I feel like the blog has been neglected a bit lately. And when I start feeling that way, I also feel that I need to check in even though I don't really have much to share. I know it's my space and that I can do what I please, but I like it here even when there isn't much going on.
I just got over a terrible cold. No fun.
The girls should be walking in the door from school any minute and I just pulled chocolate chip cookies out of the oven for them. Nice, right? Selfishly, I am hoping that a little treat will help make homework and chores and errands go smoothly, but it's probably just a wish. Doesn't hurt to try, though.
I've been sewing a bit. It's a little project that I have to keep under wraps for the time being. That said, I pulled out the nice fabric for it. That Liberty of London up there? It wasn't doing me any good sitting on my shelf so I cut it. It felt great. I should do that more often.
I've got a mess of scraps that need dealing with. Most of them are small-ish in size. They'd be perfect for potholders and the like. I've thought about making little kits with the scraps and batting, plus a pattern for a few different types of potholders. They would be reasonably priced. What do you think? Is there any interest in that? Let me know.
I'm scrapbooking, but I guess that deserves a post of it's own. Soon.
Ok. The girls are home. I'm going to make some smoothies to go with cookies.
Bad puns aside, I am thrilled that this bed skirt for Jane's room is finished. It has been a long time coming. I've had the fabric for at least 8 months, but couldn't motivate myself to get sewing it. I guess that is what the New Year is good for - getting those lagging projects completed. Well, at least, that's the way it works for me.
While this project isn't for beginners, it is pretty straightforward if you have some experience gathering and sewing waistbands (like on a skirt or an apron). Instead of making a fabric deck to cover the entire box spring, I attached the gathered fabric to a strip of cotton. This makes maneuvering all that fabric much easier and less swear-inducing. It's also super easy to attach to the box spring. The secret? Twisted upholstery pins.
Brilliant, right? I think so.
I'm so happy with how this room is coming together. It's been a work in progress for about two years now. I wanted to make sure that what she (and I) chose would carry through her teenage years and maybe even beyond. I think we are on the right track. The furniture needs painting, but one thing at a time.
Jane's bed is a full. I used 8 widths of fabric (54" wide), each 21" tall before hemming. That's slightly over two times the linear measurement of the box spring.
It has a 3.5" hem (1.5" pressed and then another 2" pressed) that I sewed with the blind hem foot and stitch on my machine. I gathered it in sections - two widths of fabric to each quarter measurement of decking - to make the sewing less cumbersome. I highly recommend this approach.
The finished deck is about 4" tall - I cut 10" strips and pieced them until I had the right length. I sewed the deck to the skirt using a 1/2" seam allowance and then finished it just like you would a skirt waistband (folded in the middle and topstitched down to enclose the raw, gathered edges).
The fabric is Annie Selke Links in pink. It coordinates with the headboard fabric, Annie Selke Shalini Ivory Raspberry. The duvet and white shams are from PBTeen. Monogramming was done locally. The aqua check fabric is unknown. Details on the quilt can be found here and the throw pillow here. Upholstery pins were bought at JoAnn's.
I just realized there was some unfinished business around here, namely that I never told you all about the one handmade Christmas gift this year. I think I mentioned it was a quilt, right? I made this one for my niece, Evelyn. She was born last May, ending the nephews-only run that we had been enjoying for the past 10 years. While I have enjoyed making many, many things for the little fellows, I was secretly (or may be not so secretly) thrilled to have another, littler girl to sew for.
The quilt is made entirely of half square triangles. I used the better part of 2 charm packs for the prints and a solid white from Moda for the, um, white. I chain pieced it using this method described on the Purl Bee and then set about piecing. Jane helped me with pattern placement - she's got a very good eye for color and balance. I completely eye-balled the size - just went with something that looked proportionate and a little bigger than crib size. It's backed in a pink solid and trimmed in a small aqua print. The quilting is straight lines 1/2" on each side of the diagonal seams (Does that make sense? I think it does, but let me know if you don't get it).
My very favorite part? I free-motion quilted my niece's name in the bottom corner. It's super subtle, almost invisible. And pretty dang sweet, if I say so myself.
