Another Kind of Sewing

A friend and her dog visited recently, and luckily the friend enjoys cooking and sewing as much as I do, so we had a great time.

Australian Cattle Dog

Michele and Cowboy

Unfortunately, I did NOT get pix of all the yummy food.  However, we did make a cover for Cowboy’s portable crate.

Cowboy is a very talented dog but also a very “reactive” one who is curious about anything he can see.  So his portable crate needed a cover to let him get some rest between trials at the doggie events in which he competes.

Cowboy’s portable crate

Michele had been throwing a 20-year-old fitted sheet over the crate with reasonable result.  However, we made a dee-luxe cover with many fine features 😉

There is a little door at the top for giving treats.

There is a screen in one side where a fan can blow in cool air.  The screen has a flap to cover it when Cowboy needs rest more than he needs a breeze.

And of course there is a big flap over one end of the crate that can be thrown up to let Cowboy in and out.

We enjoyed the many challenges involved in making the crate cover.  Naturally, we had to make a few little bags for ourselves, as well.  A good time was had by all.

Cowboy is an Australian Cattle Dog

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Teaching Paper Piecing and Seminole Patchwork

This next quarter I will be teaching two classes at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (NC). The last class there was a lot of fun, so I’m really looking forward to these.

The first class, on Friday, August 11, will be a modern paper piecing project using the Lombard Street Pattern from Sassafras designs.  Here is my version, which you’ve seen before.  The pattern comes in 3 sizes, so I’m going to make a smaller one as well, just for fun.

Quilt pattern review

“Amish on Lombard Street”, my quilt made from a Sassafras Lane pattern

The second class will be Friday, September 15.  We’ll be making place mats using linen (if desired) and decorative strips of Seminole patchwork.  Here’s the class sample, though I’m making another set using a variety of patchwork patterns.

Seminole Patchwork

Seminole Patchwork Place Mat using a linen blend for the main fabric

If you’re in the Greensboro area, please come join us. You can find Studio Stitch online (click the name) or come by the shop at 3215 B Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC.

Fabric Postcards Again

I’ve been blogging about the monthly challenges and programs at my modern guild, hoping it will be helpful to some of you who need challenge or program ideas. Here’s a recent one: we made fabric postcards.

I gave out pieces of Peltex 71F cut 4″ x 6″ to use as the stabilizer and backing for the cards.  I gave no further guidance, though I did bring an example to pass around.

fabric postcard

Here is the example

I probably should have provided a handout with some basic instructions, since we have members with quite variable skills, as do most guilds.  Anyway, here are some of the postcards people made.  As you can see, they varied in technique quite a bit, and all were fun.

fabric postcard

Kim’s clever Bee Kind postcard–she paper pieced the bee!

Somebody had some cute quilt lady fabric and put a nice frame around it

Coffee is always popular, and the fusible broderie perse worked well

Somebody else stitched elaborate designs like Zentangles on hers

Bev made a bird with a nest of torn strips and beads sewn on for eggs

Mine was titled “A Different UFO”. I’ve had that UFO button a long time!

Review: Annie’s Soft and Stable

A while back a bag pattern called for “foam interfacing” and I had NO IDEA what that was. Luckily, the folks at my local quilt shop DID know!  They sold me Annie’s Soft and Stable and it has worked out very well!

Quilted Adventure

Roxie bag made as part of Quilted Adventure online retreat

The bag above was the one that initially required foam interfacing.  I used the foam interfacing again recently, when I made a new version of the Market Tote from Bijou Lovely.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Finished Bird Bag

It worked just as well on the larger bag as it had on the smaller one.  It gives the bag lots of structure with little weight.

The very BEST part was making handles with foam interfacing rather than the usual turn-the-tube method!  I just cut strips of foam interfacing, wrapped them with fabric (turning under the last edge), and sewed three straight lines–one down the middle of the handle to close the fabric and one about 1/4″ from each edge of the handle as decorative top-stitching.  It made comfortable, sturdy handles for the bag. Definitely making handles that way in the future!

