Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wedding Quilt and Bedskirt

I have a personal rule for internet equanimity: don't read the comments. If I want to continue happily about my day I do not want to know what the random strangers on the internet think, it's why I rarely solicit comments on my blog (even though I know inviting discussion helps grow readership), because in my experience, usually, random strangers are cruel. A wonderful exception to that rule is where I participate in the Sew Obsessed forum. That is a wonderful group of people who always make me feel so good about my projects.

My most recently compleated project is a queen size quilt. I'm not really much of a quilter and I was feeling a little self-conscious about some of the mistakes on my quilt, so I wasn't sure I wanted to post it, but I did. I prefaced it by saying is was only mediocre and I've received nothing but positivity and support about it. People said things like I must use a different definition of mediocre then them and that there never was a quilt made with perfectly straight lines. Thanks to the support of random internet strangers I am feeling much happier with my finished object so I wanted to share it with you also. I wish the rest of the internet was as pleasant as that group.

When I got married my goal was to make as much that was reusable as possible and to spend as little money as I could get away with (I'm pleased with my success on both counts). One of the ways I did that was making bunting to hang from the ceiling of my venue. 

All of the fabric used in that bunting came from my grandmother, my mom, my mother-in-law or my own stash of fabric. That alone gives me a glowy, happy, peaceful feeling. I thought the bunting was a sweet touch and a nice way to bring in some color and it didn't take too long to make, all things considered. And when I was done with it all that fabric became the triangles in my quilt. Now being wrapped in that quilt is like getting a warm hug from all the crafty women in my family.

Like I said, I'm not really much of a quilter. I've never attempted anything that big before, but I pieced the top together, sandwiched batting between it and a giant piece of white cotton, slapped the walking foot on my machine and I stitched about 1/4" away from each seam on the triangles in nice long diagonal lines. 

I really like the pattern that the quilting made on the backing too. 

I know white on white is hard to see, but it makes a cute little Star of David. 

I used a bright white 100% cotton batting. I like cotton for batting because it's still thin, but it has more weight to it than poly or blends. I like a quilt to be a bit heavy, but not too stiff. I stuck to minimal quilting partly because it was less intimidating and partly because the less you quilt it the less stiff the finished quilt it. This particular batting only had to be quilted every 10" so my 6.5" triangles fit the bill just fine. 

The other fabric you may have noticed in the shot of my venue was the burlap runners on all the tables. 

I was going to just use burlap table clothes, but Husband was convinced that it would be scratchy. I kept saying no one was going to be rolling naked on the tables, but he was adamant. Fortunatly, my mother-in-law had white table cloths so I bought 20 yds of burlap and cut it in half and hemmed it to make table runners instead. At the time I was grumbling about the extra work but now I'm happy about it because the tables looked cute and the runners were easy to reuse. I turned them into a bed skirt.

The finished length of my table runners was 2.5 yds and I used 8 of them (so 20 yds of fabric, but the yardage is cut in half, you would need to buy 10 yds of burlap to replicate this). I sewed them to the remains of an old fitted sheet I got from my mom. I didn't want the pleats to look too even and mechanical so I just did them randomly by hand as I was feeding the fabric through the machine. Since I had already hemmed the fabric it only took about 2 hours to finish this project. 

And I think it looks great with the quilt. Now the bed just needs like 6 or 8 more pillows (I love pillows, Husband thinks they are stupid, but I think he is going to lose this battle) and a headboard and it will be perfect! When Husband and I first started dating more than 6 years ago I made him buy a mattress but I bought the sheets and comforter. We've had the same one since then and I am totally sick of it now. I'm really glad that I was able to repurpose wedding items into a nice update for our bedroom decor. The comforter is still under there, the quilt isn't warm enough for winter all on its own, but at least I don't have to look at it anymore and I've still got some burlap left, so I might make it into pillows, or curtains, or something, I'm not sure yet, but for the moment I am pleased. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016


I was really slow to embrace leggings as acceptable public articles of clothing. I still don't think they can be worn as a substitute for pants, but I am now willing to leave the house in a tunic and leggings. I've been told by friends that what I think of as tunic length the rest of them just call a short dress. Ah well, the beauty of making my own clothes is that I can always make sure my dresses and tunics are lengths that I am comfortable in.

Anyway, as part of my new willingness to wear leggings, I decided to make a pair. I found some absolutely beautiful rusty red knit fabric at JoAnn's the other day. I don't think any of my pictures do justice to the color. It is a nice thick rayon/poly blend with 1% spandex and about 30% 2-way stretch. I decided to make one pair of long leggings and if I liked the way the fabric wore for the day I might go back and get more.

I'm going to need to go get more in other colors.

