When I started working on the Bitty Beluga pattern and really, all of the beluga things so far this month, I kept thinking about making something for a baby. Once the pattern was done, I knew that it needed to go on a blankie, and somehow that ended up becoming a little quilt. The great thing about this is that as far as quilts go, this one goes pretty quickly!
There's no piecing involved with this project, so that's the biggest time-saver. You leave the fabric whole, which is why it's called a whole cloth quilt. I've been wanting to make one for a while, and have some other fabrics picked out for not one, but two (!) more similar projects. Now that this one is under my belt, I think I might need to get the others going again.
The added detail of embroidery is completely optional with a quilt like this, but I do like how it creates a focal point. Of course, you could use any embroidery you want as you make yours!
Here's what you need:
Front and backing fabric - 1 1/2 yards each
Batting - at least 45" square
Binding fabric - 1/2 yard
Walking foot (highly recommended!)
Rotary cutter, ruler and mat (optional)
Cut your front fabric into a square, using the width of the fabric as your guide. Embroider the Bitty Beluga motif onto the front square.
You can place it wherever you want. Mine is centered towards the bottom.
Make a quilt sandwich with your backing fabric, batting, and the front.
Typically, it's recommended that the backing fabric and batting be several inches larger than the front. Mine ended up being only about 1 inch larger, but I didn't notice much shift or shrinkage when I quilted.
Use safety pins to hold the layers together.
Now it's time to quilt! This was honestly the most relaxing part of this project for me, and I had the quilting done in just over 30 minutes! The thread I'm using is a deep teal that contrasts with both the front and the back. And since this is a beluga in the deep blue sea, I thought that waves would be appropriate.
With the walking foot in place on the sewing machine, quilt gently waving horizontal lines across the quilt. Start at the center and work your way to the top and bottom. You can space them very evenly, or vary them.
You may find it helpful to mark the fabric with masking tape so that you don't get too far off from horizontal (you want waves...but not on the diagonal!). I had the benefit of fabric that has lines, which kept me on track.
In the section where your embroidery is, avoid quilting too close.
Cut the batting and backing to match the front of the quilt, squaring it up if you need to. A rotary cutter makes this very easy, and the edges very neat.
Let's bind it! For this, you'll need to cut five 2 1/2-inch strips, join them and prepare the binding. I won't go into detailed instructions, because there are plenty of good tutorials you can reference if needed. I highly recommend the binding videos from Wendi Gratz and Missouri Star Quilt Co.
But, I do usually sew my binding slightly different than most folks, resulting in visible stitches that add a cute detail to the edge.
First, I attach it to the back of the quilt, instead of the front. That means that the folded edge wraps around to the front.
Instead of using thread that will blend in and stay hidden, I use perle cotton, and usually I choose a color that will have a nice contrast to it. So that I can use slightly longer cuts of the thread, I treat them with Thread Heaven.
To hold the binding in place, I use running stitch. The stitches are very close to the folded edge of the binding that wraps to the front. Because these stitches are highly visible, I do take my time with this, and work to ensure that they are even and tidy on the back.
To keep the back tidy, I pretty much flip back and forth with each stitch. The back side has the stitches on the back of the quilt part, just inside the binding. In this case, they blend with the backing, though sometimes I choose colors that stand out on both sides.
After some stitching with Netflix, you'll have a very sweet little blankie!
I don't have a baby in mind to gift this to, which is probably good because I feel like folks around here are going to fight over it. It's a great size for a baby, but it's kind of like a small lap quilt too. We've had such a cool August (up until this week anyway) that we've been pulling out the little blankets in the evening. I love it!
I recently participated in my first handmade project swap on Instagram. Each person made a zippered pencil pouch, and the theme was favorite ice cream flavors!
Susi was one of the organizers of the swap, and she also was the person who made a pouch for me. (I made a pouch for Millie.) My favorite ice cream flavor is New York Cherry, and I'm pretty sure it goes back to when I was little and memories of going out for Chinese food with my grandparents. Anyway, Susi perfectly captured the flavor of the ice cream...and my love of the Statue of Liberty. Pretty sure she didn't even know that about me!
And what's even more perfect is that I'm currently planning a trip to New York City this fall, and the lovely lady liberty is on my list of things to see and do. You can bet that this pouch will be coming with me!
In the meantime, I'm thinking that I need to organized a handmade swap (I did one once before), I've just finished another round of proofing on my book, and I'm nearly finished with a new project to share with you. Just a little more stitching! Busy, busy around here!
By Mollie Johanson at Wednesday, August 20, 2014
You guys. I lick my thread and embroidery floss.
I mean, not like, just for fun. I promise I only lick it to thread my needles.
Yes, I know I could use a needle threader. I even made my own!
And yes, children do get grossed out if you do this when you help them get started with their own embroidery.
Yes, there are other ways to do this. (I'm amused by this "manly" site!)
And really, yes I do know that supposedly it can cause your needle eye to rust.
I just don't see me changing any time soon.
