Monday, August 31, 2015


Friday morning I turned this blanket

Into these two bags

The handles are black Kona solid. The lining is a denim chambray. 

I didn't add any pockets to these. I didn't want to detract from the blanket fabric on the outside. On the inside, I was just too lazy to add pockets. My plan for these is that they are simple market bags made for holding your purchases.

I've had the blanket for years. It was a gift from someone. I don't remember who now. The blanket has been kept folded up at the back of the guest room closet for far too long. Last week I tackled the guest room closet as part of my whole house purge. 

I've kept this blanket all this time thinking that it would make a nice bag. As it turns out, it makes two nice bags. The bags measure 19" tall by 18" wide by 6" deep. I plan to give one to a friend as a Christmas gift. I will keep the other unless I come across someone else I think would like it.

Also on Friday, I finished my white on black stitched sketch project. Click here to see the black on white ones I did.

Friday was a productive day!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Another Stitched Sketch

My sewing agenda for today is to finish this up.

I need to square it up, cut a backing and attach the backing using the pillowcase method. Once I turn it right side out and give it a good press it will be done.

This is a white on black version of a previous art group project. Click here to see the black on white ones I did. Our plan is to mount all these as one piece.

It was fun filling in the various areas with stitching. Black thread on a black background is difficult to photograph though.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Charity Finish

I made this quilt for Tanya Quilts in CO. She and her mom are trying to get enough quilts before Christmas to give to a local nursing home. Click on this link for details. Tanya, I'll be contacting you soon for an address so I can get this to you.

This is what I'm sending them.

This was so simple to make. I matched up pairs of 2.5" strips and sewed them together. Then I cut each sewn pair into 6.5" pieces. I could get six 6.5" pieces from each sewn pair. I then sewed these together in sets of three to make 6.5" by 12.5" blocks. Layout the blocks as shown above and sew them together. Fifty strips makes fifty blocks and will finish at 60" square. More or less strips will make a bigger or smaller finished size quilt.

I put flannel on the back. I had to use two fabrics and had to piece them a little strangely to get the correct size backing piece, but it works.

I tried another new-to-me quilting motif from my newest free-motion quilting book. This one is called "Vestal" in case you have the book and want to look it up. It took longer than my usual all-over meander which is what I usually do for charity quilts. It was worth it though to try out a new design. I will definitely be doing this one again.

It is probably difficult to tell in the above photos that my usual quilt photography section of fence is now completed. I took a photo of it when it was only partially stained so you could see the color against the plain cedar.

The grayish-brown stain color (the top portion) is almost an exact match to the mortar color of our brick home. The project is almost complete. He is currently working to get the back portion of the fence stained and then I will be able to check "new fence" off my list of things I wanted to change about this house.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Trio of Needle Books

I've already cut into the new ribbons I purchased recently. The reason I purchased them was to use as spines for needle books.

The two on the right use my new ribbon. I've had the yellow ribbon for some time and have used it on several needle books, but I only have a little bit left.

Here are fronts.

As you can see, I'm branching out and doing my own applique designs now. I still use the original pattern for creating the actual book though. Click here for the pattern. One of these will be a new one for me. The other two will go into my hand-made gift stash.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Swoon :: A Finish

I believe I started this in January 2012. I know I finished the top in February 2012. I'm happy to report that it is now completely finished!

I love how the quilting turned out!

For the back I pieced together the remaining fat quarters I had left over from the collection I used on the front.

I haven't been making a point of mentioning it, but I have been keeping up with my goal of finishing one completed top per month. This is the one I am counting for August. I have also been doing good at finishing things as I go. Instead of piecing a top and then setting it aside for later, I've been moving right on to the quilting. I still have quite a pile of unfinished tops that need to be quilted, but the pile has shrunk noticeably throughout the year which feels good.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Art Group

My art group met last week. We played with paints on paper. These are the five I did.

The next steps for these will be to pick an area from one, enlarge it and make a pattern that can be turned into an art quilt. We've played with this idea before but only one of us actually got to the completed quilt stage with it. We'll see how far I get this time.

Two of the ladies in my art group took my Trendy Tote class recently (the clothesline totes). They both brought their completed bags with them but I only got pictures of one. Linda, I need photos of yours.

This is Peg's. She dyed the clothesline beforehand. 

