August 20, 2014 § 6 Comments
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 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.
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.
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.
August 11, 2014 § 7 Comments
I know that many people join up with finishing parties to get them motivated to finish their projects. But, I have a hard time committing to my LONG list of UFO’s. It’s so intimidating to look at the list and then think about how much time & effort it is going to take to finish ALL of them!
However… my piles of unfinished or half started projects is getting out of control. So, I’ve come up with a plan to trick my procrastination thought process and make some finishing progress. I just can’t bear the thought of counting all of my projects in process. But I can handle choosing two or three to work on at the same time with specific achievable goals.
Ironically, and really, I should already know this…. but while trudging through the quilting of my low volume quilt I have found that my quilting is improving and I am becoming more relaxed about it. I only commit to quilting two rows each day. One across and one back. This has been accomplishing two things. First, I am slowly making progress towards finishing this HUGE quilt. And secondly, it really is putting into practice that sage advice that we all know but hate to admit… that practice does make perfect. It takes about 30-40 minutes to stitch across the quilt and back. And that allotted amount of time is enough to be able to stitch a little each day without becoming overwhelmed. And if I’m feeling ambitious, I stitch one session in the morning and one session in the afternoon. I’m only 2-3 days away from finishing this baby!!!
Another discovery that I made is that focusing on one project makes for quickly becoming bored and dreading the finishing of it. I begin to hate what I originally loved. So a little piecing breaks up the monotony of free-motion quilting. And I make a little progress on another project in process.
Gathering Fabric, the shop where I work, was going to do a fabric exchange for the Steam Punk quilt in the 100th issue of QuiltMania. But we need a few more folks to sign up!! So here’s a shout out to all you local peeps who were thinking about it. Come join us in exchanging fabrics to make this fabulous quilt!!
- – – – -
Projects in process in top photo:
Design wall top to bottom -
scrappy log cabin, Do.Good.Stitches castle blocks, Kaleidoscope II with printed fabrics
Ironing board top to bottom -
Crazy Snowflakes, Random Sampler, Brrrr Park, Garden Medallion in French General fabrics
August 8, 2014 § 5 Comments
Here are a few more photos from our vacation. On the way back from Copenhagen, we spent four days in Iceland. What a fascinating country! The photos above are the north & northwest corners of Reykjavik from the church steeple.
The Hallgrimskirkja church is in the middle of the city. There are lots of tourist shopping and places to eat nearby. Of course we had to do a little shopping. Hand knit Icelandic sweaters are everywhere! I bought one that was made by Olga. I can’t wait for cooler weather so that I can wear it.
We took a day to drive the Golden Circle, which included Geysir & the Strokkur geyser (above), Gullfoss Falls (below) and the Thingvellir National Park.
The falls were huge! And cold and blustery! But we were so lucky to have sunny weather the entire time.
The Thingvellir National Park is where the American & Eurasian Tectonic Plates meet. Apparently the plates are separating about one inch every year.
There are a few more photos over on my Instagram feed. We also visited the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and took a Puffin tour. It’s hard to see the Puffins. They are so little compared to the seagulls. But they are so cute! We definitely want to go back to Iceland in the winter for the Northern lights. And I’m still dying to see a sheep farm. Not that I haven’t ever seen any sheep. But with all that wool… I don’t know. The sheep are cool.
August 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
Hey, local friends! Richla asked me to teach a series of classes that explore the basic shapes of Liberated Quilting. Mondays, Sept. 22nd, Oct. 6th & Oct. 20th. We were going to start in August but pushed the dates back to September. Now you have even more time to gather your scraps!
Bring a bucket of scraps or a stack of fat quarters and start sewing by intuition and without a pattern. Sign up for one class or all three. Richla is giving a discount if you sign up for all three. Come hang out with friends in her beautiful new studio!
Class 1 – Learn the basics of Liberated piecing with Strips (log cabins) & Triangles (stars, flying geese, trees)
Class 2 – Advanced Liberated shapes – birds, baskets, houses, people
Class 3 – Liberated Letters
The photos above & below are from a Flickr Bee group that I was in a few years ago. If you would like to see a few more examples, I’ve collected a few quilts on my Pinterest board.
