Sep 132013

When will I learn not to join thingy-alongs and then rush to finish by linky deadlines? Probably never. Here’s my latest disaster!
pile o mess quilt

It’s my finished quilt for the Star Surround quiltalong, and boy did I mess it up! In list form, the first of my mistakes:

  1. I was too impatient to order the background fabric I wanted (light grey), so I used a terrible combination of solids from my stash.
  2. I rushed when I made my flying geese, so they came out all funny sizes.
  3. I also was in verbatim compliance mode, so since the quiltalong instructions didn’t say to trim the flying geese, I didn’t even check to make sure they were the right size.

I was fed up with this quilt by the time the individual star blocks were done, so I decided to use it to try making a quilt-as-you-go kind of quilt for the first time. (I’m thinking of using that method for a dresden quilt I’m planning.) I also tried quilting orange peels, which was nice and easy since I was only doing one block at a time. That was actually my only success in this quilt! I used a 16 needle since I’d had problems with skipped stitches in the past, and this time I had barely any skipped stitches — the remaining ones were definitely user error, which is fine with me.
mess o quilt - quilting

Then I attached all the blocks+batting squares to make the top and:

  1. Screwed up trimming some of the batting bulk in the seams by cutting too much off.
  2. Got grouchy at Fabric Mart and chose a crazy bright pink flannel for the backing because all the other flannel looked babyish and I didn’t care about matching the back to the front anymore.
  3. (This is skipping ahead, but this is the best picture to see it in) Tried for the first time to do the kind of machine binding where you sew to the front first and then stitch in the ditch to catch the binding in the back, and mine was HORRIBLE.

mess o quilt with crazy backing

When you assemble quilts this way, you’re supposed to quilt just a couple of lines to attach the top+batting to the backing, so I did the least I figured I could get away with while making the quilt not too going-to-fall-apart-in-the-wash-ish — I sewed along both sides of the seams between the batting blocks. But!

  1. When I was pinning my big blocks together, I couldn’t see the seams (since the batting was already on), so I forgot to match up the little blocks’ seams.
  2. I somehow missed one of the big block seams and sewed a random line down the inside of one of the columns.

mess o quilt - quilting lines mistake

Bleah! I’m mad that I messed up what should have been a really cute quilt, but I’m going to think of it as my bad sewing heat sink that’s going to help me succeed in my next set of projects. Gah!
mess o quilt - cuteified

Sep 102013

Back in March, I made my sister Day in the Park backpack since I loved mine so much and because I figure mom types can always use a bag that doesn’t try to fall off every time you need to chase kiddies. (These pictures are old! I took them at our old place… I had such an easier time getting good pictures there. wah.)
birds in the park backpack

I only had half a yard of the birdy fabric, so I couldn’t (make a half-hearted attempt to) match the pattern at the top. I recently noticed that, even though it looks cute when the bag’s empty, having the short straps come out at the bottom of that pieced bit at the top makes the top strip fall in when the bag is closed, so in the future, I should probably either just leave out the pieced bits and cut the front and back whole, or I should sew the short loops to the bag up to the top edge. OR I should grow up and finally learn to use the rivets I bought ages ago.

I put in the usual patch pocket + zippered pocket + hangy loop stuff inside. I’ve been using my hangy loop to corral Glowbug’s binkie instead of my keys, which means I’m always digging around for my keys, but I can pop a binkie into Glowbug’s mouth no problem, hah.
birds in the park backpack, interior

Since I use my day in the park bag mostly as a backpack, I’m always vaguely wondering if it’s a bad idea to have my wallet floating at the top of my things inside of a pretty open-to-the-world bag on my back. I haven’t yet figured out how I want to close it up (an inset zipper would be fine when the bag’s being used as a tote, but it scrunches up differently when it’s a backpack), so I just added another zippered pocket on the back for my sister to put her wallet in.
birds in the park backpack, back

Now to doubly pull in the post title: this weekend, we went to the zoo, and Husbo kept asking if I wanted to put my bag in the stroller, but I insisted that I liked carrying it. It was a good thing I did because a bird pooped at me, but got my bag instead of me. Muhaha?

Sep 072013

My goal this month is to make myself some culottes! I’ve had the pattern for a couple of weeks now, but it keeps getting pushed aside by other projects. Oh, and I was so sad — only about a week after I bought the paper pattern, it was finally released as a pdf pattern! I would rather have bought it as a pdf cause I like the security of knowing I’ll never lose it. Shucks!
culottes wip

I have the pattern pieces traced and cut out, so all I have to do is cut my fabric and sew. Since I bought jersey instead of a woven fabric, I read that I can leave off the zipper and just sew in some elastic. I also bought some wooly nylon thread for my serger, so I’m excited to try out a couple of new things. I hope my culottes turn out okay — right now, I’ve only got two pairs of shorts!

Aug 292013

I finished my August goal, so yay…
books for baby quilt

It’s quilted in a diamondish fashion, and I did manage to finish it in time for Cosmo to use it at school. I was kind of too lazy to put a label on it, but since Cosmo’s stuff is supposed to have his name on it so they don’t get mixed up with other kids’ stuff, I sewed in some twill tape with his name stamped on.
books for baby quilt close up

When I gave it to Cosmo, he flipped it over and told me the robot flannel side is the front, cause that’s the side he likes. I think the robots are cool, too, but WAH. This is what I get for not having appreciated all the stuff my mom sewed for me when I was a kid! Karmaaaaaaaaa!
books for baby quilt with kiddies!

Aug 252013

It’s finally the week to make the project that I was most excited about in Ayumi’s book: the cute cute hexagon trivet. I even made two!

