Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby's First Quilt: The Car Seat Quilt

I finally have begun sewing for baby and I am addicted. Especially because I have been able to play with a fabric that I have been hiding in my stash for nearly a year now; Riley Blake's "Little Matryoshka" fabrics! I don't know what it was about it that caught my eye last year but I am so happy to finally have an excuse to use it all up! And so I began by first cutting up my charm pack to create a car seat quilt!

I found this adorable pattern over at Moda Bake Shop: The Sophie Car Seat Quilt. The creator of this pattern, Jennie from Clover and Violet, solved an all too irritating problem that I was always having when my son was smaller. You have the car seat finally propped to a comfortable position on your arm as you are making your way into your destination when your little bundle of joy decides it will be fun to take a nice big kick and sends their blanket flying off the car seat. Suddenly you are stuck doing the most painful squat as you struggle to balance holding the car seat and reaching to grab the blanket up off the ground. Can you tell that we did this move quite a few times? And yet I never thought of creating a blanket that attached to the car seat. So I was more than excited to tackle this project!

I think the hardest part of this project, other than finally cutting a fabric that I love, was picking the perfect layout. 

Once I got through that part, I had no problem finishing this quilt. 

Once it was basted I got to the quilting. And sticking to my goal for 2014, I decided to continue practicing free motion quilting with this quilt. It was nice and small which made it easier to manuever through the machine so it made for a great practice piece. For this I decided to go with hearts and loops all over. My lines are still not perfect but I definitely was feeling a little more confident after this project.

I also decided to add a little free motion word to the bottom corner of my quilt to let my baby know just what I think!

Once it was done it was time for the binding and then attaching the straps. Now the original pattern called for long 28 inch straps for tying onto the car seat. While this was a great idea, I am not comfortable using long strings around a young baby (especially since I am hoping this blanket could be used not just on the car seat but if baby falls asleep while we are out and about, or if we need a blanket for playing on while traveling). So my next thought was velcro. But then I shivered at the thought of waking a sleeping baby with the sound of velcro pulling apart, I knew I needed a quieter option. And then I spotted some snaps in my stash of sewing notions. 

As you can see in the above picture, I added a third strap at the top center of the quilt that was not called for in the pattern. I love using a blanket to keep the wind out of baby's face when running errands but again, it would tend to fall directly on baby's face. No good. So this was the perfect solution for keeping the blanket up and over the baby without falling on baby!

I am so pleased with how this turned out that I may just have to make one more to add to the rotation when we are out and about. But first, I am going to continue playing with these beautiful Riley Blake fabrics to create a crib quilt. Stay tuned to see how it turns out!

Until next time . . . happy quilting!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some Quilted Table Toppers

So before I began diving into some fun baby quilts I decided to finish up 2 projects from my to-do list. Table toppers for 2 side tables that now seemed so bare after all of the Christmas decorations were put away. My first table topper was made to sit on my 3 drawer organizer that I keep next to my sewing station.

Some of my "Vintage Couturier" fabric from Robert Kaufman was the perfect option for this table topper. And I found a great, super quick pattern for a placemat online. 

It was the perfect size for my small table. 

My second table topper was made using a tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co. for a heart shaped block

I arranged my blocks in a square to fit my square side table and had fun practicing one of my goals for the year, learning free motion quilting. 

As you may have noticed in both projects, I had some fun adding some thrifted lace to each project. 

Once again, it was the perfect shape for the table!

Since catching up on the household projects I have been busy working on the baby's first quilt. I hope to have it finished in the next day or two so stay tuned. Happy Quilting!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014: Picking up the Pieces and Getting Things Made

We are finally thawing out from our big freeze and the huge mounds of snow are finally shrinking. But being snowed in last week had a lot of positives as well. For one, I was able to take some time to really set some goals/resolutions for 2014. If I were to make a list of everything I wanted to do this year it would need to be written out on a scroll! And I also know I would find myself either stressed or extremely disappointed as the year comes to an end. So instead, I opted for choosing some words to motivate me for the year!

ORGANIZATION: Plain and simple. I think this is just about everyone's goal, every year! Somehow life gets crazy every year and things just kind of end up all over the place. I think I will always be striving to find a proper place for everything and to keep my work areas (and the whole house) as organized as one possibly can. 

PROGRESS: I want to finally catch up on all those half finished projects that have been laying around. Especially my Addicted to Vintage quilt that I started for my birthday and never got around to finishing. 

LEARNING: I hope to continue learning new techniques and skills with sewing and quilting. This year I would really love to learn how to free motion quilt and paper piece. 

FAMILY: I also want to be sure that I am super involved as a mom and wife. My goal is to spend less time online and more time being in tune to my family's needs. I also want to take more time to create for them this year!

