Hooked on Needles

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fish Bag

Anyone remember Mary Corbet's embroidered Fish? You can see a list of all her postings about it and read how it came about by clicking HERE. I thought it was fascinating to watch it take shape, and I just loved the finished piece. There was much chatter on Mary's website about what would become of the fish, and if you were one of those wondering the same thing, I have an answer for you today! Take a look...

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishMary mailed me the fish and it was such a thrill to see it in person and be able to examine all those fine stitches and see just how handsome this fish truly is. Quite handsome I tell you!

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishThis whole fish is only about 7 inches or so long and about 4 inches or so high, so that's an awful lot of stitching in such a small space!

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishAll the detail and imagination that went into this piece of blackwork embroidery is just amazing. And it was in my own hands! How exciting! Mary wanted the fish turned into a tote bag and she asked if I would do that for her. Since I owed her a gift from a swap, I agreed. The finished tote bag would be my gift to her.

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishI spent a lot of time looking at different types of fabrics and different color schemes for this tote bag, and finally landed on these batiks which I thought looked a lot like where this fish might live if he were real. The blue and greens with the blotchy coloring typical of batiks and the plant imprints were perfect for that seaweed, ocean-like, pondy kind of look.

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishI figured that the fish would be most comfortable in water, seeing as he is a fish and all, so the blue would be the frame for the fish and also the outside pocket of this tote bag.

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishThe dark green would be the main body of the bag, and the lighter green would be the inside lining. I like light colored linings in my tote bags because I have this idea that it makes things easier to find. I don't know if that's really true or not, but it's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishWhen the time came to press the fish and decide where to cut the fabric, you can imagine just how nervous I was. This was not my own handiwork I was cutting up and if I were to mess it up in any way, that would be just the worst disaster ever and I would feel very bad about it. I could never replace this piece, so it just had to turn out well...it just HAD to! So after much fretting about how I would go about infusing this fish into this tote bag, I got to work and trimmed off all the extra linen from around the fish. I left just barely an inch of fabric around the fish, as I wanted it to look big on the tote bag and be close to the blue fabric surrounding it.

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishThen I cut pieces of the blue fabric and stitched them and the fish onto a piece of fusible fleece using the quilt-as-you-go method. Then I fused the whole thing together to give the pocket and the fish a bit of stability. I lined the pocket piece with another piece of the blue fabric, and made a second pocket of the same size for the opposite side of the bag using the same blue fabric. Whew! The fish was finally in place! Now all I had left to do was finish the bag!

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishI cut a piece of the dark green and layered it together with the two outside pockets and lined it with Peltex, which is a very stiff interfacing, which would make this bag hold its shape and stand up all by itself. I also cut the light green for the lining and made pockets similar to the outside pockets for the inside and put that all together.

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishThe inside pockets were lined with the darker green, making that pretty little trim on the top of the pockets. I had heard that Mary likes lots of pockets, so that's why I put so many on the inside and the outside!

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishAfter adding the handles and a binding around the top of the bag, it was all finished!

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishI think that little fishy looks quite happy in his new home, don't you?

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishMore pockets on the other side of the bag too, so there's blue all around!

Mary Corbet's embroidered fishAnd that's the end of the Blackwork Fish tote bag story!

As this year and this school vacation week wind down, I'm not working on any sewing, quilting or stitching projects at all. I've been enjoying having my kids home and doing fun things with them. After they go to bed at night, I do a row or two on my scrap afghan, but that's about it. But next week when they are back in school and we get back into our regular routine, I am looking forward to getting back down to my sewing room and piecing the back for Karen's postage stamp quilt and starting work on Mary's Butterfly Garden quilt. This Mary is different from the fish tote bag Mary!

I hope your 2012 starts off with some fabulous projects to work on too!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Red and White Quilt ~ A Christmas Gift

Now that Christmas gifts have been delivered and opened, it is finally safe to show off the quilt I made for my mother many months ago. It's been quite a while since I received all these wonderful red and white fabric squares from Karen's Red and White Swap, and I knew going into this one that I would make a quilt for my mother with them. She loves red and white! She also loved the quilt! See what you think...

No outdoor, over-the-railing pictures for this quilt so a cock-eyed, spread-out-on-the-ironing-board picture will have to do!

I used the leftover blocks to piece a strip into the backing of the quilt.

The pattern I decided on was the disappearing 9-patch. I separated my reds into lighter and darker, put the lighter squares into the four corners, the darker squares in the middle of each side, and I used a white-on-white for the center of each block. The white squares ended up being cut into four pieces, the darker squares ended up being cut in half and the lighter squares stayed whole. I pieced the squares together so that the darker half-squares formed a sort of pinwheel. This block is so versatile and can be arranged in so many different ways. My scrap quilt shown HERE and my red and aqua quilt shown HERE were made using this block. To see how these disappearing 9-patch blocks are made, you can check out THIS POST where I showed the transformation from a 9-patch to a disappearing 9-patch.

