Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Knitting fluff

On Saturday night, after finishing the quilt top (and before working on the nappy bag), I cleaned my sewing room. I'm trying to get in the habit of cleaning up after a project, because it is SO much nicer to work in a clean room! While clearing off the desk, I found a bag with this sweater in it. I started this in November 2004, for Connor. Thankfully, it's the largest size and I think it'll still fit! Thankfully, I also had made some notes, so I knew where I was in the pattern. It's the raglan sleeve sweater from The Baby Knits Book, by Debbie Bliss. I've made it once before, when I was pregnant with Connor. This time I decided to knit it in the round (I hate seaming, so now all I'll have to seam is the armholes), and I made the body of the sweater 2" longer. I'm almost done with that sleeve pictured there. It looks like I bought an extra skein of yarn, probably so I could make a matching hat. If I work on this consitently each night before bed, I should have it done fairly quickly.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Nappy Bag #1

Last night I finished Nappy Bag #1 (out of 4). (I reviewed this pattern in March 2005. You can read it here). I hope she likes it. All I need to do now is go to the store and pick up some goodies to fill it with. Since most mamas get enough baby carp at baby showers, I'm going to fill this with goodies for her. It'll all depend on what I find, but I'm thinking some pretty notecards, a picture frame, chocolates/candies, lotions, etc.

I also have a good chunk of the orange batik leftover, and I'm thinking I'll use it in one of the other baby quilts.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Quilt top finished

Today I finished the top for baby quilt #1. There are supposed to be appliqued stars, and I have the FQ I was going to use for those, even made the star templates, but after getting the borders on, I decided the quilt is busy enough. David agreed, and so the top is finished! I have the backing, a star print in a teal color. I'm not wild about it, but it was the best I could find yesterday, and it really doesn't look that bad. I'm planning to quilt this myself (usually I bring my quilts in to the shop to be quilted on the long-arm machine), so now I need to baste/pin my backing, batting and top together. I think the basement floor is going to be the best place to attempt this.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sewing preparation

Sometimes it seems I have to do more preparation to get ready to sew, than the actual sewing time! In getting ready to sew the 4 Nappy Bags I have cut out, I basted the canvas to the outer fabric, and fused interfacing to 8 pocket pieces and 4 pocket flaps. I sure was wishing for an ElnaPress tonight! Now I can start sewing the bags together. Three of them will be sewn with black thread, so I should be able to get them done fairly quickly.

I also bought the borders and backing for baby quilt #1 today. Two pieces have been prewashed and are drying right now, the other two will be next, and I'll get them cut out this weekend.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I'm not too bad when it comes to UFOs (UnFinished Objects). My problem is when I decide something is a UFO, it tends to stay that way for years. Case in point: this Issey Miyake coat, which has been a UFO since ~ahem~ July 2002. All it needs is the sash sewn, and buttons/buttonholes. I don't know why it languishes in my closet, but it does. Maybe writing this out will be incentive to finish it and show you details. (by the way, if you're wondering, it's Vogue 1836, OOP)

Anyway, last night I started working on this pink jacket again. I started this last March. The jacket itself has been pretty much finished since about October, it's the lining that has been sitting. Usually I sew up the lining first, when making a jacket, but for some reason I didn't this time. Now you can see why I usually do the lining first -- it's boring, and the jacket is more fun. This is Nancy Erickson's jacket pattern 1945, out of the Peony Tweed from one of the spring newsletters in 2004 (I think. don't hold me to that date).

I made two muslins of this before cutting, ending up using a size 8 with a FBA. I still need to put the sleeve heads and shoulder pads in, but otherwise, it's ready for bagging. The entire jacket is underlined with Texture Weft, and I used Armo Weft on the undercollar and facings. Unfortunately, I lost another 10 pounds after cutting the jacket out, so I'm not really sure how it fits me now. I think the bust dart might be a bit low. Either way, this jacket will look great with black pants or skirts, jeans, and I might have enough extra to squeeze out a little skirt. It also looks fabulous with my Anne Klein pink slingbacks. Have I ever mentioned I have a shoe fetish?

Getting all this sewing done with a toddler can be difficult, but here is how I manage, most of the time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Menu Planning

This past fall, my two older boys joined Boy Scouts. As part of earning his Webelos Fitness badge, Caleb had to plan a week's worth of meals. That week was really nice, so we continued to plan meals together, a week at a time. Then the holidays came and went, and we got out of the habit. One of my personal goals for this next year is to get better at home management; I'm trying to get back in the habit of meal planning. Here is the plan for this week:

Monday -- we kinda were on our own. bad mama.
Tuesday -- quesadillas
Wednesday -- chicken noodle soup
Thursday -- spaghetti
Friday -- pork chops/mashed potatoes
Saturday -- fajitas
Sunday -- calzones

As you can see, I just write the main dish down. I figure out the side dishes as I go. I also take a look at the week's schedule of activities when planning the meals, so that I can take advantage of using the crock pot on a busy day, or plan a fast easy meal.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Quilt progress

Today I worked on the baby quilt. I pieced all the blocks, and ended up with 27 duo blocks (two fabrics) and 27 trio blocks (three fabrics). I tried to make each block different, which got to be kinda hard after a while. I think some of the blocks look nice, and some just so-so.

