Friday, November 21, 2014

New baby sweater

Before Ethan was born, I started knitting a baby sweater for him. I selected the Cascade pattern and Nashua Handknits Natural Focus Ecologie Cotton. It turned out so beautifully! Like the hats, I didn't bother to do a gauge swatch. I followed the instructions for the 6 month sweater, figuring that even if it turned out small it would at some point fit my baby.

I think my gauge was off or the sweater turned out small for some other reason. It's fitting Ethan just perfectly now, when he is nearing three months and just over 12lbs. I'll try to squeeze him into it a few more times before he grows out of it.

I like this sweater in a washable cotton, but I think it would block better and the leaves would lay flatter with a wool yarn. Next time I'll do a gauge swatch and use wool yarn.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Duff beer

Now I can make any beer a Duff beer!

This has been in the works for at least a year. I tried to do this in the round with three-stranded fair isle, but that just turned into a very large knot of yarn in a hurry. I finally settled on intarsia to make the Duff logo. It was quite fiddly, there was a seam to sew and many ends to weave in. I love how it looks now that it's blocked, though! I used Dale of Norway baby yarn for this project. It used approximately 2% of 4 skeins of yarn, so I could (and I may) make a whole set of these.

I put the pattern on Ravelry here. Cheers!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Published! Economy block place mats + trivets

The Christmas edition of Fat Quarterly just came out, and it includes a pattern by me! I'm thrilled to have contributed to a publication. I designed a set of place mats and trivets based on the (very popular right now) economy block. I used fat eighths from the Retro Bake fabric line and assorted Kona cottons. I think alternating prints and solids makes these cute prints really pop.


I did free motion quilting on some sections of the place mats. I'm just starting to use free motion quilting in projects (after lots and lots of practice), so it was really nice working on a small-scale project like this. I machine-stitched the binding with the help of half a bottle of Elmers school glue and I'm very pleased with the result. Glue basting is the way to go (for me)!

For quilting the trivets I stitched-in-the-ditch - there were too many layers of batting for me to do free motion quilting successfully. These are really fluffy and insulating.

A big thanks to my husband for staging and editing these photographs! I could not have done it so well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A hat-shaped gauge swatch

Last week I knit two Polpo hats for Isaac.

Really, I knit a hat-shaped gauge swatch and then I knit a hat for Isaac. I had intended for the hat on the left to fit Isaac. I knit the 19" size using US7mm needles and Malabrigo Rios yarn, but it is a tiny bit tight and about an inch too short. I figured why do a gauge swatch - I have plenty of yarn, I have two different-sized kids so the hat will (eventually) fit one or both of them, and with the other hats in the book my gauge has been spot-on. This time my gauge was off, probably because I used a worsted yarn instead of an aran yarn.

Isaac tried on the first hat and demanded a new one immediately after I declared it too small. I knit the pattern for a 21" hat with an extra inch in length and it fits well. He wore it to the bus stop all last week, when we had leaves instead of snow on the ground. He really likes the fluffy bit on top, and so do I - it is much cuter than a pom-pom.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another simple shirt

The fall Kids Clothes Week was a two weeks ago. I had intended to finish a bunch of garments for both kiddos but I managed to finish only one simple shirt, another Simplicity 2907.

This one is size 4T with an extra inch of length. I used snaps instead of buttons this time. It took me 4x longer to find the snaps and snapsetter than it did to install the snaps - I love snaps!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Candy corn projects

I used to love candy corn. I would eat multiple bags of candy corn during the month of October. In the last few years I have lost some of my sweet tooth, and now I have a more common reaction to candy corn - just thinking about it makes my teeth hurt.

I still like the idea of candy corn, and I try a few pieces every year. And I love Halloween. This year I'm not making any elaborate Halloween costumes (Isaac wants to be Spiderman, available at Target for $14.99), so I've been working on a couple other Halloween projects. The first I finished is a candy corn hat for Ethan.

