Saturday, October 27, 2012

Project Linus: No-Sew Fleece

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

I've decided to start a series of posts about simple hand-made blankets that can be put together in as little as a couple hours (or a day for more complicated projects) in an effort to show how easy it is. I know a lot of people aren't crafty and it can be intimidating to think about putting together a hand-made blanket. There are also concerns about expense, so I will cover those also. All costs are estimated and will be based on JoAnn's retail price, because we can easily get 40-50% off coupons and the supplies we are looking at go on sale frequently.

Project Linus requires that the blankets be handmade because they've had countless thank-you letters from the children receiving those blankets expressing awe and amazement that someone would take the time to hand-make a blanket for them.

Basic No-Sew Fleece Blanket

This is the simplest  pattern, results in a blanket of any size you choose, and only requires a ruler, scissors (or rotary cutter & mat), seam ripper, and approximately 1 1/2 yards of 54" to 60" wide fleece (for a 50" x 50" finished blanket). Fleece costs $6.99 - $12.99 per yard, giving this a maximum cost of $11 - $21 per blanket without a coupon.With coupon or sale, it will be closer to $7 - $13 per blanket. The tutorial was provided by Project Linus.

Double-Sided No-Sew Fleece Blanket

JoAnn's No-Sew Fleece Kit
This requires twice as much fleece and you'll want to pick out two different patterns to make the blanket more fun.This requires the same tools as the Basic No-Sew Fleece Blanket and 1 1/2 yards each of two different fleeces. When you double the yardage, you also double the cost ($22 - $42 per blanket) which I why I wouldn't make this without a coupon or a sale. You can also purchase a kit from JoAnn's, which contains all the fleece you need for $33. The downside is you have fewer fabric options. The upside is that this kit is almost always on sale for half off, bringing your cost to $16.50. 
The tutorial was printed as a PDF from the blog "Confessions of a Homeschooler." 

Braided No-Sew Fleece Blanket

 (Single & Double-Sided)

This has the same fabric and tool requirements (and cost) as the single- and double-sided blankets above but has an interestingly different look. I found this tutorial on the "Helping Little Hands" website and converted them to PDF. The only additional required tool is a paperclip.(That should pique your interest...)

Additional Information

I almost NEVER buy anything at JoAnn's that isn't on sale or that I don't have a coupon for. The exceptions are notions and emergency supplies (thread, etc), because they aren't that expensive. If you add yourself to the JoAnn's mailing list, they will regularly email you nice coupons. Also, they have a Smartphone App (available for certain on Android phones) with re-usable coupons! A little extra time to hunt up a great deal is totally worth it.

Quick Update & NaNoWriMo

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

I know I've been quiet for a couple weeks. A lot of this is due to the fact that I've been having a very hard time at work and I don't feel like doing much creatively when I come home. And this week, its due to NaNoWriMo, which is fast approaching.... only 5 days to go!

I participated in NaNoWriMo last year and loved it, but it will burn the majority of my free time in November. For those who do not know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, run by the non-profit organization, The Office of Letters and Light. The challege is to write a 50,000 word novel (must be fiction) in the month of November. No, you don't have to finish, polish, edit, or complete the story - you just write. And write. And write! Check out the website, there is a lot of great information and a highly supportive participant base.

This year I am working on a novel based in the Dark Ages of Europe featuring characters from Norse Mythology and located in Scandinavia. It has been very challenging, as this topic requires extensive research into things such as climate, agriculture, mythology, social structure, religion, vikings, barbarian invasions.... I could go on forever. I imagine I will spend more time researching this novel than actually writing it!

Back to the Crafty Moments... last week I did finish two projects: Penguin Curtains for my mother-in-law (for her penguin themed room) and another miniature practice quilt, bequeathed to my niece for her stuffed animals (although I hear she uses it as an interior decoration item!).

Cross two items off my extensive list, add several more! Our halloween party is tomorrow and I don't have a costume yet, so I know what I'll be doing all day. That alone should be worth another blog entry.

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

UFOs and One Completed Object

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

My favorite UFO
I was reading a quilting blog about bargello quilts and came across the term "UFO stack" and realized, I have one! Only its not a stack, its scattered all over the place. And I'm perpetually looking for the next creative outlet, which means the stack typically gets bigger instead of smaller. UFO in the crafting world... Un-Finished Object. If you craft at all, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

So, I started making a list. And it is a long list. And the sad part is, some of the projects on the list I haven't technically started yet (planning stages), and I've come up with several I want to add to the list. Oh my goodness, if I could only quit my job and sew full time. So I had to make myself a deal. The list can be of static length. As soon as I complete a project, I can add another one! "The List" is sewing projects only. That means it does not include reading, writing (NaNoWriMo is next month! I still haven't completed my novel from last year), cleaning, organizing, cross-stitching, needlepoint, finishing up my house, experimenting with new recipes, or half a dozen other things. Yes, I have more things I want to do than I have time to do them.

So here is a small sampling of the projects.

Triangular log cabin
Practice quilt, using leftover kaleidoscope blocks
Dagorhir surcoat for me!
Not really sure where this one is going, although I love the pattern
Curtains for my mother-in-law.

Flannel quilt to donate

My very own design - a Penrose square quilt

Started this a year ago to donate, quilt top completed.
T-tunic in red for Jack. It was based on a pattern for a Roman short-sleeve shirt, but the collar is uncomfortable, so I need to merge it with another pattern to create a shirt that works.
 Other projects not pictured here: a watercolor landscape wall quilt (in the cutting stages); three medieval shirts for myself, long sleeve in purple, brown, and black; a heralding surcoat for Dagorhir practice; a knight's surcoat for Jack; Jack's Ranger Coat (needs sleeves, but I can't find the ones I had cut out); curtains for my craft room, and one more misc practice quilt, using purple diamond blocks that I found from a project about 10 years old and never completed.

I did finish one project! When I have more time, I'll post a tutorial on the details of quilt binding, because its not as complicated as all the tutorials make it seem. I finished my purple stripes practice quilt and gave it to my niece to use for her stuffed animals.

There are several obvious mistakes on the quilt, but it was a great learning experience and I know how to make it better next time. Most notably, the top is not quite square, the binding was too short and had to be patched, and some of the quilting has skipped stitches or tension issues. I'm very proud to have completed it so successfully anyway.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Mess and a Half

By Kaelyn Angelfoot

Things always get worse before they get better (although this implies a perpetual cycle of worsening) and nothing more aptly describes that than my craft room. I barely have time to sew, let alone clean, but this weekend I reached a new low in messiness. It required immediate intervention before I could work on anything.

So as you can see, total chaos! Creative chaos, but at some point, entropy must be reversed through intelligent intervention.

First up was my thread box, which has been a perpetual nightmare. I purchased a spool holder at JoAnns. I got the large one that holds forty spools of thread because there is no way I have more than forty spools of thread.

Thread box before....
Thread box after!

Much to my surprise, it turns out I have at least 45 spools, but some of those are quilting spools so they have their own home.

Then I tackled a drawer on my tall storage unit.

Contents before...
Contents after! I can actually find my trim and buttons now.

Next I moved my big table to the other end of the room, added risers to my desk, and created a wonderful counter-height L-shaped crafty space that can hold both my sewing machine... and my design/cutting table! So I don't have to get up and walk over to the other end of the room every time I sew a seam.

And lastly, thanks to Jack who glued my foam quilting table together, I covered the foam with the vinyl and now I can quilt! 

Completed quilting table

The room still need major work, but its cleaned up enough that I can craft again! More updates to follow.