Another Friday Finish

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while. Since I last posted, I (successfully) defended my Master’s thesis (we have a required oral defense for the MA thesis) and am cranking out some serious papers for the end of the semester.

But! A little over two months four months since I finished this, I’ve finally had the chance to take better pictures of my Strip & Flip quilt!
Strip and Flip

This is a really brilliant, simple, satisfying pattern, and I just love how it turned out. As I said before, I didn’t quite follow the pattern exactly: I cut strips that were 2 1/2″ inches wide, instead of 2″ wide, and I pieced them really carefully, so that the final dimensions of the quilt are about 42″x52″

I decided to echo the white lines on the front in the backing of the quilt, which was just enough to let me use a single cut of Kona cotton (a little under 2 yards) to back this quilt — but it was iffy in places, and if I did it again, I might opt to give myself a little more wiggle room.
Strip and Flip back

I quilted it pretty simply: first I filled the vertical white columns with white stitching, which I think makes them look sort of column-like, and then I quilted horizontal lines more or less randomly across the middle column, which involved a lot of fussing and tugging to get the wider part of the quilt to fit in my sewing machine.
White quilting

Then I had a dilemma. I considered doing a different style of free motion quilting in each strip, to give the back of it a sort of scrappy, varied look, but I decided it varied too much from the straight lines already present on the back of it. Instead, I picked every fifth strip and quilted across it back and forth.
Quilting detail

It leaves about an 8″ gap between quilted sections on the wide side, which makes me a little bit nervous.

So I have a question for more experienced quilters:
Should I run some additional quilting lines down those sections? I know Warm & Natural says you can quilt it every 10″, but those are awfully LONG 8″ sections… (And before you ask, I have no idea who’s going to be using this one, but probably a child.)

I considered doing a scrappy binding, or using one of the prints in the top for the binding, but I decided that would just be too much going on. Instead, I wandered over to my local fabric shop (it is three blocks from my house: let’s just say the owner and I chat when I go in, I’m there that often.) I looked over their solids, and chose a deep blue (Kona Ocean, if I recall correctly). I tried to use Red Pepper Quilts binding tutorial but I have yet to figure out exactly what counts as 1/4″ when I’m using my walking foot, so the stitch allowance was too wide, and I wouldn’t have been sure to catch the folded over binding if I stitched in the ditch. Instead I bound it by hand, while watching the news over the last couple of nights.
Binding

Any questions? I really enjoyed this one — it’s a great chance to pick fabrics (I’d consider doing this in all neutrals, or all greys, or all reds (etc) if I had enough of them!). And it comes together very quickly without looking like it, which is always satisfying.
Strip and Flip

One (unexpected!) finished project

We recycle plastic bags, and the plastic bag full of plastic bags hanging on a door handle have been getting on my nerves. So I did a little digging online, checked a couple of tutorials for ideas, and made a plastic-bag holding tube!

I started off with a fat quarter, and backed it with fusible fleece. I picked fleece because I wanted a little extra sturdiness to the bag, and the roughness of the fleece on the inside of the tube should help keep the bags in place better than a smoother interfacing.
fusible-fleece-fat-quarter

I cut off three inches from the long side of the fat quarter, to make a narrower tube. I sewed that 3″ strip into a tube (wrong-sides out) and turned it right-side-out to use as a loop for hanging the bag. Next time I do this, I’m cutting the 3″ strip off first, and then fusing on the fleece. Turning a 1 1/2″ tube that’s backed with fusible fleece inside-out was really exasperating.

Then I dug into my scrap box, cut two pieces of black fabric 2″ x 15″ and made them into 3/4″ draw-string tubes at the top and bottom of the soon-to-be tube.

WithEdging

Two pieces of elastic later, (8″ on the bottom, for a small opening, 12″ on the top, to make putting bags in easier) I sewed the whole thing up the side, and flipped it right-side out, and ta-da!

all-done

Now it lives in the coat closet, where it hangs very nicely on one side and is up high enough that we can all reach it easily, and the best part? It doesn’t clutter up the hallway anymore.

Organization! It’s a wonderful, if short-lived thing.

I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing and getting-rid-of-stuff over this winter break. I culled something over seventy books from my overcrowded bookshelves, which means that the books I own now fit on my bookshelves without stacks on the floor for the first time since I moved back to NYC. (Some of them are still double-shelved, but shh, that totally doesn’t count.) I left the bookshelf-bit in this photograph, which is theoretically all about the fabric stash in the top half. You can see all the books! I am irrationally happy about this.

