Friday, April 18, 2014

Sleeping Bag: Quilting Practice

I mentioned a few days ago that one of the things I had ticked off my to-do list had involved quilting. While I know that this made some people cringe, and others wonder if I had truly lost my mind, I have not actually begun another quilt. Breath a sigh of relief people. What I have done is made a sleeping bag for Sophie.

Coming into winter, I'm noticing that my a-bit-over-one-year-old cannot stay under blankets very well at night. On the advice of other parents with similar problems, I thought I'd make a sleeping bag for her to keep her all nice and warm, with the added bonus of me not having to get up and check that she is indeed still tucked in. Given that it was specifically for the winter season I wanted to make sure it was as warm as could be, so I not only chose flannel material for the lining, but also decided I'd put some wadding in. This also gave me the opportunity to practice some quilting on a much smaller scale, so bonus!

I used a pattern from sewmamasew for the base and just made it a little longer and bigger so that it will fit her all though the coming growth spurts. I had the cute turtle fabric in the stash, I think I got it sometime last year for $4 a meter (bargin!) and the yellow flannel on the inside was a hand on from some Church thing. I think I spent $5 on the zip, so all in all, this sleeping bag cost about $10 in materials. Of course, it cost a lot more in time, but we won't go there.

On to the quilting! I thought I needed to practice just straight quilting, so I did the back in this (fairly boring) cross hash quilting kind of way. It was good to practice moving all the layers together, following the lines and trying to get even spacing between each row, but all in all, pretty boring sewing.

I feel it also made me a bit angry, because I just wanted to get it done, and going straight across the material from point A to point B was so easy I would just push/pull it through the machine as fast as possible. Despite my intentions to try to keep a calm even pace. :P Maybe that's why I put off doing the front for a while. Who knows. Anyway, when I did sit down to do the front on Sunday, I had the sudden thought that I'd try some Free Motion Quilting.

You just put the material in, and start sewing. Squiggles, curves, waves, anything goes. My goodness it was delightful. I actually sewed at a reasonable pace, and, like driving, slowed down for the corners! It was like sewing a boardem drawing. I loved every minute of it and felt amazing when it was done.

As always, there are difficulties. When doing Free Motion Quilting, you have to watch out for either over-doing the sewing, or not doing enough and ending up with "white space". I suppose with a boardem drawing, I'd just go back and fill in those bits, but it's harder on a machine, so some planning (or maybe just more practice) is required.

I bound the arm and neck holes with the flannel from the inside and even managed to put the zip in myself (thanks to the confidence I gained from the Travel Backpack). It's not perfect, but I'm getting better and I love it. Sophie is going to be so snug and warm. I can't imagine Free Motion Quilting on anything bigger (like an actual quilt) but it was a fabulous experience that I would love to repeat!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Can you have a private faith?

Pastor Matt spoke on Sunday night at church and, it being Palm Sunday, the topic was Jesus entry into Jerusalem (taken from Matthew 21:1-11). For Christians, this is it. This is the week that our faith really relies on. Jesus has come to do what he came to do: die for our sins. He is entering Jerusalem with this purpose in mind.

Pastor Matt drew our attention to the fact that at this point, the disciples who have been following Jesus around, could have entered the city with him in silence. Rather than shouting: "Praise God, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna!", they could have made the decision to keep their faith out of the public sphere. They could have decided that even though they knew Jesus was sent from God, that it was wrong to impose their beliefs or faith so blatantly on others.

What a travesty it would have been if they had done this. How Jesus would have wept even more at his silent disciples. And how can we be silent? Coming into Easter, we are faced with the same choice the disciples had: to declare Jesus to be the savior sent from God, that the world might hear and be saved, or to keep our faith to ourselves.

Can we have a private faith that does not infringe on the everyday? Is it possible to remain silent when we have such news? As the disciples were convicted, I pray that we are all convicted this Easter that that would not only be a travesty, but also an impossibility. It is not an option to remain silent when Jesus is coming as the savior king.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Travel Backpack

It occurred to me sometime last week that as we are going to Sydney, it'd be great if Sophie had her own backpack to put the stuff to keep her occupied on the plane, rather than just trying to cram it all into my bag like I'm prone to do. Even though I had a list of other things to do, half of them sewing (and half of those things that were half sewn to begin with and just waiting finishing touches :P), I decided I'd be crazy and really push myself and add another thing, with a very quick deadline.

Thus, Sophie's travel backpack was born. I did a search on the internets and found these two tutorials (one from Crazy Little Projects, which I took most of the instructions from, and one from Birch Fabrics, which was also good reference). In hindsight I wish I had cross referenced the sizes a bit more closely, but on the whole, I'm really pleased with how things turned out.

Of course, I added changes to things to enhance the carrying capabilities that the bag has, and added piping because I had some lying around. I used material from my stash, rather than enduring a trip to Spotlight. The animal print was a remnant that mum gave to me a while back and I've no idea where the red came from.

Those straps on the back are long, but adjustable. They are a little far spaced for Sophie's small shoulders, but she will grow into it. On the front, I added a pocket which has a simple flap with velcro closure. Inside the bag is a fully lined pocket. (Sorry about the nappies in the background of these photos!)

The bag was tested Sunday night for church and holds Sophie's water bottle, snacks, bibs, nappies, wipes, change of clothes and the essential blanket of comfort-plus-two. Excellent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Catch Ups

So last Sunday (not yesterday Sunday, but the one before that), I was feeling so overwhelmed with my to-do list. I thought it would never be done, and that I was seriously running out of time to do it anyway. The more I pushed myself, the more exhausted I felt but the less seemed done. Sigh. It was a very teary night.

This Sunday after a super restful weekend where Steve took such great care of me (being married just rocks. It's seriously the best.) I'm feeling like it's a little more achievable. Things have even been crossed off! I've got a load of things to post about even, including some fun quilting stuff. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. :) Yay!

This is rectangular bunting I made out of Steve's old bed sheets. Because they were made out of bed sheets, old bed sheets, they are super light and blow in the breeze nicely. Yay for bunting! 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Hat Breakthrough

In the last two months, we have finally had a hat breakthrough where Sophie will actually tolerate a hat on her head for longer than six seconds. Hooray! To celebrate this momentous event, I decided she could use a super cute bonnet to wear in the evenings when we are outside or getting Steve from the bus stop. I was originally going to put a brim on it, for shade potential, but given that I'll be using it in the evenings when sun is not so much of an issue and I didn't really think of it when I cut the material out, meh. Maybe next time.

I did use this bonnet tutorial at sewmamasew for my basis, and then did a few changes from there. I am really happy with how it turned out, and Harriett the Husqvana even got to do some fancy stitching to finish it off. The whole thing is reversible. Sophie likes to try to lick the bow that sits under her chin. I don't know why.