31 August 2019

June - July - August

Since May, when my sewing momentum was completely shut down, I haven't done much at all. The busy-level of the summer felt a lot more hectic this year, even though last year was had the exact same pattern: 17-day vacation followed by summer theater followed by two camps, and then back to school. I'm getting old ... anyway ...

mending: 6

zip totes: 4 for teacher gifts at the elementary school, made literally the day before school year ended. But they were done, and they were gift-wrapped and ready to go when the girls left for school on the last day!

quilt blocks: 1 - the cake block from the Spelling Bee book. My intention is to make a "Happy Birthday" banner to hang up for birthday parties and include this block, but this is as far as it's gotten.

crafting: lots and lots of "tornado streamers" for the summer theater production of The Wizard of Oz. The choreography was that Dorothy and Toto spun in circles while the Munchkins ran in circles around them, first with the dark colored streamers for the storm, and then switching to the colored ones to indicate her travel to Oz. I came up with how to do the streamers - I bought the plastic-y tablecloths from the dollar store, cut them into strips, and hot-glued them to craft sticks. We made about 150 of these (total, both sets combined) and each one had 3 to 8 streamers. It was a lot of cutting and a lot of glue, and a lot of time. But only about 10 bucks.

mending: 1

quilt blocks: 4, put together in a quilt-as-you-go small project. I did this at my friend Sarah's house in Utah so she could teach me the technique. I took a bunch of photos with the intention of posting a tutorial here, but obviously we haven't gotten to that yet.

summer theater: I am such a glutton for punishment. I still agreed to be the costume manager again, even though our family wasn't even IN the show this year. On the morning of THE SHOW - not the THREE dress rehearsals - Adam helped me figure out the Tin Man costume, and that gave me fits all the way through the show. Every break, I was pinning it somewhere just to keep it on the guy. We were both happy to take it apart and throw it in the trash within an hour of the final curtain!

- I'm most proud of our Yellow Brick Road - it was a PERSON! She danced, and Dorothy and crew followed her. I made the cape, and this cute girl was so excited when I told her she could keep it when the show was over. I hope she dresses up as the Yellow Brick Road for Halloween.

- a lot more tornado streamers
- elastic waist/knotted tulle skirts for the Munchkins
- I altered the dress for Glinda - I had to take in the bodice of a formal gown so it didn't fall off her.

- mending: 1
- zip tote: 1 for a birthday party gift
- fabric shopping bag: 1. A new state law in Connecticut requires you to pay for any store plastic bags you use, to try to encourage people to use fabric bags. Yay for the environment and less plastic! Really, I support this. Now I just need to get my bag supply up to speed.

No photos of anything in August.

31 May 2019

May nothing

Oy. This month, life happened, and it happened HARD. I sewed one quilt block for Night Sky, and that's it. No mending, no nothing. My goal was to finish Night Sky entirely for SM's birthday, but in the first couple of days of the month, I got a Facebook message from a friend in Australia whose college-age daughter is in the US ... and everything went down the tubes while I dealt with her passport issues.

So here's the Night Sky status ... A few weeks ago, my little girls helped me lay out the finished blocks to see how they can fit together. My mistake with this quilt is that I made things of all kinds of different sizes without planning how they would fit together, so I'm kind of scrambling now. It looks really neat, but it's a rather painful Tetris game to put it together.

Left side of this shot - finished section. Center - a newly finished section that was actually done/mentioned in April, but I'm just now getting pictures of it. I need a third section for the bottom to get it to 80 inches long. It's 60 inches wide.

Twin-sized quilts are typically 90x70 inches but I cleared 10 inches off because this is going on a bunkbed. I don't want lots of overhang at the edges of the bed - the slightly smaller quilt works better for us.

30 April 2019

April finishes

- the doll quilt project was finished up with the last of the labels being attached, and shipped out to Wisconsin.

