To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
The embellished fabric bin I made two years ago has been taunting me to use the remaining fabric from Thomas Knauer’s Savannah Bop line that was sitting inside of it. Even after using strips to make the 1 + 1 = 4 charity quilts and the bin, I had about 1/3 yd. of each print in the line in my stash. Finally, the need for another baby quilt gave me reason to pull it out.
I settled on the idea of a puzzle—because what is quilt pattern design if not a giant puzzle to solve? As tempted as I was to throw in solids and a yarn-dyed once again, I decided to use up most of the prints in the line and only added in the Michael Miller Kryptonite solid for a bit of contrast. (Here’s my tutorial on how to make the puzzle block.)
Then, because the design needed a little something more, I appliqued on a few extra puzzle pieces to fill in the negative space. I especially like the one on the top corner that wraps to the back of the quilt over the binding. (I posted a description of my process back in February.)
I free motion quilted this all over in a loose meandering pattern, using a Gutterman green that matches the Kryptonite. The back is Minky Cuddle Pine Ridge in Olive. I tried out Pellon’s Eco Batting this time, a 70/30 cotton/poly blend. It’s bound in Kona Sunflower.
This has been a slow year for me, quilting wise (at least considering I don’t have wedding planning to blame). I finished the quilt in February, but just now got around to photographing it and dropping it in the mail. It’s my only finish yet this year, but that should change soon.
We’re heading off on a week and a half-long vacation, first delivering this quilt in NY and visiting Carl’s family, then on to MO to visit my family. Forgive the photos, as we took them the night before leaving on our trip. Hope you’re having a wonderful time celebrating the holidays!
If I’m going to stick to a formulaic fabric selection, I thought I should at least mix up the shapes I’m using. However, a condensed timeline dictated simplicity, so I stuck with squares and rectangles. This stack of six fat quarters from Daisy Cottage; fat quarters of a generic pink solid, Kona Sunflower, and Fairy Frost in snow; and a yard of Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax went together quickly, but the values in the fabrics didn’t work out as well as the stack of blues and greens for the layout I used in Mustang Summing, so I mixed up the layout.
The result is a message to our new niece spelled out in Morse code, with the yarn dyed serving as spacers between letters and words. The whole thing is built on a 4″ finished grid, as I started with 4.5″ strips cut down into squares, 8.5″ rectangles, and 12.5″ rectangles. It finishes at 48″x56″.
I feel bad admitting this, since the quilt became a gift (sorry, V!), but I had such a hard time focusing on this quilt. I cut the fabric into strips soon after finishing Mustang Summing, but kept procrastinating on starting. Originally, I was going to make an equilateral triangle quilt. Then we found out a new niece was being added to the family, so it became her quilt. It took until the day she was born for the idea of Morse code to inspire me. Maybe I was just holding out for the spark.
The back is nice and soft, courtesy Minky in the Dynasty pattern, oyster color (although the quilting hides the pattern). There’s low-loft cotton in the middle, as usual. I quilted it in an all-over swirl using Aurifil thread that I picked up from the local quilt shop. I forgot how much my machine loves this thread. The binding is a print from Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft.
Since I didn’t expect to finish any more quilts in 2014, I didn’t have any labels to put on this one. For now, there’s a handwritten one on the front. Perhaps I’ll have to add another in the coming months once I order more.
I hope the size of this can grow with her and keep her warm for years. Now I need to get started on quilts for her siblings!
I’m absolutely the worst at remembering to pop gifts in the mail on time for my various niblings’ birthdays. I think they’ve all come to expect that Aunt Rachael’s cards come sometime in the general month, likely mailed on their birthday or a few days after. Take these, for instance. Two of my nieces recently celebrated their 16th birthdays, one this past week, the other in September (to be fair, I didn’t have a mailing address at the time).
For birthdays, I usually drop a gift card in the mail, but since this was a special one, I added a small additional gift as well—a keychain composed of a free-standing lace design from Urban Threads and a pair of charms from Danforth Pewter (made here in Vermont).
