Wednesday, October 24, 2012

iPhone cases

This is yet another amazing Pinterest find. Amy Friend has a blog called During Quiet Time and she has posted a great iPhone cover tutorial. It is very simple to make, but super stylish and has a nicer feel than the hard covers you buy in stores.

This tutorial is for personal use only, but I contacted her and received permission to make some covers for the next craft fair I am participating in.

This is the one I made for myself:

The beige fabric is linen and is very soft. The purple fabric I got from a child's dress that I bought at a second hand store. It was too small for my daughter, but I couldn't bear to get rid of that gorgeous fabric. The dark blue loop on the side was cut from a fabric belt that came with a pair of shorts I bought. I managed to scrounge up a key ring and then appropriated one of the clips from my child's water bottle, and voila! I LOVE this cover. I just hook it to the belt buckle on my jeans and then head off to the bus stop with my son and my little dog.

Here are some of the covers I made with my scrap fabric today. They will be available at the Bloom Craft Fair at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem on November 10th from 10-4.
Thanks so much Amy for your wonderful pattern!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Little owl handbags

I found these adorable little handbags on Pinterest and decided to take advantage of my daughter's sick day. Normally my busiest day of the week, it has been relatively quiet. It is amazing how much sewing/laundry/dishes/cleaning you can get done when you have a few uninterrupted hours.

I bought the denim like fabric a while ago, but could never figure out what to do with it. I think I'm going to have to build up my 'pink' stash. It has dwindled considerably, ergo, these bags are not too girly. I ended up borrowing my mom's sewing machine for the zig zag.

If anyone is interested in making these bags, you can find the pattern on the Gingercake website.

And in case you are wondering, the white backing for the owl bag photo is the back of the quilt I hand quilted for my bed. The front is alternating blue and white strips. It needed to be washed, and today is the perfect day for air drying.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Some side projects

I'm starting to regret selling my old Viking. The only disadvantage to my new Babylock is that it is a straight stitch only machine. No zigging or zagging. I picked up a heavy duty Singer from Goodwill that seemed like it zig zagged just fine in the testing stage, has rebelled in practice. The Pikachu hat required zig zag stitches to tack all the eyes and whatnot on it. Oops. The good news is that I was able to freehand stitch around the pieces and my mom has a little Brother she said I could borrow in the future. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, here is the finished hat:

I used a Simplicity pattern for fleece hats and improvised. Only the flannel was on sale at the time, so that is what I bought. I measured my daughter's head and settled on the Miss size M. Maybe I measured wrong. Either that, or the flannel is just too thin. This hat is BIG! It fits me quite nicely. Fortunately, my daughter has given it the stamp of approval (It is big enough to fit that pony tale that she never lets down) and she is especially happy that it ended up with 'angry' eyes. Time for the cape next and Halloween costumes will be completed!

I finished this handbag today and I really like how it turned out. I'm not really into big colorful purses, so this burlap-like material (also culled from the Joann Fabrics remnants bin) works well for me. It is actually quite soft. And the purple floral works well as the lining. I love the pattern, but it is too busy for me have on the outside of the bag.

I got this free pattern from This lady has some great patterns on her website and the instructions are easy to follow.

I got really lucky finding these purse handles. A local knitting store went out of business recently and I picked these up at 60% off. The normal purchase price was $69.99. They feel great and it is so nice to have real leather. Think I'll be keeping this handbag for myself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Binding tutorial

My winter scene is finally finished. Time for binding.

Now that I am starting to quilt more elaborately, I noticed that I was not sewing my binding strips on in a straight line. I was matching them with the outside edge of the quilt and wondering why it wasn't totally straight at the end. The reason? The quilting has distorted the perfect lines around the edge. My rectangle is now not exactly even.

You can see here how the straight edges have shifted. I put a piece of cardboard against the edge and the line is not even. The solution? Blue marking pen.

I took my quilting ruler and marked new straight lines along the outside edge of the entire quilt. You can make out the blue marking pen on the top left of the above photo.

The bottom edge actually ended up straight, but you can see my straight edge newly marked on the left.
Ok, so now that the new borders are marked out, I need to cut binding strips. This quilt measure 19 x 15 1/2. You add up the lengths of the sides and you get 69 inches total. Then you divide by the length of the fabric. Most are around 42 inches. This particular batik was only 41. The total would then be 1.68. That means I need 2 strips of binding fabric for this quilt. You always average the number up. And if it is really close to the next number (like 1.87 or something similar), add and extra strip because you need to account for seam allowances. Better safe than sorry:)
Joining the strips: I always cut 2 1/4 inch binding strips, as many as you need for the perimeter of the quilt.

