Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quilt Festival

Here is my entry in the Spring Quilt Festival. The pattern can be found in the book, Modern Quilt Workshop.
The story behind this quilt being made is that I didn't intentionally purchase fabric to make it. I just loved this design and had filed it away as a "someday I'll make this".
Then two blog land friends separately sent me red/white and pink/white fabrics that I loved. I knew I wanted these special fabrics to be used in a quilt, and that's when this design popped into my head as I was waking one morning.


Along with the "gifted" fabric, I combed my stash for red/whites/pinks to use for the blocks. The blue/white background fabric was actually a reject (wrong shade of blue) for a different quilt, but went perfectly with the happy colour combination I had going.

I added a scrappy, pieced strip to the quilt back and freehand machine quilted wavy lines - both firsts for me. Turns out these firsts meant I discovered new ways to fall in love with the whole quilt making process. In honour of the sweet friends that gave me the fabric that inspired this special quilt, I named my quilt, Boxes of Friendship.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Scrapbusting

I finished up those scrappy place mats from a couple of days ago. Including the latest five - I now have a set of nine and each one is different.

I found everything I needed in my stash. Hard to believe I still have so many red fabrics to work with. I even made the binding using scraps.

Here's the flip side of two place mats:

this way you can see that although the backing fabric is the same, the bindings are different. Love it!


This project means another Spring to Finish Challenge completion. Whew. Maybe I will get 10 projects finished before the end of the Challenge!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Check it out!

Rebecca from Thrifty Goodness also writes a column for the Examiner online about crafting on a budget. She has pulled together projects from cyberspace that will inspire and motivate your creativity AND won't drain your wallet. That's got your attention, right? ;o) Imagine my surprise when she recently contacted me about using this tutorial in her column. How cool is that?! Check it out online here.

Oh, please know I would love to hear from you and if you use my tutorial, I would be tickled to see what you make. Thanks!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seeing red

I'm happily working away on other projects that have been lingering for far too long. When I made my scrappy red patchwork table runner and placemats, I had leftovers. I decided to continue on piecing and now have 5 more placemats.

After quilting and binding these, not only will my quilted table setting be greater, but I will have whittled down the scrap stash a bit more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The answer is clear

Recently, my mom phoned me with a sewing problem. She's wanting to sew swimsuit bags for the grandchildren that take swimming lessons, but she wanted to make them economically. Giving her some ideas of what to do, I decided to see what I could make using what I had on hand.
Lucky for me, I received some scrap pieces of oilcloth fabrics from my friend Jacqueline. I decided to use this cute toile oilcloth for the inside of the bag. Now, what to use for the front that wouldn't hide the toile? How about using the vinyl covers from those sample books I have? This way, the bag is waterproof AND you can still see the pretty toile from the outside.

Trying to photograph this was tricky. The vinyl reflects light!
To show that there really is a layer of clear vinyl over the toile, I put some buttons into the bag for the photos.





I made binding for all of the edges, with a loop at one end of the zippered top


and used the same fabric to back the toile. To waterproof the seams I need to purchase some seam sealant, but even as is, this should work to carry anything damp.

It makes me happy when I find a way to re purpose whatever I have into something useful, like this waterproof bag made from scraps and a vinyl sample book cover.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Figuring out a solution

sometimes takes me longer than I would like. That's the case with trying to figure out how to sash the 12 blocks I sewed from my (then meagre) stash. While trying to be thrifty, I used at least 4 different white fabrics for the block backgrounds. Obviously, it meant that I couldn't use white for the sashing (as this would emphasis the fact that nothing matched) and so this quilt got put aside as I didn't have a fabric that would tie it all together.

I added the WIP to my Spring to Finish Challenge list and went searching for a fabric to sash my blocks. Above, is an up close shot of it - the colours aren't showing well in my photo. It's a chocolate brown background with tiny leaves in red, yellow and green with gold accents. All of those colours can be found in my blocks.
Here's a shot of the blocks laid out with all the sashing strips before being sewn together.

I'm finding it hard to get true colour photos of this. Not sure if it's the colours of the fabric itself, or the lighting in my house. For fun, I've hung the completed quilt top in front of the living room window, making the fabric look like stained glass.

It's not quite a finish yet, but at least I'm getting closer! Hopefully, figuring out a backing and binding fabric won't take me as long as the sashing did. ;o)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Because you asked...

I thought of would show you a couple of hats I've made that are for sale...


A newsboy cap with an embossed lightweight wool blend combined with denim and black velvet.
The second hat is also a newsboy version, but made with a light weight orange corduroy, brown plush brim and cotton print band.
This hat was inspired by a chat with a potential customer. She's vivacious in personality - and this is my interpretation of that in fabric. ;o) Both of these hats will be returned to me tomorrow from the booth at the Farmer's Market where they've been for sale. I'm not sure if it's the fabrics, the price or even the venue where I've had them for sale, but no sales is certainly some feedback. It's all part of the experience and I'm willing to learn from it.

