More Updates... April and May

More updates, as promised. Let’s talk little girl dresses. I have a niece and a great niece who both turned two this May. They are only 20 days apart in age. A lot of times I will use the same pattern for both of them for Christmas and birthdays, only with modifications of fabric, or perhaps sleeve length or embellishments. This year, however, I went completely different.

For my great niece, Everyn, I chose to use one of my own patterns in a size 2T. I used the Estherlyn’s Jumper pattern. For the apron flap, I used a pair of my husband’s old jeans that he hasn’t worn in years because of rips in them. I left the raw edge unfinished so that it will fray in the wash. Then I found a lovely fat quarter in my stash that was given to me by my friend, Amanda, several years ago and another small piece leftover from another project. I appliquéd a cute little bird on the front with a button for the eye. It was sort of an exercise in challenging myself to use what I had on hand. I love how it turned out.

For my little niece, Quinn, however, I went completely the opposite direction. Some of you may know that I have my roots in what is known as Heirloom sewing. Heirloom sewing incorporates high end fabrics and laces, a lot of hand embroidery and smocking and very old fashioned techniques. The dresses are very soft, classic, lacey and elegant. I have always admired them from afar. I’ve learned and used the techniques in other dresses, but I had never REALLY made what I would call an Heirloom dress with fine fabric and lots of lace. So… that’s what I set out to do. It was a challenge to myself to see if I could really do it. I bought some lovely soft organic cotton batiste. It was so soft and sheer and floaty that it was like sewing a cloud, LOL. However it pressed and sewed up beautifully. I used my own Clarissa pattern and modified it slightly to take the pleats out of the front. I hand embroidered a center panel with purple flowers and then set that in with insertion lace and entredeux. Instead of making a lining, the sleeves and skirt are set in with entredeux and the edges inside are rolled and whipped on my machine with a zigzag stitch. Click here to see that technique if you are interested in how that is done. The neck opening is also trimmed with entredeux and lace.

I also embroidered an inset panel for the sleeves using the same technique and trimming the bottom of the sleeve with entredeux and edging lace.

I also created what is known as a “fancy band” for the bottom of the skirt. This is created by edge joining two or more strips of lace with a zigzag stitch. I used lots of wash away stabilizer to keep them from getting eaten by my machine.

And finally here is the finished dress. I closed the back with antique mother of pearl buttons that came from this child’s great grandmother’s stash of buttons which I inherited a few years ago. It was so very sheer, that I also made a simple slip to go under it as well. The whole process was a bit of a challenge, but it was also a fun one, mostly… lol. This little dress was going to a little girl who was headed into a hot Texas summer, so I hope it was nice and light and cool for her to wear.

I think that’s where I’ll wrap up for now. My creative juices took a bit of a radical turn in June, so that seems a good place to pick up next time.

So I Promised Some Updates

So I thought I’d approach this a couple of months at a time seeing as I have a lot of ground to cover and I don’t want these to be super long posts. LOL.

I think I left off with my Good Fortune quilt top back in January. That is done, but I don’t have it quilted yet. I want to have it done by a long arm quilter and that is pretty expensive, so I have not yet bitten the bullet and had it done.

In February, my mother-in-law, Burdette, organized an outing for all of us girls on the Lehn side of the family to go and paint bowls for a charity event called “Empty Bowls”. It’s a dinner that people pay to have a bowl of soup and they keep the bowl as a reminder that other’s bowls are empty. The proceeds all go to a local homeless shelter. We had a lot of fun. I painted mine with blue and yellow and put on it a quote from Maya Angelou that says “Let nothing dim the light that shines within.” Writing on the bowls with the little squeeze bottles of paint is a bit tricky, but I managed to make it work.

At the end of February, I met my sister, Janet, and her daughter, Kayla, down in Clearwater, Florida for a little vacation. My sister both sells Dixie Belle Paint and refinishes furniture with the Dixie Belle Paint. She had a conference in Tampa. We met up after her conference was over to spend a few days of beach time and girl time together. I got my first tattoo on that trip. I had been considering one anyway and we had a rainy day, so my niece talked us into it. I got a sand dollar on my ankle, my sister got an otter on the top of her foot and my niece got a narwhal on her arm. They were done by Emily Elegado from Foolish Pride 2 Tattoo in Clearwater.

We had a nice time catching up with each other. It had been a long time since the three of us were together.

In March I finished up a quilt that I had been working on for my niece, Lexi. Her 18th birthday was in April so I gifted it to her for her special day. A long time ago when Lexi was probably preschool age, I got the idea to save scraps from all the things that I made for her and “someday” use them in a quilt. Well, “someday” finally arrived and i finished out the quilt for her birthday this year. There is a little bit of everything in this quilt and I hope that it sparks fun memories for her. I used purple on the back as that was one of her high school’s colors. Lexi loves to play basketball and was part of her varsity team this year that went to the state finals.

