Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ramona Flowers Bag.

Earlier this fall, a box showed up in my mailbox from my friend L. I knew it was my birthday present, and I knew she had spent a complicated and lengthy time concocting it, but I had no idea what the contents would be. When I opened it, I pulled out a bag and immediately started crying.

Pretty sweet bag, right? And it's definitely something I would rock, but that's not the reason I started crying. I started crying because I had wanted to cosplay as Ramona Flowers for Free Comic Book Day back in May, but after doing some quick research, I realized I would absolutely have to have Ramona's magical bag of magical bagness, and there was no way I was going to pay a kajillion dollars for one that someone else had made, and there was no way I was going to make one in the very limited time I had, so Ramona Flowers was off the table, and I figured I'd have plenty of time to figure out the bag before next May.

Except L did that for me. Cue crying.

Did I mention the bag is reversible? I don't even know how she figured it all out, but she did. This is her creation, and it probably took her a million years to make, and how do you say thank you and worse, what do you make/get her for her birthday next month? Eep! (I have some ideas....)

And while it's only December, I need to start working on my Ramona dress. Because if I have a bag this year, I better make sure my outfit it totally epic. (AND IT WILL BE.)

So thank you, L, for my awesome bag of magical Ramona bagness. And thank you for being such an awesome friend. I heart you mucho.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Vanilla's Baby Quilt

Those of you who follow me on instagram are probably already aware, but Vanilla arrived last week! My strategy was to eat so much food on Thanksgiving that she was pushed out of the womb. I am thrilled to report that it worked! And lucky for me, I (mostly) finished her quilt, just in time.

The adjustment from a family of five to a family of six has been relatively painless, and the challenges have been expected ones. I look forward to seeing how Vanilla continues to fit into our family.

As you can see, I didn't get around to handstitching the friendship stars. I may revisit that at a later point. Or not. I think I'm going to wait and see how different my life is with four kidlets before making a firm call on that.

This is A LOT of quilting for me. I know this is like regular quilting for many people, but for me, oh man. This is crazy town. And I have to say, for the first time maybe ever, I really enjoyed all of that quilting. I really enjoyed the thought process. Maybe it's an instance of finally feeling like I kinda know what I'm doing? Or maybe it's just that I cherished every part of the making of this quilt?

This quilt is scrappy down to its core, but I made sure it had some cherished favorites. OOP Tula and AMH, shot cottons, even some batik scraps. The backing is a Heather Ross strawberry print with a couple of scrappy strips to bring it up to size. Not gonna lie, I was pretty pleased to use up some of the gypsy wife strip scraps that have been sitting in my scrap bin for ages. I hoarded this HR print for ages, originally planning to make myself a skirt, but it's a much better fit for this baby.

Has this quilt made my top five quilts of all time list? Um, yes. For sure! I adore how this quilt turned out. A wild explosion of pattern and color and randomness with a hint of order--even that description doesn't quite make sense! But these are the best sort of quilts for me.

This is finish #3 from my FAL list. Admittedly, I'm a wee bit behind where I wanted to be, and I can't see myself making much progress over the next month, but I also kinda expected that. Vanilla will be my big finish for the quarter.

Friday, November 18, 2016

FIP (Friday in Progress?)

I'm calling this Friday in Progress, and sadly, Friends, I have little to report. Vanilla is apparently quite snug in my stomach and wants to stay put, a fact with which I am finally coming to terms--but I have been busy with lots of baby prep and even some resting. My freezer is full of ready-to-cook crockpot meals, everything for baby is laundered and put away, our homeschool is planned through the end of the year, and I've knocked a few other annoying tasks off my to-do list. I haven't felt a huge rush to nest this pregnancy--with Fava, I decided one weekend that our dining room table had to be completely sanded and repainted because there was no way I could bring a child into a home that featured a table that chipped--so I've been taking it slow. Which is good. Because walking slowly seems to absolutely wind me at this point.

