Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LTTSA: Puppet Theater Done!

Man, it feels really great to be done with my biggest Christmas gift project this early! I'm really happy with it and love the 1001 Peeps fabric on it, although it's not without it's problems. The biggest problem is that it's too big for our door frames. Simple measuring could have fixed that, but I'm not one for much forethought and convenient results. But I did kick myself for that. It fits ok, just a little bunched in. 

The other problem is that I didn't have any tools to be able to cut those thick dowels down to 28". So the part below the theater window is saggy for now, but I'm sure I can borrow something from someone to fix that problem. 

The biggest issue with this is that Hendrix got up from his nap while I was photographing it and his present is now a little ruined. The good news is he was really excited about it, and I'm hoping not seeing it for a month will elicit the same response on Christmas. Of course, by then it will have some new puppets to go with it. (probably store-bought. Ikea actually has really cute cheap ones.) I also might dress it up a bit more by sticking some of the Peeps people on the front. 

I think the curtains are my favorite part. I'm really glad I decided to put that strip of purple in it to pick up on the purple towers. And, yes I made the windows crooked on purpose. I had them placed all centered and even, and after staring at it til my eyes hurt, I finally figured out that it looked too nice and neat. They needed to be crooked like the windows on the print.

So, it needs some minor tweaks, but I really like it and I'm glad to know he will too. As I was making this, I realized that it was a LOT of work and took much longer than I had anticipated. That's why I decided to reward the efforts of those who made this particular project.

As always, I would love for you guys to link up whatever project from the book you made this month, big or small. I know not everyone had the time/ desire to make this one, in fact I'm expecting 5 or less of you did, which is fine and great. Everyone who links up anything will still be entered to win the pattern package from the lovely Owly Baby.

BUT! I will then do another drawing including just those that made the puppet theater and that winner will get an awesome prize package made up of my very own awesome destashings.

Super-Duper Stupendous Surprise Puppet Theater Prize Package:

  • Copy of Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones book. (very nice condition.)
  • One back issue of Stitch Magazine, full of free patterns.
  • 2 yards of that lovely linen I use all the time. (I used it for the house on the theater.)
  • 6 fat quarters (pretty stuff only, I promise.)
  • Ziploc stuffed with nice scraps. 
What? I know, awesomeness. I'm mostly doing this as a reward for your hard work, not a motivation to get more people to make it (although, hey you still have a week from now.) And as an excuse to get rid of some things that are nice but I don't have room for anymore. And because I'm just so happy to have you all sewing along!

Can't wait to see what you've made this month!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Quilt for Mom

I finished this one about a week ago, but now that my mom has her early Christmas gift, I can show you! We were in TN most of last week for a big family thing and it was great. Truly, truly great in so many ways. I wanted to give this to her before the rest of the extended family arrived at their house, so last Sunday after dinner I told my parents I had an early gift for them. Of course, mom immediately gasped because she assumed I was going to say we were having another baby. Um, no just a measly quilt that I started working on back in August. What a gip :)

She wasn't actually disappointed at all, she was thrilled to have a quilt made for her and really loved it. 

I used 2 charm packs of Kate Spain's Flurry line along with 2 charm packs of Bella white to make all the HSTs. Then I decided I wanted it a little bigger, so I got some Flurry yardage and added borders. I like the way it came out, but I can't help but wonder if it would have been better to use the solid red all the way around. Oh well, the green is pretty too. 

The back is all one fabric, (what?!) an old Valori Wells print that matched the red and white of the quilt perfectly. I had 8-9 yard of this on hand from an old random Christmas project, so I was happy to use up a good bit. The quilting lines are about 3/8" on either side of the seams that form the diamonds, and continued out that way onto the borders. It came out to 72" by 58." The binding is fun, but sometimes I wish I had used a calmer print. And Christmas fabric in general is not my favorite, but this line is pretty and I was glad to get to try this off-center diamond design that I love. This is one of those projects that has several very small regrets (like also wishing I hadn't spilled coffee on it while I was in the middle of quilting), but overall I'm still happy with the end result. And most importantly, mom loves it. 

