Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Birthday Swap!

Did I tell you that I'm participating in a Birthday Gift Swap in the SAARC group on Ravelry? Its positively a fun swap.. Almost 20 of us are participating in it and it runs through the year, although the sign-ups are closed now. Everyone gets a gift package on their birthday from the other swappers consisting of 3 items.. one handmade item, one store-bought item and one item that represents where you live or where you are from. Interesting, isn't it?! I can't wait for my birthday in June. ;-)

The Jan-Babies(Babes!) are Sanhita and Viraja. Both of them are experts in so many crafts and I was stumped by what to make for them. After much deliberation, I decided to make a notions pouch for Viraja. Instead of making a simple rectangular zippered pouch, I decided to make a curved zippered one using Keyka Lou's tutorial. The place-specific gift is a shell with her name written on it. I'm from the southern most part of India and there are beaches all around us. The shell represents my town known for the beaches. Here are the goodies I sent to Viraja.

For Sanhita, I made an embroidered wall hanging. I just started with the 'Love in the middle' motif without much thought..but, everything fell into place in the end for this project. I got the right paint for the hoop and I love the final product so much so that I want to make another one for my home. Here are the goodies I sent to Sanhita.

I'm having fun making stuff for my crafty friends..and, I'm sure its going to be a fun year of swaps! Have you participated in swaps? If so, what is the most fun package you received? I'd like to hear about your swap experiences..


Friday, January 27, 2012

Autumn Treatise!

The Autumn Treatise sampler is done and I'm in love with it. I love embroidery designs that are simple and quirky and this one fit the bill to a T. Since I like Fall colors on a tree, I chose them for the leaves. Here is the completed sampler.

I painted the embroidery hoop in red color to go with the theme and finished it with a few coats of Modge Podge. The design is Autumn Treatise from Urban Threads. I used back stitch and satin stitch for this sampler. I love the simple stitches in embroidery. Some day, I'll branch out to the textured stitches. But today, I'm enjoying the simplicity of the back stitch. Here is a close-up of the design..

The tree looks so happy and cheerful in Fall colors,doesn't it?! This is going to be a gift for a friend. :-) I have another sampler in progress.. I'll only give you a sneak peak at it at the moment, as I have bigger plans for the sampler. Here we go..

I'm loving this chaotic phase that I'm going through where I'm trying my hand at this and that and not sticking to a single hobby. I think its highly impossible for needle-crafters to stay loyal to one single hobby. So, tell me what are all your hobbies, both active and passive ones.. Is there a craft you've been wanting to try but, haven't had a chance to? I have one and that is weaving. I so want to learn it but, I don't have any means to try it anytime soon. What about you?


This post is linked to FO Fridays hosted by Tami's Amis and Creative Friday hosted by Natural Suburbia.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Plodding along...

Yes. I'm plodding along on my Shapely Stripes sweater.. not that I'm not enjoying the knitting. Its so mindless that I am easily blending knitting and reading. :-) The sleeves are done and as planned, I'm knitting a hood for this sweater.. Here is the progress so far..

My upper arm looks so thin and toned,huh?! However, its far from the truth.. This being a fitted sweater, I feel like the sleeves are screaming... "LOOK HERE!! BIG FAT ARMS!!" Don't believe me?! See for yourself..

I blocked the sweater after the sleeves were done to make sure I like the length of the sleeves and the body. No point risking the length of the sweater after the button bands are done... Here is it blocking..

I hope to finish this sweater so that I can get some use out of it before the Summer sets in. What is on your needles or hooks? Share with me unless its a top-secret for-your-eyes-only project. :P


This post is linked to WIP Wednesdays hosted by Tami's Amis and Yarn Along hosted by Ginny.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Stripes and Spots Quilt!

Finito. Done. A Queen-sized quilt in a week! Its a major milestone in my crafty career. ;-) What started as a simple indulgence in a fabric shopping spree turned out to be a lovely quilt.. I'm so thrilled to finish this quilt. So, sit tight and join me along the journey of the Stripes and Spots quilt from fabric to quilt. This is going to be an image-heavy post. Please bear with me :-) Let's start with the fabric.. I decided to buy these 3 fabrics at the last moment of a fabric shopping expedition during my Christmas vacation. I'm glad I did.

I always buy fabrics in coordinating prints, if I can. That way I don't have to worry about trying to pair them up in projects. I didn't have any projects in mind when I bought these fabrics. Who does,huh?! After I came back from the vacation, I thought.. why not make a quilt top with these fabrics? I wanted quilt patterns that use 3 prints for the top and I chanced upon the Stripes and Spots Quilt in the book  Quick Colorful quilts I had, which used 3 prints for the top.

