Monday, September 17, 2018

My Greenleaf Dollhouse Camper

Last fall I got the bug to make another miniature project, (here are some posts  that include my 2009 dollhouse project) and I had seen some cute travel trailer kits on line.

  I ended up buying one from Greenleaf:  the kit includes pieces you pop out of pre-cut pieces of wood, and you sand, paint, and glue the thing together before decorating.  The kit was not complicated, though the directions are very minimal.  Unfortunately, I warped the thin pieces of balsa that are supposed to form the roof by trying to wallpaper them, so my camper is "open air."

Of course, the best part of the project is decorating.  I wanted a pink and aqua decor.  Recently I finished up this project, and got to assemble all the little details I'd collected.

I imagine this space as a cozy get-away.

 I think this seating area needs a few more items: some books and maybe a plant or two.

 Here are the pillows I made next to my ipad keyboard for scale.  This kit is 1:12 inches.

I also dispensed with the wheels and trailer hitch, instead I perched it on some clearance napkin rings.  My camper is all about the interior.  

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Progress Report on the Big Scrappy Quilt

I've been working on my king-sized scrap quilt.  This pattern, Wild Child, is from Bonnie Hunter's book String Fling.  I've experimented with various methods of making the many (1440 to be exact) half-square triangles that this quilt will require.  


Cutting strips and sewing them together along both long sides, and then cutting the half-square triangles, as illustrated above, has proven to be the fastest and most accurate method. I just line up the center line on my 2.5 inch square ruler with the seam line, and then cut.

When I make the light blocks, I'm going to reduce the scrappiness of the background fabrics going forward.  This pattern is already very busy, so a more controlled palette of cream fabrics will make the quilt a little more controlled and increase the contrasts.  

While I'm sewing I often listen to free audio books on from  Librivox.  They have an app I've downloaded to my phone, and they have a catalogue of titles read by volunteer readers.  All the books are in the public domain, so they are mostly classics.  I've enjoyed listening to novels by Thomas Hardy, Edith Wharton, and the Bront√ęs.  I'm currently listening to Willa Cather's O Pioneers!  While I sew, my mind can be anywhere, time traveling among people of the past.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Vest + Vest = Cowl

Once upon a time I started to knit this stranded vest from a Kaffe Fassett pattern.  Unfortunately the pattern was written for flat vs. in-the-round knitting, and I soon gave up.  Oh, and then there was the 3-color stranded knitting...I was out of my league.

I saved this piece of knitting because there was no way I would rip out something I'd sweated over so much.  Plus, I love this Persian Poppies pattern, which is very typical of Kaffe Fassett's style.

Recently, I ran across my aborted project, and feeling inspired, I felted this holey thrift store cashmere vest, and then carefully cut some pieces the same dimension as my knitted piece.

I then slip stitched the two pieces together and voila: 

a cowl!  I promise, my expression notwithstanding, I'm very pleased with the outcome.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Knitted Reusable Produce Bags

The free pattern for this reusable produce bag, Julie Tarsha's Weightless Produce Bag,  is currently popular on Ravelry.  It only takes 60-80 yards of Aunt Lydia's crochet cotton size 10, and knits up quickly. 

Like many other folks, I'm concerned about the amount of plastic trash that ends up in our landfills and oceans. Up to now, I've washed and reused my plastic produce bags, but I'm going to make a supply of these cotton bags and transition away from plastic bags. 

The finished bag looks small, but it definintly expands, as you can see in the first photo.  The short handles make for a small opening, which some people says keeps your produce from tumbling out, but I'm going to start making the handles longer for a bigger opening that can be tied shut.  

In the project notes by kniters who made this project, several also noted the number of stitches they used to make a larger bag.

Crochet cotton is often available in thrift stores and garage sales, and I have several balls that have made their way into my stash.  I like to use it for weaving rag rugs and table runners.

I also have a stash of partial balls, and so I knitted my first bag from double stranded thinner cotton.  

I expect to make bags for myself and for friends and family.  Clearly I've got enough thread to make this my own environmental crusade.  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Scrappy Quilting with Squares

I had a big pile of squares I wanted to use up, so I assembled a couple of scrappy quilts.  It was the perfect easy, no brain-required exercise,  and I cleared out my stock of squares.  I attempted an alternate light and dark layout, added some semi-solid borders, and I was done.  This top is waiting for me to pin it to a piece of fleece and quilt it up.

I sashed the squares in this second quilt, which is a smaller kid quilt that I've donated.  I like the way the sashing  (in one of my favorite colors) sets off each square.  

I had some leftover backing fabric from a large quilt I finished last year.  It felt good to get this one finished and sent off. 

If you look in the left bottom corner of this picture, you can see that I put my work table on table leg extensions.  It's made cutting so much more comfortable, I wish I'd done it sooner.  I got mine on Amazon, but I'm sure big hardware stores must carry them

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Snake in the Hollow Quilt

One thing I've been doing lately in finishing up some old WIPS.  This one is a hand-pieced quilt I started more than 10 years ago.  I remember working on this once while Alex played paintball, so he was in high school then, and he's now almost 28.  

I once had grand ideas of a full-sized hand-pieced quilt, but when I revisited this project, I said, better finished than perfect, let's get this one done.  It's perfect for a small table runner.  I sewed up the blocks by machine and machine quilted it along the undulating lines.  Bob the cat approves so much, he decided to take his nap next to it.  

It's fun to look at all the small prints I included.  One WIP down, I've got a few more to go.  

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Knitting Project Bags

My hankering for new project bags started when a friend and her two daughters asked me to teach them some sewing basics.  Our first project was this cute tote bag.  The pattern and tutorial are free from Craftsy and the you only need a fat quarter of the feature fabric.  I found a remnant of this donut fabric at JoAnn's, and I love how my bag turned out.  My sewing students made theirs from fat quarters of batiks, and they came out beautifully.  I really liked their choices of complimentary lining and handle fabrics. 

Because I have a number of knitting projects going at any one time, I decided I wanted a couple of more of these Japanese knot bags.  These bags take about a half yard each of two fabrics, and they can be assembled from fat quarters, which is what I did with these two directional feature fabrics.  I made these before, and you can see my original post for details. 

How about that lining?  I've filled this bag with the materials for my next shawl project.

Here's the second bag I made.  I lined it with some really cute flannel that Debra gave me when I visited her a few years ago.

These projects are really quick to finish, which is a nice break from my slow-sewing project: the king sized quilt.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Okay, I'm Back

I told myself that once I retired, that I would try my hand at the blog again.  I've actually semi-retired, which means that I'll work full time one semester per academic year.  My dear colleagues feted me with parties, gifts, and many kind thoughts.  It's gratifying to look back on my career and celebrate all the relationships I forged.

Now that I have some unstructured time, I've started a big project: a king-sized quilt for my daughter and her husband.  She asked for scrappy, and so I've gone through the scrap bins (and I confess, I've bought a few novelty prints) for this project.  This pattern is from Bonnie Hunter's book String Fling.  Bonnie's quilt used solid turquoise in the alternate blocks, but I'm using a variety of prints to augment the bit of solid turquoise I had on hand.

The string centers are paper pieced.  I thought it was appropriate to cut up an old professional jounal for my foundations when I organized my office.

Here are some cut squares and string blocks for the quilt.  I'm sure I'll be cutting fabrics for awhile.  The string blocks are bundled in groups of ten.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...