Wednesday, October 31, 2007

el día de los muertos



I'm crossing things off my to-do list left and right here...finished this patchwork pillow with Day of the Dead embroidery from Sublime Stitching just in time for the holiday today. When I did the Virgen de Guadelupe embroidery back in May I didn't really think that it would take me so long to finish up the skulls and put everything together. That purple and pink skull was sitting in its embroidery hoop waiting for eyes and teeth for about 5 months there as I moved on to different projects.



The skull fabric is by Alexander Henry and I think it officially puts this pillow into the kitschy category, but oh well...it matches the theme, right?!?



happy halloween



It's our first halloween in our new house and consequently our first time passing out candy to all the neighborhood kids. Shinji is being a good sport greeting all the trick-or-treaters at the door while we hand out the candy. He's been very popular with the kids.





And Nuku Nuku is holing up in the basement enjoying my new quilt.



Monday, October 29, 2007

Hazel Hurrahs and rodgab



One last fall stitchette finished. I'm done with fall, now on to the next set. From: wee wonderfuls





We saw an amazing concert last night with our friend Jodi at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit...rodrigo y gabriela. They're a Spanish guitar duo with a rock n roll twist...filled with lots of tricks and techniques to make you drop your jaw. It was a bit louder and a bit later than I'm used to but their talent definitely made staying out late on a work night worth it (man, are we getting old...had to stock up on coke to get a caffeine high to keep us awake : ) You can check out some of their youtube videos here.



Sunday, October 28, 2007

Handkerchief Corners Quilt



I am officially finished with this little project. (You can see how the project progressed here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). I'm pretty sure this is the longest it's ever taken me to complete a quilt. I bought the fabric back in May, came up with the idea for the pattern in September and got to work on September 19, a little over a month ago. This project has been haunting me and I'm so glad it's finished!





This is the largest quilt I've made to date and the first time I didn't use free motion quilting. Yikes...all of those straight lines got pretty tedious. It got to the point where I made myself quilt it in one hour blocks so that I would at least get something accomplished. And to top that off, I decided to go with the not so speedy machine stitched/hand stitched binding method seen here. The hand stitching took forever and wasn't quite as fun as embroidery, but I got the hang of it after a while and now it seems a bit more manageable.





I was so happy to throw the quilt in the washer and dryer and see it come out in all its crinkly, wrinkled goodness.





Here are the final details if you're interested in making one of these for yourself:



Final quilt size:

64” x 88”

8 blocks x 11 blocks = total 88 blocks




Blocks:

finished size

8” x 8”



For each block you will need the following pieces:



   Final Size       Cutting Size (w/ 1/4" seam allowance)




1: 5” x 5”         5.5 x 5.5

2: 5” x 1.5”       5.5 x 2

3: 1.5” x 6.5”     2 x 7

4: 6.5” x 1.5”     7 x 2

5: 1.5” x 8”       2 x 8.5



Fabric needed for front:

18 fat quarters

5 sets of fabric from each fq = 90 sets from fq (you will have two squares extra)

1.75 yards for solid color (I used white) center squares



Cut the fabric as directed on each fat quarter:

Quilt



Saturday, October 27, 2007

new yarn + scarf



I discovered my new favorite yarn last month. Berroco Jasper 100% Merino Yarn. I've been knitting a new brioche stitch Berlin Scarf with this yarn for the past few weeks and I am really liking the colorway...can't go wrong with a self-striping green, turquoise and purple yarn, right? I wish I could make every project with this yarn because it is just so soft and so enjoyable to work with. This is definitely the solution to my "wool is too scratchy" dilemna!





I am cranking away at the hand-sewing the binding on my handkerchief corners quilt. I'm hoping to have it all finished by tonight. Jon and I have had a Wes Anderson film-fest weekend. We saw The Darjeeling Limited in the theatre last night, watched an interview with Wes Anderson on the Charlie Rose Show afterward and are wrapping up the festivities with an afternoon showing of The Royal Tenenbaums (one of my top ten favorite movies ever) this afternoon in our basement while I finish up the binding.





Monday, October 22, 2007

weekend in Chicago



We had a lovely weekend in Chicago



...enjoying the gorgeous weather



...catching up with old friends



...window shopping



...getting smoothies at Jamba Juice (seriously wish one of these would come to our town soon!)



...shopping at Papersource for the first time in person - finally getting the paper flower kit I have been eyeing for a few years





...picking out our first new ornament for Christmas this year (from Papersource)





...enjoying public transportation (or not having to find a parking spot in the city)



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wilson Walks Walter



One more fall stitchette to go and I'll have finished my first set of patterns from wee wonderfuls!



