Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hunter's Log Cabin-Top Done

The top is done, and everything fit together well. I wasn't sure I measured the center panel correctly to fit inside the log cabin blocks, but all went together well. I've never used plaids before in a quilt, but I've seen some quilts that I liked, and some that I couldn't look at because the plaid wasn't straight in the blocks. I cut the plain for the border so that it was the width of a repeat, so when I pieced the border it wouldn't be noticeable. I was successful (mostly) in matching the plaid so there is no obvious seam.

I bought some fleece that I can use for the backing, but I don't know if I want to use it, or do a typical quilt sandwich and quilt the top.

I'll have to live with it for a bit until I can figure that out. Next...quilting some more of the tops I already have done.

This must be my design wall post. I sewed a blouse this weekend (I'm going to Hawai'i!), but the buttonholes aren't done yet. I also made a quick charity quilt.

If you want to see what others have on their design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hunter's Log Cabin

I've pieced the center section: the panel and the two columns of log cabin blocs on either side of it. I wasn't sure it was all going to go together right, but the blocks seems to be fitting fine around the center panel.

The quilt is going to work out fine, I think. I don't know if I'm going to use  fleece for the batting and backing or if I'm going to quilt it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Working on a QOV. The recipient is a hunter, so I found the pattern, and then found the fabric available online. I have all the log cabin blocks made, now I just have to put the border around the center panel and sew it all together.I'm making it a bit longer than the pattern. Adding a row of log cabin blocks to the top and the bottom of the pattern. That will make it more like a throw, and less like a wall hanging.

I've been pretty productive this weekend. I finished another tote for my niece and it and its cousin are off to California today. I hope my nieces like the totes. They were pretty easy to make. If you want to see what others have on their design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Tote is Finished

I've finished the tote for my niece. I like the colors, I think it's fun. I ended up buying two shorter zippers to close the top. Neither of the near stores had a color match, and I thought about opening from the center before, so I tried it. Kind of fun. The pockets inside and out are all made from the curtain fabric. It's nice and sturdy.
I forgot to put the handles on till the end, so it was a little more difficult, but not horrible. I realized just as I was finishing the last seam on the outside, oops. I think I"m going to make some beaded pulls for the zippers. I have some beads that will match, and it will make it easier to open and close. 

Here are the beads and pulls I put on the brown bag. There are two zipper pulls, so I need two decorations. For the purple bag for my other niece, I only have one zipper pull, so one beaded pull.

Here it is.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Problem

I wouldn't normally consider myself very distractable, but when it comes to sewing and cleaning I really am.  I started working on making a pattern from a shirt I like which is quite stained. I have all the pattern pieces ready to go, and the fabric to make the shirts pulled from the stash...
...but then I got the fabric I ordered to make a QOV. I started on that and have 4 of the 32 log cabin blocks done, and the other 28 just need one more fabric...
...but then I found this cool fabric to make some more totes, and I think my niece would really like it, so I pulled the lining fabric for that...

...but then I was looking for patterns online to share on the guild blog and found a variation of "Not Your Grandmother's Tumbling Block" and pulled the fabric for that.

I need some focus here!
  • First, finish the log cabin blocks; that should only take about 20 minutes. Actual time-40 minutes--wow, I wonder what else I underestimate.
  • Second, cut out the pieces for the blouse--about an hour. (I have to clean off the cutting table first) oops, got distracted, I think about 4 1/2 hours...focus....focus....focus
  • Third, make the tote (maybe 2 hours) Well, it's 7:30 on Sunday I count sleeping hours. I wrote down that I started at 1:15, so without the hours for sleeping and going to the concert, about 8 hours. Not actual working time of course, but the length of time I was working.
  • Fourth, find the book, and cut the strips and sew them for the tumbling blocks. (I have no idea how long it will take to find the book...I didn't put it back where it belongs.)
Wish me luck.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Professional Tote

I couldn't post pictures of this before, because I was making it for my sister as a surprise. She got it today, so here it is.

This is the third one I've made, and each time it gets easier. I had the right kind of interfacing this time too, so it's not as "fluffy" as the one I made for myself. I like it better with the right interfacing.
By the way, my sister like it. A lot!

How to Dye Clothesline for Bowls or Baskets

Pam and Anonymous asked how I dyed the clothesline, so here you go.

You need to be sure you have cotton line before you begin. I used fiber reactive dye I got from Dharma Trading. I mix my own colors from blue, red and yellow primaries, but there are plenty of premixed colors you can get. You will also need soda ash to raise the pH of the fiber so the dyes will react with it.

If you want to get everything you need in one kit, you can buy a tye-dye kit that has dye, soda ash and some other stuff. At Dharma it called the Teeny Tiny Tie Dye Kit.
For my dyeing I added 2 Tbsp of soda ash to about 2 gallons of hot water. I stirred until it was completely dissolved. I took the clothesline and unwound it, then made skeins of it so it was more loosely wound, like this. This the way I put it in the soda ash solution. I let it soak about 30 minutes (with a plate on top of it so it stayed submerged), then removed it and wrung it out as much as I could.
Many people add salt and urea. Salt is supposed to make the colors brighter, and urea makes the colors more even. I've done some reading, and a woman who dyes fabric and sells it did experiments with salt, and found it made no significant difference in the depth of color she got. I didn't use urea, because I like color variations.
I then mixed about 1 1/2 tsp of dye powder with warm water, making a paste with a little water first and making sure all the dye was dissolved, then adding the rest of the water to make 8 ounces.

I also had veterinary syringes (no needles) that holds 35cc (2 1/3 Tbsp) that you can buy online or if you have a large animal supply nearby you can probably get them there. I think a turkey baster might work in a pinch, but be sure you don't use it to baste a turkey when your done.  I use them to draw-up the dye, then redistribute it on the cord. You could also just pour carefully, but be sure all of the cording has dye on it especially the fiber on the bottom and the part where you tied the skein. (If you don't want to dye your hands when you are doing this, be sure to have rubber gloves on.) I  used two colors here, but you can use as many as you want or as many as you have. Soak up the extra dye with paper towels then make a package of it.
I took the plastic the clothesline was resting on and folded the edges over, then I folded the sides in and rolled it up.  This package was put in the microwave to speed up the time it takes for the dye to react. I heated it a minute on level 5, waited a minute and repeated that until it had been heated a total of 3 minutes. Be sure to check the package to be sure it's not getting too hot. Because my house is relatively cool all the time (about 65 degrees) I put the package in an insulated cooler so it would stay warm and left it about an hour. 
The clothesline then needs to be rinsed (still tied in its skein) until the water runs clear. I  rinse it a bit, then let is soak in clear water a bit, then rinse again. Once you've rinsed it, wring it as dry as you can,  un-bundle it and lay it out to dry. I don't have a dryer, so I left mine overnight draped over the balcony railing (it's metal). If you have a dryer, you cold probably throw it in there (probably in something like a lingerie bag). When it wall all done I had 100 feet of dyed cotton clothesline to make into bowls...baskets....vessels!
Here is the cord after it was rinsed and dried. I think the colors aren't very intense because there is some polyester in the outside fibers added for strength. I found 100 feet of clothesline at my local grocery store for about $6, then I went to Walmart and found it there about about $3.

I hope this was helpful. If you need more information I'll try to provide it, just leave a comment and I'll try to answer any questions you have.


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