Quilt #5: Noah’s Stripey Cuddly

Quilt #5: Noah's Stripey Cuddly (Front)

Quilt #5: Noah’s Stripey Cuddly
Width | Approx 75 cm
Length | Approx 84 cm
Pattern details | Inspired by A Quilt Is Nice’s stripe baby quilt here. Top made from cotton stripes from stash (Coton & Colour, Nil’s trip to India and www.fabric.com)
Batting | PSR Quilt Bamboo batting (0.9 m x 1.25 m)
Backing | 100% cotton fabric from www.inespatchwork.com
Binding | 100% cotton fabric from www.fabric.com

I had been thinking of sewing a nice warm blanket for Noah (since I made one for Eva – it’s not so warm but she likes it) but never found the time or inspiration. When it was decided that Eva was going to stay with my father-in-law for the week, I decided to dust off my sewing machine for good and get back to quilting. I dug out a few different fabrics I have in my stash and came up with a few combinations. What initially was to be a repetition of about five stripes turned out into a double repeat of 13 stripes of different fabrics. Nil insisted that I use the fabric he bought from India to add some colour while I insisted that I wanted something pleasing and co-ordinating. We settled for what is the end result – this stripe colour combo.

Quilt #5: Noah's Stripey Cuddly (Back)

Because it had so much going on for the top, I decided to stripe to a simple (but not too plain) backing with a stripe of the remnants of the top going across. I hunted the Internet for local fabric suppliers and came across this very lovely black-grey pinstripe pattern. So it was black for the back – I figured it would bring out the colours of the top piece.

For the batting (yes, it’s my first time using batting for quilts), I settled for bamboo batting but only because the cotton ones were out of stock. It is a first for me – basting and batting. Took me an afternoon just to bast the quilt and even then, I didn’t really do a great job as it showed on later when I machine-quilted the top. To make matters worse, my sewing machine doesn’t come with a walking feet so my top fabric ended up bunching. This also resulted in the back puckering – as you can see in the photo above. It took me 2.5 hours just to machine-quilt the top (about 30 minutes or so just to test out the sewing and get the right tension – GAH) and mind you, I was just doing stripe outlines. Towards the end, I cheated and skipped some stripes. It adds some variation to the pattern thought but I think I botched the stripe for the back portion.

The tag on Noah's quilt

And I haven’t even reached the part about the binding. It has been ages since I last sewn binding on anything so I did a couple of errors which resulted in me having to use a zigzag stitch instead of topstitching as I normally would. Well…I don’t think Noah would care if the errors were obvious or not – it’s a bit annoying though. I reckon in time, I’ll forget about it…just like how I forgot about those errors I made with Eva’s blanket!

And oh, those are the woven labels I had made originally for the store’s handsewn items. Since the store is in hibernation until further notice, I thought I would use them for my personal projects, namely sewing and weaving.

Y’know, I’m quite proud at having completely my first batted and quilted blanket. It’s a little on the small side – smaller in terms of length – compared to Eva’s blanket. Instead of getting a nice 116cm as I calculated, I lost a good 30 cm or so due to cutting and trimming. Still, it’s a nice size for Noah…for the first two years before it becomes a cover for his blanket (like what we do with Eva’s – mind you, she’s attached to hers and won’t even let us keep it!).

Mmmm, the sewing machine is now back in the cupboard. Time to focus on my other crafts – soaping and knitting namely. Am so itching to get back to designing lacework too!

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WIP: Noah’s Stripey Blanket

Since I made a blanket for Eva, I figured I had better make one for Noah as well. I didn’t want anything too complicated and since Eva is at my father-in-law’s place, I thought of whipping up something quick, simple yet cute to boot. No adding to my stash this time as I have enough of fabrics. (Nil is beginning to complain about how my fabric stash never goes down.) But first, I needed a design.

I remember coming across a couple of striped quilts and figured that it would be fun as well as easy to whip out. After hunting the Internet for some ideas, I took a look at my stash. Now, as usual, the hubby always ends up picking out colour schemes that are shocking to boot like super bright orange against dark blue. I was hoping for something a little less shocking, especially for a cute little bubs like Noah. So after some intense negotiation, I got what I wanted. (I learnt from experience not to cave – remember the last quilt I made?)

And here’s the result of a couple of hours cutting, pinning, sewing, ironing, more pinning, more sewing and more ironing! Now to put together a border and hunt around for a quilt batting & backing!

