A Quick Summer Update

Mr. Tux and I are having a whirlwind summer. We are busy with work and not a whole lot else. When I am not busy with work, I have been getting some time in quilting, spinning, and knitting. I am participating in the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry. The basic idea is that you spin every day of the Tour de France. I figured why not. What better way to combine my love of fiber and cycling than with a spinning challenge. I am also doing a ton of knitting. Mr. Tux and I were able to get a few days off to spend in the San Juan Islands. What a wonderful time relaxing together. Here are some photos of what we have been up to in the last few months.

IMG_1885

A baby gift of a quilt, hat, mittens, and two receiving blankets.IMG_1886

My first rag quilt. It turned out great.IMG_2025

A baby quilt I made. I have discovered the wonderful world of quilting pre-cuts. So amazing!IMG_2027

IMG_2028

IMG_2136

A baby rock crab. I had so much fun catching them when we were in the San Juan Islands.IMG_2433

All three furry children in one picture. Note Zeus sleeping in the crate.IMG_2463

A finished Trillian shawletteIMG_2436

A finished single ply waiting to Navajo ply.IMG_2483

The finished handspun yarn and the cowl I am knitting with it. The yarn was made using the single ply above.IMG_2509

Tuxley wishes he was on the couchIMG_2473

Cycling in the nice weather.IMG_2536Zeus can’t resist a basket.

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!

Kiera

My Janome New Home DC2014

Several weeks ago, Mr. Tux surprised me with a wonderful gift. He bought me a brand new sewing machine! I am such a lucky girl. My old sewing machine is a Singer from the 80’s. While it is a great beginner’s basic machine, it has reached the height of its usefulness. While sewing the Monster Quilt, it became painfully obvious that I had reached the limits of the Singer’s capabilities. If I wanted to continue to increase my quilting and sewing skills, I would need a new machine.

My dream machine is one of the Quilter’s Edition Bernina sewing machines. Those babies are pure heaven and cost a small fortune. Mr. Tux and I were not ready to spend that kind of money on a sewing machine. Maybe someday. On the recommendation of a friend and fellow quilter, we checked out the Janome machines. I had never heard of the brand, but they come highly recommended. After watching you-tube videos and reading reviews from sewers and quilters alike, we finally settled on a machine. Mr. Tux ordered the Jamone New Home DC2014 from Amazon and I waited impatiently. When the machine arrived, I fell in love! The Janome is so quiet. It sews smoothly, and handles my projects like a champ. I finished Mr. Tux’s new quilt on the Janome and was impressed. The different stitch options rock, and I can’t wait to use the walking foot for quilting. The best part: my sewing machine no longer bounces and vibrates across the counter. It stays in one spot. So so awesome! I am thrilled!

IMG_4984

all boxed up and ready to open!IMG_4988

A first look at the new machine. The picture doesn’t show it clearly, but the machine is white with purple accents!IMG_4989

Look at all those stitch optionsIMG_4990

Sewing on it for the first timeIMG_4992

It plowed right through the flannel and fleece I was sewing togetherIMG_4991

I love this little machine! I can’t wait to try quilting on it this coming fall. I want to try more complicated patterns and maybe even try my hand at some more appliqué. The other cool thing about this machine is that it will sew clothing too. I may have to try my hand at clothing again. Who knows! For now, I am just so thankful to have a machine that I can grow my skills with again. Thank you Mr. Tux!

Kiera

3

{My Crafting Corner} – A Monster Quilt

My major crafting project over the Christmas holidays and the first part of January has been a very special baby quilt for a very special little boy. Some friends of ours are expecting their second child, a little boy, and I set out to create a custom quilt for their nursery. When I asked Kristen what she was planning on for the nursery, she told me blue, tangerine, and monsters. She had found some awesome monster print fabric and was designing the room around that fabric. Armed with a picture of the fabric and her color scheme, I started planning.

