Baby and big sister gifts.

Our friends, Meredith and Bryan, are about to have their second baby. We met Meredith and Bryan because their daughter is super great friends with Charlie (and they saw each other one night out at a pizza place. Charlie was like, oh that’s my friend from school! and then we ended up all sitting together.) It’s so fun to have playdates with them because we all get to hang out too.

So a new baby means a new quilt! I used a pattern I’d never tried before – Storytime Squares by made-by-rae. My sister made an adorable version for one of her mama friends last year and it totally inspired me to try the pattern. I used 4.5 inch squares instead of 5 inch squares because that’s what I had already cut, so I had to adjust the sashing some, and then it turned out a little smaller than I wanted, so I added an extra border on the outside. I probably could have quilted it a bit more –  I really liked how the quilting looked after doing just a 1/4 inch around the big blocks and extra lines in the sashing, so I stopped there.  I am really happy with how it turned out!

My version of Storytime Squares

I knew that they were doing robots and monsters in their nursery, so I found a cute monsters flannel at Joann’s and used that for the back. Of course I forgot to take a picture ;) There are also a few flannel blocks in there on the front. It turned out around 41 x 41 inches.

I didn’t want to leave big sister out, so I made a little something for her too. My friend Mary-Heather pointed out this adorable pattern for a doll, Elsa, by Wee Wonderfuls, and I thought it would be perfect for her because she loves princesses and pink and purple. It was really fun to make and actually pretty quick – the hard part is the finishing touches, like the face and the hair. The pattern calls for felt eyes but I can never get them cut out quite right – I bet if I used better felt I could! So I embroidered a simple face. I feel like the face can make or break a softie like this – it is so easy to make the face accidentally weird or scary. Ha. Hopefully this doll’s face is just cute ;)

Flutterberry.

I followed the pattern directions to make the hair, and then braided it and tacked it down over where the doll’s ears would be. This made the braids hang really nicely. Her skirt is removable, and I can totally see making fun little dresses for a doll like this too. Big sister was very excited about her doll and decided that her name would be Flutterberry. :)

Hooray for friends and new babies and siblings!

 

More sewing with knits: the Laurel Tunic.

Happy Friday! I finished another sewing project: The Laurel Tunic, by Greenstyle Creations. Overall, I think this pattern is very straightforward to sew – it took me a minute to understand what I was supposed to do with the cowl neck, but the directions are very clear and I think a beginner could definitely sew this. My version took me a little while to finally finish because I kept seeing ways to make it better. The final version looks like this (not the greatest picture but you get the idea):

The Laurel TunicBut it took me a little while to get here. When I started making this, the top part fit great as it was in the pattern, so I put the whole shirt together with no alterations and declared it done. Hooray! Then I had Jacob take some pics of me in it, and I couldn’t believe how BIG it was on me. I just didn’t notice it until I saw the picture:Laurel Tunic, first go round.

So it looks cute, but it is kind of shapeless. Jacob said it looked like a square. Ha. ( I was like, why didn’t you tell me it looked so huge? and he said, I don’t know, I thought it was supposed to look like that!)I decided to take the sides in and remove the pockets (because this fabric is pretty thin and they looked bulky), and see how I felt about it then. Here’s take two:

Laurel Tunic take two.

 

Okay SO MUCH BETTER. Now it’s actually a little bit flattering! However, the length just wasn’t quite right for me, and it looked super weird with a skirt. So during my photoshoot with my friend Denise, I folded up the tunic to see if we liked it better shorter. And we did!

