Monday, August 23, 2010

Thunderstorm Quilt - A little Donnerwetter

Rain. Rain. Rain. As a child, I always liked rain. It felt good, it smelled good, and it meant that my dad didn’t have to work on the farm. I remember seeing the horizon turn white in the distance as a storm approached. We only had about three minutes to get inside before we all would get terribly wet. Often, we kids would just make it inside and my mom or dad would get drenched only 30 seconds behind us. That was rain!

I loved the colors and sounds of a good thunderstorm and often spent hours sitting and watching the clouds build. You could often see extraordinary lighting storms while the sky above you was bluer than the sea. Other times, the dust turned the clouds brilliant colors in all directions. A Kansas thunderstorm is always breathtaking.

Later, when I moved to Germany my feelings about rain changed. I got tired of drizzle and days without sunshine. I realized, that it wasn’t so much the rain that I loved, but the storms that carried it. When I got pregnant, I decided that I wanted to make a quilt for my unborn child which also told a story. This thunderstorm quilt is the result.

The How to:

1. For this quilt, you need lots of old jeans! I saved up mine for a while and was amazed at all of the different shades of blue and black to be found. The only non-jeans material, is the sun. This is an old tablecloth.

2. For the pattern, I laid out a piece of brown packing paper and drew the design. Then I laid my jeans down on the paper and started cutting pieces to fit.

3. At this point, I just started sewing the pieces together. Then I would lay them back on the pattern, cut out some more and sew again. I’m not too much of a planner when I sew, and often change my pieces as I go.

4. The sun was made with an old tablecloth and yellow ribbons. I only added it later, because I thought the quilt needed some color. Thank goodness I did!

5. I used a large piece of blue fleece for the back of the quilt and some polyester backing. My friends at my sewing group helped me to tie the quilt with blue thread. Then, I used the rest of some yellow material for the edges.

6. Finally, the cloud details were quilted at the end with blue thread. This is still a work in progress. Maybe, I will quilt some more at a later time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Colorful Burp Rags

Before I had a baby, I was told that babies produce a lot of laundry. I couldn’t imagine that such a little thing could produce a lot of dirty clothes… until I had my own baby. I hadn’t realized that babies could spit up so much and so often! It wasn’t just my baby’s clothes that needed washing, it was mine as well. Therefore, I got accustomed to bringing along a lot of burp rags with me at all times.

I found the best burp rags to be cloth diaper material, since it was soft, absorbent, and bigger than most you can buy at the store (These rags were bought in a department store over in Germany). In order to make the rags a bit prettier, I began stitching around the sides with bright embroidery thread. I used the same stitch that my grandmother had used on a quilt that she once made. I’m afraid, I don’t know its name. My mother-in-law also helped me out a bit, so that in the end, I had a whole supply of colorful cloths.

I still always have a couple of these burp rags with me, even though Jonas is already almost ten months old. They have proven to be useful for more than just cleaning up small spills. I lay one on the carseat when I go shopping, so that it doesn’t get too hot. I hang one in the window so that the sun doesn’t get too bright. I throw one over my shoulder when I want to nurse in public. I put a piece of ice in it when Jonas was teething. Finally, Jonas uses one as a comfort rag and loves to suck on it and hold it until he falls asleep (see photo). I love these rags and never leave home without them.

This stitch is also pretty easy, so no how to is necessary. Just look at the pictures and stitch away.