You've met Pengui, haven't you? This little penguin puppet was D2's constant companion for years--until he got lost. Even with the abundance of other penguins in the house, there was a Pengui-shaped hole in all our hearts until last winter, when he reincarnated. D2 and Pengui picked up right where they'd left off, and we were all happy.
Well, my littlest boy just turned twelve. He didn't ask for much, but he did really want a bean bag chair. After searching far and near, I finally decided to sew one for him. The day before his birthday, I took Scoot to the fabric store, and we did some brainstorming on the way. I was thinking about a fun print for the outside, when I had a vision.
Me: "Wait. I just envisioned a giant Pengui head."
Scoot: "I would love to sit on a giant Pengui head!"
At the store, we considered all the options, but Scoot's encouragement set me back on track. I followed these instructions, more or less. I wouldn't recommend them for beginners, but I figured things out. I started with the muslin lining, and I'm so glad I did. It was good to already know what I was doing when I started on the gray plush. Fitting the face on the curved surface was a challenge, but I persevered. And a day and a half later, I presented D2 with this:
Everyone gasped, and, yes, everyone loves to sit on the giant Pengui head.
So, there's my Flight of Fancy, for you Project Run and Play fans. I did sew the penguin pajamas, five years ago, for Scoot. No, I didn't sew Pengui. But the bean bag is one more last-minute crazy gift for my record, and I think it turned out well.
I've mentioned my habit of saving old jeans and making new things with them, like patches and bags. It all started when a friend was making a quilt, and I thought that would be a good idea someday. But the idea of sewing over that many thick denim seams was daunting, and most pictures I saw of all-denim quilts looked a little drab. Finally I found inspiration: Lucy's Stained Glass Denim Quilt. The solution to thick denim seams? Only sew denim to a lighter sashing! The contrasting color solved the drabness. And I really liked the variety of sizes of her squares. But our stock of jeans didn't include 12"x12" pieces. So I fell back on the old Disappearing Nine Patch pattern, though I cut each piece separately, and added lavender sashing throughout.
I thought I'd finish off a box of denim pieces, then move on to the pile of uncut jeans. I didn't even use the whole box, and this is a full-size quilt. Ah, more canvas for the future. I think this would look good in a baby size with rainbow-colored scrappy sashing, but I'm not ready to do it yet.
I quilted it with straight lines around the big blocks, and fancy butterflies (from Grandma O's embroidery files) in variegated thread. You have to look pretty closely to see some of the colors, but it was fun to use the different threads.
Just as the denim front came from the family's old jeans, we sort of created the backing together. Last summer, we ice-dyed some shirts. It's a fun process--you should try it.
I rolled up a thrifted sheet and put it under the shirts' rack to soak up the extra dye. The colors are more subtle than the ones on the shirts, but they are pretty. I used the sheet for the back of the quilt.
It's a heavy blanket, and has already kept us warm for some cool spring soccer games. Also, I think most of us will be able to sit on it for picnics. This quilt has some rough spots, and won't win any awards. But I'm pleased that I could use this leftover fabric and sew the vision in my head!
The past few years, I've enjoyed starting a crochet project right after Christmas, for some crafty relaxation. This time I made a plaid sweater. I'm a long-time plaid fan, and I was inspired by this Plaid Pumpkin pattern. I thought it would work well with the top-down raglan construction of this Classic Sweater pattern.
And it did, though I modified both the plaid motif and the sweater itself. The pumpkin pattern uses three colors. I'm sure it would have been easier to keep the plaid organized if I had. But I couldn't find a lighter red that would work with the lovely Wine and Cream colors of Red Heart Fashion Soft yarn. So I alternated the red and cream in the between-color spaces, like you would when weaving gingham. The sweater pattern only calls for one color, so I had to estimate my yarn needs--and got it wrong. I ordered two skeins of each color. One was more than enough for the cream, but I ran out of red halfway down the second sleeve. Oops!
Also, I used linked double crochet for a more stable structure, and crocheted in distinct rounds, rather than in the long spiral described in the sweater pattern. It worked better for the plaid. Anyway, this was fun to make, and it's nice to have a new warm sweater now that the trees are blooming, right? It's all ready for next winter.
The Caterpillar has been spending more time in the sewing room lately than I have. He's joined "the friendliest zombie-killing maniacs in your neighborhood" at the Dystopia Rising live action role playing game a couple of times now, so he needed a rough and ready costume. He bought the basic layers and the leather vest at a thrift store, and distressed them himself, rather successfully, I think.
More impressively, he designed and made this satchel out of synthetic leather, yarn, and a few beads. He asked me for some advice, and I helped him get started. But he now has more fake-leather sewing experience than I do. He sewed loops of yarn into the seam allowance. Then he cut the loops on the outside, unraveled the strands, and brushed the yarn (with my good bristle brush) to make it furry. The bag looks good, and holds the stuff he needs during the game. It turned out well.
He also made this hood with synthetic leather and yarn. He made a pattern from one of his jackets, and figured out how to sew it all together.
It doesn't sound like my kind of game. But I'm really pleased that the Caterpillar used his creativity to accomplish something cool. Even if it left a big mess in the sewing room.