Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Starry Night Quilt

Remember the 9-Patch Puzzle Quilt? As I mentioned, that quilt was for the daughter of one of my closest friends. The Starry Night Quilt is what I came up with for her son.
I loved Lizzy House's first line, Castle Peeps. I didn't think anything would top those adorable characters, and then along came 1,001 Peeps! I bought a fat quarter set of each colorway, plus some extra yardage. I decided that the blue colorway was the perfect amount of whimsical and boy for this quilt.
After deciding to use 1,001 Peeps for this quilt, I started to plan my layout. I loved the idea of wonky stars, but I knew that 1 fat quarter set wouldn't stretch far enough. I paired the prints with a bunch of solids from my lqs and some kona in ash for the background. (Sidebar: I tried 3 different JoAnn's, and no one has kona in ash! I ended up finding some at a local shop, but I'm curious what's going on with the kona selection at JoAnn's.)
OK, enough rambling. Here's Starry Night:
I wish I could have gotten some good pictures at night, but alas, my photography skills are not up to that challenge!
Some detail photos, the blocks ranged in size from the smallest being around 3" and the largest 12":
Fussy cut pieces:
I quilted this piece with meandering, in a grey thread to match the background. For the backing I found a great dot print at JoAnn's. It was one of their better quality fabrics, and it washed up great! I also recently started binding more of my quilted by machine. I still prefer the look of hand binding, but my left thumb has really been bothering me. Hand work tends to aggravate it, so I have been doing more by machine.
Starry Night finished up at about 60" x 80", perfect for laying on the couch or for use on a twin bed!
I was really worried about whether this quilt was boy enough and age-appropriate. Boys tend to grow out of the "cute" phase much earlier than girls so I tried to stay away from cute. I was beyond excited when my friend told me that her son loves the quilt, and even declared that he would "never use another blanket again"! That one statement made my entire holiday.

I'm linking up to Fabric Tuesday! Hop over to see more great projects!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gifts for the A Family

As I mentioned in my last post, I sent gifts to a few friends' families for Christmas this year. The A Family has 3 kids, a big sister, little sister and little brother.
For the big sister, I made the children's messenger bag from the Oliver + S Little Things To Sew book. This bag is one of the reasons I bought the book. I love the simple design and the pattern even includes 2 sizes. The adult size would make a great gift as well!
I used a laminate from Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi line for the outside of the bag. The lining is a print from the DS Quilts line at JoAnn's. I was in a bit of a rush to finish all of the gifts that I planned, so I used premade bias binding and chocolate brown webbing for the strap.
I really like this pattern, and I won't hesitate to use it again. I chose my fabrics and cut them out in about an hour one night. When I actually sat down to sew up the bag, it took me less than 1.5 hours! I also love the compact size of the children's pattern, I think it would make a great purse.
DSC_0054 DSC_0057
The only change I made was to add velcro to the 2 front pockets shown in the photo. If I sew this bag again, I may play around with way of closing the main compartment as well.
For the little sister I made the Teddy/Baby Carrier, also from the Little Things To Sew book. The fabrics are all from Summersault by Erin McMorris.
Perfect for a front carry:DSC_0086
Or a back carry:
I couldn't resist, I made Addy the same carrier. :) These came together *really* quickly, and the pattern was great! DSC_0090
Finally, for the little brother I made a play mat that doubles as a toy sack.
I wanted to keep the design simple so that he could use his imagination. I fussy cut the buildings from a few fat quarters that I had stashed away. The rectangle of "road" in the upper left corner is a parking lot. I've been told that little boys love to park their cars when they play. DSC_0096
I wasn't super happy with how the toy sack looked when closed, but I ran out of ideas and didn't want to deconstruct the entire play mat. My hope is that the play mat is so well loved that it has no time to be used as a toy sack. :)
Along with the kids' gifts, I sent my friend a holiday table runner. If you want to see a pic, check out my last post.
My friend and her kids all loved their gifts, and I really enjoyed being able to surprise them with something special for Christmas. Feeling the gratitude of friends is the best gift I could ever ask for!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Personalized Pillows - Charm Pack Friendly!