Bookcase+StashJan2013

I also took the opportunity to re-organize my fabric, which is now organized by color, as well as by cut size (more than 3-yard cuts are all in one place), and my sewing cart, which has made getting to things a lot easier, as well as giving me a bigger box for scraps (which is amusing, since right now I’m at probably the lowest level of scraps I’ve been at in months, what with the Scrappy Trip quilt decimating my scraps. Even the contents of the fat quarter box are really organized! The pieces stuck in the left side are long quarters, so I don’t pull something and then get all disappointed when I realize that, no, I can’t cut a 17″x15″ piece from a long quarter-yard.

FatQuarterBoxJan2013

But I also got some fabric in the mail, as belated Christmas presents. I didn’t photograph much of it, but I couldn’t help but get a picture of the Pearl Bracelets fat quarter set that I got from Stash Modern Fabric. Look, isn’t it pretty? All the colors! I love this print so much.

PearlBraceletsFQs

I couldn’t resist pulling some of it right away — cosmonaut, anchor, and river bend are the colors I chose — and I made these three fabric boxes using a tutorial on The Sometimes Crafter.

AllThreeBluePearls2

I used an iron-on interfacing (Pellon 809, which is really stiff) instead of sewing in interfacing, and I think it’s working out pretty well. I pinned them carefully, with vertical pins at each corner, to hold things in place and horizontal pins for three sides, so I wouldn’t have to pull out the pins while I was sewing. I marked the turning hole with vertical pins, because I have been known to sew all the way around something and only then realize that I needed to leave part of it open to turn the project right-side-out.

MidBluePinned

Ironing them square was really fun, though I didn’t take any pictures of that stage. There’s a good tutorial on The Sometimes Crafter.

I’m using them to hold leaders and enders (light in the light box, dark in the dark, sewn pairs in the medium blue box), and I’ve already emptied the medium blue box once, because it was full of paired ones, and I needed more space!

BluePearlsInUse

These are actually my first finish of the year, so I’ve added a picture of them to the 2013 Finish-A-Long Flickr pool.

Finally, because I found it tremendously amusing, have a picture of my cat, Clio, attempting to supervise my sewing while I worked on the Scrappy Trip quilt. (She’s just next to the computer, which plays music or audiobooks while I’m working.)
ClioHelping

Gifted and unblogged…

Though my semester was really pretty crazy, I did manage to finish a couple of other projects either in snatches of borrowed time or in mid-December, once my papers were all in.

The one I’m going to talk about here today was another Mabel Messenger Bag, which I put together using Perk Me Up fabrics — I saw them over the summer and instantly knew they were made for a friend of mine who loves all things chocolate and coffee. This collection? Pretty much perfect for her. She asked for a bag she could use for her knitting, and liked the Mabel bag I made over the summer:
GreenBirdDoor1

This bag is altered in a couple of ways. One side of the bag is a simple piece of Kona Chocolate, with a large print on it as an exterior pocket. The magnetic snap attaches inside the pocket, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but … well, I probably wouldn’t do it again.
PerkMeUpFront

The other side is a patchwork of the various different fabrics in the Perk Me Up collection.
PerkMeUpBack

One problem I had with my first Mabel bag is that the strap slides a lot. For this bag I made two changes to help it stay in place. I made it scrappy, with seams that add a little bit of body to the strap every few inches, and I made it just a smidge wider than the pattern called for.

The inside has a simple unzipped pocket, just the right size for knitting needles, scissors, crochet hooks, etc. It’s going to be used as a knitting bag, so I made sure it went to its new home with some yarn and a set of DPNs. (The green blob is a lace shawl, which will show up here as soon as I block it. Don’t hold your breath: I’m terrible about blocking things.)
PerkMeUpInside

I really enjoyed making this pattern for a second time: it makes for a very smart bag, and I think I managed a couple of the details like the snap and the bag’s strap a little better this time than I did last time. It was a lot of fun to revisit the pattern.

2012 Year in Review

2012 mosaic
1. FinalWhole, 2. FQ-Close, 3. Front_garden, 4. Full_front, 5. BlueBlack-staggered, 6. Henrietta1, 7. Notebooks, 8. Sarah’s potholders (front), 9. Black bag 1

In 2012 I started quilting seriously, started blogging, met a whole bunch of really lovely people and learned tons from advice and tutorials and quilt-alongs, and finished a lot of small projects and several quilts, including one that isn’t featured in this mosaic.

