Category Archives: project progress

fleecy baby blanket.

Yes, I said fleecy baby blanket.

It may come as a shock to many, but people have babies.  My little sister just had a baby. My friends have babies. Babies freaking everywhere!  My mom made my sister a beautiful baby quilt this spring.  Now, I know from personal experience that my mom’s quilts are fucking fantastic, and are so nice you don’t want to risk damaging them.  That’s when I had the god. damn. brilliant. idea to make a delightful baby blanket that was virtually shit and puke proof.  A little internet research later and I had settled on a fleece/quilt/applique baby blanket.  My sewing experience up to this point was a (great) motorcycle seat and a “quilt” (with no batting) fit only for my dog.  But let it never be said that I know my limitations.

This also led to my first time going to a fabric store for actual fabric…  I bought WAY to much fabric (now everything I sew will be made from 5 different colors of fleece).

I created a design in my mind, took a few measurements and got to work.  Let me tell you, fleece is kind of a bitch.  The stretchiness gave me some problems during cutting as nothing wanted to stay square.  I’d be humming along cutting strips of fabric only to stop and notice I now had a pretty trapezoid shape rather than a square. Queue the swearing.  I trimmed edges and got things fairly square and decided to see how it impacted the design as I went.  This (first) blanket was more of a prototype anyway.  The stretching continued to give me problems, but I persevered.

"if it bleeds, we can kill it". Finishing the quilt and watching Predator. Boom.
“if it bleeds, we can kill it”. Finishing the quilt and watching Predator. Boom.

Everything seemed to be going alright until I got to the free motion part of the quilt.  I had skipped stitches, no stitches, broken bobbin thread, broken top thread, everything. Fuck! The wife and the dog hate it when I yell.  I finally got fed up and partially disasembled the machine.  I mean, hell, if I can take apart my bike, put it back together, and scream down the road at 90mph I can take apart a sewing machine.  jk.  I didn’t really take it apart. But I did open it up and lube everything – it made no difference.  Off to my sewing shop I went with partially finished quilt in hand.  The delightful people at Sew Hut promptly told me I was using the wrong needle and set me straight.

I can't help it. This is what I do.
I can’t help it. This is what I do.

The difference the different needle made was astounding.  No more problems, no more swearing and BOOM – the blanket was finished.

pieced 2 tone grey side with seams to the outside for texture
pieced 2 tone grey side with seams to the outside for texture
dark blue appliqued whales on a light blue field.
dark blue appliqued whales on a light blue field.
the free form quilting is supposed to be evocative of waves.
the free form quilting is supposed to be evocative of waves.

I washed it, wrapped it, and delivered it to my friends down the street. One baby done…

ready for delivery!
ready for delivery!

Not suitable for human consumption.

So I have this machine, but the first “how to use it” class isn’t for about 2 weeks… fuck it. Let’s light this candle.

shiny new Janome HD1000 that I don't know how to use
shiny new Janome HD1000 that I don’t know how to use

I have to give Janome credit – the manual for my machine is very good.  I read it cover to cover and busted the machine out.  The wife and I had done some fabric flowers for our wedding reception center pieces a few years ago so we had a bunch of miscellaneous fabric left over…

Quilts 2014-1542
about half done with the piecing. so far so good

I got to cutting and sewing and having a grand old time teaching myself to use my machine.  I had problems with inappropriate fabric, and I wasn’t about to go buy any new fabric yet, but I kept at it.  I ended up with a not-too-bad “quilt”.  I hadn’t used any batting for thickness, but I had done some nodes and straight line quilting and the thing was a very successful experiment.  I did have to bribe the dog into using it…

the dog would only lay on the quilt for a treat. traitor.
the dog would only lay on the quilt for a treat. traitor.