This is the first time I’ve tried stitching out a free-standing lace design, and it was a little rocky. My first attempt failed compeltely. The second time, I doubled up the water-soluble stabilizer and it turned out okay but the top thread broke about ten times, and it skipped a ton of stitches. The final product seems okay, despite all that.
The third time, I used three layers of stabilizer, and didn’t have to fight broken thread, however the stitches pulled the stabilizer apart, scrunching and mis-stitching a part of the key. It still came out okay, but I definitely have room for improvement.
Now I just need to remember to make it to the post office tomorrow to send them on their way!
Have you had much experience stitching out free-standing lace designs?
A group of us are starting a Modern Quilt Guild here in Vermont. It’s very exciting, but also a bit drudging trying to get everything set up and official and to get the ball rolling with actual guild-type stuff rather than being all about business, business, business, and “do we want to be MQG-official?”, et cetera.
At our September meeting, we had our first demo, potholders based on the ones in Zakka Style—a great demo idea, since it shows all the steps of quilting in one small package. To encourage members to try out the skills and techniques, we’re charged with bringing a completed potholder of any type to the next meeting.
I thought I should tackle two to-do items at once and get a head start on xmas gifts, so I made a matching set for a friend. I’ve been saving a charm pack of BasicGrey Origins for almost three years now, purchased with this friend in mind. I paired it with stashed ivory linen, a brown texture print from JoAnn Fabrics (I had nothing in my stash that matched the linen and charms. Amazing!), and an embroidery from Urban Threads.
After I finished, I remembered that we said we’d do a swap at the meeting, so I made a third for that (a great time to incorporate what I learned from earlier mistakes!).
That time around, I cut the binding as a 2.5″ strip instead of the 3″ that I used for the other two, since I wasn’t entirely happy with the width. Next time, I know to use 2.75″; 2.5″ is slightly too narrow for me to machine finish cleanly.
I pieced the 2.5″ hexies by machine (not perfect, but nothing a liberal amount of steam couldn’t handle), and turned them into a pouch for better gripping (making the pretty side the won’t-get-shoved-into-food-accidentally side, which makes the ivory far more practical). All three are 8.5″ square, with a layer of Insul-Bright and low-loft cotton batting between. I do wish I’d remembered to add a hanging loop to my friend’s, and am not entirely happy with the contrast quilting on the back (which makes the un-quilted, embroidered area even more obvious).
As for the guild, join us the last Sunday of every month, 10am-noon, at Nido in Burlington!
Near the end of every semester, I send finals week care packages to my younger sisters (which also happens to conveniently fall near their birthdays in the spring and autumn). While they mainly contain tea, chocolate, pens/markers, post-its, and something relaxing, I try to slip in something me-made every time as well (to varying degrees of success).
This semester, they moved into an apartment together, so I thought of the perfect gift: a set of kitchen towels with awesome embroideries that I found on Urban Threads. Useful, not so precious that they can’t be used, and amusing.
There is one embroidered towel and one plain one in each set, each measuring around 16″x21″. One of these days, I’ll be making a set of my own from this one, which perfectly sums up my introverted down days: “Happiness is a cup of tea and a really good book.”
We’ve always ganged up a bit on the younger one, who claims she now reads, but didn’t for many years, so she got a different design (which could double as a coffee cup, since that may be her caffeine-delivery vehicle of choice). It may also be fitting for me to hang at work, if you ask my coworkers about my state of mind at our scrum every morning: “Death before decaf.”
I made the four towels from a yard of textured cotton I found in the utility section of JoAnn Fabrics. While not explicitly labeled toweling, it’s a great texture for a hand towel. I used cotton Gutermann thread to embroider them, matching the needle and bobbin threads. The 150m spools had just enough thread on them to get through the embroidery, then I switched the bobbin up to feed through the needle and put a cream bobbin to hem the edges. It made for an efficient use of a single spool that could have ended with a run to the store had anything gone wrong (I like to live a little dangerously some times).
