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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Quick Baby Quilts

I really like quilting but I don't always have the time. My step-sister had a baby boy this past September, so I made him a quick quilt with a super cute frog print in primary colors for Christmas. 

Instead of a time intensive patchwork quilt, this one is just a top layer with a print with the backing a solid yellow. Instead of batting, I put another layer of white flannel in the middle, so it's warm but not too thick. The backing is made about an inch longer on all sides so it can be folded over the top for the binding edge instead of making a separate bias binding strip.

I did a random quilting pattern once all the layers were assembled moving in between the frogs. I made sure to pre-wash all the cotton so it would shrink the same amount.

There are so many great flannel prints out there that I couldn't resist making another one for my soon to be here daughter with happy breakfast foods all over it.

With the repeated design, it was easy to create a quilting stitch pattern by just working between specific parts of the print.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Felted Wool Project

My mom had saved a bunch of baby clothes for me including a couple of wool sweaters that my Grandma had knitted for me and my brother when we were kids. Unfortunately the sweaters has been accidentally machine felted so they couldn't be worn anymore. I didn't want to waste my Grandma's hard work so I looked up some ideas on how to reuse felted wool. I was surprised at how many great projects I found. I decided to make a couple of ornamental balls that could be used in a couple of different ways.

The sweater looks alright here, but it's really thick and has lost all the stretch of the knit. I tried to cut out the ball shapes to incorporated some of the existing design from the sweater.

I put a jingle ball in each one, then filled them with polyester stuffing and added some extra felt shapes for fun. I made them with multiple uses in mind, they can be a pet toy, a tree ornament or a kid toy that is safe to throw around inside. You could also add potpourri to the inside if you wanted to make a sweet smelling ornament. Without you can wash it and it will continue to felt up more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Vintage Print Pillows

I have many ongoing projects that won't be finished for a long time, so I took a break to spend a couple hours with a nice quick project: pillow covers. Several years ago I made some monster shaped pillow covers, but I got sick of them so I decided to try to find some fun fabrics in my pile to make new covers I would be excited about. Some of Alec's earliest memories are of this specific fabric because it made up the curtains in his room.  When his mom gave me a bunch of her leftover vintage fabrics a couple years ago this was included.

The big print with jungle animals seemed perfect to show off on some pillows and I had just enough to make two. I didn't want to buy any new fabric for this project. Luckily I had a lot of super soft, blue plush minky fabric for the back that complemented the orange in the print on the front.

I did include a zipper so they could be washed. I still don't know how well minky plush fabric holds up to repeated washings but I'll soon find out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Baby Knits

The baby projects continue with some knitted items. I've made this sweater pattern, Gidday Baby before as presents for new babies, but this one will be for my baby. The nice thing about baby items is that they can use up some scrap yarn. I was able to use up several different jewel toned yarns that I had in my stash. I had two similarly colored peacock blue yarns that I alternated to make up the body because I didn't have enough of either to complete the sweater.

I also tried a new pattern from The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits by Debbie Bliss for baby booties. I made the booties on a separate occasion than the sweater. They both have the peacock blue yarn, but the booties have gray as the contrast color, so they don't quite match.

In a completely different color scheme, I made up the pattern for this cabled baby hat. This hat is smaller than the rest of the knits, hopefully it will fit newborn to 2 months or so, it does have some stretch. I had a bright pink yarn that matched the intensity of the blue yarn so I added a bow for fun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wizard Baby Shower invite

I've been super busy with various work projects which means that my personal projects have been baby related lately. This illustration is no exception, I made it for our baby shower invitation. We're having it around Halloween, so I figured a wizard theme would be fun. Our cat Webby is dressed as a vampire and helping add cool things to the baby brew. My bunnies Patty and Selma, who have passed away, are still helping out as little ghosts. It was fun thinking of different things to represent Alec and my interests that we would want to make sure our baby was into too.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Black & White Maternity Dress

