My New Little Nephew’s Quilt

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My sister-in-law is pregnant with her first baby (so excited!), and she asked me to make the quilt for his bedroom.   She decided on neutrals with pops of navy, and the inspiration room she found on Pinterest is loaded with cute accents like deer antlers (that will be my brother-in-law’s contribution), driftwood, etc.  It’s going to be a really stylish room—kind of a nice deviation from cartoonish, bright kid colors.

Beth saw a quilt I had made with scraps from this quilt.  It was all mishmashed together from scraps.  I would sew random pieces together, cut it, and sew it up again.  I threw in the navy just for fun.  She really liked that design, so I chose a bunch of different neutral fabrics, including linen for some textural interest, and started piecing away.  I was really happy with the top but had a really hard time deciding how to quilt it since it was so crazy on the top.

I googled a bit, finally coming down to either straight line quilting or organic line quilting.  I don’t often do either—I’m much more of a free motion girl.   I stumbled upon Crazy Mom Quilts’ post about her troubles with straight line quilting (can’t find it again to save my life) and decided I’d rather go the organic route.  Armed with her advice from her mistakes, I thought I would have this baby finished in no time….um, NO.  I ended up with a total mess, exactly like she did:

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I saw the fabric getting wavy as I was going along, but like an idiot, I thought it would work itself out and come out fine after a wash, so I pressed on until I had the whole thing quilted.  After I pulled it off the machine and really looked at it, I decided I just couldn’t live with it.  Not only was it all puckery, but the quilting actually made the pieced front looked curved instead of squared.  Admittedly, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.  I’ve been getting better at letting go a bit, but this was beyond what I could overlook.  It’s really hard to settle for mediocre (or awful!) quilting when you just love the top to begin with.

So, after talking it through with my husband and my mom, I decided to rip it all out and do something else.  I decided to hand quilt in the end, and I’m so happy with how it turned out.  (I did learn quite a bit about non-free-motion quilting, and I plan to do a separate post on that soon.)

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I think the hand quilting adds a special touch, which is nice since it’s for family.  I make so many baby quilts for friends or really for almost any baby gift I give, and it’s nice to do something a bit more special when it’s for a baby who will be special to me!  It also makes for a much softer quilt, which is nice for a baby.  I’m hoping it will actually be used in the crib once he’s past the SIDS stage.  I’ve used the baby quilt I made for my son in his crib with him since he was about a year old, and he loves it. 

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I’ve been finding it hard to get a good full-quilt shot since the weather has been so icky in the midwest.  Another obstacle to a good wide shot:  my son has learned how to photobomb. 

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I brought a bunch of fabrics to my sister-in-law’s house for her to choose from.  I just love the ones she picked out.  The gray Faux Bois on the back is from the Les Amis line by Patty Sloniger.   When we were choosing fabrics, there was still plenty available online (my piece was too small for the back).  By the time I got around to ordering a month later it was all sold out—almost EVERYWHERE.  I finally found some at one online shop, but it was the only one I did find in about ten google pages, so I think I really lucked out with that.  I’ve learned my lesson on waiting to order!

The binding she chose was a wood grain print from a Kate Spain line.  I used up my last bit of this, which is unfortunate since I loved it so much, but at least it was for a good cause, and it really looks great along the edge.

Once the baby is born, I’m going to have a friend embroider a quilt label for me with his birth information on it.  I’ll hand stitch it on to the back afterward.  I think the personalized labels really add a special touch when it’s for family.

Girls’ Twin Quilts

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I just recently shipped these two matching twin quilts off to their new home.  These were ordered a couple of months ago for a girls’ room.  They were custom made, and I love the fabrics chosen.  The walls in the girls’ room are pink, and I think the aqua and white front will balance it out nicely while still being quite girly!

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The front is a simple chevron design with a cute tree patterned fabric with an off-centered pink stripe on the back.  I quilted in the ditch along the seams to accent the chevrons.  I also made two standard flanged shams to match.  I’m quite happy with the way these turned out, and I hope my client will love them, too!

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I’m always relieved to finish a project—I feel stressed when I have a deadline.  However, I’m also always nervous about it traveling safely.  Here’s hoping FedEx handles it with care!

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ONe Way to Mend Kids’ Pants

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I have two little boys, and fortunately, I got lots of hand-me-downs from a friend.  I’ve noticed, however, that pants seem to be somewhat elusive.  I always end up with plenty of shirts from other people or from shopping sales, but pants are always in short supply.  I’m not sure if it’s because they’re less exciting to buy or if kids just wear them out faster.  Either way, I always try to stock up on pants, especially jeans, at yard sales.

I happened to luck into a bunch of ripped jeans at a yard sale last summer.  They were priced at 25 or 50 cents each, and I chose a couple of good brands, planning to patch them with monster faces or something cute that I had seen on pinterest.  When I went up to pay, the lady told me I could have any of the other ripped pants I wanted for FREE—um, hello—free kids’ pants?  YES, please.  I grabbed three or four pairs in each size she had (and I left over half of what she had—she has a house full of boys, too).  I’ve had them stashed in my mending pile since the summer since my son wasn’t into those sizes yet.  Thanks to a growth spurt, I had to tackle some mending this month.

