Sunday, December 27, 2009

Black, White and Red

The 5" square has been luring me in strange directions. Today, I finished up these wonderful bags.Each is unique. Don't let the colors fool you. Yes, the same five fabrics were used for each.
Not as big as the last scrappy bags, but I think they're better.

Friday, December 25, 2009

December 25th

This week I've been working on some bags based on the 5" square. I got a little carried away and made these huge bags. Big enough to tote around all the yarn for a sweater, I think.
I'll try to make the next set a little smaller.
This is for those of you that have dogs. This makes me laugh every time it happens. (Except when it's in the house, then there is yelling.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grab Bag, Continued

Since I got the fabric one Thursday afternoon, I had it all cut out and ready to sew. Today, I put it all together. Here are two grab bags. Each the mirror image of the other. Dark with light lining, light with dark lining. Very stylish.WARNING: If you buy too much fabric for a project, you may end up with more finished items than you intended.

I also dug through my stash and found a bunch of triangles that begged to become something more than tiny scraps of fabric. Which brings us to this pieced bag. Same pattern, different look entirely.The lining is wonderfully mismatched, which is just more stash busting magic.Lastly, I've been working on these great pen/pencil rolls for a few weeks. It's those little finishing touches (buttons) that slow me down. Here are three of them. One rolls up and stays that way with simple ties. The other two (three counting the one you can't see) have a pair of mismatched buttons and a nice elastic to keep them closed. I'm sure I can accomplish something more today... I wonder what it will be...

Ladies Saturday: Grab Bag

Yesterday, the ladies all got together to make these wonderful little bags. A friend was kind enough to share the pattern she found. I was running around playing teacher and didn't manage to finish a single bag for myself. One of the ladies (away with family for the holidays) gave me fabric to make one for her. I've got all the pieces cut out, just no sewing progress. I'll try to get something sewn today.Disney princesses. Perfect for a little girl.

Wonderful flowers, the perfect bag for the tween. I've almost gotten through all the little bits of fabric left over from the diaper bag and the baby quilt made for our mommy-to-be. The perfect bag to throw her phone and wallet into when she goes out with the little ones.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby Shower

This is the diaper cake I made with the help of the other ladies.
Here, you can see the wonderful little booties that the hostess put together for the shower. She is a cake decorating guru. The punch was divine.
The pile of goodies for mommy to be and her newest little one (some gifts for her older little angel are thrown in there, too). No, I didn't get pictures of her opening presents, I'm rubbish at that kind of thing. If it looks like a bundle of fabric, it is most likely a gift from me, or a gift made by me for someone else. A length of ribbon wraps up a gift quite nicely without a bunch of waste.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gift Bags

Today we have instructions for a simple gift bag that is perfect for all of those video games and DVDs.
I used a Christmas print and coordinating red flannel for my bags. Cut each of your chosen fabrics to 8.5 inches by 20 inches. Place them right sides together and stitch around the outer edges, leaving a 3-4 inch opening for turning.
Clip the corners diagonally.Use a chopstick, or other pointy thing to get the corners turned out. Turn right-side out and press. Sew up the opening by hand. Top stitch along one short side.

Fold the bag so there is a flap at the top. My fold is 8 inches from the end with the top-stitching. Pin the sides together.
Start at the bottom fold and stitch up one side, across the top, and down to the fold on the other side.Slide the DVD or video game into the bag.
Using about two yards of ribbon, tie the bag closed. You could also sew in button holes and buttons to close the bag.

Granted, it isn't for those really sneaky kids (all sizes). It is great for putting out gifts on Christmas day or for giving to friends you might not see until after the day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Puppy Paddy Wagon

Today I added to my family. Today, a wonderful little girl named Billie came home with me.

I wanted to share a few pictures of the wonderful little dears.

After some running and barking (Reese), some mouthing of ears (both parties), we have all come to a truce (and everyone has slimy ears).

I throw the ball for Billie and while she runs off to bring it back (have I mentioned I LOVE retrievers?) I lavish Reese with love. While not the best plan, it seems to make sure no one gets upset, or their ears chewed on.

It took me a minute to get them into the same picture. I had to put the tennis ball up on the fence so Billie would sit still. (Yes, Reese still looks a little uneasy, I'm sure she'll overcome it.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bex Blanket

One of the Ladies Circle ladies asked me about a baby blanket. Since a baby quilt can seem a little daunting as a beginning project, I thought I'd come up with something a little simpler.

I have put the instructions here for everyone to use. I only ask that you do not take my photos or instructions and sell them as your own. Besides, you can find similar instructions all over the internet for free.

This project uses two yards of fabric. For my instructional photos I used on yard of quilting fabric and one yard of flannel. This would work just as well with two yards of flannel.

As with most sewing projects, pre-wash your fabric. This makes sure any shrinking happens before you put something together.

Iron your fabric and lay the two pieces down, right-sides together. I used the selvage edge to line up the two pieces of fabric. Smooth it all out so there aren't any wrinkles. (Yes, you may have to clear off your kitchen table to get these lined up.) This will allow you to cut both pieces the same size--at the same time.

Use your ruler to cut both pieces to 36" x 36" (a yard stick comes in handy for this).

