Work-in-Progress Girl

Little Things


I’ve made a lot of little things in the last little while, so here’s a big photodump of an entry talking about all of them.

I guess I should go back in time to the thing I made longest ago, back in September or October, I think, which was a little mini-quilt, based on the Ravenclaw house crest:

Ravenclaw Mini

I made this for Mari-Ann/RockIslander, who is a Ravenclaw. I took a picture of the Ravenclaw crest from online, blew it up a fair bit, traced around the edges of the eagle and transferred the pattern (in reverse) to fusible web. So then I cut it out (using the sharpest cuticle scissors ever, which are so much more awesome for cutting delicate fabric bits than for mangling finger tips) and fused the bird to the background. It’s actually two layers of fused fabric – the background wing was done separately, so that I could use a darker portion of the fabric, which I hoped would give some depth and sort of visually separate the two wings. Then I stitched around the bird, creating feathers in the wings and tail. (You can see a photo of that here from Mari-Ann – my own picture of the back turned out terribly, but I’d already sent it away and couldn’t try for another shot!) In the crest, the stripes run the opposite direction, but I paper-pieced that portion as well, and forgot to reverse that pattern! Oh well.

I like to think that if I were a Hogwarts student, I’d have been a Ravenclaw myself, but I bet I’d have wound up in Hufflepuff because I was really far too lazy a student to have made Ravenclaw when I was in high school. Hufflepuff sometimes seems to be the fall-back house: you don’t fit anywhere else? Well, Hufflepuff it is, then.

Children's Wash Cloths

About two weeks ago I was clearing out some stuff from the plastic cabinets in my sewing room, and I found a pile of children’s fabrics I didn’t even remember I had. I tend to avoid buying children’s fabrics because I never know what to do with them and I don’t have children, so no particular need for items made using children’s fabric. But I do sometimes buy scrap packs of fabric, and I’ve started to amass a fair collection of children’s prints from those scraps and from the occasional times I’ve bought children’s fabrics to make gifts for friends who are having babies. When I found this particular print, I just got the urge to do SOMETHING with it, but it was a small piece of fabric – about 8 to 8.5 inches wide at the largest point by width of fabric – and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then I remembered having seen a tutorial ages ago for making wash cloths out of terry cloth and cotton. Well. Terry cloth I’ve got. Several years ago I had the genius plan to make little hooded bath towels for babies. Which, needless to say, didn’t happen. So yeah. Wash cloths. (I didn’t go look for a tutorial because… it’s just not that complicated.) I’m torn between making wash cloths till the end of time (or just the end of that million miles of terry cloth) to use up all the ginormous pile of children’s fabric I didn’t realize I had and just giving away the fabric. I was thinking about getting rid of it all on Sew Mama Sew’s December giveaway day, but to be honest, there’s such a big pile, I’m not sure I’m going to want to pay to ship it all away!

Liberty Pincushion

This is another slightly older one. Back in September I bought some Liberty of London fabric to try it out and see if I’d like it as much as so many people seem to. I don’t. I find most of their prints to be fussy little florals (which is pretty high up my list of dislikes) and while I’m sure it’s wonderful for clothing, it’s so thin that I can’t understand why (some) people want to use it for quilts. Yes, it’ll last for a while, but it’s kind of delicate stuff: I don’t think it’d stand up to continual use in a bed quilt. Anyway, in the pincusion, I blended the slightly thicker than quilting cotton Essex Linen with the slightly thinner than quilting cotton Liberty Tana Lawn, so I used interfacing on the Liberty fabric to give it a little more heft, which probably did it some good. The edges of the cathedral window, particularly near the bottom ends of it, are kind of loose and open in a way I don’t love, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make them crisper, tighter corners. Maybe putting in a few whip stitches or something to join one edge to the other? (And also, maybe using a thinner fabric than the Essex linen.)

