Little birds, finished

I had to stay late at work last week for open house, so before it started I took the time to pin my sister-in-law’s baby quilt. This weekend, gray and rainy (finally! I know we’re going to get tired of the rain in upcoming months, but we really needed it) was perfect to sit down at the sewing machine for a while.

I used a rainbow thread to quilt a spiral in the center, with painter’s tape as a guide to keep the width consistent, and then a lighter variegated thread to outline the birds.

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I went back and forth for a while about whether the rest of the light background needed more quilting. I want it to be a sturdy blanket, but I also wanted the outlines of the birds to really stand out, so in the end I left it unquilted. None of the open area is very wide, so it should be fine.

The quilting went quickly, except for one bird where I caught the backing edge folded over while outlining the legs.  The extra fabric was going to be cut off anyway so I could just slice it close to the stitching lines and pull out the remaining fabric thread by thread.

I used the extra fabric cut off while I was squaring it up plus a few other leftover strips to bind it.  Then I had to watch a YouTube video to remind myself how to miter corners that weren’t at 90 degrees.

The yellow corner caused a little trouble – the navy thread looked horrible and highlighted my less than perfect stitching, so I ripped that part out and switched to a cream thread and it looks much better.

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I learned a lot and would make some changes in the future, but I think it turned out to be a very cute blanket for our new family member.  It will fly to Israel with my husband in a couple of weeks to wrap around its new owner.

FE5D0985-3BFD-4593-BA5D-E981413E04D6The finished quilt, before washing

FF0F31F0-1D45-45F5-B442-C3061693FBF1Out of the dryer and in full crinkle

D247B9CA-0D48-47C8-AF32-04D7CDE742FBAnd the back

 

 

Little birds

As you can probably tell from the blog title, I am fond of birds, and fiber, and especially the combination of birds with fiber.

Add in the fact that there is a new baby in the family – my sister-in-law’s – and it was time for some bird sewing!

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I used helpful tips from the pattern on this website, though I abandoned the measurements and paper piecing and figured I would even it all out after the fact.  I just used the pictures to figure out the general idea, and then started mass producing birds.

Occasionally I went a little too quickly.  There was some seam ripping.

 

Dratted beaks don’t always end up where you want them.  I might have been a little tired at that point.

But I persevered, and the baby quilt grew.

It took awhile to decide what I wanted to do in the middle.  I was going to put four more birds, like compass points, but it didn’t look right.  Then I was just going to go with the light background colors in a scrappy layout.  But this is for a baby, after all, and likely to be on the ground, and suffer various baby fluid indignities, so it seemed like darker colors would be the way to go.

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Similarly, I went back and forth on the corners.  Nests of eggs?  More bright blocks?  In the end, I added in more birds.  Because, as has been mentioned, I really like birds.

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The back got more of the bold colors.

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Now just the pinning and quilting remain.  I have a couple of weeks for that as my husband is going to hand deliver this when he flies to Israel in mid-October.  (I actually did all this sewing a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been very behind in the blogging.)

Sidetracked on a snow day

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We knew about this snow day in advance – the predictions for first snow and then ice were so strong that the districts all around us called it the night before, despite the then dry and clear roads.

So I had it all planned.  Movies and games for the kids, and an all day marathon of sewing Christmas gifts for me.

Except when I went on Pinterest to look at the placemats that I’d saved so I could choose my next scrappy layout, I saw this:  Four Corners Quilt.  And the next thing I knew, I was madly sewing strips from a jelly roll.

My strips were actual a half jelly roll, with just 20 strips.  They were also really busy, so I added in some solids as well, to bring it up to 30 strips.  It meant adjustments to make the center square much bigger as I was still 10 short. (11 really – I found one under the sewing table after I finished.)

It was so fun and so fast zooming through the strips, jelly race style.  There were occasional oops moments: twice I’d apparently not gotten the right sides together, but those were quickly fixed in the first round of sewing.  I also learned at the end of that first go that I’d better start untwisting the lengths before I sewed the sides together.

When it was 16 strips wide, I cut it in half and then in half again. I didn’t have enough of any of the solids left to make the center square, so I tried a nine-patch.  img_7163

Not good.  So much busy did not need more added in the center.  So out came the seam ripper. I dug through my stash and found a fat quarter almost the same color chartreuse, and the second attempt was much more successful.

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There are actually three possible little ones this quilt could be given to.  Maybe I need more jelly rolls?

And we have our first snow ball of the season!img_7165

I just don’t get him

My husband called me into the office tonight to show me a picture on his phone – a newborn baby boy.

“Oh, he’s so cute, whose is he?”

“Amir’s.”

“Wait, your Amir?”

“Yeah.”

“Your best friend Amir?!”

“Well, yeah.”

“!!”

Here’s what I don’t get.  Amir is, see above, my husband’s best friend.  Granted, they don’t see each other that often, because Amir lives nine time zones and nearly 7000 miles from us, but they are close, talk all the time, and when they see each other it is like they just hung out the day before.

And I didn’t even know he and his wife were pregnant.  I mean, this husband of mine, who knows I quilt and knit and am dying to have excuses to make adorable little baby things – and that I think Amir and Libby are terrific and definitely craft worthy – and he never mentioned this huge imminent event that I could have been sewing or knitting for all this time.

“Didn’t I mention it?” he said to me.

I know it is an unfair stereotype, but still I want to shake my fist at him and shout that he’s such a guy.

But I don’t have time because I have a baby quilt to make.

I think one of these will be involved.

Sunny fabric for a gray day

We have definitely entered the rainy season around here, and won’t likely leave it for more than a day or two for some time to come. Which makes me reach for the brighter projects to work on.

This baby blanket top has been hanging around a few weeks. I cut the triangles from fat quarters I got from a Craftsy sale. I bought the 50 fat quarter box of Free Spirit prints. This is my second time buying this box. I was a little disappointed this time. The fabric prints are great, but I wasn’t expecting to get two of each. So instead of 50 different prints, I got 25. Not as helpful in adding to my scrappy quilt options as I’d hoped. The first time I ordered the box there were 50 different prints, so I guess it can go either way.

But I do like the fabrics choices I did get, and used 12 of them in this little quilt, adding in some coordinating solids. I echo quilted the seams on either side so the triangle pattern shows up on the back too.

The quilt back has a scrappy stripe with leftovers and a soft yellow polka dot. Perfect colors to offset the dreary day outside!

Usually I hand sew the binding to the back after it is attached, but because baby quilts tend to get washed a lot more often, I machine sewed it this time so it is extra security and can hold up to the machine turbulence. And the sunny gold continued the warmer days theme.

This one is going into my Etsy shop as soon as I can get some decent finished shots. (And after it’s first trip through the washing machine.) I just need a brief break in the rain!