Friday, October 21, 2011

small steps and stitches

remember this colorful little lady, "out on a limb"? she's been sitting in my baby bassinet, which is in the nursery corner of my bedroom, patiently waiting for me to get back around to her. so sad. i'd truly love to finish her off this very afternoon. but i'd rather not put myself into labor 8 weeks early, so she continues to wait for me, quietly but cheerfully beckoning to me every time i pass by or cast an eye in her direction.

last friday jill came over to sew with me again. i had no 4sq to edge and was at a loss as to what i was going to do with my sewing time. pincushions crossed my mind, but were rather unappealing. then i noticed "limb" in the bassinet and decided to get all that unpicking done. my husband had taken all the kids to the zoo and i was alone, enjoying the quiet of the morning, waiting for jill to come. so i took out my neglected quilt, hung her up on the end of my bed, and sat on the couch just looking at her for a good half hour, observing how the different fabrics interplayed with each other and deciding what i might have done differently. overall she's pretty loud, but i do adore so many of the individual fabrics in her.

when i use this pattern again, i will definitely add white strips in periodically to help the eye rest and emphasize certain aspects of the quilt. i'm excited to give it a go the second time around and put together an actual pattern/tutorial when i do it. all in good time, though.

before i can even finish off quilting her, i must undo the damage i've already done.
here you can kind of see how tiny some of the stitches got and how inconsistent the sizing was. ugh! i really just need to go ahead and invest in the walking foot that is made for my current machine rather than keep trying to use the one that went to my singer. some of those stitches are so tiny i couldn't even fit my seam ripper through them and have been using my hooked snips instead. after about an hour of painstakingly cutting every third stitch or so, i found a much better method involving a combo approach with some cutting on the front and some on the back, then pulling threads out. can't really describe it well, but it was a huge improvement over my previous method.

while i sat meditating on the quilt, i also noticed another blooper i'd made that had escaped me up to this point. can you see it?
i totally skipped a seam on the brown polka dot strip! after a moment of panic thinking i'd thrown off the whole quilting pattern, i realized it was going to be a simple matter of just sewing that one line in. whew!

i did as much or more talking than i actually did seam ripping, but jill and i had a very enjoyable morning of quilting. she's getting much closer to finishing her quilt off, too. i'm loving this mini "bee" we have going. it's almost becoming a regular habit for us. which reminds me i need to invite her over for next friday!

so here's to slowing down and doing small, seemingly insignificant tasks. they allow me time to think (or chat with a friend) while my hands are busy. can't say i grudge having to do all that unpicking because of that reason and because i'm learning from my mistakes as i go. and ultimately, i couldn't finish this quilt without first undoing those mistakes, so this was a productive and necessary use of my time.

glad to be one step closer to getting her done!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

quilt book winner

it's been more than ten days and only one person commented on quilting, but what the heck. becky you get the book anyway! so please send me your address to my email (under the mouse on the left sidebar). can't wait to see what unique quilts you turn out under jane's inspiration.

and, please, no one tell jane i only had one entry. that is mostly a reflection of my readership size and interest, NOT jane or her wonderful book. because if more of her fans had known i was offering that book, i would have been swamped with entries. too bad for them, lucky for becky.

4sq no. 9

i managed to finish off the next 4sq for my really cute friend, becca. i started the blanket stitching on it at the beginning of october while watching general conference, but hadn't picked it up for about a week. however, when i found out becca would be bringing dinner over to us tonight, i started stitching like mad to finish it off so i could give it to her while she was here. i nearly made it in time, doing the last few stitches while she waited. i took some quick and sloppy photos before i was done. too bad i don't have better shots because this is one of my favorite blankets so far, made with heather bailey fabrics. gee, i sure adore those heather bailey fabrics!

like i said, really terrible photo. the blanket's all wrinkled and poorly hung, not to mention my kids' toys in the shot. you'd never know i had just started to take a really wonderful on-line photography course. these shots are in no way a reflection of ashley ann's terrific snapshop class! i was just majorly pressed for time.