Anyway, you can make your own Cathedral Window pinnie using this pincushion tutorial on YouTube. The first one that I made, above, I made a little larger than the tutorial recommends. She says 10 cm squares for the patchwork back, which is about 4 inches, but I made mine 4.5 inches, and I shouldn’t have because it looks much nicer on the second one, which (though you can’t tell without scale in the photos) I made at the recommended size:

Liberty Pincushion

Okay, the tutorial creates a pretty great pincushion (I think) – I love the cathedral window look and it’s a pretty easy way of creating it – but it’s not the best tutorial out there. The words don’t always line up with what’s being shown in the video and there is one crucial bit of information that doesn’t get talked about that is only shown in text on the sidelines of the video (and if you’re watching the woman’s hands, as I tend to do, you might just miss it). So here’s the most important bit of information: the section that you leave open to turn the pincushion is in the patchwork portion of the sewing NOT when you sew the top to the bottom.

Liberty Pincushion

My stitches are pretty well hidden in the back, but that slightly rippled edge in the top right seam is where I left it open. When I made the first one, I sewed shut the patchwork and left open part of the side, which Did Not Work At All. I had fused on interfacing after stitching the patchwork section, so I had to rip it open and rip through the interfacing, and then restitch it closed by hand after stuffing it. Pain In The Ass.

Anyway, I made this pin cushion (and the following two projects using Liberty fabrics) for Cathy of Blueberry Patch, who won a giveaway prize from me alllllll the way back in August. Yes, it really took me until now to make and send it out. Cathy and I both own shoes made with Liberty fabrics, and I know she’s a fan of Liberty, so when her name was chosen for the prize, I decided to pick up the a Liberty scrap pack (and a couple Fat Eighths) from Pick Click Sew on Etsy so that I could try it out and have some fabric for making the prizes. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, but I kind of love all the things I did make.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

The next thing I made was the good old fabric basket from Ayumi’s tutorial at Pink Penguin. This is a great tutorial and a great size and a great way to pull together some of the smaller scraps of Liberty that I’d gotten. The scrap pack had a real mishmash of colours and prints (because I used up all the good red ones in that first pincushion) and I had hard time figuring out how to make them all work together.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

In the end, I just went crazy with the colour combos and didn’t try to match things up at all. I added the little flange of green between the patchwork and linen portions to tie in the lining fabric a little more (especially since there was none of that fresh spring green in the rest of the prints). Some of these prints are just kind of crazy – scroll up to the other photo and look on the far left side at that little carriage print, can you imagine making clothing out of that? who would want to? Anyway, I think it all comes together better than I thought it would, even though there’s nothing in particular tying one print to the next. I used the Essex linen here again, which I think is nice for the base, since it gives it a little extra heft, which helps hold the shape of the basket. (I also put a fair bit of quilting into the basket bottom because I think that helps give it some structure as well. Though really at this small size it doesn’t need too much help. The one larger one I made was too loose and kind of floppy and really could have used a few layers of a nice stiff interfacing.)

Anyway, part of the reason I didn’t have a good grouping of colours to go into this was because I used up most of the red/pink prints on the first pincushion and then I set aside most of the “good” blues (all my favourite ones, anyway…) for making the next item I sent. I don’t have a good photo of this because we’re all light-shunning vampires at my house and I couldn’t find enough sunlight anywhere to photograph it properly, but a Tiny Tree Garland (tutorial/pattern by Noodlehead):

Tiny Tree Garland

I so wish I’d had some blue perle cotton to string these up, but all I had was gold, white, pink (sashiko thread), and red. I went with red because it was the most vivid colour (and white just looked… wrong).

Tiny Tree Garland

I made these using the aforementioned Liberty scraps, but also bamboo felt from TaDaa Studio Felt. I like the bamboo stuff – it’s as soft as nice wool felt, but doesn’t have the allergy issues I know some people have with wool (or the animal ethics issues some vegans have with wool — not that I’ve got that issue myself, but I’ve made things in the past for people who have).

