Sunday, March 15, 2015

Airline Seat Back Pouch

 I'm going to Europe next week so I made myself a bag to hang on the seat back hook. I have a space for headphones, my kindle some snacks (maybe a small bottle of water) and passport and a few other things. I saw a design while I was surfing and decided to just make one up. I didn't plan too well, so I ended up adding stiff interfacing after it was together. That was quite a trick. I also added lining afterwards, so I did it kind of backwards, but I think I'll be happy I have it. I'll just put it in my backpack and pull it out as soon as I sit down.

The two zipper pockets on the front are sized to take my passport and a few credit cards. There is an inside pocket for my kindle and a loop to hook onto the seat back tray holder thingy.

The inside was fun because I had already made a pocket for the kindle  and THEN I decided to line it. Lots of hand sewing, but I think it looks OK though it wouldn't win any awards. It is functional and I think it will be useful.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Design Wall-March 9

 I'm very pleased with the progress. I have most of these blocks together and even though it is on its side (posting sideways again for some reason) I have figured out the way to put these together.

I still have to add all of the green around the edges to make the top rectangular, but I like how it's looking.

The process was painful, but I finally got it. YAY me. If you want to see what others have on their design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I figured it out

I figured it out. I don't have to sew around each square, I can sew rows together and then have zig-zag seams to sew to add the row to the rest of the top. Note to self: sew the square to the upper left point, starting with the second block from the left. 

This made my life so much easier. I sew the squares onto each block, then the blocks together, then the row to the top. If I ever decide to do another top anything like this, I'll have a clue (I hope) about how to piece it more efficiently.

The colors aren't true, but the blues do get darker as they move down. (What's interesting is the plain green octagon in the middle there is the same green elsewhere around the edges. It's amazing how colors change depending on what they are near.)

Only two more rows after this on is attached, then all the green that goes around the edges.


I didn't think this through

I really like the design of this quilt, but I didn't really think through the construction of it. Don't get me wrong, I can do it, but it is a slow process. See the one star complete in the upper left. Well, I didn't think about the process for getting that square in the middle to complete it. When I drew it, was just four lines, and I'd have to sew it to the points. No big deal. However, putting it in there requires partial seams, and I never measured how big it needed to be. 

I put the four squares together like they would be sewn on the cutting table and measured. I then cut out a square and inset it. It just looked wrong. The points of the star didn't match the points of the neighboring stars. Why....oh, the square is too small. But what do I do? The measurement was right, I thought. The seam allowances were messing me up, so I finally ended up constructing paper octagons of the correct size, taping them together and measuring the square hole left. I had made the square 1/2 inch too small. I finally got the right measurement and I'm on my way. 

Here is the back side of what I've completed so far. I've outlined the squares that have to be inset in blue so they are more clear. Once I get them together it grows pretty fast, but it took sewing and un-sewing a lot before I got it right. 

Oh, you might also be wondering (if you noticed) about my clever use of the plain octagons to set off the pieced ones. Why, you ask did I make that design decision. Well...if you stack fabric to cut these octagons, you need 8 layers. The fabric repeat was about 12 1/2" and the strips for the kaleidoscopes was 6 inches I got 12 sets of triangles to sew into octagons from each stacked set. That made 24 blocks. No problem, that's plenty.

Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to count well in the twenties, I needed 26. So, use another 3 yards of fabric for two blocks or...get creative? You can see I decided that it wasn't worth the extra 3 yards. I think I might move the lower plain block to the right one space, but I'm not sure yet. 

In case you're interested, here is how I constructed the octagons. I knew I wanted them to be 11 inches finished, so I drew a circle of 11 inches. Then I folded it in half (just folding across the pencil line at the edge of the circle, I then drew a line between those two marks and did that three more times. I used one of my acrylic rulers and put the edge right at the edge of the circle with one of the perpendicular lines on the drawn line. I drew a line and around you go. It worked really well to get the right size octagon.

Happy quilting and may all your seams match.

Monday, March 2, 2015

More Leaves

I have finally sewn the leaves onto the background and trimmed the background from behind the leaves so it is neater. I used a tiny hemstitch and variegated thread to match each leaf.

When you look up close you can see the stitching, but I don't think it's too distracting. If you click on the picture you'll be able to see what I mean

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do for a border to finish this.

