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!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Back in Action!

The past 10 weeks have been a total blur with how crazy work and grad school have been. I just submitted my final project for this term and I couldn't be happier! I'm looking forward to having some sewing time again. I had great intentions to make a skirt to wear to this year's Black History Month luncheon, but grad school derailed my plans. After I finish up a black skirt that I've had half finished since September, that skirt is the first thing on my list. It's an awesome African print and I'm making my first Colette Beignet. I hope it works out!

Have you seen the new pattern from Tasia at Sewaholic? I am borderline obsessed with it and have been waiting impatiently for it to be added to her shop ever since the preview email was sent earlier this week. It's a classic trench, which has been on my sewing list forever. I just never found a pattern that I liked. Until now! 

Photo courtesy of Sewaholic

Now I just need to decide what fabric I want to use. I'm trying to decide between super classic khaki or something else. I think I want to stay neutral, so I'm also considering a navy twill. Anyone else planning to make one of these?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Velocity Girl Bag

At the beginning of this year, Sara from Sew Sweetness put a call out for pattern testers and I jumped at the chance! Along with garments, she also designs bags, which I have been wanting to try for a while. I was kinda bummed that with grad school and work, my schedule didn't allow me to test her first three patterns, but thankfully I had enough time to try out her latest pattern, the Velocity Girl bag. Can you believe that she has already released four patterns since the start of the year?!

This bag was so much fun to make, especially since I was able to use fabric from my stash! The exterior fabric is leftover from the dress that I made for our Black History Month luncheon last year at work. Who knows why I had two yards of the blue cotton that I used as a lining, but it worked out perfecly. I LOVE the African print so I'm glad that I'll be able to carry it around more often than I wear the dress (which I still declare a dud, but wore last week anyway).

Velocity Girl

Being the procrastinator that I am, I took until the last day that our comments were due to finish my bag. Of course I wasn't able to finish before the sun went down, so I was stuck taking photos indoors. Thankfully the lighting isn't too terrible thanks to our new recessed lighting!

The slim side pockets will be perfect for holding pens, which seem to always swim around in my purses. The exterior has three pockets and there are three more on the inside, as well as a zippered pocket.

Velocity Girl

I had so many sewing firsts with the purse! This was definitely the thickest project that I've sewn, due to the stabilizer between the layers. I love how nicely the purse stands up because of it (Sara uses By Annie's Soft and Stable). This is the first time I've ever really worked with hardware, such as the magnetic closure or the strap accessories. I was pleasantly surprised to see that inserting the zipper was essentially the same as inserting the zipper on the collar of the Minoru!

Velocity Girl

I'm so pleased with the end result that I keep staring at it like it's one of my first sewing projects. Check out Sara's pattern shop for this pattern and the others! I'm excited to see what she comes up with next!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Maximon Embroidery

I finished another embroidery for our embroidery wall! This one is of Maximon, a Mayan folk saint of the people of Guatemala.

Before our trip, we were told that upon arriving in Santiago, a small child would approach us and ask us if we would like to be taken to see Maximon. Our response should be yes! The Maximon figure is passed between houses throughout the year and the local custom is that tourists pay the children to take them to see him, where you give a small offering in exchange for a picture. 

I kept the embroidery pretty simple because I thought it would just get muddied if I included the textures of the scarves.

Maximon Embroidery

I think it captures the essence of Maximon without getting distracting. We only need a few more finished before we can start hanging them up!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mixtape Quilt Top

Greetings, anyone who still has this blog in their reader! I finished the quilt top for the first quilt that I'm keeping for myself earlier this week. This quilt has been two years in the making! I'm using Elizabeth Hartman's Mixtape pattern, the Greatest Hits version. I have had the blocks finished for awhile but I finally got around to piecing them together in the past couple of weeks.

I was so excited to start piecing them that I failed to closely consult the instructions, completely missing the part about adding sashing in between each block. Oops! I didn't even realize this until I was about to sew the rows together. There was no way that I was ripping all of the blocks apart, so I decided to just go with it and see what it looked like all together.


This is a happy ending story, because I think I like it more without the sashing than with! It is definitely chaotic, especially with the crazy 90s-esque Habitat prints, but I feel like leaving the sashing out embraces this chaos even more. I added a white border to give a visual break between the blocks and the border, which will be dark purple.


