Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let the Counting Begin! Number Squares

A disclaimer to start:
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.


Step One: 
Glue your number on to your stack of squares using a glue stick and stitch around that number through all the layers. 



Step Two: 
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.


Step Three: 
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:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

24 comments:

My Sweet Prairie said...

That is VERY cool! I love all your step by step process too. What a cool technique! I should introduce that to the preschool.. hmmm : )
~Monika

My Sweet Prairie said...

p.s. thanks for linking ! Great to see you, and please come back anytime : )
http://www.needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.com

Mary@QuiltGenius said...

Sweet! I've always liked the look of the chenille quilts/stuff. :) I may have to give it a try.

Mary
http://www.quiltgenius.com

Julie said...

These are really cool! I've been wanting to try a chenille blanket, this would be a fun way to try making something without committing to a big project. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

very cute! like this idea!

Heather D. said...

I saw a sample at my fabric store of this chenille idea and it is so intriguing. Yours looks great, and I love the idea with the numbers.

Kerstin said...

Great idea, thanks for the tutorial!

Foolish Feathers said...

What a great job you have done on this project! I have to find one of those marking tools they look super neat, literally! Do you plan to make it into a book, quilt or random squares that they play with, I didn't quite understand that?

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the tutorial, I definitely want to try the chenille blocks.

Leanne said...

This is an interesting idea, thanks for sharing it.

Maggie said...

This is such a great idea!

KristyLou said...

What a great idea! I have never heard of chenille blocks before.

Christie, Describe Happy said...

Numbers! So much fun, I bet this quilt will get a lot of use.

Elizabeth D. said...

What a cute idea!! Thanks for sharing!

Cille said...

That's a really good idea - thanks for sharing :)

Marsha C said...

This is too cool! You do have your work cut out for you.

Ella said...

Great idea!

Marci Girl said...

Wow, that is awesome and such a great idea!

Rachel said...

What a neat idea for your daughter.

Katy Cameron said...

Great idea with the numbers

Allison said...

great idea! thanks for sharing the how-to :)

Lee said...

Oh, how cute is that! Thanks for sharing, and for linking up to WIP Wednesday. : )

Leila said...

Fun idea!

Allegory said...

Love this idea, especially the games you've thought of for the numbers.