Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tunisian Stitch Egg Cozy

My grandmother, Patt, crocheted projects using a lesser-known stitch called Tunisian crochet or Afghan crochet stitch. It is also known as “the knit stitch” as it works like knitting a row: pick up every stitch in a row, then decrementing the row (see this video).

My grandmother made thick crocheted blankets using two colors. One would feed on the left (used every-other row) for the front and the other would feed from the right for the back.  The picture below was white on the back and variegated on the front (which shows through on the back).

This egg cozy reproduction is made in best likeness to her original Tunisian stitch Egg Cozy.  It took me a stinkin' long time to find the stitch (does it look knit or crocheted???) and the right yarn (you will have to go to the right yarn shop).  Here is a side-by-side view of the chicks.  The paler one on the right is the original.

Grandma's Egg Cozy 
Materials: Pale yellow chunky weight yarn, size M crochet hook or size to produce a chick 3” wide by 3 ½” tall, red felt, needle and thread.  Time: About 15 min to crochet and 15 minutes needlework.
Instructions: Chain 18. Tunisian crochet 8 rows (down and back). On 9th row, slip stitch 5 stitches, pick up next 8 stitches and leave remaining 5 stitches. Tunisian crochet 3 more rows and finish off. Sew raw edges together, leaving bottom open for egg. Cut 1”x1/4” red felt and scallop one edge. Sew onto top of chick's head. Sew on little red felt eyes and a 1/8” orange felt diamond for a beak.

Happy Easter!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Stars of all Sizes Quilt

Happy 4th of July Quilt: Stars of All Sizes

It was hard to make something "manly" with absolutely no flowers, but I loved the end result.  This quilt was a Christmas present I made last year - Stars of all Sizes.  My little star is shown above at Christmas time :)  ((His daddy wore that outfit as a baby!!!))

To piece it, I took discard 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper and cut them into many sized rectangles.  I drew stars on each with a ruler.  First, a horizontal line across the center.  Then I diagonal  line from the center left to the bottom right.  Then two diagonals on the top for the top point, and four more on the bottom for the center triangle and bottom two points.

After I cut the paper into the pieces, I replace each piece with fabric.  Once I had the fabric for that star cut, I would sew together that block.

I found that this was a very inaccurate way to piece because I hadn't accounted for seam allowances.  But, since it didn't matter the end size of each block, or the mis-figured shapes, they just ended up smaller.

I  started cutting the outside edges much larger for the end-effect of a small star in a big background.  This resulted in a lot of wasted background since the background peices started overlapping terribly the bigger the block was.

I also started using bunches of strips sewn together for my star pieces and for accent squares, creating little vinettes for each star - shown on the left.

I drew every star different every time.  Then I arranged the stars into the future quilt, and started replacing each paper with a fabric star when the block was completed.  On the right is a picture of the paper quilt with some stars replaced.

For the quilting, I wanted to dress up my solid brown sashing, so I chose to quilt stars.  It turned out to be quite a challenge.  Here was my plan, drawn on the computer.  And that's about as good as the actual quilting.

The finished size was about 68"x60".  I used Sandy's cheater binding method (fold the back over to the front and topstitch).  That saved quite a bit of time at the end, and I had NO time left at the end.  It took 30 hours to piece and 10 hours to quilt.  In the end, there were a couple disappointments (there always are).  First, I thought I would like how randomly placed the stars were, but I wish it lined up better.  I just threw sashing in and hoped for the best.  Second, I wish I'd used flannel on the back.  A nice soft functional flannel, maybe thicker batting, so that it would have been more blankety.  I didn't have time to wash it so I don't know if that would have helped.  But I was very happy with everything I learned and I still love how the vinettes turned out.

Happy Fourth of July!  Who is Your Star This Year?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spring is for Service

I've been participating in a few service projects this spring.

The first was in February.  I was on a committee to help prepare these kits for Little Dresses for Africa.  I made 200 yards of bias tape and made 10 of the 350 dresses. 

Next, getting these two quilts ready for a quilt tying party with the young women.  The plaids quilt is made from 9"x13" rectangles and the 3" sashing required 3 yards of fabric to end up with a full size quilt.  I saw this quilt in a book from the library called Quick Quilts to Make in a Weekend.  The greens quilt is just 221 squares 6" large and also made a full sized quilt.

The last project is making 50 doll kits for this humanitarian doll, which mostly involved baking doll hair.  Just wrap knitting needles with yarn and bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Vanilla House Samples - Patterns for Babies and Girls

Day 2 of the Vanilla House Samples I sewed for my mom:

I sewed a couple of these Bopple Balls (the picture does not do them justice).  The arms take a while so do it in front of a movie.  The actual construction is very fast.  I'm keeping one of these for myself too.  Babies love 'em. favorite (I've made almost ten) is the baby girl bib called Diva Babies.  I wanted to call it Breakfast at Tiffany's but I suppose that's not very original.  These are so so cute.  When I first started sewing baby bibs, I felt like they were a lot of effort when you can buy them for cheap.  But I love being able to use really neat bibs because I take lots of pictures of the baby in the high chair!  And they make great gifts.  Now I wish I had a girl....

