Monday, July 29, 2013

do. Good Stitches - July 2013

Deb is the quilter for July. She requested greek cross blocks using this tutorial from Fresh Lemons, only with a solid background rather than HSTs in the corners. She wanted to keep it happy and summery with a bright color palette.  I think I succeeded...

Fabric: Kona Pomegranite (maybe??), Windham (not sure which collection)

Fabrics: Kona Royal, Stitch by Betz White

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Drawstring Knitting Bag


I love this bag (made using this tutorial)! I've already put it to good use, toting around the tie I've been working on (slowly but surely) for Mr. T.  And this fabric is one of my new favorites. I picked up a fat quarter from Finch Sewing Studio during the DCMQG's sewing day there last month specifically to make a knitting pouch, and now I'm wishing I had more.

So far I've only noticed two downsides to this bag, both easily fixed. The first is that the needles have a tendency to poke through the fabric if I hold it (or sit on it...oops) in just the right (um, wrong...) way.  So for the next one I think I'll add a layer or two of SF-101 just to give a little extra thickness and hopefully keep my super sharp DPNs inside the bag.

The second downside is the size. And it's only a partial downside. For a small project like this tie, it's perfect. For something larger like sweaters or afghans, it's definitely too small. Or, would become too small once the project really started growing. Of course, Jeni does have a pattern for purchase with larger sizes, so again, it's not really an issue. Anyway, off to knit some more! It's unbelievable how long this tie is taking, especially for such short rows! I think a troll is coming and taking out all my stitches each night because it seems to never grow.

Counted towards FAL 2013 Q3

Monday, July 22, 2013

Outdoor Pillows

The other week my coworker approached me with a trade - if I'd make a couple of outdoor pillows for her, she'd make some baked goods for me. She's bakes mouth-watering pastries (all from scratch!), so really it was a no brainer. I consulted with Mr. T, and we quickly decided on cake pops. They're the perfect bite-sized indulgence, if you can keep yourself to just one...

Anyway, she gave me the fabric and the pillow forms, so my work was pretty easy.  Just a few quick cuts, two simple hems for the envelope back, and voila, two pillows for her outdoor patio! I definitely got the better end of this bargain!

My first finish for FAL 2013 Q3

Friday, July 19, 2013

DCMQG Retreat Goodies

One last post about the DCMQG Retreat in June. I wrote about what I made as part of the secret sewer swap here and here, but I never showed you what I received. The amazing and talented Anna made me several fantastic items!

First is this Lickety Split bag, which is great for keeping balled up in my purse for unanticipated stops at the grocery store.

Next is this little pouch. I'm IN LOVE with these birds!

And last was a few fat quarters. I didn't a picture of just those, but here's everything together.  

Anna nailed my aesthetic with these gifts. The fabrics and colors are perfect! Thanks, Anna!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finish-A-Long 2013: Quarter 3

she can quilt
Okay, time to focus for quarter 3 and get a few things done.  I had more projects waiting in the wings than actually started, so I had to make a few quick cuts to prepare for this post.

1) Outdoor Pillows

My coworker asked me to make a few pillows for her. She was having tension issues with her sewing machine, so I happily agreed to help out.  Plus, she's an amazing baker (she makes cakes from scratch for birthdays and other special events in the office), so we've worked out a trade - completed pillows for cake pops!

2) Index Blocks

Carried over from Q1 and Q2. Hopefully this is the lucky quarter.

3) Wiksten tanks

I made one last quarter, so I called it a finish. But I have fabric for a few more, so it's staying on the list.

4) Staple Dress

I have half a muslin completed. Need to finish that and then make a real one. Still deciding on fabric and making room in the budget. And also deciding how to resize because I think it's a hint too big (thoughts? opinions?).

5) Snowballs in Helsinki

I'm moving this one to the official list. I finally buckled down and made a few cuts over the weekend. Realistically, I hope to just have the top done by the end of the quarter, but I'll be optimistic and add it here.

5) Drawstring pouches

I made one a few weeks ago as a gift bag and then decided they'd be great for toting my knitting. They're pretty quick to make so this should be a quick finish.

I used to have the below items in an addendum list because I didn't think they counted since they're knit, but someone won for a knitted item in Q2, so I'm going to move these to the official list.

6) Boyfriend Sweater

Carried over from Q2. Just need to block and add the buttons.

7) Knit Tie

WIP since March. Mr. T is getting annoyed and threatening to purchase one if I don't finish this soon.

