Tuesday, November 24, 2015

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

I participated in the April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap run by Kid Giddy and The Tattooed Quilter. The challenge was to create a banner no larger than 8x16" using only April Rhodes fabric. This was my first swap so I was nervous to participate because I have never sewn something like this that wasn't from a pattern, but I figured I could come up with something good in the two months that we were allotted.

My partner didn't request anything specific and left pretty much all of the design details up to me, other than mentioning that the Bound fabric line was her favorite of April's. After digging through her Instagram account, I found out that she is a huge fan of essential oils. I knew I wanted to incorporate essential oils into her banner, and I went through a bunch of ideas before I settled on the final design. Initially I thought about piecing together essential oil bottles, but then it came to me: create a personal totem pole for her using essential oil ingredients. I also wanted to incorporate feathers without using actual feathers, so I shrunk the wonderful Feather Bed pattern by Anna Maria Horner to 33% of its original size. I used the Kid Giddy Paper Pieced Totem Pole pattern for reference and also added some teeny tiny flying geese. I had most of the elements ready to sketch when my IG friend t_jaye posted the most awesome fabric weaving tutorial. Perfect for the top of my banner! It looks super complicated but was actually pretty easy to execute.

Here's the final result:

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

I am in love with it. My fingers have never felt so huge working with the tiny tiny pieces. Perhaps I would have had an easier time paper piecing some of the elements, but I have no experience with paper piecing. Now for some gratuitous detail shots.

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

I hand embroidered the essential oil ingredients on the totem pole and the face, except for the beakthat's a small piece of fabric. I like how it adds a little depth to the face.

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

Oh those flying geese! Each triangle is 1" wide by 1/2" tall. Never. Again. 

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

Early on in the swap I was playing around with weaving. I liked the result but I didn't want to include it on the front of the banner because it was too big and not as precise as I'd like. But it's fun hidden element on the back of the banner. The Weaving for Beginners course by Annabel Wrigley on Creativebug was super helpful. I ended up making my loom out of a Cheerios box and it worked out great!


So concludes my first swap. I really enjoyed the design process. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had made it out to be in my mind. I hope my partner loves the banner as much as I do!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back In Action

Hi folks! It's been a long and unplanned hiatus, but sometimes life does that to you. Since I was last here I made a couple of quilts and blankets, but the big news is that I birthed a 9 lb 8 oz baby girl! Seriously. Here I am seven full days before she finally came out. I'm disappointed I didn't take a picture the day of. There's only one baby in there! I spent 10 days after my due date walking around our neighborhood (hence my outfit) hoping to put myself into labor. Didn't happen.

On November 3rd we helped her out and named her Ellie Anne. We like to joke that she was so big because she was born a week and a half old. She is healthy and joyful and wonderful and hilarious and basically the light of our lives. And about to start crawling at just under 7 months. We're in for it!

Silly me was thinking I would be able to churn out a few projects while on maternity leave. It's hilarious that I'm even using that term since we don't have maternity leave here in the US, but my employer has pretty decent vacation and sick policies so I was able to bank up enough time to take 12 weeks off after her birth. Surely in 12 weeks I could easily fit some sewing in, right?

As those of you with babes of your own might have guessed, every minute of my leave was spent feeding, changing, and loving our little girl and I didn't do any sewing. It was awesome though! But I got the sewing bug again and decided to try to get back in action and do some sewing, even if it's just for 15 minutes here and there. Have you heard of The Fringe Hours? I haven't read the book, but I heard an interview with the author on a podcast and the concept is totally up my alley. Basically, you consciously find pockets of time in your day to do things for you. This week that has been roughly 9:15-10:00 after we put the littles to bed and before I put myself to bed (my 5:00 alarm to exercise before work is non-negotiable). And it's worked out great! Last night I only managed to sew from 9:40-10:00, but I was able to add sashing to two rows of a quilt that I'm working on. The old childless me would have been frustrated by such a short period of time and such little accomplished, but the new mom me is considering it awesome that I was able to find any time to sew. It's all about perspective.

I doubt I'll be posting many finished projects at this pace, so follow me on Instagram at lindsaypindsay33 to check out my progress. Right now I'm working on the City Green quilt from Cherri House's City Quilts. Flick was very excited to see it back on my living room floor.

Full disclosure: this quilt is about 5 years in the making. I bought the quilt kit when the book was released in 2010 and it sat in my stash until last spring when I finally pulled it out and began working on it. Then I got too pregnant to be comfortable sitting at my machine, so away it went until earlier this week. I am determined to finish it this year!

I have a few projects that I finished since I last posted (almost 2 years ago, wow!), so once I dig up those pictures I'll share them.

It's good to be back!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Baby Quilt for Penny

Where has the time gone? I started quite a few projects this summer but only managed to finish three: table runners for a friend of a friend (they were just basic burlap rectangles so I didn't take any pictures), a baby quilt, and some quilted potholders for our awesome friends who let us crash with them in Burlington last weekend (which I just realized I didn't take any pictures of, whoops!). Otherwise I was busy enjoying the weather and taking trips to Washington DC, the Poconos, and Burlington, Vermont, and Millinocket and Bar Harbor, Maine. We did some crazy hiking during the last trip so I'll share some photos soon!