i picked a pink for the edging, but am not sure i'm happy with my choice. there were about 5 pinks in the fabrics, and the pink floral print was more purply/lipsticky colored (how's that for technical and accurate color description) than the pinks in the sunflower and primrose tile prints. but i really wanted pink because i liked the way it contrasted with the cute green and white flannel i found at joann. red was another choice from all three floral prints, but i thought it was too christmasy on the the green flannel. i could have gone with a nice yellow, too, but opted for more contrast. so much thought into one detail that didn't even turn out perfectly!

so becca finally got her baby's blanket and i got an absolutely delicious mexican chicken soup for dinner. it wasn't meant to be a trade, but i'm sure happy with my end. since i'm on bedrest, the relief society (women's organization) in my church ward (congregation) has been voluntarliy bringing in dinner to us twice a week. we would have survived without the meals, but it has been a nice relief for my husband to not have to think about or prep meals on those nights. and we've had some seriously good meals! i'm grateful for the service and thoughtfulness of all the ladies who have contributed. and especially glad becca signed up to bring dinner tonight because her soup was amazing, i got a chance to see and chat with her, and finally turned over the baby blanket. her baby's almost 4 months old already and i've had the fabric since march. feels good to have completed it! thanks again, becca. (and everyone else, too.)

two to four more weeks to go! then i either have a baby or get to get out of bed until she comes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

new page

for anyone interested, i added a "my crew" page to the blog. it's an introduction to the family, highlighting all my little crafters. the tab to access it is at the top of the blog sandwiched in between the "about" and "my spot" tabs. enjoy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

sewing evolution

it's fall break here and sewing teacher, kelly hendrickson, had day classes open during the week. both my older girls went yesterday, returning with completed reversible bags (started last session) and pajama pants. i was sew impressed!

 i like the fabrics both of them picked out, especially the green on my older daughter. when she put her pants on last night, she said, "these look like real pajama pants!" i told her they are real. likely she meant they are just like her store-bought ones. both girls are at a second session today. i think they'll either be working on a rag quilt or skirt. can't wait to see what they do!

daughter #2's bag, side A

side B

when photographing her bag this morning, she said to me, "i don't know why i put these two fabrics together! they don't really match." well, that's what i was thinking when i saw her bag, but i didn't say anything. she's learning and the more i let them explore and try on their own without interference and much guidance from me, the more i see their taste and discernment developing. i make casual (usually) suggestions when i'm involved in what they're doing, but ultimately it's up to them.

daughter #1's bag, side A

side B

while photographing this bag, d#1 said, "these are boxed corners. have you ever made them?" i admitted i hadn't yet. she then proceeded to explain to me how you make a boxed corner. awesome! i love that she knows something/did something i haven't yet.

it's been over a year now since i introduced crafting and sewing into our homeschool/family life in a concerted manner. at first i thought they weren't really catching on or that interested, and i felt slightly disappointed and frustrated. but i'm finding that the more experience they gain and by just having supplies available to them, they really are catching on, getting more interested. it's been satisfying and rewarding to watch. quite often now they'll get out their sewing boxes and tackle an idea independently or just get out idea books and browse for inspiration.

it's made me realize that they didn't have to jump into sewing whole-heartedly right from the beginning in order to like it or become life-time sewers. i'm reminded about what i know regarding so many of their learning pursuits:
1.  supply encouragement
2. give some instruction
3. model/demonstrate the desired behavior
4.  make supplies available
5.  give them time
6. be patient
7.  get out of their way!

i think the sewing classes have been helpful, but certainly not necessary to this process. a parent could provide their own classes at home. however, i think it's also good for the children to have a non-parent instructor if possible. maybe an available grandparent, neighbor, or friend could be a great teacher. there is more than one way to skin the sewing cat, so to speak.

ultimately, find what works for your family and enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

