Embroidery

I have been bitten by the embroidery bug. I’ve been working on my April Showers sampler.

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A lot of embroidery inspiration has been popping up in my social media feeds lately. I just listened to the recent While She Naps podcast with Rebecca Rinquist. I signed up for the Freaky Flowers swap with &stitches. Sublime Stitching has a Moomin sale and contest going on. Alison Glass has an embroidery sale. So much to stitch, so little time!

Kids clothes week

Kid’s Clothes Week is off to a good start for me! I finished an Oliver and S Field Trip raglan shirt for Ethan that he can wear NOW. It’s the 6-12 month size, and it just barely fits over his big noggin. I shortened the sleeves about an inch. I used fabric I bought at the Textile Center garage sale a couple years ago.

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I also finished a second raglan shirt, size 12-18 months, for Ethan to wear later. These shirts take an hour or less. And I made these two shirts from scraps leftover from other projects.

 

Oliver and S field trip shirt.

 

And I finished an Oliver and S Secret Agent Trench Coat, size 4T, for Isaac. It’s a little big for him right now, but I think (hope) he can wear it later this spring and into the fall.

Oliver and S secret agent trenchcoat, size 4T.

 

This trench coat was a warm-up for making a jacket/blazer/coat for myself. Some day. Soon. I hope. After finishing this I feel pretty confident about my top-stitching and button holes.

April Showers embroidery sampler

I love embroidery. I’m always on the lookout for screenprinted embroidery samplers. My sister gave me a screenprinted Sea Captain sampler for Christmas and it’s awesome. I’m a huge fan of iron-on transfers, and I pay extra for those if they’re an option (vs digital downloads). If iron-on transfers aren’t an option I’ll settle for a PDF pattern but I’ll be cursing the whole time I’m tracing it on to the fabric. I’ve tried everything short of buying a light table and Sublime Stitching’s brand new fine-tip transfer pens. I refuse to breakdown and buy a light table, but I may be ordering the transfer pens soon.

Anywho, in my search for embroidery patterns that I don’t have to trace I’ve discovered that Spoonflower swatches are only $5 and fit perfectly in a 6-inch embroidery hoop. I’ve found a few cute swatch-size embroidery patterns at Spoonflower like this and this. But there should be more.

There is one more now – my April Showers embroidery pattern. I ordered a swatch on Kona cotton and I love it. If you want to stitch one, you can find it here.

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I’m working on a color palette. Blue raindrops? Rainbow raindrops? I’m planning to do french knots for the cloud and satin stitch for the raindrops. I’ll be an expert at both by the time I’m done!

My favorite sewing hack

I recently learned from the Bobbin Doctor that I could use my blind-hem foot as an edge-stitching foot. Just move the needle a couple positions to the left. This goes in the “Doh! Why didn’t I think of that?” category.

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Perfect edge stitching, every time! This made the drool bandanas for Ethan even easier. I’ve been using this hack for cloth napkins and top-stitching pockets, too.

Baby clothes

Ethan has been sporting a few handmade garments lately. I’ll start by playing catch-up.

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A pair of Quick Change Trousers, 3 month size, from Handmade Beginnings by Anna Marie Horner. He outgrew these pants about a month ago.

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A slightly modified Tummy Warmer vest, size 3-6 month, knit using S. R. Kertzer Down To Earth Cotton. This still fits but it’s getting short and snug.

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A sunbonnet by Purl Soho, size 0-3 months. This is too small for him, but I made him wear it for a walk last week because all his other hats are too big. 

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Ethan is sporting drool bandanas most days now. He is teething and drooling like crazy, and these are much easier to make than bibs. I used this tutorial by How Does She. I started with a 12.5″ square, because I have a 12.5″ square ruler.

Two Carat Quilt Pattern

I’m thrilled to release a new quilt pattern today – the Two Carat quilt. It’s a clean geometric design that works equally well with solids and prints. The pattern includes directions for two sizes – baby (36″ x 48″) and throw (60″ x 72″) – along with templates and detailed cutting diagrams. Fabric is used efficiently and there are minimal leftovers. You will not have a pile of half-diamonds left over from this project!

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This is the baby size quilt in girly-girl pinks and blues. The quilt top requires (2) 1/2 yard cuts and (5) 1/4 yard cuts – so a total of only 2 1/4 yards.

