Sunday, July 29, 2012


  • We just got back from a loooong weekend at my Grandma's house in Oakdale, which included our family reunion.
  • You can read more about such things from previous years here and here.
  • I am still in too much of a daze from the car ride to write a proper post.
  • I am way too introverted to spend 6+ hours in a car (twice!) with my crazy dog, my ten year old nephew, and my parents. Mostly with the nephew. And the dog.
  • Neither one took a break from talking, eating, and panting neurotically. You can sort out who was doing what.
  • Z-man seems to conjure candy out of thin air. I have no idea where it was all coming from.
  • Each family reunion blends into the others--lots of food, lots of people, and lots of noise. I think I feel too people-claustrophobic to differentiate happenings from one year to the next.
  • Actually, that's not's just how it all feels at this moment.
  • I hardly took any pictures.
  • I had a good time. I'm blessed with a great family on both sides.
  • The PA Turnpike has some of the prettiest scenery.
  • I know way too much about the pros and cons of many of Pike's rest stops.
  • Once, at the Midway rest stop (which only has a crappy Sbarro and a bathroom on the Eastbound side) my sister dumped 32 oz. worth of soda. She simply said "Oops" and moved us to another table. We laughed really hard. When they put out the bright yellow "Caution--wet floor" sign we laughed even harder.
  • I always wonder why it looks like someone let a fire hose loose within the restrooms. What the hell are people DOing in there?
  • I love laying in bed in the morning listening to my new nephew cooing and gaga-ing in the living room. 
  • The ten-year-old nephew doesn't coo. He hovers above your face and asks things like "Can you feel me staring at you? How about now? Am I touching you, yes or no?"
  • I don't feel like going to work tomorrow.
  • Seeing abandoned houses along the Turnpike makes me a little sad. I can't help but wonder what those walls contained, and why they no longer do so.
  • I didn't see a single MINI the entire trip.
  • I got a nice start on my hexies. I'll show you as soon as I take pics.
  • I'm going to go watch the Olympics.
  • See you soon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

And so it starts...

I gathered my supplies. I found a comfy seat. And I snipped and stitched for a bit. And now I can officially say that I have started my hexie project. I have no idea what the end result is going to be, so right now I'm just enjoying the stitching.

I was originally tracing each one onto the fabric using a disappearing marker and cutting it out. It was a bit cumbersome and got a bit old really fast, so I took a rotary cutter to my pile and cut a bunch of 3 inch squares. All I have to do is trim the corners and sew. I suppose I don't even have to trim the corners if I don't want to...

I made a separate little sewing kit to keep with this project--some amazingly sharp scissors, a disappearing ink marker, needles and thread, and of course a gazillion hexie pieces. With the fabric thrown in it's a totally portable, self-contained project.

I was looking for just the right thing to keep it all in, but was having no luck. I had in mind a vintage cookie tin. Of course when I think up such things they very rarely exist in reality, unless they're a stupid amount of money on eBay or thereabouts. When I was in Joann's last week with my mother she walks up to me and says "What about this?" And "this" was just what I wanted. One of those pretty little boxes they sell that you think "But what would I use it for?" I love the lid:

It holds my fabric stack, supplies, and finished hexies just perfectly.

They zip along pretty quickly, but I know when it comes time to sew them all together it'll slow down a bit--the smaller stitches, the necessary precision, the stopping and playing with all the different pieces to get just the right layout. But for now I'm pleased :)

There are a few prints I cannot WAIT to add to the mix. I suppose I should start thinking of ideas for what I'll make with all these. Of course, little things like this I could sew forever with no purpose. Just like yo-yos. But one must be practical and stop oneself before they end up on the weirdest version of 'Hoarders' ever. Wouldn't 'Fabric Hoarders' be a great show? I'd tune in every week and, unlike the effect it's predecessor has on me, I'd be inclined to acquire MORE.

