Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday night already?  Very fast moving week and while I didn't get everything done that I wanted to, we still made some progress.  For instance, this is Block 11 of the Sewcial Bee Samper Quilt.  I had fun getting the bunnies in the center. Thanks to Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland for their hard work and guidance on this project.

Jasmine's a little fuzzy in this picture but she is all in with this week's block, too.
The next project this week was to continue making cat mats for the Humane Shelter.  I used leftover 5" charms to use for the cat and yarn appliques. The cute cat is a pattern from the book called "Reminiscing: A Whimsicals Collection" by Terri Degenkolb.  I added the yarn ball on my own.  (See below.)

Jasmine was very curious about what these little cats were up to on their mats.

Meanwhile, the tulips are blooming and the grass is growing and tomorrow is Easter.  Hallelujah, He is Risen.

See you next week - and I will finish the mystery project this coming week.  Debbie

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hello, Saturday!  This is Block 10 of the Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt presented each week by Maureen Cracknell Handmade and Sharon Holland Designs.  I surprised myself when this block turned out.  Quarter Square Triangles sounded just too complex to work, but these are better than most of my Half Square Triangles.

Of course, I did receive Jasmine's two paws of approval this week - so how wrong could it go?

New Project - Kennel Mats!

A new friend from the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers, Sharon at YellowCatQuiltDesigns shared a post about making kennel mats for her local shelter.  We had purchased some items for the local shelter and when we dropped them off I had Lance check if they'd be interested in kennel mats and they gave him a very enthusiastic - YES!  The cats (and dogs) get to take their mats to their new home.  I'm hoping to make many more of these.

I've not done a lot of applique so when the blanket stitch left the pinked edges sticking out like claws it was a total accident.  But I love it and will try to do it on purpose next time.  Also did a little bit of straight line quilting with the walking foot, too.  It occurred to me this might be a good way to practice free motion quilting as well.  The mats are about 12" by 18" and I'm already planning the scraps for my next couple of mats. Thank you, Sharon, this is fun!

Practical Project Bags
Another Short Project

Bought the pattern for this on Craftsy after reading about sewing with vinyl and seeing similar bags online, but I really wanted serious directions rather than trying to figure it out as I went along.  The pattern was simple to understand, though fairly complex.  If you've put in a zipper before the only real challenge is sewing with the vinyl.

I did buy a teflon foot which worked pretty well but I ended up using the backing paper on the vinyl as tissue paper to keep the vinyl off the machine surface.  Anywhere it touches the metal, the vinyl sticks.  So, you're kind of doing a balancing act while trying to sew a straight line.  However, once you get the hang of it, the project moves right along.  This bag used an 18"x 10" piece of vinyl on front and back - so see through - And with a 17" zipper was about 18" square without the handle.  (Sorry for the fuzzy picture.) I used it immediately to store the materials for the Mystery Project which I'll finish up next week. Here's a picture of the empty bag, too.

I tried to get Jasmine to peek through the bag for me but she was taking a serious nap.  Sewing is very tiring for her some days. That's pretty much it for this week.  Join me next week to see how the Mystery Project Box is finished up.  Til then, take care and have a lovely week.  Debbie

Saturday, April 1, 2017

This week's Sewcial Bee Sampler is Block #9 The Wedding Ring.  It does not have a border so is a 12.5" square. I think there are 5 blocks like this with one in the center of the quilt.  Right now, this is my choice for center block. The colors in this block, except the very center piece are light and I'm thinking it might look out of place without the wider sashing.  We'll see...
You can see all the blocks on Instagram #SewcialBeeSampler and I'm assured it's not too late if you'd like to sew along.

Though the fabrics are pale, I'm hoping when surrounded by a dark purple thin border, it will pop and be lovely.   

Jasmine, waking from a nap on her quilt, gave her tacit approval as I was sewing the pieces together.

As strange as it might sound to those who know me well, one of my favorite parts of the piecing process is the pressing stage.  (I wore polyester for years to avoid anything to do with ironing.)  But somehow I now get great satisfaction from seeing the fabric turn into flat, crisp little pieces that just fit together.  Sigh...

So, what about that mystery project? There's really good news. A new friend, Yvonne from , commented on my predicament last week and sent me very good potential solution.  I can see it in my mind and think it will work.  In order to use it I need some additional padding material which I have ordered and am just waiting for our post person to deliver.  As soon as it gets here I'll be checking it out.  In the meantime, I removed the bottom of the box and bound it to get it ready to become the top of the box.

