The quilt in this set was probably the easiest part. I did a pillowcase binding and then sunk the threads. It is a pretty basic quilt, but the small amount of quilting I did on it looks nice, I think.
I don’t think I will make this brand of panel dolls again. The good thing is that everything is all on one panel. The bad is that the seam allowances are really small and the seams tend to blow out after play. My little niece plays with these dolls, a purpose for which they are intended, and I don’t want her to be disappointed. I have another pattern – not a panel – with lots of zippers and buttons so she can learn to dress herself (we had a doll when I was a kid with the same concept called Dressy Bessy). I hope to get started on that doll soon-ish.
I finished the EPP Travel Pouch I am giving to Gerre for her birthday. I like the way it came out. I probably should have used more orange and pink to really suit her tastes, but I just loved that ice cream print and had to use it. I really hope she likes it.
The two times I have made this bag, I have thought it would be a quick project. There is so much handwork that it turns out to take longer than I expect the handwork to be relaxing, but it takes a big needle to push the thread through the many layers.
The other thing is that the directions are somewhat confusing. I made notes on them this time so, if I make this again, I won’t make some of the same mistakes again. The only thing that bugs me is that the piece does not have a handle. I really think it should have a handle. I am not sure where or how I would add a handle, but I’ll have to think about that.
Still, this project comes out well and has some clever elements.
I finished the inside of the Altoids tins to make them into little sewing kits and storage kits. I’ll have to figure out a decoration for the top next time. I wasn’t up for that challenge this time.
Keeping my YM warm is a theme since Thanksgiving. We saw him last weekend and the question was why he was wearing two shortsleeve t-shirts rather than a longsleeve. Answer: out of clean laundry. Sigh.
To that end, I made him a cowl. I had some leftover yarn after making him the hat, so I decided to make him a cowl after realizing I didn’t have enough yarn for another hat.
It didn’t come out as well as I had hoped. It looks good but was too large so kind of flapped around his neck (when I saw it in the wild). I think I needed to cast on fewer stitches to start. Next time – there is always more yarn.
To me, this means I am progressing in my skills. It also means more work. I couldn’t just stuff and finish the dolls. I had to stuff, then sew, then stuff some more before finishing. It worked fine, though it took more time.
The skirt for Gretel is the last piece of this set. It is mostly made, but I needed Gretel to be done, so I could finish the skirt to fit Gretel’s waist. I plan to finish this last bit and send the set off to my niece soon.
In 2015, I created a list of gift ideas. As mentioned at that time, I like the idea of giving and making sets of gifts: choosing a fabric and then making a number of items from that fabric. Since then there are lots of new patterns and ideas. As I was making a gift basket of sewn items last year, I came across a few other items that I thought would make great additions to my list and be useful as well. I decided to update this list and get the ideas out to you again.
The point is not to use the patterns I use, but to make the gifts in whatever pattern YOU like. This is a list of gift ideas. You can use my pattern suggestions, but using your own will make the gift more personal. There are about a gazillion patterns for a variety of useful bags and sewing items. I am sure you can find some lovely items to make if you look through your pattern drawer.
You might be wondering why I am talking about this in January when you just finished with the holidays. Simply, you will need time to make everything without getting stressed out.
Pincushion – Fig Tree Quilts Petit Gateau pincushion pattern. I like this pattern, because the pattern makes sense, is not difficult and looks like a pincushion. I have made several and they go together very quickly. I use wool roving and some of the Beanie Baby plastic pellets to fill it. I buy both at Beverly’s when they are on sale and keep a supply on hand. The pellets give the pincushion some weight. I don’t use walnut shells, because so many people are allergic to nuts. The only issue I ever have with this pattern is to find an appropriate button to put on top and bottom. Often I make these and don’t think ahead and then find myself wanting to finish, but have no appropriate buttons. Of course, there are plenty of pincushion patterns out there and you should use your favorite.
Needle case – many people don’t do handwork and so this is an inappropriate gift, but it is so cute! Regardless, I find that a bit of hand sewing is needed at various times- in front of the TV, in the car, etc. I found the pattern in the Spring 2013 issue of Modern Patchwork. It was designed by Rashida Coleman-Hale of IHeartLinen. I wasn’t able to find a pattern for it on her blog or the web. The pattern is in RCH’s book, Zakka Style, according to Frances Newcombe from Belly Buttons Boutique. You may be able to find I copy of that magazine on Etsy or eBay. I am sure there are other needlecase patterns out there.
Tissue case – This isn’t something that I would really use, though that might change. It is a nice stocking stuffer or small hostess gift. I got the idea to make them from Valerie over at Evening in the Garden blog. I made a few, which you can see in December gift posts. I used the YouTube tutorial that Valerie used. I found that these make great boutique or Secret Santa Shop items since they are very quick to make.
Lanyard – these are great for guild meetings, but also for hanging scissor sheaths, keys, pens, etc. Think of a chatelaine’s key ring.
