Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Sewing Room

Sewing Room Update

I don’t believe a I have a lot to update on this topic, but I need to talk about SOMETHING this week, so here we are!

First stop is the little white shelving unit I keep all the pressing things on. You’ll see that there are some grey fabric boxes on the shelves. In case I didn’t make the clear before, that is where the current projects live! The curtains and bits for the baby quilt are in one box and the two panel quilts are in another. When I finally stop looking at it, the rainbow log cabin block from last week will go in the last one, along with the table runner class, whenever that starts. These bins are only for things I’m currently working on. These are NOT UFOs!! (Apart from the UFO that is due for UFO-class because that makes them work in project … NOT CONFUSING AT ALL). This is how it’s working for now.

Second stop is the closet. This part you are already aware of, but I should mention it officially. I got very tired of fighting with my clothes in the closet (they take up a lot of room, surprisingly!) and moved them into another bedroom. Now I can actually access things I store in the closet!! I’d like to put up more shelving though so I can get things off the floor. We’ll have to see what Husband thinks of that over the summer. For now, I’m very happy to have a place to hang basted quilts! It keeps them off surfaces and reminds me of what I have to do! Speaking of … I REALLY need to quilt that last quilt … I think that might be my February UFO.

Last stop: remember I told you to keep in mind the log cabin block and where it is? Well, it’s proof that I cleaned off my last sewing surface! The secondary cutting area is finally clean! It’s no longer a secondary cutting area though, but that’s okay because …

… I FINALLY have my steam press!! I know!!! I’m so very excited! The first thing I did was press all the pieces for my apron dress!!! Unfortunately, the dress turned out very apron-y and not very dress-y, but it is still finished, which is the main point. And I’ve figured out what parts I need to modify to make it fit a bit better. I might make another? We’ll have to see!

Still focusing on the baby quilt for now. I’d like to have it completely done by next weekend. That’s a bit of an aggressive plan, but we’ll see! Maybe I’ll make it!

~M

Finished Projects · Quilt Designs

Midwinter Sun

I did not start on the baby quilt. I was supposed to, but I got completely distracted. I know none of you are shocked. In my defence, Crazy Quilter distracted me! I’m taking one of her courses … alright, fine, TWO of her courses, but one is every other month so it doesn’t count!!! That’s self-restraint! I wanted to take FIVE of them! Huge self-restraint … and the first class was so inspiring that I made the homework assignment right away! Just for the record, I was not alone. At least one other person made the homework immediately too. I hope she has the Virtual Retreat after this class every time. I’ll be so far ahead it!

The first assignment has to do with Log Cabin blocks. I won’t give away the whole assignment because, well, it’s HER class! You need to sign up for the privileged information! I have made log cabin blocks before (see above). FYI – I made that block wrong. You are supposed to start with the lightest colours of both sides in the middle, then work out to the darkest colour of both at the edges. I accidentally started with the darkest of the whites and the lightest of the blacks in the middle, so it doesn’t have the affect you normally get with log cabins. It was my first log cabin block ever though and I was still learning! It’s been quilted and bound for a very long time and just kicking around doing nothing, so it was easy to locate for the picture. For my homework assignment, I decided to try a new twist on the standard block. It’s called a half log cabin.You start from the corner and work out. As she was talking, I knew right away what I wanted to do for it and what colours I wanted to use. And, of course, I got hyper focused and finished it off, batting, backing, and quilting complete!

You can see I just went around the edge with a blanket stitch, no binding. There’s a reason for that. At the start of this class, my original intention was to make all the projects and try to make a sampler quilt at the end from all the bits we did. HOWEVER … I got inspired by this log cabin block and while I was making it, I got so focused on finished it and hanging it in my room that I completely forgot about my original intention. I was planning on hanging it on my door and making a “Sewing Room” sign to go with it. BUT ONCE AGAIN … I got inspired to make something different without the log cabin block as I started to assemble the rest of the material for the door banner. My attention span is terrible … So now I have a quilted block without a purpose. I have since decided to do all my blocks for the course quilt-as-you-go and maybe I’ll still make a quilt at the end. I can always just do some wall hangings, but I’ll try to wait until the end to decide.

