Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Quilting with My Kids

I have four children. This is certainly not new information to y'all, though sometimes I admit that I'm still a little surprised by it. (I have FOUR children? When did that happen?) And as y'all can probably imagine, keeping four littles entertained/occupied is a challenge, especially if this mama wants to sneak in a bit of sewing.

Enter: The Design Wall. I grab my carefully color-coded, super fancy ziploc bags of scraps, dump out a bag or two, and let them go wild designing. We've made a handful of placemats in this fashion, and let me tell you, scrap placemats are a great FMQ practice canvas. :)

And while I have been doing the sewing while the kids have been the design team, my second son told me a few months ago that he would like to make a quilt. My oldest heard this request and decided that he too would like to make one. I searched through my stash and secured our supplies, and we went to work. (For the record, I did not let my five- and seven-year-olds cut the fabric. I can imagine them brandishing my rotary cutter as a pirate sword with disastrous results.)

Since this is really their first major foray into sewing, I kept it simple, and we just did row quilts. The nesting dolls is my five-year-old's offering. (He sat on my lap and guided the fabric as I controlled the foot pedal.

And after he helped me sew a row or two, my seven-year-old did all of the fabric guiding, though I did control the pedal still, but only because his legs aren't long enough.

So far, they've helped with every aspect except the cutting, and I intend for them to help with the remaining tasks. However, we've had a hold up in the basting stage that is all my fault as almost every single basting pin I own is currently keeping my Patina quilt in a yummy quilt sandwich. Speaking of that Patina quilt, I should really give y'all an update on it! Soon, lovely readers, soon.

Do you sew with your kids? Any tips for me? I never realized how difficult a beginner could have sewing a consistent 1/4" seam!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Coast to Coast Traveling Bee--My Quilt Top!

Friends, have we talked about how great the Coast to Coast Traveling Bee is? Have we talked about my very serious love for it? Yes? Well, in case you are unaware, this bee is AMAZING. I had so much fun participating this year, and I am eager to start the 2018 round off. (Okay, not TOTALLY eager as I've yet to finish piecing my top, but you get the point!)

The mountain centerpiece above is where my quilt started.

And this is what I got in return. SO FREAKING AWESOME, right?


This bad boy is totally getting the handquilting treatment. You know, when I finished up the other five quilt tops laying around my house at present. (FIVE? YIKES!)

Now, I'm off to work on paper-piecing my start for round two, aka C2C2.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Rainbow Mini Quilt

We'll just gloss over the fact that I've been gone for like three months, mmmkay? Because it essentially boils down to four kids, homeschooling two of them, lots of husband-being-out-of-town, computer problems, Christmas planning, swimming lessons, gymnastics classes, and the occasional sewing. The good news is that I have a healthy backlog of things to share with you, and I'll hopefully have time to get a few posts up, woo!

Like a million years ago, I pieced some half-dresdens for a quilt I made for Susan for the Coast to Coast Traveling Bee. (Spoiler alert: C2C will be starting again soon! Also, just realized I never shared my finished quilt top, which is a total SHAME because it's amazing. Gotta remedy that soon.)

I had planned to make this mini for me. But the farther along I got in the planning process, the more I felt like this would make a super sweet birthday present for my awesome friend, K, soooooo...

I finished it up and sent it her way. I hand quilted this using Aurifil 12 wt. thread with the exception of the white which is a DMC perl cotton. Fabrics were from stash.

Monkeys on the back!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gatherer Crossbody Bag, Take 1

They said it couldn't be done, but did I prove them wrong? OH! Absolutely.

I made a bag other than a 241 tote. Who knew?

This is the Gatherer Crossbody Bag, and it's a pattern from the same designer as the 241 tote, Anna Graham of Noodlehead. Like the 241, the directions are super bomb. I feel like this bag came together a lot faster than the 241--but that could be because there were no zipper installations. Though there was piping, and that was a new adventure...hmmm...I don't know. All that to say, this pattern was super cool, and it's FREE, so there you go.

