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 😉

Advertisements

Quilt progress

I am sooo excited about this quilt I am making. One of my craft goals this year is to try some new crafts. I want to explore crafting options, trying to keep it fresh. So this month has been a quilty month. I shared the first step – the quilt top making – here.

I basted it the first time shortly thereafter, but I did it on carpet and it created several huge wrinkles in the back. I was defeated, and set it aside to regroup. Last Sunday, I rebasted it in the living room, where we have wood floors. My DH was very helpful when I was laying out the backing, and our two wonderful puppies tried very hard to help as well. They are not as helpful as they want to be 😉

It worked-no wrinkles!

Basting party

Basting party

Today, I had some free time, so I decided to go for the quilting! It took several hours of very slow work. I had to fold and roll it strategically to fit it in my machine. I don’t think I would have the patience for hand quilting, although it looks amazing!

Ready for quilting

Ready for quilting

It was not tedious work, exactly, but it did require quite a bit of concentration. At one point, I had to stop and make buffalo wings for the game today, but then I went right back to it. Now it is quilted, and looks great. I trimmed the excess off, and it is ready for binding! I will try to get to that this week, or maybe next weekend.

Ready for binding

Ready for binding

Quilt ready

Quilt ready

I am thoroughly enjoying this process and learning how quilting works. If you are going to try it, I recommend a smaller project to try first. At first, I thought this would be the only quilt I ever made. Now that I have gotten the hang of it, I might do this again – I do have quite a few scrap fabrics…

WIP to share

Today, I have a rather large project I am working on to share with you.

I am trying a new craft-quilting! So far, it has been pretty easy. I have made smaller quilted items before, and I took a quilting class at our local craft store with my mom a while back, and it was pretty fun. The block we made was far too complicated for me at this stage, so I decided to make it a little simpler. For my quilt, I took 7″ squares in fabrics I really like and sewed them together to make the quilt top.

Beginning of quilt top

Beginning of quilt top

Why 7 inch squares, you might ask? Well, because I confused perimeter and area when I was trying to figure out how large to cut each square. I was thinking 6 inch squares, with 1/4″ seams, and well, mathed it out in my head, and, well, it did not quite work out. It does not really matter, though, as long as they are all the same size. I eventually got them all sewn together and I have 8 columns and 10 rows. It is HUGE!

Quilt top finished

Quilt top finished

I like how it turned out, and I am looking forward to the finished quilt. I am not looking forward to the next part, sandwiching and quilting. I am a bit nervous about it, worried that if I mess it up, all that hard work would have been wasted. I will get brave (hopefully soon), and begin work on the next steps. Maybe even later today 🙂

Wrapping Up the Holidays

Happy New Year, everyone!

I love the idea of the new year being a time to set goals, get organized, and get a fresh start. As my DH and I go through the closets and the house, cleaning and donating anything we don’t use or need anymore, I am reflexive about the holidays. I had a great holiday this year, and want to share with you some of the things I am doing to reorganize, and especially some of the crafts I made over the break!

Here we are wearing all the scarves that were hanging on the coat rack I cleared off. I donated a few, but kept most of them (I get really cold!)

Wearing all of the scarves!

Wearing all of the scarves! #Scarfie

I made a batch of freezer meals for those nights when cooking just seems impossible. I am going through my craft stash and organizing. All of the Christmas gifts are given, and so I put away the monstrous pile of yarn and fabric I had out to finish everything. That took almost a whole day. The house feels fresh and clean with the clutter of holiday decorations now gone. I am not under pressure to fill orders that were needed by December 23 AT THE LATEST!!! (that is a direct quote from a customer, lol), so, I can craft at my leisure. I do still have a couple of orders to fill in the next week or so, but they are not high pressure. I will start and (hopefully) finish them this week.

I did not take too many pictures of the gifts this year, but will share what I have 🙂

Here is a TARDIS inspired hat. I will make a couple more to troubleshoot the pattern, and then hopefully share it here.

TARDIS

TARDIS

I also made this really cute bow scarf for my sister. She really liked it, and, thankfully, took a picture of it after Christmas so I could share it with you. The pattern for this one is not my own. I got it from the ladies at Top It Off Threads. They are on Facebook, and make really cute stuff. They graciously shared their pattern for this scarf when I met them at the craft fair last October.

Bow Scarf

Bow Scarf

My friend had a fancy dress party for New Year’s Eve, and it was loads of fun! There was music, great food, fun games, and even a photo booth!  I made the skirt I wore to the party, and I am really proud of how it turned out.

NYE skirt

NYE skirt

I successfully stitched in the ditch, inserted a zipper, and added a hook and eye.

Stitch in the ditch!

