Sunday, August 30, 2009

challenge progress

Slowly but surely, I've finished the sashing on the first Project Linus "challenge" quilt. One down, two to go!

I also had a brilliant idea to use the challenge fabric for the binding. The strips are almost exactly 5" wide, so I just rolled off an entire length of it (6.5 yards!) and cut it in half and ironed it into two long binding strips. I'm looking forward to not having to check for seams at the corners when I go to attach it! I just hope it's not a pain to work with, since it's slightly thicker and stretchier than usual. It seemed to work okay in the quilt, so I think it should be fine as binding too. If so, I might just use the rest of the roll for bindings for other quilts.

And I finally found a use for this tie holder thingie I found at a garage sale a while back. I knew it would come in handy some day! It's perfect for holding the binding strips so that I don't have to bother rolling them up.

And now, the roll of challenge fabric, which used to look like this:

looks like this:

That's some progress!

just a book bag

My mom is visiting from Texas, and I'm SO missing being able to sew when I want to! I'm happy to have her here, and I'm trying to appreciate everything in the moment, but I'm still looking forward to getting back to the routine. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about!

I have managed to sneak in a little bit of craftiness. One of Vada's daycare buddies turned 5 and had a birthday party yesterday, so I whipped up this simple bookbag for him.

The party theme was "Hawaiian", so I used that fun Hawaiian shirt fabric I found last week for the pockets, with some linen/cotton fabric (with fusible interfacing) for the outside and a small blue hawaiian print cotton for the inside. The handles are just two layers of twill tape sewn together. Everything was from stash, yay! Well, except the big kindergarden activity book I put inside. :-)

I didn't use a pattern, just 15x15" squares for the bag, and 6x9" rectangles for the pockets. I'm still more of a use-a-pattern person than a wing-it person, but it feels good to know that I can at least do a simple bag by the seat of my pants. :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

it never hurts to ask!

Vada and I hit up some garage sales yesterday morning, as we usually do on Saturdays (while my husband sweeps and mops the house - how nice, huh?). At one sale, I saw some old lawn chairs with cushions wrapped in these cool floral pillow cases. I asked the seller if she would just sell me the pillow cases, and she said "Sure! I think I might have the sheets upstairs, want me to check?" I said sure! She came down a few moments later without those sheets (darn!), but with the blue one on the bottom, and 4 matching pillow cases. All are in perfect shape, and it was only $2 for everything! Sweet!!

A different sale had a box full of small (1/2 and 1/4 yd) cuts of novelty fabrics, and of course I couldn't pass it up! Check out all these edibles!

And I love the fortune cookies, and the Hawaiian shirts, and the old fashioned valentines!

There was more, but those were my favorites. I think there were 36 different prints, about 14 yards, for $13. I probably could have paid less, because a teenage boy was doing the selling and he seemed more than happy with my offer. But $1/yard is a fair garage sale price, so it's all good.

And as much as I love it, I'm going to try to cut back on my fabric collecting. Yes, seriously! I can't seem to stop finding the stuff, and I can't resist when I do find it, so the only solution is to shop less. (Shop less - sew more! Use the loot!) It's going to be hard, because I really really love the hunt! But I'm not going cold turkey - my new plan is to only go on Saturday mornings with the poochkins, and that's it. I normally go on Friday mornings too, so this will be a good way to cut back. It makes me sad to think that in a short couple of months, garage sale season will be over anyway... Good thing the thrift stores are open all year 'round. ;-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

and the winner is...

Sorry I'm a little late! The winner of the mystery fabric giveaway is lucky number 7!
7. Emily B said...

Wow, score! I never find good stuff like that at garage sales. Maybe I should go more often.

This is going to sound crazy but my favourite colour is white. It's just that it goes with everything! I have so many random scraps but I can always pull them together by adding prints that have white in them throughout.

I'm sure I'll be able put together a fun package with all sorts of fabric that contain white! Emily has a great blog too - full of thought-provoking posts and cool give-away lists. Go check it out and say hello...

