Bits and Pieces

Last week was a flurry of activity.  It appeared to me as though I wasn't getting much sewing done. I grabbed projects here and there, worked on what I could throughout out the week.  When I looked at the bits and pieces of my work individually it didn't seems as though much was getting accomplished.  Some weeks that's how it goes.

The RBHS Varsity Soccer Jackets consumed the majority of my time.  It wasn't a tough project, not necessarily easy and not particularly fun.  It was just, well time consuming. 22 Men's Soccer Jackets in which I heat fused pre-embroidered letters, then machine stitched the letters in place.
Seriously, What was I thinking?
The heap of Jackets my son brought me was, to say the least, daunting.  When I agreed to to the project I anticipated 30 minutes per jacket, and I wasn't far off.  Roughly 11 hours of sewing letters on gets mighty repetitive, translation....boring.  But they are all finished and the boys were able to wear them all as a team on Friday nights game.  It is really a pleasure to see them all so happy.  The fact that they were all so thankful made the joy that much greater.
pre-embroidered Jackets
stack of completed Jackets

I broke up the monotony of "Great Soccer Jacket Project" with sewing up a couple of blocks for a baby quilt.   I am using a pattern by  Jessica Kelly of Sewcraftyjess.blogspot.com called Simply Woven.
I have finished about 7 blocks. Okay 10 according to the picture below.

 I am shooting for 15 blocks to make a quilt 48" X 48".  My initial plan was to use up the pink, blue and purple jelly roll strips I purchased eons ago.  (Still working on cleaning out)  I wanted to make each strip in the simply woven one of the colors.  After my initial 4 blocks I decided the blocks needed a little mixing.  I interchanged many of the colors to try to get a more random pattern. I'll let you know if it works.

I also spent quite a bit of time last week doing a little more hand embroider.  I found this cute pattern... somewhere.  I believe it was in Generation Q Magazines Winter issue.  It is intended to be the center focal point of a sewing machine cover.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I am just enjoying the slow pace of hand stitching.

And last but not least I finally stitched on the binding for This Animal Jungle quilt I made and quilted last March.  A year ago.  eek!

Initially it didn't feel like last week accomplished much.  When I list them all here and I begin to see them all add up and it feels good to know that so much was finished up, even if it was just in bits and pieces.


Little Purses

Recently I posted about some hand embroidery that I had been working on.  Well, I am happy to report that the Little Purses projects that I have been embroidering for nearly 2 weeks have all been finished.

I pulled the pattern from Best of Stitch Bags to Sew and am very happy with the results.  I made up 5 little purses using this pattern.  The first two I stitched up I used the Rainbow embroidery pattern that was included with the book.

The second two I stitched up I got my embroidery groove on and went out on my own!  Crazy. I gave each little purse their own cute personalized lining.

 I made the fifth purse out of some fabric I had on hand, that was already embroidered.  I made the fifth purse simple and basic.  My 'test' pattern.   I didn't want to mess up and ruin the little purses that I spent so much time embroidering.  Glue and I, as I may have mentioned, tend to get ourselves in some sticky situations.  (oh. come on.  It was screaming for a pun)

The instructions in the book are clear and concise.  The pictures are BEAUTIFUL!  I ordered the purse frames and Gutermann fabric glue from an easy.com seller While Baby Naps.  She was very easy to work with and had all of my order here in less than a week.  Suburb service.  All in all it was a wonderfully portable project, except for the glue.  Now these beauties are set aside for some special people who will undoubtedly find many, many uses for these cute little purses.


Ironing Board Cover

In one of my ADD Crafty moments I strayed from my current pouch project and decided to sew an ironing board cover.  Today.  Yep.  Okay, it wasn't totally random.  Yesterday when I was getting rid of all of the fabric that I have "out-grown"  I ran across 2.5 yards of navy homespun.  As I pulled it out of my bin I thought, "Hey, that would make a great Ironing Board Cover."  Yea.  Weird.  I don't know why that project popped into my brain but it did.  And here we are.

Wholly Ironing Board Cover!
I didn't really follow any particular pattern.  All of the tutorials for Ironing board covers were basically the same.  Most patterns called for 2.5 yards of fabric. (check) Batting (check), double fold bias tape (believe it or not check)  3 yards of .25 inch elastic.  (check) and thread. (check)  How often does that happen.  Everything I needed I had on hand.  It was destiny.

