More Babies!

I’m at the age where all of my friends are making BABIES!!!! I made another quilt and a second set of hats.

The design is unisex because it was still too early to know the sex, but I have too many project to wait. I’ve had these two color schemes sitting around for just the right project and I think it fits the couple’s style very well. I didn’t except to use the color schemes together but there is no clashing as each is on a different side of the quit.

To finish the quilts I used the tying method with matching colors on the plain pattern side.  I hid the stitches on the gold side that they wouldn’t clash.

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As always Blue was a good boy to model the hats. (He got a treat afterwards.) The first was orange/blue reverse and it was sent along with the quilt. I used the ‘S’ size so the baby will have to wait until next summer to use it. If he/she is anything like the parents the hat will be welcomed for sun protection.

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The second hat is below. I sent this to another friend whose child is under one just because I hadn’t sent her anything in a while. I love to do nice things for people unexpectantly.

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Please ignore my messy sewing room.

Bucket Hat

This pattern by oliver + s was wonderful and easy. I made two hats, one for my niece and one for my nephew all in about an hour and a half. Pinning takes the longest time. I picked up the fish fabric at a local quilt store and paired with fabric I already had for the reversible option. I used quilt squares in the set up shown below. Since these hats were made with an established pattern, I won’t be doing a DIY post this time.

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My dog Blue modeled the hats so that I could show the mothers what I made! I won’t see my niece for a few months, but hopefully the nephew likes his hat.

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Winnie the Poo Baby Quilt

My best friend from college is having a baby! As soon as I heard the news my next question was “What is the theme of the nursery?” and she answered with yellow, green, and Winnie the Poo. This quilt was made back in the fall and finally shipped in December. I started planning as soon as I could.

One of my favorite Winnie the Poo stories is the ‘Little Black Rain Cloud’ episode where Poo pretends to be a rain cloud in order to steal some honey from a tree.  The basic concept is a semi-pixelated tree with a cross stitch Winnie. The second image below shows the type of squares I will need. When picking out fabric I found the most wonderful Winnie the Poo print of the little black raincloud episode, the main colors were yellow and gray. Instead of having a brown tree I decided to match the fabric and found the right shade of gray.

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A few of the images below show how I made the triangular blocks.

  1. Place the two colors right side together and fold in half point to point.
  2. Iron to make a sewing guide.
  3. Sew just to one side of the crease.
  4. Cut about 1/4 from the seam on the opposite side of the crease.
  5. Iron flat.

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To make the other squares the process is similar; iron the fabric to create guides and sew to the opposite side of the crease. Then, cut off excess fabric and iron flat.

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A few different blocks are shown below. A lot more planning went into the squares than usual as I wanted all the Winnie the Poo fabric to lay the same way, upright in reference to the tree.

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After all the squares were made it was time to layout the design and see where I made mistakes! Once again, all the Winnie the Poo fabric was to lay upright. The main issue I found was that I didn’t cut enough solid blocks of green, gray and white. I missed about 3-7 blocks of each color. This is an easy fix as all I had to do was cut more.

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Here are some images of the quilt top laid out. I think these photos do a great job of illustrating the small size of my workroom.

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What is missing? Winnie the Poo!  I choose where I wanted Winnie to be placed which was over three vertical squares. The squares were sewn together which left me with the hard part, the cross stitch.

1. I found the image on the internet and printed it out. I then traced over all the solid lines on a separate paper.

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2. I traced over my original with a dark permanent marker so that the lines would be visible.

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3. In order to keep the cross-stitch bold and bright, I affixes a solid white piece of fabric behind the three verticle squares. This was to stiffen up the fabric and add a white background so that when cross stitching I had more meat to hold onto.

Now, how do I get this image onto fabric?

4. Initially I held the image behind the fabric and then tried to hold it up to the window to be able to trace. But I’m smarter than that. I have lights! The first image shows the headlamp on my leg so I could trace the image onto the fabric. The second image shows what I was able to see using this method. The light had to be moved around a few times. The third image shows the tracing complete.

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Then begins the arduous journey that is cross stitch.

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Back to the sewing! I always sew columns first. Here they are completed and laid out in order:

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Half way done and then complete!

