Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Franken-patterning

It's one week (and one day) until Christmas, and I'm still wanting to start holiday sewing projects.  Ah, I know I'm just dreaming, but these dreams are so realistic... almost like they could happen!

Yep, in my mind, this is totally DOable.

I'm calling this a Franken-pattern: taking two ideas I have seen online and putting them together into a single project.  The project-to-be is an advent calendar--something Sweetie has sighed wistfully about every time we take out the holiday decorations.

First part: the backdrop


A pieced tree, seen here in a picture from Barbara's blog Cat Patches.  The pattern, "Oh Christmas Tree", comes from the book Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits & Pieces, by Jeanne Stauffer and Diane Schmidt.

Part two: decorating the tree

A modern tree, as seen in kit form on the Fabric Depot website.  I just keep returning to the website for this kit, pausing with my hand over the "add to cart" button--should I?  should I not?  I swear, they are gonna be out of stock before I finally make up my mind.

What last-minute crazy idea has you biting your nails?  Or are you just finishing up the handmade gifts?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cute Border Variation

Seen recently at Something to Crow About: a very cute border for their Buck-a-Block BOTM for 2014.

Kennette, the shop owner, said she saw it in a book somewhere and thought it would be a darling way to finish off the black/white/color-of-your-choice theme for this year's block of the month.  I am not participating this year, having stalled out bigtime last year.  Even though the black & white colors really appeal to me.  (Practicing restraint--not something I am known for.)

Don'cha love it?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Knit Football

In an effort to be a supportive partner, I have been knitting on Monday nights in the same room where Sweetie is watching Monday Night Football.  This has worked out well as a companion activity.  My friend Tamarra often joins in--I am teaching her beginning knitting (which is about all I'm qualified to teach).

Here is two weeks' worth of my latest project--an earwarmer/headband.  Two weeks, you say?  Isn't that a very small amount to accomplish in two weeks?  (Especially if we're talking the length of time it takes to watch a football game--even fast-forwarding through many of the commercials.)

Two things:
(1) I'm slow.  This has been previously established on numerous occasions.  I blame ADD.
(2) This is knit in a ribbing pattern, with increases*** every other row, in the center of the row.

The pattern, available for free on T. Matthews Fine Art blog (and in a bulky-yarn version available here), uses four different increase patterns--M1B, M1F, KFB, and PFB.

***I don't know how to do these stitches.  So, each time I come to the increase, I have to re-watch the YouTube video that explains the stitch.  And maybe watch it two times, just to be sure.  And practice on my sampler (see how much of a perfectionist I am?)

Pattern: "Morning Walk Headband Earwarmer" found on Ravelry (links provided above)
Yarn: Rozetti Yarns Tempest
Needles: size 6

This will eventually be my project to link up with Barbara at Cat Patches for her NewFO linky party.  It is my new project for November--clearly won't be finished by the end of the month--no worries, winter is not even here yet.

Thanks to my sister for being my knitting cheerleader, and for teaching me about Ravelry.  Thanks to Tamarra for being a willing learner, and for not making fun of me when I have to go back to YouTube every other row to re-learn a stitch I just did 20 minutes earlier.  (And thanks to Monday Night Football for providing a convenient meeting place once a week.) 

Here's to learning new things!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Stash Bundle

Bought my first-ever fat quarter bundle, and it arrived in the mail this week.  So exciting!

I just love how it came all wrapped up like a present, with a bow and a tag and personalized twill tape.  Sigh--Moda.

Ten Little Things by Jenn Ski for Moda
Gracious, I don't think I really contemplated how much fabric is actually in a fat quarter bundle--31 fat quarters is almost 8 yards!  What have I done?

I am not generally an online fabric shopper, as my area has several LQS to choose from, as well as the well-stocked-but-not-quality-fabricked JoAnn's.  Plus, the mecca that is Fabric Depot is just up the interstate a bit.  However, I had bought a counting panel of Moda's Numbers with the idea of making it into a cloth book.  (Panel bought quite awhile ago.)  The cloth book idea featured a jelly roll of the coordinating Ten Little Things prints, also by Moda--which I just randomly went looking for about a month ago. 

several of the fabrics, gathered around a photo of the panel

I came to the realization that this fabric came out in 2012, and that fabrics just don't stay around in stores forever.  Internet to the rescue!  Didn't find a whole lot of this precut available online (in fact, when I started looking, I didn't find any jelly rolls), but a couple places had it.

And so I pounced...
Add to Cart

It has arrived: a delicious collection of dots, numbers, owls, trucks and asterisks.  In updated crayon colors.  I am smitten.

