Monday, October 15, 2018

Tablet, etc. Organizer

Today I completed my tablet holder using the Little Scraps pattern from This & That, Original Quilt Pattern by Sherri K. Falls.

The inside:

The good:

This is a cute idea.  The right side was originally designed for a tablet of paper, but I put my tablet inside and added the fastener at the top so it wouldn't drop out.

The bad:

There's a lot of wasted opportunity.  The pocket where I tucked the small notebook could have been modified to hold a phone, and the brown area above the pink zippered pocket is totally wasted.  I think I'll add a photo area there and maybe a key fob.  Since I used the blue pocket for holding my tablet instead of an 8 1/2" x 11 3/4" paper note pad, I should have added multiple pen holders (maybe with a piece of elastic?) across the outside of the pocket.

The ugly:

The instructions.  Ugh.  They were good at the beginning but the final assembly and the zipper pocket directions lost me.  Maybe it was just me?  If I do this again, I would not close the whole zipper pocket.  First, I would cut it slightly wider and then line it up after adding the zipper with zipper facing up and the outside edges lined up with the edges of the brown fabric.  After lining up the tablet side, seam the front to back with the right sides together.  Turn it and everything lays nice and flat around the edge.

I cut out all the pieces before starting.  There are some odd sizes so next time I'll probably cut as I go.  (I cut the wrong size on more than one piece! plus the brown interior lining fabric didn't cover the whole length.)

I'm not sure why I ended up with an inch or so in the middle with no fabric covering the interfacing.  The pattern's picture doesn't show that so I don't know if I cut something wrong or put it together incorrectly.  That was probably the problem because I definitely did NOT want to seam 8 layers of fabric at one go.  As it was, I broke 3 jeans needles!    

What the pattern got right:

I also highly recommend getting an ultra firm interfacing like the pattern called for.  It makes a difference.


I added the tab at the top of the large blue pocket on the left to make sure my tablet won't drop out.  (It's actually a green pocket, but my computer shows it as blue.)  

At last:

I love how bright and happy this booklet is and how it allows me to keep everything together when I go out.  It uses scraps from several quilting projects too!

Helpful notions:

I used clips to hold the pieces together after getting frustrated with pins.  Best move ever!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Long overdue Thanksgiving placemats!

Last year, or maybe the year before, or maybe the year before that, I picked up some Thanksgiving themed fabric at JoAnn Fabrics thinking that I would quickly make them up for that year's festivities.  

So that didn't happen

until now.

So while Princess Eugenie got married to Jack Brooksbank, I listened to Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson, on Audible and cut, quilted, and bound these placemats.

I ran out of 505 Spray Adhesive (because I'm not coordinated enough to pull out safety pins before I stitch right over the top of them) so I have only completed 3 out of 6.  Originally I bought enough fabric for 8 but tried another Star experiment that I abandoned before going forward with the original plan.  Placemats use a lot of adhesive spray!  I'm car-less at home today so there were no quick trips to the store!

Actually, the third placemat is probably my favorite.  It was the easiest to quilt because I did the quilting design with the walking foot.  Having a stitch regulator is a beautiful thing!

Maybe one day I'll actually use a thread you can see better!  The sunburst in the top right corner is more difficult to see with white thread.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Halloween quilt gifting

I picked up a Halloween panel at Quilting Is My Therapy fabric shop and came home, sandwiched it, and started free motion quilting it.  I finished it quickly for my daughter.  Their kitchen walls are a boring white with a desperate need for a colorful pick me up.  

Cute, huh.  Not bad from someone that dislikes Halloween!

If you look closely, you'll see steam swirls going up from the black pot.

The machine-stitched label.  Like the striped backing?  That's from my stash.

My daughter received the quilt yesterday so I can post this now without ruining the surprise.  It turns out she didn't realize I was making this for her.

On one of her walks in town, she discovered a hardware store to buy a wooden dowel to hang this.  She also befriended a seemingly stray cat.  She pet it but had to walk away from it.  Once back at her apartment, the cat stayed on her mind and she felt she should do something for it.

