Archives for posts with tag: handmade

I’d like to think I’ll make a Jayne hat every year for my child until he’s old enough to question it.

He remains less than thrilled about keeping it on his head, but I’m happy with it! This time I used a knitting loom for the main hat and crocheted the ear flaps. How does it sit? Pretty cunning, doncha think?


I’m not one to create whole quilts from a single fabric designer, but this one is the exception!

It started with a Denyse Schmidt charm pack purchased in postpartum delirium. In the chaos of first-time motherhood, through emotions and hormones and sleeplessness, I needed a straightforward project, an anchor for my soul, my me-ness, something to get me sewing. 

The great thing about Denyse Schmidt is that her fabric lines tend to blend well together. I pulled all the bits and pieces I had in my stash, adding a few solids (of which I keep little on hand), and cut 5-inch squares. I could sit on the couch, newborn asleep across my lap, and play with matching prints to solids or sketching half-square triangle layouts. 

I call it “Transitions”. It speaks of the journey into motherhood, the way some things change and others stay the same at their core. I finished it with a grey Lotta Jansdotter binding and chunks of vintage sheets in the backing. It measures 49×56 inches. 

And this time, I’m not cropping out the quilt holder. Those hands held me as I fell to pieces, and those feet paced the wee hours with our swaddled son, and that heart encouraged me and did his best to understand. It has taken time, but we have come through it a family, bound together and beautiful, reflecting effort well-spent and growing love. 

It’s pieces like these that make me so thankful for the luxury of being a quilter, that I have the ability to distill these bits of soul into practical, wonderful works. I can look at this quilt and remember how very hard those first months were, but they became something lovely after all.

This was a long time in the making. I started piecing it in 2009, my first patchwork quilt ever! It had been sitting, basted, in a drawer. I was hesitant to finish it because I have grown so much since then! All the fabric is super cheap, and the hand-piecing is awkward. I think the quilt even predates my use of rotary cutters!

Everything was so awkward I couldn’t imagine wrangling it under a machine to any success, so I turned to an old standby – hand-tying!

I don’t keep much cheap fabric around these days, but I had scraps of an old sheet that made a perfect binding.

Long ago this was meant to be a crib quilt. Our baby doesn’t actually sleep in a crib, though, so maybe it will be a floor mat? Those ties will be fun for Baby to grab during tummy time! I was being cheeky, too, with the dollar bills print, imagining I’d teach our children that money does grow on trees! Ha!

Quilt stats:

  • 39×58 inches
  • Hand-pieced
  • Hand-tied
  • Machine bound
  • Begun 2009, completed 2016

I love finishing something because I get so excited about the next things on my list! Can’t wait for the next finish!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish-it-up Friday!

I was part way through knitting a grey-green hat for my son when I had an epiphany:  if I were going through the trouble, why was I making any old hat when I could knit the ultimate (nerd) hat?

“How does it sit? Pretty cunning, doncha think?

“Man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.

I don’t claim to be an excellent knitter, but I am pleased with the result, and it makes me laugh! To make the hat, I just knit a stockinette rectangle, stitched up the side to fit, and crocheted ear flaps. Then I gathered the top and added a puff ball! And my baby, who has as many smiles as there are reasons to love Firefly, got into character with a rare mean mug!

I love the colors, even apart from the show reference. I finished it just in time for the cool weather setting in! He will be so much warmer on our walks together, complimenting the gorgeous autumn trees. What more could I ask for?

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!

How do you properly thank an extravagantly generous quilter? You make her a mini-quilt! In the past few months, I have three amazing friends who have given their time, talents, and joy to bless my family. Finding words was not enough, so instead I did a bit of research on what they enjoy – styles they use in their own work, photos they post, fabrics and textures and approaches – and attempted to make them something they would love. One of these will be delivered today, and the others await a trip to the post office, but hopefully they won’t mind spoilers!
“Follow the White Rabbit” was inspired by a quote from the original Matrix film. I like the sentiment of going on an adventure, following clues into the divine purpose of life, meeting unexpected characters, and having new experiences. Can you detect the hand-stitched rabbit trail through the quilting?

Next is a combination of traditional and modern for a Denyse Schmidt fan. I combined traditional hand-stitched cathedral window form with some of the newer, machine-stitched iterations I’ve seen in blog land. I like that the results aren’t too refined, but the hand-stitched elements reflect a lot of love.

