Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finished Projects (Part 2) Quilted Bag for Knitting

I have to say, I had a lot of fun making crafts, instead of stressing out on the cost of gifts this year.

Instead of putting all of my completed projects in one post, I thought I would split this up a bit. I have a friend who is what I consider to be, an expert knitter. I wanted to make her a light weight bag so she could haul her knitting around.

I found the tutorial for this bag on the Mad Quilter (Life on the Run) blog. Since this was the first lined bag with handles I had ever made, I got a bit hung up on what to do with the handles. Craftsy offers a free class Bag Making Basics Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch class. The reversible tote with handles portion of the class was exactly what I needed to sort the lining and handles problem.

The tutorial for the completed bag is here:

 I made this bag using 6" charm squares from Valori Wells in Cocoon and grey Kona solid fabric for the lining and handles.

I had a hard time parting with the charm squares. I know they went to a good home.

 Sorry about the fuzzy photo.

Completed Projects (Finally!)

If you're anything like me, I procrastinate until the very last minute. This was the case this year, when making Christmas presents.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't remember to take pictures of everything. Here are a couple highlights:

Craftsy offers a few free classes for novices like me. I recently took the Bag Making Basics Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch class. Kristen Link of Sew Mama Sew fame taught the class. Before the class, I had never sewn a zipper or used interfacing. I can now whip up one of these bags in about an hour.

My first attempt was a zipper pouch/make up bag I made in a Michael Miller Eiffel Tower Print. I tweeked the second and third attempts so that they would be the appropriate size for a Kindle Fire case. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of those particular finished projects.

The link for the free Craftsy class is here.
Zipper Pouch ala Craftsy class

After making pouches for everyone else, I made this make-up pouch out of left over jelly roll strips in Moda Spa print. I put a layer of fusible fleece between heavy weight sew-in interfacing.

Here is the final product. I have to say I am really happy with the results! My husband tells me I should put these on Etsy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

T-Shirt Remodel

First off, I want to start off to say that I am in no way endorsing the band pictured on the shirt. It is not my favorite band. I happened to get the shirt for free. I decided this would be a good shirt to potentially ruin, in my attempt to try a new project.

When I was growing up, I would occasionally get my hands on a cool band t-shirt. The problem was always finding cute fitted shirts that had the same cool graphics. I recently signed up for a Burda Style account and came across a technique for refitting large shirts. I ended up sacrificing a faded Old Navy t-shirt that still fit pretty well, and using it as a template. I patiently ripped out the all the seams, only leaving the collar intact. 

More details here.

I started out with a X-Large men's shirt, that happens to have this logo on it.

This is the first project that involved sewing in sleeves. Despite the strange look on my face, I am pretty happy with the way this came out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Quilt Block Drive - The Quilting Gallery

Do you have any scraps you would like to put towards a good cause?

I came accross this page at The Quilting Gallery, in their regular newsletter. I signed up for two blocks but may complete more.

This was a great opportunity to learn a new skill as well.
Hurricane Sandy Quilt Block Drive/The Quilting Gallery
 I really like how these are coming out and may complete an entire quilt of my own.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baby Blanket in an Hour

Layout of satin and fleece for baby blanket

I rolled and pinned the satin, prior to sewing.

Zigzag stitched the edges

My husband's boss' wife just had baby number two. I was about to send a generic Hallmark card when I remembered that I can now sew a gift. I dont' know about anyone else but when I give a gift to someone that sews, I have that anxiety that goes with believing that my gift is going to be picked apart and criticized. (It's the thought that counts, right?)

Regardless, this is the first thing I've made that I am ready to give away. It is being given to a non-sewer.

It didn't take long to find ideas for making an easy baby blanket. One of the best things about learning how to sew in the age of blogging is that there is never a shortage of ideas for projects.

I resisted the urge to try to iron the satin flat. I have a feeling my smoke detector would have been triggered by even a low setting on the iron.

I used a transparent foot to sew a two layers of zigzag stitching around the satin border. The act of sewing created a nice crease.

Here's where the lessons learned portion of this blog comes in. As you may be able to see on the back of the blanket, there is a slight bunching. I only realized it when I was sewing the last of the the 4 sides. In hindsight, I should have played a bit more with my tension and changed the needle to a smaller size. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the way this came out.

Final version of fleece and satin baby blanket from front

Friday, October 19, 2012

Summer in the Park Quilt (MSQC Youtube Tutorial)

If you have searched for quilting tutorials on Youtube, you have no doubt run into any number of the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorials. This is one the few videos that Jenny does not star in.

This is a really easy (even for me) tube quilt made from jelly roll strips.

I chose Moda's Spa by Deb Strain for this particular quilt. My sister doesn't read this so I can say to the world wide web that it's her Christmas gift.

You start by sewing alternating jelly roll strips. In this case I sewed blue-white-blue and another strip of white-blue-white. Now this is where the "tube" part comes in. The next thing you do is sewing these strips together (face to face).