HOLD UP THOUGH! If you thought at that meant the block was finished, think again!!! While staring into it (I find those colours totally mesmerizing, which is one reason I think it shouldn’t be a wall hanging or I might get distracted!!), I suddenly concluded that simple stitch-in-the-ditch quilting is not good enough for this quilt. It needs MORE!!! I uploaded it to a photo app on my iPad, grabbed my trusty stylus, and sketched out a quilting design that I think highlights the sun-motif I picture when I look at these colours. I’m waffling back and forth between doing the quilting in the same thread I did the stitch-in-the-ditch or colour-matching the thread to the fabric on each row. I know that’s more work – that’s not what bothers me. I just don’t know how much I want to emphasize the quilting design. I don’t want to detract from the colours as (to me) that is the main focus of this block. Contrasting thread will certainly stand out, but will it overwhelm it too much? Still thinking on that one.

Did you notice where the first log cabin block picture was taken? Well, keep that in mind. Next week is going to be my sewing room update and that picture will take on a little more meaning when we get there!

~M

Binding · Finished Projects

The Quilt Parade

The Tula quilt is quilted!!! Well, quilted enough.

By the end of last week, I had all the sashing pretty much quilted. I decided to make a goal for myself. My birthday was this week, which marks 4 years of sewing. I decided that I needed to be sleeping under my own quilt on the night of my birthday, so I finished the sashing, the outer border, and the binding. Last step was to finish weaving in all the thread ends and I managed to get that finished on the birthday day! That night, sleep city!!

Not a great picture. As you can see, I went with the purple striped binding. It went the best with the most amount of the edge. I am very happy with the look. There will be a better picture when I finish quilting the blocks … if you zoom in, you may be able to tell that there are still safety pins in the blocks. That’s part of the reason the quilt is folded the way it is – safety pins in! That way, I won’t stick myself in my sleep. 🙂 I want this quilt 100% DONE for the end of February, so I’m not too worried about the pins. That’s a really aggressive plan for 90 blocks, but I’m hoping I can make it? It might be tough to hit, because …

The baby quilt is also ready to go!! I may have ordered WAY too much backing … I think I have enough to make 2 more baby quilts. This is why I should not go fabric shopping late at night. I needed 4 feet of backing, but I ordered 4 YARDS of backing … yeah. Oh well – lots to spare!! It will dictate the colour of the next couple of baby quilts, but oh well!!

The quilt is hanging in the closet, ready to go. I think this is fanatic use of the closet hanger bar! I could also put the quilt on a hanger in a similar fashion and hang it up on the bar, but I REALLY don’t want to get a quilt backlog. This should inspire me to GO GO GO!! March goal – get that sampler quilt finished once and for all!! It’s been 3 years, for crying out loud! Enough is enough!

~M

Finished Projects · UFO

Full Production

I am starting to suspect that January and February are my most productive season. Either that or I’m starting to actually hit that “slowing down” period of life I’m always talking about!

Baby quilt top is finished!! The bearded man block turned out better than expected. I’m glad I changed it! I ordered the backing for the quilt online. This will be my first attempt to quilt with minky … we’ll see how that goes!! We’ll also see how it holds up as a child’s blanket. I know it won’t keep that soft furry feel forever, but I don’t know how well it wears. Baby quilts are perfect guinea pig quilts, in my opinion. Hopefully the parents allow the children to use that quilt to death, which in turn allows me to see how durable certain fabrics or quilting techniques are.

I’ve also FINALLY started quilting my Tula quilt!!! The plan is to quilt all the sashing and border, then bind it, then work on quilting each square. I figure I can pick one row per month as a starting goal and see how far I get. My UFO commitment is to get one quilt half-quilted. I’m really hoping that it will be the Tula quilt (to date, I’m almost finished the horizontal sashing quilting), but I will switch gears as soon as that backing shows up in the mail. That baby is coming early March, which could mean mid-late February if it’s early. Priorities people!

