Science! Baby Quilt

And suddenly, a baby quilt!

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A good friend of mine, who I worked with for four and a half years, had her first baby a couple of weeks ago.  I’d planned to make him a quilt anyway so I already had these fabrics pulled, I just needed a spark of inspiration and a kick up the bum – handily provided by the email announcing his birth!

The colour scheme is based on my friend’s preferences (her favourite colour is blue) and the fact that she is a chemist and her husband is an engineer, so I used the most science-y fabric I had to hand!  These are two of my favourite prints in the quilt:

I chose to do a random arrangement of squares that finished at 9, 6 and 3″ and started with a rough sketch of an arrangement on some graph paper so that I would know how many squares of each size I would need to cut.

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The layout meant there were some partial seams to deal with, but by going slow and thinking carefully about which bits to sew in which order, it all worked out well.  Because I wanted it done and sent off quickly, I decided to do a simple diagonal cross-hatch pattern for the quilting.

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The quilt is backed with a funky chevron print that has a lovely soft feel, and bound with left-overs from piecing the top.  I’m very pleased to say that the whole quilt (other than the wadding) came from my stash.  🙂  It’s all washed so it just needs a label and I can post it off along with a card and some well-earned Cadbury’s chocolate for the proud mum!  🙂

Linking up with Monday Making, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF (when they go live).  🙂

Origami Crane Cushion

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And here’s my finished Origami Crane cushion.  I’m really pleased with it.  It’s actually been finished for a lil while, but the weather’s been too foul (and I’ve been too busy) to take any decent pictures until today.  🙂

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The back is another envelope arrangement, with some nice wooden buttons I found at a local haberdashery shop.  It now lives on my bed and is great when I want to sit up and read a book.  🙂  Hooray for finished things!

Linking up with Monday Making, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF (when they go live).  🙂

A Trio of Cushions

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And they’re finished!  😀  I used a simple envelope+buttons arrangement for the backs, luckily my favourite haberdashery stall in a local market had just the right buttons in just the right colours:

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And here are some close-up shots:

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You can read more about the fronts here and here.

I must say a big thank you to the people who offered suggestions on how to finish off the quilting on Elsa, it really was a help!  Lifting the “ground” level brought everything together much better.  And after doodling around a bit and trying a few of the suggestions (and screaming in frustration at my white rayon, which decided to HATE almost all my assorted needles for some reason – the “right” one turned out to be a microtex 80/12), I ended up with this:

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It’s not at all what I thought I’d end up with, but I think it works.  🙂  I got a great tip from Carole Gold about using tracing paper to test and stitch FMQ designs, and although I wasn’t able to use it this time because it turns out we have nothing like that in the house (not-quite-moving house really sucks), it’s a great idea that I’m definitely going to try on other projects once I’ve grabbed myself a roll of baking paper to use.  🙂

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social, Free-Motion Mavericks, Can I get a Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF.  🙂

Sssssssssss………… BOOM!

Christmas is coming, they tell me.  Thanks to the nature of crafting, it feels like I have to start thinking about Christmas presents in August to have a hope of finishing anything!  But I’m off to a good start here (shhhh-I-know-it’s-October-already!), with themed cushions for my cousin John’s three children.  Here are the first two.

The two boys are great fans of Minecraft, and the Minecraft characters make fantastic subjects for patchwork thanks to their pixelly designs.  I chose the Creeper and the Blaze, partly because I wanted to use Bali Pops to make them and I happened to have a green set and red-orange-yellow set:

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Figuring out which colours to use where was harder than I thought it would be, especially with the Blaze face; the Red Hots Bali Pop contained fewer dark browns than I remembered and they weren’t as dark as I remembered, either!  But the Creeper came out very well; I added in a couple of greys and a black from the Licorice Bali Pop set as well.

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I decided that I didn’t want the main designs of the cushions “disappearing” over the curve of the cushion pad, so I added complementary plain 2.5″ borders to bring the size up to 20.5″ square and frame the faces nicely.

For quilting, I couldn’t resist practicing a bit of my FMQ.  I’ll freely admit right now that I’ve never played Minecraft (Terraria is my dig-it-craft-it-fight-it sandbox game of choice), and I’d always slightly assumed that Creepers were animated angry bushes!  After a bit of research I now know that they’re not, but I couldn’t resist quilting my Creeper face with a “creeper” pattern of leaves!

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This one is hiding in the bushes, clearly!

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Before doing the FMQ, I outlined the eyes and “mouth” with black straight stitching and also quilted in the ditch all the way around the border.  There’s some ends to tie off and bury and I quilted a few extra leaves into that gap in the middle at the bottom, too.  A bit of a trim and an envelope back (I have two solid green fat quarters ready and waiting for that duty) and I can call him done!

I used plain calico to keep the back tidy and not shedding fluff everywhere, and I actually really like the look of the quilting on that side, too:

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Almost a shame that it won’t be seen much!

For the Blaze, I decided that only a flame pattern would do – except that I’ve never quilted a flame in my life!  However, I refused to let that put me off, threaded the Pfaff up with variegated orange thread and let rip.

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….and apparently it worked.  Mostly.  They aren’t the most amazing flames ever (I had more than a few directionally challenged moments), but for a first go I’m very pleased with how they came out.  Once again, I’d outlined the eyes and gone around the border first, then I quilted the flames in layers that were roughly 2 squares high, working my way back and forth up the face from the bottom.

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Definitely more of a challenge than the leaves, but I like it and would do it again (on the right project!).

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And here’s the back.  Again, I’m almost sorry that it won’t be seen much.  Ah well!

I hope I get a chance to finish these off soon; life is looking uncertain again and I’d like to actually finish something for a change!  I also have a more girly cushion for my cousin’s little girl to share soon, it is very sparkly.  🙂

Linking up with Free-Motion Mavericks and Can I get a Whoop-Whoop!

Patchy the Easter Bear

My niece is a bit too young for Easter eggs, even if she didn’t have a dairy allergy.  I decided to finish off the teddy I was making for her instead.bear_0304_1I started him before Christmas, and did quite well on piecing the basic squares, but then stalled on construction.  He’s made from most of a flannel layer cake with accents of normal quilting cotton.  I lined him with interfacing because the weave of the flannel is very loose and stretchy and I wanted to give him more support.  I didn’t actually know how best to handle the flannel, so I used a 1/4″ seam allowance, but I should probably have used 1/2″.  The nappy-looking panel is actually a pocket.  His muzzle was a happy accident – I only realised the same fabrics were opposite each other on the two front halves after I’d sewn them together.  His eyes were done on the machine with a decorative stitch and his nose and mouth are hand-stitched.

bear_0304_3He’s quite a big chap!  I stuffed him by shredding up some fluffy polyester wadding I bought some years ago, before I actually knew what I was doing quilting-wise.  Patchy must have been very hungry; he ate almost all of it.  Thank goodness, too – I’d bought something like two metres of the stuff and it was otherwise kind of useless.  I have about enough left to make a wall hanging, which is about the only other thing it might be good for.

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Linking up with Can I Get A Whoop Whoop and TGIFF!  🙂