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Almost done . . . . The front is laid on the batting which is laid on the back. I used the Winnie the Poo print on the back.  Since this was a baby quilt I used 3 layers of batting. Then pin it everywhere!

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Blue is helping me cut the binding. I decided to go with gray across the top and bottom since most of those blocks were green and green down the sides since the gray trunk ran down the middle of the quilt. It turned out to provide great contrast. Iron the binding!

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Always make sure to have wine in hand when pinning, it makes the process go smoother. Here, I’m having a Chardonnay as it was still quite warm outside.

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Me with the final product! I really like how it turned out. This is easily my best quilt to date and the one of which I’m most proud. The soon-to-be parents LOVED the quilt when it arrived and said “we might share it with the baby too.”

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Dog Baby Blanket: How to Plan a Pixel Quilt

The main type of quilt that I’ve been doing is the pixelated design. You can see my first one here: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-the-play-quilt-baby-shower-post-2/ which was for my niece. I did another for my best friend and I will post it soon. The one below is for another friend who is about to pop!  They decided not to find out the sex of their baby so I needed to make a gender neutral blanket. I found this fabric square pack and thought it would be perfect.  Another factor is that I cannot begin to imagine their room design colors because we’re not that close, so I will make a smaller blanket for playtime or other uses.

But what to design?

I’ll take you through my design process.

1. Set out the squares and think. The batman symbol you see started if for a wedding quilt for another set of friends, I have a completed design on another paper. I use graphing paper as my grid. You can print some off here: http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com/ or buy in packs at the store. My boyfriend and I both have enough laying around because we’re young engineers and still have some left from college.

Generally I start with a design first, and then go buy fabric, however with fabric in hand I’ll do the reverse.

I do not do fully pixelated designs, I have 7 different block options that I use. To keep it simple I stick to these 7 so that I do not have anything to complex. I had a few extra block options when I made my niece’s quilt, but since then I use the KISS principle.

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2. Sketch. I decided to keep the dog theme and laid out three designs. I liked the dog the best but he was too large. If I am doing 4 by 4 squares from approx. 18 by 22 inch quilt square then I can only do 20 blocks total of a given pattern/color. Any one color must be less than 20 blocks.

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3. I drew a smaller dog and it should work.

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4. Then plan your colors!

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5. Time to cut the 4by4 inch squares.

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6. Layout the design on the floor/table before sewing to ensure you designed correctly and do not mess up when sewing. All blocks are facing the same directions unlike my baby play-quilts: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/simple-baby-play-quilts/  In addition, the eyes were sewn on the blocks before they were added to the layout, to sew the eyes on I used a narrow zigzag stitch over the exposed edge of the fabric.

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7. Sew! I generally sew columns first and then sew those together. You can do rows first, it shouldn’t matter.  See how much it shrinks from the layout once you have seam allowances?

This is an important consideration in the design. If I have 4 inch squares with 1/4 inch seams then I really have 3.5 inch squares.  The total finished quilt will be 6 by 9 squares or a 21 by 31 inch quilt. Pretty small.

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8. Iron all the time. After you sew a column, iron, after you make a square, iron. Ironing keeps every thing flat and allows for less screw ups as you’re sewing it together.

9. Make Mistakes! Can you see my mistake below?

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The bottom of the cheeks should be a diagonal square with the orange fabric and the background fabric. I decided not to correct it.

10. Sew the quilt together with the back and front facing each other and the batting attached to one side. Leave 4-5 inches open so you can turn it right side out.

11. Then sew a border around the outside of the quilt, giving approx. 1/4 seam.

Shown below is not my own mistake but my sewing machine.  I got my sewing machine from my mother’s old job. She used to repair sewing machines and this one was left for 8 years without being picked up.  Her boss wanted to get rid of a number of sewing machines that had been left so my mother donated a bunch to the girl scouts and gave me and a sister our own!

The issue below happens when you don’t have enough tension. Either the thread will slip out of the bobbin or it will slip out of the eye hook. Sometimes I just adjust the tension a little and it will go away. Other times there is no apparent cause and I will walk away, come back and rethread the machine and then it’s fine. I guess it just got tired. My machine is quite old.

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12. Quilt!  The finished product is shown below. I wanted to do another tie quilt, bit I thought that instead I would sew around the edge of the dog. I like the affect it has on the reverse side. The little dots you see is my thread sealer that I use on the ends of all my exposed seams; it dries clear.

