Category Archives: Baby Girl

Sleep Sack for Ella

Ella was in need of a new sleep sack as the winter months approached.  She has a thin cotton one, that we knew would’t be warm in the cool temperatures.  I headed out to a couple of stores to find the next size and something a little heavier than cotton.  But I had a lot of trouble finding the next size up.  Ones I found in the 18-24 month, were a shocking amount of money. Who knew a sleep sack could be $80 plus?

In the end I decided to try my hand at making one for her. I used some fabric I had left over from a quilt to make the quilted front.  I picked up some flannel to make the inside.

This was a bit more challenging than I first thought and I made some mistakes along the way, but in the end I am thrilled with the result.  Ella loves it too.  In fact, every quilt she sees she now calls a sack.  I would love to have one myself.

Since the piece had a quilted front and a flannel inside, I had to figure out, along the way, how to join those pieces together with a finished seam, AND join the pieces to make the sack again with a finished seam.  Perhaps the arm holes are a touch tight because of this mishap.  My seam ripper became a VERY GOOD friend through this project.

Now that I know how to do this, I will be able to make the next one without so many tribulations.

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Oh Summer, where are you going?

Right now I am in the throws of getting ready for back to school. Oh the prep work for back to school!  Schedules, calendars, lesson/unit/long range plans, first classes, etc.   But along with that comes prepping the new guild schedule/program/brochure, finishing a commission quilt I am working on, back to school shopping, while still enjoying the last bit of summer that remains.

august

During Ella’s naps I try to spread my time between the projects.  A little school here, a little quilting here, a little housework there, and guild planning also….there.  And its not like I’ve been procrastinating and waiting till August to work on stuff.  I’ve been working on guild stuff and school stuff since the beginning of July, its just been in smaller chunks of time instead of a few full days and I’m done.

But with all that, Ella and I have had a great summer together.    We have gone biking most days or for walks, visited friends and were outside as much as we could be.  Ella and I just wrapped up swimming lessons at the pool which was a great time.  She loves the water and was happy to be in it – though it was rather cold so she was good after 30 minutes.  We visited the zoo quite a bit as well.  She is now becoming quite interactive with the animals – well as far as pointing and banging on the glass is interacting.  The spray park was another destination that we went to this summer and she had such fun, though she hasn’t quite realized that the slide is something you go down, not climb up.  Its been a rather warm summer for us, so we were thankful we splurged and got one of those little kiddie pools.  We play in it most afternoons.  To clarify, Ella plays and I get splashed.

Even though there seem to be much to do, and everyday I seem to find something new I have to do, it just doesn’t matter because we are going to enjoy this last week of summer.

 

 

 

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Baby Toy Tethers

Ella and I like to take little adventures in and around the city.  We go for walks with our friends Chris and her little girl M, to the mall, movies, and coffee dates with Lauren and Mr. H.  One thing I’ve learned along the way is if toys, soothers, and bottles aren’t tied down they can be thrown out of the stroller, dropped on the floor, or lost somewhere. Some of the toys are expensive too.  Sophie the Giraffe, is one of the best toys for a little one, in my opinion and is one of Ella’s go to toys.  But it is expensive ranging anywhere from $25-30, depending where you purchase it from, but again one of the best toys ever.  We take Sophie with us almost everywhere we go and it would be awful if it somehow got lost.  Little M lost hers in the farmers market.  I didn’t want that to happen to Ella so I constructed some toy tethers.

I made a couple different versions  of the tether.  Some with suspender clips to be able to clip to the stroller, car seat walls or clothing.  I also made some with a chord at both ends as my stroller has these little loops on the seat that we could attach toys too.  I also thought these ones would be good for restaurants because you could loop them to the chairs or the high chairs they sometimes provide.

We tried them the other day when we hit the mall and thank goodness we did.  As we were talking I saw Sophie fly out the stroller, but luckily just dangled from the side until I was ready to pick her back up and give her back to Ella.

The next problem, just making sure I pack them in the bag when we head out.

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Filed under Baby Girl, Sewing

Where did October go?

Seriously, where did October go?  My last post was in the middle of October and I haven’t been writing since.  Its not that I haven’t been doing things that I wanted to share, but I’ve been so busy doing those things that I haven’t had the time to write.

