Thursday, December 20, 2007

A new project

One quilt top completed for next year's Project Linus!...

It was just going to be scrappy colored 9-patch blocks. Then I discovered the race-car Santa material I had been given.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New Project

I'm starting a summer quilt for our bed. It's going to take a few months to put the top together because I'm designing as I go, and the blocks are heavily pieced. I plan to have it machine quilted so I don't care so much about all of the seams. Normally I hate to hand quilt something like this. I just love the 30's-40's vintage small prints, especially in lime greens and light aquas. This has some of those type materials. I'm testing my skills with all of the triangle piecing, trying very hard to keep all the points. These blocks are 13" square and take about 2 hours to make once all pieces are cut. Te background is really a cross between sage & lime (photo color is not the best).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

new projects & old projects

I find myself at a loss for projects that I can post about, since many of my latest works are Christmas presents. In another month I can post pictures of some things, but not now.

Lately I have resurected this. I started three quilt tops last winter, and stopped before any of them were completed. They are what I call my Legacy Quilts. Each quilt has some of the same fabrics. They are all uniquely different, although made partly of the many of the same cloths. The styles are all distinctly different, but are all facets of my personality as well as styles I love. Someday when my kids are older, they will be for them. Much of the sewing I do gets given away. I wanted to do this so that my family might get to have beautiful quilts in our home, as well as so that my kids may someday have something I made for them when they were small. Before I embarked on yet another project, I decided I'd finish one of these quilts. I presently have the binding half on, and the hand quilting is 98% completed.

I have also been stitching away slowly on my Winter swap mini quilt. Being the orchestrator of the swap, I know who mine is going to. I know, I know...many of you are still waiting for your partners. Hopefully by week's end that will all be out. Here's my snowflake thus far...

I am still pondering how I will quilt it.

For anybody interested, here's the next Legacy quilt I will finish. Look familiar?? It was used for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap button!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Serendipitious Good Fortune

I have been plotting my next smocking project, but dreading the time consuming part of hand pleating the cloth. Plus I want to make something that is not using a checked fabric.

One of my former colleagues Rita, who has donated loads of fabric for me to use for Project Linus quilts, emailed today to tell me she has her mother's pleater I can borrow. I am so excited! I have heard horror stories about smocking pleaters being non-user friendly, but this has to be easier and faster than the alternative.

Now I can use a floral material for a spring dress.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

They looked very sweet!

The 3 cousins in their holiday dresses...Yes, finally finished!

And My little princess looking so very sweet, in her first pair of real "Girl" shoes!

Below, she's getting to wear her birthday dress. I waited having her wear it until she could walk so she didn't just drag the ruffles all over the floor crawling. She's been on foot about a month now.

Now, I am plotting my next smocking project... I have a navy check to do Sophie a dress for next Spring. The underdress with ruffles is a pain in the next to get the right length. I had almost sworn I'd never do another one. But when I see it on her and how it flows, and how it holds the dress out fully, I love the way it looks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The finished Holiday dresses

OK, here is a picture of one of them. There are two.
And I am the ABSOLUTE worst aunt in history. Or perhaps the best aunt but the WORST sister-in-law in history. You see, these are for my 2 neices that live in CT (soon to be Europe). Back in the early summer, shortly after I started the dresses (and not thinking that SIL actually read this blog), I posted some progress pictures. Sadly, she did read the blog and my surprise was busted. So what did I do??
I told her they were being made for a neighbor friend's girls. Hmm... bad SIL and a liar. I really wanted the surprise to be good. One of my neices really loves princess dresses, and those that are fancy. She LOVED the dress I made for my daughter's 1st birthday so I wanted to do one for her. So somehow I have to justify the white lie I told. Hopefully she will understand.
Well, they will be here for Thanksgiving, so I am going out on a limb posting this that she will not be blogging before I see her. The dresses are cute, they took a TON of hours with my perfectionist ways. I just hope that they fit & are liked.

Ask Hubby?

I did what I probably shouldn't have done. I asked my husband which of the 2 runners he liked best, without his knowing who the other would be given to.

He, of course, chose the one I wanted to finish & give away for us to keep.

Hmm...or more appropriately, Humphhfff!

I quilted and added the binding to the more French-looking runner, but still think that I may hurry & finish the other one too. Feeling a bit nostalgic about the choice, I think I want to make my final selection with completed projects.