I'm still blogging about Christmas gifts...at this rate, it maybe be Easter before I get through them all!
There was a common theme this year, which was that I gave gifts to several friends and their families. Typically I sew gifts for my family and a few close friends, but this year I wanted to do something more. It has been a rough year for a lot of people, and I wanted to help in some small way. So a few friends received surprise packages with gifts for their families!
This is the first set of gifts that I made, which I sent to a friend who bought her first house and moved her family in right before the holidays. For the kids, I made them each a pillow with their first initial appliqued on the front. I don't expect my friend to decorate the kids' rooms around the pillows, but I thought that a little special something for their new rooms would be a fun gift.
These came together really quickly and easily. I used a charm pack for each pillow and did a tiny bit of quilting on the pillow fronts and backs. The M pillow is made from Pure by Sweetwater and the E pillow is made from Love by Amy Butler.
For the M pillow I quilted random straight lines. I love the look of this quilting, and I think it's especially nice on boy quilts and pillows.
I quilted the E pillow with straight lines as well, but this time I quilted 1/4" from the seams. I never tire of this quilting style either!
I had a bit of yardage for the back of the M pillow, and I used more charms for the back of the E pillow. I finished these off with simple envelope closures.
Along with the pillows, I sent my friend a Christmas table runner. With the move so close to the holidays, she did minimal decorating at her new house. The table runner was the perfect little festive touch!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Personalized Zip Pouches

When I needed a break from the bigger Christmas projects (like the 9-Patch Puzzle quilt), I started sewing up a few zip pouches. I had used the Heat 'n Bond Iron-On Vinyl on one of the Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Jo Ann's, so I used that for the pouch interiors and coordinating prints for the exteriors.
DSC_0149 The exteriors seemed a bit plain, so I added a hexagon and hand embroidered some friends' first initials!
DSC_0148 Once the pouches were sewn up, I stuffed them with candy and other goodies personalized for each friend.
For one lucky friend I even dug into my Anna Maria Horner voile and made an infinity scarf:
I actually really loved all of these gifts, and wanted to keep them for myself. But in the end I stood firm and gifted them all. I do have some of the voile left, though.... ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just Pin It

My lqs has this very fun round, flat-ish pin cushion that I admire each time I'm having fabric cut. Their pin cushion is probably about 6" in diameter with a grandma's flower garden pattern appliqued on top. I've never reached out and touched it, but I'm guessing that it's full of sand.
I have wanted to make a similar pin cushion for awhile, so I whipped up a few in time for Christmas - one for me and 3 for friends!
I'm on a bit of a wonky star kick (more about that in another post), and I thought they would be the perfect piecing for a round pin cushion.
I kept this one for myself (center fabric is from a swap with Kristie!):
The back:
These are the first pin cushions that I have stuffed with crushed walnut shells, and I really like the resulting weight and feel. Good thing, since I have a huge bag of walnut shells to use up!
In case you're looking to make something similar, I started with 2.5" squares to piece the stars. To create the circles, I simply traced around the base of a cylindrical vase. My circles ended up about 5" in diameter after stitching the pin cushion together. I was worried about the tiny bits of walnut shell making their way out of the pin cushion, so I added a layer of muslin on both the top and bottom.
It took me just a few minutes to make each of these, and I love how they turned out!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Market Bags!

Market bags were my go-to gift this Christmas. I love the Keyka Lou Grocery Bag pattern, and as a bonus, if you already own the pattern she has provided alternate cutting instructions for a mini size! (I highly recommend following her blog, she gives really great sewing tips plus some freebie patterns!)
The mini size bag was too cute to pass up, and comes in quite handy for quick trips to the store. I made several of these, for Addy's 5 teachers and a few friends. (The bag in the bottom row, far left was for Matt!)
I made all 8 bags slightly different by varying the outside, handle and lining fabrics:

The middle bag in the above picture has a fun pintuck fabric for lining! Want to see it up close? :)
This picture should give you an idea of the relative size of the mini bag:
Of course I couldn't make these cute mini bags for all of my friends, and not make one for myself! So I used some Ruby that I had *just* picked up:
And finally, I made a matching set of bags for the mom with whom we carpool. This time I made a regular size bag and a matching mini from Amy Butler's Lark.
The mini:
The regular size bag:
And the matching set:
The best part about these bags is that I sewed almost all of them from my stash! I did have to buy a bit more of each of the Lark prints for the bag handles, but that was it. I hope these are all put to great use, I've already used mine several times. ;)