October was a touch busy.  In the guild that I belong to, The Flying Needles Quilt Guild, I was preparing for a demo that I had to present.  Reading and re-reading my demo notes and preparing my demo samples and trying to stay within my 20 minute time limit – self inflicted so I didn’t ramble on – it happens – look its happening right now.  Our theme for this year is Quilts Around the World and our big challenge for the year was to create a Trip around the world quilt using a minimum of 4 blocks, setting is up to you, block size is up to you.  I did a demo on the TATW block using that fab tube method.

Ella and I also went and watch Nate run his first 5k race with work.  I thought more people would have come out and cheered them on, but when the race is in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday it is a bit tricky.  But we were there and cheered as every runner and walker went by.

Nate Running

Don’t you think Nate looks too happy to be running a 5 k?  Though this photo was taken within the first 5 minutes of the run – so….

I also learned (again) to crochet.  I learned back when I was young and my Grandma taught me.  I remember making a maroon rug for my doll house.  Since trying it again I’ve crocheted an infinity scarf and two slouchy beanies.

We had Thanksgiving and friend visiting for Teacher’s Convention, a class on how to introduce solids to your baby, and of course Halloween.

Halloween was very fun….only because I got to dress Ella up in a fun ladybug suit and she didn’t mind it at all.

You may think that in this photo her legs are lifted in the air.  They are not, the suit is that puffy.

It was very fun to dress her up and take her around the mall with all the people fawning over her.  She was cute.  Can’t wait till next year – yes I have her costume already 🙂

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Where has the time gone?

Our little Ella is 4 months old, more than that actually.  Its quite amazing to think that she is that old already.

She has changed so much in that time.  She is finding her voice and makes all sorts of sounds and shrieks.  She loves her jolly jumper and can now be on her tummy without putting up too much of a fuss.  The other day she actually rolled over from her tummy to her back.

Each month I take a photo of her with her bunny to give us a perspective of how much she has actually grown.  It is quite something when you see them side by side.  Look how big she is now.

It is an adventure everyday with her and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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An Inner Conflict

When I started quilting and sewing over 4 years ago (hard to believe it has been this long) I dove in feet first without looking back.  In my spare time I read blogs about different techniques, different styles, designers, fabric lines and people’s adventures while quilting/sewing.  I was able to name a fabric line simply by seeing a small sample of fabric and I had grand plans about the projects I wanted to do.  If there was a project that people I knew were doing I wanted to do it too no matter what the skill level.  I joined every club, swap and group I could find, just to be apart of the group – to be included.

Things are different now.  I had rose colored glasses on when it came to the expectations of life once Ella was born.  I thought for sure I would be able to sew during nap times, in the evening once Nate got home, and on the weekends.  I know I can hear your laughter.  Reality has sure set in now that we have been parents for 4 months.

It is true I can sew during nap times – though that has been difficult as she is only napping for about 40 minutes on a good day.  You might say, “40 minutes that is a good chunk of time.”  You are correct, but that is also the time I have to shower, eat, get laundry started or finished, tidy the house, do the dishes, get ready if we are going out or do a little fitness.  Who cares about eating?  Some days that is the attitude I have.  So what about the housework/dishes/laundry?  True – so what….but how else will they get done?  Go out?  Put a ball cap on and yoga pants – I could, but that is my at home look, sometimes I need a change.  Shower?  Lets not go there.  I have found it rather difficult to squeeze in time.  I still want to quilt which is part of my problem, if I lost my desire as some said I would then this would be a non issue.

Perhaps I could sew while little miss is playing on her mat or jumping in the jolly jumper?  Yep, I could.  But there are two things stopping me.  Number 1: my sewing room is in the basement of our house and I can’t just leave her upstairs while I am down stairs and lugging ALL HER STUFF isn’t always what its cracked up to be.  Number 2: I enjoy watching her play and interacting with her while she plays – I could watch the jolly jumper all day, though I am starting to wonder if my headaches are caused by the motion.  Ever heard of motion sickness from a jolly jumper for a parent?  Me neither, but I might be the first.

