Friday, August 30, 2013

Free Tutorial/Pattern: Knitting Tartan

Using my new knitting machine I thought I would try and knit up some tartan something like this ...

The idea was to use a mixture of knitting & weaving in long threads to make up the pattern in a simple manner and also use up some left over yarn that has been sitting around in my work space for far too long.

I think this can be knitted by hand or with a machine and the concept could be used with any color/size of yarn.

This is what I did.

Cast on: 130 stitches
k6 rows of dark pink
k4 rows of medium pink
k2 rows of light pink
k2 rows of white
k2 rows of light pink
(20 rows)

Repeat until you have 160 rows.
k further 6 rows of dark pink. Total 166 rows.

You should have an approximate square. (I usually work out squares by multiplying the number of stitches my 1.3 to find out the number of rows I need to knit.

While you are casting off (still in the dark pink) drop the 7th stitch and then every 13th stitch. You should have 10 dropped stitches.  (Don't panic while you are dropping those stitches it seemed everything I shouldn't be doing to me too!)

(Apologies for the light/quality of the next 3 photos - they were snapped on my iPhone.)

I weaved into my dropped stitches 8 strands of yarn - 1 dark pink, 1 white, 1 medium pink, 2 medium pink, 1 medium pink, 1 white, 1 dark pink. You can see the pattern below.  

Once you have finished filling in the dropped stitches with weaving in strands of yarn you can add strands of yarn into the knitting horizontally as well. I put a white strand in every 2nd and 5th stitch of the dark pink yarn. You can see how I wove in yarn below.

Once you have finished weaving you should have something that looks like this.

I didn't add a border to my blanket I just added a 3" fringe. To get a 3" fringe cut 6.5" strips and trim once all the tassels have been attached. 

Here is my finished blanket. Perfect for a baby/stroller blanket.

I used some Debbie Bliss yarn that I have had lying about for way too long (a mixture of Cashmerino DK, Cashmerino Aran.) Debbie Bliss yarn gets mixed reviews - but the feeling of it is delicious - perfect for little people and babies. It is so soft and I find it knits very easily.

Perfect for keeping little toes warm.

Well this little blanket is all ready to get wrapped off to keep a little person warm for this coming Winter.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Practice: Baby Quilts

I am determined to get better at free motion quilting. I have not yet made friends with the BSR foot. (I sometimes feel that my free motion quilting with the #10 foot is more successful with the tension between 2&3 and the stitch length at 0.2.)

I have lots of practice pads - but these seems to drive me nuts and I just end up endlessly doodling on them - I'm afraid that I am the sort of person who needs an end product to work to - even if it is deemed as 'practicing'.

With that in mind I have purchased the following materials - enough to make crib sized quilts from so that I can practice my freehand quilting on them.

A colorful hexagon print by Michael Miller. This is in preparation of finishing a quilt I am making from a hand pieced hexagon quilt made by my Grandmother.

A grey circle print by Riley Blake which I plan to attack with orange thread.

A pink batik that I found at Joann's. I will follow all the lines with a purpley pink multi-hued thread.

I finally put together some blocks that I have had lying around since March 2009 into a cute little quilt.

And lastly I got something that I never thought I would ever do ... (and I can't tell you how much I find myself being humbled while I'm learning to sew) ... I had set views about preprinted panels - but when I saw this map printed in bright colors (at Joann's also) I immediately thought of a cute idea for my godson who turns two later this year.

So if I'm lost - you know where I'll be - I have a lot to get through ...... if you have any ideas that I could consider before starting to quilt these - I would love to hear from you.


Please do not forget about the charity I Spy quilt - we are still looking for fabric 4"x4"scrap donations.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

WIP: Kid Painted Quilt #3 - Spraying Fabric

We seem to be on a roll with splashing paint on fabric. This time we used spray bottles to apply our paint to fabric. To say I'm bored of the standard pink & purple color request from the girls would be an understatement. But I like to indulge them in some areas.

