dimanche 5 février 2017

An Embroidery Project: Baby blanket

Many years ago, I discovered my step mom's collection of craft magazines, and especially one from the 70's and 80's (that has long been discontinued), named "100 idees" (100 ideas). It was an incredible wealth of craft projects, and one in particular was (and still is) a favorite of hers.

In this alphabet, each letter came with a different little character, each cuter than the other, engaging in an equally cute activity of sort. The letters were templates meant to be embroidered.
The magazine suggested embroidering the whole alphabet on a bed sheet, but my step mom used it on multiple occasion to embroider the name of the child on bed sheets or pillows cases.

As a teenager, I had tried my hand at embroidering, using just my initials, but i didn't then have much patience (or care) for it, and my letters remained unfinished for pretty much 20 years. I've always kept that little piece of fabric with me though, with the idea of one day completing it, and what's more, I've always wanted in the back of my mind, to one day use it for a new baby.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago, when our good friends K&J told us they were expecting. Right away I knew their little baby would be the recipient of an embroidered item.

Rather than a bed sheet, I decided to go with a quilted blanket.  First I started looking for a print to be used on the other side of the embroidered side. The baby's mom studied marine biology so I started looking for sea animals. It actually proved to be pretty complicated to find. Although there were a million different options for prints at my local fabric stores, very few of them had a marine animal theme and those that did just didn't appeal to me.
So I turned to online stores and found it equally challenging to find something I liked. But eventually I found this Robert Kaufman print that was perfect, and I ordered it.

Sea Animals in Ocean from Friendly Seas Collection by Cynthia Frenette for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Once I had the "backing" fabric, I purchased a piece of fabric in a complementing solid color. The embroidery pattern gives details as to which color floss to use for each part of the letter and characters, referencing DMC floss. Luckily Michael's carries DMC and had most of the colors or a variation of so it was easy to source out.

Because I wanted this to be extra special, I also looked at all the little characters on the alphabet, and decided to switch out some of the ones that came with the letter I needed.
His mom loves foraging mushrooms so I used the little girl picking out mushrooms for the W. The little gardener was another one I decided to pick because both his parents are very outdoorsy and that fit pretty well. I also used the little fishing guy since his dad likes to fish, and the little boy with a dog since they own a dog.

I played around in Photoshop to mix and match the characters and the letters and eventually came up with the right combo. I then traced all my letters and characters from the original template, then transferred them onto the fabric. I was ready to go!

Now, all this happened around September of 2015, when the baby was due. The dad had accidentally let the name slip one night at dinner so I was able to plan out everything and I was hoping to have the whole thing done sometime within the month following his birth....

That didn't happen...

Sewing up and quilting the blanket already took me a bit of time - then I took forever to decide the placement of the name. Finally I started with the embroidering but I had very little experience in it, and it was such minute work. And  - as silly as it may sound - I was having a hard time doing it in artificial light, only in broad daylight did I feel like I could see enough to do a good job.

After a while it became clear that it wasn't going to be a present for a new born, and the more time past the less pressure I felt to get it done. So almost a year went by and we were nearing little Wyatt's 1st birthday, plus it was summer = a lot of daylight so I kicked myself in the butt and finally got it finished, just in time to give it to him as a birthday present.

So, I'm a bit embarrassed it took me so long to make, but I really love the result. I don't know that I will jump into a lot of embroidery projects in the future, but this one was really cute to make, and I'm happy I finally got to use this cute alphabet for a little boy.

I also made him a birthday card using Calvin from "Calvin and Hobbes"

My step mom also started using this alphabet a while back as a stencil for fabric paint. It takes a lot less time for an equally cute result.

Thanks to the french blog Les Centidealistes, you can find patterns and templates for a lot of projects from the magazine, including the alphabet here.

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