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

Non-Quilt Projects · Quilt Designs · UFO

Warp Speed Baby Quilt

I don’t know what lit the fire under me … but I like it!

First up – the curtains. They … did not go according to plan. For future reference, if you ever ask someone to make sheers for you and they charge you handsomely for it, PAY THE MONEY. These things are beyond terrible to work with!!At this point, you can see I have two different lengths and I’m not entirely convinced the hem is straight. I’m sick to death of trying to get them right and I only have 2 more panels to get it right with, so this project is on hold. What I have for now is good enough … especially since we are back in lockdown here in Ontario!! No one is going to see them because no one is supposed to be in my house. They obscure the view from the back yard, so they are fulfilling the required purpose. I am DONE with them for now!

Wonky curtains

With that little nightmare fading behind me, I switched focus to the baby quilt. Again … lockdown, so am I ever glad I already bought the items I needed to work on this!!!! I will probably need to acquire a backing soon, but I can procrastinate on that for a few weeks.

Block 1: the dog block

This is the original pattern by Kelli Fannin created for Riley Blake Designs to go with the Fisher Price fabric they released. I’m not taking too many liberties with this pattern, but I think the dog block can do with some tweaking, don’t you?

There! That looks much better! 😀 Since this quilt is staying in the family, I feel that I can take a could make it look a little more personal without causing any confusion. I’m also planning on altering the bald man (column 2, row 2). Baby’s father (my brother) likes to keep a hair-free dome coupled with a big bushy beard! I haven’t looked at that block yet, but if I can modify it to look more like family … then yay!! Baby’s mother already looks somewhat like the blonde bob-hair lady (column 1, row 1), so the man block should be the only other change I need to make. I’m super excited to flex my design muscles a little bit!!

Completed so far

My UFO class goal for Jan 16 was to have all the fabrics picked out and the dog block done. Since I’m already well past that part, who wants to take bets on how far I can get in another week? Maybe … even … a whole quilt top?? I’m not committing to that, but … wouldn’t that be amazing???

~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

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) · Non-Quilt Projects

Expanding The Product Line

I did manage to get 3 more blocks quilted! My personal goal has been met. 🙂 Next month I aim to have 6 done, then 6 more done, then I just need to quilt the sashing strips and bind it! I can see the end! That reminds me – I need to get working on the label. Thank goodness I managed to fix my printer. I have 2 labels to print now, so that’s likely to happen sooner rather than later. First, though, I have to empty the Bubble Jet Wash bin of my side project …

I am making a clothes! The pattern is for the Maria Apron by Maven Sewing Patterns. I tend to wear form-fitting shirts and leggings for comfort and wanted to get some dresses to wear over them for modesty. I’ve always loved the Japanese house apron look and thought “Maybe I could just make that myself??” So – into the internet I went to find a pattern that would meet my standards. The one issue most of them is that they’re open in the back. Since I intend to wear leggings, I didn’t want that part of me sticking out when I wear it in public. The Maria Apron is PERFECT because it has pattern modification where the back wraps around and covers everything up! I’m very excited to get my first attempt together to see how it fits!

I’m using some fabric that I picked up on sale a while back (can’t beat $6 a meter!). I’m starting with the Large size and seeing how it goes from there. That may be a mistake as this is a UK designer and I find their sizes to be a bit smaller than US size standards, but we’ll see! I don’t want it to be too huge, so I’m willing to try smaller first. To that end, I had to use my multi-size method for marking fabric for cutting because I don’t want to cut the pattern down to size just yet. How do I do that? Old fashion magic.

I use carbon paper!! This method is AMAZING! First off, carbon paper is surprisingly cheap (100 black sheets at Staples cost a whopping $20 dollars). Second, it can be used MANY times over before a sheet is no longer useful (I’ve been using the same 8 pages since I got the bundle and there’s still lots of life left). Third, it doesn’t make the fabric dirty. It seems to take a significant amount of pressure to leave a mark, so resting the fabric on top of it doesn’t smudge anything. Fourth, it can come in a range of colours!! I think anything apart from black isn’t strictly carbon paper. It feels different and carbon is only black in nature. The white paper I got is technically called “graphite paper”. It behaves exactly the same way, though! Now I can mark both dark and light fabrics with patterns!

