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Category Archives: Crafters Unite!

Kindly Get Out of My Way

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It’s Craft Night, after all, and do you know what we do on Craft Night?

We craft! And chat and laugh and don’t yell at kids. AWE-some.

Tonight, my plan is to snip the quilt, wrap the wreath (which is for Easter, so no time like the present, I suppose), and try my hand at a new-to-me bangle. (More on that last one next week…hopefully.)

Here’s wishing you a weekend of frelaxing fun!

Who Needs A Hug?

Right before Christmas, a certain little girl in the house requested an owl. “You know, an owl, that is a pillow, that I can hug?”

An owl, you say? Well, I was sure that could be arranged. Lo and behold, there was a super cute tutorial that totally fit the bill, and I had everything I needed to whip one up right at my fingertips.

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But who could stop at just one? I remembered a doting grandmother talking about her little granddaughter’s love of owls, and thought she could use one, too. And then Craft Hope launched Project 19, which gave me the perfect excuse to make a couple more. These two began their journey to New Jersey yesterday.

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[Project notes: The only changes I made were to double up the feet to give them a little more stability, and I topstitched the wings because I’m kind of a topstitching fanatic.]

There’s one more in production for my lovely niece, who requested her own when she saw me stuffing these two. “I need one to keep my dog [the one I made her a couple Christmases ago] company.” Now, how could I refuse that? The dog needs company!

In other news, the Christmas stuff is all down and put away til November. The house has never looked less cozy, unless you count the way it has looked every other January. Blah.

And That’s Why Warming Up is Important

A couple of months ago, when I first set out to Craft up some Hope by making an apron or two, warming up my apron-making chops seemed like a good idea. As it turns out, it was: Those Christmas aprons? You know, the ones that I’ve made before? Well, I didn’t mark my pieces and of course it’s a poorly guarded secret that I sometimes speed-read right past the most key points of the directions, and — yadda yadda yadda — I mixed up the two straps. Of course, it wasn’t until I made this one that I realized the mistake. Whoopsie daisy! At least now I know why the elastic didn’t seemed kind of stretched out and the waist strap looked awfully big.

You’ll note that I didn’t put it all together as I noticed the funky elastic and extra-large belt. No, siree.

Luckily, those were going to family — family who will be getting new ones before it’s time to bake Christmas cookies, anyway. (Oh, come on — like I’m not going to make special Christmas cookie-baking aprons!) This batch of aprons, however, needed to be right the first time around.

And, of course, by the first time around, I mean after I re-did the straps. The first set was the wrong width. It’s a slippery slope when I make changes to a pattern, especially if there’s any sort of math involved. Note to self: When you make changes, make notes. Aside from that little hiccup, it was smooth sailing. The pattern came from Lotta Jansdotter’s first book, and it’s still my favorite work apron. See how flattering it is to the banister post? Gorgeous! Hopefully, they’ll be useful to the ladies who receive them in Haiti.

Warming Up

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The latest Craft Hope Project involves aprons, so I thought I’d get in gear by finishing a couple that had already been cut. These are little ones [Christmas 2011 gifts for my girl and her cousin — ahem], so they came together lickety split. Funny how that works, once the fabrics have been selected and prepped. Also funny? The last time Bridget put on her only other apron, I noticed that it was getting a little snug. Did I remember that before I cranked this one out, when it would be perfectly easy to go up a size now that the [Basic Child’s Apron] pattern has been updated? When, in fact, I was actually making the larger sized one for my niece? No. No I did not.

Meh. She won’t care, and it’ll get the job done until I get around to making the whole lot of ’em new Christmas aprons. You know, because they need them.

Anyway, now that I have two more works-in-progress completed [WOOHOO!], I’m ready to move on to the main event. And now that they’re cut out, maybe I’ll even make the May 31 target date!

Totes for Tots

OK! Finally handled the whole replace-the-camera-batteries thing, so now we can play a little catch-up.

(The wheels of progress really do move slowly around here.)

Made up a couple of totes for Craft Hope’s latest project, and managed to ship them off in the nick of time. That is, if you consider mailing them on the last day of the project “the nick of time”. (I don’t know why the 16th was the date firmly planted in my head, but there you go.) Since I had a bunch of cute fat quarters, I used this tutorial, which was very user-friendly. The only change that I made was to topstitch the pocket, which is just a matter of personal preference. The only bummer was that some fabrics have a really wide selvage, which makes a big difference when you’re using every last inch of fabric. Just something to keep in mind when you’re cutting.

March has been a whirlwind. As much as I hate the thought that the first quarter of 2012 is almost behind us [Whaaaat??], I’m kind of happy to see the end of this month. There was just too much going on and too many deadlines for my taste, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

Can you tell that I’m in denial that “super busy” is our new normal? The brain simply does not want to process it; does not compute.

Stocking Up

It’s becoming obvious to me that one of my main weaknesses in life is the tendency to overthink every.single.thing. Don’t mistake this for one of those job interview “my only weakness is that I care too much” kind of admissions; the overthinking thing really does slow down the gears around here.

Such was almost the case with stocking production for the Christmas in Dixie drive. I was so super excited — Christmas stockings are fun to make! — until the inevitable (unanswerable) questions started cluttering my brain.

Should I go with a super simple design in order to crank out more?

Do they have to have a cuff? Ours didn’t, but maybe ours were not typical…? [Online research suggests either way is acceptable.]

What colors are most likely to fit in with another family’s decor? [See? Unanswerable.]

How many of each style should I make? Enough for a whole family, I suppose. Wait — how big is the average family? How about the average family who decorates in aqua/red/white?

Round and round and round. Finally, as August started winding down, I decided to just jump on in and start sewing, figuring that some is always better than none in a case like this.

First up, classic red and green:

Next, shades of gray with appliqued snowflakes:

Note the cuff on the gray one matches these red, white, and aqua ones, in case they end up together (which seemed important at the time):

Finally, a contemporary rustic look sans cuff (inspired by the scarf in Denyse Schmidt Quilts):

All of them are quilted and then lined. The strip-patchwork ones (which is to say: all except the gray) are foundation pieced. Since they were going to be quilted, I just used the piece of batting as the foundation. And, since we’re on the subject, is it wrong to be so happy to have found the perfect use for batting remnants? If so, I don’t want to be right!

Since September is hurtling toward us at a rapid rate, I’m going to box these up and send them off this weekend rather than hold on to them. It’s tempting to keep going and just make stockings [fun for a good cause!], but the ever-growing list of things to do between now and the end of the year demands otherwise.

It is some list.

Middle of the Road

Thirty-eight is a very strange age. For one thing, I distinctly remember my parents as being verrry old when they were this age. [ Joke’s on me, though — how old will the kids think we are when they’re in middle school? Dang!] Also, songs that came out when I was already a full-grown adult keep popping up on the radio under the heading of “flashbacks”.

What?!

And, as if that weren’t proof enough, I just wrapped up projects for two of my closest high school friends. My one friend welcomed her first baby in May, so a crib quilt was in order:

The next quilt up needed to be a bit larger, considering that the recipient is my other friend’s oldest daughter, who graduated high school in June. It’s a little bit late, mostly because I thought she was a junior…and I found that hard to believe.

Trippy, right?

On a completely unrelated note, Craft Hope just launched Project 14, and it’s such a fun one! Go check it out!