Archive | February, 2009

Tiny tots

26 Feb

I sure hope you can tell what this is. I decided to skip the toppings this time.

felted pizza

I’ve taken up hand sewing in the tiniest of scales. I wanted to make some play food items for my goddaughter to replace the pretend food she currently uses. I should have known this even before searching on Flickr: of course there is a whole subculture of felted food.

felted food

The idea is to have two of each so sharing won’t be such a hardship. I’m still missing some very important food items in her mind, veggies (cucumber) and pastries (carelian pies) come to mind. The grand opening of this kitchen isn’t ’til the end of April so I’m sure I’ll make it. I think my favorite is the egg. It’s so graphic and simple.

felted egg


Book review: Japanese quilt blocks

22 Feb

A few weeks back I showed some of the new quilting and sewing books I’d bought. I thought I’d shortly go through them one at a time and show some example pages. First up is Japanese quilt blocks to mix and match by Susan Briscoe. The first time I bought this book it was a gift but I wanted my very own copy as well because I liked the simplicity of the blocks. This is definitely a reference book for individual block designs rather than a book on complete quilt designs.

Book: Japanese quilt blocks

1. japanese quilt blocks: cover, 2. japanese quilt blocks: patchwork blocks, 3. japanese quilt blocks: sampler, 4. japanese quilt blocks: sashiko sampler

The book offers the schematics for making 132 different quilt blocks: 82 patchwork blocks, 20 sashiko blocks, 23 kamon blocks and 7 takarazukushi blocks. I like the visual construction guidelines and the way it fits two designs into one page. A drawback of this frugality is that all applique and some embroidery patterns must be enlarged.

The general technique part which every quilting book seems to have is nice and concise, less than 20 pages including the sashiko. In the very beginning of the book there is a handy guide showing you how to use the book and to read the instructions on the block pages. All blocks carry symbols according to: which technique they are made with, and what skill level they require.

Book: Japanese quilt blocks 2

1. japanese quilt blocks: sashiko, 2. japanese quilt blocks: how to, 3. japanese quilt blocks: kamon crest, 4. japanese quilt blocks: takarazukushi

In between the pages of block designs, there are plenty of suggestions on how to mix&match different blocks. The sashiko embroidery blocks are stunning and the technique seems simple enough although I’m sure it takes some practise to get those running stitches nice and even. I won’t attempt to tackle the takarazukushi applique blocks beyond their name :)

Go see more of the book in the Amazon preview. All the block designs are shown as thumbnails in the table of contents.

Baby boy

21 Feb

The baby beat me to it but here it is: the zig zag quilt got finished this morning during the women’s relay in the biathlon world championships. Excellent background entertainment for slip stitching binding, if you ask me!

It hasn’t been through the wash yet, so nevermind all the pin marks on the binding. I chose a solid gray binding both for practicality and style. It’s a 30mm wide (1 3/16 inches). I like this width more than the standard inch wide as it looks more substantial.

zig zag quilt

I quilted in the ditch along the zig zags to bring out the stripes. It should be enough since the batting is actually just some white flannel doubled up for a cozy blanket.

daisy chain zig zag quilt front

I love the backing fabric. It is my favorite of the whole Daisy Chain collection by Amy Butler, and unfortunately only available in this colorway. The white quilted zigzags look nice on the back, too.

zig zag quilt backing detail

Here’s the whole set that I’m giving to the newborn. Not very boyish but cheerful enough. I hope my partner in crime, my sis, likes it too.

for a baby boy

Bear with me

17 Feb

Ever since I saw this post on baby booties, I wanted to try and copy the design shown. Turns out it wasn’t that difficult to do, although I’m clueless as to which size these would be. I also couldn’t figure out how to avoid the inner seam if I wanted to stitch the rubber band into place between the layers. I hope it won’t bother the little feet too much.

bear booties front

I figure babies grow into whatever I make, right? The outer fabric is a sturdy cotton/linen mix from Superbuzzy via Pikku-Kettu. I could squeeze half a dozen of these out of the generous piece she gave me!

bear booties back

Piecing it together

15 Feb

Here’s the promised update on the quilts. The baby quilt top is finished! I’m making a Zig Zag quilt, according to the this tutorial from Purl bee. I have the backing but still need to decide on the binding fabric. The top measures 32 x 40 inches.