And while I'm at it, I just wanted to point out that of the 25 people who entered, 10 of you have your settings set to not show your email, so there is no direct way to respond to your comments. If you want to make it easier for folks to contact you, change your setting! (Go to "my account", find the Blogger icon on the left, click on Settings next to that, and turn on "Show my email address".)

Not too much sewing progress for me this past weekend (too much family fun instead!). I did start on version 2 of a quilt using my "challenge" fabric. It's very similar to version 1.0, but uses more of the print and less of the solids.

And I got my husband to hang up a couple more things in my sewing room. (Thanks, sweet hubby!) You might recognize those little baskets from the famous Pink Penguin tutorial! One is holding selvages and one is holding leftover binding strips. In the middle is a mess of old wooden spools of thread, just for show.

This week I'm catching up on some boring sewing - hemming and adding black-out fabric to all of our el-cheapo IKEA curtains (10 panels in all - ug!!). It's so not fun, but I'm tired of having the task on my to-do list. I know I'll be so happy when they are all done! (And so will the hubby!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

two more WIPs

I've started on version 2.0 of the thrifted linens patchwork quilt. Pretty much the same as last time, just one row longer (10x13 now). That's our dog Trudy getting in the shot - she's an Australian Cattle dog (otherwise known as a red heeler). She's a bit neurotic, and it freaks her out when I stand on the chair to take a picture. :-)

And now, for something different, actual blocks with an actual pattern to them! Most of my quilts have been pretty random so far, so it feels a little strange to do something more orderly and traditional. But this is what I came up with to use that Project Linus challenge material I mentioned before. I'm going to add 3" white sashing between the blocks and around the outside, but I wanted to play with the arrangement of the blocks. It was a little sudoku-like, trying to make sure no colored borders or blocks were side-by-side. I just hope I get it correct when I'm actually sewing them together!

I like this design - it's nice and simple and colorful. I made it up, but I'm sure there are a zillion patterns out there like it. The only bad thing about it is that it doesn't use enough of that fabric!! I've got a whole roll to work with! I need to come up with another design (or 2, or a dozen!) that uses more of it...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Please don't hate me... (and another giveaway!)

I made a major fabric score at a garage sale last weekend. We were heading out of town for another trip down to Portland, and I twisted my husband's arm to stop at just one garage sale on the way out of town. Hey, it was sort of on the way! In the right direction, anyway. :-)

Oh my goodness, the fabric! You know how sometimes an ad will say "quilting fabric", and it turns out to be all powder blue and maroon calico grandma stuff? Well, this was just the opposite! It was all bright, new, fun stuff - mostly Alexander Henry, but a bunch of others too.

Check this out - on the left is yardage and half yards, and the stack on the right is all FQs. Yeah, I went a little crazy! I was like a kid in a candy store - the husband was hup-hupping me, so I just grabbed anything that looked pretty. And then I had to wait a WHOLE DAY to look closer at what I had picked up. Agony, I tell ya!

Here's a closeup of some of my favorites...

Okay, are you ready for the numbers? That's about 37 yards of mostly designer fabric, for $32. I know, unbelievable. I've found so much great fabric at yard sales this year! I keep thinking I'll never see another great sale like the last one, but they just keep coming (knock on wood!). My husband said that he thinks Seattle must be where quilters go to retire. :-)

I guess I'm superstitious, and I think that maybe if I share some of my great scores, I'll find more. :-) So, let's do another giveaway... how about a surprise package? Leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite color is. I'll pick a winner on Sunday night. Your prize will be a random mix of fat quarters and/or fat eighths that all contain your favorite color. I'm not sure how much total fabric there will be, that depends on the color you pick and where I have to ship it to (international is fine)!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

loot winner, and a new quilt!

First of all, thanks to the folks who entered my giveaway for the ballerina fabric - I'm so glad there was some interest! Congrats to Amy, lucky number 6!
6. Amy said...

It's very cute indeed. Thanks for the giveaway. It would be fun to make something sweet and girlie with this fabric! :)

Hope you enjoy it, and make something cute (send pics!).

Next up... Remember these? 120 different 6" squares of vintage linens...

