Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dog/Cat Beds for Humane Society

Last February at our guild's annual retreat, I suggested a project to the group of 30 women.  I've read several places about quilters making dog or cat beds from their fabric scraps.  Now, I really don't want to save scraps in my studio for as long as it would take to fill a pet bed.  So I suggested we all save the scraps we created while at retreat.  I had a large grocery bag that I set near my table, and people kept coming over and depositing scraps in it.  But it didn't completely fill up the bag, and I knew I needed more stuffing material.

Then a woman in our guild was cleaning out some of her fabric and found a lot of scraps she gave to me.  I actually received three big white garbage bags full!  Now I'm in business!

For the first, the largest bed, I pieced together a "pillowcase" from some of the larger scraps I found. I happened to be at a "big fabric store" one day and bought some clearance sale upholstery fabric, which I used for the rest of the beds.

I ended up with six beds in total!  They were all different sizes, as I used the upholstery pieces just as they were.  Then I had the job of sitting on the floor stuffing fabric scraps into the beds. There were threads flying everywhere!  A few times I got slowed down as I'd find an especially pretty scrap in the pile.  But I was good and didn't "snitch" any of the scraps for myself!  That wasn't the purpose of this project.

I've laid a yardstick down in these last two photos so you can see approximately how big the beds are.  I think there is a size for everyone.

The woman at the Redwood Coast Humane Society was very pleased when I brought the beds in to the office one day.  I told her they could give them away to new adopters if they wanted to, or keep them for the pets staying with the Humane Society.

Now maybe I should make my own cats a bed.  I wonder if they would like it, or just sniff and walk away!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tiny Scissors

I recently received a package from SisterStitches.  This is always a very fun day, because whether she is sending me my Bear Patch Bits, or something else, it's always a treat.

This time she sent me the world's tiniest scissors!  I can't believe how small it is.

It has its own little cover attached to it, to protect the blade.  (And to protect me from the blade!)  These are actually a very good scissors, and have already come in handy several times.  I love this little thing!  Thanks, SisterStitches!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Some Aprons

Margaret at Two Fish Bakery needed some more aprons, so I made her two new ones.  These aprons are so easy to make, I don't know why I don't make more of them!  I use a regular apron pattern, but instead of finishing the edges with bias tape, as the pattern says, I make two aprons and sew them together, pillow case style.  That way the apron has a lot more heft to it and it feels more sturdy.

The first one has a yellow dot on one side and green/yellow/blue/magenta floral on the other side.

The second apron is in purples, with a stripe on one side and a large floral print on the other side.

OK, Margaret, let's get going on those morning buns and sticky rolls!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Halloween Costume

Our GranddaughterStitches was a cougar for Halloween this year.  I made this costume from McCalls pattern #MP375.

I was a little apprehensive sewing the costume because I was worried about the fit, not having GranddaughterStitches here to fit it on her.  I had taken pretty detailed measurements of her in August when she visited us.  Given those measurements, I cut it a little longer in a few places.

It turned out to fit her very well.  I think the pattern was great--pretty easy to sew.  It has a zipper up the front of the "jumpsuit."  The hood with cat ears is a separate piece, as are the little mitts, and the spats to cover up her tennis shoes.

With some whiskers and a blackened nose (at least until it got rubbed off!), she was a perfect big cat.  I think she liked the tail the most.

I was fortunate to get to visit GranddaughterStitches at Halloween this year.  I went to school with her and DaughterStitches (aka 2nd grade teacher).  I helped out in DaughterStitches's class most of the day, on the day of the Halloween party.  I also visited GranddaughterStitches's classroom, and ate lunch with her.  It was really fun to see all the kids and teachers in their costumes.  DaughterStitches lent me her witch's cape and large hat so I had a costume to wear, too.

We all went out for trick-or-treating together, along with some other neighbors/friends.  It was a very fun night, even if it was sprinkling a little.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christmas Ornaments (One of Probably Many)

I've been sewing some Christmas ornaments recently which were a lot of fun to make.  Isn't this small Christmas tree cute!?!  It's only about 4 1/2 inches tall.

These are from a company called Lumenaris, made in America, which is always good.  I found the kit in my local quilt store, The Loft.

It was great, because the little box included absolutely everything I needed to complete the three ornaments.  The pre-cut pieces of felt--all of them, the trees, the stars, the circle ornaments, and the pre-cut batting for filling.  Also included were the necessary embroidery floss and even a needle.  The only thing I needed to add was a thread snips.  And the thread snips, by the way, even fit into the small box!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Abstract Buttons

In a previous post I wrote about a class taught at our guild by Rosalie Dace.  I had started work on a three-piece quilt based loosely on a painting by Wassily Kandinsky.  This is how my pieces looked when finished.  They were three different widths, between about 10.5" and 14" wide.  They were all about 32 inches long.

I worked deep purple curved strips into the black background.  Then I attached the various circles onto the background.  I used quite a few decorative stitches for this.  I free-motion quilted loose, intertwined circles onto the fabric circles.

More crazy circle quilting!

I quilted a few wavy lines up and down the quilts.  Then I wanted to add some more interest, so I did some long hand quilting stitches in wavy lines up and down the pieces.

This is the "rogue" block with the square pieces instead of round!

And again, the finished product.  I learned a better technique for adding a faced binding than I had used before.  I'd never sought out a way to do this, and just added two facing strips on each side, sewed them down, then added two facing strips on the top and bottom.  But this method is much better.  It gives a mitered corner finish on the backside.  You can find the tutorial on the Occasional Piece blog.  Elizabeth, the writer of this blog, is a talented quilter and a really good blogger, too. 