I did make a few modifications to this bag. I actually increased the size of the pattern pieces, though I couldn't tell you how much as I have no clue! But it makes for a bigger bag, which is sweet. I used a magnetic closure instead of the leather/button combination. I used canvas for the exterior (Lizzy House's Nosara Canvas in Blue) and a quilting cotton for the interior and extra details (Laura Gunn's Painter's Canvas...probably in Lagoon). Finally, we opted for a 1.5" strap sewn into the lining rather than the super cute (but not as durable) thin strap.

See, this is a replacement bag for a friend who wore the last bag I made for her into ruin. You might think that's an over-exaggeration, but trust me, it's time for that 241 Tote to be retired. It has given more than any bag should ever have to give! And this new bag has been made to hold up for just as long, and hopefully longer.

I sewed the bag up, but the strap was much too short, so I performed a bit of surgery, and now it's all gravy. Bonus, I found a way to get to the post office this afternoon, so as we speak, it is on the way.

This was a super fun bag to sew up, and I have fabric cut and prepped for another one--this time for me! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Patina Quilt Start

My oldest niece just had her Bat Mitzvah. (And if I may say so, she totally rocked it.) In the eyes of the Jewish community, she is now a woman. Cue Audrey freaking out. How do I have a niece that old?

And just how am I going to celebrate such a momentous occasion? You can probably guess, but just in case you're still waking up because it's Monday morning--oh it's Monday morning over here all right--I'm making her a quilt! Because it's one of those "go big or go home" kind of moments, I've chosen to make her a twin-size beauty of a quilt, the Patina quilt from Tula Pink and Angela Walter's book, Quilt with Tula and Angela.

I sent my niece 5-6 different quilt patterns that I thought she might like, and I was so excited when she chose the Patina quilt because it's the one I thought she might pick.

I have already used my seam ripper more than I would like to admit. I keep sewing the wrong colors to the wrong colors! But when you're dealing with 13 different fabrics and something between 500 and 600 rectangles, well, it's understandable that mistakes do occur.

I've chosen to use Kona solids for this quilt project, and I have this soft tie-dye flannel to back it with. (I actually bought the flannel before I bought the solids.) We're going with a color scheme very close to the original as my niece really liked it. I've finished sewing up my strip As and my strip Bs and I'm almost through my strip Cs. I hope to have a finished quilt top soon.

Happy Monday, friends!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Coast to Coast Traveling Bee Quilt 5

For my fifth and final quilt project from the Coast to Coast Traveling Bee, I got to work on Chelsea's quilt, woo! Chelsea had sent along some Alison Glass charms and some oh-so lovely blocks utilizing AG fabric, asking for additional blocks for a super fun sampler. This was my last quilt project from the bee--other than finishing up my own quilt, of course--and it's sad to think we are done for the year. I had hoped this bee would be totally wicked awesome with some totally wicked awesome peeps, and it was that and so much more.

I referenced the block library at Gen X Quilters, and I picked out a handful of blocks I thought would make fun contributions to this project. This is my personal favorite, the Modern Star from LaineyBug Designs.

This is the Crown of Thorns block from Charise Creates.

And a Starry Skyline block courtesy of From Blank Pages.

I made a couple of small filler blocks as well and sent it all off. Here is a shot of Chelsea's blocks all together--I'm eager to see what this finished top will look like!

C2C is already planning for next year--at least one of the peeps has already bought fabric!! The rumblings of an idea are starting to take shape, and thankfully I have some time to let them mature. I hope to have one more C2C post for this year--one full of finishes! (Or at least finished tops...)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July. (So far.)

This month has flown by, and oy, I've been busy! There hasn't been a lot of sewing time, and I've neglected to blog, a state that probably won't be changing any time soon. With my fourth year of homeschooling on the horizon, I've been knee deep in curriculum choices, co-op decisions, and training to be a substitute tutor at our co-op. We start in less than a month! I've also been hard at work editing my second book, which is coming along slowly but surely. You might think I'd be exhausted, and I am a little, but I'm also oh-so excited, especially now that the most stressful bits are hopefully past.

