For me, sewing is both a creative pursuit and often a catharsis. I sew to make the world beautiful in my own small way, and in doing so I also sometimes try to quietly heal myself and others. There is something about the plush softness of fabric, the pliability, the sinking-in and relaxation inherent in the final product that conveys some of what I want to be giving to the recipient. This project embodied this underlying motivation, making a plush pillow for two of my colleagues who have survived a challenging work context with me together (hence the purple heart). I wanted it to look fractured and complex and yet ultimately whole, beautiful and unified, so I pieced together small bits of purple fabric into mosaic panels, which I then cut into squares accompanied by a soft grey to construct a simple but complex heart. Bordered by a complimentary grey, backed by a plush green upholstery fabric and filled with organic cotton stuffing and lavender buds for an added aura of relaxation, these matching pillows (one of each of them) hopefully mark a challenging context and most importantly, surviving and thriving despite the challenge. A fun and satisfying project!
I made a runner for my blue-loving aunt Chris L. a few years ago, but after being much loved and washed, it was in need of repair. (In addition to the frequent washings, I also blame my too-small seam allowances when I was getting back into sewing. Live and learn!) So she gave it back to me, and I re-sewed it... which actually resulted in me ripping most of it apart and switching up the accent color palate, including a cheery yellow fabric instead of the previous green (wish I had taken a pick before I switched things up), bordering it with the accent yellow color as well, and quilting more extensively to make sure things stay tacked down. Hope this refresh provides a happy burst of color to the breakfast nook!
Brother-in-law Abe G.'s 35th birthday was this month, and I wanted to make something special to mark the milestone. He is a big football fan and also a big couch-chillaxing fan, so while I know next to nothing about the sport, I started working on a football-themed lap quilt for him in January of this year. I thought a lot about a design and looked around the interwebs for ideas, but a lot of what I found was shaped like a football rather than a rectangular quilt, had smaller football blocks instead of one big ball on the quilt, or involved appliques which I admire but am not a fan of working with in terms of durability, etc.... All nice designs but not what I had in my head, so in the end I decided to come up with a plan myself, opting for a pixelated football design made of lots of 2.5 inch squares, bordered by the colors of the Packers, his fave team.
The pixelated part took a lot of time, but was also quite interesting to make. Instead of taking each piece square by square, I experimented with bulk strip sets for longer color chains within the pattern, and creating loops of squares that could be separated at different points in the loop to provide different configurations to fit into the pattern. The individual fabrics I used also hopefully speak to Abe--- some golf fabric, lots of nature-inspired pieces, etc... to touch on some of his interests outside of football.
Once the pixelated centre section was finished, I squared it up and added three layers of border in team colors. I then decided to sandwich and turn the quilt, topstitched the border and then hand-tied all of the little squares in the football with a coordinating embroidery floss. Took a while to complete, but I like the texture and feel of it-- reminds me of the bumps of a football itself.
So that's it! A big-ish project done and gifted, and I enjoyed the experimentation I got to try out, and the personalization I was able to do. Other ideas I had was to surround the centre piece with fabric with faces/crowds on it to replicate a stadium but I was unable to find an appropriate fabric design. In the end, I think the team colors works well regardless. I also thought about hand-tying the green squares as well but in the end I liked that it was just the football re: texture, etc... Lots learned and hopefully he gets lots of footballishness enjoyment out of this piece!
A table mat/ wall hanging made for Dean M. for his birthday this month. Inspired by some of the cool-toned landscape art on his walls (made by his mother!) as well as his sparky personality, I made a lightening bolt cutting through a relatively neutral palate of upcycled pieces of blues, greys and purples, transitioning between darker and lighter colors. I quilted the bolt and borders with a variegated purple and blue thread and made the binding out of matching fabric to provide a relatively seamless border. Still not happy with my binding corners, but practice makes kinda perfect-er!
Inspired by Canada's 150th celebrations this year, I've made some Canadian bunting to deck the halls/ walls/ decks/ etc... Sturdy, resuable, suitable for indoors or outdoors, 100% washable, approximately 2 meters long and great for Canada's 150th, Canada Day or even sports events and other patriotic moments, this bunting is an eco-friendly patriot's dream! Available with roping made in coordinated or contrasting grey fabric. Check out my Etsy shop if you are interested in picking up your own set and get your Sesquicentennial on, eh!
Playing around with some more intricate cozy designs, and made this is a customized tea cozy made for Christine H. for her birthday with some semi-intricate piecing, made in colors to match her new décor/ informed by her tastes. Took quite a bit longer than a solid design, but I like the result. In terms of customization, the teal-and-spotted triangles were pieced from small off-cut triangles from another project (#recycling) but also reflect her new accent colors, the traditional florals at the top are from a couple of vintage pieces found at a craft fair inspired by her teacup collection, the gold stripes reflect her gold shelves in the updated living space, and I added some small panels of leafy greens inspired by her love of Blanche Devereaux's wallpaper in The Golden Girls. The whole thing is lined with a graphic print of apples and limes (see my grocery bag experiment), and bound with some homemade bias tape. TBH, based on her reaction I am not sure that she liked the cozy that much, but I am pleased with how it turned out. So there you go! Can't win them all, but I enjoyed the process of thinking about the elements, and am generally pleased the final outcome
A fun experiment to make a cool puppy crate cover for my sister's new puppy, Garby. The crate sits in the middle of the living room and was just covered with a towel, so I wanted to make something that looked a little nicer for day-to-day use. Used some of the dog-themed left-over fabric from the Dogs Playing Poker art event, along with some other upcycled fabric in my stash (thanks Margie and Value Village!). I didn't have a pattern to make this of course, but did have the general dimensions of the crate so I improvised. Features include:
Despite what one may conclude based on my recent posts, I do actually make quilts... I am working on two lovely lap quilts right now but, they are gifts so I will post more when they have been safely ensconced in their new homes so as not to ruin the reveal.
So in the meantime/ at the same time, I am still on the bag train, this time experimenting with designs for reusable grocery bags made with upcycled fabric. I got a big remnant piece of this slightly strange, graphic lime/apple fabric at Value Village and decided to play around a bit. I used as a 'pattern' an existing reusable bag that is well loved and I have had for almost 10 years, and then went to town!
I am loving the design of this bag, though it does take a fair amount of time and fabric to make. Will play around with some other ideas in the coming weeks/months. Highlights of this effort include:
I have been playing in the National Capital Concert Band for three years now, and have been lugging my music stand and music folder to and from rehearsals/concerts in a ratty reusable grocery bag. Time for an upgrade! I picked up a small remnant of the black-and-red instrument fabric a year ago, but only recently got my act together to make a tote for my band accoutrements. Nice to have this project off my to-do list!
Features/ lessons learned include:
I made this circle runner for my parents for christmas to go on their entry table. Inspired by the texture and variety of the ocean that their house sits right next to, I sewed together small pieces of a wide variety of different fabrics (for many hours) into a large mat of blue-y goodness. I then backed it in a complimentary fabric (in this case, some more of the awesome west african batik in my stash), quilted it simply in an off-centre star burst, and bound it in black. My one regret is the binding-- I wish I had done it in some variety of blue. But I think it still looks nice, and is now happily at home on their entryway table.
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Ain't no party like a sewing party cause a sewing party don't stop