First, I start by laying down the carbon paper, carbon side up. If I’m doing several large pieces, I will tape them down so they don’t move as the fabric shifts around. Next, I put the fabric down, right side up. This means that the marks will be on the bottom. In the unlikely event that I do smudge the middle of the pattern, the marks won’t be noticeable from the front. Finally, I lay the pattern on top and put something somewhat heavy on it to make sure it doesn’t shift around. Sometimes, I’ll even tape the pattern to the fabric to make sure the pattern doesn’t shift. The one disadvantage to doing marking this way is that you can’t see your previous marks, so if the pattern moves on the fabric, you probably won’t be able to line it up perfectly again. That means re-drawing the whole thing, so it’s important the pattern-fabric layout stays the same. After all the pieces are stacked up, I use a tracing wheel to go over the size lines and voila – the pattern is marked!! I can just rotary cut along the carbon lines and I have my shape! I also use this for the small amount of appliqué I do when I need to cut out my shapes.

Now I have everything cut out and ready to sew! I’ve even finished fusing the neckline pieces that required fusing. This was the perfect project to work on for a day where I felt like sewing, but didn’t have the space to work on something other than my quilting (which I really did need a break from). For the coming week, though, there are other priorities on the horizon.

~M

Non-Quilt Projects · Quilt Designs · UFO

Summer Projects

Now that the stores have finally re-opened, I’ve been running around collecting fabrics and assorted goods. Let’s take a look at what the summer holds!

1. Christmas Fig

I got fabric to finish this quilt!!! Finally!
However … they did not have any of the same colour left available (surprising that such an ugly colour was that popular, but it is what it is). I was concerned that would be an issue, so instead of just bringing along a sample of the background fabric, I brought an orphan block made up of little fabric pieces from the quilt. Orphan blocks are blocks that go unused or scraps that are put together to form a one-off block that aren’t used in the quilt. I’m starting to amass a collection of orphan blocks for a scrap quilt down the road. 🙂 Using the orphan block, I pulled a fabric colour that I think looks very well with the quilt! It makes the ugly background look nice and adds a cohesive look to all the fabrics. I’m glad they ran out! This quilt looks even nicer than I imagined! I managed to get a trip down to the Fibre Chick to pick out backing and binding. This quilt is going to be so beautiful when complete! I think my father-in-law will love it.

I cut out all the sashing and put the quilt top together in the span of a couple of days. I took a picture from earlier and made marks on it to arrange the blocks so there weren’t touching fabrics or too much purple in one section. It really helped for reference when putting it together. I got so excited to get the flimsy made!!!! Now to get it basted and quilted. 🙂

I promise the diagram makes sense to me!

2. 6.5” panel quilts

While I was at the Fibre Chick, she gave me the suggested assembly instructions for the 6.5” panel squares quilt. I decided to pick out a background, binding, and sashing fabric for the Amish panel of 6.5” squares. I may be giving that quilt to someone for Christmas. That’s not as sure thing and I’m not even 100% certain which person would be getting it, so I’ll say no more on the matter at present. It was a good opportunity to pick up what I need for it! I believe I also got sashing for the calendar 6.5” squares. I may need more for binding fabric when I get there, but I intend to use some rough poly fabric for the back as I intend it to be my first hung quilt!! I have a special idea in mind for that one. 🙂

Ready to rock!

3. Tula Pink

We are half-way through the Tula Pink blocks! 50 blocks made so far, another 10 to be done in the next 2 weeks, and we’re at 60% completion! To that end, I decided to pick up sashing at Fabricland. I knew going into this that I wanted grey for my sashing to make the colours pop. I’m using white, black, and dark grey/charcoal in the blocks, so it had to be something that would keep the dark blocks from disappearing. After comparing to several different shades at the store, I settled on this iron grey colour. It’s a warm-toned grey, which is unusual of itself. It’s also just light enough not to blend into the dark blocks, yet still dark enough to make the hot colours pop. I cannot wait to see it come together! I will be adding the sashing to the left-hand side as I go and adding a sashing to a finished block when strip-piecing this month’s blocks. I picked out the fabrics for this month, by the way – predominantly purple with some blue. Next month, we’ll be back to random fabric pulls from stash. I love this project so much!!!

