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Quilt & Sew

  • TRUE LOVER’S KNOT QUILT

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

    BLOCK SIZE: 12" x 12"

    QUILT SIZE: 79" x 96"

    YARDAGE REQUIREMENTS

    Yardage is based on 43"/44"w fabric.

     Image_00255/8 yds of red solid

    Image_00345/8 yds of white solid

    71/4 yds for backing

    1 yd for binding 90" x 108" batting

    CUTTING OUT THE PIECES

    All measurements include a 1/4" seam allowance. Follow

    Template Cutting, page 3, to cut fabric.

    1. From red solid: image

      • Cut 38 strips 2"w.

      • Cut 6 strips 2"w. From these strips, cut 120 squares 2" x 2".

      • Cut 120 A’s using Template A pattern, page 4.

      • Cut 60 B’s using Template B pattern, page 4.

    2. From white solid: image

    • Cut 22 strips 2"w.

    • Cut 6 strips 2"w. From these strips, cut 120 squares 2" x 2".

    • Cut 120 A’s using Template A.

    • Cut 60 B’s using Template B.

    ASSEMBLING THE QUILT TOP

              1. Sew 1 A and 2 squares together to make Unit 1. Make 60 Unit 1’s.
              2. Image_006

                (Note: To sew curved seams in Steps 2 and 3, match centers and pin at center and at each end, then match and pin between pins. Sew seam with convex edge on bottom next to feed dogs.) Sew 1 A and 1 B together to make Unit 2. Make 60 Unit 2’s.

                Unit 2 (make 60) Unit 2 (make 60)
              3. Sew Unit 1 and Unit 2 together to make Unit 3. Make 60 Unit 3’s.
                Unit 3 (make 60) 4. Unit 3 (make 60)
                4.
              4. Repeat Steps 1 - 3 to make 60 Unit 4’s.
                Unit 4 (make 60) Unit 4 (make 60)
              5. Sew 1 Unit 3 and 1 Unit 4 together to make Unit 5. Make 60 Unit 5’s.
                Unit 5 (make 60) Unit 5 (make 60)
              6. Sew 2 Unit 5’s together to make Block. Make 30 Blocks.
                Block (make 30) Block (make 30)
              7. Sew strips together to make Strip Set A. Make 18 Strip Set A’s. Cut across Strip Set A’s at 121/2" intervals to make 49 Sashing Units. Cut across remaining Strip Set A’s at 2" intervals to make 20 Unit 6’s.
                Strip Set A (make 18) Strip Set A (make 18)
                Sashing Unit (make 49) 2" Sashing Unit (make 49) 12 & 1/2"
                2"
                Unit 6 (make 20) 2" Unit 6 (make 20) 2"
              8. Sew strips together to make Strip Set B. Make 2 Strip Set B’s. Cut across Strip Set B’s at 2" intervals to make 40 Unit 7’s.
    Unit 7 (make 40) Unit 7 (make 40)
                1. Sew 1 Unit 6 and 2 Unit 7’s together to make Unit 8. Make 20 Unit 8’s
      • Sew 5 Blocks and 4 Sashing Units together to make row. Make 6 Rows
        Row (make 6) Row (make 6)
      • Sew 5 Sashing Units and 4 Unit 8’s together to make Sashing Row. Make 5 Sashing Rows.

        Sashing Row (make 5) 

    • Referring to Quilt Top Diagram, page 5, sew Rows and Sashing Rows together to complete Quilt Top.

    COMPLETING THE QUILT

              1.  Mark, layer, and quilt using Quilting Diagram, page 4, as a suggestion. Our quilt is hand quilted.
              2. Bind quilt as desired.

    GENERALS

    TEMPLATE CUTTING

    Our full-sized piecing template patterns have 2 lines — a solid cutting line and a dashed line showing the ¼" seam allowance.