I used Woolly Wormhead's Rocketeer pattern, with size US7 needles and Cascade 220 yarn. I worked the pattern for a 16" head circumference, making 2 extra short rows in each section. He has a 15" head now, and this fits perfectly. To used intarsia to make the candy corn colors. 10 stitches are yellow, 14 are orange and 10 are white.

The second project I finished is a set of trivets with some Halloween fabric scraps (including a candy corn print!) that I've had in my stash for years. The pattern is from the book Patchwork, Please! It's a paper-piecing pattern and it worked out just perfect for using up the little scraps of fabric I had. I want to try this pattern again with fussy-cut prints in the center.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! Don't eat too much candy corn ;)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Divided basket

I find myself toting a lot of baby stuff around lately. I try to be a minimalist, but babies seem to need so many things. I made a divided basket (pattern from Noodlehead here) to hold all of Ethan's diaper changing supplies.

Not only does it corral all the diapers, wipes, creams, etc in one place, but it lets me tote everything around with one hand. This is so convenient. We spend most of the day on the ground floor and Ethan sleeps in our second floor bedroom at night, so we have two different diaper changing areas. Instead of maintaining separate stacks of wipes and diapers in each changing area, I just bring the basket upstairs and downstairs with me. There's room in the basket to throw an extra outfit and swaddle in for nights, too. I'm so glad I made this!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Baby kimonos

These adorable kimonos are from Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book. They are so quick! And also so teeny! Here's Ethan in a kimono a few weeks ago, when he was around 8 lbs. The kimono fit him with a couple inches of positive ease.

Here's Ethan in a kimono now, when he's 10.5 lbs and working on growing a second chin. He won't be wearing these kimonos for much longer!

Even though they don't fit for long, these kimonos are well worth the effort. They took me less than an hour to make, and I think they are really easy to put on babies - there are no tight sleeves or cuffs for tiny fingers to get stuck in.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finish it up Friday: ticker tape pillow

A small finish this week- a quilted ticker tape pillow for our sofa. Inspired by Crazy Mom Quilts' ticker tape tutorial.

I used a gluestick to glue all the scraps in place, then I straight-line quilted the pillow front. The scraps started to fray immediately, so I quilted close to the edge of each little scrap. The fraying has slowed down considerably now.

It felt good to use up little scraps in this project, but now my impulse to save scraps is even stronger. I find myself saving teeny bits of fabric that weeks ago I would have trashed without hesitation. ::sigh::

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts finish it up Friday

Monday, October 6, 2014

I scream, you scream...

...we all scream for ice cream!

Isaac is thrilled that he and his brother have matching shirts. I think he'll realize soon that matching shirts are just a ploy to get him to wear a handmade shirt (with buttons and a collar, and without superheros), and then he'll be mad at me. But for as long as it lasts I'll be taking advantage of the fact that he wants to match his little brother.

I made another Simplicity 2907 shirt for big brother, size 4T. He is turning 4 soon and this shirt is perfect width-wise but I think I'll add an inch or more of length in the next shirt. Little brother's shirt is just a bit of applique with satin stitch around the edges. The fabric is an old Riley Blake print that I've had in my stash for a while.

You can't see it in these pictures, but these are the best buttonholes I have ever made. Up until now I've used the basic Bernina #3 buttonhole foot, which lets you make buttonholes but it does not make great button holes. The buttonholes looked handmade, and not in a good way. Then I bought buttonhole foot with a slide, like this one but without the spring or the brand name, and with a $7 price tag. Holy smokes! It is amazing. My buttonholes look 600% better than before. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Did you know this is a big year for Moomin? It's the 100th anniversary of Moomin's creator, Tove Jannson. To celebrate, the American Swedish Institute has a Moomin exhibit on display. Isaac was happy to see the exhibit and pose with Moomin!

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Sublime Stitching recently released a bunch of Moomin patterns. I ordered one right away. I stitched a Moomin on Isaac's plain Poang IKEA chair. It wasn't too difficult to embroider. I used 4 strands of DMC embroidery floss. It took some practice to get used to not pulling the needle through to the back side of the fabric - I had to take little bites of fabric with the needle, being careful not to catch the foam inside the headrest.

