3

Letterpress Dress

I recently had a bit of a quilting disaster (more about that on a later post) that necessitated dismantling the quilt and ditching the top and batting. It was fairly traumatizing, but the backing was still good, and happened to be one of my favorite fabrics, Letterpress by Michael Miller. I decided to make lemonade by turning into an easy summer dress, and I’m pretty happy with the result:

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I basically sewed it in the style of a pillowcase dress; I made one big square of fabric that was sewn on all sides but one, then used an existing dress that I knew fit well to trace the lines for the head and arm holes. Once I’d cut those out, I just hemmed each raw edge and, since it gaped a bit, ran some elastic through all except the bottom.

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It turned into a really blousy, breezy summer dress, but still fits great where it needs to (elastic is a miracle). It was absolutely perfect for our recent 90 degree heat, and since it’s just plain cotton, is very easily washed and thrown in the dryer. It also looks a bit like a swing dress, which I’ve been noticing making a comeback, so I’m kind of accidentally on trend, too.

For dinner with friends, I dressed it up and made it a bit more form fitting with a cute green belt.

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I don’t have a lot of neutrals in my wardrobe (unless you consider pink a neutral…), so it’s kind of nice to have a dress that can be paired with pretty much any other color. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it and I love wearing my favorite fabrics, so I see lots of handmade clothes in my future!

2

Undercover Blanket

I’ve had some trouble settling on a knitting project lately. Temperatures have been a lot hotter than usual around here, and I find that it really saps my motivation to do anything that has to sit on my lap. But, I can’t sit there without anything to do, either! I decided on a baby blanket, since they’re pretty quick and don’t take up much lap space. I’ve had the Undercover pattern from Beata Jezek in my Ravelry library for a long time now, and I had a stash of Cherub Aran in Denim Blues that turned out to be perfect:

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As I’ve mentioned before, I struggle a bit with variegated yarns. I often love the colors but hate how they look on certain projects, so I generally end up using them in blankets with a lot of stockinette, which can get boring to knit. Not so with this pattern! It has a really pretty lacy repeat that looks a little like leaves, but still shows off the yarn colors beautifully. It also knit up in only a few days, which satisfied my need for instant gratification.

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And it’s finished with a seed stitch border, also known as my favorite way to end a blanket, particularly a baby sized one – I’m pretty sure I can point to the influence of Debbie Bliss for that one :).

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I did find the instructions to be slightly confusing at first, so I wouldn’t recommend this for a beginner knitter. You’ll need some experience to get started, but once you get the pattern established it’s pretty easy sailing, and it’s looks really gorgeous when it’s done.

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I’m not the only one who loves it, either…I took it outside for a photo shoot, and in the minute my back was turned, Zoey managed to steal it for a cuddle (excuse my shadow, it was too cute of a picture to pass up).

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I definitely recommend this one, and Beata has a bunch of other really pretty patterns, so check them out if you’re looking for a new project (or even if you’re not!).

 

5

Another hexie project

Remember when I finished the hexie duvet and I said I’d take a break from hexies for a while? You all knew I was totally not going to follow through on that, right? Good, because I couldn’t resist!

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I got the this fabric (Comma by Zen Chic for Moda) from my mama-in-law Leslie for Christmas last year, and I loved it so much that I’ve been hoarding it for just the right project. It was a jelly roll originally, so I’ve been researching various patterns for strips, but…it just felt like it needed to be patchwork, and squares aren’t really a thing that grabs me. Despite my frustration with how long the first hexie blankie took, I loved the process (making and sewing hexies is pretty meditative) and it came out looking amazing. The picture of these fabrics in this pattern just wouldn’t go away, and I figured six months was probably enough to think about it. The start of this was also aided by the sudden onset of super warm weather here in Seattle; when it gets too hot in the afternoon to machine quilt, this is a good alternative.

These hexies are even smaller than last time, at about an inch across. While they’re definitely a bit harder to get used to at first, it didn’t take too long to get the rhythm down again, and having them so small means they can be stored pretty conveniently:

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I learned a lot from the last blanket, not the least of which is that these little guys take a lot of time and patience, so this project isn’t for anybody or anything in particular. I’m not even all the way sure what it will be – I think that will depend on how big it is when I get sick of it! I also cut the fabrics in a hexie shape to start out with, instead of squares; the squares worked fine last time but did create a bit of bulk in some of the seams, and it’s looking a lot neater this time around. Admittedly, absolutely no one but me cares about that, but it still makes me happy.

