Monday, November 27, 2006

The Perfect Pear Pincushion

We like pincushions here and I just came across a cute pear pattern by Stacy that would be perfect for a pincushion. It would also be appropriate for Christmas ornaments or decorations. What fun!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ear Flap Hat for Emmy

Yesterday I knit a hat for Emily, and yes, she even kept it on long enough for me to take a few pictures of her. I enjoyed this quick project---being able to work on something and actually finish it was quite satisfying to me. Isn't Emmy adorable, dirty face and all? It was hilarious how Emmy went from crying to smiling in less than a minute while the pictures were being snapped.


For this hat I adapted a pattern from The pattern is not sized for toddlers, so I experimented as I knit, making it smaller. For Emmy's hat I started with a cast-on of 63 stitches. I think I should have made it slightly bigger.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chic Purses from Threads Magazine

In this month's eLetter from Threads Magazine a link for free instructions for 3 Chic Purses was given. I particularly like the Pleated Pouch Bag, pictured below. I don't dare add this project to my already overgrown list, but I surely do like it! Perhaps one day in the future I'll just sew up all the handbags that I've been collecting links and patterns for. As much as I am drawn to handmade bags you would think that I owned a whole collection of them. The truth is, lately I've been carrying an ordinary, non-descript brown leather purse. Hmmm.... maybe I should make one of these cute purses and add some zip to my life....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Knit Maternity Top

I discovered again last night that I love to sew clothes. Clothing construction is so much more fun then all the home-dec stuff and craft stuff I've been doing. No long boring seams, no troublesome quilting issues, not rotery cutters and mats, and all the acessories, no projects that take weeks to finish and then have the "homemade" look. Just fun stuff like fitting and pressing, bindings and edgestitching, hemming, and then having an end product that looks like something I could buy in a store. It's so satisfying...

The pattern is McCalls 4880. It calls for woven fabrics, but seemed to work fine with my knit. The knit fabric I used below is a super cheap, thin knit that will probably pill and look horrible after a few washings, but I wanted to experiment with the fit and the look, and it was only $1 per yard. I have some nicer, light blue knit that I plan to use now that I know the pattern fits and works on my pregnany body!

The pattern doesn't actually have gathers across the front like my shirt does....I got the idea from the review of this pattern on Pattern Review. Basically I just added some extra inches to the center front along the fold of the lower piece, and then gathered the excess to fit between the notches when I sewed the lower front to the upper front pieces. The gathers are sort of different and trendy looking...and they certainly show off my tummy! I'm still trying to decide how much I like them.

The only issue I had was with some skipped stitches. I used a ball point needle, but I think it was the wrong size for such a lightweight knit because I didn't have any problems when the material was tripled (like on the binding). Also going slow and using a 2.5 stitch length seemed to help. I wish there were magic answers for all the tension and stitch issues I've been having lately. If anyone has experience sewing with knit fabrics, I'd love to hear any hints and tips!

Thanks for the comments...

Thanks for all the great comments trying to help me with my machine quilting on my table runner. Unfortunately I'm almost done, ( I have less then 1/4 of it to finish) so I don't want to pick it all out just to try a different thread for the bobbin thread. I need to figure out how to make the gold thread work, or just forget about the whole thing.

I am not giving up quite yet though. Here's my theory: At the point when I really started having problems, both the bobbin and the spool of thread were getting low. I think that perhaps as the thread was reaching the end of it's spool, it was changing the tension and creating the problems. So before I scrap the project, I'm going to buy a new spool of gold thread, start with a full bobbin, and see it I can't finish it. I'll let you know if I get it to work once I get the thread. I may also buy a metallic needle and see if that helps too.


Progress on my living room!

Last weekend Justin's brother, Joshua (don't they look so much alike?), came and helped us get our living room plastered. This was a project that we'd been trying to do for months and months, and I was losing hope that it would ever get done...What a blessing it was for them to be able to finish the rest of the room in one day! Now we get to move on to painting! Yea!


Creating Cardboard Houses

This week we have had fun making houses out of cardboard boxes. Ellen, Jacob, and I used house paint to cover the brown boxes, then we drew on the designs with markers. Since the markers smeared easily when touched, we sprayed the drawings with a matte finish. The kids have been having a lot of fun playing in their new houses, and I enjoyed the creating process, even though we're not great artists. :-)

If you'd like to see the pictures close up, go to You can also see Ellen's blog at to see what she had to say.

Jacob lost a tooth last week. Don't you just love his toothless smile?

cardbord houses 002rez

Emily even got in the act, "helping" as she could.
She got more markers on her feet and hand than on the box.
Take a look at her little orange piggies.

cardbord houses emsfeet

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fall Pumpkins Revisited

Another project finished! I started these pumpkins after Jessica posted a picture of similar ones and after I happened to see the orange fabric clearanced at Hancocks. Yes, I know that most of you decorated for Fall months ago, and that Christmas is just around the corner. But, hey, I'm just glad that I finished these this year!

The pumpkins were easy to make. Since the fabric does not fray, I sewed the seams wrong sides together. For the vines I laid a pipe cleaner in a strip of fabric and sewed alongside the pipe cleaner, enclosing it within the fabric strip. (Does that make sense?) The leaves are just two layers of fabric sewn wrong sides together. By machine I stitched the leaf veins. Overall, I'm pleased with the way the pumpkins came out. Jessica, next time you come over you can pick a couple to take home with you.

