High-fiving a million angels!

ZOMG you guys, I DID IT. I actually finished my #SewDollyClackett number on time! (barely.) I also realized, like YESTERDAY, that it also fulfulls the Sew Vintage Pledge!

VSPP 300

I’d been procrastinating on actually, like, SAYING I was joining the pledge because I didn’t want to feel like a doof if I didn’t finish it. But here it is, a vintage dress I finished, WOOT! Back to the dress…

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So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I used Butterick 5748, which Roisin herself has already used several times. (So did Shelly at Cuckoo Chanel, woot!)

I had some *troubles* with this one. The last dress I made that required any amount of fitting was my graduation dress, I had problems getting it to fit around the bust, and I had to take it in a ton. On this dress, I started small, and ended up eventually just cutting pretty much a straight size 14. When I got most of it together yesterday, LSH looked and was ACTUALLY IMPRESSED. He said, “It looks really good!” I pretended not to notice his surprise and just take the compliment. ;-)

But lookie here at this little target-
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What on earth is that thing pointing at? Is it marking the nippular area? I don’t get it.

Anyhoodle, I made four freakin’ muslins of the bodice. UGH KILL ME NOW.
As you can see in the photo above, it’s not perfect. There’s a weird little ripple-y part on the bodice front that disappears if I stand just right and tug it just the right way.

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I ended up essentially drafting my own skirt because I didn’t have enough fabric to do a circle skirt. I ended up cutting a couple of trapezoids, because I wanted it to be poofier at the bottom than with a straight-up gathered rectangle. I did some box pleats at the front, and then one over each back bodice dart as well.

I didn’t line the whole dress, just the bodice (although now that I think of it, I can’t remember if the directions call for lining the whole thing anyways.) It’s actually fairly pretty on the inside!

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The instructions say to “understitch as far as you can.” I tried on two parts, and to steal a(nother) page from Roisin’s book-

fuckthisshit

So I gave up on that nonsense pretty damn quick.

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I’m not always sure the “right” way to actually finish things with the lining (and by not always, I mean NEVER), so I just catch-stitched around the whole waist and at the zipper.

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It’s a skill I’m working on, but it’s passable, I think. I’ll let you in on a secret- I haven’t finished the skirt seams off yet, because I needed to quick get photos and slap this blog post together before the deadline!

I tried really hard to do careful pattern placement of the cowgirls, but I didn’t have a ton of fabric to waste, so I ended up sacrificing a couple of them.

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Pour one out for the lounging lady on the left who got her face mauled.

There are still several fitting issues- I think next time I’ll take a bit out of the center front, and use a smaller size at the armholes and then grade out. I had to add some width to the center back on each side because I do not have a vintage-y waist (or much of a waist at all.) Having LSH around to help pin me together and then mark the lines on the fabric was super helpful. He’s a handy type of fella. I also made the scoop back less scoop-y- I think I raised it about two inches. I kept a journal of all the changes I tried to make, so hopefully next time there will be a few less muslins (like maybe only two!)

Now for fun photos!

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I had to include this- it’s, like, my first AND LAST selfie ever. Derrrr.

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From the back! (whilst spinning)

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So yeah, I like to spin. Wackily.

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This was between spinning and trying to do a funny pose, so yeah, here it is haha.

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Obligatory Dolly-Clacket-Style shoe shot!! :-D

In a future post, I’ve got photos from my vacay to Los Angeles- I think some from LACMA will interest people who like clothes!

Did you manage to finish your #SewDollyClackett in time?!

I’m too tired to slap you; bash your face against my palm.

Howdy do, y’alls!

So, here is a look at the project I’ve been working on lately- a quilt for my very dear friend’s new baby. I’m not always great at putting colors together.

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Luckily, I’ve got a LSH who has lots of practice, as he grew up with a crafty mother. He does good work. My friend had initially thought they may use this adorable veggie themed bedroom stuff from ikea, so on a trip there with Hubs, I took a photo to try to color match.

I got the pattern for this quilt out of the premier (I think) issue of Quilty, which is a pretty new quilting mag with modern designs. It’s the only one I’ve purchased so far, but I enjoyed it.