And for some reason, my motivation to sew has been zapped. I picked up my middle son's big boy bed quilt from the long-armer, and I love the way it turned out. The boxy design is maybe larger than I expected, but I actually like that about it. I've yet to trim this bad boy or even start work on piecing the binding, but I do know I'm planning to bind it in the lime solid we used. My son is sooooooo excited for it to be done, and he's asked if he can sleep under it every night once I've finished. That does a mama's heart good.

I attached the binding to Vanilla's baby quilt, but I've gotten little done on the handsewing front. (I'm one side down as of this morning!) I really need to step on this, especially since I'm still planning to handquilt those friendship stars, but even as I type this, I'm yawning. Maybe something about that quilt just makes me sleepy?

I have been making some knitting progress on my mama's shawl. I went up a size in needles after my other shawl turned out too small, but even still, I think this is going to run on the small size if I just stick with the pattern. Thankfully, this one looks like it will be a breeze to just add rows until I'm content with the length. I'm enjoying the pattern and the look, and I'm thinking I might knit up a second one after I finish this one, but with much larger needles.

That's what's going on around these parts. How are you? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stash Bee 2016 Blocks

Friends, I had the honor of hive mama-ing for Stash Bee Hive 5 this year. This was my third year being a hive mama, and while I won't be doing it next year due to increasing home school commitments and the fact that I will have a very new baby, it has been a lovely experience. I'm a big fan of Stash Bee.

Sign-ups for the 2017 year opened up yesterday, and if you've been considering joining, I thought you might like to take a look at some examples of blocks you might be asked to make. I asked for the Five Crosses block in the center of the collage, and I received a lovely batch of blocks that I turned into a quilt for my friend K.

One of my favorite parts of the bee is that it allows me to make blocks I wouldn't normally make, often using color palettes that are outside of my 'usual'. I had a super fun year with a super fun hive, but I'm pretty sure the collage gives that away!  

Stash Bee

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Vanilla's Quilt in Progress

After what I think was a successful spray basting session--or at the very least, what I hope was successful--I've commenced the quilting on Vanilla's baby quilt. So far, it's involved seven different types of thread, three different sewing machine feet, and by-the-seat-of-my-pants creativity.

I cannot get over echo quilting. I just can't. So that's what I spent a lot of my start doing, and let me tell you, it involved a lot of quilt turning around those NY Beauty wedges! I would do a bit at a time to make sure my back and shoulders didn't punish me later. (And even then, I spent some time with a heat pad and/or ice pack, but that could also be the whole, eight months pregnant thing.)

The straight line machine quilting came along really nicely, and I love this shot from the back. I didn't think to snag a picture after I added the FMQ in two of the corners, but I added a triangular meander to two opposite corners.

And then I jumped right into handquilting the center, as I haven't completely decided what to do with the friendship stars just yet. I'm using perl cottons, which I adore--I love the chunky texture and uneven stitches up against the machine stitched bits.

The center portion of the medallion is now complete, and you can see I did some infinity loops in the first border. I need to figure out a plan for the other borders, then attack!

I may not finish the quilt until after Vanilla arrives. I had an appointment a couple of days ago, and Vanilla is doing well. Oh, and she's locked and loaded and sitting really, really low. While I could still make it to my due date (later in November), it's highly likely she'll come before then. Given my history, and the fact that my three sons all came long before their due dates, it seems prudent to make sure everything else is ready to go. So we've been doing a lot of prepping around here. Laundry, carseat installation, laundry, hospital bag packing, trying to figure out a name, and MORE laundry. I keep thinking we're almost done--minus the tiny matter of not having a name picked out thing--but then I think of more stuff I need to do!

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mustard Landing Shawlette

I had cast off my first shawl...ahem, shawlette, more on that in a minute...a few nights ago, and I decided last night was finally the time to block this bad boy and get 'er ready for this fall. Though the temps have been in the 80s for the past few days, apparently tomorrow is supposed to dawn with chillier weather full of wind gusts.

