June 29, 2010

One Photo is Worth a Million Words

All I have to say is: Yes, that is me, with Tim Gunn, in the Lobby of Mood, NYC. Made my weekend!

Nuf said.

June 23, 2010

Help Support Anna Maria Horner's Rainbow Around the Block

Everyone knows Anna Maria Horner, right?

Well, in case you don't, she's only an amazing author, fabric designer, seamstress, best of all mother of 6, and more I'm sure! She just recently published a pretty awesome book that I can't wait to get my hands on, Handmade Beginnings.

Well, she's organizing a quilt project, called Rainbow Around the Block, that will help families in Tennessee that have lost most or all of their belongings from the recent flooding.

I am personally going to donate 2 finished quilts by her September 1, 2010 deadline (maybe more...), and hopefully you can find a little time to donate a little something too!! I will also be taking information to my local quilt shop, Chicks N Stitches. Anything you can do will help!

Please click on the image below to be taken directly to Anna Maria Horner's site with all the information about her project. (Photo is courtesy of Anna Maria Horner's site as well- not mine at all).

June 22, 2010

New On The Needles

I just finished up a pretty big project (for me...), a sweater vest I made for my husband. I'm still debating on putting my pattern up on the blog, it was my first adult-sized project.

Now I want to address a little problem I am having... My husband recently installed wood floors in a part of our home, and I really want to keep them looking nice. At the same time, I really don't want to spend tons of money on chemicals that my kids shouldn't be coming in direct contact with regularly, I mean, they do walk/crawl/lay all over the floors at times.

There is a pattern on the Micheal's Website for a knitted swiffer cover. (Photo to the left is courtesy of the Micheal's Website, you can also click the photo to go to the page.) It's not exactly glamourous, but I have some of the Sugar'n Cream yarn left from some other projects I've made. I'm also going to whip up some hardwood floor cleaner. So far, everywhere I've looked for a recipe says just to use mostly water with some vinegar and maybe a little essential oils or lemon juice to get it to smell nice. I'll figure out a good mix I like and share soon. To top it off, it will give me a nice quick project to work on for the car ride to NYC this weekend.

I'm so excited!!!

Did I tell you?

I'm going to NYC this weekend for a 3-day totally kid-free weekend. It's my husband and I's (don't mind the horrible grammar...) 5th anniversary, and we haven't gone anywhere without the kids since our "honeymoon".

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my kids, but everyone needs a break sometimes. And, what better place to spend it than in the city that never sleeps?!?!

Besides, there's a few places I need to go, you know, the really important places like: Mood, Purl Soho, and of course Jamba Juice. (My poor husband, now I'm laughing).

June 18, 2010

Gather a Sleeve with Elastic Thread

Elastic thread, I think I love you...

My new favorite thing to play with just so happens to be... elastic thread.

I a project soon to arrive in bloggerland I found my ultimately amazing (thus far) thing to do with it: Gather a Sleeve.

I especially love this technique when using knits. This way, there is no need to remove basting stitches since the elastic thread will stretch with it. And, to top it off, there is no distorting your fabric as you gather, since the elastic thread does it automatically for you. Bonus!

Starting with the pieces of the bodice within a top you are making and the sleeves already cut and short sides sewn (the seam that runs from you armpit towards your wrist on the underside of your arm).

I like to judge where the gathering will start/stop on the top of a sleeve this way:

Simply lay your sleeve on top of the bodice of the garment, lining up the seams like this:

(Side note: there's not a stain on my sleeve, it's just super poor lighting at 4:45am)

Now, at the point where the sleeve begins to arc the opposite direction is where the gathering will start/stop. Place a pin at this place on both the front and back of the sleeve.

Next, make sure that your elastic thread is wound onto your bobbin and ready to sew with. Since the gathering stitches will not be seen, it doesn't really matter which side of the fabric the elastic thread will be on.

Just pin the now gathered sleeve into the armhole right sides together and sew it in. Done and done.

Simply Designing

June 16, 2010

Along for the Project - My 1st King

During 2009 I participated in a Block of The Month club with the Quilter's Hive in Newark, DE. I felt that I needed to work on a few quilting skills, like triangles, and this particular club is only $5 for the entire year (yea, the entire year). So, sign me up...

I, of course, figured that since it was such a great deal ($5) that I would do two blocks each month.

Each month I was very glad to work on these blocks, having something I knew I was going to work on and I knew it would get done. It was fun going to the shop each month to get my new fabric and block style that I was going to make, you don't know this for each month when you start, luckily they did a color scheme I liked: yellow, blue, green, and flowers (morning glories were one of them, love me some morning glories). If I lived closer, I would gladly do it again!

Back to the project, sorry.

Now I have 24 blocks that I had no predetermined project in mind for. Wow, I thought of everything the past 6 months, and nothing...