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ooooh this looks like a shirt I would buy at the store! So after work I ran home and trimmed some length of the shirt. I was so excited and happy after I hemmed it that I accidentally cut INTO THE SEWN HEM when I was trying to trim off extra fabric. (OMG I am such a dork.) So, the final version is a wee bit shorter than I originally wanted it to be, but ultimately I think the most wearable version of the shirt. When I make another one, I’ll definitely do the shorter length, and I may go down a size with the pattern, because I had to take the sides in A LOT for the fit to look right. I also think I would like a dress length version of this.

sewing-projects

After all of that, I ended up with a shirt that I love, and that I can really wear with lots of other things in my closet. I just used my regular old sewing machine for this pattern as well – she mentions in the directions when you need to use a stretch stitch (like a zig zag or the stretch tricot on my machine) versus just a straight stitch. I also tried using the twin needle on my machine for the first time and it really does make the hems look so finished (and more like the hems on ready-to-wear knits). I really am working up to using my serger! SOON.

Hope you are having a great Friday! I’ll leave you with a picture of our newly adopted pup, Wally. He’s one year old, and a snuggler.

Distinguished gentleman.

Tiramisu, the third.

So apparently I can’t stop making Tiramisus. Ha!

 

TiramisuSorry for the slightly crappy picture. I haven’t had time to get real pictures of it so my smudgy mirror selfies will have to do ;) This Tiramisu is made with some cotton spandex knit fabric that I got from Girl Charlee and it is so soft – it feels like wearing pajamas! It isn’t quite as heavy as the knit I used for my second Tiramisu, so I was worried that it would be super fiddly to sew with, but it was totally fine. The only thing I’ve started doing is when I sew a seam, I don’t start at the beginning – I start like an inch in, because my machine seems to want to suck the knit fabric in when I start sewing at the beginning. Since I’ve started doing this, I had way less trouble with the fabric getting sucked in and tangled up.

This fabric is obviously stripey, and the Tiramisu pattern gives you guidelines for matching stripes. I LOVE the way the stripe matching turned out. I want to make other ones in stripey fabric now!

Tira close up

Here’s a close up of the bodice (and please ignore my imperfect top stitching!)  The way the pattern works, the neck binding is a little bit shorter than your bodice pieces, so you gently stretch it to fit, which makes the whole bodice stay nice and tight and not gapey. I definitely have to do some fitting each time, so I baste all the bodice pieces together, and then pin so it fits, and then baste again. and then sew it up. This has worked super well for me! I also tried to do the pockets this time, but with this fabric, they looked lumpy and weird so I decided to leave them out. I think this next picture best shows how I feel about this dress:

yay!

Taken with Photo Booth on my work computer ;) I made it on a Monday night and wore it on a Tuesday! I wanted to mention that I’ve been using my regular sewing machine to make these Tiramisus. I *do* have a serger, but I’m sort of working up the courage to use it on actual seams on actual dresses. Ha. I am such a wimp. But I did practice threading it! Progress!

I’ve already started working on the (hopefully wearable) muslin for my next project. This one is the Laurel tunic, by Greenstyle. I started sewing last night and got close to finished with the top:
image

I am making the medium and so far, the fit seems great!

What are you working on these days? Any sewing patterns that you are absolutely loving? Or knitting, even? :)

 

Tiramisu, the second.

I finished my second Tiramisu!

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I am really happy with it. This time, I made the bodice pieces just like I did in the muslin, but I went up one size for the skirt (since I had the issue where the skirt pieces were way too small) and that meant I also had to retrace the bodice pieces as well. I also used my cutting table, pattern weights, and my rotary cutter instead of pinning the pattern pieces and using scissors, and it made a huge difference.

I didn’t make any effort to match up the chevrons, but I think it still looks okay. This knit is a little heavier than than my muslin fabric, and it was much easier to work with. I also remembered to use the stretch stitch when I attached the binding to the sleeves and they are super comfortable – no tightness at all. I wore this dress all day at Easter with my family, and it is so comfy!

