Sunday, April 29, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 4 : mother/daughter sewing kits

Week 4 of the Zakka Style sew along was a success !  This week's task was to sew up a sewing kit, which is very handy considering I just started a new embroidery project.

Once I got started, the kits went so quickly I ended up making two of them!  So, I have one, as well as my 9-year-old who has taken an interest in embroidery.

Here are the two of them together :

Mine is the (not surprisingly) kit with a "J" embroidered on the outside.  {Note to self : use a darker thread next time!}  I had fun with my kit, using the bottom of a pair of linen pants I scored at the local thrift store for $1.50 ... the hem had a little detail that I thought I'd include on my pouch.  I added the edge of the selvage to the outside, for a reflection of the fabric on the inside ...

The inside of my kit has Alexander Henry's "Sew Now" fabric, one I think is perfect for this kit!  And on the pincushion, I stamped a "J", though it might have been nicer if I'd done the same J as on the outside of the kit ...

For my daughter's kit, I used denim, which I think I'll have to start referring as "poor woman's linen". :)

I couldn't help but to add a denim pocket to the outside ... it's so much fun to be able to use all the little pieces that might get discarded.  I embroidered her name to the pocket.  {Note to self : use lighter embroidery thread on denim!}

My daughter is currently in a "snow leopard phase."  Being short of snow leopard fabric, I resorted to this horse fabric that I'd bought when she was in her "horse phase." (The fabric is another Alexander Henry one, "Stable Mates". I do love this.)  I'm glad I could use it while she still loves horses ... plus, horse fabric really goes with the denim on the outside, I think.

Off to next week's project ... what shall I do to make it extra kawaii, I wonder ??

Saturday, April 28, 2012

{work in progress} : alphabet embroidery sampler

So I'm a really competent knitter, a pretty competent spinner, and a fairly competent sewer ... but one thing I haven't done much is embroidery.  I've done a handful of small projects but never a big one ... and recently, while immersing myself in Seasons 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey, I felt the inexplicable urge to take on a big embroidery project.  (It must have been Levinia sitting and stitching away ...)

When I came across the Daisy Chain Alphabet Sampler, created by the amazing Posie gets Cozy

I've already learned tons through this project, like how to organize my floss :

How to make perfect little French knots :

How to improve my satin stitch :

How to make cute little daisy stitches with a tiny straight stitch in the middle for accent :

Though I have a number of other projects that have deadlines, I can't help but to find a few minutes in the day to finish just one more letter ... it's been a lot of fun so far!  Can't wait to finish ...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 3 : fraternal twin pincushions

On to week 3 of the zakka sew-along ... a cute pincushion which, to be completely honest, is about the last thing I need!  I have about five pincushions that I made a while ago on a pincushion kick that I use regularly.  So, I decided to make twin pincushions for two friends on my block who are also quilters.  They've been helping my cause of collecting selvages, because (unlike me) they see no use in hanging on to umpteen selvages from projects past.   So -- I set off to make them a pair of twin pincushions using selvage, as a "thank you" for their sharing their selvages with me. 

I decided to put a little phrase on the stamped patch, as I couldn't find a suitable stamp in my pitiful stamp collection and didn't feel like hunting down one at the local craft store.  I have one of those little tiny alphabet stamp sets, and I have to say that it's about the most useful stamp I've ever owned.  I use them all the time, both on paper and fabric!  For the words, I settled on "Ouch" and "Poke me" ... and each of the phrases then influenced the style of the pincushion ...

For my friend Jeanne's pincushion I added a button that I made years ago (like the fimo button on my recent house pouch), just for fun.

For my friend Lori's pincushion I added a button left over from this sweater that I knit ... (ahem) about six years ago.   I can't believe that this button has been in my stash since then!

For the backs ... the fraternal twins are actually identical!