              1.  To make a template from a pattern, use a permanent fine-point pen to carefully trace pattern onto template plastic, making sure to transfer all alignment and grain line markings. Cut out template along inner edge of drawn line. Check template against original pattern for accuracy.
              2. To use a template, place template on wrong side of fabric (unless otherwise indicated in project instructions), aligning grain line on template with straight grain of fabric. Use a sharp fabric-marking pencil to draw around template. Transfer all alignment marking to fabric. Cut out fabric piece using scissors or rotary cutting equipment.

    image

    Template A

    Template B

    Quilting Diagram

    image

    image

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

  • “You Stole My Heart" Pillow

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

    Supplies

    For pillow front: Osnaburg fabric - 14" square

    For pillow back and boxing: 44"W fabric - ½yd

    Thread to match fabrics

    Tracing paper

    ⅜"W grosgrain ribbon - 1⅝ yds

    10 men’s neckties

    Coordinating embroidery floss (we used 2 colors) Removable fabric marking pen

    Paper-backed fusible web

    Seam ripper

    ⅜" dia. cotton cord - 3¼ yds Fabric glue

    Polyester fiberfill

    MAKING PILLOW FRONT

    Cut four 14" lengths from ribbon. Refer to photo and Diagram, page 3, to position ribbon lengths on pillow front; glue to secure. Use fabric marking pen to draw a ½" seam allowance along edges of pillow front. For each tie, use seam ripper to carefully open tie along center back seam; trim away lining and press tie flat. For hearts, use 8 ties and cut a 4" square from each.

    Cut a piece of web slightly smaller than each tie square. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to fuse web to wrong sides of squares. Trace and cut out Heart Pattern; use pattern to cut 1 heart from each tie square. Refer to diagram and center hearts in ribbon squares; fuse in place.

    Use 3 strands of floss to blanket stitch around hearts

    (Fig. 1, page 3).

    Embroidering, Use fabric marking pen to write “You stole my heart” in remaining square on pillow front. Use 2 strands of floss to stem stitch words (Fig. 2, page 3). Remove pen lines.

    Heart Pattern Heart Pattern

    CUTTING PILLOW BACK & BOXING

    Cut a 14" square of fabric and two 3" x 27" strips of fabric for boxing.

    APPLYING CORDING

    Cut cord in half. Cut two 1½" x 56" strips (pieced as necessary) from remaining ties. To apply cording to right side of pillow front, use one 1½" x 56" tie piece and 1 cord piece. Lay cord along center on one side of tie. Matching long edges, fold tie over cord. Use a zipper foot to machine baste along length of tie close to cord. Matching raw edges and starting 1" from end of cording, baste cording to right side of pillow front; clip seam allowances as needed. Open ends of cording and cut cord to fit exactly. Insert one end of cording fabric in the other; fold raw edge of top fabric ½" to wrong side and baste in place. Use remaining tie and cord pieces and repeat for pillow back.

    MAKING BOXING

    Match right sides and raw edges and use a ½" seam allowance to sew boxing fabric strips together along short edges to form a loop; press seam allowances open. Referring to Fig. 3, fold boxing piece in half and make ¼" clips into edges of fabric at each fold. Unfold boxing piece.

    Fig. 3 | Clip Fig. 3 | Clip

    ASSEMBLING PILLOW

    Matching 1 raw edge of boxing piece to raw edge of pillow front, place pieces right sides together, matching clips on boxing piece to corners of pillow front. Pin boxing piece

    in place. Use a zipper foot and sew boxing piece to pillow front as close as possible to cording. Repeat to pin pillow back to remaining raw edge of boxing piece. Leaving an opening for turning, use zipper foot and sew boxing piece to back as close as possible to cording.

    FINISHING

    Turn pillow; stuff; stitch closed.

    "You Stole My Heart" Diagram "You Stole My Heart" Diagram
    Fig. 1 Blanket Stitch Fig. 1 Blanket Stitch
    Fig. 2 Stem Stitch Fig. 2 Stem Stitch

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

  • Burgoyne Surrounded Quilt Quilting ePattern

    (Click Here for Free Digital Download)

    Approx Size: 81" x 99"

    Inspiration! Originally published in Leaflet 1808, Sew Quick Two-Color Quilts

    ©2009 by Leisure Arts, Inc.

