Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Denim Tooth Fairy Pillow -- Sewing Tutorial

The possibilities for embellishing this Denim Tooth Fairy Pillow are endless, but here are basic instructions for making a bare-bones version as a jumping-off point.  It would be adorable to make one with some of that pom-pom edging, use colored denim or heavy canvas, add a little appliqué detail, or even simply sew some decorative stitching on the pockets.  These would be great gifts for any upcoming birthday parties the kids are invited to, because it's one-size-fits-all and everyone loses teeth!

You can use strongly contrasting denims (as with the one on the left, which was a prototype with slightly different sizing), and any color or stitching or piping that your heart desires.  I can't wait to make a few more with some bright colors.

Denim Tooth Fairy Pillow -- Sewing Tutorial

Materials Needed:

Old jeans (or denim off the bolt) or heavy canvas, in two contrasting shades if you desire
     * Cut the denim meant for the main part of the pillow into two 8" squares
     * Slightly round the corners of each of the main pillow pieces
     * Pattern drafting directions for the pocket shape are below
Piping -- at least 36"
Thread color of choice for topstitching
Thread to match piping
Denim/leather/heavy duty needle
Pillow stuffing
Paper (just a small scrap)
Zipper or piping foot (not required, but helps a bunch)

Seam allowances vary throughout the project and are indicated at the appropriate times.

Instructions for drawing pocket pattern:

Draw a rectangle with a width of 3 1/2" and a height of 3 3/4".  Draw a dot on both the right and left sides (the longer sides) at 2 3/4" down from the top.  Draw a dot in the center of the bottom (shorter) side (at 1 3/4" from the edge).  Connect the side dots to the bottom center dot to form the upside down pentagon shape for the pocket pattern.

Cut out the pattern and cut two of these shapes from the denim meant for the pockets.  I love to use freezer paper so that I can iron the shiny side of the pattern piece to the fabric, which temporarily makes it stick and prevents it from slipping around while I'm cutting.

STEP ONE: Preparing the pockets

Press under each side of both pockets 1/4" and steam the heck out of them with your iron.  With a thicker denim, it works better to press about 1/3" under, which won't make much difference in the finished product.

Denim does NOT like to stay in shape, so flip each of the pockets over at add some topstitching 1/8" from the edge to keep it all stable.  Add a second line of top stitching 1/4" below the top horizontal line.  I went over both of the horizontal lines of stitching twice to make them darker.  The other four lines will get a second layer when you stitch the pockets on to the pillow, so no need to reinforce those at this time.  Repeat the whole process with the second pocket, then press them well.

STEP TWO: Adding decorative topstitching to the pillow

With a blue pen (or a disappearing fabric marker), draw two vertical parallel lines 1/4" apart on either side of the center of the main pillow piece.   It's hard to see in this photo, but you can see it if you squint.  Top stitch down both of this lines.  I used the triple stitch function on my machine so the stitching would look extra strong, and it looked pretty cool.  If you don't have a triple stitch function or don't know what the heck I'm talking about, you can achieve a similar effect by just sewing over the lines two or three times.

Doesn't the triple stitch look nice?  Anyway, with your pen, make a dot on both the left and right sides that is 2" down from the very top (where the corners would have been if you hadn't already rounded them off) and another one 1/4" below.  Then, draw dots down the center line (between the two lines of stitching you just did) at 3" down from the top edge, and then draw another one 1/4" below that.  Connect the top dots on each side with the top dot in the center, and the lower dots on each side with the lower dot in the center to form the two parallel chevrons.  It probably makes more sense just to look at the photo below.

Stitch over those lines in the same manner as the vertical lines (triple stitch if you have it, several layers of topstitching if you don't).

STEP THREE: Sewing on the pockets

Pin on the pockets with their edges about 1/4" or so from the vertical lines of stitching, and about 1/2" below the bottom point of the chevron point.  You can totally just eyeball it, but make sure that the pockets aren't too close to the edges of the pillow piece -- keep them at least 3/4" inches away or so.