Speaking of girls, I made these doll dresses and went over to two little girls' house to put them on these American GirlsKit (from the 30's), and Julie (from the 70's).  You know, I was worried they'd look squarish but they were pretty cute on the dolls.

Sample Sewing for Vanilla House

As I get more interested in sewing, I've been sewing more and more of my mom's patterns.  This spring, I was so excited about the patterns I wanted to sew many of them, so I signed up to make samples.  Making samples was fun because there was a purpose, a deadline, and best of all - I got to sew on the latest fabrics!

First, I love how easy and fast this gathered-layered bag goes together.  I've made several and more to come (I want one for myself).  PS.  I got my buttons in the upholstery section of Hobby Lobby.  PS2.  The fabric on the right looked ugly before it was made into a bag but the bag was the cutest!

Second, I made the snail and mushroom.  SOOO cool but I was in a hurry and forgot to take a picture before I mailed them off.  I plan to make more mushrooms of various sizes and smurf colors :).

I'll show my other Vanilla House samples in the next few days!

Garden Picture

It's not sewing but it's been keeping me busy!  I'm trying to do a garden this year since it's my first year with a yard.  I've pulled out a 2'x8' area of grass and planted germinated peas (the paper towel method) and carrot seeds (burlap over the top for the first week to keep them moist).  Also onion sets and beets (discovered they aren't thrilled with cold) and radishes (which grow faster than Maxwell).  The middle of the yard, a lettuce garden (4'x8').  On the tall fence, I'm planting chinese snow peas.  I'm about to plant my starts.  I've started cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, and peppers (pic below).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Animal Print Slippers

Need some inspiration for mother's day?  How about making some slippers.  My Favorite Things Patterns has a good selection of slippers patterns (this one is...advanced).

Everyone knows my mom loves animal prints.  So when I saw this suede lined with fur, I had to make her some slippers.  These are the same slippers Kristy made me.  You can find the pattern here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Big Swaddler

I had to make our baby a new swaddler.  But being 9 months when I made 12 months old, I think we will call it a "sleeping bag."

The pattern for the swaddler isfrom Craftzine, found here.  To make the big one, I increased the length by a bunch of inches and everything else by about an inch.  If I did it again, I would make the "flap" be able to fold down more because it's hard to get his legs in sometimes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Amanda's Baby Girl Quilt

Well...I finished the quilt and fitted crib sheet and crib skirt.  I only took pictures of the quilt though.  The back middle is the fitted sheet fabric and back border is the crib skirt.  

The fitted sheet was 42"x69" with 7" squares cut from the corners (possibly a little too small but my fabric width shrunk in the wash!?!).  After sewing the side seems, I used my hankercheif edge foot to finish the edge, then turned it over 1/2", sewed, and sent 1/2" elastic through the edges. 

The skirt was two 13"x29" (cut. Then turn under 3 edges with my special foot) sewn to the short sides of a 28"x52" white rectange, and the long sides had two flaps 13"x55" (cut.  Then used 2" in the center to make a pleat - I would suggest doubling that in the future - and finish three of the edges).

The quilt was my first loopy free-motion.  See my other post for a description of the quilt top.

Thanks, mom, for doing my binding for me over Thanksgiving!  Good luck, Amanda, with your new little girl coming at Christmas!

Christmas Hotpad

Another version of the Vanilla House "Hot Stuff" - I needed a quick gift.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

N-o-e-l Blocks

I  made N-O-E-L block kits for a group project.  You paint the blocks, modge podge the background on, then the letters, and then hot glue on some decorations.  I cut out the letters with my Quikutz digital cutter. 

Here are a few of the kits (I made 18 kits).

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Big Booties

I forgot to actually picture the Big Booties in my Big Booties, Little Booties post.  These are also by Kristy.  Adorable.   I want to make some for my mom and sister but who knows if I'll ever get to it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Umbrella Quilt Top

I am making this for my high school friend (okay, I did have two) who is having a baby girl in December, along with a matching bedskirt and fitted sheet.  And maybe a wall hanging.  Or a diaper holder/laundry thing.  Well, we'll see and I'll post the whole set when it's complete. 

How I made this quilt top:

2 fat quarters of Riley Blake Umbrella fabric - each cut into six 9"x6.5"
2 fat quarters of other Riley Blake that matched - each cut into twelve 4.25"x4.25"

12 grey strips, 4.25"x1.5"

I swapped out a couple of my dozen 4.25x4.25 blocks with other fabric and placed these randomly.