4 sq blanket no. 8

while listening to general conference today, i finished off no. 8, my second boy blanket.

this was for daughter #2's primary (sunday school) teacher and i let her select the fabrics as well as sew the top.

we used a brown polka dot on blue ground flannel for the backing and i did the blanket stitch in a brown that matched the brown stripe in the stripey square. whenever there are multiple shades of a color in the blanket i have a hard time selecting which one to use, but it usually works out just fine since there are already so many colors and shades involved anyway. i used to be a strict color/shade matcher. not anymore.

while i finished the blanket, daughter #2 sewed her sock monkey's arms and ears on. too bad she can't locate the tail. tomorrow she'll add the muzzle and i'll blanket stitch no.9 while we watch the sunday sessions of general conference for inspiration and nourishment of the soul variety.

Friday, September 30, 2011

a sewing date with jill

after mequell came to visit me with her lovely quilt, i got to thinking about jill and how i'd had to cancel our quilting date since i'd gone on bedrest. it occurred to me that maybe i didn't have to cancel on her after all, that with a little innovation, we could still have our sewing session together. so I called and invited her over to quilt in my bedroom. i told her she'd have to lug her machine up my stairs, but i could have a card table and chair set up for her by ny kids, that she'd really be doing me a favor by keeping me company. surprisingly, she was all for it.
my oldest son rearranged part of my bedroom and set up a sewing station for jill next to my couch, where i spend my days couch resting, rather than bedresting. she quilted and i blanket stitched a 4sq blanket.

friday is craft day on the homeschool schedule, so my girls spread out on various parts of the floor with their own projects.

daughter #2 made a "binkie" for our baby. i didn't tell her how impractical the wool felt and silk ribbon were for a baby. we'll just handwash it, i guess. nor did i feel it necessary at this point to mention the button was a choking hazard. we'll think of something. maybe i can get her to applique a shape on instead.

after baking and serving us some fresh blondies (my favorite, simple cooking light recipe here) daughter #1 made some more finger puppets and a tiny felt bird from a pattern in fa la la la felt. it was her first attempt at blanket stitch. pretty good. she's been browsing the book for ideas lately and has several more projects she'd like to try, but a trip to the fabric store will be requited before she can complete any of the others.

daughter #4 felt it her duty to distract jill from her quilting as much as possible. she gave jill a sticker on her cheek (which jill graciously wore for quite some time), kept poking jill with a pretend needle (which jill gamely grimaced at or said 'ouchy!" to repeatedly), and "put on a show" for us on my bed, insisting jill turn her chair around to watch the dancing and capering about of a rambunctious 3 year old. jill was such a good sport, wearing that beautiful smile of hers the whole time. did i mention she's beautiful inside as well? yes, she is.

part of "the show"

daughter #4 also tried to participate in the sewing fest. she pulled out her spool of thread (some all-purpose pink she confiscated and claimed as her own) and cut a piece off to use on her mini mermaid softie she got last christmas from her oldest sister. she kept wrapping the thread around and around the mermaid, telling us how she was "making it." very cute. i really need to get her set-up with a hoop and burlap, but that will require a trip to the store also. my mom is coming to help out on monday. think i'll send her to jo-ann, etc with a list.

despite all the distraction, jill got almost all her squares quilted. AND we solved her dilemma of how to finish off her border. the class teacher had made a few suggestions for doing piano keys or a diagonal pattern in the border space, but jill thought both were too busy and wasn't sure exactly how to do either. knowing she'd never complete the quilt unless she decided on something, i racked my brain for an idea. after a bit, i got a lightbulb: just echo quilt the large central panel twice. jill liked it and i invited her back next friday to quilt some more. looks like there's hope of completion after all! i sure hope she comes next week. too, because i thoroughly enjoyed chatting and stitching half the day away with such good company.