One thing that goes well with a lanyard is a nametag. You can make a regular lanyard or one that can hold a phone, credit cards, cash, etc in addition to the nametag. The Little Cell Phone Wallet has most of the features named above except for the nametag part, but you could make a nametag with a pinback and clip it to the Little Cell Phone Wallet
Pencil roll – I love the pattern by Pink Chalk, but it is no longer available. If you can find it somewhere, such as Etsy, buy it and keep it safe. It is useful and fun even if you are not pen hog like I am. I have made, perhaps, a dozen of them and I want everyone to love them. I always put a few pens in to give people an idea of how to use them. I reported on one of my pencil roll posts that this project took me about 3 hours to make. (updated 1-26-2017)
An Alternative to the pencil roll is a tool holder. I haven’t actually made one of these yet, but I do like the pattern. I like the idea of having my most used items all in one place and viewable to so I don’t have to dig for them.
I also find the Little Cell Phone Wallet by Valori Wells to be useful when I am wearing the Schoolhouse tunic. It does not have pockets and the Little Cell Phone Wallet provides a handy adjunct pocket for my mobile phone and hotel key or similar. It also fits nicely into a gift basket.
You could also add a Sidekick from Jinny Beyer’s store. It is good for handwork and I could have used it on my trip this past weekend. I have the pattern, but haven’t made it yet.
Project bag – Jeni Baker Drawstring bag (pattern to purchase). The pattern has multiple sizes. This is good to keep project supplies together. She also has a tutorial for one size – Example
Tote bag – There are lots of different tote bags that I have made. I really like the Jane Market Tote (pattern to purchase). I also like the Eco Market Tote from Favorite things (pattern to purchase). I made a version of that bag with Heart fabric and it is still a great pattern. I have another one in mind. Including a tote bag in your gift selection is a nice way to package all the gifts. Choose any pattern that you like.
One Hour Basket – An alternative to a tote bag, especially for a group of small gifts is the One Hour Basket. This is a free pattern by Hearts and Bees which you can download from Craftsy. She has a new pattern with different sizes as well.
You can use the One Hour Basket or any of the tote bags instead of gift wrapping. Put a pretty ribbon on it and your recipient will be thrilled.
You can also think up themes and find patterns that fit the theme. For example:
Kitchen: apron, mugrug, potholders, kitchen towels, casserole carrier, roll basket
Bath: makeup bag (zipper pouch), towels, tissue cover, stiff holder for TP and such
If you have a machine embroidery machine, the options open up even more. You can monogram some of the larger pieces or add other appropriate embellishments. Get sewing!
Guild officers are underappreciated. I don’t think guild members realize how hard officers work. At our local modern guild, we make bags and fill them with gifts for the officers. A few people ‘volunteer’ to make bags and then we ask members to bring small gifts – one for each officer. Gifts must be new, unused and could be something that someone makes. If members don’t have the money or circumstances prevent them from making a gift, we ask for a note or card.
I like this idea. Many guilds make quilts or blocks, which are wonderful, but my feeling is that quiltmakers, even officers, can make their own quilts and blocks. Treats and small gifts make for a fun time opening and the bags, if nothing else, are always useful.
I have coordinated this process for the guild for a few years now. This year one member approached me about making a particular bag. She coordinated all the bag making, which was great! The bags made were picnic quillow types bags. The quilt folds into a bag attached to the quilt for easy carrying and folds out into a picnic quilt. She recruited makers, gave each some fabric so the quilts were somewhat coordinating and managed the whole bag process.
I was very pleased with the help I got, the way the Quillow bags turned out and the reception of the gifts. All in all I am pleased to have coordinated it again.
I received some photos from people who received gifts from me. I am always pleased when the recipients can, at least, be bothered to look happy when they open a gift I have made.
Remi and Murdock got the Nighthawk and Cosmic Wonder Dust, respectively. I sent them, along with the others, up to Portland and the YM distributed them. I didn’t get photos of the other recipients, but will perhaps soon.
My sister also got a scarf as well. I sent her Christmas gifts in a box wrapped up with a note that hell would freeze over and she would be sucked into a pit of lava if she opened her Christmas gifts before Christmas. She used to have such a hard time waiting and, of course, I have no way to monitor her actions. To mollify dear Sis, I sent along the bamboo scarf that started me off on this crazy 2017 knitting journey. She has been freezing this winter and it looks like it is long enough. I am not sure it goes with the jersey, but to each his own fashion choices.
I also sent off the Sparkle Pink quilt. A friend’s son died and I decided to send Sparkle Pink to her daughter. I had it available and thought it would be a comfort.
I love this quilt. I really love the fabrics, but it was made from a pattern (not my own design) and doesn’t really go with my decor. The recipient loves it and that makes me happy. This is a quilt that needed to go off into the world and bring happiness. The room in which it now lives will be redecorated to match.
