Archive for the 'Gifts' Category


Back in October Tristan went to a party for his friend Mallory that happens to be the youngest of three girls. Katie is friends with the older girls so we know the family fairly well and I knew that they did not need any more toys. In the past we’ve given them craft and baking sets but I wasn’t inspired with a new idea this time. So, we decided to make her something she could wear.


One morning at school dropoff we asked Mallory what her favorite color was, blue and also green, so that’s what we went with. I used the pattern Scrapbook Jeans and a Sweatshirt from Pink Fig Patterns. Tristan went with me to the fabric store and helped pick all of the fabrics, I had the blue and green Amy Butler to start with in my stash. The dot — a really great one — and the plain turquoise fabrics are from Georgia by Pat Sloan. I used a blue velour for the inside of the hood so it would be nice and soft. The whole thing came together in just a few hours so I’m thinking of more fun combinations including a ballet themed one for Katie to wear backstage at the Nutcracker. Wouldn’t that be so fun?

Birthday Gifts

Birthday Outfit

Last weekend we celebrated my niece Gabrielle’s eighth birthday — eight! — and as in years before I made her some clothes. My sister is super-sweet and usually Gabrielle wears the outfit I make her for the first day of school. Talk about pressure! So, this year in discussing with my sister what to make we decided on something with blue, since that is Gabby’s favorite color, and something that has a skirt. My sister loves anything Asian — including her husband — and I remembered a kimono top from an old Ottobre and a plan was hatched.

Birthday Outfit - Button DetailBirthday Outfit - Butterfly Detail

The blue embroidered cotton was from my mother-in-law, I think she picked it up on a trip to Asia, and the brown is a batik from my local fabric store. The kimono top — #12 from Ottobbre 4/2008 — is fully lined and has a hidden ribbon closure — with butterfly beads — and flower buttons. The skirt is just gathered with a contrast yoke and pockets. I didn’t use a pattern just traced around Katie’s hand for the pocket shape/size.

Birthday Outfit - Skirt Detail

And for the fun gift from the urchins Gabrielle received two new outfits for her American Girl doll. The dress coordinates with the kimono outfit and the other outfit is just a fun summer outfit. Both were based on a simplicity pattern I got sometime when patterns were a dollar. For doll clothes you just really need a basic pattern and you can change it to suit your needs. In this case the top for the shorts is the bodice of the dress and instead of a skirt I used a pre-gathered bit of eyelet lace. The shorts are literally shortened pants.

Beach Outfit

A Quilt for a Little Bird

Back in March my friend Molly gave birth to a sweet little girl and she named her Birdy. And being the fourth little girl in her house I knew that she’d be seeing a lot of hand-me-downs in her lifetime — I mean, how could she not? — so I wanted to make her something that would be just for her. I considered knitting her something but her early months are during the summer and as Molly will tell you, they have no central AC. I’ve been to their house in the summertime, woolens are not necessary.

To: Birdy

Then I remembered I had a half yard of Joel Dewberry’s aviary print in my fabric stash. Orange and brown. I love it in this colorway but it doesn’t scream baby girl so I hemmed and hawed over it for a little while. Then I decided to just go with it. I made four log cabin blocks with the aviary print fussy-cut for the center squares. I limited the logs to 6 other fabrics and did two rounds of logs. The squares were then sewn together and sashed with an orange and brown homespun that was really perfect and a lucky find. It’s backed with the same homespun and quilted with a pattern of oak leaves and acorns. After a wash it was nice and crinkly and soft, just right for a baby to call her very own.

Birdy's Quilt

Some Finished Knitting


We spent the weekend celebrating the christening of a good friend’s baby at the Jersey shore. We had a great time hanging out with friends we don’t see nearly enough. It was just like when we were in college except now we have a whole bunch of little ones to watch out for. So strange. As for the giving it seemed to me that a bonnet and booties set was in order for this sweet little girl so that’s what she got. Both were knit from Jaeger Roma — which I love and got on sale — in cloud (015) and blossom (011). I used Larissa‘s Feather and Fan Bonnet pattern and this Mary Jane Booties pattern. The gauge/yarn produced a small bonnet, just right for a two-month old head and the booties were also a perfect fit. You can find the details on the ravelry project pages but for the booties I switched colors on row 16. This is the same baby who now possesses last year’s February baby sweater and in the few moments I was able to steal her away from her adoring aunties and grandmother we were able to get a photo of her in all the handknits. Sweater, bonnet, and booties, I think she’s all set.

Bonnet and Booties

Teacher Gifts

18" and still falling

Friday was Tristan’s last day of preschool before the break. Katie was supposed to have her last day of school today. I say supposed to because on Saturday we watched the snowflakes come down and keep coming down until we had over 22 inches on the ground. Our county is largely rural and so the school system canceled classes for this week knowing that there was no way to get the schools and roads dug out in time. So, Tristan took gifts for his teachers on Friday and Katie’s teacher will get a New Year gift instead.

Dying the Yarn Dying the Yarn

As in years past the urchins dyed yarn in their teachers’ favorite colors. This year we used kool-aid — an awful lot of kool-aid to get the saturated colors we wanted — in a squirt bottle for the photo that we include on the tag and we also dyed the yarn in a pot as well. Tristan’s teachers like burgundy and red so we used black cherry and cherry kool-aid. Katie’s teacher likes blue so we used ice blue raspberry lemonade. Since Katie’s haven’t been delivered yet they may get overdyed to a darker blue before they do since I am not happy with the color they are presently.

