I finished my first quilt of the year, a piece commissioned by a coworker. It was inspired by this lovely quilt by Blue Elephant Stitches.
It’s queen-size, 86″ x 94″. I used Kona for the background and a mix of solids and prints for the triangles. I’m particularly fond of the striped batik triangles, the red and aqua stripes pull everything together. The quilting was done by Marilyn Kidd (kiddsrweAThotmailDOTcom), whom I highly recommend!
The back has a scrappy rectangle and a Kona background. As usual I did a lot of math for this quilt and had very little fabric left over.
I used a new (to me) technique for the binding, following this tutorial for Susie’s Magic Binding. I’m really happy with this method. I made this binding a little wider than the tutorial, and I stitched it so that my “stitching in the ditch” on the front caught the binding on the back. It was just easier for me that way. I think this binding technique looks really sharp with this quilt, and I’ll definitely use it again.
The Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild held a swap with the New York Modern Quilt Guild this February. We swapped 12″ mini quilts with the theme “love”.
I made my mini quilt with a small piece of Umbrella Prints fabric, Kona solids and Kaufman quilter’s linen.
The back is a paper-pieced heart. I used a pattern from Piecemeal Quilts.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’m a long-time fan of paper toys. They can be simple or complicated but they are always clever. As an added bonus they are eco-friendly and you can recycle them when you’re done. I most recently made two paper toys from the book Papertoy Monsters. The first is a yeti. He’s pretty sturdy but either the cats or the kiddo have broken his arms off multiple times. Nothing a little extra glue won’t fix!
The second is a cyclops. I didn’t do a terrific job of gluing his legs so he’s a little wobbly, but still cool. He’s (so far) unscathed by cats or kid.
I highly recommend the book. It includes a great selection of (mostly non-scary) monsters by many different artists. Punching out the pieces is a little fiddly but the pieces are pre-scored and two-sided, something you don’t get on models you print at home.
After finishing these last year, I finally blocked them this year. It sounds silly, but I am waiting for the weather to warm up before I can wear these! These are not warm enough for subzero temperatures and windchill warnings. They are warm enough for late winter / early spring, which is (hopefully) just around the corner.
Pattern: Squirrelly Swedish Mittens
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette
I’m joining the &Stitches Finish-Along this year.
I probably should’ve joined the Finish-Along last year. I started working on these super cute embroideries by Penguin and Fish over 2 years ago. The color selections were holding me back. I wanted to use at least one common color between the hoops but I couldn’t decide. I finally settled on a palette – orange, brown, yellow, and purple. The giraffe is getting purple spots, the monkey is getting an orange belly and the cat will probably be orange.
Making a zip-up sweater was one of my knitting goals for 2013. I finished it back in October and I’m glad I did – it’s getting a lot of wear lately. It’s already getting short in the torso, so this is (sadly) a one-season sweater. I wish I had had more yarn to make it longer, but I had literally only inches of yarn left after the i-cord edges.
Isaac’s favorite colors lately are brown and orange. I wonder if the sweater has something to do with it?
Pattern: Child’s Cardigan, by JC Briar
The zipper is working out so well, I’m not sure I’ll ever make a button-down kids sweater again. It’s pretty easy to swap out button bands for zippers, I just added a few stitches on each side of the front and did an applied i-cord to finish the edges.
I wanted Isaac to have cute new pajamas for Christmas. I used the Oliver + S Sleepover Pajamas pattern and flannel from Joann’s. The pattern is adorable, fits him well and comes together quickly. I was able to finish these pajamas in an afternoon, with most of that time spent on the top. I really like that the pants cuffs can be un-cuffed as he grows taller so these have a chance of fitting next season, too.
He calls them his “fancy jammers.” They’ve gotten a surprising amount of wear, given that his other pajamas have favorite super heros on them. Next time I’ll use snaps instead of buttons, so maybe (hopefully) he can get the top on and off by himself.
