The “Everything in it’s Place” bag

October 30, 2014 § 7 Comments

EP-Bag-1

When I saw Letty’s Everything In It’s Place Bag, I was intrigued.  But it was after taking a wool embroidery class together and from the enthusiasm of both Letty & Leslie, who works at the shop where we took the class, that I decided that I needed one for myself.

BTW, the pattern is called A Place For Everything on byAnnie.com. But, it’s called Everything in it’s Place on Craftsy. Go figure. It’s the one and same Annie who created Soft & Stable. She also sells the zippers in a variety of colors.

EP-Bag-2

The bag zips open to reveal pages for storing all sorts of things.  I’ve put hand sewing & embroidery things in my pockets.

EP-Bag-3

The pockets stack together and stick to one another with strips of velcro.

I love my bag!  But let me list the pros & cons for you. I’m glad I made it.  But the whole thing is not for the faint of heart.

  • It is very labor intensive!
  • Sewing on clear vinyl can be tricky.
  • The zippers are not cheap. But that’s what makes the bag so great.  In comparison to making a quilt, I guess the cost is no big deal. But if I had to pay for the bag already made, I would have balked at the price.  I try not to think about how much money I spent on this bag and just enjoy the awesomeness of it.
  • I tried to make the package of Zippers by the Yard work for the entire bag, but came up with one page left without zippers. So I made the last page a mesh pocket instead. I am totally fine with that modification.
  • The pattern doesn’t have very many diagrams, so it is totally worth the cost of taking the Craftsy class.  The class was on sale when I took it.
  • I also made some major adjustments to the pattern.  After Letty and I discussed the use of the bag, and while I was putting mine together, I decided to make some critical changes to the pattern that would make the whole thing work better for me.

EP-Bag-4

The first thing that I changed was to take the handle off the closed end of the bag.  The reasoning behind this was that this is where the velcro holds the bag together. And when the bag is being carried around, essentially, gravity is pulling pages down & putting extra strain on the velcro.  It didn’t seem like a long term, efficient, frugal thing to do.  So I removed the handle (yes, it was a bear to rip out) and made the top the bottom and the bottom the top.

EP-Bag-7

So, then I purchase some 1 1/2″ nylon webbing and made some handles to sew onto the open end of the bag.  Now, when I carry the bag around there isn’t as much strain pulling on the velcro and pulling the bag out of shape. Seems like it might last a little longer this way.

I also had a hard time getting the zipper side panels to fit the body of the bag without puckering at the corners.  I eventually cut off a whole inch from the zipper panels to make sure that there were as few puckers around the corners as possible.

I also cut 1/4″ off of each end of each page.  When I started stacking up the pages inside the bag, it seemed like the pages then stuck out more.  Lying flat they fit in the bag nicely.  But folded up, they seemed to push out the zipper panels of the bag body.  Besides, this also seemed to place the pleats in the vinyl to be more centered than previously. So it was a win/win decision.

And… after talking about how the zippers were applied to the vinyl, I ended up making 3/4″ bias tape, folded in half, out of my contrast fabric to cover the edge of the vinyl so that I wouldn’t have to fold the vinyl over. This also nicely covered the thread from basting the pleats in the vinyl that would have otherwise been visible.

I love how it turned out!! And now I can grab my bag and take everything I need for embroidery & stitching projects without having to dig around my sewing room to locate it all. Yay!

EP-Bag-6

The only thing I wish I had done differently was to somehow finish the edge of the fabric that is under the zipper panels.  Can you see the little threads fraying out?  I need to go pick up some Fray Check to prevent them from fraying more.

My week of UFO sewing is going well. But it’s going by WAY too fast.  I’ve been working on 3 different UFO’s. One is a year old. Another is 5 years old. And the last one is 10 years old. It’s time to finish these babies, don’t you think?

The view from here

October 27, 2014 § 8 Comments

castle-quilt-front

castle-quilt-corners

castle-quilt-back

I’ve almost forgotten how to blog, it’s been so long.
The seasons keep changing.
November arrives at the end of this week leaving only two months left of this year.
It has gone by so fast!