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As you can see, it’s essentially made up of these little pyramids (a little hard to see in the photo above). Arranging them how I wanted took FOREVER- I must’ve done it, took a photo, and rearranged it like 12 times. Finally, I got it how I wanted.

Sewing all those darn strips together

Sewing all those darn strips together

The pieces were sewn together and then a strip of white put in between each row.

Final layout

Final layout

All put together , waiting to be quilted! This is the part I’m still learning to do well. I’m definitely not there yet. I still have problems using the walking foot to its full advantage- sometimes I rush it along, and the stitches are small and close, sometimes they’re longer and nicer looking. GAH. I can’t figure it out. I did try to look up some tips this time, so I quilted a little differently than I did on Nugget’s quilt. I rolled it up and did only straight lines.

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I started on the same side, so the tension was always pulling in the same direction, except…

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for one row that I must’ve picked up after a break or something- I went in the other direction, and it made some ripples (seen in the border row between the blue and orange pyramids.) I had to unpick, and then re-do it.

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It helped a little- it’s better, but not perfect. Oh well!

I also made bias tape for the first time for this project. I used up all my scrappie bits from each of the pyramids. I used this tutorial from No Big Dill.

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I’m not gonna lie- it took quite awhile, maybe a whole evening. There was a lot of cutting and sewing of little pieces- one continuous piece would’ve been faster. THEN I got to use the little doo-dad that my MIL gave me because she never used it.

SO. MUCH. FUN.

SO. MUCH. FUN.

After all this was done, I was left with this.

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Yeah, it was only a SMALL MOUNTAIN. I needed a way to store it until I could attach it, so I just wrapped it on an empty toilet paper roll.

SO CLASSY.

SO CLASSY.

In between all of this quilting, LSH and I had WILDLIFE in our backyard.

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I’ve always lived in either a small-ish city with no yard, or in an apartment with no yard. The house we bought last August is on about one acre and is a little bit out of town, so there are NAMINALS, you guys. LADY DEER. Another night, a few weeks ago, they were eating from our bird-feeder. I may or may not have opened a window and yelled, “Hey deer! Get away from there!…Keep walking, asshole!” I’m not entirely sure, though.

Anywho, back on track.

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This is the backing fabric- I thought it was pretty adorable, with its baby deer and “love” and “baby” and all that jazz. It was, unfortunately, a little bit smaller than the front, so my bias tape was a little too small. LSH suggested I sew some more tape to the already on-there tape, if that makes sense, so there’d be enough to wrap around the quilt and cover the raw edges. It took awhile, but it worked.

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It makes a lurvely little rainbow. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I LOOOOOOVE things arranged it rainbows- they draw me like a magpie to shiny things. It’s why I love fabric, yarn, and bead stores. EVERYTHING IS RAINBOWS.

Anyhoodle (AGAIN), this is the completed quilt:

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I’m pretty please with how it turned out- nice bright colors good for babies. I got to give it to my friend and her bebeh on my recent vacation to Los Angeles. My friend moved to California for residency- BOO. She’s still on maternity leave, so it was not too much of a problem to get to see her and the lil Nugget. She’s adorbs, of course. Hopefully when she’s a little older and using the quilt for tummy time, I can get a photo of Baby with blanket. Getting to give them the blanket meant that I was FINALLY able to put up this post! Woot! (But mostly I was psyched to see my friend, her hubs, and the baby, because duh.)

In other news, my #SewDollyClackett dress is plodding along. I’m on my THIRD(!!) muslin for the bodice (you may have seen me bitch about it on twitter.) I can’t seem to get it right- maybe because I have no waist and I’m using a vintage pattern. Grumble! This third one seems the closest so far, but it’s not finished yet so I’ll have to see. It’s getting rather disheartening!

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Grumbly Mr. Bojangles agrees. Look at those backwards ears!

She’s not my friend. Friends don’t get their friend’s care bears all sweaty.

Hello err-ybody! I haven’t blogged in AGES (again) but I’ve been busy! I’m working on a post about the large project I’ve been doing lately, but I can’t publish it yet, because it’s a gift for a friend. I’m so happy with it though, and it will be a VERY photo-heavy post- forewarned is forearmed, yes?

