Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Husband Hat

For a while now, I have been promising my husband I would crochet him a hat. Well...I finally did it...and, just in time for the cold weather!

I used a mix of dark heather gray and black yarn made of 25% Merino wool 75% microdenier acrylic fibers. The yarn acts and feels lot like acrylic (as that makes up most of the yarn) but the wool gives it an extra bit of warmth.

I loosely followed this
pattern. It was super simple and easy to follow. A great project for a beginner! You cannot really see it from the picture, but it has a solid black band near the bottom of the hat. I put this lower on the hat than the pattern suggests.

Thanks to Crafty Christina for the pattern! Happy crafting!

You can also find the hat on Ravelry!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vintage Inspiration in Quilts

I was browsing around in the quilt section of Etsy this morning, and I noticed everything that caught my eye seemed to have a 1930's or 1940's flair to it. I love this style of quilting. The light and fresh pastel colors and the eye-catching feminine patterns make me feel calm and relaxed. Here are some of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Drawing Circles

One of the quilts I am working on calls for me to cut one 14" and 16" circle from freezer paper. Since I do not have circle templates, I am doing it the long way. I thought I would share. I hope the pictures are not too dark.

1. Cut your freezer paper into a square the finished size of your circle. For example, for the 14" circle, I cut a 14"square of freezer paper.

2. Find the center of the square by marking horizontally, vertically, and diagonally from corner to corner. Make a large dot in the middle. Your square should be divided into eight parts.

3. Mark the diagonal lines where your arc is going to be. For example, for the 14" circle I marked the diagonal lines 7" from the center for a total of four marks along the diagonal lines. Since you cut a square the finished size, you don't have to worry about where the arc will fall on the horizontal and vertical lines—it will fall at the edge of the freezer paper.

4. Take string and tie it around a pencil as low as you can go without the string slipping off.

The picture below is what everything should look like—minus the circle, of course!
5. Hold your pencil as straight as you can with the tip to one of the arc marks. Pull your string taught (but not too tight, as this will cause the pencil to slip), and place your thumb nail tight against the center point with the string in between.

6. Mark your arc from one arc mark to another, taking one at a time and adjusting your string tension and length as you go. Continue all the way around.

7. Fold your paper in half, then half again, then in half again, following your division lines.
8. Find the most accurate eighth of an arc and cut all layers along that line.
Unfold and you will have a perfect circle!
I hope you enjoy! And, as always, I would love to know if there are better ways to do this.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Geek in Me

Just a quick update about an amazing Website I stumbled upon recently. It mashes two of my passions—Harry Potter and quilting!

Check out the Harry Potter inspired paper pieced block patterns here. Not only is it great for the nerd inside all of us, but it is a great way to get rid of stash!

Thank you to for the fantastic patterns. Happy quilting!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

So, my birthday came a little early this year. My lovely husband gave me something I have longed for. Wait for it...prepare to contain yourself...a yarn swift! Yes, that's right! And, he didn't just order it off the Internet. He went to a local yarn store to get it. It makes me giggle to think of him in a yarn store...hehe.

I have been selling reclaimed yarn at my shop on Etsy, and my previous method of operation was just not efficient and super time consuming. But, with the swift I can easily do three times the work I used to do. I have already put it to good use, as you can see.

Also, a box arrived at my work the other day. In it was a dress form! I have wanted a dress form for forever, but just haven't gotten around to buying one. I am super psyched and cannot wait to use it! My first project will be a dress. I haven't sewn clothes in years, so I am sure future posts will be filled with my trials and tribulations as a seamstress.

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by people who support me and my craft(s). I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My First Quilt

I hope the holiday weekend was good to everyone! It kept me quite busy and away from projects, though I did finish one Halloween place mat. Only seven more to go!