I started with a modern stripped quilt design and incorporated appliquéd monster blocks into the design. What I came up with is an entirely original and custom design just for Kristen and Kylan’s special little man. Using Pintrest and some quilting blogs, I brainstormed for ideas before drawing out and designing the quilt from scratch. I dragged Mr. Tux with me to Jo-Ann’s fabric shopping – my argument for him being there was since it was his co-worker, Mr. Tux had to give input. Honestly,  I really just needed him to bounce fabric prints off. I knew exactly what I wanted from the quilt imagined in my head.

The quilt was based on a crib quilt size of 40″x60″ with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The quilt top is constructed of cotton fabrics with a soft flannel backing to give it an extra cuddly side. While I was doing all my shopping for quilt fabrics and Tuxley’s Christmas blankets, I also happened across awesome flannel prints I couldn’t say no to. The end result is that Kristen and Kylan not only ended up with a finished crib quilt, but they also got two blue and tangerine chevron receiving blankets, one monster print receiving blanket, and one extra burp rag from leftover quilt backing. On top of that, I had enough fabric leftover from the quilt and in my flannel stash to make a matching doll quilt and blanket for big sister. By the time I was finished, Mr. Tux was ready to give everything to them and have me stop creating things. I can’t help that one of my strongest love languages is gifts, yes, I probably did go a bit overboard. But I had SO much fun doing it.

IMG_4442

Adorable monster fabric!IMG_4444

Ironing. There was lots and lots and lots of ironingIMG_4448

One finished doll quiltIMG_4454

custom name appliqué instead of a monster on the doll quiltIMG_7480

Another picture of the finished doll quiltIMG_7486

I used the same backing as brother’s monster quiltIMG_7489

The finished doll quilt and blanketIMG_4449

My pile of finished items is growingIMG_7495

the receiving blankets…I posted about making them hereIMG_7502

the first blue monsterIMG_7505

the first orange monsterIMG_7511

blue monster number twoIMG_7509

orange monster number twoIMG_7507

the third and final blue monsterIMG_7513

the last and final orange monsterIMG_4446

The first look at what the finished quilt top will look likeIMG_7515

the quilt backing worked perfectly with the topIMG_7518

One completed monster quilt with monster receiving blanket and burp clothIMG_4452

my completed pile of stuffIMG_7521

The whole and complete layout for the baby!IMG_7523

An up-close picture of all the goodiesIMG_7522

I am thrilled with how everything worked!IMG_4451

The quilt is so bold and bright! I just love it!IMG_7524

I hope they like everything….IMG_7500One last picture of the finished quilt. It turned out almost exactly like it was supposed to. The things that didn’t work will always be the quilter’s secret.

Stay tuned for another post revealing Kristen and Kylan’s amazing monster nursery and how the quilt fit into its new home.

Kiera

1

A Saturday of Sewing

On Black Friday, I braved the crowds and ventured out to the fabric store. Flannel was on sale at 75% off and I couldn’t resist the chance of yards of fabric with the lowest prices of the year. So for the last week I have had a pile of fabric sitting there calling my name and begging to be sewn into receiving blankets, Tuxley blankets, and one special doll blanket. Saturday morning Mr. Tux helped me drag out my sewing machine. I took over the kitchen counter and dinning room table with all of my sewing supplies and piles of fabric. I ironed over 15 yards of flannel and sewed a grand total of 8 blankets. Four of the blankets are for Tuxley – the two dark blue ones with ice skating polar bears and penguins, the orange and blue bicycles, and one of the pink and green flowered vines. The other pink and green blanket is a doll blanket for a special little girl. As for the remaining three blankets, they are for some friends and their special baby boy who will be arriving soon.

It had been a while since I sat down and spent a day just sewing. I loved it! It is so relaxing and rewarding to set aside time and enjoy quiet time sewing. Since I am a gift-oriented person, it is doubly rewarding to be sewing for someone else. I can’t wait to have the matching quilt finished and see our friends’ faces when they open up the custom quilt and blankets for their baby. It will be well worth all the time and effort spent.