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The only trouble I had with this project was transferring the pattern to the chair. The cover is made of 100% cotton - I checked the tag - so I had my iron set to the highest setting. I ironed the transfer for about 7 seconds, and when I pulled the iron away it had scorched the fabric. Ugh! This is the first time I have scorched a project with my iron. Luckily, I was able to use hydrogen peroxide, cold water, and a little bit of soap to remove the scorch marks. No trace of them now!

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Teapot mini quilt

Last week I successfully finished a paper piecing project. It's the teapot from Sew Ichigo's Kitchen Classics pattern, and it's a replacement for the failed paper piecing project I posted about last month.

I'm much happier with this finished mini than I was with the last one (before I washed it), so perhaps it's a good thing I ruined the previous one. I used a batik for the background, and assorted scraps from my stash for the teapot. The binding is a Mona Luna print that coordinates nicely with the flower print. I used matchstick quilting for the first time, and I love how it turned out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MMQG mystery quilt - catching up

Way back in January, the Minneapolis Modern Quilt guild started a mystery quilt-a-long. My talented friend Kristin is designing the mystery quilt and posting instructions each month. I ordered my background fabric, Robert Kaufmann quilter's linen in stone, way back in January but that's as far as I got for a long, long time.

Earlier this summer I pulled fabric from my stash for the quilt - olive greens, pinks, aquas and chartreuse. In June and July I cut all the pieces out for months 1-7. In August I finally started piecing the blocks.


I have a LOT of olive and chartreuse scraps in my stash!

For month 4, I didn't have big enough olive scraps, so aqua was the dominant color.

I bought a yard of this pink, olive and chartreuse fabric years ago because it was on sale and I loved it. I used it for a stuffed toy but had trouble incorporating it into quilts... until now.

These little windmill blocks are super cute and not that difficult! I want to make a lot more of these. The most time consuming part is cutting all the pieces (with templates). About halfway through I was ready to research die-cutting options... I've been eyeing the Accuquilts at JoAnn's for a while.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hot air balloons

This spring I started work on a gender-neutral baby quilt for a friend. I decided on a quilt with a few hot air balloons and a lot of sky. There are not a lot of patterns out there for hot air balloons, and most of them are really intricate paper piecing patterns. I am not that great at paper piecing. so I opted for the simplest paper piecing pattern I could find.

I printed out the pattern and then enlarged it a few times. I have two tiny balloons, two medium balloons and one big balloon. I got to use up some pretty small scraps for these balloons. It's always nice to see the scraps I've been
hoardingcarefully saving be put to use!


I quilted this with a serpentine stitch and Aurafil thread.

The quilt went to its new home earlier this summer.

Friday, September 19, 2014

One month

We've spent one month with this little guy already!

Ethan arrived a little early but we are both healthy and doing well now. He's a pretty chill baby, loves to snuggle, and is sleeping through most of the night. We're feeling very fortunate to have an(other) easy baby (so far). I'm taking advantage of this while it lasts - yesterday Ethan accompanied me to a quilt guild meeting with zero fussing.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Paper piecing and a big fail

I recently tackled a complicated paper piecing project. It's from a cute pattern by Sew Ichigo called "Kitchen Classics". It was fussy, but not nearly as difficult as I expected. I finished the piecing in a few hours. Here's a picture of how it looked after I quilted it:

Pretty nice, right? I was really happy with it, minus a couple small stains from the Elmer's school glue I used while piecing. I decided to wash the quilt to remove the marks. Here's where things went awry.

know that I prewashed all of this fabric before I started the project. When I handwashed the finished quilt in the bathroom sink the blue Kona fabric bled. A lot. I tried soaking the quilt in an attempt to remove the backstaining, or at least get the blue to backstain everything evenly, but no luck. I tried a weak bleach solution to remove the backstaining and just succeeded in bleaching the blue fabric. Then I soaked everything in a weak bleach solution in a last-ditch effort to even out the staining and fading. It was a total fail. Ugh!

