Monthly Archives: April 2010

Minky baby blankets (or, I curse the gods of cuddliness)

A sweet little baby blanket for a sweet (and yet-to-be-born) baby.

Minky makes me want to take a nap...

The obscenely adorable owls are Michael Miller’s “Who’s Hoot?” in cream.  I got it here at my local fabric shop–they very occasionally carry some fantastic stuff!  And the Minky is a chocolate brown dot.  Mmmmm…

This is a standard baby blanket for me; one yard of quilting cotton, one yard of Minky.  Sew it, turn it, topstitch, and wham!  You’ve got a fantastically cuddly blanket that’s a nice, generous size (about 35″x42″).   If the baby’s a warm-climate resident, he/she gets a double layer of flannel instead of Minky so baby doesn’t catch afire.  My big complaint about many of the receiving and baby blankets we had with Ellery was their skimpy size.  It was dang-near impossible to swaddle an almost-9-lb newborn in them.  Much less keep her on it once she started creeping and all that.  This blanket is nice and substantial.  This blanket don’t back down.

There's that turquoise chair again, always looking so good with my stuff.

Sewing with Minky, though, continues to be a erratic beast.  Sometimes it goes beautifully and speedily.  Sometimes…  I seam rip and start again.  And again.  I don’t know why.  I do think, though, the dot and other textured Minky is a bit more temperamental than the smoother Minky.  But maybe that’s psychological on my part?  Anyone have any thoughts on working with Minky?

But the desire for the cuddliness always wins me back, even when I swear it off.  Damn you, Minky.  Damn yoooooooooooooou!

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My first rendezvous with wonkiness…

I think I am a deeply wonky person.  Wonkiness appeals to me on so many levels.  It’s who I am–it’s how I design, it’s how I think and create.  I love a little intentional (and sometimes unintentional) wonkiness and what it brings to a piece.

So here’s my very first wonky log cabin block.  I think I made it a year or so ago?  And I’m just NOW taking the pics.  Sad, sad, I tell you.

It became a pillow.

I love it dearly, because it has two fabrics that I pretty much worship.  The glorious goldenrod “Flea Market Fancy” print–oh, the perfection of the design!  Oh, the perfect colors!  I combined it with some tonal turquoise and orange prints (drawing a blank on these collections–anyone?) and plenty of white Essex linen/cotton blend for texture and negative space.  It’s all quilted in turquoise, except on the white strips–it was too-too, if you know what I mean.

The outermost ring of turquoise-y print is part of a vintage twin bedskirt. LOVE.

And this… turquoise-y vintage wonder…  I have yards of it–it was two matching twin-size bedskirts, found at Goodwill years ago,  so quite a bit of fabric!–and yet I hoard and hoard it.  See the tiny strips I allowed in?  I ration it like it’s spun from unicorn manes or something.  It’s my favorite vintage fabric ever, though, so that’s how I justify my stingy mania.  It has limes and blues and browns and so many different patterns and it’s just glorious.  I’ll have to document its full wonder sometime.  It deserves its own post!

This pillow back makes me happy.

The back is done up envelope-style, with a strip of piecing inserted to the white linen-cotton.

My... what nice buttons you have.

And aren’t these buttons divine?  They came from Waechter’s, a venerable old fabric shop here in Asheville.  They have a pretty fantastic selection of buttons.   I’m starting to see how folks become obsessive about buttons and button collecting.  I used to limit my passion to fabric, but I can see that I’m starting to find a little space in my heart for an excellent button.  Or eight.

Yes, it’s a good pillow, and it is mine.  And it migrates pretty well from room to room.  But it does look best on the turquoise metal lawn chair, no?

Pretty bird… quilt.

Or bird on a wire?  (The quilting is rather wire-like in effect, at least from the front.)

I had purchased this fabric a while back out of sheer affection for its graphic qualities and color scheme; so what if I didn’t have a purpose in mind?  But it screamed to be a baby quilt, and so it came to pass…

Another wonky log cabin–this time with great simplicity but with boldness of color.  The wonderfully graphic bird print is from Erin McMorris’ collection “Park Slope”–a beautiful deep marine blue with chartreuse, navy, white, and hot pink birds all in a row.  I paired it with a bright pink Kona solid and a lovely, textured-looking chartreuse cotton.  It measures 31″x42″.

The binding is an almost-solid, blue-on-blue tonal print from “Park Slope” as well; I attached it by machine and by hand.  I kept the machine quilting spare as the back is rather busy with all the birds.  And I like the subtlety against the log cabins as well.

A little pair of birds grace the back.  My husband sketched out the silhouette is about 1/8th of the time it would have taken me.  I think not caring is sometimes the key in free-handing an image, you know?   I get waaaayyy too invested and freak out about its lack of perfection.  He just DOES.  And it works.

Wonky log cabin, I love you so.  You look so good in any sort of color palette, in any scale of print.  All solids, just as divine.  Will my love affair with the wonky log cabin ever cease?

We shall see…  I have some more sorts of wonk up my sleeve.  And I might just be won over.

Might.

(If this quilt needs to be yours, head here.)

And behind curtain #2 is… daylight savings time!

So, with Daylight Savings Time wreaking its maniacal havoc on my two-year-old’s sleeping habits, heavier curtains were in order.  STAT.

She gets the beautiful evening light in her bedroom, which is only beautiful until you’re trying to get her to sleep.  After which point it becomes HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE LIGHT that should GO AWAY NOW.  It’s so hard to fall asleep with your room ablaze.

Problem is  (and yes, what a lovely problem to have), we have gigantic windows.   93 inches from window to floor, and that’s not including the transom above.  I needed lots of yardage, and cheaply, because I didn’t want to spend my precious fabric money on something as dull as light-blocking curtains.  Not when there’s Anna Maria Horner voile in the world!

Here’s my solution:

It's hard to take good pics of curtains during the day. Also at night. Please note the little rocking chair handmade by my 85-year-old great uncle for Ellery!

I don’t know how I came to the conclusion that a canvas painter’s dropcloth would be the answer, but IT WAS.  I got three 45″x93″ panels from a single large dropcloth (can’t remember the exact dimensions of the thing, but it was maybe $26?), and it was lovely to tear and sew.  But tear it fast and hard, if you go that route.  Tear it with GUSTO.

I spy scraps from a lap quilt, pajama pants, two skirts, a diaper bag, a baby dress...

Then I gussied it up with some scraps, sewn down with 5 curving rows of  stitches, which the little one loves.  She spends literally hours in my various scrap bags and bins. So the curtains have become a giant game of “I-Spy”– “Look, that’s Daddy’s pajama pants!  And my dress!  And Mama’s shirt!  And…”  Which makes them a touch more attractive to her–because she definitely knows what it means when we go to draw the curtains, and she does NOT like that one little bit.

It's embarrassing and unplanned that this matches so well.

I’d actually made the tie-backs ages ago to go with the marigold-colored sheers we’ve used up until now–I’m astonished at how put-together it all looks.  As if I planned it this way or something!  (This is how all my decorating works.  A whole host of random things just come together in the weirdest, most excellent way.)  So, I’m pretty pleased, and Ellery is as well.  What more can one ask?

Well, I suppose I should at least trim the loose threads.  Perhaps.  In a year or so.  Does anyone else get this way?  You get to the very end and can’t even be bothered to trim threads before using/wearing/hanging up?  I’m ridiculous at doing this–it happens every time.  Tell me I’m not alone?