If I had had to guess at the beginning of 2010 what my total quilt number would be at the end of the year, I would have guessed a little higher. I finished my first quilt in 2009 and made at least 8 projects, and I had to include mini quilts to get up to 9 for this year. I definitely purchased enough fabric for quite a few more! But life events get in the way, and being pregnant meant that there were a few months when I was too tired to even think about sitting up at the machine – and that was just the first trimester! I didn’t finish my first quilt of the year until August, which means my numbers are actually pretty good, considering there’s been no time for projects the last 6 weeks after the baby has been here, and the couple weeks before that were pretty slow too. Most were for gifts, and I sold my first quilt on etsy this year as well.
I don’t have very high hopes for finishing a large number of projects in 2011 with a young baby and going back to work, but once Will starts sleeping longer through the night and our evenings can be structured a little more, maybe there will be a little chance, fingers crossed! I won’t be buying fabric for awhile, so hopefully my collection won’t be sitting on the shelf untouched for too long.
I made a few garments in 2010, but thrifted much more of my maternity wardrobe than I made. I’m ready for some new post-partum clothes, but I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to make anything soon or if I’ll be back at the thrifts for those, too. Hopefully I’ll get around to making a few things for Will, but he’s got a great gifted and thrifted wardrobe, too! My biggest goal would be some confidence in sewing with knits – I know they can be quick to sew, but it still intimidates me to mess things up there. I know if I can make some more knit garments they’ll be the things that are most likely to be worn. I’d also like to gain the confidence to make things in ways other than directly as the pattern directs, without over-thinking every step. We’ll see!
2011 Sewing Goals:
1. Sew from my stash
2. Sew clothes from knits
3. Sew for Will
4. Sew garments without following pattern exactly
5. Explore art quilting further
It’s a good thing last year was the year I made quilts for Christmas, because there hasn’t been much crafting this year (or decorating, to tell the truth – but the wrapping is finally almost done!). I made a couple of these cinnamon stick stars from this tutorial, which were easy enough to do one-handed. I used jewelry wire instead of thread or glue, but she gives two other ways to do it, too.
We made our traditional Swedish cookies the weekend after Thanksgiving when my mom was here helping with the baby, and I attempted this peppermint bark (that has become my lazy tradition) today, but the layers of chocolate seem to have not bonded correctly, so we may be throwing this in the freezer to snack on ourselves instead of taking as a gift for Christmas eve dinner.
A couple friends who don’t live nearby are having babies now too – we’re all at that phase of life! I haven’t had time to finish quilts for everyone, so I made a couple quick baby gifts to include in our baby shower in a box package. This is a simple receiving blanket made of 1 yard of quilting cotton on one side, and a yard of flannel on the other. I stitched them together right sides together, flipped them right sides out, and did a three step zig zag for an edging stitch.
I cut out blocks for a couple quilt tops with this good folks fabric. These were the leftovers, and I made a patchwork bib. It would have been a quick project, except now I’m working on nap schedule and finding people to hold the baby so I can finish a quick project. The narrow quilting lines were the most time consuming part. I did the patchwork with the batting as a foundation piece, so I didn’t have to iron each step. These are great for using up scraps of batting. To save time, I used pre-made bias tape binding, and my machine stitching could definitely use some help.
These are in the running for the kind of thing I could make for
My grandma made Will a quilt, too. At least some of these fabrics are from a fat quarter set my dad gave her for Christmas one year. Perfect for a little boy!
The middle of the squares have teddy bear prints.
The back has a bug print, and a wide pieced binding.
So far I’m the only one of the grandkids who has carried on the tradition of sewing and quilting (that I know of – I don’t keep up too much with my cousins on that side of the family). I’ve never lived close to her, but it’s funny the things that are somehow “in my blood” that I have this desire to do. I learned sewing and crafts from my mom, my aunts, and a lot of surrogate family members growing up, but I think there’s a family heritage here that I’m carrying on. I have a few blankets and quilts that she’s made for me over the years, and it’s pretty special that now Will has something of his own, too.
Of the baby quilts that I made this summer, this was by far the longest process, mostly because each decision seemed so important. This one’s for my own son, after all! So I wanted it to be an heirloom, and classic enough that we would love it forever. I knew I wanted to use the vintage cowboy fabrics and the big pinwheel, which I feel like I’ve seen somewhere but I couldn’t find it anywhere once I started looking for it.
Eventually I just started cutting into the fabric, which is really the best way to get through the pressure of a creative block. The stars in the corner are basically from Victoria’s wonky star tutorial, except that I used 5″ squares and then cut down the white space around the edges tight to the points of the stars, making the squares even sizes (which I think ended up around 11″). The big stripes on the edges were meant to go the other way, but of course all the pressure to make this the perfect quilt and careful measuring because I had just barely enough fabric for the design meant that I made the first cut incorrectly. That put me back in the place of needing to improvise a solution, which is how I operate best anyway. I did simple straight line quilting, also because I needed to finish the quilt and not stress out about the quality of the free motion quilting.
The back is pieced from leftovers and one print that happened to coordinate with the lighter cowboy print.
Close-up of the cowboy fabrics.
Pinwheel – I started with 17″ squares for each quarter of the middle section, mostly because that’s what was easiest to cut on my mat. The quilt finished up at about a 49.5″ square.
I’m happy with the result and hope that it’s something that Will is going to grow to love and use a lot over the next few years!
This is another baby quilt I made this summer for friends who weren’t finding out the baby’s gender before she was born. Their baby shower wasn’t until after the baby was born, but I had a feeling that with our due dates being so close I wouldn’t get a girly quilt finished in time, which is true (I do have two in progress, but they’ll have to go to other babies!). It’s kind of fitting, too, to send the quilt to the people I was thinking about as I was making it.
I cut the fabrics into blocks of even width (5.5 or 6″, I think) and lengths varying from 4-6″ to make a random kind of coin quilt. I pieced them into long strips, and then realized I had enough to make a reversible quilt by leaving the sashing out of the back. I tried, in general, to avoid matching fabrics from touching, but piecing improvisationally means that’s not always possible. I moved the strips around until I was happy enough with the placement, and took apart the ends to make the correct lengths where I needed to. The black and white check fabric is linen, and the quilt finished up measuring about 36×45″.
There are so few baby things in colors other than blue & pink – I wonder how much better things would sell if bright colors like this were also an option!
I’ll have to test and see how this method of labeling works out. These last two baby quilts were the first ones I’ve ever labeled, and I haven’t had time for embroidery. I just pinked the edge of a scrap of fabric, wrote on it with sharpie, and then hand stitched it on.