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Embroidery

So, being a creative person, I generally try and make all the Christmas gifts I give my family. However, I like to mix it up, as I don’t want to be THAT predictable… (“Oh gee, thanks… yet another quilt! That makes number 13!”). So this year, I decided that I was going to give embroidery a go.

This little gem is one that I made for my lovely cousin Siobhan. She’s young, and funky, and I figured I could do something a little less traditional.

Mexican sugar skull. (It should be pointed out that for all the embroidery this year, with the exception of the bacon you previously saw, I used the lovely patterns by Polka and Bloom. I changed them a bit, and used different colors in some places, but these patterns are so gorgeous!

I mean seriously. How awesome is that? I’m planning on making one of these for myself at some point. I love how funky and unique it is!

And goodness knows I just couldn’t stick the embroidery in a frame and call it a day, so I actually made them into little quilt wall hangings (It’s pretty small, but I forgot to measure, as usual!) and did some hand stitching on it.

Stay tuned for more Christmas stuff!

Phew, finally…

Okay, so I realize that my normal Christmas related silence has been even longer than normal, but after Christmas I came down with a terrible cold, then had some eye related issues. (PS: Really spellcheck? You want to make it “I related issues”? And I’m supposed to be the one with the bad spelling Mom??)  I was dying to get some pictures of this years insanity to you, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’m working on getting a few things ready to show you, but first, I wanted to share this. Perhaps my favorite thing that I made this year, just because I laughed the entire time I was working on it.

As a little back story, my dear friend A loves bacon. Like, LOVES it. She’s been given every bacon flavored product out there. Not only that but she loves the southern cooking mentality… mayo, cream cheese, bacon, butter are the major food groups… (You know I love you A!!) In fact, her family jokes that if you cut her, she’d bleed gravy. (So, I totally got her bacon band aids to keep the gravy in this year too). Anyway, with that in mind, (And the fact that A, and her husband B, have a last name that starts with S, and that A’s favorite color is purple) I designed and embroidered these pillowcases for her.

BACON!!!!!!!!!

Why yes. That is two pieces of bacon overlapping, with the purple monogrammed S over it.

MORE BACON!!!!

I gotta think that more people would love pillowcases with bacon on them, right??

I also gotta think that if other people thought I was as funny as I think I am, I would be rich right now!

Neck deep

I’m neck deep into Christmas crafting, which means I’m creating out the wazoo, but I just can’t share any of it with you yet! I’ll leave you with this little tidbit….

Fabulous leaf pins!! Holding up a little something.

Diaper bag

Okay folks, settle in, this is going to be a long one. There are LOTS of pictures involved in this one!

First things first, another little peek into my world.

These are some boxes up on my wall with various silly stuff in them. Just a bit of wackiness.

Now, on with the show. I showed you all a baby quilt that I made for my Uncle Dave and Aunt Laura’s new baby. They also commissioned a diaper bag. Here is what I came up with.

Here is the whole thing. I figured black and white were a lot more classy then a bright pink, and as a nod to the little girl, the pink stripe on the flap. It’s a messenger style bag, with the inside lining made out of vinyl covered fabric, which is such a hugely colossal pain in the neck to work with, I’ll avoid it in the future. It has a front pocket, and two side pockets. There is a pocket/divider thing on the inside, but I forgot to take a picture of the inside.

Here is a shot of the devil vinyl. I should say this: as far as vinyl goes, this stuff is honestly lovely. It moves beautifully, has a lovely drape, and for anyone that can deal with vinyl, high quality is super awesome. I just don’t know how to deal with not being able to iron it, or at least not knowing how.

The front pocket. It has elastic in the top, and pleating to allow the pockets to expand and hold a TON of stuff. and by a ton, I mean a TON.

This is a side pocket. There is one on each side. These are made to hold a bottle. Or three.

Here it is with a big ol’ Snapple bottle in the side pocket. As you can see, there is elastic in this one too, and there is still PLENTY of room in this sucker.

And here is a little bonus bag. This beast is lined with vinyl too. This was made for any less then fresh baby clothes, that might need to go in the diaper bag. Just put icky clothes in here, and they are contained. To clean it, flip the sucker inside out, and wipe it down!

So there you have it. A diaper bag.

Tools of the trade…

Okay, so my studio is all set up (ish). I’m sure I’ll be making adjustments for months, but I’m a weirdo. So, I’m going to show you a couple of embarrassing photos of the insanity of my work area, then get down to a really boring topic for 98% of you… my sewing machine. So, first, with the chaos in which I surround myself.

