Sunday, June 13, 2010

Catch-up Round 1 : lazy days skirt, doll diaper, and snack bags

It's been a while, folks. A lot has happened in the last year-and-a-bit. Back surgery and recovery, an unexpected upheaval and move, and a change in Mr. Frog's work to include many days out of town. I think we've mostly recovered and adjusted, and I've been sewing away these last few days. Yay! I thought I'd round up the few things I've sewn over the last year that haven't been given away as gifts and spend my first few posts catching up.

This skirt was made during sewing date with MarinaMaroo. Nothing like conversation and sharing an ironing station with a good friend. I used the free pattern on Oliver+S, the fabric is by Tina Givens. I am a sucker for little birds, and the vertical pattern is perfect for a skirt. The trim was a rummage-sale score, a very delicate crochet. Miss S has worn it at least 30 times, and it is holding up famously. I have plans for many more skirts with this quick and easy pattern.

This diaper cover was an experiment. I tried using elastic thread to make the gusset more realistic. For some reason, it didn't skooch up (scientific terminology) as much as I expected it to based on my previous smocking experience. But Miss S loves it, and I must make more so that there are "clean" and "dirty" diapers for her. As we're in the middle of potty-training, I think I'll have to design a new pull-up version.

Lastly, here is one of the set of snack bags I whipped up some time ago. I used velcro for the closure, and used cotton without any waterproof layer. I've used these for cookies, crackers, sandwiches, grapes, strawberries, and they haven't leaked. I just turn them inside out and throw them in with a load of towels and they're good to go. One fewer item going to the landfill, whew.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm back, sort of

Shortly after starting this blog, I was hit by a back injury that has kept me off of my feet, and my sewing machine, and my computer. I'm still off of my feet, but thanks to my newly-repaired laptop and a nifty spinal injection, I'm back! I won't be able to sew on my machine for a while yet, but I have slunk back to my knitting basket for crafty satisfaction. I had been so thoroughly seduced by sewing that I thoughtlessly cast aside my knitting about a year ago, and I forgot how wonderful my yarn stash is!

For March's quilt bee, before my back completely failed, I tried a new technique. The theme of the quilt was water, and Nikki chose some very beautiful batiks, which I've always been a little put off by, for some reason, but they were perfect for this design. The size of the blocks was a little awkward, 5"x35". I was inspired by a snakes-in-the-grass design to try my hand at freezer paper applique to make a water dragon. I drew my design onto the paper, ironed it to the pieced fabric, cut it to 1/4" around the paper.

After notching and ironing all the little flaps down, I was getting really frustrated with the result. One of my fellow bee-ers recommended using starch, so I mixed up a batch and applied it with a q-tip, and it worked like a charm. I'm now confident that I could applique just about anything. Unfortunately, I didn't take any close-ups of the finished piece, but it turned out quite well. The square looks a little rippled but it came out nice and flat in the finished quilt.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quilting B

All of my crafty girlfriends sew, and after following a few online quilting bees, I realized, hey, I could be doing this with all of my friends right here at home. So began our monthly quilting group brunches. We're trying to come up with a good name, but so far Stitch Fest and The Quilty Group are the best we can come up with. We'll keep trying. We're saving all of our creative juices for our sewing, I don't think anyone's really put any thought into it.

Because I organized the group, and because I had eight yards of coordinating fabrics on hand, and because my overall design was "do whatever you like", I got the first month. I'm just now getting squares back, and I. am. so. impressed. My friends all did such great things with these fabrics! I specifically asked for the ladies to use whatever technique they liked, figuring that using all the same fabrics would tie everything together. And boy howdy, they look SO great. There's some traditional piecing, wonky improv, applique, embroidery, block printing, and that's just so far... I can't wait to see the rest. Here's my first batch of blocks:

First up is Sara, who included a few bits of her own fabric in her stacked coins square. The fetch bit is my favorite part about this square.

You'll have to pardon the horrible lighting combined with my horrible camera.

Next is Lynn, who made two squares. The first is circles appliqued, each with a different embroidery stitch, to a 4x4 patch square.

She also used some decorative machine stitching to highlight her block printing on the second square. Love it!

Here we have Marina's stepped-wonky piecing. I haven't squared some of these up yet, I'm waiting until I do the sashing, so I have a little give. Don't you love it? I hear there's another on the way, I can't wait! I think this square really showcases the fabrics. We have very similar tastes, I think.

Nikki went with a very challenging design, I don't know the official name, but it looks like wagon spokes to me. She salvaged an applique from a vintage pillowcase for the center. So sweet.

Deirdre went above and beyond and make FOUR squares for my quilt, all traditional pinwheels. I am really exited to have these to work with in the design of the quilt, the placement of the blocks. These are really going to tie the whole quilt together, and I love the one pink border.

Lastly, for this post, we have my first EVER quilt block. I like the improv style, it's so fun to just go with it.

I'm hoping to have a 4x5 block finished quilt, which after adding the sashing should be just the perfect size for family cuddles. I've already named this the official Oldford family Cuddle Quilt. My husband is mystified by my fabric choices, because until my daughter was born just over a year ago, I detested pink. Now look what's happened to me. Pink and brown. I'm all about it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My First Post

My first post on my shiny new crafty blog. I'd like to dedicate this to the Bushfire Quilt project and Project Improv, two relief quilt groups who've inspired me to actually set some time aside from work and baby-rearing to turn some of my beautiful new stash into something meaningful. In this case, Tia at Camp Follower is gathering wonky star blocks to create quilts for the survivors of the Victorian Bushfires that have left so many without their homes and loved ones. Jaquie at Tallgrass Prarie Studio started Project Improv to get us all started experimenting with improvisational piecing, and with donated blocks, she will be constructing quilts for so far unnamed charities. Two great ideas, ladies, and again, thanks for getting me to finally make some time to start sewing! Because I haven't started these blocks yet, I'll favor you with some pics of my shiny new fabrics (thanks to my lovely husband for his valentine's gift of a shopping spree at my favorite local quilt shop, and some misspent time on etsy). You'll be seeing these prints again very soon...