Monday, July 30, 2012

Why I practice

12July30pattern Or, Why I practice so much using cheap (ugly) material! For over a week now, I’ve been trying to make this cute little coin purse with a zipper. I found a free pattern on the web and thought they looked simple enough – even for me. Maybe too simple.

12July30A My first attempt, I didn’t use interfacing, but added a late of canvas to give it body. A little too much body. I couldn’t figure out from the instructions or the pictures where the purse’s two pieces went in relation to the zipper, and the canvas made it impossible to manipulate.

12July30B I got a little further with my second attempt. Pulled the zipper off of attempt #1 and managed to get everything where it was supposed to go. But it looked pretty rough and the zipper didn’t line up the way it should have. It wasn’t closing properly. I didn’t finish it, either.

12July30C The first two attempts gave me enough to think about and I made a number of modifications to the pattern which included two cloth tabs at either end of the zipper so it wasn’t opening and closing right at the stitch line. That made using the zipper so much easier. It was supposed to have velcro closures on it as well, but I messed those up and had to remove them. The final attempt 12July30C2 still turned out more bulky that I like, making me think there’s still a better way to make this without using so much fabric. However, I’ve put my bag patterns away for the time being so I can concentrate on finishing up a quilt. Stay tuned for pictures.

If you are wondering why I’m so wrapped up in zippers these days, it’s because12July30C3 they factor heavily into my plans for Christmas presents. Less than five months to go until Christmas! I don’t know if I’m giving myself enough time. (After all, this quilt I’m working on was supposed to be finished last June!) Guess I’d better get back at it.

Until next time,

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Friday Furball – New kid in town

12July27frankie Isn’t he gorgeous? Tabby face and feet, Siamese body. And he’s such a sweetie. Somebody dumped him and his siblings in our neighbourhood, and one of my neighbours has been feeding him for the past few weeks. Except. she’s been away this week and didn’t ask anyone to take over. He asked me so sweetly earlier this week, so I took over providing his meals. He’s very young – less than a year. Not feral, but somewhat shy. I’m sure it wouldn’t be pretty between him (I call him Frankie – it’s those blue eyes) and Rusty if I let him into the house, so I’m hoping to find him a good home before Winter comes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seashells and branches

12July24sample1 Yay for vacations – for many reasons, but in this case because I can spend more time with my sewing machine! I’ve been practicing this month’s Free Motion Quilting Challenge. They almost always look deceptively simple, but I suppose that’s because I’m watching someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. July’s tutorial is by Angela Walters who has us doing a “tiled” approach. Very interesting, and it looks fantastic when she does it. And a lot of other quilters who have taken the challenge (scroll down to the bottom of the page) have done an exceptional job! There are so many wonderfully creative people out there! And even if my attempts are far from perfect, I sure am learning a lot from this challenge series. I’ve learned that there are several different ways to FMQ, and the best way to become good at it is to just keep doing it.

I’ve always wanted to try these little seashells. Don’t know why I chose this  challenge to try them, but my curves have never been very curvy. And they were really choppy during this exercise. Three-quarters of the way through, I finally changed my needle, and that helped A LOT! But what really took the points off12July24sample2 my curves was a little bit of vodka with some orange juice. Sometimes, ya godda do what ya godda do.

Leah Day has a “Bare Branches” tutorial on her website that appealed to me, so I tried that design with the tiles as well. She posted it to give everyone practice with “travelling”, and it sure does involve a lot of that! It’s a good technique to learn. Obviously, I haven’t perfected it yet (cue eye roll), but I’m not unhappy with the way my branches turned out, and I had fun doing it.

So, thank you once again Sew Cal Gal and Angela and Leah. I’ve learned so much since January.

Until next time,

Monday, July 23, 2012


12July23Hamels And, of course, the other thing about the Lillooet Quilt Show was the fabric vendors! Heather's Quilt Shelf from nearby Kamloops was there, as well as Hamels Fabrics from Chilliwack. I can’t resist! I picked up a few things. Especially Fat Quarters and remnants.

12July23Fat I picked up a few things from Hamels – a selection of Asian and Civil War prints (those go together, right?) that I thought would look really neat on some future bags. I have other prints already that I think will look super combined with these.

I also bought a pack of Scribbles Monsters II fat quarters because I love Hallowe’en. Love the orange and black, love the pumpkins and the kitties, the witches and the ghosties… Don’t know if I’ll ever get around to making a Halloween quilt, but if I do, I’ll have the material!

