Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Instructions for Reusable tote

As promised a step by step instructions for these tote/grocery bags.
First I cut 2-20" squares of medium weight cotton twill fabric. I use the heavier cotton because it stands up to more use than the quilting weight cotton. Sometimes I just cut a piece of fabric 20X40 so that I can eliminaste one of the seams.

Second I cut 2 straps of twill strapping. I get mine from www.countrybrookdesign.com they have a variety of colors and designs.

Then the sewing starts. I start by folding over 1/4th inch of the bag top and stitching that down.
Now fold that over to seal the raw edges and stitch across again.
Now you are going to attach the straps. I make my straps 2 yards long because I like to be able to hang the bags on the back of my wheelchair. You can always tie a knot to make them shorter but it is impossible to make short straps long! I fold the bag so I can measure where I want to attach the straps. I divide the width into thirds and mark with pins or a marker.
Then I open the fabric again and start sewing a strap centered over my markers. I sew up one side and then sew back and forth a few times across the top of the strap and then sew down the other side of the strap.
Now you want to make sure your strap doesn't have any twists in it then center the other end on your second mark and sew this strap just like the first side. Now turn the bag over and repeat that with the second strap. I always mark both straps while the fabric is folded because I want the straps to be in the same position on both sides.

Now you want to close up any open side seams and then sew up the bottom too.

Now you can leave it this way or you can pinch a pleat into the bottom. I center the seams on the side and sew a pleat up 3" across to make a 3" bottom in the tote. This is not necessary but it makes it much easier to carry bulky items in the totes. Now turn it right side out and you have a great gift for anyone who likes to be green!
And yes I do 99% of my sewing on a machine that is older than me! It is a 1942 Singer that I bought from the estate of a seamstress and I truly love it. It is set into a cabinet that is blonde which I don't like but I am never not sewing something so no time to refinish the cabinet in something more to my taste.
Happy stitching! Next I will post photos of my bowtie blocks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Its Freezing!

Sissy is modeling a teddy bear tree skirt I made in the early 80s that I am looking for an adoptive home for. The pieced side is red and green Christmas prints with a red ruffle with teddy bears on it. The reverse is a teddy bear winter fun print and the teddy bear ruffle is complete on this side as well.

I have spent the day sewing bowtie blocks and I'm going to go to bed now because the heater will be dropping and it's ten below outside so I'm going to get in the bed where it is warm. Its so cold I bet all 13 kitties will be sleeping on the heated bed with us tonight which means we won't be able to move all night! LOL We are definitely going to have a white Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm sewing & its snowing

I am sitting at my sewing machine sewing some bowtie blocks I found in the sewing machine drawer. Its been snowing since Sunday night here and it doesn't show signs of stopping. I love to watch it snow so I opened the curtain and I watch the white stuff getting deeper and deeper. Since its too deep to take my wheelchair out in I get to stay home and sew! I will post pictures of the snow and the bowties when it is light outside and the 6.5" blocks are completed. I think I have enough for 2 lap robes that I will back with some john deere flannel and then take them down to the VA hospital near my home. I hope to deliver 6 laprobes just after Thanksgiving. 2 tops are made two are half sewed and 2 are cut and ready to piece. It shouldn't be a problem if the kittens don't eat them before I get them quilted.

Here is a photo that is too adorable to not post.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Decorating the Tree?

I put the Christmas tree together and started decorating it but all the kittens in the house started trying to help. They wanted to play with the ornaments and bead garland and it was so much fun watching them that I just kept redoing what they kept undoing.We have always had cats so most of my ornaments are shatterproof but nothing is kitten proof!