    BURGOYNE SURROUNDED

    BLOCK SIZE: 15" x 15"

    QUILT SIZE: 81" x 99"

    YARDAGE REQUIREMENTS

    2. Sew 1 narrow and 2 wide strips together to make Strip Set B. Make 4 Strip Set B’s. Cut across Strip Set B’s at 1½" intervals to make 100 Unit 3’s.

    Yardage is based on 43"/44"w fabric.

    image 7½ yds of white solid image 258 yds of red solid

    7½ yds for backing

    1 yd for binding

    90" x 108" batting

    CUTTING OUT THE PIECES

    All measurements include a ¼" seam allowance. Borders

    Strip Set B (make 4)

    1½"

    Unit 3 (make 100)

    include extra length for “insurance”; trim borders after

    measuring completed center section of quilt top.

    1. From white solid: image

      • Cut 8 wide strips 21/2"w.

      • Cut 32 narrow strips 11/2"w.

      • Cut 5 strips 151/2"w. From these strips, cut

        49 sashing strips 151/2" x 31/2".

      • Cut 2 lengthwise strips 3" x 102" for side borders.

      • Cut 2 lengthwise strips 3" x 79" for top/bottom 

        borders.

      • From remaining fabric width, cut 16 crosswise

        strips 31/2"w. From these strips, cut 80 large rectangles 31/2" x 51/2".

      • From remaining fabric width, cut 20 crosswise

        strips 21/2"w. From these strips, cut 160 small rectangles 21/2" x 31/2".

    2. From red solid: image

      • Cut 16 wide strips 21/2"w.

      • Cut 30 narrow strips 11/2"w.

    ASSEMBLING THE QUILT TOP

    1. Sew 1 narrow and 2 wide strips together to make

    Strip Set A. Make 6 Strip Set A’s. Cut across Strip

    1. Sew 2 Unit 1’s and 1 Unit 3 together to make

      Unit 4. Make 20 Unit 4’s.

      Unit 4 (make 20)

    2. Sew 1 Unit 2 and 1 Unit 3 together to make Unit 5.

      Make 80 Unit 5’s.

      Unit 5 (make 80)

    3. Sew 3 narrow strips together to make Strip Set C. Make 9 Strip Set C’s. Cut across Strip Set C’s at 1½" intervals to make 220 Unit 6’s.

      Set A’s at 21/2" intervals to make 40 Unit 1’s. Cut across remaining Strip Set A’s at 1½" intervals to make 80 Unit 2’s.

      Strip Set A (make 6)

      Strip Set C (make 8)

      Unit 6 (make 220)

      1½"

      Unit 1 (make 40) Unit 2 (make 80)

    4. Sew 3 narrow strips together to make Strip Set D. Make 5 Strip Set D’s. Cut across Strip Set D’s at 1½" intervals to make 110 Unit 7’s.

      image

      image

      2½" 1½"

      Strip Set D (make 5)

      image

      1½"

      Unit 7 (make 110)

    5. Sew 2 Unit 6’s and 1 Unit 7 together to make

      Unit 8. Make 110 Unit 8’s.

      Unit 8 (make 110)

    6. Sew 2 narrow strips together to make Strip Set E. Make 7 Strip Set E’s. Cut across Strip Set E’s at 1½" intervals to make 160 Unit 9’s.

      image

      Strip Set E (make 7) Unit 9 (make 160)

      image

      1½"

    7. Sew 2 Unit 9’s together to make Unit 10. Make 80 Unit 10’s.

      Unit 10 (make 80)

    8. Sew 1 Unit 5 and 1 large rectangle together to make Unit 11. Make 80 Unit 11’s.

      Unit 11 (make 80)

    9. Sew 1 Unit 10, 2 small rectangles, and 1 Unit 8 together to make Unit 12. Make 80 Unit 12’s. (Set aside remaining Unit 8’s to use in Step 16.)

      Unit 12 (make 80)

      image

    10. Sew 1 Unit 11 and 2 Unit 12’s together to make

      Unit 13. Make 40 Unit 13’s.

      image

      Unit 13 (make 40)

    11. Sew 2 Unit 11’s and 1 Unit 4 together to make

      Unit 14. Make 20 Unit 14’s.

