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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scrappy Stash QAL: My Finished Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt

>>Two big posts in one day! If you are looking for The Long Weekend Blog Hop post, here is the direct link: The Weekender Finish.<<




Ellison Lane QuiltsThe last two weeks has been crazy! We had an unexpected trip to Dallas this week, so I needed to hurry and and complete my Weekender, Sew Seasonal Project, 3 blocks with deadlines and this Scrappy Log Cabin quilt before we left.

The Scrappy Quilt is the project I ended up having to rush on the most. I did a bulk of it on the Friday before we left and I finished sewing the binding at the hotel on Sunday.

This quilt is 64"x48". It consists of 48 blocks. There are six of each of these colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and gray.  I absolutely love all the rainbow-y goodness! I keep folding and unfolding it to look at all the pretty colors. I had fun pointing out where all the different fabrics came from to my husband...though I am not sure he enjoyed that as much! Not worrying about perfection was kind of liberating. This would be a great project to do if you ever experience creative block.

I used the Quilt-As-You-Go method. It was relaxing to do and I like the look of the dense quilting. It was nice knowing that the quilting was mostly done when the individual blocks were done.  A negative about QAYG is that I started getting different ideas about layout and sashing at the end and the already quilted blocks complicated those ideas. With time running out, I went the path of least resistance and sewed all the blocks together in a random order. The top wasn't laying flat after all the blocks were sewn together. I gave it a quick pressing and it has laid flat since then.


I have been trying to reduce my fabric spending budget, since the holidays are coming up.  I looked at the clearance sheets at Walmart and Target and found a white and black microfiber twin XL sheet set for $5.00. I really love how it looks against the colorful front. The backing is like a page out of a coloring book and the front is like a crayon box.

BUT! I knew as soon as I felt it that I was going to have trouble, but since I didn't have much time I stayed the course. :D After washing, it appears to be a little worse than originally thought.  Things might have gone a little better with thorough safety pin basting & a Microtex needle. Spray adhesive did not stick very well at all. Also, white is not the best backing for a QAYG quilt. The seams totally show. Good news? My house has such bad lighting, you can't tell. :D

I used Bundle of Jungle Dotted Giraffe Spots Black/White  for the binding. I was initially going to use black and white polka dots, but I really liked the subtle dashed lines in the giraffe print.


I really do love looking at this quilt. I keep doing random walk-bys of the couch to catch a glimpse LOL! You can see more colorful, scrappy quilts at the Scrappy Stash QAL Link-Up & the Flickr Group Pool. Thanks Jennifer, for hosting such a fun quilt-a-long!

Also Linking up With: November Finishes @ the TGIFF blog
& Finish it Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts!

The Weekender: My New Favorite Bag!

Warning: Text heavy. I was alone in a hotel room for four days LOL!

Welcome to my stop on The Long Weekend Blog Hop! I finished my bag last week and I have been *so* antsy to share it with you all.

I used the Peltex method. I wanted to address this first, because my biggest worry was that my sewing machine couldn't handle sewing through all that Peltex. You actually cut the exterior Peltex down by a 1/2" before you start sewing. From looking at the pattern updates, I don't think the step was in the original pattern (the one with the red Amy Butler logo). So have no fear! I had no broken needles. I only had to sew through Peltex for the handles, pocket top-stitching and the bottom insert.


Fabric Choices
Exterior: Echino Madrigal Oxblood | Handles/Interior Pocket Lining/Purse Feet: Essex Linen in Lime  | Interior Lining/Exterior Pocket Lining: Simon + Kabuki In the Meadow Dotted Argyle in Green | Binding for Interior Pockets: Kona Bright Pink | Zippers: YKK Non-Separating Zipper - 30" - Neon Green (exterior, warning: shipping is crazy expensive at that link) & Coats & Clark 7" Zipper in Red Rose (interior)

I wanted to focus on the bag construction, since most of the techniques in the pattern were completely new to me. For this reason, I went with a single fabric on the exterior. I knew right away I would use Echino fabric. The weight and the large prints work real well for this particular bag and its large surface areas.

I wanted green to be the accent, since it was the brightest color on my main fabric. I was obsessed with the idea of having an argyle or plaid print as lining, so I was thrilled when I found an argyle print with the same green and pink as my exterior fabric at QuiltWorks in Cypress, TX. I attempted to use it for the handles and piping, but it looked almost white when put directly against the dark brown Echino fabric. I decided to just go with Essex Linen in lime for the piping and handles.