A lot seems to have also changed.
My mom passed away last January.
My best friend moved away last month to care for her mother.
I’ve gained new friends that have become so dear so quickly.
The holidays will be different this year.

I’m declaring this last week of October UFO week to try and finish a few projects.
I’m trying to not do much of anything else but the bare minimum so that I can spend maximum time sewing.
It’s only Monday, but at the moment I’m feeling content about it all.

This quilt above was finished a week or so ago.
The blocks were made by the lovely ladies of the Faith Circle of Do.Good.Stitches.
The tutorial for the castle block is over here.
It will be sent to Restore Innocence, an organization that rescues girls from human trafficking.

The binding fabric came from my mom’s stash.
The backing fabric I found on sale at my local Ben Franklin and is quite wild.
I wish I lived somewhere exotic because it felt like this quilt needed to be photographed near a castle or a cathedral or some majestic building.
But I live in a suburb where there are no majestic buildings.
So my shed comes to the rescue again.
And the sun made a short appearance today among the rainy days of the season.

Have a lovely Monday!

Confessing

October 10, 2014 § 7 Comments

Thinking about a new project.
Black & white.
Where the whites are scrappy low volume prints.
Reversed from my original plan of scrappy blacks on white.
‘Cause I don’t already have enough UFO’s that need finishing.
And I’ve lost my blogging mojo.
So, I’ve resorted to reposting Instagram photos.
Even though there is stitching going on.
There isn’t any real photography going on.
Aren’t you lucky.
Sorry.

Ooops! Where did September go?

September 23, 2014 § 9 Comments

4-patch-chain

Oops!  Somehow nearly a month has flown by and I haven’t posted anything new on my blog.

And now it is Autumn.  YaY!  Autumn is my favorite time of the year.  But I refuse to think about the fact that the beginning of the crazy “holiday” craze is just another month or so away. With the decorating, the shopping, the cooking.  I’m. Not. Ready.  It all starts to fall apart just after halloween.  No thank you.

But I do love crunchy leaves, fires in the fireplace, soups on the stove.  Sign me up for that!  I’m ready.

4-patch-fabric

Based on the fact that I don’t really have anything to show for the month of September, this is the only news I could scrounge up for you.  I had a few of those mini charm packs, the 2 1/2″ square ones, sitting in my stash. Taking up space.  But I don’t NEED another project.  But I did need some mindless sewing. So I cut up some white & cream 2 1/2″ squares to sew them into 4-patches.

Then I got to thinking about what to do with the 4-patches once they are finished. They’re not finished yet.  But maybe they need to become something like this?  I was teaching a Liberated Sewing class yesterday and one of the students had a really cool cheddar colored fabric. You know, the Civil War cheddar color.  So I dug out a fat quarter just to see how they might look.

4-patch-cheddar

And then I quickly drew up a semi-plan in Electric Quilt.  Hmmm….  maybe.  We shall see.

And while we are talking about EQ, did you you know about the Random Recolor tool?  You have to go find it and add it to the tool bar.

Right click on that ziggy bar just below the arrow at the bottom of the quilt worktable tool bar on the right and select Add/Remove Buttons.  Click on the one that looks like a star on a magic wand. That’s the Random Recolor tool.  From there, you can select how you want to recolor your quilt in the pop up dialog box. And then click on the quilt to activate the recoloring.

I colored my quilt in solids and then chose the “Map to fabrics” option to recolor it.  You could do the opposite and go from fabrics to solid colors.  Or you could choose a shift in the hue, saturation or brightness to change the overall color theme. It’s quite fun to play around with recoloring your quilt and see what the program comes up with.

random-recolor

Well, that’s all I have for you today. But I realized that I never finished my summer Piecing 101 series. And now summer is over. I’d best work on finishing those psots!  Up next will be matching points. Just as soon as I can get a pointy block or two together to show you.

Happy Autumn!