Blue Mitt

I improvised the pattern. I’ve made a lot of mitts so I just needed to figure out how many stitches to cast on — 28 for those wondering — and could go from there. I knit 10 rows of ribbing, 5 rows stockinette, increased for the thumb gusset, separated for the thumb, 5 rows stockinette and 5 rows ribbing and then bound off. I picked up the thumb stitches and 4 stitches from the mitt, knit 2 rounds and then rib for 3 rounds and bound off. Easy peasey and all four mitts for Tristan’s teachers were made in one day with plenty of breaks. I’d say they require about 90 minutes per pair. Bulky yarn is the way to go for quick projects. I think his teachers were happy with their gifts and they both have tween-age children they could give these to if they don’t think they’ll wear them all much. The urchins love making them, that’s for sure. I think we’ll be doing some more dying soon.

Teacher Mitts

Wrap It Up

24 days, huh? That’s not a lot of time for making and oh do I have a lot of making to do. I started a list today and it’s a little bit long. One thing I did get done on time — actually early — was this wrap for my sister-in-law’s birthday tomorrow. We gave it to her last week with the easiest chocolate cake ever and she seemed pleased.

Uniform Wrap

The pattern is free from Martha and very easy. I made this one from some really gorgeous boiled wool jersey. I think the color will look great with brown or black, grey and jewel tones, and keep my sister-in-law warm in a drafty office. I also think this would be really beautiful made of a silk jersey for the warmer months. The edges are unfinished so it makes a very quick gift and at this time of year that’s something we could all use.


Ages ago I saw this rocket-robot fabric on Kathy‘s blog and she had a contest about quilt patterns for the fabric. If you ever need some pattern inspiration the comments in that post are a great resource. So somewhere in there is a pattern for this design idea.

Rocket-Robot Baby Quilt

One thing I learned on the retreat last weekend was that some quilters really like to use patterns. I rarely do and I think it’s because I like to figure things out and also I think it’s because I’m a little bit cheap. I guess when I go into a quilting shop I’d like to spend my money on fabric over a pattern every time. I also like the aesthetic of patchwork which is something that you can figure out. So this design didn’t seem too tricky and also looked to be a good way to showcase some of the larger prints in the Robots line.

The quilt is about 36″ square and is a gift for a friend’s baby. I quilted it with wavy lines which might be my new favorite way to quilt — since I am free-motioned challenged — so prepare yourself to see more wavy lines in the future. I ended up liking the layout so much I’ve used it in two larger quilts where I wanted to showcase the fabrics. Maybe I’ll show you those tomorrow with some guidelines for figuring out a design like this, anyone interested in that?

There and Back Again

I returned this morning from a fantastic weekend in Colorado. Amanda Jean was the guest speaker at a quilt retreat at the Inn at City Park in Fort Collins and I was lucky enough to go. When Amanda Jean announced she would be speaking at the retreat I offhandedly told Stefan that would be fun. A month or two later — after a weekend where he was away with the guys — he told me that I should go, seriously. One side benefit of a traveling husband is that he has miles you can use to go to quilt retreats.

Improvisational Piecing

What a wonderful weekend we had. It was so great to meet Amanda Jean in person after being friends for years. Plus I got to meet a bunch of other great women, some bloggers, some not. It was so much fun. I learned a whole bunch — you are allowed to carry-on a sewing machine — and got so much sewing done that I’ve nearly completed a pretty big quilt top. Papa did such a great job flying solo that Katie said it was okay if I needed to stay away longer. Coming home though, was wonderful too. I kissed Tristan in his bed when I got home at about 1:30 AM and he rolled over and smiled and said Mama in a dreamy little voice. It just melted my heart. So, now I’m back at it, housework, school, you know, the schedule. But this week I thought I’d share some quilts I’ve recently made that never got blogged. And maybe by Friday I’ll have that quilt top done. Happy Monday everyone and see you back here tomorrow.

A Quilt for Mom

My parents — really my mom — recently spruced up their bedroom a bit. They have a new bed quilt and gorgeous new draperies in an up-to-date color palette but kept their beautiful dark cherry furniture. I think it was just the right kind of change, it made their bedroom — which is on the main level of their home — look much more current but didn’t break the bank. Anyway, back in February I was visiting a fabric store and saw the Twiggy fabric collection by Moda and was inspired to make my mom a quilt.

Twiggy Quilt

I used some of two layer cakes to make 35 rail fence blocks. I then laid them out in a way to create the brown and cream zig-zag lines. After completing the top and back — sorry for the it being sideways in the photo — I sent it to Amanda Jean who agreed to stipple it for me. I love how the back — when facing the right direction — looks like a forest with a sky. My mom loves it of course and keeps getting annoyed with my dad when he puts something on top of where it is draped across the back of a chair.

Twiggy Quilt - Back

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Clothespin Doll Kit

Clothespin Dolls

Katie’s best friend turned six at the end of March and Katie was planning to give her a baking set but then we came up with the clothespin doll kit idea. Katie loves making these dolls and we thought her friend Morgan might like making them too. We get our dowels, caps, and stands from Bear Woods Supply Co, the flesh colored paint came from them too. The ribbon, fabric, thread and needles — papa made a needle case — came from my stash. All the other little bits — including the wooden box that holds it all — came from our local Michael’s. The last thing we included was an instruction booklet. Hopefully it will provide hours of painty, gluey fun.

Clothespin Doll Kit

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