Commence the Blending

I promised myself I’d work on a cross-stitch project for myself after I finished The Ark. I have a bunch sitting in my To-Do pile of cross-stitch patterns, so I had to carefully choose what to do next, especially since I’m going to try to make this one as perfect as possible, taking all the comments from the judges from previous Puyallup Fairs into consideration.  A long time ago, I bought a series of faeries from Passione Ricamo (winter, spring, summer, autumn), and as much as I’d like to work on these, I opted for a pattern by a designer I know and love, who kicked off my obsession with cross-stitching almost ten years ago: Teresa Wenztler.  And if you’re familiar with Teresa Wenztler’s patterns, you know there is a LOT of color blending involved. I learned that when I worked on my first project from her.

"The Fortunate Traveler" by Teresa Wenztler

"The Fortunate Traveler" by Teresa Wenztler

I don’t remember when I bought this pattern, but I love it. I love the story along with it, too! Apparently, I’ve been wanting to work on this project for quite sometime, because the linen I bought for it was purchased in 2007. Hah! I spent the better part of this past week gathering the rest of the supplies, and organizing the floss I’ll need for the project. Last night, I spent most of my time preparing the upper half of the project by stitching in the gridlines. I only did a little bit of actual work on the top of the border.

Next, I’ll scan the pages of the project and splice them together and have my husband print it out at work on their fancy printer for CAD drawings, so I’ll have the whole pattern printed on one page, instead of flipping back and forth between pages.  It worked really nicely when I did that while working on The Ark.

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First Baby Quilt

Friends of ours are having a baby. Instead of spending another 150 hours on a cross-stitch (since I’m in the middle of one already), I’m doing something a little more practical–and functional: a quilt!

Despite the posts of the appliqued blocks, I’ve never done a real pieced quilt before. I wanted a pattern that was fun, but easy enough for a novice like me to cut, sew, and complete on my own. (Although, Mom did offer to do the quilting part).

When I told her of my plans for my upcoming project, she scoured her Fons and Porter magazines at home for patterns she thought I would like. The first one is the one I decided on. It’s called “Aromatherapy“, and although the fabric choices are definitely “spa-esque”, the pattern is really easy, and would showcase the fabric I picked out. Our friends are doing a “retro owl” theme for their baby, so I found this cute collection called “Bright Owl“.

I’ve been incredibly busy this week, so last night, I finally got around to cutting my strips of fabric after receiving it on Monday and washing it on Tuesday. Caught up a bit on my queue of videos in Hulu, and got most of my fabric cut out.

Owls!

Owls!

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First Time with Jersey

Butterick 5495, Style A

Butterick 5495, Style A

When I told my mom about the next project I had in mind, she asked if I was ready to work with knit fabrics. If you’ve never worked with knits before, they can be tricky. I had such a difficult time just laying out my fabric so I could place my pattern pieces. And sewing it can be even scarier, since it stretches, you have the possibility of stretching the fabric while feeding it through the sewing machine! But I was, and am, up to the challenge.

This is Butterick 5495, a kind of a tunic. There’s two different lengths: I’m doing the shorter of the two. Some of the women who’ve made this pattern have even lengthened the longest style to make cute knit dresses.  The other option is with or without sleeves. I was so ambitious to do this pattern that I picked up fabric to do the style with sleeves (short length, again) after I finish the sleeveless tunic.

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Cute Cotton Button-down

I wanted to make a shirt that would complement the skirt I had just made, so I picked up Butterick 4985, and decided to make style B.

Butterick 4985, Style B

Butterick 4985, Style B

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A Skirt… With Pockets!

After watching two seasons of Project Runway back-to-back, I decided that it was possible for me to sew something again. Hopefully, most of it by myself. So I settled on two garments that were rated highly on PatternReview.com. The first, is a skirt… with pockets! This uses McCall’s M5591 pattern.

Ready-to-wear skirts are getting shorter these days, so it only makes sense to make something that costs less than finding something of appropriate length that might cost designer prices (like a Michael Kors skirt that I own that isn’t available in stores anymore).

McCall's M5591 Style A

McCall's M5591 Style A

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Cassie’s Car Hammock

I’ve been meaning to make this thing for a while, but after buying all the materials, I would probably just buy one of these things from a pet supply company for less.  Those buckles are expensive!  Anyhow, Cassie looks really uncomfortable on car rides when she’s sliding around in the back seat.  I thought it would be more comfortable for her if she had something to prevent her from sliding around in the back, and then I found this pattern.  It looked easy. One pattern piece, three instructions.

Last night, I finally sat down to make it while catching up on Desperate Housewives from Netflix.

Cassie helping

Cassie helping

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Blocks A, D, F, G, J, L, O, T, U, V, and Z : “U is for Unicorn” quilt

I’m not a quilter.  And even though, I decided I wanted to make this quilt.  It’s a pretty ambitious project for a non-quilter, since it’s not just piecing together the same shape to make a pretty pattern.  Fortunately for me, my mom loves to quilt.  I asked her a while ago, if she could only choose one type of craft (and she’s a maven of many) that she could do for the rest of her life, what would she choose.  She chose quilting.  (I’d choose cross-stitching, if you were curious).

Back in 2002, Mom and I went to the Association of Pacific West Quilters show in Seattle.  As a non-quilter, sure it was a little boring, but the quilts were obviously works of art.  That’s where I fell in love with the U is for Unicorn quilt, which just happened to win the Viewers Choice award that year.  As you can see, it’s quite the ambitious piece for a non-quilter.

Mom said she would help me.  And after buying the book, and a couple years of prodding, we finally started putting it together (under the nagging of “I’m not getting any younger!”).

My biggest fear has been, “Am I picking the right colors?”  Mom gave me a fair amount of her fabric stash for the quilt, so I’ve been picking from that, and some fat quarter collections I’ve picked up at a couple fairs (the golds and greens I wanted had to be fairly precise).  I even scoured the internet for the perfect background fabric–something similar to the quilt I saw back in 2002.

Mom’s also got a fancy Bernina sewing machine.  So it was pretty much understood I’d be doing the bulk of the grunt work (picking the colors, cutting out the tiny appliqué pieces from the fabric, ironing them on to the background), while she did the satin stitching, and most likely the finishing quilting stitching.  I think we’ve done a pretty fine job so far!

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The Ark

The Ark's materials

The Ark’s materials

Here’s the start to my new project: The Ark.  It will be a gift for my mother-in-law when it is finished.  I am predicting it’ll be completed within a year.  It doesn’t look quite as difficult as the dragon, but still as big.

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Trenchcoat: McCalls M5717

Note: This pattern is now out of print.

I saw this really cute trenchcoat on a website a while ago, but wasn’t willing to pay over $100 for it.  (Not including shipping and handling).  So if I can make a medieval gown in a little more than a week, I can make my own trenchcoat!  I found this pattern from McCall’s, and it was perfect.  The part I like most is the ruffle on the bottom.  I know, really girly, but it’s cute.

Next I had to look for fabric.  At the suggestion of my mom, I avoided the huge fabric chain stores to find something online.  She found some really nice coatings at GorgeousFabrics.com and I ordered a bunch of swatches.  I’ve decided to go with the Soft Pink flannel coating.  I need to find some lining still, and I want to do some chocolate brown piping along the edge of the coat and around the collar, so I’ll have to look for some of that too.  We get paid this week, so hopefully I’ll get to order my fabric this weekend!

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