Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Last of the Mini Series Drawstring Bags

Back in 2022 when I joined the Mini Series Sew Along, I had in mind to use the 4,5" unfinished blocks as focals for a collection of small drawstring gift bags, and I've finally made it happen. 16 in all - 15 sew along blocks + my first chevron block that was the wrong size. What a variety, right?

For the majority of the bags, I made use of stashed prints, though a few were made of solids - one each of Essex cotton-linen blend, textured cotton, and AG Kaleidoscope. It was my original intent to use Essex natural and quilt the exterior, like the first bag shown below; but when I realized I was low on that fabric, I figured why not use up some other stash?

The finished bags range from 6.5" wide x 8" tall to 8" x 10", all depending on the amount of a particular fabric I had.

The drawstring ties are a mix of 1/2" natural twill tape, which I purchased from Jeni Baker Patterns; 1/2" white twill tape purchased from Beyond Trim on etsy; and 2mm black waxed cord from Amazon. I always keep these options on hand for projects such as this.

It feels great to have that project finely completed, and a couple of the bags have already been gifted.... just as I'd hoped. I'm happy to have a stock of them, and I look forward to sharing more of them in the months ahead.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Plus Quilt Along

It's been a while since I've made a Plus quilt, but when I did, I had a nice stack of 5" squares left over, knowing some day, I'd make another. So when I saw Jeni @jenib320 announce an upcoming Plus Quilt Along, I figured why not.

Most, if not all, of the prints are original Cotton + Steel. I'm planning on making the baby size to stash for gifting or donating. Since my squares are 5", a size not included in Jeni's pattern, mine will be slightly larger than her baby-size. Being small, I figure I can squeeze it in among other projects I might want to do. The quilt along is pretty leisurely, but hopefully I'll be back with a finished quilt in a few weeks!

Monday, April 15, 2024

The White Stole

During the final days of March and early days of April, I was working on a secret project - another liturgical stole. The occasion for the gift was to be our son's ordination, which occurred on Saturday! Thankfully, we were able to attend, as it took place at his new congregation in another state. You can be sure we were celebrating!

As for the stole, this white one will be used during the several weeks following Easter, as well as other short seasons throughout the church year. Again, I'm used a pattern by Paula BehrensThe base is Essex white, interfaced with Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece; and the lining is Kona white. Even though the 987F fleece worked well for the first stole I made a few months ago, with the white Essex, is seemed to look wrinkled. It took some serious pressing and spray starch to make it presentable.

The stole design was inspired by the Iona Stole from Jeff Wunrow Designs. The main feature is the 1.5" trim, and because I really needed to see some fabric for that in person before purchase, I went to Joann and found some options perfect for what I needed:

  • Silver on White Quilt Glitter Cotton Fabric by Keepsake Calico
  • Gold Shimmer Quilt Foil Cotton Fabric by Keepsake Calico
  • Fabric Traditions Textured White Cotton Fabric by Keepsake Calico
  • Gold Shimmer Quilt Foil Cotton Fabric by Keepsake Calico
  • Screen Blender on White Quilt Cotton Fabric by Quilter's Showcase
Plus I used some Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic Crystal and Diamond Textiles Top Stitch in White that I had in my stash.

I learned a thing or two with this stole - the primary thing being the trim fabric that went around the neck of the stole really had to be cut on the bias. It took making a custom pattern for that bit, a little fiddly, but it worked great once I realized that. Hopefully it isn't obvious, but the trim was hand-appliqued onto the main fabric. I used Aurifil 40wt in white for a little extra strength.

At the center back, I added a 2" gold strip to coordinate with the detail on the front, and also to cover that back neck seam. Again, this stole measured 50" from center back to the bottom front. See my previous stole post to check out how I weighted the front slightly. Due to my method, the bottom front edges were also stitched closed by hand.

As a finishing touch, I stitched one of my A Quilter's Table labels on the lining, and hopefully it isn't noticeable when the stole is being worn. If so, we'll just remove it.

As it happened, we were able to attend worship at our son's church yesterday and since the stole fit the season, he was wearing it. That was fun to see, and it looked great on him, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Like, Totally :: April

Apparently I'm trying everything possible to avoid working on my Pantone quilt project. (Ugh) So when I had a few moments to sew this week, I got to work on this month's Seattle MQG BOM blocks.

Composed primarily of HSTs, a handful of flying geese left from last month were also incorporated. So it feels good to have those done!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Compass Bag II

Even though I loved the Ainsley Bag I made a few few weeks ago, I knew almost immediately that it was too small for my day to day use. As I was considering what to make to serve my purposes, I decided I really wanted to use that Meadow in Dusk from Dusk Fusion by Bonnie Christine again in some way. For my Ainsley Bag, I used it for the exterior fabric. Turns out, this time, it became the bag lining.