I also have another priority for February, but at may wait until my vacation at the end of that month. And I won’t be talking about it right away because IT’S A SECRET PROJECT! Maybe that will be my week for re-visiting the sewing room and some of the changes I’ve made?

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Designs · Non-Quilt Projects

2021 – Final Thoughts

First off – sorry for the absence. There were some WordPress issues. As a result, my domain name changed. Hopefully that doesn’t throw anyone off!

So Tula update first. The quilt is finished!!! Well, the quilt top … which was the goal! I’ve also basted the top with batting and backing. I had to order some thread and that is in the mail now, so I should be starting in the new year!! I’m not sure if I’m going to use the blue stripes or the purple stripes for the binding. We’ll have to see what happens!

I love how this top looks completed. I was very worried about how it would go together as there was an over-abundance of elements in this quilt. Light to dark from top to bottom, colour spectrum shift from left to right, but it all came together in the end! And taking out a row was the right call. It would have looked strange on a bed as it hung far down the sides of a queen but barely fit length-wise. Now it’s about the same size as the Skilly&Duff quilt shown below. And Husband went out of his way on more than one occasion to mention that he really likes it. High praise coming from him about a colourful quilt!

For Christmas, I spent a solid 2 weeks where I was sewing at least a little bit every day to get 5 (FIVE?!?!) wallets finished for the ladies of the family. I got them all done the night before (true M fashion right??). I only have a picture of 2 of the finished ones as the rest have been gifted already. I’m so happy with the way they turned out! The outer are made of vinyl (the scallop pattern) and cork. The inside is made of quilt cotton. Most of the inside was bought on sale, but the butterflies are (of course!!) from the Tula Daydream line. They are a perfect focal print!

Between Christmas and New Year’s, I decided to get a part of my life organized that I’ve been contemplating for some time. The TV stand!!! In my house, we have a lot of video game/computers type things, so it became a natural dumping ground for cables, consoles, headphones, etc. I started examining the space before the holidays with the intention of getting it all sorted. I decided that we needed to use fabric bins as they would work well in the space, but the size I needed height-wise to fit on the shelf was not a standard size. Getting what I needed from. Amazon or Wayfair was going to be expensive and I did not want to spend a ton of money on this … so I decided to make the bins!!!! I was initially planning on making all of them myself until I ran across an incredible deal on the smaller bins that was cheaper to buy than to make, so I just focused on the bigger ones. I found a pattern online (https://www.awilson.co.uk/how-to-sew-storage-boxes/) that came very close to being exactly what I wanted! I did make 2 changes to the pattern. First, I turned the box inside out when I assembled it. That was necessary because I was using bulky corrugated cardboard instead of thin cereal box cardboard. The button on bottom she suggested left the box bits hanging out in plain view. For the second part, since I wasn’t buttoning the bottom on, I made a sleeve for the box bottom, put the cardboard in the sleeve, tucked in the end, and put it face-down in the bottom. That adequately provides rigidity. Is it a solid box? No, not really, but those boxes will not be pulled out on a regular bases, so it’s firm enough to hold the shape and look good on the shelf.

Finally, the future as I see it:
1. Baby blanket!!!! We have a new baby coming to the family. IN MARCH. And I hadn’t started the new quilt at all beyond picking out the pattern. Well, I now have all the fabric selected/purchased. Come Jan 1, I will be starting to cut into it!
2. Curtains for the kitchen windows. I’ve been trying to get this part done for about a month, but I made a few different mistakes and each time I did, I didn’t have time to come back to it. I need to get those sheers done in January now!
3. Quilting Tula. Now that the top is finished and the quilt is basted, I need to get the quilting done. At the suggestion of Crazy Quilter, I’m going to quilt all the sashing, then bind the quilt, then do the block quilting over the course of the year! That actually sounds like a really cool idea and I’m all for trying new ideas!

2022 promises to be a sew-tactic year. Thanks for coming along with me so far. I’m excited to keep adventuring with you through another circle around the sun!