As you can see from the video, you need a quilting ruler to get the correct angle to create a square.

For the quilt backing, I chose Spa Tonal Cobalt Damask Yardage, which I purchased from the Fat Quarter Shop. What I liked about the Fat Quarter Shop is that if they don't have what you're looking for in stock, or there is a note that says "coming soon", you can enter your email address and be notified right away when your product is available.

After piecing all the blocks together, I had an excess number of triangle shaped scraps that I turned into a series of squares. I then created a striped line down the back of the quilt, two thirds of the way accross. I have already "stitched in the ditch" but I want to fill the white areas with free-motion designs. I am learning as I go that miss-matching the thread is a bad idea. Even on my new Janome, I having having tension issues that are magnified by the fact that the bobbing thread is dark blue and the top thread is white. I think I'm going to have to rip these stitches and start again. I put this down last night and plan to come back to it.

This is the semi-completed quilt.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tumbler Quilt (continued)

If you have ever made a tumbler quilt, you've probably wondered how you were going to add sashing to this irregulary shaped quilt. I debated whether or not I would cut the edges to make a nice straight line or whether I would add small peices to the sashing to create a straight line.

In the end, I opted for a different option.

Here's what I ended up doing:

I began ironing the fold back and pinning the quilt to a white jelly roll strip.

It's hard to see because I used white thread but here is a view from the back.

I stitched down the side of the quilt, carefully, to preserve the shape of the quilt. I used the smallest seam possible. I am hoping the slight extra bulk doesn't come back to haunt me.

Here is the final quilt top, ready for a quilt sandwhich. I plan to do some free motion experimenting with this one.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Before You Purchase Your First Sewing Machine...

If you are thinking about starting to sew, do not skimp on your sewing machine. I bought a Brother LS-2125, the reason being that it is so common it is available at your local Wal-Mart. I was new to sewing and I wanted a good starter machine that could piece and I could hopefully learn free motion quilting. Big mistake! After the second time I free motion quilted, upon going back to straight stitching, the tension was irreparably off. I should not have had to spend 3 hours trying to get a decent straight stitch. The machine is essentially toast. I don't think a decent stitch after only a month and a half and $70 is that great an expectation.

Even though I had this machine for only a month and a half, I just had to get a better machine. I already have a 1930's era White 77 series machine that is a sold metal work horse. I just needed another machine that I can do free motion and the occasional decorative stitch on.

Every blog I look at recommends Janome machines.

I wish I had seen this video on Youtube before. In the video, a sewing machine repair man warns against purchasing machine without a metal frame. When asked which brand he recommends, he states Janome.

When I took my Brother apart, I realized how cheaply made it was.
When searching for my new Janome I checked out Leah Day's posting on great sewing machines, under $500. I opted for the HD-1000.
Another Lesson Learned...

Thinking About Getting a Joann’s Fabric Gift Card?

Think Again…

I spend quite a bit of time in the Daly City, CA store location and have come to enjoy my afternoon trips and the 50% off coupons. So when my Aunt asked me which fabric store I would like a birthday gift card to, I told her Joann's, without hesitation.

After receiving the physical card in the mail I decided to activate it. It seems Joann's has a two part gift card activation system. They require that you enter the numbers off the physical card and the electronic gift card and electronic PIN, which is generated and emailed when purchasing the gift card. Sounds easy enough... After 4 unsucessful attemps, I called the 877# to use the activate card feature. No luck there either. I used the contact us link on the Joann homepage and sent an email to their customer service department. I NEVER heard back. When I say never, a month is too long to not respond to a customer. If that wasn’t bad enough, I wrote a snail mail letter and mailed it off with 5 pages of back-up documentation. Two weeks later, I’m still waiting to hear back.

Where is the $50 my Aunt sent me? I’d love to know.

Joann Fabric customer service has got to be the worst in the industry.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kids tumbler quilt, using fabric from eBay

Quilt kit by ebay seller, myfabricaddiction1
I'm actually working on two quilts at the same time but I thought I'd share this one first. The fabric came from ebay seller my fabricaddiction1. No, I'm not getting a kickback for the plug.

The kit came with umpteen hundred die cut pieces of fabric, somewhat vague instructions, and enough fabric to bind and frame the tumbler portion of the quilt. This particular color scheme is "bright".

Since this is the first tumbler quilt I've made, I searched out tutorials on how to get started.

I started by lining up the die cut pieces and sewing them into long strips.


 Occasionally, I sew a seem on the wrong side.

I then sew the strips together, like so..

My first quilt (AKA post #1)...

 I started this quilt right about the time I got back from my vacation in New Hampshire, in early August 2012. I secretly couldn't wait to get back so I could unpack my brand new sewing machine. It took me about 2 weeks to complete from start to finish. I enjoyed making it so much, I decided to create this blog to chronicle some of the ideas and completed projects I create.

All of the fabric that went into this quilt came from Joanna's fabric in Daly City, CA. 
The feet belong to my 13 year old daughter.