4. Niece gifts

Since I already got the nephew Christmas present out of the way (a digger for his next-year sandbox), I might as well get the girls’ presents done too.

When I made the Peter Pan quilts last year, I had one fabric left over that I had no idea what to do with. It was a long panel-type fabric, but the panel was only half width-of-fabric and repeated the same design on the other side. I guess it would be a good border fabric, but who makes borders that are 21” wide?? I folded it up and put it back with absolutely no idea what to do with it … until Fibre Chick’s summer sew-along a couple of weeks ago. That fabric would be PERFECT for travel pillows!! And I even had a left-over pillow from making the Star Trek pillows, so I can get this wrapped up in a day!

Since I was using a fabric that was printed to a certain width, I decided to cut down on the amount of pillow case cuff to get more of the graphic in. It did work, but I quickly found out that the case cuff is supposed to be a specific width in order to make it easier to sew the pillowcase together. Whoops. Now I know for the future. Everything is finished except sewing the thread ends into the seams. That won’t take long, though, so I’ll just leave it until I go to wrap them for Christmas. At least now I can put the serger away to make room for free-motion quilting!

5. Bag projects

I needs some bags for storing things, like my fabric pill shaver and the video game controllers. I decided to dig into my stash to make up some bags from my “ugly” fabrics because WHY NOT. The bag pattern I use has two fabrics on the outside (top and bottom), so the mask fabrics will be bottom fabrics with the blue as a top. The Mountie hat will be a bottom fabric with the province names as a top. The yellow chintz I’m trying to use up will be the liner for one or more bag. Finally, the bunny fabric is something I found at Fabricland. I FELL IN LOVE!!!! I want to make some sort of bag with it … maybe a fold-up shopping bag to keep in my purse? It would be better than the polyester one I have. It does for damp things, but it’s ugly and I want bunnies. 😀

I think that’s more than enough to be getting on with in the near future, don’t you?

~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

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · UFO

UFO Surprise

Sorry it took forever to get this post out. I needed to step back from doing too much and this was one of those things. Self-care and all that, but I’m back now. 🙂

Since I could only make 1 Christmas Fig block and nothing else …. why not do some honest-to-goodness quilting to flesh out the UFO goals for April??

Remember this? I basted it last summer thinking I would have time (and desk space) to do quilting over the winter …. right. So now I have the exact right amount of time to quilt it!! I think I’m going to wind up keeping it. I might as well, right? I need a table runner too!! Not that I HAVE a table at this time … but still!

I started out with the tree. Since I’ve done this 2 times already, I had a clear vision of that I wanted. Now that I’ve decided to keep it, I decided to do the quilting free-hand. I need the practice and I prefer the activity. I decided just to do straight lines coming to a point. I think it worked out well, even if it’s not perfectly straight! If I ever make another one of these, I think I would do this again, just with a ruler.

Next up was the creamy background. I took a chance with the thread. I had this rose-gold Glide thread and I thought it matched small parts of the background that had a pinky colour pretty well. And it just fit right in! Yay! The stipple has become my go-to filler for unobtrusive dense background quilting. It takes practice to keep the bends looking casual and uniform, so I figure continual practice hurts no one. I decided to do the trunks with the same rose-gold colour so the design would stand out. It was either this or the green and I think this is the better choice. I got inspired by an old tree trunk root in our front yard. I was looking at the rings in the wood over the weekend and “DING” – that part just fell into place. It’s not the best fit, but I like how it looks and I don’t think it looks too bad. It’s staying!

Semi-final step – the red borders. I decided to try doing a ribbon candy design down the sides and what I like to think of as loopy lillies in the triangles. I need practice with the ribbon candy, but I think part of the problem is that you need to have 2 edges to work against. Since I’m binding it, I didn’t use the top edge because the binding will cut off part of the design. I was getting a feel for it by the end, so hopefully just practice required to get perfect. 🙂

I used a cream binding to finish it off. I auditioned a few fabrics and this one was what I had in stash that suited it the most.

Finished!