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Designs · Sewing Room

Warm Dreams for Me!

I am SO CLOSE to having a quilt on my bed!! You don’t even know how excited I am! When my last quilt wore out, I just started using old couch throws that we were planning on pitching. I figured on using them for a few months while I made myself a quilt, then life became a madhouse, and here I am 2 years later with no quilt going into the winter. IEEEE!!

I only have 10 blocks left. During the Crazy Quilter’s retreat weekend, I figured I’d focus on my Tula quilt and get that thing ready for quilting! The Tula club weekend had been the one previous, so I had a full list of the blocks left. I cherry-picked blocks from October and November. I’m looking for a fast finish here folks – anything with lots of piecing is going to hit the curb!

Sadly, I’ve been left chomping at the bit ever since. A couple of interferences popped up over the last 2 weeks that set me back. Thank goodness it’s stayed unseasonably warm!! I still have time!

First interference was house-related. We got new windows!! I have been patiently waiting for new windows since the spring! Moving in here late winter meant I didn’t have to deal with them much during the cold season, but my where they ever drafty!! I’m pretty sure they’re the same windows the house was built with circa late 70s early 80s. 40 years is a good run for a window, but it was long past time to upgrade. On at least one window, the plastic flange was so rotten that it simply shattered when I tried to close the window. Needless to say, we’ve had a wonderful supply of fresh air in the house this year! That is all behind us now though and we have lovely new glass to start the winter with. I moved my office into the sewing room for the duration, so I did not touch a sewing machine for A WHOLE WEEK! Horrors!

Second interference was one niece’s birthday. I desperately wanted to make her a nighttie. I’d ordered the fabric before the windows were started, so as soon as the work was done and I was able to pull my sewing machines back out of the closet, I set to work on that!!! Every time I make clothes, I always marvel at how fast I can put them together! Comparing quilts, clothes, and bags, clothes are the clear winner for fast project completion, especially fabrics that don’t need interfacing!! I think I need to make socks next. Who doesn’t like socks??

In the end, not only did I get her nighttie made, but I even had time to make the accompanying cape. Oh, did I not mention the cape? Every nighttie can be transformed into a princess gown with this handy cape mod. I picked up 40cm of satin from Fabricland, cut it in half (her little sister’s birthday is next week – guess what she’s getting? 😉 ), and put seams around it so the satin wouldn’t fray. I double-folded the edges in to make sure there are no exposed edges to fray. Then I put button holes at the top of the cape and sewed buttons to the shoulders of the nighttie. It is that simple … and that awesome! It was an absolute hit!

Last little thing finished was the father-in-law quilt!!! I’ve got all the threads on the front and the back buried! I made use of my new-to-me rocking chair (maybe I should do a blog post on the fun that was the restoration next) and parked my butt in the chair to get everything tidied up. Tonight, I need to get started on the label for the back. That’s all I have left to do, then it’s wash, dry and out the door!

~M

Binding · Finished Projects · UFO

Moar Powarrrrrr!

Well … The miracle actually happened.

As of last week, it’s finished! From top to bottom, start to finish, DONE! I can’t believe it myself! There is a teeny tiny amount to do left – weave in the thread ends and attach the label – but I’m counting this quilt as a 2021 finish!

After the previous week’s blitz, I only had the Tree of Life block to do. As we all know, that’s a special block for me, so I did a little extra quilting on it. Do you see the little leaves? I got very excited about that part. In fact, I’m still excited about it! I think it’s a perfect way to finish the block quilting portion of this quilt.