After I got the blocks pressed, I laid them out on my dining room table, to figure out where I wanted each block. David took a look at my layout too, because I wanted to be sure I had the light lights and dark darks dispersed evenly. He tweaked the layout a bit, and we came up with this. Now I need to stitch the blocks into rows, then the rows together.

Overall, I think the quilt is turning out ok, but it's more yellow looking that what I had pictured in my head. (as always, click on any picture to see the full version)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cutting, cutting, cutting

Over the past few days I've been cutting out a bunch of stuff. While I have a dedicated sewing room, I don't have the space to always have cutting out, so I tend to cut in batches. Since Wednesday night, I have cut out baby quilt #1 and 4 Nappy Bags. I still have to cut the canvas out for 2 of the Nappy Bags, but that canvas still needs to be pre-washed and dried. Check out the yardage out stat now!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Door

The week before last, we had a 'new' front door put on. If you don't know, I live in what was my father's house. After he died, I inherited it, and all the work that needed to be done to it. He didn't really maintain it properly. One of the few things he did do was replace most of the entry doors -- with metal ones. They looked weird, and didn't match (the wood on the inside of the house is all pale oak. The doors were all dark walnut color).

Ok, back to what I started with. My father never threw out anything, and for once, that was a good thing. The original front door was still in the basement. So, we had someone come out, take the old door off, put the 'new' older door back on, and while we were at it, we had a storm door put on. I LOVE it! Now we can have the door open and the dog can lay on the floor and look outside. In the summer we can put the screen in, and have a breeze. Sometime this spring I'll re-paint the door, either a dark plum or red.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Yesterday I went over to JoAnn Fabrics to pick up a birthday present for a friend. While there I also picked up some fabric for an Amy Butler Nappy Bag. This is my first fabric purchase of the new year, and so I decided I'll keep 'stats' on my purchases, yardage in/out, and items made. You can see I put them over on the right there, in the side bar. I also keep a photo album at Kodak Gallery of all my sewing, and then I can look back on it when the year is out. Here is last year's photo album. I count yardage in when I buy it, I count yardage out when I cut it (since it's not yardage anymore). So, sometimes yardage is counted out for months before it's actually sewn up. It may seem backwards, but that is what works for me. That is my explanation for why right now there is no yardage out, but 2 items have been sewn so far this year.

Monday, January 16, 2006

One new hat, one new knitter

As promised, here is Connor in his new Knifty Knitted hat. I used the red loom, and it's just big enough. I tried making a beanie style, though once I got it on him, I think I could have done about 2 more rounds. It does look cute, though, doesn't it?

After seeing the hat I knit up, Caleb wanted to give it a try. So I've shown him how to do it, and now he's knitting a hat for Connor as well. The baby is going to have lots of hats. :) Caleb told me that he might make hats for everyone for next Christmas. That kid is a planner!

Busy Day

It's 8:20, I have a busy day today, and I already feel behind. En 40 minutos, mis niños tienen una clase de español. While they are there, I need to run and get a birthday present for a party luncheon tomorrow. At noon, I'm helping my mom move a door, and hopefully a desk. I have a LLL Leader meeting in the afternoon. My middle son has gymnastics in the evening. Sometime we need to get our studies in. Phew! I'm tired already! Usually I write out and plan our week on Sunday nights, but I didn't get to that last night. I goofed around on my Knifty Knitter instead, and made a hat for the baby (hopefully it will fit!). This afternoon I'll get my meal planning done, and write out the week's schedule. Tomorrow I'll try and get a photo up of the hat.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Organizealong progress

Over on NMSL, we have an annual "Organizealong/UFOs" in January. The goal is to kick off the new year with a fresh start by cleaning our areas, getting rid of stuff we really don't need, and clearing out UFOs. Last night my oldest had two friends come for a sleepover (between my kids and these kids and dh, SIX men in the house! ). I was able to work on my sewing room, which unfortunately has the distinction of also being the catch-all room. I was able to get a lot done, though. I moved our school books in there, on one side of my desk, I cleared off the rest of my desk and put my 24x36 cutting mat on it (that is going to be so nice for cutting quilts!), cleared out the bay window and window seat, and got the rug vacuumed. I sorted out some stuff for swapping/selling/donating, and found some UFOs to finish. Today I hope to finish up by cleaning off my ironing board, and maybe start some sewing. There is still a corner in there that is chaotic, but hey, it's a lot better than it was.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Baby Quilt #1

