Category Archives: Crafts

Picture Window Baby Quilt

I was inspired to make this quilt by a project from Blue Elephant Stitches, always a go-to source for inspiration.  I was sick with morning sickness and looking for something easy – and I wanted to make something for the baby.  She calls her quilt the “High Five Quilt,” and the source pattern is in a book called Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Nyberg and Cheryl Atkinson.  I didn’t end up following the pattern, however, just eyeballed it.  I cut squares of approximately 2.5 inches, then did one layer of a log cabin.  I didn’t measure precisely, and I often made the center squares a bit bigger if convenient to showcase whatever was in them.  After the block was done, I used a 6.5″ square ruler (which I bought for this project) to conveniently trim them to size.

Fabric

I honestly can barely begin to say what the fabrics are.  I made the entire quilt from stash, which I’m rather proud of, including the binding and backing.  There’s a fair amount of Sarah Jane fabrics in there, as well as a lot of Heather Ross “Tiger Lily.”  I think there’s some Lotta Jansdottir fabric.  The binding is a Carolyb Friedlander fabric from her Euclid line, and I used a few other Carolyn Friedlander fabrics throughout, especially her greens.  Beyond that, it’s hard to say.  I’ve got at least two swan fabrics in there, because I love swans, and some stripes.  There’s some ballerina fabric I bought for Isla.  I’m not sure what else.

Batting

I had enough wool batting on hand to finish the project, so wool it was.  I get my wool batting from Quilter’s Dream.  I always like wool batting for a baby quilt, because I figure quilts are as much for sitting on as for covering yourself with, and wool makes them nice and soft and puffy.  And as a bonus, they’re nice and warm for covering yourself with.

Thread

Piecing, quilting, and hand-sewing the binding was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Wt in White (2024).

Quilting

I was originally planning to quilt this on a 2-inch grid.  However, as I noted above, I didn’t measure precisely, which meant the quilting lines were just a little off.  Not cool.  It looked messy and like a mistake.  I ended up just stitching in the ditch at 6″ intervals.  I contemplated quilting the whole thing with wavy lines, and maybe I should have.  I did a lot of fussy cutting in this quilt, and I didn’t want to quilt over any of the fussy cut centers.  It’s OK.

Binding

I used a 50/50 linen/cotton blend from Carolyn Friendlander’s Euclid line for the binding.  I actually found this a bit hard to work with at the corners, especially in combination with the thick wool batting.  I was lazy and didn’t use a walking foot for the binding, which I think was a mistake.  My corners were not up to my usual standard.

I made much of this quilt while feeling like I was going to puke.  I’m not thrilled with the result, but I don’t hate it.  I think i could give it to someone in good conscience.  Something about the in-your-face combination of pink / blue / green fabrics just rubs me the wrong way.  However, I do love the fussy cutting that I did, and I think a little kid would definitely appreciate all the fussy cut pictures in the middle of the squares.

I updated the “quilting” page on this blog today, which had been very out-of-date, and it made me realize how much I was quilting in 2015 and 2016, and how little I quilted in 2017 and 2018.  In 2017 and 2018, I started running a lot and working a lot, and quilting got put a bit by the wayside.  I did do a lot of farmer’s wife blocks, but I still haven’t finished that quilt.  It’s nice to finish a quilt for the first time in a long time.  I did actually do a whole-cloth quilt recently, but I stupidly forgot to photograph it!  Finishing these two simple quilts is making me enthusiastic to do more quilting over the next three months.

high five quilt

Since I’ve been feeling like crap, I haven’t been doing much crafting.  I was determined to finish my cross stitch, but at I’m at probably 95% complete excluding edge stitching, and I need a break.  I’ve managed to muster up enough energy the last few days to spend about 10 minutes making a few really easy quilt blocks.  The intended recipient, obviously, is the new arrival.  I had been thinking of doing a Friedlander pattern next, but i’m basically just not up for it right now.  I need to do something easy.  This pattern is technically out of Sunday Morning Quilts, and i bought the book, but I haven’t really looked at the formal pattern yet.  My inspiration was Blue Elephant Stitches.

Anyway.  Blocks so far.  At this rate, it’ll take me a couple months to assemble enough for a baby quilt.

13 weeks 1 day today and still feeling lousy.  Every day I hope to wake up feeling better, but it hasn’t happened yet.

blue on blue

If I had a quilter-crush, it would definitely be Carolyn Friedlander.  Despite the fact that I haven’t quilted in a year (and am DETERMINED to finish the front of my Aran sweater before I resume), i still follow a fair few quilters on Insta.  But Friedlander is the one who stands above the rest.  Anyway, love the two-tone blue quilt here.  So. Much.  My blue-loving older daughter would also love it.  Maybe . . .   I also love the kids’ book Blue on Blue.  Also, so good.

I’ve been delving into easy reading lately.  I’m loving LIane Moriarty, and my old favorite Maeve Binchy.  Currently “reading” Week in Winter.

St. Brigid

I’ve picked up my knitting again.  St. Brigid is a bucket list knit, and I knew it was going to take forever . . . and it is living up to billing.  It’s not really particularly hard, but the pattern is sufficiently complex that I haven’t been able to memorize it, which means knitting it always requires a certain amount of concentration.  In any case, the back is done (one mistake, which I think is not noticeable to the layman), and I’m determined to finish the front sometime in the not too distant future.  Which means in the next month or two.  As always, I’m eager to take on something new and lazy about finishing the old.  I’ve been obsessed with running and the like lately, but I’m feeling my interests circle back to crafting, just a little bit.

