To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
Near the end of every semester, I send finals week care packages to my younger sisters (which also happens to conveniently fall near their birthdays in the spring and autumn). While they mainly contain tea, chocolate, pens/markers, post-its, and something relaxing, I try to slip in something me-made every time as well (to varying degrees of success).
This semester, they moved into an apartment together, so I thought of the perfect gift: a set of kitchen towels with awesome embroideries that I found on Urban Threads. Useful, not so precious that they can’t be used, and amusing.
There is one embroidered towel and one plain one in each set, each measuring around 16″x21″. One of these days, I’ll be making a set of my own from this one, which perfectly sums up my introverted down days: “Happiness is a cup of tea and a really good book.”
We’ve always ganged up a bit on the younger one, who claims she now reads, but didn’t for many years, so she got a different design (which could double as a coffee cup, since that may be her caffeine-delivery vehicle of choice). It may also be fitting for me to hang at work, if you ask my coworkers about my state of mind at our scrum every morning: “Death before decaf.”
I made the four towels from a yard of textured cotton I found in the utility section of JoAnn Fabrics. While not explicitly labeled toweling, it’s a great texture for a hand towel. I used cotton Gutermann thread to embroider them, matching the needle and bobbin threads. The 150m spools had just enough thread on them to get through the embroidery, then I switched the bobbin up to feed through the needle and put a cream bobbin to hem the edges. It made for an efficient use of a single spool that could have ended with a run to the store had anything gone wrong (I like to live a little dangerously some times).
Now, to start scheming about what to make for November’s package…
Spring is slow coming here in Vermont—it’s truly mud season rather than flowering wonderland—but we had the chance to see a few blooms when we traveled down to New Jersey for Easter with Carl’s family. Even the bees were out and about.
For the past few years, Carl’s been stuck having travel toiletries either mixed in with mine in a bright pink bag I received as a free gift with a cosmetics purchase or in a zip-lock baggie (required on planes, pretty lame by car), so I thought it high time that he have a toiletry bag of his own. Past time even, considering he’s been traveling back to Utica every other week for work since we moved up here last July.
It’s a slightly smaller version of the cosmetics bags I’ve made over the past couple of years with squared-off corners and without the wrist strap. The fun part was making my first project out of leather. I picked up an unlined leather shirt/jacket at the thrift shop to play with and still have plenty of scraps leftover for more bags or whatever else I dream up.
Since the outside is leather, I quilted the lining to give the bag extra body. If I make another, I may try to stick to heavyweight interfacing instead, as the batting gives the lining too little drape. The bag doesn’t keep its shape perfectly, but it does stand on its own, even when empty.
The lining is made from the scraps of his quilt. No one print was large enough for the whole bag, but I was able to limit it to three different ones. I stitched it all with a heavy duty thread, but still have learning to do about proper top-stitching length on leather. Overall, I’d say my machine handled it just fine.
It worked out well for our weekend trip, and I hope it serves him well with the various travels we’re sure to do this year. I also hope spring finally comes to Vermont—traveling is much more pleasant in gorgeous weather like we saw this past weekend.
With the emergency surgery needed for one quilt, I didn’t manage to finish the quilt for my friend’s soon-to-be-born daughter. I knew I needed something quick that would go with it, since we flew down to visit and attend her shower, so out came my trusty copy of Simplicity 2613.
The quilt uses Heather Ross’ Nursery Versery fabric (among others) and Nido was having a sale, so I picked up extra for this project. I had a bit of yarn and large rickrack that coordinated for the ossicones and tufts of hair on the neck.
It rattles, thanks to some sort of plastic capsule I had around and pearled barley from my cupboard.
Once I finished the stuffed giraffe, I thought the gift needed a little something more, so I grabbed a FQ of another Nursery Versery print (that will also be the backing of the baby quilt), paired it with a pale yellow and white flannel (backing) and pink linen (binding) from my stash, and made a whole-cloth doll quilt to match.
She’s not due until April, so I still have time to finish up the quilt, but I’m happy to have made these accessories in time.
