Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Sending you best wishes this holiday season and looking forward to seeing you in 2009!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a Bird! It's a Plane? It's a..

zipper topped bird shaped pouch sewn from a felted vest (whew! that was a bit of a wordy description for the birdy pouch). ;o)

The fun part about the wool vest that I felted was that the front panels were patterned while the back of the vest was plain. That gave me the ability to mix and match the body and wing on each side of the pouch. I machine stitched the wings in place and then used embroidery floss to blanket stitch around the wing for interest. This birdy pouch would be just the right size for carrying a few trinkets or even to be used as a pencil case.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zig-Zag Quilt


with a matching pillow.

That's another gift made.
I have had some requests for information on the method I used to make the zig-zags using strips and I think the best way to avoid confusion is to do a tutorial. I'm not going to make any promises that I will get a tutorial blogged for you before Christmas as I have other projects needing my attention. I will do one though. It's now on my to-do list. ;o)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Start Small

I've been wanting to try zig zag patchwork using strips for soooooo long . So, here is my first attempt. I finally decided that if I try a small project I could not only gratify my want, but have a chance to see if my idea would work without worrying about a possible large scale "test project" disaster...

It's ready to be machine quilted but I couldn't wait until after finishing it to show you.
I am glad I started with a small project for this kind of patchwork. I did learn some lessons along the way. Happily, I can honestly say I am not done zig-zagging! Stay tuned....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Change the fabric ...

and you change the look of this simple bag. I thought this fabric combination looked more "wintrier" than the obvious spring look I had with my previous versions.
The two other changes to my bag design included self made piping and pull tabs at each end of the zipper placket. I think the only detail left to finish on this present, is to make a decorative tie for the zipper pull.

There is so much potential to play with details on this design - but this time I wanted to feature the fabric of this pretty fat quarter (don't you love projects that use a small amount of materials and give big results?). I know the recipent of this bag isn't a blog follower, so I decided I was safe in sharing this project with you. ;o)
Hope you're all making good progress with your handmade gift lists! Happy crafting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Sew a Small Drawstring Pouch from 2 Squares

In a previous post I showed what you could make from 2 squares of fabric. Just in case you want to know how, here's the tutorial so you can make your own.

1. Cut two squares of contrasting fabric. For this pouch I cut my squares 9.75"

2. Place squares right sides together and sew around them, using 1/4" seams and be sure to leave an opening along one side for turning after stitching.*Clip all four corners so that you will have crisp corner points when turned right side out*

3. Turn right side out. I use a chopstick to help push the fabric in the corners to crisp points. Press. Hand stitch the opening you made for turning.

4. Mark the centers on all four sides with the fabric you want as the outside of the pouch facing up.

5. Measure out 3/4" from the centers (the dark headed pins in my sample) and mark with disappearing ink or with a pin as I did. Be sure to mark out 3/4" on both sides of your center pins.

Here's the close up of step #5...

6. Fold the corners in using the marks you made 3/4" from the centers; as shown below. Pin down each of the four corners this way.

This close up shows how I have the corners folded at a right angle with the pins guiding me.

This is what your fabric should look like after all the corners have been pinned down.

7. Now you will measure and stitch 1/2" in from the folded edge you've made from turning the corners down. Be sure to back stitch at the start and end of this seam as this is to be the casing for your drawstring.

This shows the squares after all four casings have been stitched for the drawstrings.

8. Next step is to fold the point of the corner up towards the casing seam line. Hand stitch the point in place. ***Do not sew your stitches into the casing***

After all four points have been tacked folded up towards the casing, your pouch should look like this:

9. Now you need to thread two pieces of ribbon through the casing. I cut my ribbon extra long at 35" each. Be sure to thread each ribbon through all four of the casings so it completes a "circle". Notice how you start each ribbon directly across from the other as shown below.

10. Fill the pouch with treasures (jewelry? sewing notions? candy? or whatever else you can think of!) and pull the ribbons tight to secure it.

Have fun making these a bit bigger or smaller if you wish. These make up so quick that making several would be a breeze. Make some for gift giving, but be sure to make at least one for yourself!
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter white is here!

Here's the view I had today from one of the windows in my sewing space. My picture doesn't do it justice. The trees look magical and I'm enjoying the tranquil view of them.
I have several projects on the go and have nothing finished to share at the moment. One project that's been in the works for a little while is my Bento Box quilt. I thought I'd try making a pieced back for it using only fabric that I have in my stash. This is what I came up with. I love that Robert Kaufman print (I wish I'd had enough to make the whole back from it...).

After much deliberating, I decided not to use it as the backing. So off to the stash for something different. I've dug out a vintagey print that I had passed on to me from my mother in law. She bought yards and yards of it back in the 70's when she started to make a king size quilt in rusts and browns. Anyways, I think the retro fabric will work better for the backing.
I now have my quilt top basted and awaiting to be machine quilted as you can see from all the pins in the picture below.

Now if I can just decide how I will quilt this and what to use for the binding... I can get this quilt off my to-do list.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just a glimpse

of projects I have on the go at the moment. I'd show you more but they're gifts and I don't want to completely spoil the surprise.