8) Gemini
Need to finish one sleeve and block. It's farther along than the photo, but I didn't have a chance to get a more updated one.

The below either don't count because they're not started, or I know they won't be done by the end of the quarter, but I'm still listing for motivational purposes:

9) Spectrum socks - Carried over from Q2.
10) Herringbone Cowl - My friends got me the yarn for this for my birthday last year and I started it at jury duty in October. As much as I love the pattern, I'm finding it finicky and a slow knit, so I'm unmotivated to work on this. Plus the yarn is very thick and hot - not good for summer knitting.
11) Lucky Stars Blocks - I made the first two, cut fabric for the next two, and then really let these fall to the wayside. Need to get back on schedule so I have a completed quilt by the end of the year.
12) Chuppah - For Mom's wedding at the end of October. Does anyone have any suggestions on homemade chupas? I have a lattice pattern in mind, but I'm afraid it might take too much fabric. And I'm planning on turning it into a quilt after the wedding, so I can't cut corners and use lesser quality fabric.

Lastly, judging from this post something else I need to work on this quarter is better photographs.  Way too many bleached and grainy photos going up!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Clutch

I'm not really a bag person. I like them, but I hate switching all my personal effects every time I want to carry a different one, so I just don't bother. I buy one purse, use it every day for every occasion until it's worn out, and then replace it. After several years of not having a good bag to take to Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, or even going out at night, I finally decided this system was not working as well as it used to. I have an old clutch I got for my 18 birthday, but it's beyond outdated now, and doesn't even fit my cell phone. Mr. T and I had a couple summer events planned, so after eying it for a few months, I purchased the Envelope Clutch pattern from Noodlehead and got to work.

Even though I don't often carry too much when I'm going out, I made the larger size. It was a bit bigger than I expected, but I don't mind that. The size was actually perfect for all the stuff I carried around at this gorgeous wedding we attended on Lake Michigan.
Doesn't it look perfect against the sand?!
I used leftover linen originally used for Molly's Tote last year. For the lining, I used this Kaffe Fassett parasol print I've had forever. I think it was one of the first quality fabrics I ever purchased.  The bright colors are the perfect offset to the subdued outer fabric.

I also love the bright pop of the pink zipper. This was my first time ordering from Zipit and I will definitely be doing that again! The zippers are much better quality and cheaper than the ones I usually buy from JoAnn and, even after accounting for shipping and coupons. Plus she was really flexible with customizing my order.

I receive compliments on this bag every time I take it out - people can't believe it's not store bought, which is a credit to Anna's fabulous pattern. And I've had requests from friends to make them one, so this pattern will definitely be getting some more use. Plus I need to make myself a few more to go with different outfits and colder weather. I think I might even try to make a cross body one.

Disclaimer: All opinions about products and patterns in this post are my own. I was not solicited to make these comments, nor did I receive any free products (though I wouldn't say no if asked!).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ghostwing Tote

At the DCMQG Retreat a few weeks ago, attendees could opt to participate in a sew-along of the Super Tote. I really like this tote, and I've like all of Anna's patterns that I've tried, but after thinking about it (and looking at the semi-lenghty supply list) I decided that I didn't need it. I did, however, need a new basic tote to schlep my shoes, lunch, etc. back and forth to work. I settled on the 40 Minute Tote from Purl Bee.

I splurged and bought some of Anna Maria Horner's Field Study Linen in Ghostwing to use. I figured if I'm going to be using it every day, I might as well get something that will last and that I enjoy looking at. I bought it from Pink Castle (LOVE them! Also, there are no benefits or disclaimers or anything. I just like their customer service) and had the opportunity to pick it up in person from their brick and mortar store when Mr. T and I were in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago! So jealous I don't still live around there with this shop in my backyard! They're still putting some finishing touches on it, but once it's done it's going to be great!

Anyway, the tote! It's perfect! When I was putting it together, I thought it might be too big, but now that I've been using it for a few weeks, it's just the right size to hold on my junk and then some.

Because I can't live without them, I added a zippered pocket to the inside in addition to the slip pocket that's in the pattern. It's perfect for my keys and iPod for my weekend trips to the library or farmer's market.  No more digging at the bottom like I did in my old work tote.

I wasn't paying attention and managed to sew the back panel (well, now it's the back panel) on upside down, but I kind of like it because it looks like the moths are circling the bag.

