Handmade Gifts: Baby Sweater Set

Sunday, July 23, 2017

This Spring I had the chance to knit my first baby sweater! Now that it's been gifted and the baby has been born, I can share it.

The parents didn't find out the baby's gender, so I knew I'd need to knit something gender neutral. I love this Malabrigo colorway (pearl ten, which I also used for Michael's convertible mitts), and thought it would work nicely as a basic in baby's wardrobe. It's a difficult color to photograph and it looks different depending on the light, ranging from black/brown to purple-ish gray. I almost bought yarn in an oatmeal color, but thought this darker color would be a little more practical.

I chose the Baby Sophisticate Sweater pattern by Linden Down. I love how it looks like a little grandpa sweater with the shawl collar. It knit up pretty quickly, and the sleeves were small enough that I could knit them on my favorite little 9" circulars. I knit the 3 month size.

I hemmed and hawed about the buttons, but ended up finding these super cute wooden ones on Etsy, that are made on a farm in Ohio. These particular ones are made from Elm, pretty cool! Find all their wooden button options here. I was a bit nervous about putting buttons on a baby sweater, and I did quite a bit of research on the most secure way to attach the buttons (helpful articles here and here).

Once the sweater was finished, I knit up a simple hat to match. It was easily the fastest thing I've ever knit, so quick and tiny. I used this free Calming Baby Hat pattern by Stacey Winklepleck.

Of course as a maker I couldn't stop there. I ordered some Robert Kaufman speckle french terry knit (sadly now discontinued) destined for a sweatshirt last year. When it arrived I couldn't help but think that it would be great hemmed as a blanket. I ordered another cut and made a little throw for mama and baby to hopefully enjoy together. I used a stashed chambray for the binding. I rounded the corners and using bias binding, I bound it double fold like a quilt. I have to say, it was totally pain-less. I think my french terry cut is destined to become a blanket too! So cozy and simple.

All the years I've been making and giving handmade gifts, and it's still one of my favorite things to do. When I'm not rushing at the last minute that is! Thankfully I started these projects early and finished with time to spare.

Happy Making!

Adventures in Softie Making: Henrietta Hippo

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It's time to share another set of softies! This time I worked from the Henrietta Hippo Pattern by Lucy Blaire. When I was looking for my next softie project, I came across this pattern and knew I had to make it. I've been obsessively following the progress of Fiona, the baby hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year. They update their Instagram regularly with photos and videos of her!

I managed to chose the fabric for this project pretty quickly. I wanted a small, dense print and I happened to have just the thing in my stash. I've been hoarding this print from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane since it came out in 2012. I matched it up with some leftover Widescreen for the accents.

Why make one when you can make two? I went ahead and made two softies at the same time, one for my Mom's birthday and one for me. Now we have matching Fionas!

I found little navy buttons for the eyes and stitched them on using purple embroidery floss. Look at those cute ears!

Glad I finally cut into this print, I think it's a great use for it. Plus I still have about 3/4 yard leftover! I auditioned a few other accent prints in the same color, but the widescreen ended up being just right.

These are by far the best softies I've made so far. The pattern was nice and easy to follow and I didn't even mis-cut any of the mirrored pieces! This was a fun one to make, it was nice to work at a larger scale than my last set of softies. Next up, I'm making a whale softie!

Happy Sewing!

Shibori Indigo Picnic Quilt

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Happy Wednesday! I'm very excited to finally share this quilt finish with you all. This quilt has been a long time in the making, and it feels great to have it finished at last.

Shibori Indigo Dyeing Tutorial - In Color Order
Five years ago, a group of friends and I rented a small cabin southwest of Madison for a weekend. We sewed, ate, and tried out indigo dyeing. Each summer since then we've gotten together to do the same. This quilt top is made from the first fabrics I dyed using indigo. I've been hooked on this type of dyeing since that first summer cabin weekend, and I'm still not tired of it.

I pieced the quilt top together in the summer of 2014, and then the top sat while I figured out what to do for the back. I kept most of the dyed pieces in tact, filling in with some patchwork blocks.

Shibori Indigo Dyeing Tutorial - In Color Order
A few summers later, I dyed more fabrics for the back.

All of the fabrics for this quilt started as plain Essex Linen in white. I created pattern using Shibori resist techniques, then dyed them using indigo kits.

For more information on indigo dyeing, check out my Shibori Indigo Dyeing Tutorial.

Pulling the fabrics from the dye pot and slowly watching them oxidize and turn blue is pretty mesmerizing. I figured it was about time that I finally finished this quilt.

Since it's all Essex linen it's pretty heavy. So I sent it to Melissa Kelley for some simple loopy quilting. It's bound up in a swiss dot cotton that I also dyed with indigo.

I think this quilt will be the perfect picnic quilt. It really feels like summer to me, probably since I've only ever indigo dyed during the summers.

Happy Quilting!

