Monday, January 30, 2012

LTTSA: Bear Carrier Link Up

As soon as I finished this girly little carrier, I realized how sexist I am. For some reason I just assumed this one wouldn't be for Hendrix so I stuck pink flowery straps on it. But then I finished it and realized he would probably love toting around his "Doggie" in it. He's had this brown stuffed dog since he was born and he carries it around everywhere. So many times, I'll see him doing something that would be so much easier to do if he just put the damn thing down, but he refuses. It's always tucked under his arm. But for some reason I am living in the 50's and only pictured a toy like this being enjoyed by a girl. I'm pretty sure Nick toted both our babies around in carriers just as much as I did, if not more. Just call me a chauvinist.

You may notice that said Doggie is conspicuously absent from these pictures, and replaced by this lackluster bear that was apparently attacked by rainbows. This post is coming to you from our vacation to sunny Florida. (Yay!) Being the genius parents that we are, we realized about 3 hours into the 17 hour car ride down here that we had somehow left Doggie at home.

I had a bit of an inner freak out. This was obviously going to be a very long trip to make with two little kids and we really didn't need any circumstances adding to the potential hellishness. We were counting on the kids sleeping most of the trip, since we were driving thru the night. Hendrix always hugs his Doggie when he sleeps, he needs his Doggie to sleep.

I began searching on my phone to see if we would be driving by any Ikeas, since that's where thousands of these identical doggies reside in big white bins. Sure, a new doggie would not have snot-dreadlocked fur and a completely limp neck, so it probably wouldn't have satisfied anyway. And it turns out, the Atlanta Ikea is not open at 3 AM. Weird.

Anyway, it was not an issue on the car ride at all. He slept fine and never mentioned it once. Not one whimper of the doggie. The next day we had settled at Grammy's house and I was reading him a book before his nap. He abruptly interrupted with, "Hey! Where's my Doggie?" I replied softly that we had left him at home and then winced, waiting for the storm of grieving that was sure to follow. He lackadaisically replied, "Oh." I finished the book. He went to sleep. We have been here 4 days and he has not mentioned it since.

What is the moral of this story? I'm not really sure. Probably that I want him to hang on to this vestige of childhood more than he does. I'm mostly the kind of mom that wants to help my kids grow up and learn independence. I'm not at all sentimental about these kinds of things, like moving the newborn out of our room, or even the end of nursing. That part of me knows that this is the perfect opportunity to go home, hide Doggie before he remembers their lifelong love affair, and break the habit for good.

But I'm pretty sure I'd much rather see Doggie tucked under my boy's arm for a little bit longer... Or in a girly pink carrier.

Alright patient friends, time to link up your projects from Little Things to Sew. They may or may not have a sappy story attached, definitely not required. Remember, you have until one week from now, and everyone who made something will be entered to win a free digital pattern from Oliver & S. Can't wait to see your stuff!

P.S. If you are reading this on Tuesday, I'm at Disney World! Yahoo!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oh Yeah! (Stuff I forgot to show you.)

It seems like Christmas happened ages ago. Somehow I forgot to show you some more gifts I made, besides my brother's quilt and Hendrix's puppet theater. Feel free to comment about how this is yesterday's news and nobody gives a tail shake anymore. Or, you know, say something nicer.

Or you could just come up with a caption to this picture that explains why my mom is trying to get fresh with me...

This is actually a Christmas gift for myself. I made several of these Anna Maria Horner figure eight scarves for gifts this year and this is the only one I have a picture of. (Plus, my mom is cute. Awwww.)

I made my niece and nephew a couple of pillowcases for fun. Sorry about the crappy picture, I just had to show it because I think this fabric is so cute!

This potholder set is for a bachelor friend of ours that is moving into a new house soon. Single guys never have enough of this stuff, or any of it really. Plus they are super excited about gifts like this. Really nothing better than potholders for your average single guy of 30 :)

And here's just a few bibs that were stocking stuffers for Elsie. The fabrics make me happy when I see them every day. While she drools on them.

Alright. Captions: GO!