Stitch the pockets on by going over the side and bottom lines of stitching.  Don't sew across the horizontal, or else you will stitch the pockets shut.  Sew a few reinforcing stitches at the tops of the pockets to make sure overeager Tooth Fairies don't accidentally pull the pocket loose.

STEP FOUR: Adding the piping

Swap the regular foot on your machine out for the zipper foot.  I hear a piping foot is super awesome for projects for this, but I don't have one of those just yet.  Remind me to add one of those to my wish list!  Also, change your thread to match the piping.

Line the raw edge of the piping up with the raw edge of your pillow piece (it doesn't matter which piece you use) on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric, starting near the bottom middle.  Starting in about an inch and a half from the end of the piping, stitch right on top of the stitching that holds the cord inside the piping cover, making sure to keep the raw edges of the piping and the fabric lined up.  I don't like to pin the piping ahead of time, but you can certainly do that if you prefer.

Before you get to each corner, clip the raw edge of the piping (almost all the way to the stitch line, but not quite there) in a few places to help ease the piping around the corner.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of it.

When you get near the beginning, cut the end of the piping so it overlaps the piping at the start by about an inch and a half.  At this point, you can either cross over the piping ends (with the raw ends forced toward the outside of the pillow) or you can do a nifty trick I learned from Noelle O Designs to sneak one end into the other to make it appear almost like never-ending piping.  She explains the process far better than I ever could, so go to her tutorial for better instructions.

Here is what it should look like once your piping is added.  You can see the little clips I made (probably far more than necessary) at the corners.  I chose to use the continuous piping method and you can barely tell at the bottom where the ends of the piping come together.  Such a nifty little trick!

STEP FIVE: Final construction of the pillow

Pin the other 8" pillow piece to the piece with the piping with the right sides facing.  Make sure the piece with the piping is pinned on top, because you will be stitching the pillow pieces together by following the stitches you can see on the wrong side.  Line up the raw edges very carefully, because there is not a whole lot of room for error with such a small seam allowance.

Starting on the right side, a couple of inches up from the bottom corner, sew the two pieces together by stitching right on top of the line of stitching that attached the piping.  Make sure to stop about three inches before you reach the beginning so there is a gap left for turning.

It looks like I forgot to leave a gap when I stitched the pieces together, but that's just the piping stitching line that you can see in the gap.  In this photo, you can see some extra stitches in the seam allowance where I started and ended my stitching.  A better explanation of the reason for this is found in the Neat Finish Window Pouch Tutorial, but it helps the fabric turn in after the work it turned right side out.

I totally forgot to take pictures of it, but make sure to cut three tiny wedges out of the seam allowance around each corner (near the stitching line, but not through it) to reduce bulk once the piece is turned right side out.  After you cut those wedges, turn the pillow right side out and admire how adorable it it.

Add some stuffing (not tons -- don't overstuff it!), making sure that enough gets into each corner.  Then, grit your teeth, grab a hand-sewing needle and some of the thread that matches your piping and get to work using a blind ladder stitch to hand-sew the opening closed.  I HATE THIS PART, but it looks much nicer than if you try to sew it closed by machine.  I have tried and tried to get pillows to look nice by machine-sewing the opening closed, but it just doesn't seem to be possible.

All done!  Now grab the nearest kid and wiggle a baby tooth out of his or her head to use as bait for the Tooth Fairy.  Charlotte wanted to know if she had to lose two teeth at a time because there were two pockets on the pillow, but I told her the other pocket was so she could write the Tooth Fairy a note or something.  I don't always have all the answers, but I have no problem making them up in situations involving fairies.