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I topstitched the sleeves and the neck binding, which seems to help them lay flat and also just looks nice. I haven’t hemmed this yet because the pattern says to wear it unhemmed for a bit so it can settle before hemming. NO PROBLEM. The nice things about knits – it doesn’t look unfinished without a hem! (I mean, it will look MORE finished with a hem but I’m totally fine wearing it with a raw hem for a bit.)

happy about my dress

 Y’all I cannot get over how wearable this is. I want to SEW MORE KNITS! and also more clothes! I always get the itch to sew clothes for myself when the weather starts getting warm, and this year is no exception. Luckily, I went through my fabric stash and found a bunch of voile that I bought last year – probably enough for a few dresses and a shirt – and I still have enough knit fabric for one more Tiramisu. I also may have hit up Joann’s during the one dollar Simplicity pattern sale and bought some more patterns that are meant for knits. Other things I’m planning to make are the Amelia dress (look at all the gorgeous versions in that blog post from Bolt!) and the Endless Summer Tunic (One Stitch Short Sarah made a super cute version of this tunic!) I always make grand plans for sewing and they don’t always happen, but it’s nice to dream about doing it and maybe I’ll actually make everything this time :)

My family!
Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! We lucked out with some gorgeous weather here, so it was a perfect day for an Easter egg hunt. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

More sewing!

It feels so good to be blogging again! And it’s so nice to chat with people in the comments. HI!

As soon as I finished Ollie’s quilt, I already knew what my next sewing project would be: the Tiramisu dress, by Cake Patterns. I’ve been wanting to sew with some knits for a while, and THEN Jacob got me a serger for Christmas, so now I really have no excuse. I ordered some awesome knit fabric from Girl Charlee - including some super cute and super sale fabric to use for a muslin – and got to work.

tiramisu-muslinI learned a few things in sewing my muslin. The Tiramisu pattern I used is one that you print out and then tape together, which is super handy but also sort of a pain. (But, instant gratification, so.) When I do patterns like this, I usually use freezer paper to trace the pattern pieces in my size, and then pin the freezer paper pieces to the fabric to cut it out. For me, the knit fabric was way harder to cut precisely than quilting fabric or some other woven fabric. So lesson one: clear off my cutting table, and use pattern weights and a rotary cutter instead of the floor, pins, and my scissors.

The pattern tells you to use a “lightning stitch” to seam the pieces – this is a stretch stitch that you’re supposed to use with knits. On my machine, (a lovely Pfaff Ambition) this stitch is called a stretch tricot stitch. However, it’s way more difficult to rip seams that have been sewn with this stitch. So I learned that I need to baste, baste, baste with a straight stitch, try the pieces on, and THEN sew with the stretch stitch once I’m sure things fit right. (I know, DUH. I didn’t say these were lessons that everyone needs to learn. ha.)

So I got the bodice all sewn up – I got lucky and the bodice mostly fit great. I had to make a few adjustments,and the neckline is a little snug, but not uncomfortable, and I’m taking notes for the next time I sew this. It’s my muslin, right? I just want it to be wearable. Next, I go to sew the skirt pieces together, and they are WAY too narrow. Now, I had a choice between sizes when I was cutting out pattern pieces, and I did choose the smaller of those two sizes, but I think the issue was in my cutting. (See lesson one!) I think the fabric was moving around too much when I cut and I cut incorrectly. To fix this, I cut two strips of fabric and seamed them on the sides of the skirt pieces. It’s a design feature. HAHAHA.

Finally I put all the pieces together!

Tiramisu muslin

It’s *mostly* wearable. I would need to wear a sweater with it at work because there’s a hole in the back where my fabric got stuck in my machine, and the sides might be a little weird from the extra fabric I had to add. BUT I can totally bum around the house or at the playground in this! and I think I’m going to be able to make one that fits really, really well next time around. So hooray for muslins! I’ve already cut out the pieces for Tiramisu number two.

Well.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I miss blogging, and how I’d really like to blog about some things – mostly sewing, and some knitting, and maybe some mom stuff too.   Someone on Twitter asked why I’d stopped, and I realized that, in my head, I’m still a blogger…I’ve just been on a super long extended break. ha. I couldn’t bring myself to take down this site, because I like going through the archives every now and then, and hey, what if I decided to post again?

