November 30, 2011

Tag, You're It

A partially hand made Christmas is feeling more realistic this year, and so I've been working on a few small things.

First up is this little Taggie Blankie for a sweet baby boy. I used two pieces of gorgeous fabric I've been hoarding since a quilty friend sent them to me. Fishing is the big theme in his life, and I think the turtles will add a bit of variety without straying too far. And I think this cuddly blankie was just the right project for those special fabrics.

I had planned to quilt it, but half way through the top stitching I realized that was the wrong plan. It wanted to be soft and drapey. With flannel giving it a soft weight, that was what I had, and extra stitching was just taking away from it. So, I ripped out the top stitching and used an invisible ladder stitch to close it up.

Now, I just need to wrap it up!

November 23, 2011

All Treat

But, before the wedding, there was Halloween. Sprite made an incredibly cute Lady Bug. Here she is just before heading out to Trick or Treat with the neighbor girl.She was really confused at first, but caught on quickly. She wasn't all that in to taking the candy at first, but she loved being able to run up to each door and knock on it. As long as the neighbor was there with her, at least. Safety in numbers you know. And she caught on to the candy by the end of the night; Grandma taught her about peanut butter cups. The Halloween candy is now safely out of sight. Frankly, I need to find a moment to get it out of my house, so that I stop eating it, too.

For anyone who is curious, the costume was fairly easy to make. For the dress, I just added a skirt to a black onesie, by gathering the fabric and then sewing it on.

The wings were made by drawing out my own pattern on to four pieces of interfacing, ironing the interfacing on to the fabric, and then cutting all four out. I then cut two batting pieces of the same shape and size by just laying those pieces on top of the batting. Next I layered two pieces, right sides together, and then a piece of batting on top. I sewed around, leaving space to turn at approximately where I expected to sew it on to the onesie dress. After I turned it, I needed to gently press, and then I sewed the opening shut. (I didn't bother with top stitching.)

The wings were then loosely sewn on to the dress with a running stitch. I kept my stitches mostly in the seam line and they were nearly invisible. You have to keep it loose, though, or the stitches will pop when you put the dress on her.

Completing the ensemble - a little red tutu to fluff the skirt out, black stockings and sparkly shoes. That was all she wore to the Halloween party, but on Halloween itself the weather was crisp so I put a long-sleeved onesie underneath it. I couldn't find black at the time, but white really worked just fine. Oh, and I gave her a little purse to use as her candy bag. I had a black headband for her, but she wasn't interested in wearing it.

It really only took a few hours to make, even learning how to deal with the slippery fabric, and she looked a treat.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

November 22, 2011

Done and Done

For the first time in over a month, I am home and not packing for the next trip. It's been a grand fall, but I am awfully glad to be home for awhile.
But, in the midst of all that, the wedding quilt did get done. And on time, too. The machine quilting was just about as much of a disaster as I expected it to be. I had serious tension problems, even after testing it on a sample sandwich and reading all the tips I could find, and rip out lots and lots of rows of quilting. It got alot better as I went along, though. I think the problem was my choice to pin baste, even though I saw that as the recommended method on several sites. I like pin basting when I'm hand quilting, but I think it caused too much drag when machine quilting. There was definite distortion in the quilt, even after I ripped out the worst of the too tight quilting.
But, the bride (a quilter) and her Mama (also a quilter) loved it, distortions and all. No one is more generous about a quilt, particularly one where you're trying a new skill, than another quilter. And since I picked a pattern I knew she loved and fabrics that I knew she would love, what was a little distortion in the scheme of things.

It was a funny moment, when she picked up the present, too. She peeked in the gift bag - the best I could do travelling cross-country the day before - and immediately said "this one's from Cara." I guess none of her local friends are quilters! That's just as well, because the card was back in Florida.

So, that's one project done - and the bride and groom were happily married off a week later in a beautiful celebration, so that's done, too. Now, on to Christmas!