My First Quilt

I finally finished my first quilt. It was quite a bit of work along the way, but as soon as I put the binding on and it came together, all the work was well worth it!

We had President’s Day off school. I had just returned from a long, but amazing music educator conference, so I needed a craft project to fill the day. I had already sandwiched my quilt, twice (see this post for details on that learning experience), and it had been sitting, folded neatly, waiting, since then. I declared it quilt finishing day! I gathered all my materials, and got to work. I sewed all my purchased bias tape together to create the binding. I had a slight miscalculation (3 yds = 9 ft, not 3 ft, oops!) in my binding needed, I now have about 90 extra feet of red bias tape. I guess I will have to find some good use for that, any ideas? In the future, I may try making my own binding for the quilt.

bias tape for days

bias tape for days

As soon as I pressed and pinned the binding to the quilt, I started to get very excited. It really looked like a quilt now, and not a bunch of raggedy squares sewn together, slightly haphazardly. I texted DH with a pic of the binding pinned on, with many exclamation points attached to convey my enthusiasm.

coming together with pins

coming together with pins

I watched about 7,000* tutorials on how to sew on binding, how to do mitered corners, and generally how to finish the quilt, and then I finally started to feel confident that I could in fact handle this project.

* so maybe it was just 5 or 6 videos

* so maybe it was just 5 or 6 videos

The corners turned out great, very clean looking.

mitered corners ftw!

mitered corners ftw!

The process took most of the day, and slowly but surely, I sewed each side on the front. Then I pressed and pinned and stitched in the ditch to tack down binding on the back. It looks really great. I had only one place where I did not catch the binding on the back but I was quickly able to hand sew and fix that at the end.

front and back

front and back

It is a lap size blanket, and it is very light weight.

quilt laid out on king size bed - for perspective

quilt laid out on king size bed – for perspective

Here it is in its more permanent home, the couch. I have used it every night since I made it. Since it is still Winter, I have had to use another blanket with it. It is not that warm, because I used cotton batting, but will be just the right thing for Spring evenings.

couch blanket

couch blanket

I am really proud of it, and have learned a lot while making it – not just about how to make a quilt, but about being a more confident sewist, sewer, (what is the right word here?). Even though I was nervous about several of the steps along the way to finish this project, I researched the steps, took my time, and really thought through each bit. As I planned out each section I took comfort in knowing I could rip out stitches if they were not right, and although that can be disheartening, I tried not to let it get me down. I did not put a deadline on this quilt, but allowed it to be finished in its own time, which helped make it a very low stress project. I am excited to add this craft to the list of things I enjoy.

Thanks for checking it out, and I welcome any suggestions and ideas for how to use up 90-ish feet of bias tape below 😉

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100 Craft Challenge

Good morning to all of you! Post holidays I often have a lack of inspiration for my crochet, sewing and crafting. Most likely, this is due to all the gifts and items I sell and make for family and friends. In addition, I have amassed quite a stash of yarns and fabrics, and even notions of many types. It takes up a LOT of space in my studio office, and to be honest, can be a bit of a distraction to my creativity. Enter the 100 craft challenge:

Karen from Chocolate Dog Studio has issued the 100 day craft challenge to make 100 crafts in 100 days (one per day), using only supplies on hand. I think it is a wonderful idea, and am really looking forward to joining it! I have already been trying to bust some of my yarn and fabric stash recently, so this is the perfect opportunity for that. Also, I have several WIPs that have been put pretty much into hibernation. This challenge presents a great chance to finish those. Finally, it will help me save money, because the challenge only allows use of items that I have on hand.