So this is the area next to my main work table. I didn’t like the way that the closet looked without a door, so I made do with a quilt top I had floating around. It amuses Ms. Thing, as you can see there. By the way, ignore the dirty floor. If I tried to vacuum the studio floor every time it started to get stuff on it, I wouldn’t do anything BUT vacuum!

What looks like insanity in the corner is actually a totally organized (ish) system. The thing right next to the wall is a fabric rug loom thing. The wooden box houses test blocks and stuff that I’m just playing around with. The two reusable grocery bags have scraps (scraps, scraps, scraps, and more scraps) in them. The basket in the front is my “working” basket. I lay the fabric I’m working with over the top, and keep all my tools (and ironing towel) in the basket. It works for me, what can i say?

Okay, this. I know it looks a mess. To the left you see the corner that I just showed you.Then there is the work table, the white sewing machine in front of that. The grey bin is trash, because I can fill up a standard trashcan in no time flat, and also, the wide opening means I can set it next to me when I’m trimming down blocks, and just sweep the debris right into it. So the there is my lamp, with a quilt design pinned to the ceiling above that. On the wall in front of the desk are some sample blocks I liked, and some of my quilt designs that I’m either working on, or very fond of. Two monitors on the desk, because that’s how I roll, and I like to do 40 things at once. Printer, basket of stuff, and for some unknown reason, my rotary cutter. (I have NO idea). The soda on the table is the one I’m drinking, and then one on the desk is backup. I don’t like to stray from the studio for too long or too far when I’m on a roll. The white paper bag is for the spoiled brats of the household… the cats. There is also something or another behind the desk, which I’m sure said brats batted back there.

Okay, so, the even MORE boring part… the sewing machine.

Meet my sewing machine. Just in case you are dying to know what is going on here, to the right are two projects I’m working on. My cutting mat is the green thing, then my grey ironing towel is on top of that, my iron, and my sewing machine.  (For those wondering, it’s a Janome Jem Platinum something or another)

The thing that holds the fabric in place while you sew is called the “foot”. The foot that is on my at least 75% of the time is the 1/4 inch foot. See the little black part that is sticking down? That is 1/4 inch from the needle, making sure all your seam allowances are all consistent.

The textured bits in the metal plate thing are called the feed dogs. They are what feed the fabric through, the machine during normal sewing. I personally won’t buy a machine where these don’t have a lever to drop them into the machine. Some machines make you get little plates to cover the feed dogs, but I don’t like that. I couldn’t tell you why, it just doesn’t make for as smooth a quilting process.

Okay… So. This is what you need to free motion quilt. This is all the fancy swirling stitching that you can see on a quilt. So, you need to disable the feed dogs, either by dropping them or covering them, and this fancy foot, called a free motion foot, or a darning foot. This basically allows the layers to be held steady when the needle is going through te fabric, yet lift to allow for free movement when the needle is in the up position.  I do all my work on this machine. I’ve quilting king size quilts on this. It’s really hard, and requires a lot of creative rolling and cramming. BUT, I like having the control of doing all the work myself.

Sorry about the most boring post on the planet!

Well, time to stretch out and get back into the swing of things!

First, the biggish news. I’m no longer in the Detroit area! I moved back to my home town of Bath, Maine, in the beginning of October. So you’ll have to forgive my long absence, I was in the process of moving. But, now almost everything is unpacked, and things are returning back to normal.

Before I left Detroit (Or, more accurately, as I was leaving… as in, getting ready to move and finishing this stuff up at the same time) I made a couple things for a new baby cousin. My uncle Dave and aunt Laura had a little girl, and she asked me to make a diaper bag (More on that in a future post), and I made a quilt as a gift.

I know, bladdah bladdah, on with the pics woman!

Please keep in mind that life was chaos, and I was in the middle of moving and getting ready to go, so I ended up having to take these pictures inside, after dark, hanging haphazardly from an arch type thing in the old apartment.

So this is the whole thing. It’s a pretty decent size. Perfect for as she grows and belly time and all that.

Details,

Details,

Details,

Details.

This quilt has been approved by the national board of kitten testers. It is certified comfy cozy warm, and appropriately worthy of kittens.

(Don’t worry Laura, I washed it after this 🙂 )

Be back soon!

I promise, I have a TON of stuff to post about, however, due to a few mishaps, I’m totally unable to edit photos right now.

Be back as soon as possible! I promise!