Sunday, August 29, 2010


There was nothing on TV and my library book was boring.

SO I thought, it couldn't hurt to just make a new bobbin.  Even though it's Sunday and I've chosen to rest and not be in any way productive... what could 1 little bobbin hurt?

And the sewing machine and iron are on the same power strip, since it's on, I may as well iron, Just Iron, the border fabric for my scrappy quilt.  I confess.  One thing led to another, and I finished the scrappy baby top.  I think this means that this week I start my first attempt at free-motion quilting.

relaxing Sunday

I set no goals today:  no design goals, no WIP goals... instead I took a leisurely day and made some pincushions.

I made a flower on a band for each sewing machine and a big one for my table.  I used my favorite scraps, embroidery thread, buttons, and hot magenta ribbon.

I am now prepared to face a new week!  Goodnight, all <3

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finished - kitty knitting bag

Kind of a strange day, on the drive to class I started designing a knitting project bag for a friend's birthday.  By the time I got to class I had already chosen fabrics.  I got home a whipped it out at my new work table.  

The idea is a large drawstring bag to open in your lap.  I wanted it to open out almost flat, sop you can reach everything at once.  I chose a drawstring top because I had this pretty cream and gold ribbon and because I want the bag to close up just as easily.
At the ironing board: the red is the lining and the cats are the outside.
8 Curved-sided trapezoids: four for the lining and four of the cats.  Almost: 2 of the cat sides were made 1/2 an inch wider, cut in half and sewn back together for a fake "button hole."  A rectangle of each fabric for the bottoms.  Sew each "bag" together, leaving a 3 inch gap in a bottom seam of the lining.  Fit the lining inside of the cat bag, right sides together and sew the top shut.  Flip right side out through the gap and sew an inch down from the top to make a casing for the drawstring.  Thread two ribbons and tie them.

Finished and open in my lap

Cinched shut and tied in a bow.
Close up of the kitties and if you can see the "button hole" for the drawstring?

This ended up being faster than I thought (I had no homework).  I think I'll make a roll-up for her needles and a notions bag.  I have 2 weeks and leftover ribbon

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finished - lunch bags

While contemplating... I took scraps from the first pair of quilting fabrics I bought a few years ago and made a pair of drawstring bags.  One for my lunchbox and the other for my water bottle and a piece of fruit.  They're the same size though, *shrug
both finished
The pink box is my bento

Design book - a quilt for me

I have a quilt in mind for myself... I'm stealing the 2 half yards I loved and made my market bags out of stash fabric.  I've designed in knit and in crochet, and even sewing... is it the same in quilting?  grrr... the design I like I chose because it's simple and made big enough, could feature the fabrics well.  It's just alternating half-square triangles and 4 patches...

Perhaps I'll begin in my usual manner: with swatches and sketches

edit:  good news! I found the square I've been drawing, it's called a Jewel Box. and on quilter'scache

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finished - killing acrylic

I knit a swallow tail shawl in left-over acrylic baby yarn, just to see if I could read lace charts.  I can.  :)

Blocking it.  I have to kill it, but am anxious about it.  I've pinned it out.... and am about to steam it.  Let's see...  eek!

It's perfect... smooth, even and drapes so well.  I'm really pleased!

I lay out a cotton towel on a bed.  I pinned out the shawl on the towel.  I had run a cotton string through the straight edge, and kept pulling that tighter and pinning it to mark out the top edge.  I wet a smaller thinner towel and wrung it out.  Then I lay the wet towel over the spine and stepped a cool iron across it every 5 seconds or so.  I followed that up with hovering with steam over the edge to hold the scallops better.

I have class tomorrow, so will try to get to bed early: but am excited and keep petting my shawl.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

teaching myself* to quilt

my original quilt, before becoming pincushions
I was maybe 11 when my great-aunt taught my younger brother, sister and me to quilt.  They're 2 and 4 years younger than me, and I don't really remember how old any of us were.  At the least, we were all big enough to use a sewing machine.

Whenever we visit, she's got an activity for us planned.  She took us upstairs, where we each picked out 16 blocks.  We pieced them together, backed and quilted them.  We each went home that year with a doll quilt we had made entirely by ourselves.

My aunt and her daughters(different aunt) taught me to crochet Christmas break my second year of college.  A couple years later, when I had the time, I took out my hook and scoured the internet for interesting and challenging patterns.  I made 13 different squares and made a little throw/sample for my sister.  Now I feel comfortable enough with crochet to write my own patterns all the time.

Aside: my design book - I'm working on this pattern: I have a yucky acrylic camouflage yarn that I want to make as pretty as possible, like the crystals hanging from a chandelier or a box of candy...

design book pattern - in a holding pattern
In any case, back to today's topic:  I want something like that for quilting!  I've had my basic lesson, and now, time permitting, I want a sampler that will whip me into shape! 

