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English Paper Piecing

2017 Recap

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2017 was a tough one for me. I found myself diving into sewing pretty hard — a necessary escape during these difficult times. I feel exceptionally fortunate to be able to express myself through sewing, and even luckier to use my art to help support the causes I believe so strongly in. All of which seems particularly important in our current cultural political landscape.

Social Action

Here are a few of the social action pieces I worked on this year, I hope to continue this type of work through 2018!

I had the pleasure of refurbishing a couple of vintage machines, including this green Necchi, for NuDay Syria’s “social business” program. My machines joined many others and journeyed to Lebanon and Turkey via container ship. Now they are setup for community use by Syrian refugees. Not only are these amazing women able to generate an income using the machines, but the machines also provide psycho-social support. NuDay Syria recently shared a photo of the machines in use and it brought tears to my eyes — I’m so honored and proud to support these brave and courageous women.

I also dusted off my knitting needles to make a pussyhat wearing doll to benefit Eyes on Refugees‘s auction.The money she helped raised will benefit several refugee families who live in my area — what an amazing organization!

And last, but not least, I made a few Rare Bears for the Rare Science Foundation. I started working with them in early 2016, and it continues to bring me great happiness. This duo of one of a kind handmade bears will go to children living with rare (“one of a kind”) diseases.

Quilts

We also welcomed quite a few new babies into the world this year. Celebrating these births with quilts brought me so much joy. A few minis snuck in to the mix, too. The two matching quilt tops are still works in progress for a pair of twins due in February, hopefully I’ll finish them soon!

Toys

And then there were the toys, oh fabulous the toys. My Etsy Shop had it’s busiest year to date, which is pretty exciting stuff. I’m humbled by the support of the sewing community — thank you for turning one of my passions into a business! These are a few of my favorite makes from my shop.

I also made a few teddy bears (finished just this week!) and fell down a bear-making rabbit hole. Just look at these sweet faces! Expect to see more bears in 2018!

2018 Goals

No recap would be complete without a few goals for the new year. I find myself continuing to struggle with photography and consistency with blogging — so that’s where I’m going to focus my 2018 efforts.

Wishing all of you a merry and bright holiday season and a Happy New Year! Also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts!

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Most nights I sit down at my sewing machine and accomplish something. It might be a quilt block, a stuffed animal’s face, a bit of embroidery — some small bit of satisfaction that carries me through to my next stitch-fix. But the past few days? Not so much. I have been wrestling with a new prototype, and I have nothing to show for it. Well, ok, *almost* nothing.

Penguin Prototype, by Stitchified

I have clipped, resewn, redrafted and seam-ripped my way to a more acceptable version of this little guy, but I’m not there yet. And while throwing in the towel is a very appealing option, my husband is encouraging me to push a little bit harder to do right by Mr. Penguin.

And so here I am, futzing around with freezer paper templates. Over and over again until I get it right. This time in bright orange and chocolate brown — Am I the only one who prototypes in increasingly gaudy colors?

WIPMaybe I’ll spend tomorrow distracting myself with a new project. I’ve totally jumped on the La Passacaglia band wagon and have been loving every second of slow stitching. I’m planning to do a small mini for my sewing room. I have to be *the* slowest EPPer ever though, so even the mini might take me years. It blows my mind how folks manage the full quilt!

A photo posted by Jen (@stitchified) on

A photo posted by Jen (@stitchified) on

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!

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Santa’s workshop has kicked into high gear over here, and it has left me with very little that I can safely share! On the bright side, once the gifts have been given and there’s no more risk of spoiling the surprise I’ll have plenty of makes to share. In the meantime, I do have a few finishes to share for Finish It Up Friday.

Hexi stocking, by Stitchified

The first is a stocking for our new baby which has been in my WIP pile for the better part of a year. It feels great to finally get it done! I made the rest of the family’s stockings almost three years ago, as one of my very first sewing projects. It was pretty entertaining to go back and revisit an old project. I remembered it being a little more involved, but this one really did get slapped together quickly and without issue. I designed the baby’s stocking to compliment her big sister’s, by choosing a similar color palette of lime, pink and aqua. To piece the stocking, I used a mini hex-n-more ruler and rocked a lot of baby wearing. I’m happy to say that my piecing lined up pretty well, which is good because tiny piecing + having to rip out a million stitches makes me cranky! So, there we have it, one last stocking to represent the baby who finished completed our little family of four.

Family Stockings, by Stitchified

I love seeing all four stockings hanging on the wall. Each one is as individual as its owner, but they all work well together — it’s like our family, but in stocking form.

My second project was a little last minute, but a lot of fun. We had the pleasure of meeting up with some friends and their new baby a few days after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t have time around a sewing machine over the Thanksgiving break. So I quickly cut out a few pentagons and hand stitched a set of stuffed toy balls (haha, there must be a nice way to phrase that? Hmm…) with EPP. The baby has a little Boston Terrier at home, so I was pretty excited to find the perfect fabric in my stash. I added a bit of crinkly paper and a makeshift raffle and BOOM! Insta-baby present.

And now I’m diving back in to finish up some last minute Christmas gifts to put under the tree. Wishing all my readers the best of luck with their holiday sewing!

WIP Wednesday: Fussy Cut Hexagons

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If you had asked me a year ago about sewing together hexagons by hand, I would have laughed… or used some colorful language. Probably both.

Except little hexagons are actually adorable. And fussy cut hexagons are even more adorable. And what a perfectly non-boring way to use scraps… and cutting them up is easy with, say, a Sizzix die-cutter. I mean they practically make themselves, right? Right?

It really is the perfect project for sewing on the go. Two weekends hosting old friends and then a wonderful weekend at a “summer camp themed wedding” took me away from my sewing machine, but my trusty little English paper piecing kit was able to come right along with me. Stitching during a long car ride? Yes. Paper piecing by the lake? Double yes.

In all honesty I started this project months ago, but I’ve never blogged about it. My plan is to make a coordinating pillow for my Good Fortune Quilt and Rainbow Window Pillow. It sure is slow going, but I am making progress. The only problem? It looks great, until I zoom out and see how much more I have left to do!

Ah well.  Slow and steady, right?

Linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced … because this one is sure to be in progress for quite some time!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced