Friday, July 5, 2013

Crafty projects

Over the last few years I have acquired ample amounts of fabric. I have silk, cottons, wools, linens, felts and everything in between. The reason for having so much material? An over-zealous creative streak, that rears its ugly head, spurs my on to start some amazing project, but then dies down before much can be accomplished. The fabric store is a dangerous place for me to go, since I will leave with something, often developing my schemes of grandeur while digging through a remnant bin.
My number of completed projects pales compare to my number of projects I intended to undertake. So that means that most of my fabric sits largely untouched.

Well, I found myself with a couple extra days with not much on my schedule, so I set out to rectify the situation a bit.

First up, I attempted to sew a stuffed whale out of old jeans. I had a link on one of my Pinterest boards that I never got around to trying, but I hadn't realized that there was no patterns to go along with the picture tutorial. So I drew a template free-hand. Let's just say that drawing is not a strength of mine, but I did manage to make the pieces that would assemble the whole. Except, just like the lady did in the tutorial, I made the stomach-section of the whale too large. (In my defense, I was following her lead!) As a result, what should have been a humpback whale turned out to be a lumpy blue whale! Whoops! But my boys still enjoyed it, and they could even tell it was a whale!

Next, I dug into my pile of pretty fabrics! I had attended a fabric sale fundraiser a couple months ago, where everything was $1/yard. I had found some beautiful fabrics, some of which I had no idea what to do with them! First up was this beautiful linen-type fabric that actually more closely resembles cheesecloth with a painted design! I had more than a few fears about using this stuff! The very open weave would likely snag in my machine, but I hate hand stitching unless absolutely necessary. The solution? Paper. I readjusted the length of my stitches to be a bit wider to accommodate for the open weave, and pinned a sheet of paper under my hem. Once I was done, I tore the paper off (very gradually and carefully might I add). Project #2 was a pair of pretty little scarves for my mom and I (don't tell her though - it'll be a Christmas present!)

The next fabric I put a priority on was some beautiful 'postal' printed cotton. I had seen pictures on Pinterest of pillows made in a similar fabric, so I scooped up the two yards I saw of this at the fabric sale. The issue being that pillows made of this wouldn't actually 'go' in any room in my house, so they'd likely be gifted, but I really wanted to make something with it first that I could keep for myself. Fortunately, you can never have too many fabric bags! I whipped one up sans pattern (sometimes the easiest way to make something is to draft it yourself - some people tend to overcomplicate the pattern process) and my last bobbin of dark blue thread lasted me all the way to the end!

I whipped up three bean bags for the boys (I had made some earlier in the year, but my sister stole them because they were too cute!) and then I set out planning an upcoming quilt I'll be making. I may have mentioned before, but I'm going to make a quilt for Matt now too. The idea struck me when he planned to get rid of a bunch of shirts he really liked, because they had holes in them. And while I was proud of him for having the desire to clear unnecessary things out of our house, I got sentimental on his behalf and decided to make a t-shirt quilt for him. I cut out the designs from the shirts and laid them out in a small rectangle.

I didn't have enough t-shirt material to make up a whole design, but figured I'd keep the t-shirt design as an interior rectangle, then put an outer border of a dark grey material, with a black bias tape edge. For the back, I'm thinking I'll find some winter camo fleece. The biggest trick was going to be the batting. I've never worked with the loose stuff before - just the super-easy sheets that just stay in place and don't pull apart. I was hugely intimidated about using the loose stuff, but didn't think I'd be able to find a sheet in the size I wanted, for a price I'd be willing to pay. Then along came my lovely Mother! She had an old mattress pad that had torn on the fitted portion, but since the pad was in good condition still, she was having troubles accepting that she'd have to throw it away. So she gave it to me to use as the batting for my quilt! It's a queen-sized, pre-quilted chunk of batting that will work perfectly! But, this quilt is going to be a surprise (another Christmas present), so I'll have to be sneaky about hiding my project!

The other quilt I'll be working on is Gabe's. We had planned to pick up the primary fabric for his in Canmore while we were on vacation, but thanks to some good old-fashioned flooding, we were unable to do so. So his is still up in the air. However, my mother also gifted me with some sheet batting that will be the right size for his project! Major expense out the way? Thank you very kindly!

You may have noticed that some of my Christmas presents this year will be sewn projects. I plan on making a couple more of those 'blue jean whales' (modified to look accurate this time) for my nieces, I've got some Hawaiian patterned cotton-blend that I'm going to make a folding beach mat for my sister, and depending on whose name I draw for Christmas on hubby's side, someone may get those 'postal patterned' pillows!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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