I honestly am at a loss of what to do about it sometimes.  I don’t have the heart to give it up, but I don’t have the heart to not be with Ella or Nate either.  Oh the turmoil.

I’ve included a small video of little miss on the jolly jumper – just so you can see why watching her can pull you away from other things – it is just so funny.

PS.  She is much better at the Jolly Jumper now.  This was day 1.

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Bunting: A tutorial

Hello everyone.  Today I make my first attempt at writing a tutorial, especially after all the gripping I’ve been doing about some of them lately.  This tutorial will be on how to make your own FABRIC BUNTING to hang as a decoration.

I personally used this process when I made my friend’s bunting for her little fella’s room as well as the bunting for our little girl’s nursery.  Without further ado – here we go.

INFO YOU NEED TO KNOW:

* Each flag is double sided

* To make ONE bunting flag you need two triangle pieces cut out – a front and back (they can even be different fabrics if you like)

* There are no set seam allowance for this as we will be drawing our sewing lines

* Set your stitch length to something you are happy with as the seams are visible (I have a Janome machine so my stitch length was 3)

* I like to fold my fabric for this project WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, so that once the flags are cut they are in the pairing I want and don’t have to match up sides and such.  Saves a step later on.

* Figuring out how many flags you need can be determined two ways

1. Where you are going to put it.  If you have a wall that is 8 feet (96 inches) and each flag is roughly 6″ you will need 16-17 flags (96″ divided by 6 = 16 flags).  I say 17 flags so that your flags don’t have to pulled tightly and can have a bit of a bow in the middle of them.  This also means you will need about 3 yards of double fold bias tape (add about 5-8 inches onto each end as a tail)

2. I did it a bit of a round about way.  I have 5 fabrics that I wanted to use.  I could get 6 flags out of each piece of fabric making 30 flags.  Which meant I needed 180″ (5 yards) of double fold bias tape.

MATERIALS NEEDED

* Sewing machine in good working order

* Straight stitch sewing foot

* Fabric for your bunting flags – Home decor or quilting cotton

* Note: If you use quilting cotton you will need to add iron on interfacing onto one of the flags to give it a bit more stability and shape.  I used a medium weight, but a light weight also works

* Note: the fabric could be scraps measuring 6 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ or strips of fabric 6 1/2″ x WOF

*Note:  I used pieces of Twill fabric that were cut into 6.5″ x WOF (my WOF was 54″ which gave me 6 flags per strip, usually I get 5 flags per strip using a quilting cotton whose WOF is 40″)

* Coordinating Thread (though you could use something that stands out if you wish)

* Marking Tool

* Rotary Cutter and cutting Mat

* Ruler

* EZ TRI TOOL by Darlene Zimmerman (that makes 6″ x 6 1/4″ triangles)

* Iron and ironing board

* Pinking shears

* Double Fold Bias Tape – in your color choice

* straight pins

DIRECTIONS (based on using strips of fabric):

Ensure your fabric is pressed before starting – it is just easier to cut that way.

1. Determine how many flags you are going to make so you know how many fabric strips you are going to cut.

* You can get 5 flags (front and backs) using a piece of quilting cotton measuring a WOF of 43″

* You can get 6 flags (front and backs) using a piece of twill/home decor measuring a WOF of 54″

2. Fold your fabric selvedge to selvedge and cut a strip that measures 6.5″ (again I folded mine wrong sides together)

3. Lay your Tri Tool on top of your fabric to make your first cut.

Using your rotary cutter, cut along the right side of the ruler.  (I say right side because I am a right handed cutter.  If you are a left handed cutter, please make the adjustments that you need).

Once you are finished cutting your piece it should look like the picture above.  I did slide the rest of the fabric off to the side, just to show you the cut edge.

4.  Rotate your cut piece of fabric so that you can now remove the other edge of fabric with your rotary cutter.

Once cut, you will have one flag with a front piece and a back piece.

5.  Slide the rest of strip fabric back into place to continue cutting out your flags.   With your Tri Tool, line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of your ruler.  Depending how you cut your first flag will determine how you place your ruler.  Using your rotary cutter, cut along the right side of the tri tool ruler.

6. Rotate your ruler to line up with the edge of your last cut and once again cut along the right side of the Tri Tool Ruler.

