Monday, October 31, 2011

Modern Monday Quilt Along

I'm having such a good time with this quilt along. Thanks so much to Jenifer of Forty-Two Quilts for hosting.

The block for last week was a Mosaic block. I decided to take a few in progress photos to show you how I made my half-square triangles.

I followed Jenifer's directions and cut 3" squares for my backgrounds, then cut some triangle shapes.

Above is just a sample of the triangle shapes. I place a triangle on a background square and flipped it over to make sure it would cover most of the corner. Then sewed it to the background and pressed it over.

If you look closely (click the image to enlarge it) you can see that not all of my triangle pieces cover the background square. This doesn't matter because these will all get cut down to 2 1/2" squares and those little bits that are showing will get cut off.

I did exactly like Jenifer shows in her tutorial for this block and placed my little square over the block and trimmed to 2 1/2" square. I didn't even really bother with the grain line. I just tried to cut an interesting half-square triangle unit.

Above is my completed week 6 block. Below are all six of my blocks so far.

Hop over to Caroll's at Attic Window Quilt Shop to see her blocks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Preparing for Retreat

My guild is having our Fall Retreat this weekend. I've been kitting up projects to take. One of my projects is going to be making some little zipper pouches. I need to have matching thread for these and I ran out of bobbins for Bernie. So ... *SIGH* ... I had to go to the quilt store this week for more bobbins.

Look at the lovely bobbins, um ... fabric I purchased while I was there.

Oh my! I just love circles! I got half yard cuts of everything except the bottom gray one. I got a yard of that one. What am I going to make with this stack of wonderfulness? I have no idea. At moment I'm still admiring it. I haven't even put it away yet.

I did get bobbins too, but I didn't take a picture of those. I think I'm set for retreat. I'll pack my car tonight so that I can leave shortly after getting the boy on the bus tomorrow morning. You won't be hearing from me again until Monday. I've already got my Modern Monday block done and the post written!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Purse and Book Review

A couple weeks ago I showed you the fabric I purchased for my new purse.

Last week I was able to make the purse.

I'm very happy with how it turned out!

I taught myself how to put in a concealed zipper!

I also put pockets inside.

A few months ago I bought The Bag Making Bible: The Complete Guide to Sewing and Customizing Your Own Unique Bags by Lisa Lam.

I really like to make bags, but I wanted to learn how to customize patterns to fit my needs. This book does exactly that. I used the Pick-A-Pocket Purse pattern design by Monica Solorio-Snow of the Happy Zombie. It is a free pattern on The original pattern has no closure of any kind and no inside pockets. I really liked the basic design but wanted to tweek it to suit my needs and tastes. Lisa's book really helped with that.

Her book covers all aspects of bag anatomy and design. First she covers the basic equipment used in bag making - the usual sewing supplies but also tailors awls, pliers, bodkins and more. Then she covers what presser feet and sewing machine stitches you'll need and why. Next there are diagrams and photos covering the various parts of a bag. The chapters cover things like using a pattern and adjusting it to fit your needs, choosing fabrics for your bags, structure and reinforcement, linings, closures, handles and straps, pockets, edgings and trimmings.

So far I've only really used the chapter on closures. At the beginning of the chapter there is a chart listing the 7 different types of closures she covers, the page numbers each is on, the benefits of each and suggested uses for each. Then there are three pages worth of information about the various closure tools (zippers, snaps, locks, eyelets and rivets). All this before she gets to explaining how to use each of the 7 closure types! Can you tell that I really like this book?!

There are plenty of pictures for each of the techniques along with written instructions. For me, the pictures were not sufficient on their own to learn the technique but they do supplement the written instructions well. So I did have to actually read not just look at the pictures! Maybe if I was a more experienced sewist the pictures would be sufficient. I don't know.

Each chapter, and there are 8, ends with a pattern that features one of the techniques covered in the chapter. AND all of the patterns are included on full-size pull-out sheets at the end of the book. So you can get started right away making any of the patterns in the book. If you want to learn about bag construction and how to customize patterns to suit your needs, I highly recommend this book.