I finished a pair of cozy wool toddler socks just in time for the coldest day of the year!
yarn: trekking xxl
gauge: 8 stitches per inch
These fit Isaac’s feet now, with a little room to grow. He currently wears a size 10 shoe. Here’s how I made them:
- cast on 24 stitches using Judy’s magic cast on
- knit 1 round
- make 4 increases every other round, 6 times (48 stitches)
- knit 39 rounds
- increase 2 stitches every three rounds, 4 times
- knit 1 round
- work a short row heel on the back 24 stitches. Do short rows until 12 stitches remain.
- knit 6 rows after finishing heel
- decrease 2 stitches every other row, 4 times
- knit until sock is as tall as you want it
- work 10 rows of 1×1 ribbing
- bind off with Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off
This is my favorite of all the handmade gifts I made this season. A set of four place mats for my mom. Finished size is 12.5″ x 16.5″.
- one yard or (2) half yard cuts of Lush Uptown Paint-by-Number prints. I used the birds and deer prints in the “sky” colorway.
- 1/3 yard of Lush Uptown Paint Chips in a matching colorway
- 1/3 yard of light brown or other color to border the paint chips
- 1/2 yard for binding
- 1 yard for backing
- batting and thread
- fussy cut (4) pieces of Paint Chips fabric that are 1/4″ larger on all sides than 2 squares by 7 squares, approximately 3″ x 11 1/4″
- fussy cut (4) pieces of Paint-by-Numbers that are 11 1/2″ wide x 13 1/2″ tall
- (5) strips of border fabric 1 3/4″ x width of fabric (WOF)
- (6) strips for binding, 2 1/2″ x WOF
- (4) place mat backs, 17 1/2″ x 13 1/2″
Sew the 1 3/4″ border on all sides of each Paint Chips piece. Press.
Sew the bordered Paint Chips piece to the Paint By Numbers piece. Make and baste the quilt sandwich (back, batting, top). Quilt. Bind.
I just finished my last quilt of 2013.
I offered to make my youngest sister and her husband a quilt as their wedding gift. I started this way back in January and they got married in June. It is late and I feel a bit bad about that, but you have a year after the date to deliver wedding gifts, right? I worked on the quilt intermittently all year, and have finally finished in time to deliver it at Christmas.
The finished quilt is amazing. I love the interlocking square design and the batik fabrics I chose. I had it quilted by Nikol at Sewtropolis, and she did a fantastic job with a meandering rectangle design.
This quilt took significant time and effort. There are partial seams and each seam need to be pressed open. Each block has 13 pieces. I would make this quilt again, but next time I will do some math and use strip piecing for a couple parts of the block to reduce the number of 2″ squares I have to sew. I am not a fan of sewing 2″ squares! All the work was worth it, though – I love the way it turned out and I know its new owners will appreciate it.
The Oliver + S Nature Walk Pullover in size 3T is a great fit for Isaac now. I finished it at least six months ago, but he just tried it on for the first time this weekend. We didn’t do any nature walks this weekend, but it looks nice with our gold tinsel tree.
He is a big fan of the pocket in front. Lots of room for toys.
I remember this pattern being time-intensive. There are a lot of pieces to cut out, and the collar and curved pockets were tricky (for me). I was unsure of it when I finished it – it didn’t look great on the hanger, and the fabric seemed stiff – especially on the bottom where it’s two layers thick – but it looks really cute on him and he loves it.
I came across the Winter’s Lane panel at a quilt show this fall and I knew I had to make something with it. After a lot of measuring, math and sketches I designed a table runner.
It shows off the panes, and it is “readable” by people on both sides of the table. The finished dimensions are 14″ x 49″.
