Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Double Rainbow Quilt

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My sister-in-law recently graduated from college.  To congratulate her I made her this lap-sized quilt that I'm calling the Double Rainbow quilt after this rather hilarious viral video.  We saw a double rainbow out our back window once when Sister-in-law visited us a couple years ago.  None of us and seen a double rainbow before and were all awed.  Sister-in-law was especially excited about the rainbow without knowledge of the video.  This quilt is my tribute to that hilarious moment.

I made this quilt using string scraps.  My scrap bin runneth over so it was nice to thin it out.  I organize my scraps by color so working on each row was pretty easy.  

I started with a square of muslin for the foundation.  I added the black stripe to the middle of each block then began to add stripes to each side. This tutorial explains the process.  I used the black in the middle to create a chevron effect.   

My black stripes didn't meet up perfectly so I appliqued a gray triangle over each point.  It helps emphasize the zig-zag while also hiding my sloppiness.  I left the edges of the triangles raw so they would fray.  I think it adds to the scrappiness of the quilt.  

With each block having a muslin foundation the whole quilt was pretty heavy before basting.  I decided to forgo the batting and used sweatshirt fleece as the backing.  The fleece is the perfect weight to act as thin batting and the backing.  I managed to find fleece that had no stretch.  I"m not sure of the purpose of fleece without stretch, but it was great for quilting.  I didn't have to worry about distortion while quilting.

The quilting is pretty simple.  I didn't want to quilt too densely because there is so much going on and I thought it would be a pain to sew through.  I quilted in the middle of each black zig-zag line and then between each line.  I matched threads for each color.  I hoped it would show up more on the back, but it faded into the gray pretty well.  

The binding is a black-and-white print I had in my stash.  I had a rainbow striped print cut and ready to use, but when I started sewing it on I changed my mind.  It was waaaaay too busy.  I ripped it off and picked a different fabric.  The black looks much nicer.  

I have a lot of blue scraps.  In order to use more blue I created two rows of blue.  The bottom one is supposed to be closer to indigo (ROY G BIV).  I tried to keep lighter blues at the top and darken as I went down.  I think I was moderately successful.  

This quilt was pretty fun to make and rather quick and easy.  I enjoyed looking through my scraps and thinning out the pile.  

I've decided to submit this to the state fair.  I have no delusions that this will win any ribbons.  It is not the most technically challenging and the quilting is nothing special.  But I think the colors are nice, the corners are square and the sides the same length, all the points match, and I did a great job on the binding.  I'm proud of it even though it most likely won't be a winner.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Children at Play Pillow

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I'm in the process of updating/replacing a lot of the pillows in our living room.  Some are from our wedding (going on eight years), some are from before children, and some are relatively new, but they are all looking pretty ragged and worn.

This is my first one that I've completed.  I finally got around to using the scraps leftover from one of Mini Man's baby quilts.  It was the orange and aqua color-way from Michael Miller's Children at Play by Sarah Jane line.  I adore this fabric and was glad I finally got around to using the rest.

I made a three-by-three pattern of square-in-squares.  I wanted to frame the cute scenes of paper airplanes, bicycles, and paper hats.  I used the prints for the frames.

 I didn't do a great job of lining up the stripes on the front.  In my defense, I had a limited amount of fabric.

I quilted one inch squares on the front and back.  The back was pieced stripes of fabric.

I love the paper hats.  I made an envelope sleeve to allow easy access to the pillow.

Both the front and the back were quilted with a fabric backing and batting in the middle.  I used binding on the edges to keep the corners of the pillow nice and crisp and to ensure there would be no raw edges of any kind visible.

I took extra time and was a precise as I could be through-out the whole thing.  The pillow is 16" square so there isn't much room to hide mistakes.  I'm planning to submit this to the State Fair next month.  I'm pretty proud of it and hope it does well.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Toddler Tanks

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Although it has been a somewhat mild summer in Iowa, we have had a few hot days.  Mini Man was lacking tank-tops (or muscle tees as Little Man calls them), so I helped him out.  Fortunately, Little Man still fits into the muscle tees I made him last summer so I didn't have to worry about him.  

I used a pattern that I drafted myself from measurements.  (I know, right?)  I have a kids t-shirt pattern drafted, just waiting for me to digitize.  Some day....


I upcycled some of my old and discarded t-shirts.   As you can see it is very scrappy.  (The front is a different color than the back).  I think it looks kind of neat and for play-clothes I figured it wouldn't matter much.  As long as he can stay cool.  I used cotton ribbing on the neck and arm openings.  I really like the ringer look for muscle tees.  I used a contrasting color for each.

