Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Looking Forward!

A new year, a clean slate!  (I wish I could say clean sewing room!)

I don't have a round up of projects, or a review of last years goals. I did look back at them, and I am pretty satisfied with the results, but I would rather look forward!

This year,  I really want to set aside some time every day for sewing.  Even if I just sew two pieces of fabric together, I think sewing everyday will keep my momentum going.  

So far, I have finished a small quilt:
Crackle Quilt - 42" x 50"
The pattern is "Crackle" by Aneela Hoey.  I saw a friend's version in solids on Instagram and it really caught my eye.  Enough for me to buy a pattern, when I have many, many quilts in my mental queue!  It went pretty quickly and it was fun to see it come together. I turned it, instead of finishing with a binding which I think is a nice look for this pattern. I think I may try it a bit bigger for a Quilt of Valor. This one will  go to the Birthday Blessings Bee.

I also made a bee block:

It is a version of Elizabeth Dackson's bookshelf block.  This block is due at our next meeting and it has been really fun to see the other bee member's versions in our Facebook group.  Mine is pretty straightforward, but I am pleased with the way it turned out.

Today, I worked on a couple of zip bags that a niece requested, but my main project is this:


(back side)

I got the idea to embellish a small piece of luggage while I was visiting my sis in Colorado, over the holidays.  We went to a few flea markets and I saw something similar, but a much larger suitcase.  

I found a small suitcase at a different flea market during the same visit, and then found this case for $6 at an antique store at a place we stopped on the way home.  

This one was kind of my prototype to practice before tackling the larger (and more expensive)case, which I think will be the perfect size for carting projects to sewing days.  I have not used Mod-Podge before, so I wanted to get comfortable with how it works, first.

I really love the way it looks!  The next step is to try to make a lining for it.  The current interior is nothing awful, but I have a piece of fabric that I think will be a great complement to the outside.

I also plan to continue my effort to sew from my stash and minimize purchasing fabric.  I will be tracking how much fabric I use and how much I add.  Currently, I am in the "black", since I haven't bought anything yet and the quilt used 3.5 yards.  I hope this is not the last time I can say that, but our guild meeting is sponsored this week, so I will likely buy something there.  

If I am going to sew every day, I should be able to keep things under control.  I hope...

Happy New Year! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hello/Goodbye November

It's been a busy fall.  Okay, that's an excuse, but I don't have anything else, so imma go with it.

I started the month with 10 days on my own when The Mister went on a road trip to a big car event. I took the opportunity to take everything out of my sewing room and sort/purge/organize.  

One of the side effects of going to estate auctions is that you end up buying stuff you don't particularly want, along with the stuff you do want. And when it is fabric, it is hard to think that I will NEVER have a use for it. So, it builds up. Sometimes to the point where I am unable to use anything because there is so much 'stuff' in the way.

I was determined to reclaim my space! 

It took just about the whole 10 days and is still a bit of a work in progress because we had guests for the holiday.  Our guest accommodations are in the basement, which was my default landing place for stuff I decided not too put back in the sewing room, but did not go to charity, so that needed attention, too. 

I went through four packages of comic book boards and part way through a fifth package, to wrap anything a half yard to about 3 yards.   I have to say that while I would have rather spent the money on more fabric, the boards do make it more manageable to pull out fabric and be able to put it back in the same spot. 

I need some Billy Bookcases, though.  We will have an Ikea at some point next year and when they open, I will be ready!  For now, I am using some wire baskets on shelves. They are kind of heavy, but manageable.

Meanwhile, I got some sewing done away from home, during "The Great Upheaval".  

The KC Modern Quilt Guild had an all day retreat that allowed me to finish some string blocks for a Quilt of Valor.

This is the the top.  It has been sent away to be quilted!
A week later, we had another sew day due to a cancellation of a speaker/teacher who had an emergency and couldn't come to town.  Since we already had the room reserved, a few of us took the opportunity to sew. 

My project at the second sew day was a "Sew Together" bag.  The pattern was a souvenir of my visit to Dear Sis in October.  "Mama Said Sew", in Ft. Collins, had the pattern and a kit and I bought both. I decided to use other fabric and save the kit, thinking that my first bag might not be cute-Japanese-fabric-worthy.  
I can even put my 3.5" x 9" ruler in it with all my other supplies for sewing away from home!

The first bag turned out pretty well, but I am glad I saved the special fabric for the second bag. 

I did miss the tip about directional fabric, though, so the second bag has a front and a back. Also, I didn't put the pin cushion or needle landing in this bag and I used white muslin for the pocket linings instead of the dark chambray in the kit.  I think white makes it easier to find what I am looking for.  I have my embroidery supplies in this one, but I like to use a 5" hoop and it doesn't quite fit, so I may assign it other duties.

And then I made another!


