Quilt Project

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Gifts in the Making

I have been home sick for the past two days with stomach flu, which has prompted me to update my poorly updated blog. I'm hoping stomach flu is not the only motivator I have in my life to a. update my blog and b. lose 5 pounds. No matter, both a and b have been achieved.

I haven't made a whole lot of things lately because I have been getting the studio organized. We have also had other things going on with the house, Sam, and family so making had to be put aside. Christmas is as good a reason as any to get back into making things. Over the weekend I spent some time preparing new screens for our Christmas gifts. I am hoping this weekend I will be able to start putting the images on the screen and get a few test prints made. Images to come.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birthday Gift for Sister-in-law

My beautiful sister-in-law, Eliza, recently had a birthday. Not too long after we arrived in Pittsburgh she mentioned she would love to have an assortment of cloth napkins to use for dinners. She said she would love to have an assortment of fabrics that didn't necessarily match but were color coordinated.

A variety of napkins
Peter and I selected 15 different materials from Marmalade Fabrics, which is an online fabric retailer. Tammy, the owner, has incredible taste in fabric and she has quickly become one of my favorite resources. She's really good at selecting highly sought after fabrics as they come out each season.  The napkins measure out 15.5" square. They were serged, to help avoid future fraying, and then hemmed.

Napkin rings
In addition to the napkins I also altered some napkin rings we purchased. I used some of the scraps and some buttons I found to liven up the simple silver rings. The embellishment is held together by a snap so it can easily be removed if she wants to only use the simple ring.

"Fancier" set
I also made a "fancier" set for when she hosts dinner parties. I have always liked the idea of napkin rings, but hated the idea of having multiple sets for holidays and fancy dinners taking up space in a cupboard. This ways the she only has the one set of napkin rings with interchangeable embellishments, which will take up a little less room.

New Studio Space and Craft Table

Craft Table
I have a studio space after many years on living in tiny spaces and like a semi-nomad. (I mean, seriously, when I moved back from Canada the majority of my belongings fit in my tiny hatchback, Yoshi.) Texas homes aren't really known for basements, so you can only imagine my excitement when I moved into a house with a basement spacious enough to allow for a designated space for crafting. Aside from just having the space, the basement is also equipped with an industrial sink and shower for when I need to blow out screens or work with dyes. I've been feeling like a kid in a candy store every time I'm down there- even if it only going to get the laundry.

The space I selected for crafting had some pretty gnarly wood paneling, which we recently finished priming. Our plan is to paint it a clean, light color with grey trim. It will brighten up the space and not drastically effect colors in the fabric I am either making or using for projects.

Studio space before priming and table construction

Awesome built in with cool red light fixtures
The first thing I needed to do was craft a workspace large enough for the various media/projects, such as pattern cutting, screen printing, quilting, etc. We went to Construction Junction and picked up two used lab cabinets for cheap. I wanted to get something to act as the base of the table but also could be used potentially for storage. The day they went to Construction Junction they had a ton of cabinets that had been donated from some lab.

Table in progress...

We also picked up two large 4X8 sheets of plywood to act as the tabletop. Peter then screwed the boards together to help avoid each individual sheet from warping.
Peter in action
After the table was screwed down it needed to be covered. I used a sandwich of plastic, quilt batting, and muslin, which we stapled to the underside of the table top.

Quilt batting layer
In order to really support cutting out fabric and screen printing I think a good craft table needs a little bit of spring or cushion. To do this I bought queen size quilt batting, which I doubled over.

The layering technique makes it easier to pin down fabric when cutting out patterns, when printing t-shirts, or dying fabric. This table easily holds T-pins and fabric pins. When stapling just make sure you do it one layer at a time and each layer is pulled tightly to the edge. Over time the muslin may wear out or get dirty. As well, the batting may lose its fluff. Fortunately it can easily be pulled off and replaced with a fresh batch of new materials.

It's been a little while...

Sam's feet
So, it's been a little while...
Sam was born Thursday, April 21, 2011. Since then we have also relocated to Pittsburgh. We did this when Sam was a mere 4 weeks old. (I have been called crazy a few times over this.)

