The Futurama Quilt--Pinning the blocks

For quilting, I try to take as many shortcuts as possible. I will pin together an entire row instead of two items at a time. I will chain items together instead of stopping to cut the thread in between small pieced items.

For this quilt, I pinned all the rows that had character faces together. I then pinned together the small sash rows that do not have characters.

From here, I find sewing to be rather quick. I am getting better about trimming all threads BEFORE I press so that I don't forget. With the thinner white fabric I purchased, this is really important to do.

Next up will be to pin and sew the rows together for the finished quilt top!


Why Sewing is Awesome

I have had this bag since the 4th grade. My mom bought it for me to take along my books for violin lessons. It has served as a violin book bag, a beach tote, an overnight bag, a bag for books for grad school, and is currently the bag I use to tote papers and whatnot between school and home.

The strap finally wore out. I had repaired this before when the strap had just pulled out. This time, it clearly disintegrated.

I could throw away the tote bag and just get a new one. However, I really like it, it still functions fine (sans strap), and I have a sentimental attachment to it.

1 yard of new canvas strap, some thread, a machine, and 15 minutes later...

...my bag is restored.

What small fix have you done lately that was -worth- it to you?


More Scire Plushes

I've been using up even more scrap yarn with my Scire Plushes pattern--just wanted to show up the newest additions!

My students still LOVE them. I'm teaching new classes at the school I teach at in the morning, and when I showed the students a picture of the top score prize, they were super excited! It's such a win-win situation.


Futurama Quilt--The character faces

To make the Futurama quilt, I first had to decide to fabric sizes. I did not want to make anything too big or too complicated, but I still wanted  a usable blanket. I decided on 12.5" cut (12" finished) blocks, 3.5" cut (3" finished) squares at the corners, and 3.5 x 12.5" posts in between (3 x 12" finished). The quilt would be 3x4 blocks, and the black and white squares would alternate like a chessboard.

Since I know that most people probably do not want to air-dry a quilt (even though they should), I made to pre-wash my fabric in the hottest water possible, and I made sure to dry it in the dryer. That way there will be no shrinking after it is washed a second time.

I cut 6 white blocks, and I also cut 6 black blocks. I looked online for pictures of just the characers head. I wanted 2 to face left (they would be on the right side), 2 to face right (they would be on the left side), and two mostly looking forward (they would be in the center). I did some minor image editing to make some all black and white, and I also resized them so the faces were all about the same size. I then printed each one out on paper.

I taped the paper template on my cutting mate, and then I taped the white fabric square over it. I debated between fabric paint and markers, and I settled on a fabric marker because it was far easier and less messy to do. I used this fabric marker for both the first and second quilt, but it was wearing out by the last two blocks. I traced over each one and left it to dry.

Here are the finished 6! Next up would be piecing the top!


Lots of Handmade Gifts--Part 3

Every year, our one group of friends does a modified Chinese auction (which has been shortened to Chauction). For this event, everyone brings a gift and puts them in a center pile. Numbers are given, and people choose from the unwrapped gifts. There are rules about stealing gifts and collaborations, but it's pretty fun. The whole present part usually takes 1-2 hours as we typically have some 20-odd people bring presents.

For Chauction 2012, I decided to combine my crafty talents with the nerdy themes of the gifts. I decided to make a futurama-themed quilt. I chose red, black, and white as my color combination, and I got to work. I did not (typical) take a finished pitcutre of the present, but here is an 'action shot' at the Chauction.

The gift was super well-received, and stolen multiple times. At the end of the presents, a friend of a friend approached me and said her husband LOVED it. She wondered if I would be willing to make one for her, and she would pay for the materials. How cool is that? The few times I have tried to sell things, I have gotten a less than warm reception.

So, as I make the second Futurama quilt, I will be sure to document my progress here. I think I may do another themed quilt next year--Mario perhaps? I know that I am trying to lessen the handmade gifts, but this is a supportive and appreciative audience.


Lots of Handmade Gifts--Part 2

To limit the spending, the needless gifts, and the stress of extended family Christmas, I suggested doing a secret Santa for my grandparents, aunts, and uncles on my dad's side.

I was put in charge, so I decided who I would "get" (this year we had kind of cheated and not pulled names out of a hat because some people had already started shopping). I chose my Aunt Debbie. Last year, I made a blanket for my grandmother out of fleece and a coordinating cotton. My aunt commented on how lovely it was, and if I ever felt like making her one, she'd love it in blue.

It was super easy. I bought two yards of polar fleece and two yards of a blue printed cotton from JoAnn Fabrics. Polar fleece comes in 60" width, while cotton comes in 44" width. I trimmed length off the cotton piece, and I just folded over the polar fleece edges. I sewed them down with a zig-zag stitch directly over the cotton, making sure the raw ends of the cotton were covered. I used the leftover cotton length to tie up the folded blanket.

We are not swapping presents until the third weekend in January, but I hope she likes it!


Taking a look at my knitting

As I mentioned yesterday, one of my resolutions is to make smarter choices when knitting. I need to choose projects with more care so that I actually finish them and enjoy the process more. I logged on to Ravelry today and saw that I have 28 items in my queue! That's ridiculous. In keeping with my resolutions, I am going to go through the list and hopefully eliminate half.