OH HAI I AM POSTING!

So, what’s new?

C is two, and kind of a big boy now:
Happy!

I just got a new sewing machine, a Pfaff Ambition 1.0 (purchased with some of my prize winnings from being on Wheel of Fortune) and I love it. I’ve been working on some quilt blocks and making lots of clothes, including two Darling Ranges dresses:

Darling Ranges Dress.

Darling Ranges dress #2.

I’m knitting too – I’m working on Olga’s lovely  Aranami Shawl using some lovely Yarn Pirate yarn, and I’m about to start the Through The Loops Mystery Shawl KALat the beginning of June. I’ve never done a mystery knitalong of any kind and two of my friends at work are doing it too – it should be fun! I can finish Aranami before June 1st, right? ha.So, everything’s pretty much the same around here. I’m working on a new dress now - Simplicity 1801 - and am venturing into the world of full bust adjustments – eek! We’ll see how it goes.

I don’t know if this post means I might start posting more often … or if I’m just feeling nostalgic for my blog and needed to post. either way, hi!

o hai.

o hi there! remember me? I’m still here! It’s been a pretty busy two and a half months, as you can probably imagine. I’ve been feeling great – yay second trimester! – and if you can believe it, this week marks the start of my third trimester. holy crap.


27 weeks, 4 days.
my belly at 27 weeks, 4 days.

yep, I’m definitely pregnant. hee.
I’ve been sewing and knitting a lot. The sewing has been in preparation for a craft fair that I’ll hopefully be at in early December, and the knitting has been mostly baby oriented (surprise!) — some for our baby, some for baby swaps, some for the awesome tiny teamie Hayes.

My creation
1. Tiny Schmoo Sophisticate for our little guy., 2. Doodie. , 3. Garter Stitch Kimono Baby Sweater for my doula’s son Judah., 4. Buzzbee for Hayes!, 5. Elfin for our little guy., 6. Tubey for a baby hat swap.

Baby stuff is so fun and fast to knit! I’m sure I’ll be making a few more sweaters for the littlest schmoo before I’m done.
You can see some of the stuff that me and my friend JoAnna have been sewing here in this Flickr set. If all goes as planned, we’ll have a little booth at the 2009 Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa Holiday Market in December under the name “teamie & schmoo“, and we’re really excited! We’ve been making lots of cute baby stuff and some box bags and bags as well. I’ve also had a few people commission me to make some diaper bags / messenger bags for them, and it’s been super fun to work on those. Like I said before, I’m trying to take advantage of my energy while I’ve got it. :)
I also received some amazing handknits from my awesome friend Sarah. I got this package in the mail last week on a particularly crappy morning, and man, did it cheer me up!

amazing.
amazing knits! and so wee! and adorable!

I don’t think it’s possible to be grouchy when you are holding teeny tiny handknit baby socks. The littlest schmoo is going to be so well-dressed! thanks again, Sarah, for this beautiful teeny tiny wardrobe. OMG baby knits are CUTE. and Sarah is made of awesome.
In addition to the crafting, we’ve been working on getting our house ready for our newest family member. There’s been painting and carpet ripping and furniture assembling (mostly by Jacob) and we’ve still got more to do, but we’ve definitely made some progress. I feel so lucky – we’ve had so many people give us baby things that they are no longer using, and our kitchen is totally full of baby awesomeness right now – toys, clothes, chairs, etc – and maternity stuff too! We have really generous people in our lives, and we are lucky, lucky schmoos. Hopefully we can return the favor someday!
Anyways, that’s the story around here. Lots of things going on, but I’m trying to relax and rest some too – although I *do* like being busy. :) It’s been really nice to get things done at home and spend time with Jacob and Bella.

365.2.282 me and Bella, again.

