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!

Cleaning house

In preparation for the new year, I organized the growing pile of patterns in my sewing space. I was pleasantly surprised to find some typed and handwritten patterns that belonged to my grandma.

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My grandma taught me how to knit when I was in college. My first project, like most new knitters, was a garter stitch scarf. This double-knit scarf pattern was my second ever knitting project. I made one for me, then one for my mom, my sister, and my roommate.

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I also found a whole book of sweater patterns for Barbie dolls. Can you imagine knitting such tiny sweaters?! My aunt confirms that she had the best-dressed Barbies in town, with handmade outfits that often matched her own.

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My favorite find is an unfinished cross stitch – I plan to finish it and incorporate it into a mini quilt in time for Valentine’s day.

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This is a good start to my 2015 goals – get (and stay) organized and finish stuff. Now that my patterns are all sorted, I’m moving on to organizing my stash and finishing up a few (of my many) lingering projects this month.

 

Pantry Staples pattern

I’ve been working on a new pattern, and it’s finally ready to share! It’s a set of paper piecing templates for 14 different bottles and jars, and 15 different labels. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of a pattern – you can mix and match the labels and containers, or make containers without labels. My favorite block I’ve made so far is the little red jar of cherry pie filling.

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A close runner-up for favorite is the little blue jelly jar.

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The little round spice jar is the smallest block, measuring just 2″ x 2″. I’ve been slowly gathering more text prints, to make cute labels like the one on the right.

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The milk bottle is the largest block, measuring 4″ x 7 7/8″. The tulip jar on the right is modeled after the Weck canning jars that are so popular now.

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I used the blocks to create a table runner, 12″ x 40″. I used straight-line quilting, spacing the lines using the edge of my walking foot.

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This was such a fun pattern to make – drawing all the different jars and labels was quite addictive. I want to turn everything into a paper piecing pattern now!

You can find the Pantry Staples pattern for sale at Craftsy and Etsy.

 

 

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.

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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.

 

 

Duff beer

Now I can make any beer a Duff beer!

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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!

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.
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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)!

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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.

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

A hat-shaped gauge swatch

Last week I knit two Polpo hats for Isaac.

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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.

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