Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine Shirts

For Valentine's Day I picked a couple of my favorite designs to use for Annaliese and Dashiell's shirts. I like these because they incorporate hearts but the kids should still be able to get some wear out of them after Feb 14 as well!
I used Lynnie Pinnie's Love Turtle Applique for Annaliese's shirt. I added her name with Thin Lizzy from 8 Claws and a Paw. I was so pleased with how well the 1/2 inch font work... Annaliese is a long name to curve around that turtle shell!
I used Embroidery Boutique's Airplane Heart Applique (and the Thin Lizzy font) for Dashiell's shirt.
Quick cute story: When I told Dashiell I had a new shirt for him he said, "Superman??" (The last shirt I made for him was his birthday shirt.) I told him it was an airplane. He looked at it and asked, "Superman inside?" When I said, "sure, Superman is inside the airplane" he was then very excited to wear it. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Starting a Custom Wardrobe

Ok, I'm almost embarrassed to post this. But someday I hope to look back on this post and be able to say, "Look how far I've come!!!"
My daughter got an American Girl for Christmas. That alone is a crazy investment, but the clothes...? Wow, they are PRICEY. I don't spend that much on our clothes, so certainly not for a doll! I'm sure you are thinking, "Janay, just make her some clothes!" But here's the thing, I have very little experience with garment construction. Sure, I can make a pillowcase dress, but that's not really a big deal. A-lines and Jon-jons are as fancy as I have ever gotten, and they wear me out! So making clothes for a doll... wow, really not ready for that. I mean, I've never done anything with sleeves!
But this afternoon Annaliese was commenting that her doll didn't have a regular dress to wear that really fit (we've been making due with Build-a-Bear clothes). I looked at what Annaliese was wearing, realized I had extra fabric and MAYBE I could whip out a matching outfit. So here we go:
For the shirt, I took a newborn onesie I had in my stash, chopped off the bottom and used Heat and Bond Lite to fuse a watermelon to the shirt. That was way faster and easier than searching for the perfect tiny watermelon embroidery design. :)  The skirt is a simple tube of fabric with elastic at the top. Again, nothing fancy, but Annaliese was thrilled and super impressed with how fast I got it done. Frankly, so was I. :)
So mark this as the beginning. Hopefully in a few years I will far surpass this style of clothing. Although I HIGHLY doubt I will ever achieve the ability of my mother. Such a seamstress... I sorely regret that back when I was 12 years old and she bought me a sewing machine I had no interest in it. Oh, to be able to go back and change my attitude and capitalized on the opportunity to learn...
Let me show you the talent that is in my genes, but not my skill set... yet. Here are the wedding dresses that my mom made for both Annaliese and her doll. She made these out of her own wedding dress. HOW AMAZING ARE THEY?!?!?
Someday, someday...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Branding a Bathroom, Part 2

Three weeks ago I shared pictures of embroidery work I had done for my mom as part of their bathroom decor (you can read more here: Branding a Bathroom, Part 1). Mom has completed her shower curtain and sent me pictures, so now as promised, here is the final product!
Cool shot of the shower curtain in the mirror, with hand towels on the rack:
This shot shows the bath rug that inspired the shower curtain design:
 A close up of the embroidery and strip piecing:
And the bath towels on which she appliqued the patches I stitched:
Didn't it all turn out awesome?? I'm anxious to see it all in person. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hanging Hearts Decor

A few weeks back the SWAK Embroidery newsletter spotlighted some cute Hearts of Faith pillow designs. When I saw the picture of the pillows hanging on a shelf with hooks, I thought of my new shelf and how bare it was going to look when I took down our stockings. Fast forward to this week when I had the opportunity to test stitch some lovely heart frame designs from 8 Claws and a Paw... I knew exactly what I wanted to create!
Each of the hearts pillows features a different frame design.
Valentine Heart Frame 2:
Valentine Heart Frame 4:
Valentine Heart Frame 5:
(I got carried away on one of them and forgot to take a picture of Valentine Heart Frame 3 before adding text and finishing the pillow, oops!)