These blocks are much brighter than the photo suggests. I am setting them with black kona solid sashing. The the outside border is going to be a bright pink floral. I hope to have it basted and ready to quilt by Christmas.
I am also working on trying to get this top together. It is called Christmas in July because the colors are Christmas Red, Green, and Beige/Gold but the patterns are not Christmas at all. Most are floral with a few being paisley. I won't hand quilt this quilt because I want a good sturdy throw that can be used all year. I will machine quilt it or send it out for machine quilting. I think I will have several left over blocks so I might make a table runner too!
I am sewing the blocks for this pattern as well. (I never work on just 1 project at a time) This tree will be a wall hanging that I will decorate with antique buttons and charms I have been collecting for many years. I have all the ivory background blocks finished and most of the green ones are finished as well. The past 2 years I have made an extra block each time I sewed a block and added it to the stack. As soon as I get the drunkard's path blocks finished I will start putting the whole thing together. I doubt that I will get it done in time for this Christmas because the kittens are too much help but maybe next year! The idea is to have a tree whether I feel like decorating one or not.

I have a couple of free items to give away to my blog followers. One is a desk top calendar of my custom designed quilts the other is a box of scraps from my stash clean out. If you follow my blog just email me your snail mail address to ladyqwiller@yahoo.com  with "FREEBEE" in the subject line and I will put your name in the drawing. I will do the drawing on December 1 and the packages will go out the same day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More quilts to show

I never really liked Barney but when a chemo kids says they want Barney on their cuddle quilt they get him. I hand painted the twelve blocks and then pieced bright flannel pieces for the sashing.
This Scooby Doo quilt was another Chemo child's request and since I always loved Scooby Doo I had a great time hand painting the blocks and then set them with 4" squares of more bright flannel. I just love being able to combine my art work with my quilting.

And These 2 Spiderman quilts were both made for Chemo kids before any Spiderman fabric was available on the market. I'll pick out more to show tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Custom Designed Quilts I have made

This one is called Window Watcher. It started with 4 rail fence blocks that I trimmed to pinwheels then sewed into the window panes. Then I took the pieces I had cut off and cut some half square triangle the same size and created the outer points. When the top was done it was way to plain so I hand painted one of my cats on fabric and appliqued it sitting in the window.
This is the Spiderman quilt I made for my DGS. First I created the rail fence blocks using reds, blue and the background fabric. Then I hand painted the Spiderman onto white fabric with fabric paints. The I cut out the Spiderman and appliqued him to the background and appliqued a big full harvest moon just above him. Then I cut strips from a fabric that had 6 citys skylines on it. I used 2 Seattle and 1 San Francisco because he had been to both of those towns. He loved it! I backed it with a turquoise flannel that could go to his college dorm it he wanted.
This one I started by taking the lame fabric and backing it with 100% cotton iron on interfacing. Then I alternated the lame and favorite scraps of fabrics I had collected over the years with a black tone on tone. Once the quilt was finished I took satin ribbons and antique buttons I had collected and ran them from the upper right to the lower left. Once it hung on the wall I put my Christmas tree up in front of it. After Christmas when I went to take down the tree I took the On Wings Of Light fairy ornaments and hung them on the buttons to get them out of the way until I could get their boxes out. Turned out I loved the fairies handing on the buttons and never did put them away. I just kept adding to them as the new shipments arrived. And that is where they still hang today.
More Quilts tomorrow!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why I'm not Sewing

This is what 9 very active kittens have done to my sewing room! Everything on the floor and headed that way was very neatly stacked on the shelves. The shelves all the way around the room have been unpacked onto the floor. I have picked it all up and put it all back neatly on the shelves at least a half dozen times and yet when I come back to the room a few hours later it is all right back down on the floor. So for now I have given up and I will find something else to do and I'll pick it up one more time...after the kittens have gone to new homes! I only have myself to blame for this. I was the one that said the safest place for the kittens was my sewing room so we turned it into the nursery. Now the little buggers think all my fabric and thread are theirs! I guess I will have to wait for them to find homes in a couple of weeks before I go back to my sewing and quilting. If I can wait that long!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No sewing Happening Here!