      Unit 14 (make 20)

    12. Sew 2 Unit 13’s and 1 Unit 14 together to make

      Block. Make 20 Blocks.

      Block (make 20)

      image

    13. Sew 5 sashing strips and 4 Blocks together to make Row. Make 5 Rows.

      Row (make 5)

      image

    14. Sew 5 Unit 8’s and 4 sashing strips together to make Sashing Row. Make 6 Sashing Rows.

      Sashing Row (make 6)

      image

    15. Referring to Quilt Top Diagram, sew Sashing Rows and Rows together to make center section of quilt top.

    16. Sew top, bottom, then side borders to center section to complete Quilt Top.

    COMPLETING THE QUILT

    1. Mark, layer, and quilt, using Quilting Diagram, 

      page 4, as a suggestion. Our quilt is hand quilted.

    2. Cut a 34" square of binding fabric. Bind quilt using

    2½"w bias binding with mitered corners.

    image

    image

    (Click Here for Free Digital Download)

  • Backseat Pet Hammock

    You will need:

    • 60" wide corduroy fabric (for durability)
    • four 1" D-rings
    • ¾"w Velcro® (the sew-on kind)
    • chalk
    • scissors
    • sewing pins
    • sewing machine and thread
    • iron and ironing board
    • hand-sewing needle and thread
    • iron-on fusible web
    • felt for appliqué
    • clear nylon thread
    • non-slip rug pads (optional)

    Measurements:

    To customize our Pet Hammock to fit your vehicle, you must carefully measure your backseat area.

    1. Measure from the top of the backseat down the seat and up to the top of the front seat (Fig. 1). This is the length of your finished blanket.Fig. 1
      Fig. 1 - Backseat Pet Hammock Fig. 1 - Backseat Pet Hammock
    2. Measure the width of the backseat for the width of the finished blanket (Fig. 1).
    3. Measure how far the headrests are in from outer edges of seatback for strap and D-ring placement (Fig. 2).Fig. 2
      Fig. 2 - Backseat Pet Hammock Fig. 2 - Backseat Pet Hammock
    4. Use your finished length and width measurements to figure out how much fabric to buy.

    Instructions:

      1. Cut two pieces of corduroy fabric at your finished size with an extra inch added to length and width for the seam allowance. Round all four corners for a more finished look.
      2. Cut four 3"w x 22"l strips of fabric for long straps and four 3"w x 4"l strips for short straps. Fold each strip with right side facing out and topstitch down the center. Sew a 4" strip of hook Velcro right at the end of each of the four longer straps. Sew a 7½" strip of loop Velcro about 3" further along the strap on the same side of the strap (Fig. 3).width
        length
        Fig. 3

        Fig. 3 - Backseat Pet Hammock Fig. 3 - Backseat Pet Hammock

    3. At top and bottom along the width of one panel of your fabric, use chalk to mark the points where your backseat headrests begin from the outer edges of the seatback. Insert a short strap through each D-ring and tack both ends of each strap to a chalked point on the wrong side of the panel (Fig. 4). Measure over approximately 6" from the chalk point toward the center and tack the end of the long strap without theVelcro to the wrong side of the panel. Repeat for each long strap. (Suggestion: This would be a good point in the process to take your partial Pet Hammock out to your vehicle to test the placement of the straps and make any needed adjustments.)

    Fig. 4

    Fig. 4 - Backseat Pet Hammock

    4. To monogram your Pet Hammock, pick your favorite computer font and print out the letter you prefer at the size that you like. (You may have to experiment with the font size to discover that perfect size.)

    5. Cut out your monogram letter to use as a pattern.

    6. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to iron fusible web to the back of felt and pin letter pattern in place.

    7. Cut out your monogram letter and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fuse letter in place on front of Pet Hammock.

    8. Using clear nylon thread, zig-zag around the edges of the letter to secure.

    9. Stack the two panels of fabric with right sides together. Pin in place and sew around the edges, leaving an opening for turning.

    10. Turn, press out seams, and close opening.

    11. For a more finished look, topstitch about ½" from the edge around the entire Pet Hammock.

    12. Velcro Pet Hammock securely in your backseat, and Fido’s ready to travel. (Suggestion: If your vehicle upholstery is leather or vinyl, place non-slip rug pads between Pet Hammock and seat to prevent sliding.)