Monday, January 23, 2012

LTTSA: Just a Little Buttonholin'

January is flying by! Have you started on your projects yet? If you are doing the bear carrier like me, at least it's a fairly quick sew. And if you are like me, you tend to let finishing touches like buttons and buttonholes linger on these little projects far longer than they need to. Why? I don't know.

Since you are all such good seamsters, you probably know your way around a buttonhole. But maybe there are a few of you out there who have been avoiding them. I thought I'd show you how very easy they are, just so you know :)

I did not pre-mark my pieces as called for. I'm a bit of a hoodlum that way. But it's very ok in this case because it's the nature of the project that the button and hole don't have to be in exactly the right places, not like a shirt placket or something. Anyway, I've never really found a marking tool I was crazy about until I bought this chalk retractable pencil. Totally worth it. So the first step is to mark your line at the appropriate angle, about as long as your button.

Now find your buttonhole foot. This shouldn't be too hard- it's the one that's REALLY long. There is an adjustable bit in the back where you clamp your button in place. This will tell your machine exactly how long to make the hole to fit that button. Magic! Or simple mechanics, whichever.

So place your fabric under with the front of the line you drew under the needle. There should be little red lines on the foot or something similar so you can make sure things are centered. Then you lower the buttonhole lever, as I'm doing on the left there, and make sure it rests behind the latch on the foot. 

At this point, you should probably (definitely) make sure you have chosen the correct buttonhole stitch. You want the one with bar tacks at both ends. Consult your manual.

Now is the fun part- just gun it. The machine does the whole thing, reinforces it, and just stops when it's done. 

Repeat on the other side and you have two beautiful buttonholes. Except, you still have to give them the hole part.

Put a pin thru the top bar tack and use your seam ripper to make the hole from bottom to top. (Point sharp object away from yourself.)

Of course, every machine does things slightly differently, but most computerized ones will probably be similar to this. So read up in your manual. Mine also has a foot just for sewing on the buttons, which is fun since you know I like to avoid even the tiniest amount of handwork. But you really don't need a foot, you can also try dropping the feed dogs and setting a zig zag stitch on zero length and 3.5-ish width. (Width will vary with the button of course.)

So we still have a week to finish up, actually two weeks to join the link party at the end of the month since I always give a little grace time. And don't forget about this month's fantastic prize from Liesl Gibson. Have you thought about what digital pattern you would pick?? I would definitely go for the jumprope dress if I could win!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sewing For Boys: 2-in-1 Jacket

It's January 21, we live in Ohio, and my 2yo finally just now has a coat. This project just kept getting pushed back all winter. I've had the fabrics for a long time, so I didn't want to buy him a cheap Target coat when I had already spent the money on this. I just had to make it! Tara's sew-along gave me the push I needed and the sewing guilt has been lifted. Luckily, winter didn't really arrive here until this week. So now that he has a coat, I'd rather just stay inside, thank you.

But he LOVES it. I don't know where this modeling enthusiasm came from, but check out the moves today-

The outside is a wide corduroy and the reverse is flannel, both from Joann's. Once I started sewing, I really wished I had found some better corduroy. This one just feels chintzy and I'm not in love with the shade of brown. But I'm just nit-picking, overall I'm really happy with it. 

I made the side 4/5 since he's wearing 4t now, and I think it's big enough that he'll be able to wear it next year too. I interlined the front and back pieces with an extra layer of the flannel for warmth. 

My favorite part is definitely the toggles! I couldn't find any buttons that were right, but I didn't want to take short-cuts on the details. So I ripped these off an old baby jacket of his, thinking this would be a quick solution with high payoff. Well, the payoff was good, but it was not quick or easy. First I had to make a bunch of those tiny cords out of the flannel, making sure they were rolled tight with all the raw edges inside. Then I had to jam them thru the tiny holes in the toggles. This was a lot of tedious work. I've never used my teeth so much in sewing. Of course, now the jacket isn't truly reversible like it's meant to be in Sewing For Boys, but I don't think I would really reverse the sides often anyway. The toggles make the thing. 