I looked at the cute monster faces and decided it would take too long, so I gathered some cute boy fabrics I had and chose to mend it the faster way.   However, I think they turned out just as cute.  Here’s how I did it:

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First, gather supplies:

  • some cute prints—my favorite here are the little wiener dogs, but any cute prints you like will work
  • some iron-on mending fabric
  • equipment: pins, iron, sewing machine, etc.

I chose to mend these pants in an assembly line fashion, so I first ironed the patches on everything, then ironed the edges of my fabric patches, and then sewed them all on.   In the interests of you learning from my mistakes, I first tried to zig zag stitch the rips, but it didn’t work out well, and I really think the iron-on patches make everything so much more stable.  The fabric overlay is really just for looks.  The iron-on patches do all the heavy lifting of holding the rip together.

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Cut a piece of iron-on patch fabric big enough to cover the rip.  I try to go past the edges by at least 1/4”.

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Next iron the edges of your fabric so there’s a nice clean edge once it’s stitched down.  After that, I pinned very well to prevent shifting.  Children’s pants are very small, so it’s difficult to maneuver it around the sewing machine.  For this project, I had to use my old machine because my new quilting machine doesn’t have a free arm.  Space was so tight that I had to sew in reverse on a couple sides of the patch—just do the best you can to get all the way around the patch.

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Clip your threads on the back when you’re finished (I noticed a tension problem on my machine AFTER I had sewn the patches—they’re still secure, though, so I’m not going to worry about it).  Other than maneuvering such a small pant leg around your machine, this is a pretty straightforward project.

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At first I had planned for these to be for play only.  However, my son likes them so much that I’ve been letting him wear them wherever he wants.  Besides, I honestly think they’re cuter than plain jeans anyway!

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These will work for boys or girls, I think, depending on the fabrics chosen.  I could even see myself doing some cute flower embroidery on girls’ patches….if I’m blessed enough to have a little girl in my future sometime.    I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled at yard sales from now on for cheap jeans!

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WIP: Twin Chevron Quilts

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This past week I’ve started working on two twin size quilts.  They’re for a custom order, and I just love the fabrics that were chosen.  The fronts are a basic chevron, and the backing fabric is the cute tree print with a strip of the pink down the back.  They’re for two sisters.

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I’ve finally finished the cutting and pressing—there are 360 of these babies ready to go.  Now, I just have to sew them all together to finish out the tops.  That should go more quickly than the half-square triangles…I’d forgotten how long these take to cut and press.

I’m hoping to get the tops sewn together by the end of the week and then baste the quilts together over the weekend.  The basting is always easier when I have my husband around to help me move the dining room table so I have a large floor space.  I’m happy with my progress so far—can’t wait to see how they look once they’re finished!

 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I’ve been working on a few things for Valentine’s Day.  The first project is one I made for my Secret Sister at the church I attend.  Last year I tried not to do too much sewing for my secret sister because I knew she could easily figure it out.  However, other ladies ended up buying some handmade things, so I think I might be safe in making up a few items over the course of the year.

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When I saw the patchwork heart tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, it was so cute I decided to make it into a little zipper pouch.  I didn’t read the tutorial instructions, and I do believe they’re different than how I put this together.  For mine, I improv-pieced a slab of red and pink scraps, cut out a heart, and then used fusible web to fuse it to the gray linen.  I stitched around the edge to prevent fraying and added some hand stitching and a button, just as in the tutorial picture.  I was really happy with how mine turned out.  I filled it with similarly colored goodies, and I think it turned into a really cute package, if I say so myself!

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In other Valentine projects, I made my son’s valentines for school again this year.  He chose minions.  I think I’ve seen Despicable Me 2 at least a hundred times by now…but honestly, it’s such a cute movie that I’m not really all that tired of it yet.

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I also made a plate of cookies for my husband to take to work for his team.  I often send in cookies on holidays, and if I wait too long between times, my husband gets requests.  These aren’t the prettiest cookies ever, but they (the factory guys) tend to go for taste over looks, so I used buttercream frosting instead of royal because they all like it better.  They’re still cute, just nothing fancy.

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A Quilt for Baby Joseph

After a LONG blogging absence, I’m back with my most recent project.  My good friends recently had a baby (right after they moved to Alaska!), and they’re coming back to visit family in February.  I’m helping to throw a shower/meet the baby open house, and this is what I’ve made for the gift:

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This is a very simple pattern made of 5” squares—I used this pillow by Crazy Mom Quilts as inspiration.  I think it makes such a beautiful pillow cover (I’ve remade it several times to give as children’s birthday gifts), and I thought it would translate well into a baby quilt, too.  I do like how it turned out, so I’ll probably remake this at some point in the future as well.

