We took our summer vacation very early this year, last week in fact. When we left Minnesota for Florida it was too chilly for shorts, I had to make Isaac try on his summer clothes to make sure we packed things that fit. Turns out he had plenty of shorts and shirts but had outgrown all his hats.
I used the Betz White bucket hat pattern for probably the seventh time, this time in a medium. I can’t say enough good things about the pattern – it is easy, comes in a wide range of sizes, and fits well. It’s a little big on him but he likes to pull it down over his eyes so it works out ok. Here’s the little dude playing his first game of mini golf in his new hat.
I used Kokka Trefle vehicles, linen, and 2 layers of medium-weight fusible interfacing. I like the amount of interfacing, it keeps the brim from flopping in his eyes.
There has been a lot of cute map-themed decor on the interwebs lately. I’ve been motivated to make some wall hangings lately. Hence this “where-we’ve-been” map.
I downloaded and printed a US map, then enlarged it. To transfer the map to the fabric I taped the map to a window, taped the fabric over it and traced the state outlines using a water-soluble pencil.
I used fusible web to iron states to the map, then I machine-appliqued them to the map. I quilted the outline of the US with a walking foot, and free-motion-quilted the background. This is my first free-motion project in years, and this is definitely the best looking one yet.
I washed the fabric to get the nice wrinkly look and hide a few flaws in the machine quilting. This also washed out all the state outlines I had drawn, and now the middle looks empty. I’m debating whether to quilt some of the outlines, all of the outlines, or just wait until we visit more states and applique them on. What would you do?
Pattern: Fly with me by I Heart Linen
I finished my first ever paper-pieced pattern! It’s a little wall hanging for Isaac. He calls it “mai hairplane!” I love that he says everything with an exclamation point.
Paper-piecing is not so bad. I did not follow the directions and cut the pieces based on the templates, I just cut scraps that I thought would be big enough, thinking that would save time and be less fussy. Turns out that’s a good way to waste a lot of fabric and time. Next time I will either use the template or cut scraps much much bigger than I think they need to be. I also had some trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that I was putting the fabric on the wrong side of the paper and sewing on the right side of the paper. Sigh. I unintentionally reversed a few pieces, and had to redo them. I think I also unintentionally mixed up the ordering of the background fabrics, too.
Even with all my mistakes, this took only an afternoon. And I was super happy with it until I washed it. One of the batiks bled and stained the white fabric. Sigh. It wasn’t even the dark batiks that bled, it was the lightest one – third from the right. I used the same fabric to bind a quilt made with other not-pre-washed batiks – it was a block of the month quilt, pieces were distributed by a local store precut and not pre-washed. When I wash the block of the month quilt I will definitely be using color catchers, and maybe retayne or synthrapol.
Now that I think about it, I have finished some things in 2013. I made a couple hats for Stash & Burn’s Use it Or Lose It challenge.
Pattern: Top down bonnet by Adrian Bizilia (ravelry)
Yarn: S.R. Kertzer Down to Earth Cotton
Pattern: Quynn by Woolly Wormhead (ravelry) modified to have 8 extra stitches.
Yarn: alpaca, bought @ Shepherd’s Harvest festival
Me in my Uptown Coat, Isaac in his “papa hat”. This was back in November when we were waiting for snow. Now we can’t wait for the snow to leave.
Isaac loves his papas. He calls this his papa hat. It is in fact a Huck Finn cap that I made using the Sew Liberated pattern. It was not easy – I had a lot of difficulty with the brim, but it was worth it. He wears it often, he loves it, and he gets a lot of compliments on it. I’m already planning a papa hat in the next size up.
I made my jacket years ago in a class at Crafty Planet. It is probably the sewing project I am most proud of, definitely the garment I am most proud of. I am planning another jacket for next fall that will hopefully top this one.
I designated 2013 as the year I finished things. Hmm. Well, I’ve finished one thing. I made a baby quilt for my high school BFF, who just had her baby last week.
I wanted to make a hexagon quilt, similar to this one that I made for my niece. I wanted to make it with a rainbow of fabrics and have it be kind of an I-Spy quilt. I dug through all the bits of fabric I’ve saved from past projects, which was super fun. I had previously made my friend a quilt for her college graduation and her wedding, and I was able to work in fabric from both those quilts. I also used fabric from two quilts I made for Isaac, the quilt for my niece, from the big pink quilt, and more. I love that I can remember where I used each fabric.
As I sorted through my stash I found a plethora of greens, blues and purples. The three red pieces you see are all of the red fabric that I own. That is all of it. Three pieces of red. Tied for second-to-last in my stash are yellow and orange with four pieces each.
On the back I put three prairie points on the bottom right side. I think they are pretty cute, I will probably be adding prairie points to more quilts soon. I love that these prairie points are the same fabric as the binding for my friend’s wedding quilt.