Now, to start scheming about what to make for November’s package…
Spring is slow coming here in Vermont—it’s truly mud season rather than flowering wonderland—but we had the chance to see a few blooms when we traveled down to New Jersey for Easter with Carl’s family. Even the bees were out and about.
For the past few years, Carl’s been stuck having travel toiletries either mixed in with mine in a bright pink bag I received as a free gift with a cosmetics purchase or in a zip-lock baggie (required on planes, pretty lame by car), so I thought it high time that he have a toiletry bag of his own. Past time even, considering he’s been traveling back to Utica every other week for work since we moved up here last July.
It’s a slightly smaller version of the cosmetics bags I’ve made over the past couple of years with squared-off corners and without the wrist strap. The fun part was making my first project out of leather. I picked up an unlined leather shirt/jacket at the thrift shop to play with and still have plenty of scraps leftover for more bags or whatever else I dream up.
Since the outside is leather, I quilted the lining to give the bag extra body. If I make another, I may try to stick to heavyweight interfacing instead, as the batting gives the lining too little drape. The bag doesn’t keep its shape perfectly, but it does stand on its own, even when empty.
The lining is made from the scraps of his quilt. No one print was large enough for the whole bag, but I was able to limit it to three different ones. I stitched it all with a heavy duty thread, but still have learning to do about proper top-stitching length on leather. Overall, I’d say my machine handled it just fine.
It worked out well for our weekend trip, and I hope it serves him well with the various travels we’re sure to do this year. I also hope spring finally comes to Vermont—traveling is much more pleasant in gorgeous weather like we saw this past weekend.
With the emergency surgery needed for one quilt, I didn’t manage to finish the quilt for my friend’s soon-to-be-born daughter. I knew I needed something quick that would go with it, since we flew down to visit and attend her shower, so out came my trusty copy of Simplicity 2613.
The quilt uses Heather Ross’ Nursery Versery fabric (among others) and Nido was having a sale, so I picked up extra for this project. I had a bit of yarn and large rickrack that coordinated for the ossicones and tufts of hair on the neck.
It rattles, thanks to some sort of plastic capsule I had around and pearled barley from my cupboard.
Once I finished the stuffed giraffe, I thought the gift needed a little something more, so I grabbed a FQ of another Nursery Versery print (that will also be the backing of the baby quilt), paired it with a pale yellow and white flannel (backing) and pink linen (binding) from my stash, and made a whole-cloth doll quilt to match.
She’s not due until April, so I still have time to finish up the quilt, but I’m happy to have made these accessories in time.
My mom and younger sisters are visiting, so my projects are on the back burner in favor of time spent with them. 2013 was the first year in my life that I didn’t step foot in my home state of Missouri, so I’m thrilled that they came to VT despite the horrendous weather across the country this week.
Books have been a theme this trip and my oldest younger sister is a voracious reader, so I stole a bit of time this morning to round out her holiday gifts with a quick sewing project.
This bookmark matches the quilt I made her a few months ago. I sneakily picked up the turtle charm from the Danforth Pewter store when we were shopping yesterday, and added in a couple of beads that I’ve had for years. There are two layers of stabilizer inside to give it a bit of rigidity, and I whipped out rusty macrame skills on embroidery floss for the tassel.
I’ll spare you a lengthy essay on the quilt title, but the tl;dr of my stream of consciousness was something like “for CCC / double plus / C++? / cout << 'Hello Triple C' / okay, C++ is good enough before you get too far down the rabbit hole and start an i/o stream of odes to unorthodox programming syntax and 'doubleplusgood's and other 1984 references. / Wait, Sea++? Get it? Salt Water, like from the sea… no, really, just stop." My mind: a confusing place since forever.
But as the start of that stream of consciousness reads, this quilt is for my sister Courtney, also known by her initials as CCC or Triple C, and the quilt was inspired by one titled “Double Plus.” She’s been waiting patiently for a quilt since I made the ones for our mom and other sister back in May 2011 (plus the otherfabricthings I’ve made Kaite), so I’m glad inspiration finally hit!
