Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Snow Mum Finished

I've been wanting to make one of these for so long and even had the materials but for some reason couldn't get the motivation. So finally here it is finished and I think it's rather cute. Simple and Elegant at the same time. The pattern was really easy to follow and I only made a few substitutions.

Pattern: Amy Butler Snow Mum Pillow

Fabric Used: White Wool Felt Bought at Joann's with a 40% off coupon (wool felt is really expensive, I'd recommend saving your coupon)

Notions Used: WonderUnder, Interfacing and a button and embroidery floss from my stash.

Pattern Alterations: Used 16″ instead of 18″ pillow and needed to add several petals to the second and third "rings". Otherwise exactly as written.

Patrick gives it his Himalayan seal of approval (where's my lint roller?)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fabric Baskets and Snow Mum

I've been wanting to make one of these since I saw them a week ago on flickr. I used a great tutorial by Pink Penguin that can be found here. I adapted the size a little to make mine larger. The blue print is Bohemian Rhapsody by Blue Meadow Designs RJR fabrics and the brown used for the bottom and lining is scraps from a new brown flat sheet that I had from another project (oh the joy I get from up-cycling). I might make a few of these for Christmas gifts. All total with the cutting and sewing it probably only took me an hour and a half to make. They would be a nice little gift with a bottle of wine tucked in, or maybe coloring books and crayons for little ones.
I also started making the Snow Mum pillow (Free pattern from Amy Bulter) that I've been wanting to make for forever. It's a little tedious with all the cutting (in fact I had to stop several times because my thumb was going numb), but I think it's going to be really pretty when it's finished. I'm using 100% wool felt in a snowy white color.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apologies in Advance

A- the terrible photography of these gorgeous quilts
B- not having written down the titles of the quilts and names of the quilt makers
C- the horrible lighting in the auditorium (this one wasn't my fault, thankfully)

So as promised here are a few of the many photos I took at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza.

The last two I believe were made based on patterns from Kaffe Fassett's books. I wish I could have taken a photo of every quilt there, such inspiration!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Two down-Many to Go

Here's Jack's Finished quilt. I quilted this one in a two inch diamond pattern. The quilting is a little heavier than I did on Quinn's quilt and I really like how it turned out. I also used green cotton fabric scrap for the embroidered label and I like how it stands out a little more on the backing fabric. I'm glad to have them both finished and feel quite accomplished.
This weekend E and I went to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. It was really amazing and the quilts there were absolutely gorgeous. I took a bunch of photos that I'll upload in the next couple of days. Now I have so many ideas for new quilts I want to start, I hardly know where to begin. I bought some beautiful batiks and some wool felt that I plan on making into a strawberry candle mat for my grandmum. I also saw some fancy longarms which was pretty neat. When I have an extra 15-30k lying around I know where I can put it to good use.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Does it Take Me So Long to Take photos?

Probably the same reason it takes me 2 months to sew buttons on an otherwise completed sweater. I finish the body and see what the sweater will look like and then the excitement is over. I make the first mitten or the first quilt block or figure out that complicated lace pattern and then I lose my attention span. One sock syndrome a fellow knitter once called it.

In any case they are finally finished (buttons and all). All 100% wool and all top down raglan variations. I'm pretty sure they were all done on size 8 needles. The last one with toggles was wool purchased by my dad when he was in Ireland. You would think there would be wool everywhere in Ireland given it is a country known for its farms and sheep, but apparently my he had a horrible time finding yarn. France was also a difficult place to find yarn he tells me.

Whenever he travels I ask him to bring back local yarn or fabric. It doesn't quite make up for the fact that he's traveling while I'm living the life of an impoverished grad student (even though I graduated in May and it's now almost halfway through September), but it is better than a crappy t-shirt or little knick nacks I'll never use.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quinnie Done, Jack to Go!

