Sunday, August 30, 2009

My first tote bag

So this is what I've been working on. It's my first tote bag. Six Kaffe Fassett FQs plus a yard and a half. The pattern is by Indygo Junction. I added an additional side closure to give it this more streamlined look.
But if you want to load it up, you can leave them unsnapped and carry it opened.

Two inside pockets give you a place to drop your cellphone and your credit cards (so you have easy access while walking the vendor aisles at the quilt show).

Love the fabric, love the design, hate the handles. They're rope-like cording stuffed inside fabric tubes. I'm not sure they're the strongest as they seem to be shrinking a bit and leaving me with empty fabric at the bottom of each handle where it attaches to the bag. Not sure that's going to be very strong. I may have to suck it up and take the bag apart and substitute in some webbing wrapped in fabric unless I can figure out how to stabilize these. You can stitch through the cord, but it's pretty soft and it will pull away from the thread.

Okay, well, just wanted to check in. This is day 3 of my 4-day weekend, and I haven't even begun half the stuff I said I was taking vacation days off to get done around the house. I'm trying to have everything super-cleaned/repaired/organized so I can enjoy next week's 3-day weekend with no household obligations other than hosting a crab-feast for the family on Labor Day. I want a solid day of crafting and a solid day of sewing....Christmas is coming!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lazy Sunday

This is what the studio looked like Saturday morning. I did get so far as to cut patterns from that pile of fabric on the cutting table. Heck, I even sewed some of those pattern pieces together and quilted them (I'm making a tote bag), but that's where it ended.
My daughter came to pick up her quilt.

Oh, and she also came to pick up Ricky (our grandpup). He's been hanging out for a few days. He's a lazy little slug. My niece (she's 4) called this morning because she wanted to come 'take him for a walk' (he's toddler size -- all 4 pounds of him). They arrived late afternoon, so we decided a family cookout was in order. Of course we had to go to Jimmie Cones after dinner. No sewing today.

At the end of the night, Paco was glad to see everyone go. It takes a lot of energy to work for 3 days straight at being cuter than Ricky and be the center of attention 24/7. Not to mention trying to keep out of the line of sight of a rambunctious 4-year old. Now that I look at him, I think he's got the right idea. Goodnight all!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last night the label was sewn and the quilt officially completed. The label is quite unimaginative (daughter even commented about the 'creative' name), but I was testing the whole laser print on fabric concept, so it is what it is. I did add a little ink to it. I think 'A Gift from a Gift' is a much better name.

The minute I sat down to stitch, Paco decide to give the quilt a test run.

And he was even more happy when I tucked him in on the end I wasn't stitching.

What is it with dogs and quilts? Ricky (the grandpup) was here this evening and as I unfurled the quilt to show my daughter, he immediately ran over and curled up on the part of the quilt trailing on the floor.

I should be honored that I've been awarded the canine seal of approval on my work.

Monday, August 10, 2009

(The Sound of Trumpets) Taa Daa!!!!!!

The black/white/green twin size quilt for my daughter's guest room is finally finished (sound of cannons shooting confetti all around). Well, okay, it still needs the label sewn on, but for all practical purposes, it is done, complete, fini.

This is the largest I have done so far, I usually stick to throws, crib and smaller, but this one was a bear because she wanted thick batting in it to make it more 'comforter-like', so it was a hard wrangle on the 1260. Never's Warm and Natural/Warm and White from here on out.

Every block has been quilted with a walking foot around it's pattern. The sashing is all outlined, and there's a bit of freemotion going on here and there.

I designed and pieced this baby in April and then I just procrastinated my little heart out to avoid quilting it. Originally it was to be red, she wanted green, then I used too much green sashing so I had to rip it apart and substitute black for half the sashing.

My daughter was a long hard labor, so I guess it's only fitting that this quilt was equally hard to birth.

Another one bites the dust....yay! There's no better feeling than wrapping something up and getting to start on something new.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oh no, the weekend is half over!!!

Ahhh....the studio is clean, dusted, scented and flowered. Ready again for some creative activity.

Today I spent most of the day putting away recent purchases and organizing. I also made 18 quilt sandwiches (14") for a freemotion workshop I've enrolled in for next month, and I even called one of the shops and signed up for a convergence quilt class at the end of September. Progress! (and education).