Oh, I also wanted to mention the table runner in the next picture. My mother made it for me last year for Christmas. The tablerunner is reversible with one side for Thanksgiving and one side for Christmas. I've enjoyed having in on my dining room table already this year.

On to the next project....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Need help with machine quilting

Seriously frustrated sewist here...

I could use some help if anyone has any experience doing free-hand quilting (stippling) using metallic thread. I'm making a couple of table runners and quilting them with gold metallic thread in both the bobbin and the top thread. Yesterday I was able to get 1 and 1/2 of them done, (with some problems, but they were managable) but today I haven't been able to quilt more then 2 inches it seems without major issues. Here's what happens...I'll be sewing along, and suddenly the bobbin thread will catch and pull. If I try to just keep going, it breaks, and I have a break in my line of quilting. If when it catches, I stop and pull it off and start over, it'll start again ok, and then the same thing will happen several inches later. Also, about half the time it starts fine and looks ok until I realize that although the top threads lookloose, the underside of the stitching is a mess of loopy loops. I'm guessing this is a tension issue? I'm so frustrated that I am about to kill this sewing project...I don't know if it's my machine, or the thread I'm using, my needles, (I've already broken 2) or my technique, but I'm about ready to run out of my spool of thread now, so maybe I'll just wad it up and forget about having a beautiful fall table runner for my buffet in my dining room.

In a Slump

Today in my inbox I received the newsletter from, and in it was an article by Welmoed Sisson. In her article, Welmoed gave a link to a free pattern for a bag re-printed with permission by Wild Ginger. The "Easy Tie Bag" looks easy to make (hence the name), and I think I'm going to add it to my growing list of things to make in the near future.

Lately I have been in a sewing slump....wanting to sew but never finding the time to do it. In days past, I never went more than a few days without sewing something. Those days are gone, I'm afraid. The older the children get the busier we are it seems.

Wilmoed's article is titled "
Ways to Revitalize Yourself and Inspiration from Unusual Sources." She gives some excellent suggestions of ways to "restore your sewing mojo," as she puts it. If you also are in a sewing slump, take a look at the article. After a few days the article will only be available to Pattern Review members, so you may want to look at it soon if you're not a member.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Crocheted Cradle Purse

When Jessica and Heather were toddlers I made them each a "cradle purse" --a crocheted drawstring bag that folds down to make a doll bassinet. I came across the same pattern recently when I was going through things in my sewing room, so I decided to make a cradle purse for Emily.

In my previous post I mentioned how Emily had torn apart the pom-poms that were at the ends of the drawstrings. You can see here that I replaced the pom-poms with tassles, making sure they were secure!

Emily seems to like her purse, and she carries it around like a little girly-girl. She doesn't really play with the doll, though, other than to take it out of the purse and toss it on the floor.

If anybody wants the instructions, let me know and I'll email them to you. You could probably do a google search for cradle purse and find online instructions as well. The pattern was quite simple and crocheted up quickly. This would make a nice Christmas gift for little girls....hmmm, I should have saved this till then for Emily.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On the Needles--Knitted Socks

My next project on the agenda-- to finish these socks that I started last year! I came across these last week while cleaning out my knitting bag. The problem is that I don't remember what pattern I was using. Once I figure out how to do the garter edging on the heel flap I should be okay though since I can just do a stockinette stitch for the foot.

I enjoyed crocheting Jessica's sweater so much that I'm ready for more crochet and knitting projects. First off, I will finish these socks, and then I plan on knitting something for my new grandson coming in February. (I still have not gotten used to the idea of me being a grandma!) Oh, wait, I forgot that I promised Katie I'd knit a purse for her. Okay, I'll work on the socks simultaneously while knitting the purse, and then I'll start the baby project... and no, Jessica, I won't tell you what it's going to be. In the meantime, I need to finish the fall decorations I started--5 stuffed pumpkins and 1 Thanksgiving table runner, not to mention the shirt that has been cut out for 4 weeks and is still waiting to be sewn (a gift for Katie, once again).

On a sidenote, this week I made Emily a crocheted "cradle purse" which she liked so much that she took it with her to bed one day at naptime. When I went into her room later I found little strands of yarn all over the her crib and on the floor. The little stinker had taken apart the drawstring pom-poms, strand by strand! I'll post pictures of the cradle purse after I fix the drawstrings. I think I'll try tassels this time instead of pom-poms.

Until next time,

Library Sale Finds

Check out the books I found at my library's annual used book sale!

I have always loved books, and library sales are an excellent way to build one's book collection. We spent $6 and got 11 books--these sewing ones and 4 others that Justin picked out. Here are my sewing finds.

The Sewing for Children and the Sewing Jackets books will be good references as I work on stuff in the future. I have almost no sewing reference books of my own, so I was excited! The Stretch and Sew book is pretty dated, but it still looks like it has some very good info about sewing with knits in it. I got it just in time for me to sew some knit maternity shirts. I have 3 knit fabrics in the dryer right now, prewashed and almost ready to go!

These booklets are just a few that I thought would be fun to do something with someday...nothing planned right now. I learned to crochet using a similar looking book from Mom, so I figure that when I decide to learn to knit, this booklet would be a good one to start with. Someday I might want to crochet a doily, and one can always use cute teddy bear patterns, right?

This is a newer craft book with some of the sweetest inspirations and cutest craft ideas. I'm going to enjoy reading it, and doing some of the crafts with my little sisters, and my own girls someday.