In 2013, I’ll be joining the Inspire circle of do. Good Stitches (which I’m really looking forward to) and trying my best to keep up with the Pile O’Fabric Skill Builder Block of the Month in hopes of learning how to sew curves at the very least. And ideally, I’ll be a little bit better at keeping up with this blog during the spring semester than I was this fall.

Prepping for the school year

I’ve been making notebook covers for my various courses, using Rachel’s tutorial at Stitched in Color.

It turns out that this pattern is perfect for my long-cut quarter-yard NYC prints from the City Quilter.

Here’s a fuzzy instagram picture of the first one:
Notebook cover #1

The next one will be black and white using the skyscraper print from City Quilter, in the same design as this one, and the third will be burgundy and yellow/gold, to match the colors of the Plantagenet kings. That one will be all red on the outside except for a thin vertical band of yellow at the edges, and the inside flaps will be yellow, with a pocket the right size for index cards.

I tweaked the measurements for the tutorial, because I’m using 8 1/2×10″ spiral-bound notebooks instead of composition books. I cut my cover to 12.75″x32.5″ because the notebooks are a little bit larger, and followed the tutorial otherwise, while adapting the pocket flaps to be the right depth for my notebooks. It’s a great tutorial!

EZ-Dresden Mini Quilt

This quilt is my entry in the EZ Dresden Challenge:

I considered trying to do a queen-sized traditional Dresden quilt and then decided that, really, I’d like to come out of August with my sanity intact. So I took the little mini-Dresden medallion I’d made up for practice, added a larger one and some fans, and ended up with this:
FinalWhole2

I’m pleased that this fabric set worked so nicely together: it was a lot of fun to play with it, and I was really pleased when I could cut out a little teacup and have it be just the right size for the center of the medallion.

I’m proud of the way some of the spokes line up:
FinalBladesMatchy

Though there are spots where they don’t line up quite as well as I might have hoped:
FinalBladesNotMatchy

The fans in the corners aren’t perfect, but I think they came out pretty well:
FinalFanDetail

I’m proud of the way the quilting looks on the back of it, though I’m sorry I didn’t go get more fabric: the seam is more distracting than I expected:
FinalBackStitching

Still, it’s going to hang on a wall (see the little corners?) so I suppose the back won’t get all that much attention:
FinalBackPocket

And one more shot of the whole thing:
FinalWhole

Now I have a question for all of you who have made Dresden quilts before: do you find rounded or pointed spokes easier to make? I found the pointed ones much easier than the fans, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to round the edges that I didn’t think of.

Mabel Messenger Bag: Done!

My green bird Mabel messenger bag is done!

Pattern: Mabel Messenger Bag by Jenna-Lou Designs
Fabric: Leftover from my Mixtape Quilt. And of course I forgot to write down what it was at the time.
Hardware: 18mm magnetic snap (I got mine from Purse Supplies R Us on Etsy) and a rectangle ring and slider from Jenna-Lou’s Etsy shop. There are lots of other options for what hardware to use, even if you limit yourself only to Etsy. :)
Alterations: I added a flat-applique’d on pocket on the interior, which will be nice for being able to locate pens and pencils and small things quickly. I also top-stitched around the edge of the bag once I was done ironing in the hopes that that will help it stay a little bit crisper in the long run.

GreenBirdDoor2

GreenBirdWhole

GreenBirdHardware

GreenBirdTopstitching

This was a pretty straightforward pattern. A little dense in places, so reading the whole thing first was definitely a good idea! I managed to attach the straps wrong the first time, and had to un-pick and re-attach them, which was a little annoying. But there were pictures for all the steps that I might have been confused by, which was nice.

Only one oops: when I put the lining in, I forgot to check which side the zippered pocket was on. Usually (at least, I think usually) the zippered pocket is on the back of the bag — in this case, the side the closure flap is sewn to. Here? It’s on the other side. Oops.

GreenBirdLiningOops

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

GreenBirdDoor1

Linking up to Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, which is hosted at Missy Mac Creations this week!

Next up in the bags queue is a second Mabel messenger bag, in Perk Me Up. I still haven’t entirely decided on how to use the fabrics, but I’ve got a little while to play with ideas yet.