I also made new quilting gloves!! My Mashinger gloves were getting downright yucky, despite washing them. And the elastic was coming out of the wrist. I bought some gardening gloves and cut off fingers so I can still use my phone when I quilt! Of course, I cut the wrong fingers off, so now I look like a 4-fingered muppet when I quilt. I may have to try again in the future. After these ones wear out/get grubby, that is.

The table runner is now on my door table. I don’t have a good picture just yet, but it definitely works well. I’m just so glad to have it finished up and in use! 🙂

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Sewing Room

And We’re Back

I completely forgot to get back to the blog. Sorry!!! When you get out of a habit, it can be hard to get back into it. Even this week is late … OH WELL. We still made it! I have two weeks worth of updates, so let’s start with first things first, shall we?

DESK ARRIVED!!! I’m pretty sure the desk showed up 2 days after writing my last post. Even though I was pretty tired that week, I still took time to put the whole thing together the first day it arrived. I’m so glad I did!! It let me jump straight into my first project!

When we moved in, one of the few new things we bought was a new couch. The old one HAD IT. Grungy, stinky (cat and dog nest for the last year or so), and not entirely in one piece anymore. We agreed that the old couch would not enter the new house, so a new couch arrived along with us. I really love it. We totally lucked out for buying sight unseen, only what was in stock. I didn’t really care what we got, but I wanted a sectional that was in stock because wait times are tracked in terms of months with the current craziness going on. I did keep the old throw pillows from the previous couch. I figured “pillows are pillows”. I tossed them through the wash and they came out smelling great! Looks, though, not so great. The tears and worn seams, I get – they’re 10 years old after all – but how in heaven’s name did it get a bleach stain???

Now that I had my sewing desk set up, I wanted to make new pillow coverings! My original plan was to go to Fabricland for some upholstery fabric, but Fabricland has been very nutty in our region. We were in lockdown almost 2 months longer than any of the surrounding municipalities. When our restrictions finally lifted, the stores went bananas. So, I’ve been waiting to go to places like Fabricland. Their parking lot is usually only full-to-overflowing on the 40% off store-wide sale day they have once a year. It was overflowing for a week straight after lockdown. Suddenly, I remembered I had a large-enough piece of tougher-than-normal cotton that would do the trick! I got it at a guild meeting during the penny sale and it’s been sitting in Fabrique Estates awaiting a purpose. Now it has one!

Item 1: set up my serger. The other reason I picked this as my first project was to test out the dual-sided sewing desk real estate. It actually worked out very well!! The desk is a little tight to the wall on the far side (mostly due to the baseboard heater sticking out), but it’s usable for short uses. I may angle my desk a little to give that side a bit more chair room in the future … not a bad idea.

Item 2: Cut up the fabric and SERGE. Note to self – double-check the fabric before cut WHAT ARE YOU DOING??????
Evidently, I need a refresher course on sewing. I had a little fabric to spare, but not enough to make mistakes with. When I was cutting my pieces doubled up, I didn’t check the underside of the first square and missed about an inch of fabric. Thankfully, it was close enough to the seam that I could just patch in a piece to make up the seam allowance. You can’t even tell now … but I still can’t believe I was that dense. I blame the excitement on having a HUGE cutting space at the end of my sewing desk to take advantage of. I haven’t even used my cutting station yet!!! This is is just too convenient.

Once the serger was set up (I had to re-watch the tutorial on how to do that because … I forgot …) serging the pieces together went VERY fast. I made the slips a little snug so the current pillows would fit in tightly. I left the old fabric on to give it a bit of stability. It’s all clean, so I don’t think it will matter. Once the pillow was stuffed in, all that was left to do was sew down the edge and we’re finished!!

That part got a little tricky. I could have put a zipper in to make it removable (and invisible), but I don’t want to waste a zipper. I could also have sewn the ends in by hand, but that takes time AND I wanted to use my room set up!!! What I settled for instead was using my zipper foot to get as close to the pillow form as possible and leave a small lip to the top of the pillow. It’s a little unprofessional looking, but this isn’t supposed to be the forever fabric and it looks good enough. Good enough works for me!

And pillows are now finished! That was one evening’s work for all three pillows. My sewing appetite has been whetted, the couch looks decently good, and there are projects to work on!!

Next up: UFO homework.

~M