5 weeks to go (or 4 since this must be mailed) and at least 4 other projects needing completion, I really ought to get off this computer and work/sew!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Need Advice

I have been doing a lot of sewing of Christmas presents lately. Pardon the lack of blogging, but I have not wanted the potential recipients to see what they may get. I have one item, though to share. Last Sunday I got up 2 hours before my house normally rises to finish this table runner.

It's not the best picture, but the fabrics are lovely, and it has a French Provential feel. Upon completing it, I immediately fell in love and almost decided I'd keep it for myself. It matches our dining room really well. OK, so now I'm back one step on getting ready for Xmas.

Step 2: Redesign another runner for this person. Here's what I have so far. It still needs to have a few more leaves and the flowers appliqued on. Again, a bad picture but you can get the idea. The flowers will be shades of cranberry and plum.

So here's my delimma...Which do I keep and which do I give away???

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Book Blanket Challenge quilts

The 2 Project Linus Book Blanket challenge quilts were taken to the coordinator yesterday. I need not post any pictures of the Caterpillar quilt as there have been many. But (despite) my mother's request not to do this yet, I am anyway. The quilt is way too cute. Back in late August, I went to my mom's house sans the boys for a day of sewing, unbeknownst to her. I arrived with sewing machine, and lots of precut material. We were going to make the quilt we'd talked so much about doing for 6 months. The summer was nearly over and it had not yet been done.

The fish fabrics she had bought for me to make a Linus blanket with anyways. Very cute. When I left that day, the top was complete and I'd left her with the binding strip, backing material and the book "Curious George goes Fishing".

Over the last month she added the appliques. He's soooo cute!. So cute that she may just beat out the caterpillar in the competition in 2 weeks!!

The show is at the Thornton Heights United Methodist Church on Oct 28, 10-2pm (South Portland)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

One project Done

Here's baby Joshua's blanket. It's about 20" x 24", intended for a stroller or carseat.

Fall is Here

Joy, Joy!!

My fall swap quilt arrived today from Luisa of Lisbon, Portugal. OK, OK..not a true blind swap in that I knew my quilt was coming from her. I had no idea what it would look like though, or that it would be so incredible. It's different from anything I would make, but so much in a style I love. The appliqued leaves are cut from a pattern that makes the leaves look like they have veins. I think my picture is upside down, oops! So lovely. Many thanks!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fit for a Princess, but in a slump

Sometimes I just dread sewing. That is now: Halloween. The boys need their costumes and I am dragging my feet at starting them. It is such uninspiring sewing; I hate it. The crush-pane that Captain Hook's coat is being done in is slippery. In a word, a Pain to sew. I have mostly finished the shirt for Peter Pan, but it lacks pizzazz. Maybe next week my kid will nap and I'll be focused to sew.
On another front, the Christmas dress for my daughter is gorgeous. Sometimes I just amaze myself when I can sew without making huge mistakes, and have it look like this. The collar has a lovely entredeux edging that I did with a wing needle. I am still testing out some of the decorative stitches my new machine has. This one I like.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sophie's Christmas Dress

It's coming of mere scraps that I have left from anothe rproject, but it's going to be very sweet.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's not a girl!

My friend had a baby boy so I was forced to put away all of the great pieces of pink fabric that I had pulled out for her quilt. I was really looking forward to sewing for a much more frilly and fun. Maybe I just wanted her to have a girl so she could experience the sheer joy of a girl, knowing that she's not planning to have any more kids and she already has a boy. Back in April I found this awesome lamb fabric (and she LOVES sheep), and not knowing if it was a boy or girl, I got pieces of the cloth in both pink and blue. Looks like the pink is destined for another project. A long sigh, and I was off to finish her gift. It's a quilt, but it is smaller so it could either be hung on a wall, as she did with the one I made 2 years ago for her first baby, or it could be used for a carseat/stroller.
Here's an interim picture - quilting and binding are not quilt finished. It is modeled after a quilt I saw at Darcie's blog (though not sewn quite as well).

On another subject, my Hungry Caterpillar quilt is done!! It's donner than done. It's ready to go. I love it. Oh wait, I just remembered it needs antennae on one of the caterpillar, but essentially done.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Baby Fairy, Where are You?

Dear Baby Fairy,

I am not sure where you are, if you exist, or what you may look like. But I really need you right now. My good friend & former colleague is 39+ weeks pregnant and I need her to birth this kid! Yes, this post does come of selfish motives. Sure, sure...she wants the alien out of her too, but I have a legitimate concern.

