Thursday, February 24, 2011

bag for our beloved babysitter

I made this oversize tote for our babysitter. The EU is trying to ban those ubiquitous plastic shopping bags (which I can't stand), so this is a step in that direction.

Months ago I saw the fabric at IKEA and thought of her. It's a canvassy cotton and there is so much you can do with the colors, but her favorite color is pink, so I went with that for the contrast thread and soft, extra-wide handles (for heavy loads). I hope it's not too long. It turned out longer than I'd planned. Ooops!

The inside is lined in white cotton with a roomy pocket in the same black canvas and, of course, a monogrammed tag.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This was the first quilt I started planning. Only the fabric didn't get here right away, and then when it did, I changed my mind about everything and ordered more of some fabrics while putting away others, and so it got put on hold. Then I started started cutting and sewing, and changed my mind again.

The scraps though are fun to fool around with. A friend of mine is having a baby girl in July and I ordered some City Weekend to make a little baby quilt or changing pad, or maybe both, but it is taking forever to get here. So in the meantime I might end up throwing a little scrap coin quilt together for her.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

take me to the park

And my second one done.

I used a Sherbet Pips charm park and a bunch of polka dots (mostly Bliss), plus some Kona red and aqua and embroidery on white. It's 104 cm x 149 cm (approximately 41 x 59 inches).

I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. There was about a week there where I wasn't sure if I liked the quilt top or not, but once it was finished with the red and aqua border and the back started coming together, I decided the whole thing worked. And I love all the sweet, sweet details. They are the best part of this quilt.

I quilted it in diagonal lines through the charm squares and then a squiggly line through the red border. It was my first attempt at free motion quilting and I found it a little stressful! It didn't turn out perfectly, but it's not too bad.

The binding. Gah! I have so much trouble with the binding. I spend more time picking out stitches than I do putting them in. This is the method I use and her quilts look sooooo much better. Oh well. Hopefully with time.

Except for the snails, I used embroidery patterns by Aneela Hooey, the designer of the fabric, which I bought at her Etsy shop. I don't know how my amateur stitches will hold up over time (and in the wash) but they were fun to do and I think they add a little special something to a simple charm square quilt.

If you're wondering what's with all the pictures (sorry) it's because I won't be keeping this one and I wanted something to remember it by.

Ooops! Almost forgot! The back is the pink polka dots with a few of the gray/white polka dot squares and another pink snail.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I put a red and aqua frame on it and that has helped tame the busyness immeasurably. I like it much better now and never get tired of looking at all the little scenes. There are dogs and snails and little boys and girls in the squares, and tiny little hedgehogs. The fabric is so charming and there is always something new to notice.

The colors, though, are a lot for me, and I don't think I will take on so much red! and pink! and aqua! and gray in one single project again. It is too much for me. Not my style, I guess.

I don't know if you can see it in the picture above, but this quilt is called "Take me to the park" which I've embroidered in red on one little white square.

I can't wait to see this all finished. The back is even sweeter.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

something beautiful

Finishing the quilt for the boys gave me more confidence in my abilities. As I worked on it, there was always, at the back of my mind, a tugging doubt that I might not finish. That I might come to some part of it that proved too difficult and I would abandon it altogether.

But that didn't happen. And as soon as it was done - or even before then - I was already thinking of what I could make next.

I managed to get my hands on some early release Sherbet Pips and I have been putting together a charm square quilt. It is smaller and there is some embroidery.

Much to my astonishment, I enjoy embroidery. (A lot!)

But I'm not so sure about the quilt. I love pieces of it, but when I look at it as a whole, there is just so much going on.

I could give up and put it away, or I could draw on the confidence gained with the Cars and Rockets and persevere, which I think is what I'll do. I will just play around with it a little until I come up with something I can live with.

Although I am enjoying it, it's a little discouraging because part of what I love so much about my newly discovered hobby is the way something beautiful comes out of it. There is this long, slow process, first the idea begins to take shape, then it grows and grows, taking on a life of its own, until it wants out of my head, and then I begin to make it. And little unexpected things come out of it, like this:

And hopefully, when it is finished, it has turned into something beautiful.

(But I guess not everything can turn out as well as one had hoped.)

In the meantime, my husband mentioned he needed a cover for his iPad and I was delighted. I put down my book immediately and ran for some fabric I thought he might like.

I suppose something useful will have to do for now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

cars and rockets

And the stars aligned so it could be finished.

Size: 135 cm square (slightly over 53 inches)
Time it took: about a month
Number of times I had to read the instructions for continuous bias binding: 100
Number of times I scratched my head and wondered if it would actually work: 99
Number of times I inspected the binding I'd attached, realized it looked like crap, but decided to leave it anyway: 1

The cars and rockets and the citron and blue dots are all Birch organic cotton. I ended up throwing in some orange from my small (but rapidly growing) stash to add a little warmth.

The batting is cotton too, and I will never go back to synthetic batting after discovering the joy that is cotton.

The back is a yard of Kona tangerine, pieced with some white, a few squares of robots and rockets, plus few small scraps.

The binding is blue Truck Stop dots.

Except for the shoddy binding, it's not too bad.

At the start, it was meant to be a quilt for my five-year-old, but about halfway through he decided he wanted to share with his little brother and so I made it out to them both. Hopefully they won't notice the mistakes.