The quilt doesn't involve any cutting of difficult pieces. Only straight forward strips of fabric needed for this quilt. Have I told you how much I hate the cutting part in any sewing project?! So, about 2 hours of cutting yielded the fabric strips needed for the quilt top. All credit goes to my trusty rotary cutter. :-)

Since the fabric pieces are perfect strips, I chain-pieced the blocks and in a few hours I had the blocks ready. The blocks weren't squared and I'm suspecting it to be an error in the pattern measurements. But, anyways, a few hours spent squaring the blocks yielded perfect blocks for the top. Here are the blocks!

Sewing the blocks went quickly and soon I had the quilt top ready. I added a border of white fabric to increase the dimensions of the quilt. I wanted a bit of overhang on all sides of the bed and the quilt top was a tad smaller that I'd like it to be. So, here is the top laid on the bed before I quilted it.

At this point I was a bit worried if I have chewed on more than I can bite. The size of this quilt kinda stumped me. Its only my second quilt and my first one was in year 2009. That is 2 years back! But, I can't back out after completing about half the job,right? So, I persevered.  I made the binding using the floral fabric in the top. I had to buy fabric for the backing and I found a perfect gingham fabric for it. Since we don't get cotton batting in India, I used a pair of polyester fleece blanket found in abundance here.

I went ahead and basted the quilt on my living room floor. It was huge AND heavy! I almost broke my back pinning the quilt sandwich.

Then came the quilting part.. sigh I had to setup my dining table in my living room to get it done. My sewing corner wouldn't fit this bear of a quilt. So, here is the setup in my living room.

I debated between echo-quilting and free motion quilting and finally decided to do free motion quilting. I didn't know what I was getting into when I took the decision because my shoulders were cursing me when I was quilting the sandwich. It was a pain to manoeuvre the quilt sandwich to do free motion quilting. But, it was either me or the quilt and I wasn't  gonna let the quilt get the better of me. ;-)  I managed to get the quilting done in 3 days of quilting in the evenings after work. Phew! Squared the quilt and bound it with the machine.. Ta da! Here is the finished quilt!

Warning: The following text is NOT for the squeamish. It literally took my sweat and blood to quilt this as I ran the machine's needle through my left index finger while doing free motion quilting. The needle broke and I had to pull it out of my finger myself. Gross, eh?! Don't worry. Its alright now. Got  a tetanus shot and the wound is healed now. So, after all this hard work, it was so warming to see my lil guy tumbling on the quilt the moment I spread it on my bed..

My Hubster is so smitten with the quilt and in fact, we were fighting over who gets to sleep under it. Oh! we shared the quilt like any good kid would. ;-) There are a lot of puckers and pockets in this quilt as my quilting skills aren't that perfect. But, its going to be one well-loved quilt in my home. Here is a look at the binding.

and, a close-up of the quilting..

Here is the quilt all folded up. Its a warm quilt, perfect for Bangalore weather. I don't think I'll be making another quilt anytime soon. Maybe another 2 years before I can work up my courage to tackle a project as big as this.. Till then, this quilt will be well-fought for in my home!


This post is linked to FO Fridays hosted by Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Autumn Treatise - In progress!

Thank you for all the kind comments on the dumpling pouch in my last post! I'm glad to tell you that my Stripes and spots quilt is finished.. I'll share about it on FO Friday! After I finished the quilt, I needed a break from my sewing machine. So, I took up some embroidery.. I chanced upon Urban Threads online and am smitten by them. The designs are so modern and quirky and the best part is most patterns cost you 1USD. Awesome, isn't it?! So, I promptly started a design from Urban Threads called Autumn Treatise. Here is the progress..

I love trees. In fact, I searched high and low over the internet for a design based on the 'Tree of life'. This one came pretty close to it. This is going to be another wall hanging. I love how its coming up..

I'm totally smitten by these embroidered wall hangings.. I have a plan to get a few designs framed for my home.. Let's see..how that goes..  Whats your current WIP?


This post is linked to WIP Wednesdays hosted by Tami's Amis.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dumpling pouch!

I've been wanting to make a zippered pouch with a curved opening for quite sometime. So, when I chanced upon this tutorial, I jumped at the chance to make one. There are 2 versions of this pouch and I made the easier one to start with, as its my first time sewing a zipper along a curve. Here is the cute pouch..

The exterior is re-purposed fabric from an old corduroy pants I had. I used some of this fabric to make my project bag sometime back. The lining is a cotton print I had in my stash. I love how the lining goes with the corduroy fabric.

The pouch is perfect for storing notions in a project bag..or as a coin purse. :-) The tutorial is very simple and straight-forward. I recommend it to anyone willing to try sewing zippers.  Here is the pouch turned inside-out.

This is going to be a gift for a dear friend. I hope she likes it.  I'll give the 2nd version a try some day.