This afternoon I finished up Quinnie Boo's quilt. I ever hand embroidered a little label to go on the back (this is the first quilt I've ever labeled, that's horrible, I know!). Sadly, if I had known how terribly simple it is to whip up one of this little labels I would have done it long ago. I just used a scrap of off white cotton and some red embroidery floss. I wrote the words on with a crayola washable marker and followed the lines.

The solid colored cottons are mostly Quilter's only cotton from Joanns and were scraps from previous projects. Some of the prints I used (in various colorways) include: Henry Glass Gardenia by Linda Lum Debono, Dots by Cranston Village, Maywood Studio Bee's Knees by Glenna Hailey, Peas and Carrots American Jane patterns by Sandy Klop and a few other 100% cotton polka dots and prints of unknown origins.
The batting is 80% cotton 20% poly. I typically use 100% cotton by warm and natural, but wanted to try something different to experiment with shrinkage. I love that wrinkly look on most of my quilts but would also like to find something that doesn't shrink for some of my bigger bed quilts. Wool perhaps?

Backing is a precut 100% cotton Ikea print with various zoo animals that I've had in my stash for a while. The one large piece was big enough to be the backing for both baby quilts and If I remember correctly I bought it for under 10 bucks, what a steal!

Quilting was done in straight lines with my walking food. This is the first quilt I've quilted with my new Juki and I am thrilled with the quality of the stitching. Now I just have to quilt and bind Jack's quilt and I can cross two Christmas gifts off my list (and it's only Mid-September). Maybe this terrible economy and lack of jobs does have some perks afterall :)


Monday, September 14, 2009

People Like Me+Dual Purpose School Supplies

Proof is here! Mrs. Messy has featured a photo of Jack's Quilt (and her other favorites) as part of her photo montage for the word of the week "quilt". How exciting, thanks Mrs. Messy, blog shout outs are super sweet!

The rest of this post brought to you by...Crayola Washable Markers and Elmer's Washable School Glue (Allow me to explain).

This afternoon I finished quilting Quinn's quilt with a simple "diamonds" pattern using straight lines and my walking foot. I did the first set of lines using 1.5 inch painters tape and tried to do the second set of lines...unfortunately the tape wasn't cooperating. I think the stickiness wore off too much and I was too lazy to tear off more tape, so I decided to draw on the lines using crayola washable markers and my clear ruler.Overall I think it was much easier. Although I like using tape because I don't go blind watching the drawn on lines, I think in the future I might just draw on my designs and not mess around with the tape. I've used these markers in the past and had no problem with them completely washing out (even after weeks of soaking into the fabric). I find them cheaper and easier to use then all of the traditional quilting pens that I've found a fabric stores.

I also sewed binding strips together and put them on the front of Quinn's quilt with my machine. In the past I've had horrible frustration (OK, temper tantrums following by yelling and cursing) attaching the "ends" of the binding together and onto my quilts. Either I have too much extra and I end up tucking fabric (which makes me nuts) or I cut the tails too short and then I have to sew on another piece (which makes me even more nuts).

Finally, thanks to this fabulous video on utube I made and attached a perfect binding! I'm so thrilled to have finally found such an easy solution (Elmer's glue to help attach binding, who knew?) I could dance around the room. Sharon Schamber's videos are excellent. If you haven't watched them yet, I highly highly recommend you take a gander.

Back to hand stitching the binding to the back


Saturday, September 12, 2009


8 years and 1 day after a tragedy our country will never forget. Feels like just yesterday I was walking home to my dorm after an uneventful and rather boring 8am math class. It was my first year of college and I had only been away from home for a few weeks.

Still a little in shock about being alone and 6+ hours away from my family, September 11th felt like it was going to be a good day. The crisp fall air had warmed nicely by the time my class was over and the ocean's rhythmic pulse was soothing and reminiscent of home.

I was in my own world, contemplating stopping for a bowl of cereal before the tiny dining hall overcrowded, when another student came running towards me. "Odd", I thought to myself... college student are not up at 8am, unless they have to be, and they certainly aren't running in their street clothes. "A plane hit the world trade center, go turn on your tv", she gasped as she ran by. So I walked faster until I reached my dorm.