Up next was the sashing. I actually had several ideas about the sashing as I was working on it and had settled on fake cursive or waves. I thought waves would be more fitting, but would take longer. After I finished all the blocks and spread it on the bed to roll it, I realized that the quilting looked very busy because each block had completely different quilting designs. I thought that making the sashing busy too may detract from the blocks, so at the last second I decided to go with a simple X pattern on each strip. I used chalk and a ruler to mark the lines, then free-motion stitched the lines. I learned a couple of lessons about this design. First – I like it for sampler quilts! Very simple and clean looking. Second – 16” blocks are too big to quilt that design with a ruler. The first row didn’t look super straight and I got a similar look using the free-motion foot instead. Plus less cumbersome with no ruler and it went faster. Third – If I want those lines to look super straight and crisp in the future, I can only use the ruler on smaller focal blocks. I wanted to use it on the Amish Barns quilt when I finished it, but we’ll have to see. It may be easier to do the larger blocks if I’m only quilting a lap size. Fighting a queen size quilt through the machine while sewing with a ruler is hard!

With the sashing finished, all I had left was the outer border! This one I had picked out from the moment the quilt was finished and I stuck with it. I used the Taj ruler to put a simple design around the border. It will keep everything stitched down, it didn’t take too much time, and it looks neat and clean. Win win win!

Time to put away the quilting feet and rulers!! Whooo!!! Of course, we’re not quite finished, but OH SO CLOSE. First to trim the quilt. I took this opportunity to also measure the quilt dimensions at this point. When I pulled out the binding the night before, I was terrified that I didn’t have enough fabric to do the binding! Measuring the quilt first told me that I had more than enough to get it on. I may even have a fat eighth left over. And when I got the binding on, I cut off a spare 3 inches. How is that for perfect measurement!!

Binding was finished the night before UFO club. I tossed the quilt on the spare bed, took a picture, and sent everything off for my completion check-mark. I’m planning on weaving in the ends and putting on the label when I’m in Sudbury for a few days in November (more on that another day). My FIL may be dropping in this week, though, so I need to find a good place to hide it in the meantime!!

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · UFO

The One With All The Work

Oooooooh wow … this bag took a lot. It’s beautiful and worth it, but wowwy. I think it took almost 40 hrs in total to complete. That’s more than I work in a week at my paying job! Thank goodness I was on vacation last week or I never would have been able to finish it. It probably shouldn’t take 40 hrs, by the way … but I find that the first time I make a pattern, I have to devote 5-10% more time to it to account for mistakes, getting lost on the next step, and just generally not being sure of the full process. Let’s learn together!!

Step 1: Do all the cutting.
Unlike making a quilt, you can’t just cut as you go. Actually, I don’t think you’re supposed to cut as you go with quilts, but it’s definitely an option and I find it makes the quilting process easier in some cases. If you’re tight on fabric, definitely cut it out beforehand so you can figure out what you need to do to meet the pattern if you don’t have enough fabric. When making bags, though, you absolutely have to cut before you sew. Simple totes like the Tiki Tote I did for SisterN are an exception to the rule. My first time-consuming mistake was attempting to cut out only what I needed for the first step. After floundering for an hour in confusion, I sat down to cut out everything.
Cutting out and taping together the paper pattern pieces: 1hr.
Cutting out all the fabric and interfacing – 4 hrs. I was already angry at the bag at this point. 😀 Luckily, it looks SO CUTE.

What I started with

Step 2: Make the piping.
Piping is when you have a fabric cord around the edge of your project. You’ll most often see piping in cushions and on bags. It gives your project a very professional finish. I considered doing a piping on the pillow I made my dad for Christmas, but I was intimidated by the process and already under the gun to finish projects (I may still have had delusions of grandeur that I would complete the bags on time). There are two wonderful videos attached to the bag pattern. You can find them on YouTube under Andrie Designs – Crating and Attaching Piping. The process was actually a lot more straight forward than I expected. Making bias strips is easy due to all my practice with making bindings for quilts, but I had to make the strips on the fabric’s diagonal instead of with/across the grain like I usually do. This allows the fabric to give more easily, similar to how a tee-shirt stretches. If you’re curious, watch the first video on creating piping. She explains and demonstrates how bias works.

I should have cut a 1/2 meter to make my bias strips out of, but I had no idea how much fabric I would need and decided that more is better than not enough … so I did a full 44” instead. 😀 As you may imagine, HUGE overkill. I now have enough binding strips to do another bag and enough excess piping to do a small cushion or wallet … hmmmmmm …
Piping creation: 2-3 hrs. This is adding up already, isn’t it? And we aren’t even ready to start piecing yet!!