Tutorial for personal use only, please.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Tooth Fairy pillow

If wishing could make teeth fall out, Charlotte wouldn't have a single one left in her head.  Unfortunately, she has yet to lose a single baby tooth and it's darn near killing her.  Everyone else in her kindergarten class (according to Charlotte, at least) has already lost at least one tooth.  (Of course, it seems like half of her class has already turned 6, so that does make Charlotte one of the younger ones in there.)  I tried to reassure her that Auntie Ernie and I also had "slow teeth" and that they fell out eventually, but the poor girl is still bereft that her teeth are staying stubbornly in place.

I had mentioned to my friend, Nancy, that I needed to make a Tooth Fairy pillow for when Charlotte's teeth finally decided to jump ship.  The next time I saw her, she brought me an example of a ridiculously cute pillow her mother had made (she is an amazing seamstress/quilter) that looked like the back of a pair of jeans.  I fell in love with it and loosely copied it by just winging a pattern and eyeballing everything.  (Please excuse Charlotte's bed head and Wonder Woman/Batgirl/Supergirl pajamas.)

The lighter blue denim is from some shockingly short (at least in my opinion, anyway) jean shorts I wore in college/law school, and the darker denim is cut from a leg left over from a pair of Charlotte's old jeans.

I made the pillow gender neutral so we could use it for both kids.  I'm totally going to steal the idea I heard about where the Tooth Fairy leaves a "tooth receipt" that we can then put in Charlotte's baby book.  Too bad the baby book is still woefully incomplete.  Don't even get me started on how terribly empty Peter's is.  I'm definitely NOT a candidate for mother of the year.  I can sew silly things for my kids all day long, but keeping a scrapbook to document their babyhood freezes me up instantly.

So where does the tooth go, Charlotte?

I keep teasing her about just yanking one of her teeth out with some pliers, but she doesn't think that's funny at all.  Five bucks says one finally gets accidentally knocked loose when she and her brother are tussling over a toy or something.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mom's Lonestar Armadillo

I pinned this pattern by Wolf Dreamer a million years ago, knowing that it would be the perfect present for my mother, who recently moved to Texas.  She likes quirky things like an armadillo with a Texas flag for a shell.

I forgot to take detailed glamor shots of him before I gifted him to Mom, but you get the idea.  She sent me this picture of the armadillo in his new home.  What a hilarious pattern!  I love Wolf Dreamer's crochet patterns.  Check out her shop on Etsy or her blog if you get a chance.

Corey's Spartan Hat

My hilarious brother-in-law, Corey, mentioned to me during Thanksgiving that he was wishing for one of those knit/crocheted hats that look like a Spartan hat (though not with Michigan State University colors-- he wanted classic bronze, black, and red) to wear while he shoveled snow.  He wanted to be able to pull the visor down over his face so he could stay warm during those all-too-often snow shoveling events now that he was back living in Michigan.  We looked all over the internet and chose this pattern (it looks like the pattern is no longer available for some reason, but you can buy the finished hats).  Here's the finished product!

I modeled it myself and took selfies with the iPad, so I apologize for how bizarre the pictures look.  I am a better crocheter than model.

Ack!!  Why are my eyes open so wide?!

Here's the coolest thing about the hat....  I lined with with fleece!!!  I looked at a bunch of tutorials online and with Niki's help, I successfully sewed the lining with the sewing machine (just for the center seam) and with a sewing needle (I don't think a sewing machine would work to attach the lining to the crocheted part of the hat.  Just wearing the hat for 5 minutes around the house made my head feel like it was in a sauna, so hopefully Corey will stay warm in this spartan helmet!

I went a little rogue with the pattern and added the fringe to the comb on the top and back of the helmet.  Corey specifically asked for red yarn, and the original pattern stopped with a crocheted ridge.

It was fun collaborating with Niki and Corey to make this helmet!  I think I tried it on Corey's head about 8 times and asked for his input at least 10 times.  Now I'm itching to make some more lined hats.  Since I made this helmet, I made another Hello Kitty hat and lined it, but I didn't have the recipient (Sonia's friend, Ana, who was turning 5 this month)) nearby to try it on, so it turned out too small.  SHOOT!!!!!!  But Ana claims to love it anyway and shoves it on her head as best she can.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of her in it!

