Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ironing Board Cover - There's Probably a Better Way

When we bought the house we're in now, back in 1996, there was a big pile of stuff in the garage intended for Goodwill. I rescued this sorry, beat-up ironing board, thinking I could recover it.

It was dirty and in sad shape, but I thought I could easily fix it.
So a mere 13 years later, I got right on it! Larry & I consulted our handy Feng Shui guide, so that a "bad element" wouldn't accidentally be introduced into the "creativity corner" of the sewing room. 8) We decided that a pretty yellow and blue floral couldn't possibly have any "bad vibes".I made a paper pattern about 3" bigger than the top of the board. I pinned the pattern to the back of the floral cotton and rotary cut it out. I used a bit of cotton batting and pinned all 3 layers together, then rotary cut that out too. I added some old muslin for the bottom layer so I now had a quilt sandwich. I then removed the paper pattern and serged all three layers together. OK, this was NOT the genius idea I thought it would be. Despite ample pinning, my "sandwich" slipped all over the place. I had to stop after serging one side, smooth it back down again, then serge the other half. Despite my best efforts, the muslin bulged. Most annoying! I decided to just smoosh the excess under the cord channel and carry on. So I did.Using my walking foot, I sewed over the serged line, leaving a 1" channel for the cord, with a 3" hole to start and finish. You better believe I back stitched like fury to reinforce the edges of that hole! I knew I was going to have to pull like the dickens to get this thick wonky cover to lay flat on the board.
I threaded some kitchen twine on a big plastic needle and pushed it all around the thick channel. Very tiring for the hands that! I pulled and I tugged, then I pulled some more, and finally made a knot. Now it lays nice and flat. I left plenty of extra cord so if I ever need to wash it, the cord won't get lost in the channel. It looks lovely against the wall, which is where it will be 90% of the time (or more). It sure is more attractive now than with the dirty old cover. And it only took me 13 years. 8)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Steps Pink & Blue Striped Baby Quilt

Well, this has to be a good sign, right? One of the three "sandwiches" has finally left its perch: And here is an even better sign; it's actually getting quilted: (For some reason, this is the step that always gets delayed. I have a block about starting to stipple and I don't know why. Does this happen to anyone else?)
And here is an even better sign still; the quilting is done and it's been neatly trimmed: I just love the look of stipples up close 8) I can never resist taking a closeup, (though I may have to rethink my aperture, this one's a little fuzzy.)
All these good signs must mean something, right? TaDa!!! All done and laundered. I just have to label it, and that doesn't count! I like the striped binding, too bad I'm practically out of this fabric now.
The Blanketeers have decided (well, Rachel and I have anyway) that we'll participate in the Pat Tillman 42 in 42 Challenge again this year. What this mean is that we have to have 42 blankets done by the end of May. Our stretch goal for the year is 200 blankets, so technically we should have more than that done by then anyway, but that's not how it usually works, you know. lol So what this REALLY means is we have to get busy and STAY busy. Like full steam ahead and man the torpedoes busy, so wish us luck!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

International Siggy Swap - Ludy Nelson

I got this lovely angel siggy from Ludy Nelson in Maastricht, Netherlands. Since I had never heard of it before, I had to look up Maastricht on google maps. If you drew a line from Brussels to Dusseldorf, then another from Antwerp to Bonn, Maastricht would be close to where the lines cross, and it's about 50 miles or so from each city.

Ludy tells me that she drew the angel herself. I love how she has taken the angel from the angel fabric and made it her own.
I'm still working on the first of the three pink fur backed baby quilts. It's all quilted and trimmed. It just needs to be bound and labeled. More on that later.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Birthday Gift, a Siggy and an Oopsie

Over the holidays, my friend, Virginia, came to visit one afternoon bearing lovely belated birthday greetings. Just look at all this bounty. Two charm packs of Moda's L'amour line, along with 4 coordinating fabrics, a festive post-it block and some of my favorite, hot chocolate. Virginia knows me very well! I'll have to think of something extra good to make with this beautiful fabric. 8)

I also received this lovely siggy from Elizabeth Trenteseaux from Bondues, France. I love the little sewing basket, a popular siggy motif. I looked up Bondues since it was completely unfamiliar to me. It's just north of Lille, almost on the border with Belgium. I looked at the satellite pictures, it looks as though she lives in an area containing attached homes, with narrow, but very deep backyards that back up to a plowed field. Nearby is the Bondues Golf Course with enormous homes on grand lots that look like they could be in Southlake, TX, only with MUCH more lush vegetation. 8)

And finally, I had promised my friend, Brandy, that I would mention the hand crank Singer sewing machine that she has for sale, at the last Blanketeer meeting. I totally forgot about it. She has the pictures on her blog here. It's a very cool old machine. I know Brandy hates to part with it, but she's saving money for an adoption. Just check out all the decals. It seems to be much more heavily decorated than the Featherweights I've seen. I wonder if that is reflective of a more ornate, Victorian era?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Steps Baby Quilts

I've had these three Baby Fats "First Steps" tops finished since June and sandwiched since Christmas, so it's definitely time to finish them up.

