Posts tagged quilt
I know about a zillion people having babies right now. For my friend Kelly — who’s having a girl and is due in less than 2 weeks! — I decided to do something slightly different so I made little Kaylynne a faux chenille blanket.
I first saw this idea when I was browsing Made. She has all sorts of awesome projects and tutorials, and this one looked cute, quick, and easy. As I was to discover, it was cute and it was pretty easy — but it definitely wasn’t quick! This took me nearly as much time as the other baby quilts I’ve made. There’s a lot less cutting involved, but there’s still a ton of sewing. Here’s the link to the tutorial if you are interested:
So. I chose a pink flannel with birds on it for the front of the blanket — which is the only part that’s worth buying a print for, since the back gets all cut apart to make the “chenille.” I went with coordinating yellow, pink, and green flannel for the layers underneath, and used my trusty basting spray to stick them all together. I knew I’d be doing a LOT of stitching, and I didn’t want the layers to shift so I actually pinned the layers together too after spray basting as a backup. (You may remember I had huge headaches with keeping the layers together on Erin’s zig zag quilt until I discovered basting spray.)
I chose flannels because I thought they’d fray better and make a softer finished product. I’m curious to try another blanket just to see how well this would work with quilting cotton, since many of the tutorials I came across used that. There’s a much better selection of prints and colors in quilting cotton, but if the blanket is for a baby or if you just want baby colors (pastels, etc), there’s a pretty good selection of flannels too.
From there, it was time to start sewing. It’s very important to sew on the bias of the fabric for this blanket — otherwise the back won’t fray properly once you cut everything. To get started, I used a yard stick to draw a line from corner to corner with a disappearing ink pen. After that, I started eyeballing things and my parallel lines started to become a lot less parallel! I ended up drawing a line every 4-5 inches and eyeballing between each one to keep me on track. If I were doing it again, I would probably try to sew the lines even closer together — like the 1/2-inch the tutorial suggests instead of 3/4-inch like I did. I think this would make the back look even thicker and plusher.
After all the sewing was done, it was finally time to cut. I invested in a special tool just for cutting things like this and I think it was definitely worth it. It made the cutting part go a lot faster than it would have if I’d used scissors, and I didn’t have to worry about accidentally cutting through the bird fabric on the front.
On the morning of Kelly’s baby shower, I’d finished all the cutting but hadn’t had time to attach the binding. I wanted to at least give her the blanket at the shower so she could see it before taking it back to add the binding, and I decided to go ahead and wash it — and thus get the back to start fraying — so she could get the full effect. This, in retrospect, was not the greatest idea!
See, it would have been easier to attach the binding pre-washing, when the fabric was still laying fairly flat on the back. With everything all ruffly, I had to do a lot of pinching and smoothing to get the binding attached without too many lumps. I also rounded the corners, and I liked the end result a lot. It definitely gave the blanket one more element of babyness to it.
And…done! Ta da! My third baby quilt/blanket this year, and I’ve got at least 3 more on my to-do list — including one for my own baby — before the year is through!
After delving into the world of quilting with the patchwork quilt I made for Isla, I was excited to try another one — and fortunately I know a lot of people having babies right now. My friend and coworker Erin is due at the end of April so I decided my second quilt would be for their baby boy. They’re doing a space theme in the nursery, so I was also excited to use some spacey fabrics. I found a great rocket print for sale at Purl Soho (it was a Birch Fabrics design) and decided to use that and do a version of this zig zag design that I saw on purlbee.com. I thought this looked like a nice step up from the patchwork I did the first time around, and it was — but there were also a lot of challenges in this one!
I had to make half square triangles for the first time, and that part was pretty easy — but then it was time to actually line them up to make the zig zag pattern. I had to be VERY careful when pinning things together to make sure all the seams lined up more-or-less correctly. (And I again wondered whether it’s a good idea for a perfectionist engineer to take up sewing…)
However, my efforts paid off, and when I finished the front I was very happy with how well everything lined up!
