April 29, 2013

Collecting Blocks

Sew.Quilt.Give. blocks for March
These beautiful things have been sneaking into my mail box for the last 6 weeks or so as the ladies of Sew.Quilt.Give. finish their block assignments for March. I'm waiting on a few more, but I've already collected 24 blocks. With my current layout plan, this is either going to be a redonkulously huge quilt or potentially two quilts. No way is this project going to be done by the end of June!

In the meantime, I've finished the April blocks.
Sew.Quilt.Give. blocks for AprilThese are super easy and quick! We're doing a version of the Lemon Squares quilt, which isn't that far off from the Square-in-Square blocks we did for March.
Sew.Quilt.Give. blocks for AprilSee, I even made extras!

In related news, the bee blocks from October are all assembled into a completed quilt. My blocks, of course, are the over-saturated ones. I hope I'm the only one bothered by this!

April 26, 2013

First Asparagus!

asparagus!I grew this in our p-patch. And then we ate it. Best asparagus I'll have all season!

April 24, 2013

Appropriate Scaling

It's Kids' Clothing Week! KCW has become a seasonal, four times per year event now, complete with it's own blog, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. If you've got kids to sew for, this is a great nudge to get you going, and it comes with a whole community of people to cheer you on.

KCW line up
Unlike every other year so far, I'm trying to keep my KCW goals to something reasonable and achievable. Also, Caitlyn's doing pretty well for clothes right now, so there's not a lot of dire needs at the moment. So, I'm making a dress, a pair of shorts, and putting some iron-on transfers on some t-shirts. That last one might not be sewing exactly, but I'm going to count it.

Anyone else playing along this time?

April 22, 2013

Signs of Spring

pear blossomsPear blossoms.

future confetti eggsFuture confetti eggs.

The asparagus is up in the p-patch plot. Little pea plants are waiting for enough warm days in a row and then they will reach all the way to the bottom rung on the pea fence. Under the row cover, I really should thin the spinach.

seed potatoes
I was too exuberant with the first batch of seed potatoes this year, cutting them for planting before they had a chance to put out early leaves. Naturally, they all rotted. This second batch is sunning on the windowsill, growing the tiniest of green leaves before they go into this year's potato bed. Outside, the potatoes I missed during the fall harvest are volunteering to grow where they are, so I guess I don't really have a dedicated potato bed as much as a bed with more potatoes than other things. For the number of voluntary potatoes I seem to have these days, I'm surprised that my total potato harvest size hasn't increased; we still run out in February/March. This fall, I really must remember to get the potato box relocated to the sunroom as soon as it gets cold. I think the pantry is too warm for proper long-term spud storage.

clematisEvergreen clematis flowers.

The grape vine is budding out, and the raspberries canes are filling in. The blueberries are blooming (and the non-edible potato vine needs to be wrangled back again or the berries won't get enough sun to actually set). In the herb patch by the back door, everything is bouncing back; I have an oregano carpet.

apple budsApple buds.

Does it look like spring (or fall, if appropriate) where you are?

April 19, 2013


And not falling over, either!

April 17, 2013

One at at time

Not that it will do me any good, but here goes:
Start no more than one Block-of-the-Month project per year.
I mean, really. What was I thinking? Three BOMs at a time, plus a monthly bee? And my Wardrobe Improvement Project? And everything else: Caitlyn, garden, house, work?

Next time, someone please say something!

Anyway. I've finally finished all the official blocks for In Color Order's Half-Square Triangle BOM. I seem to have lost steam with it back in June. Or at least, that's when I last posted about this project.
October's BlockThis is October's block. I seem to have it upside down.
November's BlockNovember's block. I really like this one!
December's BlockDecember's block.
HST BOM BlocksAnd here they all are! (For the curious, July's block is the one in top right corner and September's block is right beneath it. July's block is the one second from the left on the bottom row. I apparently didn't post about them when I made them.)

Jeni's tutorial series includes a layout and sashing plan, which I've always intended to ignore. When I started this project, I had some extra lengths of this Salad Bar fabric (out of print - can you say that about fabric?) left over from a skirt for Caitlyn that I wanted to include in a quilt. Thus the solids and color selection for these BOM blocks. Now that the blocks are done, I'm moving on to my vegetable-themed alternating blocks. Pass the veggies!

April 15, 2013

One More Reason to Love the Internet

crazy quilt backside
The crazy quilt I posted about a few weeks ago is on it's way to a new home!