Goldie was "helping" me take pictures of my new purse last week. She wanted to be in the pictures with the purse but I said no. I placated her by taking some pictures of just her.

Then her friend, Sarge, from across the street wanted his picture taken too.

He's in Goldie's favorite spot in our yard and she decided she couldn't tolerate that.

They really are good friends, but Goldie has her limits of what she is willing to share.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Modern Monday Quilt Along

I really like last weeks block! Here is my version of block 5.

These are looking really good together.

Go over to Forty-Two Quilts for this weeks block. And then check out Caroll's blocks at Attic Window Quilt Shop. You should also check out Caroll's Boo Night post. There were some great characters getting some good deals at the shop over the weekend.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sew Silly Sisters Art Group

My art group met on Tuesday. We didn't do a project this time. We did do some planning and talked about the current projects we have going on. I managed to get temporary custody of our first two group quilts so I could photograph them.

This is our first project titled "Las Mesitas Church."

This is just a shell of a building now and is located south of Alamosa. The picture was taken by one of our group members. We enlarged the photo and cut it into seven pieces. At this point only Peg, who took the picture, knew what we were making. We each made our piece and then we put the pieces together to make the original picture.

For our second quilt, titled "Poppies," we did the same thing but we all saw the picture before we cut it up.

This time we cut the photo into 7 rectangles. We were each assigned a main color to use for our rectangle and we could add the complement of our color as well. Janet took this picture of poppies in her garden and she quilted it.

We entered this in Quilt Colorado last year and won first prize in the group category.

Our current group project is a scrap basket surprise 12" by 12" squares quilt. It isn't finished yet but I blogged about it here with photos. Our next project is going to be a house quilt. We are still in the planning phase of this quilt so no photos yet.

Today is UFO Bust Report day. I made no progress on UFOs this week. But you can hop over to Susan's at Blackberry Creek Home Arts to see what others have accomplished (or not).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jelly Roll 1600 Quilt Finished

I'm sharing a finish today!

I love this quilt! It turned out to be a great lap quilt size, about 49.5" by 62.5". I won the jelly roll from Jill Finley at the end of last year as a giveaway on her blog, Jillily Studio.

I quilted it with vines and leaves mimicking one of the motifs from one of the prints.

The back is an older fabric purchased from the sale corner at my LQS several years ago.

I will be donating this quilt to the Hopes and Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS. I read about this organization on a blog I follow - Subversive Stitchers: Women Armed with Needles. (Isn't this a great name?!) The specific post about the Hopes and Dreams Challenge is here. Dawn's husband is also battling ALS. She hasn't been posting very often lately but when she does I always pop over to check it out. I don't even really want to imagine what living with ALS is like for her and her husband and their family! So I'm making a quilt. I hope that it brings comfort to someone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alamosa and the Three Bears

Yesterday afternoon one of the three bears that has been hanging around town decided to camp out in a tree on my street.

This is just one block north of our house.

I wasn't the only nut with a camera either. There was a pretty good crowd of bear watchers. The Division of Wildlife roped off the block. I guess so the bear could take a good nap.

This is the third time that I know of that one of these bears has decided to spend the day in town napping in a tree. Doesn't he/she look comfy?

Later in the afternoon they set up a trap underneath the tree and put food in the trailer.

The bear didn't seem too impressed.

He/she was too busy posing for the paparazzi.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trash Bag Tutorial/Pattern

As requested, here is the tutorial/pattern for the trash bag I made recently.

You will need two 10.5" by 12.5" pieces for the outside and two for the lining. In addition, you'll need a 10.5" by 2" piece of fabric (or 10.5" length of ribbon) for the hanger. I used fabric for the outside and hanger and an old flannel backed vinyl tablecloth for the lining. Feel free to use fabric or oil cloth or some of the great new laminates for your liner. (Warning: If you use an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth, don't iron it! One guess how I know.)

If you are using fabric for you lining you may also want to add something to the top to help the bag stay open better. I suggest fish tank airline (you can get 25' at Walmart for about $3) but anything narrow and flexible but holds it's shape would work. I don't address how to do this in this tutorial because I didn't use fabric for the lining. If you need help with this just ask in the comments and be sure that you include an email address if you are a "no-reply" blogger or anonymous.