 After googling, she discovered mushrooms were safe for cats so she sacrificed her only can of mushrooms and took it out for the forlorn kitty.  The cat was still there and enjoyed the food, but she noticed that she didn't snarf it down like a starving kitten, prompting her to start looking for an owner.  She was right in front of AutoZone where she found the owner.  The cat?  The AutoZone pet, matted fur and all.  The manager's home was right across the way and she went between the two.  She was much relieved to know that this kitty had a home to retreat to with winter coming.  She was greatly relieved!

What do you do with your quilts?  Do you dislike making hanging sleeves?  I remembered to add one to this Halloween wall hanging, but I often forget so I was happy to see this blog post by Quilting Digest on other ideas to hang quilts.  Some are super clever!

Creative Ways to Hang Quilts
(from Quilting Digest)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Finished? Absolutely maybe.

Recently, I finished a gift wall hanging/lap quilt for a Christmas gift, at least if "finished" means bound.  I quilted most of it quite heavily but left the main characters relatively untouched.  Except I haven't been able to leave it alone.  Now almost everything is fairly heavily quilted.  I can't show the whole thing since it's a gift, but here's a piece of it:

I think I'm getting better, at least some days!

This morning, this blog post came across my feed from Diary of a Quilter just in time as a reminder to celebrate small victories.  So I'm celebrating and allowing that quilt to be put away to move onto my next wall hanging.

This is what's currently on my machine:

I don't really have a plan of how I want to quilt this.  I've used wavy lines, leafy meanders, and wood knots so far.  I'm starting to use circular quilting designs in the mid-section of green inspired by the trees.  All the red barns are traced in thread and I've added planks with my sewing.

Have you seen Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s latest tutorial with Jenny Doan?  Her Time to Sew quilt features Moda's Collection for a Cause Heritage collection that Howard Markus created.  Here's a link for it.  All the money that's made from this collection goes to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum this year.  They showcase exhibitions, collections, world quilts, block of the month quilts, and so forth.  Their mission is to "build a global collection and audience that celebrate the cultural and artistic significance of quilts."  It was established by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997, and "the collection has grown to represent more than 50 countries and span 5 centuries." Here's a link if you're interested in knowing more about them!

Happy sewing!


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Serious about FMQ

I really want to master this whole free motion quilting thing so I dug out a quilt a friend started and gave to me to finish.  Her meander stitch was impeccable.  Mine, not so much, but I learned a lot.  I also tried a feather for the first time.

For starters, I remembered Angela saying to make sure your presser foot isn't down too far.  My convertible FMQ foot is adjustable, and apparently it was down too low.  I felt like I had to yank the fabric through.  Too bad I didn't remember that tip until AFTER I finished the quilt.  The stitching wasn't as smooth.

I also learned that choosing an almost invisible thread can be disadvantageous.  I used a light grey which melted into the paisley print.  I couldn't see where I had already stitched so I finally gave up and meandered all over.  Lots of texture though!

P.S. I bought Angela Walter's book Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters, at her shop in Liberty, Missouri, and used it to help me figure out some of the circular loops and feathers.  I actually bought it for its ideas on quilting zigzags for my Around the World quilt.  Her books are mostly step-by-step pictorial guides in creating each type of motif and variations.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Learning free motion quilting

Lately I've been watching Angela Walter's free motion quilting challenges.  My first attempts at free motion quilting were pretty pitiful.  Sometimes it still looks like I've never done it before, but sometimes I actually get in the groove and the curves and shapes work, the stitches aren't too tight or too loose, and then I lose it again.  

Here's the link to Angela's quilting challenge: 

It may not be phenomenal quilting, but as Angela says, you get a quilt when you finish!  I'm actually pretty proud of it because it is SOOO much better than when I began!  I short cut the process by using a pre-printed panel, but here's the quilt pattern or the quilt kit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Around the world quilt top

It seems appropriate to share my Around the World quilt top after showing off pictures of my trip!

I really like this.  While at Missouri Star, I purchased some fabric for the back so now I just have to figure out how to quilt it and get 'er done!  As usual, I had to purchase extra fabric to get the colors to work right.  I'm a minimalist scrappy quilter.  I like some sense of color order to my so-called scrappy quilts so a layer cake worked mostly but I had to scrounge for more of certain fabrics.  Missouri Star still had this several years old fabric line from Stonehenge!  Moral:  Don't wait two years to make a quilt with the fabric you've already bought!  Tell that to my stash.