- JE's birthday dress

- a pair of knit shorts for pajamas. The Kid Shorts pattern from Made only goes up to a size 10, and three of my five have outgrown that largest size in the past few months. So I attempted to scale it up to a 12-ish size, and this was my test run. I need to make a slight adjustment on the height of the rise to the waistband, but mostly it turned out fine.

- I gave myself a deadline to finish the Night Sky quilt: SM's birthday in 8 days. I made 7 more blocks and got the second section of three done. I was trying to entirely finish the pieced top today, but got sidetracked by an emergency visit to the orthodontist. It will be done by this weekend, and then I'll have Mon/Tues/Wed next week to quilt it. The binding will be easy - the backing is HUGE because I bought super-wide flannel (120 inches instead of 60), so I'm going to flip it around to the front and enclose the edges with it. 

22 April 2019

service finish

Post 1
Post 2

The doll quilts for A Doll Like Me are DONE!

And SHIPPED to Wisconsin.

So proud of my crew of 12 little girls who were so eager to serve other children! Made by kids for kids!

21 April 2019

crazy cat girl

I'm not sure if she's a crazy cat girl, or a cat crazy girl ...

This is the child who, about a year ago, wanted to get rid of all of her clothes, and get all new clothes ... with cats on them. I saw this print online and figured what the heck. So I bought the fabric to make this dress for her, and happy birthday to our newly-minted 9-year-old!

I hadn't worked much with knit before, so I went for it and bought some higher end, more expensive knit for this. SO cute! SO soft! SO annoying to work with! The edges curled like nobody's business. I had to pin the crap out of it, seriously like every inch. I could steam it flat with the iron, but as soon as the heat went out of it, it curled up again. Now that it's done, it's a fabulous dress, but making it took awhile because of having to go so excruciatingly slow.

The pattern is the Girl on the Go dress from Oliver+S. The fabric is Cat Nap Pink by Dana Willard in the Blush collection.

And because this is the 500th POST!!!!! - I actually have an unopened copy of the Girl on the Go pattern that I will give away on April 29 (because that's the next 9 day, for my 9-year-old). US/Canada only. Comment what your hints are for working with knit fabrics because whoa, that was less than fun.

31 March 2019

March notes

1 - A Doll Like Me doll quilts: I quilted the 7 I had pinned, pinned the other 6, and quilted all of them. In three days. I was on a roll. I took them to a friend who showed me how to do binding. While she did 12, I did one. In the same amount of time. Yeah. I'm a rookie and she's super experienced.

I am now handstitching on the "Made by kids for kids" labels. 4 done, 9 to go.

2 - Night Sky blocks: 2 more.

3 - six bean bags for hopscotch

4 - "thread drawing" on a skirt to "decorate" it for my I-hate-plain-clothes girls.

5 - costume pieces for JK's birthday party: no-sew fleece dragon wings for JK and TA, a big stuffed dragon tail for JK, and a glittery top with a high-low hem for JE. I used the Girl-on-the-Go pattern from Oliver+S for the top.

JK's dragon wings and tail. I didn't get a picture of TA's wings, but they were the same scallops only in orange. They were dragons from Dragons Love Tacos, and we had tacos at the party.

Vega from Star Darlings. The costumes were to dress as your favorite book character.

6 - Mending: 5

15 March 2019

skirt "decorating"

RG does not like plain/solid colored clothing because it's "boring." Last spring, I made her a basic skirt in plain blue linen-ish-weave fabric for Colonial Day at school (in April or May, but forgot to put it in the journal notes). They didn't have calico prints in that time period, so sorry, Kiddo, your skirt is boring.

Once Colonial Day was over, she still had this perfectly good, brand-new skirt. So I've added some fun details, and NOW I will put it in the sewing journal! (I probably should have just left it alone for future Colonial Days at school, but whatever.)

I have the sewing book Stitch by Stitch from the writer of the Whip-Stitch blog (which is posted on far too infrequently for my liking), and in one of the "learn your machine" exercises, the "assignment" is to figure out thread-drawing. You drop the feed dogs on the machine - the little teeth that pull the fabric under the needle - and change the foot to a free-motion foot. Your hands are now 100% in control of how the fabric goes under the needle.

