Finished: Sewing Machine Mat

Sewing Machine Mat from above
Sewing Machine Mat from above

I finished my sewing machine mat Friday evening after work. I got off a little early for the holiday weekend, which was nice and had some time to sew before the DH got home from Grand Parlor**

I had very little left to do, but it just seemed like something was always grabbing my attention away from sewing. There is a lot of house stuff going on and it just has to be dealt with step by step.

Sewing Machine Mat from front
Sewing Machine Mat from front

There were a couple of things I did differently. Vanessa of Crafty Gemini called for the threadcatcher to be held on to the mat by a loop (see an image on her site). I thought that design looked weird-I didn’t want stuff hanging off of the mat I was making, so I used sew-in magnets. I used two on the threadcatcher. It will not hold up to heavy garbage, but the threadcatcher is named “threadcatcher” and not garbage can for a reason. Since I had my giant stack (ooops purchase!) of sew-in magnets out, I used a set for the pincushion as well. The pattern calls for a snap.

The snap and the loop work fine! I just wanted a little different look.

I also made mine a little wider to accommodate a machine with a larger throat. The pattern was really good about mentioning this type of adjustment.

Sewing Machine Mat - threadcatcher detail
Sewing Machine Mat – threadcatcher detail

I think the project came out very well, but I am not a huge fan of this particular pattern. I think the threadcatcher is too big and somewhat unnecessary. Most of us have a garbage can by our sewing machine. I also think the pink cushion is extraneous. How many pincushions do you have?

However!

This is a great piece to have on a retreat where you may not have all of your pincushions or a garbage can nearby.

I found a pattern in Issue 35 of Love of Patchwork & Quilting magazine. I am going to make one of those as well – sometime – just to compare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

**I had to leave early to go back to work.

Creative Spark #24: Shine Your Light

“You have to let go of the feeling that you don’t deserve to be happy or that you could never have the freedom that you seek” (pg.102)

In my journal, at the back, I make a list of the small sewing achievements I make every day (in a good week). It might be something like “sewed 2 HRTs – 5/25/2018” or “finished a 2 inch strip of binding on Triple Star quilt – 5/18/2018.” I used to just put finished items on that list, but the entries were too few and too far between, so this is my comprise. These are seriously small victories, but I do it to make myself feel accomplished.

Celebrate the small victories. Pat YOURSELF on the back. Believe in yourself.

Carrie says that “believing in yourself is a practice. The more you practice, the better you get. And the more you practice, the more able you are to accept your limitations and shortcomings, because there is always another chance to try again, to do it differently and maybe better” (pg.102)

You can see the last post on this topic from a few weeks ago.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. Play along. There is much more to each spark than what I am writing. The original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is what started this flight of fancy.

Spiky 16 Patch n.2 Again

I have been looking at my three Spiky 16 patch blocks and trying to decide if I can get away with a quilt made from 3 blocks. As I mentioned, I need to make some HRTs and I haven’t had a chance to finish them up.

Spiky 16 Patch - offset test n.1
Spiky 16 Patch – offset test n.1

I had an idea to make sort of a square with the on point blocks offset. the effect wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Spiky 16 Patch - offset test n.2
Spiky 16 Patch – offset test n.2

I tried to offset the blocks again leaving space for a fourth block. It still didn’t work the way I expected. It isn’t what I want.

Spiky 16 Patch Long Layout Test
Spiky 16 Patch Long Layout Test

Finally, I thought about the Donation quilt that Kathleen and I put together from color blocks. This gave me my last idea of the day for laying out three blocks.

I don’t think three blocks will work, but I wish they would. I’ll get busy making more blocks

Book Review: Stitched Sewing Organizers

Stitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty Cases, Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions & MoreStitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty Cases, Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions & More by Aneela Hoey

Lynette has been bringing a variety of sewing organizers, pouches and organizers to Show and Tell over the past year or so. As you know, I like making bags. I admired and asked Lynette about the various projects as she brought them in. One day she asked me if I wanted to borrow this book. She had an extra copy. I jumped at the chance. It sat on my shelf for awhile, but today I finally har the opportunity to read it.