It's officially Christmas now I guess. I still have a LOT of sewing to do. I don't think I'm attempting any more quilts as gifts, but knowing me that is likely to change. And since most of the Christmas season technically takes place in fall, I'm going to enter this one into Celebrate Color. Now, hopefully the kids will stay asleep a little longer so I can put my fresh-from-the-shop machine to good use. After three weeks apart, we might just need to hug for a bit first...

(PS, if anyone wants some of that red and white Valori Wells print, PLEASE let me know!)

Celebrate Color

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Fresh Poppy Design

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hey guess what, you're not that awesome...

...said Jessica to herself.

DGS November block 1

This is the block that reminded me of that fact. So this month, I'm the quilter for my circle of Do. Good  Stitches, which is a charity quilting bee. If you don't know how it works, there are ten of us that make a couple blocks each month and send them to the "quilter" who picked out the block and the colors of the design and will put all of the group's blocks together and finish the quilt. Well, for my first time in this responsibility, I went ahead and chose something that would make everyone hate me right off the bat. Seriously, I bet they were/ are all cursing my name while making these babies. I know I was.

I've only made this, the first of my two, because I was just too exhausted to move on to my second. The seam ripper did get put to use, and as you can see it still has plenty of issues. This is the tutorial for the block. When I first saw it back in September, I thought it was so cool and unique and would be great as an entire quilt of these triangles. I didn't really think about how tricky those angles would be in reality.

Here's the thing. While this one was a little frustrating, I really didn't mind because I knew I was learning thru my mistakes. Even if I'm cursing like Ralphie's dad at his furnace, deep down, I'm still really happy to be sewing and getting better at sewing. So I'm hoping everyone else in my group looks at things the same way. Isn't that one reason quilting bees are good? You wouldn't want to make a whole quilt of really difficult blocks, but you can handle a couple, and then they all still get made into something beautiful. So even if someone picks something you might never have made, you get to try it. Is that how everyone thinks of bees, or would you rather have relatively simple blocks you can crank out every month? I don't know, I'm asking. Either way, I had better make this quilt super awesome in the end so that it was worth it for everyone. Then my name will be praised once again, instead of cursed for the headaches I have sprung upon them :)

greek cross 1

greek cross 2

These are my Greek cross blocks from last month. Denise is an amazing quilter and has already made them into two baby girl quilts that you can see here and here. I'd love to make a whole quilt of this block some day, it's a really fun one.

Lebanon Quilt Shop goodies

I'll leave you with a picture of pretty folded fabrics. Who doesn't love those pictures? I'm in TN at my parents' for Thanksgiving, and yesterday I went to a local quilt shop with my mom. It was just called "Sewing and Vacuum Center" and the outside window was covered in weird paintings of Disney characters. I did not have high hopes. Well, wouldn't you know I found lots of things I couldn't resist. Never judge a quilt shop by it's cover. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grandpa Cardigan and a Coupon Code for YOU

This is my version of the Darling Cardigan by Owly Baby, this month's LTTSA sponsor. It's not perfect, but I kind of love it. It's refashioned from one of Nick's old hoodies that was covered in holes. I somehow managed to cut out the pattern pieces while avoiding the holes and centering the plaid. Bonus. 

This was not my first time working with knit, but it was my first experience with ribbing. I'm a big fan, however I did seem to miscalculate the length of ribbing I needed around the neckline and front. That's why it's a little too stretched looking around the neck area.

But I'm glad to have the experience with ribbing and I know exactly how I would fix the problem next time. Plus it still looks pretty cute when it's on him. ("Mom, go away. I just woke up and I need to watch Barney." ...Yes, sometimes I let him watch Barney. Don't judge me.)