I finished the leggings yesterday and I wore them all day and even slept in them to see if they would end up baggy the way some knits do. There were no problems. I woke up this morning with them looking as fresh as they did when I first slipped them on.

I think I am going to make this pattern again, but I am going to make some changes. When I first sewed them together I thought the rise through the crotch looked ridiculously long. It's meant to sit 1.5" below the natural waist. After wearing them for a day I've decided that I would actually like it to be higher, like at my natural waist. They fit alright standing, but I think they were designed for someone with a little less booty because when I sit down they slip too low. Not a problem with a long tunic, but not what I want them to do either. They also stretch oddly around my tummy. Not in a I-made-a-size-too-small way, but just in a they-are-not-the-same-shape-as-me way. Before I put the elastic in the casing it gapped a little in the back, so I think they pattern was designed with more of a teenager's body in mind, you know, very very straight, no tummy, hips, or booty yet. I think I need just a little more room in the front. 

But again, with a long tunic on, this pair will totally do the trick. And speaking of neat tricks, I played with the stretch stitch on my machine for the first time while making these. 

Stretch stitch is a cool stitch that stitched and finishes a seam in one pass. It also makes a strong seam with enough stretch that you can use it on knits without popping a stitch. In the past, I've just zigzagged seams on knits and that also does the trick, but the stretch stitch looks neater and more professional. I learned how to do it by checking my machine's manual. I've actually learned a fair number of neat stitches that way.

I also finally got a twin needle hem that I am happy with on these leggings. Not a super straight hem, mind you, but at least the tension is okay.

I love how professional the twin needle looks because it looks the same as ready to wear, but you also have to hem from the right side because the wrong side of a twin needle hem just looks like zig-zag stitch, so I think it's going to take some practice for me to keep fabrics from slipping while sewing on the right side of the garment. 

Oh, I nearly forgot. The pattern is from New Look. I don't remember the pattern number but the legging pattern was available in a couple different pattern envelopes paired with knit tunics. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Works in Progress (WIPs)

Are y'all familiar with the term multicraftual? It's like being multilingual, instead of just speaking one language (knitting) you speak multiple languages (knitting, sewing, quilting, spinning, tatting). Some people see it as a sign of being unwilling to commit/having a short attention span. Others see it as natural branching out of interrelated talents. Guess which school of thought I belong too.

And speaking of opposing schools of thought there are also those who say that you should have only one project at a time, while others believe that variety is the spice of life.

Normally I have three or four knitting projects, a quilt, several sewing and tatting projects and a cross-stitch all competing for my attention. This blog probably makes it appear that I spend most of my time sewing because most of my posts are about sewing, but hour for hour, I am a knitter first and foremost. Of course, hour for hour, it just takes longer to knit something then it does to sew. 

Today I was thinking about Works in Progress (called WIPs if you are on Ravelry) because since the wedding I have felt like I have nothing going on project wise. Seriously, my sewing table is actually clean of projects right now, it's sort of freaking me out. Husband and I got engaged one year ago today and since then it's been a whirlwind of wedding related DIY craft projects. The post-wedding project void feels very really y'all. But contrary to the way that I feel I actually have a lot going on at the moment. It's just less stressful because there is no "due date" so to speak.

Right now I have a quilt top pieced together and half quilted. This picture is the unquilted top laying on my bed to show the size.

I've also got a bolt of burlap, hemmed and waiting to become a bed skirt. 

I have a pair of leggings that just need to be hemmed, and I have four t-shirts, four camisoles, and five pairs of panties cut out and waiting to be sewed together. I don't have pictures yet, but I will probably bust them out this weekend and then post pics on Instagram. 

Knitting wise I've got a pair of socks I just started two days ago. Also, I love how well the yarn coordinated with my pajamas.

I have a perpetual sock yarn scrap miter square blanket going on.

I have the scarf of insanity that I will honestly maybe never finish, but I enjoy working on it sporadically anyway.

There is also a secret Christmas project on the needles. And there are always washcloths to knit because it is impossible to have two many washcloths.

Non-sewing and knitting projects I have half a skein of alpaca/silk noil yarn spun, and 3/4 of a handkerchief edge tatted.

And I've got a large cross-stitch image that I've been working on for years and probably will continue to work on for years to come.

So really, I have plenty going on. Maybe I've even got a touch of project ADD, but I prefer to think of myself as more of a Renaissance Man. I don't want to specialize, I want to know a bit about everything. Husband is afraid that it's a way to never really master anything and I am not saying that he is wrong, but I do think I would feel limited if I had stuck to only knitting. What do you think? Do you prefer to have only one project at a time, or do you want to be able to switch what you are working on whenever you get bored?