I did sneak in a bit of sewing, including this super cute sunbonnet for my daughter. Of course, Vanilla wants nothing to do with it, probably because it's a bit too big, but hopefully she'll love it soon. The fabric is leftover from a dress that was made for my niece. Using scraps always makes me remember good things.

I also finished up a pinafore and have fabric cut for a second one. This was my first time sewing with rayon, and while it wasn't the easiest to work with, I made it through! It is definitely not the best fabric to use for a pinafore, but it is super soft and comfy. It just doesn't do much to retain the shape. This pinafore is lined in a yummy shot cotton. Next up, we'll see how a voile and quilting cotton combo work out!

And I've finished up two Star Wars pillowcases for my big boys. Of course, Fava is now asking for his own Star Wars pillowcase. I should've anticipated this, but honestly, I didn't think a two-year-old would be that concerned about a pillowcase. Alas, he is, and back to the store for more fabric, but this time, enough for two as my nephew needs one as well!

But I think more exciting than those finishes are the fabric pulls I've had the delightful pleasure of assembling recently. This is for a Patina quilt from Tula Pink and Angela Walters' book. I'll be making it for my niece, and it's a big one! I better get cutting.

And the start of the fabric pull for my Magnolia Mystery quilt. I need a bit more lime, but I think it's a fun blend. Thankfully I had a big piece of that black batik chilling in my stash.

Finally, some yummy Alison Glass for the Coast to Coast Traveling Bee, which is on its last rotation. A couple of people have actually gotten their quilt tops back already, and if you've been following me on instagram, you'll know I've put together a few blocks. You also might know that my quilt top is done, and it's a beauty!

I feel like I have so much more to share with you, but that'll have to do for now as it's bedtime and two little boys are waiting for tuck-in service. Goodnight, y'all.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Baby P's Quilt

I finished A QUILT. That's right! I still make those! Baby P's Quilt is done, and none too soon. (Baby P was only born three or so months ago!) So I'm a wee bit late! But if I tell myself that I want to give it to him in person when I see him in a few weeks, well, then, I've finished with plenty of time to spare.

This quilt took a hard left turn from the original design/idea. And then, just when I thought I'd settled on another idea, it decided to veer left again. This spot we've arrived at? Well, it may not look it, but it's definitely a stretch for me. I don't usually make quilts like this. Cool colors? Loads of negative space? I know a ton of quilters will laugh at me, but that kind of business is utterly terrifying for me.

And I made this quilt with the intention of stretching myself. It's just, what I didn't realize was, my sewing time has become seriously limited. It's a decision that I've come to for myself, and it's a good decision, but it means that when I *do* have sewing time, I don't want to spend it stretching myself. I want to spend it making something I can get very very excited about. And while I don't hate this quilt or dislike it by any means, it doesn't feel very Audrey to me. (Okay, the quilting totally feels Audrey to me, and I fought that urge too, exploring two other possible quilting ideas that would be even more of a stretch, but ultimately returning to a scheme I knew I would like and could execute. I'm happy I did.)

For the back, I used a charcoal kona solid. I had originally planned to use this as the back when my color pull was white, gray, black, red, orange, and mint with just a hint of pink, but it still worked even after transitioning to a mint/blue/green combo. I used the same mint thread for both my top and bottom threads.

And for the binding, I used the same kona mint solid and went with a machine bound zigzag finish.

This is my final finish from my Q2 FAL list. I completed everything on my (short) list! But since I've never finished an entire list before, I'm extremely pleased with this accomplishment.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Felicity Dress in Lawn

Finish #2 from the Q2 FAL is my Felicity Dress in Lawn. I used a Cotton + Steel lawn (I believe the collection was Hatbox?) for my dress, and it was a lesson in making do, let me tell you. But now it's done, and I love my dress!

I originally finished off the neckline, but it didn't sit right, so I had to rip everything out and begin again. It was totally the right call, but ugh.

I didn't have *quite* enough fabric, so I had to use something else for my pockets. This is some sort of Kona solid that is actually a really pale blue. I had it on hand, it was the perfect amount of material, it worked.

