Friday, January 29, 2016

Stitching up Dice Bags

A while back I placed an order from Spoonflower for some custom printed fabric. I wanted to make some dice bags and I found the perfect fabric.
Dice Galore - Assorted, is a fun fabric design from pi-ratical. Also in the shop are other colorways of this print, other dice prints, and other fun prints. I used Black and Creme D20 for the lining.
I grabbed a copy of the great free pattern from Dragon Chow and got cutting. I cut enough for two bags since it doesn't take that much longer to cut and stitch two at the same time. Here are my cut out panels.
Dragon Chow also has a Facebook page but it is really quiet. Still a great place to go to get the free pattern. These little bags are perfect because they don't fall over and spill across the gaming table.
The drawstring is a piece of paracord cut to 24" and then the ends are finished with a figure-eight stopper knot (because I'm a sailor, dammit!). The cord stops are from

From start to finish this project took me about an hour. Just the kind of thing I can sneak into a weeknight after dinner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snow Day, Sew Day!

I spent most of Saturday, during the blizzard, stitching up charity blocks and piecing tops.
Two tops finished and ready for quilting.
I even made the binding for the two purple dancing 9-patch quilts. I had to add in that little pop of bright. I accordion fold my binding for ease of application. I've never wound up my binding into a coil.

Did you get snow this last Saturday? How much crafting did you manage to do?

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Aftermath of Winter Storm Jonas

In case you hadn't heard, there was some snow that fell on the eastern seaboard.
A bit of it fell in my yard. On the sidewalk. On the driveway. And on my car. You can just see my reasonably-priced sedan. It's hiding under that white stuff. Maybe buying the white one wasn't such a good idea.
On closer inspection, the pile on top of my car doesn't look any more reassuring. Darling Husband and I spent 10 man-hours digging our vehicles out and clearing a path down the drive to the street. The sun came out and the temps reached a wonderful 32 degrees.
Once we found my car, I discovered this fun fin extension on the back. Someone on Instagram said it would help me go faster. I still don't believe it.
The throne of the winter king! This was the last patch in the driveway. Where the plow had piled the snow at the curb it was a solid three feet of dense pain-in-the-back. I'm so glad this is an uncommon occurrence here in Maryland. I'm so glad I don't live in Montana any more.
We wished we had a snow blower. We wished we had another snow shovel. We wished we were younger.  We'll be sore long past the Monday that our workplaces are closed. But we had a great day.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Day On, Not a Day Off

I spent the majority of the Monday holiday working on charity quilts.
I used some inherited 9-patch blocks to make some dancing 9-patches. This pattern is free from Bonnie Hunter on her blog Quiltville.
They sewed up quickly into this fun quilt. Quilted and ready for binding.
I also quilted this charity quilt made by another member of the Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
A fun disappearing 9-patch made by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
The final quilt of the day was this simple big-blocks quilt sewn by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids. These last three quilts were handed over to another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids for the binding and labels to be attached.

New year, new quilts for charity. What have you stitched up this year? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! Learn more about Quilts for Kids and find a chapter near you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ninja Pouch

I can't resist making these little pouches.
This is another Open Wide zippered pouch I made using the great tutorial from Noodle-head. I absolutely love this one. It is quick and easy and with a little planning you can make it in so many different sizes. Aren't those ninja cute!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Catnip Fishes!

I know I've talked about Urban Threads before but I just love their designs.
A friend at work is taking on the generous task of cat-sitting for a friend. A two-year long affair where the kitties are moving to her house. I decided that I needed to try to help the kitties with their move and new environs by giving them something fun. This fun design is a stuffie that you can make with a little bit of catnip to make it a fun toy. I used the smaller of the two sizes and was able to make two at a time with my 4"x 4" hoop.
Urban Threads supplies a project tutorial so you don't have to worry one little bit about how it all goes together. I was going to make a pair of fishes. But then I wanted pink fishes.
Then I thought I needed more colors of fishes. I ended up with a dozen little fishes to stuff with a pinch of catnip and a bit of fluff. If we're lucky, we'll get a photo of the kitties and their toys. I think I need to make a bunch more and send them around to all my friends with kitties. They are quick and easy and fun.

Have you found any great in-the-hoop designs?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Quilting for Guild

As you may know, I'm a member of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.

Recently I was asked to participate in a guild quilt for our out-going president. I said I would do it and I'm so glad to share it with you. The blocks were made by the many members of the guild and assembled by the most amazingly generous Janet, our new president.