My mom and younger sisters are visiting, so my projects are on the back burner in favor of time spent with them. 2013 was the first year in my life that I didn’t step foot in my home state of Missouri, so I’m thrilled that they came to VT despite the horrendous weather across the country this week.
Books have been a theme this trip and my oldest younger sister is a voracious reader, so I stole a bit of time this morning to round out her holiday gifts with a quick sewing project.
This bookmark matches the quilt I made her a few months ago. I sneakily picked up the turtle charm from the Danforth Pewter store when we were shopping yesterday, and added in a couple of beads that I’ve had for years. There are two layers of stabilizer inside to give it a bit of rigidity, and I whipped out rusty macrame skills on embroidery floss for the tassel.
My email archive tells me that the class to make this box was last September; it’s about time I finished it up! It was a free class at the Viking Sewing Gallery, and the project was meant to demo the decorative stitches and a new foot. I didn’t use the fancy foot, but my box turned out well enough.
It’s basically just a 8.5″ cube with no top. The sides are quilted to the batting, with a floating lining. The project was on the Husqvarna Viking site at one point, but since they redid everything, I can’t find it.
When I started it, it was a great stash buster that allowed me to use up the ends of various thread spools for the fancy stitched parts. I pulled the other fabrics out of my stash as well, thinking it would be a great accessory to a future quilt. I still think it will be, but no quilt is in the works yet. I did find the stack of fabrics, though—it was my collection of Savannah Bop that had gone missing in my sewing room a few weeks back.
I finished the decorative stitches and piecing for the outside (including quilting) in the class or soon after. It’d just been sitting around waiting to be assembled ever since. I don’t know why I waited so long—it took less than 20 minutes to finish up.
I know of at least one baby quilt that needs to be made later this year, so perhaps it will go to those expecting parents. Regardless, it is nice to have yet another finished project from the WIP cubbies.
I certainly seem productive lately! I guess that is the advantage of finally tackling my collection of almost-abandoned projects.
My mom’s Christmas gift was a matching set composed of a quilted cosmetic bag, eyeglasses sleeve, and curling iron sleeve. Unfortunately, I may not have photographed it. I also promised to make a matching zippered bag for her purse, but didn’t finish it in time for Christmas. It’s suddenly the end of June, but now it’s made!
I was in the groove, and made a few more small storage pouches for myself; they’ve been on my to-do list for a while. I wrote a tutorial about the first ones I made over a year ago.
Since I still had fabric to match my mom’s set, I made one for her too. Because I used the last of my Velcro on mine, I improvised by adding a flap that closes with a button. There’s also an inner divider in hers using up the last of the yellow contrast fabric.
Not bad for about an hour and a half of sewing time!
I don’t want to sound prideful, but I’m proud of myself—I’ve made a good dent in my WIP storage lately. This photo is from Sunday:
At the beginning of the month, all twelve cubbies were full. Since the photo, I’ve also cleared out a small one that held Mom’s fabric; cut apart the pieces for my Miniatures Nine-Patch (one of the post-it marked ones); and migrated my EPP stuff to its new home in my new bag. Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta WIP finisher. Granted, that’s not my only WIP storage, but it’s a good feeling to have finished some projects, made progress on others, and organized even more.
Did you make any resolutions to tackle WIPs this year?
My friend that also went on the retreat back in February pointed out that I make all these cosmetic bags, yet mine were in one of those free-with-purchase “gifts” from a department store cosmetic brand. She quipped about the “shoemaker’s children” and how I should get around to making myself one. I still haven’t made a cosmetic bag, but I did finish up another UFO for myself.
Back in November, I mentioned paper piecing a small block to go on a bag for my EPP and other handwork projects. I made the bag exterior, and let it languish on my shelf for… eight months now. So, this weekend, I decided to UFO bust and dragged out the bag.
The problem with letting a project that you dreamed up and didn’t write any notes down about languish for months on end is that you have no idea where you were going with it or what the measurements were. Somehow, I managed to cut out a lining of the right size, and managed to sew it in without too much trouble.