They got sewn into a simple 10x12 patchwork... (only 9x12 here, but it grew another row)

then quilted like crazy... (check out that stippling!!)

then bound with a scrappy binding...

and turned into this!

(before being washed)

And after being washed. OMG! It is so soft and snuggly!!

The back is even softer, and so delicately pretty!

Wish I was keeping this one, but it's going to be a wedding gift for my special friend Kate, who is getting married on Saturday. Yay!

Luckily, I have plenty (plenty!) more squares left. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make one of these for myself. :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Project Linus challenges

I went to my Project Linus chapter meeting this past Sunday. The theme this month was "Christmas in August", so there were a lot of holiday projects being put together. But there was also a bunch of interesting fabric donated by a local company that manufactures baby slings. Apparently the fabric they use is too wide for their needs, so instead of cutting the fabric when it's off the bolt, they simply chop off the entire end of the bolt! So, they donated these bolt ends, which were anywhere from 10" to 3" wide. The fabric is a cotton/lycra blend, which is a little strange to be quilting with, but at least it seemed to work fine when I pieced this one.

I think those are 10" squares, so it must be about 45x55. I brought it home to finish off, and found a nice cream colored back in my stash that I think will work perfectly. And before you rush off to leave a comment about the stripe going the wrong direction on the lower right - I know, I know! I did it on purpose to give it character! ;-)

I also brought home enough squares (one set of 8", one set of 9") to make two more! I sure hope that lycra doesn't make them troublesome to quilt...

I also brought home one of the smaller bolt ends of a different print (about 4" wide). I goaded my friend Robin into taking another one home with her, by challenging her to to a "duel". We both have to find a way to use this fabric, and bring at least a finished quilt top to the next PL meeting (Sept. 13). Fun! It will be interesting to see how this stuff works when it's combined with regular cotton fabrics. Wish us luck!

Monday, August 3, 2009

loot, plus a little giveaway

I went to the best rummage sale on Saturday morning! Not the greatest stuff, but just the most well-run I've ever seen. First of all, when you walked up, they had teens handing out little toys and plastic leis to any little kid that wanted one. Brilliant way to keep the parents shopping - give the kids something to play with! Then, they had a free pancake breakfast, with coffee and juice, and free bottled water. The pricing was good too, and the clothes were all "fill a bag for $5" (and it was a big bag!). Those bulk deals make so much sense to me when it's a charity sale, because it saves time when you're checking out, and people end up buying more than they normally would. You probably make just as much money AND you don't have nearly as much to haul away when you're done!

My fun find was a huge box of fabric for $2. It was a tall narrow box, and at the top was this adorable ballerina print. I didn't even dig further - I figured this piece alone was worth $2, and whatever else I found would just be a bonus.

I hauled the unwieldy box home, and excitedly dug through it. Sadly, it didn't hold any fantastic treasures. It was mostly small bits of old knits and corduroys and burlap (yuck!). But there was a ton of that ballerina print - one 5 yard cut, plus about 4 yards more in 5 cuts of varying lengths. The only other keepers were a big piece of this funky elephant print (a sort of lightweight one-sided fleece, or maybe a velour?)...

and about 2 yards of this bright border print barkcloth.

And now, for the giveaway... Who wants some of that ballerina print? Anyone? You know I love to share the loot! If you'd like to win a yard, leave a comment on this post to enter. International is fine with me! I'm so curious to see if anyone enters - maybe I'm the only one who thinks that fabric is cute? If I get multiple takers, I'll draw a number on Thursday night (Aug. 6).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

sheets under control

I finally finished getting all my linens cut up and organized. What a chore! But I'm really glad to have it done, because now I feel ready to start sewing up a storm!

Here's the results from all my hard work:

The bin of fat quarters - the first layer.

And the second layer. Hey, I still have a little room left to add more! ;-)

Big stacks of 6" squares. That's 114 different prints! I bet you can guess what my next project is!

I kept all the hems too. I'm not sure what I'll do this those, but I'm thinking on it. Plus a box full of little scraps. Whew, I'm sure glad to have all that done and put away!!