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Lessons: As I said before generally I make the design then buy the fabric. As you can see above the dog ears blend into the background fabric, these are things you have to watch for and figure out before creating your design.

Simple Baby Play Quilts

When I was younger my sisters and I all had a 3 by 3 ft quilt that we would use to play with baby dolls, have tea parties on and any number of other uses. I recently got some baby fabric on sale and with all the people I know with young children I wanted to make a few blankets so that I will always be prepared for baby showers and birthdays.

1. Cut 4 by 4 inch squares, the fabric are little bears and a farm pattern, I matched them up with other scrap fabric I had bought on sale.

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2. Sew into 2 by 2 blocks. Either make all the fabric face the same orientation or ensure it’s semi random. All matching looks great, and all of them misaligned looks cute, but if most of them were one way and only a few were misaligned it would look like poor workmanship.

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3. Sew in 2-1/2 inch strips between the squares.

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4. Sew the 3 columns together again separated by 2-1/2 inch wide strips.

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5. Sew front and back sides facing together with batting. Leave a 4-5 inch gap in the seam so you can turn the blanket out the right way.

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6. Sew around the outside edge to give a border.

7. Make mistakes! In order to reverse the blanket you have to leave an unsewn slip, this would have been sewn together with the border.  However while I was sewing the border part of my unsewn edge slipped out! So I had to take out the stitching and sew again, but more carefully.

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8. Quilt. Instead of making this a tie quilt (like ours were growing up), I decided to sew little squares into the intersecting lines. Since the 2 by 2 squares are a bit misaligned the sewn in squares weren’t perfect, but I think it serves just fine for a blanket that is sure to see a lot of wear and tear.

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You may be able to see in the picture above, my dog Blue is waiting for me to hide his toy. I make him hide in our bedroom and then I go hide his toy in the house and he will find it. Provides mental stimulation and keeps him active during these cold winter months.

Pull and Go: Baby Play Blanket DIY

I’m an Aunt and my boyfriend is an Uncle, so technically I’m an aunt twice over.  I kept seeing this draw string play blanket bag on pinterest and word press. Naturally I wanted to make my own. First I did google images research to get a feel for the idea of the blanket, then I bought some NY Giants fabric because the parents are HUGE sports fans and then I set to work.

ALWAYS save your jeans. You can repurpose the zippers and fabric into durable strengtheners either hidden or exposed. I decided to make the base of the blanket from jeans so that it can be laid anywhere to play.  I cut apart two pairs of jeans, in hind sight I only needed one for the base. But, I used alternating light and dark colors to add some more style.

Aside: When choosing your wine or mixed drink along with your project make sure to choose colors that won’t be a big deal if you spill. Tuesday’s choice was merlot!

Second aside: I am an engineer by trade, I will try not to use too many geometry/engineering terms just in case anyone actually reads my blog.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pairs of old jeans
  • batting
  • 1-1/2yards of fabric (or just sew a bunch of old fabric together)
  • normal sewing supplies like thread and scissors and a sewing machine.

Step 1. Cut the seams out of your jeans.

Step 2. Cut jeans into straight columns.

Step 3. Sew jeans together. Note: I used a denim needle for this project.

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Step 4. Make your pattern.  Draw a circle, with a makeshift compass. Lay your jeans out on the table. Get a piece of yarn that is half the length of the circle you want, i.e. the radius. Pin the end of the string/yarn to the center of the fabric. Tie a marker to the other end. Then slowly draw a circle making sure to keep the yarn consistently taught. Obviously, draw on the BACKSIDE of the jean fabric square.

Step 5. Cut the jean circle.  After I cut I noticed that my circle had a chunk missing (you can sort of see it up top in the second image) because I had sewn the jeans a bit funky. To fix it I attached another jean section and completed the circle, you can see my mistake in the first picture of the next step.

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Step 6. Cut your top fabric to match the circle. I cut with a 1 inch over lap to allow for mistakes.  You can either just lay the jean circle on top as a template, or fold the jean circle in half and use a fold in the fabric to match up.