Here are the rules:

  1. I must make 100 items out of the items I already own before I can buy any more fabric, or yarn.
  2. I will take photos of the supplies while I am making the items and post to this blog. My last purchase of sewing/craft related items was last week and was yarn for some hats.
  3. Crocheting granny squares, circles or individual motifs doesn’t count. It has to be a complete project.
  4. A completed blanket will count, a crochet flower with a pin back will count. It must be a finished item, no partial projects will count.
  5. Plain cup sleeves don’t count, patchwork ones do! So, creativity has to be involved.
  6. Finishing a WIP does count as I will still be getting rid of supplies.
  7. Sewing for the house, hemming curtains and recovering chairs counts as long as I do not buy any supplies.
  8. Clothing repairs and hems also count, as they sit in my studio and take up room.
  9. If it doesn’t work out, I will still post my fails. It is going to be a lot of stretching creatively, and I will probably fail at some things. That is ok, everyone fails from time to time.

I look forward to seeing what this challenge will inspire me to create. Here is a collage of the stash I have to use in this challenge, as well as a couple of the WIPs I will finish! Let’s get crafting!

Some of the stash to be used

Some of the stash to be used

Summer Crafting

It is FINALLY summer, and I am FINALLY beginning to feel human (as opposed to zombie) again!! I joined a stash-buster swap on ravelry with one of my amigurumi groups on that site. The rules are that we cannot spend any money on this swap (except for postage) and must instead gift our partner with an ami, as well as things from our stash! I am super excited about what I am making for her, but in an effort to keep my partner in the dark, the ami and items I am making/gifting, will have to remain a mystery for now. I am also super excited that my annual stash overhaul and re-organize will be with a greater purpose this year 🙂 So far, I have found some real treasures in my stash, especially, my fabric stash.

I recently bought a new sewing machine!! I had been thinking about it and researching it for several months (almost a year) before I made my purchase. Then, serendipitously, there was a sewing convention, the same day and about a mile away from the repair shop where I needed to take my cello in for some repairs. I decided to go and see if I could get a great deal. I did! I bought a Janome DC 2013, and can’t wait to get started on it! So my stash reorganization has been extremely purposeful this year-get ready to sew, sew, sew, and get some things in order for a swap!

Here is a picture of it before –

Stash busting time!

Stash busting time!

It never gets too terribly disorganized, but things do get shoved the back, and moved to the floor, and put away, possibly never to be seen again. I like to go through a couple of times a year and search for forgotten gems that will inspire my crafting. It also helps me not buy new stuff to fill up my stash!

I went through my fabric and did 2 loads of laundry to wash it all, ironed it, folded it, and labeled it with potential projects:

Summer sewing projects

Summer sewing projects

It looks so manageable when they are all laid out on an ironing board.

Knits

Knits

The gray on the right was a maxi skirt, but I had done it the wrong way, and it never hung correctly. I am in the process of dismantling it and turning it into a breezy, A-line, mid-length skirt. I am going to do the large orange stripes so that they form a V in the front and back, because I think those skirts are way cute. The blue is actually reversible, stripes on the other side. I want to toy with combining the patterns with the dress, maybe dots on the bodice and stripes on the skirt. It I have enough of the orange small stripes, I want to make a summery dress. If not, I will do a skirt. The small red stripes are destined to be a tank top or T-shirt. I will decide which when it is time for cutting 🙂

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mending/repurposing

The fruit on the left is a failed attempt at a dress. I salvaged the bottom and made a cute skirt with awesome pockets. The top is going to become some sort of flower for a pin or a headband/hair clip.  The Flowers on the right are a dress that I had to take in and never reinforced the seam. I need to do that, as it is coming apart in several spots. (How embarrassing)

Future gadget/accessory case

Future gadget/accessory case

I tried my hand at one of these before, but decided I REALLY wanted it to have a zipper. I would feel much more comfortable with my phone in something that would close. I also want it to have a place for money, ID, credit card, so it can double as a small purse when I really don’t want to bring everything somewhere.

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Future Librarian blouse

I found this cute fabric at the sewing convention for $6/yd. It is a 60″ fabric. I thought it was so cute and would make an adorable blouse. Now to raid my button stash to find the perfect buttons (insert evil laugh here).

