You’d Better Not Shout

ever since we got pregnant, i’ve wanted to make all my favorite things even more special for our daughter. and the holiday season (november & december) is my FAVORITE time of year! maybe because my birthday is also co-mingled in there, but probably mostly for all the family events. and i’m talking LOTS of family events. and sweet treats. i’m talking LOTS of sweet treats!

we recently spent a week in MN visiting my parents and extended family while also celebrating a close friend’s wedding (and ate cake). it was a little chilly, but still beautiful!  we were also able to visit Hubby’s parents during that trip (they cat-sit for us) which was great. yay free help (plus they fed us home made key lime pie)!

since there really won’t be many more free weekends between now and the new year, i gotta make these last few before thanksgiving count!  i think that’s why i’ve been doing my best crafting/sewing after dark lately. last weekend, i spent an hour after the LO went to sleep making this: (and dishing out a lot of “shhhh! don’t wake her up!” aimed at my husband while he played video games)

Homemade Zig Zag Stocking

which is a HUGE improvement over these ($1 ea at Target a couple years ago):

Baby's 1st Christmas and other stockings

the stocking came together quickly, less than an hour (not including cutting time completed on a previous night). i actually cut out WAAY more pieces than i needed for the stocking; not sure yet what i’ll do with the leftovers. anyways, i modeled the stocking after this one (image below ala cluck cluck sew) except i didn’t do the double hour glass blocks, or follow her tutorial. mainly i didn’t add lining to my stocking, just quilted the front and added a piece of christmas-y flannel to the back.

Quilted Christmas Stocking by Cluck Cluck Sew on Pinterest

Quilted Christmas Stocking by Cluck Cluck Sew on Pinterest

i’m debating whether i should add the LO’s name along the cuff. since it’s so unique, i don’t think we’ll have any trouble figuring out which one is hers.

either way, i can’t wait (for Santa) to fill it!

what do you do to make your favorite things special for your loved ones?

update: although i’m not giving this one away, i might use the extra pieces to make one for a little boy/girl in need care of this event going on now at purple panda quilts:

Stockings for Kids

Samplers – The Plan

so after taking measurements of the 2 sides of the workbench that i plan to cover with sampler quilts, i’ve come up with the sizing: 2 blocks by 3 blocks, each 10″ square with 2″ of sashing in between and around each block.

that should make a 26″ x 38″ small quilt perfectly sized to block the view of all the ugly clutter under my workbench. which, of course, means that i’ll have to make sure it all STAYS under my workbench!

this size will allow 1 quilt on the short side of the workbench and 2 quilts across the front, all hung from their short sides by eye hooks we’ll screw into the bottom of the table top. here are the blocks i’m planning on trying (most are inaccurately identified, so look at the picture in the link, not the name of the link):

Quilt 1 Quilt 2 Quilt 3
cute & simple spider web star the letter ‘e’
interlocking squares circle of geese maple leaf
card trick 8 point star bird patchwork
dresden minnesota block change the ‘noel’ to ‘love’
drunkard’s path starburst diamond ticker tape randomness
cathedral pinwheel crossed star tbd – leave suggestions!!!

i tried to pick a few that’d be simple, a few that’d be difficult, some that would have meaning and others that would just be fun or pretty or both!

what do you think of my selections? 

FMQ – Not What You Think

FMQ stands for free-motion quilting. and it’s HARD!

i’ve completed the front and back of the doll quilt i mentioned in one of my WIP posts. and i’ve decided that the it needs a little FMQ. since the blocks are all different, there’s not really one pattern that would work well on all of them.

enter: the internets.

after reading through tutorials, watching how-to videos, and giving it a try on a “test sandwich”, i gave it a try on the real thing.

long story short, i should have made my test sandwich bigger. round 1 went to the machine:

see? not so pretty. ridiculous variation on the stitch length, tension problems, and sharp corners all made my 1st attempt a bust. AND i got to spend a good half hour or so taking out all those stitches and throwing away the wasted thread.

i think i need to watch those tutorials again. here are a few i checked out if you’re interested:

here’s hoping round 2 goes to me. but if i were you, i wouldn’t bet on it.

what are you battling with this week? 

Quilt Designs

i think i love designing quilt tops much more than the execution. piecing a quilt top can sometimes get boring, especially when the quilt top is rather repetitive.

no offense meant towards the pattern designer, but i have to admit that the repetitive nature of the top is probably why the comforter quilt will take me so long. it probably doesn’t help that i’m using the same 2 fabrics for almost 2/3rds of the blocks. bad planning on my part.

and when the Little One only gives me a few short naps each day, it’s difficult to make enough progress to feel like i’m accomplishing anything. that sense of accomplishment and progress are 2 of my favorite things about the arctic quilt.

if i had more time, i’d design a quilt for every color scheme i love. i’ve started pinning a bunch of them from design seeds. there’s no end to the color palette goodies there!

even more than geometric patterns, i like quilts that go outside the “usual”.  and thus i’ve also got a lot of ideas about maps as quilts, make-believe play mats as quilts (which is why the arctic quilt was more of an art quilt than anything else), and more!

i think i need to just break down and get a sketch book for my quilt ideas.

how do you keep track of ideas that pop into your head?

Windows to the Quilting World

i dont’ remember the first time i saw a cathedral window quilt. but i do know that i’ve always wondered how they’re made.

last weekend i found the sometimes crafter‘s blog and saw her quilt-along blocks. guess which block was on the list? that’s right, cathedral window!

i wanted to just give it a try, so i used a couple of blocks i’ve been making for the Little One’s comforting quilt that i’d messed up and started sewing.  because the blocks were messed up (trimmed off-center), my cathedral windows aren’t perfect. oh well. i just wanted to try it real quick. here’s my progress so far (just one window and a couple side pieces done):

cathedral window sampler

my favorite part about these cathedral windows is that they’re fun to hand-stitch! most quilt work is just straight lines down the backsides of fabric. not the most fun when you’re hand stitching. but these windows are mostly curved stitches on the front sides of the fabric, and thus much prettier to stare at for hours on end as the piece comes together.

while i have a perfectly good sewing machine, sometimes i like to use my hands when i “handmake” projects. plus, i think it lends a much more personal feel to the piece.  i think the appeal of hand stitching probably stems from my old counted cross stitch projects. i did counted cross stitch all the time in middle school. it was a lot of fun, i loved the colors, and i could do it almost anywhere with only minimal gear carried with me. a great project for young crafters!

eventually i hope to make an actual effort and make some awesome cathedral window gifts.  i wonder if i can manage to get some pictures of the Little One printed on fabric so i can put her pretty face into the window.  i bet her great grandparents would love a pillow with her in the cathedral windows. or would that be too cheesy?

do you like to hand sew? or are you a machine artist?