Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bits and Pieces

 Bits and pieces, bits and pieces, bits and pieces.....that's what this new year has been like so far. Seems like things have been happening in bits and pieces. Small changes here and there.

Well, it's been bits and pieces in the sewing room as well. Just small projects that are easily finished. Nothing new or large has been started. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  :>)  Pictured is a small quilt that I started last year....and was hoping to finish last year....until a very nasty cold brought things to a screeching halt. So now it is officially my first finish of the new year. Yea!

I bought the panel year before last. Saw it on display in one of the local quilt shops. It was just too cute to pass up (and I'm not a big "panel person"). Bought a few matching pieces as well. Never got around to making it into a quilt though. One thing or another came up that just had to be done. So the panel and all of its matching fabrics was put away.....only to be discovered a year later when I was looking for something else (isn't that always the way?).  I just couldn't resist not making it so out it all came. It really didn't take long to piece the top. Even found some really cute santa fabric in the stash for the backing. The quilting is what took me a bit to do. For some reason the creative, experimental side came out. I did quite a bit of free motion quilting....swirls in the sky, wood grain in the fence, loop-de-loop on the ground. Outlined all the reindeer. Did some additional quilting inside the two larger ones and the sled. Did a holly leaf and berry motif on the piano key border. While the quilting may not "pop" out at you, I'm real happy with it. I was able to experiment with different things and not worry if they didn't come out perfect.

The next small project I tackled was pillowcases. It seems my kids are always asking me for pillowcases. "Mom, can you make me some more pillowcases?" And this from kids that are grown with places of their own. So out comes all this fabric from the stash. I spent a day just cutting. Cut out a baker's dozen. The the sewing started....and I had so much fun!!! Why so much fun? Because I was finally able to use my new serger.  :>)

In the first pillowcase picture are the pillowcases that I made for my father and my loving hubby. There was enough fabric to make 3 of each pillowcase. Two of the santa print were sent to my father for his birthday (he hasn't received them yet so I don't know how he liked them). The third santa one I kept for myself. (It was too cute to send off as well.). The fishing ones are for my loving hubby....who has now requested even more pillowcases. He wants some to match all the quilts I have made over the years (silly man!). He says that he loves using them and loves the way they brighten up the bed.

The next picture of pillowcases show the ones that I have made for my kids. The first one in the picture has a there are two of those. The next two are a set (didn't have enough fabric to make matching ones so I had to get a bit creative). Both sets match the quilt I made for my oldest for Christmas.

The last one shown is for my youngest. She will tell everyone that she has a strong dislike for brown, but when she saw the brown and orange floral print (not one of my favorites) she just had to have pillowcases made from it. I have to admit they do look rather elegant.....even if the color combination isn't exactly what I would choose.

And here is a picture of my "new to me" serger.  :>) This was actually my "big" gift from my hubby. And I couldn't be happier.  :>) The story behind the serger.......I was working on pillowcases for Christmas and was getting a bit frustrated because I just knew I wouldn't have time to finish the other gifts I was hoping to get made. Even though my machine has an overlock stitch on it I was still sewing each seam twice. Once with a straight stitch and a second time with a zig-zag to finish those raw edges. I learned from experience that pillowcases tend to fall apart quicker if the raw edges are left as is....especially with how much my kids use the pillowcases. While I was sitting there working on one it dawned on me how much quicker and easier it would be if I had a serger. Then it dawned on me that a very close friend of mine had one that she wanted to sell. She had bought it new, used it for about half an hour, and then it sat....collecting dust. Worked out beautifully for the two of us. :>)  And my loving hubby took care of all the details....including the shipping of the machine cross-country.

With the new year has come yet another new addition to our family. His name is Dexter and he is a 9 month old miniature daschund (or more accurately a tweenie-weinie). He is black and tan and a very sweet boy. His previous owner's schedule (my youngest....who works two jobs, does volunteer work, and is a full time college student) and his needs did not mesh very well, so he came to live with us. Dexter is pictured with Ratt ( a rescue my hubby brought home around this time last year). So now we have a very full house with 3 miniature daschunds and a very large golden retriever mix.....who some days loves the doxies and other days barely tolerates them.  :>)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More Holiday Projects

 Here they of the last of the holiday projects. I was hoping to post this earlier but a nasty head/chest cold got in the way. Hopefully I'm seeing the tail-end of that. Anyway, here they are!!

The first picture is of the "Stircle" quilt that I made for my oldest. She had asked for a quilt with circles. So out came all the books, patterns, and magazines in search of the "perfect pattern", but didn't find one that spoke to me. Next option was to simply make my own. The "Stircle" quilt was born. It's nothing fancy. Simply a small circle within a star within a larger circle. Straight set with sashing and cornerstones. I did get to use my new circle cutter.....which worked amazingly well. The quilting on it was a simply cross-hatch grid using a matching varigated thread and serpentine stitch. The quilt is bed-sized with a matching pillow. The best part of it all was when I got to hear my oldest tell me how much she loved the quilt.  :>)

The second picture is of the quilt I made for my youngest. She was a bit more challenging than the oldest.....simply because she had taken a picture of a small wall hanging and said "I would like a quilt like this for Christmas....only bigger for my bed." Not a problem, right? Wrong!! Turns out the fabrics used for this miniature quilt was purchased for the sole purpose of making kits. So there was none to be had....not even a fat quarter. So the search for the fabrics had begun. A couple pieces were found here.....another one there.....and one from my stash. None were an exact match, but they were close enough that I didn't think anything of it. The pattern was easy....a simple rail fence. Then I thought "why not put a little applique in it"......hence the "weenie dog" applique block. It was super easy to digitize and stitched out like a dream. I did three running weenie dog blocks for the front of the quilt.....and a sitting weenie dog block for the label on the back of the quilt. I got lucky and just happen to have the perfect hand-dyed fabric in my stash for the weenie dog appliques. The only fabric that was difficult to find was the border fabric. The border fabric on the quilt that started it all was a print on a black background. The best I could do was dark blue. I like it though. Thought it really pulled the whole quilt together. Of course one of the first things I heard when she opened up the quilt was "couldn't you find any black?" Oh well. Apparently the quilt isn't all that bad since it's now on her bed in her apartment. (I had also made four matching pillowcases.)

While I was photographing the last quilt an unexpected photo opportunity presented itself. My six month old Daschund, Harley, decided to sit prettily on the quilt right by one of the weenie applique blocks. It was a "kodak moment" that I was lucky enough to catch on "film".  :>)