Sunday, October 28, 2007

Four-Patch Baby Quilt

I'm starting to think that I should just call them "Little Quilts" or "Quilts for Little People" rather than Baby Quilts. They're all small and created for small people. Hmm.... I'll have to ponder that one.

So, here is my latest contribution to the growing stack of "Little Quilt" tops. I put way more fretting into this one than was needed. I'm not sure I'm completely satisfied with the result. I'm not going to rip anything out, though. I sewed it up, that's the way it stays. (Some would say: As you sew, so shall ye rip. I'll ignore them.)

I have three more stacks of fabric waiting to become Little Quilts. Bad news is that I don't think I have anything even remotely "baby boy" on the list. I think I'll have to go back to the stash sooner than I planned. Maybe I could get lucky and everyone will have a baby girl. Although, that might upset the balance of the planet. I shouldn't let my lack of "baby boy" quilt magic interfere with the balance. As I've said before: "I can only use my powers for good."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Windmills Baby Quilts (yes, that's plural) Update

Yet again, my powers of estimation are all off-kilter. I cut and sewed and found I was just a few blocks shy of two baby quilts. What to do? I cut some more, with another coordinating fabric and made sure I had enough for two. I played with layouts for about 30 minutes and found two I liked. At this rate, I might work through my stash better than I'd hoped.

Once the center of the quilt(s) was (were) done , I added a couple borders to bring the size up to fit the backing fabric.
Now, I'm off to get the next stack of fabric into shape. Currently, it's giving me fits, so I may just skip to another pile of fabric.

I also made a trip to the fabric store yesterday, so I may be totally off on the working down my stash idea. I do try.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Windmills Baby Quilt

I put away the computer and EQ6. Mouse clicks just weren't getting me anywhere. I'd actually started the cutting for this quilt, so the software just showed me the math for what I'd planned anyway.

Quilt math is interesting, if you care about it. All seam allowances are 1/4". So, if you cut two strips (like the ones in this quilt) to 2.5" and sew them together, you get 4.5 inches. Two of those add up to 8.5 inches and so on. The software lets you just plug in the finished size, then it calculates everything from finished size to how much fabric you'll need. The fabric estimation is the most important part for me. I always OVER-estimate the yardage required. Granted, this leaves plenty for scrappy quilts later, but it also means I over purchase.

I really enjoy putting the baby-size quilts together. They'll like short attention-span-theater. Cut, cut, sew, cut, sew, sew, sew... ta-da! Quilt top. Quilting it all together is pretty easy, too. No fighting with a huge bundle of fabric under the arm of the sewing machine. Until I can get a long-arm, I'm pretty sure big quilts will be special occasion projects. Wall hangings are even better, but baby quilts are the best for making happy parents.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Electric Quilt 6 has arrived!

I picked up a copy of one of the many quilt magazines and found an article on several different quilt design software packages. After a little Internet homework I found EQ6. Let's just say I've found another way to waste large amounts of time. After installation and some poking around the software, I've found that time just escapes into thin air. Hopefully, I'll have some quilts to show for this by the end of the weekend. Then, I'm off again for another trip. Which means more knitting. I've got another small knitting project in the works, but I'm keeping it under wraps for right now.

The workspace of the modern quilter: laptop, sewing machine, mouse and scissors. (Oh, yeah, and the really big manual to figure out the software.) (You can check out EQ6 at

Yes, that wonderful desktop image is the 'smiling' face of my pup Reesey.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Crafting Shop-a-holic

Today I went around to the stores and did the shopping thing. I have several ideas roaming around my head causing all kinds of trouble. Some of this I have plans for, some of it I just had to pick up. Husbands wonder how the stashes get so big.