Baby Penny decided to arrive early (on my 30th birthday!) so she didn't receive her quilt until she was a few weeks old. I actually finished attaching the binding on the train ride down to DC. About halfway through I referenced an online tutorial for attaching binding and realized that I had been attaching binding incorrrectly up until now. The way I found was so much easier and didn't create any puckering! Of course I can't find the tutorial now, but before I was taught to only pick up a few threads of the binding fabric in each stitch. This has always caused my binding to be very puckery and I didn't understand why my binding always looked like crap. The new method has you stitch about a quarter of an inch on the quilt sandwich and then stitch a quarter of an inch on the binding, starting directly above where the quilt sandwich stitch stopped, and so on. This works amazingly and it's quite sad that I went that long without realizing that the method I first learned just wasn't cutting it. So half of the quilt binding looks like crap (in my opinion) and half looks great. Thankfully you can't tell in the pictures and I'm sure I'm the only one who notices in person anyway.

I used the Promenade Quilt pattern by Basic Grey. I think my favorite print is the matryoshka dolls.


I had a bunch of the small squares left over, so I inserted them in a vertical line on the back.



I love the other print that I found for the back; it's like a cheater quilt!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Germania Renfrew and Floral Miette

I thought I'd be posting the black work skirt that I've been working on for forever (ugh), but instead I have two very quick projects to show you.

First up, I finally made a Renfrew! This was so fast and easy to put together, but I think I didn't choose a knit with enough stretch because when I'm not sitting perfectly still I get some pulling in the chest. That is something I never ever thought I would say! I really like the fit around the waist and the hips, which looks a lot nicer in person than in this picture. Let me just say right now that these are not my best pictures as they were both taken in a hurry before dinner reservations.

The knit is a Jay McCaroll print from the Germania line that I bought ages ago. On my next Renfrew I think I'm going to just sew the sleeves  and upper bodice with a slightly smaller seam allowance to give myself a little more room. And also use a stretchier knit. I am impressed with how straight I got the stripes on the print to line up. This was the first time that I've dealt with stripes!

Sewaholic Renfrew

Next up is my first of what I think will be a few Miettes (I already have one ready to be cut). I love this pattern from Tilly. It took me a mere few hours to complete and the shape is super flattering. I love how much overlap there is in the back of the skirt, making it less likely that my skirt will fly open while walking down the street.

Floral Miette

I did, however, learn one lesson while making this skirt: do not cut fabric on a Friday night after work. Notice anything about this pattern? That's right, the butterflies are upside down! I half feel like I wasted this gorgeous Anna Maria Horner print, but I'm wearing this baby anyway. Most people won't notice anyway, right?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

RIP Google Reader

I have two finished garments to show you, but by the time I get around to photographing them I'll probably have three! Stay tuned!

In sadder news, I've been resisting this since it was announced, but I guess since Google isn't reconsidering, I'm on the hunt for a new RSS reader. I'm trying out Bloglovin and Feedly but I don't like either as much as I liked Reader. I guess I'll be forced to choose come July 1st!

Here's the link in case you use Bloglovin:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

What did you all decide on?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Basketweave Afghan

I gave this lovely afghan to my sister-in-law as a birthday gift last weekend. I started it at the beginning of February, but most of it was completed during March Madness. It's a lap afghan, about 4 feet by 4 feet.


I used the Basketweave Afghan pattern from Lion Brand and Wool Ease Thick & Quick yarn in Oatmeal. I love the texture that the thick yarn creates and I love the specks of brown within the lighter colored yarn. The border is seed stitch and the blocks are just alternating knitting and purling. 


The blocks aren't really misshapen, it was just really hard to get the afghan to lay perfectly on the ground. The great thing about this yarn is that you can put it in the washer and dryer! Plus, this thing was warm! I got to take it for a test run as I finished it up.


I think the seed stitch frames the blocks nicely. Most of all, I think this afghan looks pretty fancy, when, in fact, it was very very simple to make. I would make it again!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Black History Month Beignet... Two Months Late!

Surprise, I've been sewing! I cut this skirt out a week before the end of February intending to wear it to our Black History Month Closing Reception, but I finished it a good two months too late!

I used the Colette Beignet pattern and an African wax cotton. I'm so pleased with how my first Beignet came out. The time that it took to finish is not a reflection of how hard the pattern is, it was actually pretty easy to put together! I took these pictures after work one night this week and my hair just wasn't cutting it, so you're getting headless pictures and a slightly wrinkled skirt! 


And there's pockets! I was worried about attaching the lining to the waistband facing, but it was really no big deal.


Look at all of those buttons! I love the automatic buttonhole on my machine. It's like magic when it stitches the same exact buttonhole after the first one! I also love my button sew-on foot. It makes sewing buttons on so quick and easy. No more hand sewing buttons!


I just realized this is my first finished garment since last July. Wow! And I didn't exactly love those knit dresses, so it's the first garment that I'm pleased with since May. Yikes. Thankfully I don't think I'll have to wait as long for another successful garment. I'm halfway through an Alma blouse—I just have to tweak the fit in the chest a bit. Once I have the fit figured out, I plan on making a couple of these to wear to work during the summer.

Did you catch the Great British Sewing Bee? I watched the episodes on YouTube and I loved it. It was so calm and comforting, free of drama, and filled with encouragement and good attitudes among the contestants. I would have been pleased to see any of them win, they all deserved it! I'm excited that it was picked up for a second season, although we'll have to wait until next year to see it. I hope they keep the format the same. In case you missed it, here are the YouTube links: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4. Enjoy!