Maureen is stepping down from her role as Supreme Leader of CQFA. I decided that we needed to give her a gift, so I organized the bag gift that I do at BAM.
I got started on it kind of late, so the bag I made is a simple Jane Market Tote. I thought I had some African Fabric, which Maureen would have liked, but I have been cleaning out my fabric bins and that must have gone to a better home in a recent purge.
The project didn’t go super smoothly. I had to rip out the whole thing once I had sewn the outside and lining together and done the topstitching. Sigh. Somehow the linking was way too large and was sagging on the inside. I couldn’t live with it, so I ripped it all out. I had to trim the lining and then sew it all back together. It wasn’t terrible, but not ideal either. I think I must have turned the lining the wrong way when I boxed the corners. Hopefully, I will remember to check next time!
The members will bring notes and gifts with which to fill the bag.
The Green Strips donation top and back is finally finished and ready to take to BAM.
I made it from green scraps and a yard of Kona Cream that Amanda gave me. The scrap bin is right next to my sewing machine, so I can reach in an rummage without even getting up! It would be a bad thing except I have to get up to iron and cut, so I still get steps in.
The block was inspired by Alison, as I think I have mentioned, though she does hers on a foundation. That is probably a good idea, though I didn’t have a lot of problems with bias.
I dragged down the green bin and pulled out some yardage I didn’t think I would use for the back.
I talked a little about the CQFA Retreat a few days ago, which discussed a lot of the projects on which I worked. A number of projects were worked on and finished.
Angela, of course, made the bag in which they placed my birthday gifts. I was not suspicious at all, because I didn’t think anyone besides Julie knew about my birthday. I crack myself up sometimes. 😉
Bron found a wonderful piece of fake fur at FabMo. It isn’t fur like a fur rug, but was like velour, but had longer hair. She made a shawl out of it and it looked elegant and fantastic.
A friend of hers is going to a wedding in St. Petersburg and will get to wear it. It is so wonderful that we told Bron to make sure she gets it back. I have to think of a place to wear it so I can borrow it. 😉
Julie’s first finish was an apron. She bought the pattern and fabric after seeing it at PIQF. She wrote about it on her blog. She did great fussy cutting on the pockets.
Lynette worked on a batik quilt using squares. I love the sashing she worked on. I also think the lavender background was an innovative choice.
This is a good choice for a retreat project IMO, because it is something that takes a lot of time. It can just be worked on the entire weekend. It also doesn’t need a lot of attention to detail so the maker can pay attention to the banter around her as well. I know Lynette machine quilted one of her mom’s small quilts first.
Rhonda worked on a piece she started at Craft Napa and we all kibbitzed on that project. We also saw her finished Dropcloth Sampler squares. FANTASTIC!
Carolyn, one of our far flung members, sent Bron some squares. Bron brought them with her to make a quilt. She started out by redoing some of the squares in an Improv kind of way.
We all thought the fabrics were ‘very Carolyn’. Bron added a lot of the angles and worked to make the pieces around the same size. She got to about this stage when we had to pack up. Again there were lots of opinions about the blocks.
The quilting fairies were watching over Angela as she machine quilted a donation quilt for BAM. She ran over a safety pin without even noticing and there was no harm done to her, the quilt or her machine. WHEW!
Nancy worked on some embroidery for a class she is taking. Dolores worked on beading. Jen was putting together silk squares and was planning to applique’ some of her wool work on it.
I really like seeing everyone’s work and how they are working. Well worth the effort.
I am a little sick of the Half Hexie Star project, so I switched to Big Stitching the BAMQG IRR. It never ceases to amaze me how much progress I make when I actually work on a project. It has been awhile since I worked on it and it is a nice break from EPP.
I had to get back in the Big Stitch groove, which was difficult. I finally figured out that I couldn’t do it when I was stitching in a seam allowance, because of all the layers. That means I am doing some stab stitching in addition to the Big Stitch.
One of the challenges I have is what quilting designs to use. Right now I am just echo quilting. I don’t know if I want to do more, if curves will work with Big Stitch or if there are other designs I should use. I haven’t handquilted a lot. When I have done it I have mostly used echo quilting to highlight the block designs. Occasionally, I have used stencils. I’ll have to look at some books and see if I can get inspired.
