Monthly Archives: February 2011

Weekend sewing

I got together with my Quilt Guild ladies for a day of sewing.  While I brought several projects to work on, the only project I felt I had to complete were pajama bottoms for my boys.  I have made several for them in the last few years and the boys quickly outgrew them.  Being the mother of boys, this is pretty much the only garment I can sew for them.  Well, pjs and pillow cases.  That pretty much sums it up.

My oldest has been asking for some time for a new pair of  pj bottoms.  The last pair I made for him is about 3 inches too short and he pushes them down to the middle of his bum every time he wears them.  They have to go.  This time he requested red flannel and I was happy to oblige.  Unfortunately, my local JoAnn’s only carries plaid flannel shirting though the cutting lady assured me that she made pj bottoms for her teenage boys and flannel shirting worked fine.  The only warning she gave me is that the fabric could shrink up to 4 inches so I should pre-wash once, if not twice.  I also purchased about 1/4 yard more than the pattern called for.  Since Primo has grown so tall (3 1/2″ since January last), I knew he wouldn’t fit in the child part of the pattern so I moved up to a men’s small.  His hips are 34 1/2″ and the men’s small hip measurement is 35-37″ so I thought that would be best.  Better to be too roomy than too tight for sleep pants, IMHO.

I have purchased a lot of fabric from JoAnn’s over the years, especially flannel for pillow cases and Kona solids for quilting.  I am not usually disappointed because I don’t purchase the flimsy stuff.  I definitely had my doubts about the flannel shirting because it was so thin and it turned out I was right to be skeptical.  Although it didn’t shrink as much as the cutting lady said it would, the flannel shirting was so cheap and crappy to sew on, it was all I could do to not throw it away and purchase a pre-made pair of sleep pants from Target on the way home.  I also sewed the pants wrong in one step and I had to rip the seams, nearly ripping the fabric in some places.  Further, the fabric apparently didn’t lay flat when I was cutting the pattern so the pieces didn’t match up when I went to sew them together.  I had to re-cut both the hem and the waist before I finished them just to get them to match up.  I thought for sure Primo was going to see them and say, “Uh, thanks Mom, but no thanks”.  Before I presented them to him I told him I had no ego tied up in them, then explained what that meant.  I truly didn’t care if he didn’t want them; in fact, they would have fit me.

Segundo’s pjs, on the other hand, sewed together beautifully.  I had also purchased his flannel from JoAnn’s but his was licensed NFL flannel (Green Bay Packers, of course) and much heavier and of nicer quality.  I could have made 3 of those in the time it took me to sew one from the cheap flannel.  I even easily inserted the elastic waist band after my mom gave me a sweet tip about sewing the first end down, then the second, instead of trying to sew the elastic pieces together in the small space allowed.  I think his sleep pants took me less than an hour to complete.  Nice.

Despite the troubles with the cheap flannel, my eldest is really happy with his sleep pants.  Though they’re really (really) roomy, he said they’re very comfortable and I’m hoping they’ll shrink a bit with more washing.  Note the pooling of fabric on the floor:

Despite how it looks, I did NOT try to match the plaids.  This is just a happy coincidence.  I am not that skilled at garment sewing.

By the way, the pattern I used is Simplicity 9499, which includes separate pattern pieces for child and adult, as well as tops and a drawstring bag.  This is an “easy to sew” pattern.

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Just the Stash, Ma’am

Some pictures from my haul this week:

On the left, nearly 7 yards of Michael Miller (Laura Gunn) Dogwood Stripe Denim.  I’m making bedroom curtains with my mom’s help.

On the right, top to bottom: Metro Living Circles Grey, Metro Cafe Coffee Beans Blue/White, Metro Living Circles Royal, Fuchsia, Marigold, Chartreuse, Metro Cafe Multi Coffee Mugs Bermuda, Metro Living Circles Turquoise, and Bijoux Mod Beads Ice.  I’m collecting blue/green/yellow fabrics for a special project.  The rest?  You can never have too many circles and dots, right?  I consider them the basics.

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FNSI – February, 2011

I had one completion this week for FNSI and I’m OK with that.  I have been wanting to make a quilt I saw in the Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.  I thought the simplicity of the design would make it a quick quilt.  Well, although the design is simple, it requires a lot of quilting.  And I found out that I really don’t like quilting.  Don’t get me wrong, I love selecting fabrics, piecing, and binding.  It’s the quilting that I suck at.  It makes my back and neck ache, and I generally get annoyed doing it.  That said, I like how the quilting, or stippling, turned out in this piece.

OF COURSE I didn’t finish a quilt for FNSI, that’s ridiculous.  I did finish a pillow though.  My circles leave a lot to be desired, and for sure, that’s the focus of the piece.  I noticed afterword that the circles in the original quilt are actually a continuous loop and mine have a definite starting and stopping point.  I ripped and sewed each of the circles twice because I wasn’t happy with them.  Ultimately, I had to leave them because I ripped and re-quilted after I had stippled with the red thread.  There is some puckering but it’s not too bad.  However, I am satisfied with my stippling overall.  I made a simple envelope-style closure for the back and used one of my throw pillows from the couch for the form.  I bound it like a quilt with the same Kona red.  Here it is, modeled by Rex:

And a closer view

I might actually like the quilting process in the future if I can get a more comfortable chair/table setup.  I think that’s why my back and neck ache when I do it.   Here is the quilt in the book:

Mine looks reasonably like the original, right?  Minus the messy ends in the circles.  Well, minus the messy circles themselves.

I also mailed off my blocks for February’s do. Good Stitches quilt.  We’re supporting a young lady in Australia whose home has been devastated by the flooding and I think this quilt is going to be really beautiful.  I think all the do.  Good Stitches quilters have done a really wonderful job picking the blocks and making the quilts for worthy recipients.  Kristy’s design is no exception.

Here are my blocks:

She asked for a disappearing 9 patch in Spring colors.  I think I got the “value” wrong in these – Kristy’s colors are more pale – but I think they’re very Spring like.  I hope they work well with the other blocks.  This block was so simple and rewarding.  I might have to try it again.  I like how these turned out.

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Snowmageddon 2011 – Wisconsin Style

Snow day today.  Huge blizzard.  Blizzard of the century.  The schools are closed, a state of emergency has been declared, banks and businesses are closed, motorists are advised to stay off the streets.  Neighbors are banding together to free cars and front porches.  It’s now mid-afternoon and it’s no longer scary out there though it’s pretty cold.  The snow plows have come through and cleared the streets.  The kids are having fun.

This view is looking south from the sun room window at about 9:00 this morning. The snow drift on our porch is about 3 feet high and no one had started shoveling yet.

My oldest came home after spending the night at a friend’s house.  He brought 3 12-year-old friends and they helped shovel the neighbor’s driveway and front walkway.  It took about 3 1/12 hours.

One person on the block had to go to work today and got stuck on the snowy road.  Many hands were required to shovel and push her out.  Minutes later the plow came through and cleared the road.

Where would we be without this neighbor and his snow blower?  Buried under 4 feet of snow, that’s where!  It never fails, Mike clears the sidewalk in front of several houses every time it snows.  This morning he loaned it to my husband so he could clear our driveway.  Then he loaned it to the neighbor on our other side.  He’s a Godsend.

It looks like everything will be back to normal tomorrow.  The kids will be back in school and we’ll be back at work.  It was good while it lasted.


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