Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holiday Cheer

Now that the day is passed and my me-made gifts have been delivered, here's a quick rundown.

I made a couple of Maria Denmark Kirsten Tees for friends. This shirt is so easy to wear and looks good on most anyone, so I figured they might enjoy them.

I also sewed up a couple sets of pot holders

And knit a ruffly scarf for the son's girlfriend.

The boys seemed to like their quilts as well as any 20-something man could be expected to.
nephew wrapped in quilt

son taking quilt for a test drive

Hope the holidays brought you plenty to smile about!
Zoe being petted to a fare-the-well at the Pause for Paws event up on campus

Monday, December 22, 2014

All Done But the Wrapping!

Whew! After a marathon binding-sewing session yesterday I can report that the nephew quilts are ready for gifting.

Here they are, draped over the back of the couch. We've been having a delightful spate of gray and rainy weather here on the central coast, so this was my best option for a photo shoot.

Quilt for nephew #1, using most of my red/purple/brown scraps

Quilt for nephew #2, going for blues

Tuns out when you use blues you end up with a water theme, whether you plan it that way or not

Quilt for nephew #3, going for purples and greens

I hope you can see the quilting, at least a little. The Quilt Pixie totally saved my bacon.

Quilt for son #1, who said his favortie colors are blue or black

But, acting on the Quilt Pixie's recommendation, I gave him a zippy red backing.
It was touch and go for a little while. The Quilt Pixie lost power during one of our November storms and then had some techinical difficulties firing her magic quilting machine back up again. She finished up my last two quilts in plenty of time, though. It was so worth it to have the quilting done by an expert! Her recommendations on backing, quilting patterns and thread were all just right. She matched the quilting to the theme of each quilt, even down to finding a pattern that looked like neurons for the nephew who's getting his PhD in neuroscience.

Then it was up to me to stitch on that binding. I don't know how many feet of binding were involved, but it felt like miles. My hand sewing skills are not the finest, so my fingers are showing the wear and tear. Here's a tip you might find useful; human saliva contains an enzyme that dissolves the proteins in blood. Don't mention this part to the nephews though, OK?

In between quilts I sewed up a few other items for gifts, but I'll post about those later. Some of the recipients might possibly check my blog and I don't want to ruin the suspense.

Here's an idea for a last-minute gift though:

Get yourself a little bottle of glass etching cream, some Avery labels and a couple of paper punches, like the kind people use for scrap booking. Then pick up some cheap glassware. Cut little stencils from the labels and stick them on the glassware. Paint on the etching cream to transfer the stencils to the glass.

Bingo, you have etched glass. I've done little candy dishes, coffee cups, wine glasses and, like below, candle holders. The candle holders are kind of cute because the flame casts little shadows in the shape of the etching.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quilt Top Four is Done and Dusted

It's beginning to look like I might actually have four quilts finished in time to gift to boys. 

This is all thanks to the kind souls who assured me it would not be a major cop out to have the Quilt Pixie handle my sandwiching. 

I deviously asked Boy Number Four what his favorite colors were and he said probably blue or black. Black seemed a little too somber to me as the sewist, so I went with blue. Turns out if you use blues you're liable to end up with an undersea motif or two.

Lest you think I'm leaving all the hard parts to a professional, I will be putting on my own binding. I've done some googling about technique. It looks like the recommended method is to machine sew the binding along the edge on the front of the quilt, then flip the binding to the back and slip stitch the edge. These aren't big quilts and we've been doing a certain amount of TV watching on these long winter nights, so I can probably finish that hand sewing in time for the big day. But just in case I find myself pressed for time, would stitching in the ditch to secure the binding on the back be a workable alternative?

These quilts are going to live with twenty-something males, so they're liable to spend at least part of their lives wadded up on a closet floor. I'm not aiming for heirloom quality here!