Argh.  Crocheting clothing is infuriating sometimes.  I like making stuff where gauge doesn't matter as much.  At least this hat turned out pretty good!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Milo's Rocket Ship

Way back in November (I'm kind of blogging out of order....), I crocheted this adorable little rocket for Sonia's friend, Milo.  Milo was turning 4 years old, and when I asked his mom for ideas of what to crochet for him, she mentioned some really cute rocketship bedding she had just bought him at Target.  I tried to use the same colors as the bedding, and here is the result:

Bobo is always trying to get in the crocheted creations pictures!  He thinks his handsomeness should be captured for posterity.

Love the fire colors coming out of the bottom!  I made the rocket using Red Heart Super Saver yarn and this pattern.  When I saw that the pattern was written by someone using the name "The Flying Dutchman", I knew I had to buy it.

Bobo is not impressed.  But Milo was!  He seemed to really love it when he opened it at his birthday party.

Happy birthday, Milo buddy!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

State of Michigan pillow for Stephanie

Erin is always amused by the amount of state pride shown by people who live in Michigan (at least as compared to Illinois residents, who don't really seem to have much).  It IS pretty amazing, actually.  I can't drive a mile without passing a car sporting a Michigan bumper sticker, and I have never before seen so many people celebrating their state in the form of silk-screened t-shirts, keychains, flags, beer cozies, and welcome mats (among a billion other things).  I think the fervent Michigan pride is partly a defensive response to a huuuuuuuuge bad rap given to the most notorious city in the state and the very high profile economic collapse of the state's most famous industry.  Another part of it is a genuine love for the state and its easily recognizable shape.  Other than that, I think it's just sort of fun and trendy to have a mitten-shaped image on your car, t-shirt, etc.

I have lived in many states (specifically Washington, Alabama, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, and finally Michigan) and really don't see a whole lot of differences between them other than climate -- they all have nice people, irritating people, grocery stores, malls, parks, good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods, etc.  I don't understand why people think the quality of life or the personality of the community members will be so wildly different from state to state.  When I told people I was moving to Michigan last year, everyone acted like I was moving to Section 8 housing in the middle of a violent ghetto.  I guess when the rest of the country really only hears about the horrors of the abandoned buildings, ridiculously high crime, and abject poverty in Detroit, it's hard to imagine that there might be a thriving economy with really nice suburban life just a few miles away.  (For the record, our house is right at 28 Mile Road, so we're only 20 short miles from 8 Mile -- the northern border of Detroit.)

BUT I DIGRESS.  My sister-in-law, Stephanie, moved back to Michigan from Minnesota less than a year before Corey and I moved up here, and she definitely has state pride.  My mother-in-law spotted some pillows with a Michigan appliqué on them when she and Stephanie were shopping in northern Michigan last summer, so she was the one who gave me the idea to make this fun pillow for Steph for Christmas.

It's about 18 inches square, and I used some heavy-duty tan fabric that I found in the "utility fabrics" section.  The fabric I used for the state shape was a bit of lightweight canvas I had left over from a tote bag I made for Erin a couple of years ago.  I used light blue piping, and this is probably the best job I have ever done with sewing it on properly.  I rounded the corners a bit to make it easier with the piping.

My only complaint?  The ridiculously irregular borders of this state!  I just about made myself cross-eyed trying to get it sewn on decently.  I just hope nobody looks too closely at it.  I had even simplified the shape quite a bit when tracing the darn thing from the map, but it's still kind of a crazy mess thanks to those pesky Great Lakes shorelines.  Too bad Steph doesn't live in Colorado or something.  Then again, that would have resulted in a pretty boring pillow.  (Somehow, I don't think people run around with t-shirts bearing the silhouette of Colorado -- not without in image overlaid of their cool flag.  Now THAT would be a fun pillow to make to commemorate having lived there!  Maybe someday I will make a pillow for every state I have lived in, using each state's most recognizable symbol.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guest post from our little brother, Jordan -- Memoirs of a Gigolo

Well of course- what would YOU call a male hooker?