I entered Abstract Buttons in Art in the Redwoods, an annual art show at Gualala Arts Center in Gualala, California.  I won the "Red Dot Award," which means I had a red dot on the entry ticket, indicating someone bought my quilt!  So that was very rewarding.

Monday, September 29, 2014

GranddaughterStitches Making a Quilt

GranddaughterStitches was visiting this summer (oh, we had so much fun!) and one day I asked her if she would like to make a quilt.  Boy, was she excited about that!

So I gave her 20 5" squares and told her to arrange them however she wanted to on my design wall.  Below is the result.

These squares came from the Bear Patch Bits Club at Bear Patch Quilt Company.

Then I sewed them all together for her.  I think she really liked the result.

We both worked on sandwiching the quilt.  She worked hard on it, and did a good job.  One safety pin in the middle of each square.

Basting all completed!

Here is a photo of GranddaughterStitches with her completed quilt.  She was very happy to have a quilt for her doll.   (You can also see the potholder she wove.  That was another fun thing to do.)

Don't you just love the backing fabric she chose?  Very pretty.

I told her that every quilt needed to have a label, but every label doesn't need to be square on the back of the quilt.

"Made by Aurora and Nana
August 2014
Sea Ranch, CA"

Pretty good for her first quilt, don't you think?!?  I'm sure she and I will make more.  It's a lot of fun to sew with GranddaughterStitches.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Some Clothes for GranddaughterStitches

I recently sewed some new leggings for GranddaughterStitches.  She loves leggings, and almost needs to have them custom-made.  She is tall and slender so those long enough are too big around, and those that fit in the waist are capri pants!  

Here she is modeling her zebra leggings!  I saw this fabric and just knew it would be perfect for her.

Here is a closer shot of her zebra pants.  Perfect for every social situation, you know.

Another thing I thought I would try is making slashes in the back of a t-shirt for her.  I'm still finding out how wide to make them and where on the back they are best placed.  Fortunately, she has a little lavender tank top which looks great underneath it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crocheting Afghans

Here is another stack of baby afghans I've recently finished.  I've been busy with the yarn lately!

This first one is a really pretty variegated yarn.  It's rather bright, but still in "baby colors."  I always find it interesting to see how the variegated colors "puddle."  (I didn't make up that word!)  The term refers to when variegated colors of yarn tend to line up with each other.  In the photo below you can  see a streak of mostly blue going right up the middle of the afghan.  Multi-color yarns are fun to use.

For something different, I followed a pattern (found on the inside of a yarn label) and made a round afghan.  This was fun to do.

You can see a close-up of the crocheting and one of the "rays" of the circle below.

Quite a while ago I had crocheted a small yellow afghan out of the softest ever yarn I have seen.  Just so soft to touch and to caress.  The only problem was that it was too small, but that was all of the yarn I had left.  (I had previously used most of the yarn to make another, full-size baby afghan.)  I knew this mini-afghan was waiting patiently for some yarn to make a border.  

I finally found it in the yarn I used for the first afghan, above.  Now it is a much better size.

Now this final afghan is not a baby afghan.  I made it because of a special request by GranddaughterStitches.  She saw me crocheting all these afghans, and asked if I would make "a halfghan" for her to have.  She liked this pink/brown/cream yarn I had, so I made this one just for her.

Simple double crochet all the way through.

Except for two "border" rows near the two ends, where I did a triple crochet fence post.

GranddaughterStitches loves the afghan.  She even said that she slept really well one night because she had it to cuddle with.  What Nana doesn't love to hear that!?!?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine

If you happen to look at my side-bar, you will notice a section called "Life is too short. . ."  I periodically add things to this list, as I think of them.  One of the items on the list is "-to drink bad wine."

A good friend of mine who I see at Giants baseball games, and who also reads my blog, recently gave me a present.  It was this cute little plaque which expresses my feelings about bad wines!

It was such a fun surprise!  It's always nice when someone thinks of you, don't you agree?
Thank you, Janice!

And here it is, hanging on the wall in my studio.  You may think that is a strange place to hang it, but I have always thought that wine and quilting go together.  And my Beginning Quilting teachers reinforced that for me, so it must be true! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Fabric Grocery Bags

Last week I made two new fabric bags to add to the stash in the car.  I love the bright, cheerful colors.  

This is some fabric that dear, lovely DaughterStitches gave to me.  This "recycle" print is the perfect print for me.  DaughterStitches knows me very well!

I used the very simple pattern from Green Bag Lady's website/blog.  Her pattern goes together real easily.  (Side note:  Use this pattern assembly-line method and make a large number of bags at one time.  Cut all the bag body pieces, cut all the strap pieces, sew all the straps, sew all the bags, then assemble.  You get the picture.)  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Fabric!

I recently came across two finds at Britex Fabrics in the sale section.  I always like to look there, because I can find treasures sometimes!  One time I found a piece of Liberty of London fabric.  Score!

 This time I found the two fabrics in the top picture.  Both are really nice, smooth cottons.  

The striped one--what fun colors are they?!--is an Italian cotton, and feels almost like a shirting weight.  It is 60" wide and there is a little over a yard of it.  I think I will have some fun using these nice stripes in a quilt top.  I'm imagining the stripes with nice coordinating colors.

This very large polka dot is a more sheer fabric.  It is 54" wide and about a yard long.

Doesn't it drape nicely?  I'm thinking maybe a scarf.