Sunday, September 23, 2012

reversible baby pants

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds
I saw the challenge on Craft Buds to make something from a craft book and it inspired me to finally make the adorable quick change trousers from Anna Maria Horner's book "Handmade Beginnings".

I've made two other projects from her book (the dad bag and a diaper bag for me).  I though some cute pants would be a great baby gift.  I seem to always default to making people baby quilts for their new arrivals and I thought I would try something different (as well as less time consuming!).

My friend knows that she is having a girl, so I thought I'd make some nice pants that would be girly without being pink (I hate pink actually).

I think they turned out pretty cute!  The instructions were very clear and easy to follow. The trickiest part was sewing the elastic in at the end. Other than that I would say it is a great pattern for a confident beginner to tackle.
Back of both inside and outside has a little yellow patch
Front doesn't have the butt patch, but you can see how the inside cuffs add a nice touch.

Of course these will be much more adorable with a baby in them. I can't wait to meet her!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CMQG Modern Art Challenge

 Back in June, the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild organized a "Modern Art Challenge". The idea was that you would get a piece of art and an inspiration fabric, and put it in a bag. Then at the June meeting, you would pick someone else's bag and make them a quilt based on that inspiration.  The idea was to use it for inspiration--there was no need to make an exact replica of the work of art.  I got the card and fabric below from Jennifer Lowe:

It's a work by Charley Harper of a cardinal.  Jennifer said that she liked bright colors and also liked the highly stylized version of nature that Harper presented.  I made quite a lot of sketches in my notebook until I finally decided to go in a different direction.  Rather than worrying about the bird, or the colors, I thought about the concept of abstracting something in nature and building off of that.

I had also recently gotten Jacquie's new book, in which she covers a technique for making "pods" using curves.  I thought those pods would make great abstracted fish.  I also really liked the linearity of the Harper piece, so I used that idea to add the columns of bubble fabric (below).  Before quilting, this was all pretty simple. I figured it needed to be spiced up a bit.

I used Leah Day's tutorials for "cave points" and "sea algae" to add more texture to the quilt. And finally, I added some bubbles/pebbles on the side to further echo the bubbles.

It ended up being very simple in design, but I think that was a good reminder to me that you can have impact without a lot of pieces or complicated colorwork. It was also a good chance for me to work with "negative space", especially with the quilting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

happy mail!

I haven't bought fabric in quite a while, so for my birthday a few weeks ago I "gave" myself some fabric shopping!  I just love that map of Paris fabric.  Of course, I've never been there but I love any kind of map fabric, so that hopped into my cart along with the other fun fabrics.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Drunkard's Path Finished

I finished this particular quilt a while ago but didn't want to post about it until I had given the quilt to its new owner.  It was a wedding present for a dear friend.  She reports that she and her husband love it and it is the perfect snuggle size!
 The detail shot:
 The backing and the lone extra block.  I found a few later but at the time this was the only one I had!
It measures 72.5x62.  I quilted it on my home machine. It was tough because of its size, but as I showed in a previous post, it was easier once I got my sewing cabinet. I think the next big one is going to be sent to the long arm quilter instead.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sewing cabinet!

I always lament that it is difficult to sew because my sewing room requires that I go through my daughter's room.  Of course the only time I have to sew is while she is sleeping.  I also found that the desk I had for sewing was not very comfortable for sitting at longer than an hour.  So I came up with a solution: purchase a sewing cabinet that we keep in the dining room.

I got it a few weeks ago and I finished quilting a huge quilt with it.  It worked out great! I could spread the quilt out on the leaf to the right, and the back is my couch, so it held up the quilt as well.  I am super excited to get more sewing done now that I have a space that works and doesn't hurt my body.  It's got the cool lift that allows you to lower your machine, fold up all the doors, and put everything away.  It's great and I highly recommend it (Arrow) if you are looking for one.

I'm looking forward to getting a lot more sewing done!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baby clothes

So my daughter is hardly a baby anymore, which means that I have even more desire to make her adorable clothes. When she was really little clothes would last about 2 weeks before she grew out of them.  Now they last a little bit longer.  I made this pinafore dress and it was surprisingly easy.
Here she is wearing the dress with Daddy's shirt. 

And this was the best I could do to get a better shot of her in it.  She really moves A LOT and every time I take out the camera and put it in her face she wants to eat it, or at least touch it.