Anyway, I set out to make a rag rug for Grandpa Chuck as a Christmas gift.  I figure the last thing he needs is another gadget or gewgaw he can't even see, but I can at least give him something comfy to stand on while he blindly brews coffee.  Happy Holidays from Dr. Scholl, or something like that.

I ripped the edging hems off of two sheets, one red and one pale green, measured 3" intervals all down one side, then ripped each measure down the length of the sheet to within an inch of the opposite side.

The result looked like one of those heavy, sloppy brushes you see in drive-through car washes.  Once this was complete, I tore each of these 3" strips in half starting from the 'spine' and ending within an inch of the free end.  This created one long serpentine of 'yarn' from the entire sheet.  Trying to keep it all together, I could imagine what it must be like trying to wrestle a jellyfish and its unholy mass of tentacles and slaw.

I say- tearing a sheet apart isn't exactly as impressive as ripping the Denver Metro phone book in half, but by the end of it my arms were tired!  Assuming standard sizes for sheets (green was a king, red a queen), an inch hem removed from both dimensions, and the inch reserved for continuity, I calculate that I ripped 15,226 inches of fabric.  That's 1,269 feet or nearly a quarter mile!  Hulk Hogan thinks he's a badass because he rips one T-shirt down its 2 foot length.  Try ruining 600 shirts in a row, Mr. Tough-Guy, then see if you can still full-nelson the Macho Man.  Betcha can't, homeskillet.

What a huge pile of sheet.

Once the sheets were rendered to a mountain of spaghetti, I rolled each into a yarn ball for easy wrangling during the crochet process.  Let it be said that for a dude to crochet it requires big balls.  Here they are next to a full size claw hammer for reference.

I set out to make a simple round rug for Gpa, starting with a chain of six and adding six each row, but before I knew it I had a base of seven knots and was mysteriously adding one extra knot each round.  I guess I forgot how to end a row and begin a new one when crocheting discrete circular rounds.  Halfway through I remembered how it's supposed to go, but I just let it ride and kept adding seven knots per row.

As the rug grew in size the ball-in-use kept yapping around my feet like a Yorkshire terrier.  I had fun kicking it across the room occasionally, but it would simply return and start nipping at my ankles again.  It reminded me of the time in high school when we tied a few shirts into a ball, dunked it in diesel, and played fireball soccer.  So much fun!  The town of Foresthill, CA dodged a burn-to-the-ground bullet that night.

Kittens run in fear of these oversized yarn balls.

Halfway through the rug I realized I might have enough stock for two rugs, so I did some quick calculations.  My scale said I had 875 grams left of the green ball, 634g of the red and 346g of rug already made for 1855 total grams of stock.  I had a circular rug 8" in radius, so pi-r-squared said I had 254 square inches of rug at 1.362g/square inch.  927g of stock (half of the total) would then allow for a 14" radius rug, which is a good size.  Using all the stock for one rug would make a 20" radius rug, which is huge- Gpa's condo isn't exactly the largest domicile in existence.  Two rugs it is!

For the second rug I decided to employ the hexagonal method, which is the same as crocheting in a circle except you add the stitches in the same place every time.  Eventually this creates corners.  I presume that if you added enough rows in this manner (like hundreds) it would eventually take on a snowflake shape with the corners stretching out further than the sides.  As it was, I barely had enough rows to form a definite hexagon, but give me a break-I was running out of stock quickly.

Near the end I finished the last red row with only about 2 feet of extra length.  This was almost as satisfying as arbitrarily grabbing the exact number of hangers required for the load of shirts coming out of the dryer.

So there they are, two freshies to add to the memory vault.  The lighting, when combined with an iPad camera and an apathetic attitude towards photography in general, makes the green look a little sickly.  In person it is a fine color combination anyone would take home to mother.  Which is, incidentally, exactly what I'm going to do.  The hexagon is for Ma.


