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The Velveteen Rabbit

When I was a little girl my great grandmother sent me and my sister a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. She also included a cassette tape recording of her reading the book, and a handmade teddy bear for each of us.  That gift stuck with me and has given me a lifetime appreciation for the magic of toys.  Needless to say, the book is a favorite in my household — creepy references to a “skin horse” and all :)

So when I realized that my friend’s son was turning three, I knew exactly what to make him. Right down to the pink nose and coal black eyes.

Velveteen Rabbit, by Stitchified

The pattern for this little guy came from Jill Hamor’s book, Storybook Toys. This is the third project I’ve made from this book (other projects are here and here). While I do love this book, the patterns are short on photos especially when compared to .pdf patterns and blog tutorials. The pattern is entirely manageable though; no seam ripper required.

Velveteen Rabbit, by Stitchified

A few notes on construction… His body is a fawn-colored organic cotton velour. Most of the velour parts are reinforced with fusible fleece, except the ears and tail which were left fusible-free for maximum silkiness.  The belly and under-ears are organic cotton sherpa, which I’ve raved about before (seriously tactile heaven, people). He is gently stuffed with wool for superior squish, and weighted ever-so-slightly so that he sits well in the hand (or tucked under an arm).  He is also the first softie that I’ve made on my Featherweight, which seems only fitting since I’m told that was my great grandmother’s machine of choice.

Velveteen Rabbit, by Stitchified

And, of course, a copy of Margery Williams’s book accompanied the bunny to his new home.  I’m told that he was granted a place of honor “in the bed clothes,” which is exactly how I hoped his story would go. :)

Linking up with CrazyMomQuilts and Finish it Up Friday.

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Partial Lonestar Baby Quilt

Partial Lonestar
I did it!  I’m still fighting my way through this pregnancy sickness (HG is nobody’s friend), but I’ve been determined to sew. It’s a sanity thing. The days are tough to get through, but I’ve been chipping away at my niece’s baby quilt nonetheless. Finally finishing is so rewarding and feels amazingly life affirming.

This quilt has been on my quilty bucket list ever since I saw Better Off Thread’s version 
here. I absolutely love the modern twist she gave the traditional lone star by turning it (literally!) on it’s side, and slicing it in half. I decided to leave well enough alone and didn’t change much on my version.

You can find a great tutorial for the lone star on here site 
here, though it doesn’t include instructions for (in)setting the star in the background — which I found a little tricky.  You can see my seam lines in the quilt top below if you’re curious. Granted, I (greatly!) complicated things by skimping on yardage, so I had to carefully combine what I had to cover the shortage. A quick word of the wise on the offset star though — you’ll need a lot of bias cuts to make it work, so expect a stretchy quilt top.

Partial Lonestar top, by stitchified

Because the quilt top was so stretchy (and because I was too scared to attempt a new FMQ design!) I decided to keep things simple with the quilting. I stitched in the ditch inside the star, and then quilted 1″ lines radiating out of the star. I love how the diamonds in the negative space echo the piecing in the star.  I’m pretty pleased with how the quilting came out, even if those bias edges caused me a lot of heartburn. If I make another bias-tastic quilt, I might be a little more generous with my basting.  Oh, and though you can barely tell they are there, I added a few lines of hot pink contrasting thread to the quilting. Love it!
The quilt is backed in a navy polka dot, and bound in a cheery white and pink polka dot.

Partial Lonestar -- backing (by Stitchified)

I even managed to take this one out for a real photo shoot! It came with us to our CSA where I found a nice spot in the shade of the old silo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many good shots because it was a crazy windy (Hurricane Arthur had only just cleared out). What I did get were a few hilarious outtakes, which at least show off the background I was *attempting* to capture. Better luck next time, quilt team :)

Outtake, by stitchified

Linking up with CrazyMom and Finish it Up Friday!

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SewTogetherBagI am very lucky to have a support network that contains a few female powerhouses. And this year has made me particularly grateful for each and every one of them. 

Which is why I was extra happy to stealth-make a #SewTogetherBag for my dear friend, and kindred spirit, MamaPeaches. And mail it off as a surprise just because. Bwhaha. Yep, I’m sneaky like that. 

This bag came together easily, even if it did take me a month to actually finish. It is definitely easier the second time around!. I used both my Featherweight (master top-stitcher!) and my Horizon (hooray for layer-devouring Accufeed!) which is becoming a favorite setup for bag-making projects. The exterior is an Echino print, and the interior is Essex Linen in sand. The zippers are, of course, from Zipit including an exterior brass zipper which is completely drool worthy. 