Something else I’m super stoked about though, is THIS:

Roisin, aka Dolly Clackett, is one of my FAVORITE bloggers. She’s got style for days and a killer shoe collection, in addition to being a funny, funny lady. Well, this lovely gal is getting married, so one of her friends, Sarah, at Rhinestones and Telephones, got up this great contest/tribute to Roisin- wherein the contestants make a dress in true Dolly Clackett (TM) style, for prizes. Also, for fun. I do not AT ALL expect to be the winner of this- there are too many amazing sewists (ugh that word) taking part. However, it was just the boost I needed to finally get up and make a dress along DC’s style lines. I already had fabric that I impulse-bought when I saw one of Roisin’s dresses, and I scanned my patterns to see what I’d like to use.

I decided on this:

Pattern and Minion

Pattern and Minion

Which I cannot get to rotate no matter what I do. UGH. Sorry for sucking at life, guys. Anyhoodle, it turns out Roisin has used this pattern like 8 gabillion times, so it’s definitely going to fit on that mark.

And THIS is the fabric I chose:

Pin-up Cowgirls! WUT WUT!

Pin-up Cowgirls! WUT WUT!

I’m pretty freaking stoked about this fabric. When I was interviewing for residency, I went out to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where every year, they have Frontier Days, which is a big rodeo and celebration of frontier life. I totally want to go to it someday, and I totally want to wear this completed dress to it. Because I’m cool like that.

I’ve started a muslin for the bodice:
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Try not to be too jealous of my blue bra. This photo was tough to take to demonstrate the fit at the moment. It fits pretty well in the boobal region, but the neck and arms feel too tight. I’m going to sew the sleeve and neck edges down 5/8″ like they’ll be when sewing the lining and bodice together to see if that loosens it. The back, however, is totally like, 2.5″ too narrow, so I’m going to add some width to muslin #2. I may also raise the back up (it’s a really nice scoop back) so that bra-straps won’t show. I may add 1-1.5″ to the length as well- I’ve got a pretty long torso. We’ll see how these changes for before I decide if I need other changes. I may also do a gathered skirt instead of the one that comes with the pattern- I do not have 4 yards of fabric! I’ll also be doing a center-back zipper instead of a side zipper, because no thanks.

Here’s another little something I’ve been working on intermittently:
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The pattern is from etsy shop WeeLittleStitches, which has loads of really great, unusual/non-traditional patterns.
I was going to make this for Nugget, but now that I’ve completed Jasmine, Pocohontas, and part of Mulan, it’s so damn cute that I’ll probably keep it for myself. Besides, she’s got plenty of princess stuff, and should read more books about dinosaurs (when she learns to read).

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Have you ever started a gift for someone, then sneakily kept it for yourself?

I’m working on my mating list for when we have to repopulate the world.

YOU GUYS. I TOTALLY FINISHED MY #JUNGLEJANUARY PROJECT. WHUT.

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It’s a big day y’all. A. Big. Day. This is my second Jungle January, but the first one with real clothes (last year was just a little belt.)
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I made the Tania culottes from Megan Nielson, done with aplomb by such ladies as Lladybird Lauren (TWICE!), Sew Busy Lizzy, and Scruffy Badger. The fabric I’d been dreaming about turns out to have been the EXACT same as used by Lizzy, but I couldn’t find something like it to save my life. I ended up ordering something from Fabric.com that was out of stock! Booooo. I went on twitter to moan about it, as one does, and Fabric.com tweeted back some options. I found a good replacement (rayon challis, so soft and slippery) and waited for the mail to arrive.

I did something with this pattern I’ve never done before- I traced it. After all the work of trying to put those printed pieces perfectly together, I felt it was worth it never to have to do it again, and have all the sizes intact if I need to make changes. Pro-tip: if using parchment paper for tracing, NOTHING FREAKING STICKS TO IT. Scotch tape (cellotape) definitely doesn’t, and duct tape barely does. I mean, after I thought about it, that’s the whole point of parchment paper for baking, but still. Remember that.