I spent the day last Saturday in a BAM class with Jen Carlton Bailly. I don’t really need to learn about curves. I have done them in the Sampler class and I have just finished the MetroScape top, which had about a million curves. Still, I wanted to be in a class with JCB and I love the vibe of BAM, so the more time I can spend with those ladies the better.
Jen is friendly and energetic as well as a good and patient teacher. She seemed to be everywhere in the class. She was also cheerful and smiling the whole time. I found her to be approachable and not standoff-ish.
The crux of JCB’s class was the template set she sells. She uses these to create a variety of different looks with curves. Of course, I bought the whole set and I am glad I did. The variety of different things one can accomplish with this set is fantastic. By looking at the patterns JCB sells and the quilts she has made, you can see the definition of a series.
At the time I bought the template set (when I signed up for the class), she was giving a discount to class participants, so I also bought the Turbine quilt pattern. In the class, I started in on this pattern, which is not difficult, once you have mastered JCB’s method for creating circles.
She tries to alleviate fears with her patterns and techniques while making interesting designs. I am not afraid of curves, though they can be frustrating at times. I am also not afraid of cutting into a block I have already made.
I made two of the turbine blocks with my own twist. I decided, after making the two, that I will make one more and create a tablerunner instead of making a quilt. I like the pattern and like the technique, but don’t want to spend the time on something like that. I am more interested in the designs that look like more of a ring.
This sort of design has been on my mind since I saw Sue Arnold’s version done in Pointillist Palette fabrics about 1,000 years ago. This is really interesting to me and if I do a quilt, it will be using more of the templates to cut out more of the blocks.
Gerre decided to work on the Lantern pattern, which uses the same technique, but different placement of the fabrics and different orientation of the blocks.
I can see making something small using this pattern as well. The opportunity for scrapiness is fantastic. A pillow cover, perhaps.
All in all it was a good day. I was pleased to meet JCB, pleased to be sewing and be with my BAM pals.
The other day, I went to visit my friend and sew. DH was out until the evening and it was a good day to go and hang with a friend. One thing we do together is eat cornbread. My family doesn’t like it and Gerre loves it. Every chance we get she and I enjoy it together. We also took a nice walk around her neighborhood, which is filled with lovely Victorians.
We didn’t skimp on the sewing, however.
I followed up on Jan’s idea from the retreat of a textured cube. Jan works at a local museum as an Exhibits Coordinator, so she is always doing interesting things with fabric for the museum. This time she had found some 6 inch squares at FabMo. For the kinesthetic aspects of an upcoming exhibit she decided to make fabric cubes. I thought the YM would like something like this for stress relief. I took Jan up on her kind offer of squares and and made this cube on Gerre’s second machine. Since the squares were already cut, it was pretty quick to put together
I also started working on some fabric bags. Before I went to Portland I had about 30 small gifts to wrap. I didn’t have small bags so I was forced to use paper, which, for me, is a special kind of hell. I decided that I would make a bunch of small bags. In this case, some gifts arrived too late for Christmas and I decided to use the In Color Order drawstring bag pattern.
I spent most of the time we had together making the drawstrings. You’d think I would have gotten them right, but I think they are too long for the size of the bag. We’ll have to see. The bags will look nice, but this endeavor is turning out to be more complicated than I want so I will go back to my regular gift bag tutorial once I finish these.
All in all, it was a great day. I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but we had some nice conversation and the most important thing to me is that Gerre is getting back to sewing.
I decided what I needed was time and some space. Since I would have 30 or so uninterrupted hours at the CQFA Retreat, I decided to bring it along. It wasn’t a UFO I was intending to finish, but it was a good opportunity and I grabbed it. Finished is finished, right?
I gathered up all the pieces and parts and looked it over before I left. I also brought a couple of drawers from my scrap cabinet and a variety of other supplies. Clearly, I got serious about this project.
At the Retreat. I started cutting out fabric to match the pattern pieces I had made from fusible. It wasn’t long before I had all of them done and the piece was ready to sew. I arrived at the Retreat at about 2pm and had all the fabric in place by the time we went to dinner at 6.