You will notice in the picture below that I left the second flag to show you the rotation of the ruler.

7.  Continue to rotate your tri tool ruler until all of your flags are cut out of that strip of fabric.   (sorry for the fabric change – the first photo did not turn out).

Below are the 6 flags that I was able to cut out using my 54″ wide fabric.  As I mentioned above this is a twill fabric so I did not feel as though I needed to interface them as they had a good weight to them in the first place.

If you are using quilting cotton and want to have a bit more stiffness in the fabric,  you will also need to cut out interfacing at some point during the cutting process.  If you have 6 flags (front and back) total you will need 6 triangles of interfacing, not 12 because you are not interfacing both sides of each triangle, just one side of the triangle.

A suggestion:  If you are mixing fabrics, home decor and quilting cotton, interface the cotton so it has a similar stiffness.

8.  Once you have all of the flags (front and back) cut out, it is now time to do some marking.  You will need your ruler and your marking tool.  I used a chalk marking tool so that the lines I drew I could easily wipe away.

Using your ruler find 1/4″ from the SIDE edge and following the straight edge draw the 1/4″ line from the top of the flag to the bottom of the flag.  This is the line we will be sewing along.

Then, using your ruler once more mark a line that is 1/8″ from the SIDE edge – this is going to be our guideline for our pinking shears.

Once you have marked one side, flip your flag around and mark the other side.  Your flag will look like…..

Repeat this step for ALL of your Flags.  I only mark one side of my flags, but I do try and keep them together during this step.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Note: If you would prefer to use your 1/4″ piecing foot rather then draw your sewing line – that is fine, just ensure that your sewing line is a 1/4″ away from your side edges.

9.  Finally it is time to sew!  Set up your machine with the thread choice that you have selected for your stitching.  Remember, the thread is visible so if you select a contrasting color it will definitely stand out.  I went for a neutral thread choice for both my top thread and bobbin because I wasn’t looking for a stand out thread.

Also make sure you’ve adjusted your stitch length to something you would be happy to see.  As mentioned I set mine to 3.

Put your first bunting flag (front and back) in ready position in your machine.  I placed my needle ON the 1/4″ line as my guide for my stitching.  One your flag is in place stitch along the 1/4″ line.

As you can see, I am using my basic straight stitch foot so I am able to see that chalk line a bit better.

Once you get to the INTERSECTION where your 1/4″ line intersects you will have to try and get your needle down AS CLOSE TO THAT INTERSECTING POINT as possible so you can put your needle down and pivot your fabric and stitch along the other side.

Repeat for ALL your bunting flags

10. Once you are finished stitching your bunting flags together, it is now time to take your pinking shears to the edges for a decorative finish and to help prevent fraying.   Using your pinking sheers follow along the 1/8″ line and trim off the that little bit of fabric.
This is a bit messy – just as a warning to you.

Once finished pinking both sides your flag will look like…

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

11.  Before we get to this next step you will need to take some time and decide how you want your flags to be arranged and which flags will be beside which flag.  In a random order, a color order?

Once that is decided you will need to get out your Double Fold Bias tape.  You can usually find them at your fabric store in pre cut packages like the one below, or off the bolt.  There were out of the tape off the roll so I have to purchase the pre cut tape.  I needed about 5 yards but the smallest pack was  6.5 m (7.1 yards) so I had some extra – just in case I suppose.  I will use it for something else I know.

11.  Once you have your flag order it is time to place the flags into the Double Fold Bias Tape which will connect all the flags together.  Leaving yourself about a 4-8″ tail (this is a personal preference), open up the DFBT (double fold bias tape) and place the top of your flag as close as you can to the FOLD in the DFBT.

Once you are happy with the first flag placement, pin the flag in place using a straight pin

12.  Get the next flag in your bunting over and overlap the top edge of the second flag and the first flag (only a touch).  Then pin the flag in place.

Continue this pinning your flags in place until ALL flags have been added to the DFBT.  I also found it helpful to pin the intersections of the flags to help keep those pesky edges in place.

Remember to add the same amount of tail to the back end as you did your front.