And I finished it off with a pink waist sash using the edge of the fabric. I had intended to utilize that pink for the bottom hem, but I didn't have enough fabric to make that work, so sash it is! And really, without the sash, I think the pink at the neck and armholes would look out of place, but with the pink sash, it all comes together.

I've already worn this dress out twice--graduation event and my anniversary dinner!--and I'll get at least one more event out of it this summer alone, so I'm calling this a good finish, even if a white dress is extremely impractical in this household.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Coast to Coast Traveling Bee Quilt 4

For this round of the Coast to Coast Traveling Bee, I had the privilege of working on my super awesome friend K's quilt. K elected to go with a teal, black and white color scheme. I know K is a fan of geometric small scale blenders, and I tried to shape my contribution to this quilt to compliment the blocks that have come before mine.

The above pic shows the blocks for K so far, not including a set of seriously awesome flying geese from Alison. I also pieced together some extra HSTs that were leftover and included some additional fabrics to be used for sashing when it comes time for K to put this all together. 

Before my turn, there was only one block with a gray background, and I thought I should contribute a few additional blocks that might read as gray, so I used a lot of that black and white crosshatch from Carolyn Friedlander. One of my first impressions of this quilt was that a lot of the blocks have movement, so that was my goal when selecting which blocks I wanted to contribute.

Other fabrics I used include some Violet Craft (the black and white bird print in the bottom block) and a teal print from one of Elizabeth Hartman's lines. The blocks from top to bottom, left to right are Fibonacci Sequence blocks, Ashley's Star (alt block), Pinwheel block (I did modify mine), and Ribbon Star.

In some ways, this traveling bee assignment was one of the more difficult for me. ONLY three colors???? Do I know how to piece blocks in only three colors? But it appears I do. I think the Ribbon Star block is my fave, though I do like that Ashley's Star block too.

It's hard to believe, but I have only ONE MORE quilt to work on before this round of the bee is done. It has been such an enjoyable experience, and I think everyone is going to wind up with a really exciting finish!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

241 and Done!

Another 241 tote is in the books. I had to special order hardware to finish it--1.5" slide adjusters aren't common, I guess--and only realized after I'd placed my order that it was shipping from Malaysia! But it arrived last night, and of course the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning was finishing this purse. (But first--coffee and taking care of kidlets and other mommy stuff.)

When the baby went down for her nap, I practically ran to my sewing machine. Sorry, dirty dishes, you'll have to get in line. It was time to finish this bag! (And now the dishes are waiting for this blog post. #priorities)

For my friend's bag, I used a canvas exterior with quilting cotton for the sides. I interfaced this bad boy with fusible fleece, added an exterior zip pocket and interior slip pocket as per pattern instructions, but I opted to also include a second interior slip pocket, this one sized for a writing instrument or two.

For those of you following the great strap debate--we opted for the bunnies! I think they look so good with the bag. But the mountains peek out too, so they weren't completely lost. I used that slide adjuster in making an adjustable strap for the bag.

I am totally in love with this bag. I seriously wish it was sticking around with me. I figure if I love it so much, there's a good chance my friend will be pleased as well, right?

This is my third finish from my Q2 FAL list, but I just realized I haven't talked about my second finish! And if I could just finish that quilt that is looming every time I walk near my sewing nook, I would be 4 and 0! That's motivation to get 'er done, let me tell you.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Yes, Another 241 Tote.

Maybe I should rename this blog Hot Pink 241 Totes? Because I sure do make a lot of them! But I think you're right--it doesn't quite roll off the tongue the way Hot Pink Quilts does, so we'll stick with HPQ, and eventually maybe one of these days I'll get around to photographing the quilt-in-progress I'm working on. Maybe one of these days I'll actually get it done! But until then--241 Tote time!

I honestly don't know what number 241 tote this is for me. Eight? Nine? TEN? Suffice to say, I've made a ton of them. This time, I'm making a commissioned one. And if I'm going to make a commissioned tote, you'd best be believing it's going to rock and be exactly what that person is looking for in their heart of hearts.