who said bedrest had to be confining or boring? i'm finding it a blessing, a break, and a gift of time - an opportunity to slow down in ways i normally couldn't or wouldn't. by thinking a litle outside the box (bed) i'm finding i can still get a lot done.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

simplifying quilts & A BOOK GIVEAWAY

remember when mequell, jill, and i took a quilting class back in may? well, mequell actually finished her quilt! she came to visit me in bedrest land the other day and brought it so i could see the final product. it turned out great! love the smile and look on her face. she should feel good about this, her first quilt. and she reports her daughter absolutely loves it, too. now she just needs to make one for each of her boys. jill and i were actually all set to get together last friday and work on our quilts again, but then the dreaded orders from my dr. came through. oh, we'll get there jill. january?

mequell really wanted to use minky on the back of her quilt to match the inner squares of her blocks. after doing the blocks she had a healthy respect for how stinky minky can be to work with, so she smartly opted to have louise long-arm quilt for her. bravo! she got a fun swirly floral pattern for her quilting and she didn't have to torture herself with working on minky or trying to fit the quilt through her vintage machine's less-than-optimal arm opening. or buy an expensive walking foot, either. sometimes you just need to know when to go with a different option. down with purism, i say! do what works for you.

knowing at least one of them had expressed interest, i asked mequell if she was going to make a quilt for each of the boys and we talked about how she could just do something much simpler with large squares or strips that would be less labor-intensive and time-consuming but still wonderful for her sons to have. and it would get done. i hope she finds an idea and tackles them.

i'm starting to lean that way myself in my quilting philosophy. patchwork is a fabulous look and fun to do, but it can take more time than a busy mom has. i also really like quilts that incorporate large pieces of fabric to showcase prints that i love. i'm not ready to throw out the patterns i have waiting in my 'to do' pile just yet because i'd really like to complete those quilts. however, i'm going to look for more simplified quilt designs, too. like this fairytale quilt from rachel hauser of stitched in color.

i absolutely love what she's done with these heather ross far, far, and away prints. i've collected a few and was wondering how to best showcase them. this fantastic idea was absolutely perfect. if only i didn't have about 10 projects in front of it in priority.

i've been reading jane brocket's the gentle art of quiltmaking, which has greatly inspired me to do more of what i've already done a little bit: just make up my own patterns. that's what i did with both "star cookie" and "out on a limb." i already have another version of each of those quilts in the works, pending the end of bedrest (and the first few weeks of baby's life, i'm sure.)

like all of jane's work, this book is a fascinating read. she takes you through her relaxed, exploratory approach to quilting and how the 15 featured quilts evolved. here's what i love about jane: she inspires us to just go for it when we want to try something new. don't worry about mastery or perfection, give it a go and see what you can do.

in the intro jane describes how she wanted to quilt for years but was always scared to because it seemed too complicated. a friend told her something like, 'oh, jane, just cut up some fabric and sew it back together!' really, it's that simple. learn the basic skills from someone who knows what they're doing, then play. this is not what most quilters tell you. there are rules and regulations all over the place, admonitions to be precise, dire warnings of what disasters will transpire if you do or don't do such and so. it's totally intimidating. but not my beloved jane. she says make quilts you will like and use them.

jane and i have vastly different taste in color play, but i so appreciate her underlying philosophy, which anyone could apply to their own personal style. she has even taught me to respect kaffe fasset, whose style also varies greatly from mine, but who'd ideas and passion i can respect. once again, thank you jane!

so here's my dilemma at this point: i'd really like to give away a copy of this book to someone else who thinks they'd like it. i enjoy doing giveaways. but there are about three people reading this blog regularly at this point, two of which might not even like this book. i'm at the point with this blog that i really am writing it only for me with little interest in catering to or building an audience, but i don't mind others looking in and i do enjoy some interaction with like-minded crafters. i suppose what i'll do is this, if i can get 10 comments entered in this giveaway in the next 10 days, i'll send one of them a copy of this book.

to enter, simply leave me a comment describing what you like about quilting, what's worked for you as a quilter, why you would like to quilt if you don't, or what you like about jane brocket. something along those lines related to what i've just talked about.

that will be sufficient. and please, do tell a friend who might like this book. i'd really like to give a few people a chance at winning it. at least ten, okay? if someone sent you here for the giveaway, please mention them.

and for anyone worried about my failed follower giveaway (still working on those!) i have learned my lesson: don't offer something i don't already have on hand or that i have to mail yourself. i can order this book and have it sent directly to you, so it will go out.

