Hot Air Balloon Crib Quilt


This fall, I was given some hot air balloon fabric to match my toddler’s bedroom, and with the weather getting colder, I knew a quilt for his crib was the perfect way to use it.

I stuck with a very simple design to showcase the fabric, and I even had some coordinating Kona blue on hand for the back. I did my first freehand FMQ, a wavy crosshatch.

Unfortunately, when I washed the quilt, I had my first experience with bearding. I almost cried when it came out of the washer looking like this:

I had to do some googling, and ran across this article that says it is caused by static and the dye in the fabric. I’m not sure if it was because of the dry weather, or because I chose wool batting (another first), but either way, there was no quick fix. I spent maybe half a dozen sessions painstakingly pulling wool fibers off both sides, using a spray bottle with some dryer sheets in water to keep any further static at bay. (I have since invested in some anti-static spray; otherwise, I’d never be brave enough to wash this quilt again!)

I’m still finding little pills of batting on the quilt, but nothing too horrible. My son likes his hot air balloons, and the quilt keeps him warm on our bitter Minnesota winter nights. 🙂

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Quiet Book

Last summer, my two-year-old started taking more interest in the quiet book my sister-in-law made for him. It only had three pages, but it was made to be expandable, so I decided to make him some new pages for Christmas. I went to Pinterest for inspiration, and let me tell you, once I saw all the cute ideas out there, it was hard to stop myself from making everything! I ended up with six new pages, two of which are two-page spreads.

First up, a tooth-brushing hippo:

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Then my son’s favorite, the dump truck:

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Within moments, the ribbons were all torn loose, so unless you have a very gentle child, I recommend going without.

Then we have one of my personal favorites, and also one of the most fiddly to make, the socks in the dryer:

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The socks all have magnets sewn inside, so the pairs can be matched up.

Then a sandcastle:

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The pieces can be arranged however he wants, and stored in the bucket.

Next, another very fiddly page, the counting jellyfish:

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I made sure the knots were extra tight and the cords sewn in extra well to make sure no beads were going to come loose for my new baby to eat!

Last, a nest of ducklings that hatch from their eggs to go swim in the pond:

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This was my most original design, made as a cross between these chicks and this duck pond.

I had a lot of fun making these pages; we’ll see how long it takes for my son to spend as long playing with it as I did making it!

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Roots and Branches


I’m woefully out of date documenting my projects, so I’m going to spend the next couple weeks trying to catch up. This first one was a joint project with my mom in the first three weeks after my son was born last summer. It was a gift for her brother, who recently became partially paralyzed and is confined to a wheelchair. My mom did most of the design and piecing, while I served as advisor and instructor (since she has sewed before but not quilted), and at the end I did the quilting and binding.

The tree is appliqué, copied freehand from Pinterest. I marked all the circles and quilted with FMQ, rather than with a walking foot like I did previously on my dragonfly quilt. I made myself a little tool to keep an even offset for the circles, which worked very well. (Tape some cardboard to the pen and trace the previous line with it, marking with the pen at an offset.)

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The finished quilt was very wavy, so I put pockets in all four corners and inserted a piece of cardboard to keep it as flat as possible on the wall.

My mom hand sewed the charms on at the end. I thought it came out well, particularly considering our time constraints (we had to finish before my mom went back home!), and it was well received by my uncle.

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