The quilt top ended up being about 10 inches smaller than if I had followed the pattern, but since I'm just making it as a lap quilt this isn't a huge deal.

I have no idea how I want to quilt this, so I think it's going to go back in the "in progress" bag until I decide. I'm thinking I want to venture outside of my normal straight line quilting, but I'm not sure what would go with this pattern/fabric combination. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This is Not Route 89

Remember that embroidery wall that I started working on back in April? For our 3-year wedding anniversary in October, I made Nick another element for the wall: an embroidered rendition of a hilarious, yet helpful, sign we encountered somewhere in Utah on our roadtrip last year.

037 (2)

The helpfulness of it came in because we thought we were on Route 89! Apparently to stay on the route you have to make a left turn at a traffic light, and in our search to find a lunch spot, we missed the turn. It's one of our favorite memories from the trip, making it a perfect candidate for the embroidery wall.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Even with my lack of attention to last year's goals, I can't resist making a few goals for the coming year. What can I say, I'm a list kind of girl! For the most part, I decided to go less specific this year so as to not limit the goals.

1) Make some things for charity.
I'll start with making those two quilts that I had intended to make last year, but I don't want to limit myself to only those two items. In 2011, I had fun making small things for charity, such as birthing kits that were sent to Haiti and a quilt block that was to be part of a larger quilt for injured soldiers. Small projects help just as much as larger projects, so I'll be on the lookout for those opportunities as well.

2) Use my camera more often.
Back in 2011, Nick and I bought fancy shmancy cameras to bring with us on our Great Western Adventure. Although I love this camera, I somehow managed to barely use it in 2012. I'm not sure how this happened, but this year I am going to make a conscious effort to use the camera and continue to try and learn how to use all of the fancy settings. Here's hoping for more (and better) shots like this in the new year.

Birdy friends

3) Learn how to reupholster.
In March 2012 (I can't believe it's been that long), Nick and I bought our very first brand new couch, and ever since then I've intended to start reupholstering our hand-me-down chairs and ottomans. To make this whole process easier, Nick got me some upholstery tools for Christmas! We're still not sure what color/pattern we want the chairs to be, but this needs to happen. Although the room already looks so different because of new floors and lamps (don't worry, I'll share before and after pictures of our renovation once it's completed), I want this view to be completely different by this time next year.

Our New Couch 

4) Knit something new.
Up until now, all of my knitting has been in the shape of scarves. I've knitted Nick a scarf, myself a scarf, a scarf for a co-worker, 14 scarf-like panels for an afghan, scarf-like panels for Baby G's blanket, and scarves for my mom, sister, and mother-in-law for Christmas (which I also completely forgot to take pictures of). That's 21 scarves/scarf-like items if you're keeping count. I'd say, at this point, I'm pretty comfortable with scarf knitting and it's time to try something new. I have the supplies for the Aidez sweater, which I actually started but stopped because I think I messed up somewhere in the first few rows. I'm going to revisit that but I'm not getting too specific with the goal because I just want to try something new knitting-wise. If I end up knitting a hat or learning how to knit in the round, all the better.

5) Continue to live healthier.
This is kind of a catch-all goal, which includes, but is not limited to: exercising regularly, eating well, keeping a garden, and cooking more instead of eating out. Nick and I loved cooking and baking before, but now that we have a brand new kitchen, it is so much more fun, even cleaning up. We've been cooking and baking our way through our Christmas break and that trend will continue this year. This past week alone we've made chili, biscuits, tuna ceviche, pizza, chicken tortilla soup, vanilla bean ice cream, filet mignon, french fries, and a salted caramel apple pie, all from scratch. OK, some of those items aren't the healthiest of foods, but at least they were made from scratch without any preservatives. Now that we can access all of our wedding gifts easily, there shouldn't be any excuse for not continuing to plow through our many cookbooks. It'll be even better when we can use items from our garden in our meals!

So that's my big list. I still want to sew and embroider regularly, but refrained from setting any concrete goals because I know that my time is going to be limited because of grad school and I'll want to be able to pick up whatever project I'm in the mood for at any given time.

Hopefully I'll have more success with these goals than 2012's!