Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Updates on Leftover Bags and Doll Clothes

Some of you may remember my "Leftover Bags" from a couple of posts back. I was playing with a few of the scraps that were left and this is the final result. It is big enough to slip a composition book in and the pocket will hold a cell phone or even a box of crayons! I'm guessing it would also hold an iPad. I know it will easily hold a Kindle with room to spare. I'm going to put it in my gift cabinet until I decide to pull it out and use it myself! These are my kind of colors! I put a very stiff interfacing in it, so it is pretty sturdy.

Here is a view of the back. See my little tag? This was so much fun!

I've also started on new batches of doll clothes for a granddaughter Christmas present. I figure that if I do a little each week, I'll have a healthy batch in time for Christmas! Here are six little pants outfits. (I tried to make little makeshift hangers to keep the pants and tops together. I'll have to work on this idea. I guess I could make little wire hangers?)

Here are the pajamas, robe, house shoes, jumper, dress, and jacket.
I used fat quarters for all of these.

In the meantime, I've been given a Gracie quilting frame that I've set up at my mother's house (she has a huge sewing space!) and we've been researching machines to put on it. This is mid arm size and we want to try to out before we invest in something too expensive. I've always quilted on my domestic machine (a Bernina). All that to say, this has been a busy week. I've also finished a quilt top and started on a new design. (I'll show you more when I get it worked out better.)
Until next time, Have fun with those scraps and fat quarters! By the way, while you're on the internet, go over to the following links and enter for a chance to win a GO! 


Friday, September 24, 2010

Sunflower Name Tag

Here's an idea for a name tag using scraps. I know that many guilds require name tags. In my local guild, if I forget to wear a name tag I'm charged a 25 cent fine. I plan on making several so that I can wear them like "funky" jewelry. 

Start out with a circle. Turn the edge under about 1/4" and make a running stitch around it. Leave the needle and thread in, as you will need to gather it and secure it later. Yes, you have made a large yo-yo!

Cut 5 squares. Mine were big enough that the circle fit inside with the turned under sides touching, but the size can vary. I think petals a little smaller than I made might look nicer. (Hindsight, you know!) Fold them into triangles and sew the open edges, leaving a turning space.
Trim the points, turn, and press.

Cut a circle of batting and a circle of contrasting fabric about 1/3 smaller than your yo-yo circle. Your name will go on the contrasting fabric. It might be wise to wait until the yo-yo is gathered to write the name to be sure it fits.

Make a running stitch across the bottom (the folded edge) of the petal and gather. Do this with all 5 petals. Of course, there's no reason you couldn't have 6 or more petals. Have fun with it!

Cut another circle (same size as the contrasting fabric circle) out of a scrap (I used muslin, but you could even use felt) and sew the petals around the edge of it.

Place the batting and contrasting circle inside the yo-yo and place this on top of the petals, as shown. Sew through all layers by sewing as close to the edge on the contrasting fabric as you can get. Check under the loose edge of the yo-yo to be sure the raw edges of the petals are not showing.

Now gather the yo-yo and secure the thread.

You can even slip a paper name tag inside the opening if you want. You can stop at this point


You can further embellish by adding a leaf. Sew a leaf shape (a little longer than the petals) on two pieces of fabric, right sides together. Leave the bottom flat and unsewn.
Turn, press, and make a tuck in the bottom to give it a shape. Sew to the back of the name tag, showing through a couple of petals.

You can also put a puffy center in by placing a wad of stuffing underneath the contrasting fabric and hand sewing the yo-yo edge down around it.

Add beads around the edge if you want.

I cut a circle of yellow felt that I hand sewed to the back of my name tag to finish it off neatly.

Now you're ready to go to the guild meeting in style!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Using "Leftovers" From Other Projects

Bags made from "leftovers"
I've never been one to look forward to leftovers for dinner, but leftovers from quilt projects can be a lot of fun!

I've been really busy the last week making quilt tops from new fabrics. Since I design my own patterns, I often cut strips and blocks that I end up not using. (There can be a LOT of trial and error to designing "from scratch".) I always save those pieces and reuse them when I can.