That paintbox fabric has been hanging around and I have not used it to make the set of sewing items for my mom as intended. I dug some out and made her a bag to replace one I made her several years ago that is becoming threadbare and dirty.
I used the Jane Market Tote pattern, but added some extra pintucking and interfacing. I like the way it turned out. It has some body, but can still be rolled up.
The design of the bag makes a smallish shopping tote. I had forgotten the size. It seemed to work for her and the bag really goes together well after getting all the pieces cut.
Mom recognized right away that it was the same fabric as her Sew Together Bag, which I made last year.
I realized that I had forgotten to sew up the turning hole when I started to photograph the bag. I had to do that on Christmas Day before we went off to our further celebrations. There are worse ways to spend a holiday than by sewing.
Sometime in September, I found some Le Cafe fabric by Danhui Nai for Wilmington. I was in the mood to make pillowcases at the time and bought a whole bunch of the fabric to make pillowcases for my sister for Christmas.
My idea was to use the toss prints for the main body of the cases and the border print for the cuff. I quickly screwed up the cuff idea by not buying the right amount for cuffs and screwing up the cutting. I found an old Verna Mosquera dot print and used that for the cuffs. It was like the fabric was made for the pillowcases, because I had plenty for four pillowcases. I think the dot provided a good contrast for the pillowcases.
I cut the pieces out during some evenings when I had 10-15 minutes while dinner finished cooking. I did most of the sewing over the Thanksgiving Weekend. I used the pillowcases as additional leaders and enders as I pieced En Provence. They are not ideal leaders and enders as the seams are long. I beat myself into submission as using the leaders and enders technique gets projects done.
The BAMQG Winter Extravaganza-palooza was the weekend of the 9th. I had a great time.
I also got the most amazing gift. Sue S made me a casserole carrier. In the carrier was a casserole dish with a wine cake in it! This is the most amazingly generous gift I could ever imagine. I was shocked (in a good way) and thrilled. It was just what I wanted.
The spoons act as handles and servers. My DH thought this was hilarious, but I am determined to use it sometime soon and show him how fabulous it is.
The carrier opens up and becomes a hotpad. It is perfect.
I also love the red casserole dish. The colors of the carrier and the dish go well in my kitchen.
The best part of the gift was the card that Sue wrote. She said that I was the first person she met in the guild and that I took her around the first time she came to the meeting. I showed her where everything was: the food, the charity project, the free table and introduced her around. I am ashamed to say that I don’t even remember. I do that so often so automatically. I am thrilled that she remembered that kindness. She is a good member of the guild and I am glad I started her off on the right foot.
As a bonus fire victims in the Wine Country also win, because we wrapped all the gifts in pillowcases, which will be donated to an organization that will distribute them to Wine Country fire victims.
Tim and I worked on the Anchor quilt on Saturday. This is a true group project. Gerre organized it. Christina did the piecing. I appliqued on the anchor and Tim will do the quilting. The last time I talked about this quilt was back in June and it has been languishing. Now we are back on track!
Saturday, he did everything and I just stood there and helped him pin and gave my opinion.
We had to work on the back a little bit. The back was two large pieces and the big area of white was bugging Tim. We talked about different things we could do and finally decided on adding a piece that Christina had started sort of 1/3 of the way down the quilt. I think it broke up the white enough for comfort.
We also looked at quilting ideas. Tim had some ideas in mind and they were good. We found a couple that we thought would reflect the them and he will do the quilting soon.
Mary C wanted a grocery bag, so I got out the Jane Market Tote pattern and made it using some Carrie Bloomston fabrics that I have had for awhile. Her request was that the bag be made in green. The fabric is green, but tending towards teal/turquoise so I hoped it would be ok. I made an effort to do a really nice job sewing. For once, I paid attention to the top stitching and did all that the pattern suggests.
I sew my straps on differently than the pattern suggests, so I also did some top stitching with a decorative stitch at the top of the bag. I made a note to myself on the pattern to leave a little more of the strap in the seam allowance next time. I hope that the decorative stitching will keep the handles from pulling out.
When I looked at the outside, I was shocked to see some of the amazing piecing. I can’t take much credit, though, because I couldn’t really have lined up the fabric any better, if I had tried. And I didn’t try!
I don’t know how I did it, but was very pleased when I saw the way the joins had come together.
This amazing piecing happened in a couple of places. I knew that Mary would notice eventually so I showed her after she opened the gift and she was pleased. She appreciates stuff like that.
The inside is plain. No pockets. I have to figure out where would be appropriate to add an inside pocket sometime. I didn’t do it for this iteration.
I whipped up another pillowcase to send along with the Walker Bag to Friend Julie. I forgot to take a photo before I sent it off, but she was kind enough to oblige.
The fabric is some that I bought at PIQF on a whim. While I intended to think of something fabulous and special to make with it, it seemed right to use it for this particular pillowcase. I definitely made it for a fabulous and special person.
I am pleased with how it came out and I have little piece left for the FOTY 2017.