Hooked on Needles

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remake of Seat Cushions/Chair Pads

Remember the flannel covered seat cushions I made a few months ago for my son's class? You can see them HERE and check out the tutorial on how I made them HERE. The teacher loved them and the kids were very excited to have soft seats for their week of standardized testing.

It was soon clear, however, that flannel was not the best choice for these cushions as it created far too much friction between itself and the backsides of fidgety 8 year olds! Also the ribbon I used to attach the pads to the chairs was not substantial enough to withstand the constant movement of the kids. So a few at a time, they were returned looking for some TLC. I decided to gather the remaining pads at the end of the school year and do a total remake of them, forgoing the flannel for outdoor canvas and the ribbon for wide velcro. I did re-use the foam squares though.

Here's the new chair pad collection for next year's second grade class...

This outdoor canvas was purchased from Fabric.com for a fraction of what it would have cost me at my local Joann Fabrics even at their best sale price. I highly recommend checking them out next time you are looking for this or any other kind of fabric.

Instead of using narrow ribbon sewn into the side seams of the covers to attach the pads to the chair legs, this time I used 1 1/2 inch wide velcro which goes under the seat of the chair and attaches to itself. I was able to purchase the velcro from Fabric.com too for about a sixth the price I would have paid at Joann! I also stitched a French seam on both sides of each pad for extra stability, catching in the ends of the velcro strip with each stitching and sewing back and forth over the velcro for good measure. I think it will hold better, but we'll see!

So there is the new chair pad to cushion the little seats of next year's second grade class. I'll be very interested to see how these hold up compared to the flannel covers and ribbons. If I have to remake them again, I'll be sure to let you know!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote Bag

Bags, bags, bags...I do love bags! Here's one that I made using a charm pack of Wonderland by MoMo for Moda. It's on the large side and would be great to haul lots of quilting stuff to a guild meeting, or keep skeins of yarn neat and tidy while knitting or crocheting a project. Actually it would be great for just about anything! Have a look...

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote BagSuch happy fabric! The outer shell is quilted...

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote Bag...and the inner lining is quilted also! You can see the large inside pocket in this picture as well.

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote BagThis bag measures 10 by 13 inches at the base and 22 inches at the top from seam to seam, so it is both wide and deep, and very roomy!

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote BagWhat would you carry in all that yummy, quilted space?

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote BagI love the butterflies and scissors!

Wonderland Large Quilted Tote BagYou can check this bag out over at my Etsy shop where it is available for purchase. Remember, if you are local, just email me if you're interested in buying it or you'll be charged for shipping!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Other Fabric for a special gift

Here is the other fabric I purchased along with the awesome red and aqua fabric I showed off the other day...

Apple Apron FabricIsn't it just darling? Such fun colors and prints. Can you guess what I'm going to make with it? What would you make with it?

Apple Apron FabricThese are both Michael Miller fabrics. The apple print fabric is called "Bite Me" and the dots are from the Dumb Dots collection.

What I make with these two fabrics will be a gift for someone special in a few months, but I can't say who and I can't say what I'm going to make because sometimes she reads my posts and I don't want to spoil the surprise. So when it's safe, I'll share it. Promise!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera Quilt

Last week was an odd week around here. It was the last week of school this year for our two youngest children who just finished Kindergarten and 2nd grade, and then Saturday was our oldest daughter's wedding. There were a lot of things going on for both of these events as you might imagine. Besides all that, I had finished piecing my Red and Aqua quilt top and I was waiting for fabric to arrive in the mail to finish that project and for two other projects which I have yet to share with you. So I was kind of in limbo during my down time from end-of-school activities and wedding preparations.

I decided to continue my quest for more empty space in my sewing room, and I found two jelly rolls I had purchased a while ago from the Connecting Threads clearance page. They were from their Riviera fabric line which is no longer available. So I opened them up and separated out the strips to see what was there. I had no real idea of what I would do with them, so I just started playing around.