The 6 kitties in the nursery figured out how to get over the barrier making the barrier redundant! Now they are everywhere and they have not been trained to leave my sewing alone! Every time I try to step on the sewing machine pedal I step on a kitten! So for now I give up and play with the kittens to get they used to humans so they can all find good homes! Anyone close need a kitten in mid-November?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dresden Plates

I can't believe it...after all these years I finally finished appliqueing the last of my fancy Dresden plate blocks! Now I have to decide how to set them into a top. I have hundreds of 2.5" HST in ivory and 30s reproduction fabrics that I could use between the blocks or I can sash them with a triple strip sashing alternating between pastels and jewels tones. I guess I will do a couple of each and then take everything out to my studio and lay it out on the floor and see which I like the best. And I haven't decided what to use on the back of the quilt. I always back my quilts with a darker fabric because light ones show dirt much easier. The only thing I know for sure is that I am going to hand quilt it. I will put it in my big frame and then baste it so I can quilt it in the house over the winter. I love to hand quilt in the evenings while I watch all my favorite shows on tv. I am hoping to have 3 large quilts basted before it gets too cold in the studio to work out there. Since the studio isn't insulated that means by the end of November I need to have them all basted! Piece of cake! LOL

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ginnie's Bags

These are bags I made for my daughter. We both are close to stores so we walk  for the exercise but the reusable bags you get from the stores breaks easy if you are carrying anything of any weight. So I dug out some medium weight cotton I had bought online by accident and bought some heavy strapping and made my own with handles that go all the way to the bottom seam. My daughter seen the one I made for me and loved it. So I bought 2 companion fabrics and made two for her as she always shops with her son and they each carry a bag home. I am making them for friends as Christmas presents so I am going to do a step by step pattern this week sometime. These bags will probably outlast me! And they are machine washable too!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dresden Plate Blocks

These are the Dresden plate blocks I am trying to finish the last half dozen of. The block on the right is the block my kitten chewed my thread and needle right off. I now have to put my sewing away every night so I don't have to pay any more money to have needles removed from his throat!.

I started the quilt with the jewel tone blocks on the left. When I finished my first 4 blocks and put them in a square on my design board I found the colors overpowering. I designed the pastel block with the same color families and plan to alternate the jewel tone blocks with the pastel blocks. I haven't decided whether to use sashing or not yet but I only have 5 more blocks to applique down. I have extra plates of all the fabrics to use as the outer border. Every other blade will be reversed along the edge until the corners where I will use 4 blades to turn the corner. I hope to be done with the top by Christmas so I can spend January and February quilting it.

I have so many blocks sitting around that I am trying to finish two quilt tops each month. I will keep you posted as to my progress.

My tip for the day is: Find a way to mark your good fabric scissors so you don't have to be angry at a family member for using them on something they shouldn't. (My husband once stirred ceramic slip with my good Gingher scissors!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spider Webs

Usually I sew on my machine everyday(Or at least one of my machines), but I haven't touched it for the past month. It's not as bad as it may seem because I have been in a mode of trying to complete hand applique blocks I started years ago. I started a Fancy Dresden plate quilt several years ago and after getting most of the blocks appliqued down to the background fabric I realized the fabric I had chosen was molding. I had to un-sew every block and get some white fabric and re-applique them to the new backing. I got discouraged and put the project in a drawer and forgot about it. Now several years later I have been trying to finish a lot of unfinished projects before starting new ones and I have been working on appliqueing these Dresden plates down while I watch TV in the evening. I am down to the last half dozen and was making good headway until one of the kittens chewed the thread right off my block and swallowed it needle and all! So now my sewing is stored in a sewing box that I had out in my studio for years! I don't want anymore accidents!

I have hand quilted several small projects this year and will include photos at the end of this blog. They are all miniature doll quilts that were made for friends on an online swap sight. I have lots of blocks from block exchanges that I need to do something with but life keeps getting in my way! Eventually I will get a list of helpful quilting tips onto the blog so that I might help others with answers to some of the questions I am asked all the time about quilting. And you can see some of the quilts I have made by checking out my Quilt photo album on my Facebook page.

Here are the photos I promised!