Something else I did with project was to make a muslin while I waited for my real fabric to come. I wanted to be sure not to waste my good stuff! I used an old sheet that got bleach holes in it from the laundromat. The size large fit perfectly, so I went with that, but lengthened it about three inches when the time came. I starched the shiz out of my challis in the hopes it would make it easier to cut/sew. It did help, especially when I really starched it up. You almost need to get the fabric WET with the starch, let it all soak in really well, and THEN iron. I will do this in the future, for sure. It made cutting and sewing so much less shoddy.

To those who’ve done this pattern- did you have problems understanding the stupid pleats? I swear, it took me forever, because just doing it as the directions say didn’t seem right (it is, though.) I got help from Lauren via twitter, and just went with it from there. Also, sometime after putting the front and back pieces together, I forgot which was which, so when I tried it on, I kept flipping it forwards and backwards to see what was more comfortable.

Something else that didn’t seem right was the length of the waistband. I lined it up as I was supposed to and this is what happened:

LOLWUT

LOLWUT

It’s perfectly lined up on one side, and has a sizeable excess at the other. Derr herr. Not sure what went wrong there, because I have never cut anything so slowly or carefully in my life. It didn’t really matter, I just chopped it off when I was sure it wasn’t essential- but it was weird.

I used my loving husband to help me even up the hem length after I let this puppy hang for a good 24 hours. People are right- bias streeeeeeetches like nobody’s business. I ended up lopping off about three inches in some spots and nothing in others, so somehow my adding three inches didn’t really do much, but I’m sure my butt is more covered than it otherwise would be.

Since I couldn’t figure out my front from back, and since I don’t have an invisible zipper foot (yet), I decided to hand-pick a centered zipper, which was a new thing for me. This way, I could just wear the culottes in whichever direction on wanted, and there wouldn’t be a flap to look backwards or out of place. It’s actually really damn easy! It’s not perfect, but I do like the look of it a lot. I’m definitely going to do this on future projects.

To finish up the hems, I did a rolled edge using my serger. I did a bunch of practice pieces first to get the hang of it, and it wasn’t so bad! It’s definitely difficult to go over any kind of seam, and I had to go back and hand-finish a few parts, but it looks so nice for the most part. I will certainly use this finish on other lightweight fabrics! The inside edges I serged as I went, except for the seam with the zipper, which I forgot to do until the whole damn thing was finished. For now, I just zig-zagged up the sides. When I set my serger up to do overlocking again, I’ll probably go in and zip that edge along so it looks nicer.

It's not a skirt!

It’s not a skirt!

This project had its frustrating moments, particularly some bits using my serger (I’m almost a total newb at this machine) but luckily I was able to get through most of the problems with some deep breathing and a few breaks, haha. I’m also getting pretty baller at threading the damn thing.

I'm normal, I promise.

I’m normal, I promise.

It was so cool to be able to try something new (hand-picking zippers, rolled edge hems) and have it mostly work out! I often get frustrated when something doesn’t go perfectly the first time (I may or may not be extremely Type A), so I need to tell myself to slow down and that I’m still learning. UGH. CAN’T I JUST BE PERFECT THE FIRST TIME? No. No, I cannot.

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This was a really fun way to get back into the swing of sewing clothes after several quilt projects, so thanks to Anne for once again holding Jungle January (part the second.)

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I road-tested these at work today, and they did pretty well. I tucked my sweater into them, which may have made them ride up a little higher than when I tried them on while making them up, so the crotchal region rode up a little tight-ish. When I wear them again, I’ll wear a lighter shirt to see if that has them ride a titch lower. If not, I’ll either add about 1/2 inch to the waist size, or use the same waist size, but the XL crotch seam. I have a pretty high waist, so I’m hoping either of these changes will help the fitting issue (if it continues to be one.) I will also remember to finish the edges on the damn zipper seam BEFORE the whole thing is done. Gawl.

Spin-fail. Bojangles ears are photobombing.

Spin-fail. Bojangles ears are photobombing.

Next up for me is another small quilt. What are you working on next?

Here’s a bunch of numbers. They may look random, but they’re my phone number.

