quilt. We do not know the baby's gender yet (well, maybe someone knows, but they aren't telling me), so I wanted this to work for a boy or a girl. I also wanted the mom and dad to have something pretty, bright, and grown up to look at while they are facing the challenges and rewards of this little guy or gal.

I took an un-official survey at my office (sample size = 1 adult male with two daughters) and my respondent told me he enjoyed having things for his girls that were not 100% little kid looking. What do other parents out there think?

That is not to say that I do not want this quilt treated like an adult thing. I would be so happy if it got abused, played on, worn out, and washed a million times. I think I generally speak for all quilters who make baby quilts when I say, I want this sucker to get loved. It is washable. Memories made on handmade things are beautiful. 

I fell in love with Denyse's quilting design and decided to fill up the negative space with the most adorable free motion, sort of organic (read: messy and unplanned), loops. I just made them on my home sewing machine while watching old episodes of TV on Netflix. I think it works.

The back is made up of some Kona strips I had left over from another quilt, some of the Kona Steel (I think?) from the front, and a single strip of Madrona Road (Haystack?) to mimic the bright star on the front. The star is made entirely out of scraps, curated for their brightness and happiness, and sewn together at random. Goodness, I love improvising!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Sunburst Baby Quilt
Size: 45"x43"
Fabrics: Kona Steel (I think?) for the front background, assorted scraps for the star (comment if you are curious about a specific fabric and I will try to find out what it is), the back has some Madrona Road Haystack, and assorted Kona blues from my stash.
Binding: Scraps of binding from my leftover binding (I am the worst at remembering fabric names!)
Pattern: Based on Crazy Star (from Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration)
Quilting: Free motion loops (à la Denyse Schmidt)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Works in Progress [Wednesday]

I know it is barely still Wednesday, I am totally getting this one in under the wire. You see, I got sick this week and it was a challenge. I am all medicated up right now and I am feeling great. So, on to sewing.

I got ton done this week after I got home from my work trip to Knoxville. If it had not been for my mystery illness, this week would have been all about finished.

1.) This gift is getting bound, it totally deserves its own blog post when it is finished. I have a love/hate relationship with hand sewing bindings. Movie time = good, cat time = good, bindings = look good, sitting still = hard for me...

2.) This is a little gift for someone special, I am almost done with it, just need to quilt the outside and assemble. I am in love with Liberty, so it makes me happy to see my Liberty in action. Also, the recipient is in love with cats, so I know this will make her smile. I kind of hate my quilting on the outside, any suggestions for how to quilt this? These pictures are not great, but I want to do something pretty in the negative space around the pink.

3.) I am making a little fold over clutch for my sister-in-law for Christmas. I am pretty sure she will love this (also sure she does not read this blog). I was kind of hating the leather on this one, so I ended up taking it off and adding a linen bottom. It looks hardcore awesome now.

4.) On a whim this afternoon, I wanted to play with scraps and do some patchwork. This is a little table runner I put together. I am going to quilt it up soon and, hopefully, give it away for Christmas. If I get attached it might be on my table. This is just real life here.

Quilting suggestions for this sucker would be welcome too. 

5.) I have made some progress with the tulips, I  am almost out of the baby blue linen and I do not know if I have enough to finish. I have no idea who made this baby blue or what color it is. The thrills of using scraps that you have no idea how to purchase more of. I am living life on the edge. I will figure something out, right? 

Whew! That was a ton of sewing this week. So many unfinished projects... I am going to make a concerted effort to finish some of these and get them up on the blog this week

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there! To everyone else, Happy Thursday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Work in Progress [Wednesday]

Today is Wednesday and I wanted to post something. Except. I am writing this from my hotel room bed watching Top Chef. I am in Knoxville. Now, I am sure Knoxville is a beautiful city full of wonderful people. I am just here to work, so I have been diving my time between sleeping and working. Physically, this project is super hard. So many hole have been dug (excavated?).


I did bring a little embroidery project to while away my waking hours after work and before bed (all two of them). I have barely worked on them. My hands are sore... This is my little sewing kit I bring with me while I am traveling for work. It is composed of happy little homemade bits. I love that rainbow pouch and kitty cat needle case. They are two things I actually mad because for myself just because, something I should do more often.