In other news, like half of the world, I can’t stop thinking about the Thai soccer players.  Of course there are people dying right and left all over the world, but everyone is coming together to save these people, and it’s sort of a failure of humanity if they can’t manage it.  So, I’ve checked CNN more in the last couple days than in the previous couple months.  Hopefully there will be good news in the morning.

The Blues – Aerial Grove Quilt

The aerial grove design is by Carolyn Friedlander, undoubtedly my favorite quilt designer.  I’d had my eye on doing a version of this quilt ever since I got a copy of her book, Savor Each Stitch (not surprisingly, my favorite quilting book.)  Finally, I decided to give it a go.

The primary motif in the quilt is a series of columns of appliqued circles of different fabrics.  I did fewer circles than she’d recommended for a full-size quilt, since I was planning a baby quilt, though I wasn’t originally sure of the recipient.

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Fabric

For the appliqued circles, I used essentially every piece of blue fabric I owned.  For the rest of the quilt, I used predominantly neutral fabrics, with a few light blueish pieces thrown in for interest.  Most of the neutrals were Friedlander fabrics, as I think she makes the best neutrals in the business, while the blues were a wide assortment of fabrics.  I didn’t buy any new fabric for this quilt (a first, I think), and you can see scraps of nearly every quilt I’ve made somewhere in this one.

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For the back, I used primarily a couple of Lotta Jansdotter fabrics.  (She is another of my favorite designers.)

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The binding is a pink print from Carolyn’s Carkai collection.

Batting

Once again I used my favorite batting, 100% wool from Quilter’s Dream.  As always, it’s a bit harder to work with, but I love how light and warm the resulting quilt is.  For this particular quilt, it does a nice job showcasing the free-motion quilting.

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Thread

I did the entire quilt in Aurifil Make 50 Wt in White (2024).  This includes both the machine piecing, hand-applique of the circles, hand-sewing the binding, and the quilting.

Quilting

I copied the quilting that Carolyn did on her Aerial Grove quilt.  She did entirely straight-line quilting, vertical and horizontal, mostly alternating in direction and width from block to block.  The piecing beyond the middle is improvised, and I was definitely a little intimidated in try this approach for the first time, but I’m happy with how it worked out.  While this in theory could be done with a regular foot, I think you’d be mad with the turning by the time you were done, so I FMQed the entire thing.  The biggest challenge was going around the appliqued circles.

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Binding

I did my usual double-fold binding hand-sewn to the back.  I also did a hand-appliqued label.

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Right around the time I started this quilt, my brother and his wife became pregnant, after much waiting.  I can’t think of anyone I more wanted to make a quilt for than my brother’s first baby, Rita.  Anyway, hopefully the quilt will be well-beaten up by the next time I see it.

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The year in review: Sewing and knitting

I did comparatively less crafting in 2016 as compared to 2015.  About halfway through, the exercise bug bit me, and I’ve found I really only have time for one serious hobby.  I can do more than one hobby half-heartedly, and I can do some reading, but I can’t really engage with both crafting and exercising.  Perhaps as the kids get older, that will change.  Nevertheless, I did finish a few projects last year.

I started with a baby quilt for a friend’s little girl.  This project was based on a Red Pepper Quilts pattern, and I had to learn how to sew curves.  That was definitely challenging.

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My next project was a throw quilt for my uncle who is battling a recurrence of stage IV colon cancer.  He mentioned that chemo made him cold, so I made him a quilt with wool batting but all cotton on the outside.  It was quite an undertaking as it was quite large, and each square had to be cut out and individually placed.  I bought fabric for the recurring diamonds but otherwise used exclusively scraps.

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Next up, I made a couple of fully lined tote bags for L’s  preschool teachers.

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I also made progress on my Farmer’s Wife quilt.  I have between 40 and 50 blocks pieced now; that probably means I’m somewhere between a quarter and a third done with the project.  Ah well – I’ll finish it sometime.

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I ventured into the world of garment sewing last year as well.  I have mixed feelings on it.  I was quite pleased with the outcome of my first project, a dress for L:

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My second project was a lot more work.  I learned a lot making a princess dress.  I was frustrated, and had to rip out lots of stitches, and the finished product was far from perfect.  Nevertheless, it was overall fun, and I’m sure I’ll do better the next time.  The hardest part by far was the gathering.  The skirt and the bustles were extremely full and required very tight gathering which was quite hard.  My solution in the end was to use 18 weight thread for the gathering.  I have heard others recommend yarn.  50 weight thread just broke and broke and broke.

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I didn’t sew much else that I can recall, and I had no “finished objects” knit.  However, I did start a new knitting project that I’m quite excited about.  St. Brigid has been on my bucket list for many years, and I finally decided to take a crack at it.  I obviously have a long way to go, but I’m excited about this project.  Hopefully I’ll finish it in a year or so.

stbrigid

I’m not sure where sewing will take me in 2017.  I’m working on an Aerial Grove quilt from Carolyn Friendlander’s awesome quilt book, Savor Each Stitch.  I’d love to do another Friendlander quilt, or maybe another Red Pepper Quilts design.  Hopefully I’ll manage at least a couple of quilts this year.  I’d like to do some knitting as well.  We’ll see where the mood takes me.

I’d also like to try some new type of crafting this year – maybe embroidery, or cross-stitch (which I’ve done before, but not for many years) or perhaps weaving.  Weaving would require a loom, which runs around $300 for a decent one.  I love wool, and I’m very intrigued by the possibilities of weaving.  My inspiration comes from photos from Virtual Yarns.