Also, here's a secret- The button placket is completely fake. I've only done button holes on my newer machine, which is still in the shop. I didn't feel like figuring it out on my other machine, so I just faked it. It's easy enough to pull over anyway. I left it at just 3 buttons because I think it looks much more grandpa-ish. Which suits his grumpy post-nap demeanor here just fine.

Next time I try an Owly Baby pattern, it will most certainly be this adorable City Jumper. Those pockets are killing me. And you know how I feel about piping.

Good news! Becky of Owly Baby is not only sharing her patterns as our giveaway prize this month, she's also offering all of my readers a coupon code. For 20% off purchases of individual patterns (not bundles), enter LTLGRAY20 from now until the end of November. Go!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Loulouthi Tiles Finished!

Here it is, my Loulouthi Tiles quilt, done and done. I started this quilt back in June when I was still in the middle of my very first quilt ever for the modern quilting class I took. This weekend I finished. Why? I don't know. It was really awful timing to finish this quilt. Although I love it, there was absolutely no reason to finish it. And my #1 machine is still in the shop, so I actually made the effort to spend extra time at work to do most of that very heavy straight-line quilting. (Which I also love, but wasn't really necessary on this already unnecessary quilt. The thing is, I have another quilt that does have a deadline and really needs to get done this week. But I did this instead. My husband and I decided I have focus and time management issues. Just like college.

The back is quite crazy because I really didn't want to have very many scraps leftover. I honestly wanted to be done with Loulouthi forever. I had gotten quite sick of it after making this top and seeing it made into everything all over the internet and staring at it in the shop all the time. Well, I'm over that now. Finishing this has made me totally in love with the collection all over again. It's just an objective fact that this fabric is gorgeous.

Here's a close-up of the wonky log cabin I made just for fun. This is just one of those things you have to try when you start quilting. Then you will get log cabins forever. And you will get wonky. Win win.

Yes the quilting took forever and I often thought, "What is wrong with me? Why am I doing this?" But I knew the answer once I took it out of the dryer. I love that moment. 

Some things:

  • It's the baby version of Rachel's pattern, about 43" by 49"
  • I used Bella "Green" (Yes, it's just called green. Weird.) for the sashing. I'm just gonna say it: Moda Bella beats Kona. Any day.
  • I quilted it with aqua thread in diagonal straight lines about 3/8" apart. 
  • Binding is the blue Hugs and Kisses print, all by machine. 
  • I like it a lot and I'm probably keeping it. Even though I'm not a baby. 

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mini Quilt Challenge- My Fall Colors

I originally began this mini quilt as a table runner/ square for a swap in the Cincy MQG. It didn't make it to that swap because my kid took some scissors to it. FANtastic. Well, I repaired the damage this week and finished it up just in time for the Mini Quilt Challenge at AmyLouWho.

The design is inspired by this quilt, just miniaturized. If you are interested in the dimensions, I cut the main squares to 3 inches. Then I sewed a strip of the linen 1.5 inches by 3 to one side, then another strip of linen 1.5 inch by 4 on the next side. Arrange them like so, 6 rows of 6 blocks makes a 21" square mini.

The main part of the back is a Joel Dewberry print I've had forever that I absolutely hated until I used it here. Love it when that happens. 

The solids are mostly from my swap package from Anna, and I added my linen and the pink Echino print.  I had the Celebrate Color contest in my mind all along with this one too. The yellow is really the only conventional fall color here, but all of it together looks very fallish to me and I love the scheme. 

Go check out a whole lot of other lovely minis here. And if you are visiting from the mini party, you can see another mini I've made here

Celebrate Color

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Thursday, November 10, 2011

LTTSA: Planning the Puppet Theater

We're a third of the way thru November people! How did that happen? We officially have a pink Christmas tree and garland up in my place of work- yikes. Time to get moving on this super-cute gift for our kids, and I'm really glad we are doing it this month. 