daisy chain zig zag

The charm pack was two charms short, and I would have needed all 40 different fabrics of the Daisy Chain line from Amy Butler. Luckily she’s very true to her colors, so I mixed in a print from Midwest Modern and another from Belle. I’m hoping they won’t stand out to the untrained eye. :)

daisy chain zig zag detail

The grown-up quilt is coming together, too. Here’s a view of the blocks I’ve pieced. I’ve kept moving them around on the floor all morning, trying to get a nice spread of colors, prints and sizes. Micromanaging, perhaps. Random is truly difficult to achieve on purpose.

morning call blocks

Next I will piece vertical columns of sashing and add random widths of horizontal strips between the blocks. I constructed the blocks based on the Pink Bliss quilt tutorial. In order to get a larger quilt and use up all the fabric I’m basically winging it from here.

morning call sashing


14 Feb

Though I’m not much for Catholic martyrs, I’ll take any excuse for gifting. Below is the baby kimono wrap I made for my goddaughter. The free tutorial is great, with sizing from newborns to 8-year-olds. I had the bias binding strip (Moda’s In The Pink) ready, having originally made it for this quilt. I managed to squeeze the 2T size out of half a yard of fabric by narrowing the front panels by 1 inch each. The main fabric is Valori Well’s Sole.

kimono wrap

Just in case the 22-month-old in case does not understand how gorgeous this garment is (cough), I’m bribing her with apple pie. The box was a freebie from Twig and Thistle. The not-too-sweet pie dough recipe came from here, and they are filled with homemade apple jam.

little pie

Even I received some gifts this week, though they didn’t necessarely have much to do with Valentine’s day. A true friend saved me from breaking my vows on not buying fabric. You see, there’s this Australian girl Lara Cameron who designs and prints amazing fabrics, and she updated her online shop a while back. Before I could break my promise and buy some, someone snatched the fabric pack I had my eyes on from underneath my nose. I bitched and moaned about this in email to said friend, who confessed that she had in fact bought it. For me! Great minds and all that, eh? :) And here it is, birds and birch and bonsai trees! A girl couldn’t get much happier.

lara cameron fabrics

But wait, that was not the end of it. We have been planning a wee trip, and she had sewn some very necessary accessories. I’m confident we’ll be upgraded from coach once we pop these babies on. She has a matching pair, naturally. The pattern is from Amy Butler’s In Stiches book, and fabric also by her.

travel sleep mask

Tomorrow, at same time, same bat channel: quilt tops, both finished and in-progress!

My sewing nook

8 Feb

The weather is horrible. It’s so foggy I can’t get any decent shots of the teeny tiny objects I’ve finished. So instead, here’s a look at where I made them. This is my humble sewing nook in one corner of our living space. It’s not usually this clean, I staged the photo. But it is pretty, even when overflowing with fabric. The table and chair were birthday gifts, as was the sewing machine, and all have been put into good use, I promise!

sewing space

Next I’m gonna bravely show you my stash. I made a new year’s resolution this year, after many many resolution-free years. But this one is a toughie, so I needed the help of a public announcement. I have too much fabric (and yarn!) and so I promised not to buy any new this year. Of course, these are several clausus which permit me purchases, such as “abroad”, “commissioned work”, “only need binding to finish a quilt”, etc. A girl needs some loopholes, after all. :)

sewing cabinet

My precious stash lives on the middle shelf of this Ikea Granemo cabinet. I like to organize my stash first by weight (home decor vs. quilting), by planned projects, and then the “free” fabric by color. It inspires me to see random combinations of fabric from several lines. In addition to these fabrics, I’ve got a collection of linens and curtains bought at flea markets. Perhaps some day they too can fit into the cabinet. For now, they get to stay in the bedroom closet.

I also keep my sewing books and patterns in the cabinet, on the top shelf. The cohabit with several boxes and tins filled with ribbons and pins and such. The blue bag holds all the scraps I cannot bear to throw away.

On the bottom shelve I can fit my machine (when not in use) plus two boxes for works-in-progress. Hiding behind them are my quilting rulers and swift.

Speaking of those flea market fabrics, I’m thinking next I should make, oh, about dozen aprons, starting with these lovelies. The quilts have progressed, and I’ll prove that as soon as I and my Ixus see some sun!

fabric inspiration