Looking through my bag patterns, I selected Noodlehead's Compass Bag, which I didn't remember at first that I'd made before. When I realized it, I was pretty sure it would be a good choice, so I forged ahead with plans to make the small version, which measures 9.5" wide x 11" high x 4" deep. Rummaging through my stash, I struggled a bit about what to use for an exterior fabric, and finally decided to try some leather I'd been given. I wasn't 100% sure how it would work out but figured it was worth a try.

Right off, I knew I'd use Aurifil Forty3. Luckily I had 1246 [Grey], which coordinated beautifully with the light gray leather, with 40wt in the bobbin and a 100/16 needle. I also used my Non-Stick Sewing Presser Foot, which sews on leather without marring the surface. Someone had told me about it, and I was dubious due to the low price, but it's been working great for me.

The pattern calls for interfacing most pattern pieces with Pellon SF101, but I omitted that on all the leather pieces. It also suggested a canvas layer behind all the exterior pieces, and for better or worse, I went ahead and added that. Later, I was thinking maybe that might not have been necessary, and just added to the thickness of the layers, and the weight of the bag.

Due to the use of the leather, there were several things I did differently than the pattern suggested:

  • Omitted the rivets on View A side pockets
  • Used just one layer of leather for the strap tabs and D-ring holders
  • Omitted the top-stitching on the final exterior seam - there was just no way to scrunch the leather under the needle to make it happen
  • Glued that final exterior seam and let it dry well with a clapper on top
  • Before stitching the final top-stitching around the top of the bag, I hammered the thickest seams at the sides, front, and back from the inside (not directly on the leather)

As often is the case, I just grabbed the leather strap I'd been using on a previous bag to use on this new one, as the hardware matched. I'm thinking I'll consider the two bags as a 'set' - using the one I need to on any particular day. Meanwhile, the Compass is much roomier than the Ainsley, though not huge, and I'm already enjoying using it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

From One to Nine

Do you remember Recast

Well, when I was looking for a finished small quilt to repurpose as mini mini quilts, she seemed like a good candidate.

I cut her up into nine pieces, both 4" and 5" squares.

I got two bound fairly quickly, including a label on the back to identify myself.

When we were in the neighborhood of the Free Little Art Gallery, I was able to drop them off.

In a fun twist, my guild-mate Tracey @traceyquiltspnw saw my post, was nearby, and swung by with a friend to claim the pair of mini minis!

Slowly, I worked on binding the rest, and it dawned on me to try Yvonne's @quiltingjetgirl tutorial for Binding Mini Mini Quilts with single-fold binding. It worked really well! I rummaged through my solids scrap basket for binding options, thus the variety of colors.

Yesterday, I made a trip back down to the Free Little Art Gallery to drop the mini minis off.... all but one, as happily, a friend claimed one of them before I could get there. 

Here's hoping the tiny quilts find a new home soon!

Monday, April 8, 2024

Spot On

Back in January, I was doing some stash-sorting, and came up with several groupings I was ready to part with - a little fabric here, a collection of random blocks there. AND a generous stack of nearly 30 hourglass blocks leftover from the scrappy Hourglass quilt I made last summer.

All photos by Ellyn Zinsmeister; used by permission.

I happened to be chatting with my friend Ellyn @ellynz, told her about the stack, and she said she'd gladly take them and do something with them. Awesome! She joined them all together, appliqu├ęd some solid circles on top, and passed it on to her friend Martha @pinwheelprodnsquilts, who quilted it in loops and circles. 

Ellyn then topped it all off with big stitch circles and big stitch binding. How cool is that?!

The quilt finished at 46" x 54". I so appreciate the love Ellyn showed to the stack of blocks I'd lost interest in. It's fun to see scraps I recognize (from my blocks) mixed with ones I don't (from Ellyn's additions) and how well they play together. Definitely a fun collaboration.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

March Fabric Usage

OK, brace yourself. March was a doozy for fabric intake. First, there were several small purchases as options for the Pantone quilt challenge.

And then I received a generous 'thank you' gift card following the installation of the liturgical triptych, so of course, I spent that, on both yardage....

and a FabricBubb bundle. I hardly ever purchase fat quarters any more, but there was something about this bundle. I've already used a few of the fabrics in a bag for myself.

There's also a gift I'm working on behind the scenes that needed specific fabrics.

And in curating the collection above, I ordered a couple of Marcia Derse fabrics, and though they didn't work for this particular project, I'm happy to have them and the blue sample Marcia sent.

I think that's about it. It all made sense - at least to me - but it did add up.

March Fabric Usage

Used up: 13.06 yards [6.24 projects + 6.82 recycled]
Brought in: 32.66 yards 
Net: 19.6 yards

So it is what it is. I'll have finished at least two projects using these fabrics this month, and a possible sew along to join in, so I'm confident I'll turn those numbers around soon!