*regrettably open to domestic u.s. residents only

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


just a few random items in my sewing world today:

1. my seester, katee, came over to cut hair. since i couldn't go downstairs with everyone else, i had her do mine in my bawthroom. apparently she's never seen my sewing space because when she saw it she said, "oh, is that your blanket-making station?" totally made me laugh the way she expressed that.

2. fabricworm has such great selection. i'm growing increasingly impressed with their offerings. and those bundles they put together are fabulous! if i needed something else to sew, i'd buy one today because they are so well put together and inspiring. but i don't need one. not yet. maybe i should give one away, for fun. (except that no one reads this blog anymore, if they ever did, and i don't really care. about the readership. the people who read, yes, if they read, no. and i DO like doing giveaways and spreading the fabric love around.) a sample of some of their custom bundles:

3. this interview with joel dewberry (a designer i totally dig) at stitched in color was so interesting. what he had to say about color selection for handmade products made me laugh becasue i think he's dead on, at least it applies to me.

"within the world of fabric consumers are buying with the intent to create something to complement their home, their wardrobe or their life. This requires effort and more often than not, they err on the side of bold with the hopes their creations will be noticed. I believe they are often drawn to fabric that is bolder than what they might otherwise purchase in a finished good. Like us all, they enjoy the recognition and satisfaction associated with having created something by yourself and they appreciate the attention it will bring them."

it's true. i'm sometimes shocked at what i purchase fabric-wise. i'm much more conservative in my pre-made purchases. i think i like the idea of taking risks with something i'm making more than with something already made.

4. aaahhhh! i have more than enough sewing and craft books, but guess who just announced a book forethcoming in january? the talented little firecracker, miss v of v. and co.

5. i found some online tutorials for doing patchwork by hand. i'm starting a new bit on my sidebar to keep track of any good tutorials i find.

Friday, September 23, 2011

handwork opportunities

while being on bedrest has not given me empty hours on end (i do still homeschool, interact with my children, and try to run the house from here), i certainly have a bit more time on my hands than i did previously. those hands are itching to do some sewing while i lounge around incubating. tuesday i finally removed the outer border from "taite" that has been holding back my progress on that piece for literally months. i have those baby blankets to edge and i pulled out my abandoned heather bailey pincusion, but this isn't going to occupy me very long. not for 7 weeks. i am kicking myself for not having a baby quilt ready for handquilting. that would be perfect right now! handwork i can do laying here. too bad i can't use the machine, too. it's really niggling away at me whenever i think about how i have all this time and i can't use it like i want to. so i try not to think about it. i keep trying to figure out how maybe i could use the machine for just a little bit, make it okay, justify myself. but i can't. i'll just have to let it go for now. and all those darling baby projects out there are simply not for me.

today i took a stab at the seed stitching on my strawberry pincushion. it wasn't quite as easy as it looked. simple enough, but the instructions heather gave were not completely explicit. firstly, she said to add the seed details after the leaf top was on. that doesn't make much sense to me since you're supposed to hide the thread ends under the leaf. next time (and, yes, i'll probably make a few of these while laying here) i'll do the seeds first. secondly, i found i didn't make the stitches small enough or space them far enough apart. way too many unevenly-sized seeds:
completing the stitches only took about 10 minutes (probably less), which was nice. but it looked dodgy to me. so i decided, what the heck? i'm stuck here in bed anyway, might as well try again. i unpicked all of it and started over again with a better idea of how to proceed. now heather said to space the seed lines by following the tips of the leaf, which kept the lines more or less properly spaced apart, but she didn't say a thing about seed size or number. i thought my stitches looked too big and too many.