This quilt was so fun to put together that I am already planning a duvet cover for myself.
I organize my embroidery supplies in a small ArtBin.
I’ve got the usual floss, thimble, hoops and measuring tape. I also keep a stock of extra bobbins, printouts courtesy of Wild Olive, a box of Thread Heaven, and a Prismacolor water soluble pencil. If you use thread, you should use Thread Heaven! That’s the motto on the box – cheesy but true. I only bought it a few months ago and I wish I’d bought it sooner. It really keeps thread and floss from tangling while stitching, and it makes stitches look smoother. The Prismacolor pencil is my favorite for drawing or tracing patterns on fabric. It washes out with water – I don’t even use soap or agitation. It doesn’t stain fabric, doesn’t smudge like chalk and it doesn’t fade like marking pens. It’s the best!
I made an envelope clutch using this (free!) pattern from See Kate Sew to hold projects. The only change I made to the pattern was using magnets instead of a button. I used the Prismacolor pencil to doodle on the faux addresses – you can see the pencil markings totally washed out. My sister made me the cute envelope needle book a few years back.
The clutch is 7.5 x 12.5 inches, just big enough to hold one project and tools. I always keep my needles, needle threader and Gingher scissors in here. My current project is (gasp!) cross stitch instead of embroidery – a pendant. I found the laser-cut blank at the Workroom, and took inspiration from their flickr gallery.
This post is my entry in the &Stitches embroidery toolkit competition. Go check out the other entries!
Pattern: Mortimer the Dog (ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US5 DPNs
This is the last toy I knit for Isaac for a while. This is the first and only time he has snuggled with it. He usually just throws it on the ground and yells “No puppy!” Even though he loves puppies. Sigh.
I stocked up on Marty goes to Mars fabric this summer during a couple trips to the S.R. Harris outlet. I got enough for 2 toddler-size pillow cases, a quilt, and some leftovers. The quilt is made of mostly 4″ squares, with a couple 4×8 and 8×8 pieces thrown in. It’s 52×36 inches, the perfect size for Isaac’s toddler bed. Which he used for a month before he switched to a twin bed. Sigh.
I wanted this to be perfectly square since (I thought) it was going on a toddler bed (for at least a year) it would be painfully obvious (to me, anyway) if it wasn’t square. I also had pieced the back and I wanted the quilting lines to be parallel to the seams on both the front and the back of the quilt. I have been making quilt sandwiches by taping baby quilts to the floor with painters tape, but I’ve noticed that method doesn’t always guarantee that the front and back seams line up perfectly. Painters tape is only so sticky, and it can only hold fabric for about an hour before it starts to give up. To make sure everything lined up I used a quilt frame.
My husband helped me make the frame. It’s canvas tacked on to strips of hard wood. I think the strips are 2.5 inches x 6 feet. There are 4 strips. The first two are set up on parallel sawhorses. I use a tape measure and carpenter square to make sure the frame is set up squarely.
I start by laying the back of the quilt wrong-side down and pinning it to the frame, starting with the center of each side and working out. I pull it pretty tight. Then I smooth the batting over the back but I don’t pin it. Last I pin the quilt top down, again starting with the center of each side and working towards the corners.
Once everything is pinned in place I baste the quilt using really long – about 3 inch – running stitches. Then I take it off the frame and it’s ready to be machine-quilted.
My grandma taught me how to stretch quilts like this. It does take more time and I don’t do it for every quilt, but this is my favorite way to stretch quilts.
I made this super cute elephant softie for a friend of Isaac’s second birthday. I used the Effie and Ollie pattern by Heather Bailey. I highly recommend it. It didn’t take too long, especially considering the amount of tiny pieces and curves you have to sew. I’ve found that the keys to sewing curves are going slow, decreasing the stitch length, and using the handwheel for a few stitches when curves are especially tight. I only had to rip out and redo one seam for this little guy.
I feel like it took a quarter bag of stuffing to fill this small elephant. I used a stuffing fork, which really helped to fill the trunk and legs.
When I do this again, I would do two things differently: 1) iron the fusible interfacing to the fabric before cutting the pieces. Every piece is interfaced anyway, so this would save you from having to cut each tiny piece out twice, and then iron them together. 2) the tail is impossibly tiny and you are supposed to turn it inside out. Sure it looks nice but it took 10 minutes. There are other ways to do it that would be a lot quicker and not require pins, tweezers, another smaller pair of tweezers and cursing.
I did finish a lot of things in 2012, I just didn’t have time to post about them. So I’ll be doing some wrap-up / catch up posts this week.
I finished this just in time for Isaac to wear for Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations. The first few times I made him wear it he would yell “Ow! Owwie!” One time I gave in and took it off him because he would not settle down. No, he is not allergic to wool. It think it just hurts him to look nice – he cries when I put on his cotton toddler vest that I made him, an acrylic vest his grandma made him, the sailor shirt I made him, and store-bought button down shirts. Tshirts do not cause “owwies” though. Sigh. I’ve made him wear this sweater many times now and he has finally stopped crying about it.