By the time I made it there everyone was awake and fixated on their TVs and computers as the mayhem unfolded. People were crying, cellphones wouldn't work, my roommate's dad was on a plane somewhere and we couldn't find out which flights crashed. It was a day, a week, a year I'll never forget. I'm thankful that President Obama has called for a day of service and hope that the compassion and love that people shared after 9/11/01 will be rekindled and remembered each 9/11 and throughout the year.

On a more upbeat note, I present two very bright baby quilt tops that I made for my Nephews for Christmas. Funky and happy polka dots, bright primary solids, and a mishmosh of blocks and patterns. They are exactly the brightness I needed on this dreary day. Please excuse the blurry photography, I still can't manage to find a time of day when the lighting is right to take photos inside the apartment.

Oh and the Ikea zoo fabric that the tops are lying on I plan to use as the backing. I wanted to make sure that the tops and backs were approximately the same size so I don't have to trim down the tops to fit on the back.
Little Gray dog loves to help his mummy organize her quilt blocks. Thankfully he has a good eye for color.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Proof You Can BUY Happiness

My new Juki arrived less than an hour ago and I am thrilled. I'm on the tail end of finishing up my second quilt for the nephews and so far have been able to control my impulsive need to rip the packaging open and fondle the 98q. I've waited for so long it seems to have this machine in my possession and now that it's here it's almost too fabulous to open (almost). I told myself I couldn't start using it until I finish quilt 2, but since it's almost complete I might have to do an all nighter so I can open the box.

E and I went to an arts and crafts festival this weekend in New Paltz (up state NY). Here are some of my purchases...

Unfortunately the third photo didn't come home with us. As much as I'd love to have an Alpaca, little gray dog and the himis say there isn't enough room in the apartment. Maybe someday when I buy that antique farmhouse I've been dreaming about.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Best Things in Life are Free

Little Italy
Originally uploaded by Little Gray Dog

Or, $5 at Quickly. I actually had some crafty things to share last week and I totally forgot to blog about one of my favorite pastimes...wandering around Chinatown.

E and I use to go much more frequently, but have been pretty busy this summer and haven't had much time to hang out in the city. Someone told me when I moved to New York that most of my time would be spent in the 10 block radius surrounding my apartment and I laughed at them. Well it turns out they were right. Most of the things you need (food, laundry, takeout etc.) are within a 10 block radius and as a result I don't explore as much as I did when I first moved here.

So here is proof that I do actually leave my house...
Grand Street

The corner of Grand street where the most wonderful fresh watermelon slush bubble teas are made at Quickly (no I don't work for them, but if my current unemployment streak continues perhaps I should put in an application, no?)

The wax paper bag is filled with cream cakes. I usually buy them at quickly but decided to give the little stand beside Quickly a go. While waiting in line I asked E if I thought the health department inspected the vendor's stand, he shrugged. I'm not sure why I even bothered to ask given E had congee with preserved egg and pork, with a fresh raw egg mixed in for lunch. Frogs and snail and chicken feet were all on the menu, I had spring rolls and dumplings.

Progress on the boys' quilts will be posted soon


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

C'est Fini

Originally uploaded by Little Gray Dog

finally Ziggy is finished and photographed (albeit, poorly). I still can't manage to take a decent photograph with my camera inside, but I'm working on it. Inspired by Denyse Schmidt's Big Zig the chocolate brown fabric is Kona cotton and the florals are mostly Kaffe Fassett prints purchased at the Button Box in Wellesley, MA. The backing is hot pink Quilter's Only cotton from JoAnns.

The quilting is simple shadow quilting with Coats and Clark 100% cotton machine quilting thread and was sewn a quarter inch from the edge of the brown zigs. When the binding was finished I washed and dried and really like the wrinkly effect. The batting is warm and natural 100% that I picked up at JoAnns.

Now I'm working on a couple of Christmas Quilts for my nephews, photos to come soon.