I like flowers and garden scenes, and they're easy to draw. So that's what I did. It probably looks like a little kid drew it, because it was my first attempt at anything of this sort. But I like it and I don't care what anyone else thinks about it. I don't see THEM trying to draw with thread!

07 March 2019

February tangents

I think I would have fewer tangents if it weren't for Project Quilting.  Thankfully the season is only 6 challenges long, so I will have less distractions soon.  (But I have a way of distracting myself with other projects so I don't know if anything will actually improve.)  Anyway, here is something Bigger Than a Breadbox.  I was just going to focus on all the projects I had already started, but then I saw this while scrolling through Facebook, and thought it'd be easy enough to make a small doll quilt.  I have lots of 5" squares, picked a few and off I went.  The actual quilting isn't my best - the back is quite wrinkly - but I think it's pretty cute.  A non-pink heart for Valentine's Day (although I was tempted by some pink and purple .. that may have to happen later). 

While basting the blue heart above, I also basted this project too - I finished the top for this table runner before Christmas and now it is all done! It was made from scraps from a quilt that is .. sadly in the UFO pile.  All the blocks are done, but it hasn't turned into a top yet.  It is on the list to finish for Christmas this year, and hopefully a second Christmas quilt as well - I have a stack of fabric but haven't settled on a pattern yet.

I've kept up with my Harry Potter quilt until now.  Ron here was a little late (typical) and Luna is still in pieces.  Her glasses look quite intimidating, so it keeps getting pushed aside.  I won't let myself go too much farther without picking up the UFOs and turning them into completed projects.  This one is slated for a friend's baby due at the beginning of April so I can't wait much longer!

Speaking of Harry Potter... one of the challenges from Project Quilting this season was Pixel Play and I had been eyeing this beautiful Hedwig from the second QAL.  Even though I didn't start it until Thursday (and the deadline is always Sunday) I eeked it out just in time.  I turned the 12" block into a pillowcase for my friend's birthday and she loved it.

Not a great picture, but my Unicorn mini quilt top is complete.  I've got the backing and binding ready, but I haven't been super confident with my basting skills lately so it keeps getting set aside.  It is so pretty though, and I had a lot of fun making economy blocks.  I may have to hop onto a round of Finish-A-Long so I can be motivated to get more things completed!

Aside from quilting and sewing I've been reading and DRAWING!  Look!  Oh it feels good to be drawing again.  This is Salty, and I'm loving how he's turning out.

And finally, the longest running project on the list - the last of the Squared Away Twilt blocks were completed! (Can't call this one Squared Away because it wasn't originally included.)  I ended up doing a second blue pinwheel to bring my total block count to 48.  That is a LOT of blocks!  Trina finished hers up as well and we both got them in the mail.

All of our blocks.  I'm still playing with the layout, and leaning towards a grey sashing with cornerstones.  And that border.  Did some math - I need over 300 2.5" squares to make a double-wide border.  Good thing I've got over 400 cut then!  It's going to take a lot of time to get this finished, and with a July deadline I better not put it off for much longer.

28 February 2019

February's list

1 - Squared Away: the last 4 blocks are DONE!! Hooray! I did the final two sets - dark green and purple, and got everything boxed up and into the mail for Mindy. I was apparently so excited to get them done and out the door, I didn't even take pictures of the last block. Ha! I just got her last two blocks a couple of days ago, so as soon as I get the doll quilts done and on their way, I can lay out this quilt and start putting the full top together. Hooray!

2 - Night Sky: 5 more blocks made, and section 2 of the quilt put together. So the entire top section is now done, and it's 60 inches across. The plan is to make it 80 inches long - right now, it's at 33. I was running out of the gray in the top center spinner, so in the bottom left Hunter Star, I used the gray scraps from SM's apron from last year's theater costume. It will be fun for her to have that memory incorporated into her quilt.