So during my week inside I began to tackle some of these goals. I pulled out projects that were in pieces and worked on a few new ones that would help organize some things as well. One of these was a quilted sewing machine cover that I had started back when I got my treadle sewing machine. Somehow it got pushed aside and forgotten about. 

I had sketched my own pattern based on the shape of the machine and it turned out pretty well! It fits the machine like a glove. 

You might notice in the picture, I also quilted a giant pin cushion with pockets for organizing. Instructions for creating this "Mega Pinnie" had been shared on Facebook and it was so much fun to make and is now so helpful to carry from work-station to work-station.

I used all scrap pieces from my Addicted to Vintage quilt and got to try out some free-motion quilting on my treadle machine! I was scared to try meandering but it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Once I finally relaxed and just went for it, I found it was actually rather enjoyable. My curves aren't perfect but I am sure with practice they will get better.

And the best part is that it has pockets for all the tools that I use most often!

I did adjust the pattern a bit for the pockets though. I did all square patchwork instead of alternating between the square patchwork and rectangle patchwork pockets (so I cut 24 2.5 inch squares instead of 12 2.5 inch squares and 12 rectangles). 

I also decided to finally organize the mess of plastic bags that we keep on hand in our house. 

Yuck! It looked so trashy hanging on our wall. I found a great tutorial online to create a bag dispenser out of some of my wonderful scraps (yes, I save every extra inch of fabric from my projects . . . and it pays off in the long run). 

So I selected and cut my fabric and laid it out to be sure I liked the order of the pieces. 

And I began piecing all the strips together. Which meant I got to play with a new tool that I had read about online too!

When I work with my little one close by, or even right on my lap (as I was in this instance), I don't like to keep the iron on as it just begs for bad accidents with a toddler that loves to touch! But then I read about using a wooden seam roller when working on small piecing or curved piecing. I didn't really think it would work but I found one for wall papering on Amazon for 6 bucks and figured it couldn't hurt to try. 

My toddler loved it because even he could help use it! That's his pudgy little hand blurred in the corner as he rolled it back and forth. 

And I loved it because it actually worked!

It takes some elbow grease but if you started with crisp fabric it works like a charm. It is a great alternative if you cannot keep your iron out all the time. The rest of the project finished up quickly (less than an hour and that is with a toddler on my lap the whole time "helping" mommy). 

So much better than looking at a bag full of bags! Now let's just hope I can keep making progress on all of my 2014 goals. Happy Quilting!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

I hope everyone is starting their new year off on the right foot! We are starting ours off while buried in snow . . . we are still waiting for our alley to be plowed so that we can get our cars out of the garage. However, I thought this was the best way we could have started our 2014 off! It was rather refreshing to be forced to stay at home and take things easy for once. We had a nice brunch yesterday while we watched the snow falling out in our backyard and spent the afternoon playing outside as a family.

Speaking of family, if you are a regular follower of the blog you may have noticed I have been really slacking in my posts over the last few months. Our family will be expanding this Spring and morning sickness and a pure lack of energy have caused me to fall a bit behind not only in my sewing but also in my blogging.

But before I dive into 2014 and begin planning my quilting and sewing aspirations, I figured I should probably finish sharing the last of my projects from 2013! All of the Christmas gifts have been received so I am finally safe to show off what was made.

As mentioned in my previous post, I really love sewing the Half-Hex Christmas Tree Runner that Missouri Star Quilt Company showed in their YouTube tutorial. That being said, I had a blast making these for some of the women in our lives!

Using an easier pattern allowed me to branch out in other ways, like experimenting with metallic threads! I must say, I love the way they look on festive runners!

I also broke out of my mold for a runner that I created for my mom. I decided to give quilt-as-you-go a try, and I really liked it! I may even be making a quilt for my son using this method in 2014!

Honestly, the hardest part of this project was just letting go and having fun without having a pattern. I am so used to everything needing to be pieced a certain way that it took me a little while to get into the groove of just crazy cutting and piecing. But once I did I had a blast with it!

I also branched off from quilting for quite a few projects. For some men, I made custom bath towels using my embroidery machine. 

And for my final items, wristlets for some very special young women in our family! I used a free tutorial for a Bow Clutch.

That wraps up all the gifts I made. For the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I am experimenting with Glad Press n' Seal for free motion quilting. I am new to free motion but have been dying to learn so I am using my Addicted to Vintage quilt as an opportunity to try something new. Still not sure how I am feeling after only one try with the Press n' Seal but hoping to have a better analysis of it soon!

Wishing you all a new year full of quilting and sewing fun!