Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either. ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Friday, September 16, 2011

Patchwork fleece blanket

This is what I've been working on for the past couple of days:

Just a quick-and-dirty photo to give an idea. Planning to get some better photos as soon as we get another sunny day.

These fleece fabrics have been in my stash for a while - several years, I guess. After reorganizing my craft room, and having the fleece grouped together on its shelf, I kept staring at it and thinking about how so much of it seemed like it should go together. It didn't take too much of a leap to decide to make it into a patchwork blankie.

I cut 35 11-inch squares, for a finished size of around 50x70. After fiddling with the layout for a while - and making a diagram, thank goodness - I sewed them together with a 1/2-inch seam, then topstitched on either side of each seam, catching the seam allowances in. I could have sewn butted seams, but I liked the look of the topstitched seams and I thought they'd probably hold up better. There was enough of the print left to cut 1 1/2-inch strips for binding. I sewed the binding to the right side of the blanket all the way around with a 3/8-inch seam allowance, then turned it over the seam allowances to the back, and stitched in the ditch all the way around, catching the edge of the binding in back. At least, that was the idea; in practice, I should have either sewn a narrower seam or trimmed the seam allowances, because it was a struggle catching in the binding edge. In some places it's stitched three times, and it looks a right mess in back. Oh, well; lesson learned!

Of course, this was after finishing the five one-piece outfits for my friend's little boy. I was able to deliver them this evening and I'm happy to say they are a big success. I'm told they fit perfectly with just enough room to grow, and he gave them a beautiful sweet smile when they put one on him this evening. I'm very content with that result!

Next up, another batch, this time for his little brother. Also, things are starting to move along just a little as far as getting organized with producing these on a wider basis. A friend of ours on the West Coast is a professional pattern designer, and she's willing to lend a hand with developing our ideas and drafting patterns! So exciting! Bit by bit, I'm moving closer to my goals.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I've been busy!

Not busy blogging, obviously. But busy shopping and sewing. Most importantly, I bought a new sewing machine! It's a Janome Memorycraft 4900QC, which is a computerized machine with a good variety of stitches, and it came with a few accessories geared for quilters - a 1/4-inch piecing foot and a walking foot, most notably. It also has an automatic buttonhole foot which is pretty nice, although I think it tends to make the buttonhole too big if I just put the button in the slot like I'm supposed to. But it's smooth and quiet and I really like it. Even the little flip-down automatic needle threader attachment has endeared itself to me. And my fabulous husband made a cut-out in my desktop so that it can sit with the workspace level with the desktop - giant extension table, woo!

I'm not even sure what I've completed since the last time I blogged. In all, in recent weeks I've made three different marine-themed Hawaiian shirts for my older son, including one of this really nice fabric:

And a really spiffy Hawaiian shirt for my husband, using this fabric:

I've also finished a very cute long-sleeved knit top and a couple of woven tops for Amelia, plus a pair of elastic-waist corduroy pants for both her and Owen, hers purple and his dark brown. I'll try to get some photos up one day soon. And currently I'm assembly line-sewing five one-piece suits for my friend's dear little boy, severely autistic like Amelia - using some of the 35 yards of cotton quilting fabrics I bought from Connecting Threads a while back. Some of the rest will become five more for her younger boy, also autistic, and four more for Amelia.
Sooo.... that's about it, I guess, at least for the sewing projects. Last weekend my husband and I tackled my sewing/craft room and got it pretty well whipped into shape. Here is my collection of crafting books - quilting, sewing, cross-stitch, knitting, crochet - it's all there! Oh, and that stack of plastic bins in the corner? Yeah, that's my yarn stash:

Here is my main work area:

That table on the left is my cutting table and overflow workspace. I still need to raise it up just a couple of inches to put it at the ideal height for me to stand and cut. And I need to get some blinds up in those windows so it's lighter in there at night, and less sunny in the afternoon. And here is the rest of my storage shelving:

The lower shelves are holding my two other sewing machines - an older, basic Kenmore and the Bernina 1080 - a few of my smaller knitting UFOs, small fabric scraps in plastic shoeboxes, my sewing patterns in the largest basket, and on the bottom my three unfinished quilts. The tall shelves are holding the rest of my fabric, plus batting, interfacing, and polyfill. Probably 80% of that fabric, by volume, is just from the last month or so of shopping. Um. I'm all done fabric shopping for a while. Mostly.....