Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Baby Bouncer Cover

Tully and I made a baby bouncer cover! I wasn't really sure if I was going to attack something like this before the baby was born, but yesterday, while cleaning out my room, I had another look at it, realised how simple it would be and asked Tully if he wanted to help me.

Tully chose the fabric, which we just cut with a rotary cutter around the outside of the original. It was so great doing a project with Tully where precision doesn't matter so much!
Then, using thick polyester wadding and a navy and white striped back, he quilted the small sandwhich with Auriful 12wt variegated thread in purple, orange and yellow. It's super thick and fun, a spool I'd had for a while, because I always quilt in safe white. All it takes is sewing with a 5 year old to pull you out of your comfort zone! And this ended up being the perfect choice for this project!

We added a sleeve to the top half at the back and a big tab that attaches with velcro down the bottom and then bound it all with some strips I already had in my stash of scrap strips. (Please excuse the slightly disturbing camera smile Tully insists on these days!) I attached the binding to the back and stitched it on the front. I love the finished look it gives it!.
I haven't decided yet about some kind of seat belt. Maybe I'll just unpick if from the old one and attach it to the new?

Then finally, I let Tully choose a little stitched design to add the the feet of the rocker. It's his favourite thing to do, and always the first thing he asks for whenever we sit down to sew together. They're hard to see, but there's some cats, leaves, boats, cars, maybe a couple of others. Then Evie, who had otherwise stood next to us happily while we sewed, on the condition she got to press the 'scissors button', insisted on having her baby doll in the photo. She happened to be exactly the same size when she was born. Gosh, they grow, don't they?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hello Petal Layer Cake Quilt

Another quilt on the pre-baby list done! Another one not for us or for baby, but for my oldest friend who turned 30 this month. Slowly but surely I am getting through the list for others (ok, maybe not so slowly, I'm just impatient!) and then I'll spend the last couple of weeks making what I can for the baby. It makes me glad I've been handstitching the hexie quilt for my little one because I'm enjoying working on it each evening.
In my last post, I wrote about taking short cuts to help me get these quilts finished. I bought this Hello Petal Layer cake for my friend's quilt so I could sew it up quickly with minimal cutting and no time choosing colours (even though that's usually my favourite part!) While I was deciding what kind of design to make, I was really drawn to Rachel's Penny Patch quilt and Blue Elephant Stitches' Granny Square Quilt. I love the 2.5" squares in both and I considered for a while adjusting the pattern for either to work with a layer cake. In the end, I just couldn't bare chopping those little girls' heads off and came up with this design to make the most of the mix of basic prints and illustrations.

 I split my pile of 42 squares into three piles:
- Prints I wanted to keep completely intact.
- Prints that could work cut into 4.5" squares, and co-ordinating basics to match each one.
- Prints that would work cut into 2.5" squares and basics to match each one.

First I worked on the pile that would be little postage stamp (2.5" squares) blocks. I cut the first 10" block into 4 x 2.5" strips. Then repeated with the co-ordinating print. This makes two identical blocks.

Sew them together, 4 strips for each block, alternating in print.

Cut these into 2.5" strips across the grain.

Sew them back together like the picture above. Continue this method with the rest of that pile of 10" squares.

Then, onto the pile of prints for 4.5" squares. Cut 2 x 4.5" strips from the 10" block. Then cut 4.5" squares from those strips. Repeat with the co-ordinating print and sew 2 identical blocks together like the picture below.

The final blocks need to be trimmed to 8.5" square.

Once you've sewn/trimmed all your blocks (they should all be 8.5" square), work out your desired layout. I like that this layer cake came with 42 squares, making an easy 6x7 block layout. Sew together in rows, then sew the rows together.

I was so tempted to really heavily quilt this, but kept mysef in check with the limited time I have available, and went for a simple diagonal design.

I backed it with this numbers prints again, even though it didn't go perfectly. 150cm wide is just too easy for a single quilt back, exactly what one looks for making a quilt 35 weeks pregnant!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Cutting Corners

I'm starting to feel that I made my pre-baby make list when I was a little less pregnant. I really had forgotten this feeling of mad nesting, without hardly an ounce of energy to complete any of it! Only 4 weeks today till we finally meet my sweet baby. The hours we spend together in the late hours, when she (or he) wakes up, the moment my body touches my bed, it feels like we already know each other. But I'm still dying to see them. To hold them tight and safe. (And to see if the red hair that runs in Tim's family has finally come through the genes. PLEASE!!)

In the last couple of weeks we've had some sad tragedies (and much hope) with babies in my family, which have pushed me ever more to the sewing machine, but also made me more impatient for the arrival of ours. I've added more to my list, yearning to make for them as the only way I know how to express my prayers and hopes and sadness. But I'm also having to go easy where I can (photos on our washing line instead of at the beach, binding the quilt on our bed before I finished quilting - I'll finish it one day) so that the time before baby is spent meaningfully with the kids, keeping back the chaos rather than inviting more in.

Someone close to me lost their baby at a surprising and heartbreaking 14 weeks pregnant, while on a family holiday. And after having a cry and sending a message, I went to my fabric stash and pulled out these colours. I chose the yellow/mustard for a feature wall in their lounge room, blue for peace and comfort, and then after all was cut, I decided brown (the colour of their sofas) and a hint of purple (maybe for hope?) would bring extra depth and beauty. I hope with the coming Autumn and Winter, that this quilt will bring warmth and comfort.

I cut  6.5" strips of each colour, and the cut those into these 45 degree triangles. (Do they have a name??) Once the top was sewn up randomly, I used my new go-to backing, this 150cm wide numbers print from Ikea. I bought LOTS when I was down there last, and it's making that last part of the quilt finishing go just that bit faster.

Seeing this quilt drying out on the line, before I'd even snipped all the loose threads, made me so glad I dove in. It's one of those rare experiences (for me) that the finished product gives the feeling I was aiming for. And that's such a treat with a simple design and limited time.

So I ordered some Anna Maria Horner linen and velveteen this week to make single cloth cushion (pillow) covers rather than patchwork ones for our new sofas. We bought new sofas rather than made them. I think I'll skip a border on my Modern Medallion quilt for my cousin, and maybe simplify the hand quilting. The hexie quilt for the baby will probably be more cradle size than cot size (and maybe finished after the birth!). And I used a layer cake for a super quick quilt top for my friend who turns 30 this weekend. Cutting corners doesn't always come naturally to me. Things should be made to their full potential or original design! But they will still be beautiful, and more (or just as) importantly, finished. And if it means I have a little time for detours such as this quilt, that makes it worth it.