Thursday, December 31, 2020

Crafty bits wraps up 2020

This week Mom and I have been spending lots of good time in the crafty room. She’s been finishing up a bunch of cross stitching that’s been hanging around for a while and I’ve been sitting at the sewing machine trying out some quick small projects.

This first one was seriously easy. I’ve got a cute little lumbar pillow on my fabulous chair in there and it was crying out for a holiday dress. I had this jelly roll of festive fabric that made the cutting for this oh so easy. In the end, if I wanted to leave this for after the holidays the prints are really more farmhouse than holiday even with those trees in the back of the red truck. I just roughly measured the cover that was already on the pillow to get the sizes needed and did the same simple envelope back on it. The quilting was so simple, just straight lines either side of the seams. It turned out very nicely. 

For my next project I broke into the rather large stash of zippers I ordered myself and picked out some fun coordinating prints. I’ve been craving some zippered bag construction, hence the zipper stock up. I used some batting scraps from previous quilts and did just simple straight lines to quilt the fabric together. I’m enjoying the combination of this large scale flower with the ric-rac stripe. 

This pattern was a bit different than others I’ve done because it was done in one long piece and the inner side seams were closed using a French seaming technique. It was a little bit fiddly but turned out looking really nice. Mom’s knitting loom and yarn fit in this one perfectly. I’d like to do more bag projects in 2021, so this was a great warm up. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

hip cabin blanket for Dave

This was kind of a fun and simple blanket to make. I found several similar types, mostly with sherpa fleece backs, on Pinterest and I was struck by the simplicity of having just one piece of fabric lined with fleece rather than piecing something together. It’s a good way to find a home for some of these gorgeous large scale prints we all covet from time to time. 

What got me started on this was finding the fleece in the remnants bin at Joann’s. It was pretty cute, too cute to pass up one might say, and just about the right size to make something lap-sized. The tree fabric was something I’d seen in the fall and liked but put back because I literally had no inkling of plans for using it. But when it’s 60% off and it matches a fleece remnant you don’t need but must have? You must buy. I think maybe this would look more impressive with a larger scale print but it’s still a nice woodsy hipster cabin blanket. 

All I had to do was trim selvages before stacking the two together and folding up the edges of the fleece to pin. I pinned and sewed the two short edges first and then went back and did the same for the longer edges. All the sewing needed was a topstitch type of seam on the inner folded edge of the fleece on all four edges and voila! 

It turned out looking good and Dave has claimed it for his pajama room (aka loft) time already. My general thoughts? It’s a little strange to my hands having one side be fluffy fleece and the other a relatively thin cotton. If I were to do this again I would think a linen or linen-like fabric would be a good option or something heavy like a tweed. Another option is to not fold the fleece over the way I did and instead try to have the quilting cotton go all the way to the edge? At any rate, worth a try again with some modification. It was fun and the blanket looks great. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

eve eve ornaments

We got up to more ornament making mischief, this time with a no-sew quilted ornament mom found on Pinterest. I just love the way these look.

Mom went festive red and green with hers and I dug through my scrap squares to find some coordinating prints. This one is for Da Bears. 

And here is one of the Christmas color balls. The pattern has each round have the same color all the way around, but we experimented a little bit with alternating prints on the middle round to add a bit more interest. 

This was the first one I did, and the colors kind of remind me of the aquarium in Monterey. Boy we miss going there! 

It takes a styrofoam ball, 200 pins (plus some for the ribbon), and a little bit of ribbon to go with a stack of fabric squares to make these. They are quite addictive to make, and you can definitely make them while watching football and not mess up. We finished our final touches today, Christmas Eve eve and they’re ready to go on the tree. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

omg it’s under the tree

Approximately one million nine hundred and seventy two stitches later, it’s done! Last time I left this, it was August and I had plenty of time until we put the trees up. Ha! The stack of hexies definitely hung around in my “to do” basket until at least early December. 

The issue I was having was this: I was feeling much too lazy to hand stitch them all together, but I didn’t think that zigzagging along all the seams would look very good, even if I used gray thread. Soooo. They sat. And sat. And sat some more. I think the fact that we actually had the trees up and last year’s (perfectly fine) tree skirt was under the little tree upstairs was what got me going. So the next many evenings and afternoons were spent whip stitching these all together. I finished one afternoon when Mom and I were in the studio and she snapped this picture.

