Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Missing Carol...

I started going into Carol withdrawal shortly before she left and, as she pulled out of the drive, it got worse...  we had a long weekend of perfect days visiting, catching up, doing stuff, and just hanging out.  But, I will have a number of things to remember the fun we had.   

First, Carol brought me a new ironing board cover.  She was wandering through some store in her neck o' the woods and stumbled across something that cried "Freda!" to her....

Isn't it perfect?  I love it...  so much better than the metallic-y gray of the one I had!   Carol even liked the ironing board cover enough she picked out a new one in teals and blues for herself as well. 

Carol was pleased with her tote bag and began putting things in it to take back with her...

I shared that I wanted one for myself to carry lunch to work because the bottom of the tote is square and would carry a food container flat rather than on its side.  However, after making two, I had no inspiration about what fabrics to use.

A funny I wanted to share....

Yesterday, Carol brought up that she had no idea how to match fabrics so we went to my sewing room and I got out fat quarters, charm packs, jelly rolls, etc... and we talked about general principles of putting fabrics together.  I found a neat charm pack that I've had for a while and thought it would be perfect for my tote.  It's an older one with only 22 fabric squares and not enough for the number of 2.5" squares on the outside of the tote.   

S0, I had Carol look through my scrap bins for coordinating fabrics while I dug through stash.   Carol selected the following...

Everything goes with my new ironing board cover, doesn't it?

So, today while the Carol withdrawal continues, I will start work on my tote bag...   which will remind me each time I use it about the fabulous visit with my wonderful sister Carol.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Midi Bag - Round 2

I had to make another Midi Bag for two reasons:  1) I can't make a tote for one sister and not the other, and 2) the pattern was too dang $$$ to just make one!  

I used remnants from sister Carol's quilt; the fabric is Eclectic Garden by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics.   I also wanted to see if the pattern was any easier to understand the second time around.   Not really... but knowing what I was getting into, I didn't have to refer to the pattern as often and actually looked at the remaining printed interfacing as much as I did the pattern.

What makes the tote "not intuitive" is the diagonal seam/construction...  this is the inside of the lining once sewn together.

The seaming on the bottom is therefore "different" as well.

Photos or drawings like this in the pattern would have been helpful in visualizing how the tote goes together.

You can see the diagonal-ness in the lining as easily as the inside because I was using remnants and only had enough of two fabrics to cut two lining pieces... thus the mismatched lining!   I used another small remnant to make the pocket.

I think this way... Carol will be able to find the pocket more easily too!

I had to piece the handles as well but I'm going to call it a design element! 

Hope Carol likes it... she arrives tomorrow for the weekend!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Other Summer Adventures

I have been doing stuff other than making pinwheel blocks and one fun project was making matching dresses for the granddaughters and their dolls.  The girls have been asking their mom for matching outfits and so, while they were at the beach, I did a little stash digging along with a trip to Hobby Lobby for coordinating fabric and made these....

I showed the doll dresses to the girls asking them to pick their favorite and, while they were dressing their dolls, I brought out the big girl dresses.  You should have seen their faces when they realized they had a dress to match their dolls...

I used a free Oliver + S download-able pattern "Popover Sundress" (link) that comes in sizes 2-8 for the girl's dress and the doll pattern fits 18" dolls, such as American Girl, AG knockoffs, etc.  (Be sure to download the pattern to your computer and print from Adobe to obtain the correct size/gauge.)

You need to tape the pattern together once you print it out but the directions are easy to follow.  Since the pattern has multiple sizes, it was easy to enlarge the pattern to make a "size 10" for the girls.

 photo borrowed from Oliver + S

If you do a Google search for "Oliver + S Popover Sundress," you see a number of options as far as fabric selection.  I would have liked to use a washable linen but that would have entailed a road trip and I didn't have time for that.

photo borrowed from Oliver + S

The reason for "lack of time to make a road trip" was because my son and family were coming for the weekend and my daughter and granddaughters drove straight from their beach vacation to join us.... I needed time to get in groceries and otherwise prep for the house-full o' family.

The grandbabies played together while the grown-ups got to visit... and then, it was decided to do a little yardwork to help grandma out...  this included putting middle grandson on the roof of the shed to remove pine straw and leaves that had accumulated.

It was a busy week for me last week followed by a fun-filled weekend.  I spent some time recovering on Monday...   need my rest because my sisters are arriving this coming weekend!

I think I'm going to need a vacation after my vacation...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pinwheel Block #20

Yup... the final block!

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, all 20 blocks together!

Since I took the above photo, I've already rearranged some of the blocks...

I'm not planning anything exciting for the layout... just sew the blocks together and then have two borders...  a narrow "barn red" and a wider dark blue print.

The color is off in this photo... the red especially... think "barn red"...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pinwheel Block #17

We are now on the LAST row of blocks...  and this is #17...

...can we say:  THREE more to go?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news, the fourth block for the Aiming for Accuracy QAL was posted yesterday and I was able to get that done as well!

The four blocks now look like this in the color chart...