That's the trick with sewing at this time of the year, isn't it? You might be making lots, but you can't share it unless you know the recipient doesn't read your blog. ;o)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Simply Red

I'm always amazed how something so simple is so satisfying. What could be simpler than the block design of this quilted red and white runner? Better yet, the red strips used to make this runner were leftovers from the log cabin quilt I made for my oldest son. Every time I look at this project, I feel the energy of those reds!

My quilting was very simple - I started with one wavy line that I freehand machine stitched and then echo quilted it to cover the whole runner in a lengthwise direction.

I find I like to use curvy quilting lines when the block design is linear. It just seems to make the overall look more whimsical.

The binding is a seasonal print (that is hard to photograph!) - pine branches on a rich red background. For the backing I tend to use plain pieces of fabric, but I think I'm about to change that after seeing some inspiring pieced quilt backs over at Crazy Mom Quilts. Hmmmm... I still have some red strips left, maybe I could satisfy my desire for more red along with my curiosity to attempt a pieced back... stay tuned.... ;o)

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Creative Corner

I was drafting some patterns of my own this weekend and did manage to sew up some gifts too, but since I can't show those to you, would you like to see what my sewing corner looks like?

Notice the large teal tubs under the table? There's actually more of them than shown here. These particular tubs hold my quilting fabric stash and my collection of vintage sheets. The tub in the foreground (with an in progress work stacked on top of it...) holds the thrifted sweaters I've felted for projects. The other storage tubs (not shown) hold things like my yarn and other needlework materials; collected worn out jeans for projects; plaid shirts for another quilt and then there's a tub full of novelty fabrics, like plush for making stuffies.

My space may be limited, but I've managed to load the area with lots of my sewing necessities. Luckily, the window ledges in Edith are ample enough to stack items like books and even some of my clear plastic bins containing my fabric scraps (organized by size) . If you look really close at the stack of pink lidded containers, you may even notice that I also have a portable dvd player with two movies resting on top of it (Pride & Prejudice and Mansfield Park - I love Jane Austen stories and it's a treat to watch the movie versions). During the day, all the natural light in this corner makes it a wonderful spot for sewing. I confess that in the evening, I'm just as happy to stitch away, especially with one of the aforementioned movies playing. Mr. Darcy seems to help me sew. ;o)

Friday, November 21, 2008

This Week...

ended better than it began due to a cold. Here's the proof that my week ended well - the quilt top for my Bento box quilt is now stitched together. Yay! (Please excuse the bits of green tape that denote the placement order of my blocks - I was too anxious to take my photo before our daylight disappeared and forgot about the tape).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baker's Dozen Patchwork Wristlet

This wristlet with its pieced and quilted front is comprised of a baker's dozen of girly fabrics which I made as a gift for a sweet fabric loving friend. It seems I cannot resist patchwork or making wristlets!
For the inside of the wristlet I indulged my love of polka dot fabric, which picks up the greens and pinks in the patchwork.

A layer of batting, beneath this Heather Bailey print is left unquilted for the back of the wristlet.

Many thanks to J for feeding my scrap stash which lead to the idea for this wristlet. I couldn't be happier with the results in this baker's dozen!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Old Red Barn Giveaway!

Dana is offerring chances to win one of three different quilts. Go ahead and enter here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Inside Two Squares?

I love trying new ideas. What can you make from two squares of coordinating fabric? Why this simple drawstring pouch!

Just the right size to tuck in some sewing tools or maybe some sweets.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two Quilts

This is the Bento box quilt that I'm currently working on. The blocks make up quite quickly and I love the pattern that emerges from this simple design.

This shot is the same layout from a different angle. I'm still deciding if this will be the final placement of the blocks.
I thought I'd give you the final shots on the Stars of Friendship quilt. The last post I made about this quilt I told you how I had run out of fabric for the binding. Amandajean rescued me by sending me some more so I could finish.

This shot shows the white sheet I used as a backing. I thought by showing the back you would see that the quilt top really is blue and not white - which the front looks, when photographed on its own.
It's hard to find a place indoors to show a shot of a completed quilt. My two helpers are sick at the moment, so I placed the quilt on top of the air mattress we're still using as our bed, to take this photo.

I must say that this quilting habit is quite addictive. ;o) My mind is already racing ahead with plans for starting another....

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Start of Something Good...

Ages ago, I was inspired by this post and I determined that I wanted to make a Bento box quilt too. Then I spotted another example of this design over at Crazy Mom Quilts and I knew that this was a quilt begging to be made. After deciding to use this collection of fat quarters...

I cut and stitched up the blocks for my quilt top this weekend. Here's my blocks all lined up, waiting for me to clear space on the floor to lay them out.
The colours and patterns I've decided to combine having me feeling rather bold, but I'm so excited to share my latest project with you that I couldn't wait to give you a sneak peek.

Wish me luck on deciding how to arrange the final layout for the quilt top! ;o) I'll have more pictures soon.

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