Fancy Fox Quilt

A few months ago, I saw a fox quilt Astrid posted on Instagram.  Usually I'm so good about planning out my quilts ahead of time and sticking to my plan, but this one I couldn't resist.  I found the pattern, bought it, and started sorting through my red and orange fabrics the next day.

I wasn't disappointed.  These foxes are quick and easy to make and there's something so charming about their faces.  Also I bought a house about six months ago and a charming fox lives nearby; I see him trot through the yard every few weeks or so.  So this feels extra special.

Last weekend I entered a new era - I attended my first peer baby shower.  As much as I wanted to keep this quilt, I knew the expecting mom would love it too, and would actually get some use out of it.  

And oh my goodness did I get a good reception.  Is there anything better than a friend opening a gift you've made, looking down at it, her eyes widening, looking up at you and exclaiming "oh my gosh Katie, did you make this!?"

That's why we quilters do it, I think.  That's why I do.

You can see my whole process by checking out #gremlinfancyfox over on Instagram.  You can buy the pattern here.

Hour Blanket

So many friends and colleagues with babies, so little time.  In an ideal world I'd spend days making them all fantastic scrappy quilts with tiny pieces and hand bound with love.  Here's another way to get lovely, handmade gift into the hands of all the expecting parents in your life.

I started with two yards of fabric, each cut to 36 by 40 inches, and a piece of batting the same size.  Here I've used double gauze, quilting cotton, and cotton batting. I prefer to use natural fibers - cotton, wool, and linen - when possible.

Lay out the pieces on the floor.  Put down the batting first, one of your fabrics face up, and the other face down on up.  Smooth everything out and trim up the edges if necessary, making sure everything is nice and square.

I wanted curved corners so traced around a bowl.  (Very glam Corelle dishes in our house.)

Pin around the edges (no need for basting, yay!) and sew around the edge of the quilt with a 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving an 8 inch gap on one side.  Turn the quilt right sides out through the gap and press, turning in the edges around the opening. Pin the opening shut and sew around the edges from this side.

I hand tied this blanket but I'm sure you could quit it at this point, too.  I used wool yarn and a big darning needle, spacing the ties soooomewhat evenly around the blanket.  No need for perfectionism here.

 I tied this blanket in just nine places - that should be enough for modern batting.

That's it! Ta-da! Now every baby in your life can have an all-natural handmade blanket.

Tiny Scraps

Two years ago, my mom and I stumbled into a quilt shop in an old railroad freight station in central Virginia - Rachel’s Quilt Patch.  Rachel, the owner, was working on the most magical quilt made from the teeniest tiny scraps.  Rachel explained it was her “leader-ender” project and she had been working on it alongside her other projects for years.  

A “leader-ender,” she taught me, is used during chain piecing.  To avoid wasted thread and the mess of threads (the “birds nest”) sometimes created when starting a new seam, some quilters feed a scrap through their machine before and after chain piecing.  This way the thread never has to be cut with a long tail.

Of course, instead of using a scrap and discarding it, industrious quilters use their leaders and enders to make a separate project.

Rachel handed me a worksheet with directions and a starter bag of scraps, no charge, and I’ve been making my tiny scraps into a quilt ever since.

This quilt uses 2 inch fabric patches and the corners so often created and discarded with modern quilting patterns.  I keep a container for each on my sewing table.

I sew the triangles to the 2 inch squares with a quarter inch seam allowance, finger pressing as I go.  

This is a scrap quilt so I don't worry too much about which fabrics are together or getting my seam allowances exactly right.

Once all four triangles are attached, I press and trim the block to 2.5 inches square.

I sew the 2.5 inch blocks into strips, then join the strips together

RIght now, my quilt is 15 blocks by 13 blocks.  Every time I finish 13 blocks I sew them up in a row and attach them to my quilt, using lots of pins to get the seams to line up.  

This quilt has patches from all of my past projects. I love looking at it and remembering the things I've made for my family and friends.