There are several other brands of foam interfacing, including a couple (from the reliable Pellon company) that are fusible.  It also comes in more than one thickness.  I haven’t really tried any of the other brands, but this one worked out well.

Giving Kraft-Tex a (Second) Chance

I made a couple of bags using Kraft-Tex for a sturdy bottom section a while back, and wasn’t that happy with it.  My review is here, if you want to read it.

Kraft-Tex review

Tote bag made with Kraft-Tex for the bottom section

However, when I got some lovely bird fabric in a guild swap, I decided to make another tote bag and use Kraft-Tex to protect the bottom again. I pre-washed the Kraft-Tex to soften it a little, then crumpled it in my hands to soften it a little more.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Since I didn’t really want the thick Kraft-Tex in the seams, the shortage worked out OK

I had BARELY enough for a shorter-than-recommended bottom section, but it worked out fine.  I used the same pattern as before, the Market Tote which is free at Bijou Lovely.

Market Tote from Bijou LovelyAs you can see, I had some beautiful birds-in-the-grass fabric (a Moda print) for the inside.

Kraft-Tex for tote bagI used a buttonhole stitch to secure the top edge of the Kraft-Tex.  Overall, the Kraft-Tex was much easier to use this time.  It makes a sturdy bottom for the bag, is washable, and presumably will wear better than a plain fabric bottom.

As before, the Market Bag tutorial was very well done and easy to follow.  The only change I made was to revise the way the bottom was attached so that I didn’t have Kraft-Tex in the seams; that would have been quite bulky.  I laid the Kraft-Tex on the top fabric and secured the edges with buttonhole stitch just inside the seamline, so it wasn’t necessary to have Kraft-Tex in the seams to hold it in place.  That worked a lot better.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Finished Bird Bag

In other words, I am now revising my opinion of Kraft-Tex and probably will use it for this purpose again!  It still does’t really look like leather to me, but in this case that isn’t the point.

A Cute Apron and a Pattern Review

Kitchen apron

Photo courtesy of Indygo Junction

My husband recently discarded some shirts, so I was interested to see this “Kitchen Shirt Tales” pattern from Indygo Junction.

It looked pretty simple, and I’ve made dozens of aprons over the years, but I decided it was worth the money to buy the pattern rather than having to figure it out on my own.  The pattern was downloadable, which added to the appeal–instant gratification!

I was pleased with the way the apron came out, but only because I abandoned the instructions part way through construction.

The instructions were MUCH too complex for a simple garment like this.  For example, rather than providing a pattern for the garment in different sizes (if, indeed, one needs a choice of sizes for an apron), the instructions were to measure yourself and then derive the cutting lines through a rather complex formula. After figuring out these measurements, you were instructed to draw the curve for cutting out the top by connecting the measurements..  I did get it drawn just fine, but  it would have been so much simpler to just have a pattern piece for cutting out the main body of the apron!

As you can see below, the apron looked just fine on two of my colleagues who are different sizes.

At this point, the instructions became confusing and there were VERY few illustrations.  I usually do pretty well with verbal instructions, but the most commercial patterns have a drawing for each step for a reason.

This pattern would need many, many more drawings to be clear.  I quit the instructions at that point and made the rest up as I went along.

I still think it is a great idea to recycle a shirt into an apron, and this is cute the way it came out.  The pattern, however, could be greatly improved by the addition of a pattern piece for cutting and many additional illustrations.

Finished! In 2016

First, the Christmas tree picture with fireplace was at the Grove Park Inn, in Asheville, N.C. That fireplace is big enough for a man to stand up in. Hopefully when there’s no fire.

And now, the 2016 finishes.