I used the Indigo Landing Shawlette pattern, which, for a first shawl attempt, was awesome. It had some fun detail, but it wasn't like a kajillion different types of lace. Definitely the right pattern for me!

This was only my second attempt at blocking anything. I did kinda sorta block my knit socks, which mostly consisted of letting them soak, trying to get as much of the hot pink dye out as possible. This time, I looked up a tutorial, let me shawl soak for thirty minutes, then carefully dried it as much as possible and actually blocked it. I had grand hopes that blocking it would shape it decently enough for me to wear it.

I woke up this morning, and my first thought was--shawl! I raced--okay, waddled--downstairs and removed the blocking pins. It had shaped well! And...

...it was still way too small.

My first problem is that I picked a shawlette pattern, which I didn't notice until I was about to cast off. (Go me! Super observant!) 

As for problem number two, well, I knit tightly. I always have. I don't know why. I even tried to be extra relaxed with this shawl, but nope. It still turned out too tight. And even though I added a TON of rows in an attempt to lengthen the shawl, it won't wrap around my shoulders, which is just SAD. I even knitted a gauge in an attempt to be responsible, which I NEVER DO. In the past, I've always gone up a size in needles, which hasn't been a terrible thing as I was usually making stuff that didn't require shape. Next time, I'll just trust my gut and use the bigger needles.

But, that doesn't mean it's not a super cute tiny scarf thingie. And if I manage to procure a shawl pin instead of using a hair clip, I bet it would look EVEN CUTER. So I'll definitely wear it, and the yarn washed up so soft and comfy, and it's warm. My husband even thought it was supposed to look like this, so it rings of intent. But I still want a shawl! And a shawl I shall (eventually) have. (If you know of a good shawl pattern, hook a girl up, will you? Keep in mind I am not a super advanced knitter.)

This is my second finish from my Q4 FAL list. Woo!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Boo's Sew Together Bag

I made another Sew Together Bag! And it was way easier! Yay!

My sister has a November birthday. Since I might feasibly be having a baby on her birthday, it seemed prudent to finish up her gift early. My sister has a serious love for gray and yellow, so I cut into my cherished Echo fabric to make her a Sew Together Bag. (You know you love a person if you're willing to cut into your Echo.) When I first started quilting, Echo was one of the first collections to catch my eye, and working with it reminded me of my early days of quilting.

And this is the finished bag. I changed a few things from my first sew together bag, and I don't think I'll repeat any of them. Good experiment, but not what I wanted, you know? On the one I made for my husband, I used home dec scraps and duck cloth for the exterior, which already gave it support. The added batting further stabilized it. For this one, I used quilting cotton and batting for the main panel, but I also used batting to support the side pieces, hoping it would be enough. It works, but they are a little floppy--not the crisp edges that my husband's show.

I chose not to interface the pockets because interfacing and I are involved in a major feud at the moment, and I was using a light yellow fabric that I didn't want to scorch like the fabric I scorched the last time I tried to use interfacing. The outer zipper and batting give it enough structure to keep the bag from flopping over, but it is floppier than my first. Apparently forgetting the interfacing isn't an option for me, at least not when using quilting cottons.

My last change was how I attached the binding to the bag. On my first, I sewed it first to the interior, then onto the front. For this one, I sewed it first to the exterior, then onto the inside. I will definitely sew it first to the interior next time as I really appreciated how much cleaner the binding looked on the exterior of the bag.

The inside is lined with a yellow polka dot that was from my grandmother's stash. I thought my sister would appreciate the family touch, and she had better as I used up all of it on this bag! But it's such a happy fabric too, and I think it gives a nice touch to the interior. And I purposefully used a hot pink zipper so that every time she opens it, she'll think of me! (But I left it on the inside as I know it's not her favoritest color in the entire universe, which seems a bit crazy to me--who doesn't love hot pink as much as I do??? Honest answer: pretty much everyone.)

This is my first finish from my Q4 FAL list. At least I managed to knock one thing off before Vanilla makes her appearance!


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