Quality testing sewtogetherbag

All zippers underwent rigorous quality control testing, and passed with high marks for “swishyness.”

And while I tried to tone down my usual rainbowgasm palette, I just *had* to hide a few splashes of color in the pocket linings. For added luxury, the needle pad is a double layer of turquoise wool felt, and the mini pin cushion is wool-stuffed. I hope she likes it! 

SewTogether InsideAnd now, in closing, a little PSA: Every quilter needs at least one of these bags. Pattern here. They are a must have for EPP and sewing retreats. Seriously. Friends don’t let quilty friends go without. Besides, secret sewing is pretty much the best! :)

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at CrazyMom!

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Casige Toy Sewing MachinesMy husband scored a pair of Casige toy sewing machines at the Brimfield Flea Market this weekend. I am ecstatic! They date from the post WW2 era, and are stamped “Made in Germany, British Zone.” Researching the pair has proven surprisingly difficult.  Casige was an extremely prolific toy maker, with over 80 models were made between 1902 – 1975.  With so many models out there, it’s really difficult to track down exactly what I have here. I think the red one is probably a Model #1015, but I haven’t found a good match for the larger silver one. It’s going to make it tricky to find replacement needles!

They came to me absolutely caked in dirt. I’m no neat freak, but honestly they were too dirty to enter the house. I spared you all photos of that hot mess. Honestly, I thought the larger one was tan colored when it was fresh from the fair. Thankfully a few sprays of Tuff Stuff took care of the worst of the grime, and revealed a silver machine (not tan!). Though there’s still *plenty* of cleaning work to be done.

Silver Casige TSMI started taking the larger silver one apart, and let me tell you… it is rust city. I was able to loosen the screws after a long soak in WD-40, but the one on the base plate is still stuck. The chrome pieces are soaking in vinegar to take care of the rust. I haven’t used that technique before, but I have my fingers crossed! I’ve used WD-40 to clean the gunk in the machine head, which has things moving more smoothly.

Casige Restoration WIPThe next question is whether to stick to restoring, or do a full repaint. I usually try to keep things original, but I think the finish on these is too far gone. Which begs the question… if I repaint, do I go crazy with a dark royal purple? Or play it cool with a more vintage appropriate powder blue or something? Hmmm… decisions! What do you folks think? Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

Restore TSM by Stitchified

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Spring catch up!

Yikes! Sorry for the radio silence over here.

In a lovely ironic twist, the very thing that got me started on my sewing adventure is now causing me to take a forced break. Yes, that’s right…  I’m very happy to announce that we are expecting baby #2 this November.  And while I’m eager to welcome this baby into the world, I’ll be equally excited to wave goodbye to the non-stop puke fest that is my life right now. Seriously, this pregnancy has not been easy on Mama.

I have been chipping away at a few projects, but I don’t have much to show for it… and you’ll have to excuse the lazy iPhone photos.

There is this new quilt top in the works for my brother’s new baby girl. I’m going to do this as a half-lone star with a grass-green background. Can I also say that I just *love* Vanessa’s Color Me Happy line?

LoneStar Quilt WIP by StitchifiedAnd I managed to sew up a Sew Together Bag for my hexie EPP projects. Phew. That was a tough project, but it’s such a great finished bag. I’m not entirely pleased with how the hexies got cut off on the outside, but I had to cover a bad mis-measurement. Whoops!

SewTogetherBag by Stitchified

SewTogetherBag by Stitchified

Otherwise, how about a few shamelessly adorable photos from our CSA? Maybe it’s the hormones, but I love the Daddy goat with his baby.

Daddy Goat and Baby

And a tamworth piglet, too:

Tamworth PigletThat’s all I have for now. I suspect the next couple of months will be quiet around here, but I look forward to crafting again and returning to this space. In the meantime, happy sewing to all of you :)

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Selfish Sewing 241 Tote Style

I’ll be honest… all that applique for Patchwork Elephants on Parade left me pretty burnt out on the sewing front. So last Saturday morning, my Mini Me and I decided to make something just for me. And that thing? The 241 Tote by Noodlehead.

I have had my eye on this bag for ages — like Evernote says I bought the pattern over a year ago.

At any rate, fabric auditions were held and we decided on a teal textured cotton, linen, and of course, a feature print from Tula Pink’s Acacia collection. The bag is lined with Alison Glass’s feathers in pink. For the most part, I stuck to the pattern though I did add a zipper pocket to the inside. Oh, and I modified the strap so I could wear the bag across my shoulders (easier for toddler wrangling!). 

241 tote - inside pocket, by stitchified

And on the opposite side of the liner is another pocket, specially sized for my iPhone. Happiness folks. Pure happiness.

inside 241 tote, by stitchified

The end result is a little, errrr, bold. I think it’s a bag that only a quilter could love, but it makes me happy inside.  