I can't even begin to fathom how this would have gone if there were no Internet. Probably the challenge of finding a good home for this quilt would have ensured that it continued to live under my sewing table. Instead of writing a blog post and a small collection of emails, I would have had to print actual, physical photographs and write actual, physical letters to strangers asking for help. Not to mention that I wouldn't have had the slightest idea where to start sending those letters.

But in the Age of the Internet, when quilters of all stripes are online, I have located a good home for the quilt with a Crazy Quilt Admirer and Designer. More accurately, this good home found me! Special thanks go to Lynne at Kansas Troubles Quilters for connecting me with her friend Connie of Starry Pines Patterns and The Little Wool Shoppe. She's a handwork enthusiast with passion for crazy quilts... I couldn't ask for a better home for this quilt!
crazy quilt backside
Connie, the quilt is all boxed up and on it's way!

Thanks also go to Annette at Pacific Fabrics and Julia at Quilters Anonymous for not rolling their eyes when I emailed them requesting help finding the quilt a new home.

Hooray for new homes for old things, and for the Internet that makes finding those homes possible, even fun!

ETA, 4/19/2013: The quilt has safely arrived. Connie says it's likely much older than I thought; she's thinking it's Victorian, from the late 1800s. Let it be known that my sense of what fabrics are typical for a particular time period is way off!

April 10, 2013

With Regret, I Must Decline

Too many invitations, not nearly enough time!

Scrap Attack {String Fever}So, in a rare case of taking stock of things before leaping in, I'm going to have to pass up Stitched in Color's newly launched Scrap Attack: String Fever, even though I've been waiting a year or more for Rachel to host a second Scrap Attack. However, I can't play this time. Not for lack of scraps, or even a lack of strings. Not for lack of interest in string quilts, either. It's just that I'll never get to the other projects I've started or have queued up if I don't stop saying "yes" to everything.

This is a big moment for me. I say "yes" to all sorts of endeavors all the time. I'm chronically over-booked.

Not to say that I won't make a string something someday; it's just highly unlikely that I'll do it before the end of May.

Cake Patterns' presale for the Hummingbird skirt and top closed last week, and I said "no" to that as well. So hard, though! I just can't quite justify more patterns (and therefore more projects) when the pile of sewing-for-me projects has completely buried the rocking chair. Sure, I could have gotten the pattern at the discount and saved it for later, but StephC will have a sewalong for Hummingbird, and I'd feel obligated to participate if I had the pattern. So, let's pretend this is wisdom, ok?

I'm also not really saying "yes" to Rae's Spring Top Sewalong, although I'm not really saying "no", either. I've got plenty of tops for myself to sew. Since none of them are really spring-themed, though, I doubt I'm going to really participate in the sewalong. Use any mention of it to remind myself to work on my Wardrobe Improvement Project? Yep, definitely. If I finish anything, maybe I'll put it in the pool; maybe not, since it'll probably be long sleeved. Then, long sleeves are a must for me in springtime in Seattle.

Wish me luck! Oh, and some focus, please, so that I resist the urge to start one more thing before wrapping up several others.

April 08, 2013

Baggie Binge-ing

I've made a lot of Lined Drawstring Bags of late. There were all the ones I made for Christmas candy gifting, then two for my Sew Grateful winners back in February. I made this one for Dianne, the woman who has cut my hair for the last eight years, for her retirement.
bag for Dianne
It was a bit fussy to make since I wanted to showcase the Laurel Burch dogs (I only had a few small pieces anyway). Once I finished the bag, I realized I didn't like the blue I'd used for the contrast at the top - too light - and the way I'd positioned the dog fabric wasn't quite right.

I picked apart about half of the seams to make improvements. So very glad I did!
bag for Dianne
But I gave all those bags away. I found I was thinking about which fabrics I'd use to make a bag for myself or which size would be best for carrying just about anything anywhere (lunch, snack, yarn, sewing tools) or just storing something (drawing tools). Clearly the sensible thing would be to translate that "sew for me" energy into wearables, but baggies sew up so much faster!
tiny threadcatcher bag
I made this tiny bag (it stands about 5 inches tall) to be a threadcatcher when I'm sewing at Stash. It travels in this bag:
sewing tools bag
This bag is "everything" sized and transports my sewing tools, things like scissors, pins, seam ripper, seam gauge, fabric markers, etc. I added a series of narrow pockets to the lining to keep things organized. Not sure yet how that will work long term; all the tools in their pockets keep the bag from squishing down small.