The fusible got too old, so I ended up using a Sewline Glue Pen. It isn’t ideal, but it keeps the pieces down long enough for me to sew them. All the fabric is in place and I just have to zigzag.
When we returned, I started to sew – zigzagging down the edges. The state of the fusible was one reason I started to sew down the edges. I didn’t think it would last long.
The CQFA Retreat took place January 18-20**. Angela organized everything. She is a great retreat coordinator. It was held at Asilomar (yes, the same place Empty Spools is held ) and I had a great time.
Since I live an hour north of almost everyone else in the guild, I got there somewhat later. The retreat started at noon and I got there around 2. I left at about 10:30 and drove straight through. I finally stopped in Pacific Grove. First, I went to Tuesday Morning to see if I could find a wheeled tote for my travel sewing machine. Amy of BAM got a great one at TM and I am desperately trying to find one. No luck. I may decide to buy one at full price.
Next, I went to Back Porch. I have been there a number of times and love that store. I wanted to get lobster clips, because I have a bug in my ear to make another Roadtrip Bag. I didn’t find them but I did find a few other things. 😉
I also stopped and got some Thai food since lunch wasn’t provided on Friday, then headed to the location. Friend Julie, Angela, Rhonda and Lynette had already arrived and were working away. Once I brought all my stuff in and put my car away, I got to work also.
The first thing I did was make a pet bed for schnibble collection. CQFA doesn’t really do pet beds, but I really dislike seeing all that fabric (scraps) go into the landfill.
Then, I started in on Serendipity Lady. I really just needed some space and a chunk of time to fiddle with the tiny pieces. I had planned to just get her to the point where I could satin stitch her later. The fusible I used was too old, so I ended up spending the rest of Friday and about 6 hours on Saturday satin stitching. Now she is ready to quilt. I have decided to baste and quilt her soon. I want her finished and have made so much good progress that I don’t want to lose momentum. I have limited wall space, but may frame her like Kissy Fish.
After getting as much done as I could on Serendipity Lady, I worked on the City Sampler. Yes, I am digging out UFOs and going to town. This was a good move. I just did something and while I changed some of what I did when I got home, it wasn’t wasted effort.
I continued to work on the City Sampler until we had to start packing up. 🙁 I could have used more days. Of course. I am happy – REALLY happy – with what I got done and, as mentioned, want to carry over the momentum to my workroom.
**the weekend of my birthday! YAY! What a great way to spend my birthday!
I finally have a chance to post about this first donation top of the year. I used the edges Colleen cut off of the Triple Star quilt and a couple of half yards of burgundy, but on the pinkish side for the background.
The two burgundy half yards were old and I had never cut into either. I think they look well in this quilt, but I am not sure I would use them in something now.
I can’t believe I have made 7 of these quilts! quite a series without really trying. I have another to make from the edges of the Stepping Stones n.2
I am thrilled to tell you that I finally finished the All Rolled Up Tote!
Yep. Finished. Done. Complete.
It was a big project. Not difficult, but with a lot of steps. The steps made it somewhat daunting. I say daunting only because the project was unfamiliar and the sheer number of steps seemed impossible to complete. I had done most of the techniques before, if in different patterns, so that wasn’t the problem. I have a new appreciation for video tutorials.
The Tote is HUGE. I didn’t really understand how huge until I had sewed the main parts of the project together. It is really hard to understand the size without seeing the thing in person. I have included a photo with my most recent Sew Together Bag side by side with the the All Rolled Up Tote for comparison. I know many of you are familiar with the Sew Together Bag.
I am thrilled that I made such a complicated and different project. It is similar to the Sew Together Bag, but the construction was different in some places.
The other thing I did differently was the front panel (see blue/turquoise vertical strips). This panel calls for a 1/4″ piece of elastic to be installed horizontally. I didn’t want any pens I might want to carry around to be accidentally opened and bleed on to my fabulous Philip Jacobs fabric. I also thought the 1/4″ inch elastic was not sturdy enough and looked a bit cheap. I decided to install wider elastic, which I happened to have, having bought it somewhere along the line. I measured out a few items that I might want to have with me, if I carry this around as a project bag, and sewed the elastic down. I think it looks nice.