    Click here to download pattern

  • How Quickly Can You Make a Quilt?

    Sometimes I check Pinterest to see how many pins this blog gets.  I'm curious, and a little vain.  It's always interesting to me to find out what people think is worthy of a spot on their boards and what sort fades away.  Lately, one of the most popular Leisure Arts-related pins are from this post about Quick Weekend Quilts.

    If it's good enough for all those Internetters, it's good enough for me.  Did you know about this? Because I don't think I did.  That's no real surprise, considering that I sew once every couple of NEVERS, but it's National Sewing Month and I'm making an effort to throw out some sewing-related posts this month.  Plus, I looked at this book and I was riveted.  Riveted I tell you!  I love these designs, and we're going to talk about them.  I can form an opinion about just about anything, and I'm really good at assuming things.  So I'm going to show you some of the lovely designs in Quick Weekend Quilts and talk about how much I would love to make them even though you and I both know I do not have the skills or material to try this.  Still, this seems like a fun trip down aspirational daydreaming lane and I think you need to see these patterns.  Let's go!

    Here is the Decorator Dot quilt.  I love it.  I love dots.

    What if you kept it in these stark colors?  Or what if you did really vibrant colors against the black backdrop like stained glass?  Or if you arranged your circles to reflect the color spectrum gradually?  Or, you know, you just made this look like a Twister mat?  Because I think any of those ideas would be amazing.  This is a really striking layout, and I think any fabric color combinations would look beautiful.  I pray my daughter never sees a picture of this because then she'll want me to make her a 'blanket' like this and I'm trying to perpetuate the myth that I can make anything.

    And this! This is the Floating Squares quilt.

    The crocheter in me wants to try this with granny squares.  I love these fall colors!  I love the off-center squares!  I love this!

    And look at the bags!

     

    I like these.   You can't beat a good reusable bag.  And these are quilted!  Your goods stay protected and insulated.  And this looks like a good use of scraps!

    The Vintage Bird Wall Art looks like another project that could use up some scraps.

    And it could be a wonderful decoration in a nursery!  Or anywhere, really.  I love these calming neutral tones.  I was going to add "but this could be lovely in some brighter colors" but you know what? No.  I think I just love this with these more muted colors.  This is wonderful!

    Okay, but these throw pillows?
     

     

    They're the Contemporary Classic Throw Pillows, and I would love to see what the one on the right looks like with fall leaves.  How great would that look?!  Danged great, that's how great.  I love how clean these lines are.  The simple layout of these pieces is fantastic.

    And lastly, the Modern Four Petal Flower Quilt.

     This looks like the perfect picnic quilt.  It's beautiful!  This could be a great use of scraps, especially if you wanted your flowers to be different colors.  Or you could keep it just like this.  These patterns are all so full of possibility!  And guess what?  There's a weekend coming up!  You could make one of these!! 

  • I'm Still Thinking About Quilts

    It's still National Sewing Month and I'm still thinking about quilts.  I love them.  I love everything about them.  There was an exhibit on quilts near my house this summer and I think I went to look at them every week.  Fine, sometimes twice a week.  Quilts are fascinating!  They're a multifaceted art project to treasure forever and keep people warm!  They blow my mind.  Did you know about Memory Quilts?  This sounds like an amazing resource!  Amazing!

    There's a log cabin-style quilt made with ties!

    And what about T-Shirt Quilts

     

    That's another amazing way to make memory quilts out of beloved objects. I love that there are quilt squares to sew and intersperse with the t-shirt squares.  It's beautiful.

    And I have to tell you about the Crazy Quilt Stitches Pocket Guide

     

    I love crazy quilts.  I don't know that I'll ever be gutsy enough to try to make one, but I love them.  They're the epitome of DIY and modifications and taking whatever you have and making it beautiful.  Not only do most crazy quilts feature different fabrics in all textures and colors, but they're usually pieced together with different stitches that just as eye-catching and different as the fabric selections. 