If a baby is already born or named, I always like to personalize the quilt somehow—it just seems like it makes it more special.  So, I printed off his name, traced it onto fabric with a water-soluble pen, and free-hand embroidered it.  I love how this font is modern and boyish looking since it’s so clean and simple.

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The fabrics are from the Max & Whiskers line by Basic Gray for Moda.  I bought them on clearance sometime last year without a real plan—I just thought they were cute!  I think they suit the mother’s personality well, and they looked boyish to me while still being unique and not something you’d usually see in a baby quilt.   When I bought them, I didn’t even realize they were part of a children’s line with dogs and cats—I don’t actually have any of that feature fabric in this quilt, but perhaps that’s why these prints looked childish to me in the first place.

To add a little interest, I threw in some teal Echo and a cute orange X print by Denyse Schmidt that I picked up from Joann’s on the red tag rack.  Honestly—I do love my friend—it just happened to work out that most of this fabric was on sale!IMG_8203

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I quilted this with simple straight lines to make it nice and soft and bound the quilt in the same orange print since it was the best contrast with the rest of the fabrics.  I’m totally in love with this quilt—I just hope the parents and baby love this one as much as I do!

WIP: Baby Quilt

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I’ve just recently finished (maybe) the quilting on this baby quilt.  I can’t decide if it needs another line of quilting down the middle of each chevron or if it looks good as is.  So, I’m going to ask my customer which she prefers and let her decide.  The backing fabric will also be the binding, and I don’t want the quilting to get too busy and overwhelm the eye.  I think the beauty of this design is in its simplicity.

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This last picture is a better representation of the true colors.  I was having lighting issues this afternoon, but I’m hoping to get some feedback from my customer and be able to finish and ship out this week or next, so I wanted to go ahead and get the pictures up.

I’ve had so much fun with the hand quilting on this project.  The colors are great together, and it always makes a project more enjoyable when I’m really in love with it.

WIP: Custom Baby Quilt

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I recently had another order for a chevron baby quilt, and I’ve just finished piecing the top.  The coral fabric pictured is for the back and binding, and it will be hand quilted with a matching coral thread.  The colors are just beautiful together.  The colors here are a little paler than in real life.

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It measures about 36”x54”.  Contrary to my normal practice, I did prewash the coral fabric (hence the reason for the wrinkles—I haven’t ironed it yet).  I was worried there might be bleeding issues since it’s such a bright color, and the gray and aqua on the front are so pale.  However, I didn’t notice any color bleeding in the wash, so it might have been just fine anyway—better safe than sorry, though!

I plan to baste it tonight and then get started on the quilting.  I really love hand quilting—it’s the perfect excuse to sit down and catch up on TV!

Super Tote

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I’ve had this tote finished for a while, but it was on my wayward SD card, so I haven’t been able to post about it until now.  These are the only two pictures that survived, and this one is a little yellow looking, but you get the idea.

The nice thing about writing about it after so long is that I’ve had a chance to really use it and give a good opinion on it.  I’ve been using it as my diaper bag, and it’s really the perfect size.  The pattern was also easy to follow.

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I used quilting cotton, so it required a TON of interfacing, and if I ever make this bag again, I plan to use home decor weight instead.  The biggest problem I’m having with it is that the top wants to roll down when it has stuff in it.  You can kind of see that in the picture.  The fabric also isn’t holding up that well since it’s so lightweight.  However, I’ll know to use heavier fabrics from now on.

I love all the pockets—the interior is great, as is the exterior pocket for tossing in keys.  I haven’t been carrying it recently since the rolling top bothers me, but I’ll definitely keep it around for a spring bag or beach bag next year.

 

WIP Wednesday

I’m finally back to blogging after at least a month long absence.  I’ve been having some major computer problems as well as an SD card crash, so even when I’ve had a computer to blog, I’ve had no pictures to share with you.

Tip of the day:  back up your SD cards.  Our 16 gig card died all of a sudden, and I had three months worth of pictures that I hadn’t yet saved to our computer (because my laptop was dying, and my husband’s computer didn’t have a card reader).  Yes, I think the world was conspiring against me on that one.  Anyhow, after a few tears and a $40 SD recovery software program (well worth it!), I recovered most of the pictures.  I was most concerned about the pictures of our kids that I took during that time, but I do think I got most of those back—lesson learned!

Since I did recover most of the pictures, I’ll have a lot of new stuff to share over the coming weeks, but for now, I wanted to get a quick post up about what I’m working on at the moment:

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My only current swap at the moment is the Sew Sew Modern (round 3) swap, and I’m planning to make my partner a bag/purse out of some combination of these fabrics.  I’m leaning toward the multi colored flower print and the blue on the right for the outside and the blue on the left for the lining.  I like the green, but the background is more of an ivory than the true white of the outside, so I’m not sure they would look all that great together.

I’m still waiting on a comment from my partner, but since the mailing deadline is early September, I’m going to have to get to work either way.  At least all the other comments so far on flickr have been positive, so hopefully she’ll like it either way.