That’s the highlights for those two months and that’s probably enough for now. I’ll be back later with more.

A Little Catching Up

Its been a little while since I blogged about anything, so I thought I should probably catch you all up a little bit.

I’ve been working on the Good Fortune mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter for the last several weeks, pretty much exclusively. I went through many different border ideas because I wasn’t crazy about how my color choices played out in the border that was originally designed. It was all just a little too “Go Vikings!” for my taste. No matter what, every time I looked at that overwhelming purple and gold it just screamed football to me and that is just not what I was going for.

So then I tried this.

That seemed a bit much, so then I thought about this.

But that seemed too washed out. So I settled on this for that round of the border.

Then came the final outer border. I just pieced together a bunch of neutrals. My plan was to have neutral squares for the corners, but of course, once I looked at that, it seemed a bit blah. So… on to trying to figure out what to do with the corners.

These are just some of the options I considered, but ultimately, this is where I landed with it.

This is what the corner blocks look like all layed out together. I think this might make a really interesting block to do sometime as a quilt unto itself.

So the Good Fortune Top is officially finished. Measuring in at about 82 inches square, this is the biggest quilt I have ever made. I will be looking for someone to long arm this for me as this is way too big for me to tackle on my own. I don’t even have a place big enough in my house to lay it out on the floor to sandwich it, LOL. I’m excited that it will be big enough to use on my queen size bed, though. Even if the colors don’t match the room at all.

So there you have it, that’s the majority of what I’ve been working on for the last several weeks. I have one other smaller finish that I will share soon as well, but this is enough for today.

Christmas is over so I can finally share these...

In an effort to have everything done way ahead of time for Christmas this year, I have had these little gifts finished since about mid October.

I knitted this little sweater from a free pattern on Ravelry for my niece’s little boy. I added a couple of inches to the length because it just seemed a little short. Extra length will come in handy with a growing 2.5 year old anyway. The pattern was really pretty easy to follow, but if I were to make another of these, I would probably do the placket in the front slightly differently. It was really hard to match those stripes up, and I didn’t get them matched all that well, but it is what it is. I adore this peacock blue color and these jewel tones together. It feels so thick and soft and cozy. It knitted up in a hurry since it was super bulky weight yarn.

I have niece and a great niece who are literally 20 days apart in age, so it comes in handy when sewing for them. I can just sort of draft one thing and then make two of them with some slight variations. More variations were needed for Christmas sewing since one lives in a northern climate and the other livers in a southern climate. I drafted the tops for these myself. Just a basic high yoke bodice with a gathered lower portion. Instead of gathering, I decided to use smocking to add some embellishment and detail. The bottoms are both made from the Bella Sunshine Designs Rose Bubble Shorts Pattern. I LOVE this little pattern. I hacked it into long pants for the one who lives up here in the cold north. The long set top is made from flannel and the pants are a small wale corduroy.

The short set is made from a sweet pink quilting cotton that has been hoarded in my stash for way too long.

I’m so glad to finally be able to share these little sets. The smocking was fun to do, but I have to take it in smaller doses than I used to, my eyes are getting too old for marathon embroidery sessions any more.

I've Been Through the Desert on a Quilt With No Name

“It felt good to be out of the rain…” Oh sorry… Anyway.

i’ve been working on this fun little number lately. I had several half square triangle (HST) units and four patch units left over from previous projects, so one night I just started throwing them up on my design wall and this is what emerged. I started sewing the smaller HST’s into four patch units yesterday and I realized this morning that I have a few of the four patches turned the wrong direction, so I will have to fix that. I’m trying to decide on a name for it, but I’m coming up blank. I thought about calling it “Throwing Up Leftovers”, but, you know, that didn’t seem like the best name for a quilt, LOL. Anyone have any ideas? Because, clearly I’m out of them, LOL.

Good Fortune - Quiltville's Mystery for this year

My last post talked about last year’s mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter. I’m also participating this year and as of right now we are four clues in. I changed up the color palette a little from Bonnie’s original color scheme. Her original colors were red, jade green, blue and orange along with neutrals in whites and creams. I changed the jade green to lime green, the blue to purple and the orange to yellow. Hoping it all goes together ok. I wanted mine to be just a little different than the thousands of others that will be out there at the end of the mystery. Here is a rundown of all of the clues so far. I can’t give sizes or piece counts, but I can show you pictures of what I have made.

Clue 1

Clue 2

Clue 3

Clue 4