That's all I've got for now--enjoy your weekend! I'll be on the porch stitching away :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's About Time!!!

Are you allowed to say that if you never had the idea in the first place? For example, say when you could only buy a 2-slice toaster you stood in your kitchen each morning muttering "It'd be nice if they made a 4-slice toaster. I like a LOT of toast in the morning. Harumph," and then one day they had one, you could proclaim "It's about time!" But since I never even conceived of this idea I don't think I can say it. Maybe "It's about time someone thought of that!" or "What a great idea! I wish I had thought of that!" would work. No matter, I suppose. I'm happy SOMEone thought of it. And it's about time.

What the h-e-dub hockey sticks am I blathering on about? ALLEGedly, Joann's is going to carry something called 'Quilter's Quarters' by Denyse Schmidt. It's one yard of fabric, and each fat-quarter area will have a different print. So you buy one yard, and get four coordinating fat quarters out of it. Right now they ALLEGedly have them in four colorways:

  Clockwise from top: Blue Gray, Red Gray, Turquoise, and Red Green
(I have to put it out there: why are they calling it red when one is orange, and one is pink? Irksome...)

I'll be honest--I'm not a huge DS fan. Not that I don't like her stuff, I do. I'm just more prone to like a few prints here and there than to be madly in love with an entire collection. That being said, if my local Joann's ever gets these in (hence the use of "ALLEGedly") I can see myself buying all of them, especially the blue-gray colorway (does that surprise anyone? It surprise me a little--I'm not usually one for blue-gray as it doesn't smack you in the face with color obnoxiousness, as I seem to prefer...).

These are a great way to get a few prints without committing to big cuts or over-priced bundles. Speaking as somone who is trying very hard to control their beyond-the-basics stash building, these wouldn't much dent your wallet or your shelf space but would be an easy coordinated grab for making a little something fun. I personally would appreciate something like this in Christmas prints. The obvious down-side, of course, is if you only want one of these prints and have to buy the whole shebang to get it (because it doesn't look like there's yardage that goes with these if you wanted a larger cut of one of the prints, or just one of the prints). Otherwise, I like this idea very much.

What do you folks think? Is this something you would buy? Or do you like to do your own picking and matching?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fun Bags

A few weeks ago I made (but completely forgot to blog) a couple of fun grocery bags from the Michelle Patterns (formerly Keyka Lou) Grocery Bag pattern. I've tried a couple of her patterns and they are fast and easy, but look really cute when you're finished. Her pattern prices are very reasonable, too. Definitely recommend. Anyway, these went together so quick and easy I was able to make four on a Saturday afternoon! I used a few stash fabrics for these, but I did buy I nice sturdy twill to use for the linings (yay for coupons!).

The first two I made used these fun flour-sack fabrics:

The prints are definitely retro, but the bright colors give them a fresh look.

When I saw that little red fish up there I immediately thought of Swedish fish, but apparently it goes with Fisher King brand flour--

But this one is my favorite:

It's a bag that was really difficult to photograph because there's no structure to it, and the handles aren't really long enough to hang from anything. Hopefully you get the idea, though--

The bag will fold up flat, but has a lot of depth to it once you start to fill it up--

The pattern was designed to be reminiscent of a plastic grocery bag, but is larger, sturdier, and much more fun. I triple-stitched the seams and the handles, so it's way strong. I'm glad my sewing was spot-on because picking out a seam that is triple-stitched is terribly unfun.

I made one more in this adorable citrusy lemon fabric (I believe it's Alexander Henry's 'Juicy') that I'm giving as a little gift to someone--

I was so intent on folding it up to just the right size to fit into this cute little box I found at Target that I forgot to snap a pic of the finished product (and as much as I adore you I wasn't going through that again :)

I've no idea why I have that orange ribbon or where it came from, but it was the perfect length to tie this box up. Little occurences like that make me think silly things like "Oh! This present was meant to be!"