Canvas Pencil Pouches

Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy Friday! As I've mentioned before, I love working on small projects. They're great instant gratification, especially in between quilt finishes. This week I have some cute little pouches to share!

As soon as my friend Anna posted her Canvas Pencil Pouch Tutorial, I dug into my canvas stash. I love to buy canvas prints, but I'm not always the best about using them.

I love using these donut pull metal zippers, and they definitely take these simple pouches up a notch in my opinion! I used leather cording to make little pulls. I buy my metal zippers from Zipit (these pouches take 10" zips).

First up, a pouch for my Mom's birthday! For her pouch I used this scrap of Yoyogi Park canvas, which is so cheerful. Plus some Euclid for the lining.

Next up, a pouch for my friend Amanda's birthday! I cut into my Rough Cut fat quarters for her pouch. Maybe now I'll be brave enough to cut into the rest of this collection.

Finally, a pouch for me! I used this adorable Tinies canvas paired with a cute lime Mochi Dot for the lining.

I love how these pouches turned out, and it was a great excuse to use some canvas. I'm looking forward to making more, including some with a pieced exterior.

Happy Sewing!

June Monthly Report

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy June! It's time for June's monthly report. See past reports here.

I did quite a bit of sewing this month. I started working through my big stack of knits by stitching up three t-shirts. I've really hit a groove when it comes to working with knits. Looking forward to continuing to sew basics for myself.

I used the free Plantain T-Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe for the t-shirt shown above.

I also finished two big quilts, including my Little Folks Voile Quilt that I shared mid-June. It's been getting daily use!

I can finally start sharing some of the gift sewing I've been doing lately. For now, here is a pouch I made for my Brother's birthday. It's a downsized version of Anna's Open-Wide Pouches. I sized the large size down by 50% and used a 7" zipper. I made it for him to hold his headphones and the colors match.

 I buy all my zippers from Zipit.

After making my block for The Fussy Cut Sampler quilt along, I decided to make at least one block from each chapter to add to my fantastic quilt voyage project. Here are the four blocks I've made since posting my block from chapter 2! (see that post here)

This month, Jacey and I set a small challenge for each other. Her challenge to me was to get my feet wet and practice some improvisational curves. I stitched up my experiments into this little block. Another addition for my fantastic quilt voyage!

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I'm tracking my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track my here. Here is how I did in June:

June Fabric
Used up: 37.25 yards
Brought in: 27.5 yards
Net: -9.75 yards
Year to date: -14.75 yards

June Yarn
Used up: 1348 yards
Brought in: 225 yards
Net: -1123 yards
Year to date: -2912.5 yards

I used up a lot of fabric this month! Finishing those two quilts really helped. I did still bring quite a bit in. I bought most of it while I was home in Ohio visiting family. Going to try to bring that number down this month. Continuing to make good progress on reducing my yarn stash. Bought my third skein for the year, but finished a few small projects and destashed a couple skeins.

On my other goals I've made a little progress. I pulled out my double wedding ring quilt again, although I only made four wedges. As we enter the second half of the year I need to recommit to that project. I really want to get the wedges done and move on to putting it together! I still have a stack of garment patterns to stitch up too. I did cut out a Gemma tank, am hoping to sew that up this month.

Around the Web

Something to eat: Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop
Something to sew: Urban Zoologie Pouches by SewVery (free pattern)
Something helpful: Make Bias Binding From a Fat Quarter by Radiant Home Studio
Something to knit: How I Roll Socks by Mara Catherine Bryner
Something super cute: Fiona the baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo
Someone to follow @littlepincushionstudio on Instagram, super excited for her Daisy Chain line with Windham coming this Fall.

I was home in Ohio for about a week and a half this month. Blackie helped me break in my newly finished quilts. She's really good at holding down quilts. That's the Modern Plus Quilt that I gave her on the end of the couch. So spoiled!

Last but not least, George the bun! He's as sweet as ever. Always keeping me company and begging for treats.

Have a Great Month!

Adventures in Softie Making

Friday, June 30, 2017

I've been on a bit of a softie making kick this year. I have always had a soft spot (hehe) for stuffed animals, so it was only a matter of time before I made some myself! I've made a few here and there over the years (including some made from knit fabrics), but I've never felt super happy with the quality I was able to achieve.

Now that I have lots more sewing experience and knowledge under my belt, I've started at it again. I'm happy to report it's going well, and I have three recently finished softies to share today!

First up, this adorable cow! My Mom made me a stuffed cow for my birthday when I was young, and I always thought it was so cute. When I saw this Moo Moo pattern by Melly & Me, I knew I had to make one. I love the sweet felt details and little floss tail! I dug deep into my Erin McMorris Park Slope stash for this guy. I thought the pebble print sort of looked like cow spots!

Of course I couldn't resist the Baby Bunnies pattern by Melly & Me either. Look how cute! I thought it would be funny to make a bunny out of cat fabric. I'm easily amused!

