Friday, August 24, 2012

Turning Twenty - Not What You Think!

I am not turning twenty. That happened many years ago! But I am Turning Twenty with my latest project and it IS making my hair turn gray. Say what?!

I've started on my Christmas projects and the first one is a quilt for the youngest granddaughter who is sixteen. Her favorite colors are purple and lime green. Quite the bold combo if you ask me. But those are the colors she likes. The pattern I chose is Turning Twenty by Tricia Cribbs. Its an easy pattern to cut and make. You just pick twenty different fat quarters and go to town on your quilt. I chose to do the twelve block layout rather than twenty. I wanted to make a lap quilt rather than a big one.

I picked out twelve fat quarters in different shades of purple, lime green and hot pink, all with a polka dot / circular pattern to the fabric and a coordinating flower print for the binding at my local quilt shop.  Cutting out the blocks took me less than an hour. There is very little waste and the instructions are well written and extremely easy to follow. Next I did a random color selection on the blocks to make an "A" and a "B" version and sewed them up in less than two hours. So then why is this causing my hair to turn gray when things seem to be going so well?

When I started doing the layout of the blocks, I was just not happy with the way the colors were going together. The quilt top seemed bland. Can you imagine that with lime green and hot pink? Yes, I just wasn't feeling the love with it.

I fired up my Electric Quilt 7 program and re-created the pattern. Then I scanned all twelve fabrics into the program and began to color the blocks on screen to see if I could get a more pleasing layout. I tried and tried and still no love for the quilt top. I decided the quilt needed some additional color to go with the purple, lime green and hot pink. The flower print I was using for the binding also has bold aqua and bright orange in it and I would replace some of the white background polka dots with these. I also decided to add the optional six-inch border using the same flowered fabric to add even more wow factor. Back to the quilt shop for two more fat quarters and another 1-1/2 yards of flowers.

I scanned the new fabrics in to EQ7 and played again with the color layout. I finally decided I didn't like how some of the blocks were arranged so I blew out the original Turning Twenty A/B pattern and created my own. I think the original block pattern is just fine if you are using twenty different fabrics, but the fabrics I was using for the twelve block layout wasn't cutting it. After an hour or so, I settled on how I wanted the colors and blocks positioned. Only that meant I would have to rip out a majority of the seams in the blocks I sewed the day before. Oh well, it was worth the extra work for me.

And here is what I have so far minus the border. It's got color now!
Turning Twenty aka Turning Twelve aka Turning Hair Gray
Speaking of borders, I was so intent on re-sewing my blocks together that I forgot I needed to add the small inside border strips to the outside edges before sewing the rows together. Duh! I will have to sew them on as a long strip separately. Once I finish the top, I will post an update with pictures.

Until then, I'm off to the drugstore for Lady Clairol.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inexpensive Cutting Table & Storage

Not too long ago, someone posted a desk for sale on our local computer bulletin board. Ten bucks was the sale price. I inquired about approximate dimensions and it was 24" deep by 36" wide, just about the same size as my new cutting mat. Perfect, I thought! So I bought it. The desk is super sturdy with one pull out shelf underneath. There was another pullout shelf at one time, but it was missing. And the desk has a few scratches. Hey, for ten bucks I am not complaining.

I bought four caster wheels at Home Depot and installed them on the bottom of each leg. This gives me portability so I can move the new cutting table to wherever I want it. The casters lock in place, too.

There is space underneath for several of my project boxes and room on the slide out shelf to store some of my rulers and rotary cutter. I am tickled with my re-purposed desk for under twenty dollars!

"New" Cutting Table & Storage

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pincushion with Thread Catcher Bag

I have been wanting to make my own pincushion and thread catcher bag for a while now. My mom gave me one awhile back but I have seem to have lost it in moving. The patterns I saw online just weren't what I wanted so it was time to come up with my own.