Step 3: Fuse all the things.
Remember I mentioned cutting all the fabric and interfacing? This is where I got to learn more about interfacing and stabilizers. They are roughly the same thing – they get attached to the back of the fabric to provide rigidity. The main difference is that interfacing helps the fabric to keep from fraying after it’s cut. Stabilizers … well, stabilize or stiffen the project. You can think of it as the difference when buying one of the reusable fabric grocery bags that you can roll up into a ball and one of the stand-up reusable grocery bags that you probably use for your heavy products. Those ones are usually stiff due to a vinyl exterior, but the concept should help you visualize the difference.

There’s also sub-categories of these interfaces. There’s fusible and non-fusible (fusible has a thin layer of glue that bonds to the back of the fabric when you apply heat with your iron, the other just gets attached by stitching in). There’s webbing, batting, and light interfacing. I’m not doing a deep-dive on the differences. For this bag, I needed a light-to-medium interfacing (keeps fabric from fraying), fusible batting (exactly like quilt batting except you can iron it on to the fabric instead of using basting spray or pins like I usually do), and a heavy stabilizer to give structure. I used Pelion Deco-Bond which is one of the heaviest interfacing I have. It also happened to be what I had in a drawer. It probably should have been a little more rigid, but I used what I had since the stores are all closed.
Fusing layers: 1-2 hrs. At least we get to move on to the sewing!!

The first panel was the most exciting panel to work on (in my opinion) because it highlighted the absolutely adorable Tula Pink skunk fabric I had ordered especially for this project. I LOVE it. It’s the perfect pattern for black-and-white projects. Since it is a Tula fabric, I think no one is surprised that there is still some colour in it, but just little pops that add to the design. I had chosen a mottled coloured fabrics for the piping from my stash. The colours matched perfectly and I think it added to the bag. Husband thinks I should have stuck with a black piping as he thinks it pulled focus a bit. I also took a survey at my UFO club and they told me the coloured piping “made the bag”. Let me know your opinion in the comments! I won’t re-place the piping, but it helps for me to know on future projects that I intend to give/sell.

Bright piping (how is this the only picture I took of the piping process??)

This panel also introduces a new concept – zipper tape!! There are two options for buying zippers. You can buy lengths from your local fabric store (16”, 22”. 8”, etc.) or you can buy a roll of zipper tape and a handful of zippers to go with it. The advantage to the individual zippers is mostly a range of colour. You can buy zipper tape in many colours, but if you only use them occasionally in your projects, it makes more fiscal sense to buy the individual ones in the colour you need at the time. The advantage to zipper tape is that you get a massive supply of zipper length and don’t need to worry about making a mistake if you cut it too short – you can just cut more! You can also mix-and-match the zipper colours. Since I was using gold rings for the handles, I went with yellow zippers on the black zipper tape. I could have done black zippers to have everything blend in, but it should surprise no one at this point that I would find that too boring to bother with, 😀 The one challenge to zipper tape is that you have to insert the zipper into the zipper teeth. That can be difficult to do. There are lots of hacks online for doing it. My hack was using a very old coat with a broken zipper last winter as my new good coat was stuck at my parents’ house 2 hrs away during a lockdown. I made do with re-zipping the coat each time I got in and out of the car/house/bending down to scoop dog bombs. I got VERY good at threading zippers into the teeth, so doing this part was no challenge. I also got an extra zipper and 20” of tape just in case I made a mistake and needed a second zipper. Smart on me, as I cut the zipper 1” too short on the first pocket. I still have some zipper tape to save and use on a future project!!! Maybe a matching wallet??