It was Peg who dyed the clothesline for my purple tote. Click here to go to the post where I showed it (the last two photos in that post).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Recent Shopping

Have you heard of Moda's new precut - Frivols? They are 7" squares. A few months ago The Fat Quarter Shop had these available for pre-order and I signed up. I'll get one a month for the next year. The first one came this week. Here is what is inside.

The fabric for this month is the Hello Darling line. I assume there are 42 7" squares, but I didn't count. In addition there are two patterns. One is a full pattern (on the left in the photo above) and the other is just a block pattern. Lastly there is some ribbon that says "handmade" and also "made with love" (this section is not shown in the photo above). 

But for me, the tin all this goodness comes in is the real prize and the reason I signed up.

I could have done a better job of shutting the lid in the above photo. Oh well!

The lid even has a window. It measures 4.75" by 7.5" by 2.5" tall. I think these will be great tins for storing small projects in progress.

Also arriving this week, some ribbons to use as the spine of the needle books I've been making. Click here to see a recent one.

I bought a yard of each from Hawthorne Threads. Each book only needs 5" of ribbon so this will make quite a few needle books.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I made an unexpected purchase on Wednesday. I went to teach at Kathy's Fabric Trunk as usual and came home with a new-to-me sewing machine.

She came with a case, a knee lift, a tray table, a book, and the accessory box.

She sews beautifully! There is a sticker on the outside of the case from the original shop where this machine was purchased. In the corner of the sticker is written "3/86". I am guessing that this is when the original owner purchased her. I called a friend and former BERNINA dealer before buying this to ask her about it. I read off the serial number to her and she guessed that it was from the mid-80's based on the serial number. Looks like she was right on.

I have a plan for this machine too so she won't be just sitting in a closet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blue Tote With Cover

Last week I showed you two totes I made recently. This one is a third.

I am writing up a pattern for these and wanted to include directions for making a cover.

I should have cut my cover pieces a bit larger so that it would close completely. This is what happens sometimes during the testing process of pattern writing. 

I didn't have enough of any blue fabric I felt matched the bag and handles well enough, so I had to use two prints.

However, I like that they are different. It's a nice surprise on the inside.

And here is a follow-up of the first blue tote I made and gave to the cat. She loves her tote and sleeps in it all the time.

I keep it underneath my sewing machine table. We are both much happier now. She can nap comfortably in my sewing room and she isn't in my way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finally Quilting My Swoon

I finished my Swoon top several years ago, February 2012 to be exact! The link will take you to that post where I showed the finished top.

It finally made it to the top of my to-be-quilted UFO pile.

I hope to be able to share this as a finish soon!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Charity Sewing Progress

I showed you this in-progress last week. The top is now together.

I was worried that this would look too much like scrap vomit, but paying attention to value really paid off.

I already had another quilt basted and waiting. I want to get it quilted before I start on this one. I'm searching through my stash to find an appropriate backing for this one. I think I have a couple good options.

The photo above was taken on our fence in my usual quilt photo spot. The fence is now almost completely finished. The second gate needs to be built and installed, then it needs to be stained and sealed. It will be a grayish-brown color that matches our house nicely.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Charity Sewing

I decided I needed to use up some of my stash of 2.5" strips. This is what I came up with. This used up 50 strips and made a noticeable dent in my stash of 2.5" strips.

The blocks are not sewn together yet. This is just the layout I am playing with. I plan to donate it to charity.

While organizing my pre-cut scraps I came across a bag of 4.5" squares. I cut these up a few years ago for something else that never got made. It's time to use these up too. 

I am pairing up each scrap square with a solid gray one. This will be my Leader and Ender project for a while. I think I have enough squares cut for three baby-size quilts. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Char's Needle Book

A friend celebrated a birthday recently. I made her a needle book. Click here for the pattern.

These are so fun to make. I should make a few more to add to my hand-made gift stash.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two More Totes

The first one is a blue tote to replace the one that Spooky took over.

The second one is made from the hand-dyed clothesline I showed you last week.

I love, love, love how it turned out!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Merlinda's Rose of Sharon Bag

Merlinda took my Rose of Sharon wool embroidery class last month. Yesterday afternoon I helped her finish her bag.

Halfway through the last seam of the zipper she tells me that she has never put in a zipper before. She did a great job! Her bag is all finished. She added a little loop strap to one side as she plans to use this as a purse. She and her husband are taking a cruise soon and she said she would take this with her.