It’s almost the holidays! I hope this post finds you staying warm and feeling great and not too stressed about holiday crafting. :)

sewing bug

I’ve been sewing. a lot. I’ve been knitting too – I’m *this* close to finishing my Smock – but I’ve just been feeling the urge to sew lately! (It’s a nice change from my first trimester, when I didn’t feel like doing anything, especially sewing.)
First up: a yoga mat bag! I’m going to prenatal yoga twice a week, and I almost bought a little bag for my mat at REI, and then I realized that I could make one with some stash fabric.


Yoga mat bag.
Amy Butler fabric + yoga mat bag = hooray.
I used this tutorial from Bored & Crafty, and borrowed the measurements from Jess’s blog post. I just used some ribbon for the drawstring, although I might end up trimming it or using something else later. I lined it with some heavy linen that I had laying around, and it fits perfectly. This was a super quick and easy project!
Next: placemats! We’ve been eating dinner with friends at our house a lot lately, and we have a nice new-old dining room table from Jacob’s parents, but no placemats. I have no idea why – they’re probably packed up in our crawlspace upstairs somewhere. BUT! why not just make some?

I made some placemats.
New placemats make the table look better.

For these I used an Orla Kiely tablecloth half that I’d been saving for the perfect project, some solids from my scrap bin, and some super heavy interfacing. I’m really happy with the way they turned out – even Jacob approved. I used this tutorial to make them. She actually does binding around the edges, and I’d planned on doing a binding with the Orla Kiely fabric but I didn’t have enough left over. So, I just decided to sew the right sides together, leave a hole, turn them inside out, and then top stitch. easy peasy!
and finally: my first baby-related project! a diaper bag!

365.2.246 I made a diaper bag.
I’m so proud – can you tell?

I love love this bag. It’s completely lined in vinyl, has pockets galore, including a back zipper pocket, and is super sturdy.

Diaper bag front flap (with magnetic snaps)

I used this fantastic tutorial over at A Mingled Yarn, and seriously, I can’t say enough about how great it is. I’m not a new sewist, but I’m not advanced AT ALL – I’ve learned everything from books and the Internets, and friends who are nice enough to help me. The tutorial for this bag is so clear, with great instructions and pictures, and gave me confidence that I could actually make the bag, even when I was scared of all the fabric and vinyl that I was cutting out. hee.

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like this moment, when I was like, WHAT AM I DOING.

It’s a great tutorial! and it would make a great bag for anything, not just diapers. I mean, who wouldn’t want all these pockets in their bag?

Diaper bag, inside pockets
pockets!

I was so happy and excited when I finished – I kept parading around the house with my bag, and Jacob was nice enough to keep exclaiming over it. Har.
So yay for sewing! I think I’ve probably got some more patterns to try out soon…do you have any favorite sewing tutorials?

april? really?

How is it already April? I feel like this year is moving so quickly. Pretty soon it will be summer and I’ll be longing for the nice 65-70 degree weather we are having right now. oh, summers in Georgia, how I love/hate you.
Work has been super busy lately, which is great, but also makes me a little overwhelmed sometimes. That means that I get home from work and immediately want to do something crafty to relax.
There has been knitting:


Monkey in progress.
Spelling Bee Raffle socks for Stephanie!
(the colors in this pic are a bit off – the blues are little more pastel than they are here.)

I went through several different versions of these socks before I landed on this combination: Monkeys + Mama E’s sock yarn. It’s a perfect match! I started some Monkeys with some other yarn, but the pooling started to get to me, so I tried again and so far, the colors are working out nicely with this yarn. They need a good blocking, obviously, but I’m happy with them. and this pattern is fun, y’all. at first I had to really pay attention to the pattern, but now I’ve got it memorized and I can just knitknitknit while I’m watching TV. LOVE.
There has also been sewing. More box bags, of course:



Box Bags and one zipper pouch, actually.

and some progress on my quilt wall hanging:

Quilt in progress.
yay quilt.

