Sunday, September 16, 2018

Two-Inch Squares

I was reading recently about Bonnie Hunter.  Many of you will know of her as she is a wonderful quilter and teacher, with several books to her name.  I've never taken a class from her, or met her, but I read about an idea she uses.  Bonnie doesn't use a thread catcher (thread spider, leaders and enders, whatever you call them) at the beginning and ending of her seams when sewing patchwork.  Instead, she has a stack of small squares beside her sewing machine.  She pairs together two small squares, and sews them as her beginning piece and ending piece.  Does this make sense?  Then she is left with lots of little two-square pieces, the beginnings of a scrappy quilt.

Here is just one of her many books about quilting with scraps.

So I have been cutting some of my scraps into two-inch squares.  When I'm watching tv, or doing something else, I pair two different squares and face them right sides together so they are all ready to use.  I have a small drawer divider tray where they can sit nicely next to my sewing machine, within easy reach.  The already stitched two-patches get placed in the bigger part of the divider tray. 

I actually found some pieced scraps that had been trimmed off something else and I cut a few 2" squares that already consisted of two different fabrics.

This wire drawer divider was holding a few safety pins, and not really being used, so it now sits  beside my sewing machine.  The two lower stacks are single 2-inch blocks, and the sewn-together ones get put in the upper section of the divider.

I'm not sure how many of these little two-patches I need, but I'll keep gathering them and I'll store them in a bin to go together some day into a larger quilt.  Check back on this blog in ten years or so to see if I've finished the quilt top!!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sashiko Design for the Quilt Guild Challenge

Several years ago I started a sashiko embroidery piece in a class with Sylvia Pippen.  Like a lot of my sewing, it got put away half-finished to be discovered at a far distant time.

I came across it and decided to finish it, as there wasn't very much more to do on it.  And as I was working on it, I realized that the pretty blue mottled fabric (in the center below) was very similar in color to our guild's challenge fabric for this year (the outer fabric below).

 I decided to frame it with the challenge fabric and finish up the wall hanging.  Dear Daughter-in-law-Stitches was visiting us, and since she has such a good artistic eye, I got her input on my borders.  We agreed that a thin white border and slightly bigger black border would work well inside the blue fabric.  The white brings out the white stitches, and the black helps "tame down" the brightness a bit.

This photo shows the fabric auditioning process.  

So I made the strip sets and sewed them onto the wall hanging to make a mitered border.

Here it's all laid out with the borders sewn on, ready to be mitered.

You can see a little bit of the diagonal line I drew to mark the 45 degree line, and then I added pins to stabilize it while I stitched it.

The front is finished!!  I did very minimal stitching on this, with a solid line 1/4" inside the white border, and some wavy stitching (#4 on the Bernina) in the outer blue border.  I may return to it and use blue thread to make a hand-quilted circle just outside the white embroidered circle.

Here it is all put together.  I debated about blue or black for the binding, but chose black to make a good stopping point for the eyes.  Now it is all ready!  I even have the label and hanging sleeve sewn on!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Little Light on the Subject

I have found a new light that I use when doing hand work.  It is called "Luxjet."  Although I don't think it's particularly luxurious, and it is nothing at all like a jet.  Can't figure out how they got that name!!

But it works real well for me.  It is worn around the neck, and the two "arms" are flexible, so I can point the lights at whatever I want.    It is very, very lightweight, and doesn't bother my neck at all.  And I am one who tends to have neck muscle problems, so this is a big deal for me.  The flexible arms are wonderful.   In this next photo the lights are on, although it's a little hard to tell that. 

There are two little tiny light bulbs in each end.  The options for lighting are:
1.  First light only
2.  Second light only
 3.  Both lights 
4.  Neither light

The photo below shows the button on the side of the light, which is how the lights are turned on.  This photo also demonstrates the flexibility of the light.

The above photo shows the little opening which is how the light is recharged.  I simply plug it in with my phone charger.  No Batteries Required!  I really like that part of it.

I found this light at Amazon, the What-Did-We-Ever-Do-Without-It online store.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Birkenstocks (NQR)

I'm curious.

I bought a pair of Birkenstock sandals within the last year.  DaughterStitches told me I could only wear them if I promised to not wear socks with them.

So I'm curious to know where you "stand" on the issue.  I certainly get the whole "dad-wearing-socks-and-sandals-usually-along-with-shorts" look and the objections thereto.  But if one has nice socks to wear, maybe they're "statement socks," wouldn't it be ok to wear Birkenstocks with socks?

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Some More Greeting Cards

I don't know if I've told you this, but I've recently started going to get-togethers of a local collage group.  A friend of mine invited me, and I really enjoy it.

