Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where do little yellow piggies come from?

Little Amarillo Piggie asks, "where do little yellow piggies come from?"

He is SHOCKED to learn all the facts.

Come on over here, Amarillo.  We need to get a closer look at you.


Right down to the 'tocks!

Amarillo is off to Canada with the pink monster dotee.  He's an ANGEL.  A yellow piggie angel for a swap I hosted where one of my best participants got shafted.  Her partner left her high and dry for TWO dotees (it was a double doll swap).  She said she didn't need an angel but I just couldn't leave her hanging like that.

Here's hoping Amarillo brightens up her day.

What's next?  Well, I have a few swaps but none are assigned yet so I think I need to put some stitch time in on the Fluff Project ghosts and reindeer.  Halloween is closer than I want to admit and I want to have the holiday items mailed off long in advance of the holidays.

But I also got a great free quilt pattern over at the Fat Quarter Shop and I'd love to try it out.  So. . .maybe I'll set a ghost stitching goal and once I meet it reward myself with some quilt making.

Busy busy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

For a Swap: Giving Tree Stuffie

Ok, I'm not even going to try and hide it.  I'm so effing proud of this I have to show it off and ramble about it in its own little post.

Backstory:  I made this for a swap.  The requirements were that it be handmade, no bigger than 4 inches, and be based on one of your partner's favorite cartoons.

I freely admit I was disappointed when my partner listed The Giving Tree as one of her favorites.  BOR-ING!

But there-in lay the challenge.  I'm no fan of the glurgy, kind of preachy feel of The Giving Tree but that doesn't mean I can't make a kick ass item for it.

Yeah, I totally chose the stump on purpose.  Kind of like a protest.  But a super fabulous cute as a freaking bug's ear protest (if I do say so myself).

The stump is two layers of corduroy (sew inside out, then turn) attached to a piece of cardstock/thin cardboard paper covered with muslin (embroidered onto low loft cotton quilt batting).  I attached the muslin circle to the cardboard circle doing the running stitch to gather the edges around the cardboard (then tie it off).

Attach the muslin/batting/cardboard disc to the corduroy bark just above the top seam (helps keep it even) and only stitching through one layer of the bark and just along the edge (and slightly under) the muslin disc (so you can't see the stitches when you're done).

Then cut a piece of cardboard tube (paper towel tube in this case) and cover with a layer of batting (I just tucked it in, no sewing or gluing necessary).  Insert the padded tube into the corduroy bark.  Make sure the roots are fully stuffed (polyfil) and lightly stuff the bark where it looks necessary.  THEN seam up the bark over the tube.  I did it in layers.  The part of the bark that touched the tube I tacked down first (but didn't close up the opening--only tack down one layer).  Then I tucked the free end into the tacked end and finished closing up the seam being careful to make small stitches and get as clean a closure as possible.

Then I needed to tie down the muslin a bit.  It was poking up and not laying smooth, so I ran one anchoring stitch over the french knot in the center (up from underneath and back down) and then all the way through the tube and tied off on the bottom of the piece.

But first I needed to make the heart (it was just a bit of batting with embroidery, then stitched on with minimal stitches) and add the grass.  The grass is just ric rac attached with clear thread.  Clear thread is a bitch to work with but SO worth it.  You can't see the stitches at all (the whole point!) and it really made the grass pop (so did twisting the ric rac a bit to give it more dimension).

Free hand embroidery for the rings.  No need to make it perfect since trees don't have perfect rings.  I did back stitch for this but stem would look really pretty.  It's single strand (except for the french knot, I think that was double strand).

With the whole stump done, I added a bit of polyfil into the tube (minding the thread hanging out--the thread that will anchor to the base) and got ready to make the base.

The base is just a basic square with batting in it and straight quilting.  It could have been fancier but my free motion skills are non-existent so I decided to play it safe.  My walking foot got a good work out.  I love it so much I haven't taken it off the machine yet!

Then attach the base to the stump.  First do the anchor stitch, which is the only one that will show on the bottom.  It really can't be avoided.

Then, cinch up the roots.  Hold the stump down onto the base (on a flat surface) to see where the roots naturally gather and fold onto themselves and then tack them down.  Keep the stitches small and deep in the crease so you can't see them.  THEN, sew the whole stump to the base, making sure to hide the stitches and NOT go through all the layers of the base.  You want the bottom of the base as neat as possible (except for that anchor stitch, which is an ugly necessity).

