Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pouches and Lining and Zippers...OH MY!

I tackled a zipper today! The result was the cutest little makeup pouch you can imagine.  I didn't use my seam ripper as much as I feared I might (although I did take it out of the sewing box).  Now that I understand the mechanics of this, I think it would be less than 2 hours to make one of these.  Of course, I don't usually  have zippers on hand...maybe I need to think about investing in a few!  Two fat quarters and a zipper and you will have a great hostess or thank you gift.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whipping up a Wine Bag

I am going to a wine tasting party tonight.  I thought I should bring a nice bottle of wine as a hostess gift and figured to take it one step further and whip her up a little wine bag.  This took about an hour, including finding a pattern that I could actually understand and follow!  The pictures don't do it justice.  =0)

Photos of a finished quilt

done DONE done!

It's done!

That elephant in the corner that I was afraid to take DONE!  What do I mean?  The quilt I originally started is now complete.  I had started out so well.  Then I started to over think.  I was afraid of continuing.  I finally realized that making mistakes and trial and error are how we learn.  So I forged ahead.  And I made my mistakes.  And I ripped out a few seams.  And I redid a couple of things.  But most importantly, I finished! to come...when I find the camera!  =0)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ooooh I forgot to tell you...

I got my very own, shiny new sewing machine!  It's a Brother 50-stitch with a drop feed for free-motion quilting.  Okay, to be honest, I don't really know what any of that means, but it sounded really good on the box.  And I'm super excited!  It made sewing yesterday and today so much more enjoyable.  Oh, and I also forgot to mention that it's the Project Runway Limited Edition model.  How's that for fancy!?

Photos of a finished project

Here is one of the grocery bags.  I have now completed three out of the same fabric.  I'm even getting fancier!  The last one I made includes an inside pocket...who knows what I will have figured out by the time I finish the 9th one.  =0)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reusable Grocery Bags

I found some beautiful material this past weekend.  It is a heavier material, so I am going to try my hand at some reusable grocery bags.  I bought 3 pieces of fabric in coordinating patterns and colors.  Each piece will make 3 bags.  Then I found some solid lighter weight fabric for the lining. 

I have already completed the outside of the bag.  Next step? Cut and sew the lining.  I think by the time I finish the last one, I will have it down to under an hour a bag.  They really are a breeze!  And think how cool I will look at the grocery store with my color-coordinated hand-sewn bags.  Trader Joe' I come!

Pattern for Grocery Tote

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How many patchwork bags can one girl have?

I hope the answer to that is more than 2!  I'm having a ball making these bags.  =0)  I know you all want to see pictures...and I promise to post them soon.

I have now completed two bags.  The first bag I made out of a fabric charm pack.  The second required a bit more cutting, since I made it out of a set of 5 fat quarters, with material left.  I'm getting faster, that's for sure.  I'm sure my project is LOOKING better.  But don't ask me...I zero in on the "imperfections".  Let's just call them "individual personality!"  I bet you don't have one single bag that has a couple of pucker marks along the top...therefore mine is unique.  LOL!

My original quilt project is still in the fabric basket, waiting for me to muster up the courage to finish it.  In my mind, I know the steps to follow.  So I'm not really sure why I am hesitating.  Maybe because patchwork bags are so fun and easy and I have a pile of fabric just waiting to be used! 

I hope I need to give a lot of gifts soon, because I'm sure that no one needs more than 2 or 3 of these things!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I can now call myself a "Quilter!"

It's happened. 

I've completed a project.  I know!  I'm still amazed myself.  To all those naysayers who called this a "dead end" hobby (you know who you are!) I say "Ha!"

I'm doing the happy dance and looking at my new quilted tote bag.  =0)  Next time, I should just make it a little bit bigger and I can use it for groceries! 