I added orange and gold to the mix of our BioColor and the BioColor Fabric Medium and I added a little bit of water to ensure the paint left our spray bottles easily.

My eldest worked out how to spray straight lines immediately. 

They had a remarkably long attention span for this project. Here they are considering what they have made so far. 

They were at the spraying for a LONG time ... it was very quiet. They liked the spray bottles a lot more than the throwing of paint. Such concentration.

We will have to see how the fabric looks after it is washed - but it does look quite cool!

Our other kid painted fabric projects this summer have included:
Kid painted Quilt #4 - Shaving Foam Rainbow Quilt
Please do not forget about the charity I Spy quilt - we are still looking for scrap fabric donations.

Friday, August 23, 2013

9/11 Firefighters Memorial Quilt

When I had the privilege of making the Fallen Soldier Quilt. Something changed in the way I approached my sewing. When I first started my blog it was due to my dear childhood toy Rachael Rabbit. This handmade toy meant so much to me. I loved it. It meant so much to me and still does. Making things filled with love and meaning means the world to me - and it is why I make things - I want to touch people in the same way that Rachael Rabbit touched me.

I have been working on this quilt for some time now. A family came to me and asked me to make a quilt for the granddaughters (4 & 2) from this Fire Marshall's t-shirts.

This man was an all American Hero. He was a loving husband, loving farther to two children. He ran marathons. He served as a Green Beret in the Vietnam War,  he was in the reserves as a paratrooper for the Army Special Forces and he was a NYC firefighter before being promoted to Fire Marshall. He was the only Fire Marshall to have lost his life in 9/11.

As we discussed ideas for the quilt it was clear that they wanted this to be a happy and colorful quilt. This quilt was to be a joyful celebration of his life for his granddaughters. A request for hearts on the quilt made me to come up with this design - a cascading rainbow of hearts. 

Problem was the t-shirts we had were dark colors tan, red, brown, grey, green & blue.

I made my templates for the hearts from old cereal packets & packing tape. They are surprisingly sturdy.

We agreed that the t-shirts would be cut into heart shapes, we would add some other colored fabrics to the quilt as well which would house all the t-shirt emblems etc. The remaining t-shirt material would be used on the back of the quilt.

I have nearly finished the quilt. I will post pictures soon.

I feel so honored and blessed to have been given these opportunity to make these memorial quilts. It is something that has touched my heart in such a way that I want to pursue making more of these quilts for families. Taking clothes or uniforms and turning them into something beautiful, practical, loved and full of memories.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kid Painted Garden Picnic Blanket

I am very excited that this post is being featured at Make it Handmade.

My girls love anything that involves copious amounts of glue and spray bottles. This project held their attention for 1+ hours - which I think must be a record for us!

For this project I used:
- a piece of plain white muslin/cotton
- a bottle of Batik EZ (you might be able to substitute this with a liquid washable glue like Elmers) I poured the Batik-EZ onto a craft tray - but I think you could use any vessel as long as you can dip your leaves into
- cotton balls
- spray bottles
- fabric paint - I use BioColor paint with their BioColor Fabric medium - it is non toxic and certainly works!
- leaves & flowers from around the garden
- plastic sheet - I just used a large black bin liner cut down one side to protect our patio
- additional fabric for the border, backing & binding
- batting

The girls were told to dip things into the Batik EZ and then place them on the fabric. Our aim (I say 'our aim' but really is was 'my aim') was to make a sky with clouds in the middle and leaf prints and grass on the outer edges.

Putting the cotton balls apparently was boring and the girls wanted to move on to cutting leaves off plants and sticking them down asap. Once they had finished with the cotton balls I just emptied the remaining balls from the bag into the middle of the fabric - no additional Batik EZ.

There was some consideration to where every leaf or flower should be put.

Find a leaf, dip and stick. They didn't seem to tire of it. 

Everything was precisely placed.

Here is our finished fabric after the cotton balls & leaves were all stuck down and they declared the project to be 'done'.

