Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yarn Magnets

A few months ago, I saw a blog post on the Yarnista blog. She showed a picture of some great yarn magnets and I decided to try my hand at making them for my swap partner in the Itty Bitty Teddy Bear Picnic Swap.

I thought I would do a demonstration on how I put them together. Warning, this post has a lot of pictures.

  • Scrap Yarn
  • 2 Toothpicks
  • 1" Styrofoam ball
  • 2 seed beads (large enough to fit on the end of the toothpick)
  • Magnet

  • Glue (I used a hot glue gun)
  • Scissors or other cutting implement

The first step is to wrap the Styrofoam ball with yarn. Once you get started, it is just like winding a regular ball of yarn. Continue until the Styrofoam is covered.

It will start out something like this:

And finish something like this:

Put a dab of glue on the back of the magnet and glue it onto the ball of yarn, making sure that you secure the end of the yarn leaving a little tail.

To make the knitting needles, start by trimming the end of the toothpick so that it won't stick out the end of the bead. You don't need to trim off too much.

Dab the trimmed of the toothpick in a bit of glue and stick the bead on the end.

Push the ends of the toothpicks through the yarn ball and snip the ends of the toothpick so they aren't so sharp.

Trim the end of the yarn and hang the magnet on your frig with pride!

Monday, September 20, 2010

An Update

I realized I haven't posted in a while. I thought I would leave a picture post of what I have been up to in the last month.

A Trip to Yosemite

The View from my Campsite while Knitting

A Roar Hat for Adam (plus another for my cousin's son and the start of one for my husband)

A New Hat for Me

A Cowl - I purchased the yarn on the our LYS Tour

A Cedar Leaf Shawlette

A 90th Birthday

A 150th Birthday (Montesano United Methodist Church 1860 - 2010)

( Thanks to my friend Karen for letting me use her picture.)

Teddy Bear Picnic Swap

Today I received my second package for the Teddy Bear Picnic Swap over at the Itty Bitty Knits Group on Ravelry. This month's package included the tea set plus some goodies.

The tea set was the set from the Itty Bitty Nursery Book. I love that my partner used blue yarn so that it was a little more manly for Adam.

The set has such great detail with little sugar cubes, tea bags and spoons made with metallic yarn.

I also got some goodies. I am looking forward to the tea and cocoa on our upcoming camping trip and the cookies and crackers are a great size for on the go.

Here is a picture of the whole package.

Thank you, Dear Swap Partner for the great package.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quilt Camp

The summer after I graduated from high school, my aunt came to visit from California. She brought quilting fabric so that she and my other aunt could make little wall hangings. They had some extra fabric and let me join in. I had sewn a bit before that day but hadn't done anything quite like this. Soon, we were joined by my mom and her friends, each creating their version of the wall hanging. We gathered at my Grandma's house and sewed all day long. Since then, it has been tradition to meet every August and hold quilt camp. We have had people join us from California and Washington and even from Slovakia. It is a great time to get together and sew with friends. Last year, I was on maternity leave and got to spend the whole week.

This year, I was only able to spend Saturday at Quilt Camp. Due to travels and other commitments, it ended up being mostly my aunt and I but we had fun anyway. I was able to machine sew on the binding from my Halloween Quilt. I also added borders on a quilt I started a few years back. I made it using jelly rolls (2 1/2 inch strips) and charm packs (5 inch squares). If you don't know what these are, they are pre-cut fabric collections put out by Moda. I love them because it lets you get all of the fabric in one line without having to shell out so much cash. Many quilt designers are creating patterns using these collections.

The quilt called for an additional border between the peach and blue of random strips but I decided to go without it. The fabric line is Dandelion Girl by Fig Tree Quilts. These aren't my typical colors but the original charm pack was a gift and I fell in love. I am happy with the way it turned out.

I was also able to take pictures of the puppy dog quilt that I finished a few weeks ago. My son has already cuddled up on it.

Finally, I thought I would share a picture of the alpaca we met at the county fair this weekend. He was at the petting zoo and my husband put a quarter in the food dispenser. This alpaca decided he didn't want to wait for my husband to feed him.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Felting Frenzy

This weekend, we made a trip to my parents' house. This meant I had access to the top load washing machine for some felting. I had three projects to felt. Two pairs of French Press Slippers and a tote bag I made during a class at Renaissance Yarns.