How about you? Are you a thread licker?
By Mollie Johanson at Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Two weeks ago I shared my very non-technical guide for choosing the right needle for the right job. In that same spirit, I thought I might make it easier for all of us to keep those needles separated by their types: small, big, and just right.
The idea for these printable needle books that work like a matchbook came from Kristen of Hey Paul Studios. She packages needles like this for embroidery kits, and when I saw hers (they were polka dot!), I knew that I needed to make some that are printable.
To make yours, you'll need:
Felt (I recommend wool or wool blend...it makes your needles happy!)
Needle Size Matchbook Printable
Cut out around the rectangles, then fold on the lines.
Cut a piece of felt that is just a little smaller than the back section of the needle book. If you print these at 100%, the felt should be about 1-3/4 x 2-1/8 inches. Place it on the inside of the matchbook and fold the short end up over it.
Staple through all the layers on the line, and then add your needles.
Fold the top over and tuck it in the flap.
Repeat for all of your needle size needs!
I also made this Crafty Characters version that I'll be sending out to folks on my mailing list later this week. If you'd like to get near-monthly emails from me with bits of news, special offers, and freebies (like this bonus printable!), you'll find the sign up on my Connect page.
With a beluga on my calendar this month, I've definitely been thinking under the sea, and that theme showed up in my most recent post on Handmade Charlotte! You can find the printable to make Fishy Friends Puppets right here. I'd also like to point out that these could be shrunk down to be used as embroidery patterns...hint, hint.
Have fun, and just don't get them too wet!
My first peek at the book Edward's Menagerie had me instantly wanting to see more.
When I was contacted about this title, I was both excited and hesitant. You see, Edward's Menagerie is a book of animals to crochet. And I don't really crochet (I have a little, but it always takes great effort). So I told the representative for the book this. I also told her that I really liked what I saw, and would still like to blog about it. I told her that my review wouldn't be based on my being able to actually make anything, but she said that would be fine. Really, I think the reason is because I told her what my review would be. Would you like to hear it?
This is so cute!
And it is. Kerry Lord, the author of this book and creator of all these sweet animals started to crochet when she was expecting her son. She kept making them and soon she had created a whole menagerie of creatures for Edward. Just look at these darlings!
How could you resist them?!? Even though I have no idea if I can make these animals, I know that I want to try. The techniques section looks quite clear to me, so maybe it's time that I pick up a hook again?
For all my crochet friends, check out Edward's Menagerie from TOFT Alpaca Shop, and while you're there, be sure to admire all of the gorgeous yarn that was used to create these animal friends!
A few years ago I first published my Embroidery Basics series. If you're new to embroidery or are wanting to get started, I recommend that you check it out. Recently I've been sharing some additional stitches, and calling it Beyond Embroidery Basics. These stitches are more advanced, though not necessarily difficult, and they are great for making your embroidery well, less basic.
For a long time, I've loved today's stitch, even though I rarely get the chance to use it. To get us started, I thought I'd let my friend Olive introduce what we'll be working on.
Wait. Um, Olive? I think you're confused. A corral holds horses. We're talking about coral stitch. You know, like the color.
What? No, no, no. You can stitch with any color of floss, I just happen to be using coral for my coral stitch. Never mind. Let's just start stitching.
To start, I've traced the coral from my Bitty Beluga pattern. But you could easily draw something similar on your own, or try this with just about any like you'd like. I'll be using all six strands of (coral!) floss. Tie a knot in one end and thread the needle with the other.
Come up from the back at the start of your line. Lay the floss in the direction that you'll be stitching, and then curve the tail to the left. If you're left handed, you'll want to reverse all these directions.
Just a short way from where your thread came up, take your needle down and back up in a single stitch, perpendicular to the line you're working.
Bring your needle over the working thread on the left and pull it through.
As you pull the thread taut, it will form a knot on the surface of the fabric. Which is why this stitch is also called coral knot.
Here's the next stitch forming, from another angle. The same process is repeated, with the knots spaced evenly.
Each of these knots is about 1/8" apart. See what a neat little line they make? At the end of your line, just bring the needle through to the back of your work.
Oh, sure! You can change the spacing and size and you'll have a different feeling to the coral stitch. It's subtle, but it's there.
With this little line, I started making the knots further apart. You probably wouldn't want to go more than about 1/4" apart, because the floss separating each knot could snag.
Here the stitch worked perpendicular to the line is wider. This results in a larger nodule on the line. I think it would look cool to have this alternating with the standard size!
Try out a few ways to do this, and you'll find it has a nice rhythm, and a really pretty look.
Well, what do you know, Olive? It is coral. That's why we call it coral stitch!
Oh, and Jennifer asked what else you might use this stitch for, and here are some ideas: curly hair, necklaces, ruffles...lots of girly things! I've also seen it used as a fill stitch, with the nodules nestled together in rows. Plus, frames and borders would be fun with this stitch. If you have ideas for using coral stitch, share them in the comments!