This is the weekend. I get "unlimitted" (choke, ha ha) sewing time on the weekend. As any of you know, my weeks are rather hellish with chasing a nearly walking baby, my pain-in-the ass middle kid that prefers jumping in bed to sleeping, and the rigors (choke) of a new job. But, again as I said, it is about me, not the about-to-pop mother to be. I have plans for potentially making her something for the baby, but I can't until it shows us it's gender.

I can hardly fathom this still being pregnant at 39 weeks. Mine could practically crawl by that point. Actually, the 3rd one was born right at 39, but the 2 boys came out 1&2 weeks before that. They knew the meaning of "The lease is up: Come out!"

OK, so I have actually started sewing something but I can only do small parts of it without knowing more. I knew the gender of all my kids in advance. It was one of those secrets in life I saw no need in having. It was convenience being able to get clothes & the nursery ahead of time. I know that she is reusing her older child's nursery. I just really don't want to be confined to the boring blue and green again...(boo hoo!>...-just kidding LCC). The nursery is very beautiful. As a mom of a little girl, I so hope she has a girl so that I can sew with some PINK! Oh, yea...I mean so that she has the joy of a little girl & a boy!

So, baby fairy, please....and I am begging because I do not get adequate sewing time during the week...Please make her belly start contracting!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Smocking Complete

Here's the front of Sophie's Christmas dress...very old fashioned; I love it. Sure hope that there really is enough scraps of this fabric now to make up the dress!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My Baby will be Darling for the Holidays

I had a little material left over from the dresses I have mostly finished making for the neighbor girls. So I have decided to whip (this is where you choke a few times and laugh loudly) one up for Sophie. She only needs about a yard of fabric, maybe a touch less since this is wide. That of course assumes that I don't have to cut anything out twice :-) !!! The dress will be smocked on the bodice. The sleeves will be the creamy heart-floral like the under dresses for the older girls are. I just don't have enough of the red. I will also do a ruffly crinoline-style bottom for the dress of the cream floral, maybe with ivory eyelet too. She'll be pretty and fancy for Christmas, or Valentine's Day depending when this gets finished.

I did the smocking different from the last few projects. At first I was unsure because the diamonds were very simple, maybe even bland. But then I took a giant leap (as recommended here) and added the bullion roses (thanks EST for directions!). And then bland is very Baby-Beautiful. I do like the simpler smocked bodice.

I still have a trillion bullion knots to finish, and a bottom wavy border, but I think you can get the idea where this is going. ...very vintage baby

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Other Progress

There has also been tremendously painful and slow progress on the dresses I am making. By that I mean, it is like 2 steps forward, 900 steps back. Makes me cringe at the thought of working on them, but I know I need to get them finished. Both now have finished bottom hems with ruffle, bindings on the pinafore arm holes are finished. This should read "Some dumb bozo put them in once and did a quilter's seam allowance. For kicks her 5 year old son tried on a dress, and she realized the arms were too snug at the pits. The Bozo stood back, rumpled her nose, said a few obscenities, and realized the mistake. Bozo proceded to cut off bindings and start over". The dresses going under the pinafores are making good progress too. 15 of 16 buttons and button holes are complete. And sleeves w/ unfinished cuffs are set in too. There may be collars but Bozo keeps forgetting to wash the material.

On another project (yes, the unfinished list does go on...)
The Snuggly Hungry Caterpillar quilt is looking AWESOME. Pictures will come soon, promise. It's mostly all quilted, all by hand. Needs a few things here and there and it's done. I'm still pondering how to bind it - namely what color(s). Have to procrastinate somehow.

Last Friday my mother andI started another quilt for the project Linus book-blanket challenge. I'd been wanting to do a quilt with her all summer, but it never happenned. She's supplied my dining room (ha ha - that's the pit of a room that has fabric strewn everywhere) with lots of fun materials, but I haven't done too many quilts this summer. I designed a very simple blanket of a bunch of fishy fabrics. The book is Curious George goes Fishing. She's adding a fleecy George onto it. It'll be cute.

More Other...
Still pondering a couple more winter quilt projects. Need to get some good train materials for my son's new bedroom - 3 year old appropriate.

Oh well...dream time is over since the baby is awake from nap and I have work to claim to need doing.

Fall Quilt

All done except for the label...

The hearts are supposed to look like falling leaves as the title of the quilt is Falling in Love with Autumn.
...and the back sans label.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A hippie?

