Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grandma Projects: part 2, knit baby blanket




This past summer, my step-Grandma passed away. She was a prolific knitter and amazing weaver.  From her, I inherited a lot of yarn and a partially finished baby blanket. This was a more recent project than my Grandma's Jiffy Afghan with the pattern being from the Plymouth Yarn Studio 8-hour Baby Blanket booklet.
It was about a quarter started and I began my part working on it a bit before my baby was born. It also got pushed aside for awhile. Once she was born, much like the afghan, it was an easy project to work on whenever I could find a couple of minutes.

Baby Wendy has her fair share of baby blankets now, so I'll  likely gift this one to the next baby. I can't say it took me exactly 8 hours, but the booklet has a ton of cool variations on baby blankets and it was fun and easy to make.

Finished dimensions: 26" wide by 32 " long

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Grandma projects: part 1, knit afghan


When my grandma passed away a couple of years ago (at age 100!) she left some unfinished projects behind. She was a prolific knitter and crocheter during her day. I still have the Christmas stocking she knitted for me when I was a kid.  Jammed in a bag was the beginning of a "Jiffy Knitted Afghan" in classic late '70s colors.
Afghan version 1
I completed it last year at stated but the stitches were really loose so it got stretched out easily. Plus I didn't like how I attached the panels together and I had run out of the light gold color and had to add a section of eggshell at the end. Overall I wasn't happy with it so I crammed it in my shed and didn't think about it until my second baby was born. Knitting is a good start/stop project to work on when you just have little spurts of time between childcare.

I took it all apart and doubled up the yarn which muted the colors a bit, but also unified them by having the light gold color run throughout the afghan. I alternated blocks of knit and purl so it was more interesting and wouldn't curl up. The doubled yarn is much more stable even using giant size 19 knitting needles. I tried to keep a feeling of the original with the color stripes. I made two panels and sewed them together.

Afghan version 2
The new size is much smaller, about 52 inches wide by 42 inches tall. It makes a good small lap or baby blanket, or in my house, a good cat blanket.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Pink Knit Baby Blanket

I've had a little bit of extra time lately, so I've been able to do some knitting which is both relaxing and fun for me.

  My local library has a magazine exchange and my mom picked up the Winter 2007/2008 issue of Vogue Knitting. Most of the projects were much more involved than I was ready to commit to, but there was a section on lace knitting.  From the article by Shirley Paden, I used the Fan and Feather lace pattern to make a baby blanket.

Blanket dimensions: 28 in. wide by 32 in. long


I continue to have yarn donated to me, so I went through my stash for this project. I had a bunch of skeins of pink wool from my mother-in-law so that formed the base, then I found a yellow and blue wool with a similar weight to mix it up a little bit. I like how the color change really emphasizes the scallop shape.

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.