The final thing I’ll warble on about regarding the bag is the inner section. I wanted to make this bag big enough for SisterD to transport her laptop in when she starts going back to work after COVID. That requirement dictated the bag pattern I used. I know what model of laptop she has (and her work just issued the new device to her, so she’ll have it for at least 4-5 years), so I could make sure the bag would accommodate the laptop. Issue is, when you put a laptop in a bag, you really do need it to be in a separate section from all your other bag-things or it becomes very hard to fish up, say, your building ID to get into the office. The bag pattern only had one big pocket on the inside, so I included a divider to keep things separate. I also built two fabric pockets into the divider for tucking the power cord & mouse into in an effort to keep the main pocket as clear as possible. This was relatively easy to accomplish. When cutting the liner fabric, I added an extra 1” to the side pieces. I then cut them in half and stitched the divider in between them. One thing I did not do is make the divider go all the way up to the zipper. I feel like this adds too much weight and makes it harder to look for things/get things in/out of the bag, so it’s about 3/4 the hight of the pattern liner. I will be asking my sister to give me feedback on whether this was helpful or if things kept moving between the two sides. It’s a free bag – she can be a guinea pig!

Bag sewing together: 2-12hr days, give or take. Multiple rip-outs and forgotten pattern pieces are included here.

Yeah. On the first day, I literally got up in the morning, had breakfast, and vanished into the sewing room until much later at night than I should have been up. The next couple of days, I spaced in meals and naps. It’s a vacation, for crying out loud – I’m supposed to be taking a break!!! Was it worth it?

FINISHED!

Uh, YEAH … I think it was!! I may be biased (and sleep and energy deprived), but I think this looks stunning! After I finished it, I switched thread and made another mug mat to go with SisterN’s tote. I decided the one I made during the sewing challenges wasn’t good enough to give as a gift, especially considering all the work that went into SisterD’s bag and mat. If this seems like an unfair demonstration of giving, rest assured that SisterN is getting the major time-sink gift next Christmas. I had that picked out before I even started the bags. I intend to start it in October – I want to give myself loads of time to get that one done this year!!

For July/August, we don’t have to pick UFOs if we’re too busy. We didn’t pay into the kitty for the summer months, which works out for me. New house does not have central air and the sewing room is WAY too hot to spend large amounts of time in during heat waves. I intend to work on the two 6” feature block quilts I started in April/May whenever we have cool days. If I’m lucky, I’ll have them both pieced and the flimsies ready for quilting by September. If not, that’s okay too. I still have the Tula monthly quilt blocks to do and the Christmas Fig quilt to assemble when the stores re-open, so if that’s all I manage during my summer, I’ll be happy with that!!

Summer goals

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Piecing

Stay-cation Sew Along

FibreChick posted on Facebook that she was hosting a Stay-cation Sew Along this week. She presented 5 projects, 1 at each noon time period. It just happened to line up with my vacation, so I decided to sew along!

Monday: Quick-sew zip pouch
I was outside playing in the dirt and forgot to join. 😀 Skipped!

Tuesday: Hexie mug mat
This time, I remembered to join in. Kim encouraged us to use scraps, so I grabbed a handful of the scraps from the project on my sewing table: SisterD’s bag. Guess who is getting a matching mug coaster for her desk at work?? I think it turned out pretty cute. Because I was working with scraps, the little skunk face wasn’t centred properly, but close enough is good enough. Husband does not like the “tie-die colour bits”, but I think it adds some interest to the project.

Wednesday: Travel pillow cases
Kim has a quick project for making travel pillows for kids to use in the car for sleeping. I would have LOVED one as a kid – I was forever using uncomfortable acrylic fuzzy couch cushions and hated them. I thought they might be cute gifts for my nieces when I see them next! In this mini-class, she was showing us how to make the pillow cases to go on the travel pillows. I just happened to have a pillow case kit that I bought and used a part of for eye mask gifts for a spacey friend. The girls may not even know what Star Trek is, but I think they’ll still like the colourful cases! And if they don’t … I’mma gonna keep them for hammock pillows!!!! I may do that anyways …

Thursday: Kisses mug mat
Since the hexie mat was going to SisterD, it’s only fair to make a mug coaster for SisterN’s tote, right? I pulled out that tiny stack of strips I had left over from the tote and followed along to make the Kisses mug mat. However … we once again have a value problem with the fabrics. I thought making the sashing out of different fabric would help, but it did not work. It just looks blah. It may have to do, though – Time is a commodity in high demand this week.

