Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Box Exchange (quilting)

My quilt guild meeting was last night. So as to not put it off until the last minute, I sewed my box exchange 2 quilt blocks today. When I was finished, I noticed that my block is about 3/4" smaller than everyone elses. It's because I follow my sewing machine's presser foot when I sew. It turns out that that makes my seams slightly larger than a quarter of an inch. I added a long duct tape strip on my machine there the 1/4" is. However I would like to get a new presser foot that is 1 a half an inch wide so that I'll get the 1/4" seam that I need. Anyway, I made 3 of the blocks. Two are for the person whose box it it (a mystery at the moment), and one for myself.

I also finished cutting the fabric needed to make the border on the stars quilt. I then ironed and cut some Valentine's fabric from my stash. I am now hand piecing them into a log cabin block. Thats right, hand piecing! I really rather be sewing than knitting right now. However it is hard to get much done on the sewing machine with my toddler. So why not make it portable by doing it by hand?! Yes it is slow going, butat least I am getting some sewing in when normally I can't sew at all. The hardest part is that I only get a little bit done before my toddler needs to use the potty (potty training). But such is a mom's life. I once saw a log cabin quilt where the blocks were turned to form a large heart. That is what I want to make with this one. It will probably be a small quilt for my toddler.

Brownie Troop Demo (juice pouch notebook instructions)

Yesterday I did a demo for a local Brownie troop. I showed the girls how to recycle juice pouches. I first showed them how to clean them. Then I showed them how to make a notebook out of them. It went really well. The girls and I had fun.
To clean the juice pouches, cut a hole in the bottom of the juice pouch (where it expands). You can clean it in the top rack of the dishwasher or by hand in the sink. It is important to clean it within a week after it has been used. Let it air dry for at least 2 days. Then use Goo Gone (or your thumb) to remove the sticky residue where the straw was attached.
I like to use the sewing machine to make the notebooks, but I like to show children how to hand sew them. You need 2 clean juice pouches, embroidery thread, a tapestry needle, scissors, 3 sheets of printer paper, a ruler, a small hole punch, and 2 paper clips. Cut the paper into 5" x 7" rectangles. You should be able to get 6 rectangles for the 3 sheets of paper. Stack them together and fold in half (5" x 3 1/2"). Then sandwich the paper between the juice pouches. Use the paper clips to hold the paper in place (where the folded paper side is). Using the hold punch, punch at least 4 holes along the side where the folded paper edge is. Thread your needle and sew down and then back up the notebook through the punched holes. Then tie the thread in a knot. You can either tie it in a bow, add beads and or a charm, or just cut it close to the knot. Your note book is all finished. Oh, and don't forget to remove the paper clips. When you use up all of the paper, just take out the thread, add new paper, and restitch it. If you notice, the bottom of the juice pouches are open. You can add a snap or sticky velcro to the inside of the cut bottom and make a place to hold things like little pencils, and eraser, or stickers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Steps to the Stars Quilt

I am finished sewing together all the blocks for the Steps to the Stars quilt!!! Now I just need to add a border, then I begin quilting it. Right now it is 54 1/2" x 65 1/2".

I am also including a picture of the knitting needle and crochet hook bag that I made 2 years ago.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I finished knitting the garter stitch dish cloth. Then I went back to the garter stitch scarf that I am knitting for my mom. It will match the hat that I knitted for her for Christmas. I am using it to learn how to knit Continental. It was awkward and a little painful on my fingers and hands at first. It's getting easier. I am left handed, and this is suppose to be a better way for left handed people (and it is suppose to be faster).

I also finished piecing the last block (times 15) for the star quilt. The picture shown is not the finished block. I have also begun sewing the blocks together. It is rather hard to do with a toddler who just doesn't want to stay in his crib while I sew. I get about 15 to 30 minutes of work done before I have to take him out of the crib (and the room).

The wreath I made for Valentine's Day. It cost me $4 to make (supplies bought at The Dollar Tree). I bought a small, plain wooden wrath and wrapped it with 3 Valentine's Day garland. There were shiny hearts all over my floor afterwards.

The other images are crochet items that I made over winter break. One will be a large circular afghan. The smaller circles will be turned into that center square. When I have enough of the squares, I'll stitch them together to make an afghan. I have 3 other colors besides these 2 that will be added to it. I really like circles, so this pattern was really appealing to me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Star Quilt (from calendar), knitting, and organizing

Since my last post I have finished one of the block patterns and have started making the last of the block patterns for the Stars Quilt (from my quilt a day calendar). The orange and white block is called "Variable Star Block." Again you need to make 3 of these blocks for this quilt. For one block cut one 4 1/2" square of orange, two squares each in orange and white at 4 7/8" (then cut into 2 triangles each), and 2 squares each in orange and white at 5 1/4" (then cut into 4 triangles each). The last block in the series in a "Courthouse Steps" block. You need to make 15 of this block for the quilt. I changed some of the colors from the picture. Instead of pastels I am using white fabric. In place of the middle red square, I am using the orange for the variable star block. All the colors in the previous blocks are used in this block. For one block I cut one orange square at 2 1/2", 2 white at 1 3/4" x 2 1/2", 2 green and 2 white at 1 3/4" x 5", 2 purple and 2 white at 1 3/4" x 7 1/2", 2 red and 2 white at 1 3/4" x 10", and 2 blue at 1 3/4" x 12 1/2". I have up to the purple and white blocks sewn on.

