Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Dress!

So much for posting regularly, huh? I'm sorry! Robert & Caitlyn have been on a semi-nap-strike. Some days they'll nap well, some days only one of them will nap, some days they'll nap at different times, and some days they won't nap at all. Then I have to work Sebastian's day around that! I feel like I just need one more hour in the day to get everything done...still working on how to fit that in. ;)
I did, however, manage to get Caitlyn's Easter dress and matching hat sewn - before Easter morning!

I'm really happy with how this turned out. I had originally bought the entire yardage called for in the aqua fabric. When I got home, I thought maybe it would be too much aqua, so I raided my stash and found this pink floral that coordinated well. I'm still working on my confidence when it comes to mixing and matching colors and patterns, so the fact that this looks nice is a good boost.

This was also my first hat! I had the idea to make it reversible when I was cutting the pieces, and I'm so glad I did it that way. The pattern called for a grosgrain ribbon on the side that's showing in the above picture to hide the raw edges. I went to JoAnn's, but couldn't find either a ribbon or bias tape that matched either main color. I was stumped and talked to one of the employees, who suggested using a strip of the contrast fabric. Duh!!

Pattern: Simplicity 5695 view A and hat G. I made the dress in size 2, knowing it would be a little big (the size 2 chest measurement is 21" which gives her close to 2" ease), but she needs it for the length and this way she should be able to wear it through the summer. For the hat, I chose the 'large' size, since Robert & Caitlyn have always had slightly larger than average heads. Surprisingly, it's big - I probably could've gotten away with the medium - but at least this way she should be able to wear the hat as long as the dress.
Fabric: From JoAnn's. I think it's part of the Keepsake Collection, but I couldn't find it online. The pink was gifted to me.

Overall, this was really easy to put together. I can definitely see myself making at least one more of these for her. I love this version with each tier a different print, so maybe I'll get brave and try that. I also discovered as I was piecing this together that if I just use the bodice and top two gathered tiers, it should make a cute little peasant top, so I might try that too.

How was your Easter or Passover holiday? This picture sums up our Easter morning, and this wasn't due to sugar crashes:

Silly mommy, trying to take a group picture after church!
Thankfully, after lunch and naps, the rest of the day was better.

I have a pile of fabric that I've ordered waiting to be ironed and sewn up, and hopefully I'll have some more finished projects to share with you soon. Maybe one of these days I'll even get back to knitting and finish one of those projects! I read this post by the Yarn Harlot recently, and that's pretty much how I feel, although I don't know if my inner knitter wears black fingernail polish. Right now, I'm enjoying my fling with fabric, but I know eventually I'll make my way back to my yarn and needles (and sketch pad and pattern-writing, but that's a whole other time commitment).

Linking up to Make It, Wear It Thursday at The Train to Crazy and Finish It Up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

Friday, March 23, 2012

FO Friday - Want to play a matching game?

The kids really aren't feeling preschool today, and who could blame them with the gorgeous weather we're having! I decided to let them take a break and do a quick post about my new FO. "Want to play a matching game?" is what Robert says every time he pulls out the bin, so I thought it was a fitting title.

This is a felt and fabric memory game based on this tutorial over at the purl bee. I only made half as many cards as the tutorial because 1)I wanted to finish them this year and 2)I didn't grab enough felt sheets and was too cheap to buy more when they weren't on sale and too impatient to wait for them to go on sale again.

Other than that, I followed the directions as written. For some reason, I can't get either of my sewing machines to do zig-zag stitches, so I just did straight stitches around the frames. The fabric all came from my 2.5" scrap basket. It makes me happy that each piece is either from a quilt I'm making or clothes I've made for the kids. The two center pairs (monkeys and letters) are flannel from pajamas, the trucks are from a quilt top for Robert, the orange butterflies are from Caitlyn's patchwork skirt, the Pooh is from Sebastian's quilt, and the others are from a 36-patch quilt from crazy mom quilts that I'm working on. I'm thinking about adding more squares, but we'll see.

Here's an action shot:
Robert was realigning my pairs. :) I'm really happy that both Robert and Caitlyn use and enjoy this game. We had a traditional memory game with cardboard pieces, but for some reason the kids were nibbling at the corners. I thought using the felt pieces would put an end to that.