Pieced backs of bags
I had a pile of strips and scraps on my work table and decided to use them in tote bags. Even the little triangle flap was left over from a quilt project. I added a few ribbon loops between two strips in the bag on the left. These bags are small at only about  10" wide (not counting the 3" side panels) and 12" high. They would be perfect for folding up and carrying in my purse to use in place in plastic bags for purchases. Or how about a gift bag that is also part of the gift! They would also be nice for carrying a few books or magazines or a Bible.
 I lined them with leftovers from the backs of quilts.

I have another little pile left that I will also use to make a little bag.

Here is a trial "layout" for the front of a bag. I smoothed out the rounded edge on the black and white scrap. It might make a nice pocket.

Can you see the possibilities here? Just play with your scraps and see what you come up with. The scraps might dictate the size of the bag. That's okay. There are different uses for different sized bags.

This is probably nothing new to you if you have quilted a while, but sometimes we need our memories jogged. This is faster than a scrap quilt, although scrap quilts are wonderful, too!

Now I'm off to eat some leftovers ------ apple pie!  Now, that I don't mind!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Halloween Project Update

Halloween quilt ready to be basted
My Halloween quilt is ready to be layered and basted. I have had it draped across a big easy chair waiting for attention, but last week was a crazy week! Between the birth of twins (great niece and nephew), a death in the family, a front fence project starting, and cooking for the funeral, I set my quilting aside and tended to other business. I was just not in a quilting mood.

I changed the design some from what I posted earlier. I gave him a Jack O'Lantern, changed the bandana to a bow tie, and changed the position of the hands and arms. This is why I like to applique the way I do. I can manipulate the pieces until I decide on the design I like best.

I added ribbon loops at the corners to add a punch of color and fun, and bordered it with a golden yellow fabric, also used as a narrow border between the red/orange and black. I decided against a pieced border since I wanted this to be quick and EASY!

I added a little embroidery detail to the stars.

Detail of one corner showing ribbon loops and embroidery on stars
I had a great Halloween print fabric that I have had in my stash for years. Unfortunately, I only had one yard. I used my scraps to expand it as I explained in an earlier post.
great Halloween print from my stash
Expanded back for the quilt
So, now I'm ready to baste and quilt. I love getting to the binding part so I can sit in front of the television and do my binding. Its a great excuse for just sitting and doing something fairly mindless. I'll post the finished quilt later. Until then, Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me!

Check out the Guest Blogger on Quilting Bloggers today! It will be ME!!! You can get to know me just a bit better and learn a little of  my "journey" to this point in my life. I hope you will check this out and leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Because you read this far and even came to my blog, I'll tell you a few things about myself that aren't in my guest blog post.
     1. I once lived in a 100 year old Victorian house that had some "spooky" happenings. It was a great house with 10 fireplaces, hardwood floors, and even a secret room. I miss that house.

     2. I love Christmas so much, I have a long tradition of putting a tree in every room.
    In fact, two of my homes have been featured on Christmas tours in two different towns.
My quilting room last Christmas. (My grandmother's aprons are used as curtains.)

"off roading" in Moab, Utah
     3. I have actually done hand quilting while "off-roading" on mountain trails with my husband, who is a real Jeep fan! (We each have Jeeps.) If he was going to fall off the side of a mountain, I was going with him!

   4. I am afraid of swimming in deep water because of what might be "under there". Hey, I saw "Jaws"! When we go to the beach, I walk along the shore line.
Picking up fossilized shark teeth on Topsail Island, NC

rocks from the Pacific Northwest

  5. I think rocks are beautiful.  I also love flowers, birds, sunsets, rivers, ......just about anything in nature. ( I once carried five pounds of rocks home in my suitcase after visiting my son in the Pacific Northwest.)