I've been flipping through books of block I've found at the library and confess I'm not really moved.  My great-aunt(the one who quilts) made me a blanket years ago and I love to touch it more than anything I've got that was crocheted or knit.  I bought these 14 quarters and the only thing I want to do with them is disappearing 9 patch.


I found Amy's creative side and her sampler quilt along!

More thrilled than I can say... just worried that school starts again in less than a week.

What happens next?!  Sadly I have textbooks to get started on before class next week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Finished - Bookshelf secret

Chosen because most people overlook them:

I've made a couple of these now... and <3 them.

I call them books, because they grew out of my love for books.  I like old books with uncut pages.  I like hard covers where the spine of the cover separates from the bound pages of the book because the pages have become so flexible.  Lately I've been reading novels with sexy, flashy spines: neon orange or where the photo of the softcover curls right around to the back.

Old books withdrawn from the library, after their happy lives, I've collected them.  I'm turning them into boxes.  This is my favorite; it has the most character.

I put it on Etsy.  I figure, I like to shop Etsy and I like to craft...  It doesn't hurt to try.

Some progress on the learning to quilt front: I made a simple infant play mat.  I chose each fabric for developing eyes and minds: patterns, contrast, and colors to teach a tiny person how to see.  I backed it with green fleece and ditch-quilted it to hold it together.  I hope it's more of a toy than a blanket.  Something for a small person to make memories with.  I know a lot of people plan the aesthetic of their nursery, and these colors certainly aren't that.  This is for a small person (the first one was for my niece)  to learn to sit up on, play on, and then walk around and play with until it's mucky and worn.

The actual progress I said I'm making on the quilting front: Scraps.  Weird shaped and not consistant. (I need to plan where I'm cutting from better)  I'm making a little quilt top out of the scraps.  I intend to learn to quilt with a darning foot on it.  I already bought a coordinating fabric for the back and a little polyester batting.  I already don't like the feel of it: next time I'd use a light-weight cotton batting.  Progress so far:  The center panel is made of the tiniest, weirdest scraps.  It's framed by a strip of plain cream, a strip of blocks from the larger scraps, and another of cream.  Today I'm adding 7" of new big spots fabric.  I think I want the border fabric to curl to the back as the binding.  My great aunt made a quilt for me when I was little.  She had the backing wrap around to the front and I love it.  This one: the backing I chose is quite wild, and the border may tame it a little.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Design book - market bag

I have a couple of old totes I use on free days out: to the library, run errands, buy groceries, etc.  I prefer them to the reusable shopping bags, because I can throw 10 library books in there easily.  I've even taken my (trader joe's) reusable grocery bags and folded them up in there.

The point:  I want new ones!  Pretty bags that I didn't paint in the 3rd grade.  For about a month now I've been sewing in the back of my mind.  I want one continuous piece for the lining, for strength.  I want the outside to be diagonal stripes of fabrics.  Pretties.

This leads me to 2 boxes of fat quarters and scraps.  There's some nice stuff in there.  I've pretty much settled on a pair of fabrics: prints of warm neutrals with some gold sparkle.  One fabric is a medium-sized floral leaning towards cream-colored overall when you squint and the other is 3 inch cats looking overall brownish.


I have a creativity problem.  I wake up with Crazy Ideas and write them out and throw them in a (very pretty) zip-up 3 ring binder.  I need love before I dive in and finish it.  I hate starting and leaving it UFOed in the closet because it didn't pass muster.  I've taken to waiting for love first.  This means that I can write out a pattern that suits my NEEDS but can't start it until it's pretty high on my list of wants. :D

I post today to share the love!

The Love: I found a fabric store on the way back from a job interview(still don't know how that went).  35th Ave Sew and Vac.  I didn't want to buy anything.  Promise.  I left my purse in the car.  But I took my wallet and keys with me. haha!  You walk in to room of sewing machines.  To your left: another room, larger, this is the Vac part of your journey.  But straight ahead!  Through the sewing machine room... fabric.  I put my wallet in my pocket.

Blah Blah Blah... I'm sure you can guess what happened next.  I found my fabrics for my future market bags!  They had 6 shelves of Asian prints, I tried to ignore it.  Plum blossoms! I've never felt so weak.  I put them back.  But on the last shelf: someone else was just as weak to fabric as I was but left them.  These chrysanthemums had been moved next to this kanji print and abandoned.  I think they will be very happy with me.  You only need quarter yards for quite a large bag, but I got 2 half yards.  That's Love.  You can't tell in my (excited) blurry picture, but the green has little gold leaves occasionally.