I get too intimidated sometimes about making clothes when it really isn't that hard (at least for simple patterns like this). The pattern is Favorite Things Blossoms and Bloomers.  It comes with a pattern for a cute hat and a diaper cover as well.

She gets a lot of use out of it and it is nice to put it on with nothing but a diaper.  Of course if I know she is going to be sliding on the slides at the playground we throw on some shorts underneath it.  As she gets bigger it will be more of a top, which extends its life even more. I highly recommend if you want to make a quick gift for a friend.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2012

Welcome!  Thanks for stopping by.

Amy's Creative Side

 This is a quilt I finished last year but kept forgetting to post about.  Well, I didn't forget, I just was busy as my sweet baby girl took all my time.  Anyway, I made this quilt for another friend who had a baby.  This little baby girl happened after a miscarriage, molar pregnancy, and lots of chemo treatments, so I figured she deserved something special. Her parents waited for her for so long!
 The pattern is "Big Dots" from Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle's Quilts Made Modern.  It introduced me to a new technique for applique, which involves freezer paper.  I had never tried it before so it was nice to try something new. I think that the edges look really nice.

I quilted it myself on my home machine.

I was definitely hesitant at first about the turquoise for the background, thinking it might be too bright.  I ended up really liking it.  This is a great project for fat quarters that you've been hoarding for a long time--the dots really allow you to show off those prints.
Enjoy the rest of the festival!

Friday, March 30, 2012

CMQG retreat

Last weekend I went with the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild to our retreat in Wisconsin.  I had such a lovely time.  There was lots of sewing, laughing, and just plain relaxing (for me at least!).  The setting was gorgeous, as we were right on Lake Michigan with beautiful views. I went down to the beach one day just to breathe in the fresh air.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but a few of the other ladies did not, so you can read their posts here:

Official CMQG Blog Part I
Official CMQG Blog Part II

I'll be writing up some posts to showcase what I worked on.  I'm glad I brought a variety of projects though.  I was working on quilting a very large quilt and it got to be SO exhausting I needed a break.  I needed to finish something quickly, and feel a sense of accomplishment.  Some people think I accomplished a lot on the retreat. I'll let you decide:

pinafore for my daughter
zippered wetbag for a friend
quilted half of a full size quilt
pieced a quilt top (the party of four color variation here)

Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

forest quilt finished!

I finished this quilt top at the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat in October 2010. It was inspired by a photograph of a carpet, but I found it ended up reminding me a lot of a walk in the woods. It is completely done improvisationally--I just started putting strips of different sizes on the design wall and came up with it.

Ebony got her long arm machine around the time I finished this quilt and had her "free quilting" offer, so I prepared it and handed it off to her.  She finished it much quicker than I expected, and so I've been leaving it around to finish binding for awhile now.  I finished this in March 2011 (before baby L).  It took me a while to blog about it!  The quilting Ebony did is fantastic.  It's hard to believe that she was "practicing" because it looks very professional. 

I didn't really have a plan for the quilt when I made it, but it turns out the my DH really loves the colors and the quilt in general, so it has made a good lap/napping quilt for him (we take a lot more naps now that we have a baby around!!!).  I see so many quilts and fabric collections on the internet, and I have to say I am always a little disappointed that there aren't more options that appeal to men/boys.  I know that you can take any quilt  pattern and change the color scheme, but finding inspiration for "manly" quilts is sometimes hard.  The same could be said for fabric collections--so many collections out there are very "girly" and although I love them, I think there is a lot of room for that area of the quilting fabric industry to grow. I'm actually pretty excited to hear that Amy Butler's husband David has started his own brand, Parson Gray, with all sorts of awesome fabric. There may be some in my future....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Handwork: Sashiko

One of my goals for 2012 was to finally do some handwork.  I have always loved Sashiko, a Japanese style of stitching.  I finally took the plunge and ordered a pre-printed panel from Purl Soho. You don't need a pre-printed panel, but you would then have to transfer the pattern onto your fabric with a white marking pencil. There are a lot of different traditional patterns out there. The one I used is called shippo-tsunagi or "Linked Seven Treasures"--I think. I don't know for sure.

Once I started, it was very easy and meditative.  It was so nice to have something to do that didn't require pulling out my machine, especially because my sewing room is through baby's room.