After five days of sewing when I had a little chunk of time, this is what I ended up with...

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltI used every strip in the two jelly rolls to create these blocks and laid them out in a way that I thought was attractive, making sort of a windmill design in the middle of each block of four.

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltUntil I unwrapped the jelly rolls, I had no idea what pretty fabrics were inside. The strip on the outside of each roll was that stripe you see in the orange blocks. I was pleasantly surprised to find the pretty florals and nice prints in such cheerful colors. I was able to make four 10-inch blocks from each 5-strip set, and since I had two jelly rolls exactly the same, I ended up with eight of each block.

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltAfter piecing together the fabrics that I thought were obvious matches, I ended up with the last five strips that I pieced together and used for the backing. I didn't think these blocks fit in too well with the blocks I used on the front, so they became the focus of the back of the quilt. I found some other leftover Connecting Threads fabric for the pink border around the blocks. It is the fabric I used for the appliqué ribbon and lining on these quilted breast cancer walk bags. And I had some yardage of that awesome aqua fabric that frames it all so nicely. The aqua fabric is the only one that is not from Connecting Threads in this quilt.

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltNot bad for five days of off and on sewing and no plan in mind, wouldn't you say?

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltAnd it's reversible! The quilting was done on my little old (and I mean old!) domestic Singer using simple straight line sewing. The batting was also a piece I had in my stash.

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltThis quilt ended up being about 40 by 60 inches, which is a good size for a throw blanket or a picnic blanket or even for in a baby's crib.

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltThe binding fabric is what I had leftover of Connecting Threads' Cheap Talk fabric that I used to make my daughter's cinch sack last year for our trip to New York City. You can see that bag HERE. I thought the colors went well with the quilt top colors.

Time Filler, Stash Buster, 5-Day Riviera QuiltSo now my little shelf of precuts has some empty space on it and my bin of yardage is a bit lighter. Better yet, I had something fun and productive to do with myself in between all the other activities of the week!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Border, Backing, Binding Fabrics for Red and Aqua Quilt

Here are the fabrics I picked out to finish my Red and Aqua Quilt that I showed in progress recently...

Border, Backing, Binding Fabrics for Red and Aqua QuiltThis is the bundle of fabrics as I received it from Natalie's Etsy shop.

Border, Backing, Binding Fabrics for Red and Aqua QuiltAnd these are the fun fabrics I found to complete my quilt! The red fabric will be the binding and maybe a small inner border. The aqua with the little hedgehogs and red hearts will be the main border around the quilt top. And the aqua with the big happy daisies on it will be the backing.

Border, Backing, Binding Fabrics for Red and Aqua Quilt
These are all Michael Miller fabrics. I had a hard time finding the Plain Jane fabric in enough yardage for the backing because I understand it's out of print now. Most places I found that carried it only had a few yards left or just fat quarters, so I lucked out finding the amount I needed in one cut, plus the other two cute red and aqua fabrics to go along with it.

There are two other fabrics in that bundle too, but they are not for this quilt. I'll show them to you next time. I could have added up to a total of 20 yards to my order without paying any extra shipping, but I couldn't afford to do that, so I just picked out two more fabrics for a gift I'll be making later. No sense paying that extra level of shipping without getting something to make it worthwhile!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Something Fishy Came in the Mail Today!

I just heard George the mailman drive by so I went out to pick up my mail. Yesterday, I had received a quilt magazine and some Cutco knives I had purchased from Ebay, so I didn't think I'd have a fun mail day again today. Well to my surprise, there was a squishy package in my mailbox that I had forgotten was on its way. It sure didn't smell fishy, but this is what was in it...

Fish Embroidery SamplerHave you ever seen a more handsome fish? This is all hand embroidered by Mary Corbet over at Needle 'n Thread. She does amazing fine work, and let me tell you, this is fine work! The whole fish measures only about 8 1/2 inches by 5 inches, but look at all the detail in that small space. It looks like most of it is done using only one very fine thread and the variety of stitches and designs is just fascinating.

