Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Half-Square Triangle Quilt From Bear Patch Bits

Some of you may know that I am a long-time subscriber to Bear Patch Bits.  Clicking on the link will tell you how to receive 20 five-inch squares in the mail each month.  Since I've been receiving them for so long, I have Quite A Few Squares.  My plastic shoe box gets more and more crowded each month.  Finally I said, "Enough!"  (Not "enough" bear patch bits--I can never get too many of them!)  But I knew that I had to finally do something to use all of these fabric squares (or at least a good chunk of them).

I am quite a fan of the half square triangle (HST) and have made a few baby quilts with them.  Like here, here, and here.  I like the process of sewing them, and how I get "two for the price of one."  Because when I'm done sewing I have two identical squares.

So I started off by going through my squares and pairing up a light and dark value of the same color. I used my nifty Fons & Porter quarter inch seam marker, which made marking the squares pretty quick and easy.  It has a center line to line up with the diagonal corners, and both edges of the ruler are 1/4 inch away from the center.

I used either a Frixion pen or a chalk pencil to mark the seam lines, depending on how light or dark the fabric was.  

Here you can see a stack of squares which are all marked, just waiting to be chain pieced together.  (I also love chain piecing!)

And here is one stack, all sewn, cut apart, and pressed.

This photo shows that the stack is as tall as this pill bottle.

And now I have finally stopped sewing squares together.  {pant, pant}  Then I counted them all.  That was a big job, too!  Do you want to guess the number of triangle squares I have?


Yes, five hundred ninety half square triangles.  I couldn't believe it either.  I think that should be enough to make a quilt.  Maybe a big one!!

And at this point, my plastic shoe box looks like it went on a huge diet!  Instead of being bursting to overflow status, it looks rather sad and empty.  I didn't intend to use every single square, but I only left a few unsewn.  Fortunately, my Bear Patch Bits continue to arrive, so my box is slowly building up another supply.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tidying Up My Scraps

I think most of us have scrap bins that look something like this, right?  A big jumble of scraps all jammed together.  At least I have managed to separate mine into different bins for different colors.  (These plastic shoeboxes fit on my shelves real well!)

In this bin I keep my blue and black scraps.  Not very tidy, and it always requires searching through everything in the bin to find just the right fabric.

At one of our guild meetings a woman demonstrated how she used her four-inch ruler to tidy her scraps.  You've probably heard of this before--the fabric is laid out flat, then "rolled" onto the ruler.  The ruler is then pulled out and the resulting fabric folded in two (or three) for a nice neat bundle of scraps.  (Thanks, Judy!)

Fabric is rolled onto a ruler, then the ruler is carefully pulled out.

The fabric then is simply folded in half.

Or it can be folded into thirds if the fabric is too long,
depending upon the size of your storage container or drawer.

This way I can see all of the fabrics at once, so no more pawing through the bin of scraps.  The smaller scraps that I still wanted to keep but were too small to roll, I've just folded and put on the side  next to the neatly folded fabrics.  

And did I mention that this was a very easy, while-watching-television project!?!  Now it is a joy to take down one of these scrap bins to look for a fabric!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Beds for the Cats

Percy and Cassie now have brand new beds during which they can spend about 75% of their day!  I had made some dog and cat beds earlier for the local Humane Society, so I guess I could do the same for my cats.

The cats really needed new beds.  I couldn't find ones that I liked in the stores, so I decided to make some.  I found some tutorials on Pinterest, and read a few different methods before deciding what I wanted to do.  I wanted to use wool fabric, because I know the cats really like that.  

So I used some wool that I found in my stash.  This plaid cashmere is leftover from a cape that I made myself quite a few years ago.  There was a nice bit of it left.  So I used it to make one cushion.  That was easy.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take progress photos, so I'll describe the next part.  I made a long tube out of some more leftover wool (most of which is wool I "found" and felted as an experiment).  All of the stuffing was fabric scraps.  I had saved up a good amount of those!  I stuffed the long tubes and sewed the ends together.  Then I hand-sewed the big loop-tubes onto the cushions.  That was a little bit of some hard work, as I had to pull the two pieces together and hand-sew at some awkward angles!  Not my best work, but I'm sure the cats don't mind!

Above is Percy in one of the beds.

And this is Cassie, in a red plaid felted bed with a green plaid on the bottom that doesn't even come close to coordinating!