I'm currently expecting my first child in January of 2016. I have just begun to outgrow my regular clothes and it's frustrating to not have much to wear. Luckily, I really like sewing so I was able to turn it into a fun challenge to design a dress that I can hopefully wear through the rest of my pregnancy. I've never tried to design something with a lot of size flexibility so I looked at a bunch of maternity sewing patterns from the 1950's and '60s for inspiration and ended up with this design.
I started with a basic tent shape sloper for the body of the dress to give it a lot of extra room. To make it adjustable, I added the ties on the sides that can let out more fabric as needed. All the buttons on the front panel work, so that if I really underestimated how large I'll be getting, I can make an even wider panel to replace it. I included some practical side seam pockets too. The black and white color scheme is intentionally plain so that I can accent it with different shirts and tights underneath as the weather gets colder.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wedding Flag

This past weekend in Oakland, CA my friends Kettner and Lacy got married. They had a carnival themed wedding with lots of fun activities and a bounce house! To announce when the ceremony started their best person blew a horn, and they had a flag bearer lead the wedding party to the scenic outlook where the marriage ceremony took place.

Nishat, the flag bearer
Kettner and Lacy had asked me to make a flag that represented them. They chose the design with the specific elements and I sewed in all together. Lacy is into health and fitness, as represented by the kale leaf and barbell. Kettner is a cartoonist represented by the pencil and brush and they both love coffee!

Since this flag would be waved around, I needed to figure out how to make the elements appear cleanly on both sides. I flat fell seamed the red and white stripes to the body of the flag so the seams would be nice and hidden. To make the images appear on both sides I first cut out the specific shape for one side (like the heart), then just put a square of red on the other side so the zig zag appliqué stitch would catch it. Then I trimmed the wrong side to make the identical shape from the right side. I knew that if I just cut identical shapes for both sides that I wouldn't perfectly catch them with the stitches. This method left some room for error, even though I had to carefully cut out the shapes on the back side. For my first large scale flag, I think it came out great and I'm very happy that I could contribute something to their awesome celebration.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Striped Baby Sweaters

Lots of friends are having babies this year, which has given me a great excuse to try out some new knitted baby patterns. So far I've made two different versions of the "Gidday Baby" sweater pattern by Georgie Hallam, you can find it for free on Ravelry.

The first version I made was for a baby that was a surprise to what sex it would be. Instead of sticking to classic pastel colors, which I'm not that crazy about, I went in the other direction with deep jewel tones. Even though this one is navy blue I don't see why a baby girl couldn't wear it, but they did end up having a boy.

The pattern for the hat is a variation of the Bernat King/Queen Baby hat. Once I started making it, it just didn't seem the same as the photo, when I made the crown part it just didn't look right so I didn't add it. Instead I added a pom pom in the contrast color to pull the two pieces together.

I used Patons Grace 100% mercerized cotton in Navy for the body of the sweater, but I doubled up the yarn to get the right stitch count. For the contrast stripe I used Patons Kroy Socks yarn, 75% Wool 25% Nylon in Blue Striped Ragg.  I also doubled this yarn up to get the correct stitch count. I chose cotton and preshrunk wool so that it would be easily washable.

 For the second sweater I used the same Patons Grace yarn in Navy for the contrast color but found enough cream colored yarn in my stash to complete the body. I think it was a synthetic blend but I had lost the label long ago.

I really like that you can knit the sweater all in one piece from the yoke down, plus the contrast stripe gives a nice detail with lots of room for color variation. I'm sure I'll be making more of these in the future.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mountain Goat plush toy

I made a new plush toy design, a Mountain Goat. Often my inspiration for a new design comes from animals I like and I think goats in general are very cute. I looked up some real life references and I really liked the look of the Mountain Goat.

 I started with some sketches and created a rough side view, which is enough for me to get started on making the pattern shapes. I initially made this guy about 9 inches from nose to tail but ended up enlarging to pattern to about 12 inches nose to tail. The larger size make it more cuddly and a little easier to construct.


