Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fabric Shopping Bags

I have begun a new project. (What a surprise!)

My friend Harmony, of Harmony Art Design, had the idea of putting a fabric shopping bag in with every box of goods delivered to our community this Christmas by Project Santa. Project Santa delivers food and gifts to families in need.

We talked (well, talked electronically) about doing this, and thought we might need the help of The Green Bag Lady. Teresa is a great friend, who just happens to make thousands of fabric shopping bags and Gives Them Away!

Anyway, we talked about how many we needed, and decided that the number we needed was small enough that I could take care of it myself. We need 25 bags. I think I've sewn about 20 so far. I have a pretty good system going. I get all the bags cut out first, and that's easy, because it's just a 36" by 18" piece of fabric, plus handles. Then when I get down to sewing them, it only takes me 15 minutes per bag.

KittyStitches had to come check out the bags!

So far I have used these three fabrics. The one in front and in the upper left are some, shall we say, *Extremely Economical* fabrics. Which worked to make great bags. The fabric on the right was donated by Harmony Art. The red and green print works very well for Christmas bags, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This is a photo from a blog post I made last December, where I gave instructions for making this small Christmas tree out of wine corks.

Amanda, over at CrafTown contacted me and asked if she could use some of my tutorials on her website. After debating with myself for about 5 seconds, I said, "Of course!!"

Here's a link to the site where this wine cork tree appeared.

They have some nice crafts over at CrafTown, so go check them out! More of my crafts and quilts will be shown on the website from time to time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Miniature Landscape Class

I took a miniature landscape class last week from Diana Roberts (of Santa Rosa). Diana is a very nice person and a great teacher. She is a master of landscapes, having done a lot of miniature landscapes and circular landscapes (that's another class!).

Diana had a set of patterns that we were free to choose from. I chose the simple landscape below.
We traced the pattern onto tissue paper, numbering the pieces from farthest to nearest. We also traced the pattern onto an acetate sheet. From the acetate sheet we cut out the "puzzle pieces" and then ironed our fabric over the acetate to get it in the right shape.

First step was to lay down our sky fabric.
Then, starting with the pattern piece farthest away, we pinned the fabrics to a muslin background. The tissue paper had actually been sewn to the muslin to keep it in place.

The tissue paper overlay helped us keep the pattern pieces in the right position.
Now I'm going to hand-stitch down these pieces. I'll continue the saga when I get this step finished.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I've Conquered the World!

I finished my "World" puzzle last week.
(I had previously blogged about it here and here.) It was a lot of fun to put together, and it really did enhance my geographical knowledge.

Now I can't wait to put it together again!

Sorry this photo is a little blurry, but it shows a close-up of part of the puzzle.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Slash Your Stash Quilt Tutorial

Remember the fabrics I showed you in the last post? I am now going to sew them into a "slash your stash" quilt, and show you how I'm doing it as I go along. Below you see the one I made a couple weeks ago.
To make a quilt like this you will need
- twelve different squares of fabric (15" by 15"). They should be
fabrics that play well together.
- You will also need one small safety pin,
- a ruler longer than 15" ,
- a rotary cutter (with the sharpest blade you have),
- a 12 1/2" square ruler for square up the blocks, and of course,
- your sewing machine.

Above you can see the fabrics I chose to make this sample quilt. Now, I have to explain that I'm making a much smaller quilt for this demonstration. (Should have taken my camera with me when I made the larger one--rookie mistake!) I am making only six total squares. But the procedure is the same.

When you have the pieces all cut out, lay them, edges aligning, in a stack. Lay The Ruler on top of the stack, and Make A Cut anywhere, dividing the stack into two stacks. The only caveat is that you shouldn't be closer than about 2 inches from any corner, just to make it simpler. Twelve pieces of fabric is a lot to cut through. If you can't physically do it, separate your stack into two stacks of six squares and cut them separately. Just make sure that the two cutting lines are exactly the same.