I used the pattern posted at Sew Mama Sew! as my starting point. It wasn't exactly what I wanted but it was close. I didn't need the organizer part nor that large of a pincushion. I did like how the bag was removable however. On the other hand, I wanted the "cuff" of the bag to be on the outside so it would make it easier to empty the bag. I didn't want threads getting caught under the "lip" of the fabric.
With some modifications, here is what I came up with.

The only piece that I ended up purchasing was the button. Everything else was scraps I had on hand or found around the house. I probably could have found an old button but I saw this one at my local quilt shop and thought it would be perfect to use.

So how did I make this pincushion with thread catcher bag? Easy-peasy! You will need the following materials:

Thread Catcher Bag
1 each 9" x 14" piece for bag exterior
1 each 9" x 14" piece for bag lining
2 each 2-1/2" x 9" pieces for bag cuff
2 each 2-1/2" x 9" pieces of fusible interfacing
1 each 1" button
1 each 6" small dowel or Popsicle stick.

1 each 5" x 5" piece for top
1 each 5" x 5" piece for bottom
1 each 4" x 4" piece non-skid shelf liner
1 piece 1-1/2" x 7" piece for bag loop
1 piece 1-1/2 x 7" piece of fusible interfacing
Polyester Fiberfill

You will also need a disappearing ink marker and matching thread.

* Uncooked rice, beans, an old door hinge...anything heavy enough to keep your pincushion on the table. You'll be surprised at what we came up with!

Assembly Instructions
All seams are done using 1/2" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

Thread catcher Bag

Take the exterior fabric piece and fold in half along the long edges, keeping the right sides together. Sew seams. Clip corners at the fold lines and press seams open.

Repeat for the bag lining piece EXCEPT sew using a 5/8" seam allowance.

Take one end of the exterior bag and make a point. Measure up 1-1/2" from the point and draw a line perpendicular to the seam. Stitch across this line. Repeat for the other side.

Repeat again for the bag lining.

Cut tips off leaving 1/2" seam allowance.

Next, line up the seams for each bag so that the bottoms are together.

Baste by hand or zigzag stitch ends together.

Turn the bag so the exterior is on the outside. Baste or zigzag stitch together the top edges.

To make the cuff for the bag, iron on the fusible interfacing to each piece.

With right sides together, sew short sides together at both ends to create a loop. Press seams open.

Turn up one edge of the loop 1/2" and press.

Put right sides of the cuff and bag lining together, matching side seams. Stitch together.

Turn cuff to the outside of the bag. Press.

Secure bottom edge of cuff to bag by sewing 1/4" seam allowance leaving a 1/2" gap on the back side of the back.

Insert dowel or Popsicle stick to stiffen the back edge of the bag. Sew gap closed.

Sew button on inside back of the bag.

Thread catcher bag can be used on its own or with the pincushion.


Center the nonskid on the pincushion bottom piece. Stitch by hand. (The nonskid did not want to go through my machine smoothly so I sewed it by hand.)

Iron on fusible interfacing to loop piece. Fold in half and press.

Open up piece and fold in long sides to the middle as shown. Press.

Topstitch close to both edges of folded loop.

Fold loop as shown, keeping ends equal in length. Stitch across long edge of folded triange over topstitch line.

With right sides together and loop sandwiched between layers, stitch seam leaving side opposite loop ends mostly open.

Clip all four corners.

Turn pincushion right side out. Press.

Now you need to decide on how you will weight your pincushion. If using rice or beans, sew up a small bag to fit inside the pincushion.

For my pincushion, we had a box of motorcycle tire weights that were perfect for this. These small flat stick-on weights came twelve squares to a strip. I cut three strips in half and stuck them to a piece of thin cardboard cut from a soda box.

I was able to flex the cardboard slightly and then slide it into the pincushion bag.

Then I stuffed it with my polyester fiberfill.

To finish, hand or machine stitch opening in pincushion closed.

Voila! You have a pincushion with a removable thread catcher bag.

Thursday, August 16, 2012