Monday, March 14, 2011


My youngest son recently received his first invitation to a birthday party.

What better gift than a soft, handmade mouse for a little girl who's turning three?

Oh yes, it was the perfect excuse to make another of these. The pattern is from "Hand-Stitched Felt" by Kata Golda and is very easy to follow. I've probably made dozens of these by now.

I don't follow her instructions exactly. I do not cut out the head and body separately, because sewing the whole thing up as one piece is much faster. It also looks much neater and I don't have to put a collar on the clothes to hide the unsightly seam in the poor gal's neck.

I also cheat a little and stitch up the clothes using my machine. Lila got a little button in back, too.

I made a little gift bag for the birthday girl as well. I started doing these when I gave away the Take Me to the Park quilt and needed a nice way to protect it during shipping, but didn't want to just stick it in some plastic (I hate plastic). And now of course, I can't stop making little bags out of muslin and free motion stitching people's names on them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

old-fashioned charm

This is the first quilt I ever started. I put it aside for awhile to work on other, more exciting projects. And when I came back to it I was struck by what my idea of a quilt was before I started reading modern quilting blogs.

I started sometime in November and finished yesterday. I had machine quilted it all in a cross-hatch, but then ripped out all the stitches and hand quilted it all over again using Perle cotton in five or six different colors. Each nine-patch block is quilted differently.

The sashing and backing are just a plain natural muslin and the binding is pieced together from scraps because I had so many and knew I'd never use them.

I had no idea how to calculate how much fabric I'd need when I bought it and ended up with way too much. Which also explains why the quilt turned out so much bigger than I'd planned. At 130 x 215 cm (51 x 85 inches), it's a good twin size - pretty ambitious for a first quilt!

Until the binding was on, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I never would have finished if not for my husband. He said he liked how it looks so vintage, and now that it's done, I see what he means. It does have an old-fashioned charm to it. And boy is it warm! Polyester batting is not the softest stuff, or the easiest to work with, but it will keep your toes toasty.

Although, if you look close enough, it looks a lot like a clumsy Home Ec project. I'd probably get a C+ though, for effort.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This is an old picture. The top is actually done, but I haven't taken any pictures, although it is all laid out on top of a leftover bit of batting I had on hand, which miraculously turned out to be a perfect fit without any planning.

I started this on a whim, using scraps. The pink was left over from my last quilt and the little coins of color are bits from another work in progress that I am gradually losing interest in. I saw this coin quilt and decided I needed to make one too.

It was the fastest quilt top to put together. I usually only have twenty to thirty minutes about once or twice from Mon-Fri to spend in my sewing room, and on weekends I can maybe get a few hours in if the conditions are right, but this came together in almost no time at all. And when I pressed the seams and flipped it over it just kept looking sweeter and sweeter.

But then I but couldn't decide how to do the back. I had a bunch of ideas but they were all awful and I kept changing my mind. I even cut and started sewing a couple before coming to my senses.

Then today, as I sat working right around lunchtime, the mailman rang the bell and told me I had customs duties to pay. Two packages of fabric from the States! Inside were a bunch of yards I'd nearly forgotten I'd ordered and lo and behold, there was a yard of a perfect pale yellow (Kona maize) that looked so sweet. I lay it on top and immediately saw that it was a perfect fit, color, size and all. No piecing! I had also, though I don't know why, ordered a yard of pretty green cotton with tiny aqua dots. That will probably end up getting cut up into strips for binding.

So unless I can think of a better name, this will be a Serendipity quilt. It's going to a friend who is elatedly expecting her third child and has been put on bed rest. The baby's fine, but she is bored to tears. Bet you can't guess, based solely on my quilt, if it's a boy or a girl.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

for the iPad

I made this for my husband's iPad awhile ago, but never got a chance to take any pictures because he always keeps it in his briefcase and takes it to work with him.

When I showed him what I had, he picked out this fat quarter of Riley Blake fabric, and I lined it with some red felt left over from Christmas crafts, then slapped on some velcro and it was done in no time at all. I'm getting much faster, but I still can't stitch a perfectly straight line!

I've been putting customized tags on everything lately after reading this book. She has you stitch little felt tags for each of the projects and I really like the way a tag finishes off a handmade item. I gave my husband a little star, which he said was too "cicciotto" (chubby). I told him to live with it.