I did a bit of straightening up in my sewing corner today and things look much neater and tidier. I've put all the little things I've been purposelessly making into a big box that I'll keep adding to as I'm motivated to be creative. My intent is to do a spring craft show. I've tried them in the fall and haven't done well, but the ones I've done in spring I do pretty ok. I think it's because the fabrics I'm inclined to work with are spring and summer oriented, which people aren't looking to buy when it's getting cold and dark. Anything fall/winter/holiday I make I'm going to put in my little online shop (which has been dying a slow death as I haven't added to it in a long time).

Sheesh. Where did that outpouring of blah blah blah come from? Anyway, I'm off to make a sandwich. My sister was telling my mom about some food they had at a party she went to, who in turn told me, and now I would swear I was starving. Enjoy your afternoon!

Linking here this week:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Made This. Bought That.

Last year I made one of my favorite quilts - the Little Apples quilt.

To add those little yellow triangles I had to hack off the corner of each square, leaving me with a little pile of triangles big enough to make a little something with.

I was thinking a pillow would be cute, but it ended up being a little bit too small. So I made a quick little quilted table mat sort of thingee.

I laid everything out and tried to make it into some sort of pattern, but it just wasn't happening. So I went with a simple "my scrap bag vomited" sort of look. I like it!

Without the yellow it has a bit of a Christmassy feel to it. I used some leftover dotty green that I had in my stash for the back, and did some easy-peasy straight line quilting.

I'm not in love with the stitching on the binding, so I do plan to pick it out and redo it, but no rush there since I'm not sure what I'm doing with this yet.

New topic...

I was searching through my stash and scraps and found maybe one that was going to go with the hexie project that lives in my head right now. I have been exceedingly good about only buying fabrics I have plans for in near-exact amounts. So I splurged a little and added a sweet little pile to my shelf. I DO have plans for it, but it was still a bit of an indulgent purchase. I think I may have dreamt about it the other night after I placed my order :)

I'm usually a late-arrival to the fabric party, so I didn't have a full line of this lovely Pam Kitty Morning fabric to choose from (which may be good as I probably saved some dough). I thought I had gotten 2 of each color, but somehow ended up with one green. It's just me being neurotic, and it's nowhere near the end of the world, but the lack of symmetry was irking me so I found a green in my stash that will work really well with these so now all's right with my world. Except that it's not in this picture...I will not let that bug me....I will not let that bug me...

I wanted a bit of a feedsack look and these seemed just right--small scale, sweet prints, my kind of colors. I'm looking forward to a nice, slow hand-sewing project. I usually abhor hand-sewing, but I find that my dislike comes from it being the final detail of a project that has been sewn by machine (sewing a lining closed, stitching on binding). I'm genuinely excited about seeing this pile turned into bright, adorable hexies.

Fabric. It certainly is soothing to the soul. And I will fight anyone who alleges otherwise ;)

I'm still borrowing a computer and I don't know for how much longer that will be, so posting may continue to be a little sparse. It's driving me bonkers, lemme tell ya. Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Quilt for the Newest Nephew

I've been feeling a bit of a quilting itch, lately. I wanted something bright and happy and fun, but also something quick. Pair that with the new nephew and a baby quilt seemed in order. But not a bed quilt sort of quilt. More of a play-mat sort of quilt. I find that when he's here we're hauling around one of the throw-sized quilts I've made to lay him down on so that we can stare at him endlessly. They're entirely too large for such a little guy, so I made him his own.

I bought a few prints at Joann's, and had a few in my stash that I ran through my GoBaby! cutter. I've been wanting to use that apple core die since I got it but finally had the time and the project. The curves were easy enough to sew, but they were time-consuming as I had to pin quite a bit. I tried to cheat and ended up having to pick my stitches loose so went back to the pins.

I didn't want to get into any sort of theme other than "little boy" so I went with fun prints that were very little boyish. I did some simple quilting, following the curves of the seams on each side, in both directions.