Before starting these designs, I opened them in Embird Studio and created a heart-shaped running stitch around the frame, as well as tackdown stitches for the ribbon. After I embroidered the frame, I added the text (using Embird alphabet #38), tacked down the ribbon, then tacked down the backing material face down on top of the whole thing. Took it out of the hoop, trimmed around the edges, inverted, stuffed, and hand stitched up the hole (which is actually a challenge when the shape is curved... new strategy needed next time). Here are close-ups of each heart.

I'm pleased with how they turned out considering they were completed in a little over 24 hours after initially seeing the designs! I look forward to making more hanging decorations throughout the year!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Labrador Rag Quilt

My in-laws have owned seven Labradors over the course of 20+ years, so when I spotted a certain flannel in the JoAnns Black Friday ad, I knew right away I had to make my MIL a rag quilt for Christmas. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I stopped by my local JoAnns to make sure they had it in stock (they did!) and then came home to plot out a quilt and figure out how much I needed to buy. On Black Friday I was at JoAnns by 6:20am and headed straight to the flannel. On my way there I saw the bolt I needed in someone's cutting stack! EEK! I asked if she was buying all of it, thankfully she wasn't. I bought the rest of the bolt and it was JUST ENOUGH. No room for errors on this project!

Even though I had lofty goals to make two rag quilts between Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to circumstances out of my control I wasn't able to finish Kathy's quilt until this week. But I'm pretty sure she has found it worth the wait. :)  Here it is!!
I used my AccuQuilt GO! and rag die to cut all the fringed blocks first. Can't say it enough -- I LOVE not having to snip the quilt at the end!! I was very pleased with how the quilting turned out on my Sudoku Rag Quilt, so I asked Julie of 8 Claws and a Paw Embroidery if she would be willing to digitize a bone for me in the same style as her applique tackdown stitches. I sent her an image of the fabric and she sent back a design very quickly! THANK YOU! It worked perfectly! I chose a light teal thread like the bones on the flannel.
That took care of half of the blocks. The other half were marble/solid flannels to represent the yellow, chocolate and black labs. I used Embird Alphabet #22 (a redwork alphabet) to embroider the names of all the Labradors the Trammels have owned. I was relieved I had a teal thread the exact same color as the dog print, and that it provided a good contrast on both the light and dark blocks! (These pictures were taken before the first machine washing, so the true ragging effect hasn't taken place.)
Their black labs: Lady, Hope and Neo

Their yellow labs: Tig and Jed

Their chocolate labs: Quinn and Forrest

Once I got it all pieced, I shook it, washed it, shook it, dried it, and shook it again! Annaliese said, "it looks like a fluff monster was destroyed on the driveway!" :) Here's the whole quilt:
And a close-up shot:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Girl Gift Set

Melanie called me with a super last minute order -- thankfully she knew just want she wanted and I had the items in stock ready to go!
We recreated a gift she and her mom gave almost two years ago to baby Julia. The monogram on the burp cloth is Whimsy Dots by Five Star Fonts.
For the bib I simply stitched "Lyndsey" and added the dot frame.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jillian!

A few weeks back on Facebook, Heather asked via her Pirates-n-Princesses page if anyone had a recommendation for a good Etsy seller to order a birthday shirt for her daughter. I replied saying I wasn't on Etsy, but could help her out! :)
Heather sent me four different Etsy listings that had elements she liked, and we created a design: the number font from the first, the applique stitch style from the second, the fabric from the third and adding a bow (which she did herself) like the fourth! She picked the font for Jillian's name after browsing my blog. She apologized for being so picky, but truly that can make my job easier -- when you know what you want, I don't have to guess! AND bonus! She shipped me a shirt she had already bought, and included a return envelop so I didn't even have to go to the post office. She did the two worst tasks of the whole process for me!! :)
The "3" is from Chubby Wubby Applique Numbers from GG Designs, and the font is Tinker Toy from 8 Claws and a Paw.
Jillian had an AMAZING Dora party, hence the pink and orange. Check her out, all dolled up and ready to celebrate! I hope on our next visit to IL I have the pleasure of meeting this sweet girl and her mommy!
Now you must go check out all the pictures from her special day. Heather threw quite a shindig to celebrate Jillian's birthday! I love all the decorations and delicious-looking treats!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Special Delivery

I believe this is the last 2010 baby I will stitch a Special Delivery onesie for... unless I get another order. :)