The first block (the one farthest to the left) has a light batik as the background and I'm debating making that one over since it's not as colorful as the others... but we'll see how it goes.  I am short of FQs so I'm gonna be holding my breath.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pinwheel Block #16

Row Number 4 is now complete with block #16...

...all together now!

Keeping me company this week is one of my grandpuppies, Mia the Bia (aka The Queen of the Backyard and O Tamer of Impertinent Squirrels) while her family is vacationing at the beach.

Mia would like to know why I am always in the hallway taking pictures of all these square pieces of fabric that are hanging on the wall...

Dunno, Mia!  It's a mystery...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pinwheel Block #15

I think I have this sewing-together-of-a-pinwheel-block down pat...

...one more block and I'll have the fourth row completed!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pinwheel Block #14

I thought a busy/gaudy pinwheel was in order...

...and this block fits the bill!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pinwheel Block #13

We are now on the fourth row of pinwheel blocks...

....so only seven more blocks left!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pinwheel Block #12

A cuppa coffee and some fabric therapy... what better way to start the day?

...and since we are at 12 blocks now...   three-fifths the way thru (unless I change my mind and go larger)...  here's a group shot for your viewing pleasure!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pinwheel Block #11

I also wanted to use the flag fabric from which I fussy cut the USCG emblems again...

...fussy cutting really eats up fabric and it was a challenge to come up with four QSTs without using any of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine emblems...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news, the third block of the Aiming For Accuracy BOW was posted last night and here is my version...

It's hard to see but the fabric (dark purple pinwheels) is a print.    Here's what my color chart looks like now...

If you're interested in seeing other A4A QAL blocks, check out the Facebook page HERE (click on the PHOTOS tab to just view blocks)... or the Flickr page HERE.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pinwheel Block #10

The large vintage print fabric is difficult to coordinate fabrics with...

....but I did want to use it again.    Took a couple of tries but I think this works...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pinwheel Block #9

I'm having fun playing with the newly-arrived fabrics...

....and playing with the stripes to form little pinwheels in the center of the block!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another Pattern, Better Directions

Interestingly, a pattern I had ordered came in yesterday's mail and, after having just posted my opinion on another pattern, I thought it would be an object lesson about writing good directions. 

The "Rita" Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts was on sale at The Fat Quarter Shop and I had purchased two fabrics from the Winter Lane line by Moda to use to make the bag.

As I do with all patterns, I sat down and pulled everything out and read the directions.  First, I noted there was a page of cutting directions with measurements and the numbers of pieces needed.

Even though this is a simpler pattern, there were three... count 'em... THREE pages of neatly organized and clear directions for each part of the process.

Also included were three pattern pieces that were referred to as "templates."   

I've not finished the bag yet but it is in progress... clear directions do make a different in one's enjoyment of a project.

I'll post a photo of the completed bag when I finish...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Midi Bag Adventure

It's been a while since I've made a handbag or tote from a pattern; I usually just wing it.  The Midi Bag by QuiltSmart was tres cute...  but I needed the pattern because I couldn't figure out how it went together by looking at completed totes.

I've been sewing and reading patterns for over 50 years so I believe I can review this one fairly.   I cannot recommend this pattern for beginners... or even advanced beginners... unless they are in a class where they can receive assistance.

The pattern instructions are on the inside of a three-fold card stock insert that is folded around the printed interfacing.  

All the actual instructions are on the inside of the insert.    The top third of the inside of the pattern insert was given over to a photo of completed totes and "options."  While these were nice, more detailed directions would have been appreciated.   I can understand the need to keep the pattern insert to one sheet but a legal-size sheet with more room would have been a better choice.

Although I read through the directions before starting, things were not at all clear.   I needed to stop working on the project a number of times during construction  to reread the directions and try to figure out exactly what the diagrams meant.  Actual photos may have been more helpful.  Directions could have been more concise.  Statements such as: "Trust me on this" could have been omitted.

Working with the printed interfacing was fun.  Once the fabric squares were ironed on the interfacing, the sewing part was simple...  and the corners all met perfectly, which was cool!

Where the printed interfacing was really helpful was during layout of the panels since the illustration in the directions wasn't clear... at least to me.

I liked the option for including a pocket on the inside but, since I was working with remnants from a quilt, I didn't have enough fabric....   so I improvised, using measurements in the Options section for pocket placement on the lining panel.

Directions for the lining were not as clear as I thought they could be...  the actual sizes for the four lining pieces are in the directions and not listed anywhere else, such as for quilt directions where all the pieces to be cut are listed near the beginning, along with the fabric requirements.

All in all, this was a fun project and I'll probably make a few more....  especially since this tote is on its way to my baby sister who lives outside of Washington DC.   And, since I have another sister and want to be fair, the next tote will be for her.

I'll make notes of measurements since I won't purchase another pattern just to have the printed interfacing.  I'll also have notes that clarify cutting and assembly steps as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Disclaimer:  I do not work for any quilt shops or pattern companies.  I was not given this pattern to review and the opinions stated above are my own.