241 Tote Bag, by Stitchified

I haven’t been brave enough to bring my bag to the office, but I did take it for a spin at the mall (and nobody complained about its loudness!).   The bag may be totally impractical fashion-wise, but it makes me happy just the same. The moral of the story here? We should all treat ourselves more often! A fun diversion here and there is well deserved :) 

Happy sewing!

 

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Hallelujah! It.is.done!

I know I’ve said it before, but oye vey! I have not enjoyed this quilt top! Thanks to all your advice and encouragement (and a little #selfishsewing project — more on that later in the week!) I was able to to get it finished. But now it’s done. Done. Done. Done! These elephants are literally made of four letter words — Good riddance little elephants!

Despite the hellish applique project that I brought upon myself, I’m so happy with how it came out.

I’m going to put it away for a week or so while I figure out how to quilt the darn thing. There is a *lot* of negative space, and I’m sort of at a loss. I spotted this paper pantograph called “Animal Crackers.” It looks, um, challenging. And I’m not sure what to make of the whole paper pantograph thing either. So, yes, I need to let things percolate before I figure out where I’m going next.

Which means, right now I’m all about celebrating the quilt top finish. Woohoo! And one last photo to commemorate the finish :)

Elephants On Parade WIP, by Stitchified

Happy Sewing!

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(Why yes, I *am* still procrastinating about my economy blocks. Shhh! Moving on!)

I wish I could take credit for the idea behind my latest WIP, but I totally can’t. But first, a little back story… my husband’s cousin is expecting her first child in April. She designed a beautiful elephant-themed nursery on Pinterest, which among other things features Zoology by Michael Miller. Not that I was stalking her or anything ;-)

I was feeling a little intimidated/uninspired since I’ve never designed a quilt with so much (unconscious) input from another person. Let’s be honest, usually I just decide what I want to make for someone and then I do it. Hehe! So, I scanned the internet hoping for inspiration to strike and stumbled upon this amazing quilt entitled “Dare to be Different” by Grapes and Hearts.  Once I saw her gorgeous patchwork elephant, I knew exactly what to do! Except I’ve never appliqued. No time like the present, right?

To start, I chose an elephant silhouette from a free-to-use clipart site (legit licenses comfort my inner legal geek). In keeping with the nursery’s color scheme, I limited myself to the colors in the Zoology print: pale gold, light blue, white, and two grey tones. After I pulled my fabric, I applied my Heat N’Bond to my fabrics and cut out my little elephants. Yield six happy elephants!

It wasn’t until  I tried to adhere the elephants to my background fabric that I ran into some serious trouble with the Heat N’ Bond. For some reason, it didn’t take well. The patchwork elephant was especially disastrous — look at his poor little feet swaying in the breeze! I ended up breaking out my perma-gluestick and sort of winging it with the applique.

Layout: Elephants on Parade!

I’m several applique sessions in to the quilt top, and I’m only half way there. Sort of a bad time to realize that applique isn’t my thing, huh?

Elephants On Parade WIP

So that’s what I’m (stuck!) working on this week. If anyone can share a pro-tip to help me through the last couple elephants, I would be *hugely* appreciative!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and WIP Wednesday!

Edit to add: I have the nicest readers, thank you for your advice and encouragement! Several of you graciously pointed out that it was unclear what type of applique this was — eek! I should know better than to mix late nights and cold medicine with blogging! So, to clarify… Yes, this is definitely raw edge applique. And, yes, I was extra silly and choose to combine a satin stitch (I thought it might hold up better?) with a pretty detailed silhouette (what can I say, it was pretty!). In retrospect, that was both overly ambitious and a total rookie mistake. But on the plus side, I won’t swear off all future applique… at least not quite yet!

And here’s a little detail shot so you can experience my horror second hand. :) 

Elephants on Parade WIP, by Stitchified

 

 

 

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One baby quilt down!

I’m happy to report that I found time to get this one bound and quasi-photographed. I have two more late winter babies to sew for, so it feels particularly good to get this one wrapped up.

I say quasi-photographed because I’ve been stuck at home with a fever enraged preschooler *all* week and there are about three feet of snow in the back yard (not lying!). I had wanted to do something more exciting with the photos, but as it was, sneaking outside for 10 minutes was quite challenging. Ah well, next time.

I have talked about this quilt before, so I’ll keep things short. I choose to bind the quilt with a teal stripe from Lotta Jansdotter’s Glimma collection. And because I love the candy stripe look I went to the trouble of making bias binding. Ooo fancy schmancy.

