Sunday, June 24, 2012

Meet George

I think I mentioned awhile back that I have been super into knitting toys. To satisfy my recent obsession, I decided to make another Elijah. This particular pattern by Ysolda is easy to read and requires zero seaming. Yes! Z-E-R-O! Given I have already made this once before, I decided to modify it this time so it's wearing a stripy sweater.

George and his peanuts!

I know exactly where I am going to put George. I am expecting my new Studio Wall Shelf in white from Pottery Barn to arrive. I plan to place the shelf in my sewing corner for me to display baskets of beautiful yarn and all these little handmade items. George will definitely have a prime spot!

Should I make him a sailor hat?

If you are interested in making Elijah, here are some helpful tips for you: 
  1. 1. To create a stripy sweater, repeat knit three rows and purl three rows. To make the collar and the hem of the sweater and sleeves, I knit one row in one color (i.e. blue), and purl two rows in the same color (i.e. still blue). 
  2. A video on how to do "M1R, M1L"
  3. A video on how to do "w+t" for the ears.
  4. A video on how to do crafting to finish off the ears.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Carving My Own Stamps

I have noticed many bloggers out there making their own stamps. That inspired me to give it a try as well. I order the Speedball Carving Tool and a carving block from Amazon. As soon as they arrived at my door, I started carving away.

I started with a simple heart.

Then proceeded to carve a block after my house! Turned out quite cute :) 

The hardest part of carving my own stamps was figuring out how to assemble the Speedball tool! It didn't come with any sort of instructions, and the instructions were also not available online! Anyways, after cursing a bit and messing with it for a few minutes, I figured it out. 

You want to place the blade "in between" these two parts! Who would have thought... 

It has been so hot in the Bay Area. The temperature was above 100° yesterday! That almost never happens here. But of course, today is when I decide to use the oven to bake Kale Chips. I used sea salt, vinegar, and Parmesan cheese. They came out quite tasty!

Lately, I have been fascinated and spending a lot of time researching how to crochet and knit toys. I decided to make another Elijah, but he is wearing a stripy sweater this time. He is coming together quite nicely. I ran out of cotton stuffing and plan to get more today.

I hope you are staying indoor and avoiding the crazy heat! Have a great rest of the weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scrappy Hot Potholder Tutorial

I finally got around to making more hot potholders this weekend. I finished piecing the top for weeks now, but ran out of the insul-Bright batting to finish them off. These hot potholders were made with scraps from the kitchen floor mat project.

I made a total of three different hot potholders!

Although I have made these before, I could not remember how to do the loop for the life of me! I decided to put together a tutorial for when I forget again next time. I thought I would share this tutorial in case you are interested in making pretty hot potholders with scraps.

:: Scrappy Hot Potholder Tutorial ::

- Tons of scraps assembled into one 8.5" x 8.5" piece
- One 10" x 10" piece of insul-Bright batting
- One 10" x 10" piece of Warm and Natural batting
- One 12" x 12" piece of fabric as the backing
- One 2" wide strip (about 40" long) as binding. Feel free to piece this long piece using scraps as well.
- One 1.75" wide scrap fabric (about 3" long) to make the loop on the potholder so you can hang this up!

1. Take your quilted piece, backing, batting, and layer them in this order: quilt top (right-side up), insul-bright batting, Warm and Natural batting, and the backing (right-side down).

A note about batting. I highly recommend using Warm and Natural for this project. It's slightly more expensive and is perfect for hand quilting, but this particular batting is thin (yet effective). We will be quilting four layers in total, you want to use batting that will not be super bulky for you to quilt through.

2. Baste through all four layers starting from the center of the quilt. I only did four (as show below).

3. Now you are ready to quilt through this sandwiched piece in whatever way you like. Please make sure you change your footer to the one shown here. Sometimes I forget to switch out my 1/4" quilting foot!

4. This is what it looks like when you finish quilting. See how all edges are uneven? Don't panic. We will trim everything! I usually bast around all four edges about 1/2" away from the edge by hand before I trim and square this off.