Fish Embroidery SamplerIf you are interested in embroidery and follow Mary's website, you may remember when she was working on this project. Click HERE for a link to one of her posts on this project and from there you can link to the other posts where she shows her progress on this fish. It really is an amazing little project to read about, even if you don't do embroidery yourself.

So why did it end up in my mailbox, you may be asking yourself. I'll tell you. Mary has known of my love of, and almost obsession with, designing and making bags for quite some time. In fact, Mary is the proud owner of one of my bags which you can see HERE. (I have two just like this one for sale in my Etsy shop right now...the only difference, besides the fabric, is that the little hidden zipper pocket is not included.)

Now back to the fish. I had asked Mary, while she was working on the project, what she was going to do with the fish when she finished it and suggested it might make a really awesome insert on the outside of a tote bag. She thought about that and agreed, and we made a deal. If she would send me the fish, I would make it into a tote bag for her. How's that for a great deal?

So this project will be added to my list of projects for this summer, and if I'm lucky, I'll have it finished by this time next year! You all know how that is, don't you? I can't wait to start picking out fabrics for this fish, and I might be soliciting suggestions from all of you, so feel free to share your thoughts on what might look good with it. I'm all ears!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Chain Piecing My Red and Aqua Swap blocks

About two weeks ago, I decided to pull out the Disappearing 9-patch blocks I received in Jane's Red and Aqua block swap quite a while ago. I laid them out on my husband's pool table shhhh...don't tell him - he doesn't like me to use it for quilting! and I started chain piecing the blocks together. Here's what it looked like after all the blocks were connecting going one way...

Chain Piecing My Red and Aqua Swap blocksThen I proceeded to sew all the strips together in the other direction and the center of the quilt top was done. After much searching online, I found the perfect border, backing and binding fabrics at this great Etsy shop run by Natalie. What a fun shopping experience that was! I'll show pictures of the fun fabrics I picked out later. They are just too perfect for this red and aqua quilt, and I even picked out two fabrics for a birthday gift which I will make later this summer!

Anyway, I have not yet cut into the fabrics for the borders, so you will have to wait to see the finished quilt top and backing. But that is my next project so it's shouldn't be too long!

While I was waiting for this fabric to arrive in the mail, I raided my stash and found two small jelly rolls from Connecting Threads and some other yardage. With that, I whipped up a colorful and fun little throw quilt that would be great for a crib, picnic, couch or kid's room. I'll show that off soon too! Lots going on, but not much time on the computer lately! I know you understand!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crocheted Cotton Washcloths

If you're looking for a great crochet project for summer time, cotton washcloths are just the thing! They are quick and easy, and small enough to finish before they can heat up your lap like a big afghan does!

I've been crocheting some myself lately, and even picked up a nice variety of crochet cotton recently to work up six or eight different color coordinated bundles to put in my etsy shop. I may even save one out and have a giveaway since I haven't done that in quite a while!

Here's my first bundle...

Ooooh, pretty pastels!

Each washcloth is approximately 10 inches square with a pretty little border crocheted around the edge.

Wouldn't this make a lovely hostess, bridal shower, housewarming, birthday, just-because gift for someone?

Such fresh summery colors to brighten up your kitchen or bathroom.

And just look at all that scrubby texture! Fabulous!

If you're interested in making these yourself, grab some crochet cotton (one takes about 2 ounces) and work your beginning chain at about 40. Then use the woven stitch or any other crochet stitch you like that does not make holes in the fabric, and start crocheting! Once it is square, do a single crochet border around the edge and then a simple decorative border and you're done!

But if you don't feel like making them yourself, check out my Etsy shop and order up a bundle from there. I'll be making more bundles in a variety of colors over the summer, so check back often or email me for a custom order.

