Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Impractical sewing is the best.

Maggie Bunny.

Sometimes, you just need to toss your long and practical "to-sew" list and stitch a bunny.

Maggie Bunny.

This is Alicia Paulson's Miss Maggie Bunny. When the kits went on sale, I nabbed one right away. Good thing too, because they sold out in less than a day! I don't know, there is just something about Miss Maggie: her old fashioned look, the soft wool felt, the Liberty cotton dress, her excellent name ... I just fell in love. (Don't worry, Alicia's making more kits. Or you can buy the pattern here.)

Maggie Bunny.

My favorite part - everyone's favorite part - is her little lace-up boots.

Maggie Bunny.

Although I intended (in a vague way) to make this bunny for my Maggie, Joe has really taken to her and has been carrying her around, showing everyone her boots, her shawl, her whiskers, and how she has "a body!" under her dress, demonstrated by hiking her skirt up and exposing her bottom. (Poor Maggie might need some bloomers, for decency's sake!) This is extra sweet because Joe has never been one for stuffed animals or dolls. He calls her "Bunny Rabbit." Of course. He took her to bed with him last night!

I have plans for a little pair of pants and shirt for her ... 

Way. Too. Much. Fun.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Facts of Life.

Joe, out of the blue: "Mama, Maggie came out of your tummy!"
Me: "That's right! So did you, Joe! You came out of my tummy too!"
Joe: "So did Daddy!"
Me, shuddering convulsively: "Uh, no. Daddy came out of his mama's tummy!"
Joe, skeptical: "No, mama! He came out of your tummy."

I can appreciate that Joe thinks I'm the source of all good things in his life, but I need a shower.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy day!!

Joe's quilt!

I admit: At times, I thought the day would never come! But here we are! Joe's quilt is done and he's snuggling under it on the couch as I write this (baby Maggie is in my lap "helping" me with this post).

I started cutting this quilt out in December, 2010. Yes, you read that right. It has been two years and three months. I do love quilting. But I am not known for my speed. I tend to take on ambitious projects, decide to entirely hand-quilt them, and then occasionally quilt in short bursts of activity, followed by long periods of  trying to ignore the unfinished quilts sitting in piles collecting dust. This is only the second quilt I've ever done. But I love it!! So I might have to do more. In fact, it's possible that I have already starting cutting and piecing a quilt for Maggie. *Ducks.*

Anyway, this is the "Flock of Triangles" pattern from Denyse Schmidt's Quilts. As I dimly recall (it has been a while), I wanted something classic, clean, and boyish (without use of novelty prints), that  would use lots of stripes and plaids, because I love stripes and plaids in quilts. And of course it needed a little pop of yellow.

The first thing Joe noticed about the quilt was the blue print with "red flowers." He is neutral about the checks and plaids, and even the kid prints, but wishes it had more flowers! Love that kid.

My triangle piecing leaves something to be desired - don't look too hard at my points (or more like, lack of points). But, whatever. It's my second quilt ever. I love it, and I'm proud of it.

Joe's quilt!

At one point, I considered bright yellow binding, but in the end, I went with navy, which lets the little pops of yellow shine. It is backed with a buttery soft shirting stripe that has bits of yellow and orange in it. It washed up so crinkly and nice.

Joe's quilt!

It's hand-quilted, mostly along diagonal lines, with one vertical seam through each row of white triangles. I thought this would give it more of a traditional "flying geese" look. I love how even very imperfect hand-quilting looks so charming and fresh in the end.

Joe's quilt!

Wow. That was a lot of work. So glad it's done! And now, to start a new one ...  (Yes, I am certifiably insane. What else is new?)

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Readers, I know that you, at any rate, will understand this: I have less time for sewing and crafting than ever, so of course I am absolutely brimming with ideas and inspiration. My latest obsession? Smocking. I want to learn how! So I bought this pattern for a simple bishop dress off of Etsy. Isn't it pretty?

Looking through "vintage" (crap, am I vintage now?) children's patterns from the 1970s and early 1980s ... it is such a "happy place" for me. Remembering the dresses my mother and grandmother sewed for me when I was a little girl, and the styles I coveted at the time. (Holly Hobby! Gunne Sax! Laura Ashley! I was really into ruffles and frills as a girl.) Warm, happy feelings. It's all I can do not to buy heaps of patterns!

So I've been spending my lunch hours at work reading smocking tutorials on the internet, surfing Etsy for vintage smocked dress patterns, and day-dreaming visions of pretty peasant dresses for Miss Maggie.

Do you use crafts as an escape from the pressures of "real life"? I know I do.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What I'm up to.


