Creative Rhythm

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Last Night

I stitched up (yet another :)) tote bag. I made changes to this one, too…
Inset handles, instead of after thought ones.
Single side quilting with a lining, instead of quilting all three layers at once.

Every time I finish a bag for a moment I contemplate keeping it. I enjoy so much having that finished object in my hand. I love the feel of the fabrics and uniqueness of handmade. My selfish self says ‘Keep It Keep It!’

In the end I don’t keep them; I wrap them up in our homemade coloring page wrapping paper, add a yarn bow, and add it to my gift pile. With my master list of friends and family I check one more name off and begin again. I’ll repeat that cycle of make, want, gift many times over the next month. It’s the rhythm of my holidays.

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This Morning

The beginning of the cycle begins again…

I start with a finished object in mind, and a person it’s intended to be for. What’s their favorite color combo? What style might they like? What new technique do I want to try? What do I envision them using it for?

I pull fabrics from the stash as I roll the ideas around in my head. Images come to mind, thoughts on construction. Sometimes I pull fabric and I lay it out and I don’t know just where I’m headed yet. I walk away, grab some breakfast, watch a show, work on a already in progress something. Letting the idea sit in the back while it gathers itself together.

If it doesn’t gather, I change the fabric, change direction, think about a different intent. Sooner or later it gels in my brain and I can begin to cut and stitch and mostly feel my way along the process. All the other things I’ve made informing the steps I take, and if not, a seam ripper at the ready. (Even though I sigh and cringe as I use it.)

I rarely stop mid-way once I begin this kind of project. Unless I find myself making so many mistakes it’s no longer fun but frustrating. I tunnel vision my way to the last stitch. To the ‘Oh, I want to keep it!’ moment. Then I take a picture, (to remember my proud mama moment) wrap it up, mark it off, begin again.

Creative Rhythm.
What’s yours?

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Still making

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Tote bags for gifting are still being made around here…
Some of which I can’t share photos of; they’re so recipient specific it would be too easy for friends to pick theirs out!

Each one is constructed differently. As I make them I change a bit of the process, I’m feeling out my favorite creation style as I go along.

For instance this one…
Got a zipper.
Is made from a canvas material instead of pieced with quilter’s cotton.
Is lined with interfacing vs batting and quilted.

I really liked the simplicity of this one and the crafty fabric is so fun. I used cotton ribbon ties from Moda jelly rolls as straps; double sided for extra thickness. I knew I was saving those things for something!

One more Handmade Holiday gift created and ready for wrapping!

Totes Christmas-y

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It’s the time of year I really get into my handmade holiday list and start checking things off. One by one the gifts pile up, wrapped as I go, ready for the month of various Christmas-y gathering we’ll have going on soon. Today’s project was a quilted tote with lots of holiday spirit.

It really is one of my favorite seasons; the season of making!

Stitches with Grace

There’s been all kinds of stitches happening around here this week. Knit stitches like this hat…

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And this in progress one too…

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I also listed a couple handknits over at the shop today. I like shop variety as much as I like crafty variety. How about you?

One of the items in the shop is this scarf…

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..of which I’m pretty proud. I didn’t follow a pattern, just made it up as I went along. It’s the first knit anything I’ve dove that with. Everything else if it wasn’t directly from a pattern it was one I’d memorized enough to change. It feels good to make something wholly your own, you know? Even something as simple as a scarf.

The other kind of stitches showing up big time around here are embroidery stitches.

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I came across some pillowcases in my stash with embroidery patterns printed on them. I can’t remember if I bought them or got them as a gift, but I finally decided to stitch them.

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I was obsessed with them for four days! Once I got going and I was completing those little boxes I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed it so much, and think they’ll be well received as gifts, that I ordered another set to stitch for another gift.

I am pretty excited to mark the first gift -It’s even wrapped!- off my Handmade Holiday list this year. I have lots of other things in the works but this one is complete, and oh gosh that feels good!

When you like to give handmade gifts you gotta start early! I run out of time often and then it’s a last minute scramble for gift cards. Which, while I’m sure the people who get them don’t mind, makes me sad. I like to give gifts with thought, time, and effort behind them. Gift cards are awesome when needed but aren’t my first choice.

So, I’m stitching towards that big Christmas deadline again. I have a love/hate relationship with having a timeline. I love love making gifts and having a big happy reason for gifts-for-everyone! is awesome. I hate that I sometimes make my self crazy with have-to-somethings and not-good-enoughs.

Am I the only one that does that? Surely not. I’m trying to gift myself a little grace this year and not do that. We’ll see how that works out! Wish me luck! If you’d like to join me in giving yourself grace too I wholeheartedly wish you luck as well! Maybe we can remind each other when the negatives creep in. Our first gift priority this year is grace; for ourselves and everyone else. After all, everyone can use a little grace, don’t you think?