The last 19 weeks have been about Sam and getting settled into our new world. We still have a lot to settle, but I finally feel like enough progress has been made that I can get back to crafting regularly and blogging about the things I make and experience.

The above photo was recently taken by local photographer and incredible person, Renee Greenlee. Aside from being amazing, she is so talented. The train name was a gift from a long family friend, and it is sitting on a beautiful hand-knitted blanket from my friend, Denee. (Denee also recently completed a 12 foot long replica of the 4th season Dr. Who scarf.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shower Decor/Baby Goodies

Cupcake and Lollipop Washcloth Bundles
from babcakeandlollipop.etsy.com

My baby shower was in March so my only excuse for the delay in posting anything handmade from this event is I was under the impression I would be having a baby by now and I had to finish getting ready. Well, here we are past my due date with a still pregnant belly. We finished everything we really needed to do by week 38 and have since hung out waiting for the big moment. Since I am still a momma-in-waiting I decided to pass some of the time updating the blog.

My mum threw me the most incredible shower at the Brick Oven on 35th full of delicious food (including a gluten free table for me and the other attending Celiac), wonderful family and friends, and a lot of baby gifts. I love a good party for anyone else but me. In order to get through the event I decided it wasn't really a party for me but for the baby that would soon bless our life. As far as I am concerned this little guy deserves a party (and I can still say this even though he is about a week late).

Pictured above and below are some of the items that decorated the tables at the shower. I like them because they are handmade and totally useful. The adorable cupcake and lollipop (above) from Babycake and Lollipop deconstruct into a set of baby wash clothes and a feeding spoon.  The corsage (below) is also a simple pair of baby socks. 
Baby Sock Corsage from babycakeandlollipop.etsy.com
From now on I think I am only going to use multitasking decor at any event I host. It's purposeful and considerably less wasteful. As a craftster I constantly contemplate the waste I produce when sewing, designing, and dyeing. It seems unavoidable in a many creative circumstances, so when I can't do it myself I am happy to support those who do. In this case it was my mum who located this Etsy seller, and I am thankful for that!
Thelibrarygirl and The Architect at Brick Oven on 35th
(check out the huge baby belly!)
Mum also got a funny tie for The Architect to wear in case our family and friends forgot her fathered this child. I currently cannot find the name of the Etsy seller who made this, but will update the post once I do. I'm wondering how to archive this in the baby book...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Completed Quilt from Mum

Last month my mum finished the quilt she started in the introductory class at Stitch Lab. She brought it up for the baby shower.

Mum's Quilt for Baby

The quilt will be used once the baby gets here, but for the time being it is hanging above the baby's crib with the Charley Harper-inspired mobile. I love seeing them together. I cannot wait to wrap up the little one in it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Onesies Project (and Mum Gets Crafty)

The Architect and I were trying to figure out a way to get family and friends involved in the whole "baby experience." With family and friends located all over the place we wanted to share our love of baby and crafting in a creative way. We decided to ask a few family members and friends to decorate a variety of onesies for the baby- hence the name The Onesies Project. 

We didn't really have any rules other than a kind request to be as gender neutral as possible. We also didn't care how creative your felt you were. If you wanted to participate we were happy to hand you a onesie. Participants even got to choose from a variety of colors and sizes. 


It should be no surprise my mum was the first to get her onesies back to us. (All pictured onesies are from my mum) She was the first person to give us a baby present a few days after we told her we were expecting. (First time grandmotherly excitement!!!) I think originally we gave her two to decorate, but she loved it so much she went out and bought more blanks for decorating.

The great thing about this project is the openness. I think a lot of the decor used for her onesies came from craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby. The most important thing is she personalized them using decor representing things in our lives. She and I both love owls, we have two dogs, and we have a bit of an animal theme going on with Charley Harper as our nursery inspiration. The other onesies are just darn cute.

Most of our onesies were purchased at a discounted price from Trendy Blanks. We pre-washed all of the onesies before handing them out and just let people decorate as they pleased. I think this would even be a good idea for a baby shower if you wanted to do something different than playing weird dirty diaper games, eating cake, and opening gifts.

There will be other onesies posted as they are returned to us. We just got one back from a friend, and I absolutely love it.