Just eyeball it.
I laid my fabric out on my old sorry ironing board cover and well, ironed it.  I then roughly, eyeballed or estimated 3 inches larger than the ironing board top, and cut.  I decided to pad my ironing board cover, mainly because the one I removed was padded.  I'll let you know if this was a wise choice after it actually gets used.  I'll have to let you know once John gets home.  He irons.  I don't.  I press. Fabric only.  No clothing.
2 equally uneven pieces
After I had my top cut, I cut a matching piece for the underside from the same fabric.  I cut a piece of batting the same size.  Once all three pieces were cut, I sandwiched them all together, pinned and sewed .5 inch seam around the entire piece.  I trimmed the lining and batting back to and eighth of an inch.

I ironed and pressed the bias tape open flat.  I had to use 1.5 packages of bias tape to get enough length to make it around the cover.  Once both packages were ironed open, I sewed them together into one long binding.  Folding the bias tape in half I pressed it flat, wrong sides together, thus becoming the casing for my elastic.

Now that I had my really long piece of bias tape sewn (and pressed), I pinned it to the right side of my cover.  I almost pinned it to the wrong side.  While it still would have worked it would have made for an ugly frayed mess.  Then I sewed the bias tape around the entire cover.
Casing opening

Where the ends of the bias tape meet I did not sew them together as you would when binding a quilt.  Instead I left and opening for the elastic to be fed into.  I contemplated using a tie instead of elastic but in the end decided on elastic. And choose poorly I did.  I spent a good 20 minutes threading the elastic through the casing.  What a pain.  By the end I wished I would have settled on a tie.  (as a side note... Most of the tutorials I read said that this was an easy 30 minute project.  They must be super fast elastic threaders because it took me just over an hour to complete.)

Once the elastic was fished through the casing, it was time for a fitting.  I secured the elastic by tying it in a knot.  Fancy.  I know.  Bye-bye old ugly cover, Hello beautiful new masterpiece.

Now. Does anyone have a tutorial for covering the feet on of the ironing board?  I'm just not feeling the Duck Tape goes well with my new homespun cover.


Sorting Fabric

This Monday marked the End of my Color Class.  Having taken classes in art and design in the past this class was a great refresher.  It was also a chance for me to examine my fabric from a new perspective.  I learned a few new ways to look at color in terms of quilting and designing with fabric.  The class gave me a new and fresh look at what others see when they look at and select fabrics. It enabled me to look at color choices through a different set of guidelines.  A very interesting thing indeed!

I learned new things about what I like, what I don't like and fabrics I tend to lean towards.  I learned that my choice of fabric has grown and changed significantly since I started quilting 12 years ago. Believe it or not I still have some fabric remnants from that time period.  While some of these stashed fabrics I still use and love,  others I most definitely do NOT.

Today in an attempt to re-organize my stash I went through and grouped all of my fabric yardage by color.  (I have not yet attempted to organize all of the scraps. perhaps next? or not.) I was not at all surprised to find that I have an entire bin of Green and Blue fabric.  Blue is after all my favorite color.  I have been gravitating lately towards the brighter colors of yellow, orange and a few bright pinks, so I have a fair amount of those colors. What surprised me the most was the amount of colors that I don't have.  I have very few purples or violets, very few tans, beige or light browns and no cream colors at all.  I seriously need to stock up!

 Then I went through and piled up all the fabric that I have been toting around with me for 12 years that I no longer love, like or would even consider using (no not even as a backing) While it hurts just a little to let go of some of the old fabrics, it is time it found a new home.


New Crates for the Mudroom

I build a Shoe/Locker Combination unit when we lived in Ohio.  Then the kids were smaller and so were their coats, shoes and especially book bags.  It was a wonderful place to help organize the mess that is brought in from after school.  Although truth be told I still think the kids prefer to store their belongings on the floor.  It seems everything ends up there, or the kitchen table.

 When we lived in El Paso there was little space for the Unit so it was disassembled and used in two parts.  One in the Garage and one in a bedroom for toy storage.  Now here in South Carolina the kids are bigger and we once again have room for The Unit although it is still in two pieces.  After 11 years it was starting to show its age, as with any older unit it needed a bit of wood filler and a little makeup, ah.  I mean paint.  Emma and I moved everything out of the storage unit and hauled the two pieces out to the Garage for a little TLC.

I went ahead and painted them the same color as the cabinets in the mudroom, a lovely Dove White.  Makes them look nice and fresh, however not so good for scuff marks and stains

Notice the Bag, On the Floor.

I also purchased these crates from JoAnn's months ago, finished them up with the same Dove White.  I stuck some adhesive backed felt onto the bottom to keep it from scratching up my new paint job.  We also added the cutest little chalkboard onto the sides of the shoe crates.

A little $3 bottle of Chalkboard paint and everyone has their own bin. Well, except, Emma has two bins. 