I was so happy that I got such a great finished item ON THE FIRST GO.  I only re-made one part of the whole thing.  I made the first embroidered disc on brown felt but it looked bad next to the corduroy.  Then I remember I had the natural color muslin and it was PERFECT.  I also had to edit my bark pattern a bit after the fact.  I had to lop a bit of the sewn bark off because it was just too long and made for too bulky of a seam.  But that turned out to be a good thing because it left me with two open ends (instead of one) which made attaching to the tube (and then seaming) much tidier.

I can't wait for my partner to get this.

Patch and Dotee

I'm splitting my latest finishes up into two posts because one of the items is a major Proud for me, so it deserves its own post.

This post will be shared by a patch and a dotee (as the title forewarns).

Billy Joel song theme patch

For the song I chose Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.  In particular, the line "they got an apartment with deep pile carpet and a couple of paintings from Sears".

Yup, that's just what the patch shows (though it also looks like a funky face, with the paintings as eyes and the sewing line as the mouth).

I used some random low pile faux fur for the "deep pile carpet".

The paintings are two patches sewn onto the muslin wall.

I tried to pick images that were kind of boring, like something you'd find at sears.  And I liked the weird flower named "xylosma".

I used scraps for the frames on the mini patches.  I had a strip about an inch or so wide but not big enough to cover the minis so I sewed two bits together then did the wrap up.  You can't even tell!

The back is wine themed fabric.

Next up, the dotee.

It's for the September Unique Holiday swap.

September 13 is fortune cookie day!

I decided to make two cookies after I saw how small they turned out.  I could have made one bigger cookie but I was feeling lazy and had already cut a few of the smaller size.

I used a drinking glass to make a neat circle.  Then put a bit of stuffing in the center and folded it over.  Top stitch around the curve then fold it onto itself at the middle to make the pinch.  OH, and put the hangers and tails in as you do the top stitching.  I like neat tails/hangers whenever possible).

HAH!  That view cracks me up.  It looks like a creepy fish.

The eyes are little buttons sewn near the fold (which made the mouth).

Rainbow tail!  How can you be so down when you have a rainbow tail?

MISfortune cookie is not amused.

Hey, be happy you're not one of the two I made for the cats.  I made them the same way but didn't add any eyes and added a liberal pinch of catnip to the stuffing.  They were well received.  Gene started trying to rip the ribbon tag off immediately.  He's like that.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pets on Quilts

Lily Pad Quilting has an annual Pets on Quilts show.  You can show off a pic of your pet on one of your quilts (or just animal themed quilts).  There is voting for favorites and just random giveaways of a ton of great prizes from a host of kind sponsors.

Previously, I never had a quilt to show off so I didn't really participate beyond commenting on a few of the posts I saw.

But this year?  Well, this year I have a finished quilt to share.

It's my crazy mini quilt (pictured with and without the decorations).

But the real point of this show is to brag about our pets, so my official entry is for Cat on a Quilt.

Two cats, one quilt.  It may be small but it's big enough for a bath.  Eugene is helping Olive out with her hygiene.  They are always washing each other (when they're not nipping and swatting--they play rough!)

Gene on his own.  I couldn't get him to look at me for anything.  Ollie was distracting him, getting into something under the table (I sew in my kitchen at the kitchen table so there is always something on or around the table that they have to inspect).

And Ollie having her solo flop on the mini quilt.  She's always showing off her bewbies.  She loves to roll around doing Super Cute to try and get you to pet her.  She loves belly rubs and all kinds of attention.  Both are very people oriented and they love each other.  I'm very lucky to have two great cats.

The quilt?  Well, it was mailed off to my swap partner.  So my very first quilt isn't even one I'm keeping!  That's ok, I have tons of fabric, I can make another.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Two dotees finished.

One is to angel for a swap I hosted and someone got screwed over.  Of course it was for the June and July Unique Holiday swap, so it was two dotees.  I don't mind at all making replacements but it annoys me that someone screwed someone else on a big swap.  It also irritates because the person who flaked had great potential.  It was nice to have a new person in the dotee swaps (especially international) but now I have to ban her from my future swaps.  Grrr.

So, the pink monster is to celebrate Pink Day (June 23).  I was just in the mood to do something simple and I love the patchwork dotees I make for the rainbow series so why not go with a pink one.

I haven't used that shape in a bit and I realized it needed a little refining.  I don't mind that it's uneven but I also do mind.  So after I made little Pink here, I trimmed the pattern a bit to even it out.

