Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby Blanket

I made a little baby blanket for a friend who just had a baby.

The pattern is the "Quick and Easy Baby Blanket" from "Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" by Joelle Hoverson.  It's listed as a 2-4 hour project, which is about right.  The cutting always takes me a long time (this is my third one - here's one and the other I forgot to take a photo of) and at the end, you make little embroidered stitches every 4" to hold it together (see last photo) which takes a long time to first measure and mark the locations and then to do all the stitching (by machine, but still slow...)

The front fabric is Harmony Art Sweet Jane organic sateen, backing is organic cotton (front and back from Organic Cotton Plus); batting is organic cotton and thread is organic thread from Near Sea Naturals, so it's truly a 100% organic blanket :)  I love how it turned out - the fabric is so soft and the pattern is gentle and the colors are lovely - perfect for a baby blanket!

The blanket is 33"x53", quite a bit bigger than the recommendation, but I had that much fabric and the batting is that size, so it seemed better to use it than to have a thin scrap to save indefinitely...

I want to get some sweet gender-neutral baby fabric to make a few of these as standby gifts so I don't find myself doing blindstitch at 1 in the morning again (ah, I just realized that the name of the book is Last Minute Gifts, so I guess it makes sense that I was making this blanket at the last minute!)...  I like that this gift is fun to make, practical, can be made fairly inexpensively if cheaper fabric is used, and is enough of a gift by itself (ie, I don't feel compelled to make several things when I give this blanket).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back Pain Hot Pad - Tutorial

This will be a VERY simple tutorial, mostly for my own benefit, so I can make these again :)  This is a GREAT gift for anyone with back pain.  It was a request from a family friend who, of course, has back pain.  She saw something similar a few years ago and told me about it and that she regretted not buying it then, since she hasn't seen anything like it since, so I volunteered to make one and thus got the benefit of her detailed description and help in implementation!

This is filled with flax seeds and can be microwaved to heat the flax (which retains heat and cold well).  Then you rest it between your back and bed or couch to relieve back pain.

26" x 15" cotton or linen or favorite fabric
matching thread
about .5 kg flax seeds (hopefully not organic like I used...)


1.  Wash and iron fabric.

2.  Cut two pieces of fabric to 13" x 15" each.  (One side is longer because once the pad is filled with flax, the horizontal side shortens a bit - guess how I know that??  LOL.)

3.  Fold down one of the long sides on each piece of fabric 1/2 " to the wrong side and press.

4.  With right sides facing, sew three sides together with a 1/2" seam.  The side with the 1/2" fabric pressed down is the side that will not be sewed.  Trim corners.

5.  Turn right side out, poke out corners so they look square and press.

5.  With a ruler and vanishing marker, mark 12 vertical lines evenly (the total fabric width will be about 14", so the lines are about 1.17" apart.

6.  Sew along these lines, going back and forth at beginning and end.

7. Measure out 1.4 oz flax seeds and fill into the first column.  Pin top so seeds don't fall out.

8.  Continue #7 for remaining 11 columns.

9.  Topstitch closed, going back and forth at beginning and end and making sure not to sew over seeds.

10.  Cut loose threads.

11.  Wait for vanishing marker to disappear and give to friend who will say, "Aaaaah, Thank You!!!"