 Trust me I am well aware of how "unfair" it is but she is a girl, and therefore she does have more shoes.  Whatch' going to do? This keeps everyone's shoes separated so mom doesn't have to listen to "Ew!  Mark put his shoes in MY bin".  Ta-Da we are done.  Okay.  Temporarily, I still want to put up board and batten or wainscoting in the mudroom, make a covered seat cushion and whip up a valance for the door window.  But for now.  We are done.


Table Runner with Free-Motion Feathers

I had the privilege to quilt this table runner for My Mom.  She made this beautiful table runner out of several outdoor fabric remnants.  To be honest I wasn't sure how well my long-arm would quilt through the thicker, heavier fabrics.  It did great!  Not one problem.

I started taking the Craftsy class, Free Motion Quilting With Feathers by Angela Walters in January.  I decided to use this quilt to help me practice.  Since the table runner was broken down into small block sections, I used each section to practice my feathers.

Initially, I was really critical of my feathers.  They are uneven, the petals of the feather are misshapen, I didn't fill in the space well enough.   Whatever.  I had to remember that I was learning.  Duh.  Sounds easy enough when you are encouraging someone else, yet when you have to encourage yourself, it can be utterly impossible.   This is the third Craftsy class I have taken of Angela Walters' and the one thing I absolutely LOVE about her classes is how relaxed she is about quilting.  One of my favorite quotes, the thing she says over and over in all of her classes is "There is no such thing as perfection in free motion quilting."  How Great is that!  Not only is she encouraging but she is willing to say, Hey! Mistakes are okay and part of the process.   Awesome.

It wasn't until I was finished quilting and I was able to look at the quilt from the back that I was able to see my progress.  I was improving, slowly, but improving.  The different size blocks allowed me to play with different lengths of feathers, echoing my feathers and on occasion adding a swirl here and there.  It turned out to be the perfect piece for free motion feathers.  Thanks Mom!


A book review {& Sweet Little Coin Purses.}

The other day I went to the library to pick up a book I had placed on hold.  When I arrived at the desk the librarian said I had 2 items on hold.  Two?  I didn't remember putting a hold on two.  I couldn't imagine what else I had put on hold. When the librarian returned I looked down on the counter and found that at some point I had reserved Best of Stitch Bags to Sew by Interweave.  Okay,  I thought  I give it a go.

What I found was a treasure of 20 wonderful bag patterns large and small. Many of the patterns are from bloggers and blogs that I follow. And a few that I need to start following. How did not know about this?

I immediately went through and book marked 5 patterns I need to sew.  (okay so I am going to need to renew it at least once, possibly twice)

I started with little stitches coin purses by Rachael Hauser. You can find an old blog post about the purses (HERE).   So cute. It is ideas like these that really make my ideas seem just so BLAH.

 I pulled my embroidery floss back out and got busy stitching up the fronts of these little Rainbow Purses. I have stitched up two of these little purses so far.  I have not yet attempted to glue the purse into the purse frame, which I have to admit I am a little hesitant to do.  Glue and I, well let's just say we don't always play well together.

Today I am getting adventurous and stepping ever so slightly out of the box.  I downloaded a hand embroidery pattern, Dancing Daisies Garden from Needle and Thread and plan to change up the motif and learn a few new stitches in the process.  I am also stitching on 100% pure cotton linen, a first for me, we'll see  how that compares to the Kona solid I used with the rainbow stitches.

A little aside:  When I made a trip out to Hancock Fabrics to pick out the linen it just so happened that they had the Best of Stitch Bags to Sew.  Not only that, but all the books were on sale! It was fate, destiny and a 50% off coupon that put us together.


A finish -- The Hexie-Flower Quilt

Well, it's done.  (and even before the birth of my new niece)  Starting a baby quilt a week before the baby's due date is a bit like shopping for Christmas on Christmas Eve.  Thankfully babies pretty much come when they want and sometimes are quite late.  It did come down to the midnight hour but this baby is done.  

This quilt was made with pre-cut Moda Honeycombs in Scrumptious color way by Bonnie and Camille.  I love the bright colors, shapes and flowers.  I scattered six of my own Hexie-flowers, hand pieced in Kona Solids throughout the quilt top.  Each Hexie-flower is grouped with patterns and prints that were of the same color.  I couldn't help but quilt this cutie in an all over flower pattern adding a free form daisy in each of the Hexie-flowers.  So, stinking cute!

I wanted the back to be just as bright and colorful as the front so I added multiple prints from the same line. Fortunately Southern Fabric, has scrap bags that are made up from scraps all from the same fabric line. 

I will ship her off today with some goodies for the big brother to-be.  Hopefully for my Sister-in-law, the quilt will arrive after the baby. :)