Take the first two strips, right sides together and place them together as above, leaving a 1/4" sticking out at each end. Mark the sewing line as above and sew.  Repeat this step for all strips. I don't even take them out of the machine until they are all sewn. I just take the other end of the piece I just sewed and line it up on the next one. Chain piecing basically.

Then you cut off the outside part of the triangle, just leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. You don't have to measure this, just trim off the excess.

Press the seams out to each side. Then iron the entire single strip with the WRONG sides together.

Pick an end and fold down one corner on the inner side of the strip and iron.

Fold the strip back in half and press again.

Then you can trim the excess part of the triangle, leaving a 1/4 seam allowance as above.

Center your strip, with the open edges facing the outside of the quilt. The folded edge should be toward the inside of the quilt.

Start sewing about 6 inches down from the beginning of the strip using a 1/4 seam allowance. The beginning of the strip will be sewn at the end. Sew to 1/4" from the corner and backstitch a few stitches. I usually don't pin the binding on at this point, just line it up with my hands (along the blue line). You can mark the 1/4" stopping point if you have trouble eyeballing it. Cut your thread and remove the quilt from the machine, tying off your loose threads and cutting them.

Place the quilt in front of you so it looks like the above photo. Pull the binding strip straight up and then straight down. Place a pin in it. There should be a fold at the top.

Start sewing at the very edge. You don't need any seam allowances here. You can see the blue line on the right. I line up the right edge of the binding with this line as I go along.
Continue the above steps until you get to the last side, where you started.

In the above photo, you can see that my binding strip overlaps the beginning of the strip. I've marked on my strip where I will make the cut. Give yourself an inch or so past the straight edge on the earlier strip. You will be tucking the top strip into the bottom one.

Cut your fabric and tuck it into the beginning strip.

It helps to pin the last few inches once you've tucked them all together so the layers don't shift.

Sew just past where you start stitching in the beginning and tie off all loose threads.

Now the quilt should look something like this. The binding is all sewn in one continuous strip now.

Get out your rotary cutter and ruler. Cut about 3/8" from the line where you sewed your binding strip on.
Now all the excess batting and backing fabric is cut off and you are almost ready to sew the binding to the back. This is done by hand. I highly recommend the ladder stitch. It is almost invisible to the eye.
Here is a great ladder stitch tutorial that I found to be very helpful.

Turn your quilt over and bring the binding strip over from the front, encasing the raw edges. Find the center of a side and pin.

Continue pinning toward the left, pinning just over the line of stitching where you machine stitched the binding on. Pin until you get to the perpendicular line of stitching.

Starting on the next side, fold the binding over. You should have a nice mitered corner now.

Continue pinning around all corners until your quilt looks like this. All you have to do now is hand stitch it down using the ladder stitch. I recommend hand quilting thread if you have it because of its strength, but regular sewing thread will work as well. Good luck!

Back in the game!

After a long week of working, ferrying kids to dentist appointments, and filling at least one full-sized garbage can full of acorns (and yet they continue to fall!), I have finally been able to at least glance in the direction of my sewing machine. In between loads of laundry and a sink full of dishes, I got a hanging sleeve sewn onto my angel quilt. And it looks lovely hanging in my kitchen (who cares that it isn't Christmas yet). I also got the bindings sewn onto my coffee cup and winter scene quilts, yay!

Feeling good:) And I even took a bunch of photos of the winter scene as I went, in hopes of posting another tutorial. Got a half hour before the bedtime routines start up. I think I can fit in some more typing into that window. Soon to come.... Binding Tutorial:)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall bazaar: a bust?

The Fall Bazaar is done. I got up at 6am this morning. Ugh! Can we say I'm not a morning person? Lugged everything in and set it all up. Here I am posing in front of my display. Now that I am looking more closely, I can see the coat rack didn't make it into the photo. It is off to the left, draped in beautiful scarves and bags. Christmas stockings too!

In one respect, you could say the bazaar was a bust. The tables and spacing were nice, but it would be a stretch to say that even 50 people passed through. Very disappointing after a great Bloom Craft Fair last April. I sold enough to pay for my table and that is it. Two customers.

