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.
I’ll spare you a lengthy essay on the quilt title, but the tl;dr of my stream of consciousness was something like “for CCC / double plus / C++? / cout << 'Hello Triple C' / okay, C++ is good enough before you get too far down the rabbit hole and start an i/o stream of odes to unorthodox programming syntax and 'doubleplusgood's and other 1984 references. / Wait, Sea++? Get it? Salt Water, like from the sea… no, really, just stop." My mind: a confusing place since forever.
But as the start of that stream of consciousness reads, this quilt is for my sister Courtney, also known by her initials as CCC or Triple C, and the quilt was inspired by one titled “Double Plus.” She’s been waiting patiently for a quilt since I made the ones for our mom and other sister back in May 2011 (plus the otherfabricthings I’ve made Kaite), so I’m glad inspiration finally hit!
It all started with a six-pack of FQs from Tula Pink’s Salt Water line. I threw in a bit of shot cotton (maybe a Moda Cross Weave?) and Kona Nautical as binding from my stash. Rounding out the fabric choices are yardage of another Salt Water print for the background and Laura Gunn Painter’s Canvas for most of the block corners.
Ideas floated around in the ether for a bit, always coming back to plus quilts, so when I saw “Double Plus”, the idea took shape. A few rounds of digital sketching later, I had the plan to execute in 70″ square form.
This yardage from IKEA has always been slated for the back of Courtney’s quilt, even before there was an idea for the quilt front. My brain decided it, and so it is. The piecing was less about intention and more about making the fabric I had work for the back—particularly without another trip to the store. The blue is a textured linen-like cotton that has been in my stash for a while, previously seen in Carl’s bag. Had I remembered it was there, it likely would have ended up on the front as well instead of the Painter’s Canvas. Case in point: I need stash organizing, stat.
I picked up a spool of Isocord thread to quilt with and I really like the results, but had to battle a fair number of tension issues. This also isn’t my best quilting because I tackled it all with my free-motion foot—even the straight and stitch-in-the-ditch parts. I need much more practice with doing straight lines that way, but now that it is washed, all the little mistakes aren’t obvious.
Tula paired up with Urban threads to offer some embroidery motifs that pair with the line, including a quilting one, so I mixed it in with my FMQ. I planned to do more, but those tensions issues made me modify that plan. There are still a few anchors mixed in the quilting.
The final wavy texture is amazing and it drapes beautifully. It’s hard to part with, but nothing but the best for my very favorite oldest younger sister who is infinitely patient.
To top it off, I threw together a quick tote bag from another bit of Tula Pink—the Turtle Bay print from Prince Charming—paired with a stashed solid (I’m not sure what), another embroidery from Urban Threads, and lined in the Ikea text print. I made her a zippered cosmetic bag from this same print earlier in the year (but never photographed), so it all ties together pretty well.
That’s three quilts in three months. Can I keep up the trend?
Three years ago, I made my first quilt. I knew nothing about quilting but a fair amount about sewing fabric together, so I dove in, read a bit, and ended up with something that wasn’t half bad. I also made mistakes, particularly using fabrics that couldn’t handle the love its toddler owner has given it. So, three years later, that same recipient is getting a second quilt—my nineteenth quilt finish (if I counted properly).
I’m still not one to use solely quilting cotton. The solids in this quilt are flannel, and the back is Minky. But, those hold up pretty well, unlike silk.
The batting is low-loft cotton (Warm & White, mostly because I had it on-hand in the right dimensions); that first quilt is probably the only one I will ever use a high-loft poly on. His name is appliqued, but done so with the embroidery capabilities of my machine, rather than manually (I’m using the excuse that I needed to test out my machine post-service; I’m not sure that it was any faster that way, considering the rehooping and trimming, etc.). An embroidered dog keeps it company.
The quilting is a simple seam-line echo, in four of the colors from the quilt top; red, orange, yellow, green. There was no rhyme nor reason, those are just the colors I had that matched and didn’t have enough to use just one color. I went through an extra spool of the yellow, though, doing the applique.
I bound it in one fo the prints from the line, a red chicken wire pattern. When all was said and done, I still had a lot of that red, a matching FQ of one of the animal prints, and a bit of extra Minky, so I threw together an envelope-style pillowcase for a travel-sized pillow to match.
I had to add a hidden bit of velcro to keep it properly closed, as the envelope overhang gapes when the pillow is in there (I was winging it, measurement-wise). In the future, I want to play around and see what the minimum overlap is for that; it seems like an interesting problem to solve.
Three years, nineteen quilts (plus some minis and many other projects), but I think I’m just getting started considering I’ve already quilted another and am in the middle of one more at the moment!
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?
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!
First, the grand total of my recent completed projects, Valentine Mug Rugs made of mystery-fiber pinkish fabric and a charm pack of Bliss that I honestly don’t remember buying (I have a charm pack purchasing problem):
Actually, there are eight of them in various stages of being bound (I proved with this project that I cannot bind by machine with any proficiency at all. At. All.), all with slightly different blocks on the left.
Have I mentioned Urban Threads yet? I can’t get enough of their embroidery designs. That’s where the “Make Things” crest came from in the above project.
Hint: if you ever want to get me a present, a gift card to there would be splendid.
We solved the electrical woes I mentioned in my last post, but I haven’t managed to put my sewing room back in order after I moved it all around so I could use the other outlet. I did get the giant box of trash out and new shelves built, though: baby steps.
And maybe my 2012 Saturday Sampler blocks (December’s still isn’t complete, but I also have all the other fabric for the top now). Is it gauche to take a sampler from another LQS to the retreat?
Then there is the EPP-project carrying bag that I started in November, but stopped once I got to the lining part and never went back to.
I have a star block that needs finishing by Monday—maybe I’ll take it, or finish it up before I leave. I have some swap blocks that need making before the beginning of March, so perhaps those.
In short, I really need to Make Things, and I have a lot of things partially made. And then I need to Blog Things, but that will hopefully come after said making.
Here’s a shot of all eight mug rugs before I packed them up. I did end up figuring out how to sew binding via machine on four of them, with the help of Steam-a-Seam basting. Not perfect, but I was out of time! The blocks all finished at 4″ (the rugs themselves were 5″×9.5″).
Including the binding and a charm on the back of each, I used all but four of the charms in the pack (with very nominal cutting waste of some).
Three presents down (including this one from last week), a handful more to go. I am making three of the cosmetics bags total—the finished one here, the one cut out and half quilted that is also shown, and one other.
Also, one more of the little zipper bags, and one or two other small things. By next Friday. Yikes! It has been fun working out the kinks in construction process for the big bags. I am not sure how to translate my finagling into a tutorial yet, though.
I haven’t been quilting lately, but I have been coming up with great ideas for the new year!
From around the web this week: The Oldest UFO from the Quilter’s Newsletter Blog. Unlike the author, all of my unfinished latchhook projects are lost to the sands of time (I can think of at least three, one might have been finished). Did you do latchhook as a child (or adult, for that matter)?
Modern Mirage from Freshly Pieced. This is my favorite quilt I saw online this week.