This was a great pattern to follow and I really enjoyed tackling those welt pockets. (Not as hard as you would think.) After my experience with this and the raglan tees, I cannot wait to make more from this book!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Powerless Against the Swoon

This is going to reveal to you how ridiculous and vain I am. But I'm just gonna put it out there...

I really wanted to resist making a Swoon quilt. I've enjoyed admiring them on Flickr for a while now, but when they became so prolific, I decided I was too cool to make such a common pattern. Seriously, why would I need to make a quilt that everyone has seen a bazillion times already? Psh. I'm too cool for that. I only want to make mind-blowingly original quilts that will smack you across the face with awesomeness.

(Delusional. There is nothing new under the sun, even in "modern" quilting.)

So then the Swoon-along came about at the turn of the new year, and I couldn't stop daydreaming about a Swoon on our bed. Dammit Swoon, I thought, get out of my head! I'm above you and your tempting wiles. Freaking Delilah quilt is what it is.

(Now I'm a crazy person arguing with a hypothetical quilt.)

So I caved, which is obviously where this story is going. But I decided I would rebel by not using "pretty" fabric. You know, nothing floral or serious. The pattern itself is already so pretty that I wanted fabric that didn't take itself too seriously. Enter the Lizzy House stuff I've been collecting slowly over the last few months. Perfect. I also decided I sure as heck wasn't using white. That's so been DONE.

(Are you guys getting from this inner-dialogue what a donkey face I can be? What is wrong with me?)

So I got some Bella silver for my background. Gray is for the cool kids. I'm so cool.

(Which is obviously far from original. I mean, have you seen Jacey's blocks? Love them.)

First Swoon

So here's my first block, which took me ALL weekend. Not because the pattern is hard to follow, but because I wasn't paying close enough attention. I've never used my seam ripper so much, and it was just because of stupid things like sewing sections on upside down or wrong side to right side. (I'm so cool!)

Anyway, I'm happy with it and can't wait to see how the rest of my blocks turn out. I also hope someone out there feels better about their embarrassingly vain quilting neurosis because of this little tale. You're welcome. (I'm awesome!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's Scrappenin.

Getting back to my scraps this week. It's really fun to be a part of the quilt-along and see everyone else's scrap progress. But I've realized that I don't want to finish my Japanese + & x  blocks by March. For one thing, I don't think I could even if I tried. I'd have to forego all other sewing, which you know I have too much ADD for.

But I also just want to enjoy it. I have a crap ton of scraps and I love making these blocks up out of fabric combos I've used in other projects. I envision having about 80 of them when I'm ready for it to be done. That probably won't be until fall or the end of the year... I think I have a total of 15 right now.

Anyway, here's the new batch. Like little scrap firecrackers.

Oh how they make me happy! I think I will have to try a separate pillow or mini for the scrap attack. These are for more of a slow-sipping kind of quilt. 
You might recognize the fabrics in that last picture from my bro quilt. That block on the right I cut up as I was making last month's do Good Stitches blocks, mod mosaics. Such a striking look, but yeesh do these things take forever:

December DGS block 1December DGS block 2

And here's just a little peek at another quilt I'm working on this week. It's a little retro, a little traditional, a little out of my comfort zone, and VERY red. It's totally growing on me though- I can't wait to finish this one up:

Official Scrap Sorter/ Adorabilty Infuser:

Lastly, I forgot to mention before that I guest-posted on my lovely friend Rachael's blog last week. I mostly talked about whatever I wanted and the crafty things I'm into lately, including 4 sewing tools I can't live without. Check it out here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

LTTSA: Bear Carrier Part 1- Fabric & Really Fun News!

Ok, I think I've finally recovered from the holidays and am back in the groove of my normal making. And I'm so excited to get back to our Oliver & S Little Things to Sew- Along!

This month we are working on the Bear Carrier. I figure a lot of little ones out there have new dolls and stuffed friends that might need a way to be close to their hearts. 