Above, all dressed up to go to the Walker Art Museum. Below, dressed up to see Santa at his day care holiday program. Santa (mom) gave him lacing cards, woohoo!
Pattern: Rune sweater (ravelry), size 2T
Yarn: Vermont Organic Fiber Company O-Wool Balance
This year will be different. See – I’ve already finished something!
Needles: US4 addi clicks
Pattern: Hitchhiker (ravelry)
The pattern is easy and makes a nice long scarf. The yarn is beautiful and there was a lot of it – over 500 yards I think – so it took a while to finish. Almost two years, actually, which is too long even for a gigantic ball of yarn. I’ve organized my yarn and fabric closet and noticed a lot of other projects that have been languishing for far too long. 2013 will be the year they are finished. I have plans.
I finished a small baby quilt last year, as part of the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild’s half-square triangle challenge using Kona Cotton charm packs. I used all except the grey and white squares in the charm pack. There were a ton of greens!
I made flying geese blocks out of my HSTs, using a grey Kona cotton for the background.
Isaac has been using this quilt for a while, but he is starting to outgrow it already. Plans are in the works for a toddler bed quilt.
I finished a sailboat top (pattern by Oliver and S) for Isaac using Liesl sailboat fabric from Joann’s. I think I made the 2T size, although it could’ve been 18-24 months. It’s been sitting in his drawer finished for months. It’s a little big through the shoulders and the sleeves are long, but he’ll grow into it.
The next one will be solid fabric, with contrast stitching and shorter sleeves. Extra long sleeves on this kiddo requires extra stain-sticking later.
He had a busy afternoon of digging in the yard and distributing dandelion seeds at the neighborhood park.
Last month I mailed the fifth (and I think final) crib quilt for this year to its owner, my new niece. I fussy cut pieces of Peacock Lane Menagerie in brown and added borders of Kona Cotton solids and coordinating leftovers from the big pink quilt I made a few years back.
This is the first pieced quilt I’ve made with so much negative space. It was a challenge to piece the negative space efficiently – I hate wasting fabric. At first I tried to do the math to plan the exact dimensions of each piece of brown fabric… but I realized it would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to accurately cut pieces. Instead I cut strips of brown fabric in varying widths and used those to fill in the space around the blocks. The end result is not *exactly* the layout I had planned, but it’s pretty close. I’m happy with the end result, and not much fabric was wasted. Win, win!
The only part I’m not happy with is how some of the quilting lines pulled the fabric. I can tell that some lines really pulled the fabric in the direction of stitching, so the pink stripes on the back are not as straight as I’d like. I hope that I’m the only one that notices. Sigh. I think I tried to get by with too few basting pins this time, and didn’t pull the fabric as taught as usual when I taped it to the floor.
I really love the pink + brown combo, and I’m pleased with the way the fussy-cut blocks turned out. I know it will be appreciated in its new home.
It’s hat weather again in Minnesota. Isaac is sporting his new fall hat, which is super cute. It fits him well – snug enough to stay on and cover his ears, but not too snug that it bothers him. The yarn is soft and warm enough for fall, but not for winter. I’ll have to knit the kiddo a warmer hat, probably in alpaca or merino, for winter.
He’s already worn the hat a few times, sometimes for stretches of more than an hour. He’s even asked to wear it – a total 180 from this summer when he took his hat off every chance he got.
Pattern: Quynn by Woolly Wormhead (ravelry)
Yarn: Be Sweet Bambino Taffy
Needles: US7 DPN
Size: to fit 20″ noggin
I wish he was saying “You! Make me another shirt!” Instead he his mimicking me, saying “You! Get down!”
This is the first of many shirts I’ll be making with the Simplicity 2907 pattern. This one is size 2T, made of organic quilting cotton I found at SR Harris. It’s super cute and we get a lot of compliments on it. I finished the shirt in an afternoon, and it cost less than button-down shirts at target – it was $6 for fabric and buttons. The only change I will make in the next shirts is to make the bottom three button holes vertical. I think horizontal button holes look weird and they’re also awkward to button, especially on a toddler.
For the 2012 Ravellenic games I worked on a well stocked pantry to go with Isaac’s little wooden toy kitchen. And a couple Doctor Who toys, plus a hedgehog. Am I the only one who was surprised that Doctor Who wasn’t in the opening ceremony for the Olympics?
2. Little Lulu
My newest nephew arrived last month. We visited him over the weekend, he is super cute and doing well.
Back in May I made him a quilt using a layer cake of Lily and Will II fabrics and the baby lattice quilt pattern from Moda Bakeshop. I love how it turned out!
I’m especially happy with the way the quilting lines are (mostly) parallel and really pop out on the back.
Four baby quilts down, one to go!