Asheville Quilt Show

Scan Me, a quilt made to promote safer sex.

improvisational quilt

Cherrywood Toss won a blue ribbon.

art quilt, gwen marston

Refrigerator quilt inspired by Gwen Marston. Bev Manus came up with the idea for refrigerator quilts.

modern sampler

My Modern Sampler Quilt

improvisational quilt

“Gwen Visits the Farm” is the quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance contest this year

Quilted Adventure

Roxie bag made as part of Quilted Adventure online retreat

Loes Hinse blouse

Blouse from a Loes Hinse pattern, in Cherrywood fabrics

Tumbling Blocks

Tumbling Blocks placemats, made in class with Karen Combs

Sweetpea Pod pattern review

These Sweetpea Pod bags were so fun that I made a LOT of them!

And, of course, the quilts for Ronald McDonald House:

Happy new year, and may you have a great year of quilts in 2017!

Orphan Block Cards

A while back I ordered some blank cards with the idea that I would use some fabric scraps to create my own note cards. card2

In addition to the cards, I had this spray intended to turn any fabric into fusible fabric. Never mind why.  card1

So I sprayed the back of one of my little orphan blocks, then ironed it onto the card. I pinked the edges of the blocks before using because I figured there’d be endless loose threads otherwise.

card3The heat of the iron warped the card a little, so I wasn’t entirely satisfied with that.  A glue stick probably would have worked as well, without creating the warp.

Despite the warp, this was actually going pretty well, and I have an (almost) endless supply of little orphan blocks, so next I tried sewing the blocks on the cards:card4

It was difficult to keep them from distorting while being sewn.  So…warped cards from ironing, or blocks slightly askew from sewing?  Anyway, they are unique 🙂card5

Be warned: If I correspond with you regularly, one of these will be coming your way, ready or not!

Pincushion follow-up

Here are the pincushions made by the talented members of the Franklin Modern Quilt Guild. And just so you know, any quilts you see in the background are samples hanging at A Stitch in Time, where we meet.  How great is that, to meet in a quilt shop?

Be warned:  these are really just snapshots, not my best pictures.  I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible when I took pictures, so there may be odd things in the background.

fmqg19This last one is a “needle cushion”.  Each square is to be labelled with a needle size,so partly-used machine needles can be stuck in and easily found when you need that size again:

Needle Cushion

Needle Cushion

While I’m showing some of the creativity in this group, here are the “share and inspire” offerings for this month:

quilted purse

Jane Threlkeld fused some of her orphan blocks onto backing and made this purse

Linda Harrison made these two quilts from Bonnie Christine fabrics for Art Gallery, and one of them won a prize:

And here is a bright, cheerful quilt by Lynda Doll:modern quilt

Several of our members also belong to an art quilt group, and brought an example of one of their projects.  As you can see, they each made a vase of flowers and the cut them all up and swapped quarters!  The next step will be beads and baubles.art quilt

There’s always plenty of inspiration at these meetings!

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Pincushion Project

Who can resist alliteration–just sayin’

traditional pincushion

Does everybody in American have one of these?

One of my quilt groups has a pincushion exchange scheduled for next month, and the last program was a display of many creative pincushions. I wish I had taken pictures! Since this is quite a creative group, I’ll be sure to take some at the exchange.

Meanwhile, I needed to make a pincushion. Note that I don’t say I need a pincushion. That certainly is not the case. I have a number of pincushions, and yes, I use all of them. However, to say I need another would be pushing it!

There are lots of great pincushion ideas on Pinterest, so I just made my own Pincushion board to collect a few. Then I chose one I thought I could make, and here it is:

pincushion

Dresden Pincushion, made from a free pattern at AllPeopleQuilt.com

I also noted that one of the bloggers I follow had gone crazy making pincushions, many of which were just little quilt blocks sewn together and filled. So I made a mini from some 2″ finished blocks I found in the orphan bin.

Then I went a little crazy myself, and took pictures of all my pincushions.  Most of them were gifts from friends or family, which gives them special meaning.

And finally, a fun factoid: I learned in my research that it is best to stuff pincushions with crushed walnut shells to give them a little heft!  And those crushed shells are sold as lizard litter in the pet store!  Who knew?

One last pincushion, a miniature: miniature pincushion

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