It all started with a six-pack of FQs from Tula Pink’s Salt Water line. I threw in a bit of shot cotton (maybe a Moda Cross Weave?) and Kona Nautical as binding from my stash. Rounding out the fabric choices are yardage of another Salt Water print for the background and Laura Gunn Painter’s Canvas for most of the block corners.
Ideas floated around in the ether for a bit, always coming back to plus quilts, so when I saw “Double Plus”, the idea took shape. A few rounds of digital sketching later, I had the plan to execute in 70″ square form.
This yardage from IKEA has always been slated for the back of Courtney’s quilt, even before there was an idea for the quilt front. My brain decided it, and so it is. The piecing was less about intention and more about making the fabric I had work for the back—particularly without another trip to the store. The blue is a textured linen-like cotton that has been in my stash for a while, previously seen in Carl’s bag. Had I remembered it was there, it likely would have ended up on the front as well instead of the Painter’s Canvas. Case in point: I need stash organizing, stat.
I picked up a spool of Isocord thread to quilt with and I really like the results, but had to battle a fair number of tension issues. This also isn’t my best quilting because I tackled it all with my free-motion foot—even the straight and stitch-in-the-ditch parts. I need much more practice with doing straight lines that way, but now that it is washed, all the little mistakes aren’t obvious.
Tula paired up with Urban threads to offer some embroidery motifs that pair with the line, including a quilting one, so I mixed it in with my FMQ. I planned to do more, but those tensions issues made me modify that plan. There are still a few anchors mixed in the quilting.
The final wavy texture is amazing and it drapes beautifully. It’s hard to part with, but nothing but the best for my very favorite oldest younger sister who is infinitely patient.
To top it off, I threw together a quick tote bag from another bit of Tula Pink—the Turtle Bay print from Prince Charming—paired with a stashed solid (I’m not sure what), another embroidery from Urban Threads, and lined in the Ikea text print. I made her a zippered cosmetic bag from this same print earlier in the year (but never photographed), so it all ties together pretty well.
That’s three quilts in three months. Can I keep up the trend?
Three years ago, I made my first quilt. I knew nothing about quilting but a fair amount about sewing fabric together, so I dove in, read a bit, and ended up with something that wasn’t half bad. I also made mistakes, particularly using fabrics that couldn’t handle the love its toddler owner has given it. So, three years later, that same recipient is getting a second quilt—my nineteenth quilt finish (if I counted properly).
I’m still not one to use solely quilting cotton. The solids in this quilt are flannel, and the back is Minky. But, those hold up pretty well, unlike silk.
The batting is low-loft cotton (Warm & White, mostly because I had it on-hand in the right dimensions); that first quilt is probably the only one I will ever use a high-loft poly on. His name is appliqued, but done so with the embroidery capabilities of my machine, rather than manually (I’m using the excuse that I needed to test out my machine post-service; I’m not sure that it was any faster that way, considering the rehooping and trimming, etc.). An embroidered dog keeps it company.
The quilting is a simple seam-line echo, in four of the colors from the quilt top; red, orange, yellow, green. There was no rhyme nor reason, those are just the colors I had that matched and didn’t have enough to use just one color. I went through an extra spool of the yellow, though, doing the applique.
I bound it in one fo the prints from the line, a red chicken wire pattern. When all was said and done, I still had a lot of that red, a matching FQ of one of the animal prints, and a bit of extra Minky, so I threw together an envelope-style pillowcase for a travel-sized pillow to match.
I had to add a hidden bit of velcro to keep it properly closed, as the envelope overhang gapes when the pillow is in there (I was winging it, measurement-wise). In the future, I want to play around and see what the minimum overlap is for that; it seems like an interesting problem to solve.
Three years, nineteen quilts (plus some minis and many other projects), but I think I’m just getting started considering I’ve already quilted another and am in the middle of one more at the moment!