And it turned out great, if I do say so myself.  Now I'm going to turn it into a pillow. This definitely won't be the last.  I really enjoyed it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

split rail fence

Here is another quick quilt I put together for a friend's baby.  You would think with all the baby quilts that I know a lot of people having babies.  This is true, and I would say I only make quilts for less than half of them!  I just can't make one for everyone.  Maybe this year I will make more baby items (bibs, booties, hats, etc) to make up for the fact that I can't make quilts for them.  We'll see.

Anyway, here is the split rail fence I made.

Not any official pattern, I just made a regular rail fence but added a row to the top of each unit.  I like how it turned out.  Hopefully they think it is gender neutral enough!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

solid squares

I had a fat quarter pack of Kona solids and a bunch of Kona charcoal, so I cut up a bunch of 5" squares and got sewing. I had it basted and ready to quilt for over a month.  I finally got to it the last week of 2011 and then just finished the binding.

I love it and I hope that the baby boy who gets it loves it too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

baby fishy quilt

I had a package of 9 fish squares, so I turned it into this cute little baby quilt. It is pretty small (32"x32") but will be a nice blankie for baby (not mine, someone else's).

Excuse the wrinkles! It was folded up a lot.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goals 2012

Now that I reviewed how I did in 2011, what are my goals for 2012? Well, they are a lot like 2011, that is for sure.  Overall I'd like to expand my sewing skills.

1. Make a piece of clothing for myself, and one for my daughter
Along the lines of expanding my skills and doing more "projects", I'd like to make myself a skirt and maybe something cute for my daughter. I think that the techniques involved in making clothes have always scared me a little (lots of curves! darts! pleats! zippers! smocking!), so working on clothes will be a good start to expanding those skills.

2.  Make at least one project involving handwork.  
It was on my list last year and I'd really like to get it done this year.  I may sign up for an embroidery class, or if there is some book or tutorial that folks recommend, I am interested in trying it. Give me your best links!

3. Use more of my scraps.
Added to the list again this year because I failed so miserably last year! I think string quilts are in my future, or at least a few string-based projects.

4. Make 7 8 quilts.
I know, the number keeps going down!  But I have two finished tops, three that just need binding, and then I can easily come up with two more after that. Ok I'll make it 8 again.  Ha ha.

5. Finally make a tree skirt.
I have been secretly wanting to do this for a LONG time, so I really need to get on it. Every year I put up the Christmas tree I think how naked it looks with no skirt. I'll really do it this year!!

What about you? What are your goals for 2012?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goals 2011 recap

So how did I do?
1. Conquer my fear of zippers
I think I did pretty well on this one! I made a few wetbags for cloth diapers and the zippers really weren't so scary. They aren't perfect, but hey, I was making a bag to store dirty diapers--the beauty of the zipper is not so important as long as it keeps in the mess and stink.

2. More projects, less quilts
I think I did really well with this one! I made seven bags--two small tote bags, three wetbags, a diaper bag for myself and one for Dad. Oh, and a table runner as well.

3.  Make at least one project involving handwork.  
I have to admit I failed at this one. I didn't make anything with handwork this year! The more reason to add it to my list again, right?

4. Use more of my scraps.
Alas, also a failure! I've got a list of different projects that use scraps, though, so that will come in handy as I work on it this year.

5. Finish 8 quilts.
Yikes. I only finished 5. However, as I mentioned before, I have three quilted tops as well as two unquilted tops finished. So overall not bad!

6. Make a "seasonal" quilt.
I am not sure if I intentionally did this or not. I completed a forest looking quilt (which I will blog shortly, I promise!). It evokes fall but I didn't set out to make it as a fall quilt. I'll count it though.

How about you? Did you meet your goals for 2011 (quilting related or otherwise)?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

hopefully really back this time!

My last blog post was July 2011! Yikes! It has been really challenging working full time, coming home, cleaning the house, cooking, and wanting to spend time with baby L. Add to that the fact that my sewing room is attached to baby's room, so I have to walk through baby room to get there. This is especially a problem when I want to encourage her to nap but I want to sew too. No matter how quiet a sewing machine may be, I still worry.

So long story and lots of excuses, but I hope to be back.  I actually have three quilted tops, two finished tops, and two unblogged finished quilts to share. So I haven't been totally slacking.  I'll be back with a recap of my goals for 2011, how I did, and my goals for 2012. Then, on to the quilts!