You Are Grass Green

Down to earth and a bit of a hippie, you are very into nature and the outdoors.

You accept the world and people as they are. You don't try to change things.

You are also very comfortable with yourself, flaws and all.

Optimistic about the future, you feel like life is always getting better.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fall Quilt nearing Completion

Here's the back...I love the corn fabric, but couldn't find a good place for it on the front.

And the front, in all of it's fuzziness. It needs a little more quilting. I ran out of inspiration. A binding and a label, and will be ready to mail to somebody.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Making Progress

I am actually quilting now!...

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Sneak Peek...

Can't reveal who it's for, but here's a quick (and not so clear!..) look at the progress of the Fall quilt thus far. Still needs borders and quilting. It is really prettier than the picture shows. Hopefully the recipient will think so too.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hungry Caterpillar has something to eat

Here's the back...
close can see all of the foods the caterpillar eats.
And the front is mostly pieced together. Still needs a red outer narrow border, feet on the big caterpillar, butterfly (it's in appliqued parts awaiting a patient seamstress to sew them to the quilt) and a face on the fuzzy & fat caterpillar.
Good progress the last couple days. Phew... I really ready to be doing the smocking of Sophie's Christmas dress but this must be finished in 7 weeks so I need to have it ready to hand quilt in the evenings. A seamstresses work is never done...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Book Blanket Challenge

Our local Project Linus chapter is hosting a Book-Blanket Challenge this fall. The idea is to select a children's story and design a quilt around it or one of it's characters. The quilts will be given to children at Barbara Bush Children's hospital between Thanksgiving and the end of December. It's a great thing, and gives me chills every time I think about it. It makes me sad to think that it could be my kid in the hospital. It's sad to think of any child there at Christmas.

So, here's the story I have chosen. It's fun and bright and genderless. Perfect.

Several months ago I sketched this as the concept for the quilt. Very informal, could've on a cocktail napkin!

Here's a few of the panels. None are really finished, but they are coming along well.

There's nice bright sun with most of a caterpillar appliqued onto it. Hungry Caterpillar won't be too hungry until I add his head! The sun has these satiny reys that will be knotted when it is finished. I have tried to add several tactile items. Upper right is the coccoon. It's fleece, and has a little stuffing in it.

The Hungry Caterpillar ate one green leaf... He's embroidered in this scene.

Hungry caterpillar hasn't got his eyes and antennae yet, but he is big and fat! A great variagated green fleece, with looped satin ribbon. Love the lollypop material that I'm using as the border.

I have yet to start on the butterfly that will be on the central part of the quilt. It again will have tactile items, like nubbly antennae, pieces of it's wings that move/crinkle, etc, and lots of color. Here's a sneak peek at the fabrics going on the back. Anybody know where I can get cheese, pickle or sausage fabric???

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Holiday Dress Making, Part III

OK, did I mention that there were 2 sisters?? Here's dress #2...
I have already completed the 2 front pinnafore sections that are smocked. They are similar to the other dress's but not exactly the same. The piece below is just a rectangular section that will attach to the smocked bodice piece. It will eventually be cut using the bodice pattern (to curve for nect & arm holes).

Smocked bodice #2 with mini-piping sewn at the top.

Same piece, now with the top of the bodice rectangle added. It's now ready for cutting. But I haven't done that yet! Next post...
OK, onto the trimmings. I got this fabulous 1.625" eyelet from Ebay at about a third the going price. Saw it at Joann's (heads turn...Oh God, she shops at Joann's?) for $3 a yard. I got nearly 14 yards for $10. Only problem is that it was white and I wanted ivory. So...I tea stained it. The result was exactly what I wanted. Good recipe to remember: 1 standard tea bag per cup of boiling water. Let steep 30 minutes. Allow soak of 30 minutes. Then rinse/soak with cool water. The color difference is subtle, but it makes all the difference when it is next to the ivory color of the under-dress.
Oh, have I mentioned that I have hardly sewn a seam that I haven't ripped out. I'm darn near ready to toss these dresses out the window. I was going on someone else's measurements for lengths. Very trusting person I am! The pinnafore had lovely pleats (2) around the hem like the purple dress I did recently. I held it up to my son, who is 4-5 inches shorter than the girl it is for. The dress hit mid-calf on him. I croaked! That's where I wanted it to be on her! UGGH...So I ditched the pleats and gained 2" of length. Best compromise I could find short of strangling the measurer! Seing as she's family, that would not have looked good.