second time around i made the seeds smaller and only four per row. and i hit on the idea of using the string lined up from the leaf tip to the strawberry's end to guide my lines so they wouldn't wander. you can see here i held the excess floss in a straight line then simply followed right next to it with the needle, completing several stitches at once. i was just a little more careful to make them small and really watched where i put them. since some of the rows started from the "outy" point of a leaf and the alternate rows were lined up with the "inny" point of the leaf, i also alternated the seeds in those rows so that from one to the next the seeds were not across from each other, but rather in between where those in the row next to it were placed. i hope that makes sense! a lot of blather about five minutes worth of seed stitching.

my second attempt pleased me more than my first, but i still could have done a better job. heather's sample on the packaging looks so much more professional and polished than mine, which is, i guess, to be expected. i'll just keep practicing. to finish off my bitty project i only need to add the blossom and another leaf.

maybe i can try some of the other fruit shapes from the pattern, too. this could be good handstitching practice for me. sure wish i knew how to make some bigger projects by hand though. i know you can handpiece quilts, i just am not sure how. all the instructions i ever read for patchwork were for machine stitching. even if you are going to do the quilting portion by hand, the piecing part is always by machine. it should be simple enough to piece by hand, too, but i have no idea what stitch to use to make it sturdy enough. anyone know how or where i can find instructions?

maybe i should go crazy with yo-yo making. lots of fun scraps in my box to work with. that's an idea! anymore small and simple projects anyone can suggest for a lady stuck in bed doing only handwork?

 it's almost enough to make me take up knitting except i just can't make that leap. i live in the desert. we were knit goods for a few weeks a year and i simply can't make the investment to learn for something not practical for me. i guess i'll be sticking to pincushions for a bit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


i've got to mention it again - i'm pregnant. it's kinda dominated my life for the past 6 months.what i may not have mentioned before is that my last 4 babies were premature by 4 to 6 weeks. this one will most likely be, too. i'm prepared for that and okay with it. yesterday my doctor put me on bedrest. so we've had to make some adjustments around here asap. i anticipate being able to handsew while i lay in bed, but my machine work will probably be put on hold just as i was getting back into it. thank goodness i got those 3 blankets to the point where i can do the blanket stitching on them! i didn't work on them at all today, but my kids did bring out their sewing boxes today while i was reading aloud to them as part of our school day. it tickled me happy to see them snipping and sewing away, letting out some creativity.

even my 7 year old son was stitching his first ever sewing project. think what you will about boys with a needle and thread - i think it's awesome. if nothing else, they will someday know how to mend their own clothing. he's making a pillow for one of his toys. (i'd tell you it's his little boy baby doll, but that might really be pushing your concept of his masculinity.)

he started his experience with sewing last year by experimenting on a piece of burlap in an extra-large embroidery hoop. (this idea came from amanda soule's great book, the creative family.) a tapestry needle is nice and large for little hands to hold, and pretty blunt, too. perfect beginner piece. the stitching is done with embroidery floss, which is good and thick, easy to see. i helped him get set up and let him stitch however the heck he wanted. the first couple of pieces were simply undone and started afresh when he got tired of that design. then i eventually nudged him to practice small stitches, which evolved into doing a basic design with purpose. he's messed with stitching on and off over the last several months. a few days ago, on his own initiative, he cut up some felt and tried to make a sleeping bag for his little fella. turned out he'd cut the bag too small, so it became a pillow. now he wants to make a sleeping bag.