Tiny Tree Garland

I was trying to leave enough space between trees that Cathy could cut it down into a set of seven hanging ornaments if she’d rather use the trees that way (garlands can be awkward! and I couldn’t figure out a NICE way to end the dangling strings – I was sure I had some giant shiny gold beads that I was going to string onto the ends, but I couldn’t find them for the life of me), but looking at the photos, I’m not sure I really left enough string for loops. Anyway, it’d be pretty easy to pull out what’s there and swap in something else. (I did knot the thread on either side of each tree, but… that’s what scissors are for :D)

Anyway, that was my special prize package for Cathy, who received it excitedly yesterday πŸ˜€

Okay, jeez. Epic length post here. One last thing:

Flannel-Voile Receiving Blankets

I’ve been all about using things up lately because I’ve been going through another crisis of OMGTOOMUCHSTUFF and these receiving blankets were a way of using up some voile and flannel I had laying around. If I had more flannel in the right colours, I’d use up the rest of my (small) voile stash on blankets just like these. These were made using a Self-binding Blanket tutorial. Mine are a bit smaller than in the tutorial because I only had 1 yd of each cut. I think I cut them in the end to 34″ square for the voile and 30″ square for the flannel, but I can’t quite recall. (I do know neither of the voiles were very well cut yards because I couldn’t get the full 36″ out of them!) Anyway, it came out to about 32″ square for the blankets. They’re not perfect by a long shot – the top-stitching is pretty appalling (I couldn’t find matching thread, so I just went for contrast, but ugh, every flaw is magnified) – but I think they turned out pretty cute anyway. And they’re so lovely and light-weight. Almost makes me want to make a giant bed sized one. (Not that I’ve got a source for extra wide-width flannel or voile, but.)

Okay. 2000 words. That’s longer than some essays I wrote in university. Time to wrap it up.


Author: clumsykristel

I'm a 30-ish quilter, and occasional sewist and embroiderer. I mostly talk about crafty things I'm working on, or wish I were working on.

10 thoughts on “Little Things

  1. Some great projects-makes me want to get out my sewing machine tonight.

  2. Wow! I don’t know where to start! First I agree with you about Liberty – they are all super fussy and florals and while that might work for some projects and sometimes that carries with it a sweetness or a vintage feel, most of the time I feel like its a bit nana for me. That said, I really like your liberty projects! The little blue Christmas trees are super cute and the basket has that scrappiness that I think liberty works well with and I love cathedral windows for anything! But especially pincushions. πŸ™‚
    Your wash cloths and receiving blankets are definitely a good way to use up some of those fabrics/prints you have stashed – they look adorable and I’m sure all the mummies you give them tom will love them. As far as giving away the GIANT pile of kids fabric, why not break it into smaller bundles? Or split it over a couple of giveaways/swaps?
    Ok, I’ve rambled, but 2000 words needed a longish response πŸ™‚

    E xx

    • They are very nana fabrics, aren’t they? Anna at made a shirt with it (here, which incidentally is in one of the few Liberty prints I like), and it suits her and it suits the look (that 70s style she was going for), so definitely I think it’s about matching the fabric to the project, but it’s sure not easy for me to find those projects πŸ˜€

      I do think I’ll do what you’ve suggested and both split it up and also put some away for the future. I think I’ll do three giveaway bundles in December – one will be all canvas fabrics, one with a couple panels (and some matching prints), and one with a mix of assorted cotton prints. And then whatever I’ve got left, I think I’ll probably save: May giveaway day will creep around again! (Though I’ll probably do two giveaways again at that time, and make sure one of them is fabrics anyone would want, not just people who want children’s fabrics!)

      Anyway, I love it when people ramble back! I don’t have any quilty friends in my day to day life, so I love having someone to chat with all of it about! (And also, it’s clear I’m not very good at keeping my posts short and to the point, so why bother with comments?)

  3. I’m with you on the fussy florals. Not really my cup of tea either and I always feel like one of the few outsiders who doesn’t like Liberty. Same with Kaffe Fasset – not a fan when so many others are.
    I love the receiving blankets you made. Voile plus flannel just sounds perfect for wrapping a squishy little one. I only have voile scraps, or I might do that too. If you have an excess of children’s fabrics, you should join the F8 swap! Even if you don’t have a full yard but can somehow come up with 8 F8’s, I’d let you play πŸ˜‰ I’m a sucker for modern children’s fabrics too. And I even have kids, but it just sits around for a while. I still have some Riley Blake umbrella print that I bought back when I first started sewing.