The great thing about some projects is that they’re EASY and QUICK. This is one of those times. With a new home, there are lots of windows to treat- and this project was for some of our basement windows. Our house is a ranch-style, built into a hill, so the bottom half has a walk-out basement. The front half of the basement is finished (LSH’s office and our rec room/aquaponics center.) The back half has our washer/dryer, exercise bike, weight bench, and LSH’s workshop area.

We looked at Joann for fabric that had tools (wrenches, hammers, whatevs) on it, but no dice. We DID find some Star Wars themed fabric that had blueprints for the death star and X-Wings and shiz all over it. So manly.

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See my new amazing cutting table? That was a xmas present from LSH to me, with the cutting board on top. So awesome. He’d brought these giant boxes upstairs all wrapped, and I could not, for the life of me, guess what was in them. Surprise! He’s a good dood.

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They even turned out pretty well- not that simple curtains should be difficult. It was definitely easier on the back to have this nice high table. The grids on the cutting mat made keeping them the same size super easy as well. Huzzah!

In other news, the fantastic, wonderful, pink-headed Bek of PolkaDotsandSparkles sent me a couple of packages with hand-made goodies some time ago, and I can finally share their awesome-ocity now that I’ve got my cord again.

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This is Minion, and he’s wearing the cute cat earrings she made and sent to me. He is an adorable lil scamp, and I’m hoping I can talk LSH into making a little shelf to put near my sewing tables so he can watch me work. The googly eyes just kill me. I wore the earrings out to dinner about a week ago, and I LOVED them. I’d wear them more often if I wasn’t on a surgery rotation right now- no jewelry allowed (not even watches!) Next month I bet they’ll get more action.

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I just love that this blog and having a twitter account have made it possible to connect with kick-ass people all over the world. Lots of bloggers say crafters are the best community to be a part of, and it really seems to be the case! Everyone is always so friendly, so supportive, and so helpful (in addition to being kind and funny) that I am just so glad I have a small part of it.

Have you encountered anyone in the craft-o-sphere who’s really brightened your day?

When I die, I want you to cremate me and throw my ashes in Tom Selleck’s face

EEPS- I’ve actually got finished projects to show off, people! I’m trying to decide how I will spread them out, or if I’ll just go balls-out and do a couple in each post.

Decision made! My super-awesome table runner that I made using Lauren‘s (and her mom’s!) tutorial may just wait until actual holiday season comes around again. Or tomorrow, whatever I feel like, ha. Suffice it to say- it really made the kitchen more holiday-esque, which I really wanted for our first holidays in our new house. I’ll give you a hint about it though- I used fabric with GLITTER on it. And deer! It’s pretty great. Big ups to Lauren and her mom for a great holiday project!

Since I last posted, I’d been working on a quilt for the Nugget- I gave her the first one for her second birthday, I think. Well, on New Year’s Eve, my lil Nug turned into a Big Giant Girl of 6! Time flies, and I weep. *single tear* Originally, she wanted a pink and purple quilt with “fairies and princesses and barbie.” Good gravy, the mere thought almost made me vomit. Can’t my precious darling like dinosaurs, like Auntie MacStabby did in her youth (and still does- let’s be real here.) No? Ok, pink and purple it is. Sorry about the lack of feminism crushing figures, Nugget. (sorrynotsorry.)

I did consent to use her requested colors, since they would match her new “Sophia the First” bedsheets. LSH helped me pick up the fabric- his mom is muy crafty, so he’s actually way better at this than I am, since he’s had more practice while growing up. The choices are, in his words, completely “puke-tastic.” haha. Please forgive the shoddy photos- some of them are from my iPod touch, and others were taken in a flurry when my sis and Nugget came over on Saturday to collect the quilt.

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I worked on this baby whilst on my first vacation since starting residency. We went to my in-laws cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. So lovely and quiet. I worked on cutting and sewing and watching pixar/dreamworks movies to my heart’s content (have you seen “Tangled?” GO WATCH TANGLED!), while LSH cut down trees and burned things and whatever else it is that boys like to do in the woods.

Like clear snow off of solar panels with a broom

Like clear snow off of solar panels with a broom

As seen above, I used the “Log Cabin Quilt in a Day” book by Eleanor Burns. I’ve read several of her books (because I read pattern books more often than use them…) but this is my first attempt to try a project from one. Ok, so I definitely didn’t finish this thing in a day, but I got the top almost entirely finished during my vacay (with appropriate breaks for naps and ATV rides.)