July bunting

July bunting

This will become July’s garland of the month. I have not decided what it will be – I am thinking stars. DH is thinking stars and stripes. We will see what I can come up with.

forgotten treasures

forgotten treasures

These fabrics I have had for a couple of years and totally forgot about. The top one is destined to be an A-line skirt with some tulle or something to make it fuller underneath.The bottom one will become a cute pencil skirt. Already have the zippers and everything for them!

❤ both of these

I want these to both be sundresses, but I am not sure I bought enough of them. We shall see.

Scallops

Scallop seersucker

Here is some seersucker that I am going to turn into a skirt with a scalloped hem. I think it will turn out really cute.

Anniversary dress

Anniversary dress

I love the color of this green, and since my 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up, I thought I would try to make a dress for it. This will probably be the first project I tackle, after a bit of mending to get my bearings on the new machine.

Pajamas!!

Pajamas

Both of these festive prints are going to become pajama pants. I am thinking with the help of the interwebs, I can use some existing comfy pants to make a pattern for them 🙂

shorts?

shorts?

This nice Hawaiian-looking print seems to want to be a pair of shorts. That should be an interesting challenge to up the ante on my sewing ability this summer.

what to do

What to do?

what to do

What to do?

Finally, I have these last two fabrics that I adore, but cannot figure out what I should do with. What do you think I should make with them?

There is my summer sewing list. Add to that lots of crochet and “other” crafts, and I am looking at a busy summer. That’s okay, because I will be doing things that I really enjoy, and that help me to relax. I look forward to sharing my summer projects with you!

Trash to Treasure

A while back I bought my husband one of those box things that has several little drawers to put small parts for his model building hobby. He liked it at first, but eventually decided he would use a flatter container since that would make looking for different parts easier. This week we went through closets, desks, dressers, etc. to do our semiannual purging/giveaway to Goodwill. I found the drawer/container thing in the Goodwill pile, and thought I would try to give it a new life and use it for buttons and findings and the like 🙂

DSCN1208I started with the drawers, some fabric I have been trying to find a use for, mod podge, foam brush and sand paper. I sanded the outside to roughen it up a bit.

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I painted it with Mod Podge using a sponge brush. DSCN1212

I cut my fabric a bit too wide and then attached. I smoothed it out with my hands, and let it dry over night. DSCN1213

After it dried, I trimmed the excess fabric, and put another coat of MP over the outside. When it dried, I cleaned up the trimming, but thought it still looked a little to rough for my taste.  I decided to add a ribbon to the edge to disguise the rough edges, and to fancy it up a bit.

DSCN1218

TADA!

TADA!

I think it looks pretty cute, and it is the perfect place for all those little bits you collect over time. Here it is in its final home, and my office/craft space/studio finally feels clean and finished!!!!

Permanent home

Permanent home

Progress

Yesterday and today I am working on organizing my yarn/crafting/sewing/cello studio space, and it is coming along swimmingly. Although, I will say, at first, it felt like I was drowning! Especially in the closet, so that is where I started.  Here it was before I started:

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Ack! Fabric closet from hell!

Ack! Fabric closet from hell!

More yarn (it is EVERYWHERE!)

More yarn (it is EVERYWHERE!)

I broke down about a dozen boxes that I will use to ship amis, and put them in the closet out of the way. I was able to reorganize my yarn stash using the vertical shoe organizers (about $9 from Target). I put the white/black/gray in the first one (the newest one) and then followed the ROY G. BIV method of organizing the colors. I took all of my crochet hooks, knitting needles and findings and am working on finding them a better home (pun intended).

Color coordinated and organized!

Color coordinated and organized!

Then I got all of my fabric stash out and went through it! What a job, it took me 3 hours to sort and organize. I am donating a bunch of scraps to a quilting group, and some larger pieces to Goodwill, where I know someone will be able to put them to good use. What I kept I organized using Comic Book Backing Boards (generously donated to Lou’s Labors by my friend and neighbor Skylar Chastain). These are basically very precisely cut posterboard, but the work is already done, and you can get a pack of 100 for about $8-10. Buy them on Amazon or at your local comic book store.