- 1 panel of Moda’s Winter Lane fabric
- 3/4 yard red fabric
- 1 yard white fabric
- (7) panes from the panel of Moda’s Winter Lane. Cut 1/4 inch around the dark grey border. Cut pieces will be just under 5″ x 7″
- (3) 2″ x WOF strips from the white fabric, to go between the 5×7 pieces
- (1) 6.5″ x WOF strips from the white fabric, to go on the top and bottom of the bordered panes
- (2) 12″ x WOF strips from the white fabric , to piece the back
- (6) 1″ x WOF strips from the red fabric, to border and connect the 5×7 panes
- (4) 2.5″ x WOF strips from the red fabric, for binding
- (2) 5″ x WOF strips from the red fabric, to piece the back
1. Sew a border around the panes. Sew 1″ strips at the top and bottom of every pane. Press and trim. Sew 1″ strips on both sides of every pane. Press and trim.
2. Put white headers and footers on the panes. From the 6.5″ white strip, cut (5) 6.5″ x 8″ pieces. Cut (2) more 6.5″ x 8″ pieces from one of the 12″ lengths. Sew one 6.5″ x 8″ pice to the bottom of a pane. Cut off half or more of the white piece, and sew the cut piece to the top of the pane. You should have (7) 6.5″ x 14″ panes, with equal or more white on the top than the bottom.
3. Make the connectors for between the panes. From the 2″ white strips, cut (8) 14″ pieces. Cut each 14″ piece in two random pieces, roughly but not exactly in half. Sew a 2″ x 1″ strip of between the two pieces.
4. Layout your table runner. There will be 4 panes facing you, and 3 panes facing away from you. Connectors will be between each pane, and on the ends. The panes and connectors will all be at slightly different heights.
5. Sew the connectors to the panes. Press.
6. Piece the back. I cut the (2) 12″ white strips lengthwise and sewed the 5″ red strips between. Then I pieced the (2) resulting 16″ strips together for the back.
7. Make the quilt sandwich with top, batting, backing.
8. Quilt and bind.
9. I like my quilts to be washed and crinkly, so I washed mine. With hot water. The red fabric (Kona) or some other red fabric in the wash bled, but only onto the Moda panels. I find it odd that only the Moda panel absorbed the red color, but I like the look so I’m sticking with it.
I quilted this along the edges of the red fabric, and around the top and bottoms of the panes. When I do this in a non-seasonal print, I’ll do denser quilting to hold up to everyday wear.
Check out all these dumpling bags! I made a couple last year and they took a long, long time. This year I made sixteen, assembly-line style. I didn’t keep track of the time it took, but it seemed really quick.
I made all these for a gift exchange with my husbands’ aunts and cousins. To read more about my assembly-line approach, see my post on the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild blog.
You might notice in that post that my zipper is shorter than the one in Michelle’s tutorial. It is. I’m not sure why I bought 20 zippers of the wrong size, but I did. ::sigh:: To make up for this mistake, I modified Michele’s steps a little bit. Here’s what I did:
- baste one side of the zipper to one half of the outer fabric, as shown in Michelle’s tutorial.
- put the right side of the lining on the right side of the outer fabric. Pin the layers together along the basted zipper
- sew the layers, clip and trim the seam allowance
- turn the layers right side out and iron
- topstitch that side
- pin the other half of the zipper to the right side of the outer fabric. This requires you to fold up the outer fabric like a taco. It’s kind of awkward but do-able. Stitch or baste the zipper.
- fold the lining so that it is right-sides-together with the outer fabric, pin and stitch. This is awkward too – everything is folded up, but it’s still do-able.
- turn right-side-out, press, topstitch, then follow Michelle’s steps for finishing the bottom.
I’m super pleased with how these turned out, and also how I was able to finish them on time for the gift exchange. Hope your holiday crafting is going equally well!
This is the third (and cutest!) set of mittens I’ve made using the pattern in Oliver and S: Little Things to Sew.
I’ve made an extra small and a small pair for Isaac. The extra small fit last year and the beginning of this season, the small are a perfect fit now (he’s three). Isaac’s mittens have been worn so much that I had to darn them last weekend.
These were a gift for a three-year old’s birthday. She loves dinosaurs and had a dinosaur theme party. Hopefully these mittens are worn until they are worn-out, too!