They are backed with a lovely soft pink Minkee-like fabric, with tiny little embossed stars. I wonder if it will have as much drag as the real Minkee fabric; I was able to do larger stipples than normal because of it. I was able to get my favorite Presencia thread to match the back.
The three tops are very similar, but no two are alike. The first one I'm calling "First Steps" Pink & Blue Striped baby quilt. They are all going to get stippled, but I'm going to have to hunt up some more leftovers to do the binding.
The second is called "First Steps" Yellow, Blue & White. Look how wrinkled it got! Fortunately wrinkles like this don't affect stippling and they all come out in the wash.
And the third is called "First Steps" Yellow, Blue & Pink. I think the reason these three wrinkled so much is that I used a donated batting, much thinner and wrinklier than I normally use. When I spray basted the sandwiches together, this batting "remembered" its wrinkles very well.To say I don't like this batting is an understatement. It still had a bit of cotton seed in it. When I went to pluck it out, it formed a sliver in my thumb. I couldn't get it out for days! lol I'm going to use this stuff up (very carefully) then go back to my old standby.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Silk Handbag Complete - First Finish of the Year

I had never made a handbag before, so I'm really pleased with how the Silk Adaptations "Character" bag turned out, even though it's quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be. In the interests of "Finished is better than perfect" I decided to purchase the handles locally instead of sending off for them.

At first I simply sewed the tabs to the purse, but whenever the handles flopped down, the tab seams were exposed. I didn't like, that so I went to The Artful Bead and found these cool square beads.
They only had six beads left and I bought them all, four for the handles and two for the zipper tabs. They were a major pain to sew on, especially below the handles. I had to scotch tape them in place, then sew through the tape - it took me the whole Cowboys game for 4 beads!

They were worth the trouble though, because now when the handles flop over, the seams are completely hidden. 8-) I'm less certain about the zipper tabs. They are pretty enough, but they seem to give the overall bag a less sophisticated look. I'm planning to give the bag as a gift to my Mom. Being a redhead, she wears LOTS of autumn colors, and her favorite winter coat matches the orange in the purse. Her tastes are very sophisticated, so I'm not sure about the zipper tabs. (It might not be an issue for long anyway. The tabs are really more decorative than ruggedly functional, one harsh yank and we won't have anything to worry about anymore. lol)

Anyone in our home would see that this lining matches the silk pillows in the den. 8-) It's a nice sturdy woven silk (that didn't want to ease nicely AT ALL into the corners like a more slippery fabric) but should be much more durable. I also used leftover silk from the front of the pillows because it coordinated so well, and added more neutrality to the vibrant mix of orange and purples. The purse is sitting on what's left of that silk. I love being able to use fabric that I've squirreled away for YEARS on totally new projects. 8-)

Here is the side view.

And here is the bottom. Yes there really are patches EVERYWHERE. lol It feels good to have it done!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One Project a Month Challenge 2010

Kris at Tag Along Teddies and Pat at Happy in Quilting are running the One Project a Month Challenge again for 2010. I really enjoyed participating last year. It really motivated me to get projects finished. So, even though I never won anything in 2009, I'm taking the challenge again. I've updated the OPAM badge on my sidebar and left a comment on Kris's blog with my name, email and blog address so I should be all set. They're limiting the challenge to the first 150 participants this year and I didn't want to be left behind. They said the challenge was opening tomorrow, but I forgot it has been tomorrow in Australia since early this morning. lol

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Silk Adaptation Character - My First Handbag

On the last day of the Las Vegas Shop Hop I bought a handbag pattern called Silk Adaptation Character along with a packet of silks called Radiant to complete the bag. Naturally I started cutting out the silks after I read the instructions, but before...

I read the list of stuff needed to complete the bag. (What the heck is fusible fleece anyway?) I pressed on regardless, and found a "pleasing" arrangement of squares (per instructions) and sewed them together. This silk was a DREAM to sew with. They had you fuse interfacing to the back of the silk before it is cut or sewn, so it is very easy to handle. They also specify 3/8" seams, which seemed HUGE to this quilter, but the silk ravels easily, so it's a good idea. I had forgotten how well fabric moves through the machine using a full-sized foot. I DID have to constantly refer back to my camera to keep the colors in the correct order, but I finally got it all together.

I managed to get everything pressed correctly so the seams would meld, and all my seams match up well- a first for me. I also managed to find the fusible fleece at JoAnn's. Now I just need to decide on a handle style, some narrow cording for "doodling", a zipper, and narrow ribbon for a zipper pull. No worries. lol