One thing that was hard to understand without the video was the sleeve. I tried to understand it before watching the videos and it was a mystery. Finally, I watched the videos and could see what it was for. There is an extra area below the pockets (thus the changes in construction in comparison to the Sew Together Bag) where one can store flat items. I put a ruler halfway into the sleeve (see right), so you can see the sleeve. I haven’t tried filling this bag yet as I haven’t quite decided how I will use it, so use of the sleeve may change once I decide.
My pouches fit nicely in the Tote. Of course they are the correct size, but my lobster clip plan worked well. It was pretty easy to clip and unclip them from the D-rings on the tote. Crafty Gemini shows putting WonderClips into one of the pouches, which might be a good idea, since I could take the pouch out and put it somewhere if I knew I had to refill it because I had used my ‘on the go’ supplies (like clips) for a project. I also think that these little pouches might make good small gifts. They do require a lot of steps, but are unique as well.
One issue I had with the pouches was zippers. I happened to have zippers that were the exact right size. Crafty Gemini doesn’t say anything about having zippers the right size. In terms of whether we needed to secure ends or add a zipper tab. I might do that next time just to make sure everything was sewn together tightly. I am concerned that the zipper ends will come out.
Some of the problems I had with a recent Sew Together Bag were alleviated by the pattern’s suggestion that makers hand sew on the second side of the binding. I did hand sew the second side of the binding. It took me somewhere between 4-6 hours, I think. I am pleased with the way the binding turned out. No sloppy looking stitching because of multiple layers and a cranky sewing machine.
I am I still contemplating handles. Some of the other people in the Organizer Club who made this project added handles, but I wasn’t completely happy with their design. If I were to add handles I think that I would like to add them all the way around the bottom of the project in a loop design. I imagine that these would not go over the top of the bag, so access would not be impeded.
Off hand I can’t think of other changes I would make to another version of this bag, but I have the feeling I want to make another one. *I*, of course, don’t need another one, but I am sure I know someone who needs it as a gift.
In between everything else I have going on, I have been working on the half hexie stars. I need about a million more stars, so I just work on them whenever I don’t have any other handwork pressing.
I especially need white background stars so I have been concentrating on those fabrics lately.
One problem I had with this batch was matching the centers. WonderClips, which has worked perfectly well before, were not working. They didn’t seem to be clipping strongly enough. My pieces kept slipping, making the centers off. Some were just a smidge. Others had to be ripped out.
Alison saw my double point pins at the last Sew Day. Someone in Rosalie Dace‘s class said I had to have them, so I bought some. Alison mentioned to me that they were for matching up points. I don’t usually have a problem in regular piecing, but since I was having a problem with the half hexies, I thought I would try them. They are not ideal, but they help a lot. You can see from the photo that I use clips and the double point pins. I am now using two pins and a clip. This strategy seems to be working.
Sew Day was on January 5. It seems like a long time ago, but I was so thrilled with the projects I got cut out. Yes, I did prep work.
I used Thanksgiving tablerunner n.1 on my dining room buffet all through Christmas because someone spilled on my everyday tablerunner. I took it to the dry cleaners after Thanksgiving and it was after Christmas before I had the time to pick it up. Thanksgiving did not fit into my Christmas decorating scheme, so I decided to make a seasonal tablerunner for the buffet.
On the way back from Portland, I stopped at Stitch again. Stitch is a mostly modern shop in Ferndale that I have visited at least one other time. After being closeted in Portland for a week, I was ready for a treat. Part of the treat ended up being the Mod Lights pattern, from which I will make a tablerunner.
Yes, I am still excited about the Quick Curve Ruler and the fabulous results. I had to buy the mini version for this project, but I intend to use it for another project, as yet undetermined, as well.
I pulled out some solids I bought at QuiltCon. They have a more contemporary feel than the typical dark red and green of traditional Christmas. I also had enough of the background left from the MetroScape quilt to use as background. That fabric is a little sparkly and will look festive.