13.  Carefully, pick up your flags pinned to the DFBT and head back to your trusty sewing machine.  We now need to stitch the flags in place.  I used the same color thread as my flags, but the choice once again is up to you.

Because your flags should be close to the fold of the DFBT you don’t have to top stitch them in place.  Instead find a place on the DFBT that you would like to stitch – down the middle, towards the top, towards the edge.

I used the edge of my foot as my guide and lined the edge of my foot with the bottom edge of my bias tape.  I then moved my needle to a place where I was happy to have the stitches – it worked out to be a scant 1/4″ (little less than a 1/4″) from the bottom edge.

Start stitching from the END of your tail with a couple of back stitches to hold everything in place, then continue to stitch along your bias tape.

Be careful though, sometimes those silly flag ends untuck themselves as you stitch so you might have to keep an eye out and make adjustments if your flags move around.

Once you get to the end of the DFBT remember to take a couple of back stitches to finish the bunting off.

VIOLA!  You are done.  Congratulations.  Now you can hang them where ever you had planned to.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial on Fabric Bunting.  If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will answer them in there or via email.  If you find any part of the tutorial confusing please let me know and I will make a change to help clear things up.

If you made some fabric bunting, I would love to see it and hear about it.

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The Best Thing Ever Made

Please allow me to introduce to you……

Ella Anne (ella is her first name)

Born on June 3, 2013 at 9:31pm at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary

Weighing 6 lbs 7 oz

Measuring 19.5″

We are at home now after a touch of an extended stay at the hospital and settling into our new routines.  Our sewist days are on hold for just a touch.  I’ll try not to bombard you with too many photos of Ella – try, can’t promise anything.

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The Nursery

With every day bringing the birth of our first baby closer it seemed only right that I should get the nursery finished.  And I am very pleased to say it is.  So without further ado here it is.  (this is picture heavy)

Photo is taken from the door looking in

View from the closet

This dresser belonged to my Mom and fits just perfectly in the room.  The bunny and the owl on the dresser are both from Indigo Books.  The monitor is the Philips Avent Dect (which we found at WestCoast Kids).  The art on the wall is called Tiny Dancer by Oopsy Daisy  – which we also found at West Coast Kids.  The knob on the closet if from Anthropologie.

Here is our change table.  The table was a sofa table that we had, but never was able to use.  Nate painted it white for us instead of the dark expresso that it was originally.  The change pad was given to us by a friend, but I made the cover for it.    The bucket under the table, which is our hamper (I know it is small, but it oddly holds a lot, actually all of her clothes at once, I tried it out) I found at Canadian Tire.  The cute lady bug lunch bag was given to her by a good friend at a baby shower.  The fabric box on the table which holds our diapering supplies was found at the Home Depot, its part of the Martha Stewart Collection and it is in the color called Lagoon.

And the crib.  It is the SUNDVIK crib from Ikea.  The crib skirt and all the fabric for the bed linens come from Baby Bedding.  I purchased the crib skirt because I liked theirs better than anything I could create, but I made the crib sheets and the pillows.

The stuffies inside the crib were gifts that our girl was given.  Aren’t they fun?

The art work for the wall comes from Yassis Place on Etsy, though the frames are from IKEA.   I find something similar on pinterest, but then went digging through Etsy to find just the right one.  What was terrific about it was that the person who did the pictures used a fabric sample as her colors.  It just happened to be the same fabric I was using so it matched perfectly.  The bunting along the top I made using the scraps from the linens I made.

This rocking chair was given to me by my parents.  It the one that was in our nurseries.  The chair pad for it came again from Baby Bedding.   The fun owl box is from my brother – it is currently holding some amazing books that she was given by my good friend.  The pink blanket was made by my Great Grandma Pauls.  She made each of the grandchildren a blanket.  She recently passed away, in April, at 102 years of age.

The book slings I first saw in my friend Joey’s nursery and I fell in love with them and decided one day we too would have them.  The tutorial I used to make them is at Penny Carnival.    The fabric I used is also from Baby Bedding.  They are a quick afternoon project and hold a great number of books – depending how big you make them.

Here is our window seat, which I know is not in front of the window.  The window seat is from Homedepot and is part of the Martha Stewart Home Collection as are the fabric boxes below – they called it their storage bench.  It originally came with this ugly tan colored fabric so I recovered it with some fabric I found on the Babybedding.com site (mist, gray and white chevron).