I made two more with other upcycled shirts so he has plenty of options.  

And if you are wondering what happens if you give a two-year-old clamps?

It gets stuck on his shirt.

Are you staying cool this summer?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sibling Capes

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Friends of ours recently had their third baby.  To celebrate their newest addition I made the baby girl a bodysuit with built-in cape and skirt.  The bodysuit has a personalized super hero symbol.  

I made Big Brother and Big Sister matching capes with their own personalized symbol.  The capes were made using my Every Hero Cape Pattern.  

I scaled down the 'C' symbol available in the pattern to get the baby size.  


The bodysuit is similar the my Wonder Woman bodysuit.  Some day I hope to digitize my bodysuit pattern to sell.  Digitizing is slow work for me so don't hold your breath.  

I used the same star fabric in the baby's skirt as Big Sister's cape collar.  Big Brother got rockets on his collar.  I love the rockets.  

I hope Big Brother and Big Sister enjoy their new sibling!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Captain America

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Back in May my sister-in-law requested a Captain America costume for my nephew.  I forgot about it until recently when I realized his birthday is coming up next month.  I thought it would be appropriate for a 4th of July costume, so we will be giving it to him early.  

It's not really a true costume (there are no pants), but I think it is a little more practical.  Especially for the summer in the event that Nephew insists on wearing it 24/7 as little boys tend to do.

I made the t-shirt using my own pattern (which will be released for sale some day).  The star is appliqued.  I cut the shirt front on the waistline and (after adding seam allowance) cut the top part from blue and the bottom from white.  I appliqued the red stripes onto the white then sewed the white bottom to the blue top to get a full front piece.  The back is full blue.  

I used red ribbing on the neck and sleeves. 

I used this free pattern by Cutesy Crafts to make the mask.  I love how it looks.  There are six other free patterns for superhero masks, be sure to check them out!

I used this tutorial from An Art School Dropout's Life to create the shield using a Frisbee.  The Frisbee is covered in felt that I hot-glued in place.  I sewed the white ring and star onto the top piece before gluing.  I also sewed an elastic handle onto the back before gluing the back in place.  I really dislike hot-glue, but it seemed like the best medium for the job.  

I used ribbon to hide the seam where the front and back piece meet.  It looks a bit messy.  I don't love how the back looks, but overall it is a cool shield and fun toy.    

The boys will be together for the 4th of July so I made Mini Man and Little Man matching shirts to match Nephew.  

Team America.

It wasn't until after I made the shirts, but they remind me more of Ethan "Bubblegum" Tate from Futurama than of Captain America.  

File:Ethan Bubblegum Tate.jpg
What do you think?


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

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My husband's brother and his wife are expecting baby number 2 later this summer.  Their first child is Cousin B.  He is a few months younger than Mini Man.  Cousin B's baby quilt was the Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt.  I was very excited to learn that Cousin B's little brother will have a nursery decorated with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, another classic Eric Carle book.  I adore Eric Carle's artwork.  


I knew I wanted to create some kind of bear block and was fortunate to find a paper-pieced bear pattern by Bubble Stitch on Craftsy.    The block is available in three sizes, 8", 10", or 12."  I made four 10" blocks with different background colors.  You can see the blocks I made here.  

After I made the blocks and squared them I added a border to get the block to 12".  I could have made 12" bear blocks, but wanted more color with a border.  When I was squaring the first finished block I made an error and didn't center the bear.  Instead of ripping the border off and adding another, I decided to off-center all the bears.  Unfortunately, they aren't off-centered enough to look purposeful.  It just looks a little sloppy.  It's my only regret of the quilt.  

I knew I wanted the quilt to have the same feel as the caterpillar quilt.  I wanted the bears to be in a line on one side of the quilt and the rest of the quilt to be controlled chaos.  I used a disappearing 9-patch pattern for the blocks on the left side.  When I cut the 9-patch block into four blocks I didn't keep all of them together.  I switched the quarter blocks around to spread more color through the quilt.  I used solids from several Eric Carle fabric lines by Andover as well as plain solids for all of the disappearing 9-patch blocks.  

I added a half border (the stripes) to the top and side of the quilt to add interest.  

For the back I pieced a large cut of Brown Bear animals with stripes of more Eric Carle solids.  Simple, but effective.  I quilted with straight lines on the diagonal in two directions.  

I handed the quilt off last week when we visited.  We are excited to meet the new babe!