Looks so nice all put on boards!

Looks so nice all put on boards!

Fabric closet cleaned up so you can see the sewing machine and serger :)

Fabric closet cleaned up so you can see the sewing machine and serger 🙂

Fat quarters and smaller yardage hanging on cookie sheets attached to hangers

Fat quarters and smaller yardage hanging on cookie sheets attached to hangers

I still have to get some baskets to organize my findings, buttons, beads, etc., but we are well on the way.

Still to do

Still to do

One more thing, I am doing another Craft Swap! My above mentioned friend, Skylar, made me a gadget wallet to accompany my pending iPhone purchase (yes, I know, I am late to the party, but we had some student loan debt to settle first 🙂 ). It will also hold other media including headphones, flash drives, memory cards, etc! I am really happy with the way it turned out!

media storage closed

Gadget storage closed

Gadget storage open

Gadget storage open

I will be making her a… I guess you will have to stay tuned to see 🙂

Goals for 2013

Here we are at the end of another year. Christmas is all packed up and ready to put in the attic.

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I am ready to celebrate the incoming New Year! While I feel like 2012 was a pretty good year, there are some changes I would like to make in 2013. I don’t like to call them resolutions, because it sounds too formal, and I do not know ANYONE who ever keeps their “resolutions.”

Reading – I am in a monthly book club (the Marga-Readers), and I usually (but not always) read the book for discussion. We read some great stuff, but I also get distracted by my personal reading. My goal for this year is to read all the books, and to read one other book each month for a total of 24 books. If I turn off the TV, it should be manageable, lol. First month – Exodus and Witch and Wizard: The Gift

Cooking – I am a great cook. I can be a lazy cook. I would like to prepare more meals, but do it smartly, so there are leftovers for those days when I am too tired from work (READ: Thursdays). I would like to use the fabulous new slow-cooker I received from my in-laws.

CROCKPOT!!

CROCKPOT!!

I also need to figure out a more efficient and organized way of planning meals and grocery shopping. I don’t like grocery shopping, lol. Who knows, I may even be able to get a few of my recipes up here before the year is out!

Eating – I need to eat healthier. I was way sicker in 2012 than I have been since my first year of teaching. I know that sometimes getting sick is unavoidable (especially as a teacher), but I do not always eat the healthiest I can. My goal is to eat a fruit and/or a vegetable with every single meal, even (GASP!) breakfast.

Fitness – I am going to get in better shape this year. I signed up to do a 5K run/walk on January 12. I will do my best at it, and then want to spend the year getting better. I plan to sign-up for a 5K each month to track my progress. I will also try to walk my dog at least 5 days each week.

Cleaning/Organization – This is something I am naturally good at, but this time of year, things tend to get a bit cluttered. I like to start a new year clean. I will clean my house top to bottom. I will reorganize things. I will purge my closet, my books, etc. and give things away to Mission Arlington. Also, my office, which doubles as a studio for private cello lessons and as a craft storage area, looks like a disaster zone! I must remedy that. Before and after pics of the new storage/organization ideas coming soon, but here is a sneak peak of the wreckage for now 🙂

collage

First Full weekend in a while coming up

I have worked 6 (or 7) days a week for the past 6 weeks. This weekend is the first weekend I am off two days in a row!!!! What do I have planned? Some major craft projects of course. I have quite a bit of Christmas sewing to get started,

Chrissy sewing projects

plus a couple of special crochet orders for friends and family needed.

Maybe I can also finish a row or two of my blanket 🙂

They have been super patient with me in the last month especially, and I am so grateful for them all!
In my house, we started a bathroom remodel in the Spring of 2011. I think this weekend may be the weekend to finish her up! I am especially excited about that because my husband will be out of town, and I can finish it as a surprise to him. Looking forward to the weekend!

Oops, how did this picture of our dog spying on the neighborhood get in here?