 5. After all four edges are basted, I just take it to the cutting mat and trim it! See, it looks all better now, right!?

6. Now this is when you add your label and the loop. Take the 1.75" x 3" fabric, fold the two 3" sides into the middle, and iron. Repeat and stitch along the opening. Attach it to the back of the hot potholder. This is how I usually do the loop. I really like how it looks after the binding is attached.

7. Bind your sandwiched quilt. I use this video tutorial to do my binding every time.

8. Remove basting from step four, iron it a bit, and you are all done!

After you make the first one, additional ones will go by so much faster. These hot potholders are addicting, easy, and perfect for those scraps you have been saving. Please be sure to share photos if you do make one using this tutorial. I would love to see them!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Circle of Geese

I have a long list of sewing and knitting projects that I keep track of. However, seeing projects featured on different blogs always change what I want to work on next! For example, I came across this beautiful Circle of Geese quilt on Claire's website and just had to try it. Forget everything else on my list! I used this tutorial from The Sometime Crafter's blog. She even has a free PDF for you to download. I followed everything to a T, and my Circle of Geese came out perfect!

I had solid fabric scraps handy. The quilt came out perfect. 

Here is how I do my binding, which may be my favorite part of quilting.

This is my second project with paper piecing. I find it very interesting and enjoyable.

Remember the Japanese fabrics I ordered awhile back? I got them today! Yay! I loved going through all these fabrics. I guess it's what Christmas mornings feel like!? I need to think of a way to store these pieces. I am seriously running out of storage space around here. I also got my first set of Liberty London fabrics. They are so beautiful and soft. I have no idea what I am going to make with them, but it will be something special for sure.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I am in Stitch Magazine!

I am thrilled to share with you that a project of mine is featured in the Fall edition of Stitch now on newsstands in the US! I visited a local Barnes & Noble today and saw the latest edition of Stitch right there in front of my eyes! I grabbed a copy and immediately flipped through it to find my Harvest Placemats. I must say seeing my project professionally photographed and printed in one of my favorite craft magazines is one of my most notable accomplishments in life.

Photo taken by my proud husband!

This edition celebrates fall and has simple yet beautiful dresses, projects for kids for back to school days, and many recycle/re-purposed project ideas! The recycled shirt blanket, unique plant holders, and reusable snack bags are some of my favorites. The upcycled denim messenger bag may have inspired my mom to pick up sewing; now that's huge!

Now hurry! Get your copy, check out my project on page 62 and all the other great ones that I know you will love.

Stitch: Thank you very much for the opportunity to feature my design. It's my great honor working with you.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mini Doll Quilt for Baby's Nursery

I finished a baby quilt for a special friend of mine who is expecting. I know she will appreciate a handmade gift by me. I don't usually make things for my friends unless I know they will treasure it. Otherwise, I just purchase something; that always works and is a safer choice.

Since my friend is expecting a baby boy, I decided on this particular shade of baby blue that also matches the color of her baby shower. Not sure why, but I wanted to give it a vintage look with lace.

I embroidered a very cute baby duck using a pattern found on Flickr. It's just so cute! You have to check out other patterns available. I started with one quilt, fell in love with it, and decided to make another one to keep. Does that ever happen to you? At this rate, I will be making two of everything!

I am really happy with the look of linen combined with these baby blue fabrics. I hand quilted around the duck and machine quilted the rest of the quilt. I also incorporated these vintage wood buttons I purchased from Taiwan many years ago. The benefit of making two of the same thing is the ability to try different ideas. Which one do you like more?

I finished this quilt with a blue and white twine for it to be hung on the wall. I also created two fabric covered buttons using this tutorial to go with the twine. I hope the recipient likes it, and that it will look cute on the wall in the baby's nursery. I certainly enjoy having it hung in my sewing corner. It may be time to make another one in pink with a bunny embroidered in the center!

I am linking up to Quilt Tuesday, see my sidebar for their button.