I recently bought a couple of prints from Lizzie House's 1001 Peeps collection on a whim. As soon as I saw them in person I knew I had to use them for this puppet theater. 

Here's a rough little sketch of what I plan to do. I'm not changing it too much, just turning the house into an Arabian tower type thing. Drawing it out really helped me see where I wanted to use my fabrics.

The linen on the bottom here will be the main part of the building. I still need to buy some canvas. The book has a great suggestion to get a drop cloth from the hardware store, but I think I'm going to pick up some duck cloth from Joann's because it comes in a few different colors. That's actually what I used as the base of my table playhouse, so I might even get the same yellow color. The blue tower print will be my roof and door and the purple will be the windows. I'm going to trim the windows in that orange, which is not Lizzie House, but the Moroccan feel is perfect.

I'm using Lizzie's signature pearl bracelet print in a variety of colors for the curtains. That red is actually from Outfoxed- I love how all of her collections work so well together!

Lastly, I have a little of this print on the way. I plan on stuffing the little characters to make a few puppets, either on craft sticks or just finger puppets. (If you like 1001 Peeps, Above All Fabrics has it on sale right now.)

You'll need to get some sort of fusible web for the appliqué if you don't already. I like to use this Heat n Bond light because it comes on a big roll, but there are several good kinds, like Wonder Under or Steam-a-Seam. Just make sure it's fusible on two sides and sewable. Sometimes I like to just use spray adhesive for appliqué, especially when using thicker materials like felt, or really big pieces. It's just quick and easy. Some kind of fabric marker will be good to have for this project too.

The possibilities are endless for how you could adapt this project. You could make it a castle, a circus tent, a train, a pirate ship or Noah's ark, a treehouse... you guys probably have some brilliant ideas. And of course, making it exactly as it is in the book will be very adorable as well. I really love those flower boxes on the windows.

Hey, maybe we should do the giveaway from last month? I loved all your aprons and other projects. And I was encouraged to see that we had even one more entry than last month- we are not losing momentum at all!

Ok, the winner according to is #14, Amanda of Ellieboo! I'll be emailing you soon about your pattern choices from Mama Stellato's shop. If you didn't win, be sure to browse the great patterns at really good prices.

Good news- we have another great sponsor for November! Owly Baby has some of the sweetest young kid patterns like this reversible wrap dress and the sidewalk jacket for winter. You'll soon be seeing my version of the Darling Cardigan pattern. It's pretty darn cool.

So how are you guys doing on the theater? Have you started dreaming? Have you got to the cutting and appliquéing already? Can't wait to hear your ideas. Also, if you know of any great puppet patterns or tutorials, share links here and I'll do a round up of puppet ideas on the next sew-along post. Happy sewing!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Walk In the Woods Quilt Top

So I started a baby girl quilt this weekend. You know what really sucks? Having two quilts basted and ready and then having to put your machine in the shop for a couple of weeks. I REALLY want them finished, but there is no way my old machine could handle quilting very gracefully. But I am thankful that it's there as a back up, and to soothe myself about those other unfinished quilts I just started another. 

I'm not supposed to have Aneela Hoey's new line because it's not due out until spring, but I do because my nice peeps at work brought back samples for me from Quilt Market. It was like a charm pack, except with 2.5" squares instead of 5." Is there a cute name for that precut or is it just sample size? I don't know. 

I didn't know it would turn into a quilt. I just started by sewing all of them together, and I thought I might make a couple more of those patchwork bibs for Elsie out of it. But then I realized it was much too light and cute to stain with baby food so I just found some other fabrics on my shelf and it magically became a quilt top. I didn't have to buy a single thing, but it's practically begging for red gingham binding, so I may have to buy a little of that. It's necessary.

And I'm running low on seed catalog. Must get MORE. Also, I need a friend to have a baby girl so I can give this to her. Anyone? Knocked up? Female persuasion? Anyone?...

Fresh Poppy Design