Then I needed to make a choice on layout. Luckily, as it was a twin quilt, there are really only two options (besides just randomly placing them)- Fields and Furrows vs Zig-Zag.

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Once again, I used the lovely and talented LSH to help me- he liked Fields and Furrows better, because the Zig-Zag pattern seems unfinished and assymetrical on this size quilt. I sewed it up, added a border, and holy smokes- I was so happy with how it looked.
Once back home, I sandwiched that puppy together with the batting. How to finish, though? I considered both tying and machine quilting (and for half-a-second, hand quilting, but I wanted to give this to Nugget before she goes to college.) I ended up deciding to try machine-quilting, which meant a trip to my new (to me) local sewing machine store for a walking foot. I’ve got a Kenmore 6 from the 70s, and these folks really knew their stuff- I now have my very own walking foot! (BTW , I’ve now learned that my Kenmore is a low-shank machine, if any of you also have a similar machine: model 158.12411) I also got her serviced after I finished this project, and she is so happy and clean and smells nice.
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Ok, so using it didn’t work the best, and I don’t know if it’s because of the foot itself (probably not) or because of user-error (far more likely.) I had a hard time knowing how fast/slow to let the quilt feed through the feeder-dogs and needle-y area. I essentially did a stitch-in-the-ditch. I’m not totally pleased with the end result, because there are some wrinkly-wonkly areas, but it’s delightfully puke-tastic and perfect for this particular 6 year old nugget.

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So. Charming. ;-)

So. Charming. ;-)

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. LSH really helped a lot with the color selection, which obviously MAKES the quilt. Also, I can’t recommend Eleanor Burns books enough- she writes with her personality, and really simplifies and makes the project (even cutting!) fun.

In other news- I recently finished my second inpatient month of residency- I survived! Woot! Things are going much better now than they had been- thanks to all of you who offered support in my time of crazypants-ness. :-D Here’s a shot of my daily affirmation that I put on my computer (with Totoro, of course.)
selfaffirmation

If we meet any mermaids, I’m going to ask them where their mer-ginas are.

Ha, more radio silence from me for awhile! I’m going to stop commenting on it- there’s really no need to apologize, after all. It’s not like all three of you who read this thing are pining away when I don’t post.

SO, the latest project for me was a darling (maybe?) little baby quilt. A friend of mine since my undergraduate days and her hubbie got themselves in a family way. Naturally, when I heard this news, immediately planned to make a gift for them….and then sat on it for a bit. Their baby shower came and went with nary a stitch done! (Lots of tasty foods were had, though. Mmmmmm.)

So, after all my hemming and hawing, I had The Hubs (who I also think of in my head as Long Suffering Husband, or LSH) help me pick out fabric. He’s way better at it, having had much more experience since he grew up with a crafty mom.

Here is the result!

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Sorry about the colors. I tried to fix it up on my computer using Picasa, but the photos were taken using LSH’s phone and emailed to me, because I STILL can’t find the cord that attaches my camera to my computer. Boo urns. I didn’t use a pattern, just grabbed some cute fabric (it’s, like, cartoony, adorable, bears and foxes and bunnies and squirrels.) Then the matching fabric, laying it out, and putting it all together. It isn’t perfect by any means. Some of the sides ended up wonky, but I think it’s pretty cute for a baby (the parents-to-be (now ACTUAL parents) didn’t know the gender, so I went for a gender-neutral color-scheme. However- IT’S A BOY!)

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So you’re probably thinking- hey, not too difficult! I bet this was a breeze! If so, you don’t know me very well. I kept screwing up sewing the rows together and then would have to rip and re-sew them. Maybe like four times. Because I’m a ninja.

Anyhoodle, my friends received it shortly after baby was born (I had to mail it to them because they moved without consulting me first). I hope it gets lots of love and drool and toothmarks all over it in the coming years! I’ll post a photo of baby with blankie if they take one (and say it’s ok.)

What have you been working on in my prolonged absence?