Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pouch in Progress

Yup. It's bag week! Today, I'm working on a piece for the Pretty Little Pouch swap. I can't get enough of these Meadowsweet scraps, but they won't last forever. I'm going to try adding a small zippered pocket on the front left and then the main, bigger pocket will be zippered, too.

The little hexie flower will be on the front and the partial Dresden will end up on the back. I'm still moving other fabrics around and trying to figure out how to set the zippers. I think the fabric is perfect for Spring. I hope my partner likes it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Am I becoming a bag lady?

My WIPs this week seem to be all bags. I'm slightly addicted to slicing up old t-shirts and immediately crocheting the "tarn" into bags. (Tarn = t-shirt yarn. I think Plarn, for plastic yarn, has a nicer ring to it.) I expect to run out of shirts soon, then I can move on to something else!

I wanted this one to be bright, but I ran out of bright yarn. I need to cut more!

I love the more subtle colors in this one and the vintage button.

It is a little wider than the earlier bags, so it is well suited for holding my only knitting project.

When I started thinking about in-progress crocheted bags, I remembered these two made with an assortment of leftover yarns. They are both patiently waiting for lining and handles. I bought the black handles months ago and I have a magnetic closure somewhere in the craft stash.

I was thinking about covering the twill tape with fabric for the straps on this one. Apparently, I was planning to insert a zipper on this one. (It was tucked in the bag.) I am getting more comfortable with inserting zippers, but I'm not sure how to make it work in this bag.

I think these bags have been sitting unfinished for so long because I don't know if anyone would ever want to use them. I'm not sure I would use them. Should I finish them or release them?

Go visit WIP Wednesday for more goodies!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Totes

I've been focused on tote bags this past week.

In an attempt to de-clutter my sewing space, I started chopping up the stash of old t-shirts. The printed designs are set aside for t-shirt quilts. The bottoms of the shirts are sliced up into t-shirt yarn. I can crochet up one of these totes almost as quickly as I can cut up the shirts!

These two totes, and possibly a few more, will be for sale soon, either in my Etsy shop or in a local crafty gift shop. These totes are perfect for carrying a knitting project or taking a trip to the farmers market.

And for a bonus tote...
This is one of those wrap-strips-of-fabric-around-clothesline deals.

This will be a gift for an amazing friend who admired my clothesline bag. I thought my bag took 100 feet of clothesline, but as I started sewing this one together, I realized it must have been closer to 200 feet. I don't have a very good memory and can never find my notes. That's what blogging is for, right? Note to future self: 200 feet of clothesline!

The fabric was given to me years and years ago from a hand painted fabric studio. They used to cut off the ends of the pieces to clean them up and threw them into a big garbage bag. They knew I used small pieces, so they gave a whole bag to lucky me! After making two of these bags and a couple of bowls, the supply is finally dwindling.

Time for more t-shirt slicing!

I'm linking to Karen's Craft Party!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Success! Last Friday, Julia and I went shopping with my niece Debbie, who was in town visiting. Our first stop was JoAnn's to look for the Denise Schmidt (DS Quilts) collection. There were a few bolts on the shelf, but I spied the rest behind the cutting counter! I chose my favorite dots and geometrics on this trip. I gave the girls some cash and we split up at the register to be able to take advantage of the 3 coupons I had printed!

Next stop: DSW for prom shoes. Now that we have the shoes, I can start hemming the dress (all 3 layers of it!). See how big the bag is? There are two more boxes in there! Julia got a pair of sneakers and I found a pair of sandals that I hope will be comfortable for walking.

I hope you all had a peaceful and joyful Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011


For her birthday, Julia wanted to try making homemade potato gnocchi. Fail. It was all my fault. We'll try again someday soon. In the meantime, I ran back to the store for frozen.
San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil.
Big plate of antipasto.

We read Cake Wrecks everyday, so Julia looked for the wreckiest cake she could find. Actually, this cake is pretty cute. His teeth are crooked, and he's blue, which is her favorite color!

With the candles, he started looking like a porcupine. The white candle between his eyes was a nod to her brother's favorite creature, the narwhal! As a musician and singer, she has plenty of lung capacity to blow out 17 candles.

Happy Birthday, Julia! It's going to be an awesome year!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Karen Day at MQX

The Machine Quilters Expo is in Providence this week and it is so amazing to have an international show in our back yard!

Look who I took a class with! The one and only Karen McTavish! She is as awesome in person as everyone says she is. (How embarrassing that she felt the need to duck to my level. I look like such a dork! Thank you to Diane, my MQX friend, for taking the pic.)

My first attempt at McTavishing is so cool! Karen encouraged us to develop our own style, so this is McTina-ing! I started out using really tightly packed filler quilting and I'm wishing I had opened it up more. Practice needed!

And here I am with my friend, the one and only Karen from Sew Many Ways! We are suckers for a good demo! Between the two of us, we bought everything that we stopped to watch being demoed. Now we just have to use the stuff!

One of the vendors (Cheri's Crystals) had the heat set crystal tools and crystals, which I already own, but have never used! So I bought this cute bag from her and came straight home to add the crystals.

It looks like I need to heat them longer, because a couple have already fallen off. How cute is this Hmong applique embellished with Swarovski crystals?!