For now, I have the Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks sitting on it just to try it out.  Jazz is quite certain this is a good plan and particularly likes that the cat material will be on top instead of facing the bottom.

This week we were pleased to have Callie join us for one of the sewing sessions.  She spent equal time overseeing our work, watching the front yard for those pesky chipmunks, and, you know, napping.  Hope you had a great week, too, and we'll chat again next Caturday, uh, Saturday.  Bye Bye, Debbie

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Here it is - my Block #8 in the Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt sew-along.  I'm really enjoying this process.  I rather like the incremental nature of it, the growing stack of finished blocks, and the anticipation I feel on Tuesday nights!  Thanks Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell for all the fun and the helpful tutorials. You can see all the squares on Instagram at #sewcialbeesamplerquilt. This week I pulled all my fabric out to see which two might be the strongest choices for this design.

First, I auditioned the Med Green I wanted to use with a pale green background.  But...uhmm...

Next, I tried the peach as a background, but again, I wasn't feeling the inspiration.  So...

Then I got out the Yellow and presto! change-o!  It looked just right.  Later in the afternoon...

when completed, it got two paws of approval!  Can't do much better than that.

Now to Look at the Mystery Project from last week.

I'll just say from the outset, this was not a well-thought idea.  It seemed like a good plan but really lacked some serious engineering know-how.  So, in the photo it looks okay except for those wobbly sides.  But what is it?  I mentioned earlier the small, ever-growing stack of quilt blocks for the Sewcial Bee, But I really had no place to keep them together and flat.  I had them placed over my Mom's sewing box, but after so many weeks hanging down sides looked a little warped. I needed a box in which to keep them safe and flat. Here's a quick run through of the process.

First Jasmine approves the fabric.  I pulled leftover 10 squares from a Cotton & Steel collection. You can see why she likes it.
I cut the squares down to 8 " pieces so the box could be a little bigger than 14" square. This is the box bottom but it needs a lining. I used 4 other squares to be the inside of the box bottom.
Jazz thinks this is okay but she isn't actually touching it. I should have started worrying right then.  Instead, I got out a double-sided, medium weight, foam interfacing material and ironed it between the two 16" pieces.

Jazz thought it smelled funny and tried to move it off the table.  I saved it and proceeded to make side walls about 4" tall with 3" pieces of the foam ironed in between the long piece that would go all the way around the square and become the sides.  I had not considered how to connect the sides. 

To make a long story short, I decided to fold the excess fabric on the bottom piece to wrap up and over the excess on the sides, like a binding. I proceeded to use Wonder Clips to secure it for sewing. 

I picked it up to take it to the sewing machine by grabbing the closest corner and then discovered why it wouldn't work.  The bottom was too heavy and too floppy to lift even its own weight. I'm sorry there are no pictures of this. I couldn't hold still enough for focusing.  Anyway, now it sits on the far side of the table while I try to imagine a solution. Sometime next week, I'll try something else.  It might look nice sitting on the work bench across the room and could still hold the squares but it is too floppy to be moving around securely.

What to do when faced with a project that isn't working out well?  I know, I'll make a bigger tote bag with another Snap!  A few leftover charm squares of Moda French General Favorites and I'm a happy camper again.  Let me know if you have suggestions for the Mystery Floppy Box and we'll chat again next week.  Bye Bye.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Finished up Block 7 of the Sewcial Bee Quilt Sampler this week. Those are long-eared lambs not mis-shapen rabbits (as my husband assumed.
I was planning to do machine quilting this week, but all sorts of events changed how much time was available.

So, this morning I decided to make a new purse and use another snap!  I used three fat quarters and made up the steps as I went along.  It is very simple - like a small tote with Heat & Bond interfacing. It took a fat quarter for the bottom, a fat eighth for the contrasting color and part of another fat quarter for the lining and pocket inside.

It has one inside pocket and at the top - a snap!  I love this new snap tool and will try to show you how it works.

The snap set has 4 pieces. Two are just alike and are the outside buttons.  They have a very pointy back piece and I was advised by an Amazon review to shorten it just a little.  Hopefully, in this picture you can see the whole back with full pointy piece (left) and the shortened one (right). I just clipped it with scissors.

I used the awl that came with the set to poke matching holes through the top of the bag.

Then I pushed one of the back caps with pointy part through the hole.

Then position one of the interior pieces over the pointy part.  Below is the tool used to set the snaps.

