Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mid-Year Review.

This year has been a whole lot of chaos and rebuilding and noise. OMG, can we talk about the noise? My almost two-year-old is currently wielding a harmonica that my dear sweet husband gave to him. PRAY FOR ME. I've moved states, which involved packing and loads of adulting. I've made it through the first half of a pregnancy. I've almost finished homeschool planning for the 2016-2017 year, the first year I'll be teaching two kidlets. And with all of that going on, I've still managed to do a bit of sewing. While all of that stuff kept me from posting at the first link-up of the year, it didn't stop me from making goals for what I hoped to accomplish in 2016, and I'll be linking up for the mid-year review at Quilting Jetgirl.

1. Make Stuff that I Want to Make
Midnight Mystery Quilt from Meadow Mist Designs
There have been definite successes in this arena. While I wavered back and forth on a quilt that etiquette dictates I probably *should* make, I ultimately decided not to. Instead of being completely concerned and absorbed solely by what the recipient of a quilt would like, I've made certain that each project had a 'me' element. There is something to be said for considering the likes and dislikes of the recipient, but I got into this place where I was making quilts that I didn't even like, and they were sometimes painful to complete.

2. Make Stuff for Me

241 Tote by Noodle-head
I'm especially excited that I finished the 241 tote that has been on my to-make list for ages. I haven't touched my Midnight Mystery quilt top, which will eventually live on my bed, but I have hope for that.

3. Try New Things

Yep, yep, and yep. I finished a pair of knit socks, which feel like pillows on my feet. Years ago, my mother-in-law brought me some beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Alaska, and I finally feel brave enough to use it, so I'm hoping to cast on my first shawl soon. But I think I'm most excited about my continued use of knit fabric. I was really quite terrified of sewing with knits, and while my projects haven't necessarily been perfect, they have all been wearable, and I'm excited to further explore this.

4. Finish a Quilt a Month

Pattern is Beacon by Quilting Jetgirl
This is a sort of. I finished one quilt in January, February, and March. So far, so good. I finished TWO in April, which helps because I finished zero in May and June. I've finished one quilt this month, and I might polish off a second, so this goal is still achievable. I may finish 12 quilts this year. But I might not, and I'm giving myself a pass on this one if necessary as I have a baby coming, and little known fact, they take up a bit of time. (Understatement of the year, perhaps?) 

5. Donate at Least One Quilt

Yes! I donated my Frozen Watermelon quilt to my local Project Linus chapter. I'd love to make at least one more this year, but that probably won't happen.

6. Get Started on Birthday/Holiday Gifts

I have made some birthday gifts, and I've made a list of what I'd like to make for this holiday season. We'll see how good I am about actually starting those gifts and getting them done in a timely fashion. A couple of years ago, I suffered severe burnout for the entire month of January because I had crammed so much last minute Christmas sewing into the final weeks of December. I wasn't sure I would ever want to touch my sewing machine again. (Silly, yes, but at the time, a very valid fear.) I'd like to avoid that experience if possible.

7. Continue Working Through Modern Rainbow

This is my version of Bryan's Huckleberry quilt.
I have a long-term goal to make every quilt from Rebecca Bryan's Modern Rainbow book. I love pretty much every quilt in that book, and I've made two so far. I'm hoping my next one will be her Wavelength quilt, and I'd love to have it on my wall, but we'll see.

All in all, I'm where I want to be. (Not exactly true: I'd like to have all of my holiday gifts already finished so I don't have to make them!) But looking back at my goals list, I think I've made good progress or have the opportunity to, so no complaints here. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Christmas in July

This is the brunt of my Christmas sewing for this July. But if I was going to get anything finished this July, I'm glad it was this stocking for the baby.

We don't do traditional colored stockings or even Christmas fabric stockings in this house. I'm not anti- those things...but for some reason, I loved the idea of non-traditional, and I went with it. (I *really* need to make a tree skirt--there are so many opportunities here for fun fabric play!) The family already has a red, blue, green, yellow, and hot pink stocking, so I opted for purple for Ms. Vanilla. I dug out purple fabrics from stash, but I also raided my scrap bin, which yielded the squares for the ombre strip. To be honest, this is not my favorite stocking I've ever made--it's okay. But I might remake it. And that would be okay too.

And the back. The fabric is a special print my friend S gave me before I left. So of course I had to use it for a special project. I also lined the stocking with it, and added bonus, I have plenty leftover. Fabric from friends is the best kind of fabric!

I wish could say I sacrificed everything and went upstairs to the attic and got out all of the stockings to show them together, but the temperature up there is roughly equivalent to the surface of the sun, so I've opted to stay downstairs where it is slightly cooler. I'm sure you understand.

This is finish #4 from my Q3 FAL list, woo! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

FF: Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt.

Baby quilt #1 of 3 is done, woo! If I'm honest, this quilt turned out differently than I originally anticipated/planned. I started making rainbow log cabins, then thought they'd float rather nicely in a background of low volume goodness. (In this case, the background is grunge in vanilla.) So maybe this quilt doesn't look exactly how I'd envisioned it, but I think it conveys the right message for this baby.

For this baby, I hope he has a bright and colorful life with lots of open space and room to grow into the man he is supposed to become. It's the kind of thing I'd wish for my own kids, and when I was sewing the binding onto this one, it's what I fervently prayed.

The quilting, believe it or not, is actually my favorite part of this quilt. Not because it's super fancy or crazy wild--it's simple, but I feel like the lines are effective. I used a cream thread to blend into the background, and I used my new hera marker--which I adore--to make those crisp and deliciously sharp lines. Marking this quilt took me maybe half the time marking normally takes me--definitely a win.

