Monday, November 21, 2011


Linda asked for orange and aqua with white background.
This weekend, I finally sat down to make blocks for my hive in the 3x6 Bee.  In this Bee, you have 3 months to make one block design in 6 color schemes for your 6 partners.  In return, you get 6 blocks made by 6 lovely quilters.  I participated in the spring and received 6 wonderful blocks, so I'm anxious to get enough blocks to make my quilt.  I had nearly forgotten that I had signed up to be in this bee again until I saw all the lovely blocks that were being made.

Jodi waned rosy pink and blue/green.  I struggled, but finally cut into my Denise Schmidt and Farmdale... 
Do you find it hard to cut into your favorite fabrics?

As always, the hardest part is deciding what block to make - and which fabrics to use.  There are a couple of great websites for block ideas though.  First, I tried Delaware Quilts Block of the Month.  There are tons of great ideas there.

Samantha wanted bright green and pink.
Then, I tried Dear Jane.

Loretta wanted gray and green.  Gray is such a hard color for me - not much of that in my stash. In fact, I think this is the only piece of gray I had.  

Then back to Delaware Quilts.  Definitely too many choices!

Sara is doing a patriotic quilt.

I finally settled on a block called Balkan Puzzle on the Delaware Quilts website.  It's supposed to look like this:
Image from Delaware Quilts BOM website.
I had two blocks put together before I realized I put them together wrong. 

And then I decided that I like the jazzy pinwheel effect better anyhow.

Laurie asked for aqua, yellow, and gray.  Do those dots look a little bit aqua to you?

So, when life gives you lemons - well, you know what to do.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bar Harbor Gets a New Home

Last Monday Night, I attended the Pensacola Quilt Guild meeting for the first time in maybe 6 months.  I have missed meetings first because I was busy with wedding preparations, and then because I was out of town and then because I forgot, and then because I was just plain lazy.  But this month, even though it was waaaay early in the month, I actually remembered and went.  The Guild has new digs, and they are much nicer than their previous ones.

I suppose most Guilds have a Show and Share time, when members can show off their recent creations.  Some of the things these ladies create just blow me away.  I am not nearly so awe-inspiring, but since I was looking for a suitable home for this joint effort Bar Harbor quilt, I decided to share.  A super talented lady, Ingrid, was in line in front of me with maybe 10 quilts to show.  Frankly, I felt slightly intimidated. 

 But when Ingrid's turn came, she thanked everyone for coming to work parties at her home and helping her create 27 quilts for kids in Shoal Creek, Alabama who lost everything in the floods this year.

Perfect?  Oh yeah.  And since I'd been looking for a new home for Bar Harbor, I gave it to her on the spot.

Now, 28 children will get a lovely new quilt for Christmas.

I may need to go make another quilt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Do you realize that it's just 6 weeks until Christmas???  Whew!  I'm certainly not ready.  Not emotionally ready, not to mention actually doing anything about it yet.   But I did manage to make a couple of things that are a little Christmas-y.  This Flurry apron is kind of cute (please don't look at the model).  And easy too.  Only one fat quarter and some yardage for the pocket, waistband and ties.  A half yard of each and about an hour made 2 aprons.  Easy peasy.

And I managed to make another of my 1-hour FQ Totes.  This is the last of the Pink Dazzle I bought at Sewing Summit.  I have one FQ left, so maybe I can find something fun to do with it.  I'm not too sure about the practicality of a basically white tote, but I really like it, especially for winter.

Isn't this fabric fun?

And check out the inside.  I probably wouldn't have used these together if they hadn't been all that was left, but I really like it.  It gives it such a fun feel.

So, two gifts, less than an hour apiece.

Maybe I can get Christmas under control after all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Block Party

The other day, I was prowling around blogland, when I ran across a post on Val's blog, Pink Please, about her desire to make a quilt to auction to raise money for cancer treatment.  Her post touched me in several ways.  First, both of my parents died of cancer - my mom more than 25 years ago now.   Then in 2004, my best friend (whom I still miss every day) lost her long battle with the ugly disease.  Then, this year, two of my co-workers, both quite young, are valiantly fighting this menace.  One of them, only 46, has pancreatic cancer.  Another, barely 30, has breast cancer.