You can see the black/white/green on the desk. I went so far as to have it back on the machine, torn between doing a bunch more freemotion on individual geometric blocks or leaving it stand with it's small bit of freemotion and every block ditch stitched. Well, call it divine intervention, but as soon as I put the needle to fabric the bobbin thread ran out, so I took that as a sign that it is done and cut binding. Need to measure to be sure I have enough to go around, but I'm in procrastination mode right now. Most likely tomorrow, and assuming I've got the binding length covered, I'll have finally finished this one. My daughter will be thrilled.

This is some fabric I picked up in a quilt shop in Hershey last weekend. They had this great kit that used this particular line and I almost bought it, but realizing that I've got enough fabric for the immediate future, I picked up a yard of each of these to maybe integrate into whatever it is I use my South African indigos for. Those are all blue, so these two might come into play as balance. We shall see.

I think I'll spend the rest of tomorrow cutting out the Kaffe Fassett fabs for the tote bag. I've also got two charity quilts to bind and 3 preemie quilts to make. And Neptune is waiting to be quilted. Do I wait until I've had the class, or do I just wing it and save my new wealth of knowledge to use on whatever's next?

Oh, by the way, I didn't win Mega Millions last night. Guess that Bernina 830 and the longarm will just have to wait until Tuesday. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm Alive!!

Sorry I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. Hawai'i wore me out, and I'm still trying to catch up on things. I got a little quilting done last Sunday night as I blew off doing any work Saturday to attend the quilt show in Hershey, PA (very nice, lots of applique).

This was my first non-guild show. Wow, what a difference! You know how when you go to the guild shows you look at the work and being a quilter yourself your eye automatically falls on the little puckers, and the occasional skipped stitch? Not that you're faulting anyone, the work is lovely, but it is reassuring to see that it's not just you who makes mistakes, drops stitches, catches a little fabric on the backside while stitching in the ditch.

Well, in the Hershey show, everything was simply perfect (and if not, they sure know how to cover it up). The work was amazing. Every hand sewn applique grape was fluidly round. The embellishments were done with such precision. I only wish that each artist stood with their work to answer questions. (Now that would make it worth the prize money now, don't you think :) )

I can't wait for Houston in October. I think I'll wear socks so they can be knocked off.

We all know I'm a shopper, so I tend move quickly through the show so that I can hit the merchant mall, where I spend the bulk of my time. (I am incorrigible...a kid on Christmas morning) I think that in Houston I'm just going to shop first and look at quilts after I've run out of money, which with 700 vendors or something like that, will probably be after the second or third aisle I walk down.

I bought some feedsack reproduction fat quarters. I have no idea what I'll do with them, or if I even have enough (12) to make something with, but I've always fancied them and the price was right ($1.67 each). At the same vendor I also bought a brand new Bali Pop (which according to him, just came out the day before), which I needed like I need a hole in the head as I've already got a perfectly good, still in the package Bali Pop that I bought this Spring. I think the 'save $4.00 on one of four special patterns to use it on' was the marketing strategy that sucked me in. Not to mention the fabulosity of one strip that was on the outside of the pack (yes, I do realize that none of the rest in that pack are going to look like that one).

Then I went over to Web Fabrics booth and had to buy some of the brand new Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make a huge tote bag for Houston, the pattern of which I bought at yet another booth. I love his prints (and I also love that I know how to pronounce his name (rhymes with safe asset).

Oh, and I bought an ironing board cover. Yes, 'she who hates to iron above all else', the woman who irons, at best, four times a year, or when I need something, watched this very old and wise woman demo a miracle ironing board cover made from the same material that they make clothing for Nascar drivers and firefighters. I watched her spray water on and wrinkle the heck out of various fabrics and then using her iron set at medium, iron away those wrinkles instantly, no spray starch necessary. Even linen!!! And the iron sat face down on an iron shaped piece of foam when not in use. I thought if I could have this, I could be an ironer. So I bought it, and I couldn't wait to get home to iron (my husband would say that that alone was worth the price).

It's okay. It's not working for me like it did for her, though. My iron had to be set at higher than medium, and there must have been something shady about her fabrics because I've got wrinkles in my linen. Too bad I didn't check out what kind of iron she was using. Oh wait, I'll bet that's what they'll be selling at the next show-- silly me :)

Just got the call that my Hawaiian applique has been framed and will be coming home tonight. It's a lot larger than I had hoped (the actual piece was only 19.5" square, but I think it may be in a 28" frame), so I may need to shift some things around on the walls and maybe move some furniture.

I hope to sew my brains out this weekend, and I'll be sure to add photos to this post and show you what I manage to finish (fingers crossed it's the black/white/green quilt) this weekend.

Back to work!