I even made a zipper bag and two Velcro pouches with leftover fabric—great for keeping bits of fabric separate, and to act as thread catchers, etc. The largest scrap I now have of the hedgehog print is a 2.5″ square—talk about efficient cutting (completely by luck)!
The outside has a few pockets, and a small needle/pin section.
And the inside has a pocket as well, with an elastic top to help keep things inside.
I don’t know what I was thinking with the handle, but without the strap where it is, the front is too long for the bag. I added a hook that keeps the flap connected to the top of the front by way of a button-hole, while still allowing access to the pockets, but I may rip off the strap and affix it to the sides at a later date.
For now, I just need to load it up and see how it works. It’s large enough to carry around my iPad and notebook, so it may work as a purse, too.
Hooray for finished projects! I’ve actually managed to empty out quite a few of my UFO/WIP cubbies lately (at least it seems so—although some of it has been by condensing things into other locations, I think). I think that means my project ADD will kick in again soon. 🙂
Have you managed to finish any UFOs or WIPs recently?
… or Mini Mid-Week Montage. Whatever alliterative title floats your boat.
It’s not my design wall, this time, but another one:
This hand-pieced and hand-quilted variant of Contrary Wife or Steps to the Alter is another block done by my grandma. Because it is quilted already (I don’t know if she was trying out a technique, or learning QAYG, or what), I didn’t want to keep it for use in a future project. A 12″×12″ picture frame turned out to be the perfect solution. I don’t know if I’m sold on the white frame, but it seems to just be primed—easily paintable in the future.
My focus continues to be cleaning and organizing, lately. I did start up my sewing machine the other night though.
See what my dog did to our brand new guest-room sheets?
A bit of stabilizer and my machine’s built-in darning stitches later, and it’s fixed—in the other three places too!
Yes, trimming his nails would also be good. We’re working on that one.
Speaking of this cleaning spree, have you ever had fabric go missing? In theory, I should have a whole stack of quarter yards from this one fabric line. I cut a couple of strips off of each at one point, and know where those are, but I cannot find the remaining pieces of yardage anywhere! I am positive I didn’t give it away, but it’s nowhere in my sewing room.
Last weekend, three shops in my area held a Shop Hop, and each gave away a pattern from Bloomin Minds along with a kit for the top. Intrigued by the prospect of a somewhat quick project, and willing to procrastinate on things I should be doing, I went ahead and did the piecing and fusing part of all three.
There’s a lot of sewing and embroidery left for all of them, but that’s where they stand now. I’m not sure what to do about the dog one… the kit had fabric for letters that just doesn’t have contrast with the background. I hope that white stitching will help it stand out more. I’m going to try to finish them up this month to donate to my guild’s boutique for our quilt show, but I do plan on making up at least one of the patterns in fabrics that will better match my house at some point.
As for things I should have been doing, and am working on this week:
These fabric pairs and zippers need to become samples for a class I’m teaching Saturday. None of them need to be fully finished, but I want to have visual examples of the different steps through construction. Oh, and I still need to write the instructions! So, back to that!
Every project has a story, but this one is more dear to me than most. It starts with a sewn tube of fabric that once contained cardboard, used to stiffen the base of a Vera Bradley bag.
Said bag was a gift to my youngest sister (Kaite) from our grandmother, who passed away last summer. It came into my possession via our other sister over Christmas—it was the only part of the bag that survived the fire that destroyed most of their possessions right before Thanksgiving.
Unpicked, it measured about 8.5″×16″, and miraculously had two full centered repeats of the main pattern. Perfect for a small zip bag with a boxed bottom, when paired with a mottled brown lining fabric from my stash and a couple of hardware pieces.
The dumb luck of the repeats meant that I was able to cut a matching front and back, making awesome matching patterns in the seams. I struggle to do this when I have a lot of fabric to work with—I’m still in awe that I managed with such a small amount of fabric.
It’s hard to imagine that this bag’s fabric started life as an odd little flat insert in another bag, but I hope its new life suits Kaite well.
I’ll find out soon… I’m on my way to pick her up from the airport as this post goes live!