It seemed like the least I could do was make a couple of quilt blocks.  Hardly a sacrifice at all, really.  Certainly nothing like battling cancer.

And check out the blocks she has received so far!  I am blown away!  This quilt is going to be AWESOME!

On a happier note, I am a member of the Fall Bee, and this is Anna's month.  She chose spider web blocks in batik fabrics.  Here's mine.

 It is a fun pattern, made from the tutorial at alamodefabrics, but I really felt like there wasn't as much contrast as I would have liked.  However, these are the fabrics I was sent, so this is the block I made.  I haven't sewn much with batiks, so this was kind of fun.  This block looks so complicated, but is really very easy if you follow the tutorial. 

Since this was a long weekend (thank you WH and all you Veterans and Veteran's families!) I had plenty of time to play and get caught up.  I read a little, sewed a lot, and maybe, just maybe, I can go back to work rested enough to last until Thanksgiving - only 10 days away!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Snowing

OK, so it's Florida and the chance of snow is - well - minute, unlike other areas of the U.S. which are experiencing their third blizzard already this winter.  But I an  I'm participating in the Trim the Tree Handmade Ornament Swap on Flickr again this year.  It is always such a struggle to decide what to make.  This year, I decided on snowflakes.  These aren't the kind that melt, and they should last a number of years.  I have some on my tree that I bought at a craft fair in Oregon thirty years ago.  So I've had fun with these this year.

I found this cute snowflake here.   I kind of struggled with this one.  I made 4 of them total, and I think I only executed one of them correctly.  It's so lacy and pretty, that I really like it.

I found the pattern for this one here.  This one was much simpler to do - or maybe I was just back in the crochet mode by the time I did it?

This one is of my own design, as is the next one.  Once I got started, I was on a roll.

 So, partner, I hope you like them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three Quilts - Finished!

Among several other projects that I completed this weekend, I finally got the last of the 3 quilts that have been sitting in my basket finished.

The top one was pieced by BD#1, and then put in the pile to go to Goodwill or DI.  I just couldn't let that happen, so I brought it home, added borders and backing, and quilted it.

It is destined for 100 Quilts for Kids.  Yes, a little late, but better late than never.

The middle one I called "Woodland by the Lake."  It was a duvet cover I made for BD#2 when she first went off to college.  After that first term, she decided on different decor and brought this baby home.

Not one to let a good effort go to waste, I took it apart, sandwiched it, and it has been languishing in the basket for months.

Officially titled "The Leftover Quilt", the bottom one was made from the leftovers of the tree quilt I made sometime in the summer of 2010.  I had actually bound and quilted this one, stitch in the ditch style, and declared it finished but just wasn't satisfied with it somehow.  It has been sitting in a bag in the sewing room waiting for something...  but I wasn't sure what.  Finally, I decided that it really needed more quilting to make it something special.  I really love the fabrics, and the Disappearing 9-Patch was a ton of fun, and at the time, a real departure for me.  So, over the past few days, I finally sat down and quilted it.

So there you have it - three finished quilts.

Three items out of my "to do" pile.

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kinda Quiet Lately

I'm actually surprised it has been nearly a week since I posted here, but it's not that I haven't been doing anything...  I am participating in the Trim the Tree Swap, which is actually the first swap I ever attempted.  My one year Flickr anniversary of sorts.  Last year I did two smocked ornaments and an elf shoe.  They were fun.  And stressful.  I still stress over making something my partner will like.  I guess that's normal?  Maybe?

This year, I thought I would try crochet snowflakes and found this pattern here.  I can't seem to execute it perfectly, though, as small as it is.  I have ripped out and re-done more times than I can count. The one above was my first attempt, and will be staying home with me.  I need to stiffen and block it, but it will give you the idea of what I've been working on. 

And last weekend, I was searching for something in the sewing room and ran across 4 quilts that have just been sitting there, waiting to be quilted, and one that BD#1 made the top and was going to give to Goodwill that I salvaged that I plan to give to 100 quilts for kids.  So, I just quilted this weekend.  Very time consuming.  I keep trying that FMQ meandering/stippling thing, and I just am not satisfied, but they are quilted and done and pictures will follow this weekend, probably, when it is light.