I won’t use all of the solids shown in the photo, right. I’ll use one of the pinks, the lime (bottom left) and the turquoise. I also chose,from the back of the fabric closet, a dark green to light green Pointillist Palette ombre.
Having assembled all of these project pieces, I was also able to cut them all out.
Next up was another Classmates tote. This you will have to wait to see as it will be a gift and I know the recipient peeks in to look at the blog. I made this previously for the BAM Swap, so you can see it there. I left some of the fabric for n.2 at home, so I was only able to cut out half of it. It was ok, as the person was at Sew Day and would have recognized some of the fabric.
Finally, I cut out two more Little Cell Phone Wallets. These most recent two have been on my list for sometime. It took some doing to find the white dots on black fabric (Michael Miller or Kaffe dots??). I know I bought some fat quarters for the purpose of this wallet. I couldn’t find it anywhere, which was extremely frustrating. Finally, I rummaged around in my black bin and found enough leftover from the tunic to make the wallet. Just enough. Later I found the FQs in my ‘to be washed’ pile. Sigh. Regardless, those are ready to sew as well, except for the tabs for the D-rings so I can use the chain rather than a fabric strap. I am excited to get them off my list.
Sadly, I took no photos on BAM’s Sew Day.
Last week, I was feeling a bit sad and lonely so I went to Katrina’s Sew Time at Scruffy Quilts. This is basically time to sew in the company other others. I am so often alone that I needed a bit of human contact so I went. It really was just what the doctor ordered. Despite the time away from home, I got energized and spent the following day crossing house and work things off my list with alarming speed.
I finished cutting out the Classmates tote, so that is ready to sew. I was able to bring the fabric I forgot to bring to Sew Day. I also did a little organization of the pattern. I find the pattern to be very strangely written. I like to know what pieces I am cutting out as I cut them out. I like to know so I can choose the fabrics carefully. That is not included in this pattern and that made me choose strangely for the BAM Swap (the BAM Swap bag doesn’t look bad, but I would have chosen different had I known what I was cutting). I went through and amended my pattern so that I will know what is what in the future.
Finally, I cut out another Flapper apron. I know! I know! This one is for me. I already made one for myself, but I decided to send the first one to a friend. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I am making it over.
Yes, over two Sew Days, I cut out a lot. I haven’t sewn any of it yet, but will get to it soon.
Part of the All Rolled Up Tote pattern includes some pouches that can be clipped on to the D-rings I inserted when installing the pockets. I worked on those over the weekend and was able to finish them up. I am not 100% happy with the zipper ends, but done is better than perfect.
They turned out larger than I thought they would. Yes, the finished dimensions were readily available, but somehow I had it in my mind that they were about 3/4s the size.
I am pleased with how they turned out. The fabrics are cheerful and they fit well into the Tote itself. I also think the pattern would be useful for gifts to others. Even without the Tote, they could be clipped to other bags.
The clips are the one thing I did differently than the pattern suggests. I put the lobster clips on the pouches rather than in the All Rolled Up Tote. I wanted to minimize interference with items I put in the Tote and thought the D-ring in the Tote would be less obtrusive. I also thought that I might want to fill these with something that I would want to transfer to other bags, so the lobster clip would allow me to clip the pouch on to other bags without needing that other bag to have a lobster clip. I’ll have to start adding D-Rings to my other bags!
I just have a bit more to complete before the All Rolled Up Tote itself is complete.
As you know, members of my guild make bags and then the rest of the members bring small gifts/goodies with which to fill them. This time we had a new position for which to make a bag. The Member-At-Large position was somewhat undefined, so there was some discussion about whether the job that had been done was bag worthy. I felt bad not giving a bag to a board member when, despite her work, everyone else on the board was getting a bag.
As a result, I pulled fabrics and made a Jane Market Tote. The hardest part of these bags is the cutting. I always forget how many pieces I need to cut. I take responsibility, because I have such trouble understanding patterns. I’d love a system where cutting was uniformly described across all patterns. If wishes were horses…. Still, once cut, this bag goes together easily.
I add interfacing to the outside pieces, which makes the bag pretty crisp, though still foldable. I also set the straps in the top seam rather than sewing them to the outside. This means that three seams cover the straps and provide security.