Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wonky Baby Quilt

After playing around with improvisational quilting and wonky quilting, I was inspired to try a whole quilt for my cousin. She is expecting her first baby soon.

Once again, I tried to pick fabric prints that have some relevancy to her life. I even included a print that reminds me of our grandmother. Some of the prints are just fun or have nice coordinating colors.

While searching for more examples of the wonky style of quilting, I found this blog post utilizing the stack and whack method of cutting. I was intrigued.

I had been collecting fabric for this quilt for a while now and had a few fat quarters, some pieces that were just over 1/4 yard and two prints I had ordered that were 1/2 yard each.  The white artist print I created with rubber stamps and permanent ink.

According to the tutorial I found, the size suggestion was to start with a 15 1/2" square. Some of my fabric wasn't big enough. Instead of totally abandoning the concept, I decided to take a remnant that was big enough, do some random cuts per the tutorial, and then use the remnant fabric as a pattern. It worked very well. I just needed to keep track of each pattern piece carefully and always put the whole thing back together like a puzzle.  I grouped the fabrics into three groups. The four different prints in each group would make up four different blocks with three prints in each.  No two would be alike.

Next I laid out all the blocks on the floor to decide where each would go.  After trying a few combinations, I took some pictures and even got some other opinions.  It's an interesting process keeping the same fabrics far enough away from each other and still liking the ones next to each other.

After completing each block, the directions suggest using a 12.5" square to square up each block.  That went well and did take off 1/2" or so off each side.  I was able to angle my square a little to enhance the wonkiness.

Once the placement was decided, sewing the blocks together was a breeze.  I hadn't purchased any border or backing fabric, so it was off to the store.  I found a few I liked but finally decided on a black with stripes and polka dots.  I passed by it a few times at the store and liked it every time.  I often like to avoid stripes, but the stripes are really cute especially for baby quilts.

The quilt was measuring about 37" by 49".  I figured adding a 3.5" border would work well.  Unfortunately that made the total quilt bigger than a typical width of fabric.  That means my back would be pieced.  But I like the idea of using small rectangles of the fabrics used on the back.  I took a 3.5" by 4" square of each fabric and sewed them together in a row.  Then I calculated how much fabric I'd need to make up the roughly 60" by 46" I should have for quilting.

Batting was also on my list.  I found a 60" by 60" packaged batting that would  be perfect.  It's a mix of organic cotton and bamboo.  It was very nice to work with and seemed to quilt up well.

The final steps were binding and adding a quilt label.  For binding I cut 3" strips, folded the long way and sewed it around.  To finish the binding, I hand sewed the folded edge to the back.

Wonky baby quilt
Finished Wonky Baby Quilt
Close up of one block
 I'm very happy with how everything came together.  It's always hard to know at the beginning stages if I'll like the fabrics together.  The quilting is always a gamble for me too.  I make decisions along the way, but once I start on one section, I feel a need to keep it going for the whole quilt.  I did free motion squiggles on each center square and outlined the two borders on each block.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Old Goretex Jacket Repurposed

My 12 year old broke his hand yesterday...I will probably never understand boys. Anyway, because the bone needed setting, the cast is not waterproof.

Five years ago my parents were in a bizarre accident and ultimately much of their clothing was cut in order to treat them. One item was my mom's Goretex jacket. I couldn't bear to throw out such nice fabric.

I've used parts of the jacket for other projects. One was to have a "jacket" for my mom's exposed broken leg and external fixator five years ago.

I looked and found the remaining fabric. I had the hood and one cut sleeve. I thought the sleeve would work well. The Velcro part at the bottom of the cuff worked for around my son's upper arm, then I decided to use more Velcro to insure it could go on easily. The rest I sewed up and around and then folded the seam over and sewed again. Hopefully this will make the seam waterproof enough.
waterproof cast cover protector
Goretex Cast Cover
This was one of my favorite kind of projects. It fulfills a need, uses fabric I have around, and took less than 30 minutes! I realize we could go the plastic bag route, but I hoped with this waterproof cast cover, my son could be fairly self sufficient. And I do enjoy a quick project.

We had a weekend planned at a hotel with a pool.  I knew the Gortex cover wouldn't be ideal for actual swimming and found a cast cover by DryPro.   It creates a vacuum around the cast preventing water from coming in.  Because of the rubbery material, it's important to keep sharp things away.  The fiberglass cast isn't very smooth, but I had read using a sock with the end cut open is a good layer.  We tried out that method at the pool.  It worked pretty well but did get some water in at the top opening at the arm.  It got the cast a little wet, but not the part around the actual break.  The second swim time we opened, checked, and revacuumed the sleeve regularly.  I think the final improvement would be to use a wool sock to help repel the water more.  Using cotton just kept any moisture that got in close to the cast.  I should mention too that he was swimming, pushing off the sides, and going underwater.  For someone just floating around and playing gently in the water, they might not need to check the cover as much.

Goretex cast cover at the beach
DryPro waterproof cast cover for swimming
Our weekend also included time at a beach.  The Goretex sleeve was perfect for playing in the sand with the occasional water play. It kept the sand out of the cast and kept it dry.  After all the covering and sock use this weekend, my son had the idea to just wear a cut sock on his cast while playing outside too.  It would just keep the cast cleaner.  Now we have the perfect use for all those unmatched socks!