And then, of course, I bought some … I think they’re “charm”-sized scraps of blues and maroons, purples, Fall colours, 12July23Boo swirlies, etc. – just because I liked them and they were a really good price (I thought). They’ll be used for scrappy projects, and they’ll look good!

There was a lovely quilt that I didn’t show yesterday. It was a broadcloth, and exquisitely hand-quilted. But it was displayed on a frame in front of the main window in the church, with the sunlight pouring in through the quilt, washing out 12July23stuff the detail. I couldn’t take a decent picture of it. Couldn’t even see it well enough (with all of that backlight) to describe it. I’m sure the event organizers meant to  highlight it, but it was poorly displayed. I’m sorry, but I didn’t even get the information off of it. Oh well.

Other than that one little thing, I enjoyed the show immensely and hope to see it again next year. I know I’ll find a use for the lovely fabric that I rescued!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nothing like a quilt show

I played hooky from work on Friday afternoon! Unheard of, but since I was starting holidays next week and I’d been training my replacement for almost a month, I felt like I could afford a little time off. My neighbour and friend, Judy, really wanted to go, and it was her birthday on Thursday. Her sister was visiting from Calgary, so the three of us drove to Lillooet, about an hour’s drive away. It was a nice little show, with some obviously very talented members of the Lillooet Quilter’s Guild.

I didn’t count them, but there were probably about 50 or 60 quilts there in St. Andrew’s Church. Of course, I took pictures of some of my favourites.

12July22ArthurStathers Love the cats! You probably recognize this pattern. Crazy Cats by C. Arthur-Stathers. Quilted by Connie Rackow: 66x80. Buggy Barn pattern. This is just a small part of the quilt.







12July22Cook Kaleidoscope by Donna Cook. Quilted by Connie Rackow. “Quilt was done using 2.5 inch strips."









12July22Evans1 Quail Family by Helen Evans. 30.5x16. Pattern by Log Cabin Quiltworks.




12July22Gallant1 Mystery Quilt by Carol Gallant: 82x100 "We did 1 star per week"






12July22Gallant2  Round Robin Quilt by Carol Gallant and Friends. Quilted by Connie Rackow: 86x100. "Feathered star was my centre and the five participants added a border each. I had provided all the fabric."




12July22KipperAll Cooped Up by Vi Kipper. 35x37. McKenna Ryan's patterns 'Pineneedles'. This is just one of the squares.








12July22Ritchie Memories in Lace by Lynn Ritchie. Quilted by Shari Evans. "I have always wanted a crazy quilt. A labor of love." This is just a little piece of the quilt.



12July22Evans3 Snowy Days by Helen Evans. 66x66. Crapapple Hill Design.






12July22Evans2c Growing Fish Assortment by Helen Evans. 55.5x46. Inspired by Susan Carlson's books "Freestyle Quilts" Ever now and then a few more fish get added to the assortment."



12July22Gallant3 Circle Fun by Carol Gallant and Connie Rackow: 32x40. "This was a Barb Tuemp lesson. Leaving the hall after cutting this out, the wind caught my board and blew my pieces everywhere. So, I pieced it as best as possible and Connie did the applique.”

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Zipper voted off the island

12July17front I’ve spent the past few days putting together a 62-page booklet (most of it double-sided) to profile our community for a provincial competition called Communities in Bloom. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out so big, but I was happy with it. So were my co-committee members and the judges seemed to be satisfied with it as well. Now I’m making two dozen devilled eggs for a lunch with the judges tomorrow that is being held in my next door neighbour’s backyard. She and her husband have a lovely backyard. Mine will be some day, but it is still in development. I’ll be working on it while I’m on vacation for the next four weeks.

12July17side I fixed my latest bag yesterday. It was easy. Just unstitched the exterior and interior and tacked down the strap and the flap like I should have in the first place, put the exterior and interior together like I should have in the first place. I took these pictures against out back fence tonight as the sun was setting. I look the ragged look of our back fence, but the partner is threatening to paint it. He hates the way it looks. I think it provides a very artistic backdrop.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to add the zipper at this point. Seems to me that I should have added it way back before I stitched the exterior together. I may still figure out a way, but I’m not so sure.