But then it was once again time to actually quilt the quilt — and this part nearly drove me crazy. (It didn’t help that I was down to the wire in hopes of getting this done on time to give to Erin at her shower on Saturday, and each mistake cost me more time! I did finish it for the shower, but just barely…and then I ended up taking it back for a day anyway so I could add a label and wash it once.)
So anyway, the quilting. It was to be done in a zig zag pattern too, following the lines of the fabric and adding zig zags in the spaces between — so 10 zig zags across the quilt in all. I pinned things together with straight pins and started in the middle like you’re supposed to. But since I had to turn the quilt 90 degrees every few inches to keep following the seams properly, the pins seemed to shift and the backing fabric bunched and puckered. I tried it once, and had to rip out the entire seam. I tried it again, and had to rip out the entire seam AGAIN. At this point, it was about 10:00 on Wednesday night and I decided I needed to call in the big guns: basting spray adhesive.
I stopped by Joann’s on Friday after work and picked up 1) a can of basting spray, 2) a huge box of safety pins and 3) spring clips. I hoped that one of those would work, and I actually ended up using all three to properly quilt this baby. First, Jose helped me stick the quilt sandwich together using the spray adhesive (which disintegrates when you wash the quilt). Then I went over the whole thing with about 40 safety pins just as a backup, since they can’t move around like the straight pins did. THEN I used the spring clips to roll up portions of the quilt to keep it out of the way while I was working on a different part. Failure was not an option this time…and I’m happy to report that my third attempt at quilting was successful! Hooray!
The last step, of course, was the binding and yet again, it threatened to ruin an otherwise pretty nice looking quilt. I think I just need more practice making and attaching the binding, because just like last time, the lines were a bit crooked and wonky. I did learn one important thing: I should start by attaching the binding to the back of the quilt instead of the front. That way, the final sewing will be done from the front and I can make sure the front looks good even if the back turns out weird.
Ta da! The finish product. (Please ignore my messy wet hair.) Overall, I’m pretty proud of how this one turned out, especially considering the challenges I had while making it. I’m excited to try a third quilt sometime soon, although next on my list are a couple clothing items I’m hoping to pull off before we go on vacation at the end of the month.
When I started learning to sew last summer, I knew I’d want to try making a quilt at some point. I finally decided to give it a go as a gift for my friend Jen’s new baby girl. Despite buying the materials during a Black Friday sale in November, I didn’t finish it until after little Isla had already made her appearance in early February. I procrastinated something awful, in large part because I was always worried that I’d screw up the next big step!
I started with 6 coordinating fat quarters of bright and colorful fabric. I actually found the one on the far left with the little birds first and thought it was cute, so I picked 5 other fabrics based on the colors of the bird print. (Jen knew she was having a girl, so there was no risk in buying pink!) I carefully cut each piece into a bunch of squares — and I’ve already forgotten what size they were. About 5 inches, I think.
I started laying out the squares on the floor to see what looked right. I knew I only had enough for a 7×7 pattern, but since I only had 6 fabrics that actually worked out pretty well — it meant that each row and column could start and end with the same color. Each row follows the same pattern, but I just shifted each one in a way that I thought looked nice. The photo above was taken after I’d sewn the block of each row together, but before I sewed the rows together to complete the front.
Making the quilt sandwich was easy enough (I used an organic cotton batting that was nice and soft, and a brown flowery fabric for the back), but then came the part that intimidated me the most: actually quilting the quilt. I decided to keep things fairly simple and “stitch in the ditch” along the boundaries of each block. Sometimes this worked really well, as you can see in the first picture, and sometimes the lines were a little off, as you can see in the second picture. The flaws aren’t too noticeable, but I hope to do better next time.
Sometimes I think I may be too much of a perfectionist when it comes to my crafty pursuits!