I used some leftover blue and white stripes (from this diaper bag) to make the binding. I really don't think any other fabric would have done the job so well. It's bright, but the striping makes it subtle, and accents the boyish colors in this quilt just right. Usually I moan and groan a bit about the binding process, but this time I enjoyed it.

And here's the backing. It has been in my stash for about two years now. I had originally intended to make a beach bag out of it, but never did. You can't see the quilting on such a busy print as well as you could if I had used a solid, but maybe that's a good thing--not all those lines of stitching are exactly superb, so any sort of camouflage is fine with me.

For this one I used cotton batting. I've never used it in anything other than hot pads, and I looooooooooved using it for a quilt! It doesn't pull and shift the way polyester batting does and has a really nice drape. It is, however, a bit pricier. I had bought a craft-sized package (34 by 45") and trimmed some of the length and sewed it to the short side with a zig-zag stitch to make one big square slightly larger than my 36 by 36" quilt top. I had seen on a couple blogs that people save their cotton batting scraps to stitch together, thereby using every last inch they can. It was so easy and you can barely feel the slight lump the seam creates. I do like using the polyester stuff as it comes in different lofts, but it's always good to have options.

It was quite a bit of fun to work with boy prints. I haven't really had the chance to do that in the past. When Z-man was wee I didn't know how to make ANYthing, and as he's getting older now he really doesn't want me to make him anything (though he did accept mittens, hats, and scarves that were my early knitting efforts when he was about four).

In a surprising way this is one of my favorites. I usually go for candy-colors, but I think changing things up gives me a greater appreciation for the plethora of fabrics available. My sissie didn't bring the A-train over today, but I was bursting to share this so I told her to either stay away from my blog or feign surprise when I gave this to her.

I used a piece of scrap for a bow. Simple and cute. I hope they like it so much it falls apart from use. The quilt, not the bow. That bow better last until I'm eighty.

I do hope he doesn't look too closely at one of the fabrics as he gets older, as it doesn't make sense--

As far as I can see the ladybug is alone.

And ain't nothing holding that flower.

Good thing cute wins over logic when it comes to fabric. It's a world unto itself.

OK, I must be off. My stock of knitted dishcloths is getting low :)

Linking up here:

Monday, July 9, 2012

She Says Rosette...I Love You Very Much

Hello there! I am sans computer right now (it's in the PC hospital--aka with my brother in law Matt). I am slightly skittish of all technology at the moment, and as my only way to blog is on my dad's laptop right now I am doing so sparingly so as not to bring ruination upon his technology, as seems to be my knack lately. I feel like I am without my car or my sewing machine--I don't exactly know what to do without something that has become a "vital" part of my existence. Which is probably a pretty good sign that I needed less computer time.

So what have I been up to? Cutting up card-stock hexagons because I really do intend to make a hexie project this summer...Sewing in little dribs and drabs since I'm not feeling much motivation right now...Reading lots and lots. I have quickly come to see how owning a Kindle has the potential to wreak havoc on my credit card. I decided that every now and again it wouldn't hurt to read a classic, which I usually shy away from (and which are happily free of charge). So right now I'm working my way through Les Miserables...And let's not leave out the crochet.

A few issues ago Mollie Makes published the sweetest little crochet rosette pattern and gave a freebie hook and bit of yarn to make one. So I did.

It was cotton, and cotton tends to split on me when I crochet. So I pulled out all the teeny balls left over from my rainbow ripple and made another, just to make sure I really understood the instructions and didn't just get lucky.

Then I thought "I wonder how quickly I can make one." So I made another. And then another.... And then some more because they're just so stinkin' adorable!!!! Before I knew it I had an even dozen. And some matching leaves.

I had a little too much fun seeing how different colors would look grouped together. The great thing about this yarn is that all the colors seemed to go together with ease, just like in my afghan.

They work up to be the most perfect size. Perfect for what I do not know, but perfect just the same.