I found out about a week ago that one of my best friends from high school is getting married, yay! Yay for her, and yay for figuring out a project to make with my blocks. Even better, her favorite color is yellow.

Now I'm making my first King-sized quilt!! I can even tie some sentiment into it since I want a 25th block to make the quilt an even 5x5 blocks, hello appliqued names and a heart! I'm so excited.

The original plan: each 12x12 block will have a 3 inch white border, and for sashing between all of them I will use up my scraps to make finished 3 inch sashing, all finished with another 3 in border of scrap stripes and then another 3 inch white border, bound in a green.

Well, I have all the stripes of scraps sewn in 18 1/2 inch strips, and I don't even have 1/2 of what I need to do the sashing...

So, now I'm gonna cut each in half, width wise, so I will have enough to do a border around the whole quilt that will be a finished 1 1/4 inch.

To solve my sashing dilemma, I'm gonna head over to Chicks N Stitches (my fave local hotspot, wink wink) and get some coordinating blue and yellow to do for sashing. New idea with the sashing: sew it so that every other block will be bordered in blue or yellow, giving it a somewhat checkerboard look, you with me?

Oh, I am also hoping to send my quilt out to a long-arm quilter for the quilting. I really don't want to try to fit a king through my little Singer, yikes.

On a side note, I LOVE summer... I can actually quilt and feel like I make progress ;)

June 11, 2010

Quilt As You Go Potholders

It was 2:30am, Tuesday morning, and I couldn't sleep. Typical. I was laying awake in bed thinking about sewing. Again, typical.

The question: What do I make my Mom for her birthday??

I needed something quick, and something a little grown up-ish. Don't get me wrong, my mother loves everything I make her, even if it's the ugliest thing. She still have some old cigar box I painted in preschool (I believe) that has painted shell noodles glued on it.

No, really.

So, I remembered reading a wonderful blog recently, Sew Take A Hike. The insanely creative mind behind it, Penny, was working on a quilt-along quilt as go project where the each block was different, using up scraps. Quite beautiful.

Ding Ding Ding, we have an inspiration.

Thus the quilt as you go potholder emerged. I simply cut a 9 inch square of Insul-Bright to use instead of batting.

I had some strips left over from my first Moda Honeybun, I think I may be hooked on these...

If you don't have a Honey Bun, just use strips of fabric 1 1/2" wide. I started with a square in the middle, and just kept adding strips around and around until it filled it up, quilting each strip as I went. I did not measure anything, which was one thing I really really liked about this project. I just trimmed the rest of the strip after I sewed it on. Easy peasy!

Using 2 layers of Insul-Bright seemed a must, so for the back of the potholder I used unbleached muslin and just sewed it onto another layer of Insul-Bright using a decorative stitch.

Basted the 2 layers together, put binding around each one (I clearly need to work on some pre-packaged binding skills...), and done.

I think I'm going to use my fine permanent fabric marker to write a message in the middle of the back to make it a little more personal.

I quite like how they turned out, and Mom likes them too. They're definitely a step up from the last potholders I gave her when I was 8 that I made with loops and a loom.

June 3, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2908 Baby Bonnet

I am on a hunt for a summer sun hat for my one year old Baby Girl.

This is the bonnet I started with, the C option, and I changed a lot, maybe even more than 1/2 the hat. I was completely in love with it while I was picking out all the fabric and notions, and even more so while I was sewing it.

I put it on her and, no love, the love was gone... Next pattern.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a beautiful bonnet, and I adore the detailing. I just think I need something that fits her personality a little more.

On to the actual pattern review. 

Click on the picture to the left to view the pattern at the Simplicity Website. 

Pattern Description: This pattern had no description, so I"ll overview. The pattern is for 6 different hat/bonnet styles for little girls from birth to about 2, depending on head measurement. The sizing goes from a 17" to 20", and sizes are on the inch in between those measurements.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
The hat itself did look like bonnet style I chose to make (option C), I did make lots of alterations, so there is no appliqued piece inside the brim of the bonnet. But, the overall shape of the hat was the same.

Written Instructions: The written instructions were very easy to follow; specific, easy to follow along with, and lots of pictures.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like how there are several different styles to chose from within one pattern. I also like that it's easy to alter.

Fabric Used: I used cotton eyelet that has a decorative trim instead of selvage on one side.

Level Of Difficulty: I would say Beginner Intermediate, maybe even Beginner if you don't do any alterations.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did not do the applique in the front of the brim, instead I used eyelet and made my fabric fit the piece so I could utilize the border from the eyelet fabric. I made fabric ties instead of using ribbon. And, I added 3 trims to the top of the hat (my favorite part).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I would sew it again, and plan to make a different style next.

Conclusion: Good pattern, doesn't require any crazy amounts of anything (fabric, trim, etc.). Very clear instructions with plenty of pictures. Very cute!
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