    • Yeah, having used the Liberty for these projects, I probably won’t use it again. I have a couple fat eighths in a couple of the prints I do like, but largely…. meh. I think I’m going to make a tree ornament for each of my family members (since I’ve got so many scraps still), but the rest of it will get set aside in a bag for if I make something for something I know is a fan. I agree about Kaffe Fasset too – I have a couple bits of some of his prints and I find them really difficult to use (though I think they’ll be best cut up into small pieces and used in more traditional blocks – that’s a good place for those sorts of busy unusual prints).

      Want some more voile scraps? I’ve got orange and pink and grey I could totally get rid of……… (Yeah, I’m in a get rid of stuff mood πŸ˜€ I still have enough voile for one or two more blankets, but no flannel to match and I don’t want to buy more just so that I can use it.)

      I probably have enough F8s to join, but I don’t want more back! Actually a few years ago, I gave away all my Christmas fabrics and I kind of want to do the same with my children’s fabrics. (Except for my Aneela Hoey stuff from her first line. Which I still love even though I’ve never done anything with it.) I think I’ll get rid of most of it on December Giveaway Day, though. Maybe I’ll keep a bit of it for now, or make a stack of bibs and wash cloths with some of it and store them in the closet for when co-workers have babies. Because I think there’s something in the water – there are at least four pregnant women there right now.

  4. Long yes, but it is nice to share all of your trials and tribulations — so hopefully I won’t make the same mistakes. The trees are super, I like that they aren’t Christmas colours. I’ve been looking for some ideas for teacher gifts so I really appreciate you sharing the links.

    • I thought with the trees it was better not to lock it into a season. Actually, I feel that way about most decorations, even though we do celebrate Christmas at my house – I like it if a thing is usable beyond just December (and part of January – we have a Russian in my family) πŸ˜€

      Good luck with the teacher gifts – I see so many people talk about making them on their blogs and I don’t really envy anyone the task of figuring out something to make for their kids teacher!

  5. Well, as I’ve said before, I never mind your long posts or videos! Like you, I really have no one to shop talk sewing with. I belong to a sewing circle, but they are all older ladies who haven’t realized the modern fabric/quilting era. Which is fine except they uses phrases like “Isn’t that unique” and “How special” when they look at my projects and fabrics. πŸ™‚ I brought in some text fabric a few weeks ago and they all looked at me like I was mad – WHY would anyone use writing (that has no clear thought) in a sewing project?!

    Anyway, you and I have already chatted about Liberty but I thought I’d add that I just purchased some while in NYC this weekend. It was the first time I saw it in person and while it isn’t my thing on the whole, I definitely found some very pretty prints that I think will have their place in small projects. I bought some as a gift and another bit for myself just to see what it would be like to work with. I actually really like that carriage print in your basket! For clothing, no, but it makes for a cute square in a scrappy project like the ones you made!

    • Oh… that just made me laugh — “Isn’t that unique” — because a long time ago I’d finished my first ever big lap quilt and I took it to show my Grandma, and by chance she was at her Embroiders Guild meeting, which is actually also her Quilters Guild. So my Grandpa sent me off to the Seniors Centre (it’s a small town – everything is on the main street there, so I knew how to find it easily) to go visit and show her, and her guild, this quilt — this one — and then it was just eight elderly ladies going, “Oh, a black background! How unique! What an interesting choice!…” πŸ˜€ I suppose the things they made when they were young probably seemed weird to their parents and grandparents, though. It’s funny how trends change – I remember when text fabric was a pretty new thing and now it seems like every other new line that comes out has at least one text print. (Well, not quite. But a lot of them!) And I do wonder when it’ll die out as a thing, someone somewhere will start saying, “You know, I think I’m done with text prints. I mean, nothing wrong with anyone ELSE using them, but I’m a bit bored by it.” and then it’ll start dying a slow death (except by those of us who’ve got yards of it stashed and will still have to use it someday). I hope it doesn’t go away – it’s often in good background type colours and it’s more interesting than florals or whatever.

      There are definitely a few Liberty prints I like – as much as I say I don’t like florals, there are ALWAYS exceptions – but on the whole it doesn’t really work for me. I was talking in another comment string to someone about how Liberty kind of has a vintagey vibe, in that it sort of suits that aesthetic, but I guess that’s something that doesn’t apply too well to me. Anyway, you’ll have to post pictures of what you picked up, if you get a chance!

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