Stitch in the ditch!

zipper/hook and eye

zipper/hook and eye

Since it is a plaid, I lined up the pattern. It always bothers me when the pattern does not match on ready to wear clothes. It is just a basic A-line skirt, but the fabric drapes really nicely.

NYE

NYE

I was also very careful when doing the hem to make sure the fabric lays flat on the right side. It is not a perfect fit, because I am still not sure how to properly figure ease, but I think it turned out just fine. I really like it, and will definitely wear it again! I also think we definitely rang in 2015 with style and class!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2014 holidays have come and gone. Food and gifts were shared, laughter and merriment ensued, and a good time was had by all! I really tried to enjoy every moment of this break, and with such great family and friends, it was easy. Thank you, kind readers, for sharing 2014 with me, and for your continuing support. I look forward to another year of sharing with you all and being inspired by you. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

It is FINISHED!!

I have finally finished it! My 100 crafts from my stash are finally complete! I am terribly excited to share them with you! I have learned quite a bit from this journey, and I am really glad that I did it. At times, it was terribly frustrating to be unable to go and just buy yarn or fabric, or other supplies. I also missed the stress relief of shopping at the craft store. I will admit, I went a couple of times to my favorite one to look around, get project ideas, or be inspired. I did not buy anything for the challenge, and I am now more mindful when I do go shopping, and stick to getting supplies I need to get for crafts I am actually going to make! So, without further ado, here is the last batch of crafts from this challenge!!

#93 – scarf and hat set – These were a special order for a friend of mine from work. I have to count them as a set, because I ran out of yarn before I finished the scarf, and did have to get more. The hat is completely from stash, and I only bought enough yarn to make the rest of the scarf, and have a vey tiny ball of it left. She wanted something soft and black variegated to wear this winter.

Scarf and hat set

Scarf and hat set

By the way, this picture is taken in her super cute office. She decorated it using some really neat Pinterest ideas, which I totally need to steal from her! She loved the set, and I am really happy to make her something she will use.

#94 – Parrot Mascot – My best friend started her career as a teacher this year. She is teaching freshman English and is the Drill Team coach. I am so excited for her as she joins our profession, and I wanted to make her something she could put in her classroom. Her school’s mascot is the parrot, and their colors are orange and black, so I made her this:

Go Poly Parrots!

Go Poly Parrots!

I have been exploring some larger amigurumi, and he was the first one. He stands about 10″ tall, and is really cute and snuggly.

#95 –  Fabric Flip Flops – I recently lost a pair of black flip flops. Well, I did not so much as lose them as they broke and were no longer wearable. I had a couple of cheap ($2, I think) pairs that I was going to remake using fabric a couple of summers ago (3 years ago, I think). I finally dug those out of my craft stash, and cut the plastic part off them. I got some cute coordinating fabric and attached it using knots and a little glue. So far, I have worn them 3 times, and they are holding up fine. I am really excited about them. I also have a white pair and a pink pair to do, now that I know how it works!

Recovered flip flops

Recovered flip flops

Such a simple idea to remove the uncomfortable plastic and replace is with some cozy fabric. It’s like having new shoes, which is ALWAYS a good thing 😉 .

#96, 97, 98, and 99 – Reading Nook Pillows – Also for my friend’s classroom, she wanted a reading nook. It is a place where the kids can grab a book and a pillow and do some reading when they finish their assignments. I made her four pillows for the nook. I actually took regular bed pillows, cut them in half and sewed them up, then used the fabric she picked to make covers for them. They are eclectic and cute, and turned out really great!

Star Wars Pillow

Star Wars Pillow

Music note pillow

Music note pillow

Pretty Flowers

Pretty Flowers

Polka Dot City

Polka Dot City

They all wound up being slightly different sizes, and I think her students will enjoy getting cozy with a book on them!

And now, drum roll, please…

#100 (yea, celebrate! Imagine balloons and confetti falling from the sky!) – Enormous Dalek – This crazy huge guy stands almost a full foot tall and took me all of Labor Day weekend to complete! The pattern is by Lucy Ravenscar and can be found here on Ravelry.

IMG_2450

The instructions are very clear, and I really love her patterns. I even bought her Star Wars Pattern collection, and I love how cute they are and how quickly they work up. This dalek did not work up quickly, but he is AWESOME in his hugeness and in his details. I really love him, and he may very well be my favorite ami I have made in a while.

 

I am so relieved to be finished with this challenge, but I also value the lessons I learned from it. I am looking forward to more mindful crafting and more mindful shopping for supplies. Thanks for looking, and for supporting on this crazy, not always beautiful, journey!