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I love all of these fabrics and how they play together, but these ones are my favorites (right now).

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Obviously polka dots are always at the top of the list, and the other two kind of look like fireworks to me. I love that hexies made from the same fabric come out looking different, just because of placement.

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And on a side note, has anyone else used these full finger leather thimbles?

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I love these things. Regular thimbles never seem to fit right, or make the tip of my finger feel weird (and I hate the metal ones). These are made with super soft leather, and the stretchy bit on the back makes it fit your finger really nicely, while still letting you move your finger freely. My grandmother used them quite a bit when quilting, and I’ve been looking for them for years with no success. I happened to come across one of hers that was still in the package, so now I know that it’s made by Dritz and is still around – I will definitely be ordering a bunch to have on hand. Check them out next time you need a new thimble!

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1

Early (tiny) Honey Harvest!

Last weekend while we were doing a hive inspection (and by “we” I mean that my husband did all the hard work while I stayed a safe distance away supervising), we noticed that we have a ton of capped honey already. We’ve had a very warm spring here in Seattle, so our bees started to feed early and they’ve had a lot to choose from. The hive has increased substantially in population since we got them in April and they have been very busy, so we decided it might be okay to have a little taste of our very own honey (normal honey harvest is at the end of August around here).

We started out with a little less than half a frame of capped comb:

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Since we didn’t have that much, we bypassed the extractor and just scraped it down with a hive tool. I took a video because it’s kind of hard to describe – the sound isn’t that important, but I think it shows the process pretty well.

Once the the honey had mostly dripped into the bottom bowl, it was time to wring out what was left from the honeycomb. My most important word of advice on this step is that the gloves are absolutely necessary! This is a very sticky process, as you can imagine, and it will take you about a million hand washings to get clean again if you skip the gloves.

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We just used regular old loose weave washcloths to do this step, because none of the stores near us had cheesecloth, and I think it actually worked fairly well. After this filtering, we did one more before funneling it into the jar, just to make sure we really got all the stuff out.

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We weren’t sure what color our honey would be, since we have so many different kinds of food around here, but it ended up being a very pretty light gold color. I was a little nervous about what it was going to taste like – what if we ended up with terrible honey after all this work? I shouldn’t have worried, because it’s amazing! Of course, we may be just slightly biased, but it’s sweet without having a funny aftertaste like you sometimes get with store bought, while at the same time not sweet enough to give you a tummy ache. I’m going to use it to make granola this week and I think it’s going to be delicious! We can’t wait to see how much we get during the real harvest at the end of the summer…and as quickly as this jar is going, we’ll be ready for it!

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1

Accidentally Nautical Blanket

Theres’ a new blankie in the shop! This one started after I’d finished the hexie quilt and needed something easy and mindless to work on. I had been sorting through my yarn and realized that I had a lot of navy left over from making my brother’s Christmas sweater, so I paired it with some white and came up with a cute crib sized blanket:

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The pattern is just a single row repeat, the same one I used last year for our purple couch blanket, which is exactly what I needed; the hardest thing about this pattern was keeping track of how many rows of white I needed to do.

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Originally, I was going to just do two rows of white for each section, but then I decided that varying widths would be more interesting. I only occurred to me afterward that it’s a very nautical looking blanket. It seems that nautical is everywhere right now, so I think I probably absorbed it by osmosis.

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It turned out slightly narrower than I had been going for, at about 28 inches wide, but overall I’m pretty happy with it, and I think I’ll be making more (a little wider though). I’m really trying to work through my yarn stash, and I love this Caron Simply Soft, so I have a lot of it. I’m also really in to crochet right now; it was actually the first craft I learned to do, when I was about 10 or so, but I don’t do it that often since I learned to knit. There’s something about a crochet blanket in a cuddly yarn that’s very comforting, though, and I’m interested in using more modern colors and design schemes in such a traditional craft. I think next up I’m going to attempt a wave stitch…stay tuned!

