Monday, December 15, 2014

Fabric Photo Album

When my brother and sister-in-law told me they were expecting their first child, I immediately started making a mental list of all the things I needed to make - as any self-respecting crafter would do. One thing at the top of the list was a fabric photo album, inspired by this one I saw on you&mie.

The hardest part was finding good photos of everyone. I scoured my SIL's facebook album, and badgered family for photos when I couldn't find them online or in my archives.

After I had the photos, I printed them on sew-in printer fabric. I think this paper worked pretty well. I used a laser printer and let them sit at least ten minutes to dry before I touched them. Then before I sewed with them I set them with a dry iron, protecting the photo with a layer of paper towel. There were a few smudges, and Mom got a bit wrinkly, but otherwise all the photographs printed well and look good.

I wanted a nice, colorful book, so I selected a variety of fabrics from my stash, paired them, and then matched the photos with fabrics, trying not to wash anyone out too badly.

Proud aunt and uncle!
To add some plushness, I sandwiched a single layer of batting between each set of pages, and quilted around the photos and the outside of the pages to keep it in place.

Finally, I included ties to keep the book shut, and a simple embroidered cover.  Plus my label on the back.

Now as my little niece grows, she'll be able to get to know the faces of all her family members, those who live near, those who live far, and those who have unfortunately passed away.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Matilda Marie

In March, my brother and sister-in-law's good friends had a baby girl, Matilda. I've met them a few times, and they helped throw the baby shower for my niece over the summer, so I decided to make them a simple whole cloth quilt.

I used this awesome print from Backyard Garden, Cloud 9's second collection for JoAnn, for the front. I think the sleeping cats are my favorite part (it's kind of blurry, but they're the little gray blobs in between the pink and blue flower beds).

And a soft gray flannel for the back (to match the cats, of course).

After binging on a few episodes of Elizabeth Dackson's Craftsy class (highly recommended), I took advantage of the busy print and practiced my free motion quilting with a large stipple. It's definitely getting better!

A hand-embroidered binding with the baby's name and birth date for an extra personal touch.

And finished it off with a pink binding with a hint of blue to pull it all together.

I haven't seen the recipients since sending this off a few months ago, but I did receive a very nice thank you care, so I trust that Matilda is enjoying her quilt!

Monday, December 1, 2014

do. Good Stitches catch up

Whew, I got a bit behind with everything the past few months, including my do. Good Stitches blocks, so it's time for a little catch up.

First up, September: pinwheel stars using a tutorial our quilter Pam wrote for us.

Next, October (which I may or may not have just finished yesterday...): Garden Fence blocks in aqua and gray with solid navy lattices.

And finally, November was a choose your own adventure month. Brooke asked that we make any block of our choosing in "boy colors" with gray background. She actually asked for prints in boyish colors, but I didn't read closely and was excited to use these orphan blocks I've had laying around for ages, but at least I followed directions for the color scheme.

Friday, August 29, 2014

do. Good Stitches: August 2014

The Bliss Cirlce took July off from making a quilt to let everyone get caught up a bit. This month we dove back in with these patchwork wonky stars assigned by Barb. Instead of doing a rainbow, however, she asked for a night sky color scheme, suggested blacks, grays, blues, indigos, etc. This is my interpretation (and what was available in my scrap bin).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beach bunnies

The other weekend, a few friends and I met up for a short beach trip to the Jersey Shore. I rarely ever go to the beach, but a couple weeks earlier I got it in my head that I MUST HAVE A BATHING SUIT COVERUP, so naturally I made one.

I used some corally-pink lace paired with yellow bias-tape, all from JoAnn, for a fun, summery feel. And I used the Staple Dress pattern, which was just perfect for a project like this. I was afraid the lace would fray a bit, so I used french seams throughout.

For my first Staple Dress, based on my measurements and muslin, I graded the pattern somewhere between a small and a medium. For this one I just cut a straight small and I think the fit is much better. It cinched nicely in the waist and doesn't fall off my shoulders like the original does.

I used pre-made bias tape to finish the neck and sleeves in an attempt to speed the project along (though it still took me an entire day...), and I think it worked well. I really like the pop of color that the yellow adds. Bright pink and yellow is one of my favorite color combinations.

