Llama Pillow

He-l–l–o–!?  No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  But, I did get a new job, which has taken some getting used to.  I’ve worked out of my house for the last 12 years, and while the new job is absolutely awesome, it’s in an office and I’ve been trying to get used to not being home all day.  I used to be able to take breaks by throwing in a load of laundry, etc.  It’s made the nights and weekends a bit more busy, as I’m sure everyone perfectly understands!

I picked up the cutest pillow panel from Laurie Wisbrun’s Etsy shop a few months ago (there’s still some left in stock!).  My friend loves alpacas and llamas, and I knew I wanted to make her a pillow with it.  So, here it is!  The backing is some fabric from my stash, which I think looks great with it.

Llama Pillow

Back of llama pillow

The back is a simple envelope closure.  I’ve never sewn with the pom pom trim, and it’s not easy!  I also put it on backwards, but my friend doesn’t care.  I did read a tip (after having made the pillow of course) that it is easier to deal with the pom poms if you first sew it onto the front in position (using a smaller seam allowance that will end up being hidden), and then sewing the pillow together.  In essence, basting it into place.  I’ll do that next time.

Innocent Crush fabric

I think I might have an idea for using up that 20 fat quarter pack of Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush that I picked up at Alewives Fabrics last November!  Super cute tutorial from Film in the Fridge.  I’d like to make a twin sized quilt for the bed in my office/spare room.

Sewing Knits with Liesl Gibson of Oliver+S

Me and Liesl!

I had the most amazing time on Saturday taking a sewing knits class at Alewives Fabrics with Liesl Gibson of Oliver+S.  It was awesome!!  Liesl is sweet and amazing and fun.  There were only 12 students in the class, and we all got a lot of hands-on instruction on the best ways to sew knits with our particular sewing machines (no sergers here!).  I ended up using a stitch that I never would have thought of using on my own.  I made the Oliver+S nature walk pants.  Most of the students in the class were making the hopscotch shirt/dress.  They all turned out great, and the City Weekend knits are absolutely gorgeous.

My friend's hopscotch dress made with some Patty Young knits

It was a long day, but I decided to stay for the Q&A with Liesl that was going on that evening.  Fun!  She showed us the proofs for her new book, “Little Things to Sew” coming out in February (I’m reserving a signed copy from Alewives), as well as the new fabric collection coming out this spring.  The book is darling!  I can’t wait to make the little felt mittens as a gift for some lucky baby/toddler, and I have a feeling that J is going to *need* the penguin backpack.  The Little Red Riding Hood cape pattern looks adorable.

You can check out more pictures from the day on Rhea’s Alewives Girl blog.

Here are the knit pants that I made.  I made a size 10 (pattern goes to 12), and since I didn’t have K there to try them on, they ended up a bit big in the waist.  Even though I measured his waist twice before I left!  No worries though because Liesl showed me how to open up the seam and adjust the elastic if I needed to.  The fabric is just some interlock that I picked up for cheap at Mardens.  They are just going to be “around the house” pants, but they would be super-cute as pajama pants with the lettuce hem that Liesl describes on her blog.  Or very cute underneath a dress/tunic.

Nature Walk Pants

And if you are ever anywhere near midcoast Maine, you must take a road trip to visit Alewives.  It is the best shop!  I only wish it were closer to my house.  (Maybe it’s good that it’s not.)  Of course, I couldn’t leave without a little shopping.  I picked up a 20 fat quarter set of the new Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush collection and some of the new Innocent Crush velveteen which is absolutely gorgeous (just some fat quarters, I think I am going to make a pillow).  I also got some Christmas fabrics that I’m going to use to make some of the placemats in the Quilting Arts Holiday book designed by Alissa Carlton of Handmade by Alissa.

It was an excellent day!  Here, check out the shop.  Don’t you just want to browse in there forever???

Alewives Fabrics

Alewives Fabrics

Alewives Fabrics - Turning Twenty Quilt in City Weekend on display

Quilted potholders

My friend has some super-awesome chickens.  We love to visit them!  I bought some great Robert Kaufman chicken fabric from the Metro Market collection a few months ago with the thought of making something for her.  When I saw Elizabeth from OhFransson! post about the quilted potholders that she was making, I thought those would be a great project to highlight the cute chickens.

Quilted chicken potholders

The other fabrics include Fifties Kitchen from Michael Miller and Juicy Lemon from Alexander Henry.  The white on the front is Kona in Snow, and the green on the inside is also Kona, but I’m not sure which one off the top of my head.  The green woodgrain binding is from the Joel Dewberry Aviary collection.

Christmas Gifts – Fabric Baskets

I came across the Alexander Henry Good Earth fabric a few months ago, and *knew* that I needed to make something with it for J’s Montessori teachers.  The little children in costumes from around the world are adorable (called “You and Me”).  So I showed it to my friend, and we came up with a plan to make fabric baskets.  After searching around through many tutorials, we decided to use the tutorial from Pink Penguin.  It’s for a patchwork basket, but I just modified it to remove that step, and I enlarged the pattern as I wanted mine to be bigger.  Her tutorial was great and I didn’t have any problems at all.

