Friday, March 27, 2015

Nintendo, cont.

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After a veeery long break (18 months) I made two more Nintendo blocks.  You can see my previous blocks here, here, here, and here.  

I am (slowly) using the  Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along hosted by Angela at Cut to Pieces.  There are twelve blocks in the original QAL and I am adding eight (of my own design) more for a total of twenty.  These are blocks #15 and #16.  


To be honest, I'm very ready to be done with this quilt.  Piecing billions of tiny squares is not my favorite.  And my stabilizer has lost most of it's stickiness.  I can only assume that is because it is old.  I've used glue-sticks and spray adhesive as a supplement.  If I hadn't already cut all the squares I'd probably just quit and finish the quilt with the blocks that I have.

Four more to go.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


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Last week our family took a trip to Kansas City.  To celebrate the boys' birthdays we visited Legoland.  The boys (and especially Husband) love Lego bricks and a day does not go by that they are not building.  Of course, I had to make clothes for the occasion. 

I started with t-shirts.  I designed the 'Master Builder' graphic using Inkscape.  Husband's shirt has the graphic alone, while the boys by have 'In training' written below.  I originally used inkjet-transfer paper to add the graphics to shirts that I made.  The transfers did not work well at all. They were faded in parts and in general pretty crappy looking.  I ditched the shirts and started over.

I ended up ordering shirts from Vistaprint (after uploading the image).  They don't have toddler sizes so for the boys I ordered shirts that were a couple sizes bigger.  I then used my Ringer Tee pattern to size the shirts down to a better fit.  

I also made a shirt for myself using a pattern I made for myself.  I found images of  Lego bricks online which I then copied into Inkscape.  I converted the images to vectors and then arranged them as shown.   I used inkjet-transfer paper for my shirt and it turned out fairly well.  It looks a little faded, but I think it looks more aged.  It seems to work best for black-and-white only.  


I made the boys' pants using the Oliver+S Field Trip Cargo Pants pattern.  I used rip-stop cotton fabric for the pants and omitted the cargo pockets.  I love how they look with the rip-stop.  They don't seem to wrinkle much.  I had some extra Lego bricks from my inkjet-transfer paper so added them to the back pockets.  

Before I made the shirts I didn't realize Master Builders were real things employed Lego.  I was a bit worried about Husband wearing the Master Builder shirt (and not being a Master Builder). Although if you ask me, his skills are equivalent to a Master Builder.  He got a couple funny looks from employees at Legoland and one awkward comment, but for the most part it was fine. Perhaps I should have called him a journeyman builder?  Everyone that saw the boys' shirts thought they were great.

To salvage the botched transfer shirts I appliqued Lego Movie shirts for the boys.  

Mini Man got Benny.
Little Man got Emmet
Everything is awesome!

Legoland was pretty awesome and the boys had a fun time.  


Friday, March 20, 2015

Yoda Birthday

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For Mini Man's birthday I, of course had to make him an outfit to wear on his day.  This year I choose a Star Wars theme for the boys (they are both obsessed) and Yoda for Mini Man.  His size makes him perfect for Yoda.  

I started with a green t-shirt (made using my Ringer Tee pattern) and freezer-paper stenciled Yoda's silhouette to the front.  I found the silhouette via Google.  On the back I stenciled a 3.  I really like the Yoda silhouette.  I think it turned out well. 

I made the pants using the Aviator Pants pattern by Winter Wear Designs.  I didn't use a lot of the options of the original pattern, however.  I omitted the cargo pockets, the contrast triangle (I didn't have any other pique fabric of that weight), and the cuffs.  Fortunately, the pattern is very accommodating and easy to omit certain features.   

Because I omitted the cuffs on the bottom of the pants I had to lengthen the legs to get to the intended length.  Not a big deal.  The fabric I used for the pants was a medium-weight, synthetic-fiber pique.  I used poly-cotton rib-knit (and elastic) at the waist.  For the slash pockets in the front and welt pockets in the back I used R2D2 cotton broadcloth.  You can't really see the any of the Star Wars logos or R2D2 images, but I like the contrast.  I was a little hesitant about using broadcloth on the pockets of a knit pant but so far it has worked out.  One issue I had with the pattern was the sizing of the welt pockets.  The size was kept the same for a few sizes and was too wide for the 3T size.  I had to trim them down otherwise they would have overlapped in the back.  

Overall, I think the pants look really cute.  I plan on using the pattern again and adding the cuffs and maybe the triangle contrast.  I will probably use French terry for some sweet sweat-pants.  There is also an option to make shorts.  Now that the weather is getting warmer I think I'll definitely be trying that. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jane Austen-Inspired Quilt

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This month my mom turned a significant number.  I'm not sure how she feels about that number so I'll keep it vague.  To celebrate I made her a quilt inspired by a quilt Jane Austen made.  

Quilt made by Jane Austen and her mother and sister

Mom is a big fan of Jane Austen and when she and my dad visited the UK a couple years ago they took a Jane Austen tour for part of the trip.  They visited Jane Austen's home and in it was a quilt that she made with her mom and sister.  You can read more about the quilt here.  Apparently this is a fairly popular quilt inspiring all sorts of copy-cats, patterns, and books.  Google 'Jane Austen quilt' and you can see.   

The original quilt contains floral diamonds on point sashed with cream fabric with black polka-dots and a pretty elaborate border of smaller diamonds.  I wanted to use squares because I knew they would be easier to cut and piece.  The polka-dotted sashing is my favorite fabric from the original quilt and I wanted to keep that the same.  If I'm honest, it is the only fabric I like from the original quilt.  I'm not a big fan of the color palette of that era.  For the squares I wanted to use colors and prints that my mom liked (pinks and florals) but fresher.  The original just seems so brown.  I used two charm packs of Moda Somerset plus a few more prints from my stash.  I'm not sure of the fabric lines of the others.  I also omitted the diamond border.