I can't wait to use this bag when I head back to the show tomorrow with Julia! If you are going, look for us! She'll be the teenager wearing a selvedge skirt!
(Sorry for all the exclamation points...I had a great day.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I put out the call to my quilt guild to create Just One Star in just one week! A dozen blocks made on such short notice is great. I'll be mailing them to Moda today!

We hosted "stars" of youth ministry last week. We were blessed to have 3 young, faith-filled men stay with us while they were in town to hold retreats for our confirmation classes. They became a part of our family and we are so grateful to them for their love and witness.

Add some stars to your day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Red and White Inspiration

I was so inspired by the Infinite Variety exhibit of red & white quilts, I had to issue a challenge to my guild! It wasn't an official challenge, but I am hoping some other quilters will be inspired to produce something for our guild show in October.

I always view quilts with the eye of a paper-piecer. So when I saw this quilt, I knew it could be paper-pieced and that I could even use Anita Grossman Solomon's technique of not cutting apart the sections. (I can't even tell you how much I love her for writing the book, Make It Simpler!)

Of course, I needed to make mine smaller! Each block is 2" square and the whole quilt measures 10.5" X 14.5". My family has been informed that this is NOT a place mat or a mug rug!

I machine quilted in the ditch, then I did a little bit of hand quilting in the white border.
Can you see the pin holes from the safety pins I used for pin-basting? That bugs me. They are the smaller pins, too. I've been trying to rub them out, but I can still see them. Do you have that problem?

Rather than using a sleeve for hanging, I added triangles to each corner, creating pockets. (Cut 4.5", folded on the diagonal, Line up raw edges in the corners of the quilt, stitch in the seam allowance after the binding is machine stitched on the front.) The label is a folded triangle stitched into the corner, too.

Cut a piece of wooden dowel or bamboo skewer just shorter than the length of the quilt and slip it into the pockets. If you cut 2 pieces, one for the width and one for the length, you have the option of hanging the quilt either horizontally or vertically. You will probably want to smooth the ends of the dowel with some sand paper.

It is now easy to hang the dowel on a single nail or hook.
I need to do some research to locate the name of this pattern.

Anita emailed to tell me the block is called Turkey Giblets. Sure enough, here it is on Quilter's Cache. Thanks, Anita!

Here are a couple more quilts I'd like to try to "reproduce."

I love these pointy points and zig zag border!

Pieced hexagons! Oh my!

Is anyone interested in a tutorial with the paper-piecing pattern? I'll need to figure out how to post a PDF to the blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Naked Bed Challenge

I joined the Naked Bed Challenge today!
Why is it that everyone else has a quilt on their bed except the quiltmaker?!

I have been planning to finish my three by three swap quilt as a bed quilt for Bill and me. This challenge will give me the push (and deadline!) that I need! Two more small borders have been added since I took this photo- one with pieced squares and another solid white. And I've started cutting for a wide piano key border. I'm trying not to repeat fabrics in the border. Fun!

My bed looks so bad, I'm showing it to you in shame. Faded, ugly comforter. yuck. I bought myself the floral pillowcases recently to make me feel a little better.

I think I might need a fresh paint job in here when I get the pretty quilt done. I do all the painting around here and I love it! Pete's room is at the top of the list, so my room will need to wait.

Are you sleeping on a naked bed?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Striped Flower

Here's another little quilt I completed a month ago and forgot to show you!
I'm calling it Striped Flower, for lack of a better title, even though the flower isn't striped.

I finished it in time to enter it in the Quilt Camp Flora Challenge.
The feathers could be better and will be as I practice more.

I had pieced the center a while ago with instructions from Anita Grossman Solomon's book, Rotary Cutting Revolution. The flower was an afterthought and wasn't added until after the quilting was done. I think it's kind of cool.

If you're interested, the blocks are 3" finished and the whole quilt is 20" square.
I think we're all caught up now!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Springtime Dresden

I'm so happy to show you the perfect springtime quilt! This is my Meadowsweet Dresden. I actually finished it a month ago, but I needed to wait for just the right Spring day to post about it.

It is made from a fat quarter collection of Meadowsweet by Sandi Henderson that I bought from the Fat Quarter Shop a year ago. I used a dresden ruler that works great!

I brought it outside for a photo shoot. I tried and tried to find a place to hang it. A tree branch, swing set, neighbor's fence. Nope. It ended up on the ground near a row of daffodils that need a few more days of warm weather to bloom.

I love it so much, I couldn't stop snapping pix! Here you can see the quilting designs I used. I spent the entire weekend of quilt camp machine quilting this baby.

Laying it out on the ground was probably the best choice, since you can't tell how not flat it really is. As it's been hanging, it seems to be straightening out, but it really should be blocked. If I waited to block it and for the daffodils to bloom before showing you, you'd be waiting another month or more!

I will be buying a new camera soon, so I can play with lighting. Even with hazy sunshine today, there was so much light on all that white fabric, when I focused on the daffodils, the quilt got completely washed out.

Focus on the quilt, and the plants go too dark.

Here's the back with a green solid and a row of coins.

I love the quilting on the Dresdens! The swirly fill was labor- and thread- intensive!

And here she is, hanging in my Spring-green kitchen.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just One Star

Just a quick post to encourage you to make Just One Star to comfort a soldier. Visit Moda's blog for the details and to download the pattern. It take just a few minutes to make one.

Go on, make one today!