Little Lady Star, by Stitchified

The backing is from IKEA. I picked up a couple of yards of this print and now I wish I had grabbed more. It’s a little too sheer, but it’s awesomeness compensates for that and more. No wonder it’s so popular with fellow bloggers!

And that my friends is it — my new featherweight’s first piecing project and my first free motion flowers. Made entirely from my stash (yay!).

Interested in making a Little Lady Star for yourself? Check out my mini-tutorial here. It is stash friendly, just a half yard for each print! :)

Linking up with Crazy Mom and Finish it Up Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Lady Star

I decided to take a little break from my Economy Blocks this week. I’m up to one hundred blocks (!!), and I can’t decide whether or not to keep going. Putting off that decision in favor of making a new quilt top seemed like the obvious choice. Besides, I know three babies who are due in early spring and they each need a baby quilt!

My design for this quilt top was inspired by Jeni Baker’s Giant Vintage Star Quilt, but mine is a slightly modified (and hugely enlarged!) version of the Two Colors Star from the Solstice Stars Quilt Along over at Fresh Lemons. I used a rose print from Glimma and a silvery grey print from Bella, which I think are the perfect pair for a baby girl quilt. The colors are feminine and dainty — perfect for my soon-to-be niece. If any baby was going to be a little lady from day one, it’s this one. (Note: not a quality my own offspring will be sporting!).

Piecing the quilt top was the perfect project to break in my new featherweight, too. I am so smitten with this little machine. I was finally able to finish restoring her, and wow. Just wow. I’m making it a point to spoil the old girl whenever I can — my most recent acquisition being the stork scissors you can see below. But I’m getting side tracked…

Featherweight making HSTs

The block requires eight (8) half square triangles in the dominant color, and four (4) half-square triangles in the secondary color. Here’s a mini tutorial in case anyone wants to make one of these for themselves. Requires a half-yard of each of color, and maybe 2.5 yards of the background color (don’t quote me on the background color though, I keep a huge bolt of white around). Yields one baby quilt (45″ x 45″). In my book, it’s a perfect size for tummy time, playing at the park, or tenting the stroller.

Cutting Instructions:

  • 9-inch square of dominant color (rose) — Cut Four (4)
  • 9-inch square of accent color (silver) — Cut Two (2)
  • 9-inch square of back ground color (white) — Cut Six (6)
  • 8-inch square of dominant color — Cut Four (2)
  • 8-inch square of accent color — Cut Four (4)
  • 15.5 inch square of background color — Cut Four (4)

Piecing Instructions:

  • Match one colored 9-inch square and one white 9-inch square, right sides together.
  • Use a pencil to draw a diagonal line across the white 9-inch square
  • Sew a 1/4 inch away on either side of your line (my featherweight is demonstrating this technique above).
    Note: If you are using directional prints, be careful of the direction you sew your half-square triangles in. To figure it out, just lay everything out before you stitch. Ask me how I know :)
  • Cut along your pencil line, separating the square into two half-square triangles. Press squares open. Repeat until you have eight (8) HSTS in your main color, and four (4) HSTs in the accent color.
  • Match the seam with the diagonal line on your ruler, and trim the HSTs to 8-inch blocks. Marvel at how pretty they look already.

Glimma HSTsAssemble your blocks into intermediate sized (15.5″) blocks: combine four of your HSTS for the center star, and then combine the HSTs with solid colored blocks to create the four “arms” of the star. The center and two of the arms are shown below:

Little Lady Star, by Stitchified

Combine your intermediate blocks with the 15.5″ background blocks, and sew the three rows together following the diagram below:

Little Lady Star, by StitchifiedTa da! One super fast, but super adorable quilt top! And of course, in this house, no photo shoot is complete until it has been properly photo-bombed by Hello Kitty.

When it came to the quilting, I got brave (I have been binge watching the Olympics!) and decided to get a little tricky with some custom quilting. The background is stippled, the grey has free form flowers, and the pink is sporting a serpentine stitch. Now, as you may know, I’m completely terrified of new free motion quilting patterns, and I’ve never attempted flowers before.  For some reason I decided to tackle the free-form flowers without practice, definitely a questionable decision. But! I pulled off some successful flowers, and I’m feeling pretty proud. The overall result is far from perfect, but I’m sort of okay with it.

And here is a shot of the (almost!) finished quilt. It’s still missing the binding, but I couldn’t wait to share! I hope to get the turquoise binding on in a few days. Final photos will have to wait though, the amount of snow outside is absolutely insane!

Little Lady Star by StitchifiedLinking up with Finish it Up Friday with Crazy Mom!

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