Saturday, 16 February 2013

Felt Rabbit Pattern

This week's Felt Pattern Friday is all about bunnies! I drew bunnies often as a kid. I really enjoyed shaping their ears, but never quite managed to get the legs right, no matter how much I practiced. Artistic realism has never been my strong suit. I tend to perceive big bold shapes and colours rather than fine details and precise shades. The result is a rabbit pattern that, though undeniably cute, is very simple. This means I was able to include TWO copies of the pattern on this page, in different sizes.

Click HERE to download the free pattern.

This pattern image can be resized to make anything from a small bunny pin to a large bunny pillow. A PDF version of the pattern is also available through Craftsy HERE (PDFs can't be resized though).

I made one of my bunnies into an ornament by adding a string between its ears for hanging. I didn’t feel the need to give this one a nose or a tail since it was so brightly coloured. It's now hanging above my desk and makes me smile when I look up.

Want more adorable and free rabbit project ideas?

There are some pretty great Easter Peep bunny projects out there. My two favourites are this Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting from Made by Dana, and these delightful Marshmallow Bunny Plushies from Dandelions and Lace. Don’t you wish you were hugging one right now?

How about rabbit place settings for a dinner party table? (Make these a bit smaller and you've got a set of finger puppets.) You could even complement them with a simple rice filled bunny centerpiece.

The Hazelnuts Felt Bunny is a reproduction 1950s stuffed animal. The pattern comes with assembly instructions, as well as suggestions for embellishing your bunny or modifying its eyes to give it a range of emotions. I would customize mine to look bored and unimpressed.

Finally, for the littl’uns, there are simple projects like this stylish bunny hair barrette, and this bunny candy pouch.

Next week on Felt Pattern Friday, let's talk skunks!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Felt Bear Pattern

Welcome back to Felt Pattern Friday! This week, I've got a bear felt or appliqué pattern to share. This one has a lot of small pieces, but it's cute and very flexible. So far, I've made a polar bear and grizzly bear from this pattern, but there are so many more options! My other favourites include the black bear, and the pink funky bear:

Click HERE to download the free pattern.

This pattern image can be resized to make anything from a small bear pin to a large bear pillow. A PDF version of the pattern is also available through Craftsy HERE (PDFs can't be resized though).

A note of warning - this pattern can be rather difficult due to the tiny bear toes. If you are making a small bear, I highly recommend embroidering the toes with thread instead of cutting them out of felt. Really small felt bits are not easy to cut, and they are even less easy to attach! As you can see in the pictures of the brown bear, I had a bit of a hard time with the toes myself.

Personally, I think it would be a lot of fun to make a cushion or wall hanging with each member of the family represented as a bear, from the big Papa Bear holding a fishing rod, to the littlest sibling bear wearing a hockey jersey.

Want more adorable and free bear project ideas?

Check out Let's Do Sew's pattern and tutorial for a bear hoodie with paw print elbow patches! (I sometimes dream of doing this to all my clothes...) There is also a brown bear sweater version.

You can make an adorable felt bear pouch or pencil case with this pattern from The C Side. Or how about repurposing a child's favourite outgrown pyjamas into a bear so they can continue to enjoy them?

If you've ever wondered about the work and materials that go into making a real teddy bear, I highly recommend the Anatomy of a Bear series by bear artist The Littlest Thistle. I learned a ton reading this. Unlike mass-produced sold-in-store bears, these are detailed, articulated, and unique companions.

On a side note, I once had the opportunity to get close to a wild black bear. He (or she) was in a cage waiting to be relocated to the safety of a nature preserve further North by the local wildlife authority. Let me tell you, there is nothing adorable or cuddly about a muscular half-ton omnivore when it's angry. It makes me wonder how bears came to be the most popular stuffed animal for cuddling and comfort. Wouldn't puppies have been a better choice? Oh, and in case you're wondering what kind of bait would get a bear to voluntarily enter a cage... it was a box of donuts!

There are still a few woodland animal patterns to go, so look for rabbits in next week's installement of Felt Pattern Friday.

Hammer and Sickle Quilt Completed

Despite a few hiccups and about a hundred thread breaks (more on that here), my hammer and sickle train blanket is fully quilted, and turned out extremely well.