Pin around your pieces at about 6" intervals, or what you're comfortable with. You'll start sewing near the middle of one side. I used a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around. When you get about 1/2" from the corner, stop with the needle down, and turn the work before continuing down Stop about six inches from where you began stitching. This will be where you turn the blanket right-side out.

Be mindful of two things when creating this opening: 1: you'll have to be able to get your hand inside and pull the entire thing out through that opening; 2: you'll have to sew it up by hand.

Clip the corners. This will make it much easier to make the corners lie flat.

Turn the blanket right-side out and press. If you have trouble with the corners, a carefully wielded chop-stick can be helpful. Make sure you opening is neat with the 1/2" seam allowance pressed.

Sew the opening closed by hand. This may seem unnecessary after you stitch a top-seam, but it really makes a difference.

I finished the edge with top-stitching approximately 1/2" from the finished edge. About half-way 'round, I thought a decorative stitch might be nice, so I went around again. One or other would have been plenty. The simple top-stitching is quick and creates a nice finish.

The finished blanket is 35" x 35", which should be just right for swaddling a new family addition. It is also a good size to follow a toddler around.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Update

Just a little catching up. I'm much better at sewing than I am at blogging.
This week I had to travel for work. We won't be covering that, but we will see what kind of knitting I took on the plane. Big plastic needles will go through security. They also ensure a quick project that can be (almost) completed by the time you get home. What I ended up with was a scarf that is nearly ten feet long (I didn't measure it, but I'm pretty sure it comes close). Perfect for wrapping a few times or wrap it just once and let the ends dangle to your knees.
I finished another bag using the wonderful pattern Bow Tucks Tote from Quiltsillustrated, Inc. I didn't use more than an inner and outer fabric but I really like it the way it is. (Note: I didn't put the images through an editing program, so the colour is a little washed out. The brown is a wonderful, dark shade of chocolate.)
This is a good-sized bag. I had intended to finish it before my trip but sometimes things just take longer than I think they will.Here is what that great bag looks like in two prints.The inside boasts no less than eight pockets, perfect for keeping your stuff organized.While looking for fabric for one project or another, I found an assortment of Halloween prints. I thought they would make great little bags. Something for the small trick-or-treater or as goody bags for a party. Now all I need is a party.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sewing Saturday

We were short a few ladies this week, but we still managed to finish one thing. The most important thing, I think.
How many ladies does it take to make one diaper bag? Three! One to cut, one to iron and one to sew it all together. A bag like no other.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Commercial Grade

Sometimes, even on a stressful day, something wonderful happens.

Today, after a crazy day at work, I came home to find this box sitting on my front porch. (We won't mention that I didn't have to sign for said item, it would only make me grumpy anyway.)

What does a commercial grade sewing machine look like? It is a thing of beauty. It is a thing that should take me years and years to wear out.

I had a similar model, in the "home sewing" category, that gasped, let out some smoke and died.

My next step, or the step up from here, is when I have enough room for a really big, really expensive, with a really big motor, industrial sewing machine.

Gotta run! Sewing to be done.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fashion Victim

I had a crazy idea. An idea that turned into a really silly project. I went ahead with it anyway. I'll just call this one a "proof of concept" and carry on.

Sure, Christmas stockings are cute, but they could be cuter. Really.

I had some Halloween fabric that I thought would make a good witch stocking-like thing. Well, it is a stocking, but something completely different.

I started with the stocking. While looking for some fabric, I found some tulle. I couldn't resist. Ooh, some ribbon might be nice. The result is cute, silly, and more than a little tacky. I like them anyway.

Hang it on your door to let the ghouls know you've got candy.

No witches were harmed in the making of these stockings.

Lastly, I finished my latest knitting project, new fingerless mitts to replace the pair I made last year. It was a rough year. Made from 100% wool. Hand-dyed wool. I also started on a cap in the same wool. Okay, not exactly the same, it was hand-dyed another color.

I'm also going to use all of the silly Halloween fabric I have, not to make more witch stockings, but to make simple little bags for the little ghouls.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sewing Machine Surgery

Monday, the bobbin winder on my new (less than 6 months) sewing machine decided to go on strike.

I stomped about, I cursed, I found my warranty information, I even attempted to call Singer. Since none of this helped I decided to try to fix it myself. Yes, I know, I am not a certified Singer repairman. There also isn't a single one in the state of Montana (according to Singer's website).

After poking around, trying to take it apart, I realized I needed a really long screwdriver. I put the entire project on hold for the week. Partly to prevent more stomping and cursing, partly so I could borrow a really long screwdriver.

Today, screwdriver and time met each other with desire. I was ready to disassemble a machine not intended to be disassembled by the owner. I prefer to ignore the "no user serviceable parts inside" warning. It is just a sewing machine.

After loosening what seemed an over abundance of screws, I managed to take off the back of the sewing machine. Now, I could look at the pesky bobbin winder and attempt to understand what was wrong. The problem was easily identified. It seems there was a screw acting as a pivot point. A screw that was no where to be found. Some rooting around in the computer room gave me a small screw that fit the bill.

Getting it back together didn't go as smoothly as possible. Evidently all those screws are needed to make sure the handle on the top of the machine doesn't attempt to run away.

At any rate, machine re-assembled and happily spinning bobbins again. If you look closely at the last picture, you can see the screw through the slot of the bobbin winder.

I can now go back to sewing without having to hand-wind a bobbin.