Elle Dee Design

I am a little late when it comes to posting some of the items we have purchased. Making a lot of baby stuff, crafting for fun, preparing for the baby, and working a full-time job only allows so much free time. And, we didn't necessarily start accumulating baby stuff until I was about 5 months pregnant. It's not that we weren't excited about having a baby. I'm just the type of person that doesn't like to buy stuff until it is needed. We are currently a mere 5 weeks away from my due date and we still have a list of things to buy- not to mention do before the baby gets here.

Bibs- $12 each or 2 for $20
During the craft spree that was November and December in Austin we picked up a couple of bibs and a diaper wipes case from Elle Dee Design while attending the Craft Riot hosted by EstyAustin. We also picked up a cloth crayon travel case for our nephew because he had recently began learning how to color. (Sorry no picture of that, but it was very cute!)

Elle Dee Diaper Wipes Case- $10
We haven't had the opportunity to uses these things yet, but hope they last the wear and tear of a newborn. They were very affordable and seem well made. Elle Dee's Esty site doesn't have any bibs or diaper cases currently available online, but her shop has a lot of cute barrettes, dresses, and t-shirts perfect for Spring and Easter.

My favorite t-shirt/oneies combination

We attended the tree lighting ceremony last December at the capitol with two of our good friends. In addition to electrifying a tree and a lot of Christmas carols led by lovingly annoying KUT radio host John Aielli all of Congress opened up its doors. The local Farmer's Market even set up after hours, which allowed me to enjoy some much craved kettle corn and do a little shopping for baby.

Burro and burrito t-shirt and onesie for The Architect and Baby
The above pictured "burrito" onesie was picked up while browsing the Farmer's Market. It's from Will Heron, who is a local designer. He does children, women, and men's clothing. The Architect loved the onesie so much I went to Will's website and found the "Burro/burrito" t-shirt for him as a part of his dad-to-be Christmas gift. Will was prompt to respond to my order, and I had it in less than a week even though it was Christmas time.

Do expect a photo to be posted at a later date of the boys wearing Will's gear. I can't wait.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quilt It! (Introductory Quilting Series) at Stitch Lab

Anyone who has known or met me in the last year has probably heard me rave about Stitch Lab. It's more than just a locally-owned shop with incredible fabrics. They also offer a variety of craft-based classes with some of the most talented craftsters in Austin, TX. In the last 12 months I have taken Color 101, Screen Printing, Surface Design I and II, and Crochet 101. All of these classes have been incredibly fun and informative, especially since for the better part of the twenty years I have been sewing and crafting I have been self-taught. Taking a class was a new approach to learning for me, but I felt it was time I explore what other craftsters had to say about the making process.

Happily I have not been disappointed with any of my classes, with the exception of Crochet 101. However, I accept full responsibility. The disappointment was not in the class or the instructor, Becky, who is incredible. Instead the disappointment was in myself because the fine technique of crochet was not something I instinctively picked up in the course of three hours. I don't know if it was my pregnant brain, my lack of dexterity with the needles, or trying to doing something with the right hand when I am a tried and true lefty. Nevertheless, Becky still managed to send me on inspired, and I fully intend to learn crochet in my lifetime.

(Mum's quilt, which is using one of three dotted Moda fabrics we selected for the nursery.)

Continuing with the baby-consumed motif that has become my life last Sunday and today my mum and I took a class taught by Hayley called Quilt It! (Introductory Quilting Series). Mum drove up from Houston to learn how to make a baby blanket for her future grandson. Aside from baby-to-be our inspiration for taking the class started back in early November at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. We have attended this beautifully monsterous festival before, but this year the variety and talent of the quilt makers really seemed to inspire both of us. Mum was really drawn to all of the project kits sold by the vendors, and I encountered a quilter who dyes all of her fibers, and in one case even the batting, which was exposed as a part of the final design. Mum had never quilted before, and similarly to most of my stitching experience I had been very DIY and essentially winging it when it came to quilt-based projects.

