This is not my original idea. I was inspired by a project I saw in my copy of Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes + Projects for Your Creative Child by Meg McElwee. (A book I highly recommend for anyone looking for ideas of things to make for little people.) I loved her idea of making a set of fabric numbers to play with, but wanted to play with the idea a little and make it a bit more my own.
I decided to make "chenille" squares. As they get washed and dried they will look more and more chenille-y.
Each number I've done so far, has a different chenille effect. I've been trying different things with them to see what I think is the best effect for future gifts for people.
These numbers are great for a variety of different games you can play with the little people in your life.
My daughter is so young, we're just going to focus on naming the numbers for now. But when she is older, we can start having her hide the number I say, do something associated with the number (i.e., jump six times, find two pennies, etc.), place the right amount of buttons under the number, etc. Oh, I shouldn't forget to mention, once your child has mastered 1 through 9, you can add the number 0 and start working on ten's and larger numbers.
These are sooooo easy to do. You can use whatever materials you have on hand, but I stuck with quilting weight cotton for the square itself and a knit for the numbers. Because I wanted a chenille look on the squares, I wanted a woven fabric, but something that wouldn't be too loose of a weave. And for the numbers, I wanted nice clean edges that wouldn't fray, so I used some turquoise swimsuit fabric I had in my stash.
Now, when it came to the cutting part, I cheated. I have an AccuQuilt Studio and I used it to cut charms for the squares and all the numbers. Go ahead and cut your own squares and numbers. Or for those who don't enjoy the cutting part, you could purchase a kit here.
Glue your number on to your stack of squares using a glue stick and stitch around that number through all the layers.
Mark the lines where you want your stitching to go, and stitch along those lines.
I use a hard wooden tool to do this when using quilting cotton. I like that I don't have to worry about if the pen, chalk, or whatever isn't going to wash out.
|I "jumped" over the numbers themselves.|
Trim your loose threads and cut your fabric. It is important to not cut the bottom layer, because that's the layer that is holding everything together.
Other things I learned along the way:
a) If your rows of stitches are further apart, it is easier to get the scissors in and cut.
b) You get a better chenille-y look if you cut with the grain, but you get a lot less threads to trim if you stitch and cut along the bias.
c) It's a lot easier to stitch around the numbers if you can see what you are doing! It is possible to do this with a regular foot. I did. It just means you're lifting the foot a lot to see where you are. Can't wait until I have a clear applique foot!
Guess this counts as my WIP for this week, since I still have 5 through 9 and 0 to do.
Check out what Lee and everyone else are working on here: