Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blankets for Craft Hope

By-Jenny2

Hi Angel! I hope you're well. Sorry I've been a little silent lately. I've been so busy: working on deadline projects (like blankets for Craft Hope and end of the year gifts for Ben's teachers) and taking the kids out to enjoy the sunshine that is making sporadic though slightly more frequent appearances lately in Seattle!

But here I am, and I want to show you the blankets that I made for Craft Hope and sent off last week.

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

This project was the epitome of "mommy crafting". I am currently super sleep-deprived (WHEN are those teeth going to cut?!) and can only sew in 20-30 minute increments (at most!) during naps and between kiddo interruptions. Unfortunately, all organization and focus go out the window when I'm that tired and distracted. I barely planned this project and, as evidenced by my scrambling to finish them at the last minute and mailing them a day late, I also poorly timed this project. But, before I keep putting myself down: I made them, they're done, they're sent and they will hopefully make a couple of kids happy, right?

The reason I am bringing up my poor planning is that, looking at the finished blankets, I can't quite figure out why or how I got there. What was my inspiration? What was my initial vision? I am not sure. Yeah, I really am that tired, ha!

I think it started with all these squares in my scrap box. I wanted to make a simple quilt top and sew it right sides together with flannel or fleece so as not to have to bind it. Last year, when making my Scrappy Squares Quilt, every time I found a large-ish scrap that I didn't need, I would trim it to 5.5 x 5.5 inches. I think I had planned back then to make a scrappy picnic quilt or something at some point. Fast-forward to 2 weeks ago, I saw all these squares and thought they would be great to make kid-friendly blankets. Ben LOVES to examine our quilt and find all the different patterns and prints in the scraps.

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

I sorted through all my squares and split them into girl-friendly and boy-friendly piles. I then assembled them into strips of 10. There was no rhyme or reason to my assembly, I simply tried to contrast as best I could between blocks and not put 2 same prints next to each other.

At that point, I think I decided to make the blankets 50 x 50 inches. I loved making the Charming Baby Quilt with its square shape. I also thought a 50-inch square would make a good size for a kid or lap blanket.

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

I ended up with 6 girl strips, with lots of pink, red, orange and blue and green accents, and 9 boy strips, with lots of blue, brown, green and some red and yellow accents. I had planned on using white to sash between those strips. Turns out I didn't have enough white in my stash. But I did find a couple of yards of pink polka dotted white fabric as well as blue polka dotted white fabric. I decided to use those.

I sashed between each girl strip, but combined the boy strips in groups of 3. Again, not sure why. Even though all my squares were the same size, my assembly was a mess. None of my seams matched but I was so pressed for time that I didn't fix them. I figured it would be part of the charm, but blah, I am not so happy with myself. With hindsight, if I had planned better, I would have made large blocks with scrap squares and sashing, and then trimmed these blocks to size and assembled them together -- instead of making these long strips with a bunch of seams.

Here are the quilt tops:

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Moving on... I think by that point, it was deadline day and I was starting to freak out that I wouldn't make it to the post office on time. Looking through my stash and expecting to find large pieces of flannel, I discovered I didn't have nearly the amount I thought I did. Eek! I debated whether to go to the fabric store but then remembered a futon cover my mom made for Ben's nursery in Nashville.

BenjaminNursery_20

We barely used that cover so it was in great condition. We also no longer use that futon mattress so the cover has been sitting in our closet ever since we moved to Seattle. I called my mom and she okay-ed the de(con)struction. I ended up having more than enough fabric to back my two blankets with this lovely quilted cotton with light blue stripes.

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

I sewed the quilt tops and backing right sides together, leaving a 1 foot gap on one side. I turned them inside out, pressed them and then top-stitched all the way around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. To keep the layers together when washing, I decided to quilt a couple of straight lines on the sashing strips. That led to a little puckering which was a huge bummer, but again, I didn't have enough time to correct my errors.

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Here are the finished blankets. Pictures taken about 5 minutes before dinner time on deadline day. Huge grateful shout-out to my husband who took care of entertaining the kids and making dinner while I scrambled to finish -- as he did during the fundraiser busy-ness and my other deadline endeavors. He rocks!

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

Lots of lessons learned in this process. I do love making projects for charity and this was no exception. Craft Hope is awesome and, while I still wish I could have made them perfect, I do hope these quirky blankets bring some joy to a couple of kids who've lost everything in the tornadoes this year.

Jenny: Blankets for Craft Hope

So, are you horrified by this fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants story? Do you plan your projects carefully or do you ever wing it? Do you have tips for crafting while mommy-ing and lacking sleep? Please share in the comments, I'd love to hear!

6 comments:

  1. I love the blankets, they are beautiful. Some lucky kids will get them and will love them. Fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants is the only way I know to do things, I'm sorry to say. My quilt pieces never line up, which frustrates me, but I never know why it happens or how to fix it. I'm so glad you did this for charity - thanks!

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  2. Thank you so much Mary! I'm glad I'm not the only one who wings it on projects. :)

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  3. I almost always make things up as I go and I think these look great! don't be too hard on yourself :) Someone will love these for sure. Hope you are able to get some more sleep soon!

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  4. Hooray for you! I haven't sewn in a couple of weeks...also waiting for teeth! A friend mentioned "ordering" her next baby "with teeth," I now understand and agree! I think they are adorable. I'm hoping to try quilting once my sewing skills are a bit improved (and the teeth arrive). Still the amateur here. Good job!

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  5. Awesome...you are going to make two children very happy with your creativity and giving heart! Happy accidents make a project much more interesting ~ no worries!

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  6. Kate, it's hard to believe you make things up as you go, your projects always look so polished!! Thank you.

    Sue, let's keep fingers crossed for each other! How old is your little one? 6.5 months here, and he's been working on those teeth for... half his life already! Would love to see your first quilt when you get around to it, I hope you'll post on your blog.

    Paula, thank you so much for your kind words! :)

    ReplyDelete

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