Pictures to follow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tote Bag Progress

I have the outside of my bag all finished.  First step was to attach all the little rectangles into strips.  Then the strips were sewn together to make one big patchwork rectangle.  A snip and a sew and the bottom was done.  I have one strap complete.  I didn't feel like cutting fabric tonight, so the other strap is first on my agenda next time.  The bag is turning out really cute! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tote Bag Pattern

This tote bag is almost entirely made out of pre-cut 5" squares.  They are called "charm packs" and they usually contain all the coordinating fabrics in a fabric line.  I selected a pack with 8 different patterns of  greens, blues and aquas.  In about 10 minutes, I had all the squares cut into strips, totaling 64 pieces.  The next step will be to arrange the squares in a pleasing pattern. 
The pattern can be found here: Charm Bag Tote

Help is on the way

I guess my feline friend thought I needed a little help!  That, or he is trying it out. 

How Do I Use This Thing?

It's taken me a bit of time to understand how to use my new rotary cutter.  In theory it looks so easy.  In actuality, I'm not that good at it!  

I think once I get the hang of it, this device will save me loads of time.  You know what they say: "Practice makes perfect."  I'm not interested in perfect, but a semi-straight line would be good!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Progress Report

I have to admit...this quilting stuff is kind of fun. =0) Day one I purchased lovely materials. I found them on sale at Michael's and invested $25 in my new hobby. I also bought a cutting mat and a rotary cutter.

Later that day, I started cutting the fabric. I can already tell that this step is the most time consuming, and probably won't be my favorite. My new rotary cutter did make the process less time consuming than a pair of scissors. I laid out the squares and rectangles, getting into the "groove" of it.

Once my borrowed sewing machine arrived on day 2, it was time for business! Of course, I haven't used a sewing machine since home ec class in 9th grade. I won't give away how many years that is...just trust me that it's been a few. I was glad to finally hear the hummm of the machine on my test material.

Day 3 I completed my strips. The pattern called for 7 strips, each with 5 or 6 pieces. These strips then are sewn together. As of this writing, all my strips are attached together. Hooray!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I had a dream...

My adventures in quilting started with a dream. A literal dream. I woke up one morning and wondered what I had eaten to produce a dream about learning to quilt. I've never quilted. I don't have anyone in my family that quilts. Even my grandmother didn't quilt! (Doesn't everyone's grandma quilt?! Apparently not.)

Days later, I was still thinking about quilting. I began to imagine all the little pieces of lovely fabric. Floral, gingham, toile, in pastel pinks and muted greens, vibrant jeweled tones, stripes, paisley...bolts and bolts of luxurious fabrics calling my name...swirling around in my head...pick me...quilt me!

Maybe my dream wasn't quite as world changing as Martin Luther King's, but I had it nevertheless. So I started to do some research. You really can find everything on the World Wide Web. Tutorials, patterns, videos on youtube. I was armed and ready to go!

Then I broke the news to my family. When I told them I was taking up quilting, one laughed derisively, one asked how long that was going to last, and the other looked at me with a blank gaze. Thanks for the votes of confidence guys!

I turned to my friends for a little support. One told me she was retiring soon and we could quilt together. (I would take that as support, but WOW now we sound OLD!) Extended family piped in: "You can do it!" "Teach me...we can shop for fabric together." And another blank stare, added with a smirk, and a shaking of the head...

In my family's defense, I do have a habit of starting crafts. Go ahead and reread that last sentence before you move on. Notice that one itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy word. Starts with an "s"...ends with a "g". I have the boxes of craft supplies to prove that I am a craft starter. Maybe what I really love is buying all the cool materials! But I digress...

My blog about quilting will probably be better than the quilts I produce. I'm not sure I even remember how to operate a sewing machine. I can't promise you that I won't put all my quilting supplies neatly in another box and add it to the stack of well-organized items I keep in our "Michael's Closet." But what I can tell you is echoed in the words of one of my friends, who said: "It doesn't matter how long it lasts! It only matters if you're enjoying it while you're doing it." And I intend to enjoy every minute of this new adventure!