The waist cinching took a bit more thought. The pattern is written for shirring, but that was not going to work with this lacy material, so instead I again used store-bought binding. I measured a piece of double-fold bias tape to be a bit larger than the dress and, beginning at one of the side seams, sewed it on to the dress along both the top and bottom, leaving openings at either end to form a casing. Then I shimmied a 1/2 inch piece of elastic cut to be a hint shorter than my waist measurement into the casing, and stitched the opening closed. I stitched through the elastic in order to secure it and keep it from twisting. And that was it! At first it was really unevenly bunched, but after a wash it spread out.

It actually ended up being a bit chilly on the day we went to the beach, so excluding the short time we spent in the water, I mostly hung out in the coverup. It was SO comfortable. Some random woman sitting next to me even came up and complimented me on that and the socks I was knitting. This project also reminded me that I need to make a few more Staple Dresses. The name of the pattern really is indicative of how much I wear my first one. In fact, I wore the original to the beach because I felt the coverup was a bit too revealing for commuting, just in case we had to make any stops (which we actually did on the way home - at a yarn shop - so good thing I planned ahead).

Both of my Staple Dresses

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baby Gifts, part 2 - The Itty Bitty Geranium Dress

Next up, the ever adorable Geranium dress by made by rae. I used the free pattern she has available for sizes 0-3 month.

I used leftover chambray from the Staple Dress I made last year (which gets a ton of wear and compliments, btw). and lined it with some unknown fabric from stash - pink with yellow polka dots for a fun pop of color.

Photo credit to mom for this idea...
This dress was really fun to make. The instructions were quite clear. My only oops was when I was rushing and accidentally sewed the bodice and skirt together right side to wrong side, so the skirt was inside out!

I just can't believe how tiny it is. I'm a bit nervous it won't fit her at all, but I guess babies are pretty small, right?

I actually really hate buttons, so I almost used snaps for the closure, but the buttons just look so much cuter. So I sucked it up and spent a full hour touching buttons (quite an achievement for me) to finish off the dress. I definitely do not (nor will I ever) have a button stash, so I got these clear flowers from JoAnn. This was my first time doing buttons and it went pretty well. Thankfully my machine has an automatic button-holer, so that was good. But they all still came out different sizes. It takes a bit of finesse to close the dress, but it's doable. Certainly good practice for next time.

I cannot wait to see my niece in this. We're 100% going to be taking a twins photo in our semi-matching dresses and we're both going to look upon it fondly for the rest of our lives!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baby Gifts, part 1 - The Knit Blanket

Nearly a month ago now, I wrote about my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower.  Well, I'm finally getting around to sharing what I made for them and my niece!

First, there was Hugh Manatee, which I've already posted about here.

Next, I used this tutorial from Purlbee to knit a blanket. When I purchased yarn for this project, we didn't yet know the baby's sex, so I just got colors I liked. I knew I wanted a pretty neutral background with pops of color.

I used Spud and Chloe Outer in colors Rhino (main), and from top down: Wave, Sandbox, Soapstone, Leapfrog, and Carbon. It was my first time using Spud and Chloe, but I'd heard great things about it. It did not disappoint! I absolutely loved this yarn. My only complaint, which isn't even really a complaint, is that the skeins are super short so I ended up having to buy A LOT (I think my final count was 13 skeins) over the course of three different trips to the store. And obviously that's mostly a result of my inability to do math and properly figure out how much yarn I actually needed.

I also wasn't very pleased with how the blanket blocked - now it's a bit misshapen - but again that's my fault because I don't have a big enough space. The only cat-free place I can block items is in the bathroom, and it's just not large enough to accommodate a blanket. But you can only really tell when you hold it out. Draped over a chair or a baby, no one will ever even notice it's not quite rectangular.

Otherwise, I'm in love with it! The yarn is super heavy and warm, so I hope it's a cold winter and my niece can cuddle underneath it. Fingers crossed I'll get to spend a lot of time cuddling with her and the blanket, too.

Check back Thursday for one more baby shower gift.