I have taken a break from the corkscrew scarf for a little bit. I have picked up my cotton ease yarn and have begun making some dish clothes. I used the cluster rib stitch in one, the moss stitch zigzag in another, and a garter stitch in the one that is on my needles right now. I just wanted to pay attention to the tv for the one that is on the needles right now.

My knitting and crochet needles totally got disorganized over the winter break. I had made a large bag to hold all of my needles in 2 years ago. I'll post a picture of it. I think its time to make a smaller travel version, but not just yet. As I was trying to organize them I came across my needles / yarn gage. I took out 4 index cards and traced the circles from the gage onto all 4 cards, along with the number or letter that went with the circle. I then labled the cards as follows: knitting needles, circular needles, double pointed needles, and crochet hookes. Then as I put my needles and hooks away, I maked which ones I had on the index cards (by filling in the circles). I also added how many double pointed needles I had for each size, and the length of my circular needles. Then I punched a hole through the corner of the cards and put them on a metal ring. I'll keep that in my purse, andwill now know what I have and what I don't when I'm at the store. I'm not going to be stocking up on everything, but when you see a pattern or yarn that you like, you would like to know if you have the right tools for the job.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quilt Calendar Block

The quilt block for January 7th of my calendar is a Harlequin Star Block. For one block cut 4 red and 2 white squares at 3 1/2", and cut 4 red and 4 white squares at 3 7/8" (then cut into 2 triangles each). I cut the fabric for this block last night and sewed 3 blocks today. I started cutting the fabric for the next block. I ran out of the fabric though (a fat quarter), and had to go to the store to buy more. I also bought some batting so that I can finally finish a quilt that I started 7 years ago.

I am on row 3 of the corkscrew scarf. I started off with 240 stitches and now have twice as many. I was able to knit one and a third row while watching a movie last night.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yesterday I pieced together 3 quilt blocks for the January 5th block of my calendar. Today I made 3 of the January 6th block. The 3rd picture is what I have sewn from a mistake (cut it wrong) from the purple & white blocks that I made the other day. Maybe I'll turn those blocks into matching pillows for the quilt. I cut half of the fabric needed for January 7th's block.

January 5th, Pinwheel Star Block: cut four 3 1/2" white squares, one 7 1/4" white square (and cut that into 4 triangles), and two 3 7/8" white squares and six 3 7/8" blue squares (cut them in half to make 2 triangles).

January 6th, Sawtooth Star Block: Cut one 4 3/4" green square, four 3 1/2" white squares, one 7 1/4" white square (cut into 4 triangles), and four green & 2 white squares cut at 3 7/8" (and cut into 2 triangles each).

For this quilt I am multiplying each item cut by 3 to make 3 of each block. Please see the last post for a picture of the whole quilt.

I have also been knitting a cork screw scarf (pattern fron Knitty Gritty).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quilt Blocks

My husband's co-worker and his wife loved the knitted baby hat and booties. Thats always nice to hear that someone loves something that you made for them.

The 1st quilt block shown is from the box exchange with my quilt guild. The person provided all of the fabric and wanted the middle log cabin paper pieced. I think the pattern is called hearts and mountains.

The next one I made today. It is the first quilt in my daily quilting calendar. January 1st shows the whole quilt and January 2nd shows the block that I cut and pieced today. I made 3 of this block as directed in the whole quilt picture. The block pattern calls for four 4 1/2" white squares and one purple one, and two 5 1/4" squares of each color that is then cut into 4 triangles and sewn together.

I have also been hand piecing the Grandma's Flower Garden quilt and knitting a swatch.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finally posting pictures

So here are a few of the things that I made last month. The baby hat and booties are made from Lion's Brand organic yarn. The pattern was free on the Lion Brand website. It's a gift to one of my husband's co-workers who is about to have their 1st baby. The dark ear flap hat was made for a friend. However he told me that he will not be wearing it. I wish that I could ask for it back, because I would wear it. What a waste! The last is a long term on going project. It is a hand sewn grandma's flower garden quilt. I started it 3 years ago. I pick it up here and there. I haven't been in my sewing room for a month, but have really wanted to sew. So why not something I can hand sew while watching my toddler, the dog, and tv? The templates were cut from food boxes. The fabric is left over from table cloths that I made. I also just started making balls from new skeins of yarn. I saw an episode of Knitty Gritty that has a spiral knitted scarf that I really want to try to make.

For Christmas Santa bought me a quilting daily calendar. Everyday it shows a new quilt. Well actually one day is shows a whole quilt. Then it breaks it down to a different square each day. It's on a 3rd quilt right now. I really want to start making at least one of them. I think that I will have the calendar spiral bound (it's all loose pages). I got a few crafting books and magazine subscriptions as well. My husband even bought me some Lion's Brand Homespun yarn. He had no clue that that was one of my favorite yarns, and that I got a book on different things to make out of that particular brand of yarn.

My to do list: sew the quilt square for the mystery box quilt (quilt guild), start knitting a scarf, make a lap quilt for my grandma, make juice pouch notebooks as thank yous to the kids who recycle for me, clean my craft room, and I am sure there is a lot more on my list.