Sewing a project with eyes is always interesting, since they watch you as you work! I have spent the better part of the day working on Wee's b-day quilt, and it looks like I will get all the blocks done by this evening. Yeah!
I have been on a quilting kick recently (although I don't consider myself a quilter, but that is another story....) and decided to make Wee a quilt for his birthday. I mentioned it earlier, but that was the project the universe was conspiring against me on with the delayed supplies. So, in my waiting for supplies, I decided since my nephew's birthday is coming up in May, that he also needed a quilt for his first birthday. (If you are related to said nephew and reading this and want to be surprised on said nephew's birthday, it is best if you divert your eyes away from the screen now.)
I used mainly stash fabric, since I started it right after I cleaned out my studio/office, but did manage to snag 4-5 new fabrics to include, since I didn't have quite enough in my color scheme. Have you seen Lotta Jansdotter has a line at Joann's? I bought a few prints....But hey, it went straight into a project, AND I am totally elated to have the leftovers in my scrap bin. I need to be doing more of this kind of crafting!
Here it is! All finished and crinkly from the dryer.
I went with grays and aquas and blues, perfect for a baby boy I think. Probably fairly gender neutral even.
I used the basic pattern from this book to do the quilt. However, I used this hexi template tool, which is really, really, really cool. It was pricey, but I already have plans to make another hexi quilt to go on our couch and I can see hexi quilts will become a go-to for me.
I added one extra row of hexi's to the pattern to make it a bit longer. Also, I did use a batting, where as the book said to use just fleece. I wasn't going to use fleece on the back, I was going to use a black/white/gray/aqua/blue quilting cotton, BUT, I found 2 yards of this really squishy nice fleece in my fabric stash as I was cleaning out, which I decided would be perfect for this project. Yeah stash project!
I am very pleased with it. This was my first attempt at quilting beyond "stitch in the ditch," and my lines are a bit wiggly still. I used a variegated cotton quilting thread in blacks and grays for the quilting, but you can't really tell unless you look really, really close.
I used rayon batting from Pellon that I had left over from my sewing book and it is lovely. I would definitely use it again. Also, this was my first time using 505 basting spray, and I ADORE it. It made basting SOOOOOOOO easy. I have done it by hand and with fusible batting so far since I thought the spray would be too stinky to use inside. But spray basting is my new basting method. I won't dread basting ever again! And it wasn't stinky, in case you were wondering.
This was also my first attempt at machine binding. I love to hand bind, but I decided since this is to go in my nephew's crib and will likely see a lot of washing, machine binding would probably be the best option. It came out OK, but I think I prefer binding by hand still!
The finished quilt is 39" w x 52" l after washing and drying, perfect crib and lap size. It is very snuggly!
Hey all! How are you this lovely Sunday? We are having a gorgeous day: not too hot, not too cold, and loads and loads of sunlight. It is just beautiful.
A few scenes from my sewing room today. I shared more on Instagram, if you follow me on there.
I have been feeling majorly maxed out with all the running around for P, so I skipped out on a family gathering today, sent Mr Danger and the kiddos, and instead had the first house-to-myself day I've had in probably 6 months or more. I have been working on Wee's first birthday quilt all day (his birthday was 3/5, oops.). I am just trying to relax and take a minute to refresh.
Anyone else having a sewing weekend? Or you all out in your yards soaking up the weather?
Ironically, I haven't really thought about what day of the week it is since high school. Since I have worked for myself and worked at home/worked every day I pretty much always forget what day of the week it is. Even in college my classes were generally 2 or 3 days a week, so I always managed to find chunks of time to do what ever I wanted.
Since kiddos, and especially now with this 4 day a week therapy schedule I am more aware of the days of the week. The last couple weeks in particular Mr Danger has worked long weeks, on 6 days in a row this week, so I find myself really excited today that it is friday! I have big sewing plans for the weekend, since Mr Danger will be home tomorrow afternoon and all day sunday and I can get some uninterrupted sewing time.
So, my plan for the rest of today and tomorrow morning is to get all the sorting and purging done in my office so I can get to sewing! I am feeling incredibly excited about this, if you can't tell! In fact, both kids are down for a nap at the same time right now and instead of taking a nap as well, I am choosing to be up and working. Now that's excited.
How about you guys? Got any big crafting plans for the weekend?
Thanks for the great comments and emails about yesterday's post, guys! You made some great points.