Now is when you need to Put A Safety Pin in the upper-right-hand corner of only the topmost fabric square. This will help you to keep track of where you are as you go along. The safety pin should Always be in that upper-right-hand corner of (in my case) the blue polka dot fabric. I know that it sounds unnecessary to do this. That it shouldn't be too hard to keep track of this stack of fabrics. Just trust me on this one--you will undoubtedly be glad in the end that you have a pin there. I know I was.

Now, Take That Top Cut Piece of Fabric on the Left Side and Place it at the Bottom of the Left-Hand Stack.

Now your stacks look like this. Above you see the light blue piece on the left has gone underneath all those other fabrics. Now we're going to Sew Together each two-piece layer of our fabrics.
With me so far?

This photo shows how I have laid the right-hand fabric over onto the left-hand fabric, then I'll just sew it down the right-hand side with a 1/4" seam. Don't worry if the edges don't come out exactly even. We're going to even them all up at the end.

Here are the next two fabrics to be sewn together. It Is Essential* that you keep track of which square you sewed together first, second, etc. to make the pattern work right.

This is definitely a good time for chain-piecing (not breaking the threads between seams). It is practical, and a good way to keep your squares in the right order.

When you have your long chain of twelve squares sewn back together, take them (in one long string) to the ironing board and Press The Seams To One Side. If you prefer, you may press them open, it doesn't really matter.

1. Iron seam flat on first square.
2. Cut it off from the second square.
3. Place the first piece up-side-down on your table.
4. Repeat 1. through 3. till everything is pressed.

This is my new stack of squares. I'm lifting up the layers to show them to you.

Now it's time for the second cut! (Don't get too excited!!)
Lay the ruler down again on top of the stack and Make Another Cut in Another Direction.

Now we're going to Take The Top Two Layers (on the left-hand side) and Put Them On The Bottom Of The Stack. See how I'm demonstrating this in the above photo?!!

Again, Re-Sew the Squares Together with the new combination, chain piecing them. Then Press as before (the steps 1. through 4. above).

Then you'll make the Third Cut. Lay the ruler so it bisects at least one of the previous two seams, and "Whack" again!

This time you'll be Moving The Top Three Layers (from the left side) To The Bottom Of The Stack.

It's easy to remember.
First cut -- move one layer.
Second cut -- move two layers.
Third cut -- move three layers.

And again, Sew Them Back Together. Almost done!

Last step is to take your 12 1/2" square ruler and Square Up All Those Edges.

This shows all six of my squares laid out together. (Remember, I made a "mini-version." You will have twelve squares.)

They look a little like a crazy quilt, don't they!? The blocks have the appearance of having been pieced with lots of smaller, irregular pieces. But you and I know better than that, don't we!

Now you can play with them on your design wall and decide how you want to put them together. Personally, I like to just sew the squares together. But you can add sashing if you want. The photo below gives a hint of what it would look like if I used yellow fabric for the sashing. OK, maybe that's a little too much yellow, but you see what I am getting at!

Now, how about if I added some of the lavender for a border? This just gives you an idea of what you can do with your squares.

Adding sashing and border(s) alters the size of your quilt, obviously. If you add no other fabric, it will measure 36" wide by 48."

Now you have all the instructions. I would love to see it if you make a quilt of your own. I will show you when this one is all finished, too.

*Remember when I said it was essential to keep your fabrics in the right order to make the pattern work? If for some reason your squares didn't turn out exactly as they should, if something went together wrong, for heaven's sake, don't worry about it! This block is supposed to look very random and mixed-up. If you made a mistake when you were moving the layers, or sewing them together, or if they got out of order, it will all look fine in the end.
I promise it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lovely New Fabric!

I went shopping at Britex the other day. Look what came home with me!
Aren't they gorgeous!?!

I want to make another "stack & whack" or whatever it's called. So I needed some fabrics that will "play well together." I never know how the blocks are going to turn out, so I'm anxious to get started on it.