But of course, you can make any project from the book and link up at the end of the month. Have you tried the cozy winter hood yet? I would highly recommend that one too. Or maybe you could whip up some of those cute scarves like Tara did. Anything goes, as long as it's Little Things to Sew!

Today I cut out the pieces for my carrier. For the main part, I'm using nice gray denim I cut from a pair of my husband's old jeans. The lining, straps, and pocket are all fabrics from my stash. I gotta say, I'm LOVING the pink/ aqua/ charcoal combo. And I love that this project is a mix of old and new materials. 

The lovely mother of pearl buttons are from my vintage collection my mom gave me. I just love it when I have all the perfect elements right on hand. Next week we'll talk button holes! (Although you should know, I'm no expert. I've only done a few so I'm getting some practice too.)

Now for the exciting news about this month's sew-along prize. It's coming to you straight from Liesl G! Could there be anything better for our little group of Gibson groupies?? I decided to email her this week, and she graciously offered up a free digital download Oliver & S children's pattern to this month's winner. That means you get to choose from a few adorable out-of-print patterns. Check out all 4 that are available here. Thank you so much Liesl!

If you are new to the sew-along, we'd love to have you join this month. Read up on important info by clicking the sew-along tab at the top of the page, and be sure to leave a comment here if you plan to make something. All the fun is hearing from and helping each other- so don't be shy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A couple of Raglans on my Ragamuffin, and Other Knitsy Thoughts

Hey guys, just wanted to pop in and let you know that I'm guest posting today on Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. Stacey is starting a sew-along thru the very awesome Sewing For Boys book, and this week she is having a bunch of guests showing off their projects from the book to get things pumped up.

I'm sharing 2 versions of the raglan tee pattern in the book, plus all my best tips for sewing with knits. (Which I hear Rae also happens to be talking about this whole week. Knits-apalooza!)

You should go check it out here. All of the cool kids are doing it. And you'll be able to see what hilarious thing this shirt says. You know you want to.

Ok, while we are at it with the knits, I might as well answer Rae's kniterview questions. No, I'm not just pretending that she asked me to guest post too :) She actually wants people to do this!

1. I honestly don't remember. This was the first knit project I made, an LBB Hoodie. I don't think I knew enough back then to even know that knits were different and I should possibly be afraid of them. So that took care of that.

2. See #1

3. Clothes for my boy! And I've now made one LBB Hoodie for my baby girl too. Hendrix's Halloween costumes I've made from knit the past two years as well. I'd like to try a top for myself come spring...

4. It's hard to compare. I'm into quilting pretty hard now (have you noticed?) so that's what I like to do with wovens. I'm obsessed. But I also absolutely love being able to make super-comfy practical things for my kids. Apples and oranges really.

5. Interlock is easiest. Jersey can be a tricky bastard but it's just so soft. I've only used ribbing once and I still need to get a better feel for it...

6. I've only used recycled tee-shirts and sweatshirts until just this week. (See above linked guest post for my other shirt made with store-bought knit.) Oh, and I did buy the ribbing as well. We have a few really nice Michael Miller knits at the local fabric store I work in, but I've also browsed this online store and lusted after their wide selection of knit prints. 

7. See #6

8. My main machine, a Brother pc-420.

9. Nope. I have one. It's a sewing resolution this year to actually figure out what to do with it.

10. I used to just lengthen the stitch slightly, but the Sewing For Boys book has a fantastic tip on this that I  will be utilizing from now on: zig-zag stitch, 1.0 width and 3.0 length. 

11. You know, I haven't. But I can see how that would be pretty helpful. My current walking foot needs replacing though.

12. oooooh, also need to try that. 

13. My absolute favorite thing to do with knits is to cut out my pattern pieces with freezer paper. In fact, I've started doing it with all patterns on any fabric, but it especially makes the cutting so much easier and more accurate with knits. I explain a little more with pictures here

14. Don't be afraid. It's really a must if you like sewing for your kids, so just cut into an old tshirt and go for it. This free tutorial is a good place to start. 

More about Rae's Kniterviews here. What about you guys? Do you embrace or fear the knits?