Auction quilt

Because I have passed on attending my daughter’s school auction four years in a row, I donated a handmade baby quilt made-to-order, to assuage my guilt. It has been really interesting making something to another person’s taste. Teal, gray, and black? Really? I tried for some red, some orange, some yellow, but the quilt recipient knows what she wants. So, here is a bad picture of the quilt top, before sewing it up. It’s much more traditional than something I would usually make, but have to say I’m pretty pleased. It looks so quilty!

The pattern is adapted from Quilting for Peace. I love this book, and the principle behind it. This is as close as I’ve come to a charity quilt, but I’m inspired!

Swanky swell fabric

I love buying things on Etsy. There is something so satisfying about supporting someone’s crafty endeavors, and the homemade packaging that the purchase arrives in, often with a charming note from the artisan, makes me feel like I’ve received a present. Then there is the element of surprise. What will the item really look like? In the case of swanky swell, the Etsy store of San Francisco-based designer Nina Jizhar, the answer is fantastic! I purchased two fat quarters to make new covers for some seriously worn out throw pillows. I think they look great, and they are doubly crafty and unique, which I love.

Skinny laminx is another Etsy source for fabric. I haven’t bought any fabric from this store yet, but it’s on my list! I love the Cloud Birds pattern, and the palette is super appealing.

Quilted table mat

My dining room table is weirdly sensitive to water. One droplet and the surface blanches like it’s seen a ghost. So for Thanksgiving, I needed something to keep my table happy. A quilted table mat was the perfect opportunity to try out a cross pattern, a simple nine-square. Easy, peasy–at least in theory. The fabrics are an irregular stripe from Leisl Gibson’s lovely City Weekend collection, and a tiny dot. I really love how these patterns work together.

Less happily, the stumpy crosses on the end were not intentional. I used my presser foot as a guide to sew my 3/8″ seams, which, it turns out, left them all a smidge too narrow. That smidge, compounded over several seams, left  my center panel longer than the top and bottom sashes. Rather than ripping out the seams and adjusting (which actually wouldn’t have been that hard), I lopped off the long ends.  Hence, it’s just a little wonky. On the bright side, I learned where to place the fabric for a perfect 3/8″ seam in the future, just peeking out from the presser foot on my machine.

And, I have something cheerful for my table. I made these place mats and napkins this summer, during a red and blue period. Not a very autumnal palette for my Thanksgiving table, but patriotic! And, in the spirit of being nontraditional, I am serving chocolate cake for dessert–yum!

Pajamas recycled into soft blocks

You may be able to throw away your old, favorite polka-dot p.j.s. Or use them as a dust rag. But I don’t have that kind of resolve. Plus, I don’t dust that often. So, I stashed them away.

Conveniently, my friend Megan decided to get pregnant. Babies are the best excuse for making things that are not really useful but are pleasing. Like soft blocks. And old p.j.s offer the perfect fabric for them: cotton softened by sleep.

For complete instructions on how to make soft blocks, a downloadable pdf is available here: How to Make Soft Blocks

Here is the end result: chubby cotton blocks!