Before you roll your eyes at this 2.5 year WIP: I am almost done! For real! For real, for real!* No, really. Hold tight for the final reveal, folks. Joe is almost four, and his quilt is finally, almost done. Compared to my last quilt, which took 13 years to complete, I did this at light speed, people!

Hand quilting

Recently, I've had some discussions about hand-quilting technique with some friends, so I thought it would be fun to take a few photos that show my technique. I use a 17" inch diameter quilting frame - just a simple number, and I use traditional "Betweens" and Guterman's Hand Quilting thread, which comes pre-waxed (and thus less likely to snarl up). I hand-quilt old school, which is one of the seven habits of an ineffective quilter, of course! In the shot above, you can see how I push on the quilt from below to allow the needle to "rock" and pick up multiple stitches.


I inherited this thimble from my grandmother, and I love it. It has baby raccoons frolicking on it. And it fits my middle finger perfectly, just as it fit my grandmother's. It does a great job of protecting my fingers. Before I learned to quilt, I imagined that thimbles were necessary to protect against the sharp end of the needle. Now I realize that actually, it's the eye end that you really need a thimble for (some quilters use both).

Sometimes I see books with subtitles like "Not your grandmother's quilting!" and all I can think is, "But I love my grandmother's quilting!"Seriously, if I am ever HALF as good with a needle as my grandmother was, I would be quite pleased with myself (it's not likely to happen, mind you; she was that good).

* What was my motivation to finish Joe's quilt, you ask? All I can say is, it had nothing to do with wanting to start a new quilt. Nothing. Cough cough.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Eight months!

Here we are: Maggie is officially eight months old now!

8 Months!

Maggie has had a very busy month. In the past couple weeks, she learned to crawl, pull herself into a sitting position, and she's working on pulling herself up to standing. She is so pleased with herself!

8 Months!

But it is getting harder and harder to do these photo shoots, because she won't stay still! She is so wiggly! It starts like this ...

8 Months!

And pretty soon it's this ...

8 Months!

And before you know it, she's off the blanket entirely and playing with Joe's dominoes.

8 Months!

And then Crouton, who had been stalking the photo shoot the whole time, nabs her spot. My dogs are such delicate flowers - they just love blankets. Especially gorgeous hand-quilted feedsack quilts they are not allowed to lie on. Of course.

8 Months!

Maggie is such a sweet and good-natured baby. Very easy going. An "easy baby," by all accounts.

Of course, she's still my baby, so there's no "sleeping through the night" happening in our house. But she is a far less restless sleeper than Joe was. Maggie loves to sleep nestled up to a boob, where she can snack whenever she feels like it. It must be nice, right? I wake up dehydrated (my own fault - I should drink more water!), often with a headache, and Maggie wakes up plump and refreshed, with a giant grin on her face. But I can't really complain - I don't feel sleep deprived most of the time and I get to spend my nights snuggling with this little bunny. Since I work full-time, I do savor the physical closeness that cosleeping gives us.

She's also getting interested in solid foods now. We do baby led solids, so she mostly gets small bites of whatever we're eating. She's eager to try new things, sometimes with hilarious results.

As you can see, I made Maggie a pair of Oliver + s "Sailboat Pants." In a light denim, with aqua piping! This was only my second attempt at piping, ever, actually (Joe's backpack was my first). So, um, getting piping around corners is challenging! It's far from perfect, but I did learn some tricks. And from a distance, these look pretty good! (I also struggled with the buttonholes for some reason, and they are not perfectly spaced. Again, annoying to me but not really noticeable.)

8 Months!

Maggie fits the size 6-12 month perfectly, without a lot of room to grow.  She has such chubby thighs! They are so squeezable and lovely. Compared to Joe, who was absolutely enormous, Maggie is a much smaller baby. But she's still deliciously plump.

Now that Maggie is eight months old and I am somewhat settled into my new job, I am really feeling the urge to make things! But I still have so little time, and almost no child-free time. I know that it will get easier as Maggie gets older and more self-sufficient. In the meantime, I can't stop daydreaming about sewing/quilting/crafting projects! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learning to climb.

Last night, I was trying to take a photo of the adorable Class Picnic Blouse I just made for Maggie, but baby girl had different ideas. Instead of cutely posing for a shot, she kept crawling towards the cool looking camera me. And then she pulled herself up to standing for the first time! Well, for the first time I've seen, anyway. And she did it because she wanted that camera so bad on me!

(I'm pretty sure she's thinking, "must put that big shiny black thing in my mouth noooow.")

Oh well, I'll take better photos of her new blouse later ...