Sunday, April 26, 2015

Picnic Blanket

Progress so far

Early last week I found an idea online that I loved.  It was a picnic quilt that can be used as a chessboard.  Every evening after I get Miles to sleep and Luke takes Jim upstairs to bed I spend some time reading with my girls.  Right now we’re reading The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning and loving it.  I’ve been thinking that we also need a project to work on, something that they can do some nights while I read to them and other nights before we read on the sewing machine.  They each have individual projects to do, but I like the idea of the chessboard because it would be a group project that our whole family could use when it’s done.  

Fabric Selection

All the kids got involved in the design

So we’re doing it.  I chose to use grey instead of black because I had it on hand, and I chose to use bright colors instead of white because it is much more practical for a picnic blanket.  I cut all the pieces for the inner part of the chessboard and then let the kids help me with the placement on the wall.  There was lots of discussion about it, and since we did this part during the day, the boys were up to help as well.  

Paolina working on a four-patch

Lucia working on a four-patch

Then, after the boys went to bed, we began to sew.  I decided that the most manageable way to piece the top would be for the girls to sew the squares into 16 four-patches.  Then I can finish the piecing from there.  Once we get all 64 squares put together we’ll have to complete two more borders and finally make pieces for both chess and checkers.  The kids will decide how they want to do this.  I gave them some ideas, but the final decision will be up to them.  The girls are very excited about being given this job.  

I'm hoping to finish this up soon so we can put it to use at the park.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Giant Pillows WIP

I’ve been working on some giant pieced 36 inch pillowcases recently.  I made the pillows originally after my first child was born about 10 years ago.

We always had two of them growing up in our living room and they are a part of my childhood memories.  We used to wrestle with them, dive off of the couch onto them, and jump at each other holding the pillows out in front of us.  Sometimes we would make sandwiches of ourselves and they would be the “bread”.  My mom used to read to us on them, we would fall asleep on them, and sometimes and as teenagers we curled up to watch T.V. on them.  Anyway, I couldn’t imagine not having them for my kids so I made up a set when my daughter was born.

The old pillow on top and the new pillow on the bottom.
The kids love to make forts and the pillows make great doors.
At the time I just got some cheap canvas at JoAnn’s and whipped them up.  It was easy and colorful.  The pillows have served us well, but recently I’ve been thinking I could do a better job with the cases.  I’d been wanting to try doing supersize blocks for awhile and I love the nested blocks that I’ve seen, so I tried nesting two different blocks in orange and neutral.  The first was an eight pointed star.  The second was a churn dash.  I’ve got one of the pillowcases completely done but I can’t finish the second one until I get a zipper that’s big enough.  It’s all ready to go as soon as that happens.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Amish Puzzle Balls

We have a “Frog and Toad Together” book with a story in it called “A List”.  It’s an I Can Read book, but my son also enjoys it, so we read it together regularly.  The kids like it but I can really identify with Toad.  He makes a list and starts crossing things off, only to lose his list and his way.  Without his list he can’t go on and stays put until the end of his day when he realizes that the final task on his list was to go to sleep, which he did, but only after writing Go To Sleep on the ground and crossing it off.  The story ends with Toad feeling great because he’s crossed off his list and I get a good chuckle because I really do know how Toad feels.  

I don’t have lots of free time to sew, so I have a sewing list to keep me focused when I do get time.  I’m not sure how much good it does me, since I misplace it frequently.  When this happens I freeze and have to talk myself through my priorities.  This week was one of those weeks.  I thought a lot about sewing but I don’t have much to show for it.  I did some work on my neice Sasha’s very overdue baby quilt, and I got the fabric and started thinking about Jim’s star quilt backing (I may or may not want to piece the back).  And even though I only crossed one thing off my list, I feel pretty good about it, just like Toad!

Last year I was reading the blog Stitched in Color and saw an Amish Puzzle Ball.  Rachel made it as part of her pregnancy sewing list and I loved it.  I decided to make one for my son Miles for Christmas.  Then I decided Sasha needed one too.  I went online to see if I could find a tutorial for the puzzle ball.  I found one here, and found it very easy to follow.  I used scraps for my son's ball and for Scarlet's, and for Sasha's I used up two pieces of fabric that I thought would make an interesting ball.  I used cotton to fill all three.    

The kids really like them and my sister Laura wants one for her daughter Scarlet as well.  Scarlet turns two on Monday so… this was the one thing I needed to get done.  
Yesterday I sent it off with my mom who is headed to Wisconsin to celebrate with Scarlet and her parents.  Happy Birthday Scarlet!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

To Infinity and Beyond!

I’ve been working on my stars quilt top for awhile now and I was finally able to finish piecing it yesterday.  I had it partially completed on my wall for some time and was beginning to worry about it ever getting done.  Equilateral triangles somehow seem more labor intensive than half square triangles.  I also think they produce a little more waste and awkward scraps.  And then, there are two bias edges, which means special attention needs to be given to not stretching the fabric.  

This is my second stars quilt.  My first was a baby quilt that I made for a triangle class mentioned here.  I have really come to like this idea and would love to experiment with it some more, in other colors.  I’d like to do my next one with light background triangles and bright red, orange, pink and maybe yellow stars.  I’d also love to try this out in solids.  And a third would be cool in a monocromatic color scheme, maybe blue?  I think the future star studies will be smaller though.  Lap size seems ideal.

This quilt will be the everyday quilt for my son’s bed.  Right now he uses a small quilt I made for my daughter.  He’s never shown any sign of being unhappy with it, but as I was working yesterday he was excited to see his quilt being made.  We tried it on his bed when I finished just to make sure it was a good fit.  He’ll be turning four in a couple of weeks and he asked me to wrap it up for his birthday.  That gives me a good goal.  This year he’d like an astronaut suit with a helmet, so that he can go to space so his quilt seems just right for him.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Baking Bunnies

Today I'm working on some bunny aprons for my kids and my nieces.  I think they'll be really cute.  I'll be seeing many of them on Easter.  I'll try to make some more grown up aprons for the two big girls and maybe a couple of boyish aprons for my two little sons.  There are nine children altogether, so we'll see how many I get done.  Here are some pictures of the first three, not quite finished, aprons:

I haven't attached the eyes and nose buttons yet.  I was thinking a heart shaped button would be really cute for the nose, but settled for the pink buttons that I have on hand.  The eyes are mismatched, but I think it's cute that way, so even though I have matching buttons I'm not using them.  

I really like that the ears are also the neck of the bib.  My first try had a less rounded face and it didn't really look like a bunny when I put it on my daughter.  This one looks better and I'm looking forward to seeing all the kids in their aprons.  Hopefully we'll have some really good Easter treats coming out of the kitchen with these little bunnies.

I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced even though this isn't a quilt in progress...