Ok. Unfinished business now finished. Back to whatever it was you were doing.
I pulled out the sewing machine and made a tablecloth. And although a tablecloth would not appear to be very newsworthy, I'm giddy with myself and the finished product. I've had this idea in my head for a long time - way too long, actually. Like six months too long. It's the first of the household projects that I want to complete in 2012. And, really, I don't know why I didn't tackle this one sooner. I am already so happy that I have it and we used it tonight, me sitting at the table eating my broccoli soup smiling the whole while. And smiling again afterwards when all the little soup spills were wiped up lickety-split. Love that.
The construction was very straightforward. I contemplated writing up a tutorial, but I didn't get enough photos while I was making it. I think it took about 3 hours start to finish, including a little break when I sewed through my finger. (Yes. I know. OUCH. But, really, I'm fine.) Injuries aside, it was a great one-day project. My table is 48" in diameter so I cut a 49" circle out of this laminated cotton. The fabric is 58" wide so it's perfect for a small-ish dining table. The laminated cotton can be sticky and tricky to sew. I used a walking foot when I could and pressed with low heat and a pressing cloth. Sometimes it was just as easy to finger press so I did that, too. The skirt is made from four - 8" widths of the fabric, hemmed on one side and sewn together and pleated every 6 inches (the depth of the pleats are 2"). I made some piping using the scraps and then I sewed the skirt to the circle with the piping in between the two layer using a 1/2" seam allowance. That's it - pretty much a perfect fit. In my mind, the pleats were crisper, but I know that is a function of the laminated cotton and my lack of pressing the pleats. No biggie. I'm thrilled with it just the way it is.
And other happy things? Season 2 of Downton Abbey starts tonight. Love that, too.
This is The New Sweetie Pie hat from the Purl Bee. I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to knit one for myself, but I also had the good sense to wait until after the holiday rush to start any kind of project. While in Telluride, I popped into Needle Rock Fiberarts and bought a luscious skein of Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca and the requisite needles. I gauged that night, cast on the next day and knit until the crown decrease. At that point, it went in the suitcase for the flight home. And once here, I finished knitting it on New Year's Eve. This morning I wove the ends in and popped it on my head without blocking. I wore it on a cold, but sunny winter's walk and kept it on most of the afternoon, inside the house and out. I love it!
It had been awhile since I had any desire to knit. The last project I started is still on the needles, just waiting for me to cast off the shoulders, stitch up the arm holes and block it. Sad, I know, but true. (I also started that on a vacation...maybe there is a pattern here?) But this hat was a complete joy to knit. Not that the Sullivan sweater wasn't. This one promises almost instant gratification, it being small and all. The pattern is well written and the mini cables were super easy and very fun to make. I'd do it again. Really, I most probably will.
I don't have grand knitting goals for this year. I'll probably just cast on according to my whims. If anything, I may start another crocheted afghan. And sewing-wise, there is one quilt I definitely want to finish, my weekend sewing dress hand stitching to complete and a few household projects that are highest on my list. I'd like to draw more. I have some ideas which have been percolating for months that involve paint and fabric and sewing combined. I have a first-time interest in more serious paper crafting/scrapbooking - where that came from I'm not sure, but I'm rolling with it. But truly, what I especially love about a new year, a clean slate, an open book is that I don't know where it will take me. Most often, it's an adventure of the best kind.
I hope you'll join me.
Greetings and salutations.
I didn't expect to be away for so long, but it has been a great break. We spent over a week in Colorado, hanging out with my parents and skiing. It was exactly what I needed - some time to decompress and just be. We had a beautiful, low-key Christmas and I am ready to greet 2012 with a smile. That is something to be thankful for, isn't it?
In order to recover from our vacation (funny how that always happens), I'm easing back into everyday life. I've spent the last couple of days stocking the freezer and cleaning house. The girls are headed back to school tomorrow. I'm anxious to start cleaning out closets and organizing the studio so I can focus on new projects. I have not sewn a single stitch in a few weeks, but I did knit a hat while we were gone. I have so many thoughts on what I want to make and do in 2012. I'm leaning towards less is more and really prioritizing what I spend my free time doing.
See you back here soon for some show and tell.