We started with choosing a canvas for the exterior body of the bag. I love this print from Tokyo Train Ride. (We'd also considered a Melody Miller canvas and a few others, but we came back to this one, and I'm so glad we did. It's been magical watching it form.) I used fusible fleece interfacing, so this bag is good and solid.

I got the exterior mostly put together, went to insert the zipper, and face palmed as I had FORGOTTEN to buy a zipper. Bravo, Audrey! A few days later, I rectified that mistake. The super thick nature of the canvas + fusible fleece made it difficult to insert the zipper cleanly, so I did my best.

The interior (not pictured) came together without complication, including the pen pocket I added. I pressed fabric for the handle, choosing to fussy cut (ish) the mountains thinking they looked pretty bomb. But on the reverse of the mountains, quite by accident, there is this SUPER CUTE line of bunnies. Now, you'll be able to see both sides of the handle, but one side will be prominent, and choosing one which side to face out was hard! I took to instagram (thank you, friends for your input!) and chatted with my friend who commissioned the tote, and we made a decision, but I think I'm gonna have y'all wait until the end to see what we chose!

And when I went to finish up the adjustable strap--I use this tutorial, though I did modify it this go around, more details in the finish post--I realized I ALSO had neglected to buy a slide adjuster. Rather, I had one on hand, but I hadn't considered that it's 1" wide when I need one that is 1.5" wide. Finding one has been an awful pain, and I finally thought to check etsy, and sure enough, there were like fifty million listings.

When that slide adjuster arrives, this bag should come together in twenty (or so) minutes, and I am SO eager to have it done because it already looks pretty smart, so don't you think it'll look even better when complete?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Felicity Dress, Take 3 In Progress

This is my third time making Jennifer Lauren's Felicity Dress. I absolutely LOVE the second one I made--the first one, not so much!--and of all my handmade stuff, it's probably the piece I wear the most.

I have a couple of fun events to attend this summer, and a new dress for those get togethers sounded like a lovely plan! But rather than go through the arduous task of buying one RTW, I opted to make my own, and friends, it has been the best sort of idea. I was under a bit of a time crunch though, so rather than try (and possibly fail) with a new pattern, I opted to make a third Felicity dress.

It was an easy call, especially since I am still in the process of losing baby weight. Since I can currently fit into my other Felicity dress which was made pre-Vanilla, I knew that a third would still fit me when I've lost the baby weight. Also, the pattern was already cut out and marked, and that right there was a huge time-saver.

I ordered this super yummy lawn from Cotton + Steel--the line is specifically Hatbox--but it was going to be way too shear to wear solo, so I opted to line it with a muslin. I would still consider myself a beginning apparel-sewist, and I'm not too knowledgeable about the different types of lining fabrics. Because of that, the fabric I picked out is probably too structured for this lawn, or so I worried, but after sewing it up, I actually like the body it lends to the lawn. It gives the dress a bit more oomph and polish, and while it was completely accidental, I'm thankful for the accident!

My dress was all sewn up with the exception of the bottom hem when I went to try it on. I found with both of my previous versions of the Felicity dress that I needed to gather the neckline substantially more than is called for to make it lie flat and even on my chest. I accounted for that when I was sewing this version up, but after trying on the dress, I realized I still hadn't gathered enough, and so I need to rip out the binding fabric and gather the neckline again. Hopefully that fix will finish off this dress.

(And can I just say that I'm none too excited about this bit? The awesome lining fabric plus the lawn make gathering a tricky task.)

I did hem the bottom (obviously after this photo was taken) so once the neckline is finished, this dress will be ready to go! I'm really *really* excited to see this one done, and I'm even more excited to wear it this summer.

OH! And on looking up the Felicity Dress page while writing this post, I discovered that Jennifer Lauren has released a free skirt expansion, and I'm SO excited! I've been wanting to make some skirts for awhile now, and I've been eyeing the Cleo Skirt pattern by Made by Rae because it's cute and it has POCKETS. I may still wind up buying the Cleo pattern, but first I'm going to try this, especially since it also has pockets! (I kinda feel all dresses and skirts should have pockets.)


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