This one I made with some fat eighths of Riley Blake fabric that I got for a Modern Quilt Guild challenge. We received six fat eighths of their basic fabrics and the only stipulation was that the finished item must be quilted. I made this bag two inches more narrow than the pattern, both because I was constrained by the size of the fabric and also because I have a huge supply of 7" zippers (estate sale bounty). I used almost every bit of the challenge fabric and again used white muslin for the pocket linings. 

I must say I really like this size. My plan is to use it for manicure tool/supplies, but I haven't filled it yet since our reveal is at our December meeting. I think the size will be perfect for that. I am not certain it would be big enough for sewing retreat tools, but the proportions are really cute!

The pattern is by Sew Demented and is challenging, but not really hard.  Before the spate of bag making, I believe I have put in maybe 3 or 4 zippers.  Now I have put in a dozen more and I am much more confident with the process.

I have a plan to sew a bit this weekend and get some Christmas packages sent off. I might have done a bit of Black Friday Internet fabric shopping yesterday, so I need to get busy and make some room for it!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Hold onto your hats, because Christmas is just about here!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Zip Bag For Any Occassion!

This month, a granddaughter had a birthday. Usually, we send money to the grands, but this year we decided to send a gift.  She is an arty kind of girl, so I bought her some Prismacolor pencils and a sketch book along with a book on how to draw cute animals.

After it was finished, I was thinking about how to wrap and ship and it occurred to me that a zip bag would provide decorative 'wrap' and I could put it all on a padded envelope to send.  I only had a couple of days before the shipping deadline for it to arrive on time, but I decided to make a prototype with some solid charm squares before I used a print charm pack.

I wasn't sure of my size conversion, but once I got some squares put together and the size confirmed, I liked the look of the solid squares.  I decided to embellish with her name embroidered on one side, which provided a central motif to echo.

For the back, I used some 'dot-to-dot' quilting ala Angela Walters.

Despite a post office holiday in the same week, it arrived exactly on time.  I think she liked it.  Sometimes it is hard to tell with 'almost teens', but she sounded enthusiastic when we spoke on the phone.

I love these little fast projects!  I think I may try some half square triangles or other, more complex piecing down the road.

Who knows?  Maybe all my holiday gifts will be 'wrapped' in a zip bag!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Finish! - Mirror Ball Dot Challenge

 Last week at guild, we had the reveal of our latest fabric challenge. The Michael Miller Company sponsored a challenge proposed by our fabulous swap committee!  

The company provided four fat quarters to each participant - two fq's of Mark Hordyszynski Mirror Ball Dot fabric, and two fq's of coordinating cotton couture solids.  The rules of the swap were to make a quilt, inspired by an architectural element on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. 

I went to Google Images for my inspiration and found a photo of the tiled steps leading up to McCormick and Schmick's restaurant. Since the tiles were the same colors as my fabrics it seemed a natural choice. 

There are many, many talented quilters and artists in the KCMQG and swaps are a bit intimidating for that reason, so I decided to fore go the artistic approach and use a literal interpretation.  I converted the photo through the "Stitch Sketch" app on my iPad to a cross stitch pattern, which I then used to make a pixel quilt. 

This is the photo:

And this is the quilt: 

And the back.

I added some other fabric from a Gees Bend quilt kit in blues and grays.  I think the gray tone in the GB fabric sets off the mirror ball shine. 

I wasn't sure about the color fastness of the GB fabric as it is hand dyed and every time I washed the fabrics, the color catcher came out dark blue.  I washed the quilt after the reveal, though and it came out fine. I plan to donate it to the Blessings Bee next month. I didn't want to donate a quilt that had special washing instructions, so I was relieved at it came out with all the same colors at it went in with!

See all the challenge quilts here in the guild Flickr stream.  The original inspiration photos are there too.  Prepare to be amazed!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Better Than The Sum of The Parts

I am on a roll with zip bags.   I don't know why, but Julie's tutorial just made it seem so easy, and it really was. 

This one was made from 5" squares, so it is four times the size if the originals.

I used a stack of squares that I rescued from a very poorly pieced lap quilt top I bought in a bunch of stuff at a church sale. The squares were cut perfectly, but the seams were the wonkiest ever, so I 'unsewed' them. The fabrics were not ones I would likely purchase, but my goal was to use it to practice some "dot-to-dot" quilting from Angela Walter's Craftsy class. 

The squares were a great size for the designs that Angela teaches, and now that I finished it, I don't even notice the individual fabrics. They just all kind of become a color pattern. 
After I filled it, it began to take on a box shape, so I am thinking about possibly adding a snap to the ends so that it would stay that way.  

One change I made with this bag is that I quilted the lining to the pieced shell so the seams inside are raw edged.  I don't think that will matter, though, as this size will more likely be used for closet or shelf storage.

I plan to make a couple more of these bags. I think they will be good fmq practice and since they zip, they will keep the dust out of whatever is inside. 

How  do you use 'ugly' fabrics?