What they didn't realize was that after lunch - once everything had dried we got to spray everything. I used four colors - two green tones & two blue tones - I also watered down the BioColor Paint & Fabric Medium combo so the paint would be lighter.

My four year old was good at following the 'blue in the middle for sky' & 'green around the outside for grass' instructions. But my 2 year old just sprayed what ever and where ever she fancied. 

Here is our fabric after the spray paint. We left it to dry in the sun & then I moved it into our boiler room where it sat for 5 days - just to make sure.

To remove all the leaves and cotton balls I just soaked the fabric in cold water. Everything came off very easily - but the waxy coated leaves (Ivy & Lillies leaves) came off the easiest. I put the fabric into the washing machine and ran it on a hot cycle & tumble dried it on a hot cycle too.

Once I had added a simple border to the fabric I layered, quilted & bound the picnic blanket.

I don't think you need to quilt your picnic blanket like I did - you could tie it if that is easier. If your children are older you could also get them to outline the leaf shapes with a fabric marker. There are many ways you could take this idea.

The girls LOVED having a fairy tea party in the garden with their new picnic mat.

You can tell these kids are somewhat English by their tea party skills!

After the tea party was over the girls set about inspecting the clouds & leaves on the blanket.

Our other kid painted fabric projects this summer have included:
Kid painted Quilt #3 - Spraying Paint
Kid painted Quilt #4 - Shaving Foam Rainbow Paint


Please do not forget about the charity I Spy quilt - we are still looking for scrap fabric donations.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Princess Shoe Box

We have a birthday party coming up and I was trying to think of a original way to present the all important princess dress up shoes.

Luckily (because I'm neurotic about saving anything made of cardboard) we have a few children's sized shoe boxes knocking around - they are great for all sorts of kid craft projects. I love repurposing things - have I said that before?

My eldest took a great deal of time painting on glue and dipping the box & lid in copius amounts of pink glitter. After the glitter and glue had dried I added a glue wash on top (1 part glue 1 part water) to try and encourage the glitter not to shed everywhere immediately. There is SO much glitter on this box - my eldest bunny is slowly convincing me that when it comes to young girls - there is never enough glitter in your life!

After the glitter had been added I lined the inside of the box with some scrap quilt batting and a piece of purple velour left over from our Princess Tea Party. I stuck them all lightly down and together - adding more glue to the top edge - I favor Aleene's tacky glue for fabric sticking.

The inside of the top of the box is painted pink. We decorated the top of the box with an old broken purple butterfly necklace (yes I save that sort of thing too) and with the name of the birthday girl. I cut the name out of white felt which had some silver lamé stuck on top.

I suspect the pink glittery box might be just as exciting to this 4 year old as the dress up shoes will be.


Please do not forget about the charity I Spy quilt - we are still looking for scrap fabric donations. 

Free Motion Quilt Feathers

As I mentioned before I have been taking some quilting lessons. My lessons so far have mostly consisted of Teri telling me not to worry so much, believe in myself more and please would I drop my shoulders from down around my ears ....

One of our conversations went a little like this.

T:    You should practice quilting using a color.
Me: But I like using the invisible thread - it hides all your mistakes.
T:    Exactly. You should practice quilting using a color.

After my first lesson I was left some homework. Feathers. Ugh. Feathers? Really?

At first I couldn't even draw them with a pen - let alone quilt one.

While I was drawing feathers madly I came up with an idea of quilting a Peacock - lots of feathers on those. And so I created this little chap.

Now I know by using multiple colors and repeating the lines so many times I'm actually masking all my whoopsies. I will be told off for saying this as another part of my homework seems to be not immediately (if ever) pointing out every single flaw in a piece of work!

I still can't nail a traditional free motion feather - I'm still making dodgy banana shapes. But with practice I'm hoping to nail the basic feather soon.


Please do not forget about the charity I Spy quilt - we are still looking for scrap fabric donations.