And one more bunny, because you can't make just one. I've had this repro print in my stash for years and it's still a favorite, I love purple and orange together. I finished both bunnies with button eyes, embroidered faces and pom-pom tails. My embroidery could use some work, I need some more practice.

The two bunnies together. These softies were a fun exercise for me, and I am really pleased with how they turned out. I've already made two more softies (hippos!), since I made these, which I'll share soon. Perhaps I'll share some tips that have helped me improve my softie making too.

My main sewing pull is usually quilts, but I do love working on small side projects like these to keep things interesting and learn new things!

Happy Sewing!

Enamel Pin Banner Tutorial

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy Monday! Let's start the week off with a tutorial! Today I'm sharing instructions for make a little banner to display enamel pins.

I am really loving how popular enamel pins are these days! I've always had a soft spot for pins, especially enamel ones (Thanks, Disney!). I'm slowly adding more pins to my collection, and they're taking over my bulletin board. I thought it would be fun to have a dedicated spot for my favorite pins.

All the pins on my banner are listed at the bottom of this post.

This banner stitches up quickly and doesn't use much fabric. I kept mine pretty simple, but there are endless opportunities for embellishment or customization! There is an optional instruction included for adding pom pom trim.

I recommend using a fabric with a bit of weight, so that your pins don't weigh it down. I used Essex Linen in Natural for mine. If you're using quilting cotton, I'd recommend interfacing one main piece with something heavier, like fusible fleece (987F).

Sewing Level: Beginner
Finished size: 10" x 13.5"

- 1/3 yard of fabric
- 5/8 yard of woven interfacing (SF 101)
- 1/4" x 12" wooden dowel (I bought a pack of these precut dowels.)
- 22" of leather cording, ribbon, or twine
- Enamel Pin Banner Template
- Optional: 1/2 yard of pom-pom trim
- Coordinating thread

Looking for supplies? Check out my Pattern Supplies and Resources post.

From fabric:
- Cut (2) 10.5"x14" pieces
- Cut (1) 2"x20" piece

From interfacing:
- Cut (2) 10.5"x14" pieces

Download, print and cut out the Enamel Pin Banner Template at 100%, use the 1" square to check it's been printed correctly.

*Use a 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.*

1. Apply interfacing to the wrong side of both 10.5"x14" main pieces according to manufacturer's instructions.

2. Align the template with the bottom corner of a main piece, as shown above.

Mark a line across the template edge. Repeat on the other bottom corner.

Cut along both of these lines. Repeat for remaining main piece.

3. Fold 2"x20" dowel pocket piece in half, with short ends lined up, right sides together. Sew along the short edges to join.

Press seam open.

Turn right sides out. Center the seam and press both edges well to get a nice crease.

Fold in half so that the long edges are touching, press well.

5. Along the top edge of a main piece, make a small mark 3/8" in from either side.

Using the marks as a guide, center the dowel pocket piece along the top edge of one of the main pieces, lining up raw edges.

Baste in place using an 1/8" seam allowance.

*Optional: Add pom-pom trim
Pom-pom trim is a great way to add a little something extra to your pin banner. Think of all the trim options available! If you'd like to add trim to your banner, here's how.

Cut two pieces of trim 7.5" long. Line up the edge of the trim with the two bottom edges of a main piece, with the pom-poms arranged towards the inside of the main piece. Baste in place with a 1/8" seam allowance.

Make sure your pom-poms are sandwiched between the two main pieces when sewing the seam around the edges (step 7). You may need to use a slightly larger seam allowance along the bottom two edges to ensure the trim edge is completely covered in the seam. I stitched twice along these edges to make sure the trim was extra secure.

6. On the remaining main piece, mark a 1/4" seam at the banner point coming from both directions so that the lines intersect. This will help make sewing the point easier in the next step.

7. Place main pieces right sides together, clipping or pinning around all the edges to secure. Leave a 3-4" gap on one straight edge for turning.

Sew around all sides, leaving the turning gap unsewn and pivoting at all the corners.

8. Trim the corners down to an 1/8" seam. Turn under the opening seam allowance and press well.

9. Turn banner right sides out. Press entire banner well.

Top stitch around the edges of the main piece.

10. Insert dowel into the dowel pocket. Tie cording to each end of the dowel. Fill with pins and hang!

For anyone interested in the pins on my banner (from left to right, top to bottom):

1. Bear Paw Pin by Patchwork Threads, 2. You Seem Cool Pin by The Little Friends of Printmaking, 3. Bowtie Cat Pin by Boy Girl Party, 4. Corgi Pin by Boy Girl Party, 5. No Regrets Pin by Colette Patterns, 6. Singer Featherweight 221 Pin by The Singer Featherweight Shop, 7. Rotary Cutter Pin by Olfa (promotional/not available for purchase), 8. Blerg Pin by Sweet and Lovely, 9. Puffin Pin by Boy Girl Party.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Share your progress and finished project photos using the #enamelpinbanner and #jenibaker hashtags on social media!

Happy Sewing!


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