Fleece, because you can never have too much. I purchased fleece remnants for about a year and after picking up fabric for the backs, I ended up with five patchwork throws that I still have to give away. Some flannel, because you never know when you'll need to make a baby blanket. Some fuzzy fleece, because I have an idea to make some little throw pillows for the bedroom. I think they'd make a great Mid-Winter gift. Yarn for socks (that's the red and white) and yarn for a baby sweater (yellow yarn) (Fabric Place is going out of business). I picked up the pattern for dog sweaters because a friend has a short-haired puppy that could use a sweater for the winter. I think my puppy might like one, too. Lastly, some print-on magnetic sheets. When you spend half your life in a big steel box, you have plenty of places to hang magnetic signs.

So many ideas and projects, so little time.

Knitted Vest

As fall arrives and winter seems not so far away, knitters look to adding warm things to their list of projects. I purchased a stack of Moda Dea Ticker Tape at the discount store. What to do with it? After a couple frogged attempts, I settled on a v-neck vest.

Knit on size 11 needles (love those turbos) at about 3 stitches to the inch, it worked up pretty quick. As usual, I ignored most of the directions. Directions said knit the back, then the front. I knit them both in the round. I love knitting in the round. I worked the decreases at the same time. Instead of using bind-offs at the ends, I just included a couple k2tog to take up the bound off stitches.

Instead of working one front side, then the other, I continued to work back-and-forth on my circular needle, with three balls of yarn on the move at the same time. That's one for the back and two for the front. Again, avoiding bind-offs on the shoulders, I merely worked the stitches, placed a marker and worked the next set. That way, I was set up to work the three-needle bind-off for the shoulders. Pick-up and knit the armholes and the collar and the vest is done. (I try to avoid including weaving in the ends as a step, it is the most annoying step.)The worst part? I still have 3+ balls of the Ticker Tape. What can I make with just three balls? Well, the sweater took 6+, so I guess what I have will go a long way.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Quilting I will go.

First order of business: pick out some combinations of fabric for some little quilts. How hard can it be, anyway? Well, it only took about an hour, but I managed to come up with the following. Each stack is a potential quilt, in miniature. Thank goodness babies are small. The rule I use is that it should take no more than 1.5 yards of fabric for the backing. Somewhere around 40" wide by 54" long.

Next, pick one of the stacks and start whacking. The center stack of the bottom row is the one I chose for this project.

In truth, the quilt magazine instructions read like this: "Getting started: Pre-wash and iron all fabrics. Sew with 1/4" seam allowances. Press all seams as you sew. Always sew a sample block before cutting an entire quilt." Guess what? I don't do the last step, hardly ever. Why? Well, with a rotary cutter you can afford to get crazy. Besides, how else will I ever use up that stash?

The first pattern I decided to use is called Patience Corners. Really much more simple than it sounds. With trusty cutter in hand, I attacked the small stack of fabric and started cutting. Cut strips, sew strips, cut again, sew some more, cut again and surprise, squares. Then I laid them out and put them together. Add a few borders to make the thing closer to my desired dimensions and a quilt top appears.

Here is the finished top. I think I'll wait until I have at least one more of them complete before I start putting the backing and batting together. Besides, I've used almost the entire stack of fabric I picked out and I don't have enough for a binding. Back to the stash.

I'm confident that the completed quilt will make a little girl very happy. Hmm... which set of parents is having a girl? I wish I knew.

I must apologize. I think the camera's flash washed out the colors.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Everyone is making babies.

It seems like everyone is going to have a baby. Okay, not everyone, but several of my friends and co-workers are pregnant. So, I have to get cracking before the moms start popping.

I have a huge selection of cotton fabrics for the job. The challenge is making enough of them work together to make a quilt. No wait, it would be more than one quilt. Usually, I find out about the parent's choices for baby's room, or at least the gender of the child, and do my shopping for each individual blanket. Honey has said I'm not allowed to buy any more fabric for this insanity. Thankfully, I do have some fabric on-hand.

One, two, three, four... I'm sure I'm missing at least one other pregnant couple.

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to create no less than four baby blankets using the materials found in my fabric stash. I know, it won't be easy.

What you see here is my stash, what you don't see are the bins with smaller scraps. I suppose I should at least try to work some of those in, or even make a really scrappy quilt. Ah, the possibilities.