Friday, February 27, 2015

Grammercy Jersey Knit Receiving Blankets

I might be a little addicted to making these.  After making a Charley Harper version, I ordered a couple of Leah Duncan's Grammercy prints.  Unfortunately my older helper was busy with homework so the photos are a little more . . . interesting.
grammercy jersey knit receiving blankets
I have (and love) both of these prints in quilting cotton and thought they would make fun baby quilts.  In reality I am not a huge fan of the blank print for this, mostly because it came out of the wash pretty faded.  But I do love the tan print.  
grammercy jersey knit receiving blankets
I am sure that we will use both of them lots though since they are wonderfully soft, lightweight (perfect for San Diego), and stretchy.
grammercy jersey knit receiving blankets
The knit fabrics are 58" wide and since I had ordered 1 yard of each of them, I trimmed them down to about 45" to make 36" x 45" blankets.  That left me enough leftover to use for binding, but I decided to use Robert Kaufman black jersey for the tan blanket since the black Grammercy print had faded so much.  

Now that I have made three (and have fabric to make a couple more) I am hoping to make these for baby shower gifts in the future.  But before I start producing them en masse, I would like to improve my skills a little.  
grammercy jersey knit receiving blankets
Despite sewing extra slow and pinning carefully, I still ended up with a couple skipped stitches and the binding on the back is far from perfect (this was one of the better sections). 

I would love to compile a list of tips for making these blankets.  Do you have any tips for sewing with knits?  Or making knit binding?  I have ordered a couple different things to try (another kind of needle and a different thread) and will be trying those on my next blanket, but I would love any additional tips.  Thanks in advance!

Monday, February 23, 2015

AGF Stitched - Birchen Quilt with Free Pattern

A few versions of this quilt may be popping up into your feed this morning, but I would like to introduce you to my version of the Birchen Quilt.  This is a joint project by the Fat Quarter Shop and Art Gallery Fabrics and they are working together to bring you this wonderful (FREE!) pattern.  
Recollection Birchen Quilt
Now don't be scared by all of the half square triangles.  Yes, there are a lot.  But the pattern has you use Triangles on a Roll to make the HSTs and they make the process much faster.  And guess what: that means no trimming HSTs.  
Recollection Birchen Quilt
In addition to the pattern, the FQS has also put together a video on how to make the quilt.  So even if you are a fairly new quilter this project is very doable because the video shows you how to complete each step. And if you would like to make a quilt exactly like the one in the video, the Fat Quarter Shop has created a kit.  

I chose to make my quilt using Katarina Roccella's new collection Recollection.  I really fell in love with the large scale florals in the collection, but all of the prints are so beautiful.  And now that I have finished the project I am in love with the corals and the blues and the low volume prints . . . really all of them.  
Recollection Birchen Quilt
The pattern creates a nice, large 72" x 72" quilt.  The blocks are a nice big 18" which means that if you wanted to make 4 blocks you would have a nice, 36" square baby quilt.  

Of course I had to choose the gloomiest San Diego day in weeks to take the photos.  At least I got them before it started raining!
Recollection Birchen Quilt
Did I mention how much I love the large scale floral?  I used the other colorway on the back :)  
Recollection Birchen Quilt
Finished size: 72" x 72"
Pattern: Birchen Quilt
Kit available here
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Echino Bee Noodlehead Divided Basket

This basket has been on my to-make list for a long time and when I saw Svetlana's version the other day, I bumped it up to the top.
Echino Bee Noodlehead Divded Basket
Pretty much the reason that I had put off making this project is because I hate interfacing (this project calls for SF101 and fusible fleece), but in the end the interfacing was minimally obnoxious and definitely makes a big difference in the finished project.  

The entire process of making this was so fast!  When I got to the last step I thought to myself, "Wait, that's it?".  My topstitching is a little sloppy around the top because I got a little lazy about the ironing, but it's nothing I can't live with.  

This will definitely be my go to baby shower gift in the future.  I already put this blanket and some newborn diapers in my basket to test it out.  These diapers are leftover from when my son was a baby (almost 5 years ago!) and he outgrew the newborn size in about 2 days. Diapers don't expire, do they?
Echino Bee Noodlehead Divded Basket
The exterior pieces were made with Architextures in brown (available here, here, or here), the pocket is made with an Echino print, and the interior is Kona coral (one of my all time favorite solid colors). I am going to make at least one more of these for myself and I have 3 friends having baby girls in May so expect to see a few more of these :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

economy block playmat

I think I am a little behind the times on trying out economy blocks (find Rita's excellent tutorial here), but it seemed like a good choice for a playmat for the baby.  I have tentatively decided not to make the baby a new quilt and to use this one instead.  I am sure that I will want to make him one once I meet him, but I am feeling a little directionless right now.
economy block playmat
So instead I started cutting out novelty prints for a small playmat (still technically a quilt but I'm calling it a playmat since it is so small).  I want to have something for the baby to play/sit/lay on while we are waiting for the older kids at all of their activities that has lots of colors and contrast for the baby to look at.  This quilt was heavily inspired by this gorgeous quilt.  
economy block playmat
I was a little concerned that I wouldn't have enough novelty prints in my stash, but it turns out I have a ton of fabric.  Oops.
economy block playmat
The backing is essex linen in black since I wanted something a little more rugged that wouldn't look dirty too quickly.  The binding is a blue DS Quilts print from Joann's and you may have noticed that the quilt is machine bound.  Shocking, I know.  I do not like machine binding quilts but my technique is getting a little better and I wanted to make sure that the binding was a little extra durable.