Not sure what the lining fabric is. I think it's Robert Kaufman, though. I won it from Kim (thanks, Kim!).
At this point I've made enough bags that I can handle simple construction like this, so I really only used the pattern to get the measurements, and then just went on my own. As always, I made a few mods:
- Added SF-101 to lining to stabilize it a bit
- Used fabric rather than webbing to make the straps
- Added a layer of batting to the straps. I meant to at 101 as well, but I forgot.

Thanks to Grace for modeling!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Finish-A-Long 2013: Quarter 2 Recap

she can quilt
And that's the end of quarter two and half the year.  What do I have to show for it?  Not much!  Work and a few other non-crafting related things kept me very busy over the last few months. Thankfully I thought ahead and set myself some reasonable goals, so Q2 went much better for me than Q1 did!

1) Baby Quilt

At the beginning of the quarter I only had the binding left on this quilt and a rapidly aging baby, so it was a pretty quick finish.

2) Index Blocks

Ugh! Still untouched!  I did think about them this quarter though, so that's progress, right? Onto Q3 with them...

3) Coasters

I got this one in just under the wire! They've been sitting around all quilted with the binding cut for over a month, so finally with only one week left to go (and after some good-natured harassing from my friend who requested them), I sat down to House of Cards and finished them up.

4) Wiksten tanks

I made one of the two that I intended to make, but I'm still calling that a finish! I've worn it to work, I've worn it out, and I really need to sit down and make more.  I even bought some knit fabric from Finch Sewing Studio, so we'll see how that goes...

Items that don't count towards the FAL, but I'm including for motivational purposes:

5) Snowballs in Helsinki - another UGH! I was hoping to start cutting this at the DCMQG Retreat in June, but didn't get to it.  I did, however, make a list of everything that needs to be cut, so that's something.
6) Boyfriend Sweater - Haha! Still sitting at the bottom of my knitting bag. I bought the yarn wash, but that's it. I also made another sweater in the meantime.  Oops.
7) Spectrum socks - No progress.  I have three projects on my needles, and now two to block, before I can work on these. 

See the original post with my FAL Q2 list here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Leaf Coasters

The fabric for these coasters is quite a propos. My friend redoctorated her apartment and asked me to make her some coasters, and at the time she was turning over a new leaf. Perfect! Now, three months later, the leaf has already turned so these are a bit late, but oh well. Better late than never.

Sorry for the poor photos. Bad lighting, but I had to get this up today.
I used New Leaf by Diasy Janie, which I won a few months ago. My friend's furniture is all neutrals, so I thought these vibrant colors (these pictures are really bad and unrepresentative) would be a great addition. I used three prints for the front, and two bolder prints for the back. I can't decide which side I like better!

I sandwiched two layers of batting between the fabric, did a few lines of quilting to hold it all in place, and bound with a coordinating Kona solid (I can't remember which one...).

She has a really nice coffee table, so I assume these are going to get a lot of use!

Counted towards FAL 2013 Q2

Wiksten #2

I finished this several months ago but am just getting around to posting. And really the only reason I'm posting now is because this counts towards the Finish-A-Long.

This was my first time using voile and I liked it. I didn't find it as difficult to work with as I was expecting. My second attempt at the Wiksten was better than my first. I realized I was sewing the next and arm bindings incorrectly, so they were much easier and quicker to attach this time. I also tried out a rolled him for the hem and really liked it. Next time I'll just have to cut the shirt a bit short to account for the fact that I'm taking it up 2mm rather than an entire inch. Despite these improvements, I'm definitely still figuring this pattern out. I overcompensated a bit for the slight snugness in the chest, so this one hangs a bit too much. Thankfully I got a great consultation from Nicole at our last DCMQG meeting, so I expect the next one to be just right! They do say third time's the charm....

Counted towards FAL 2013 Q2!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Drawstring Pouch

A friend's son celebrated his first birthday last weekend, so I made one of Jeni Baker's drawstring pouches as a reusable wrapping for his gift. It was so quick a simple! No wonder they're one of the most popular small items I've seen around the interwebs. I already have fabric picked to make some for myself to use as knitting bags. And I joined a swap between a few local guilds that is going to have us make a bag and fill it with fun items for our partner (more on that later this summer).

The mustaches were an obvious choice. It will be the perfect pouch for our friends to carry around snacks and other small items, especially as their son get's older and they don't have to schlep around a diaper bag.

And of course, a bright yellow toddler-sized Michigan shirt inside only made the gift better! One of our friends went to Michigan State, so Mr. T and I wanted to make sure we influence his son from a young age and encourage him to go to a more reputable school!

Such sharp wrapping next to the other gift bags!

Side note: Thanks to Mr. T for my awesome blog redesign!