General Construction:
  • Read the directions carefully & take it step-by-step. It gets overwhelming if you think about the whole!
  • I definitely recommend spreading the construction over several days. My experience was mostly stress free, but my brain did feel like complete mush after each step! Here is how I broke it down:
    Day 1
    Cutting | Day 2 Piping & Exterior Panel # 1 | Day 3 Exterior Panel # 2 & Top Panel | Day 4 Sewing Exterior Panel #1 to Top Panel | Day 5 Sewing Exterior Panel # 2 to Top Panel | (Took a few days off Between Exterior and Interior) | Day 6 Sewing all Extra Pockets to the Interior (optional) | Day 7 Sew Lining Together | Day 8 Sewing Lining to Bag & Zipper Side 1 | Day 9 Sewing Lining to Zipper Side 2
  • I didn't use pins, except for when marking the centers of my pieces. I used Clover Wonder Clips. 
  • Use your hand-wheel for the thicker parts and definitely get a pack of denim needles!

Cutting
  • I loved the look of the bags where the pattern looked continuous from the large pocket onto the main body of the bag, so I was careful about my placement. I bought extra fabric because of this. The front and back, as well as the left and right pockets, are identical. 
  • The pattern instructs you to make a ton of marks on the Peltex to cut help cut it down 1/2". That isn't really necessary. I just drew a line a 1/2" in from each side, only drawing the extra lines to mark the cut-line for the rounded corners.
  • Be careful with the main panel pattern. There is the natural fold of the paper and then a dotted line about a 1/2" above that fold (the fold for cutting the large pocket). Several times I cut interfacing using the natural fold of the paper, because I wasn't paying attention.

Piping
  • I had never sewn piping before, but now I want to add it to EVERYTHING. Super easy!
  • I used a 5mm Piping Foot and it made making piping a snap. I used it on other parts on the bag too, but not as much as I thought I would because of thickness issues.
  • The whole time I was sewing the rest of the bag, I wished I had cut my bias strip a little wider then the instructions stated. I hardly ever attained a 1/2" seam when I was sewing the areas with piping. 1/8"-1/4" wider would have been a huge help!

Handles
  • Many people used cotton webbing for the handles and I think this is a great idea. I made the Peltex handles and I don't like the look of the handles when they bend a little. They have the same look as bent cardboard
  • I cut my handle fabric at 5" x 57". That is 9" of added length (as suggested by Debbie at A Quilter's Table) and makes my finished handle around 2" wide.You'll need extra Peltex if you widen the handles, because there is only room for exact mesaurements on the Peltex cutting steps. The Peltex is cut about 1/8" smaller than the width of your handle.
  • Like others, I reinforced the handles with X's. I made a 2" X at 9" to 7" and a 2" X at 13" to the 11" line. (measurements from the bottom of the bag)
  • Because of the widened handle, I changed the placement a little. My handles are about 4" from the bottom-left and bottom-right side. There is about 5.5" of space between them.
Main Panel Construction
  • I used the piping foot to attach the piping to the main panels. I had to go over a few spots more than once, but for the most part it gave me a nice, tight fit.
  • There was some difficulty sewing where the piping overlapped. I used the handwheel on my sewing machine to sew through that part.
  • Go slow and ease around the corners. It really does reduce the bunching.
The zipper is actually enclosed, the fabric just wasn't laying flat after being opened and closed all day!
Top Panel Construction
  • I managed to accidently mark on my zipper when I was marking my interfacing. It wouldn't have shown anyway, but hairspray got the marks out!
  • I had never sewn a zipper on this way before. The instructions were very straight forward. Just watch the seam! It is not a 1/2" on this step.
  • When topstitching the zipper to the panels, I ended up sewing from the zipper side. It came out much better. I hand-basted the zipper to the bag, rather than pinning it.
Sewing Main Panel to Top Panel
  • It is important to mark & pin the centers of the panels, so everything lines up correctly in the end. My pockets are a little uneven by 1/2"-1", because things shifted a bit when I was sewing.
  • I sewed twice around each panel. I sewed around once with my zipper foot to get everything squished down and then again with my piping foot to get a tight fit around the cording. It would have been better to just use the zipper foot, but mine has a big butt and I didn't have the stitch width I needed to get close enough. I had to feed it at an angle to get it as close as I did. The piping foot did a better job around the straight edges & the zipper foot around the rounded corners.
  • It wasn't terribly difficult to sew through all the layers, but it was incredibly awkward to manuever around the machine (especially when attaching the second panel). There were a few difficult sewing parts for me: around the handles and the corners. I used my hand-wheel to get over the handles. I just had to go slow and be patient around the corners.

The Bottom Panel
  • I used my walking foot to sew the Peltex panels together. 
  • This is where I veered off the pattern a bit. I can't endorse this method, but it did hold through a five day trip. The interfacing pocket that the Peltex panels were supposed to fit in completely tore while I was wrestling the panels through the machine and I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to attach it at that point anyway (THICK!). I ended up using extra interfacing to trap the Peltex panels in as much as I could.
  • Since using interfacing to trap it didn't seem terribly secure. I decided to make purse feet, using the covered buttons (idea found at Sew Allegorical). I "bolted" the bottom panels in with six 7/8" covered buttons & six strands of embroidery floss.