Quilting inspiration in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

6. I have fabric that I think is so pretty, I have never cut into it. I just take it out and look at it every now and then. Actually, I have several pieces like that. Since I couldn't find fabric in some of my travels, I bought wraps that I could cut up and make quilts from. I can't stand to cut into it now!

  7. I went whale watching in the Dominican Republic.

     8. I've eaten Mexican food in Fiji, Paris (France), London (England), Jamaica, Cancun, and the Dominican Republic. Not to mention all the states in the United States. I still think the Tex-Mex I get in San Antonio is the BEST!

The Canyon Cafe in Paris, France, 2002

    9. I broke two toes in the South Pacific and had to hobble through the airport. Actually, my passport was lost on that trip and I almost had to stay behind!!!!! It was found just in time.

    10. I love old Christmas movies all year! Among my favorites are The Bishop's Wife, Christmas in Connecticut, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story (this one is not all that old, but I still love it!)

Now, that was more than you ever wanted to know about me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Growing Cotton So We Can Quilt!

Photo of cotton taken one week ago.
My brother in law, Lee, is a farmer. He mainly grows peanuts, but the last few years he has "gambled" on cotton also. I say "gambled" because farming is pretty much a gamble. The cotton you see here was ready to be "defoliated" in preparation for harvesting. All season, it has been cultivated, sprayed by a dust cropper several times, irrigated, and tended all at very great expense. It costs more to grow cotton than most of us spend on buying a house. Then, on the very day the defoliating was to happen, we had torrential downpours. We had 3 inches of rain in about an hour. That was last Friday. Today, the eye of Tropical Storm Hermine is passing directly over us. The cotton, which was mostly on the ground after Friday's rain, will now be finished off. This crop will almost certainly be "a wash". It is heartbreaking. No crop insurance because that is way too expensive and only covers the cost of the planting and not all the other expenses. (Not to speak of the dawn to dusk hours spent in the field!)
My heart goes out to Lee. I'm thankful that he and other farmers are willing to take this risk in the first place so that we can have the wonderful cotton fabric that we so much love! So next time you complain about paying $10 a yard for cotton fabric, remember what has gone into it. The growing and harvesting is only the beginning. It has to be cleaned, carded, spun, dyed, and I know there are MANY other steps in there that I didn't mention. Cotton is a miracle of nature. AND.....did you know that almost all potato chips are fried in cottonseed oil? (Just thought I would throw that in there.)

By the way, I'm going to be the guest blogger on Quilting Bloggers either Wednesday or Thursday!(You can find a link on the right.) Check in and learn more about me!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Halloween Project

with more stars and spread out over red fabric
I'm currently working on a new pattern for Halloween. Yes, it should have been out months ago, but I look at it as early for next year!  (Note: It is still protected by copyright, no matter how many changes you might make to it, so please be nice and play fair.) This panel is about 45" x 25" so far.

This is just a peak at the center panel. The pieces have their edges turned under and ready to applique down, but I am "auditioning" backings and poses. I haven't tried to make the skeleton "text book correct". He is only a suggestion of a skeleton. (I guess he would make a funny looking man with a lot of missing bones, but it would make for a very tedious project if all were included.) Everything is only pinned down at this point and the panel is only draped across a red fabric.  The next time you see it, there may be additions, subtractions, or even big changes. I might even change the background fabric! That's why I like this method of applique. I can get a good idea of what I'm going to end up with and make changes before I have done a lot of work.

Because the dark background made the turned under seams of the white bones appear, I backed each piece with batting. I've adhered it with glue stick temporarily to help it stay in place while I sew it.

At this point, I can either hand applique or machine applique, but all my edges will be turned under and will stay neat through a lot of washings.

I plan on the red being just  a very narrow flange around the perimeter and then perhaps some pieced squares as a border. Maybe stars? Flying Geese? I will have to play with it some more before I decide. Halloween is not a holiday I want to spend a lot of energy on, so I want to keep it a simple, quick project.  I could put a couple of borders and embroider a verse on it like I have done with several other patterns. At this point, I'm not sure. This is the fun part.

I'll keep you informed on my progress. What do you think?
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