A white border went around the whole quilt, and then the binding was made using a striped fabric from the same fabric line as the backing fabric.

A lovely little bundle of red and white!

Besides this red and white quilt which was a gift to my mother who reads my blog, I also finished the fish bag and mailed it off to the famous and very talented Mary Corbet of NeedlenThread. She also pops in here occasionally so I could not share pictures of that project until I knew the bag was safe and sound and the fish was back home where it belonged! So I'll share that project with you next time.

Sometimes it is fun to keep surprises like these projects secret, but it can be so hard not to share them ahead of time! I'm glad I can finally share them with you!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Here's a fun way to start off the new year...

Craftytammie is hosting a Shades of Gray Charm Swap! I have signed up and thought some of you might also be interested. I've made some really fun quilts from swap squares, two of which are my rainbow quilts seen HERE and HERE, and all my I Spy quilts seen HERE, and a red and white quilt that I have not yet shown here since it was a Christmas gift to my mother and I didn't want to spoil the surprise! So I'll be showing that one soon.

So pop on over to Craftytammie and see about jumping into this fun swap yourself! Hope to see you there!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Butterfly Garden Quilt ~ The Beginning

It's Christmas vacation here now that the kids are out of school until the new year. We've been doing some cleaning and list making in preparation for our last minute food shopping and gingerbread house decorating. Always a fun time! I hope your preparations for Christmas are coming along nicely too.

The fabric I'm showing you today is for a quilt that I'll be working on in the new year and I am so excited to get going on it. Take a look...

This fabric line is called Butterfly Garden by Kansas Troubles, and I just love how rich and warm all these prints are.

Just yummy! This line is not current so I had to do a little hunting around on the internet to find what I needed for the quilt requirements. The pile on the right is actually a layer cake with just a few of the prints showing. The yardage on the left will be used for sashing, borders, backing and binding. The design I am going to use is called Easy As Cake from the Moda Bake Shop.

As much as I love Christmas and all that goes along with it, I am really looking forward to getting back into the regular routine, which of course means serious sewing, quilting, crocheting, knitting, and blogging time! But I will not wish this blessed season away. I'll enjoy it with my wonderful, patient husband and my darling children. However, every now and then, I might just take a peek at this lovely Butterfly Garden fabric waiting for me!

Christmas blessing to all of you!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Fabulous Fabric from Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop

A week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Well, it's true! It's very quiet here right now, and it has been for the past few weeks. Just the usual family stuff of every day life, celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary, and getting ready for Christmas...you know the drill, shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping. I'd like to add cleaning in here too, but sadly those little elves have not shown up mysteriously during the night to get that done. So it is waiting for me!

I've been doing some fun things creatively lately, but not a lot to show off. I did do a little online shopping recently though. Check out what arrived in the mail for me...

...from Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop. It's a little Central Park for borders and backing on a Sudoku quilt which I have not made yet, and a few cuts of something else fun that I am going to use for a skirt for my little girly girl Grace. If you've never checked out Sew Fabulous, you really should. She always has a great selection of fabrics, and a great sale page too!

I also received in the mail some lovely fabric for another commissioned quilt that I will start working on after the kids return to school, so I'll show that next. Ooooh, I can't wait to dive into that project!

I hope all of you are enjoying your time preparing for Christmas and that you have a blessed Christmas and a new year filled with good health, good friends, loving family, and perhaps even a little bit of good fabric or yarn!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Berroco Link Yarn ~ It's My New Favorite Yarn!

Yesterday I was so excited about the prospect of meeting some friends for coffee this morning, not just because it is fun to hang out with fun people but because we had also agreed to bring our latest yarn projects to work on. We all know projects are much more fun to work on in good company, right? Well, our morning coffee get-together did not disappoint! Cindy and Kathy and I sat at our local Panera for almost two whole hours having coffee, chatting, sharing stories, laughing and two of us kept our hands busy with our yarn projects. Such fun! Here's my project so far...

This new Berroco Link yarn that I showed in yesterday's post is so fabulous to knit! I wish you could feel how soft this scarf is. Amazing!

And just look at all that wonderful texture and how thick and cozy this project is turning out to be. Fabulous! I just love it!

If you like to knit and you're looking for some quick Christmas gifts, give this yarn and the free pattern that comes on the label a try. And work on it over coffee with friends. You won't be disappointed!

Happy Stitching!

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