Lining
  • I added a 7" interior zipper pocket using the U-Handbag Tutorial and a two-tiered pocket on the other side. I used the large pocket template to make the big pocket and I used my phone to figure out the height for the second-tier. I sewed several compartments in the second tier (for my phone, pens, notepads, etc.). The big pocket is big enough to fit my laptop and/or documents.
  • I made a quick label with printable fabric. 
  • Pay attention to changing seam allowances. I ended up having to "resew" my lining, because I thought I knew what I was doing at that point.
  • Since I used quilting weight fabric for the lining, I added medium-weight interfacing on the lining & pocket pieces. It was still a bit floppy at parts, so I think heavier interfacing would have been nice as well.


Sewing Lining into The Bag
  • Instead of slipstitching the lining in a just a few spots of the bag, I stitched the seam allowances together wherever I could reach.
  • I had about 1/4" of extra fabric in two of the rounded corners on the top. I just folded it over and kept stitching. It really isn't noticeable. I have a little bit of puckering around the bottom too, but the false bottom covers that.
  • I didn't turn the bag inside out while sewing the lining to the zipper. I just flipped the parts that I was working on to the outside. On the first side, I tried to get really as close as I could to the zipper teeth and my fingers hurt so bad! The second side I stayed about 1/8" away from the zipper teeth and it was much easier. 

What's in My Weekender?
12 Pounds of Stuff: • Laptop • Document Folder with a few patterns • 11x17 Q-Snap Frame • Sewing Kit • Noodlehead Open Wide Pouch (medium) with all my charging cords • Drawstring Bag with all my embroidery thread • Sew-loutions Magnetic Box • SLR Camera • A Couple of Books  • Vitamins. Despite all that stuff to do, I ended up getting distracted by the having multiple movie channels. :D

I want to make this bag again someday, but probably after I have a machine with higher threshold for thickness. In the future, I would probably try fusible Peltex to save some time. I like the bags I have seen with the handles and a detachable shoulder strap, so I would like to try that as well.

I think a confident beginner can definitely pull this bag off. For perspective: I have been sewing for almost a year now, am totally blog taught, have a really cheap sewing machine and many of the steps on this bag were completely new to me (piping, super heavy interfacing, etc.). Even though my bag has many imperfections, it still looks perfectly fine. You can totally do this! I love the feeling of accomplishment it gave me. I feel like I can sew anything now! :)

ETA: I just got back from a five day trip to Dallas and I am happy to say that The Weekender made the journey in one piece!



I'd like to thank Lori and Heidi for hosting this hop! For more tips, tricks and pictures of some gorgeous Weekenders, you can check out the past stops on the blog hop:
November 9: Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts
November 10: Courtney @ Mon Petit Lyons
November 11: Sarah @ Bluprint Textiles
November12: Leanne @ She Can Quilt
November 13: Lori @ Lori H. Designs
November 14: Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
November 15: Taryn @ Pixels to Patchwork

You can link up your own Weekender starting November 16 at Lori H. Designs!
November 16 - 18: Project Link-up at Lori H. Designs
November 19: Prize Drawings Announced

Also Linking up With: November Finishes

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sew Seasonal Blog Hop: Wall Hanging/Notepad Holder

Blossom Heart QuiltsWelcome to my stop on the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop! The very talented Kristy from Quiet Play & Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts  have created 25 adorable holiday block patterns, which are available free for the duration of the hop. You can download the ornament patterns here and the paper pieced patterns here. Each stop on the blog hop is featuring a project using one of the pattern designs. The list of hoppers is at the bottom of this post.  Don't forget to also check out my blog hop partner Samelia's Mum's Sew Seasonal project today!

The pattern I worked with was paper-pieced bell, designed by Kristy. It was really fun and quick to put together, since there are not many pieces.  I decided to make it into a wall hanging/notepad holder.

8.5" x 14.5"
Some notes on the construction:
  • The bell pattern is enlarged to an 8.5" block (unfinished).
  • I added 8.5"x 3.5" rectangle of fabric to both the top and the bottom (if I had thought ahead, I would have gone ahead and added the extra fabric while I was constructing the block).
  • I cut the top rectangle at a 45 degree angle on the left and right sides, from the seam of the additional top piece to the top of the project. I was echoing the shape of the bell and it makes it look like a gift tag.
  • The pocket is made from a 8.5"x 6" rectangle folded in half to make an 8.5"x 3" rectangle. I topstitched the top of the folded pocket.
  • I embroidered some small snowflakes around the bell. 
  • I used bias binding. I love the look it has with striped fabric! I used this tutorial from Trends and Traditions to help me bind those odd corners on the top.
  • The grommet was added for hanging purposes. I found this grommet in the section with the home decor fabric at Hobby Lobby. It was really easy to install. You place the template from the package in the area where you want to install the grommet.  Then,  you draw the circle on the fabric and then cut it out. After the circle is cut, you put grommet piece #1 on the front of the cut circle and grommet piece # 2 on the back of the cut circle. Snap together, done!
  • I sewed the hanging ribbon together and tied a bow around the seam.