The first pair of slippers I made for my mom for her birthday. I gave her the choice of making them herself or me making them for her. Of course, she opted for the latter choice. They were made with some great variegated Cascade 220. I found a couple of buttons at a local quilt store and I really like them because they are sparkly and shiny. The picture doesn't do them justice.

The second pair, I made for myself. The yarn was given to me during the last Itty Bitty Knits Swap on Ravelry. I love the contrast of the red buttons against the blue yarn.

The final item that I felted was a Fair Isle Bag. I took a class at my local yarn store so that I could learn the stranded knitting technique. The beauty of felting my first Fair Isle project was that any mistakes that might have been made faded in the felting. I also didn't need to be too concerned about gauge this time. I am really happy with the way it turned out. I still need to head down to the store to see how they fed the handles through as I couldn't quite figure it out from the directions. This is a free pattern on Ravelry if you are interested.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Days 26 - 30

I was finally able to finish quilting my Halloween quilt. It probably wasn't my best work but I am happy with it. I am hoping to get the binding on before October and will post pictures of it hanging on my wall.

The rest of the days, I worked on my Chexx Mixx quilt. I had pieced the squares into rows alreay and just needed to sew the rows together. A lot of time was spent just pinning the rows so all of the seams lined up. It was slow going but I finished up. Now, I just have to add the borders and sew up the backing and I will be ready to have it quilted. I haven't bought the fabric yet for those pieces but I will probably just buy the same print for everything. I am hoping to find something that encompasses red, blue, yellow and green and I have been looking at some of the 30's reproduction fabric.

I also made a couple of project bags with some leftover fabric that I had. I did a drawstring style and used buttonholes to thread the ribbon through.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Days 23, 24 & 25

I switched up my activities for days 23, 24, and 25. I decided to start some quilting. Day 23 had me pinning the itty bitty swap quilt on my quilting frame. The next day, I started quilting. It went pretty fast. I think I spent more time setting up and taking down than the actual quilting process. I also pinned my Halloween quilt on. Day 25 ended in a bit of disappointment. I started quilting the Halloween quilt but was having problems with the thread wrapping around the thread holder. It ended up breaking a needle. I tweaked the thread position and had nothing but problems. My tension went way off. I tried all of the normal tricks but still had the problem. I decided to walk away for awhile before I got too frustrated.

I either quilt my own quilts on my machine or send them out to another person to machine quilt them for me. I have taken a couple machine quilting classes and tried free-motion quilting where you move the quilt around to get the quilt designs. I decided that I couldn't quite relax enough to get a good product. I found that I got better results steering the machine not the quilt. I found a Grace Frame in a quilting catalog I get and decided to try it out. I love it. I am able to pin the quilts to the frame and start quilting. The only downfall is that since I am using just a regular sewing machine, I don't get much quilting width because the arm isn't very long. I took a couple pictures to get an idea of what it looks like.

Here is a shot of the whole thing. The backing and top get rolled up onto tubes and then you unroll as you quilt. There is also a back tube that you roll up the finished product. This keeps the quilt nice and tight. (Ignore the mess in the background. I am still adjusting to not having a sewing room anymore.)

Here is a close-up view. I use the wood handles to steer the sewing machine. It sits on a series of rollers that helps it move in any direction I want.

Days 21 & 22

For days 21 & 22, I worked on sewing together squares into rows for a quilt I started a while back. I originally started for the twin bed in my sewing room. However, since then my sewing room has become a baby's room. Now, I am not quite sure what I will do with it. My incentive for finishing this quilt up this summer is that I bought the opportunity to have my quilt quilted at an auction and it expires soon.

Here are a few of the rows.

I am not sure when I will get the rows sewed together. It has been pretty warm here for the last week and I don't have much motivation to get the iron out.

P.S. I discovered that I somehow skipped day 20. I will make it up at the end.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Vacation from Sewing

Last Wednesday, my family and I headed off to Colorado to see some family. My husband's Grandfather passed away earlier this year and we came to help clean out the house. Thursday, we got a late start but headed up to Josh's Aunt's house in Big Elk Meadow. It is a small gated community in a valley in the Rockies. They have a little private pool so we went for a quick swim followed by dinner at a really good BBQ joint in Estes Park.

On Saturday, the real work started. Josh's Grandpa Herb was a bit of a collector. We found bank statements that belonged to his parents, old coins dating from the 1800's and old family pictures. We found two pictures that were printed on copper plates. Herb was the only surviving son of five in his family so he had the majority of the family treasures. We spent most of the three-day weekend cleaning out the basement and doing yardwork. It was a lot of work but we had fun spending time with Josh's family.