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1

Folklife Quilt Exhibit

Hello all! You may have noticed that I took a little break last week, but I’m back to show you some gorgeous quilts made by the Seattle Modern Quilt Quild! Every year over memorial day weekend here in Seattle, we have the Folklife Festival. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a lot of music and handmade stuff and awesome food all gathered at Seattle Center, and it’s a really fun time. This year (for the second time, actually), our guild was asked to exhibit some quilts in one of the courtyards and we happily accepted. We strung them up on the walls, and the display turned out beautifully. There are a lot of pictures in this post, so please bear with me (fellow quilters, if I missed you or mislabeled you, let me know)!

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“Over the Bridge” by C.E. (Lotte) Clark-Mahoney

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Clockwise from left: “Precious Metals” by Marilyn Lore, “Autumn Forest Walk” by Marilyn Lore, “Escaping Triangles” by Marilyn Lore, “Churn Dash 1: Complimentary” by Martha Peterson, “Aurora” by Debbie Jeske, “Omnimonoretroism” by Grace Lainhart, “Churn Dash 2: Polycrome” by Martha Peterson

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From left: “Castles in the Sky” by Aly Bazely, “Black and White Tangles” by Cecelia Lehman, “Sound Wave” by Amy Killian, “Gravity” by Season Evans, “Binary Rain” by Alyssa Long (guest appearance by my mama, Amy)

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From left:”Granny Swooned” by Megan Bloomquist, “Bridget’s Dream” by Aly Bazely, “Rainbow Scrap Double Wedding” by Vicki Christensen, “01” by Katrine A. Eagling

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From left: “Charity Quilt” by the Seattle Modern Quilt Quild, “Lost in the Stars” by C.E. (Lotte) Clark-Mahoney

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From life: “Key Lime Pie” by Ruth Ediger, “Patricia’s Star Quilt” by Patricia Curry

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From Left: “Glyphs 1″ by Chandra Wu, “Barcode Quilt” by Megan Vanderburg

So there you have it! This is only a small sampling of the amazing quilts our members make on a regular basis, so if you’d like more pictures, you can check us out on Instagram or Flickr.

And, just because I’m the blogger and I can, I leave you with a picture of me with my “Binary Rain” quilt!

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1

Softies!

I’ve been in a softie making mood lately. After finishing the hexie quilt, I’ve been more in the mood for some instant gratification projects, and stuffed animals totally fit the bill. I also had a few gift giving occasions in May, and they make great presents.

For Mother’s Day this year, I made my mom a doggy doorstop:

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The pattern is from Love Patchwork & Quiting magazine. It was fairly easy to make, although I might make the pattern pieces a bit bigger next time, as some of the smaller bits were hard to get right. I also think I might allow myself a half inch seam rather than a quarter inch; I ended up with a few holes that I had to hand sew closed.

The fabric is from Michael Miller (of course), and his tummy is filled with beans to make him heavy enough to hold a door open. It still turned out lighter than I was envisioning, but he’ll make an excellent paperweight too. There was much discussion about his eyes, but in the end I didn’t like any of the options I tried, so I left them off.

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After the doggie, I made a bunny for a friend’s birthday. Meet Sid:

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Sid is made from a pattern at the Purl Bee. The one on the blog is made from wool, but my version is made from some blue cotton that used to be a dress. The dress didn’t fit anymore, but I loved the fabric, and it was super soft. I did have to iron some lightweight interfacing to each piece; the cotton frayed easily and was slightly see through. The inside ear pieces are from the Tula Pink Acacia line – I had a bit left over from the hexie quilt and this print was one of my favorites. The nose I embroidered originally was way too big, so I redid it with a little triangle of light pink wool. If I were to make this for a kid, I’d likely make it from the wool like the original pattern, since this one would definitely not hold up to being played with (but is great for a grown up!).

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I highly recommend both patterns, and if you’re not buying Love Patchwork & Quilting or following the Purl Bee…you should be!

137

Elephant Giveaway!

 

The giveaway is now closed, and the winner is number 125: Nancysue (check your inbox, you should have a message from me!), who said “Hands down, my favorite toy was a close and play record player. Since it only played when you closed it, I was so mad I couldn’t see how it worked. I ended up taking 3 of then apart before my parents said, No more! Wish I had even one of those now! Ellie the elephant is beyond cute!!”. Thank you so much to everyone who entered – I loved hearing about everyone’s favorite toys! Just a reminder, if you didn’t win and would like an elephant of your own, you can find the pattern here, or there is a listing in my Etsy shop. Have a great weekend!