I placed the umbrella fabric rectangles in four rows of three, and made sure that every other rectangle was upside down, and space them for the small rectangles.

I sewed twelve 4.25x4.25 squares to each other with the light grey in between, resulting in my small rectangles, which I placed in between the umbrella rectangles.

The sashing is grey - 2.5"x35" on the sides (trimming extras) and then 3"x36" on the top and bottom. 

I'm using a polka dot binding.
Riley Blake umbrellas for Baby Girl

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Little Stinker


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Diaper Cake

I've always wanted to make a diaper cake and finally with Sandy's baby coming (any day now!), I had the perfect opportunity.  This diaper cake contains 72 newborn diapers, the alphabet foam letters, a rubber duck that goes on the faucet and dispenses bubble bath, bubble bath to dispense, stacker caterpiller bath toy, and 5 squeezable animals (all from target).  

My method: I used a clear tube from the squeeze toys for the center and put a few prizes insides.  Then I took the first 8-12 diapers, rolled each from the top down, and put a rubber band around it.  I put these "tubes" around the clear tube in the center to make the bottom layer bigger than the middle layer.  I tied them to it with one ribbon (like a belt).  Then I turned the next 30 diapers sideways and they overlap all the way around the bottom layer.  I tied that off and added scrapbook paper and ribbon.  Next layer I just used the 24 diapers sideways (no rolled up ones).  The top layer is just 4 diapers rolled up, and stuffed them into the plastic tube.  You can see those at the top...they stick out of the tube (but that's what holds them up).  Then a pencil sticks out of those to hold up the rubber duck.  Ribbon and scrapbook paper and toys to decorate and TADA!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baby Ribbon Blanket

I whipped this out last week - it's a ribbon blanket! It is so soft and fuzzy and the perfect size for some baby's lap. The baby loved it! I had to pull it away from him before he drooled all over some baby girl's ribbon blanket. Unfortunately I don't know any upcoming baby girls right now so I'll have to hang onto this one to give away later.

Here's how to make one. Cut 3 strips of two coordinating fabrics (A and B). Each strip is 6"x18". Sew the front together in the order A-B-A and the back in the order B-A-B. Baste loops of ribbon onto the front, then sew front to back with right sides together. Turn inside out and topstitch all the way around, closing your hole. All done!

I made this with the nanny who has been helping out twice a week. She's such an angel....I feel so lucky to move somewhere new and find someone I can trust the baby with.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sentimental Sorbet Quilt

This is a basic block quilt out of Sentimental Sorbet.  I have lots of leftover fabric so I'm going to make a few baby quilts with this.  I gave this to someone expecting her third child in 4 years.  Yikes!  That's a lot of work.  But she's amazing so she'll do well at it.  This was only my second free-motion quilting project so it's a little sketchy.  Hopefully the baby girl won't mind!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sandi Henderson Quilt

This is my hourglass quilt (every other block is hourglass).  It's 7 blocks by 11 blocks.  Finished size is 45"x60".  The binding is satin blanket binding.  I've finally decided that even though it is a "kids" blanket, it is so soft in flannel that I'm going to keep it for myself.  I used invisible thread along the inner rectangle, but the blocks are all tied.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nursing Apron #1

I looked up a pattern online and then made my own, but I would say this was very poor.  The only good thing is that the color is pretty discreet.   Stay tuned for a post when I make a new (cute) nursing apron and I'll tell you the right way to make it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Boy Bibs

My favorite two were He Did It! -> and <- He Did It! for a set of twin boys, but I forgot to snap a picture before giving them away.  Here are other bibs that I have made.  I sort of made up the pattern myself.  I used a store-bought bib for a rough idea, as the first bib I made (a couple of years ago) was too big for an adult.  Sometimes we don't have a feel for how small kids really are.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gifts From Clara Freidman

Thank you Claire for the beautiful handmade and tied blankets and crocheted booties.  They are fantastic!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crocheted Blankets

The first picture is a blanket crocheted by my sister-in-law Michelle.  The picture doesn't do it justice because it really shines.  And it's really warm.  And it's quite a bit bigger than the second blanket.  The edging is fantastic so I had to take a close-up picture of that.  I'm hoping this turns into one of those blankets that the baby can drag around until he's too old for it ;)

The second picture is the blanket I crocheted for her youngest boy when he was born almost 5 years ago.  It's in excellent condition.  I wish I'd used shinier softer yarn for all the work that goes into making these.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I have learned how absolutely essential this baby item is.  I always wanted to make one just like the one my sister-in-law Kristy made for me!  Actually, I hadn't thought of using something so cuddly and soft for the lining.