Caitlyn actually just climbed in my lap and said "Oh, matching game" when she saw these pictures. :)

And now the kids are swarming me, so it's time for some story time and then maybe some outside playtime. They haven't been napping recently, so it's really cutting into my craft time! If I can make encourage them to run around outside, maybe it'll wear them out enough to nap...wishful thinking, I'm sure!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday with crazy mom quilts.

Friday, March 9, 2012

FO Friday - My First Quilt!

It feels like it's been forever since I've had a FO to share with you! This is my very first quilt, completely finished!

Sebastian's Pooh Quilt!
Pattern: Fat Quarter Baby Quilt from Two Little Banshees
Fabric: A Classic Pooh FQ bundle that I picked up at JoAnn's a million years ago plus two other fabrics that I got at Quilter's Corner

I just used prepackaged double fold bias tape for the binding, because I didn't think ahead and leave myself enough fabric to make bias tape. Please don't look too carefully at the binding - it's definitely not the quilt's best feature. :)

Here's a view of the back - it's all one piece and lets you get a better look at the quilting

I did the quilting by machine - it took me this long to finish it as it was, I can't imagine how long it would've taken if I had hand quilted it! I just used a natural color thread and I'm happy with the results. I did straight horizontal and vertical lines about 1/4" on each side of my seams. I had a lot of different ideas for how to quilt this, but I eventually decided to keep it simple for the first attempt. I still need to work on keeping my speed consistent, but that should come with practice.
Overall, I'm really happy with how this turned out. I feel better now that Sebastian has a Pooh quilt like his brother and sister, plus finishing this has given me the confidence to finish the other two quilts that I have sandwiched (I know, you can tell I'm new to quilting because of the size of my "to-be-quilted" pile!)

I didn't get much knitting done this week. I feel like I want to knit, I just don't know what I feel like knitting! I'm also thinking about trying to finish up a new design. However, this week I started doing preschool at home with Robert & Caitlyn (this week we learned about dinosaurs), so now there really aren't enough hours in the day for everything I want to do! Hopefully next week I'll have a finished memory game to show you (based on this tutorial from the Purl Bee)! Have a great weekend - here's a gratuitious baby shot for you:

Oh, I'm linking this up with Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts!
I'm 5 months old now and finally have a quilt!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I've Been Knitting!

I've actually been able to do a bit of knitting since I last blogged. Sebastian is at the stage now where I can work on small projects or read while I'm feeding him, which is nice. Of course, he's also at the stage where he wants to see what I'm doing while I'm feeding him, so he frequently turns his head away from his bottle to watch me and won't start eating again until I stop what I'm doing and focus on him. :)

First, let me show you what I got done for Valentine's Day this year!

Sorry for the bad picture - we just got a new desktop computer and I haven't figured out how to edit photos yet.

These are boxer shorts! From Star Wars comic book fabric! I had the idea to make my husband a pair of boxers out of some cheesy Valentine fabric (you know, hearts and pink and stuff). When I went to JoAnn's to shop, they didn't have anything left, which completely threw me off. As I wandered aimlessly around the store, trying to find a reason to buy something, I saw a shelf of Star Wars fabric by the register (JoAnn's actually just posted about it on their Facebook page this morning!)

I picked this print because my husband loves both Star Wars and comic books. I used this tutorial that I found via Pinterest - because really, isn't that how we find everything right now? My only complaint with the pattern is that the legs are long, which is not really a big deal. I have some green, white, and brown argyle fabric that I'm going to use for another pair, so I'll shorten the legs up.

The best part about these boxers is that my husband loved them!

Okay, back to the knitting. I've gotten two pairs of booties made! The first pair is another pair of Ruby Slippers from "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies." They're for a friend of mine's little girl:

Project: Brown Slippers (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Um...not sure? By the twist and feel of it, I'd have to say Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, but I wouldn't stake my life on it.

Buttons: My favorite part! Sparkly pink buttons from JoAnn's, left over from a cardigan I made for another friend's daughter.