August 5, 2014 § 2 Comments
I’m still trying to return to my own time zone and embrace our usual routine. But it is hard. I always have a hard time going home.
Gary, his sister and I decided that we needed to make a trip to Copenhagen where his niece, husband and daughter are living. We had no idea that it was going to be in the middle of a heat wave! Most days were plus or minus 80 degrees. Which doesn’t sound all that bad. But there is something about the sun on the cobblestone & brick buildings. It was warm. There isn’t much air conditioning to speak of either. Normally, they don’t need it. Like Seattle, it is generally a cool & mild climate. We even slept with the door & window open in our hotel room to try and get a cool breeze through it at night. Despite the heat, I loved Copenhagen. The healthy food, the bicycling and the walking are what I wish our lifestyle could be like at home. But alas, our country is stuck on junk food, cars, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Sigh.
Of course, we had to see many of the usual touristy things. Nyhavn canal was hot & filled with tourists. But the colorful buildings are to die for!
We bought 3-day Metro passes in the beginning that could be used on the trains & buses. When they expired we rented bikes for a day and rode everywhere! There are a few more photos on my Instagram feed.
These were just a few of the photos we took. Gary took many of the photos in Copenhagen. And I only took a few. It was too hot to carry the DSLR and I ended up using my iPhone more often. Plus, we were on the go most of the time and I am more of a rambling tourist. I like to stop and savor, take in the details and try to feel the culture.
On the way home we stopped in Iceland. Since we would have normally flown over it to get to Copenhagen, we decided to take the opportunity to visit. More photos to come.
August 3, 2014 § 3 Comments
July 30, 2014 § 3 Comments
August is my month to organize, gather blocks & create a quilt for the Faith Circle of Do.Good. Stitches. We make quilts and send them to Restore Innocence, an organization that rescues girls from human trafficking. I am asking my fellow block makers to make this Castle Block for me.
I would venture to guess that at least 90% of my scraps are strips and strings leftover from previous projects. I have three large bins and 2 small bins of these kinds of scraps. So I am always looking for ways to use these up. Once I made three quilts to give to three couples that we hang out with regularly. They were the 3 Amigo quilts. Even three quilts didn’t seem to make much of a dent in the scraps! I also have a couple of projects in the works. The Liberated Wedding Ring and the Liberated Log Cabin. I just wish I had more time because I *swear* that the scraps breed like bunnies while I’m not looking!
When I ran across this interesting block that was created for Downton Abbey fans by Michelle Freedman over at Generation Q magazine, it seemed like a good idea for our Do.Good.Stitches group. And…. maybe I could use up some of my overflowing string scraps. We make 12 1/2″ blocks in our group, but I wanted just one cross per block. So, here’s my version of Melissa’s block.
1. Gather together enough scraps to make two 4 1/2″ squares and one 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle. Sew the scraps together and press the seams open. Trim to make two 4 1/2″ squares and one 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.
2. From a variety of background fabrics cut four 4 1/2″ squares and eight 2 1/2″ squares.
3. With a pencil, mark the diagonal on the wrong side of the 2 1/2″ square background fabrics. Place one in the corner of a scrappy 4 1/2″ square and sew on the marked diagonal. Trim away the corner leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat to the adjacent corner. Do the same to the second scrappy 4 1/2″ square. Press the seams towards the corners.
4. Repeat sewing & trimming a 2 1/2″ background square to each corner of the scrappy 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.
5. Place the scrappy 4 1/2″ squares perpendicular to the 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle. Place the 4 1/2″ background squares in the corners and sew to each side of the scrappy square in the middle. Press the seams towards the corners.
6. Sew the rows together to complete the block. Press the seams towards the center of the block.
Would you like to see the back?
If you are part of my Do.Good.Stitches group, then proceed to making another one. Please? Thank you! If you just want to practice your 1/4-inch seams, then make as many as you like!
Can you believe that August is just around the corner? My summer is going WAY. too. fast.