On the other hand, I met a really nice woman at the table next to me. She was selling beautiful ornaments made out of marbles and wire. Of course I couldn't resist and bought 4! Christmas presents obviously:)

I also traded a cute pumpkin hat for a beautiful 8 x 10 of a bird on a branch. I passed out a few business cards and make some connections, one of which was a lady who has a bunch of quilt tops that she has never made into quilts. She seemed very enthusiastic about bringing them to me to quilt. Yay! Good for business:)

And last, but not least, I quilted both of my little wall quilts that I put together the day before. Strangely enough, the men seemed to be the most interested in seeing the machine in action.

The coffee cup is black on white and totally free motion quilted.

When I finished the winter scene, I was thinking that I should have used a darker thread for the sky swirls, but now I see that it shows up nicely. Loving this sky batik from Sewingly Yours. I actually went back to buy another yard. It's hard to find a great snowy sky fabric.

Here's a close up of the tree. I sketched it onto brown fabric and cut it out and topstitched it on. Then I free motion quilted the branches on after I did the sky swirls. You can see the little light dots on the fabric. They look like snow to me, but who am I to say? I grew up in Florida and you know how much snow they get there!

Overall, I'd say that I enjoyed myself and the day was worth it. Probably won't be participating in that particular fair again. But then again, everything is priced and ready for the next craft fair which is coming up at Redeemer Presbyterian on Nov 10th. I don't have to work overtime to make loads more quilts. They are all ready to go. Now I can work on the fun stuff:)

Friday, October 5, 2012

How to pin baste a quilt

I saw a comment on another blog asking for a tutorial on basting, so I thought it would be a good idea to have one on my site:) So here goes...

The first thing you want to do before basting is mark your quilt. It is a lot easier to mark the quilt top before it is put into a sandwich. I'm a huge fan of water soluble markers. They show up great on light colored fabric (it comes out light blue), not so good on dark. It is easy to erase if you make a mistake while you are marking. I usually have a damp wash cloth on hand just in case. Press it against the blue markings and they disappear. I do not recommend the purplish marking pens that 'vanish' on their own. Sometimes they don't vanish and sometimes they vanish too quickly. If you go with that option, always test a swatch first, and be sure you will be quilting immediately on that section. Otherwise all your time marking is for naught. 

So you have your quilt marked, and your backing fabric sewn together. Make sure to press the seams open on the backing fabric. To do that, you iron the seam from the back, each piece of fabric to one side instead of both to one side. This helps reduce the bulk during quilting. You don't really want a bulky back seam to show through to the front of the quilt.

Alright, lay your backing fabric pattern side down on a clean floor. Time to break out the masking tape. And now is not the time to skimp and save on Walmart brand tape. I know this because I have done it. You are happily taping all the edges when you suddenly realize the tape is not sticking. You keep pressing it down, and it keeps coming up. Not exactly a joyful start to basting. So go with the good stuff. Nice and sticky. Don't worry, it won't be on for long, so there is no danger of residue on your quilt.

 Start by taping each of the corners to the floor. You only need 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch pieces of tape. Then pick a side and put a piece of tape in the middle. Work your way out to the corners, putting a piece of tape every 5 or 6 inches. Do the same for the opposite side. Repeat for the other two sides. As you go along, you can pull just a tiny bit where you place the tape to make sure there aren't any wrinkles. Do not stretch the fabric though. If you pull it too tight, the whole thing will bunch up on itself once you take the tape off. It should look something like the above photo when you are done.

The next step is to put the layer of batting on top of the backing fabric. Doesn't matter which side you use. Then gently center the quilt on top of all the layers. If you have a seam in the backing fabric, now is the time to make sure the top layer is centered over the seam. Start at the center of the quilt and gently smooth it out to the edges so there aren't any wrinkles. Make sure you haven't smoothed it so well that you have distorted the lines. All the seams should line up straight.

Now is the time to start pinning. I've tried my hand at thread basting and it did NOT work for me. Maybe I didn't do it right, the layers constantly shifted around. And it took longer than pin basting. Just make sure you have proper quilt basting pins. You can get them at Joann's or any other sewing supplier. They will not rust (which is really important) and they are curved nicely so they are easier to put in.

First: Put a pin in the center of the quilt. Generally you would make a cross from the center and fill in the quadrants as you go, but this quilt makes it nice and easy.