And I'm still left with some scraps!  Why is it that scraps can never be completely gotten rid of!?!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Giants Blanket

As some of you know, MisterStitches and I go to a lot of San Francisco Giants baseball games.  San Francisco is not known for having warm summers, so many of our games get quite chilly, especially the night games.  As do many people at the games, we have a blanket to cover up with on cold nights. It says "SF Giants" on it, and we bought it quite a while ago at the ballpark.  But it was never just right.  It wasn't quite wide enough to go comfortably over both our laps, and it was too long--always dragging on the floor.

So I made us a new blanket.  I bought some fleece fabric, in a Giants design, of course!  And the two of us measured how big we thought the blanket should be.  This one would be wider than it was long! At about 2 yards wide and 40 inches long, it's the perfect size.

The Giants logo looks a little blurry here, but it is just the fuzzy fabric.

Both kitties were very interested in it.  They like to help me with my quilting A Lot.  Percy is on the left, and Cassie is on the right.  She thinks the blanket smells really good.

I also bought a piece of plain black fleece for the backing--I wanted the blanket to have two thicknesses.  A lot of the fleece blankets I see have the edges cut into "fringes" and then the two layers are tied together with these "fringes."  But I wanted to do it a different way.  

I first of all sewed the two layers together right sides together, leaving an opening to turn.   After turning it right side out, I sewed again around the edge about a half inch from the edge seam.  It makes a very nice finish on the blanket.

I think Percy approves of the new blanket.  I bet he thinks it is his.  He might be disappointed when he can't find it lying around the house!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Box For My Hexie Materials (some of them!)

In some of my hexie supplies I came across this little kit, which included fabric squares and the papers.  So I quickly put it together.  Isn't it cute!!

Back side of the flower.

And I realized when I was looking through these hexie supplies that I really needed a place to corral all of them.  Because EPP has definitely gone from a "I'll try this new technique ONCE" to "Yes, I'm going to be doing more than a little bit of this!"  And I have SisterStitches to thank for getting me into English Paper Piecing.

I had this storage box sitting around, not being used.  It seemed like a good size for this project.  As you can see by the ruler placed on top, it is about 5 1/2" wide.

I measured its height, too, and made this little blue fabric base wide enough and long enough to fit the front of the box, with some extra length to fold over the top of the box.

The pins show placement for the EPP flower.

The width of this flower will fit on the front very well.  On the photo above you can see where I've marked with pins just where to place the flower onto the background.

Here is the box with the EPP flower appliquéd onto the background.

I like this "label" for the box so I know what's inside.

And here is what's inside.  These are all the leftover parts and pieces, templates and papers, from 
this project, previously made from a class I took by mail from SisterStitches at The Bear Patch Quilt Company. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bears for NieceStitches

I sewed some simple little bears for NieceStitches the other day.  (I have two nieces, and both of them are nurses!  So proud!)  This NieceStitches works in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

On one of my recent visits, I noticed that NieceStitches's mom is sewing these, and I thought I would contribute, too.

They are simple, two-dimensional bears made out of flannel.  Just stitched and edges left raw.

Parents who have a baby in the NICU wear one of these bears under their clothes.  Then the bear is put next to the baby, so the baby can get used to the parents' scent.  Isn't that a nice idea!?!

So look for a package in the mail soon, NieceStitches!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Crocheted Afghans (Not Again!)

Yes, I've been crocheting.  Again.  Still.  And I have three more baby afghans to show you.  This first one is made all from one color, a nice kind of minty color.  I simply did rows of single crochet, and occasionally put in two rows of double crochet to add a little texture.

The next two afghans might qualify to be called "patchwork."  In each of these, I used some different colors of yarn.  I started work on the one below, with the blue yarn.  After crocheting quite a few rows, I realized I had made the beginning row too long.  I knew that I wouldn't have enough yarn to make it as tall as I would like it to be for my given width. 

I was with some friends, and one of them suggested that I fill in with some other colors of yarn, which would also use up some of my random leftover pieces of yarn.  So I did just that, and ended up with a fun, "non-scripted" middle section.  I really like how it turned out, and now I have a little less leftover yarn, too!

I did the multi-colored part in the middle, then finished up with the same blue that I started with.

This is one of my favorite stitches to do.  I double crochet, then occasionally I chain one, skip a stitch, and double crochet into the next stitch.  That makes the "holes" in the afghan.

This last afghan is also of the "patchwork" variety.  I started with the yellow, then chose a few other colors, finishing up with the same yellow.  And yes, that blue in the center is what was left over from the previous afghan!