This post is linked to FO Friday hosted by Tami's Amis and Creative Friday hosted by Natural Suburbia

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stripes and spots quilt - progress!

I've made good progress on the Stripes and spots quilt this week.  So much so that I'm done with the quilt top. Yaayyy! Its a humongous quilt and I'm starting to get worried if I've bitten more than I can chew. My first and only quilt till date was made in 2009. So, my quilting skills are more than rusty. I really really hope I don't mess this one up. Here is the top spread on my bed it is being made for.

I made the binding from the flowery fabric and I had just enough of the fabric to make the binding. There goes my plan to make matching pillows for the quilt. sigh Here is the roll of binding..

I'm planning to use one of those cheap polyester fleece blanket that are abound everywhere here. We do not get 100% cotton batting in India. So, we have to improvise. For my first quilt, I used cotton flannel in natural color. I do not have enough of that in my stash to use for this quilt. So, I decided to use a fleece blanket instead. Here is the one I chose for the batting.. Couldn't find a piece in white or off-white color. oh well! Doesn't matter, I guess.

and, here is the fabric I chose for the backing. I didn't have a coordinating fabric in enough quantities for the backing. So, I had to go fabric shopping and I found this pretty gingham fabric in similar colors. I'm hoping that its works well in the quilt.

Now, all I need is a day for myself with less or even better, no interruptions to quilt this one. I think I should move my sewing m/c to my dining table as my sewing area at the moment can't handle such a big quilt. I'm debating between free motion quilting(FMQ) and stitch in the ditch quilting. I'm not much experienced in FMQ but, I like the look of it. What do you suggest? FMQ or stitch in the ditch quilting? Help me decide, pls.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Crafting from stash!

Yes. That's my New Year's wish! Just like any self-righteous crafter who renews the same resolution to craft from stash every New Year, I wished just the same for this year too. Which just meant a frantic shopping spree on Dec 31st! ;-) I bought lots of fabric this time to add to my stash.. My most favorite purchase is these 3 coordinating fabrics..

I didn't have any plans when I bought these fabrics..but, now I want to make a quilt for my Queen-size bed. :-) I even have a pattern in mind. I plan to make the Stripes and spots quilt from the book Quick Colorful quilts.

I think the quilt will look lovely in these fabrics..

So, I cut the fabric over the weekend and pieced the blocks. The cutting went pretty quickly with my trusty rotary cutter. Chain-piecing the blocks made it go even faster. Here are the blocks ready for more piecing.

I hope to make good progress on this and see this to completion before I lose the wind in my sails. Maybe I should add 'Seeing projects to completion' to my New Year resolution as well! If you are wondering what happened to the shapely stripes sweater I was knitting when 2011 ended, I'm glad to report that I'm done with one sleeve and have another sleeve half-done! I will post some pics of it here soon. :-)

So, whats your New Year resolution crafty or otherwise? Mine is to craft from stash and to finish projects that I start. Easier said than done,huh?!


Friday, January 6, 2012

Love in the middle!

I'm done with the embroidered wall hanging and it came out lovely, much beyond my expectations! I think its the simplicity of the pattern that makes it so charming. Here is the finished wall hanging.

I painted the plain wooden embroidery hoop with pink acrylic paint from Fevicryl and finished it with Modge Podge. Its my first time painting and finishing anything and I'm thrilled with the results. I'm glad I got a coordinating color for the hoop. I've only basted the fabric at the back so that its easy to remove and clean it if it gets dusty and dirty. Here is a close-up of the painted frame.

My design tracing skills need more practice. Can you see the wonkiness in the motif? I can.. ;-)

I love learning the names of the stitches I use. The stitches I used for this motif are back stitch, satin stitch , lazy daisy stitch , French knots and running stitch. I see many more embroidered wall hangings in my future. They are so much fun to make and gives you instant gratification. :-) Whats your favorite instant gratification project?


This post is linked to FO Fridays hosted by Tami's Amis and Creative Friday hosted by Natural Suburbia.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

I wish all my readers a very happy and craft-filled New Year 2012! I had to start something fresh in the New Year to kick start it..and embroidery seemed to have caught my fancy. Its been a long time since I did any embroidery. So, it feels nice to revive an old hobby.. just like catching up with an old friend.. ;-) So, here is my WIP. Its a simple design called Love in the middle available for free.

This is going to be a gift for someone special and I'm thrilled with how its turning out. My tracing skills needs more practice as the design came out a bit wonky on the fabric. But, its alright.. It kinda adds to the charm of the motif, I feel.

The motif is almost done now and I can't wait to give the finishing touches. Hopefully, this will be ready in time for FO Friday. :-) How did you start your New Year? Did you start something new? Any interesting resolutions anyone? :-)


This post is linked to WIP Wednesday hosted by Tami's Amis. 
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