Since it wasn't practical to bring sewing with me, I decided to focus on some knitting. I started a scarf for my sister when I was in Colorado at Thanksgiving but it kept getting set aside for other projects. Since it was a Christmas present last year, I decided I need to focus on it and just get it done. I was able to finish it up on the plane coming home. I just need to weave in the ends and block it.

The most exciting part of the trip was that Adam started walking. It must be something about the high altitude because he started crawling when we visited at Thanksgiving. I think he really just needed a little confidence to stand on his own because once he started, he was able to walk all over the place.

I am planning on giving myself one more day of vacation but I will be starting up the sewing challenge again on Thursday, starting with day 21.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Days 15 - 19

Another Finished Object!

I spent most of days 15-19 handsewing the binding on my "Batik Stars" quilt. Here is how it turned out.

The fabric for this quilt was bought at two different quilt stores. I made a quilt with batiks a few years ago but hadn't used them much after that. I went to the Pacific West Quilt Show and came across the Sew Batik booth and was obsessed. I bought a kit and a ton of fat quarters. The kit was sent to a friend for a wedding but I didn't have a project for the fat quarters. I found the class to make this quilt at my local quilt store and I decided to use the batiks. I figured out what fabric I needed and headed to the Sew Batik booth at the Pacific International Quilt Show to buy the rest of my fabrics. This quilt show is amazing. It is held in a huge convention center and it takes us two days to get through everything. There are amazing quilts from all over the world and tons and tons of booths. I can't go very often because I come home with way too much fabric.

Speaking of too much fabric, I ended up coming home with WAY too many batik fat quarters from the trips to the two quilt shows. Since I am trying to do a little stash busting, I decided to put the extras to use. Here is the back of the quilt:

I am off for a few days of vacation and will pick up where I left off on day 20 when I get back. Next up are two more quilts to bind and a lot of quilting.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Days 11-14

Days 11 & 12 were spent had sewing the binding on this quilt:

The nice thing about working on binding is that it is easy to just sit in front of the tv and stitch. It also makes for a fairly portable project so I was able to bring it to the in-laws to work on there.

I missed a couple days over the weekend with Sunday being Father's Day and Monday just being a crazy day so I re-set my numbering scheme and designated Day 13 to be June 22.

On day 13, I added the borders to the quilt that I am making for the itty bitty swap coming up soon. The theme is Teddy Bear Picnic and I think my picnic blanket is a perfect start to the theme I have in mind. I will share pictures once the swap is underway. I also continued on the binding and have about 1/3 of the quilt left to go.

Day 14 was spent piecing the backing for my Halloween quilt
that I talked about in a previous post. I am using up leftover fabric so there is a bit more work than just sewing a couple of pieces of fabric together. I also went through some of my WIP's to see which quilt tops are ready to quilt. Right now, I have 4 ready to go. I am hoping to break out the quilting equipment this weekend and maybe get a start on one or two.

Finally, I dug up some old quilt blocks that I had made a couple summers ago and sewed the rows together. This is just a little table topper so it went pretty fast. It is made of some very summery fabrics by Sandy Gervais, one of my favorite designers. You will probably be seeing one or two more of her fabric lines in my WIP's this month.

A few years ago, I decided to write down all of my projects that were in work. I built an excel spreadsheet and added anything that was started or had fabric and a pattern. I also added columns for the basic steps I take when making a quilt - finding pattern, cutting out pieces, sewing the blocks, etc. For each of the projects, I put a check in the column when I finish a stop so that I can get a good sense of what needs to be done. Last night, I counted 32 projects on my list. This includes around 3 or 4 projects that have all of the fabric but still need a pattern. Hopefully after this challenge, I will have few items on that list at the end of the month. At the very least, I will have a few more checkmarks.

Here is a picture of part of my list:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Days 9 & 10

A finished object!

I finished handsewing the binding on Adam's Tractors and Trucks quilt. I am really happy with the way it turned out.

The wheels are wool and I used the blanket stitch on my machine to sew down the edges. The machine quilting was done by a women near my hometown. I have been sending my quilts there for almost 10 years and I am alway happy with her work. She is also in charge of the quilt displays at the local county fair. I am hoping to enter this quilt this year.

