Baby Quilt for William

Ever since I first read about jelly roll race quilts, I knew I would have to stitch one…someday. And I’ve always been interested in trying improv patchwork alphabet letters…someday. So when my niece had a baby boy, I decided that someday was now. I would combine a quick jelly roll race quilt with personalized patched letters to make William a baby quilt.

CroppedQuilt

I pulled together a bunch of precut strips, as well as solids and prints from my stash, in a happy orange, yellow, turquoise, and green color scheme. I cut the stash pieces into 2 1/2″ strips to match the width of the precut strips. Since I was making a baby quilt and wanted the fabric colors and prints to change fairly frequently, I cut my strips 18″ – 21″ long. (Traditionally jelly roll race quilts are made with strips cut across the entire width of the fabric yardage – about 40 – 42″.) I stitched them together on the diagonal into one long strip and then proceeded to sew them together in the standard way a jelly roll quilt is made. I ended up with a fairly square patched quilt top, and then cut it straight crosswise, about one quarter of the way down from the top.

Quilt top cut crosswise and ready for the name strip.

Quilt top cut crosswise and ready for the name strip.

Next I stitched the improv letters. So much fun. I chose to make them all in bright orange fabrics that would “pop” against the turquoise background fabric. I wanted tummy time to be interesting for William. Who knows, maybe one day his quilt will help him spell his name!

letters

I stitched the William strip between the two patched sections, and I was ready to layer the quilt and finish the quilting and binding.

William celebrating his three month birthday on his quilt.

William celebrating his three month birthday on his quilt.

Looks like William is happy with his quilt. It sure was a fun, quick project for his great-Aunt.

March Madness Duke Basketball Quilt

Back in the summer, when our daughter and son-in-law announced they were expecting their first child in late February, we teased them about the timing of the big event. They are both Duke grads and huge college basketball fans. What’s a better time to be home on maternity leave than during March Madness?!

Here's Ollie, born 2/28/15, just in time for March Madness! One week old and sporting his Duke Blue Devils hat.

Here’s Ollie, born 2/28/15, just in time for March Madness!

In anticipation of Ollie’s arrival, I designed a March Madness basketball quilt. My inspiration was the layout of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium and the project became a lot easier to envision when I discovered that Robert Kaufman makes a basketball court fabric panel. Perfect for the center of the quilt.

I studied the stadium layout and used the seating arrangement for the patchwork pattern around center court. (Originally I thought I could follow the entire layout, but quickly realized I would end up with a king size quilt…a bit too large for a baby quilt.)

As for the color palette of the quilt, of course I would be using lots of Duke blue and white, including a Duke Blue Devils logo print. But I needed to add something else. The discovery of a basketball print led me to include several orange fabrics. Orange dimple dot minky (which looks a little like the textured surface of a basketball) was a natural choice for a soft, cuddly backing fabric.

Here is our little Cameron Crazy grandson on his quilt. He’s just one week old in this picture so I’d say he is definitely one of Duke’s youngest fans.

Ollie's first game day...trying out his Duke basketball quilt for the first time.

Ollie’s first game day…trying out his Duke basketball quilt.

After that picture was taken, I decided the finishing touch on the quilt needed to be an embroidered “Baby K Court” on two sides. (Their last name is Kelley.) I positioned the stitching strategically to mimic the “Coach K Court” wording on the court at Cameron.

20150320 206Let the Madness begin, Little Ollie. Go Blue Devils!

Tips for Making Baby Headbands

It’s hard to believe our granddaughter is 6 months old. She is growing so fast…including her head, which means that she has outgrown all her cute baby headbands. Last week I decided to take a day, pull out my stash of ribbons and buttons and embellishments, and make her a wardrobe of headbands. I created a total of 14 different styles – two weeks of stylin’ baby accessories.

Here she is ready to watch basketball, wearing her College Game Day bow!

Ready for College Game Day - Go Nova!

Ready for College Game Day – Go Nova!

And here are the 13 other headbands:

The Many Faces of Claire - and her Headbands!

The Many Faces of Claire – and her Headbands!

There is so much info online on how to make elastic baby headbands that I do not think I need to write a tutorial. But, I do have a few tips to make them fit a growing head a little longer.

Th 5/8″ fold-over elastic by Dritz is great for these types of headbands. It’s soft, easy to work with, and comes in lots of different colors and patterns. Most tutorials suggest taking a length of elastic, placing the ends right sides together, and sewing them together to make a seam. I find that a little bulky so I simply overlap the cut ends.

I start with a length of elastic cut to the size of baby’s head plus 1/2″. There are “standard” head sizes but our girl is off the charts (So smart, she is…gonna be brilliant in school!). I want to make sure the headbands will be big enough now and adjustable to last for awhile.

I overlap the ends 1/4″. Using a doubled thread in the needle, I hand slip-stitch one cut end in place.

Overlap the cut ends and stitch them together.

Then I sew the finished edges together along one side, sew back down the other cut end and across the opposite finished edges.Step2I take small stitches and make sure the ends are securely knotted. The desired bow or embellishment is sewn or glued to the outside of the headband, over the overlapped seam.

To make the headband adjustable to a growing head, I form a 1/2″ pleat by folding the elastic back on itself and securing it with a few small stitches. These stitches can then be removed when the headband gets a little snug. (I like to use contrasting thread so it is easy to see what stitches need to be snipped.)