I really enjoy this pattern - it's a shame I don't have any more little girls to make it for!
The other pair of booties I made is for Sebastian, since the poor kid only has one handknit so far! (We won't talk about the sweater in my WIP basket that just needs an arm seam)

Project: Baz's Booties (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino DK, about half of a ball, from the stash. It's amazing (and a little scary) how many single balls of yarn I've accumulated over the years.

I liked these booties too. I didn't have them flagged when I originally went through the book (I Post-It flag patterns that catch my eye), but the more I looked at the picture, the more I liked them. The pattern also calls for garter stitch straps across the insteps with decorative buttons, but because I'm lazy I didn't do them. They're the 3-6 month size, but Sebastian has ridiculously long and narrow feet, so they fit him great.

Because who doesn't love little baby feet in handknits?

That's all for today - I think I've gotten you caught up, and I have laundry to fold before the kids wake up!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Finally Finished!

Yay, it's been less than a month since my last post! I finally got the kids to go down for their nap, so I can update you on what I've gotten done around here.

I started this pair of socks at some point while I was pregnant with Sebastian to carry along to doctors' appointments. As each holiday approached, I thought "I can get these socks done and use them as a gift!" but no. I finished them up over the weekend and my husband snatched them up before I could tuck them away for Valentine's Day. That's okay, I have another gift up my sleeve (as long as I can get it sewn in time lol).

 Pattern: BirthiversarChristentine Socks (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Patons Kroy Sock Stripes - the Kroy yarn is now my husband's favorite sock yarn. Out of all the pairs of socks I've knit him, the yarn I can get for $5/ball is his favorite. Not the hand-dyed, not the Trekking, but the Patons. Oh, well, it takes all kinds. :)

When I go to Maryland Sheep & Wool this year, I'm keeping my eyes open for some new sock yarn to try out. Hopefully it'll take me less than six months to finish the next pair!

I also finished another nightgown for Caitlyn. We've been having a pretty mild winter here in PA, so I wanted to hurry up and finish her long-sleeve flannel nightgown before it gets too warm - although they'll probably fit her this upcoming fall.

My little monkey. :) I'm thankful that she loves nightgowns! Whenever I fold their wash while they're playing, she'll come over to see if there's a nightgown in the basket. If there is, she'll pull it out and put it on over whatever she's already wearing.
Pattern: M5965 from McCalls - this is my go-to pajama pattern for both Robert & Caitlyn. So far, I've only done it in flannel, but I'm looking forward to using cotton and knits as it gets warmer.

Fabric: Some clearance Debbie Mumm flannel that I got at JoAnns for 70% off! Score!

I did a couple things differently on this nightgown, and I'm happy with how they turned out. It's hard to see in this picture, but for the armhole seams and the ruffle seam, I actually topstitched the seam allowance down. I don't have a serger and for some reason neither of the sewing machines I was given can do zig-zags, so I thought this would help keep the edges from fraying. Also, the pattern calls for a staystitch around the neck before pinning in the ribbing. I didn't do this on her first nightgown but I did this time, and I can definitely tell a difference. It's got a relatively wide neck as it is, but doing the staystitch really helped prevent the fabric from stretching, so this neck is more narrow (which is good, seeing how big it is on her!)

Alright, I'm off to find something else to finish before the kids wake up!

Friday, January 20, 2012

FO Friday - Catching Up!

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted! I hope you all had great holidays. Everything since October has seemed like a blur. I had a lot of self-imposed deadlines to meet during the holidays. I didn't get sweaters knit for the kids...or any of their quilts finished (although I'm halfway done quilting Sebastian's quilt). I did manage to get a few things done though...

This is Caitlyn's Christmas dress. It's the same pattern that I used for her Easter dress, except I did the version without an overskirt. I used a hunter green stretch velour for the bodice and maybe a taffeta? for the skirt. This was my first time using both of these types of fabrics. The velour was tough because it constantly shifted - I think I ended up using my walking foot while doing my hems to keep the layers lined up.

I also had more trouble with this zipper than on the Easter dress, but I attribute that also to the fabric. Overall, it's exactly what I wanted her dress to be. I think I'd like to find a tutorial for some sort of tulle/net underskirt, just to give the skirt a bit more 'fluff.'