I am really hating driving home in the dark.  I really hate the time change, whichever way it goes.  But regardless, tomorrow is Veteran's Day and so a day to remember those who have fought for our freedoms.  I am grateful.  And a day off from work, for which I am also grateful.  I want it to be a very productive sewing weekend.  I have a LONG list of things to accomplish.  Do you realize that Christmas is only 6 weeks away?

Whew! Gotta run!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

1 Hour Fat Quarter Tote - A Tutorial

The 1 Hour Fat Quarter Tote in Pink Dazzle by Adorn It
This is a tutorial for an oh-so-quick tote bag which is made entirely from fat quarters and can be made - from start to finish - in approximately 1 hour. It has convenient pockets on the outside and holds a ton of stuff.  I'm planning on making several for Christmas gifts this year.  How about you?

(OK, in the interest of full disclosure - I just made another one and it was an hour and a half from cutting to the last stitch, including time to wind the bobbin, so sewing time was - well - not much more than one hour.) 

5 fat quarters
batting equal to 2-1/2 fat quarters (scraps work great!)
cutting mat and rotary cutter
general sewing supplies such as sewing machine, thread, iron, etc.

 Before you start:

This tutorial assumes that quarters are generally 18 x 22 inches, give or take.   If yours are a different size, you may have to adjust the size of your bag slightly.  This will mostly involve adjusting the lining pieces to make sure the lining fits the outside of your bag.  This pattern is very forgiving, and will accommodate a lot of variation, as long as you keep your tape measure handy when you are ready to insert the lining.

You may wish to square up your fat quarters before you begin.

You may find it helpful to press your FQs before you start.

Be sure to cut off all selvages.

All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise mentioned.

The amount of quilting you do will partially determine how much time this project takes.  I do not quilt these bags heavily; I just do enough quilting to enhance the design and hold the layers together.

Wind several bobbins before you start so you don't have to stop to wind the bobbin.

RST = Right Sides Together

FQ #1 (sides)

Lay your FQ on your cutting mat horizontally.  Cut in half.  You should now have two pieces approximately 11" x 18".

Cut each piece in half again, making 4 pieces approximately 5-1/2" by 18".

Set aside.

FQ #2 (center)

Lay your fabric on your cutting mat horizontally.  Cut two pieces 9" wide.  You should also have a 2" piece left over (not shown).

Set aside. 

FQ #3 (pockets and handles)

Lay your fabric on your cutting mat horizontally.  Cut a piece 9" wide.  Cut this piece in half vertically.  You should now have 2 pieces 9 x 9 inches.

From the other piece, which should be approximately 13" by 18", cut two pieces 3-1/2" wide by 18" long.  You will have a piece approximately 4" wide x 18" long left over. 

Set aside.

FQs #4 and 5 (lining and handles)

From each FQ -

Lay your FQ horizontally on the cutting mat.  Cut one 3-1/2" by 18" piece. 

Set the rest aside until you are ready to insert the lining.

Cut a piece of batting to fit each of the 4 pieces of FQ#1, the 2 pieces of FQ#2, and two of the handle pieces from FQ#3.

The Outside of the Tote:

Step 1:  Quilting

Match your 4 pieces of FQ#1, the 2 pieces of FQ#2 and 2 of the 3-1/2" by 18" pieces with their batting counterparts and quilt as desired.  I do not do much quilting here - just enough to hold the fabric to the batting and give it some strength. 

Step 2:  Pockets

Take one of the 9" by 9" pieces of FQ#3 and fold one edge over 1/2".  Press.  Fold it over again and press.  

Stitch close to the edge.

Fold the opposite edge over 1/2 inch and press. (Hint:  Do all the pressing all at once to save time moving back and forth to the ironing board.)

Lay the pocket piece on top of one of the quilted 9" by 18" pieces of FQ#2.  Place the single fold edge 2-1/2 inches from the edge of the quilted piece and pin in place.  

Stitch close to the edge.  Stitch again exactly on top of the previous stitching for strength.  You may wish to stitch up the sides close to the edge to hold your pocket in place.  (Hint:  Use your machine's thread cutter rather than reaching for the scissors to cut your threads - it's lots faster.)

On the other 9" by 9" piece of FQ#3, fold one edge over 1/2" and press.  Fold it over again and stitch close to the edge.