Design Wall-Kaleidoscopes

Here are the blocks I've finished so far. I need to make 13 more. I started sewing the next batch, so it won't take too long. The assembly will be a bit more complex than normal because of the design, but I think it will be worth it. I bought blues that will be the four-pointed stars between the kaleidoscopes.

To see what more folks are doing, check Judy's blog.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Thread Catcher Tutorial

I am a bit distractable when I'm making a quilt and I'm not working on the fun part. So this weekend I made a thread catcher...then I decided to make another on because I thought it might be fun to make a tutorial about it. Here is the first one I made in use. I made a few changes the second time I made it and that is the one you will see in the tutorial. It works well with my magnetic pin cushion. I found a tutorial that inspired me this one in particular but I don't use a regular pin cushion, so here we go.

You will need:

  • lining and outer fabric, a fat quarter will be more than enough of each
  • a plastic ring cut from a container. Mine happens to be from a quart size greek yogurt container. Cut about 1/2 inch wide
  • a tile for a weight. I had a square one, so I used it. Another site talked about a subway tile. Whatever you like will work. 
  • non-slip shelf liner
First cut then measure the circumference of the ring you have for the top of the thread catcher. How large you cut your fabric for the bag and liner will be determined by the size of the ring. I sewed everything with a 1/4"seam allowance, so added 1/2 inch to each measurement. 

My ring measured 11 3/4 ", so I cut a piece 12 1/4 x 9 "

The pieces for the hangers were originally 3 1/2 x 3 1/2, but I ended up cutting off about an inch, so cut 2 of them 3 1/2 x 2 1/2

The piece for the tile pocket is determined by the size of the tile. You have to remember to make room for the thickness as well, so I just measured around the whole thing, then added about 5/8 inch for seams and a little wiggle room.  My tile measured 9 1/2 inches, so I cut a piece 10 1/4 x 5 3/4. That gave me room to tuck the edges in and catch them easily when closing the pocket after the tile is in the pocket.

You'll notice in the picture of the supplies that the tile has tape around the edges. The first thread catcher I made it was difficult to get the tile in the pocket...rough edges, so I covered them with tape and it was much easier to put the tile it.

On the left is a picture of the completed pocket. You'll see that that you have to include the hangers in the pocket. I didn't take a picture but I drew one.

The fabric rectangle is folded in half so it forms a square (sort of) the tabs are pinned between the two layers and the pocket is closed where the tabs are and down one side. The pocket is turned right side out and the side opposite the tabs will be open.

Next the inside and lining side seams should be sewn. Sew the entire length of the outside fabric, for the lining fabric leave about a 4 inch opening in the middle of the seam so when the whole thing is assembled you can turn it right side out. Press the seams open and center them in the middle of the side. Sew the bottom closed and press open. You'll need to clip each end so you can open the seam completely.

Press the side seam so you have a line to match the bottom seam. You need to make box corner as shown to make a flat bottom for the thread catcher. Do this for both the outside and the lining. Cut off the extra piece to remove excess fabric. Here is a great tutorial for box corners--scroll down a bit on the page. The bottom should look like the picture on the right when you're done.

Insert the still unfilled tile pocket into the outside thread catcher. The outside should be wrong side out. Next put the lining in, wrong side out (right sides of the thread catcher will be together, with the tile pocket sandwiched between.

You'll notice in the picture right, that I have about an inch of the hangers showing. I decided 3 1/2" was too long, so I cut them of later. Your hangers will be flush with the top of the thread catcher. Sew all the way around, making sure you catch the hangers fully.

 Now it's time to turn the whole thing right side out. Pull the whole shebang through the opening you left in the lining. Once you have it all out, push the outside into the lining. Next you're going to put the ring inside. Push it into the opening, and push the outside through it. You're going to put it up to the top of the bag and pin like crazy to keep it in place. Be sure to have the seam allowance all on the same side.

I sewed using a zipper foot. Because the plastic ring is soft you don't have to worry about a needle breaking. You can see I pinned from the outside, but sewed on the inside.

 You still have an opening in the lining, slip stitch that closed.

Put the tile in the tile pocket...

...fold the fabric from the top under the tile, then tuck the bottom in and....stitch  closed...done.

I hope you enjoyed this, I had fun making the thread catchers, and the tutorial.


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