With the top, batting, and back all quilted together, the only thing left to do was add some binding. I was less intimidated by this step since I’d taken a class at Joann back in December that taught me how to 1) make bias tape and 2) attach it. I’d forgotten how to make pretty mitered corners, but a quick internet search reminded me. This step probably took longer than anything else, just because it took a while to make the bias tape/bias binding.
Still, the binding was probably the part of the quilt that ended up looking the wonkiest. I did it using a new walking foot that I bought for my sewing machine, which is supposed to help because it draws the fabric through the machine from the top at the same rate that it’s already being drawn through from the bottom. But I swear mine fed the fabric crooked! The lines on my binding weren’t very straight at ALL, which bummed me out. But there was only one spot that was really bad, so I covered it with a nice little label. (My aunt gave me those embroidered labels for Christmas! She ordered them online. Aren’t they cool?)
I can post about it now since Isla has received her gift, so ta da! The finished product! It ended up measuring around 3 feet square, I think, which I thought was a pretty good size for a baby.
Best of all is that I’m actually excited to try another quilt now that I’ve now made one semi-successfully.
ONE thing I did this weekend:
Went to a hockey game. The Aeros played the Texas Stars on Friday night so Jose and I joined Jason and Debbie for the game. You were supposed to bring toys and/or teddy bears to donate to Toys for Tots. After the Aeros scored their first goal, everyone got to throw teddy bears onto the ice which was pretty darn fun. The game was stopped for 5 minutes or so as they swept up the teddy bears. We also brought toys, which got us free tickets to a future game. Unfortunately that future game was January 1 when we’ll be out of town, but oh well.
TWO things I’ve cooked:
Mocha Coconut Fudge. This looked too good to pass up, so I made it for my division’s holiday lunch last week. The lunch was supposed to be on Thursday but got pushed to Friday after JSC was unexpectedly closed from Wednesday afternoon through lunchtime Thursday after a car ran into a large power transmission tower just outside the fence. The power company had to shut down power to all of JSC while they put up a new tower, so we got a free afternoon and morning off work! Good thing fudge keeps for a while. I brought it for our lunch on Friday and left with an empty plate, so I guess it was a hit!
Beet & Goat Cheese Salad. Our book club book this month talked a lot about beets (it was a strange book) and it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure if I’d ever actually EATEN beets before. So I made this salad for book club and even though only four people showed up (myself included) the beet salad was a hit with everyone. Turns out that beets taste very earthy. I liked them all right. I should warn you though, if you, like me, have never eaten beets — they are really, really dark red. Almost a purple. When I was peeling them to make the salad, the juice stained my hands. And apparently when you eat them, the juice stains your bladder and your intestines too! ‘Nuff said.
THREE things I’ve made:
Quilted placemat with pieced binding. I took a quilting class at Joann on Saturday. It was the “102″ class and I never took the “101″ class but I decided that I’d just figure it out as I went along. We were supposed to bring a 13″x18″ quilted piece so I made the middle part on Saturday morning. It’s the first time I’ve ever quilted anything, so overall I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. My lines aren’t always exactly straight, but close enough.
In the class, I learned how to make this pieced binding. It’s hard to tell, because I chose three very similar fabrics, but the binding is made of those three different patterns. I had to cut strips, sew the strips together, THEN cut bias strips and sew them onto the quilted piece. It was the make-binding-tape and sew-binding-onto-quilt that I really wanted to learn, but the piecing part was good to learn too. All in all it was another good class there, and since they have 50% off classes coupons all the time, they’re never very expensive!
Another fat quarter purse for my sister. She knows I’m making one for her; it’s part of her Christmas present. But I’m not posting photos of it right now because she doesn’t know what fabrics I chose. Hope she likes it!
Christmas tree skirt. This is what it looked like a week ago (apologies for the crappy out of focus iPhone photo), and now that I know how to make and attach binding from my class, I can finish it this week!