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Long Arm Quilting ~ Perfect Swirlies

It's time to come clean about those lovely swirlies I quilted on my Postage Stamp Quilt that I showed the other day. For those of you who have been doing long arm quilting for some time, you probably are aware of these neat little accessories, but for those of you not familiar with a long arm machine and all the fun things you can do with it, keep reading and discover that I really am not all that good at it...it's all in the accessories!

Long Arm Quilting ~ Perfect SwirliesThere they are...the plastic templates my long arm mentor Kathryn purchased for her renters to use if they wish. Well, I wished! And I loved using them! See the little black circles? Those are little rubber rings that keep the templates together. Kathryn purchased 4 of these templates to fit across the bed of her smaller machine so we could do one whole pass without having to stop and reposition the templates.

Long Arm Quilting ~ Perfect SwirliesHere you can see almost the whole length of the templates together.

Long Arm Quilting ~ Perfect SwirliesThere is a metal stylus that sits in an arm coming off the back of the sewing machine part of the long arm, and it drops down into the groove on the template. As long as you keep the stylus in the groove as you move the machine over your quilt, the design that is stitched into the quilt will match the design on the templates. Pretty cool, huh?

I had such fun stitching these swirly designs into my postage stamp quilt using these templates. There is no way in the world that I could have done these free hand and have them turn out looking like anything nice. And I don't have the time, money or the inclination to invest in a machine of my own so I could practice enough to get good at it. So these templates are the perfect answer for someone like me who wants nice even designs for quilting.

The only thing I do not like about using the templates is the same thing I did not like about quilting the pantograph design in my log cabin quilt. That is the fact that you have to run the machine from the back side, away from the quilt, and you have to look at the design in order to keep the laser light or the stylus on track instead of looking at the quilt. If I had never done any free hand quilting on the long arm, I would not have known any different. But there is just something so satisfying about watching the stitches going into your quilt while you guide the machine over it in your own design. I was able to do that on the I Spy quilts I long armed, and also on the Eat Play Sleep Repeat quilt that I did lots of small free hand loops on.

I have just finished piecing all my red and aqua blocks that I received in a swap quite some time ago, so once that is bordered and the backing is pieced, I'll be able to spend some more time on Kathryn's machine. Will I use the templates again? Or will I choose to stitch a pantograph design into this next quilt? I don't know. I might just decide to free hand it and see what happens! You can be sure I'll let you know!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!

This postage stamp quilt was fun from beginning to end! Rachel over at p.s. i quilt hosted a quilt-along at the beginning of this year and I jumped at the chance to break open my very first jelly roll and use up some white yardage that was taking up space. I never imagined that it would turn out so well! I had the chance to long arm it just last week, and just yesterday finished binding it. I'm nuts about this quilt! What do you think of it?

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!The fabric I used is called Sent with Love by Deb Strain for Moda...so happy and girly!

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!I had enough postage stamp squares left to piece a strip for the back, and threw in some of the binding fabric too.

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!How do you like those quilted swirlies? It's a new thing I tried on the long arm which I love love love and I'll share the secret next time. For now, I'll let you think I'm just an awesome long arm quilter! Tee hee :)

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!Looks like a great place for a picnic. Care to join me?

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!I love a pieced back, especially with such fun fabric!

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!Oh my but I love those fabrics!

Postage Stamp Quilt ~ Finished!And last but certainly not least, my favorite rolled-up-and-perched-on-the-rail shot...a great way to show off the binding! I love a striped fabric made into bias binding!

So that's my latest finish. A big thank you to Rachel for taking the time to share her excellent tutorials for this quilt-along!

Seems I've been finishing lots of projects these days, which is such a good feeling. With school ending soon for my little ones and our summer plans already filling up the calendar pages, I am not sure just how many projects I'll get done in the next few months, but I've already started some summer crocheting (small cotton things for my Etsy shop) and I have a few things I want to accomplish down in my sewing room where it is cool and usually dry during the hot summer months.

I hope you have a wonderful summer, or winter depending on where you are, filled with gorgeous fabrics and yarns and lots of great ideas!

Happy Stitching!

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