Monday, March 19, 2018

Garden Baby Quilt

In anticipation of my second baby, I wanted to make her a quilt. The baby quilt I made for my first daughter Suzanne was based on Alec's animal alphabet paintings. I wanted to make another fun quilt, but didn't want to make the same alphabet quilt. Tucked away I've had a quilt project that seemed like it would never get finished so I pulled it out to see if I could turn it into a baby quilt.

When I moved from Oakland, CA to Vermont in 2010, I had a lot of scrap fabric that I didn't know what to do with. Instead of throwing it out, I cut out a ton of hexagons with the plan to make the Grandma's Flower Garden quilt from the 1979 edition of Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework.

It was a great background project, whenever I had time would I would piece some of the flowers together. After I had a bunch I started connecting them, but I still didn't have a finished size in mind.

I pulled out what I had of the quilt and decided it would be crib size (45"x60"), but I also wanted to add some other element to make it more baby/kid friendly. So I made 24 different animal icons, based on these illustrations, and machine embroidered them into the "flowers"

In the spirit of using up existing materials, I grabbed some solid fabrics that I already had for the back.

Traditionally this quilt is pieced by hand to make sure all the seams line up and are very flat. I figured out how to work it by machine, it's not perfect, but it went a lot faster than hand piecing, regardless it still took me years to pull it all together.

The neat thing about giving this to my daughter is that it's made of fabric patches from all sorts of projects I've completed over the years. Included are fabrics from Alec's dragon shirt, Color swatch dress, Dia Des Los Muertos dress, Sea Life dress and many more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Meow Wolf: Cat Wolf Purse

Inspired by the face of the plush Cat Wolf that I worked on with Emily Montoya, I designed and made a Cat Wolf purse. It's a small shoulder bag with an embroidered plush face, and the back is canvas with the Meow Wolf logo. They are currently available in the Meow Wolf Santa Fe gift shop.

A zipper at the top opens to reveal the black and white striped lining. It's the perfect small size to carry just the essentials when you're wandering through the portals of the House of Eternal Return.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Adobe Toad Abode

I live in New Mexico where adobe homes are the norm. As a gift for a friend who both likes toads and grew up in Santa Fe, I made an adobe toad abode.

I thought about a lot of ways to make this before I started. When you look up toad homes, they often recommend just flipping over a terra cotta pot and making a little opening so the toad can get in.  I wanted mine to be more custom. I have seen square terra cotta pots, but I was worried I would crack it trying to cut the door out. Instead I went with making it out of plaster of Paris. I made a quick mold out of cardboard. It was pretty sloppy so when the house came out I had to sand it a fair amount, but that's part of the charm of the Southwest, everything out here is a little DIY. I painted it with acrylic paint, then glued on the wood vigas. For the final touch of Santa Fe, I made a chile ristra out of sculpey to hang from the vigas. Once baked, I sealed the ristra with clear acrylic nail polish.

It's winter so any frogs or toads that would be in NM are hibernating, but hopefully with its new home in Maine, come springtime, there will be a toad waiting list to live in this one of a kind adobe home.

UPDATE: Unfortunately due to poor packing on my end and rough handling from USPS it didn't survive the trip to Maine. I still like this idea a lot so I may try to make a stronger one in the future, plus add more turquoise and howling coyotes.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Animal Icons

I'm working on a quilt for my forthcoming baby. When my first baby, Suzanne was born I made her a quilt inspired by Alec's Animal Alphabet, it was the second one as I had made a very similar one for my niece first. I didn't want to make a third animal alphabet quilt that was the same, but I wasn't sure I'd have the time for a completely from scratch quilt. I'll share the finished quilt and how it came together once the baby arrives.

To personalize this new quilt I created 24 animal icons, which I used to machine embroidery on the baby quilt. The pieces on the quilt were small, so I needed to make very simple designs that would show up clearly on a roughly 1.5"x1.5" space. I decided to illustrate easy to identify animals and some personal favorites, plus a roadrunner since it's the state bird of New Mexico.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Knitted Christmas stocking for Suzanne

When my Grandma passed away in 2016, I inherited some of her half finished knitting projects along with some knitting patterns she had saved. Included in them was a pattern to make Christmas stockings from McCall's Needlework and Crafts September/October 1982 issue.

My daughter Suzanne didn't have a stocking and I found some extra time to use the pattern to make her a stocking of her very own.  Since the pattern was pretty old, I didn't think I would find any of Aunt Lydia's heavy rug yarn and I only had so many sizes of double pointed needles, I decided to wing it.  Luckily a Christmas stocking doesn't have to fit anyone I didn't do a gauge check, instead I just looked through my yarn stash, picked out some colors and got started. I mostly used Paton's classic wool yarn with a couple other random yarns thrown in.

I used the pattern as a starting point, but I wanted to include Suzanne's name in the design. I worked that out on graph paper ahead of time and just started putting it in while still working on the pattern design. I didn't have a ton of the original red so that's why I added in some green stripes. I ended up buying another ball of  red wool yarn to finish out the foot, it's not the same dye lot but I think it works.

The stocking is about 23 inches long from the top to the toe. It should be a good size to cram lots of little presents into.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Snaggy Plush Toy for Meow Wolf

Along with the Snaggy Head, I also worked on creating a full body Snaggy toy designed by Emily Montoya. I made a limited run of 20 pieces, but this one is also in development for getting mass produced for the Meow Wolf store.

Snaggy is about 14 inches high, made of long black polyester faux fur. It has some plastic beans in the body so it can sit, and the arms are floppy enough to pose into different positions.

 For the arms and legs, Emily had a very specific striped gradient design in mind. I knew I couldn't find the pattern as preexisting fabric, so I took her pattern file and had it custom printed by Spoonflower. This was my first experience getting fabric printed from them. Spoonflower has come a long way with all the material options since I first remember hearing about them many years ago. I got Emily's stripe and gradient pattern printed onto a polyester knit they call Performance Knit. It has a little bit of stretch but not too much which is perfect for assembling the limbs. I was really impressed by how vibrant the printed fabric came out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gamma Girls Plush dolls

Anand Duncan contacted me earlier this year about making little plushie versions of her Gamma Girls characters, Beta and Pi. Check out the Gamma Girls animated adventures in space at

Anand had a pretty clear version of the type of simple, fun plush toys that she wanted me to make, which always helps. The faces are taken directly from Anand's illustrations, she drew the specific expressions she wanted and I just turned those into machine embroidery files. I mostly used fleece and craft velour to make them, with some little pieces of other fabrics to match the colors that Anand already had used to design her characters.

The toys are about 8 inches tall. Even though their shapes are simple, there are actually a lot of pieces layered to create all the different shapes for their outfits.