I also sewed the squares for my Itty Bitty swap quilt. My next steps will be to add the borders. I also need to decide how I am going to quilt it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Days 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

It has been awhile since I have checked in but I have mostly been working on the same projects. Last summer, I found a cool pattern that looked like little shopping bags where you could actually tuck things into the pockets. The example I saw was made up of Halloween fabrics and I just had to make. I purchased fabrics during the annual quilt week and whipped up the top. I hadn't finished the borders so I decided to work on those. Here is how it turned out. Can't you picture Halloween Candy tucked inside the bags? Once I am done quilting it, I will tack the shopping bag handles in place and add some buttons.

I also designed and cut out a quilt for the next swap over in the Itty Bitty Quilts Group on Ravelry but that is a surprise for another day.

Finally, I started hand-sewing down the binding on Adam's tractor and truck quilt while we watch re-runs of Bones. I am about 1/3 done and hope to be done by the end of the week.

I will admit that I missed day 7. We had swimming lessons and it completely slipped my mind. Luckily, I did some overtime this weekend so I don't feel too bad.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 3

Today, I wrapped up sewing my binding on the front of the quilts. Tomorrow, I will start hand-sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt.

When I make quilts to give to other people, I like to add a quilt label to the back of the quilt. I read a great tip in American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine a few years back.

I used to make the labels like the picture below. I would have to applique all four sides down.

The technique in the magazine only has you applique 1 side. Here are the steps:

  1. Cut a square out of the fabric you want to use for your label. I make it about 5", maybe a little larger if you have more to write on the label.
  2. Iron the label in half diagonally.
  3. Add your message to the label. I usually write on the label before I attach it to the quilt in case I make a mistake. I typically use Micron Pens. I have also found a fabric stamp pad to stamp images on the fabric.
  4. When you sew the binding to the front of the quilt, place the triangle in the corner of the quilt with the folded side towards the center of the quilt.
  5. Hand-sew the bind to the back and then applique the folded edge to the back of the quilt.

Here is an example (the yellow is the label, I hadn't written on the label yet):

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 2

Day 2 was a little more complicated. Today we had swimming lessons for my son so we don't usually get home until later in the evening so I wanted to try and get my half hour in before we left. For about 15 minutes, he played by himself but he started to get a little fussy so we sat for awhile. He went back to playing so I went back to sewing. I got a few more minutes in before Adam wandered over. I ended up sewing with him in my lap for a few minutes but he was interested in trying to touch the needle as it went up and down. Finally, my husband came home and he was able to entertain Adam while I wrapped up.

I was able to finish machine stitching down the binding on the Doghouse quilt and part of the truck/tractor quilt. Here is a shot of sewing the binding on:

Tomorrow my goal is to finish up the machine work so I can start the hand-sewing.

Day 1

For the challenge, I am starting out with the binding on three quilts. I sent the quilts out last summer to be quilted by the professional quilter I used. I got them back quite a while ago but haven't gotten around to bind them. I had already cut the strips so I just had to sew them together and then iron them in half. I also made a quilt lable for each quilt.

The first quilt I call "In the Doghouse." My mom and I went on a quilt trip through my LQS a few years ago. We stopped at several shops along the way finishing with a class at the Buggy Barn Quilt shop to make this quilt.

Here I am sewing the binding:

The second quilt I am working on is one I started for my son before he was born. We decided to do a transportation theme for the room and this pattern and kit came out about the same time. I finished the applique when I was supposed to be on bed rest (sewing helped with the blood pressure) and finished sewing the backing after I came home from the hospital. Here is a link to the kit (I will post my own pictures soon).

The third quilt was a class I took through the LQS. I picked up the batiks at a two different quilt shows that I went too. Here is a picture of the top laid out:

A New Blog and a Challenge

Recently, a blog that I follow issued a challenge. In order to improve her sewing skills, Janelle, from Pretty Little Knit Stitches decided to try sewing for a half hour a day for the next 30 days. Lately, I have been a little obsessed with knitting. I find it easier to work on a little bit at a time than sewing. I also joined Ravelry which has helped me discover more knitting patterns than I could do in a lifetime. Quilting has always been my hobby of choice and since Adam was born, it has been feeling a little neglected. I decided to accept Janelle's challenge and attempt to sew 30 minutes in 30 days. I have also decided to try my hand at a blog and I will start by documenting my progress on the challenge.