These mittens are a great fit for toddlers – they are roomy around the fingers but snug at the wrist. They are easy for toddlers to put on by themselves, and they stay on until the toddler wants them off. I’ll be making many more of these, for sure!
The mittens are machine washable and dryable, too. I’ve found that once a sweater has been through a couple of wash cycles it’s unlikely to shrink any further. The sweater I used for these was already felted when I bought it at Arc Value Village. I sent it through 2 hot washes and one hot dryer before I made the mittens. I repeated the hot wash and hot dryer after I sewed the mittens and they didn’t shrink any further.
“Hey, this part’s missing!” he exclaims, giggling. Silly me! I was hoping it was time to turn the heel. Turns out I am missing a couple inches.
Ah, decisions. Is this Edward Gorey illustration from The Shrinking of Treehorn better in black and white,
or black, white and greys?
I love Edward Gorey’s illustrations. I found The Shrinking of Treehorn at a library book sale for a quarter (!) at the same time I was taking a polyester plate lithography class at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. I made polyester plates for a few Treehorn illustrations, to see how the medium would handle such fine lines. It handled them surprisingly well! The top picture is a lithograph I printed, the second is a lithograph + colored pencil. I’m having a hard time deciding which I like best. I have a few more prints, I’ll try more colored pencil variations. One variation will eventually go in the artwork rotation in Isaac’s room.
We are making a big deal out of Halloween this year. We have read spooky books every day for weeks, we got a pumpkin (although we didn’t carve it), made a spider thaumatrope, baked and decorated cookies. I made some new decorations.
A really simple wreath. I used a wreath form and skull and crossbones paper from Paper Source, ribbon scraps, and three metal stickers. The hardest part was coloring the edges of the wreath form with a black Sharpie.
Cross stitch spider web and glow-in-the-dark spider. I used a kit from Subversive Cross Stitch.
Dirt cup and a cloth napkin made from Robert Kaufman’s Eerie Alley fabric.
But the very best part of Halloween this year is Isaac’s costume. We asked what he wanted to be a month ago, and he said “An Aquabat!” I half-heartedly tried to talk him into being Batman or a hockey player – both things that he really likes, costumes that would be much easier to make, and other people would actually recognize the costume - but he had his heart set on Aquabat. He loves the Aquabats Super Show, which we discovered this year and is conveniently available on Netflix streaming. It is such a goofy show, and it makes me sooo happy to see him enjoying it because I love the Aquabats, too! I first heard of them over a decade ago and have been a fan ever since. I’ve seen them in concert three times. They put on such a fun show!
My little Aquabat! I am so proud of this costume! The goggles are just two layers of felt and elastic. I did a lot of top-stitching on them to help them keep their shape. It helped, but not as much as I’d hoped – they are kinda floppy. If I ever make another pair of goggles, I will use some sort of interfacing between the felt layers to keep them from stretching out of shape. The logo on the shirt is felt that I very carefully cut with an exacto knife. I stitched the layers of felt together before stitching the logo to the shirt.
The belt is my favorite part. Two layers of black felt sewn together, velcro closure, layers of grey and white felt on top with a free-motion quilted Aquabat. This is by far the most successful free-motion quilting that I’ve ever done.
The helmet is made of grey sweatshirt fabric, and I started with the Winter Hood pattern from the Oliver + S book. I modified it a lot – taking in the seam allowances, making the middle section skinnier, and giving it a widow’s peak in the front. I left the ears covered because a) it was less work and b) it’ll be warmer. We live in Minnesota. It might snow.
This costume was a challenge and it took some time, but it was worth every minute! Isaac “helped” me sew (watching and/or sitting on my lap while I sewed) some of the costume, and he was so eager to try on pieces for fittings. We recorded the first time he tried the whole costume on and he was so excited he literally could not stand still – he was singing, giggling and dancing with glee! I honestly don’t know who is happier about this costume – him or me.
Hope you all have an equally Happy Halloween!