Step3

When using crochet lace elastic trim such as the type I used for Claire’s College Game Day bow, I do sew a regular seam on the machine. But, I can still fold and hand stitch a little tuck to the inside of the headband to make it adjustable for a growing head. A large bow or embellishment will cover up the stitching.

Hopefully this group of headbands can be worn for several months. I have a feeling I will be making lots more. They are so quick and easy to make, and it’s so much fun to see her wearing them. A girl just cannot have too many accessories!

Let’s Go! Baby Projects to Sew

Our first grandchild is almost six months old and another grandchild is on the way any day now. So needless to say, I’ve been inspired to design baby quilts and baby projects to sew.

CanopyOpen&QuiltHere’s a peak at a car seat tent and tagged quilt that I just designed for the winter issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine.

CanopyWindowOpenThe tent (or some folks call it a canopy) features a peak-a-boo window that can be closed for warmth and protection or can be opened to check on baby and provide ventilation. To keep it from getting too heavy, no batting is used. The tent is simply backed with flannel and lightly quilted.

Betsy&QuiltThe coordinating tagged quilt ties onto the car seat handles to keep it in place for the ride. Ribbon loops along all the edges are a fun and entertaining touch for a busy baby. And once you get to your destination the quilt can be used as a play mat. (MQU Editor Carol Zentgraf’s granddaughter, Betsy, gave both projects her approval!)

I fell in love with these fabrics from the “On Our Way” collection by Riley Blake. They are colorful, fun, gender-neutral and perfect for these projects. I was so excited to discover they had both flannels and quilting cottons in the group.

Winter15CoverCheck out the Winter 2015 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, pages 38-45 for all the details and complete instructions.

Lisa Call’s Abstraction Class

After considering taking an online art class with Lisa Call for over a year, I finally made the commitment and joined her fall 2014 Abstraction class. I had heard many good things about Lisa’s classes and was anxious to study with her. I am not sure exactly what guided me to take a class in abstract art. Frankly, many types of abstract art do not appeal to me. However, I was looking to find a way to discover more about myself and to learn how to express ideas in my own unique way.

Taking Lisa’s Abstraction class was a real eye-opener for me. I learned about Abstraction art and the various art movements and studied the works of the influential artists of those “isms”. I practiced basic design principles in relationship to the studies done for the class assignments and I discovered how to critique my own work by taking the time to really look at it and write down by thoughts. But most importantly I learned more about myself – what kind of work I like to do, how to take inspirations and translate them into finished work, how to quiet the critic within, my preferred methods of working, and the whispers of a “voice” that will guide me forward.

Initially I worried I would not have enough time to devote to the class work. (“Maybe I should take the class at a later time….This is such a busy time in my life….Can I handle the assignments?….etc.) But I was drawn to sign up and I am so glad I did. There are always excuses to not do something but I realize that taking this class was important to me as I work to find meaning and direction by creating with the skills and techniques I have honed over the years.

Lisa is a very positive, sharing teacher who continually encourages her students to explore and grow. I like how the class was structured with weekly e-mails, assignments, recorded lectures, group and individual calls. It was very interesting to see how each individual approached the assignments and found their way. Because Lisa’s class was online and was 10 weeks long, I felt that I learned more than I would have if I had taken an in-person workshop or retreat. There was time to digest the material and the challenges kept me moving forward and engaged. The group and individual calls provided the personal attention and gave several opportunities to ask questions or request specific feedback.

Here are photos of my completed assignments. It is very interesting to me how my work changed and how much more comfortable I became as I worked through each challenge.

Abstraction Class assignments

Abstraction Class assignments

Now that I have completed the class, I find myself with a new direction that I want to focus on and explore in my work. I am excited to have found a technique that excites me and am anxious to see where “action stitching” may lead.

 

 

My Ribbon Skirt is Featured in Stitch Magazine

Hot off the presses! Check out page 47 of the winter 2014 issue of Stitch Magazine. That’s my ribbon skirt – created with rows and rows of beautiful Renaissance Ribbons, including my favorites from Parson Gray, plus coordinating laces and other trims.

RibbonSkirtPageI sewed all the ribbons and trims onto a base of Parson Gray’s fabric from FreeSpirit. The skirt is fairly simple to make…just one pattern piece for the yoke and five rectangles for the slightly gathered tiers.

Winter 2014 issue of Stitch Magazine

Winter 2014 issue of Stitch Magazine

You can order a copy of the magazine here. Or, look for it on the newsstand or at your favorite sewing or quilting store.

Now you have an idea of what to do with all those precious ribbons and trims you’ve been collecting. Sew them together and make a skirt. Wouldn’t this be cute in a child’s size with lots of bright and colorful ribbons? Think I need to work on that idea!

How to Sew a Yoga Mat Bag from Precut Strips, Fat Quarters and Ribbons

Bargello Yoga Mat Bag

Bargello Yoga Mat Bag

This Bargello Yoga Mat Bag is one of my favorite designs from Precut Patchwork Party. It’s a fun way to use a roll of coordinating precut fabric strips. Two lengths of ribbon form the straps and two fat quarters make the lining. Sew a little gift for a friend…..or for yourself!

Materials Needed to Make Yoga Mat Bag

Materials Needed to Make Yoga Mat Bag

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