Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time has flown!!

Here I sit, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, contemplating how quickly the year has gone. This time last year, I was filled with grandiose ideas to create, sew, knit, etc. Though I have done a lot, it is only a fraction of what I wanted to accomplish. Now that can only mean one of two things:  either I am totally unrealistic (which I would never confess to), or time just got away from me and now I am snowed under. I choose answer number two, since there is less guilt involved.

In case you haven't heard, my eldest daughter is expecting. This will be my first grandbaby. No, she doesn't know what she is having, so I can't invest any time sewing gender specific items. However, I have been a busy bee sewing for both mom and baby. I made most of her maternity wear including skirts, shirts, pants, and a coat. The Megan Nielsen patterns are fabulous!! They sew up very quickly, look better than most of the clothes in the stores, and best of all--they fit!! My daughter has been very pleased with her work attire.

Currently, I have sewn for the nursery and the baby. I began with 6 yards of flannel from Hobby Lobby. I made the crib skirt first, then followed with 2 crib sheets from the same flannel. Here in Texas (I am told) flannel crib sheets are almost impossible to find. I haven't seen any in the usual stores I shop in. Crib sheets take about an hour to make, require 2 yds of fabric, and 1.5 yds of elastic. I am very pleased with the final project.

Next, I made the son-in-law a diaper bag. My daughter purchased a beautiful, floral one from Vera Bradley, but it wasn't something I could see my son-in-law carrying, so I offered to make him a brown one per his request. I used brown canvas with a blue cotton trim. Though I like the final project, I realized a lot that I would do differently. First, adhesive interfacing does not stick well to canvas. Second, a diaper bag requires a heavy duty magnet closure or velcro. Here is my final project:

 There are double pockets on each side and 3 pockets on the front. The straps can be converted from a backpack style to a traditional bag with double handles. Inside, there are more pockets. I think I would remove those next time and just have the inside one big, roomy space.

The front zips open with zippers on each side and the top opens with a double purse zipper. I had most of the notions in my stash, but did have to purchase the purse zipper and lining fabric.
 Here is the backpack version. The sliders that adjust the straps were purchased from an online company--Strapworks. I purchased the clips at Joann's, but next time will order those from Strapworks, too. There is quite a cost difference.

I'm not really sure the son-in-law will use it, but at least he knows it was made for him. That does say something nice about the mother-in-law, doesn't it?

The pattern is McCall's 6617. At first it seemed rather daunting with the 53 steps required to make it. However, when taken one step at a time, the bag really isn't that hard. However, when I make the next one, I will do several things differently. I do plan to make it again, but for another purpose:  I think this would be a great picnic bag. We shall see after the first of the year when I have more time to play.

I have been very busy knitting, too. I made 3 baby afghans (I see now days they call them blankets). This first one is for my daughter. The color isn't real clear, so let me describe it. I used a wool blend in a variegated yarn that blended from cream to dark gray. Woven within the strands were pink and blue threads. It is gorgeous (if I do say so myself). The pattern was simple and a free download from the TLC website. I am very pleased with this one. I think my daughter really likes it, too.

 Next I knitted this red cable baby afghan. This was done in a yarn that I had purchased to make a sweater several years ago. Unfortunately, I misplaced (I refuse to admit that I lost something) the directions and couldn't finish it. I ripped the knitting out and had this huge ball of yarn that stared at me every time I opened the sewing closet door. Finally, I decided a baby afghan to put in the gift stash would rid me of the yarn. It worked up beautifully!! and was a prized gift at the baby shower last week.

Though the cable looks difficult, it really isn't. This afghan took about 7 days to complete, which isn't really

that much time when you consider I only knit in my wasted down time.

Last, I made the same afghan as the one for my daughter, but used a worsted weight baby yarn. Isn't this lovely? The picture doesn't show the color real well, but this is a very pink afghan. I love it--especially when I found the yarn on clearance for $1.90 per skein. This is the only item left in the gift stash at the moment. Which means--TA DA--I get to start all over again replenishing the stash. LOVE IT!!

Work has a silent auction that benefits our employee charity. I made this wine bag as my donation. My co-workers will add wine, glasses, and a chocolate to make it extra special. I think it turned out lovely!! I hope we make a killing on it!! That was last week's project.

And this quilt is my gift to the nursery. My daughter wanted to make this quilt, but never got around to it. Originally planned for fleece, I decided that fleece was a blanket not a quilt, so I hand sewed this owl quilt top. Last week I finished hand sewing the appliques, cut the backing from the leftover flannel from the crib skirt, and purchased the cotton batting. I am slowly teaching myself to hand quilt. Since I don't have a quilt frame, I pinned the quilt together with curved safety pins, then pinned the quilt to my ironing board to stabilize it. So far, I am about 1/2 done. A friend of mine who has quilted in the past tells me I am not doing it right. Does that really matter? The batting is sandwiched between the top and back and the hand stitches are holding the whole thing together. Isn't that quilting?

Here is an example of my quilting. Personally, I like the imperfection that occurs with hand quilting. I recognize machine quilting is a whole lot faster, but the stitches come out perfect. Mine are wobbly and irregular in length. That is fun to me!! Besides, I want my daughter to tell her son or daughter how Grandma D made the quilt before they were born. I want them to know that I learned on their special quilt. Each stitch is made with me in thought and prayer for my soon to be born grandson or granddaughter. How special is that?

God has not only gifted me with crafty talent, He granted me the courage not to live so serious. I enjoy what I do immensely. Perfection isn't nearly as important to me as enjoying the experience of stretching myself and doing something outside of my level of expertise. In my world, failure is an option--because failure is learning. I know what I create brings joy to others, and that gives me pleasure. How many other sons-in-law can boast that their mother-in-law made them a diaper bag? How many daughters have designer original nurseries made especially for them by their mothers? I am truly blessed--not only in the talent but by the family who lovingly appreciates my craftiness.

Thanks God.