I went through my books and magazines yesterday. It was great! I felt better and better with each one I let go. It was like a weight was lifting with all of those images that at one point I had thought, "Oh, I might like to make that!" but have never gotten to. I'm feeling way better about that part of my office now, if anything I feel like I am still keeping too many!
You want to know the most interesting part? There were many books and magazines that when I picked them up I thought to myself, "Oh, I know I love this one. I don't even need to look through it." But I made myself look through each one, to make sure I really, really loved it. And you know what, probably half of the "I know I love this" books and magazines didn't spark joy once I looked through the projects again! It was incredibly eye opening.
I really like what MJ said in her comment yesterday about "decluttering for my fantasy self." I think I've been holding on to things that my fantasy self thinks I love, and more specifically my fantasy self thinks I have time to get to. This is an interesting concept, isn't it? In all parts of my life I have been trying to simplify, watch what I really am using, and get really focused on what I want to be spending my time on. It is this clear focus that is really helping me sort through things and keep only the things that I want to be spending my crafting time on. I stopped buying yarn and craft supplies right after P was born-- minus the special skein here or there, or something I was getting started on right away (I do craft for work, after all!!!). The mental simplifying and focusing like this has been there, it is the physical simplifying that is just now happening.
Here's what I have been doing. Beyond evaluating for if something "sparks joy," I have asked myself, "If you walked into a store and saw this today, is this something you would be willing to part with your money for and bring home and store?" Since I love so many crafty things, but realistically don't want so many things, this has helped me beyond just sparking joy. In the rest of the house this is not such an issue, but in crafting my logical side takes over and thinks, "Well you really like this and you might need this at some point, you should probably hang on to it. And craft supplies can be expensive, so don't be wasteful since you are definitely not going to stop making!" Deciding whether I would go out and intentionally buy it today is helping me overcome this thinking.
With the sparks joy concept, plus letting go of my fantasy self and focusing on my realistic here-and-now self, and my "Would you love this enough in the store to bring it home today" thought, I tackled my yarn stash today. I took it from six big bins.....
To three big bins. (Notice my fabric stash there to the side and back in the photos!)
Not too shabby I think. I'm feeling good about what I kept and what I let go, and I think in 6 months I will re-evaluate again and see what has not been touched. I kept some things that don't entirely spark joy and I probably wouldn't buy that exact version today, but I have projects planned for them. For instance, I kept some left overs from some book writing projects that aren't my favorite colors, but I know they would make great socks for my kids, which I want to make more of. I would definitely buy that yarn again in a heartbeat, just not the color I have left overs of. So I figure I will give it some time and see if I get to these type things (or if that is my fantasy self talking) and sort through again later.
Now I am starting on my fabric stash, which is definitely proving harder than my yarn stash, surprisingly. I think it is because sewing takes me so much less time than knitting these days that I have been leaning towards more sewing projects. And I can get sewing projects done sometimes while the kids are up! I always have a project or two on my needles, but I have like 17 sewing projects going in my mind all the time just waiting for me to walk into my office to get started. And, I have been obsessing over scrap projects recently, so there is that to deal with since I look at my 2" scraps and think, "I can use this!"...I'll let you know how this part of the stash sort goes!
I love this conversation! I will definitely keep thinking and posting about this idea. Thanks guys! This is really brightening my week.
Also, my Interweave Knits only went back to 2002, not 1998 like I thought!
With every thing going on in our house recently, I have been on a definite simplifying/minimal-izing kick. P takes up so much of my time that like I mentioned yesterday, getting simple things like dishes and laundry done and cooking a meal feel like monumental tasks. And with P's sensory issues he does does better with less stuff and clutter input, so I have been trying to keep everything minimal, picked up, and in place. Most days it feels like that is all I do (pretty normal with any little children, right? You pick up and they follow you and pull out everything you have done behind you!). I think when you have something up with your child, or a close family member, it tends to make you re-evelaute what is important in your life. I am re-evaluating and finding I don't want to be picking up things all of the time, and am definitely at a place of "what you owns, owns you" if you can relate to that phrase. I am really focusing on what is important and what I want to be doing and spending my time on, and getting rid of the rest. Simplify is my new mantra.