Note from Niki -- GOOD LORD, I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THE FIREBALL SOCCER GAME!  And I find it all kinds of hilarious that a claw hammer was used for scale while documenting a crochet project.  My brother is a complete goofball -- you would never know from reading this that he was a varsity wrestler in high school.  And how many chemists crochet rag rugs in their spare time?  Not many, I'd bet.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An MSU Rose Bowl souvenir

Does it count as a souvenir if you don't bring it back from actually going to the Rose Bowl?  Probably not.  Anyhow, to celebrate Michigan State's upcoming Rose Bowl appearance (the first in two and a half decades, or something like that), I made two of my favorite Spartans (my sister-in-law, Stephanie, and her husband, Don) a nice fleecy blanket to cuddle up in while watching the game.

The green and white chevron fleece caught my eye as I was shopping at Jo-Ann's a couple of weeks ago, and I knew I had to get a couple of yards of it to use for something for someone in Corey's Michigan State-obsessed family.  I showed it to Corey, and while I was brainstorming out loud about making it into a blanket with some sort of appliqué, he had a flash of inspiration and suggested sewing on this year's Rose Bowl logo.

He pulled up the image on the computer and I immediately fell in love with it.  Then I counted -- there are 19 different pieces making up that damn thing.  We debated how large to make it, and how to even blow it up to a decent size.  Corey figured out how to print the image over a bunch of 11" x 17"pages and then I taped it together.  Then, I traced it on to Wonder Under, being careful to label each one with a number so I could keep them straight.  After that, I fused the Wonder Under shapes to the appropriate color fabric (I used some Kona cotton from Jo-Ann's), cut them out, and got them laid out onto the blanket.  I was afraid of how the iron would affect the fleece, but I kept the temperature low and the pieces fused onto the fleece with no problems.

Appliquéing all those pieces onto the blanket was awkward, but ultimately easier than I thought.  It took a few hours to get it done, and I had to re-fuse several of the pieces that kept wanting to peel off after getting munched up and manhandled as I worked on stitching adjacent pieces.  Wonder Under doesn't typically fail like that, but I wasn't able to use the high heat necessary to get a good fuse, plus the fibrous nature of the polyester fleece didn't provide a very good adhering surface.  It all worked out in the end, though!

I bound the fleece in some store-bought quilting binding.  I actually hadn't bought enough and Corey volunteered to pick some up for me while he was out Christmas shopping.  I had very low expectations of him finding anything close to the right thing, but I sent him a cell phone picture of the package and crossed my fingers.  Amazingly enough, he was able to come home with the exact right binding!  He was so proud of himself.  Good boy!

The only problem is this is definitely one of those projects that is killing me to give away.  Corey started whining for one of his own and I told him to simmer down and give me time to recover from this first blanket.  It was definitely my most ambitious appliqué project yet!  Here's hoping that Steph and Don love it, and that Michigan State does well enough in the game that the Rose Bowl logo won't evoke horrible memories after the game.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yarn bags for Barb & Kappy

I made a couple more of those Double Skein Yarn Bags for my mother-in-law, Barb, and her mom, Kappy, for Christmas.  They each do a bit of knitting, and I figured they were long overdue for some bags of their own.

I used the same fabric as for Kym's napkin holder.  Can't wait until they open them!

Peter's Superman and Charlotte's Wonder Woman (with bonus Batmans!)

And here they are.... my new favorite amigurumis that I have ever created!  I made Superman and Wonder Woman for my beloved niece and nephew (aka Peter and Charlotte, Niki's kids).

I made Wonder Woman using Ohana Craft's pattern. The little skirt is what sold me-- so much cooler than running around in her underpants!  The shoes/boots crack me up, too.

Superman's pattern came from Clare Heesh, and I think the best part is the hair.  I stitched each strand over a little black wig cap.  It didn't take as long as I thought it would!

