Tuesday, 28 January 2014

One Potato, Two Potatoes

Yep, I know. I posted the little wallet before. I promised it to a friend and couldn't find it when I went looking. So I did it again. Some days you feel soooo old.

My niece is turning 20 and she's :). She has so much to learn about this aging. If only she knew what I do now, and I didn't. Would that make us even?

Today I made a potato bag. I used cotton thread, pure cotton batting and cotton cloth. You pop in a potato or two and pop it into the microwave. Don't you love the potato prints? It was an opportunity to practice my free motion quilting. I outlined the potatoes. I'm enjoying this. I've signed up for two classes online with Leah Day and she is an excellent teacher. My Pfaff likes to have its feed dogs raised when quilting. Leah mentions that some machines make a better stitch this way, and that it's worth a look. I agree. They don't interfere at all, and my bobbin thread behaved more smoothly. I did set stitch length to 0.

Also learned that it you go too fast with your hands you will bend your needle and it will tick the sides of your bobbin and then all hell breaks loose. Patience, baby! I tried a slippery piece of silicone on my machine. It makes the fabric slide more easily. I think it's a keeper.

I also played more with embroidery. I made two pillowcases for Valentine's Day. I like colourful pillowcases! They add a note of whimsy to the boudoir. I also decided to embroider both the front and the back of the pillowcase border. Really, why not? It gives you more options. I did really miss the boat on one thing, though. I should have embroidered a love note with my glow-in-the-dark thread. Wouldn't that have been 'da bomb'? Note the vintage crochet/rickrack trim. I'm starting to dig into my rather embarrassingly large stash. You don't want to have your stash outlive you!

Today I learned (one more time!) that proper stabilizer is important. I thought I'd cheat with a patch taped to the previous hole from the previous embroidery. Shameless! It wasn't at all stabilized and it puckered. I kept it in the pillow band as it wasn't too bad, and it was a good reminder to not ask more than the stabilizer and machine can do. It's the 'I () you'. If I had used the tacky stabilizer and patched that, I think it should have been fine, but I do like to push that too far as well. I am so cheap! And this embroidery is a black hole you throw money into.  I need to build up thread colours!

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Little One Seam Wallet

Here is a lovely wallet that requires one seam and one pass of the scissors. Really!

Here is the template for the little wallet. You'll have to draw your own. Feel free to take license with the flap shape. Draw it on a piece of paper and fold down the flap until you have something that looks nice. Mark the fold line. Create a cardboard template. You can see my suggestions for scrap pocket lengths on the template. Whatever works for you.

Place the template on a scrap of fabric (wrong side up) and trace around it. Use pen. You won't see it again. Mark the fold line in the seam allowance.

Trace the top half of the outline on fusible interfacing. Make it about 1/2" longer than the fold line. Fuse this to the fabric.


Prepare the inner pockets by folding three scraps in half and laying them about 1/2" apart on top of each other. The scraps need to be wider than your template. Length requirements depend on your template. Read on. You'll figure it out.


Place these pocket pieces face up on another (right side up) scrap that will be the inside of your wallet. Don't worry! We are about to impose order on the empire. Also note - the bottom pocket will show as the outside front of your wallet. Plan accordingly. Also make sure the top pocket still falls outside the bottom edge of the wallet. All three need to be included in the bottom seam.

Place the interfaced scrap on top of this fabric sandwich, making sure that the inner pockets are about 1/2" below the fold line as determined in your pattern making. My interfacing ends there, giving me something to align with.

Note, we haven't sewn or cut a thing yet.

Remember that ink outline? Now you sew around that outline. You need to leave an opening for turning. I start just before the top left corner and end just above the left fold line.  I do stick a pin in there somewhere to hold it all plumb.

NOW you get to cut. Why waste time cutting before it's truly required?

Turn inside out through the opening you left. If your pockets end up inside, you just flipped it the wrong way. Flip them back. Sew up that little opening by hand. It's neater. Give it all a good press.