We were a little apprehensive about seeing Santa this year. Trying to get both kids to sit still and make sure that none of them freaked out - we weren't optimistic. However, the Santa and elves at the King of Prussia mall were great! As you can see, they have a couch instead of a chair, which gave us plenty of room. Caitlyn looks nice and proper, but she was in the process of sliding off of the couch to make her getaway.

I also sewed Sebastian's christening gown. When the twins got baptized, Robert wore a gown that's been in my husband's family for generations and Caitlyn wore a gown that I knit. We decided that we wanted Sebastian to have a gown of his own too, and I knew there wasn't enough time to knit one (lol), so I decided to sew one.

I used McCall's pattern #M4865, with a white tonal flocked dot cotton and a tiered lace trim - it's not laying quite right at the bodice in the picture, but I just didn't iron it well enough before taking the picture. My placement was off on the pintucks at the bottom, so I only did two instead of three, and in the interest of time I only did two buttonholes instead of three.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I have an issue with procrastination. :) However, I was so frustrated this time because I really didn't procrastinate (I swear!) and I still ended up sewing the buttons on 20 minutes before the service started! I was also disappointed that I didn't get to make the matching bonnet (I'm still working on letting that go), but we had a beautiful one that my friend Debbie knit for Caitlyn so we used that one.

I also have one knitting project to share with you. I think the reason I haven't been knitting as much is that it's hard for me to knit around the kids now because they want to see, or they want to climb up in my lap and watch, or just generally be involved. When my husband gets home from work, it's easy for me to run downstairs and hang out at my sewing machine for a little while and let him have some quality time with the kids. Plus sewing gives me quicker gratification than knitting right now, although I do have a new pattern in the works.
Sebastian's Aviatrix!
Pattern: Aviatrix from Just Jussi (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino DK, about 61 yards? I think I have about half of the ball left.

Button: from my button stash via JoAnn's.

I love how the color of the hat matches his eyes! My twins' heads were always in the 50th percentile for their age, so hats for their 'age size' never fit for very long. I planned ahead this time and made (I think) the 3-6 month size...and Sebastian's head has consistently been in the 25th percentile. Which means this hat is still huge, but at least he should be able to wear it all winter - and with the mild temperatures we've been having, that may last until June!

That's all for today. I feel like I'm starting to get into a routine with my crafting and housework and children, so I'm planning to get back to blogging more regularly. Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Outside My Comfort Zone

I managed to get the obnoxiously bright quilt top finished before Sebastian arrived. It was also the last thing I finished before my sewing machine conked out again. It's still not in the budget to take it in for service, but thanks to the generosity of some freecyclers, I ended up with two new-to-me and working sewing machines! One of them is an older model, low-shank Kenmore like the one I already had, so the feet I bought should still work. The other one is a Euro Pro electric machine with a ton of preloaded stitches (I just need to figure out how to make them work!) I'm so thankful and excited to get back to sewing!

The pattern for this is in the "Simple Quilts and Sewing" magazine #121. It originally called for the four-patch blocks to be done in two colors and one print for all of the large blocks. Since I had all of these fat quarters together, I decided to use them all. It also calls for 3 borders, 2 narrow and 1 wide, in different prints. However, I feel that the top is obnoxious colorful enough without adding extra borders! I think I'm going to try to find some yardage of the solid blue to use as backing, and maybe add in a pieced strip of my scraps. The original quilt measures 46"x62" - this one without borders is about 34"x47" (I think - I measured it when I took the picture and of course forgot to write it down!)

Here's a closeup so you can see all of the colors! Not only is it outside of my comfort zone to use all of these colors and prints together, I'm not a big fan of yellow, so the whole top just feels extra-bright. The only thing I need to decide now is who to give this to. I was going to keep it for Sebastian's Christmas quilt. However, Robert has been obsessed with trucks recently, especially the garbage truck. I think the best parts of his week are when Daddy takes him outside to see the garbage/recycling truck - the guys wave at him, honk the horn, and have even crushed the trash for him. Exciting stuff for a 28 month old! So I think I'll give this one to Robert for Christmas, give Sebastian the Pooh quilt (once I quilt it), and give Caitlyn the pink circle quilt. Whoo-hoo! One set of Christmas gifts down! Now to back, quilt, and bind this top and the pink circle top...

That's all for today - next time I'll have a finished knitted object to show you!