I did go rogue on the cape.  Clare's original pattern calls for a felt cape, but I didn't think it would stand up to Peter-grade play as well as a crocheted one, so I stole the pattern from the Batman I made him last year.  In looking for a picture of Batman, I just realized that I never posted one on this blog!  And, I never posted a picture of the Batman that I crocheted for Sonia's buddy, Evan!  So, here's a bit of a tangent for you.

This first Batman was made from Nerdigurumi's pattern, which is based on how Batman looks in the video game "Gotham City Imposters".  It was an early amigurumi for me, and I took this picture on my cell phone in bad lighting.

Here's the Batman I crocheted for Evan, but be forewarned....  I took these next two pictures after Batman had been played with (and washed) several times, so he looks a bit well-loved.

I free-handed this Batman using this basic amigurumi doll pattern.  Here's a better view of the flowing cape, which I borrowed from Nerdigurumi's Batman pattern.

Anyway, back to Wonder Woman and Superman.  I see some tiny imperfections (Wonder Woman's feet kind of turn to her right and her right arm is a bit wonky), but overall, I am so proud of these guys.  I made another set for Sonia's little buddies, Zach and Amelia, but I failed to take any pictures of those ones.

One more story about these guys....  I was having THE worst time trying to cut felt nicely enough to make the tiny stars and each superhero's chest logo.  Niki to the rescue!!  She had a small star punch (meant for scrapbooking, probably) that she had bought at Joann Fabrics a while back, and it worked on the stiff felt!  Then, we figured out that her Silhouette machine would work to cut out the intricate shapes on the stiff felt.  Amazing!!!!  That machine saved my sanity (and the amigurumis).  I then stitched the S onto Superman's logo shapes with embroidery floss.  Voila!

My gorgeous niece and handsome nephew love to snuggle their teeny superheroes!

P.S. Even though Niki is listed as the author of the post, this powerful pair was crocheted by me (Erin). I just forgot to take glamor shots of these amigurumis before I gifted them to Charbunkle and Pete-za Pie, so Niki was kind enough to do a photo session and upload the pictures to the Blogger program for me.  Thank you thank you thank you, Niki!!!  Sorry I cleaned out my clarinet with one of your toothbrushes that one time.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fancy Christmas Napkins

For my mother-in-law's Christmas present, I made a set of 12 cloth Christmas dinner napkins -- made in a very similar manner to the Christmas tree ornaments, only much bigger.  I basically followed a tutorial from Keepsake Quilting, but put in fewer folds to end up with a chubbier end product.

We're having two formal dinners at Barb's over the next couple of days, and I hope that these match her table well enough that she might want to use them for one of them.  I wasn't sure how many to make, but I figured that since there were going to be 10 adults (Barb, Larry, me, Corey, Stephanie, Don, Granny, Dave, Lisa, and Ellie) at Barb's dinner the day after Christmas, I had better make it an even dozen.  Well, Ellie is almost an official adult anyway!  Isn't 12 place settings a typical number for a set of china?  I'll have to ask Barb how many place settings of china she has.  I bought two yards of each fabric and have enough left over to make at least four more napkins if she thought she might like some more.  I hope to take a photo of the napkins with her place setting if she chooses to incorporate them!

I'm such a sucker for polka dots.

The napkins are ironed in to shape, of course, but the tutorial also directs you to add lines of stitching where the folds should go to assist with getting the tree folded properly in the future.  It's an odd shape for a dinner napkin, but it's kind of fun.

I used what feels like quilting cotton for these.  I made them the same way I made the ornaments, but skipped the step of adding interfacing to one of the fabrics.  The fabric half-circles were cut to 18 inches across their diameters, but the seam allowances ate up a bit of that.  The finished product is a little more than 17 inches across.

These were very fun to make, but after making nearly 30 of the tree ornaments and 12 of these napkins, I think I'm done sewing half circles for a while!