It’s that time again – Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I had such a good time with the last one that I decided to participate again this time. So, without further ado, meet Mr Elephant!

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He’s knit in a soft gray yarn, from this pattern at Knitty (I’ve made it several times and have been happy with how it turned out each time). His eyes are safety eyes, so he’s okay to give to a baby who’s still chewing everything :).

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He’s totally machine washable too, although I’d keep him out of the dryer to prevent a stuffing tragedy!

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So, if you’d like to win this little guy, here are the rules: leave me a comment telling me about your favorite childhood toy (doesn’t have to be a stuffed animal, it could be anything!). As always, following the blog isn’t mandatory, but is appreciated :). The giveaway will be open for a week, until May 16 at 5 PM PST, and will be shipped by May 20. I’ll choose the winner from a random number generator, just like last time, and the giveaway is open to international readers as well. Thanks for stopping by and good luck (and be sure to visit all the other blogs that are giving away awesome stuff here)!

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22

Hexie Quilt is Finished!

Ta da! The hexie quilt is finally done!

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The final tally was about 1500 hexagons, 4 spools of thread, and a million hours of sewing, but it was so worth it! It’s a mix of different fabrics from different companies, but there’s a whole lot of Michael Miller and Robert Kaufman in there. I’m really happy with the overall pattern (which was only half me; Mike and Aliya picked out the arrangement of the hexies), but I also love looking at the individual fabrics. As you can see, I used a lot of Just My Type.

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I hand stitched the hexies together, and then quilted them with a decorative loop stitch. I wanted to reinforce the hand stitching so it would hold up to every day use, and the loops add a nice texture. I was asked to make it into a duvet cover instead of a traditional quilt, so I used a yellow and white striped fabric for both the duvet part and the binding.  It turned out a bit heavier than I would have liked, but it had a lot more pieces than I normally use, and a lot more thread, so there wasn’t much I could do to avoid it, and it ended up with a nice drape anyway.

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I really like that it can be a duvet cover, but also looks nice just by itself, so it can still be used when it gets hot around here (which, admittedly, is really only for about a month in Seattle, but still).

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This quilt was a lot of work, but I learned so much while I was working on it (main takeaway: you will need more hexies than you think!), and it’s already getting  tons of love from it’s new owners :). I’ll definitely make another one…although I think I’ll stick with baby sizes for a while!

 

Linking up this week with I Quilt Thursdays over at Pretty Bobbins!

 

0

Dog Bed

Our new house has a washer and dryer in the living room closet, which is great for convenience, but both units are slightly smaller than a normal appliance. I’ve been having a lot of trouble washing the dog bed in our new, tinier washer, and it got pretty gross. I could have taken it to a laundromat, but decided to just fix the problem, using a crib mattress and some outdoor fabric. I was searching for foam on Amazon, and a bunch of mattresses came up, so I started thinking about how I could cut a foam topper. Then inspiration struck, and I realized that a crib mattress would be exactly the right size, with the added benefit of being waterproof. I’ll never have to wash it! So, a click and a couple of days later, the mattress arrived on our doorstep:

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I could have ordered a cover to go on it as well, but they tend to be made of fairly thin fabric, and they’re kind of expensive. So I just went and got a yard and a half of blue outdoor fabric for $8 at Joann’s and made my own.

It ended up not being quite enough to cover the whole thing, so for the middle part of the cover I used some stash fabric in a coordinating color (also from Joann’s, according to the selvedge). I was going to put in a zipper, but I couldn’t find one large enough and didn’t feel like waiting to get one, so I just whip stitched it closed. It turned out pretty nicely, I think!

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Zoey wasted no time trying it out (we were outside for the purposes of better lighting…I’m not crazy enough to make a bed just for outside. Yet.)

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It’s the exact right size to fit at the end of our couch (which is where her bed has to be so she doesn’t guard the cat :P). I think if I were to buy another mattress, I might get one that’s slightly thicker, but overall it works well. The waterproof fabric does make a slight rustling noise when she lays on it or rolls around, but it’s not bad at all and totally worth not having to wash it! If you decide to try this, just for comparison, Zoey is about 70 lbs and pretty stocky. The mattress we got is 24 X 38 X 2.5 (link here) and would probably fit a dog that was even a bit bigger than her.

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