TMNT and More

After I posted the ear bud pouch, I had a couple of special requests for them. I made one for my aunt and one for my brother-in-law.
# 85 – She really liked the owls and chevrons, so I went with that theme again. I used a different keychain attachment piece, since I had one cut out in the chevrons already, and why make extra work, even if it is just cutting a 2″ square 😉

For Holly

For Holly

#86 – I also made one for my BIL. He is a gardener/horticulturist in training. I happened to have this cute veggie fabric on hand, and knew it was meant for him. The lining is a green design that matches pretty nicely.

For Josh

For Josh

I think I am even getting better at making them more rounded!

And now, the big reveal. I really meant for this post to coincide with the release of the movie last Friday, but alas – life happens, and that post did not. I give you:

#87, 88, 89, and 90: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!! These were crafted with a lot of guidance from my DH, as he was (and still is) a huge fan of them. He helped with color choices – each turtle is a different shade of green, as well as styling their belts/sashes (excuse my lack of technical knowledge of their wardrobe).

TNMT

TMNT

Each turtle has a mask in the appropriate color and has the front and back shells fully attached.

Shell view

Shell view

I wonder if they would like lemonheads as much as they love pizza?

Close up

Close up

I guess I should work on their weapons soon. Maybe for the next batch. These were a ton of fun to make, and I know I will make at least one more set!

Turtle Power!

Turtle Power!

Getting Closer and Growing as a Crafter

Summer is such a fun time to craft. I am 16 projects away from my goal of making 100 items from materials I already had on hand, and really getting excited about finishing. I am also learning quite a bit. Recently, I found my self at the local craft store, and thought I would be really tempted to buy something. As I was looking at supplies and yarn and fabric, I found myself thinking “What will I use this for?” When I could not think of something, I put it down, and moved on. Before this challenge, I would buy fabrics or yarns if I like them, just in case I could use them later. Now, I want to buy with purpose. I am excited about this change in my crafting perspective.

#78 and 79 – Wallet and small zipper bag – My wallet broke. The zipper came right off. I had probably not constructed it correctly, since it was my first wallet ever, and I am not too sad about it breaking. It gave me the opportunity to learn how to correctly line a small zipper bag, and how to correctly install a zipper so that none of it is exposed. I made 2, accidentally. One is too big to be a wallet. I guessed on it. For the second version, I actually took a couple of credit cards out to make some measurements. That really helped to get the sizing just right. The fabric is one of my favorites. I found it and immediately bought one yard of it because I loved it so much. Something about windmills really makes me happy. I also really like how the little keyring worked out.

Wallet and Change purse

Wallet and Change purse

#80 – Owl Hat – This is a WIP that I have been holding for a while. It was complete except for the beak. I just could not find a shade of yellow that worked with the green and pink. I knew it had to exist, so I set this aside until I could find it. Turns out, when you clear out most of your yellow stash, you find the tiniest ball of the perfect shade of yellow!

Owl hat

Owl hat

#81 – Tiger hat- this is another WIP that I found needing attention. I guess another advantage to cleaning out stash, is that you eventually find WIPs you had completely forgotten existed. This one needed ears, eyes, and mouth. Luckily, I had put the orange and black yarns inside the hat, so I could match the hat precisely.

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Adult Tiger Hat

Adult Tiger Hat Selfie

#82 – Earbud bag – I am always getting my earbuds tangled up, and then I have to spend an eternity (maybe a little less) untangling them, and by then, I no longer want to go on a walk or listen to whatever it was that made me want to get them out. That is, until I made this little gem. I found this tutorial on Pinterest. It is perfect. It fits in my purse. I learned about installing zippers, lining, sewing curves and how much thickness my sewing machine can handle. I also love the owl and zig zag fabrics I found for it.

Earbud pouch

Earbud pouch

closed earbud pouch

closed earbud pouch

#83 – Giraffe Amigurumi – This is one of my number one sellers. I just think he is so cute and fun to make. His face is just so expressive. He is one of my favorite patterns. I have never written it down, however. Perhaps I should do that and share with you soon 🙂

Giraffe

Giraffe

#84 – Cowl – I found one skein of this yarn sitting in the back of the yellow bin. It is a nice soft yarn, but more of a roving, so not very good for amis. I decided to make a twisted cowl with it. This pattern is a basic granny stripe, all in one color. I made a large rectangle, then twisted it and sewed the ends together. It is cute, and looks attractive as a mock turtleneck. Since it is particularly warm, I think it will be a great accessory this winter.

Twisted Yellow Cowl

Twisted Yellow Cowl

That brings us to 84 items out of 100! Only 16 more to go. I cannot wait to be finished, but I have learned a lot about myself and my crafting habits from this challenge. I have also busted quite a bit of my stash, which clears things out, helps me to stay organized, and makes room for more!