Short answer: great book, go buy it now.

One thing I really liked about this book were the thumbnail photos of all of the projects right at the front of the book (pg.4). The thumbnails have the page number of the project alongside.

In the Introduction the author, Aneela Hooey, says “I have become addicted to making sewing pouches over the last few years. I think it is the combination of being able to create something both stylish and at the same time practical…” (pg.7). I like this explanation, but for myself I like these types of useful organizer patterns for gifts. I like to give things I make as gifts, but I don’t always like to give a quilt on a deadline. These pouches , holders, trays and pouches make good options.

The first 25 pages cover Materials and Supplies (pg.10-13), Tools (pg.14-15), Basic Sewing Techniques (pg.16-23) and a section called “Making the Projects” (pg.24). The final 100ish pages are instructions for making the projects.

Hooey talks the materials and supplies section as items that are useful to have on hand (pg.10). She suggests using the best fabrics and discusses interfacings in such a way that makes the reader understand why she uses the products she is using. I also like that she tells us exactly what her favorite products are, including brand (pg.11), and why she likes them. The author’s instructions about vinyl are a little different than Vanessa of the Crafty Gemini, but probably work just as well. She does not mention special machine feet, which can be useful (pg.12).

Except for a few items, the tools mentioned are very basic. Every quiltmaker will have them already, which means a quick start to making most of the projects! The items I probably don’t have, and with which I am least familiar, are the fusible tape and a drawstring threader (pg.14-15). It is always good to learn how to use a new product or tool.

In the Basic Sewing Techniques section, Aneela talks about some standard machine settings she uses such as “slow speed setting,” “needle down,” etc (pg.17). I thought this approach was a clever way of getting around the tendency to try to teach people to sew in 10 pages or less. The author also includes a well illustrated tutorial on installing zippers (pg.18-19). This tutorial can easily be supplemented by some YouTube videos or in person learning with guild-mates. I liked that the author included some basic directions for trimming corners (pg.20), “sewing the gap closed” (pg.21) and inserting a magnetic closure/snap (pg.22). These are skills which are expected in some patterns, but which aren’t often covered in books. I thought they were pretty useful.

In the “Making the Projects” section, the first page covers what Aneela means by certain terms and how to use the project sheet at the back of the book (pg.24) . This means the reader has something to which to refer, if s/he does not understand some terminology.

The project part of the book is divided into four parts and starts with a section called “Small Things” (pg.25). This is where it would be nice to have more thumbnails of the projects in this section. Project include a needle book with a tie closure (pg.26-29), a fold-up pouch (pg.30-33), tape measure cover (pg.34-37), and a green tomato pincushion (pg.38-40).

One of my favorite projects from the book, the Fold-Up Sewing Folio (directions pg.42-49), kicks off the “Cases and Folios” section (starts on pg.41). Of course, it would be the longest pattern in the book up to this point! 🙂 In this section, Hooey shows how some of the smaller projects from the Small Things section can be used along with the cases and folios.

The Two-in-One Case (pg.50-54) looks like it would be a great gift. The author uses different closures on each project, including a button and button hole (pg.55-62). While a good learning experience, I would probably stick with sew-in magnetic closures despite my rule that says I should make the pattern as it reads the first time. I did buy about 30 magnetic closures at one point by accident, which are taking up space in my supplies box.

The Pouches section starts on page 63 with a lifestyle shot of all the project in this section. YAY! That works for giving me an idea of what is included in the section. It is interesting to see what can be considered a pouch! The first project is the “See-it-All Pouch” (pg.64-68) reminds me of the Crafty Gemini Roadtrip bag. I know there are a limited number of variations in all bag and pouch type projects. I am not suggesting fraud of any kind. I think it is interesting to see the difference between the two patterns. A maker could certainly add a lobster clip and D ring as suggested by Crafty Gemini to Aneela’s pattern and have a different look. The corners on Hooey’s pattern are very professional looking.

The Drawstring Pouch (pg.74) would make a great gift bag. The other projects in this section include the Triple Pouch (pg.74-82), the Boxy Pocket Pouch (pg.83-90) and the Big Zip Pouch (pg.91-94). I really like all of these projects and would consider sewing all of them. I finally noticed while reviewing this section that the project name is printed at the bottom of the pages, throughout the book, covering that project. Very useful feature!

