Happy Holidays

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Delayed Due to Construction

It ain't gonna fit!
It was supposed to be a yoga bag for a Christmas gift but things went wrong in the plan and design department, frustration set in and the bag became an annoying project that just couldn't progress.  So the poor thing sat and waited while the calendar counted down to the 25th.  It was delivered, with an apology and a cry for help.  "Tell me what's wrong and what should I change."

A little more research online and a fresh start with a new approach was a good thing.  I needed to think bigger and longer.  I began making the cover by stitching together strips of fabric of different widths.  One little back step to remove a piece of green fabric, that wasn't working, it didn't want to be there. I added a pocket, remembering to do so while the fabric was still in a flat piece made it quick and easy.

I've sewn the piece into a tube and then added a circle for the bottom.  It took a bit of playing with circles and patterns until I figured out the correct size. (I knew I should have saved my notes from high school geometry class.)  I chose a darker fabric to make a lining using the same steps as the outside of the bag.  Adding the carrying strap is still a bit of confusion to me.  I wanted it to be attached to both layers of the bag for strength, but it's impossible to sew it on by machine once the bag is in a tube shape.  I did manage to attach it at the open end by machine but the bottom was stitched on by hand and a button or decoration was added to cover my hand stitches.

It's the extra features that were so much fun to incorporate.  I've added a strap loop to the bottom seam to make a handle to hang onto while removing the yoga mat, a key fob to the inside at the top for storing keys and a barrel to the drawstring for easy closing, and of course a bit of quilting to make it look extra, extra special.

A key fob

Barrel lock and drawstring

A strap loop for easy removal

Now that it's finished it's ready to package and be sent on its way.  A bit late for the Christmas it was intended for but a package at your door with a surprise is a good thing any time of the year.

Merry Christmas!
in January

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Posting and Sharing Projects

Somewhere along the line I received an ad for an online quilting course to learn how to strip paper piece.  This is about the most trying technique I've used.  I thought this might be an opportunity to learn an easier, less stressful way to get the job done.  So I signed up for the course.

Three chapters into the course the instructor was still talking about herself and tools that will be helpful.  I thought while she's blathering on I'll just go to the pattern section and download what I need.  I was right in the middle of my task when a message popped up on the screen saying, "I see you are busy with another task would you like to pause this lesson?"  Good grief, "big mother" is watching, I felt like I'd been caught passing a note in class.  At least I didn't get detention.

The second benefit to this course is finding access to a site called Craftsy.  I can peruse the project section and see what other quilters, and crafters, have done.  There are loads of ideas and comments to enjoy.  Some even give instructions or help to find information about making their project.  I decided to post one of my own projects just to see how involved it was.  To my surprise it was so much fun that I began adding more.

It wasn't to long after the first few projects were added that I began to have followers and a few were leaving me messages.  Most comment that they like my work and a few ask questions or exchange stories.  It's kind of like FB, but without the personal posts that are uninvited.

Craftsy offers online courses, workshops, deals on materials like yarn and fabric, and a blog in addition to the projects that I'm really enjoying.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thanks for a Fun Gift

My friend often gives me little quilt kits as a gift.  It's like having three gifts in one.  First I get to see a collection of matched fabric, then play with the parts to create something and then I have the something to use when it finished.  What more could I want.

I was going to send this tote back to my friend all finished, but I changed my mind, it's so cute.  It's not very big, about 9X12.  I'm thinking it would look great hanging on a door knob to hold what???  I could carry my iPad in it, but I don't usually travel with it and I already have a very nice leather bag that holds both my computer and iPad.

It's just so-o nice.  I think I'll enlarge the pattern and square the bottom so it will hold more.  Gosh, I must have a bit of neat colors of fabric that would fit the bill.  Now I will cross one of my projects off the list.  Just six more to go!

Thank you, my friend

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh Cherry Oh

It was a bargain I just couldn't pass up.  A jelly roll  and a honey bun of fabric at sale prices tempted me to add some very bright material to my stash collection.  That was over a year ago, and I've been searching since for a pattern that would work for me.