Here are some pictures of my incredible Saturday of sewing…

IMG_4256

all spread out on the tableIMG_4257

fabric waiting to ironIMG_4258

up close of the green and pink blanket fabricIMG_4268

blue and tangerine bicyclesIMG_4269

I absolutely adore this fabric combo for Tuxley!IMG_4270

blue and tangerine chevronsIMG_4276

more blue and tangerine chevronsIMG_4271

I love the combination of the varying shades of blue and tangerine chevrons when combinedIMG_4297

happy little monstersIMG_4254

this dark blue fabric is one of my favorite finds of the year for Tuxley. The penguins are totally appropriate for my little Tux…IMG_4280

a finished bicycle blanket for TuxleyIMG_4290

completed skinny blue with large tangerine chevronsIMG_4291

large blue and tangerine chevronsIMG_4292

both blankets togetherIMG_4294

They turned out perfectly!IMG_4295

the monsters are amazing!IMG_4313

completed green and pink blanketsIMG_4314

this combination turned out as amazing as I imaginedIMG_4312

a little girly for Tuxley, even by my standards, but perfect for a girl’s doll blanketIMG_4315

completed ice skating bears and penguins blanketIMG_4316

IMG_4317

all of the completed blanketsIMG_4318

IMG_4319

IMG_4320all eight of the blankets finished and stacked up make an impressive pile!

Overall, it was a rather productive Saturday and I loved it! I can’t wait to do it again when I have the fabric for the baby quilt.

Kiera

Holiday Sewing for Tuxley

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I am busy quilting Mr. Tux’s quilt for his gift (don’t worry he knows all about it), and sewing new blankets for Tuxley. My BFF Brynn and I ventured out to Jo-Ann Fabrics a couple weekends ago to look at fabric. The main reason we were there was looking for flannels for receiving blankets we are working on. However, I can’t resist a visit to Jo-Anns without purchasing enough flannel for at least one Tuxley blanket. After all Christmas is coming and he needs a new blanket for Christmas. Or at least that is the reasoning I tried to sell to Mr. Tux when he picked me up from the store and I had an extra two yards of fabric. That man has amazing patience with my little quirks 🙂

So I got Tuxley a yard of deliciously tangerine fabric with white bicycles and a yard of light blue-grey fabric with white bicycles. Combined, the fabrics will make the perfect addition to Tuxley’s growing blanket collection.

IMG_5520

I just LOVE the tangerine! I may have to go back for more fabric. It would make an amazing quilt back.IMG_5521

While at Jo-Anns, I did find fabric for a couple receiving blankets for a very special baby boy due in February. I am working on a custom-designed baby quilt for him, and hope to have some pictures of that quilt up soon to show off. Until then though, I needed something else to sew for him and receiving blankets make a perfect gift. Especially when I can find chevron fabric in his nursery colors of tangerine and blue. I just adore this new popularity of tangerine. Such a fun color to work with and use as an accent. I am thrilled to start sewing his receiving blankets.

IMG_5524

just look at the wonderful chevrons!!IMG_5527

love the tangerine and blue combinationIMG_5529the large chevrons backed by smaller chevrons will be a cute mix

Even more exciting is that I will be able to start working on his baby quilt after Thanksgiving. I am still waiting on a couple pictures of coordinating fabric that is being used for valances. Once I have the fabric examples, I can pull the designs off, finish the quilt design, and start creating! Until then, I will content myself with making a couple receiving blankets in delicious tangerine and blue chevrons.

Kiera

 

My Quilting Projects…Right Now

In my quilting line-up right now I have four different quilts in the works. One is still a neat stack of nicely ironed fat quarters that will be cut once I decide which pattern to use. One is a finished quilt top that is waiting for Mr. Tux and myself to  choose the backing and haul it up to Lobstermom’s to tie. The third is a pile of squares that I have cut out, arranged on a flat surface, and stacked back up in the order I need to sew them together. And the final quilt is nine finished squares that I need to press and square the edges of before sewing the blocks together. Here are pictures of two of the quilts. The blue one is destined for the back of the couch in the living room. I am having trouble sewing together. I am using this book and while the book makes it look super easy, I am having a dickens of a time getting the curves to line up squarely. As for the retro-colored orange, green, and yellow quilt, I am using a pattern you have seen me use before for my other quilts here. It is also the pattern I am using for Mr. Tux’s red and black snuggle quilt that is ready to be tied. I love the pattern because it is easy to use, quilts up rather quickly, and has many different color combinations.