Step 1: Cut your pieces. My outside fabric is on the left, lining on the right and hanger at the bottom.

I'm making this one for my husband. He selected the fabrics. He didn't have much choice of old tablecloths but this one is "less girly" than the other one.

Step 2: For both the outside and the lining, with right sides together, start sewing at the top of one of the long sides using a 1/4" seam, (I like to back stitch a few stitches at the top since you will be turning this edge later) sew the length of the side and stop 1/4" from the bottom. With your needle down in the fabrics, pivot and sew the bottom closed. Stop sewing 1/4" from the other long side, pivot and sew to the top, back stitch a few stitches. It should look like this.

I'm just showing you the lining because I used black thread so it doesn't show well on my outside fabric. But you need to do this step for both the outside and the lining.

Step 3: (If you are using ribbon you can skip to step 6.) Now we'll make the hanger. Press your 10.5" by 2" piece of fabric in half lengthwise and open it back out.

Step 4: Press both edges to the middle line you pressed in step 3. (Note: the pins are just for the photo, you don't need to pin)

Step 5: Press in half again on the first fold from step 3 and top stitch both long edges.

Now you should have three pieces, the hanger, the outside sewn on three edges and the lining sewn on three edges. The sun is not cooperating and these middle pictures are pretty dark. Sorry!

Step 6: Boxing the bottom corners. Stick your hand inside the lining and push out one of the bottom corners. Line up the sewn side seam and bottom seam. These should match up exactly, or as closely as possible. This is just a trash bag so don't sweat it too much! Take a small square (or any ruler you have handy) and measure from the corner 1.25". A pin (underneath the ruler in the photo below) may help hold everything in place.

Step 7: Draw a line. Your line should be 1.25" in from the corner and a little more than 2" long.

Step 8: Sew on your drawn line.

Step 9: Cut off the corner 1/4" away from your sewn line.

Do steps 6 - 9 for the other bottom lining corner and the two bottom corners of the outside.

Step 10: Turn under the top edge of both the lining and the outside about 1/2".

Step 11: Turn your outside right side out. Don't do this for the lining. Then pin your hanger to the back of your outside. I just picked one side to be the back and pinned the hanger halfway between the side seams. Test to make sure that your hanger is the right length for where ever you plan to hang it. Mine is going in our camper.

If necessary, adjust the hanger so that it will fit nicely over what ever you plan to hang it off of.

Step 12: Sew the hanger in place. You could just pin it but honestly, this is easier for me. And it adds a little extra stability to the hanger.

If there is a lot of extra hanger inside your bag you can trim it off.

Step 13: Put the lining inside your outside bag. Line up the side seams and pin.

Then put a few more pins around the top to hold everything in place while you sew them together.

Step 14: Sew the lining to the outside bag along the top edge. I start at one of the side seams.

Don't rush this step. You will need to adjust everything often and the pins sometimes catch on your machine. Just go slow and everything will work out. If you see that you are starting to get a pucker try to smooth the extra fabric toward the inside of the bag.

Step 15: Hang up your bag. Admire your work! And start using it.

Let's beautify our sewing rooms, campers, cars, etc. one pretty trash bag at a time! If you have any questions please ask in the comments. If you want me to respond directly to you be sure that you aren't a "no-reply" blogger or that I have an email address for you. Otherwise I will still answer your question, but in the comments. So you'll have to check back for the answer to your question.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today's post is brought to by the letters P, F & E

I have finally decided on an ornament for this year. Below is my first "test" ornament.

I've decided that I like it and have begun making the "real" ones.

They go together pretty fast. I'll do a little stitching on each one before adding a hanger and backing. I'm using Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci to make the letters. These are finishing at about 3.5" by 4".

Edited to add: Here is my Modern Monday block for last week. The weather was so crappy this morning I couldn't get a good picture. The sun is out now though.

Hop over to Forty Two Quilts to see the block for this week. And then go see Caroll's blocks at Attic Window Quilt Shop blog.