The original design is from Sew Terific Designs; I customized the design with baby's birthplace, birth date, time, weight and full name.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sudoku Rag Quilt

I have been wanting to make this quilt for a LONG time. (Cue flashback sequence music)
I made my very first rag quilt in the fall of 2006 (Butterfly Quilt given to Annaliese). Shortly after that I made another one for Marc and Pamela. Both of these were done the old fashioned way... I quilted each square using free motion, then pieced, then snipped. LABOR OF LOVE I tell you! That year when we went home for Christmas my MIL and I made a rag quilt for Baby Luchinski, but on this one we experimented using her embroidery machines to do the quilting. It worked really well! (Here's a little Stitched by Janay Trivia -- I used what would become my embroidery machine for that project, I just didn't know it at the time). Then the following February I went on a girls retreat, and while everyone else scrapbooked, I pieced four more rag quilts (back to free motion quilting), with the intention of selling them. That was fun, but the follow up snipping... FOUR of them!!! Well, I was done. They take so long, it's hard to put a fair price on them. Nearly 4 years later, I still have two of them in my closet! :)

Sorry for the brief history lesson. Anyway, at the time I made those quilts my SIL was really into Sudoku puzzles. We both LOVE those puzzles! I saw a quilt pattern based on the game and thought it was perfect! I love how substituting fabric for the numbers makes a perfectly random looking patchwork design. I wanted to make a rag quilt for Amy, but alas, I had lost my drive to snip.
Fast forward to Christmas of 2009 -- I got an AccuQuilt GO! with rag dies!! Now the snipping hindrance had been removed, and I was determined to follow through with my set-aside idea for the following Christmas. I got up dark and early on Black Friday and headed to JoAnns for their annual flannel sale. Even though I own TONS of flannel (purchased on Black Friday 2006) I didn't have 9 different patterns that all coordinate. :)
Here's the end result:
So here's what I did!
In a Sudoku puzzle the numbers 1-9 appear 9 times each, but only once in each row, column and square. My quilt needed nine blocks each of nine different flannels.
I used my rag die to cut two layers of flannel at the same time. I place the same print wrong sides together before running it through the cutter so that my blocks were ready to quilt right after being cut. I find that two layers of flannel is plenty warm!
I assigned a number to each flannel and quilted them. Since this is a number game, I decided the quilting pattern just had to be numbers!! I wanted to use my embroidery machine, but I wanted the design to stitch QUICK since I had 81 of them to do. I decided the placement or tackdown stitch for an applique design would be perfect. I selected the 4" numbers from the Hannah font from 8 Claws and a Paw. They digitize their tackdowns with a nice long-stitch narrow zig-zag that stitched fast and looks more decorative than a simple running stitch -- it was perfect!  I hooped my squares with no stabilizer using my Spring Hoop (first time using it-WONDERFUL for this project!) and plowed through them.
 Here are closeup images of all nine blocks. My only regret is that I used white thread for all of them... should have used contrasting threads instead. Oh well! The #4 fabric was my inspiration fabric... found it first and the picked pinks, greens and purples to match. And in my opinion #7 looks better in person than in the pictures. :)

I launched my Electric Quilt program and created a quilt that was basically a nine-patch of nine-patches. I found a solved Sudoku puzzle and assigned each number a fabric and plugged it into my quilt. When I made the actual quilt I didn't include the black dividing lines (though considered adding a narrow sashing).
 Then I made a tiny version of my quilt with 1" squares of the flannel. This was a VERY helpful step. I was able to see right away that I had two of the same prints side-by-side too often and swapped things around. Then as I was constructing it I had a handy guide to follow to be sure I didn't mess anything up. Because if you know Amy, you know she would certainly find my mistake. :)
With the blocks quilted and the plan in place, all I had left to do was piece the thing together! And here it is, my first Sudoku Rag Quilt!
Close up of the quilt so you can see the raggy seams and quilting:

I love the final product. I was secretly hoping Amy wouldn't like it and they could just ship it back to me. But she did. :) Maybe some day I'll get around to making one for myself. But don't hold your breath. ;)
And for those of you still reading, thanks! This was a special project, and I wanted to document it all for myself. To be honest, I wanted to to a big video tutorial (so I can earn myself a free die from AccuQuilt) but December isn't the best month of the year to tackle a project like that!





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