The final project section is called Boxes and Totes. On the section’s title page, Aneela Hooey included another lifestyle photo of all the projects. Hooray! Again, I like it because it gives me a frame of reference. From this section, I especially want to try the Fabric Boxes (pg.96-100). They are great for organizing the little things that clutter up my sewing and cutting tables.

This is a great book. I can imagine making most, if not all, of the projects included. For me, this means good value for dollars spent on the book (even though it is a loan!). Because the topic is bags/pouches, I don’t mind it being a project book. I still do need the directions for making 3D items.

I would highly recommend this book if you want patterns for gift items or if you want to organized your own sewing supplies for on the go sewing. Go buy a copy now!

View all my reviews, including the non-quilt books I read

Pointillist Palette n.4 Revisited

Every month or so I have been going on and one about various projects on which I need to work. It occurred to me that some of the projects are so old that I should haul them out and take a new photo. I sighed hugely at the work involved in that little project, because some of them are well stored. I do think it is a good idea not just for you, but for me as well. I started with something accessible. The last time I looked at these pieces and parts was in 2014.

Pointillist Palette in process
Pointillist Palette in process

The pieces and blocks for Pointillist Palette quilt n.4 (??) are in my sewing table, so I was able to pull them out (and shake them off a bit) fairly easily.

The reason I think this is a good exercise is that I can see what I have. As you can see I have 5 blocks already made and many squares cut.  I am sure I need at least twice as many blocks, but this is a good reminder of what I have.

Also, looking at the pieces and parts reminds me I need to look at what my original idea was for this quilt. Was it a Night theme or did I already do that.

See the other Pointillist Palette quilts in the Gallery.

HRTs in Process

HRTs in May
HRTs in May

A lot of what I am doing at the moment is prep. Cutting fabric that I can’t sew together now, but will do so later. Pressing fabric that will be cut whose small pieces will eventually be sewn back into a large piece of something. This is the sad nature of Hunting & Gathering.

As I mentioned the other day, I have been cutting clues for more Spiky 16 patch blocks. I have quite a number of 16 patches waiting to be spiked, so there is a never ending need. For some reason that I can’t remember right now, I couldn’t actually get fabric under the machine, but I could cut and I cut a lot.

I have to say and I am really liking the Split Recs ruler by Studio 180 Designs. I can cut gazillions of these pieces without thinking twice. Watch the video!

More FOTY 2018

FOTY 2018 - mid-May
FOTY 2018 – mid-May

I have a very small update for FOTY 2018.

One of the things about cutting 2.5″ squares is that I can cut and cut and cut and still only have covered a space approximately 12 inches by 15 inches. When I go to put this quilt together, this will come in handy as I can add all of the dark squares I want and realize my dream (finally).

Most of the pieces cut are from new fabrics that have pressed and were waiting on my ironing board for me to cut them up. I was looking for blues so I could make more HRTs. I found I needed more of the right facing rectangles to make the last Spiky 16 Patch block I need for a donation quilt.

Project Organization

Project boxes
Project boxes

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had bought some project boxes. I have few boxes and baskets that I used for various things, mostly gathering fabrics together for various reasons that I often quickly forget. I hadn’t really used project boxes before. After I brought the boxes home, I actually did put projects in them almost immediately.

While this is a teetering stack, it actually works a lot better than the stack of fabrics I was using before. First, all the stuff for a project is all together. I can even put smaller trays of cut pieces inside the larger boxes. Second, they are much easier to move. I pick up one or two, put them aside and then the step stool is usable again. Finally, I don’t have to hunt around for materials. All the materials are in one place (3 might be the same as 1, but they are different in my mind).

After I got the larger boxes organized, I cleaned out the smaller boxes and re-purposed them to organizing projects as well. The small box with the handle has all of my Crafty Gemini Organizer Club supplies in it except for that fusible foam stuff, which doesn’t fit. It would fit in one of the larger bins, but all I had was the smaller one. Needs must.