I’m so not fast that it took me an hour to choose fabric out of my scrap containers. Then I cut approximate chunks out beforehand, which made the piecing simple. It was a very straighforward project, so there’s not too much to say about it.
strawberry trivet

I was chintzy as usual, and I used some not-super-pretty scrap flannel for the backs (instead of super cute fabric, like Ayumi used in the book samples). No one looks at them after I take blog pictures, anyway.
trivet back

I was happy at how relatively neat the bound corners turned out. I used my usual lazy pinch-fold-fold-mark-mark-sew-sew method. Wasn’t that descriptive?
trivet front corner

I’m glad that the Zakka 2.0 Sew Along exists, because it’s nudged me to make time for projects I normally wouldn’t have done. These scrappy things are super cute! They take longer than things I’m naturally inclined to make, but I really like them when they’re finished.
bear trivet

Aug 202013

Sara recently asked for testers for her new lunch bag pattern, so I once again shoved aside my plans for my poor sister-in-law’s new pillow case (the old one I made her has her ex-boyfriend’s name on it, and it’s been half a year since they broke up and I still haven’t replaced it!) and glommed onto the shiny new project. I even treated myself to a kid-less hour in Fabric Mart since I didn’t have any laminated cotton.
pair of lunch bags

That ended up being a bit of a tactical error — I got really excited about finding some surprisingly cute flannel-backed vinyl (and it was only $6 a yard), so I made my lunch bags out of vinyl, InsulBright, and laminated cotton (only $7 a yard!). They certainly held their shape, but it was murder trying to top stitch the handles. On my first bag (the top zip one), I tried using actual top stitch thread, and it took me a jillion tries to get reasonably decent results. There are a lot of needle holes under those stitches.
top zip lunch bag, handle

I tried again with the top stitching thread on the round bag’s handle, but that was an utter failure, so I went back to (Aurifil) 50 wt, which was muuuuch easier. I had a bit of a problem with skipped stitches when I attached the handles to the bags because of all the thick layers, but I just went back and forth a lot and called it good enough.
round lunch bag, top

When Sara showed us a picture of her lunch bags, I volunteered because I wanted to make the round one. But once I got the instructions, I felt like I ought to be more helpful and make the top zip bag since it was supposed to be more difficult. I knew ahead of time, though, that I would be very grouchy making it because I’m terrible at finishing exterior edges with bias tape (I think that’s why I’m so bad at making pot holders), and I hate doing things I’m bad at. And you know what happens when someone who hates bias tape finishes makes a bag with bias tape finishes? It looks like it was made by someone who hates bias tape finishes! Look at this horror:
top zip lunch bag, bias tape

I also missed the instruction that tells you to tuck the zipper ends into the bias tape to enclose them. Poo. Oh wait, was I supposed to sew the bottom zipper to the outside of the bag? Oops!
top zip lunch bag, inside

My pretty round lunch bag consoles me… but my mom pointed out (and is right, dagnabbit) that the top zip one is more useful. Argh. Since I gave the samples to my mom, I might have to try again with the top zip bag for Cosmo. I should always strive to improve my skills…?
lunch bags

Aug 192013

Ellison Lane’s having a studio spotlight linky, and I love writing notes on pictures, so here’s where I sew! I’m definitely in the running for least inspiring sewing spot. :D
sewing space

I’m one of those roving put-em-up-and-take-em-down-every-night sewers since I sew on the dining table. I used to iron in that nice empty space behind my sewing machine, but ever since Glowbug got her own chair, I’ve been too lazy to lug it out of the way, and now I iron on the kitchen counter.
sewing space - ironing station

Some of my supplies live in a different room (scraps, cutting mats, and my serger), but most fit on the bookshelf in the dining room, which is a big improvement from my old setup where everything lived in a different room than the one I sewed in.
sewing space - bookshelf

I initially considered taking my pictures during the day when the dining room is all bright and niceish, but that wouldn’t be the truth — I always sew at night. Huh! It just occurred to me that our neighbors can probably see straight through the window behind me at night. That’s okay; they’re nice! :D

Aug 142013

Waaaay back when Glowbug was just born and I wasn’t too fond of sitting, I found this adorable littleoddforest seat cusion that I totally wanted… except $40 is an awful lot for something that’s so easy to make. The genius is in the design! But still, easy to copy. So Cheapie Yazoo struck again!
tree cushion

I bought a round cushion from the hardware store and some super cheap corduroy from Fabric Mart, then used a stash zipper and ribbon. This was right after making my brother-in-law’s pillowcase, so I still knew how to make a neato zipper flap (I’ve forgotten already by now!) to hide that pink zipper. The ribbons are there so you can tie the cushion to a stool’s legs.
tree cushion zipper

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round, yeah? I’m a little mosquito in the crafty world, buzzing around to bite your creative ideas. Don’t worry too much, though — I’m much too lazy to make more than one copy of a thing. ;)
tree cushion

Aug 092013

Last year, when Kitschy Digitals had their sale, I got all excited and bought a couple of cross-stitch patterns, one of which was a Wee Little Stitches pattern. I finally finished it!
You Wash I'll Dry towel

Right after I got the pattern, I couldn’t wait to start, so I bought the first blank towel I found, and that was a flimsy muslin thing from my local craft store. About halfway through stitching, I bonked myself on the head for not using a more absorbent towel, but I was too lazy to start over. Because cross-stitching takes forever!

I used waste canvas again, and I still love it. Maybe one day I’ll forget how long this little thing took me, and I’ll redo it on a properly absorbent towel. Hah!
You Wash I'll Dry, from a very blue picture oops

Aug 072013

Oops! I wanted my goal for this month to be Mr. Yazoo’s birthday present, but I haven’t even pulled fabric for it yet, so I have nothing to take a picture of. Instead, my goal will be to finish Cosmo’s book quilt in time for the beginning of preschool. He’s so excited about being in the 4s class this year!
books for baby quilt top