    While we're on the topic of pocket guides (dadgum, I love these pocket guides), I want to mention the Applique Basics Pocket Guide

     

    I'm almost certain that my mom made the pattern on the cover in a class once.  Seriously, that's the only reason I'm mentioning this.  I remember being really impressed at the time (in addition to being able to quilt little microscopic stitches, my mom has mad applique skills) with this great daffodil top she made for a wall hanging and I got really excited when I saw this guide. 

    Oh, and remember Christmas Sparkle?  You might not because I wrote about it nearly a year ago.

    I love that there are people who love holidays so much that they'll write whole pattern books revolving around them.  These designs were lovely, and didn't necessarily have to sparkle.  But I bet they're truly incredible when they do. I think a Christmas quilt is an amazing treasure to make. 

    And lastly, I want to mention 50 States Quilt Blocks again. 

    I maybe mentioned it in a post last week and then didn't link to it.  Whoops.  Sorry, 50 States Quilt Blocks. I love this. Enough to mention it twice and actually link to it.  The product description states that there are four quilt projects, one of which calls for a mix of states/blocks that show a family's history.  Oh, my heart.  I don't know about you, but quilts get me right in the heart. 

    And they capture my imagination.  I'm getting all kinds of ideas from just looking through some of the titles on Leisure Arts.  God help me if I ever make another attempt at making one!  My heart and head could just explode from all the feelings and possibilities.

  • Tips for Making Your First Sewing Kit: A Video Tutorial

    September is National Sewing Month!  Hooray!

    I don't sew as much as I used to, mostly because I like to keep all of my tools out until I finish a project.  There's a lot of ironing, cutting, pinning, sewing, ironing, cutting some more, pinning again...you get the idea.  With a small apartment, a busy schedule, and a very curious daughter, I just don't think this is my season for big quilt projects.  That doesn't stop me from lusting after books like 50 States Quilt Blocks, though.  GO LOOK AT THOSE BLOCKS RIGHT NOW! READ THAT DESCRIPTION!!!  OH MAN! I'm sorry for the caps but OH MAN! So awesome.

    Ahem.

    But anyway!  Whether you're one of those super involved quilters with a whole room of the house devoted to your craft, someone who can replace a button or re-hem some pants, or one of those somewhere-in-between sewers, you're going to need a sewing kit.

    Enter Martha with her Tip-See Tuesday videos!  Have you subscribed to the Leisure Arts YouTube channel?  You should do that!  There are tutorials and friendly people giving bits of advice just like this one:

      

    Please note: Martha is not drunk, or even a little tipsy, in these videos.  I just wanted to mention that in case you have objections to that sort of thing.  But she has lots of tips!  And I thought her recommendations for putting together a sewing kit were spot on.  I especially loved the idea of using a travel soap dish to hold together some of your smaller items.

    I've had a sewing kit for forever, and I've been using this box since sometime before college. 

    A lot of my sewing supplies have gotten a little scattered over time, and I usually wind up tearing up the house looking for a simple tool here or there.  After I thought about the essentials listed in this video, I realized I really need to get my stuff together.  This was a great reminder!

    If I could add anything to my kit not mentioned in the video I would have to include a magnet.  They're essential.  You should definitely always keep your pins in a container or a pin cushion, but something's going to fall out sooner or later.  And when it does, you do not want to find something sharp and pointy with your bare hands--or worse, with your bare feet a few hours later.  Drag a magnet over your workspace after you've done a quick sewing project and you'll pull up any pins or needles that might have rolled away from you.

    People are commenting on the video with their own sewing kit essentials and it's great!  Feel free to chime in with your own ideas about what a sewing kit does or doesn't need.  I'll just be over here thinking about quilts.

    Happy sewing!  (This month and always.)

  • Pocket Guides and Plans

    I am not a sewer.  We've talked about this before.  It's just not for me, or at least not for me at the moment.  However, I do keep a good amount of fabric on hand and every now and then I entertain notions of doing certain sewing things.  Sometimes I even want to embroidery.  Enter the Embroidery Pocket Guide.

    Because every now and then I want to embroidery a little bit.

    Especially when I wear this dress. Inspiring stuff.