Since I was already on this kick, when The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up got mentioned for like the 5th or 6th time in my life, I decided it was time to take it as a sign and sit down and read it. So I did. It was really thought provoking! I really, really like the concept of only keeping things that "spark joy" and am ready to go through my things and keep only those things that sing to me. Some of the other ideas, moving your shampoo in and out of the shower every day and emptying your bag/purse and putting all of the things in it away every night didn't seem realistic to my every day life though. And,I came up with some questions too, like it is hard for a lawnmower or bread knife to "spark joy," so what about those have-to-haves? Have you guys read it? What do you think?
The place I really fall down with the whole simplify/spark joy concept is how crafting fits in. Do you guys find this? I love to make, so I have many, many finished things, but they don't all get used or "spark joy". Or, I made things long enough ago they did "spark joy" at one point, but not anymore. And then there is the fact that I am slightly a hoarder in my keeping of craft supplies. I know you can relate to this! I can't seem to part with those yarn and fabric scraps! Or that pretty soap wrapper since I know I could do something with it. And my craft book/magazine collection is slightly (read COMPLETELY) out of control. I've got Interweave Knits magazines going back to like 1998 to "inspire" me, yet the clutter and chaos this creates in my office definitely doesn't help spark the creative process for me. Aw, what a catch-22. Being creative makes me hoard, but hoarding makes me less creative.
I guess the question is, is it even possible to be a minimalist crafter? I am sure this question has been posed before. Even if you just buy yarn/fabric for each project and don't stash, you are left with lots of left overs. And lets face it, crafting takes a lot of things (like this mini iron I just ordered for a quilt since my normal iron was scalding my fingers on my appliqués).
I am thinking this because I have decided before I start on another craft project I need to clean out my studio/office. And since I know it is going to be a rather large project (I mean, craft magazines from 1998 people, I'm only 31 which means I've had those over half of my life! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.) I am sitting here thinking about this and typing this and stalling on getting started cleaning and evaluating what "sparks joy" in my craft hoard. I mean stash, craft stash.
Well, I should probably stop thinking and start doing. I'll let you know how it goes!
I put up my post about Presley and am just now feeling up to reading through the comments and emails I have received, since I read a few and burst into tears. Thank you so much to every one for the support and kindness you have shared. I am sorry not to have gotten back to every one, but know I appreciate every thing and the kind words mean so much.
I know I have posted a couple non-related posts since, so I thought I should do an update post. First of all, I have been working on writing 2 books for nearly two years. I got way behind with everything that has been going on, but FINALLY pushed through and got them turned in to my publisher 2 weeks ago now. Phew what a relief! The stress of having a project last that long, on top of everything else going on around here, was too much. And, now I have nothing on my plate ("nothing" work wise....) so I am getting to bring some of the projects I have been dreaming about the last couple years as I have been working on books to life. Like the Easter Chicks!
Presley went through his testing and though he showed as on the spectrum, he is showing issues in so many areas that the doctor decided to give him an "Undiagnosed Neuro-developmental Disorder" and an "Undiagnosed Social and Behavioral Disorder" and we will re-assess in a year. (PS: He ISN'T officially ADHD, one of his therapist said he for sure was, but we never got the "diagnostic packet" that goes with that, which I didn't realize at the time you needed for an official diagnosis. Big learning curve here!). He is currently in O/T twice a week, Speech Therapy (for social skills) once a week, and he and I are doing Parent/Child Training with a behavioral therapist once a week. We are on the waiting list for ABA (you can google it), which will be 2+ hours a week depending on what his evaluation shows he needs. So basically we are treating this like ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), but not calling it that at this point. He has also been accepted into the Developmental Preschool in our school district, which he will hopefully start around the first of May, and then go to all of next year, and get an IEP set up for when he starts kindergarten. I have to say he seems to have turned a corner and is doing better, though I hate to say that out loud for fear I might jinx it! I am so glad to be getting him all this help, but I decided to go with a treatment facility that is about an hour from our house, so the kiddos and I are spending a lot of time in the car. A lot of time.
I am really not up to much else, P takes up 99% of my time and Wee* takes up the remaining 1%. Just getting the dishwasher loaded and unloaded and the laundry run takes me several hours, so it doesn't leave a lot of crafty time.Though I have been starting on some of the projects I have been wanting to do, I feel like I am out of crafting sync in many ways and have struggled to get through them. I made a pair of slippers and only finished one since when I tried it on it was tight-tight in the toes and falling off my heel. I started on a birthday quilt for Wee (his birthday was 3/5) but didn't have the right tools so I ordered them off Amazon, and then the mail person switched the parcel box keys with someone else who got packages the same day and here I am over a week after my package was supposedly delivered and I still haven't seen it. Though I have taken this as a sign from the Universe that I was probably trying to do too much and I should relax (which I have done), I don't feel right if I don't take at least a few minutes every day to get in some knitting/sewing/creating. This week my plan is to start on a present for my nephew's first birthday in May. It is nice and simple but I don't think I should tell you what it is since I think my family reads this.......I think it will go better than the last couple projects. Or at least I hope so!