Being new to the selling my sewing marketplace, the biggest learning curve for me is in the arena of pricing my finished product. At this point in time, it feels a bit like a juggling the numbers game... cost of labour + cost of materials + profit margin and including the cost of commission for selling in another person's business space. Then, there's always the question of just how much is a potential customer willing to pay for your product. I want to be reasonable (in the past, I was good at underpricing myself and think that now I'm likely bordering the other extreme), but I want my sewing to be profitable. Any wisdom you care to share on this??? I'm hoping that time and feedback from the marketplace will get me sorted out on this bit of the business. The sewing part is easy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Linen, linings and labels

Hopefully, I'm not boring you to tears with posting about the linen bags I'm making from samples. This is my newest version, complete with a cotton lining and ribbon on the zipper pulls.
The opposite side has larger scale blooms.

All of the bags I've made in this series have quilting cotton for lining and an interior zippered pocket.
I ended up waiting to sew the linings in all of these bags until I could print up labels for them. I followed the self made labelling tutorial found on Patchwork Pottery.


Why did I wait for including labels? Fingers crossed, I'm going to put these bags for sale along with the hats that I've made.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting the details right

I realize this is not the first time I'm sharing this project with you. It has been staying in my WIP line-up all because of some finishing details. Okay, it was set aside to languish because I didn't like the first lining I had sewn into it. It bugged me, but I didn't want to waste the lining.
Being added to my Spring to Finish list meant it finally got my attention and is now off the list. I ripped out the previous lining and chose to use the left-over backing fabric from my Bento Box quilt to line it. Ah, now I like it. I also took the opportunity to add a couple of new details: my own label,
and this cute printed ribbon on the zipper pull.

Getting the details right, makes all the difference to me.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Can you believe it?

Look at all this fabric bounty I recently received... yes, you're seeing yardage, pieces, scraps and selvedges. I'm still in shock, myself.

Thank-you, Jacqueline and Samantha!!!!
I spent time over the past two days stitching up the scrappy bits first. * This is my playground. ;o)

I started making 'yardage' from the first generous gift of Jacqueline's scraps, oh, ages ago, and used up what I had on hand. Now that she's replenished my scrap supply with more of her yummy scraps, I got busy sewing and have enlarged my "yardage".

How about a close-up to show off all those pretty bits of fabric? Obviously, my piecing style here is called "using every bit" (meaning: no pattern/block design). It's quite fun to piece things this way and I'm pleased with how it's coming together.

I've a sizable piece to work with and I do have plans for it. Next up, I will quilt it. This has been a WIP for months and I would love to complete it for the Spring to Finish Challenge.
Can you believe how generous friends are???

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Do what you want...

like enjoy some flowers,

dive into some pretty scraps for a bit of sewing
and have your family cook today's meals. Just ideas... some of which I'm trying today. ;o)
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

For the boys

We're fortunate to have two full baths in our current home, which means our teenage sons have they're own bathroom. Being guys, they prefer to keep things simple. Nothing too fussy and nothing 'girly' (read: NO PINK) about their decorating preferences. Keeping that in mind, I decided to make this bathmat for them, using what I had on hand.

I grabbed two coordinating towels which were in good shape except for the worn and fraying outside edges. I measured the floorspace in the guys bathroom and cut the towels to fit it.

I thought two layers of towel would be more comfortable to stand on, as well as making the reverse side more interesting. I finished the edges using some 'manly themed' quilting cotton as binding. Now there's a practical, easy to care for mat for them to use and I can cross this project off my Spring to Finish list.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside...

with blowing snow on the 4th of May. Leaves on our tree have started, but have paused.

Lucky for me, I get to stay inside and sew.
This is my third bag made from linen samples and this time I decided to machine quilt it before construction.
It was different quilting on linen. Not quite as fluid in the free hand stitching as I am on cotton fabric, but I just had to try the idea.
Despite loving the extra bit of body quilting gives this bag, I don't know that I'll continue with it. I'm not sure it's worth it. The big print is the feature and frankly, the stitches get lost on the background. What do you think?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The second time around

I changed up the handles on the bag. I wanted to use every scrap of the linen samples, but it meant reducing the width of the handles.

It works, but I think I prefer the wider handles.
I will say, tweaking a pattern is more enjoyable when working with interesting fabric!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Simple designs for fabric samples

Remember that I bought some outdated sample books recently? I thought I'd try out a couple of ideas to re-purpose them.

The small sample books gave just enough fabric to make small zip top pouches.

The larger sample books provided enough for this style of bag with next to nothing left over. It took two coordinating swatches to make this bag design.

Linen is so easy to work with - it has so much body which is great for this design. Due to the bold, large scale print on the fabric each side is different.

I've plenty more samples to experiment with and it's nice knowing that I gave new life to some gorgeous fabric that may well have ended up in a landfill.

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