Finally, my homage to the Caribbean island Dominica (pronounced dom-in-EEK-ah), the place where my friend grew up and recently visited again with her husband. She uses a lot of raw-edged appliqué and batiks in her work, so I played her way to reflect some of the beauties in her travel pictures. The island is more known for its jungle than its beaches, so I omitted the ocean and instead focused on the little towns and Mother and Father waterfalls inland. I had to add my friend’s favorite hibiscus and even a few scraps from the quilt I made her years ago. This one will be delivered today after another delivery is made… But more on that later. 

I’ve really enjoyed making these minis! They are quite gratifying and fun with quick turn-around and payoff. They are also a great way to experiment with new techniques. I’m sure you will see more minis from me in the future!

I finished my new purse (using this tutorial)! I tend to wear a lot of black, white, and grey, so I chose favorite prints from my stash. “Ghost bunny” was my first Cotton and Steel fabric purchase. I figured hoarding a favorite fabric would not give as much joy as using it for something getting as much practical, daily use as this. Now it’s done, I know I made a great choice!


I made it more complicated than I needed to in hindsight, but I am so pleased with the way it turned out! Instead of webbing, I made the strap from fabric and a bit of batting. The slider was rescued from a thrifted jacket I took apart awhile ago. I used batting scraps as a layer of lining and did a little subtly-colored hand stitching on the outside. I also lined the bag in denim, and this made inserting the grommets more time-consuming. But oh! It’s worth it. I’m so thankful it’s done and I can use it! 

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!

For my eleventh birthday, I received Felicity, an American Girl doll. Soon after, my grandmother taught me how to sew on her sewing machine by making doll clothes. I still have those patterns, so when my flower girl pulled out her AG catalogue to show me what she wanted for her birthday, I was inspired! It just so happens that I keep my doll trunk on hand, so Felicity was available for fittings and modeling.

The Internet is rife with free AG doll patterns, so I used two for a pair of starry fleece pants and striped tee made from a top I rescued from the Goodwill pile. (Sadly, I am unable to find the original links to those patterns!) The tutu was inspired by a ruffled skirt tutorial, and the cherry dress was a modification of the original paper patterns I used with my grandmother.

Finally, knowing my little friend is very creative and eager to learn to sew, I included a hand-written coupon for either one doll outfit or one doll quilt, made with my help, of course! I hope she is inspired and empowered from the experience! I can’t wait for her birthday party this weekend and spending time sewing with her later!

How many of my third quarter sewing goals can I accomplish before our baby arrives? Here’s hoping for a few more!

Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings includes a pattern for a newborn sleep sack. The pattern calls for it to be made kimono-style with overlapping velcro tab closures. Having babysat for children using sleep sacks before, I opted to modify the pattern in favor of a zipper closure.

Figuring out how to put it together took a little bit of trial-and-error, especially since cognitive prowess is at an all-time low due to “baby brain”. But in the end it came together! The flannel back and lining are a print from JoAnns, one of very few non-cutesy, non-stereotypical boy themed prints I could find. The pieced front is tacked with a bit of embroidery thread, and the tab at the top covers the zipper pull, finishing with Velcro. A bit of leftover bias binding finishes the armholes and collar.

Now we are just waiting for the little guy to find the exit! Who knows – maybe by the time you read this, he will already be here!

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!


For one of my goals this quarter, I decided to try to finish some quilts I’d started years ago but never finished. This was one of them! After making a bright, bold baby quilt for a friend, I took the same approach for myself, piecing favorite chunks of colorful scraps together and selecting a thrifter sheet for the backing. Because the front is so busy, I went with a single-color binding. As I quilted spontaneous zigzag lines, I noticed a stain on the backing, so I hand-stitched a random charm square to hide it! I quite like the effect!

After washing and crinkling, the quilt finishes at 53×72 inches, just right for a light-weight throw! I love how it turned out, and I love finding fun, memory-filled fabrics in it. I think it will inspire fun “I Spy” games in the future!

I am attempting to finish some quilts stashed in my wardrobe. This one I started last year. All finished, it measures about 36×42 and could be a baby quilt or a “soaking quilt”, a lap quilt to drape over oneself when spending time resting with God.


The back is a soft sheet from a thrift store, while the front is chambray and quilting cotton. I really enjoy making quilts of this size because they allow for more detailed quilting, and the sense of satisfaction at completion comes sooner! It also gives me a smaller form to play with design without the commitment of a much larger quilt. Hoping to make many more of these in the future!