Oh right. The work in progress, I am working on a little label for a wedding quilt. It is going to have their wedding day at some point. Here we go, this needs to be done soon...

Also, for a laugh I saw these at a gas station at Tennessee. How can something that has everything good in it look so disgusting?

Happy Wednesday!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Little Pouch Finish

I had high hopes for this weekend. I was going to sleep excessively (no kids at this house), clean the bathroom, and sew to my hearts content. It is Sunday night. I am exhausted, the bathroom is filthy, and I got one project done. But, I am still a happy girl. Good weekend.  

Friday night we found out a good friend got a job interview (big deal for the graduate students), so naturally we had to celebrate. Then on Saturday, we decide to do some casual day drinking. It was sunny outside and there is a local bar with a beer garden that just needed to be occupied. Around 3 pm we sat down and enjoyed one of those beautiful fall days that just seem impossible to remember in the depths of the gray winter. 

Not much else got done. Sunday, I had to get some serious sewing done. It calms my soul when I sit at  my sewing machine. There is nothing quite like looking at your stash, selecting some fabrics, and just making something. A dear friend of mine needed a zippy pouch. She is also obsessed with all things pig so I knew I needed to cut into some of my Heather Ross Nursery Versery. 

I made them into polaroid style blocks (using no tutorial, but stealing many a person's wonderful idea) and I am not entirely happy with how mine turned out. I think the pigs are a bit washed out behind the orange. I thought white would make the whole square look like negative space, but now.... maybe I should have gone with white borders and they would look more polaroid-y? I am certain I got the proportions a bit off. 

I am sure she will love it though. It has pigs, what more could a girl want? It could be a purse or just a handy little pencil case. She can be the judge. 

Pattern: A lot of modifications to the LBG Studio Leather Accent Pouch Pattern. 
Materials: Yarn-died Linen in black, Nursery Versery, some random shot cottons I found in my scraps, Pellon 809 Decor Bond, and a 9-inch metal zipper

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Work in Progress [Wednesday]

In the spirit of having way too many things going on, I started a new project this week. I decided to get better (read, learn how to) paper piecing. I printed this free pattern off the internet and went to town. Then our printer ran out of ink. But, this flower looks good right? Someday we will go get ink, then I am going to make two more and this will become a mini quilt that is going to good home for Christmas. 

I finished the stitching on the binding for this baby quilt. Then my fuzzy cat decided it was the best bed he had ever had. He slept here for about seven hours and I did not have the heart to move him. By the time he woke up, it was dark. Photos will come, someday, when it is light when I get home from work or this weekend.

I have been quilting this monster. Just a little bit everyday... I am so close to done.

I have made absolutely no progress on this project. I just wanted to show pictures of these blocks because they. are. adorable. My goodness, Elizabeth Hartman (Modern Patchwork), you are my hero. Someday these blocks are going to grow up into their own happy neighborhood quilt.

I also just found out I have to go to Tennessee next weekend for work, so we will see what sort of progress I make before leaving.... 

I am linking this up! So, if you are new to my blog (and you have made it this far) thanks!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hello Internet Here I Am!

Sew machine and my beautiful kitten.

Welcome to the world stitching and bacon.

My sewing obsession has reached a new high. Here is the blog where I will attempt to record my passion.

First, my story.

I learned to sew when I was a little girl. I guess, I was sort of into it. Mostly, I just liked going to the fabric store with my mom and picking out the pretty fabrics (okay, I still like that part). In graduate school, a friend had a sewing machine and I started borrowing it to make purses and presents for my friends and myself.

I love fabric!
After graduate school, I moved to North Carolina (away from my friend with the sewing machine) and I got a machine for Christmas! I used my new machine sporadically to make pretty little treats for myself. Last year my husband left to spend a year in Germany to complete his dissertation research. I was left in North Carolina with our cat and my sewing machine. Full disclosure, the trip to Germany was long planned for and I could have gone if I were willing to leave my job (he did not abandon me).

I made it may goal to make a quilt while he was gone. It seemed like a massive undertaking.

My first quilt. 
Then I hit the internet.

It turns out there are wonderful people all over the internet ready and happy to teach you how to make beautiful things! I learned about modern quilting and, well,  how to make a quilt. It look me about a month to make that first quilt. Now I am obsessed. My husband is home and my new hobby is not going anywhere

I could not just stop....

The back of my first quilt.