Item 1 to go is Hundred of Sheep by Sangmi Lee. This was on my list because I wanted to make this sweater for my stepmom. For Christmas, I started (and have yet to finish!) a scarf with one sheep on it. I think that's enough.
Bye Sheepy Sweater!

Item 2 to go is Plain and Simple Pullover by Veera Välimäki. Look at all that stockinette. No thanks.
Bye Stockinette! Besides, I got a sweater VERY similar to you for my birthday!
Item 3 is Gift Bags that Keep on Giving by Jen Spears. One, I am not really making handmade items this year, let alone the bags in which they are given. Also, I'd prefer projects that I can use on a more frequent basis.
Bye One Skein Bags! Maybe in the future?
Item 4 to go is Grrlfriend Market Bag by Laura Spradlin. I have PLENTY of re-usable grocery bags. I do not need any more.
Besides, I'm not much of a Grrlfriend anyway
 Item 5 to go is $5 in Paris by Anna Peck Maliszewski. My original plan was to make it for my sister. But, horizontal stripes are so in right now, and it's all stockinette, and I would never wear something like it.
Bye Second Stockinette Sweater (and hello alliteration!)
 Item 6 is 22-3-b One-piece Dress by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd). I really like a lot of their items. I liked this dress for the lace detailing along the bottom hem. However, if I really want to do something like that, I could buy a dress from Goodwill and just modify the bottom portion. Much simpler, really.
I don't want to make you as is, but maybe I can cheat a little. ;)
 Item 7 to go is Kimono dress or sweater by Anna Kuduja. I really like sweater dresses. But, I do not like kimono sleeves. Dunno how I missed this, as that design feather is in the title. Oops.
It's nothing personal! My ideal sweater dress would be cowl-neck, short-sleeved, and pink and cream boucle yarn. 
 Item 8 is Morning Dew Scarf by Dora Ohrenstein. I think scarves are meant to keep you warm more than a fashion accessory. I must have put this in my queue because I wanted it to be a gift...or, the yardage is very low.
I just noticed that is not a free pattern. Five dollars?! No thanks.
 Item 9 is Tempting II Pattern by Jenna Adorno. 1x1 ribbing is even more time-consuming than stockinette! Plus, I know I am cheap and will buy something synthetic and will sweat the sweater out.
Bye ribbed sweater! As a rule, I love Knitty patterns, and this look like it would fit really well. Still, though, I have to say no because I know it would never get finished.
 Item 10 to go is Cardigan Neutral by Vickie Howell. I think I got distracted by the lacework along the bottom and failed to notice the lack of closures. For me, a cardigan has to be able to close right under the bustline, stay closed for a few inches, and then have the option to open up again. Recognizing this now, I think I understand why I wore my Abalone cardigan only twice before donating it to Goodwill...
Yes, I could probably modify the pattern to make a button band, but I don't know as much about knitting as I do sewing. It would most likely end in disaster. Bye Cardigan!
 Item 11 is At Your Leisure by All Molvik. I picked this out for my boyfriend. He would never wear this. Probably even if it were the last item in the world to wear.
Oh well...

Items 12 and 13 are both Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd):  Beauty Silk Cotton Motif Sweater (right) and 28-25 French-sleeve Vest (left). Both are interesting to knit, but they do not have a flattering shape for my body type.

The last item, Item 14 is Chthulhu Holiday Ornament by Dawn Ellis-lopez. Another item I wanted for my sister. Another item that won't be appreciate enough to warrant the time spent making it. Another item off the list.
Don't be angered, evil lord!
 Phew! Down to 14 items!

What things do you look for in knitted projects (if you knit)?


2013 Resolutions--Blogging and Crafting

I have two sets of resolutions this year: blogging resolutions and personal resolutions. Last year, I chose not to make any resolutions because I simply did not feel like it.

Blogging/crafting  resolutions
  1. Either alter it or get rid of it 
    • I have started to do this a little bit at the end of the year, but there are several handmade items in the closet that I hold on to solely because I made them. Yes, I was proud that I completed them, yes, I like how they look on the hanger, but due to (mainly fit) issues, I will not put them on. Case in point: my M6011 dress. I have not worn this dress in at least 6 months because it is over a size too big.

    • I would like to wear it, but I know that it took me a LONG time to hand finish all the seams, and knowing I have to do that, well, it prevents me from doing it. :)
    • I think to keep myself sane, I may alternate between a new project and a refitting project.
     2. Finish knitting WIPs; choose knitting projects with more care
    • I  really enjoy knitting...from a conceptual standpoint. I will go on Ravelry, I will look at the items in my queue, and I will haphazardly add another dozen or so. I have too many hobbies to devote a large amount of time to knitting, and I keep choosing projects that I either lose interest in or are things that don't fit/work/relate to anything I do.
    • Case in point: these fingerless mitts that have been around for a VERY long time. Ravelry says June 15, 2011. Ouch.

    • The goal is to either only choose short-term projects that might get finished, or to choose projects that I will wear almost everyday, or to choose things that are incredibly interesting so that I can't wait to continue to work on them
       3. Stop/Reduce the amount of homemade gifts.
    • In July, I had found a rather humorous flow chart to determine if something should be knitted as a present, or if it should be bought. I did not listen to that flow chart this year, and it has cost me a lot of stress and disappointment. So I am re-posting it to remind myself that sometimes it is okay to buy something instead of make it.

Do you have any crafting resolutions for 2013?