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Step 7. The loops.  Cut rectangles from jean fabric (for strength) and the top fabric (for color), sew the fabrics right sides together and invert. Then iron flat.  Mine were done without measuring, but I would say they’re about 3 inches by 6 inches with 1/4 inch seams.

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Step 8. Batting. Layout and cut your batting. I used 2 layers of batting so that it’s has a big more cushion. I also used batting remnants, this is a really good project to use a lot of your sewing stash.

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Step 9. Fold and pin.  Fold in your top and bottom layers so that they match, then pin together.

Step 10. Lay out your loops evenly around the blanket. I ended up with 12 total loops. This is probably a good number. Fold them in half so that the jean fabric is inside and pin into your circle.

Step 11. Sew!  I did two seams around the circle and then 4 wavy lines through the fabric to keep the batting in place. You can see the wavy seams in picture on the next step.

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Step 12. The drawstring. So . . . . . .the stores around me do not sell macramé cord that is thick, at all. My original plan was for macramé style rope drawstring with padded shoulder straps. Back to the drawing board!!!  I cut thin strips of jean fabric, about 1-inch in width and braided them together, sewing on more strips when length was needed. Since these will be hidden don’t worry about any seams showing or the braid being too perfect. Just make sure none of your jean strips are too thin, that is where tension might break the strap after years of use.

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Step 13. Find the length of your braid needed for a strap by laying it around the circle. You want it to be within 3-4 inches larger than the circle circumference.

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Step 14. Make your casing. You’re going to have a draw string sausage!  I had three lengths of 3-1/2 inch thick top fabric sewn together then sewn down the length and inverted to make the outer portion of the strap.  Next, using a safety pin as an anchor pull the jean braid through your casing. This is shown finished in the image below.

Step 15.  Make it a no-twist strap.  At approx. 6-8 inches apart I put a 1-inch horizontal seam to attach the jean braid to the casing. This way the casing won’t bunch up on the braid or twist around. There is a ‘flat’ side to the braid, and you also have your casing seam. I made sure that my casing seam was along the same flat side of the braid so that there was no internal braid twisting as part of the strap. This is really hard to put into words, I hope this is clear. If not, you can always comment! (Or just go with my original plan to use macramé cord)

Step 16. Sew the ends of your strap together. First, thread the strap through your blanket loops. Then made sure that your strap is not twisted within the loops. Pull back the casing a few inches and sew the braid ends together.  Your braid will be 2-3 inches shorter than your casing, do nut cut ahead of time, create the length difference with your seam.  You can see my seam location below, I have 3 inches of excess on each side. The seam will be hidden inside the casing, do not worry about ugliness, but do pass 3-4 times for strength of steam. Cut off the excess leaving at least 1/4 inch beyond the seam, again for strength.  Finally, fold under your casing ends to hide the edge of the fabric, tuck one side of the casing into the other and then sew a visible seam passing at least twice.

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Step 17. Marvel at your creation. Shown below are front and back images.

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Step 18. Test the blanket!  Shown below are pretend toys on the blanket. The jean-side is meant to be down during play, but you also want the jean-side to be inside when you pack up and go so that everyone can see your beautiful top fabric.

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To go, pull the straps from opposite side of the circle until it forms a bag with your toys inside. This is the perfect length to throw over your shoulder so that it sits are your hip or to put over the handle of your baby stroller.

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Baby Shower (Parent Post)

I have a new Niece coming!  Not only do I have to make my sister AWESOME gifts I’m in charge of the baby shower games.  This post serves to collect all the links together.  Below are all the gifts I made her.  The dresser was an antique but I put new knobs on it.  The package on top of the dresser is all of the rest of the fabric so that my sister can continue to match things in her room.

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Baby Play Blanket:  https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-the-play-quilt-baby-shower-post-2/

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Dresser Runner: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-the-dresser-runner-baby-shower-post-3/

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Matching Letters for the Baby Room: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-matching-letters-baby-shower-post-4/

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Triangle Flag Banner Decoration: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-triangle-flag-banner-decoration-from-quilt-leftovers-baby-shower-post-5/

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In addition, I was in charge of the baby shower games: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-baby-shower-games-baby-shower-post-6/

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The whole project has encouraged me to make another baby play quilt for my nephew in law!  I’m thinking, a dragon!  It has also taught me a lot about baby showers and quilting.