Before I cut into the expensive Good Earth fabric, I decided to make a prototype which I gave to my friend as a little Christmas surprise.  My friend has these beautiful chickens that my boys adore, which is why I chose the chicken fabric from my stash.  It’s a home dec weight.  The top part of the basket (the red dots, which I’m almost certain is an old Michael Miller print) is just normal quilting cotton.

For the chicken applique, I cut out chickens from the bottom fabric, attached them with Heat and Bond Lite, and then did some “sketchy stitching” around the chickens (using some stabilizer underneath).  I loved how it turned out!  I wanted to keep it, LOL!

Side 1

Side 2

I increased Pink Penguin’s pattern by 25% to make this basket.  I also pieced the bottom since the fabric was directional and I didn’t want the chickens to be upside down on one side.  So, assuming that Pink Penguin’s basket is a “small” size, this would be a “medium” size.

Bottom piece (chicken) = 8″ x 12.5″ (finished size, if your fabric is directional, take this into account, I cut two pieces 4.25″ x 12.5″ and sewed them together with 1/4″ seam)
2 x Top pieces (red dot) = 4.5″ x 12.5″
Lining (also red dot) = 12.5″ x 16″
Handles (two different fabrics) = 2.75″ x 12″
* Use 2″ for the box corners in those steps

So, the chicken basket was lovely, but my friend and I decided that we wanted our Good Earth baskets for the teachers to be a bit bigger, so I enlarged the pattern again by 25% to a “Large” size.  We actually didn’t quite use these measurements in our “world kids” basket because I wanted to fussy cut the children so that you didn’t have half a head on there.  However, I did test out the original sizes by making a basket for my MIL for Christmas which I don’t seem to have a picture of.  I’ll have to remedy that.

<<EDIT>> Took a picture!  I used fabric from my stash for this, and these are from Sandi Henderson’s Ginger Blossom collection.  The bottom red stripe is the Denyse Schmidt County Fair.

"Large" size

Original “Large” sizes

Bottom piece  = 10″ x 15.75″
2 x Top pieces = 5.75″ x 15.75″
Lining = 15-3/8″ x 20″
Handles (two different fabrics) = 4″ x 15″
* Use 2.5″ for the box corners in those steps

Modified “Large” sizes for “world kids” fabric

Bottom piece  = 11.5″ x 15.75″
2 x Top pieces = 5″ x 15.75″
Lining = 15-3/8″ x 20″
Handles (two different fabrics) = 4″ x 15″
* Use 2.5″ for the box corners in those steps

We made two “world kid” baskets.  One in a red/pink tone and one in a blue tone.  J had definite ideas as to which of his teachers should get the red and which should get the blue, and he was right!  I had a hard time buying the children fabric because I couldn’t really tell what the colors were online and if one fabric at one store was either the same or different than the same fabric from another store.  So, I ended up buying yardage from two different stores.  It turns out that they were different!  One of them definitely had a blue tone to it (the children’s clothing) and the other was definitely more “pink-y”.  (They also make the fabric with a blue background, so there is a total of three different colors.)  We used home dec weight fabric from my stash for the bottom – from my Denyse Schmidt County Fair score a few months ago.  It worked perfectly!  I love it when that happens.

For the inside, we paired up “Around the World” fabric in Blue with the blue basket, and used the map fabric (in Brite) with the red/pink basket.  The handles on the blue basket are the “Hello” fabric in Blue, and the handles on the red/pink basket are “Goodies” in Brite.  Because these baskets were larger than the original pattern, and I was using just quilting weight cotton for the top, I also added a layer of medium weight interfacing to the lining to give the basket more structure.

The baskets were a huge hit!  I also filled them with my homemade blueberry jam and homemade pickles.  J’s teacher said the pickles reminded her of her mom.  Ahh…that is so sweet.

Kokka Not Lego Fabric

Kokka Let's Play fabric

Kokka Let's Play fabric -- washimatta shop on Etsy

Okay, it’s really called Let’s Play or something, but it totally looks like Legos.  Wouldn’t this be fun on the back of a Lego play mat?  I’ve been thinking of making one that is like the one the hubby remembers from childhood.  Sort of a circle, with a drawstring all around.  You play on the mat with your Legos, and when you are done, cinch it up and hang it on a hook or doorknob.

Thanks to True Up for highlighting it in their latest Quilt Market post about Kokka.  Love True Up.

Denyse Schmidt County Fair – SCORE!

Okay, my local Marden’s strikes again, and I had a total fabric score this morning.  Denyse Schmidt County Fair for $3.99/yard!!!!  Home dec weight, 54″, 3.99/yard???  How can you pass that up?  I have no idea what I will do with it, but something will come to me.  I bought all the red and blue that they had, but didn’t buy the two yellows.  I think I might go back though and get the yellow ribbon to make a valance for my living room.  A living room that I might add is finally finished, as of last night’s painting of the trim, so I will finally be able to find my camera cord and show you the pictures of my cool linen / bird applique tote bag that I made for the Alewives Fabric swap last month.  “Fabric Buyers Anonymous” anyone?




But what should I do with it??  I think I might make a skirt out of the berry fabric and I’m sure other ideas will come to me.