Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UFO week progress

quilt top for Quilts for Kids
Got the Quilts for Kids top finished! I will be basting it tomorrow. I have hot pink thread that will work for quilting, too. 

A few things have come up that weren't on this week's list, of course:
I have to make monkey pj pants for J tomorrow so he'll have them for pajama day on Friday.
For the KCMQG charity project, I still need to make a quilt back and probably will be quilting one quilt, maybe two. These aren't due this week though.

I went to JoAnn's today for batting (I have enough now for the next... 5 quilts) and came home with some fun remnants. One is piratey; I also got a wide wale black corduroy and an embroidered dark gray twill. And I bought a yard of cute corduroy for a fall/winter dress for L. I'll try to post a picture tomorrow.

How about you? Have you made progress on your UFOs?

Monday, September 27, 2010

UFO week, day 1

Welcome to my day 1 UFO report. 
Today I finished binding a quilt that I can't share yet, but it's been in the works for 5 months or so. It's a good feeling, finishing those last few binding stitches. I did a lot of it while watching the first episode of the new season of Bones... it was a good one.

And then I decided I needed to do more, so I threaded the serger and switched it over off rolled hem stitch to regular. (Here's my link to serger rolled hem tips if you want to give it a go! For lettuce edging on knits, use regular rolled hem settings but stretch your fabric as you sew! Try a little swatch first, too.) I sewed up these pajama bottoms for D.
skull camo pajama pants
I have to confess that I didn't press the seams on these--on almost any other woven clothing item it's really important to me to press the seams as you go to avoid that homemade (not in a good way) look. But for pajamas, they will be washed soon and then they'll look fine. I need to find my J-sized pattern and make a new pair of pj pants for J... there is a pajama day at school this week and we forgot about crazy hair day this morning (J wanted to participate, the big 5th grader apparently didn't care) so I want to make it up to him with cool new jammies.

I made progress on a couple of quilt projects today, too. I need to decide what to focus on first tomorrow! I have something easy to make that's a gift, I'll do that and then work on something I can blog about as well.

So here's the tally: I started at 15 UFOs, finished 2. But I found another one (darnit) so my total is now 14. Did any of you get some UFOs done today? Or worked on? Want to share just how many started projects you have going? hmm...

I spent time looking at various flickr groups today, thinking about things I'd like to make for people I love. I can't wait to start a couple of things as soon as my UFOs are mostly done!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

UFO finishing week

I've decided that this week is going to be a week for finishing some projects! I have been keeping a running list of current projects for a while, and the other day I rewrote it. I still have 15 UFOs. (I had 15 a week and a half ago, I swear I've finished things since then. Oh yeah, started things too.) Thing is, I'm really close to done on at least 5 of them. I just finished a year-old project on Friday , and loved getting that thing done! I have been thinking about maybe making a few/some/couple handmade holiday gifts this year, but I have got to whittle down my UFO pile first. I'm going to shoot for one finish a day to start (yeah that's how ridiculously close I am on some of these things) and see how the week goes.

Here's a list of some of the things I'd like to finish this week:
*pj pants for D that are cut out already
*fall mini-quilt made from this stack of fabric
*linen pants for L (yeah, it's the wrong time of year but they're cut and will only take a little bit of time to finish up!)
*a Quilts for Kids quilt (this one will take some time and effort--top is pieced but still needs borders, and then basting/quilting/binding/mailing!
*one bee block. Maybe two. (one will be my own, for my month in Bee Beautiful)
*quilt back for one of the KCMQG charity project quilts

Ok I better stop there. I'd love to get my unfinished list under 10 in a week. Does anyone else want to join me for UFO week?

p.s. don't forget, IBOL boxes need to be mailed out this week as well! I have my box, just need to spend some time putting it together.

p.p.s. here's my other August quilt block. I was late finishing it and sending it back. It's my first quilt as you go experience. :)
bee beautiful Aug 2010 block
These were great fabrics to work with. I added in the little slivers of blue and red floral along the edges (should have used more, oh well.) It is fabric left over from a dress my mom made for me when I was 5. It had a red pinafore that went over it. (Hey Mom, want to find a picture of me in that dress and scan/email it for me?)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sew & Tell--Amy Butler

