Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Triangle Bag

I'm always on the look out for cute bag patterns. Recently I came across a tutorial for a triangle pouch. The bag shown in the tutorial is really cute and it uses 2.5" squares - something I seem to have a lot of since Moda came out with the candy square pre-cut. I'd like for them to do more for me than decorate my sewing room.

Earlier this week I pulled out a packet of my precious candy squares and made myself I little bag.

Here is side one.

And side two.

Here is shot so you can see an end which is triangular in shape although the piece is technically a trapezoid.

And lastly, the top view.

The tutorial is pretty good. I was able to finish the bag and it turned out very cute. There were a few places were the directions were sketchy, but I've made quite a few bags in my day so I was able to figure out what needed to happen.

I did not care for the way the tutorial instructed you to put in the zipper, so I did mine differently. Essentially, I added the tabs before installing the zipper then extended the binding all the way to the end of the tabs.

You can't tell this in the photo of the finished bag, but there is about a 1" opening between the top of the bag and the top of the end pieces. I'm not a big fan of having such a big opening on the ends. If I put pens in this they could easily slide out that hole. However, I think I can alter the pattern to make the opening on the end smaller. The way the bag is constructed it isn't really possible to eliminate the hole altogether. Making the side pieces a tad taller will fix this.

My bag finished at about 10.5" long, about 5" tall, and about 2.5" wide. It is a great way to use up a packet of candy squares. The bag requires 20 2.5" squares (so one packet would make two bags) and about 1/3 yard of another fabric to use for the lining, bag bottom, bag ends, zipper tabs and binding, plus one zipper that is at least 12" long and little batting. On my next one I may add some interfacing for the lining or add some stitching after turning to hold the lining in place better. I think just two lines of stitching along the seam where the bottom fabric is inserted between the squares would do it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Halloween Challenge Blocks

In October my LQS did a Spooky Block Challenge. Everyone purchased a little kit with some fabric and two trims. The challenge was to use some of every piece of fabric in the kit along with some of both trims to make a "spooky" 12.5" unfinished block.

Ten blocks were turned in.

One of the ladies who attended the retreat last weekend was the winner of the blocks. She used nine of them for the front to make a wall hanging.

The tenth one will go on the back as the label. She got the blocks set together, got it quilted and got the binding sewn down to the front all at the retreat. I just love how this turned out! It was a fun challenge and all of the blocks were so creative.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Retreat Report

A good time was had by all!

The only thing I finished was a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt top.

We did a race on Saturday morning after breakfast. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete it. I came in second place. I was only a couple minutes behind the first place finisher. Instead of purchasing a jelly roll for the race, I brought 40 strips from my stash of 2 1/2" by WOF strips.

I made and squared up 360 half square triangle units.

I got the red/white and blue/white ones sewed up into their units but then ran out of steam on this project. I made a start on a project that has traveled with me to several retreats only to travel home in the same condition in which it left. I also finished the blocks for one of the samples for an upcoming class. I didn't have a design wall so I didn't attempt to sew any of the blocks together.

In addition to sewing, I did a little shopping.

The striped fabric on the left will become binding for at least one of the Quilts of Valor I am working on. I just liked the dot fabric and the charm packs.

We did our usual exchange game (dirty Santa style) to swap our containers. I came home with these two.

We laughed a whole lot, ate well and talked about everything under the sun. It is interesting how well you can get to know people by spending a weekend with them. Case in point: the pin cushion below belongs to one of the attendees. She had used a few of the pins by the time I took this picture, but it started out with all the pins evenly spaced and pushed all the way in. I never knew she had OCD tendencies. Sheesh! In all fairness, she said the pins are pushed all the way in to make it harder for her cat to pull them out. There was no explanation for why the pins are so precisely spaced. Frankly, I find this a bit scary but love her anyway. I'm not naming names to protect the guilty, but she knows who she is. It was so fun to get to know you better!

We put down our deposit for our next retreat which will be the last weekend in October. Looking forward to it already!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finished :: Diamonds In Star Light

I am so happy to report that I have finished my Star Value quilt in plenty of time to photograph and wash it before leaving for my retreat. I will be sleeping under it tonight.

I am also please by how well the quilting shows up in the photos. I did an all-over swirl with white thread. I used 24 fat quarters from my stash for the back.

It makes me very happy to use up fabrics from my stash for the back. I thought it was fitting that a scrap quilt should have a scrappy back. I have thought of using fat quarters for back before, but never took the time to actually do it. Now that I see how fabulous it looks, I will definitely do it again. It is worth the extra time!

The details:

The finished quilt measures 72" by 96". I used white Signature 40 wt. 100% cotton thread for the quilting and quilted it on my HQ Sweet 16. The pattern is called Star Value and is by Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting. Here is a link to the pattern

If you are not familiar with Melissa's blog, you owe it to yourself to spend some time exploring all the great stuff she has there. She is currently hosting a Quilt-A-Long that looks like so much fun. If I had the time, I would be participating. Unfortunately, that isn't in the card for me at the moment, but I do plan to make my own version of the quilt later this year because I think it is a really nice design. To check it out, click on the "Quilt-A-Long's" tab on her blog.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Diamonds in Star Light

I finished quilting my Star Value quilt late yesterday afternoon.