ETA: I'll be hanging this on my front door with a Command hook. Right now we leave notes about "what not to forget" on the front hallway table. Unfortunately, they always get buried under a ton of junk! This will be way more visible!

Fabrics Used:
Front: Love Birds Green Small Dots (background), Alegria Diamonds (bell), Rendezvous - Tonal Stripe - Red (bell ribbon) Juicy Blossoms Dot Yellow (bell accents), Red Cheery Dots by My Mind's Eye for Riley Blake Designs (pocket)
Binding: Riley Blake Colorful Christmas Blue Stripe
Back: Vintage Modern Candy Apple Red Dot


Now it's your turn! Use one ore more of the blocks to create a finished project and join in the fun! The Project Link-Up  is on November 30th.

There are lots of fabulous prizes!

Fat Quarter Shop - Awesome Launch Day giveaways at Blossom Heart Quilts and Quiet Play - check back November 1st! 2 x $10 vouchers
Intrepid Thread - Joy by Kate Spain - full fat quarter bundle + panel
Fabric Worm - 2 x $25 vouchers
Sew Lux Fabric and Gifts - 1 x $25 voucher
Stash Modern Fabric- $30 gift voucher
Blossom Heart Quilts - Japanese Christmas fabric - fat eighth bundle
Quiet Play - Charm pack

Are you needing some Christmas fabric supplies for the hop? Well, Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabrics has set up a special discount code on Christmas fabrics in her shop! So if you need supplies, be sure to check it out. The code is "sewseasonal10" and is for 10% off all Christmas fabric (Joy, Blitzen, and Sentiments) through November 18th. A charm pack or layer cake will work perfectly for Ornamental! You can find more details at Quiet Play Blossom Heart Quilts

Blog Hop Schedule
1st November: Kristy from Quiet Play & Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts
2nd November: Marieka from Bespoke Bites & Jane from Where Jane Creates
3rd November: Susan from Patchwork N Play & Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
4th November: Janice from Better Off Thread & Erin from Missy Mac Creations
5th November: Lucy from Charm About You & Rebecca from Making Rebecca Lynn
6th November: Charlotte from Lawson and Lotti & Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans
7th November: Jess from the Elven Garden & Cindy from Live a Colorful Life
8th November: Elaine from Dashasel Sews & Kelly from Jeliquilts
9th November: Beth from Plum and June & Fiona from Finding Fifth
10th November: Juliet from Tartan Kiwi & Fiona from Celtic Thistle Stitches
11th November: Taryn from Pixels to Patchwork & Anorina from Samelia's Mum
12th November: Megan from Jaffa Quilts & Jane from QuiltJane 
13th November: Gemma from Pretty Bobbins
Also Linking up With: November Finishes

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why the Long Face?: SOCK DONKEY!!!!

<excitement> I HAVE WORKING INTERNET AGAIN! </excitement>

Sometimes I see a tutorial and bookmark it for later and other times I have to do the project RIGHT. THIS. SECOND.  About one hour after reading Erin @ Missy Mac Creations tutorial for a Sock Donkey, I was at Target in the sock section. LOOK AT THAT LONG FACE! I love it!

There were a lot of interesting socks in the clearance bin, but I decided to go with the leopard print. I used the right side of the sock for most of his parts, but the hairy, scraggly side of the sock for his mane. It took me a few times to get the head on the way I wanted, so I think the head is pretty secure. I sewed around it three times!

Leopkey? Donkard?
My husband was really confused about what I was doing, but he decided to just accept it and move on.

Mr. Sock Donkey is currently living with my sister. She has an outdated love of sock monkeys and I didn't won't her to be off-trend. ;) ( I gave her naming rights, so I will have to ask her what she named him!)

My only regret is not taking more pictures. I decided to take pictures right when we were racing out the door to deliver him to his new home.

 

Head over to Missy Mac Creations to see other donktacular creations. You have until November 16 to submit your own Donktober project. There are many donktabulous prizes!

Next up for me: 
November 11: My stop on the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop
November 15: My stop on The Long Weekend Blog Hop (I AM FINISHED WITH THE WEEKENDER!!! I am *SOOO EXCITED* to take it on my journey to Dallas next week!!!) Also 

Linking up With: November Finishes
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