So that's it for now. I am planning on blogging more (yes, you have heard this before, but this time I have said it AFTER a few posts have happened in a short time frame) because I would like a creative outlet and to connect with folks outside of my situation right now. Since I don't have a ton of time to get out to my knit groups, though I have made it to a few, I figure the blog is a good connecting place for right now. And to entice y'all to come connect with me I have a couple more free projects I've finished or are in the works. Win win!
Hope you had a lovely Easter! Craft talk soon-
* We call Maverick Wee since when he was a tiny babe and we were getting used to 2 kids we used to say, "Which one, the big one or the Wee one?" And since Presley is "P", they are P and Wee, so it fits. They've got a baby cousin named Trey who I am calling "T", since then its P, Wee, and T, but that's a whole other story.
Hey all! I got interviewed on a podcast for my sewing book! Did you even know I have a sewing book out? I haven't talked about it at all on here, bad author! It is called Baby Says Sew , and it came out super cute.
Hellooo! I was looking around for little gifties for the kiddos for easter this weekend and decided instead of buying some crappity-crap from china that I would end up throwing out in the near future, I would make something for them instead. To be fair I did purchase a few crappity-crap things, like parachuting bunnies, but I made a cute chick for each of their baskets, too.
I know this is late, since Easter is this Sunday already, BUT I did manage to get a free pattern put together for you all. And, if you don't think you have time to make these before Sunday, they are QUICK! It took me 1.5 hours walking into my office Sunday night to completely finished chick (this is with design work, making the pattern pieces, digging for fabric and everything). The second one I got done in an hour, with multiple kiddo interruptions and a diaper change. So, if you've got a few minutes this week, I am sure you can get a couple done for Easter baskets, too!
Ok, here we go! I am assuming you have basic sewing skills here, so this tutorial is pretty simple.
1/3 yard of yellow fleece, or cuddle fabric, or whatever you want for the body
Scrap orange fleece or fabric for feet (8" x 10")
Small piece of orange fleece or felt for beak (2" x 2")
Small piece of black fleece or felt for eyes (2" x 2")
Needle and thread that matches the body fabric
Note: Seam allowance is 1/4" and included in all pattern pieces.
1) Cut out all pieces. Each pattern piece notes how many pieces to cut and from what fabric.
2) Place eyes and beak on body as indicated on body piece. With matching thread, topstitch around beak and eyes. No real seam allowance here, just close to the edge. The eyes are so tiny, just do the best you can. You could also use fabric paint for the eyes if you prefer.
3) With right sides facing, sew around wings and feet, leaving open as indicated on the pattern pieces. Sew top of back of head to bottom of back of head, leaving open as indicated on pattern pieces.
4) Trim into curves of wings and feet to help them lay flat once turned. Turn, using the chopstick to help with the toes. Lightly stuff the wings. I didn't stuff the feet, but you can if you want!
5) Using the marks on the pattern, line up the legs and wings on the body and baste in place about 1/8" from the edge.
6) With right sides facing, line up the front and back body and pin together. Sew around entire body (you do not need to leave a hole for turning since there is in an opening on the back of the body).
7) Trim into the curves of the body to help it lay flat once turned. Turn body right side out. Stuff the body. Using the needle and matching thread, close the back of the body (I use ladder stitch, you can use whatever you would like).
Stick your chicky in a kiddo's Easter basket and make their day!
My goldy chick is fleece with fleece feet, and my yellow fluffy chick is yellow cuddle fabric (I found it at JoAnn's) with quilting cotton feet. I hate working with the cuddle fabric since it poo-poos EVERYWHERE, but my goodness it makes a darling chicky! (And yes, the gold chick's feet are bigger than the fluffy chick's feet. I decided after the first one they should be slightly smaller)
There you go! I was feeling off with my creative mojo and this little project totally threw me back in line since it was so quick and satisfyingly cute once finished. If you have questions, please just post a comment below.