Friday, August 31, 2012

How to Make Two Sided Baby Blankets

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)

Hot off the press (ironing board, if you will) are three baby receiving blankets.  On each, one side is flannel and the other side is decorative cotton material.  Piping in contrasting fabrics is sandwiched between the sides.

These blankets are versatile.  They are large enough to use as a nursing cover, as extra warmth for a newborn, as a swaddling blanket, as an impromptu diaper changing area...or just maybe the baby will later want to use one as their very own Banky to wag around!  Hand sewn blankets can be much prettier than the ready made blankets available for purchase.  And who does not want something that you have personally made for a sweet new life?

The Knitmore Girls Podcast (click here for their blog link and be sure to listen to their podcast) raved about two sided baby blankets.  BTW, the Knitmores are a multi-generational knitting production with the youngest member of the troupe still in diapers.  And the new mama is ga-ga over these blankets.  So I decided to forge ahead and make up a few, along with a quick tutorial about how they were sewn.


Materials: Each blanket requires one yard of flannel and one yard of a coordinating cotton fabric, along with matching thread.  Piping is optional, but adds a decorative touch.  A piping tutorial website is linked here showing how to make bias binding from fat quarters.  Ingenious!  Purchase medium sized cording for covering your bias tape if you make it yourself.  Get out your coordinating scrap materials or buy fat quarters to make bias binding for the piping.  And remember that a piping foot for your sewing machine makes things much easier.

(hand made bias seam binding that covers cording sandwiched between right sides of fabric, ready to be sewn as outlined in second step below)


  • Trim pre-washed and machine dried pieces of one yard flannel material and one yard of a pretty coordinating 100% cotton decorative material into square of cloth the same size.  Press each piece of material to make it wrinkle free.  It is cotton, after all.  Put them together with right sides facing each other.  Then measure your fabrics and cut them (one on top of the other) to made all sides equal.  One of the blankets I made turned out to be 37" x 33" after both fabrics were squared up with one another and the selvaged edges removed.  (Receiving blankets are usually 34 inches or 36 inches square, but since you are making this blanket, you can approximate lengths and widths.)
  • Sew the optional piping using the tutorial above (four yards of it), or purchase piping (four yards per blanket), or leave off the piping altogether...sewer's choice.
  • Right sides of fabric together, sandwich the piping between the two fabric pieces, ensuring the piping edge is between the fabrics with the cording side to the left of the seam.  Sew around all four sides of the fabrics, leaving a 6 inch space free.  Turn to the outside. Smooth out the blanket and baste closed the six inch opening in the side, catching the piping between your basting area.  Close to the hand basted area, stitch "in the ditch" close to the piping, making sure to catch your basted areas with the machine stitching.
  • Press again.  You might want to go around one side of the piping with a machine stitch all the way around each side of the blanket to further flatten the fabrics together, but it is not necessary.
  • Sew your personalized tag onto the blanket to autograph your work.  (Thanks, Charlotte, for reminding me of those tags I bought back in the '70's!)

Such pretty and practical blankets for that new little one.  (Beatrix Potter would approve.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Three Shawls Knit Over the Summer

Three?  Did I need THREE shawls, the husband asked.  Well, yes, I did.  Started August 2, 2012 and completed August 27, 2012 in 100% cotton:

close up of the lace:

It blocked out at 86 inches at the widest point by 36 inches in length.  It is Wendy D. Johnson's Seriously Simple Shawl and is a free pattern found here on Ravelry.

Then on to another shawl I knit in June, July and finished on August 1, 2012, the Different Lines Shawl by Veera Välimäki:

And lastly, the WINGSPAN:
This pattern has been worked up 4,280 times at the writing. I knit it from June 27 to July 23, 2012.
This pattern is by maylin Tri'Coterie Designs; it is a free pattern and can be found here.

Just documenting some summer knitting; waiting for cooler weather to wear this neckware.

Friday, August 24, 2012

PPF and a Bee Sting

Participating in PPF, still the same canvas, still using oils, but not much work being done with it

because some ground bee bit my left hand two days ago leaving it swollen, red, itchy and uncomfortable.  Damn bee.

right hand not bitten:

See? Poor, pitiful me.

Benadryl in my body and salve on my hand, I'll be checking out others artwork on PaintPartyFriday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Places to Be

Come on over to Inspiration Avenue and play the game of "Where Would You Like to Be"?... here are some places where I might like to live:

Visit Inspiration Avenue and play the game of Places to Be!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Painting Bugs

It is Paint Party Friday and here is what is on the easel:

with these two butterflies and one moth that will hopefully resemble something like these pictures:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia Child would be 100 Today

My brother sent this.

The New York Times  has a researched article worth the read on some of the Julia Child favorites.  It says most of us have cooked (at least once) her famous recipe for coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon or maybe an omelette.  I surely did, back in the day.  We might take a few more short cuts these days.

Do you have a favorite Child recipe?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Butterflies as Photographed by C. Marley

Flipping through the pages of Christopher Marley's Pheromone coffee table book of bugs and other insect critters makes me gasp at all the colors they wear on their backs.  Philippine weevils don't seem to care that wearing bright red makes them look fat.

Yesterday I bought a 24"x30" canvas.  I'll paint three butterflies, side by side, mixing up spatial orientation.  Don't the colors seem unreal?  Here are my picks from Marley's book:

Marley's background was always white.  I am thinking a warm background of yellow/burnt copper. What is you favorite butterfly and which one would you omit?

This video was first published by Linda on her blog today, and it is worth a listen.

He Listens in Color

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dragonflies in Oil

One fine summer afternoon, a young fairy leaned over the bank of a creek to drink, but slipped and fell into the water. Now the current carried her away quickly like a wisp of wheat. Unfortunately, the fairy had left the magic wand in the grass, but no one was lost.

Fortunately the water fairies came to help, with a clap of hands made up by the river wave that lifted the fairy to the blue of the sky. While falling, small drops of water were transformed into dragonflies …. that’s why it seems that between the transparent wings of a dragonfly is entangled a drop of water.

16" x 20", Oil, Copyright Nancy McCarroll
...Like dragonflies, the hansoms hover,
With jeweled eyes, to catch the lover...
             (Richard Le Gallienne)

UPDATE: Just as I was finished hanging the above picture in our kitchen this morning, a dragonfly, very large, about three inches in length, flew into my study.  I took his picture (below).  I wonder what he was trying to tell me? Unbelievable!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wildflowers Part Deux

Being jazzed up by my wildflower visit to the Colorado mountains last weekend, I decided our flower beds in the back yard needed a make over.  And why not plant some wildflowers while I was at it?

After removing two dozen or so iris bulbs, clearing off the leaf debris from our cottonwoods which shed leaves all summer due to the low rainfall, I was ready to start planting.

Thus far here is the gardening score:

Purchased columbine and lupine this morning and planted:

Transferred yellow columbine: two plants:

Planted Bluebells: two plants:

Planted Penstemon: one plant:

Tended this ground cover which I am not yet able to identify, but it is doing well:

Shopped in my herb garden for dinner tonight (sage, parley, basil, oregano, tarragon, chives):
And here are morning glories about ready to bloom and some planted three weeks ago:

Transferred clematis: one plant, transferred delphinium: two plants. Transferred ground cover from top bed to prayer garden below.  Transferred two iris bulbs in prayer garden.  Husband chopped down 6 foot shrub and I cleaned off the debris.

Showered, ate yogurt and cereal, shopped, gardened and blogged and it is now 11 AM.  I am pooped already!  What is on your Saturday morning schedule?  Whatever you do, I hope it is relaxing.  Have a great weekend!