Noah's Stripey Blanket: Top

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Knit: Baby Log Cabin Blanket

Noah's Baby Log Cabin Blanket

Baby Log Cabin Blanket
Pattern | Moderne Baby Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Yarn | Bergère de France Barroise in purple, yellow-orange, blue-green and Bergère de France Bergerama in red
Needles | 4.5mm circulars

Can you believe that I started this project in February 2009 when I was pregnant with Eva and just out of my first trimester? Yes, it has taken me this long to finish this project. Part of the reason was the move from Switzerland to Singapore (I had unknowingly packed it in a box that I wasn’t going to ship to Singapore) but it was mostly due to lack of stamina. When I finally found the project (in between all that unpacking and 5th wheel insurance reviews), I realized that I made the mistake of not packing in the instructions as well. Oops.

What did I do? Wing it basically and just did my own pattern – so to speak. Hence why it looks nothing like the version by Gardiner and Shayne. I stopped after working on 12 different pieces of strips – more and the blanket might be too large for Noah. Because it felt too thin, Nil suggested that I added a fabric back and batting to it – I used the fleece fabric that I have in my stash and the result is a wonderfully warm blanket that is just great for a preemie baby like him.

The only problem is that I should have blocked the fabric first before sewing on the back and batting. After the wash, the knitted portion stretched (or perhaps the fabric portion shrunk) so I ended up with a not-so smooth looking blanket. O’well… I must be frank though – I still like this blanket…with all its “ugly” bits. I like it so much that I am considering knitting up a bigger version but this time, using my knitting machine! Yes, ambitious…hehehehe.

Noah's Baby Log Cabin Blanket

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Quilt #4: Log Cabin

Quilt #4: Fresh from the oven

Quilt #4: Log Cabin
Width | Approx 200 cm
Length | Approx 150 cm
Pattern details | Cotton strips from fabric from Cotton & Colour & Spotlight
Batting | None
Backing | 100% broadwidth cotton fabric from Spotlight
Binding | None

My project from when I was pregnant with Eva is finally done and as predicted, it is a lovely single sized quilt. Yes, they are definitely getting bigger although I might go back to making baby or children-sized blankets for Noah and Eva (she loves her Red & Pink Cuddly and will roll around on it, in it, etc) since we’re heading back to Europe and just in time for winter too!

Initially, I had planned for the quilt to have a “lighter” look to it with a pale border instead of the royal blue which Nil insisted that we try. He also pointed out that white or anything pale wasn’t exactly great since it would get dirty more easily that dark colours. So I decided to go for blue…again. (I will definitely opt for a green-blue-white blanket next time around – am getting tired of the whole dark-colourful combo!) For the back, I chose a printed fabric instead of plain because I wanted to give it some variety; a big plain piece on its own, I figured, didn’t really look nice at all.

Quilt #4: A close-up look of the backing fabric and the topstitching

For the finishing, I decided to do a pillow-case styled edge by sewing both right sides facing each other and turning it inside out before topstitching around the edge for reinforcement. Initially I toyed with the idea of a zigzag around the edge but after inspecting my machine, I thought I’d play around with some of the untested stitch designs. It turned out to be quite pretty but ate up a lot of thread and I ran out halfway around the edge only to find myself carefully positioning my needle in order to start on the right spot. It took about 30 minutes to finish the topstitching.

The result is a simple, not-too-fancy quilt which we’ll probably use as a sofa cover-blanket. I’m still not very convinced about the colour combination and would have preferred to see it in something other than blue like cream-beige or a very pale latte colour. O’well…next time, *I* must have dibs on the colours for the border and backing! In the meantime, it’s back to more packing and trucker gps software assignments.

Quilt #4: Doubling as a sofa cover

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WIP: Sample Log Cabin square

WIP: Sample Log Cabin squares for Quilt #4

It’s past Week 33 now and I’m almost ready for Eva’s arrival with the purchase of baby items (disposable diapers, baby wipes, stroller, car seat, etc) and nursing items (nursing bra, nursing top, nursing pads, etc) plus hospital stay stuff (nightie, going-home outfit for Eva, etc) completed – well, as complete as you’ll ever get considering that we’ll be moving to Singapore soon after her birth.

Packing-wise, I’ve started packing up my stash or at least organizing them neatly in vacuum-packed ziplock bags to save on the space. I reckon a couple of boxes every few days would suffice. As mentioned earlier, the knitting, crochet and spinning has stopped for now so soon the wheel and loom will be dismantled and packed up for storage.