    Nothing like a whole sampler, but just a little bit of pretty stitching on something.  A little vine on a tote bag, maybe.  Or a cheerful little flower on a pair of my daughter's shorts.  I have a few needles and a little bit of embroidery floss, and this little guide would be a great reference for a quick freehand project.  This is dadgummed great!

    Now, I linked to the e-copy in that first paragraph.  Now here's a link to purchase the hard copy.  And here's a link to the product page on Amazon where you can read some very glowing reviews.  And it's Prime eligible, if you're into free shipping! The hard copy is a fold-out guide of embroidery stitches.  Think of a map.  But a laminated map! There's a chart that even tells you which thread to use with which fabric AND the needles you'll need.  The stitches are separated by category--backstitches, blanket stitches, chain stitches, etc.--and this measures about 4.5" by 8.5".  It really is nearly pocket-sized! It folds up nice and flat, and you could slip it into a pattern book or project bag.  I want to use the section on satin stitches for every little crocheted animal I make!

    Goodness knows I should have done some practice eyes before working on this little hat.

    I should mention that I was talking to my mom last week about embroidery.  She mentioned that she was going to embroider a dishtowel or two and I mentioned this guide.  You should have seen the look on her face.  I was really glad I didn't have the pamphlet on me at the time or it would be gone right now.  The woman knows when tools are useful and when they're not.  The way her eyes lit up at the mention of the pocket guide really drove it home to me how handy this is.  So I'm going to put it to good use!

    Before she does.

  • Of Quilts and Crafting Confessions

    3 Times the Charm

    Remember when I said I would try out the Jennifer pattern from 3 Times the Charm 2?  It's fine if you don't remember it because I posted about that little endeavor several months ago.  And then never followed up because I didn't want to say this:

    I think that I dislike sewing.

    I love handmade things.  I love quilts.  I love heirloom baby clothes sewn with love.  If you've done so much as seamed together some throw pillows, I probably love them.

    Fabric - 3 times the charm
    I LOVE buying fabric, too.

    But I do not like sewing.

    I can't tell if it's because I inherited my mother's fear of fast and noisy sewing machines, which is a fear made so much worse by watching The Brave Little Toaster at an apparently very impressionable age.  Or maybe it's because sewing requires the attention to detail that comes with measuring, marking, ironing, pinning, sewing, re-sewing, cutting, pinning, marking, dancing, tasting, pinning, throwing out your iron in frustration because ironing sucks, turning yourself about, breaking your thread, and screwing up your tension for the third time in an hour.

    Honestly, the part of sewing I'm best at is when I get really tired and frustrated and eat some late-night Taco Bell while checking Facebook.

    What? You can't tell me that's not part of the sewing process!  It must be, because that's what I did the last SEVEN times I tried sewing projects.  Seven is probably a conservative estimate, if we're being honest.  And I am, because this is crafting confession.

    So maybe I shouldn't have attempted the Jennifer pattern from 3 Times the Charm 2.  Maybe I should have remembered that I like quilts more than I like sewing.  And maybe I should have taken into consideration that I can knit or crochet a billion baby blankets in the time it would take me to make a quilt--especially when I'm WAY more likely to actually pick up my yarn and instruments to work on a project than I am to haul out all the gear it takes to sew something.  And in theory, sewing is faster.  But there's all that build up--the washing and drying and ironing and cutting and pinning--just so you can sew something incorrectly.  With yarncrafting I can work through my project one stitch at a time.  If there's a mistake, I can (theoretically) catch it in time to fix it.  Most projects I choose don't require the amount of precision I feel like sewing does.  There are fabric pens and cutting mats, for Pete's sake!

    And that's fine.  I'm just not a sewer.

     

    For someone who's just more comfortable with yarncrafting, sewing just doesn't hold a lot of appeal.

    And that's a real shame because that book is full of lovely patterns, just like the one before it.  The quilts are mostly lap-sized, which would make them perfect baby blankets without looking too 'baby blanket-ish.'  And the pattern I picked out has my name and everything!