12July17frontpocket Except for the zipper, once my brain clicked into gear, it all came together quite easily. I still forgot to re-enforce the welt pocket. The “cargo” pocket I made on the side was actually a pleated pocket. Next time I try this I need to flare the top so that it doesn’t fit so snuggly against the fabric. I didn’t use any interface in this bag because I thought the fabrics would be stiff enough, but they weren’t really. 12July17weltpocket They could have used a little extra reinforcement. I put pockets on the front under where the flap falls – pockets for cell phones or narrow writing pads and pens. There are another two pockets inside to hold “stuff”.

I like the straps, although I made them a bit long for my own liking. Not so long, though, that I can’t see myself using it. But I made the strap 4 inches wide and then ran out of material – FINALLY! Yay, I got rid of it! But, how to finish a bag when you’re short of material? I cut the strap four inches wide, turned the sides in a quarter-inch and ironed them that way. Then I cut a four-inch strip of the “fuschia” material I used for the pockets just to try and keep a little  consistency. I turned the edges under like I did with the main material, ironed it 12July17insidepocket and sewed them both together, with the exterior bag fabric, and attached it to the bag so that the “fuschia” material was on the underside. I like wide straps, especially on a messenger bag.

I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get the zipper to fit.One of these days, I will look on these blogs and laugh because zippers will have become simple and I will have other challenges to overcome.

12July 17strap Tomorrow evening there will be a New Moon at 27 Cancer. The Moon is exalted in Cancer since it is the Moon’s own sign, and that is always good. Cancereans love their homes and their families. They also love looking back at their heritage. It’s a good time for inviting close friends to come into your home an quilt. Watery themes are highlighted, with pale silver and pearl colours. Let your inner crab free! Personally, it’s going to square my Mars which is going to sting, but it’s all in the way you react to life’s challenges. We’ll get through it.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Working our way along

The Clueless Quilter? Some days I think I should change the name of my blog, Every evening when I think I should post, I always come up with five other jobs I should be doing instead. Not fun. It’s biting into my sewing time as well, although I still find time for that.

12July12bagA I was hoping to make a couple of messenger bags for a volunteer group I belong to – Communities in Bloom. I have to put together a community profile booklet for the two judges who will be here next week and I thought a bag to put it/them in would be so cute, but I’m not going to get the bags done. I’ve been working on a prototype for the past two weeks, and it’s not going anywhere. (You’ll notice that I’m back to the practice material!)

I would have been finished the bag a few days ago (still not enough time for me to make two more), except for the fact that… it turned out more backwards than 12July12bagWelt usual. The flap was new and it turned out – with the great strap. But that’s the lining behind it in the picture, not the exterior fabric. I just haven’t had time to figure it out and correct it yet.

To your right is a picture of the bag right-side-out, but there’s no flap and no strap. :-( But there is a welt pocket. (Which isn’t stitched around to stabilize – I forgot.)

Great use of ugly fabric through – doesn’t it look like lawn chair material? Anyway, thrift store purchase. It’s all gone now, thanks to this project. Actually, it doesn’t look that bad…


Some outside pockets. I even measured my partner’s Smart Phone so I would have some usable pockets. The flap is supposed to cover them. I mean, what’s a messenger bag without a flap? There’s a regular double slip pocket on the inside as well, attached to the lining. But in this picture, it’s shoved inside, wrong-side showing, along with the flap and the strap which are now trapped inside. I’ll fix them when I have time, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks.

At leas the zipper turned out right! Yay! Except, if I want to see it, the lining, flap 12July12zip and strap have to be trapped inside. Oh, what to do, what to do? It’s always something, isn’t it? I’m not frustrated about it. I’m just waiting for some spare time to fix it. My holidays are in a week and a half. Have I mentioned that I absolutely cannot wait until then? I’m not sure that I’ll make it. I can figure out how to fix it – I just haven’t had time. The summer is too busy, and getting ready to take four weeks off for vacation leaves just too much of a crunch. But I’ll get ‘er done at some point. It’s actually come together too nicely for me to give up on it. Even if it is too late to make a couple for the judge’s visit next week. Too bad.

12July12bernie In other news, Bernie is back. I picked her up from the repair shop a couple of weeks ago but, like everything else, I haven’t had time to test run her. They says she works tick tock again, so I’ll take their word for it for now. What else can I do? A rather pricey repair job, but I think she’s worth it. My partner keeps asking me why I need three sewing machines!!! I finally asked him how many saws he had! He has a very well-stocked work shop. I can’t recall his answer, but it was more than three. He hasn’t asked me since. Actually, I’m thinking that I may give it to his granddaughter somewhere down the line. Maybe. Who knows?

Until next time,