Here are the fabrics I have for the first baby quilt. The baby is due in March, and I don't know if it's a girl or a boy. I think they are going to find out, if possible. Anyway, I'll be using a pattern from the book Time To Quilt. The pattern name is Neighbor's Fence (the one you see on the cover). I'll be doing a smaller version, making it about 50x60 inches. I always like making baby quilts a little on the large side, so they can be used as lap quilts or for covering up slumbering toddlers that fall asleep under the dining room table.

I don't know where I got the idea to make the quilt in greens. I get these notions in my head, and just go with them at times. I picked up the fat quarters at two local fabric shops, The Cutting Table and Bigsby's. Some of them are unusual prints, so the finished quilt should look pretty cool. The orange FQ will be for the stars. I haven't picked up a b/w stripe yet (I'm thinking a zebra stripe will be really cool), or my borders. Hopefully this will go together quickly. I think it will, as I basically cut a bunch of rectangles, either piecing 2 or 3 in a block, then stitch the blocks together. I'll post progress as I go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Goals for 2006

Yesterday I wrote that one of my goals for this upcoming year is to keep on top of the gift sewing/giving. Here are my other goals:

~Make nice clothes for myself
~Do some charity sewing (inspired by Rowena's Advent Knitting)
~Make some nice things for my boys
~Make at least one heirloom garment (smocking optional)
~Sew more consistently, timewise
~Make some more quilts that we keep
~Track my $ spent on sewing
~Get some window treatments made
~Update my webpages more often
~Start blogging

Hey, look, I already accomplished one! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Planning and Scheduling

Each January I like to reflect on the past year, and look on towards the new upcoming year. I always have a few goals, or 'resolutions' for the new year (I'll have to post those another time), and one of those for me this year is to be better organized when it comes to gifts. I'm trying to decide what is a good system, or way, of planning and scheduling some gift making. For instance, there will be FOUR new babies coming (so far) into my life this year. Three are family, one is a really good friend. For family, I always make baby quilts. Last year I made the Amy Butler Nappy Bag for myself, and loved it so much that I now make it for baby showers.

One baby is due in March, two in June, and one in September. The first three are family, so that means I'll be making 3 baby quilts and 4 Nappy Bags. My problem? I want to come up with a way to get them made in time (well, maybe not the quilt for the March baby), without doing them at the last minute. I don't do good under pressure. Of course, I'll also have sewing for myself, the boys, the house, and other gifts, such as birthdays. Right now I'm thinking I'll just write everything on a sheet of paper, and check it weekly or bi-weekly. Yeah, low-tech, but sometimes that just works best.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My holidays are finally over

Finally! We had our annual Epiphany party on Saturday. It was a lot of fun, as always. First, a little history: my family (meaning my mom, brother, and me) used to get together with another family (of 6) every Christmas Eve. We'd have frozen pizza, various people would drop in and out, we'd go to midnight candlelight service, and then open presents. Then I got married, and David changed the tradition a bit in that we didn't have frozen pizza anymore, we had a real meal. :) Eventually, over time, as all of us 'kids' got married, it got more and more complicated to get together. About 3-4 years ago, we decided to move our get-together to Epiphany.

This year we had lasagna, caesear salad, and garlic bread as our main meal. Of course, we had too much, not to mention the appetizers, snacks, and desserts (oh, my mom makes the BEST tiramisu! then there was the creme bruleé, cheesecake, and apple pie). After the meal, we then play The Game. Everyone has brought a wrapped present (our rule is that it has to be under $10, or re-gifted), and then we all take turns (order is chosen randomly and the whole thing is masterminded by Luther). It's a LOT of fun. This year, I ended up with ear muffs, though at times I had Greenies or a long knitted striped hat.

Anyway, now my holidays are finally over, I can take the decorations down, and lose these pesky 5 pounds that have crept back on since reaching my goal.

Well, let's see where this goes

Finally, I've started a blog. This is something I've thought about for a while (well, one of my goals for last year was to blog, and I even created this account a year ago....), and now I've done it. I think I'll prolly use this mostly to muse on my sewing/knitting/quilting/crafting, but I might veer off on other tangents. We'll see. I don't know who will be reading it. What if I want to vent about my dh and something he's done to drive me batty? Or what if I want to complain about my kids? my in-laws? Get the idea? I don't know if I want everyone reading that stuff, especially the people I might be complaining about!

So, for now, this should be sewing (mostly) related. Only time will tell.