    All that being said, I'm not tossing my blocks just yet.  They're safely sealed up in a Ziploc bag, right on top of 3 Times the Charm, Book 2.  And do you know why?  Because these little hearts:

    are waiting in a project basket somewhere in case my mom needs another 20 years to think about what she'll do with them.  That's not me making fun of my mom.  These heart appliques are just a bit old, but she's already cut them out and hemmed them.  So she'll do something with them, but there's no need to rush.  And they're not normally sitting out on the old deck with its warped boards.  I just thought that would look picturesque.

    Some projects just rest a while.  Like this.

    Yup, that's a tiny little quilt.  She made the blanket itself quite a while ago, and it was meant for my younger sister as a doll quilt.  Then my sister was a little old for dolls and then it was going to be a wallhanging.  Then I had a daughter three years, and this became her doll quilt this weekend!

    Ta da!  Heirloom!

    I don't even know if you can say "ta da" over something that takes two decades to complete, but my mom makes crazy tiny stitches and this is seamed and quilted by hand.

    My daughter loves that the hearts have hearts on the fabric, and the quilt is covering up her doll right now.  So I think I'll keep my stack of fabric for a little while longer.

    Maybe I'll have a free weekend where I just have a sudden and inexplicable urge to to piece together a quilt top.  I now have the manual for my husband's grandmother's old sewing machine, and that should really help me with the weirder intricacies of winding the bobbin and re-setting tensions.  Maybe my daughter will decide she needs a quilt that looks something like this.  Or maybe it's for some special little person I don't know yet.

    I know I'm not a sewer.  But maybe I should say I'm not a sewer right now.  I'll hang on to my squares, and my book, for a while.  Who knows what kind of crafter I'll be in a few decades?

  • Weekly Dishcloth: Trying Out a Free Pattern Friday Pattern

    Okay, have you signed up for Free Pattern Friday?  I feel like I talk about this a lot, but I also want to be sure that you know about it.  So, just in case: Free Pattern Friday is this glorious thing that happens when you sign up for the Leisure Arts weekly newsletter.  When that happens, you get to click on some boxes about your interests and decide if you would like a free crochet pattern each week, or a free knitting pattern each week.  So in addition to finding out about new titles,  sales, promo codes, and a featured blog post, you also get a free pattern.  It's a win-win-win-win-win situation.

    And last Friday, the featured pattern was the Knit Dishcloth and Potholder pattern.  Yes, I know that clicking that link takes to you the download page and you'll have to pay for it.  It's only free through email.  Which is how I got it.

    I'm repeating myself a lot because I love Free Pattern Friday and I love dishcloths and I love garter stitch.  So Friday's email was just full of happy surprises for me.

    Also, I love mixing up pink and red and the Valentine season gives me free reign to do so.  Fantastic!  I used red dishcloth yarn as my main color and some scraps of pink and white variegated yarn for the contrast.  There's a row of yarnovers and K2TOGs to give this dishcloth a little bit of pattern variety, but the rest of it is pure and simple garter stitch.   My favorite.

    I like the simplicity of the stitch, I like how well it cleans, and I honestly like how garter stitch looks.

    The color changes in yarn are just carried up a bit, and they would barely show even if you didn't crochet single crochet stitches around the edges.

    I liked that little detail, and I think it really tightened up the look of the dishcloth.  Does that makes sense?  I hope so.  At the very least, I know it made the whole thing look a little more put-together than just a square of garter stitch rows.  And chances are that even if you're mostly a knitter, you have a crochet around somewhere for something just like this.

    This took about a half-skein of regular Sugarn' Cream yarn, and a negligible amount of the contrast color.  I used Size 6 knitting needles and a G hook.  I think this would look nice and summery in some more muted solids, and maybe I make this again in plainer colors--especially if I need a nice hostess gift this summer.  But since I firmly believe anything can become a holiday pattern if you use the right colors, I love how this looks with the pink and red.  Yes, love it.

    Hey, can I mention Free Pattern Friday again?  I'm going to mention Free Pattern Friday again.  You should sign up and then you can have a free pattern on Friday.  It will be like getting a Valentine from Leisure Arts.  Let's be honest, if you're not getting yarn for Valentine's Day you may as well get a pattern.  It's going to be a lovely holiday indeed.

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