Sew Cushy {from granny’s box}

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My first project using a bit of handmade history from granny’s box is a simple one. Inspired by a pillow we had growing up with a bit of crochet on top. I can’t quite grasp the image of that first pillow anymore…it might have been a dark red…it might have had a phrase like ‘home sweet home’ in the cream colored crochet…I think.

However it was I still remember the idea of it and used it to make this version…

I have to say this was the easiest of the items in the box to work with. Square and intact it made creating this quilted pillow a snap.

I picked a fabric from the stash dark enough to bring out the lace. I also picked it with someone in mind to gift it to for Christmas. (I guess that makes this a bit off a Handmade Holiday post as well!)

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I made a traditional quilt sandwich – fabric up, batting, fabric down – out of pieces a few inches larger all around than what I wanted my finished pillow to be. Fat quarter size basically, it’ll end up a 16 inch pillow.

I quilted it simply with a straight stitch roughly following the design of the fabric. I made two of these, one for each side of my pillow.

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I trimmed my quilted squares to 16.5… Using a half inch seem allowance because I added a zipper and like to give myself plenty to sew onto.

I centered my crocheted square and pinned it. As I sewed it down I tugged it just a bit to open up the lace, and I sewed inside the scalloped edge so that it made a little fringe.

With my two pillow sides ready to go I basically follow this great tutorial by Brett Bara to finish my pillow. She’s awesome. If zippers make you want to cry you’ll love this tutorial! You’ll be adding zippers to whatever you can get your hands on.

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Ta-da! One Christmas gift down, a million more to go! Or should that be one item from granny’s box used a million more to figure out?

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I love the extra squishy-ness the quilting adds to this project, but you could totally do this with a single layer of fabric.

So, new throw pillows in your future? How about some doilies? They’re not just for table tops anymore! 🙂

Just like Grandma’s

Or at least very close!

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These were originally intended to be a Christmas gift for my brother, but in my procrastination they sort of ended up as a Valentine’s gift instead. Good thing he didn’t seem to mind.

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I don’t have the original pattern my grandmother used when we were kids. I was pretty young, but I think she sent slippers for Christmas. I don’t remember them as specifically as my brother does, but I remember they had this basic shape.

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The slipper pattern from Knitting Pretty was really easy to follow. It called for a bulky yarn so I used the thinner yarn I’d picked out held double. It resulted in a super squishy heavier slipper which might be just right for cold snowy nights. After all, Grandma’s slippers were meant for Florida winters not Colorado ones.

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I knit these up in just a couple of days, over the weekend really. And I’ve got at least one more pair planned; can’t let my guy’s toes get cold! Maybe with a little digging I’ll be able to find that original pattern my grandma used and carry on her proud tradition. That is, of course, depending on if she used a pattern. After knitting so many pairs -hundreds, maybe?- perhaps she didn’t use a particular pattern. How she always got the size just right from so far away I’ve no idea. I guess that’s just one of those great things about grandmas.

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A Quilty Kind Of Christmas

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Happy 2013!
That’s how I should be starting this post! Since for most of you Christmas has come and gone, and maybe the decorations are already put away.

For us, our little tree lingers a little longer. Celebrating lasted up until the last minute of 2012! It really was a full and filled up year.

Along with all the celebrating came a whole lot of crafty goodness. Quilts abound!

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If you are a follower of my blog over at HonorCrownedCrafts.com then you might recognize this first lovely. It’s the Walk About Home quilt I made earlier in the year with the help of my awesome crafty Mama. Handmade holiday gifts are a big hit in our family!

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The happy couple that got the Walk About Home quilt also got this pretty little bigger something. A rainbow fan quilt with pieces cut by me and created by my talented MIL, E. It’s spectacular in all its bright colorful happiness. We like our people to stay warm and toasty around here.

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Speaking of E, she got blessed with quilty love as well. Followers of HCC might recognize this one too! Yep, it was Mom and I again, making merry with stars and blocks printed with Psalms. E was super excited and is already figuring out what wall gets to hold her new treasure.

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If you were wondering if we got to bring home a little fabric love of our own you can rest assured -we did! E made this crazy amazing eagle wall hanging for my crazy amazing guy.

It suits him perfectly. His favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 40:32 “but those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

And I can’t wait to get it hung, we have just the spot for it.

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And last but not least… me!
E finished a quilt my paternal grandmother began long before my memory of her. (I had two twin sized tops hand pieced by grandma; E quilted and finished them by hand to keep them as true to her as possible.) I had asked her to finish it last year after I gave its twin to my brother for Christmas. Then I promptly forgot all about it. So, I was over the moon to open the box and have it there ready for cuddling. Ready for cherishing.

It’s funny how some fabric and stitching can mean so much. Funny how it captures our hearts as it warms our toes. It’s one of my most favorite things about quilts.

While we were gifting quilts this year we were also planning the next ones to be made. I think a few tee shirt quilts will be popping up around here soon! And I, for one, can’t wait!

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So, even though I’m catching up late – I truly hope you and yours had a very
Merry Christmas and are enjoying a very Happy New Year!

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