 The heart blocks are 6 inches wide, so I just placed a pin on each piece of sashing around each block and the yellowish blocks in between. I also placed a couple of pins in each block to help stabilize it.

I also put a few evenly spaced pins on the outer border. If you are a beginning quilter or you have an especially large quilt, you might want to throw a few more pins in for added stability.
Yay! Now you are done. Take the pieces of tape off the edges and you are ready to quilt. Just remove the pins as you go. Good luck!
Special thanks to Carrie P for letting me show you her beautiful quilt. You can see more of her work on her blog: A Passion for Applique.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Free motion quilting demonstration at the Fall Bazaar

I've managed to land a table near an electrical outlet at the Fall Bazaar. I'm going to bring my sewing machine and do some free motion quilting while I'm there. There nothing worse than standing there trying to look hopeful while people rummage through all the treasures you've made. And I'll have 6 hours of no kids (not mine anyway), so why not make the best of it? The only problem is I have nothing ready to quilt at the moment.

 So today, I've solved that problem. There was a quilt pinned into Pinterest (one of my favorite sites) by a lady named Kit Lang. She does some wonderful art quilts.
This tiny was was called Winter Walk. This is going to be my version of that quilt. I thought it would be fun to practice some windy swirls in the sky and tree branches.

The other little wall quilt is a fabric copy of Ruth Davis' Morning Cup, also on Pinterest.
It looks like a lot of fun. Something simple to have a play with quilting and not have to piece.
I'll be working on both of these quilts at the Fall Bazaar on Saturday if you want to come out and watch. Thanks!

Fall Bazaar this weekend at Concord United Methodist in Lewisville

Two days to go! I'm really starting to get excited about the Fall Bazaar this weekend. It will be at Concord United Methodist Church in Lewisville October 6th from 8-2. The first fair I participated in was the Bloom Craft Fair at Redeemer Presbyterian. I had never done a fair before and I didn't really have a plan as far as presentation goes. The table was a long rectangle and I had to drape my wall hangings over the front of it. There wasn't really anywhere to hang a quilt. It was nerve racking to say the least. Every person that passed by had a coffee in their hands and everyone stopped to 'pet' the quilts. When the fair was over, I found a coffee stain on one of my quilts! Not good! So this is my solution:

I picked up two square poles from Home Depot and a piece of wood laid out by the street. My husband obligingly sawed it in half for me. Out with the drill and the paint, and voila! I've got 5 curtain rods hanging near the top, so at least people can browse through without spilling anything on the quilts. Of course I have too many to hang, so the small ones can go on the table. Hopefully out of immediate dripping range.

My next great find was a $5 coat rack from Goodwill, brown and very ugly. I painted this white as well and bought some hanging basket hardware. Now I have a place to hang all my bags and scarves.

Knitting is my second love, and I absolutely LOVE making cute little hats. My 3 year old has decided he wants each one so I'm going to have to sneak them out of the house on Saturday. I looked online for hat stands, but goodness sakes! How much?! Back to the craft store. Styrofoam 6 inch balls are fairly reasonable. Don't get the shiny ones though. They shed sparkly stuff. The smooth ones are the best bet.

Christmas stockings are fun too. I made an elf shoe for my tomboy, a high heel (is there any other kind?) for my girly girl, and the stereotypical boot for the boy. They all have the stamp of approval so I made some more to sell. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Finished Angel

The angel quilt is finished! All I have to do now is put a sleeve on the back. Trying to decide if I want to keep this one or see if I can sell it. I think I might hang it on my kitchen wall for a while. If Walmart can break out their Christmas stuff this early, why can't I do the same thing?

This is my rough copy of my quilting ideas. I was looking on Pinterest and saw a bunch of pins on McTavishing. Thought I would give it a try. I wanted to make the beams of light seem like they were coming from heaven, but I wanted to distinguish between the spaces, if that makes any sense. Didn't want two sets of swirls next to each other. Not sure if it isn't too busy as it is.

The start required some creative thinking. I had marked it out with blue water soluble pen, but after quilting everything but the star, I could see that it wasn't really showing up well. As most of the star is on the border, the quilting was being swallowed up in the background. And the star is the whole point, right? I ended up tracing the outline of the star on tracing paper and cutting it from white fabric. Once I had it pinned down well, I quilted along the outside edge and then starting filling in the space.

The blue backing fabric really highlights the silver metallic thread. I think I'll almost be sad to cover it up with a sleeve:)