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.