Two bins have fabrics and such for the Stepping Stones n.2. That is a lot of organizer bin real estate devoted to one project, but scrappy projects will do that to you. I hope to finish that project soon (though I haven’t worked on it recently, so not sure how it will happen.

All in all, I am pretty pleased with this solution. I need to sew more to get through projects, but that is a completely different issue.

ColorPlay: deYoung Flowers

ColorPlay: deYoung Flowers- default
ColorPlay: deYoung Flowers- default

This week’s photo was a bad choice. It is a gorgeous group of flowers and I really like the image, but there isn’t enough diversity in the colors to make interesting palettes.

As a result, after the default palette, I stuck to monochromatic palettes.

Green: the green looks really brown – or yellowish brown- in the palette.

Orange: I thought the orange would be great, but, again, the colors look very brown. This groups would make a great Thanksgiving quilt.

Pink: these colors aren’t bad. They do have a pink tinge to them, but I wouldn’t call them pink.

The tool was acting strange as well. The colors with names were not displaying on the side. It might be time to think up a new creativity/inspiration project.

Let me know if you use a palette to make something.

CG Sewing Mat Progress

I really wanted to get this finished on Sunday, but I talked with my Mom for an hour for Mother’s Day.

This pattern has committed a sin I am pretty firm on: make small bits first. This pattern does not have the maker sew the thread catcher and the pincushion first. I have the whole mat made and need to go back and sew some fiddly bits.

I am changing the way the mat looks. I am using sew-in magnets to hold the thread catcher instead of a strap from which the thread catcher can hang.

The directions are clever in the way it makes the thread catcher. Crafty Gemini uses a larger seam allowance for the lining to make the lining fit inside the thread catcher.

I don’t know how the pincushion is attached and will have to figure that out.

Dream Projects #8

I have been thinking about dream projects a lot lately. The last time I wrote on this subject was in September 2017. It is always interesting for me to look at this list and see if I still want to work on the projects

Art Institute of Chicago Fusible Applique’ (Ticker Tape Style) Quilt

  • Status: Dream state
  • Pattern: Original, I do have a version of the pattern I used for the Whole Cloth quilt and I will use it as starting point.
  • Fabric: Turquoise and red, mainly, but other colors for the leaves and flowers, perhaps
  • Steps: need to fuse a bunch of turquoise to some piece of fabric in the ‘ticker tape’ style so i can cut it up into small pieces. I am thinking of making it similar to the Whole Cloth Quilt and using red, again, for the background.
  • Thoughts: I might make another one with turquoise on top of red with just two pieces of fabric.

Art Institute of Chicago Fusible Applique’ Quilt

  • Status: Dream state
  • Pattern: Original, I do have a version of the pattern I used for the Whole Cloth quilt and I will use it as starting point.
  • Fabric: Turquoise and red, mainly
  • Steps: need to fuse a big piece of turquoise to SoftFuse or similar, then cut out the image and fuse it to the background. I would satin stitch all around the image. I don’t know that I can make one continuous piece, but will try. The image would be similar to the Whole Cloth Quilt and using red, again, for the background.
  • Thoughts: I might make it with turquoise on top of red with just two pieces of fabric.
  • Added: 9/14/2017

Basketweave Baby

  • Status: Dream state
  • Fabric: Scrappy
  • Pattern: Fons & Porter, series 1000, episode 1005
  • Thoughts: I like the challenge of piecing this quilt and using a lot of partial seams for the piecing
  • Blue Rectangles Gradation Quilt

    • Status: Hunting and Gathering
    • Fabric: blue 2.5×4.5 rectangles
    • Pattern: similar to FOTY 2008
    • Thoughts: I can’t decide if this is still a dream or if it is already started and I just need to arrange it and start piecing. I have done a lot of cutting, so I think I have started it, thus it may not be a dream anymore. The original idea stemmed from the FOTY quilts. I just decided to do a monochromatic version – using just blues, in this case. I probably have enough patches now and just need to slot the time to work on it into my schedule.