I should've taken a picture of the fail, but it just made me too mad. I threw it in the trash right away. Today is garbage day and I just heard the garbage truck swing by and pick it up. Sigh.

I intend to make this pattern again, but probably not with a white background. And definitely not with the blue fabric. The blue fabric went to the dump today as well. Good riddance!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Embroidery project

I'm a day late with the WIP Wednesday post, and a year late with the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club... but better late than never, right?

I joined the Summer Stitching Club last year and then promptly forgot about it. Sigh. I'm happy to be working on the project this week though! My beloved sewing machine is (unexpectedly) in need of a tune-up. While I wait for its return I dug out the Summer Stitching Club pattern and floss, and bought some lovely pin dot and American Made Brand fabrics at PixieSpit's local shopping day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WIP Wednesday: I-spy baby quilt

Lisa at FreshStash always has the most adorable bundles of fabrics and a great selection of novelty prints. She recently started selling packs of 150 3" squares - perfect for I-spy quilts! They were too adorable for me to pass up. I bought a pack and added to it from my own stash of novelty and solid fabrics. I got a little carried away and ended up with 260 squares!

I have enough squares to make 2 baby quilts. Each one will have a 10 square x 13 square (25" x 32.5") I-spy center section. For this first quilt I added a 1" semi-solid border and a 5" neutral print border. I have plans for an orange and aqua binding.

I used a new (to me) basting technique to make the quilt sandwich. I used #8 pearl cotton to baste the quilt using this method. Here's the whole quilt top:


A close-up of the front:

And the back:

This method takes just slightly longer than pin-basting (for me) but I like this so much better - I just clip the threads as I quilt a section, which is a lot faster than unclipping safety pins. Plus, every time I pin-baste I think I lose about 10% of my safety pins and that gets expensive. I now only have enough safety pins left to baste one baby quilt at a time. I've used spray-baste for a couple quilts recently and I liked it, but this method is way cheaper than spray baste, too. I think this will be my new default basting method from now on!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Drawstring shoe bag

One of the very first things I remember sewing, with the help of my grandma, is a drawstring shoe bag for my dad for Father's Day. I remember being so happy to sew with my grandma, and I was so incredibly proud of it when it was done. I remember my dad using it a lot when he traveled.

The bag wasn't fancy, I think it was a vellux-like material that wouldn't fray with a shoestring for a drawstring. I've been meaning to make a couple drawstring shoe bags for myself and my husband for a long time - they are much classier than packing your shoes in a plastic grocery bag!

I was motivated to finally make another bag when I saw this fantastic drawstring shoe bag tutorial by The Purl Bee. The construction is really clever - there are no exposed raw edges!


Isaac picked out the fabric and drawstring, and he even helped sew a few of the seams. He's probably too young to remember doing this later, but he was happy to help and very happy to have made something for Dad. He was so anxious to show Dad his present that he gave it to him Saturday night!


We used a plain chambray rather than a fancy double-sided plaid because I wanted to embroider the bag with a design from the Sublime Stitching Camp Out embroidery pattern.


I used the "away knot" instructions from Penguin and Fish to keep the ends of the embroidery floss in place. So far, so good! The back looks very neat and it doesn't look like the ends are going anywhere.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mini cat quilt

I knew back in December, as soon as it was posted over at Oh Fransson, that I wanted to make a Cat Quilt. It is so darn cute! I don't have enough scraps to make 25 uniquely colored cats, but I do have more than enough cats to make a wall hanging / doll quilt. So I did just that.

The finished size is 12" x 12". The vertical sashing between cats is 1.5" (cut size) and the horizontal sashing is 1" (cut size). The vertical borders are 1.75" (cut) and horizontal borders are 1" (cut). I used 2" strips for the binding, the skinniest binding I've ever done. The background is scraps of Quilters Linen, which I wish I had bought a lot more of - it's such a nice background fabric!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dopp kit

Last weekend we took our (very early) summer vacation. The week before we left I made Isaac a little dopp kit to hold his toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. He choose the fabric and zipper: a Japanese linen blend for the outside and a large parka zipper. I chose coordinating fabrics and the pattern - the Zipper Pencil Case from Craft Passion.