Position the black side over the back of the snap and the clear piece over the interior snap piece. Then just apply pressure.  I have arthritis in my hands and cannot apply a lot of pressure but it doesn't take too much.  Then it is done:

Next week we'll look at this mystery project and I'll tell you what went right and what went WRONG.  In the meantime I've added a place for you to put in your email address and receive notification when the next post arrives. (I would never sell it - promise.)  Love to hear from you, so comment away!  Thanks, Debbie

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Remember this little snap wallet?  (See last post) I bought a set of colorful plastic snaps which came with the tools to set them.  It was simple and fast!  Now I want more projects that need snaps.  Here's a picture of the set below.  Honestly, they saw me coming - I love sets of colored things; pens, pencils, crayons, beads, whatever. It comes with a little awl which was great for placing the hole.  The set is a little short on instructions but one of the reviews suggested clipping off the very tip of the button shaft that pokes through the fabric for the best result and I did do that.  The snap doesn't feel flimsy or cheap and has a very satisfying SNAP!

It's called OUNONA 360pcs T5 Snap Button Plastic with Snaps, Pliers, and Organizer Storage Container. I found it on Amazon.

This was Week 6 of the Sewcial Bee Sampler Sew-A-Long and here's my block:

There's not as much contrast as I would like to see but I'm happy with the bunnies and bunny eggs. You can view lots of other blocks on Instagram #Sewcial Bee Sampler.  You can enter the Giveawy on Maureen Cracknell's blog through the weekend.

Middle of last week, I read an article about laser markers and how simple it was to add one to your machine.  The $6.99 price tag seemed really reasonable.  However, should you want to do this here's my experience.  The idea was that the device could be attached to the face of my sewing machine and draw a bright laser line right down the 1/4" line or in a direct line with the needle to make sewing a straight line easier.  Ordered the device which arrived in a couple of days from Harbor Bay.  Headed out to the sewing machine.  And presto! there was the line in just the right place.

At this point I look up and notice that the place I need to attach it to the machine is right over the front of the thread take up lever slots which on my machine go all the way up the front  to the top.  See below:

Not being able to thread the machine can seriously impede your sewing!  Obviously, I should have looked before I leaped.  Thankfully, adding Washi tape to extend the 1/4" line is working just fine. And aren't the swans cute?

In a brighter turn of events I found a cute, FREE pattern for a Hanging Tissue Holder at the Coats & Clark site.  The pattern is pretty simple, uses scrap pieces and a swivel latch hook.

Essentially you fold the pieces and weave them together. Create a tab for the latch hook and sew on the back piece.  Turn it inside out and load up a purse size packet of tissues.  I'm attaching mine to my Sunday School bag since Sunday School is where I always need and never have a tissue.

That's it for this week.  I'm going to try some straight line quilting next week on a real project for the first time.  For me, nothing creates a curve faster than trying to sew a straight line.  Hope you have a great week.  Debbie

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hi Again, this week has flown by and amid all the busy-ness I did get a couple of things finished.

First, there's Block 5 of the Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt.  This was a little more challenging than the block Maureen and Sharon showed us, but I really wanted to add some fussy cuts to the centers of some of the blocks.  So instead of using multiple center patches and sewing straight seams, I had to set this block into the middle.  I had read how to do it and remembered seeing it on some television show many years ago, so I winged it.

But I think the finished block was worth it.  I really like the fussy cut and and the whole Easter theme of this quilt.  I keep reminding myself that the Sew-a-long won't be over until August but right now I'm loving the Spring feel of it and the soft colors.

The "side" project I did this week was a tutorial Caroline shared on SewCanShe earlier this week.  It's a Mini Card Wallet by Susie at Loganberry Handmade .  It is really easy to follow the instructions. The main reason I wanted to try it was I found some snap buttons left over from my father-in-law's hobby days and this project uses a snap.

So I started off fine...

Steel Essex Linen on the outside, denim colored cotton lining, and batting.  I also made the Bias Binding thanks to another tutorial from Susie; also a first time experience.  Again, her instructions were great!

Everything was peachy!  I took a TV break (oh, and lunch) to hand sew the binding down and then went back to the sewing room to tackle that snap. (Susie has a tutorial for that, too!)  However, it was then I discovered that the Snap Buttons Bob had were intended for leather and were way too tall to work on this little wallet.  Looks like I'm going to log back onto Amazon and find smaller snaps.  I'll let you know how it goes next week.  Until then have a great week.

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