    Blue Lemonade

    • Status: Hunting and Gathering
    • Fabric: blue, purple and green scrappy
    • Pattern: inspiration from TFQ’s Pink Lemonade quilt
    • Thoughts: I probably had enough squares to make this quilt, but then I used a bunch of them to make En Provence. Now I am working on cutting more. I hope to slot the time into my schedule int he not too distant future.

    Easy Street

    • Status: have pattern/ dream state
    • Fabric: pinks
    • Pattern: Easy Street by Bonnie Hunter
    • Thoughts: I really liked Daisy‘s version of Easy Street, which she calls Cherry Bomb (she thinks of the best names for her quilts) in terms of color and feel. I don’t want to copy her, but if I do this quilt, I’d like to have the same pinky-red feel to it. One challenge about a mostly monochromatic quilt is getting enough contrast. I look forward to that challenge. Not sure this will become a reality.

    Feathered Star Block

    Good Night Irene Quilt

    • Status: dream state
    • Pattern: Good Night Irene from the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Block magazine, Spring issue v.2, issue 2, pg. 54
    • Fabric: I decided not to use a layer cake and will use the scrap 2.5 inch squares I have been cutting. I love the cheerfulness of Scrapitude Carnivale as I say over and over and am not done with that combination yet.
    • Thoughts: I thought about using dots on a white background, as I did with the Scrapitude Carnivale quilt as the background. It makes the Scrapitude quilt look so cheerful. I probably wouldn’t call it Good Night Irene.

    Interlocking Triangles Quilt(s)

    • Status: dream state
    • Pattern: This is an idea that I designed myself. I made two quilts and have variations on the pattern to make more.
    • Fabric: I have a few different collections of fabric I want to use. Most are rainbow colored; I also have a lot of stripes to use
    • Thoughts: This is a quilt from which I get a lot of bang for my buck. The visual impact is tremendous. The easiest way to do the spiky triangles is with paper piecing. I am not that big of a fan of paper piecing (read my laments about the Spiderweb‘s paper piecing). I made Spiky Stars using templates and that was meditative and won a prize, so it is doable.

    Jack’s Chain Quilt

    • Status: dream state
    • Pattern: Jack’s Chain, a continuous pattern
    • Fabric: bright scrappy, consistent centers
    • Thoughts: This is one of the first quilts I saw hanging in a quilt store and thought of making, after I learned to quilt. I have seen a number of variations lately using different hexagons in the center. Making the nine patches would be a good leaders and enders endeavor. As if I don’t have about a zillion leaders and enders opportunities.

    Music Quilt

    • Status: dream state, but not very inspired
    • Pattern: Top will have a piece of music the Young Man can actually play. That will probably be applique’
    • Fabric/Colors: music prints and tone-on-tones with a little red
    • Thoughts: The Young Man has requested this quilt as his high school graduation quilt. I missed that deadline. He has sent me a piece of music, which I printed out. Now I need to make into an applique’

    Pineapple (Hunting and Gathering)

    • Status: I have strips cut.
    • Fabric: dots. Have most of the strips cut. Will be much more selective about which strips I use.
    • Pattern: Pineapple log cabin
    • Thoughts: I haven’t given up on a Pineapple quilt despite my frustration with the previous attempt. I bought a different ruler: a Creative Grids Pineapple ruler in hopes that it will work better for me.
  • Quick Curve Ruler Quilt

    • No exact plans yet

    Silk Colorblock quilt

    • Status: I have the fabrics and the plan
    • Fabrics: silk dupioni and cotton in brights (of course)
    • Pattern: Similar to Colorblocks 2
    • Thoughts: I have made a couple of, what I call, Colorblock quilts over the years. One was the Kona Challenge in 2011, another was my 1990 Colorblocks 2 and the first one, Colorblocks, also made in about 1990. I bought the silk fabrics at the Marin Needlearts show about a zillion years ago and they have languished waiting for me to learn to back them so I can use them. I think I have that covered now and there is nothing stopping me except time and will.

    Spin Wheel

    • Status: Hunting and Gathering
    • Pattern: Fons & Porter Spin Wheel, 1200 series, episode 1201
    • Fabric: Scrappy with controlled scrappy background
    • Thoughts: I like the construction of this quilt and am convinced that I will make it. Another one just waiting for time and will.