Molli Sparkles

Linking up with the fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday stash.  Yummy, y'all!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Technicolor Sky

I finished a quilt top!!!  In record time, too.

When last seen, the Bright Sky quilt was just the center star, but I had already started piecing the outer star--and I was just a tiny bit worried about the loudness of my color/fabric choices.

I finished the piecing at Stitch-n-Bitch last night (YAY for Friday nights with the gals!) and lemme tell you, it's not just loud, it's Technicolor.

Here it is, straight off the ironing board, being held up by the owner of my LQS (they really *are* a full-service shop: "I'll hold it up so you can take a picture for your blog.")

You might notice that I made some modifications to the original pattern. (Yes, I can complicate anything; thank you for paying attention.) 

Changes include:
  • outlining the outer star points with a contrasting fabric (loud Hawaiian print + leopard--how can that be wrong?)
  • adding a 4" white border to the outside of the outer squares
  • outlining this white border with a narrow strip of the floral from the inner star
  • continuing the white-and-floral strip along the diagonal of the corner squares
  • extending the top and bottom of the quilt to the edges of the additional border strips
 I wanted a more rectangular quilt; my finished size is about 75" by 64".

Technicolor Sky, 2014

I think it turned out pretty good--the fabrics seem to play together nicely, despite the obvious loudness of the green Hawaiian print.  The directional background fabric caused a little bit of fussing and extra work, but it looks effortless and almost-perfectly matching.

And I totally love the way I made an on-point frame for the whole thing.  Really wasn't sure how that was going to look, but it is so graphic and wonderful!

Best part: everything was made with stashed fabrics.  The Hawaiian and the background were the oldest--maybe 1990?--but even the newest (the center panel) was at least 7 years old.

I missed the Quilt Along for this pattern by a week or so, but that beats the heck out of lots of my previous sew-along adventures.  The winners of the quilt along were announced earlier this week, and all the participating quilts were linked up for your viewing pleasure.

 I am linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday Stash

Went to my favorite LQS last weekend for their Big Birthday Sale.  And, with wallet at the ready, I scoured for fabric.  I was prepared to shop with abandon.

No guilt, no need for this fabric to have an immediate use.  Just for the PURE JOY of buying fabric!

Moda Yardage

Vintage-y rulers: Pot Luck by American Jane Patterns (Moda)
Numbers on cream: Elementary by Sweetwater (Moda)
Berenstain Bears: Beary Happy Birthday (Moda)


And some fat quarters from the post-Halloween bin...
(unknown) Eyeballs in the dark
Trellis by Quilting Treasures
Orange-black stripe by ClothWorks

And one final fat quarter of (glorious) hedgehogs by Timeless Treasures!  How can you not be happy with a purchase like that?

So much angst in my life--I was blissful at this little shopping trip.  And so I am linking up with other joyful souls in celebrating lovely new purchases.

Molli Sparkles

(Welcome back, Molli Sparkles!)

One last glance at the Elementary fabric.  Can you guess why I had to have it?  As I tell my students:
"It makes my nerdy heart go pitter-pat."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Next pattern purchase: Pros & Cons

In an effort to take myself to task for impulsivity and forever chasing the new and shiny, I am writing down this list of Pros & Cons on the two patterns I am currently salivating over.

Pattern 1: a quilt pattern called Big Quilt Blocks

I saw it on Sewing With Nancy; a two-part video is available online, as well as a pattern.

Pattern 2: a small organizer, the Sew Together Bag

Quilt Zone's version
I'm seeing this bag everywhere on sewing and quilting blogs lately.  (Most recently in the T'was the Night blog hop hosted by Sew We Quilt.)  It has 3 inner zipper pockets, and a very clever way that the outer zipper forms handles.


Neither pattern is going to break my bank--even bought together I would spend less than $25.
The bag pattern is something I can envision making several times; I see it even being a Christmas gift (this year!)
The quilt pattern makes an excellent setting for a t-shirt quilt; I have a recipient in mind for such a quilt.

Cons/Reality check:

How many new patterns have I purchased this year?
How many new books have I purchased this year?
How many UFO's and WIP's do I have laying around?
Do I have a solid intention of making either of these patterns anytime soon?
Since I am considering the bag pattern as a Christmas gift, which other potential handmade Xmas gifts will be abandoned in order to work on this bag?
What possible bad thing could happen if I don't buy these patterns now?  Will they not be available later?

Well, that last question really is the voice of reason: what's the worst that could happen if I don't click on over to buy these patterns? 

What should I do?  How useful are these Pro & Con lists for controlling my impulsive, novelty-seeking behavior?  (One of my recent ADD books recommended using them.)  Do such lists work for you?