This is a lap quilt, made by request, for keeping warm on long train rides. I tried to make it big enough to fully cover a sleeping person in a seat, but small enough to be portable. That turns out to be 50" by 66". At the moment it's still very puffy and too big for carry-on luggage, but I'll let the washing machine give it a good beating this weekend.

The front of the blanket is entirely red, and its focal point is a hammer and sickle quilted in white thread at the top. I drew the outline with a water-soluble marker (which blew up and got ink everywhere - luckily it disappeared with a good soaking). I also drew some inner lines to make sure the different sections of the design would line up.

Since the front is all one fabric, the back of this quilt was my opportunity to get a bit more creative. I chose a print with skyscrapers full of random type and binary, and added a small piece of gingham and a red stripe for visual interest. I have to admit that I ended up liking the back of this blanket most.

Since it's Free Motion Quilting Friday, let's have a look at the quilting. It's the first time I use this boxy design, and I liked it a lot. You can't get stuck in a corner with this one. The only potential difficulty is keeping the lines straight when there's no edge nearby to use as a reference, but since every turn is ninety degrees that mostly takes care of itself.

Yes, I machine stitch my bindings. Shhh, don't tell the quilt police.

This blanket will be heading to its new home very soon. I hope it turns out to be the right size for its intended purpose.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Blocks of the Month for January

Last year, I was inspired by the Quilt Matters Colour My World Challenge to sew a series of coloured quilt blocks using a new improvisational technique each month. By the end of the year, I had 12 pleasingly wonky blocks to work with, and a plan to turn them into a bedspread for our guest room.

For this project, I actually need 24 blocks, so each month I'll be making a companion block to one of the colour challenge blocks, and quilting both with designs from Leah Day's online class Free Motion Quilting a Sampler.

There are a lot of great sources of inspiration for this project. It will be hard to pick just 12 designs! I'll be making my favourite blocks from the Pile O'Fabric Skill Builder Block of the Month, The Cute Life's Try Something New sampler series, and the Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month.

The first block I made is the Pile O'Fabric Sound Wave block. I'm really pleased with this one!

It goes with my improvised red block from last January, to which I've added sashing of the same colour.

October's grey block got the same treatment.

The companion for my grey block is based on Amy Gibson's slashed block from 2012 Craftsy BOM. As you may know, I'm terrible at following pattern directions. Modifying things to see what will happen always seems more interesting than just making them. In this case, it didn't occur to me until late in the process that varying the width of the slash strips would prevent them from lining up when I sewed the pieces back together. Oh well. The result is slightly wonky looking, but considering the nature of this quilt, I'm happy with that.

The plan was to construct one block every month, and quilt two, but I'm out of batting and it's been too cold to think of going out to get more. Until that situation is resolved, I'll be using the time to get ahead in companion block construction.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Fire Hydrant Quilt Block Pattern Now Available!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Felt Pattern Friday to bring you exciting pattern news. (Don't worry, FPF will be returning return next week, with some bears!)

Way back in May of last year, I started working on my very first quilt block pattern. I put together some prototype fire hydrants, loved them, and proceeded to write out a list of step by step instructions for their assembly, as well as detailed diagrams for every step. It was a longer process than expected, but I'm extremely happy with the result.

Pattern now available through Craftsy HERE!

Is this a paper pieced block?
This is not a foundation piecing pattern. The only tools required are a quilting ruler, rotary cutter and sewing machine, which makes it a perfect project to practice your precision cutting and sewing.

Can this block accommodate directional fabrics?
Yes. The cutting and assembly instructions take into account fabrics with a directional design.

Can you make this block using scraps?
Sure! Substituting one of the fabrics with a combination of scraps in the same colourway will give your block even more of a modern look.

Some notes on copyright:
This pattern was released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence. This means that you are free to share and modify the design, and use it to make items for sale. Having put in the hard work required to sew a fire hydrant from this pattern, I believe you should be able to do what you want with your project. Please do not repost the pattern without my permission or distribute it as your own work.

I am extremely thankful to my testers Megan and Danielle for taking the time to make fire hydrants of their own to help me smooth out the kinks. Their feedback, support and patience are very much appreciated. Check out their awesome work!

Image courtesy of AnnieOak Designs
Image Courtesy of Fresh Off the Spool
If you make a fire hydrant from this pattern, I encourage you to share it through Craftsy's Add a finished project feature. I would love to see it! Here are some of mine. I look forward to making more soon!