I'm excited to experiment with some different colors and materials for this one, so watch for those soon. Also I'll be working on the pattern instructions shortly so you can make your very own Mountain Goat.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Maker Faire 2015

I'm super excited to be a vendor at Maker Faire this weekend. I'll be under the San Francisco Bazaar tent with a ton of other awesome vendors. If you live in the SF Bay area and haven't come to a Maker Faire, this year it's bigger and better than ever.

I've made lots of new Fluff Engine toys so come say hi at booth 6.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Patchwork Oakland Spring 2015

This Sunday, May 10, 2015; I'll be at the Patchwork Show in Oakland. I've made a bunch of new Fluff Engine stuffed animals in preparation. So if you're in the SF bay area, bring your mom and buy her something handmade.

I'll be at booth H, right in the middle of it all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Devastator Horror Issue

I've did a couple of spot illustrations in the latest issue of The Devastator. You can buy it here:  It's a funny, awesome book series filled with hilarious people, you should check it out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lace Knit Scarf

I have been playing around figuring out some of the knit stitches in my favorite needlework book: Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. I specifically like the 1979 version of this book because of the excellent hand drawn illustrations. The Network lace stitch is pretty easy and once I got the hang of it I could work on while watching TV so this scarf is the result of a combination of finding some interesting light weight yarn and keeping my hands busy.

Without a plan, I just started knitting with some Suss multicolored yarn and quickly realized that I wouldn't have enough to finish the scarf, so I added the solid red Alpaca yarn. As I continued knitting, I realized that it still wouldn't be a very long scarf and I didn't want to buy any additional yarn. So I decided to make a loop scarf with buttons, that way there are multiple ways to wear it.

While it doesn't seem very long, the loose stitches are stretchy so that it still can be worn as a traditional scarf. The open lace stitches create the buttonholes so you can fasten them just about anywhere along the length of the scarf. My scrap yarn projects often don't turn out well so I'm very happy to make something I'll actually wear. Plus I got to use some of the antique buttons my Aunt gave me. It's nice to cobble together a scrap project that lets you use some awesome things that have been laying around for a long time.

Network Lace
Multiples of 4 sts (my scarf is 48 stitches wide)
Row 1: P2 *yo, P4 tog* P2
Row 2: K2 *K1, KPK into the yo of the previous row*, K2
Row 3: Knit

Suss Yarn 100% Merino Wool Mosaic Color: Fireworks
Plymouth Yarn Co. 100% Baby Alpaca Color: 2050

Friday, March 20, 2015

Alec's Animal Alphabet Quilt

Alec's sister had a baby girl (her first!) at the beginning of the month. They kept it a surprise to whether they were having a boy or girl, so I had to be clever in coming up with an appropriate gift.

In 2007, Alec made a series of acrylic animal paintings that he turned into an alphabet book.  I took those awesome images, turned them into appliquéd fabric patches and sewed them all together to make a quilt. Alec had different background colors for each of his paintings but I limited the background patch colors so it wouldn't be too crazy. For some fun texture I tried to incorporate printed fabrics where they seemed to fit. I machine quilted the layers together to save some time.

My favorite patch on is the scorpion, I like that he's a little angry. I also think the embroidery on the  hedgehog quills turned out well.

The quilt is backed in soft, yellow flannel.  I'm hoping it will get lots of cuddles and maybe even be made into some forts.

You can buy Alec's Animal Alphabet book on

Friday, March 6, 2015

Swish Fish Pattern

I just finished the instructions for my newest pattern: Swish Fish! This is a sweet and cuddly little fish that can be in all sorts of fun color combinations. I rated this pattern as beginner as it doesn't have too many pieces or complicated sewing. In no time you can make a whole school of cuddly, plush toy fish.

You can purchase the pattern digitally in the store.

 I've also have some ready-made fish toys in my etsy shop.