Well, this entry is a very, very long time coming – I made these back in March, I think. I know I finished the owl in the foreground on March 9, but I don’t know how long it took to get the rest of it finished. Anyway, they were for a baby gift for Jennifer at Quiddity Quilts, for her son who was born earlier this year (April? I forget that too!) and her daughter.
I don’t do a whole lot of sewing outside of the quilting arena and I always feel a little bit adrift when I try to follow patterns and make things, so I made the first owl (the one in front) as a practise piece, which would be given to Jenn’s daughter, if I thought it turned out. The pattern, available here, comes from Patty Sloniger of Beck and Lundy and is really simple to follow, fortunately. I made a couple tiny changes to the second owl, but on the whole I thought it turned out pretty well. (My changes were to sew the eyes on starting at the bottom of the eye, because they drifted north-ward on the first owl and I think they look better closer to the belly fabric, and to add a touch of stuffing to the wings and ears.)
I always tell myself that I’m not going to buy any fabric that isn’t quilting cotton (I never know what to do with the leftovers, and I always feel too guilty to throw them away – what a waste!), but I never manage to follow my own rules and I bought minkee for the belly/wings/ears, corduroy and velveteen for the backings, and wool felt for the eyes. (Probably I had the felt anyway – I like making ornaments! And I know for a fact that the grey beak felt was given to me by Ofenjen.) I still have enough of the corduroy, velveteen, and minkee to make another 3 or 5 owls!
I used corduroy from Ann Kelle’s Remix line for the “boy” owl and velveteen from Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush line for the girl. I kind of love both lines, although I wish the print on the Innocent Crush fabric were a little smaller so I could have got more of the print in! (I fussy cut it so that a piece which sort of looked owlish to me was visible on the back.)
The other part of the gift was the receiving blanket. I’d planned to make two – they seemed so simple, just baste the voile and flannel together, round the corners if you wish, and bind – but hand-sewing voile binding to piece of voile is HARD. Sewing thin, slippery fabric to more thin, slippery fabric? Not easy. And then to NOT stitch through into the flannel? I’m sure it took me as long to bind that little bitty blanket as it took to do my last almost bed-sized quilt. (If I do it again – and I must because I’ve got spare voile and spare flannel in my sewing room! More non-quilting cottons! – I will stitch the binding to the flannel side and hope that it’ll be slightly easier to work with.) The idea for these blankets came from Anna Maria Horner, and her explanation is available here. (She doesn’t say too much more about methodology than I did though! It really is that simple. You’ll note her blankets have the bindings machine sewn, but I am not very good at that, so I never do it.)
When I sent it all off to Jen, I swaddled her son’s owl in the blanket, like so:
Isn’t it just the sweetest?