    Stepping Stones #3

    • Status: waiting.
    • Fabric: Macaron pre-cuts from Hoffman. It isn’t started, but I have lots of pre-cuts and think they would make a really fun version of this quilt.
    • Pattern: Stepping Stones by the Lintott girls
    • Thoughts: Hmmm. This is less exciting to me now. I think I need to finish #2 and then decide. It is just as likely as not that I will make this.

    Windmill (Hunting and Gathering)

    • Status: half cut; need more greys for the background
    • Fabric: Scrappy. I will use a grey for the background, because if I use more of the cut fabric patches, the pattern will be lost. The pieces are too oddly shaped and I don’t want to lose the pattern in a mass of scraps.
    • Pattern: Come Quilt with Me Rotary templates
    • Thoughts: I think I will buy the Sizzix template and cut grey windmill pieces with that instead of by hand

    Out of the Dream State: Below is a list of projects that were on this list at some point that I actually made or am working on:

    Big Stitch Update

    BAMaQG IRR May 2018
    BAMaQG IRR May 2018

    I made some progress on the BAMaQG IRR at Craft Night the other night. The image shows the whole piece. Obviously, you can’t see the hand stitching, but you can get an overall view of the piece.

    I am not using a pattern or marking much when I Big Stitch. I am following the stitching lines and eyeballing where my stitches go. They are mostly straight lines, a quarter inch from seams.

    I plan to use different threads, especially the Sue Spargo threads I have been buying, but at the moment I am using an Aurifil embroidery thread.

    BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail
    BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail

    The Flying Geese made some arrow type designs.

    You can see, especially if you click on the image to make it larger, that I am doing multiple rows of outline stitching. I don’t want the piece to be stiff, so I probably won’t fill in the whole arrow, but I might do a few more lines. I’ll have to see.

    BAMaQG IRR May 2018 back detail
    BAMaQG IRR May 2018 back detail

    I am pretty pleased with the way the back looks as well. Unlike 10 stitches to the inch hand quilting, the stitches on the back of a Big Stitched quilt are supposed to be smaller, according to Sarah Fielke. Mine are smaller and even, which is what I have been working to improve.

    BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail
    BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail

    If I were to put stitches in all the solid areas so there was no open space, the look would be somewhat like one section I already did. The section between the green dots and blue flowers has about 4 lines of stitching that covers the whole area.

    CG Sewing Table Mat

    As mentioned back in April, I am a member of the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. I made a couple of the projects, but haven’t been able to keep up the pace since the beginning of April. After getting the Octagon Nine Patch ready for the quilter, I decided to work on a club project.

    Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat
    Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat

    For reasons you will find out later, this project not going to be part of the set. I chose the ice cream cone fabric, because it is super fun.

    As you can see, I am part way through the project. I cut the mat slightly larger than the pattern called for to accommodate larger machines.I have bound the vinyl pocket and basted it to the main fabric, but have gotten no further.

    Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat detail (in process)
    Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat detail (in process)

    Crafty Gemini projects are known for zippers and vinyl. This project only has vinyl and I have an idea in my mind to make several of them for gifts. I saw another similar project in Issue 35 of Love of Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It looks very similar with a few differences. I am thinking of making that one to compare the two projects. Stay tuned to see if I do it. I have a lot of plans for gifts.

    Stepping Stones n.2 is Back

    Stepping Stones n.2 - May 2018
    Stepping Stones n.2 – May 2018

    The Octagon Nine Patch is ready to go to Colleen and I put the Stepping Stones blocks back on the design wall. The last time I talked about this was only in March, so not an eternity ago. There is a lot of work to do on this piece: more cutting for the border. I am tempted to sew the upper patches into blocks and then sew the upper blocks together. I can’t really fit the whole piece on my design wall and that seems like a good solution. I am afraid I will end up with some blocks with all the same fabrics next to each other, however. I know it will look a lot better sewn together. It looks a lot more defined in the photo than it does in person.

    I can’t decide if I am determined to get this done this time or not. I started this in about December of 2014, so it has been hanging around awhile. I should get it pieced and off to the quilter. I am not quite feeling the love. What a shame.