Above you see it laid out on my basting tables before I trimmed off the excess around the edges. It is larger than my tables so you see a bit of the pieced back on the left hand side in the photo above. I'll take good pictures of both the front and back once it is done.

It now has binding attached to the front and a label. I plan to sleep under it this weekend at my retreat, even if the binding isn't finished yet!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pin Cushion Exchange

At my guild meeting on Saturday we did a pin cushion exchange. It was a memory game. Everyone turned in their pin cushion and they were laid out on the table for all to see before the meeting began. Once the meeting started, each was placed in a paper sack but set back in it's original position. Names were drawn to come up and pick your pin cushion. Of course, stealing was allowed too.

This is the one I came home with.

It was made by my friend Vicki.

Below is the one I made for the exchange.

It was fun to exchange something rather than a winner-take-all drawing for a change.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sue Spargo BOM

I received my first month's block for this years BOM by Sue Spargo a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I am not permitted to show photos of this project in progress. This BOM is a real departure for me. The entire quilt is hand applique and embroidery. The embroidery part shouldn't surprise you, but all hand applique ... that is not normal for me. At least for this first block, over half of the applique pieces are wool, which I don't mind so much. The needle turn has been a challenge for me. However, I'm really pleased and impressed with my work on this first block.

I do have something Sue Spargo related to show you though.

This little birdie was given to me yesterday by a friend. Thank you Mary Ann! She made it from a Sue Spargo pattern. I just love Sue's little birds! This one is extra special because it was a gift from a friend.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Retreat Prepping

I am starting to get ready for my upcoming guild retreat the last weekend in February.

This is my bin of squares for a Quilt of Valor. I will be doing the Star Value pattern again. Click here to see the first one I made. I wish I could say that I am finished quilting the first one, but *sigh* ....

There are a lot of HST units in this quilt. I have started sewing and trimming those.

I hope to come home with this top finished! We'll see. I have a few more projects I plan to take, but this one will be my "main" retreat project.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Star Value

I am trying to make a dent in my pile of completed tops. I chose my Star Value to quilt next because I would like to use it as my "retreat quilt". The next retreat is in two weeks!

I decided to also make a dent in my fat quarter collection. After a little math, I figured that this quilt would require 24 fat quarters for a pieced back. I combed through my stash and pulled out some fat quarters that (1) I felt would go together and (2) I am was ready to use.

It took me a whole afternoon to iron, cut to the same size and piece these 24 fat quarters into a back, but I'm glad I did. Buying more fabric would have certainly been faster and easier, but it feels good to use what I already have. And I really like how it turned out.

The quilting process has begun.

Because the quilt is already so busy and because I want to have this finished in less than two weeks, I'm going with all-over swirls for the quilting. I have 6 1/2 bobbins wound. This is a large quilt at 72" by 96" so I don't know if that will be enough, but I can wind more if necessary.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Friday Finish :: Mama Said Sew Corn Rows

My first UFO finish of 2014. This was a class sample. The top was finished in November 2012. It hung at my LQS, Heartstrings & Heirlooms, for several months to advertise the class.

The quilting on this didn't turn out anything like I planned.

I'm glad that I completely changed my plan. Here is another look at the quilt, turned on it's side so you can see the whole thing straight on.

The details:

The pattern is called Corn Rows. It is from the book Graphic Mixx by Terry Atkinson. As the title suggests, the book contains graphic, geometric, modern style quilts. Each pattern includes instructions for multiple sized finished quilts. The one above is the "lap size" version. The finished size is 62" by 74". As with all her patterns, the instructions are well-written and easy to follow with pictures where necessary.

I started with a selection of fat quarters from the Mama Said Sew line by Sweetwater. I pulled a few others from my stash to get the required 9 fat quarters for the lap size version. The background is a Kona solid. I don't remember the color name, probably Tan.

The quilting designs were all inspired by designs from Judi Madsen's book Quilting Wide Open Spaces. The thread is my usual Signature 100% cotton TEX 40. It is a variegated thread, color name Neutral Tint.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Retreat Exchange

My next guild retreat is coming up that last weekend in February. Each time we play a form of dirty Santa to exchange something. We started out exchanging fat quarters. After a couple of years, this wasn't very exciting anymore. So we decided to switch it up each time. Some of the things we have exchanged are charm squares, 2 1/2" strips, pin cushions, pot holders and sewing paraphernalia. At our next retreat we are exchanging "little bags."

Front of Drawstring Bag

Back of Drawstring Bag
At our January guild meeting I won a small coffee bag containing two fat quarters as a door prize. (I thought I had taken a picture of the little bag before cutting it up, but it wasn't on my camera. Either I took the picture and accidentally deleted it. Or, more likely, I just thought about taking the picture, but never got around to it.)

The bag had printing on both sides. I cut it up and used one side of it to make the above little bag. It is about 10" H by 5" W by 4" D. I pulled out my feedsack scraps to make it and used some measuring tape twill tape for the drawstring. I plan to make another little bag using the other printed side. That's a project for another day though.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sneak Peek

I'm still working on this quilt. I'll give you a peek at how I am quilting the borders.

I finished the quilting last night. The binding is sewn to the front. I need to do a sleeve and a label before I can start the hand sewing to finish this up. I think this may be my new favorite!