Fold the opposite edge over 1/2" and press.

With a water soluble or chalk marker, draw a line down the middle of this piece from the stitched edge to the folded edge.

As you did with your other pocket, place the pocket piece on the 9" by 18" quilted piece of FQ#2 and pin in place 2-1/2" above the edge of the quilted piece.  Stitch close to the single fold edge.  Stitch again exactly on top of the previous stitching for strength.  You may wish to stitch the sides close to the edge to hold it in place.

Now, stitch down the line you drew in the center of the pocket.  Stitch again exactly on top of the first stitching for strength.

Step 3:  Outer panels

Place a quilted 5-1/2" by 18" FQ #1 piece RST along both sides of the center pocket panel you just created in Step 2 and sew.  Repeat for the other center pocket panel.  You should now have 2 pieces that look like this:

Your outer panels are finished!

Now, place the two outer panels RST and sew the side seams. 

Stitch the bottom edge together.  Stitch again exactly on top of the previous stitching for strength.  (HINT:  when stitching twice, don't lift the needle - turn the fabric around and just sew in the opposite direction.)

 Snip the corners to reduce bulk and fold the seams in opposite directions.

Match the bottom seam to the side seam, forming a point, as shown.  I roll the seams between my fingers until they match exactly.  Pin along the seam line to hold it in place.

Measure up 1-3/4" from the point and draw a straight line across the corner.  (I forgot to take a picture of this process on the outside panel, but the process is the same for the lining, so this photo will have to do.)  Stitch along this line.  Repeat for the other corner.

Your bag should now have a bottom and corners that look like this.

Step 4:  Handles

Take one of the 3-1/2" x 18" quilted pieces and match it with one of the 3-1/2" x 18" unquilted pieces.  Sew lengthwise down both sides.

Turn right side out.  This piece was wide enough that I didn't need a safety pin or tool to turn it.

Press flat.  Repeat for other handle.

Top stitch both sides of each handle 1/4" from the edge to prevent the handle fabrics from twisting in use.

With the quilted side down, center the handle over the center panel seam on the outside of your bag.  (I do this by folding the handle piece in half and placing the fold over the seam line - thus, no need to measure!)  Pin in place.  Pin the other side of that handle piece to the other center panel seam on the same side of your bag. 

Stitch handle to bag with a 1/4" seam.  Stitch again for security.  Repeat for all four handle ends.

Step 5:  Lining

Measure the outer bag from side seam to side seam.  Add 1 inch.  If necessary cut each of your lining pieces to that width.  Set any left over scraps aside.

Sew the sides and bottom of the lining as you did for the outside of your tote using 1/2" seams. 

Snip the corners and fold the seams opposite directions.  Match the side seam to the bottom seam and pin together.

Measure up from the point 1-3/4" and draw a line across the point.  Stitch on the line.  Your bag lining should now have a corner that exactly matches the outside of your bag. 

If you wish to press your seams, now is the time.

Step 6:  Finishing

With the bag lining wrong side out and the bag right side out, place the bag inside the lining matching the side seams.  Pin the bag and the lining together at the side seams.

Pin around the raw edge from the inner corner of one handle all the way around to the inner corner of the same handle on the opposite side of the bag. 

Using a 1/2" seam, stitch the bag to the lining from the inner corner of one handle all the way around to the inner corner of the same handle on the opposite side of the bag.  Leave the area between the  two edges of the handle open for turning.

Reach inside the bag through the open area and pull the bag right side out.  Stuff the lining down inside the bag.  Press.  Turn the raw edge under and pin the open area closed.

Beginning at one side seam, top stitch all the way around the bag close to the edge.

Beginning at the same side seam, top stitch all the way around the bag again 1/4" from the first stitching.  (Hint:  Don't pull the fabric out from under the needle or cut your threads, just move the fabric over 1/4" and do the second stitching, then cut your threads all at once.)

Congratulations!  Your bag is finished.  I guarantee you it took me a lot longer to write this tutorial than it did to make the bag.  I have tried to document the process accurately, but if you notice any errors, or if something isn't clear or doesn't make sense, please let me know.
Thanks for following along with me.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you make one, please let me know.  I'd love to see photos.