Friday, March 28, 2008

a very hungry caterpillar quilt

ok, i have to share that my thursday routine of running mundane, but needed, errands was brightened considerably as i stopped into my local favorite quilt shop. after picking up the needed backing fabric for my current project (matching sock monkey quilts for dd and baby matthew) i happened to ask if they were stocking the newest eric carle themed prints by andover fabric. ....... and they do!
in fact, one of the ladies was currently cutting the fabric for another employee who had found a free pattern online and phoned in the fabric requirements before it was snatched off the shelves.

i went home, found the free pattern here and called. she said she would be more than happy to cut what i needed for my project and i could simply pick it up the next time i was in town.

for joy!

a day destined for multiple stops for numerous errands had quickly been lightened by a nice little surprise. how God blesses us with the little things......

ok... admittedly, despite its decidedly kid-oriented theme, this is a me project. this book has always been one of my favorites, used frequently when i taught kindergarten and preschool. it also became a favorite of dd as a child and i am sure baby matthew will love it as well.

in fact, i have often browsed the batik section, dreaming of designing and creating my own hungry caterpillar quilt but seeing as how they beat me to it - hey, i won't be reinventing the wheel! while it will likely have to wait until after my sewing room has been constructed and relocated, after the baby arrives and we get settled and i have a little me time to sew, i plan on placing it directly into one of my wip boxes.
for now, i hope to get my monkey quilts basted and start quilting by this weekend. pics to come???? :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

the quiltmaker's gift

one of my new favorite books.
the story is wonderful. a greedy king demands a quilt of the local quiltmaker, who reserves her treasures for the poor and the needy alone. she tells him to give away all of his possessions, and for each she will sew another block of his quilt. initially, he refuses, and attempts to bully her into submission, but our little seamstress hangs tough, and the king? well, read the book. trust me, you'll love it!
the illustrations are positively breathtaking - a true classic for children and adults alike!
there is another book, a prequel called the quiltmaker's journey, and there are also pattern books inspired by this wonderful piece of literature.
enjoy my friends!


we are blessed to have another little boy on the way! hmmm, maybe i shouldn't have gotten the cat and dog fixed, then i wouldn't be outnumbered.....oh well! ;) i love blue!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

gifts for baby

i love making baby quilts.

there is something about the fabric, the softness, the color scheme, the patterns, that is so calming and soothing and makes me feel like a kid again! i also love to think about the new little one on the way, bringing so much joy to his or her parent's hearts, the adventure that new little one brings, it is just all so happy!

this weekend i had the pleasure of attending a baby shower for a very dear friend who is having her first child in about 10 weeks. she did not find out the gender of the baby, she has so much more patience than i do!.... so when planning the quilt i decided to focus on yellows, purples, and blues. while i would have preferred the more gender-neutral green to the purple, the quilt shop didn't have the greens that i wanted, and mommy-to-be adores purple, so i think it will be perfect!

i really like the way this came out. the pattern is my own, inspired by a quilt i saw in a Fons and Porter Quick Quilts magazine. i found the lamb panels and added the purple borders to square out the blocks (hint, panel blocks are often not square!), then cut the yellow lamb co-ordinating print to the same size as the finished bordered panel blocks. i then added a 3"square to each corner, stitched across and trimmed to create the snowball blocks.
i love the lambs in the prints, this one in particular. he looks like he is praising God, and he is so very happy! too cute!

of course, it is backed with some yummy flannel.i quilted around the blocks in the ditch, adding some free motion heart clusters in the open spaces and at the corners. overall it was a very quick quilt to create.

ok, so i couldn't stop with just the quilt. maybe it was my own growing belly, or maybe it was just the practical side of me that couldn't simply throw this quilt in a $2 gift bag, only to have the bag tossed out later. for one, i hate purchasing things that will end up in the possession of the nearest landfill, and second, i want every part of my gift to be practical and useful to the mommy and baby. in the past i have used leftover fabric to create a diaper bag. unfortunately, the pattern i wanted was sold out of both local quilt shops! i wandered the second shop, completely bummed that i may have to resort to the quickie gift bag when, behold, my eyes fell upon a picture on the back of a book on the closest book spinner.

it was the Winsome Baby book by Nancy Halvorsen. the book is full of quick, easy, and inexpensive gifts to make for a new baby, including changing pads, diaper bags, diaper and wipe holders, etc., all with her trademark adorable customizable stitchery. well there, on the back cover she shares pictures of her "Sweet Baby Organizer Gift Totes". Perfect! i had one sheep panel left from my quilt, and it was the perfect size for the front of the box. the box only took me about 1 hour (i completed it while watching last week's the biggest loser episode), and i had my perfect packaging for my gift....

the problem with making such a lovely box was that once i placed the quilt inside it still looked a little empty! well, i did have some quilt scraps left over, and then i just happened to find some yummy textured minky fabric on sale in a soft sage green. when paired together, voila! i had some super soft co-ordinating burp cloths.

add a little tissue paper, a big yellow sheer ribbon, and my gift was complete! practical and pretty!