my oldest daughter made yet another felt finger puppet creation during our reading/spontaneous crafting time. he's so cute! i neglected to photograph his perky tail on the backside. but isn't his eye patch darling? i just love the stuff they come up with.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

saturday sewing frenzy

i decided to make up for lost time today. we had a really great week in homeschool and my husband has been out of town on a pleasurable business trip for 3 nights now, so i felt justified turning the kids loose all day, letting them eat leftover pizza from last night and watching movies to their hearts' content (we don't have tv and only fri/sat are movie days). the mr. will be home any time now and i really wanted to get some projects out of the way and off my conscience.

first up, i photographed 4sq #7 before delivering it:
while i love the fabrics i used on this blanket, i'm not completely happy with the turnout because matching the flannel backing to this one was a true challenge. i would have preferred either the bright pink or that lighter green color from the background of the lower right corner, but of course could find neither. i settled on basic white, but when i held up the white to the finished top, i realized those nice dark colors were showing right through and it just didn't work. i was down to red. it's not very feminine/baby feeling to me, but it matched pretty closely. then i had to pick a border stitching color - another dilemma. i really try not to overthink this stuff, but i do have some standards. first i selected a dark green (too christmasy) and a brown (too dull & definitely not fem/baby with the red). so even though it doesn't tie in with the ladybug panel very well, i got a bright pink close to the color in some of the flowers and on the butterflies. whew! i'm so glad this one is done. to top off everything else, when i photographed it in my courtyard, i neglected to reset the white balance, which i'd recently moved to "tungsten", so the color is all off. whatever! like i said, i'm so glad this one is done. bye-bye!

(unusual photo of my baby bump hanging over the ironing board as i press, with littlest sister splishing
and splashing in the background)

my older four children all had an activity of some sort or another this morning, so it was just the little girls and me until lunch time. i got my morning obligations out of the way and tackled my stack of projects. finishing the 4sq blankets that i had on hand planned for all my friends was my goal. i got the back put on the boy blanky for my daughter's primary teacher then went after the other two girl blankets i've had the fabric for since march or april. one is done, minus the blanket stitch and the other has a completed top now. that was a lot of cutting, squaring, pinning and a fair bit of pressing and sewing, which is always the fastest part.

the 5 yr old wandered in, interested in what i was doing and was given the job of replacing pins as i sewed. she loves that. she was kept quite busy removing and rearranging the pins all she wanted.

it was nice having her along side me while i worked and i believe this is a beginning for her further involvement and interest in sewing to come when she's old enough to do more. i already let her stitch on burlap in an embroidery hoop with floss and a large, dull tapestry needle, as suggested in the creative family by amanda soule of soulemama blog fame. this was just one more way to give her happy memories associated with her mother and sewing. although i must say, if you look at the method she created for inserting the pins, points poking through the top, i am tempted to think maybe she's not so happy with me after all and seeks to do a little damage next time i reach for a pin.

eventually the littlest one wanted to splish and splash while i stashed. while she bathed she called out to me, "look mama! i 'tending i sewin'. i makin' a blanky. sew, sew, sew." she was using cotton swabs to sew through the hole in a foot brush. everyone seemed to want to be sewing or participating in some way today. when she saw me pressing the cute heather bailey fabrics for one of the blankets, she excitedly cried, "oh, i like that one! i like the flowers - can i have it please, pretty please?" i wish, darlin', but it's for another baby that's been waiting about 3 months now. seeing as i have plenty of spare heather in my stash and this little gal likes and wants every bit of fabric she sees me working with, i'm not too concerned she'll hold it against me or even notice when this blanket finds it's new home.

up next, i have to get the back on 4sq #10, then blanket stitch all 3 of them asap. happy sewing or saturday-ing otherwise to y'all!

