Saturday, December 31, 2011

Productivity in 2011

I took a few minutes to go over my blog entries from this past year while the boys were playing Lego Harry Potter on the wii.  Wow, it was a really productive year!  And, I am so glad that I took the time to document (almost) everything via this blog.

I started the year out sewing a lot of bags and wallets.  While I still love making them, there's only so many bags a girl can use.  And there's only so many people to gift them to.  The irony is that I usually carry only a small black leather wallet by Hobo that zips all the way around.  I've used the same wallet for about 15 years now, and it still looks great.  Go Hobo!

Gray corduroy bucket bag.
This was all interspersed with lots piecing and by year's end I have made numerous blocks for several different projects.

Farmer's Wife Quilt-Along
I completed three quilts in their entirety and practiced some free motion quilting as well as straight-line quilting.  And, I finished piecing a long-standing UFO, my Bliss Sampler, which I started in October 2010.

Punctuation Quilt, the last of three quilts finished, and the topic of my 100th blog post!
Surprisingly, I completed a number of knitting projects as well.  I finished two cardigans, a baby blanket, and three hats.  Not bad, considering I had seriously lost my knitting mojo over the past year or more.

Leaflet Cardigan in Eco Wool.
So, I am ending the year with these two projects.  The first picture is the sixth installation of the Designer Mystery Block of the Month.

Block Six - "Tulip Festival" by Margot Languedoc.

The second picture is a sneak peak of a quilt top I've been piecing together at a rather frenzied pace.  I started it just a few days before Christmas, when I should have been working on finishing up Christmas presents.  I might have finished it before today, except I ran out of background fabric just short of half a yard. I will post the full details next time when I finish the top.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Star Fish Hat in Red Wool

I finished this hat a couple of weeks ago but didn't have time to photograph it. It was a really quick project knit in a basic worsted weight red wool (Paton's Classic Merino Wool).  The pattern is from the book "60 Quick Knits." 

The semi-slouchy silhouette is cute.
My favorite part of the hat is definitely the starfish motif on the crown.  I think if I knit the hat again, I might try to omit the bobbles though.  It's a fine design element, but I have never been very good at making bobbles.  The bobbles in the pattern look round and plump, where mine always turn out flat and misshapen.

Star fish motif on the crown of the hat.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Prezzies

These wallets/phone cases were the only presents I managed to make this year, and I was only able to complete three out of five at that.  Thus, the older nieces will have to wait for theirs.  I don't think they'll be too sad. :)

The pattern is the Zippered Pocket Pouch by the talented Keyka Lou.  The main compartment is big enough to comfortably hold an I-phone, and there is a zippered pocket for everything else.  Love it!

Happy Holidays!

All three wallets lined up.

Zipper detail; fabric by Kokka.
Flap closure detail; fabric by Kokka.

Full pouch detail; fabric is red cotton ticking.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bliss Sampler Top - Finished!

I was so close to being done piecing this top for a very long time, but I was stuck on the flying geese border.  So, approximately 136 flying geese and two borders later, I am finally done piecing this thing!

Full quilt top on a king size bed.
The pattern is from Lynette Jensen's Thimbleberries Block by Block to Beautiful Quilts.  Each block ended up being 12 inches finished, but the borders sized the quilt up to queen/king sized.  The book itself is kinda country-ish in the feel of its projects, so I used a brighter color palette than suggested. 

One of my favorite blocks.
The fabrics are all from Bonnie and Camille's Bliss collection, which I just love.  These cuts were the ones available at my LQS when I first began selecting fabrics for this quilt.  Since then, I've been able to obtain a few more (understatement) prints.  I'm also hoarding this year's collection, Ruby, and will hopefully debut something from that collection as well.

Flying geese border.
My next challenge will be how to quilt this thing.  It's huge!  I don't know if I can do it on my domestic machine, so maybe now is the time to break out and send it to a professional quilter.  It would be lovely to get some custom quilting, but I'm balking at how much it will cost.  It makes me wonder how places like the Pottery Barn and Garnet Hill can sell "hand made" quilts for a few hundred bucks.

Border detail.
I'm glad I forced myself to finish this top.  I started cutting for my next project, an idea which has been on my mind for several months now.  Happy quilting!

Another pretty block.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Designer Mystery BOM - Blocks 3 & 4

Just one more block to go and then I'll be caught up...just in time for this month's block to arrive.  For more information on this block-of-the-month program, go to the Fat Quarter Shop.

Block 3 - "Pretty Pansy," by Carrie Nelson.
I'm a big Carrie Nelson fan, although I haven't actually made any of her quilt patterns.  I do have plans to make a couple of quilts from Schnibbles Times Two and Another Bite of Schnibbles.  But first, gotta get the holiday sewing started, as well as some birthday stuff.

Block 4 - "Rose Buds," by Anne Sutton.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My 100th Post!!

Somehow the month of November passed me by, and I didn't even realize it. It probably had something to do with work and then traveling to Sacramento for a week to visit the in-laws.  Thus this is my long-delayed 100th post!

I can hardly believe it.  I've been able to stick with this blog for four years now!  Reviewing my old posts, I can see how my interests have morphed over the years.  What does remain constant is the borderline obsessive-compulsive personality behind these interests!

OK, now on to sewing.  I finally finished quilting and binding this quilt top, which I just gifted to by youngest.  He is turning five on Monday, yippee!

I went a little overboard on the pics, but I just loved putting this quilt together so much.  I wanted to be able to document all the things I liked about it.  I originally posted about the details here.  The pattern for this quilt is called "Jitterbug," from Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.  The fabric is Punctuation by American Jane, and the background is my favorite Kona in snow.  

"Simple" was the guiding theme when I first considered the quilting.  I started by outlining each of the quilt blocks.  Mr. Elvy then suggested I do a diagonal grid through the center squares, which turned out awesome.  

Then I couldn't resist doing a little FMQ.  I tried not to be too ambitious, as I was with this quilt.  I wanted to complete the quilting as quickly as I could, so I could move on to other projects.  I stitched little boxes around each patterned rectangle along the border, and then did the wavy line on the white background border areas by tracing lines drawn about one-half inch apart.  I think it turned out quite well.

I completed the binding by machine stitching both the front and the back of the binding with a walking foot.  I love this method of attaching the binding -- it is so much faster than hand-stitching.

Here are a few more gratuitous pictures.  This is how the binding looks like from the front.  Once the quilt is laundered, the stitch-in-the ditch seam in the front all but disappears.

The backing is also from American Jane, although I can't think of the name of the line off the top of my head.  It included a bunch of chickens.

Finally, here's a full picture of the quilt.  It's big enough to fit a twin-sized bed, and I was able to make up No. 2's bed this morning with it.