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I finished the quilt with simple straight-line quilting 1/4″ from the seams so it is extra crinkly and cuddly. I think this quilt would also look sharp with a baby’s name or birth year free-motion quilted in one of the large diamonds.

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Here’s a second baby quilt with Elk Grove fabrics by Jay-Cyn. This fabric is gorgeous and so, so soft – perfect for a baby quilt! I used 8 different prints for this variation: 2 half-yard cuts of solids and 6 fat quarters in different prints.

The throw quilt uses the same size templates, just more pieces. The layout for the throw quilt includes 2 sets of large diamonds.

You’ll invest more time in the cutting than you will in the piecing. Cutting diamonds and triangles using templates takes a little more time (I think) than cutting rectangles with a ruler, but piecing the quilt top goes quickly. The pattern includes tips for accuracy in cutting and piecing. This pattern is suitable for intermediate or adventurous advanced beginners.

You can find the Two Carat quilt pattern on Etsy and Craftsy.

Cherry Larry

For Valentine’s Day I made Isaac the little elephant he’s been requesting. Since Christmas he knew he was going to name it Cherry Larry. First Cherry Larry was going to be black, then yellow, then finally he decided on (what reminds me of) a Delirium Tremens pink elephant. With cherries.

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And a flower.

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Foxy Loxy and Cherry Larry are best friends. Both of them were made using the Heather Bailey elephant pattern.

2015-02-18 21.59.23They’re quite sturdy. They have already survived a few fights.

Valentine’s Day mini quilt

I finished the cross stitch my grandma started, and I turned it into a little mini quilt. The finished size is just over 13″ square. All the fabric is from my stash – a batik, a couple Kona cottons and some prints. I quilted this with concentric squares, the lines 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart. The hand quilting, a first for me, was done with DMC embroidery thread in some of the wider gaps between lines of machine quilting. The bias binding was just 2″ wide – the skinniest I’ve used yet – and I’m pleased with the way it frames the quilt.

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I <3 this quilt.

First finish for ’15

This weekend I finished my first quilt for 2015. It’s the I-Spy baby quilt that I started last summer. I had the squares straight-line quilted for months, but it took me until now to get around to free motion quilting the borders.

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I’d been practicing the loopy pattern in a sketch book for a couple of days, which helped immensely. I only had to rip out a few inches of quilting – a pleasant surprise.

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I’m not saying the quilting is perfect, because it’s not, but it’s much better than I expected it to be. My favorite parts are the big circles in the corners. I drew the big circles with a Frixion pen before I started to quilt, because I knew I would need guide lines for those.

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This quilt is for Ethan to use at day care (after he turns one and can sleep with a blanket). It’s nice to have it out of the UFO pile and folded up in his closet!

Christmas favorites

November and December were extra busy for us, making Christmas gifts and cookies and decorating in between bouts of cold and flu. This weekend we just finished packing away the Christmas decorations and downloading photos from the camera. I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from Christmas.

I started an advent calendar for Isaac, but for this past Christmas it was just a small holiday garland. I made 14 mittens in total, so I just need 10 more for an advent calendar for next Christmas. The pattern is Smitten. I used assorted wool yarn leftovers and US3 needles. I love it! I plan to fill each mitten with a little craft project or holiday activity.

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I also made matching pajamas for the kids. Isaac’s are Oliver + S Sleepover Pajamas in size 3T + 1 inch in length and Ethan’s are Reversible Baby Pants in the 6 month size from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings. I’ve made both patterns so many times I barely look at the instructions any more.

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My favorite gift is this little elephant. It’s a Heather Bailey pattern that Isaac and I made together. Isaac said he wanted to give Ethan a soft elephant for Christmas, just like one I made for Isaac’s friend years ago. Isaac picked out the fabric, I sewed it and he stuffed it. Isaac was so proud that he could help make something for his brother. While Isaac was stuffing the elephant, I asked him what he wanted to name it. He thought really hard. “Umm… … …Foxy!” You got it! “And next I want to make a black and red elephant for me and name him Cherry!” Ok… I guess we’ll be making another elephant early this year. Isaac is not forgetting about the elephants. He now calls Ethan’s “Foxy Loxy” and his will be “Cherry Larry.”

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This time around I used glue-basting for the elephant, which made the process faster, more accurate and meant a whole lot less seam-ripping. Win!

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