Friday, September 16, 2011

doll dr.

so, i have been sewing some, just not posting about it. can't manage both now that school's back in business (i homeschool). i did get a whole weekend's staycation to myself over labor day, too, in which i planned to sew my little heart out in my empty, quiet nest. but i scrapbooked instead. i've done that even less than sewing this year. it was nice. it made me realize maybe one of the reasons i'm rather unmotivated to sew is that most of the projects i need to get to immediately are for other people, not myself or my little ones. sure, i want to get those gifts done, but with so much going on in my life, getting around to them takes a backseat to what really is important around here.

what i have done sewing-wise in the last month:
  • 4sq baby blanket #7 is complete, but not photographed.
  • finally begun removing the border from "taite" quilt so i can redo it and get moving on that quilt
  • spent 45 minutes handsewing one whole patch on my husband's scout leader shirt (he's only been a leader for 3 years!) just 10 or so patches to go.
  • reattached my daughter's doll's head for the second time

i have no idea how to properly do this. sure wish i knew one of those toy specialists like the one who fixes up woody in toy story 2 because i've got a few babies who could sure use some airbrushing. (until i got around to fixing this one, she looked like a victim of sid from toy story 1!) but it doesn't take an expert to look at something and just go for it the best you can figure. i could tell the neck stem needed to be reinserted into the body and that the fabric of the body needed to go into the groove at the bottom of the head, then be cinched tighter. so that's what i did.

our surgery scar is not pretty, but she's a modest dolly and always covered up at the neck, so no one will notice. all we care about is that she is back in one piece. and it only took about five minutes total to get her back together.

we've got several corolle dolls, those lovely french playmates that smell of vanilla and are so wonderfully made. this is the only one who's head has ever fallen off and she survived quite a few years of love and play before that happened. her neckline has been compromised now, so i wasn't surprised when she needed a follow-up surgery to the first one she had a few years ago. we just made do and fixed her right up as best we could. she's all set to rejoin her sisters and enjoy some more play.

sewing comes in handy. and you don't have to know exactly how to perfectly do something to make do. just go for it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

back in business

my plan is moving forward. our weekend turned out too busy for sewing, but when my 3yr old needed a bath this morning, i thought, "it's splish splash stash time!" i figure if i squeeze in bits when i can, i will eventually get something done. my goal was to simply square off the four fabrics for a new 4sq blanket while she bathed. my starter project dilemma got decided for me when i got invited to a baby shower this weekend, so 4sq blanket it was. then the 9yr old walked in on me cutting and asked when she could work on the blanket for her teacher's baby. the little splasher was still happily swimming/getting clean, so we squared off teacher's fabrics, too. little splasher still didn't want to get out, so i put the 9 yr old to work sewing her top.
she's learned a lot about sewing in her 3 classes she took from kelly, but she had some trouble keeping her seam straight today. her other projects haven't required as much precision as i was expecting/needing for this blanket. we couldn't figure out why her seam kept wandering to the left and she had difficulty self-correcting. this is a gift, so i was totally hovering over her, lending a hand.  i was pretty patient with her, but i could have been a tad less exasperated. i don't want to put off her confidence. together we survived and got her top sewn. i'll take the blanket from here, doing the back and the blanket stitch myself. before she makes a gift for someone else all by herself, i want her to have more practice. i plan on her making her own larger version of the 4sq for herself, using 8 to 12 squares. that should give her some good experience with the seams and the blanket stitching.

once she was done with her top, i realized it would be only a matter of minutes for me to do the 3 seams required to get my top together and just did it.
the colors don't show well in this photo - the red is actually deeper, less tomato - but here's the top. should be simple enough to add the back tomorrow and get stitching on the edges. i love easy, quick-satisfaction projects! very gratifying.

by the time i was done sewing, i insisted the little fish in my bawthroom remove herself to dry land. she was pruned beyond belief and turning purple. when she started crying about being so cold, i sat her in a chair and wrapped her quilt around her.
that warmed up her chilly body and put a huge grin on her face. the last few weeks she's been playing with her quilt a lot. even though i never completely finished off that last bit of embellishment on the top, she's enjoying the quilt so i just let her use it. maybe i never will finish it, but i don't think baby cares at this point. maybe i don't either. maybe for now it's good enough. being loved and used was it's purpose anyway, even if it's not 100% done.