This one is turning out just how I imagined. and Jacob likes it too, which is good since I’m planning to hang it up in our den. SInce I took this picture, I’ve added the last row of color blocks, and I’m about to add about 3 inches of brown all around and a blue binding. I think it’s going to be perfect.
Since I’ve been sewing like a fiend, I’ve started reading some quilting/sewing blogs as well. If you haven’t seen the Quilt Along posts over at Oh, Fransson! and you’re wanting to get started quilted, check them out. She basically did a virtual quilt-along and went through her entire process from picking fabrics to binding and quilting. The posts are really clear and full of great info. I’ve definitely tagged a few of those posts (color choices, free motion quilting) to use in the future. I want to try and do free motion quilting for this wall hanging, but I need to practice A LOT before I do it.
While I’m sending you to other places on the Intarwebs, here are two more:

I’ve started another quilt while I’m working on the wall hanging because I am addicted – I’m experimenting with some scrappy strip quilting using this tutorial from Quiltville (and hello she is another awesome online resource that Carolyn introduced me to). I’ll take some pictures this weekend if the strips aren’t ugly. ha.
have a great Friday!

it’s a frenzy!

Hi y’all! The last time I posted, I was playing in snow – we ended up getting six inches, and lost power for two days. woot. it was actually sort of fun at first – we dragged our mattress out to the den and sat by the fire and played Scrabble by candlelight. It became not as fun when we woke up the next morning and it was COLD in our house.
But, I shall not complain, because today, a week later, it is 75 degrees. It’s beautiful outside! It’s also Spring Break at UGA, so I might take a couple of days off this week for the heck of it. We’ll see how busy work is.
I’ve been really busy crafting lately, both knitting AND sewing. I finally finished my second quilt – a baby quilt for my dear friends Drew and Joanna, also know at the Teamies.



Stacked Coins.

I used the Stacked Coins pattern from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, which is a seriously lovely and awesome book. There are great directions in the back for basting your quilt, quilting, and also two different ways to do the binding. I love this book. And I think would be an excellent first quilt for anyone – it’s very forgiving if you aren’t so good at cutting straight (like me, for instance). I think the real challenge with this quilt is picking awesome colors.
So, finishing that quilt has made me want to make MORE quilts. and sew. A LOT. My Flickr contacts can attest to my, um, crazed sewing frenzy lately.


yay sewing time!

For the box bags, I’ve been using this fantastic tutorial by drago[knit]fly, with the modifications found here. It took me a few tries to understand what I was doing, but now I am comfortable doing it without checking the tutorial every five seconds.
Also, the zipper wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be! The hardest thing for me is cutting STRAIGHT. I am so bad at it, and yes I have a rotary cutter and cutting mat and rulers and still I suck at it. that’s why I need to make all of these bags! to practice!
For the zipper pouches, I used Caro’s sew a zippered wristlet tutorial – super clear and she has a great Flickr set with detailed photos to go along with it. The zipper on top is harder for me – I haven’t quite figured it out yet. but I’m getting there. The last little purse is this free pattern called the Buttercup Bag at Made by Rae.
Ack, I have the sewing bug, y’all. Next up, after eleventy million bags, is a quilty wall hanging for our den. I’ve chosen a dark brown background and some variations on teal and aqua as my color palette (because that’s what is already in our den):



fabric pile.

I’m still nailing down exactly what I want to do, but I think I’ve got a plan. A loose plan.
I haven’t totally abandoned knitting though! I’m still plugging away on both my Tapestry Cowl and my Francis Revisited:

365.2.65 getting there.
I’m getting really close!

As you can see, I opted for short sleeves – it’s already getting hot here again, and I want to be able to wear this year-round. well, maybe not in August, but you know what I mean. I can’t wait for this sweater to be finished!
That’s about it for now. Work is good, and I’m still BODYPUMPing (although this week is Spring Break so it’s canceled. I guess I could get out and run or walk since it’s so nice out. maybe.) I know some of you are still having wintry weather – I hope spring heads your way soon!