I did a lot of sewing this weekend. I can’t show you all of it until after the holiday season, but I can show you some of it.
First off, I made four dinner napkins. I have a vision for my table — I want lightweight denim place mats, with no embellishment or decoration, a crazy assortment of fabric napkins (I love fabric napkins) and Fiestaware. Ideally, everyone at the table will have a different napkin and a different colored plate. For now, I’m starting with these four napkins and Target’s Fiestaware knock-off.
I used this tutorial for the napkins. The only change I made was that I cut my fabric to 17.5 inches (square). That way, I can get a napkin out of a fat quarter. Otherwise, I followed her instructions to the letter. I really wish I had fussy cut that cowgirl so that she appears on the top of the napkin when it’s folded at a place setting — I’ll keep that in mind for the future! All the fabrics are 100% cotton. The cowgirl and the map are high quality quilting fabrics. The Asian fabric is cheap stuff from JoAnn’s. And the lobsters are a heavier cotton — not quite twill, but along those lines.
Next, I finished another block for my postage stamp quilt. This is block #3. I find myself giving the blocks names based on squares in them that I particularly like — this one is the “sunflower block” because of the fussy cut sunflower.
Some of my sewing on this block is pretty wonky. I’m going to have to start paying better attention to what I am doing. I am nearly finished with block #4 also, so I will be posting it soon. It’s called the “bowling pin block.”
I’ve also been working on a set of place mats for a gift — I’ll post pictures of them soon.
I made a bouquet of pincushions over Labor Day weekend. I used this pattern from Whip Up — it was really easy. Here are three of them:
They are 100% cotton — wool felt probably would make a nicer pincushion, but cotton was what I had. I stuffed them with wool roving left over from my attempts to learn how to spin. They are very cute, but also very functional. The flat shape makes them very stable and unlikely to tip over.
My husband and I keep a wine journal — it’s a very simple list of wines we’ve bought that includes how much we paid, where we got it, and (when we remember) if we liked it. In the back of the journal, he has started keeping lists for Scotch and bourbon. We keep the journal in a boring old composition book, so when I saw a pattern for a composition book cover in the Summer 2006 issue of Quilts and More, I knew what I had to do.
If the fabric looks familiar, that’s because I used it on this tote bag I made for Lyn. I’m not going to post detailed pictures of making it, since the pattern is very easy to follow — I recommend it. It has a couple of clever touches that made it fun to make.
I wanted to embellish the cover a bit, so I stared at the pattern and figured out where the front cover would be and picked out one wine label to highlight.
I popped the whole piece of fabric into an embroidery hoop and picked out some details to emphasize.
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the centers of the leaves are embroidered, and the purple outline has a gold thread in it that really sparkles. Then I put the rest of the pattern together and ended up with this:
I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I’m looking forward to making more of these!
I just finished this quilt — I call it “Desert Star”:
I’m going to post a bit more about this quilt in the next few days, but I wanted to get this photo up. I’ve really been negligent in not blogging this quilt — I learned a lot from it. I’m pleased with how it turned out. The postage stamp border really added a lot to the design.
As I mentioned a while ago, I made some crochet hook storage rolls. I’ve been working on perfecting this pattern for a while. This purple one is the third one I’ve made for myself:
You can see the chalk lines I drew to guide my stitching. The little slots for the hooks vary from 0.25 inches to 0.75 inches. And when you roll it up, it looks like this:
I also made a second roll as a prize for a contest my knitting group was having. You can read more about the contest here. This roll is an improvement on mine in four ways: first, it has a 0.25 inch border that goes all the way around the two sides and the top (this allows the hook on the end to be fully covered when it is rolled up), second the largest slot is 1 inch wide (so it holds a P hook comfortably), third I sort of “quilted” the batting to the inside by pinning it to the contrast side while sewing the slots (this made the inside much more stable and less likely to wrinkle), and fourth I sewed the ties on the side that has the smallest slot (the ties on mine are on the side with the largest slot) — this way the smallest hook is on the outside when it is rolled up and it lays much flatter.
This was a fun little project. I’m going to make an improved version for myself just as soon as I get my studio set up.
I made this for my friend R, who’s wonderful contradictions make her interesting. One of those contradictions is that she loves coffee shops but hates coffee. I thought it would be fun to make her a coffee purse — so I found the perfect fabric, and The Coffee Snob was born:
The purse is what I think of as a rectangle-and-gusset pattern — it’s two rectangles for the front and the back, joined by one long skinny rectangle that forms a gusset. This is the same basic construction I used on The Helpful Tote, however, I changed the dimensions so that the bag would be more purse-like. I also added a facing (is it called that on a purse? that’s what it would be called on a garment) to the top inside of the bag, so that there’s a bit of the patterned fabric on the inside (I don’t think I did that on Helpful, but I can’t quite remember). The lining is a solid light-chocolate color that matches quite nicely.
The fun part of this purse, for me, was the gusset. When I first bought this fabric, I thought I would use the part of the design that looks like a line of S’s for the gusset. But then I noticed something when I ironed the fabric:
The S’s are not evenly centered between the rows of coffee cups. This meant that if I used that part of the design as is, I would either have to have a narrow gusset to center the S’s, or the S’s on the gusset would be off-center. I didn’t want a gusset that narrow, and I thought it would look like a mistake if they were off-center, so I rejected both those options. The problem was, there was no other part of the design that would make a decent looking gusset — so I took matters into my own hands.
I cut two long strips of the S’s, split them both in half, and then joined them so that I had a long, symmetrical strip to use for the gusset:
You can see a slight bobble in the picture where my sewing was off, but in spite of a few goofs like that, I think the end result is much nicer than it would have been otherwise.
Remember that mess I made a while ago? One of the projects I finished that day was The Helpful Tote, pictured below. I made this purse as a thank-you gift for Lyn. I would not have tried quilting without her encouragement; I would not be posting on this site without her good will; and I appreciate her friendship.
The tote is made from cotton printed with fake wine labels, and I lined it with olive green fabric and included a big inside pocket that features the very first buttonhole I ever made.
Since then, I’ve also finished The Urban Nightmare purse. I think it’s pretty cute:
I went to my friend B’s baby shower on Friday of last week, which means I can finally post pictures of the adorable diaper bag I made for her!
The fabric is devilishly hard to photograph — it’s blue cotton that is printed to look like denim, with radio flyer wagons zooming all over. The bag is about 14×18x6, has a zipper close on the top, two large pockets outside and more pockets inside. It is lined with red nylon, and the straps are lightly padded.