The Amy Butler Sew & Tell linkup at amylouwho this week has been a good incentive for me to finish one of my long-time UFOs. I started this pillow sometime last year--I made 3 out of 4 pillows for my living room couch and big chair and then lost steam for some reason. Today I finished up the last one:
Amy Butler pillow #2
It didn't really take that long, either. The top was pieced already, I just needed to quilt it and make the back pieces (it's just an envelope style back). Here it is with its fraternal twin:
2 pillows
These pillows have quilted fronts with medium weight, white denim as the backing fabric. They are sturdy! The backs are made from quilting fabric "quilted" to the denim again, but with no batting. The overlap on the back is pretty wide, to prevent the back from gapping open and showing the pillow form inside. These were made to fit the pillows that came with my big chair here.

I'm so glad this is done! Maybe next week I'll work on another of my older unfinished projects.

**head on over to to see all the other Amy Butler sew & tell finishes this week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kids' Clothes Sewing Week--birthday shirt and leggings

scrappy shirt, "leggings"
Here's the scrappy shirt!

I cut these and one pair of pj pants out on Monday, and sewed these up today. I am really happy with the shirt--it is just what I had envisioned. I decided to try a lettuce-edge hem for the first time, and I had to do it twice but I had extra fabric at the hem so it was ok. Too bad we have to wait about a month for her to wear it! (she's not 2 yet!)

The pants here were supposed to be leggings. I had L try them on and they are quite loose. I have a dress from the consignment sale that these are supposed to go with, and I'd like them to fit more like... leggings. Maybe I'll unpick the hems and just take them in--and if that doesn't work, I have enough fabric to try again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kids' Clothes Sewing Week

I read about Kids' Clothes Sewing Week on Craft last week and it didn't take me long to chuck my "no new projects" plan and decide to join in. Last night I gathered up fabrics and patterns:
kids' clothes sewing week--before
At the very minimum I'd like to make some leggings for L and pajama pants x3 for the boys. D's ankles are sticking out really far in the winter/Christmas pj bottoms I made for him last year. And J can just use D's old pj pants, but I think I have just enough of the monkey fabric for a pair of pants for him. If I have time, I'll make L's birthday scrappy shirt (it's a shirt with pieced sleeves and maybe the front and back will be made of 2 fabrics, too. Kind of like the dresses and shirts here.) We'll see how it goes. I do have some quilty project commitments I need to finish as well, so I'm hoping not to be too pressured by this, but have FUN and finish some quick and easy projects that my kids need.

I'm also signing up for the third installment of Amy's One Thing, One Week Challenge. I'm going to finish a quilted pillow that I started like a hundred years ago.

What are your sewing plans for the week?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

fall project thoughts

fallish fabrics
I just pulled these fabrics. I had an idea for something fall-ish and at first thought I would need to go buy a fall charm pack or something, then I went and looked through my fabric and found these. I'm not sure about the greens in there. I'm trying not to start new projects but I might not be able to resist this one... it should be quick, at least.

thrift store finds
And these are some of the shirts I got at the thrift store last week. The "2" and the striped shirts will be for a scrappy birthday shirt for next month's birthday girl. The A-Ni-Mal! shirt, well, I'll do something similar, later, for my 6-year-old. It's perfect for him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Doll Quilt Swap Received! (and deep thoughts)

my quilt, from Kelly L./scrapstudio
Yesterday my DQS package arrived in the mail. I was excited, and then I saw that it was from Kelly, who I actually know! She is in the KC Modern Quilt Guild; we have just talked the one time as far as I can remember, but I hope we will get to be better friends now!

There are a lot of great things about this swap and others like it--I enjoy the process of researching, planning, and making a quilt for someone else, who I hope will really like what I've made. I don't usually spend a lot of time thinking about what's being made for me, but I love the feeling of getting a swap package in the mail, opening it, and seeing what somebody else made with me in mind. If you look closely, you can see hundreds of little confetti hand stitches in part of the solid green fabric in my quilt. It is so pretty, and I know how much time that kind of hand work takes. I love what it adds to the finished quilt. Kelly also included a really fun-looking pattern book and a beautiful Gee's Bend postcard (great, another quilt I'm going to have to put on my to-make list.) Thank you again, Kelly!!