IMG_3498

IMG_3499

IMG_3500

IMG_3501

IMG_3502

IMG_3503

IMG_3504

IMG_3506

IMG_3511

IMG_3512

IMG_3514

IMG_3516

IMG_3517

IMG_3518

I am really enjoying my quilting right now, as you can see. Mr. Tux will finish up his class for the semester this weekend, and we will have free time again. He can video game in the living room while I quilt in the dining room. We are such homebodies. A perfect match made in heaven.

So what projects are you working on in your craft room?

Kiera

…and so it begins…

Baby season is upon us. It seems like every Spring, everybody pops out a kid or two. Or maybe it’s just me who notices and thinks that. Either way, Mr. Tux and I have friends and co-workers having babies and announcing their new little arrivals every which way we turn. And where there are babies, there are the required baby gifts.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think baby gifts are fun. It is the perfect opportunity for me to sew, quilt, and craft gifts for others. This makes my little ol’ gift-giving heart with its love language of gifts oh so happy. Trust me, making and giving gifts happens to be a highlight of mine. I love sewing and crafting a custom gift for someone. As such, I have increased my sewing and quilting to turn out perfect baby gifts for our friends and co-workers. For example, just this Sunday I sewed a receiving blanket for the son of Mr. T’s co-worker. The flannel print I used…totally adorable. On one side, brightly-colored dinosaurs marched across the fabric. On the other, happy frogs frolicked with umbrellas and rain clouds. Don’t take my word alone for the adorableness, however. See for yourself!

IMG_3471

IMG_3469

IMG_3470

I loved the frog print so much, I went back later to buy more to use for the backing of a quilt I am working on. Sadly, I got the last yard and there isn’t enough for a crib quilt.

Of course, with the sewing of a receiving blanket, I just couldn’t resist making Tuxley another cuddle blanket. After all, it is spring and he needs a Spring-themed blanket to cuddle-up with and snoozel with at night. Here is his blanket and the obligatory pictures of him wrapped up in the finished blanket.

IMG_3472

IMG_3473

IMG_3474

IMG_3476

IMG_3478

IMG_3479

Oh geez mom…enough with the pictures already!!

The blanket turned out better than I hoped. A special shout out and major THANK YOU to Lobstermom for discovering the vine fabric to coordinate with the paw prints/flower fabric. It turned out like you said!

Hopefully Friday, I will have a post of the quilting projects I am currently either working on or starting.

Kiera

2

Quilting, Sewing, and much more…

I have been bitten by a quilting/sewing bug. I spent Christmas break sewing a awesome quilt top from fat quarters of fabric. After making that quilt top, I discovered that it wouldn’t work for a baby gift for one of my co-workers. (It didn’t have the right colors.) So I did what any quilter would do, I ran back to the store and made another quilt that fit their nursery colors. I cut the strips, sewed the squares, pieced the top, and tied the quilt all in one day. However, I have now reached my detested part of sewing. I have to handstitch the binding now. I HATE hand-stitching. In fact, I detest it so much that I will pay someone else to hem my dress pants for work. I will not hand sew unless I have no other choice. So I have until mid-February to finish hem stitching the quilt.

Besides the two quilts I made in the 3.5 weeks of my break, I also made two recieving blankets as a gift for some friends. I am now inspired to sew a few more, and since the flannel was 50% off at our local fabric store, I splurged. I got enough fabric to make 4 more blankets. I will post those pictures another time.

Here as promised are pictures of my stripe quilt, both versions.