This quilt is a wonderful collection of different improvisational blocks that come together is such a great way. I loaded it onto the frame and hoped it would speak to me a little. Sometimes I know exactly what to quilt. Other times I have to wait to see what I can come up with.
I finally decided to use an all-over wave but include triangles that appeared randomly and were more densely quilted.
The triangles were stitched with rulers and then filled in free-hand.
I like the overall affect and I'm glad I decided to mix an organic fill with very structured pieing and ruler-work.
The back of this quilt is pretty awesome, too. I handed the quilt back to Janet and it was handed over to Amy for the binding and during the Sunday meeting it was given to Deb, our past president.
I'm really glad I got to be a part of this project.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What's in a Wallet

I've been looking for something that I can use as alternate for my handbag. (To be honest, I also need to make myself a new handbag, but that is for another day.
I poked around and found that there was a fun looking wallet pattern available for free from Sew Desu Ne? A Curiously Cute Craft Blog. I decided to download it and give it a try. If you haven't checked out the blog you totally should. Great projects that are both cute and fun. The most recent big project was a quilt along for an amazing mermaid-themed quilt.
I won't go into the details of construction. For that you can go download your own copy of the pattern. I did want to show you some of the great features. It has room for several credit/debit cards; six total slots but they will hold more than a single card. Mine holds my Galaxy S4 quite nicely in the paper-money pocket.
The whole thing stays closed with a snap. I used one of my metal snaps to secure the flap.
On the back it has a zippered pocket to hold your change. Yet another zipper from ZipIt Zipper Supply on Etsy.
The size fits easily in my hand.
I recommend you go check out this and other patterns available from Sew Desu Ne?

I will definitely revisit this pattern and maybe make some modifications to make it suit my needs. I'll be sure to share the results. Do you have a favorite wallet pattern? I'd like to hear about it. Leave your comments and I'll get back to you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stringing Along

I regularly add narrow strips of fabric to my bin of strings. Saving those slivers of fabric for a rainy day. I discovered that there was a small flaw with this plan. The bin does not hold infinite amounts of strings. I decided it was time to start stitching.
I trimmed pages from an old phone book to use as a foundation for assembling my blocks. This is a method I learned from Bonnie Hunter. Her blog Quiltville has loads of great stuff including the directions for string piecing blocks using foundation papers called Basket-Weave Strings. She also has a section about getting started with string piecing.
I decided it was time to really sit down and use my Singer red eye (model 66) in treadle cabinet and make something. You can read the four-post series I wrote about this wonderful machine. Start at the beginning and see some of what I've done to take this machine from a display piece to a working machine. This seemed the perfect project. That 1/4" seam allowance isn't all that important when piecing strings. This machine sews such a pretty straight stitch, and quietly, too.
I stitched and stitched.
Then I pressed and stitched some more. I used Electric Quilt 7 to figure out how many of these blocks I would need. It helpfully supplied the answer: 200! Because I don't make many small quilts.
I stitched and stitched. On January 9th I reached that goal with this stack of blocks. Next will be trimming them, removing the paper backing, and sewing them into rows. I did manage to knock down that strings bin, though.

How small is too small a piece of fabric to keep? I found some very narrow strips in my bin and I'm not likely to keep pieces that small (think around 1" wide) any more. What is your limit?

Recently Kelly Ann asked her readers if they used these leftovers. If you are a scrappy person, please go leave her a comment and let her know.

I recently discovered some amazingly colored cotton yarns through The Knot Theorist. You should check out the fun color combinations created by Susan of Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Quiltville Mystery Quilt 2015: Allietare! The Reveal

Just like the last few years, Bonnie Hunter is sharing her annual mystery quilt on her blog Quiltville. This year it is called Allietare! I participated last year with her Grand Illusion and really enjoyed the process. Last week I shared my progress on clues #1 and #2clue #3clue #4 and Clue #5.
Here are the two blocks that will make up this quilt.
First I started working on the main block. These turned out great.
Then I got to work on the alternate blocks. I'm still working on the block construction and I'm pretty sure it will be a while before I get to putting the rows together.

Are you participating in Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt this year?
Winter Mystery 2015 - Allietare!

Linking up with Quiltville.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Super-Quick Fleece Blanket

This blanket is super quick and cuddly. I made these for my dogs, but you can use them for toddlers, too.

  • 1 yard of fleece fabric
  • rotary mat and ruler (minimum 24")
  • rotary cutter
  • circle cutter ruler (optional)

note: you can do this with just your scissors but the results won't be as neat
Fold the piece of fleece with selvage edges together, then fold the fold to the selvage edge. Trim the raw edge straight.
Square up the other edge. This is where if your piece of fabric was cut too short or too long you will trim and then measure whatever it is for the next cut.
Fold the two now trimmed edges together and cut off one selvage edge. I made two cuts, one to cut off the selvage, then another to make that cut straight. The selvage on some fleece distorts the fabric so I wanted to make sure the edge was as straight as I could get it. Then measure from this now straight edge and trim the excess to make the blanket square. I bought two remnants that were labeled 1 yard each. The pink was about 40" and the black was 35". I cut the pink at 36" by 36" and the black at 35" by 35".
I used my circle cutter ruler to trim the corners. You don't need one of these to trim the corner. You can use any circle you have in your house (a plate can get you a good shape) or you can totally wing it.
Trim all four corners.
Here are my finished blankets. For the record, a dog will not sleep comfortably under a blanket all night. At least mine won't. They still have something they can dig in when preparing for bed, which is important.

Supplies: $6.50 (including tax)
Time: about 1 hour total for both

Have you made any super-simple projects with fleece? I'd love to learn about them.

I also want to share with you this blog post I came across via a friend. Dee over at Cupcakes and Crowbars wrote a long rambling post about being the thing she should best at - being herself. It speaks about what kinds of expectations she set and what she got out of them. I really enjoyed it and I think it is worth reading. Don't get yourself wrapped up in what other people think you should be, or even what you think you should be. Try to just be!