Behind the studio door…

September 4, 2014 § 17 Comments

kaleidoscope-detail

Recently, I was talking with a good friend about the fact that I have a hard time telling anyone about my quilts that end up in magazines. I admit it. I’m afraid. I’m afraid that no one will like them. Or worse yet, that someone will find a mistake or flaw in my design. Heaven forbid!  I need to remember that lots of different people have lots of different tastes. And we can all make mistakes. Besides, it’s just a quilt. It’s not anything that has us hanging on between life or death.  Away with you, my terrible insecurities!

And additionally, the quilts are often made in a mad rush to meet a deadline.  Then I can’t say anything for several months until the magazine is released.  Never-the-less, there is still a process from inspiration to actual finished quilt that might be worth sharing. So I’m going to make a better effort to document & share what I have been working on.

kaleidoscope

The most recent quilt is this one.  It is made with Clothwork’s American Made Brand solids.  The pattern is in the current September 2014 issue of American Quilter. They are also offering a kit, if you are interested. Let me just say that I have enjoyed working with these solid fabrics!

The fabric is 100% cotton that is not only manufactured here in the U.S. but it is also grown in the U.S.  They feel lovely.  Almost like a linen. But not a linen.  The quilt has not yet made it’s way back to me so I can’t tell you how it feels after washing and using. But I’m anxious to do just that.

As for the process…  when I design quilts for an entire line of fabric, I really try to make use of as much of it as possible.  If the fabric is printed, then I often look for something within the prints themselves that inspire me.  But sometimes, I am in a particular mood or caught in particular style of quilt or block. For awhile I was really into flying geese and many of my quilts ended  up with flying geese in them somewhere.

For this fabric I was drawn to the color and really wanted to feature ALL of the colors that are available in the American Made solids.  (I only used 25 for the blocks + 3 more for the sashing) And then the secondary inspiration is that I was/am caught up with the soft and light valued quilts.  I made this quilt in April.  Spring was coming. I was staring at my low volume quilt and longing for something soft and fresh.  Or maybe the gray & rainy weather was getting to me. Hence, this quilt was born. Which, for a lack of a better name, became Kaleidoscope. I REALLY need help when it comes to naming on such a short notice!  The names never come to me until much later. Or even sometimes at the last minute as I begin to type about them here on my blog. (Even now, I don’t know what to call this quilt)

And that, my friends, is how this quilt came to be.  I hope you enjoyed me rambling on and on about it.  And I will try to overcome my shyness about what ends up in a magazine.

Kaleidoscope-whole

Speak softly and snuggle up in bed

August 29, 2014 § 20 Comments

low-volume-front

Well, here it is.  My low volume quilt that was started on a quilt retreat in 2012 and finished just last week.  I’m quite happy that it is finally finished!  In all of it’s goodness and badness.  The goodness of all the different kinds of fabric that went into it.  Some scraps. Some swapped with other internet friends. And some from my stash or purchase specifically for this project. And the badness of my free-motion quilting. (read the last note under what I’ve learned) At the last minute I added that scrap of lemony green print to the top and bottom to make it a little bit bigger without having to create a whole other row to sew onto the quilt top.

low-volume-detail

I learned a few things with this quilt.

  • I need to make a habit of doing a little free-motion quilting regularly. It does get better the more one does it.
  • I’ve decided that ALL bed quilts must now have wool batting. It is the softest, most snuggly batting EVER to sleep under!
  • To become better at finishing things, I need to have only two or three projects at different stages to keep from getting overwhelmed or bored.
  • And there should always be one at the quilting stage so that I can do more of what I said at the beginning… quilt a little on a regular basis. The Lord knows I have plenty of UFO’s to keep this practice going.
  • It’s the texture of the quilting after it’s all washed up and ready to use that draws me in rather than the actual design that is quilted.  I need to remember this more often so that I don’t get so discouraged about my ability to do the quilting.  It’s the texture on this quilt that I love, by the way, in spite of my rocky start when I began the quilting.  SCORE!