I made a couple modifications, eliminating the tapering at the top of the bag and making only one gusset. Although the pattern is originally intended to be a pencil case, with the wider top it's the perfect size for toddler toiletries. Having one gusset keeps one side secure while giving you room to rummage around on the other side. With two gussets the bag wouldn't open nearly as wide.

Although I'm getting better at adding piping, I'm still not great and the seams each took a few attempts. It's worth it though - the bag wouldn't look nearly as nice without piping. Despite some fussing with the piping this bag only took an afternoon to make. I highly recommend it!

I used one layer of batting and two layers of medium-weight interfacing for everything except the gusset. If I make this again, I would use heavy weight interfacing so the bag holds its shape better. The parka zipper worked out great - easy for little hands to open and close.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Giveaway Day! Win a quilt pattern!

Giveaway Day

Today is Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I'm participating by giving away a copy of my updated Macro Plaid Quilt Pattern.

To enter, leave a comment below by May 16th. I'll choose a random winner by May 18th and send them the PDF pattern via email by May 18th.

Need a comment prompt? Let me know what your favorite fabric pattern/design is. For me, it's a toss up between plaid and paisley. Good luck!

Update: the winner is Cathy, who likes geometric prints. Check your inbox for the PDF pattern, Cathy!

Pattern update - plaid quilt in two sizes!

I've updated my Baby Plaid Quilt Pattern - it now includes instructions for two sizes! The original size is a baby quilt (36" x 50") and the added size is a throw quilt (50" x 64").

The updated pattern is for sale at Etsy and Craftsy. For those who purchased the baby quilt pattern, I'll be sending you an updated copy of the pattern this week.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New plaid quilt

I was recently commissioned to make a larger size of my Baby Plaid Quilt. I know I say this a lot here, but I'm really pleased with this quilt!


The finished size is 60" x 80", just big enough to cover a queen-size mattress with no drape. I did straight line quilting about 1.5" apart in the background, and straight lines following stripes.

The tricky thing about this quilt was getting it to be exactly 60" x 80". I did some math on previous projects and found that my quilts usually shrink about 3% after washing. I rounded up and made this quilt top a few inches bigger than necessary - 64" x 86". I spray basted and quilted the layers, then I trimmed just the extra batting and backing from the quilt - it still measured 64" x 86". I straight-stitched very close to the edge of the quilt and then I machine washed and dried it to make sure it did all its shrinking before I cut it to size. This quilt actually shrunk less than 3%, so I had plenty of fabric to spare. I squared up the quilt and trimmed it to 60" x 80".

I used Kona solids exclusively. The background is Butter, the stripes are Emerald, Asparagus and Berry. Where the stripes intersect I used Glacier, Laurel, Hibiscus, Periwinkle, Amethyst, and Kale. The binding is in Berry. The thread is cream-colored Gutermann cotton.

The background is mostly Kona Emerald, with a strip of improv piecing using leftovers from the front of the quilt.

Ready to ship!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

KCW: Days six and seven

For Kid's Clothes Week day six, I put the facing on the Oliver + S Sleepover Pajama top.

For day seven, I practiced attaching snaps and successfully attached 4 snaps to the pajama top!

This is the first time I've used snaps in a project. I used size 16 pearl snaps and the SnapSetter tool, and it works great!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

KCW: Day five

For Kid's Clothes Week day five, I worked on the Oliver + S Sleepover Pajama top. Everything except the facing is done!

Well, everything except the facing and the pockets. I decided this didn't need pockets after all. Getting this far on the top took a little over an hour.

Friday, April 11, 2014

KCW: Day four

For Kid's Clothes Week day four, I finished up a pair of Oliver+S Sleepover Pajama pants.

Well, everything except for the elastic waist is finished - I'll wait until Isaac is closer to size 4T to finish the elastic. Right now he's wearing a set of 2T Sleepover Pajamas.