Add a snap, button or velcro to close it up.

Today I heard a great suggestion! Embroider your name on the back scrap before you start and add a cord strap. Then you have a name tag and wallet for classes or conferences. Indeed!

Monday, 20 January 2014

You know those packages of little bits of Skor bars you can buy for baking? Well. Stir a spoonful into your hot chocolate next time. Wow. Yes indeed!

I started an embroidery project last Friday with a great group of fellow cute embroidered cat lovers (cute cats, cute group). What a lovely day! We all bought this card to make an appliqu├ęd cat quilt, done on an embroidery sewing machine. It's called The Cat's Meow. You do it with batik fabric and it's really hard to screw it up. All colour combinations look great! Now, I need experience with this embroidery stuff, so it is a learning experience for me for sure. It really helps when you are working with a good group. They share and toss ideas back and forth with generosity and open minds. And it's surprising how much the machine can do for you. If you screw up, there always seems to be a fix.

My Pfaff CV machine is back from the shop and it is purring like the kitten it is supposed to be. I am working to get most of my blocks embroidered before our next meeting this coming Friday. I need 24 blocks of paw prints for the border. Once you set this up, it really runs itself. It even calls me over when it has a rare thread issue. If only it could make tea. So I am over on the other side of the room working on a different quilt. I'm piecing together Lotus on my Singer treadle machine. Back and forth I go, from one century to another.

My DH says the garment sewers have met and discussed my desertion. But as soon as I clean off the UFO's from my sewing table, I do have garments planned. It is my first love.

For you embroidery people though, I have a question. You need to put all you embroider on stabilizer of some sort. This gets expensive and seems somewhat wasteful at times. The paw prints I am doing seemed to really point this out So, I stuck some Inspira Light and Tacky on my hoop and used Tear and Wash and some Stitch and Ditch in strips where the paw prints end up. After the paws stitched out, I carefully removed the strips and simply replaced them. I ended up using a lot less stabilizer this way. Am I missing anything? Is this a problem?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pot Holes

I was going to tell you that pot holes seem to come in threes. So profound. I came to this conclusion just last week, and thought people needed to know.Then I travelled the same road again, and my new theory was all shot to hell. Go figure.

I got to play on a P3 Power Quilter this week. I was well supervised, these things aren't cheap and they know me there. A P3 is a huge frame that has a sewing machine running up and down the rails. You quilt with it. We learned to mount the quilt layers and tried some free motion and programmed stitching. Oh the possibilities! I actually want to quilt quilts, but the Great P has visions of quilted fabric and new clothes. It all sounds good to me. I did think this was going to be a huge and confusing machine. It is, but it all flows together logically and it can be done.

I do find quilters are quite fussy and strive for perfect far too much. I love sewing. Get on with it I say. Now I'm not talking about people I know. But you hear things. This Power Quilter is quite a doable thing, I think. Next week I get to play a bit more with the sample and then I have a quilt top that will get its day. Hope it goes well, as I have quilt tops stacking up. I also need to check out the Husqvarna sit down table quilter machine we have. And DH is going to shave off a bit from my sewing table inset at home so my larger machine (Pfaff CV) will fit into my counter. I'm going to try this quilting from many angles.

I even signed up for free motion classes with Leah Day on Craftsy and on her web site. For such a young person she seems to be an excellent teacher. She has an amazing catalogue of free motion designs. Hopefully as I get more comfortable with them I'll know where and how to use them.

Garment sewers, I have not abandoned my first love. This weekend I SINned (Sew It Now) with other Sinful people and finally got my dress form into my shape. The measurements are correct, but her shape seems way less lumpy/bumpy than mine. She is wearing a bra under that cover. It helped to keep the stuffing in place. Notice, I seem to be a tube with bumps. A bit like a Pez dispenser. The pink band is narrowing what seems to be my freakishly thin neck.

I can't wait to try some fitting and planning with her. Here she is, warming her bottom by the fire. She also needs a name. Suggestions?