Most of the other people are working on collages, and I've recently started a collage, but generally I use my time there to make cards.  They have a ton of collected "goodies" that are wonderful for collaging or making cards.  

old books to cut into
old sheet music
old photos and postcards
tons of rubber stamps
different types of papers
old calendars
old art books
etc, etc

Last time I took in some hexie templates, and cut some out of paper for the card in the upper left.  I thought if I could sew with hexies, maybe I could make cards with paper hexies.

For the card below I put a piece of pink fabric behind the two butterfly pictures.

Below is a really nice piece of handmade paper that I took to make into a card.  The shadows in the photo really show the texture nicely.

Here's another batch of cards I made.

I used washi tape to make this card.

Below are some examples of the beautiful old papers that are available at the collage group. 
(Some of the things are mine, too!)

This "reedy" thing looks like it is a piece of sushi roller.

I also used some laces and sewing pattern pieces.

It's a fun group, with great people, and I get lots of different ideas when I'm there.

Monday, August 13, 2018

More Aprons For TwoFish Bakery

It was time to make some more aprons for the wonderful bakers and workers over at TwoFish Bakery.  I gathered my fabrics and started preparations.  I planned to make seven aprons.  So I needed 14 different fabrics.  I put them into pairs--two that play fairly well together.  I use one fabric for the outside and its "friend" on the inside.  And the aprons are therefore reversible.

Most of these fabrics had been bought with aprons in mind when I found them on sale for $3.00 per yard.  (What a deal, right!?!)

Here you can see that I traced the paper pattern onto interfacing.  I've used it enough times that it is getting very worn.  Making this copy was a very good idea.  You can see that it is Kwik Sew pattern #2311.  It takes one yard of fabric for each side of the apron.

I worked on this project assembly-line style.  First I cut out the two fabrics at once (4 layers of fabric, with the pattern laid on the fold.)  

I took all of the pocket pieces and pinned them together. Then sewed them all together.  Then turned them all right side out.  Then pressed all of them.  Then pinned them all onto the apron pieces.  This worked way better than making one apron all the way through at one time.

Here are all the straps laying together.

And here is the big pile of finished aprons before they got ironed.

 And here they all are, one at a time.  This might be a little boring, so you can go through them quickly if you want!

Beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabric!

A pretty, "retro" fabric.

This "garden" fabric is leftover from BabyStitches quilt.

The beautiful Kaffe fabric again, paired with a different print.

A light and pretty floral. 

This paisley and check are both rust colors--almost brown.  They go together so well.

And this bold black floral print.
Here all seven are draped over the chair at once!

And stacked up. . .

. . . and showing the contrasting pockets.

A good job finished.  It is very rewarding to make these aprons, because the recipients like them so much!

Monday, August 6, 2018

How Long Does It Take To Make A Potholder?

Why It Seems I Never Finish Anything
This first photo shows what I started with this morning.  A quilt sandwich for a potholder, all cut and pin-basted together.  Ready for a little free motion stitching, and then finishing up.  Oh, and I also had the binding strips already cut.  Not sewn together, but at least cut out.

So why did it take so #(%&;@"?#*{$@ long to finish?!?

First, of course, I got a practice quilting square.  And I changed my sewing machine foot to a quilting foot.  I tried a few designs, checked my thread colors, etc.  Eventually, I decided I'm not very good at free-motion designs this morning; think I'll use some straight-line quilting.  So I changed back to a regular quarter-inch foot and engaged my walking foot.

I was having a few thread issues, so I decided it was time to clean and oil the machine, and replace the needle.  Boy, was I right on this one!!  Lots of linty fuzz came out of the machine.  Necessary, but more time spent.
I got the binding strips sewn together and pressed in half with no problem.  I decided I needed to make a loop on the potholder, but wasn't sure what size to make it.  I ended up cutting a strip 1 1/2" wide, folded it in half, then folded the sides in to the center and stitched it.  These are the leftover pieces.  It was a good size!

I decided to do cross-hatching on the potholder, one inch apart.  So I made a chalk mark from one corner to the other, then used a handy drawing guide to draw one-inch lines all across.

I sewed all the diagonal lines, then realized that I'd forgotten the hanging loop!  So I sneaked it in on a corner where I hadn't done too much stitching yet.  All is good.  Then I marked the crosswise diagonal lines and sewed them.

"Back side" of the pot holder.

Next I was left wondering how I would put the binding on, with that loop sticking out???  Okay.  Ripped out the loop, and realized I need to sew it on as part of the binding, not before the binding.

Now, finishing the other side of the binding.
My little Clover clips seemed like the perfect thing for the job, so I grabbed my little triangular container (thank you, SisterStitches!).  Where are all my clips?  Must be in some project bag somewhere.  Fortunately, there are enough for my use today. 

And finally, several hours later (I'm embarrassed to say how many hours), I have an approximation of a pot holder finished.  Even the little loop looks close to right! The photo is at an angle, which is why it resembles a parallelogram, not a square.  But I swear, it really is square!

Oh, and yes, that is marijuana fabric.  It's a POT-holder.  Get it!?!