Original Stripe Quilt:

Pink Fabrics

Purple Fabrics

Blue Fabrics

16 Fabrics

Finished Squares All Set Out

Finished Quilt

Finished Quilt Top

 

Stripe Quilt for Co-Worker:

Fabric Selection

16 Fabrics

Favorite Purple Square

Favorite Pink Square

Favorite Green Square

Quilt Top

Finished Quilt Top

Finished Quilt: Front and Back

I hope you enjoy the quilts as much as I enjoyed making them. I hope to have the blanket pictures up within the next week. Since the semester is in full-swing my posting will be a bit more irregular.  However, Mr. Tux is thinking of guest posting, which should be an interesting treat…I think. 🙂

~Kiera

3

Happy Holidays: An Update from the Tux Family

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!…eight days late. It has been a wile crazy last month and a half. I finished out my next to last semester, while Mr. Tux finished his 3rd semester of his masters program. Over the Christmas break we have travelled to three separate family gatherings for Christmas, gone business wardrobe shopping in the city, rearranged and organized the entire upstairs in our home, and still managed to work full time during the week. Zeus had an acute attack of what we believe was chronic pancreatitis; and spend a weekend in luxury accommodations at the local vet. While he was gone, Apollo basked in the glory of being an only cat with the run of the place to herself. However, much to her dismay, Zeus has made a full recovery and is safely at home and up to his old pesky tricks.

This week I will start back to school to finish up my last semester of my undergrad. I am already counting down until graduation and looking forward to a summer of working and cycling. Over the weekend we had Brynn over for a visit, and enjoyed some quality relaxing before school starts up again. In between all of the house cleaning and arranging, as well as the travel and work, I have managed to find time to sew together a quilt top. I have pictures of the process that I am planning on posting after the quilt is finished. It is a lovely design and has bright pinks, purples, and blues throughout the pattern.

Another thing we did in the month and a half since Thanksgiving is celebrate Mr. Tux’s birthday in style. He was treated to a 1980’s/nerd theme complete with costumes and a matching cake. Here are some pictures:

Birthday cake with cassette tape decorations

Every nerd needs a Pac-Man cake

Pac-Man Adventure Zone

I created Pac-Man themed invitations from scratch (I lost the one I kept…so no pics right now). The cake was inspired by pictures I saw online and re-designed to fit my purposes. Mr. Tux was thoroughly surprised and loved his Pac-Man cake in all of it’s chocolatey goodness. I am thinking maybe next year a Star-Wars themed cake is required…we will see.

Overall we have been supper busy and always on the go. I will update soon on how our home office has turned into the perfect shared escape with room enough for Mr. Tux and his camera and computer stuff, while allowing me to have my computer, scrapbooking, crocehing and knitting, and even my quilting things out and about.

Here’s to wishing you and your a very happy new year from all of us at ~Tales from an Engineer’s Wife~

~Kira

2

Baby M’s Quilt

Some good friends of ours, MonkeyRacer and his wife, are expecting their first child in October. Mr. Tux and MonkeyRacer have been good friends for years and catch-up whenever they can. MonkeyRacer was the best man at our wedding and his wife took some of my favorite pictures during the ceremony. Because of how close we are to them, I wanted to give their baby a more personalized gift than something chosen off a registry. I have been working on Baby M’s quilt all summer now and can’t wait to give it to the parents in two weeks when we see them. This is the first time I have quilted a baby quilt, and I am happy with the way it turned out. The colors are blue and green; not very girly, but since the family is very out-doorsy and not really into the whole girly-pink scene, I wanted something that would fit their lifestyle. Hence, blue and green.

Here is a preview of the completed baby quilt…Enjoy:

Log-House Patterned Quilt Top

Baby Flannel Quilt Back

Matching Quilt Bag

Completed Quilt Set

I used a simple log house pattern. When I finished all the quilt blocks, I realized I had made one extra. I ended up using the last block as one side of a bag. The quilt folds up and fits nicely into the bag; making it a really cool quilt to take to the park or just throw in the car to have. I loved quilting this, and can’t wait to do another quilt next summer after school gets out.

~Kiera