Since I don't have anything new to share, I thought I would post about the first quilt I made. A little over two years ago I decided, along with a friend of mine, that it would be fun to learn to quilt. We found a place that offered a "Fundamentals of Quilt Making by Machine" class, signed up, and went. What a great decision that was! The project was to make a sampler quilt that used blocks that included four Nine-Patches, six Snowballs, an Eight-Pointed Star, a Drunkards Path, a Churn Dash, and an
Ohio Star. In addition to the blocks, it included applique and was machine quilted in a simple grid pattern.

I ended up giving this one to my mom for Christmas, but she hasn't hung it up yet because she "doesn't want it to get ruined." I hope she is not just telling me that!

If you are ever in the Northern Virginia area, I would highly recommend going to the quilt shop I go to, The Artful Quilter. I cannot say enough good things about the women there. I have been to other shops in the area, and they are hands down the best! The friendliest, most helpful ladies that love quilting...and they have GREAT fabrics, too!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pin, Pin, Pin

I am not a big fan of novelty prints, but I saw some Halloween fabric that I thought was pretty cute and decided I should make some festive place mats. This is the end product.

Yea, dancing skeletons! I think they turned out pretty cute, but it took me a while to get there. They are just going to be place mats...pretty easy, one would think. I didn't have a pattern, but knew that I wanted to use two different prints—one for the center and one to flank each side—and I would bind them in a solid color. I also wanted them to be a 20" x 12" in size. I cut my fabric, binding, backing, and batting, sewed the place mat tops together, prepared my binding. Then this is where it went all wrong. I decided (against all better judgment) that I didn't need to pin-baste the place mats like I would a quilt. "They are tiny. They don't need that many pins. How much could it shift, really?" I told myself. So, I only pinned each mat five times—once in the middle and one in each corner. This is what happened after I finished quilting.

That is some shifting! What did I learn? Something I, pin, pin, no matter how small the project is! Pin every three inches, or so, starting in the middle and working outward, smoothing as you go. You can use your hand for measurement. Place the center pin, place your hand next to it (palm down), and pin on the other side of you hand.

I also decided to stitch every two inches, as compared to every one inch when I first started. I ended up still having to trim up the mats, so they ended at 20" x 11.5" in size. Next time I will cut the fabric a little larger than my finished size, so they will trim up to the correct size.

Anyone have any other tips for quilted place mats?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Autumn Crocheted Cowl

Last weekend, I worked on a cowl for the fall. The weather is getting cooler, and I want to be ready when Old Man Winter is knocking on my door.

I found the pattern pretty simple and easy to follow. Crocheting in the round with single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet stitches. But, I always find I drop stitches when I crochet in the round. I got about five rows in and noticed that I skipped the first single crochet round, but I figured I would just live without. Then, I got a little over half way done and decided it would be a good idea to count my stitches...I had dropped about 10 stitches! I unraveled the whole thing and started over. The pattern went by fast, and I finished it in one evening in front of the television. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease (Thick and Quick), which probably helped the speed, though I think it might be a little too thick for this cowl. It turned out pretty bulky.

All in all, I think this project was worth while, and great for a stylish beginning crocheter.

Thank you to Confessions of a Compulsive Crafter for the pattern!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Little Bit About Me

So, a little bit about me. I grew up on a lake in Western New York, am an only child, and was raised by a single mother. I went to a small town school where everyone knew everyone, and you couldn't get away with anything. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. She taught me how to sew and crochet. When I do those things, I feel like she is there with me, guiding me along. It gives me peace and clarity.

I currently live in Virginia with my husband and our dog. We have been married just over a year! I am the senior graphic designer for a professional association. I design a bi-monthly magazine, brochures, book, posters, stationery, logos, and just about anything else they throw my way.

At home, I keep myself busy with personal projects—gifts for family and friends, gifts for myself, and items for my store. My latest project is pillow covers! I have purchased really reasonably priced unbleached organic cotton canvas from Organic Cotton, Plus for the case, and I have felted wool sweaters (purchased from a thrift store) to use for applique. More photos to come when I get going on this project!

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