I looked for something new, a pattern that I'd never used before and also something that would make use of both rolls of fabric and hopefully a bit of stash.

Finally I found a pattern that was new to me.  It uses a ruler to cut pieced strips into triangles.  These triangles are then sewn together into squares.  I wanted a patchwork look so it didn't matter to me whether the seams matched, which also made the work go a lot faster.  Still, I played with the blocks to make sure my colors were evenly distributed around the quilt top.

When the center of the quilt was finished I had four jelly roll strips left.  I wanted to use all so I had no pieces left over.  However, four strips weren't enough for another border.  They were all different colors of the same design so I went stash searching to find a solid red that could be used to stretch four strips into some kind of a border.  The result was an eye popping checkered border.

I was quite happy to be making use of my stash instead of adding to it.  I love putting my own touches to a quilt and know that it's a unique design that won't be seen in someone else's work.  Even though the center is of a standard pattern my border sets it apart and makes it an original.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A day of Jury Selection

What an adventure!  Up in the morning earlier than I've been in years and out into morning traffic that I haven't witnessed for a long, long time.

I joined the line of potential jurors at the Court House door waiting to be cleared through a metal detector and then escorted to a large waiting room that held at least 100 people, at which point we each traded our identity for a number.  I became #10.

After waiting a half hour for five no-shows the "game" began.  A list of 35 people were called to stand in line in the order of the call.  They were led down the hall to a nearby court room and stood waiting for the judge to begin the selection process.

The judge seemed to be having a problem which he explained as soon as he figured out what was wrong.  He needed a group of 35 to draw from and there were only 32.  So the group was dismissed and returned to the assembly room.  It seemed that 3 of the missing were "no shows."  I was included in that group and was the fourth in line.

Back in the room several clerks were busy conferring around a computer making corrections to the list.  Finally, the next two groups were called, led off to the court rooms, leaving about 27 people to wait for further instruction.  I was one of this group too.

After about 15 minutes a judge appeared before our group with the good and bad news.  The Good News:  the selection was complete, we were excused as soon as he finished talking.  The Bad News:  we were free to go shopping or whatever, and would be paid $9.50 for our time.  Unfortunately, that check won't arrive in our hands for another 6-8 weeks.

And that was my up close encounter with the wheels of justice . . .   Now I'm left with the quandary of where to spend my newly found money.  Hmm-mm, how many fat quarters can I buy with that amount?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A New Adventure

It's been a long time since I had to rise, prepare and be out of the house at an early hour.  I've been summoned to Jury duty starting Monday morning.

What will I learn ?
What will I hear ?

I'd like One-- Please

A fancy quilt includes a few patches with rhinestones.
It started as a lark--A non-quilting friend who says things like: "I bought a whack of fabric," "a ball of thread," and  doesn't know that there is a correct way to thread her sewing machine, decided to cut up old jeans to make herself a quilt.  Sometimes the best ideas come from those who think outside the box, or even those who don't think at all.  None of the blocks were the same size and for sure her seams were no where close to matching.  For Elaine it didn't matter, wasn't important, if one strip was longer than the last, "just chop it off."

And so the idea was born to use old jeans and new flannel to make a scrap, rag quilt.  Gathering the jeans was no problem at all.  I worked at an elementary school and donations from students, staff, and a contact with the local Salvation Army store brought more than one could hope for.

Jared loves his quilt.

Word has traveled far and wide that I collect used jeans.  People are now saving their old ones for me.  I cut them up and store them for the next person who mutters they'd appreciate having one too.  it's also a great project for the young who want to learn how to sew.
My six year old grandson is making himself a flannel rag quilt.
I cut my jean and flannel blocks into 6 1/2 inch squares and the batting squares to 5 inches.  I need 120 of each to make a 10 x 12 block quilt.  After I sandwich my blocks of jeans/batting/flannel I begin sewing an "X" on each square and continue using the well know rag quilt pattern.  The jeans fray so nicely once the edges are clipped.  The finished frayed edges make a beautiful quilt that's tough as nails and heavy too.