Work-in-Progress Girl


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Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.

Ellie Cases

I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!

Elephant Pillowcases

Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)

The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!

I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!

Do you follow me? Via feedly or email or bloglovin’ or just popping by every now and again to see what’s new? Leave a comment below – anything you like, you can tell me know you follow me or how you found me or whatever – and I’ll pop you in a special post-Sew Mama Sew giveaway draw for two mini charm packs of V and Co’s Color Me Happy line.

Color Me Happy Mini-charms

I picked these up especially for this giveaway when I was at Periwinkle Quilting when I was in Saskatoon on Tuesday. I wanted to do something special for those of you who’ve been around a while (even if it’s a very short while!) but without pressuring the entire Sew Mama Sew commentariat into following me just to get included. I’d always rather people follow because they want to, not because they think it’ll give them a better chance at winning a draw. I’ll draw names whenever I wake up on December 28, so try to enter by December 27, I suppose. It’ll probably fall to Random.org to draw the name. But maybe I’ll write them out on slips of paper and pull it out of a bucket. We’ll see.

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Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

So, you might remember from a couple years back the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge set by All People Quilt. I hadn’t heard anything about it in a while, but recently I saw someone somewhere mention that they’d reached 500,000 and were starting the push for the next half million. (Which, holy cannoli, half a million handmade pillowcases!) Back when that started, I set out to make as many pillowcases as I could using mostly unwanted fabric from my stash – I made 19, which I donated through a local quilt shop, My Sewing Room. At the bottom of this post, I’m going to drop in photos of those 19 pillowcases, because I think they’re mostly pretty awesome. While I was on that pillowcase kick, I also made 2 for my older sister and 1 for a pillowcase swap set up by the lovely Ofenjen of Sewhooked.

In that pillowcase swap, I sent away a pillowcase that I didn’t photograph for some reason, though I’m fairly certain it was using the same fabrics as in these two cases that I donated:

Million Pillowcase Challenge - #5, 6

And in return, I received this pillowcase from Jennifer herself:

Owly Pillowcase

I’ve used this pillowcase every day since I received it and this weekend when my parents and younger sister were here, my little sister (who I sometimes call Squirtus, even though she’s nearly 30, and even though her name isn’t Curtis, which is really the only name deserving of the nickname Squirtus) thought it was cute and wanted to know where I got it from. So blah blah blah I told her I’d make her her own pillowcase, so long as she picked out her own fabric. (And so long as I had enough of the necessary fabric, I didn’t want to go buy anything.)

Today was another in a line of stressful and crappy days in my house and so I did some sewing therapy and made Squirtus’s pillowcase, even though I have other things I should have been doing. These pillowcases, made (like all the others) using Ofenjen’s Hotdog Pillowcase Tutorial, are so easy to make that it’s just the kind of thing you can do without thinking too hard when your brain is focussed elsewhere on other things, and it’s just the kind of thing that if you get lucky, you’ll eventually start focussing on so that you can get your brain off those other things.

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

Woo! Action shot!

The two main fabrics are from the Cloud 9 Fabrics’ line Across the Pond, with the flange in a Joel Dewberry herringbone print (from Aviary 2?). It was dark and rainy out when I took the photograph in my bedroom, but I found a bit of natural light in my sewing room and this photo is a little less flash-happy than in the previous, if you’d like to see the fabric a little more like it’s supposed to be:

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

As I mentioned, I made all these pillowcases using the Hot Dog Tutorial from Sewhooked, and I’ve always made them using the proportions mentioned in the tutorial – 24-26″ for the body and 9-12″ for the cuff – but I’ve also found them just a little long for my pillows. Most of my pillows are from IKEA and I’m not sure if they’re a different size from whatever is standard in the US, but they usually wind up with several spare inches of room in the pillowcase. This time I made the pillowcase using 24″ of the body fabric and 10″ of the cuff fabric, making 34″ rather than the recommended 36-38″ fabric, and it worked PERFECTLY for the IKEA pillows. (Though now I wonder if it’ll go home to Squirtus and be too small for whatever pillow she uses!)

Anyway, here’s a parade of pillowcases I made back in 2010. The first two, with the creepy faces, were made for my older sister, but the rest were donated for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Factory Girl pillowcases Million Pillowcase Challenge - #1-4
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #7 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #8, 9
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #13, 14, 15 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #12
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #10, 11 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #16 & 17
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #18 & 19

(Psst… if the numbers don’t add up, it’s because two are in the shot up top – I didn’t include them down here again – and there were actually three of the green ones in the third row. I had A LOT of that dark green solid. It’s the same fabric in the cases on the bottom row.)

[ETA: I can tell I’m stressy because after ages of not spending money on anything unnecessary and especially not on fabric for my stash… I spent like $150 on fabric/notions today without really noticing it. I hope I don’t have buyer’s remorse when it all shows up.]