low-volume-back

The backing is a combination of two different fabrics that I found on sale.  The bonus is that it makes for a fun “second quilt” in case I ever want to flip it over.  And it fulfills a little bit of that imaginary “need” to have a cross or plus quilt.

low-volume-back-2

As the summer is winding down, it feels strange to be wanting to throw such a thoroughly summer quilt onto our bed.  But that’s exactly what I am going to do. Put it on the bed and snuggle up underneath it.

low-volume-binding

When it came time to sew on the binding I was SURE that I had purchased some orange fabric specifically for this project.  I looked & looked & looked but couldn’t find it.  So my second choice was this older Denyse Schmidt print which I love.  When I had just 30-inches or so left to sew down I came across the orange polka dot that I intended to use. That was a very “doh!” moment.  I guess the orange dot was meant to be on a different quilt.

Project stats:

  • Approximate size – 90″ x 86″
  • Fabrics – scraps, stash, & swapped with friends
  • Batting – Quilter’s Dream wool

Ready, set, where shall we go?

August 20, 2014 § 6 Comments

departure-satchel-front

I made a bag!  The Departure Satchel by StudioCherie to be precise. It’s a downloadable pattern from Craftsy. I was inspired by my friend, Letty, over at Happy Dance Quilting and her travel bags that she recently made.  So we had a sewing day that gave me a good start on mine.

The front has a deep pleated pocket for all kinds of stuff.  And a small zip pocket in the middle of the big pleated pocket.
departure-satchel-back

The back has a wide sleeve to slip over your rolling luggage handle. It works better on the handles that have two rods coming out of the luggage rather than just one like mine.  But it’s a clever pattern, none-the-less.  We tested it out on Letty’s luggage before I finished the whole bag.

The wide sleeve was supposed to have a pop-up zip pocket on it, but I was too scared to make it and it didn’t seem very useful to me. So I left it off.  There are so many layers to stitch through at that point that I was wary about how it was going to look.

departure-satchel-pocket

Inside it has another small zip pocket and a large split pocket on the front side of the bag.  The smaller zip pocket was supposed to have a flap over it to hide it and make it secret. But it seemed to make it harder to reach into for me, so I left the flap off.

departure-satchel-zip-pocket

And there is a big zip pocket on the sleeve side in the back.  It’s called a laptop or tablet pocket in the pattern.  I made it just as it said but there is no extra padding for fragile technology so I’m not that comfortable using it as such. And my husband’s laptop doesn’t fit in there. My laptop is even bigger so I’m not going to worry about the lack of extra padding and just call it a nice deep pocket.

Overall, I love this bag!  It is a nice size and with diligent patience & study of the pattern beforehand, it went together well.  I had to really study the pattern before cutting to determine which pieces were used where so that I could figure out which fabric it needed to come from.  The pattern uses just one feature fabric for the bag and canvas as the inside lining.  What the pattern calls the lining is actually the inside pockets, I think.  I added an extra layer of fabric on the inside as the lining so that the canvas wasn’t exposed.  It worked out great!

The canvas as a base gives it good shape without being puffy like batting sometimes looks.  The assembly of the pieces is an efficient use of design but be sure to use a heavy jean’s needle when sewing because the many layers of fabric along with the canvas makes it quite thick!

My only real dislike of the pattern is that it is 42 pages long!! Forty-two!  Twenty of them are pattern pieces that need to be taped together. And the rest are sewing instructions and extra images of the bag.  I do love that it is downloadable. You can be ready to sew in minutes if you have all the fabrics & zippers on hand.  I ordered the long zipper for the bag opening and the zipper for the inside laptop pocket from StudioCherie and found the shorter zippers at my local fabric shop.  The instructions are fairly easy to follow.  If you have ever made an Amy Butler bag… this one is 100 times better in understanding what to do next!

I’m contemplating making another one because I may OR may not give this one away.  I haven’t decided.

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    Hi. I'm Anita. I like vintage textiles, old houses, fresh bread, and dinner under the pergola. And... I like making things. Thank you so much for visiting!

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  • Jesus said, “ Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
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