I forgot to take a picture of the wool that I used as stuffing ... being a spinner, I actually have more wool than polyfiber filling in my house.  It seems to make a nice, stuffed feeling.  I like it!

I already can't wait for the next zakka project ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

finished quilt :: "sugar skull-eating-pirates"

I finally finished the crazy wacky baby quilt that I blogged about earlier.  Again, this was a quilt made for a young lady who is my substitute teacher extraordinaire, and even returned to sub in my middle school classroom only 5 weeks after giving birth to her second child ... wow!  That's impressive, in my book.  The whole "pirates eating calaveras" theme came from the fact that we are the pirates at my school, and that she is a Spanish speaker, and thus who subs in my Spanish classes.  When I first thought of this idea, it seemed like a really good one.  In the end, the quilt is just a little crazy, I admit ... as I said before, she'll either love it ... or hide it.

Here's a close-up of my quilting, which was a pseudo-loopy stitch ("pseudo" meaning that it didn't always turn out quite like I wanted it to).  Given my general inexperience at free motion quilting, I'm really okay with how it turned out:

The backing of the quilt is the allover pirate fabric, with one extra strip of red + scraps, because I needed the extra width.

And for the "signing" of the quilt, I decided to do a tag like one that I saw on someone's blog (and immediately pinned).  For this tag, I first embroidered two things, one on each side of a fold ...

... which turned into a tag:

... and then I inserted the tag into the binding. 

The back has my name and year on it.  (My embroidery skills leave a bit to be desired ... more on that later.)  I have no idea what this will hold up as, in terms of tags and baby hands grabbing at it, but I thought it might be a nice idea to at least try out.  We'll see !

Yay for a finished baby quilt!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 2 : a pretty cute house pouch

So I saw the tote bag on the cover of the new book Zakka Style, and was sorely tempted to buy the book. I remembered how much I loved I Love Patchwork, the other book by the author, and was sorely tempted to buy the book.  Throw in a little sew-along, however, and it was a done deal -- I went to amazon and immediately snagged the book, sight unseen.

I love a good sew-along!

So -- here I am starting out at Week 2, the House Pouch.

I'd rather not focus on the many mistakes I made on this pouch, and instead highlight the things that went well :

First of all, it was really fun to break out of my zone and make a cute pouch.  I loved picking out the fabrics, and was especially glad to have a use for my pink tree bark fabric (Joel Dewberry) that I've been hoarding for some time.  I decided to give this to my daughter as a surprise, and though she doesn't love pink very much any more, I thought I could throw in enough green and blue to offset the pink door.  I had so much fun picking through my collection of vintage buttons, as well.  Instead of the lace between the roof and house, I simply used a decorative stitch to add a little interest.  I think I prefer that.

On the back, I decided to use a rather odd but fun button : it's a fimo clay button that I made ages and ages ago for a sweater that I knit for my daughter.  (If you go to the ravelry page, note that I added it to ravelry in 2011 ... I think it was more like circa 2004.)  It's my last of these buttons and I'm so glad it found a happy home.

For the inside, I simply continued with the green roof fabric.  It's nice to keep things simple sometimes!

Overall, I'd say it turned out to be a pretty cute house pouch.  Can't wait to do another project from the book!

Monday, April 9, 2012

{pinwheel quiltalong} blocks 1 & 2 & 3 & 4

I decided to join the pinwheel quiltalong ages ago (like, when it first happened -- *cough cough*, in 2010).  I got to blocks 6 and suddenly stopped.  I remember that this was pre-The Big Move and the organizing of the craft room space.  Since I recently re-organized the craft room space, I found my unfinished pinwheel quilt blocks and though I'd share ...

Here are the first four blocks that I made  ... times two, so eight blocks total so far :

Blocks 1 :

Blocks 2 :

Blocks 3 :

Blocks 4 :

Now, I'm finishing the last blocks so that I can put my quilt top together and have a *finished quilt*.


Love it when I can resurrect an old project and have it done in no time ...