I finished quilting a quilt today, sorry I can't share it here yet, but I had fun with a couple of new machine quilting patterns and was thinking it would be interesting (and Faster!) to make a future swap quilt (or hey, a gift or 2!) with some detailed machine quilting, something more intricate and planned out than what I often do with machine quilting. I was reading a discussion on Alissa's blog, and there was some interesting talk about focusing on improving the actual quilting of our quilts. Something to think about, something I'd like to work on, actually.

I have also been reading some things about living  simply or in a more minimalist way, and I've been thinking I could apply these ways of thinking to my sewing/crafting/quilting life by approaching my projects more mindfully, not rushing, and taking the time to really do my best work. This approach for me might mean (probably, yeah) that I don't have the output that I see on a lot of the other quilting blogs, but that's ok.  I have to consciously try not to compare myself to all the other wonderful making-stuff bloggers out there, because I can only do what I can do. I want to enjoy the work, and I want to push myself to improve my skills. And I have to balance that with the rest of my life (husband, kids, neighbors, church, *exercising*, reading, writing, oh yeah all things homemaking). Balance is good, stressing out about the things I love to do is not.

So... what do you think? I know for me it's difficult to have so many things I'd love to make, right away, and at the moment I'm trying to slow down and finish a whole bunch of started things before I start new things. How do you work towards a balanced life, including making things you love to make (or doing whatever your thing is that you love to do) when you have limited time and lots of things demanding your attention?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Winner

Ack! I was planning to post this on Friday, but there was thunder and lightning and I had to turn the computer off. And then I've been busy with my family over the weekend... anyway here is the winner and some other sewing thoughts. :)

I had 26 comments on my giveaway post and 35 comments in the two weeks prior (excluding duplicate comments on one post and one comment I made). I had a little system for numbering the comments but I'm not going to bore you with it, just trust me ok?

The winner of a vintage sheet charm pack is...
Freda--Congratulations! Please email me with your address (or give me your email address in the comments), Freda, so I can send you the charm pack!

I had a couple other things--here are more quilt blocks for the KCMQG charity project.
pink and green blocks
pink and green blocks 5 and 6
We needed some lighter pink and green blocks as well as some darker/brighter ones.
Just a little status update on the project--not sure if I've explained what's going on for this project here yet. I have in my possession 10 finished baby quilts and 8 quilt tops that need to be quilted. There are at least 7 other quilts being made by guild members which means we will have a total of 25 baby quilts. They will be given to NICU families at the hospital where my daughter was born prematurely almost 2 years ago. The goal date for these is next month--I'd like to deliver them around Lauren's birthday. We have people lined up and waiting to quilt and bind the remaining quilts and I'm pretty sure we'll be done on time! I am so thankful for all the wonderful quilters in the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild who have helped make this possible! I hope these quilts will give some comfort to families dealing with the challenges that can come from having an infant in the NICU.

Also--Amy over at is gearing up for a special Amy Butler Sew-n-Tell Challenge on September 24.

In a nutshell, you have until September 24 to finish a current project using Amy Butler fabrics or patterns, and the Sew-n-Tell link-up that day will be only for these Amy Butler projects. There will be prizes, too! Click here for more information. I have a kind of old UFO with some Amy Butler fabric in it, maybe I'll get it done in time for the challenge!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Fall Clothing Sewing

I just read Meg's post about fall trends and style... and wanted to write about the fall clothing sewing thoughts I've been having.

Jean Repair blog. Via craftzine. All my jeans are from the thrift store; one pair is getting kind of worn but they fit me pretty well because I did a waistband/yoke alteration a few months ago. Instead of pitching them because they are almost worn out, I think I will patch them using one or more of the techniques on this site. And, oh yeah. There's also a book. Denim Revolution: Dozens of Ways to Turn Denim Cast-Offs into Fashion Must-Haves. (The book and the blog are written by the same person.) I love the image on the cover. I think I will buy this book.

What else? Something cool for the kids. I am inspired by these recycled, upcycled, patched together t-shirts by Little Overcoat and Janssen designs. I might need to hit Savers to see if I can find a shirt with a 2 on it for my little girl's big day next month.