Even the backs are nice and tidy looking, and built just right for hiding those pesky ends.

I could have gone on and on and on. Soothing simple stitches, different bright colors, and twentyish minutes to finish one.

So now I have a question. What should I do with them? I just made them for kicks. I didn't have a plan, and I still don't. I'm so unsure of what to do with these I didn't even sew the leaves on. The magazine suggestion was a brooch, but I'm so in love with how all the colors look together that I'd love to use them all in the same thing.

Any ideas?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rainbow Ripple: Finito, Benito

What up, gang? It feels weird not to have posted all week, but the holiday right in the middle messed me up, and today is like a second Monday so I'm thrown a little off in my normally very schedule-oriented brain. It has been so stinkin' hot here that I haven't been able to stomach the idea of sewing anything, as that would necessitate the iron being on. So Lola has been getting a nice little rest. I was working on a handbag over the weekend, but the pattern was rot, in my opinion. I have never seen such twisty instructions and less-than-helpful drawings. I decided that this bag, which was looking much worse for wear due to what seemed like non-stop figuring-it-out-fiddling, was not meant to be. I salvaged what I could and threw in the towel. I don't feel the least bit bad about it, either. I do believe I've made enough bags (both my own and through others' patterns) that I can tell what works, what makes no sense, and what is pure insanity. So that's that.

Other than a few fairly quick orders I haven't got too much going on. Having a project in the works helps me keep my head on straight (I'd like to believe), so I figured that now is as good a time as any to finish up those little things I forgot I had laying around. I've got a quilt to finish, a ziploc bag of crocheted roses whose purpose needs to be figured out, and a ton of quilt blocks to figure out what I'm doing with them. But first and foremost, I needed to finish my rainbow ripple afghan.

I started stitching this up back around Christmas, and worked on it as I could in between handbag orders. It was one of those projects where you know it will take a long time and you don't really care. As each row was added and each color changed I wished that this would go on forever. I actually finished up the last row weeks ago, but it has been sitting, rolled up in my project tote, since then, patiently waiting for the ends to be woven in. I started working those in Sunday night. And then some more on Monday. A TON on Tuesday night while I was watching 'Gettsyburg' with my dad. And the last few rows last night as fireworks were going off. So here it is, fresh out of the dryer. Deliciously soft, crazy bright, and perfectly sized for a veg-out on the couch.

Being made of sport-weight instead of worsted weight yarn makes this blanket just the right weight. It's not dreadfully heavy, but is just the right weight for keeping away any kind of chill. There are three full repeats of each color in there, with just enough left of each for a little somthin' somethin'.

I think the red is my favorite color (surprise surprise!). Since I adore bright red with aqua/turquoise/light blue this was the only section I forced into existence. Everything else just sort of grew randomly. There were a few colors that came with this yarn collection that I didn't use for this but that I will certainly be using for other things. I just couldn't get them to fit anywhere.

I wanted to immediately snuggle up under this, but we're having trip-dig temps here and just looking at it was making me sweat. Only I would decide to finish an afghan in time for our third heat wave (and it's only the beginning of July! Oy).

I think my favorite part is how the interlocking ripples give it a bit of a 3-D look. Lest someone calls me out on it I'll admit right here and now that I in no way came up with this. I saw that Lucy at Attic 24 was doing this pattern, and I immediately fell in love with it. So I borrowed her idea and stitched away. MUCH better than the plain ripples I was planning on--so much more visually interesting.

The ends don't thrill me. There were literally a gazillion and seventy to weave in, leaving the edges a little stiffer than the rest of the blanket. The washer/dryer softened it quite a bit, so much that I think I'm the only one who can feel any difference. I'm mostly pleased that my ends stayed all nice and neat, right where I put them.

The end of this one is a bit of a paradox--I wish it could have gone on and on but I'm so happy it's done. I do believe that the next time I attempt such an endeavor I will be weaving in those ends as I go.

Off to the next thing on the list....

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