A month or so ago, I sent the Russian Rubix off with a friend who sent it to Austria from Zurich. It is better to send packages from within the EU, but beggars can’t be choosers. It is much less expensive to send quilts within Europe. Whenever I find a willing friend, I ask them to send quilts. When I can, I bring quilts with me on trips. Fabric is heavy, so neither option is ideal.
Markus is my ‘ehemalige Papa’, a very good friend who took good care of me when I lived in Austria. We have been friends and in touch since then. I last went to visit in 2016 and realized my Austrian friends needed some quilts.
I didn’t know his wife Monika when I lived there, but I got to know her in 2016 and like her very much. She made me feel very welcome when I last visited.
I didn’t really get to talk to them about the quilt, but will soon. They seemed very appreciative.
Finally, I can show you the third and final Sew Together Bag. My SIL n.3’s birthday is today and I already gave her the bag. She is not a quiltmaker, but I am sure she will use it for something.
I am really pleased with how this one came out. I think it looks really great. I am tempted to keep it. I won’t, though.
With this STB, I have made a total of 7 Sew Together Bags. I am not sure I will make any more, though there is talk in the guild about making more for gifts. And the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club has a project that looks suspiciously like the Sew Together Bag. Sigh.
FYI: To see the All Rolled Up Tote, you can take a peek on the Organizer Club site or on Craftsy, as it is the design of someone who is not the Crafty Gemini and available there for purchase. If you want the video tutorial, Crafty Gemini is your best hope. I haven’t made it yet, so I can’t give you anymore details.
Anyway, I am taking a break from Sew Together Bags for awhile. I may be completely done. We’ll see.
I really like the yellow binding on this one. SIL #4 likes yellow so I distinguished this one from the other Cal version with yellow binding and more yellow fabric.
I included another fussy cut pincushion as well as a variety of blue and gold zippers.
As a reminder, I used the Quilt Barn Sew Along Tutorials to clarify points around making these bags. These posts are critical to my success with this project.
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.
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.
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?
This is a great piece to have on a retreat where you may not have all of your pincushions or a garbage can nearby.
For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to make 3 Sew Together Bags at once. At a point towards the end of the process on the first 2018 bag, I concentrated on finishing one at a time.
I know I decided to make one for my SIL because she had some random carrier for her supplies at Craft Night and didn’t have the supplies she needed. I don’t mind lending supplies or thread or whatever. However, I thought a Sew Together Bag would be great for her. It just took me forever to finish it.
The outside is Cal fabric, because I knew she would like it and because I have a ton of it.
Otherwise I used various blues I thought she would like with some yellow accents. Blue is the main color on this one. I also chose a variety of zipper colors to add interest.
I fussy cut the Cal fabric for the pincushion, of which I was proud. Even though her birthday is today, I gave the bag to her yesterday.
Yes, amazingly enough, I finally finished En Provence a week or so ago. I am so pleased with the finished product. I am sad that I will give it away, but it will go to a good home who will love it very well.
One thing I like about this pattern is that the edges are finished. By that I mean my hard sewn units are not cut off as you see in many quilts with weird edges. I like it that my stars have all of their points.
Also, I want to make another one. 😉 I am not sure when, but I do plan to make another one. If I select a color scheme I can start any time and use leaders and enders to get all of the units made. I haven’t done any sewing yet, as I haven’t selected a color scheme. I really like this color scheme, but want to do something different. How would it be if I reversed the darks and lights?
The back turned out to be very funny. Birds and lobsters? What was I thinking? It is definitely a good conversation starter, that is for sure.
I started this on January 10, 2017. You can see all the posts by clicking on the tag. 14ish months isn’t bad, especially when I know I took a long hiatus somewhere in the middle. Also, made most of this quilt using the leaders and enders technique.
I needed to rest at the beginning of March, but knew I had a pillow swap to finish by the April meeting. My recipient’s color preferences were listed as:
Green (lime, pickle)
I wanted to be sure my design was modern, fit the desires of the recipient and wasn’t too difficult to piece. I immediately thought of the Alison Glass fabrics I used for the Triple Star. Except for the white, I thought those fabrics would fit well with the desired color scheme.
I had a pillow I thought was made by my pal Amanda stuck in my mind. I asked her about it and she suggested Pinterest. I immediately found the design for which I was looking – the X Plus O block. Once I had the name, I found a lot of examples and spent a happy hour laying on the couch and looking at them.I also found an example that I thought would be good inspiration.
Before I could really sew again, I worked on the design using EQ8. I was able to play with the size and get the elements right.
After I could sew again, I went back to working on my Sew Together Bag project. In the middle of that project, I needed a break, but didn’t want to reset my machine for piecing. I knew that if I did, I would have three more UFOs and another year would pass before I could give the gifts. Cutting was a good idea, so I cut out all of the pieces.
One of the helpful parts of EQ8 is the ability to print out rotary cutting directions. I found a bug in the process of doing this, which I reported to the Electric Quilt Company. It turned out not to be a bug; they don’t consider a lozenge shape to rotary cuttable. I was able to figure out the size to cut a square as I plan to use the flippy corners method or the Simple Folded Corners Ruler.
I also used the Spoonflower zipper installation instructions. I acually watched the video and found it to be really helpful. I am pleased with how my pillow’s zipper closure came out, though I had to redo it a couple of times. I think the problem was the zipper foot I used. I used the flat snap on zipper foot. I didn’t feel like I could get as close to the zipper as I like. As a result I didn’t catch the seam allowance, which makes a closed up area around the zipper. I should have used the tall, skinny foot. I am used to it. I didn’t use it because I was sick of installing feet and resetting settings on my machine. I paid the price.
We exchanged yesterday and everyone did a wonderful job. I am behind Christina, but you can see my pillow over my head.
My mother-in-law died on Sunday. It wasn’t unexpected, but it is nonetheless very, very sad. I feel a huge loss.
I am writing about the Hand Quilt, because I never made another quilt for my mother-in-law. I meant to; I just never did.
The hand quilt is a quilt that my sister-in-law and I made for my parents-in-law (SIL made for her parents) in 1992. We got hand tracings from all of the siblings, spouses and kids. We transferred the handprints to fabric and then machine appliqued the hands to the background. I don’t remember how it got quilted, but it did.
I always wanted to make another one to make sure we got all of the kids, but I never did. I suppose I still could, but I would have to make one for each family and I just don’t think I have that much machine applique’ in me. You never know, though. 😉
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.