Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Doll Quilt #1: Ta-Da!

I finally finished my niece's first doll quilt. The second is yet to come. Isn't this the cutest little quilt? Each block is a variation of a star block, and it was good for me to work on this because it allowed me to practice piecing new blocks (I've not made these types of blocks before), and to practice on my new sewing machine.

I can honestly say that it is so much more fun to sew on a nicer machine. The piecing of this quilt took longer than the actual quilting and adding of the binding. Hooray for small quilts that don't take long to quilt! I can see the appeal of mini-quilts now.

I decided to machine-sew the binding on. That is the first time I've done that, and I liked that it was done quickly, which means it will probably be done again.
these stitches look much nicer than the ones done on my old machine. Hooray for a built-in walking foot!

I love that tiny floral fabric, and that the quilt looks cute from the back, too

I quilted each block a little differently
I didn't want to over-quilt this because the pattern of the fabrics on the quilt-top is what I wanted to shine through most. So I quilted this mostly "in the ditch." I used matching yellow thread on the back (the bobbin thread), and a light gray on the front so that the fabric and patterns of the stars would be "the star"--see what I did there?-- and the quilting would melt into the background.

Cute, cute! Fun fun.

And bonus, when my niece grows up, she can use this as a fancy placemat. Ha ha.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Matching Baby Dolls for Twin Momma's-to-be

I am the proud new mama of......

a new sewing machine!! Yay! I graduated from my beginning Brother machine, which was great for my initial sewing purposes, but I have outgrown it. I have graduated to a Pfaff that has a built-in walking foot. So that's exciting. It also has an automatic presser foot lift option (with the needle in the down position) which comes in super handy when going slow around curves (like in the hair of the dolls below), or in quilting. That so far is one of my favorite things about it.

There is a learning curve when using a new machine, and I am definitely still trying to figure out mine. I christened it by making (what else) a couple of stuffed toys on it.

These are some little, stuffed baby boy dolls in diapers that were commissioned by my aunt. She has a friend who is pregnant with her first baby (a little boy). Her friend has an identical twin sister, and my aunt thought it would be fun to give her sister a matching doll for when she has her first baby too. Now that's some good thinkin'! And in case her first baby is a girl, these little dolls could be unisex if need be.

sitting with Big Bunny--don't mind the bits of fabric stuck in Big Bunny's fur
Their faces have been hand-embroidered, and their hair is made out of one of my favorite materials (in case you haven't noticed by now), wool-blend felt. I like using the wool-blend because it feels, looks, and holds up much nicer than craft (acrylic) felts. Look at all those colors. And I may just have a drawer full of more felt.....I just may...
look at all that felt!
The second toy is a custom cardinal (female, which is why she is brownish-tan) doll that is a teacher! Check out those little books. See where having felt around comes in handy? I made the inside of the books out of teeny cardstock boxes (I had to make my own patterns for that), and then embroidered the felt book covers and glued them on. I love little stuff. It makes me happy. I'm a weirdo. Anyway, this teacher bird is kinda cute, and she's little, so she makes me happy.

She is one of many dolls that I have made for a wonderful woman who wants to spread a message of love and acceptance. She uses these little cardinal dolls to tell a story. I will share more on that in an upcoming post!

Until later, folks!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cutting fabric up and sewing it back together

That's pretty much what I've been up to lately. I cut fabric pieces up. Then I sew them back together. Sounds like crazy-talk.

I made a bunch of ornaments in my etsy shop for Christmas and did some custom orders, and even though I feel like I didn't do that much, I got burnt out. So, I haven't made a single stuffed toy for the last few weeks.

Plus, we've had some nasty colds over here, and I stayed in bed for a good few days after Christmas. What did I do while living in my bed those few days? I read a lot of quilting blogs. And decided I wanted to make some quilts. Now....I currently have fabric for quite a few quilts. Whether or not they get done is another story...

I found my new favorite online fabric store called Hawthorn Threads. Here is the website:

They have so many cute fabrics. I couldn't resist buying some. So that's how my interest in quilting got re-piqued.

Right as I got re-interested in making some quilts, my niece decided that she wants some cute doll quilts to go along with a doll bed she is getting for her birthday (TODAY!) for her 18-inch doll. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to do some fun new piecing of a mini-quilt or two! The bed she is getting is actually a bunk bed, which means she needs two coordinating quilts.

So my sister (her mother)and I went to buy some fabric last night. Here is what she picked out:

It should make for some pretty cute quilts, right? I am going to make some variations of happy star blocks out of half-square triangles. So right now I have a bunch of 2-inch half-square triangles.

I'll take some pics when the quilts are all done and post them. The quilts will be made up of 6 blocks, with each block having 16 of those little half-square triangle dudes. I haven't decided if I'll hand-quilt (with large perle 12 cotton), or just do a straight stitch on my machine. We shall see.

I had been playing around earlier with some of my scraps, and here are just 4 possibilities for 6-inch quilt blocks made from these little guys.
these 4 blocks are just 6-inches square

 Earlier last week I made up quilt blocks for this crazy, wonky log cabin quilt. Sorry for the bad lighting. It was night.

Now that the blocks are pieced, I'm not sure I like it. I did a method where I could make 6 blocks at once. So the quilt top came together quickly. Then, I decided I wanted to "quilt-as-you-go," because my machine doesn't handle bulk/big quilts very well, and the QAYG method is something I have wanted to try. I chose to do the method where I put the backing on the quilt last, and so I am just quilting through the quilt top and batting right now.

I'm not sure I like it, which means I'm losing interest, which means: who knows when it will get completed. Here are a couple blocks I've quilted. I have done a combination of hand and machine-quilting. I decided I hate how my machine quilts, even with a walking foot, and using nice (expensive) threads, and testing out stitch lengths. I've decided I want a new machine. These things snowball...
This block is just hand-quilted

this block has both hand-quilting and machine-quilting
Weirdly enough, I enjoy the process of hand-quilting much, much, much more than machine quilting. Much.

So that's what I've been up to.

Oh yeah, and I made this little guy for a baby shower where the recipient is naming their baby "Sparrow;" so that just begged for me to make a toy sparrow. So I guess I did make a stuffed toy after all. I lied. Forgive me.

I hand-embroidered his eyes, and his tummy. He's got a cute little tail sticking out the back too.

So Happy New Year everybody! Hope 2016 goes great!