As I went along, I had to refer to a photo of the whole thing put together because I decided to go with the completely mixed up version, and that’s much harder to remember what goes where. I used hand quilting thread and a quilting between to stitch and used a simple whip stitch, just as if I were doing English paper piecing. The cream thread is visible on the back, but not on the front and that’s where it matters most. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. To be honest, when I finished it (under the wire) I thought it looked too small and was pretty bummed. But it’s a perfect fit under our little tree that we put on the blanket chest. And it’s kitten approved! It took him a few days to want to sit on it though, I think all the prints kind of blew his mind. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Holiday quilt

Of course one of the first places Mom and I capered off to when she got here was the fabric store. Despite being the middle of fall, there was already lots of holiday fabric out on the shelves. They had a super good deal on the flannel prints, so I couldn’t resist grabbing a yard or two (or three...). 

I’ve been admiring some blankets I’ve seen that are buffalo plaid using related prints. This blanket is an homage to those I’ve seen. The front worked up very quickly, as you’d imagine. It took me some time to want to sit down and sort out a back for it. I do like what I came up with though! I used up the rest of the flannel prints, a few more pieced square panels I had left over, and then raided the cabinet for some red and neutral fabrics to finish off the size I needed. I especially like that bit of corduroy in the corner. 

It’s a holiday blanket, but I wanted to keep it red with neutrals rather than including the green. The plain squares are the linen blend I just love using in all my work, and I used some red and black jelly roll strips from a holiday roll I picked up at some point this season to bind. It never dawned on me just how EASY using jelly rolls as binding is. Save that little nugget of wisdom for later! The quilting was simple grids outlining the seams. Every time I sit down to quilt now I feel like I should be practicing more free motion, but honestly that is going to have to wait a while until I’m willing to use it on a bigger piece like this. 

The front only took a yard of the black/red camping print, a yard of the linen, and two yards of that adorable woodland creatures print. The flannel was quite easy to work with. I wonder why we don’t think of using it for quilting more often? There are so many cute prints. (I may find out when this is washed....) So, next time there’s a silly good sale on flannel prints at the fabric store I have a great excuse to pick up a yard or so of some irresistible ones. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

2020 ornament diy

It’s becoming an annual tradition. Last year, we made sparkly unicorns with flower crowns (see that turquoise one in the picture?). This year, Mom found a pattern for these totally cool fabric pinwheel ornaments. We raided my stash of “precut” 5-inch squares for these, and it was a super fun project that came together pretty quick. And a bonus? Cat proof. They won’t break if your enterprising cats decide they must take it off the tree to look closer. 

While the most difficult part was sewing on the points, it was only because pushing a needle through that many layers of fabric quickly became a job for pliers. Once we figured that out, the difficult part was picking buttons and ribbon to finish them off. The pinwheel is made up of prairie points folded from 5-inch squares. So once the ironing is done, everything comes together fast. I liked the fact that we could just sit down with my stack of 5-inch squares that I’d already cut from scraps earlier this year. Big pat on the back to me for spending all the time to do that. It makes me more motivated to do the same to the next bag we’ve accumulated from when we cleaned up post-painting. 

I will admit, I was skeptical at first but they are awesome. And they’re pretty big, too! Each is a bit larger than would fit in the palm of my hand. The possibilities for color play are endless here. I could see a rainbow, a gradient, alternating complementary colors.... so many choices. I’m also curious what would happen if I tried using a gradient of sized squares to get something looking like a nautilus shell. Do that in marine-colored batiks? Could be pretty cool. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

pods, people

I think I’m going to call these plant pods. It seems like a satisfying moniker given that this photo makes it look like aliens have landed on my couch, hatched, and run amok.

In fact, these are a new addiction of mine. All it takes is an L hook and one ball of cotton yarn. This was based on a free pattern from Bernat using one of their chunkier yarns, but I found that holding the Lily’s cotton yarn double worked just as well. I’ve also got some small ones I made before these using just one strand. They’re pretty cute, too. 

I modified the pattern to be a little bit deeper in order to accommodate the pots I used to transplant some jade cuttings I had been rooting in water to give to our neighbors as holiday gifts. Of course, once I started I couldn’t stop! All the yarn had to turn into plant pods. So, I had a few extra made up so we can keep one, Mom gets one, and I gave one to my friend Andrea since she’s a fellow plant enthusiast. 

They are meant to hang on the wall. I think a hip hook would make this jade plant look rather nice, no? I really enjoyed working these up. Not only were they fast, but they are a great excuse to buy the pretty balls of cotton at the store when you don’t need anymore washcloths in the kitchen. And they satisfyingly used up most of the ball of yarn. I made some more reusable cotton rounds with the (small amount of) leftovers. They’ll end up in Mom’s stocking. Now I’ll just hope the jade cuttings establish themselves well enough before Christmas week so these can get delivered to doorsteps in fine form. 

Pattern: Hanging Planter Pods (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: various Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton balls 
Hook: L (8.0 mm)