Monday, January 26, 2009

The Little Engine that Could

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with my work load but also at how much life is going to change in about 8 weeks or so. I'm so grateful for the projects I have been asked to make this year - but at the same time I kind of just want to sit on the sofa - watch soppy movies and prepare myself for what is to come. Actually - it is probably best to keep myself busy and occupied!

So I've been very busy working on lots of projects which I will share with you soon. I am a list maker and I tend to plan my days, down to the last hour, around particular projects and when they are needed by - so when I was asked to make a little baby quilt/wall hanging of 'The Little Engine that Could' ... I was slightly concerned about whether I had time to fit it into the schedule or if I should just give myself some breathing room and turn the work down.
After re-reading the book for ideas - I felt I just couldn't turn down the project. In fact - it inspired me ... and I think at the moment I feel like that Little Engine.
Of course - life would be simpler if I read the fusible instructions before I spent a whole day constructing a beautiful little blue engine out of fiddly little pieces of fabric ... ... and now I have to start again ...
'Puff, puff, chug, chug, went the Little Blue Engine. "I think I can - I think I can - I think I can" ... it might be my new mantra in life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sewing Scraps into something Soft and Simple

I'm trying - really trying - to use up my fabric stash while everything is still in storage (when will I see it all again is a question I am beginning to ask myself ...) A couple of years ago - when I first discovered the City Quilter - but before I began Rachael Rabbit - I brought a pre-cut stack of pretty cotton quarters. I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember the make/designer of the cotton - but I remember seeing it and my greedy eyes grew wide - and that was that. I never had a particular project in mind when I grabbed the stack ... and over time I have used the quarters to make cute gift bags for knitted softies ...
... and some adorable summer picnic napkins ...
... but there were still some bits left over ... and the question has lingered what to do with them?

The most delicious thing about this fabric is how soft it is. I wish you could touch it through the screen and feel it for yourself. And with the new little bunny on the way (I've heard having the odd blanket/soft mat lying around can be useful) I decided to sew the remaining bits into a soft and super simple baby blanket. You really can't get more simple than this blanket. It is made from 9 squares of cotton sewn together - I didn't quilt it at all - I just tied the layers together with little knots. The whole project took a couple of hours tops.
When my husband came home I said 'look what I have made' ... he looked unimpressed by the lack of complexity ... but then when I said 'ahhh but feel how soft it is - don't you just want to live under it?' ... he felt the blanket and his eyes lit up 'can't you make it bigger so we can use it? It is SO soft.' Have I mentioned yet how soft and cushy this little blanket is?

Big bunny asked me to practice my swaddling skills so he could feel the soft warmth and cosyness too ...
... 'oooh it is so soft' Big Bunny said ...
And I have to mention how easy quilt bindings have become since I learnt what I really should be doing from the amazingly talented Kellie at Don't Look Now!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Knitting Clothes

I really started knitting to knit bunnies and other knitted softies. I don't know why I have never knitted any clothes before (apart from the odd hat, one scarf and a pair of dodgy mittens) ... probably because I haven't had faith that I would make anything worth while or even wearable. Now I have the cardigan/coat pattern to take on ... but I little thought popped into my head the other day - soon I will have the perfect model to experiment with - an innocent child who will (for the initial part of her life at least) wear what ever I put her in!

And this is what I have found for her first little knitted outfit ...... I plan not to torture her too much with anything too experimental. But I really think this is about the cutest little baby cardigan I have ever seen - lets hope I do it justice!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Meet Cabbage

I'm trying to give myself a break on the sewn softie making front. My mantra (perhaps too much prenatal yoga?) is just to keep trying and not to give up. So while I spend my evenings concentrating on knitting projects - I'm trying to improve my sewn creative skills during the day.

The minute I managed to pop out a decent bit of stippling I have been thinking about making a little softie tortoise with a quilted shell.

So meet Cabbage. Cabbage is a delicate girl who likes to watch her weight by nibbling on salad. Lettuce is her favorite!
Her shell is quilted with gold thread because every girl should be able to sparkle just a little.
I rather like her eye lashes (I'm not often happy with faces) ... ... and her little perky tail.With the pattern adapted a little - I think she would make a rather fine pajama case too! (That list of 'what I want to make' never gets shorter ... only longer!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Back in December the lovely Kathy from Lizzie Jane (check out her adorable spring bunnies) tagged me to:
1. Open the 4th picture folder on your computer.
2. Choose the 4th picture and post it on your blog.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

Here is my photo (step 1 & 2 completed!):
(Step 3:) This is a padded baby book that I made back in March 2008. The book is made from material scraps (surprise) and was lovingly sewed together to help a little one count from 1 to 5. How? By counting the bunnies of course! Initially I thought it was a rather sweet project but then I realized I had probably totally lost the plot - because any small child who is still in the padded book stage is not going to be advanced enough to recognize a bunny - let alone count bunnies from one to five. So this is a project that just went into the 'needs more thought' box. I had always meant to make another padded baby book with big colorful shapes (no advanced number or alphabet skills needed) ... but that is a project that is still on the 'to do' list. Here is a better picture of the book ...
My husband is ever hopeful that a certain little man in our family will learn to count soon ... he certainly looks like he is concentrating hard!!(Step 4:) I'm terrible at being tagged - I'm sorry ... but please consider yourself tagged and play along - take a look at your fourth picture in your fourth picture folder - what will you find?

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Have Giraffe Envy - Meet Gerald

I really really want to be good at making cotton sewn softies - but it seems to be a skill that eludes me. I'm always a bit upset with the fabrics that I end up choosing - that amazing skill some people have of throwing different fabrics together to make things look utterly beautiful is totally absent in me. Is there a book I can read? A course I can take? I'm always way too practical and perhaps I need to be more daring?

Recently I've been having giraffe envy (check out delightful softie giraffes at Hop Skip Jump) . Don't ask me why it has been giraffe envy ... because I actually have craft envy with most things I see. (That list of 'want to make' only gets longer these days.)

So off I set to make a giraffe. I tried to pick good colors - but then I've never been known for my wild and crazy choices - so safely I opted for orange and brown - at least if it is orange and has a long neck someone might recognize it as a giraffe?
Meet Gerald. Gerald is a lonely giraffe so we decided to take him to the Central Park Zoo to see if we could find him any friends.
We searched the map of the Zoo - but unfortunately there are no giraffes ...
... but don't tell Gerald ... because we told him that the Llama's were a type of giraffe too ... and he seemed happy enough with that.