You might not be able to see it very well in the slightly overexposed pic, but Pink has two little buck teeth.  The pink pig on his/her head is a stick on.  I'm really hoping it stays on during shipping.  It's holding strong now but I worry.

I have one more dotee to make for this angel package.  I'm going to make a yellow pig for Yellow Pig day (July 17).  I have the pattern all picked out (it's from a book).  So it's going to be less a classic dotee and more a small stuffie with a hanger and tail.

Blue here is for the rainbow dotee series.  Obviously, he's the blue dotee.  Keeping with my theme, I did patchwork for him.  But it's very large patchwork and only on one side.  The back is just one piece of blue fabric.  It's toile on the back.  Well, a toile print cotton (not a heavy canvas).  I wanted the images to show a bit so I didn't cut up the toile scrap.  The front is three pieces.

I really like the eye lashes.  It's fun to do something different for a change, like using these beads.  I've had the string for bit and this dotee was perfect for them.  The balloon dog is a stick on.  Again, I hope it holds during mailing but even if it doesn't it can be stuck back on by the recipient.

The hanger is a change for me, too.  I made it from scrap.  I had a bit of blue ribbon but I wanted to do something different.  I might do this more often for dotees, I like it (and it's super simple).

The tail is different for me, too.  It's just an odd trimming/scrap of netting that I knotted in the center and then inserted into the stuffing opening.  I like the look.

For both dotees, I closed them using the machine.  Normally I hand sew the openings but I didn't feel like it this time.  It worked out well.

What else am I working on?

Well, the yellow pig (have all the supplies pulled).  And the Billy Joel patch (supplies pulled).  And a little tree stump (working on that).  The stump is turning out well and I'm excited to see how it turns out.  I'm glad I got something different for that swap (I'll get into that when I show off the tree stump).

I also have Fluff Project stuff on the table but it's pushed aside right now.  I want to do a mail run on Friday so I want to see if I can get at least one more package done to go out in that run (it will either be the stump or the yellow pig).

Monday, July 28, 2014


Finished this little snail for a swap.  I love swaps where they offer a tutorial/pattern and you make one for someone else.

Pattern is HERE.  The tutorial is kind of hit or miss but it's a fairly straight forward project.

I did do two things different.  I traced my pieces (body and shell) then sewed on the drawn line versus cutting out two of each and then sewing.  I find with smaller items that's easier.

I also didn't bother with a basting stitch around the open end of the shell before attaching it.  Yes, I know I'm all about basting but this time it wasn't really necessary.  I just understuffed a bit so I could fold the fabric inside and then finger press it.  Then as I was attaching the shell to the body (and I sewed the body opening shut before attaching the shell--I think that's part of the original tutorial, though), I added stuffing as the opening got smaller.

Clearly I didn't make the face the same, either.

I know the knobs are supposed to be horns but I wanted eyes on stalks so that's what I did.  The crystals are some stick on ones I found in my stash and they are staying on really well.  Then I just added the trim around the shell/body joining and that was that.

Not that I really NEEDED to hide the joining seam.  It turned out very neat thanks to ladder stitching.  And the trim turned out very neat thanks to my filament thread (the clear stuff).  It's still a pain to work with but worth it, especially for decorating like this.

I also got two dotees done this weekend but don't have pics yet.  I'll get those once the weather is nicer.

What's next?

I have another dotee to make (for an angeling dealie) and then a patch and a little tree stump.  So not a ton, actually.  I'm also working on Fluff Project stuff and thinking about working on my postage stamp quilt.  I think I need to take another day off work just to sew.  I do enjoy sew days.

Crazy Cat Quilt: Now totally DONE.

I finished up the last details on the crazy cat quilt.

Squint!  Can you see the details on some of the blocks and along the edge?

Closeup time!

There's a kitty button at the top left corner and a tale of yarn.  The yarn goes down the side and along the bottom to a ball of yarn.

The yarn ball is a pom pom wrapped in yarn.

Then a few of the squares have decorations.

That's just two of them.  I think I did 4 or 5 of the blocks.  Just with small buttons or silver fish/bones.  Nothing overly exciting.

I didn't want to do a ton of decorations because I like the way the plain quilt looks.  I was tempted to make a little felt kitty (on a pin back) but after I got the yarn kitty on there I think that is better.

See why I had to take the pic of my cats on it before it was 100% done?  They would have gone right after that yarn ball.