3 - Letter blocks: one so far, for a new mini quilt project. I got this quilting book called Spelling Bee by Lori Holt and it literally is the instructions to make every letter of the alphabet, both upper and lower case, plus a bunch of punctuation marks and some fun extra bonus blocks. The globe was the one that got me to buy the book. I have so. many. ideas. of what to do with the letters.

4 - 15 doll quilts to be sent to A Doll Like Me: the two TA and I made a year ago, the star one that JE started in January, AND 12 more made this month by our church activity group. My part of the 13 made in the past 60 days:

  • organized all the adults for the evening activity, plus some other adults helped with the fabric 
  • cut 230 squares, other people brought more and we had probably around 1000
  • made the "Made by kids for kids" labels
  • after the activity, I finished 4 of the quilts at home
  • made 7 quilt sandwiches, 6 to go but I ran out of pins

Another woman from church, who donated some of the fabric, has agreed to do the bindings. Bless her forever!

Other sewing
1 -  two more scripture tote bags ... I made the ten in January for the church activity girls and had a little fabric left over. So I made two more for my girls who didn't have bags for church items. For our family, the "quiet" materials are sketchbooks and writing utensils (pens, pencils, markers, etc).

2 - more service sewing, this time for Days For Girls. My church's women's organization is part of an interfaith group that makes fabric reusable menstruation products to be taken to developing countries, where the women and girls don't have hygiene items during their cycles. The original intention was to give girls these products so they don't have to miss school during their period, but I'm sure it's spread further than that. Our local group is getting a shipment ready to send to Senegal this spring and I went to a Saturday sewing day this month. I have a schedule conflict for the Saturday in March, so I brought home 25 shields to finish here, and a friend will take them back. They're done and ready to go.

SM goes with me - she and her friend JM put snaps on one of the pieces, and they're knocking out quite a few service hours!

Mending: 8

16 February 2019

A Doll Like Me take 2

Last February - a year ago - there was a sewing challenge from the blog Needle and Foot to make doll quilts for A Doll Like Me, a single-woman shop that custom-makes dolls to match children's limb differences. I set a target for our family to have everyone make one - six or seven (depending on Adam) ... which we did not meet. TA and I were the only ones who made any, and those two lonely little quilts have just been sitting here ever since.

But those two little quilts - staring at my kids for almost a year - have certainly raised awareness in our house. Recently, JE needed to do a service activity for her church award program, so her star blocks last month were the start of a new doll quilt to donate. I need to block in the background fabrics for her, since that's even a bit out of my own range, but she was excited about making the star blocks.

Status: in progress.

Then it was JE's turn to choose the church activity for a Wednesday evening - she wanted to sew doll quilts to donate. So proud of my girl for choosing service instead of just playing games!

We had five adults to manage the ten girls, plus a 5-year-old little sister who was tagging along with Mom, at our evening activity - two per sewing machine. All the girls chose their fabrics and how they were laid out, and got to take turns sewing on the machines.

We labeled them "Made by kids for kids" and they really were. My own daughter, TA, was working with me at my machine, and she and her partner KA charged right in there. If I even looked away, one of them would be right there at the machine. They did not need help, thankyouverymuch! At one point, I walked away entirely to check on some other kids and my work buddies had two rows done by the time I got back.

Status: 9 flimsies done, 3 more with the squares in rows but the rows need to be attached because we ran out of time. So a total of 12 from the church activity, because when our 5-year-old little sister heard that her friend got to make one, she wanted to do one too. So we did. The three from home (2 done last year, JE's stars) make a total of 15 to be shipped when we're done.

Next: I brought everything home to square them. Some got a bit wonky, and one had to have the last row taken completely off and redone. I need to figure out batting - I thought I had some fleece I could use, but it's not going to work out. Then I'll pin them into their 3-layer sandwiches and do just basic straight-line quilting. Another woman from church said that she'll do all the bindings for me - hooray!