And finally above the door we put the last of the bunting – I made too long of a piece so we trimmed it up and put it here.

So this is where I and the little girl will be hanging out.  I find the room to be calming and relaxing which I don’t think will be too bad those first few weeks.

 

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Baby Girl’s Quilt: The Hoots

Tada!

Quilt Deets:

Pattern name: The Hoots by Amy Bradley
size: 49″ x 59″
fabrics: I do not know – it was a kit with a mix from here there and everywhere.

 

Finished the second quilt for our Baby Girl.  This one I’ve been slowly working off and on since November of 2012.  This one took a lot of time, but with Nate’s help we got it done.

When Quilt Canada was in Calgary, almost 2 years ago now, I saw this quilt in a booth in the Market.  I walked by it a 100 times, loving it and finally made the decision that if it, the kit and pattern, was still there on the last day of the show I was meant to have it and make it- though originally it was going to be made for someone else not for us.  But once I had it in my hand I decided that IN NO WAY WAS THIS GOING TO BE FOR SOMEONE ELSE – especially after reading the directions and saw just how much went into it, I was on a tight deadline and knew there was no way I was getting it done in time.  So I decided that when the day came I would make it for our child.

As I mentioned this took a lot of work and time.  We had to trace out  16 owl bodies, 16 owl tummies, 16 owl eyes, 16 owl eye outlines, 16 beaks and 32 owl feet onto steam a seam.  Then iron them on the fabric, then cut them out, then place them, iron them to the fabric and stitch around all the parts before pieces the sashing and corner pieces on.  Thank goodness Nate was willing to help trace owl pieces out or I think I would be still sitting at my kitchen table.

I will say that all these owl pieces sure made a royal mess of my iron.  I don’t why I seem to always have trouble with steam a seam and residue on my iron.  I was thankful that I was given some iron cleaner so I could at least clean the iron between sections.

A decision that I had to make during the process was what to outline each owl part in.  The pattern called for a brown, but I just didn’t want those pieces to stand out that much.  So I found thread for each of the colors the owls were in and I worked in a blanket stitch around each of the parts (the eyes, the feet, tummies, bodies, etc).  But because I had about 8 different colors of thread I had to try and think of a way to stitch around these pieces so that I wasn’t switching thread every two seconds.  I ended up picking a thread color, like the brown, and stitched ALL the brown pieces first.  On some owls it was the tummy, on some the body.  Then once that color was finished, I switched to the next one.  It worked pretty well.  It was a slow process, but I think it could have been even slower had I tried the other way.

I quilted this pattern in a basic stipple pattern, though I did little swirls in each corner stone, and I outlined the owls as well.

Will I make this quilt again?  NOT ON YOUR LIFE.  Not because I want this to be special and only for our girl and no one else, but because IN MY OPINION (and that is what this is here MY PERSONAL OPINION) this was not a good pattern to work from and I am now leery of patterns by the same company.

Here where some of my issues:

  1. The pattern was printed on ROAD MAP size pieces of paper and there were 4 of them, front and back.  It was pain to work with pieces of paper that large and having to switch back and forth so many times because of the “order” of the instructions.
  2. The cutting instructions are hidden in the paragraphs through out the 4 pages of pattern pages – I prefer having all the cutting instructions on the first page under the fabric requirements.  I really was annoyed that I had to DIG for each cutting instruction
  3. That the instructions were not in a logical order.  The finishing instructions were on a placement piece -which was step 2 of the process, and the borders came before they were to be added
  4. There was a “placement” sheet that you were to use to place the owl pieces, but it wasn’t the same size of the owl if you made the large quilt – instead of the wall hanging – so the placements were wrong
  5. The cutting instructions were wrong.  It said to cut some many pieces for the inner border, so many for the sashing, so many for the binding and each time I had to add at least 2-3 strips more to make it fit – and I checked my quilt measurements each time in case I happened to make the quilt bigger then listed – but nope.

Needless to say I am very happy that this quilt is done.  I am happy with the end result and know it will be terrific, but honestly it was a pain in the rear end.

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