The only hobby left which doesn’t put a strain on my big belly of 110 cm (and growing) is sewing. I’m awaiting the final addition to my current stash (once it arrives, I’ll grab a pic of it) but just so you know, I’ve already started piecing the blocks for Quilt #4 while watching some good ole’ Murder She Wrote episodes topped off with Mind Your Language – oldies are always goodies! It’s a super fun block really – didn’t know Log Cabin blocks could be such fun. 🙂

I’ve taken to putting the reds on one side of the blocks and the tans on another side before surrounding it with a white border. At the moment, I’m stopping at the end of the colour strips because I have yet to cut 160 strips of white cloth. Talk about lack of patience and such. But I’ll surely get to that in time…or when I do finish up these 40 log cabin blocks! *beams*

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Quilt #3: Blocks & Squares

Quilt #3: Fresh from the oven

Quilt #3: Blocks & Squares
Width | Approx 127 cm
Length | Approx 183 cm
Pattern details | Cotton squares & strips from fabric from Mondial Tissue & other sources, alternate colour schematics
Batting | None
Backing | 100% wide width cotton fabric from Textile Ambience
Binding | Single fold tape from leftover fabric used in blocks

Yes, my blankets are getting bigger and bigger… 🙂

I love how this turned out – we picked a dark blue border material for the backing as well as the border. For a moment I was apprehensive because of how the red tone seemed more prominent than blue, but after putting on the border strips, everything just fell into place. Add that with the binding – I chose the red multi-coloured fabric my mother-in-law gave me and made the binding with the aid of a binding tape maker – and it turned out just right.

Instead of folding this and using it only as a lap or sofa blanket (I tried napping with this as a blanket and it’s warm enough…so luckily I didn’t put in any batting otherwise I would be steaming underneath it!), Nil thought that we would cover our sofa bed with this, and as you can see, it added plenty of colour and interest to a dull computer room. His inspiration? My mother-in-law. She does this with ALL the patchwork blankets and quilts that she has – covers sofas and chairs with them.

Anyway, now that this is done, I’ll back to cutting up strips for my next quilt. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete the squares before the birth. I plan to finish the whole blanket in Singapore but who knows? If I work fast, I might just be finished with it earlier! 8)

Quilt #3: Doubling as a couch "cover"

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Patchwork #3 in the making

Quilt #3 in progress

One thing is for sure, this patchwork project is definitely larger than the previous two blankets I did! Just this whole piece of squares is my height (approx over 154 cm) and this excludes the 17 to 18 cm border that we’ll be adding to the sides after Tuesday (it’s a public holiday on Monday so we’ll only be able to go fabric shopping on Tuesday for the border and backing).

Do bear in mind that I didn’t exactly pick the colours – if you hadn’t noticed, I’m more of a “complimentary and mute and pleasant, nothing too bright” sort of person (see my latest fabric stash?) whereas Nil is all about bright, bright, bright colours. He hates browns, pastels and well, he hates anything that looks ‘too similar’ to each other! (It’s the same with my dyeing as well – he loves the bright colours and I just like the ones that blend in well with each other – a good mix for the shop, if you ask me.)

I am wondering though if I would like to add a thin layer of batting – nothing too thick and such but the trouble is, am not too sure how to go about getting one and all. Maybe I’ll ask around and see what comes up. In the meantime, it’s time to start planning the next project! *beams*

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Quilt #2: Autumn Heaven

Quilt #2: Showing off the binding and backing

Quilt #2: Autumn Heaven
Width | Approx 68 cm
Length | Approx 92 cm
Pattern details | 3″ 100% cotton squares from Ebay, cross arrangement, alternate colour schematics
Batting | None
Backing | 80-20% cotton-polyester fabric from Textile Ambience
Binding | Single fold 100% cotton tape in cream-yellow from Textile Ambience

This turned out surprisingly well even though it was slightly smaller than the first blanket I made and with a number of errors (lets go through them one by one).

For starters, the pattern this time isn’t random. The cotton squares I purchased come in several designs and each design has about 20 pieces cut down to size (3 inches). So I decided to rotate several colour pairs by way of inversion and such. To top off the pattern, I put an all-brown border, again repeating some colours, and then finally an all-white border. After sewing together the pieces, I discovered right towards the end when all of the squares were pieced that one of the cross in the patterns is off and the white border on one end has been switched around. Aiii…talk about something not matching its twin.

Then of course there is still the matter of getting the seams of each of the squares to match. Somehow I screwed up on piecing them properly. At one time while fiddling with the machine, I nearly sewed over a pin so the resulting line wasn’t straight with ended up with more fabric “eaten” to compensate for the seam. So some squares were quite off but again, thankfully, it’s just some. Again, definitely more work on the accuracy and such is needed.

Then there was the matter of sewing the bias. I can’t seem to find double fold bias tapes and somehow despite pinning this, I ran into some issues halfway while sewing this – I didn’t sew down a smallish portion of the tape so I had to run through the whole blanket twice and the offending section four times. ARGH! Luckily the thread is the same colour as the tape, otherwise I would be kicking myself!

Anyway, the finished piece is still very lovely and I am utterly tempted to keep this for myself but Nil said no. So off it’ll go as originally intended. I hope the recipient will like it as much as we do. 8)

Quilt #2: Fresh from the oven

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