I'm also wanting to make her a hoodie or two. I'd make them for the boys too but they are both (especially the younger one) not doing very well at wearing the few handmade things they have right now. I really like the Modkid Sydney pattern but I might go through my Ottobre patterns and see if I can use one of them.

I'd like to make a birthday dress for my girl, does anyone have any pattern suggestions? I was thinking about another charm pack dress but I don't know... I think I want to do something different. 

Finally, I have fabric and a pattern for a skirt for myself... I think it might be on the list in the next week or so. It's this pattern, and the fabric is a linen blend with brown and turquoise colors in the print. I might have to get new brown shoes to go with it. And a top, too. 

First though, I have a few quilt blocks to make, some pj pants to repair, quilting to do.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Birthday Fabric

It's been a busy week! I've been feeling under the weather with first a stomach bug and now a head cold... my parents were in town visiting for almost a whole week too, and we've been busy with various house fixing projects (my dad and husband) and sewing (Mom and I finished up some quilt blocks and a quilt top for the KC Modern Quilt Guild charity project.) And, yesterday was my birthday! I had a pretty good day, just wish I was feeling better is all. My parents and Lauren and I went to Lawrence and I got some fun new fabric, and some chocolate and cute little French soaps too. I will be getting a quilting extension table for my Janome for my main birthday gift, too.
birthday fabric
I will probably get a few more of the colors of the Meadowsweet henna garden (the swirly print on the bottom there). I think it's so pretty.

For my birthday I also have a small giveaway--a charm pack from my vintage sheet stash. I don't have a photo but it will be about 40 squares with a few repeats. Everyone who's commented on the posts I wrote in the last 2 weeks will have one entry for each comment, and you can also enter by commenting on this post. I'd love to hear about your fall projects... or something funny... or whatever you'd like to share. I'll close comments and pick a winner on Friday.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Reader Projects

I've had a few people contact me with projects they've made from my tutorials and I wanted to share them with you!

A while back, Angel sent me an email with pictures of her quilt made from my Simple Squares pattern. She doesn't have a blog, but said I could share the photos here:

This is adorable; I love the blues, tan, and brown together. She made a matching appliqued onesie, too.

(Oh boo, I can't get the larger resolution photos to work.)

Jo, at The Crafty Nomad, made a cute coaster for Father's Day (hey, didja know that Father's Day in Australia is on the first Sunday in September? I just learned that!) based on my reverse applique tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew.
I love how she used an image and her daughter's handwriting on this. So cute. I've got to try printing on fabric sometime! Jo also made one of these with a heart reverse applique earlier this year.

I also recently got an email from Robyn, who won my giveaway in May. She made a really cute quilt from the Rainbow Brite sheet she won:
She did some hand quilting and some machine quilting on this, and the backing/binding is a sheet from Walmart. I think it turned out really cute!

Have you made any projects from my tutorials? Let me know in the comments... I'd love to feature them here on my blog!

p.s. don't forget to check back tomorrow; if I get time to post I think there will be a little giveaway. :)

Let's go, Royals!

let's go Royals!
A few months ago, my husband and boys went to a free t-shirt Royals game... and all the shirts were men's size XL. I cut the boys' shirts apart so I could remake them to fit them, and then got busy with vacation and other summer things. My parents are here visiting us for a few days, and one of the things they wanted to do was go to a Royals' game, so I finally made the t-shirts! It was fun to make a clothing project, especially one that finished up quickly. I just used t-shirts from their drawers as a general pattern; I love how they turned out! They wore them to the game last night--we stayed through all 11 innings only to see the Tigers score 4 runs at the end, and beat the Royals. We did enjoy the fireworks afterward though!
gathered clutch #1
I finally made my first gathered clutch last week, too. I've had my eye on that tutorial for a while; I'm glad I finally made one! The zipper ends gave me a bit of trouble; I hope that part gets easier when I make my next one.
scrappy selvedge gift tags
And, here are some selvedge gift tags I made to send with my quilt for DQS9. I sent it off on Thursday and can't wait for my partner to get her package! (I'm watching the mail for mine, too.)