The center of the original quilt features a large diamond of a basket of flowers.  I tried to recreate it with a floral rose fabric that wasn't used anywhere else in the fabric.  I like the idea of it, but I should have used a darker fabric.  It blends in with the sashing too much to be an eye-catcher.  

I didn't intend for the quilt to be square (about 70").  Somewhere during the piecing or layout I messed up and didn't notice until I had basted the quilt.  I suppose it is fine square, it is just not what I intended.  

For the back of the quilt I splurged on a Jane Austen border print from Spoonflower.  I only bought enough fabric to use the border on one side.  I used a low-volume pink on the top half of the back.  The two pieces blend a little better when they aren't seen in direct sunlight.  yikes.

Not many of the prints I used are ones I would probably ever pick for myself, but I really like how it turned out.  I think I could even find a place for it in my house.  


Friday, March 13, 2015

Blue Ninja

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Mini Man turned three at the beginning of the week.  How it is possible that my baby is three, I don't know.  He is currently interested in ninjas and asked for a ninja suit for his birthday.  Imaginary, dress-up is my favorite and I was more than happy to indulge.  


If you remember Little Man's ninja suit, this one is similar.  Instead of the attached hood and cowl, however, I made a separate mask.  If he wants to play ninja, but his suit is in the wash, he can still use his mask.  I also didn't freezer-paper stencil the lines to represent the shirt criss-crossing.  I only appliqued the belt.  I don't think it really needs the stencil.


I made the pants using the Nightfox Pants pattern by Puperita.  Again, love this pattern.  I used my Ringer Tee pattern for the top and appliqued the belt after completing the top.  


For the mask I used this free pattern from Make It Love It.  The pattern is sized for a 5-year-old, but Mini Man has a big head.  It is a little big around the eyes (his nose doesn't stay covered), but it will probably be used more if it is a little big (and will be more comfortable.  Like the pattern, I used fold-over elastic around the eye opening.  It makes the opening nice and stretchy so he can pull it down to show his whole face if he wants.


I used jersey knit for the whole outfit.  

Mini Man loves the suit and wanted to put it on as soon as he opened it.  That is success in my book.  


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seuss Quilt No. Three

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Mini Man recently moved from his crib to the bottom bunk (Little Man moved to the top).   For Christmas I made him a quilt to celebrate using his big-boy bed.   


Little Man's winter quilt (Seuss quilt #1, Seuss quilt #2 can be seen here) has a Cat in the Hat theme.  I wanted to keep Mini Man's quilt similar.  

I actually finished the blocks for this quilt in 2012.  After I completed Little Man's quilt, I ended up with enough fabric leftover to make a second quilt.  Little Man was sleeping in the bunk-bed and I knew Mini Man would eventually get there too.  I never thought it would take me this long to piece the top and quilt it!

The blocks on this quilt are more Dr. Seuss in general rather than specifically The Cat in the Hat.  Each block was made using in a scrappy-improv fashion then trimmed to 15.5".  There are also nine squares that are solid pieces of print (rather than pieced).  There are 35 squares and the quilt measure roughly 80"x 90".

The quilt didn't take long to piece and quilt.  I kept the quilting to 4" diamonds.  The quilt was rather large and difficult to quilt with my small-ish machine.  

After piecing the top I wasn't too sure about the placement of the blocks.  The whole thing just felt too busy.  It has grown on me, however and I'm really starting to like it.  I think for Dr. Seuss, busy works.  

I backed it with flannel from the Robert Kauffman Seuss fabric line.  The flannel was very thick which makes the quilt warm and snuggly (perfect for winter).  

Now to start on a quilt for Mini Man to use in the summer!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Knit Stripe Elf Hats

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For Christmas I wanted to knit the boys elf hats.  I used this free pattern by Red Heart for a Santa hat.  Instead of following the pattern I knit the hats from the bottom up rather than the top down.  I prefer to decrease stitches rather than increase.  

After I decided on the pattern and style of hat it took me forever to decide on yarn.  I originally purchased an acrylic yarn that was advertised as no-pill.  I usually don't like artificial fibers, but it was soft and the no-pill idea was appealing.  After using the yarn for half a hat I decided I hated it.  The yarn seemed thin for worsted weight and I kept splitting it.  It was a pain to use.  I ended up buying wool yarn.  I thought cotton wouldn't be warm enough.  

This was my first time knitting a hat in the round.  I'm not sure why I'd never done it before.  It was so much easier than knitting flat and sewing up the back.  It was also my first time knitting stripes in the round.  I watched a few video tutorials to help make the stripes jogless (it took me a few rounds of the blue hat to figure it out).  These two are the best.  I also learned how to carry the yarn from one row to the next.  In the past I would have thought to break the yarn after every color change and would have ended up with a ton of yarn ends to bury.  What a mess.  I'm glad I figured that out.

You can see how the lines of color don't match up on the first few rows.  

I made the red hat second and was able to make the whole thing jogless.  If you look close, however, you can still see where each row starts.  

Unfortunately, neither kid likes his hat.  Little Man doesn't like his because it is too itchy and Mini Man doesn't like his because, "it keeps falling down!"  I'm still not sure what he means by that.  Fortunately I made the adult size (for my massive headed children) so maybe I'll use the hats when its cold.