Monday, October 15, 2007

weekend update



Well, the quilt is coming along slowly but surely. I finished sewing the top together last Monday and basted it on Tuesday. We had a pretty busy weekend, so I was only able to get a few rows here and there done. I'm really hoping to finish up the quilting tonight, so that I can move on to hand stitching on the binding (my first try at this technique)





I'm cranking away at the granny squares. I've almost finished round three on all of my squares. Just two more rounds to go after that and I can get to the sewing in the ends and stitching together part of the afghan. I must say that I've been getting pretty speedy at whipping these things out. It helps that I gave my wrist a break and let it heal before starting these again. We watched Blood Diamond on Saturday while I was working on these. I was glad to be distracted crocheting at times during the film because it got quite gruesome and bloddy at points. Jon and I are on an Africa kick right now...learning about all of these crazy civil rights and civil war movements that have happened under our radar in the past 10 year. First it was Hotel Rwanda, then The Last King of Scotland, and now Blood Diamond. Some pretty corrupt stuff going on!



And...the "Rebekah is not so smart" moment of the weekend: I was trying to take our A/C unit out of the living room window. Key word: trying. I opened the window planning to catch the machine, but I was a bit to slow. It bounced off the window sill and fell to the ground and rolled a few times. I shrieked in horror just as the mailman walked across our lawn to witness what I had just done. Boy, was I embarrassed. Jon and I had a good laugh over my mistake after the fact. And no, I'm not planning on seeing if the A/C unit still works until next summer. Ignorance is bliss, right?!?



Finally, my little sister, Rachel, is not so little anymore. She turns 18 today! Man, everyone in my family is getting so old! We're celebrating her birthday by taking her and her boyfriend to Chicago this weekend. I'm excited to show them around the city...it's been a few years since I've been back to visit.



Sunday, October 7, 2007

quilt update

88 squares are sewn together, pressed and layed out in a pleasing pattern...now onto the assembly.





I knew what this was supposed to look like in my head, but I was so pleasantly surprised when I actually saw all the squares positioned together. Can't wait to start quilting on this one!



new handbag

I made this little handbag with the Flea Market bag pattern from Grand Revival Design yesterday. While it took me a while to figure out how to read the pattern (I do much better with color photos), I was able to figure it out and put it together fairly quickly. Now that I understand the pattern it will be much easier to duplicate it next time.





I bought the fabric last Saturday at the sewing expo. It's a japanese fabric made by Etsuko Furuya. Other patterns in the line can be purchased here and here . I've been eyeing this fabric ever since I started sewing last year and was so excited to see it in person. It's a thick cotton canvas and is so nice to work with. I wish I had purchased more of this fabric line, but my wallet and Jon thank me for having some restraint!



Saturday, October 6, 2007

more projects

I've been busy crafting away...using our time catching up on The Office to work on my granny squares, my knitting swatch and some embroidery.





The quilt is coming along. I just have 2 more strips to sew to each square and then it's ready to assemble.





And, I finished my second stitchette. My plan is to finish all 16 and include them in a quilt. Well, the quilt isn't going to make itself unless i start cranking these out, right? I believe this one is called "Ernie's Edification" and it's from the fall stitchettes.





The potholder/swatch is finished. I'm a little bummed that it didn't shrink as much as I wanted it to and that it shrunk from a square into a rectangle. Next time I'll know to add a lot of rows to the swatch to get it to come out more even.





before





and after



And now the swatch is bringing me a scent from my past...perm chemicals. Seriously, it smells so disgusting!



I'm off to finish those quilt sqaures and possible make a new purse from this pattern with this fabric that I picked up last weekend at the sewing expo...



Tuesday, October 2, 2007

knitting wip's



I remembered how to cast on! It's been a while since I've started a new knitting project...so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to figure things out, but I did.



I'm knitting up this limade Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn into a swatch to be felted for my felting class. Next week we'll be needle felting some designs onto it. How can you look at the color of this yarn and not smile? I'm definitely digging the color. It might just end up being a third potholder to add to our lime green potholder collection. We'll have to wait and see.





And this scarf has been the bane of my existence for the last 8 months. It started out as this Taos Scarf, but then I got cocky and thought that I had the pattern memorized and messed up the directions of the cables and had to frog it. Then I discovered this pattern at the purl bee and started it over. I took it on the plane to Japan and didn't bring the pattern because I thought I had it memorized (see a pattern here?), so I messed it up again and had to frog it again. Then I started it over as a K4P4 scarf but decided it was too bland, so I frogged it again. Now it is back to the Berlin scarf from the purl bee and it's taking me forever to finish (mostly because I only pick it up once a month). But, I've been careful to re-read the directions each time I pick it up again. I've learned my lesson!



Monday, October 1, 2007

handkerchief corners - first square



I finished the first square of my handkerchief corners quilt this afternoon...only 87 more to go. If all goes as planned, this quilt will measure 64" x 88", so it should be about twin-sized. Each square will measure 8" x 8" once they are completed and sewn into the quilt. I think I'm going to try using a higher loft batting on this quilt to make it puffier and warmer for the winter. I've only ever use the thin cotton batting, so we'll see how it goes.