Then, because I wanted some Laurel Burch for myself, I made one more:
project bag
It's "project sized" and there's a crochet project in there. It won't work if I go crocheting a blanket again, but it's just right for thing like shawls and scarves.
all my baggies
So now I have a whole collection of drawstring bags! I think the only other one of these that's been posted is my other project bag (in the back, contains a crosstitch project). The little green one in the front is a change purse; the other Laurel Burch cat bag was the first one I made.

I think I'm set for bags for a while! At least until there's another gift-giving need, or I can't put off making one in the "artist" size. First, though: I really should make more progress on the Wardrobe Improvement Project. None of these bags are going to do the trick if I go through the seat of one more pair of jeans.

April 04, 2013

Trying Again

amaryllis spike
It's been two years, but the amaryllis has finally put up another flower spike. Here's hoping this one doesn't end in tragedy!

April 02, 2013

Yak Shaving

Somewhere in the middle of last month, I pulled out the cream colored interlock knit I bought ages ago with intentions of making something for me. I located and prepped all the pattern pieces I needed to make view D of McCall's M6513. Ian helped with the tissue fitting.

And then I discovered the interlock was about an eighth of a yard short.

If this were a true case of yak shaving, the story would continue like this:
So, I gathered my things to head off to the fabric store. But I discovered a flat tire on our one car. In order to change the tire, we had to push the car out of the garage since it's super tiny, which could only happen after we located our neighbor to the rear - he has an impromptu car repair business and he had a confluence of vehicles in the alley that day, all of which needed to be moved so that we could maneuver our car into a space large enough to jack it up and change the tire. Since we couldn't make the jack in the back of the car work, we borrowed one from the car-repairing neighbor and ended up giving garden advice to his wife while he took over the tire-changing process. By the time the car was ready to go, I needed to go change my pants, since the gardening conversation had turned into a gardening demonstration and I'd acquired muddy jeans in the process. Since all my other pants were still drying on the line in the sunroom, I needed a non-pants option. But I've been a bit over-zealous in thinning the closet in preparation for this wardrobe improvement project, so it was wait for pants to dry or sew up a quick skirt. I started this whole thing trying to get some sewing for me done, and this is how I ended up with a skirt instead of a shirt.

Except none of that happened. I sensibly went to the fabric store on another day when I already running errands, bought more fabric than I should have (but some of it is for Caitlyn and KCW is coming up!)

Before the errands, I tried changing the approach a bit. If I was short on fabric for the McCall's top, I needed to figure out what I was going to make with the fabric. Which is how I ended up on Sewaholic's website, purchasing the Renfrew, the Hollyburn and the Cordova.

While I was waiting on the shipping, I put the white interlock away and laid out the gray knit. It's technically a ribbing and the guy that cut it for me at the store last fall thought it was only to be used for cuffs and neckbands on sweatshirts, but Caitlyn and I both have RTW shirts with a ribbed texture, so I'm ignoring the sales guy. The plan is to use my self-drafted shirt pattern and see what happens. But that pattern is stored rolled up since I used kind of heavy paper and the combination of heavy paper and ribbed knit meant that pinning was out of the question.

So the same day I bought replacement fabric, I stopped by the local Home Depot and bought a box of 3/4 inch washers. Those sat on my sewing table for a couple of weeks while a major case of spring cleaning got underway. That project deserves it's own post, maybe when it's done or maybe as I go - just so I can remind myself of what happened to my March/April.

But late last week, enough things came off the sewing table and were put back in their regular homes that I could get out the glue gun. Here's my result:
pattern weights
I now have pattern weights! I used this tutorial, found thanks to Cation Designs. Since I used ribbons out of my box of miscellaneous ribbons and trims, this counts as stashbusting. Sadly, this project is the most use anything out of that box has seen, ever. Some of the ribbons were rescued from other people's stash-purging, some came attached to various gift-wrapping; they've all be saved with the notion that maybe I'd find a use for them; some of them were just too nice to throw away. But I should make a lot more doll clothes than I do to make a sizeable dent in this stash. I think many of the ribbons are actually too short to use on regular-sized people clothes.
pattern weights
So, there you have it: one project delayed due to shortage of fabric, resulting in potentially 6 new projects and a dozen ribbon-covered washers.

Does this kind of yak shaving ever happen to you?