Finished size: 35" x 35"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

some advice?

I haven't been able to sew as much as I like lately.  I did get caught up on December and January do. Good Stitches blocks.
do. Good Stitches Wish Circle January blocks
goldfish block
And I have started cutting a few things for a project for the baby. 

But over the past couple weeks I have been excessively tired and have been having headaches and more nausea.  It feels like the first trimester all over again.  Then a couple of days ago it occurred to me that I might have gestational diabetes.

So I went in yesterday for my 1 hour glucose test and sure enough I failed.  I get to spend 4 hours at the doctor's office on Thursday for the extended test, but I have pretty much already resolved that I have it.  I can't think of another reason why chocolate would make me feel sick instead of happy. 

Do any of you have a not-too-difficult low carb, high protein recipe that you love? I would really appreciate any tips or suggestions if you have them!  Hopefully regulating my blood sugar will help me feel a little better and a little more inspired to do some sewing.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Interlock/Jersey Knit Receiving Blanket

I still have a while to go until this baby shows up, but I am excited to start doing a little sewing.  As much as I love quilts, I don't really want to carry one around in my bag all of the time so I knew I wanted to make some receiving blankets.

Since I don't have a lot of experience sewing with knits I thought I would start out with one blanket and I ordered this really cute Charley Harper knit.  It is an interlock knit which is a little sturdier feeling than a jersey knit.  I was a little lost about what to do for a binding since I hadn't thought to order a coordinating print, so I picked up some Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey in aqua.  It's not an exact match but it's close enough for me. Also it's pretty much the softest thing in the world.
charley harper knit receiving blanket
I ordered a 1 yard cut of the print so I just squared up the sides and cut rounded corners using a plate (after prewashing everything of course) and then cut (3) 2" strips from the binding fabric (this was just barely enough).  I basically followed these instructions if you are looking for a tutorial.
charley harper knit receiving blanket
Everything was going really great until I started to sew the binding down onto the front of the quilt with my machine.  It wasn't very straight and I had a few skipped stitches so I decided to try zig zag stitching.  That was even worse.  Plus, it turns out that knit fabric isn't very forgiving when it comes to the seam ripper.
charley harper knit receiving blanket
So I very carefully picked out my stitches and then spent a very long time pinning the binding down.  My machine was skipping stitches so a slowed way down (according to my Google searching this is called fabric flagging and there are a few different solutions you can try, but slowing down worked for me).  Slowing down also made my stitches straighter so it was for the best anyway.  The back isn't perfect, but it's definitely one of my better machine binding attempts.

As you can see, the kids are already having fun with them and now I am going to have to make at least five more.  We even tested out its swaddling capabilities on my 6 year old.  If only it was this easy to keep kids still :)
charley harper knit receiving blanket
Now I have a wish list of knit fabrics that I wanted.  Just what I needed: another fabric wish list.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

finished scrappy kaleidoscope quilt (with downloadable templates)

I spent the last few days finishing up this quilt for my sister Carly.  This was the last in a series of scrap quilts for my sisters (and Mom).  You can find the other scrap quilts:
scrappy kaleidoscope quilt
My sister lives in Utah in a basement apartment and it gets cold, so I wanted to make sure this quilt was extra warm.  The backing fabric is a pretty, tiny black and white herringbone Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel.  It is thick and warm and gives the quilt a nice weight.

I used Quilter's Dream wool batting and it was wonderful to work with.  I have only used wool batting one other time and I can't remember which brand it was, but the Quilter's Dream was much easier to use.  If you have never used wool batting, Debbie recently made a very informative post that is definitely worth checking out.

As you can see in the photo above, the seam on the back is kind of noticeable.  The flannel didn't appear to have a right or wrong side and I think I must have used one of each.  It isn't nearly this noticeable in person though and both sides feel just as snuggly.
scrappy kaleidoscope quilt backing
The quilt top ended up with lots of Ann Kelle prints and I decided up using one of her new Remix stripe prints for the binding.  I quilted it with an "organic" cross hatch which basically means that I didn't mark the lines ahead of time and they definitely weave and wobble a little.  But I love how dense they are and how defined the lofty wool batting makes them.
scrappy kaleidoscope quilt
This is the second kaleidoscope quilt I have made.  The first was with do. Good Stitches more than two years ago.  I wanted to use smaller blocks for my quilt so that I would be able to use smaller scrap pieces.  I made the block in EQ7 and printed out the templates which you can download here (this makes an 8" finished block).  

If you need directions on piecing the blocks, Elizabeth at Don't Call me Betsy hosted a quilt along a while back and the block instructions are here and here.  

In other news, I celebrated my 31st birthday yesterday and it was probably the best birthday I have ever had (I am currently eating leftover chocolate caramel cheesecake).  We didn't do anything spectacular, but my family gave me the sweetest notes and I got to spend all day with them and then go to dinner and a movie with my husband.  I am so grateful for these guys!
my family
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