The back is a mix of two space themed prints--more along the idea that I hope this little babe has a wide open future--and a rainbow strip that I pieced ages ago from weird angle scraps. It fits perfectly with this quilt!

Baby quilt #2 of 3 is waiting to be basted, but I've yet to even cut fabric for #3, something I should probably do, and soon!

This is finish #3 from my Q3 FAL list. Only thirteen more things left on the list to complete. Totally doable. (In crazy land, but as I'm pretty sure I hail from crazy land, it's all good.) How are your FAL list/Q3 goals coming along?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Maxaloones for C

I am so excited to have these done and mailed before my nephew's birthday. These are from the Max and Meena Maxaloones pattern, which I have had on my to-buy list for forever. They are specifically designed for cloth diaper babies. If you've ever cloth diapered, you understand the struggle to find pants that will fit over that bum. The pattern features three sizes, and all three sizes cover a wide age range. Size 1, which is what I sewed up here, are supposed to fit from three months to three years old. With baby #4 on the way, I'm a huge fan of clothing that will actually fit the kid for more than two hours, know what I'm saying? (Added bonus, I think they are ridiculously cute.)

I used Art Gallery knits for there pants, and friends, everything you may have heard about Art Gallery knits is true. They are SO soft. I'm trying to restrain myself and not buy a huge load of more AG knits for Vanilla. (I do have some planned for her.) I think these are both from Bonnie Christine's Hello, Bear collection, but that could be totally made up.

And these are the pants as worn by my two-year-old. They're for my nephew's first birthday, but I think they'll fit him just fine too. I hadn't planned to make a pair for my two-year-old, but they look so stinkin' cute that I'm pretty sure he needs some too. And maybe my four-year-old. And maybe my six-year-old who is on the small size?? Because why not? I guess this pair of Maxaloones means my fear of knit fabrics has been conquered? They're still not my favorite to sew with, but I'm getting more comfortable with them, for sure.

This is finish #2 from my Q3 FAL list, woo!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Night Sky Quilt Top.

I am really, really excited about this one. I labored through the cutting, but when it came to piecing, I couldn't get this bad boy assembled fast enough. I love the way she turned out, scrappy and so very very green.

The most difficult part of assembling this top was piecing together the rows. My seams didn't always want to behave and meet up properly--I found a good mix of 1) no, this has to be seam ripped and sewn again, and 2) this is sufficient.

I have some fairly dense (for me) quilting planned for this one, a mix of straight line and FMQ. I'm excited to get started, but I really should finish my rainbow log cabins quilt first. Plus! This one still needs to be basted, a task that I always hate and dread. And I'm out of batting--I feel like I'm always out of batting--why is that?

Friday, July 15, 2016

FF: Star Blossoms 2 Cushion.

I am thrilled to have this one complete, especially as it's a super late birthday present for my sister. It's the same pattern as my own Star Blossoms project--a table topper that I turned into a cushion--modeled from the awesome Star Blossoms tutorial from Stitched in Color.

A loooooong time ago, I made my sister a quilt for her living room. Her house is mostly tans and chocolate browns with pops of yummy turquoise. It's stunning, and I was so happy that the quilt I made fit into the decor scheme. While I've since used up almost all of the fabric scraps I had from that project, I did have a bit of the turquoise batik left. Team that up with a couple of other turquoise prints, an aqua B&C print for the center hexagons, and this tan w/ gold metallic fabric that I've had for ages, and this cushion cover was born.

I did finish this cover a bit differently than my own. I used an invisible zipper instead of an envelope closure. My own pillow's closure gapes horribly, and I didn't want that business on this gift. I also didn't put a binding around it. I really like that aspect of my own--it frames it rather nicely--but I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics to negotiate that, and I didn't feel like introducing a new fabric for binding was the right call, so plain Jane it is.

Plain Jane or not, I feel like she's lovely in her own right!

One last photo of this baby before I pack her up and mail her off! I do hope my sister likes her!

Oh, and this is my first finish from my Q3 FAL list, woohoo! Q3 list, I told you I was going to dominate you, and this is the right kind of start.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Rainbow Quilt Top

The past ten days or so have been extremely productive sewing. I can't exactly explain why--if I could, I would harness that productivity and make a killing selling my "secret", but since that's not going to happen, I'll just be content with what I've gotten done, a list that includes this quilt top!

Of the three baby quilts I need to get finished in the next few months, this one tops the list, as its recipient is arriving first. I have until the end of September, but I worry that it'll take me that long to figure out how to quilt it--I have a feeling that the best quilting scheme would be WAAAAAAY outside my comfort zones, like so far outside that I wouldn't even know where to begin. But will my old standbys be an uncomfortable fit? This lovely is basted, so I need to pull it out when the kids are occupied and just take a bit of time to mull it over.

This is my favorite block of the rainbow log cabin bunch. As you can see, I really went wherever my scraps took me, and this top includes plenty of solids, prints, batiks, etc. There are fabrics from all sorts of quilts projects--this one includes scraps from my second quilt ever, and even a strip from a quilt I made for the recipient's older brother!

I have loads of that swirly star fabric, and at 45", this quilt will require just a bit more than WOF for its backing. I opted to use a complimentary planet fabric, and this rainbow strip I've had lying around for way too long. I almost used it as part of a quilt backing several quilts ago, but I didn't need to piece the back, and my husband kindly mentioned that it's a special piece that I should save for a special quilt. I'm really glad I listened to him, as it fits this one much better!

I'd like to say I'll have this one quilted asap, but I just don't think that's going to happen. (Especially when I have another quilt top complete that seems like a much easier project to tackle! But more on that quilt later.)


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