Friday: Quick-sew zip pouch with see-through window
This is the same project as Monday, but with a see-through window. Since I didn’t have any clear vinyl to make the see-through window and I skipped the class Monday, I just made the normal zip. My project kind of went off the rails, though. When I cut the fabric, I thought the zipper was supposed to go at the top and bottom of the pouch. Turned out, it was to go in the middle with the pouch wrapping around it. That would have made for a quick project indeed, but since I cut printed fabric that I didn’t have enough to cut a fresh piece on, we proceed with an M-modification (I don’t learn, do I?). It took some finagling, but I finally got it to work … sort of. The picture is upside down now with the zipper below the image. I think it still works, though. You can carry the pouch with the zipper down, right? Either way – it will make a perfect Father’s Day gift for my dad. He loves the OG Star Trek series. Evidently, he has a pill bottle that keeps opening in his pocket, which can make for dosing surprises. This should fit it nicely!

~M

Finished Projects · Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) · Non-Quilt Projects · UFO

Baggin’ It

My June UFO commitment is to get caught up on the presents I was trying to get made for Christmas and ran out of time to do. With all the lockdowns, I didn’t bother picking it back up. That’s subject to change, though. We’re supposed to come out of lockdown at the start of June . First thing I intend to do is go visit my family. My sisters were both supposed to get bags (not that they know that), but the niece quilts took priority. Now I get to finish them!!!

I was supposed to finish the one I started in December for SisterD, but of course … I got distracted. I blame my father-in-law. If I hadn’t finished his quilt (mostly), I wouldn’t have all these pretty scraps just BEGGING to be made into a tote bag. That means SisterN is getting her bag finished first.

Okay, maybe it’s partially my fault. I’ve been re-watching episodes of the Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters on my lunch break. I like watching them for inspiration, especially the quilting designs. I’ve already got 2 more quilts planned with fabrics I bought when I first started quilting. Like I need more projects!! One of her episodes was about making a quilted bag. The template was offered for free on Craftsy which became Bluprint which has become Craftsy again … It changed hands a couple of times, hence the re-branding. With those changes, the pattern directions are no longer available on the site. I almost couldn’t find this pattern, but I finally stumbled across a PDF shared on the internet with the pattern! Who hoo!
http://static-sympoz.s3.amazonaws.com/email/2019/Member%20Patterns/April%202019/Sew/Tiki%20Tote%20Pattern.pdf

While I have a decent amount of scraps, I don’t have enough to make it totally out of 2.5 strips, so I took all the extra strips and just mix them all up with the standard strips. It gives the strip-units a less-braidy look, but I like the way it’s turned out!

I was so excited to have the exterior done within a couple of days. I’d go in with the intent to do one braid unit and SURPRISE get sucked in to finish 3 or 4. Next step – put the braids together. Because this is a bag and it may not see the most gentle use, I decided to serge the panels together for more rigidity. Yes, it makes the seams a little little bulkier, but it’s a bag. That doesn’t really matter. After serging the units and the top border, I attached some batting and started on the quilting!!

This bag is really busy and the fabric on it is sooo beautiful, so I didn’t want to do too much more than stitching the batting to the fabric. I still wanted to practice a bit, though, so I decided to do some free-motion stitching in the odd strip. I think this looks pretty good! And the ribbon candy design is definitely getting better with practice. I think it like it best on narrow strips – I struggle making it look good on wider strips.

The pattern calls for a pieced liner. This teenie tiny pile of strips is all I have left (YAY almost no scraps!!!), so I’m going to use a single piece of fabric as the liner. Since I’ve got just enough to also make the straps out of the liner fabric, I will use it there as well.

All that remains of the Crystal Waters bundle

All in all – this is a pretty quick little tote sew. It looks super cute, it’s a good way to use up fat quarter bundles, and who doesn’t like a tote bag!! 😀 Next up: the SisterD work tote.

~M