The goal of Quilt It! is to to learn quilting basics, including the use of a rotary cutter and mat (aka: how to not cut off fingers). The course is divided over two days into four hour intervals. The first class you are introduced to quilting, cut out all of your fabric, and assemble the top of the quilt. Day two is spent sandwiching your quilt together, quilting it, and attaching the binding. In a period of eight hours you almost completely finish a lap quilt perfect for baby. At the end of class all that remains is finishing the binding, which you can slip stitch by hand or machine sew. (Die hard for the hand stitch finish)

This was the first class I had taken with Hayley, and I would take more classes with her if I wasn't getting ready to pop. She is a natural teacher, who explains things easily. She is obviously very knowledgeable about quilting, and over the course of the class you quickly learn she's fiendishly talented with several aspects of craft, including designing her own fabric. (I can say this is a common trend with Stitch Lab instructors. They are amazing at pretty much everything thing they do.) She makes everything seem easy, which can ease the nervous of the anxiety-ridden like my mum.

(My quilt using a Moda 1933 reproduction from the Chloe's Closet series and an assortment of reproductions from a series called Aunt Grace)

The most difficult aspect of the project is probably the binding. She was open to us using pre-package quilt binding or making our own. Having selected some unique colors for our quilts I opted to make our binding, and I am very happy I did. Hayley's demo on how to attach the binding was great. Similarly to every other step of the project she made it seem very easy and even allowed us time to practice working with a small piece of seam binding and scrap of fabric. She had the four of us mitering corners in no time. (I was happy to discover I had been making/attaching binding properly, which is something I had often wondered.)

Overall everyone seemed very happy with the final results. We all used the same pattern but each quilt looked so different because of our fabric choices. As a fabric junkie I was thoroughly impressed with the power fabric has when it comes to the depth and values quilts possess. This class has further intrigued my interest in quilting, and I look forward to learning and experimenting more with what quilting has to offer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baby Bolt Onesie and Bib

In November and December we frequented the craft fairs in the Austin-area. This city has so many talented crafters. If we had a money tree in the backyard we could be less finicky on whose products to buy. However, since we don't have a money tree we have to be a little more discerning in selecting handcrafted baby gear made by others.

We had seen the awesome work of Becka Spellman, who runs a baby and childrens clothing line, Baby Bolt, at the Craft Riot, hosted by EtsyAustin, in November, but held off on purchasing some of the Baby Bolt gear until we went to the Cherrywood Craft Fair. Spellman's designs are mod, and she likes to use upcycled and imported fabrics. She has a very good eye for color, texture, and prints. I am particularly concerned with quality made apparel, and based on our conversations at both craft fairs she knows the importance of a durable, well constructed garment. She also kid-tests a lot of her clothes on her own kiddo.

We bought a few Christmas gifts, but also splurged on a gift set for the baby (pictured above). The fabrics in the photo are from a reclaimed bed sheet and an animal print fabric from Japan. It came in a handy gift box, and her baby clothes are at the top of my list for a few baby showers I will need to attend in the future. She also debuted toddler hoodies at the Cherrywood gig, and I have my eye on one once baby gets older and the weather turns colder.

Baby Bolt is also located on Etsy here.

Charley Harper Inspired Baby Mobile Made by My Architect

The Architect made me (and baby) one of the most incredible gifts for Christmas. He knows my love of Charley Harper, whose artwork and design is the key inspiration of our nursery, and has access to a laser cutter. During his lunch breaks he crafted a mobile to hang over the baby's crib. It's absolutely beautiful, and I am in awe of his generosity, love, and incredible talent. We will have to post more photos once it is hanging in the nursery.

Amy Butler Designed Diaper Bag in Progress

Part of the weekend was spent working on the diaper bag I intend to carry. This is the lining, which includes two long pockets and bottle pockets. It's a pattern from the Amy Butler baby project book. When I finish the bag I intend to write a review about the project and how it is presented in the book.

This is how the lining really looks. The exterior of the bag is still in pieces. This project is on hold until I complete the quilt binding necessary for quilting with Mum this weekend. We are making baby quilts.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why We Started This Blog

The inspiration for this blog is the upcoming birth of our first child and the handmade things we have made, found, and received from friends, family and local craftsters.

This is our wee one at 20 weeks. Name to be determined. For now we loving call him Tater Tot and Bear Cub.

We are the parents-to-be and makers: thelibrarygirl and thearchitect