Saturday, August 23, 2014

new design for a sewing kit

I have had it on my mind to make up a pretty little sewing kit. I don't sew too much by hand, but I do like to close my binding up with hand stitching. Then I usually grab my embroidery scissors, thread, pin cushion and quilting needle. I thought it would be nice to have a central place to put it all and grab if I want to take a little travel.

This is a pattern I received as a gift from one of my patchwork friends. I thought I would sew it together according to the directions to see how I liked it. Is it practical? Does it fit my function? Is it pretty? Is it durable? Would I make it for someone else?

What is nice about this pattern, is that it uses (2) 5" charm cardboard pieces to stabilize it. The directions I have are in German, but most likely were translated from English thinking about the charm board. Both sides of the inner flap had a little pocket. I removed it from the back flap, because I thought it was too much. I like the double felt flap for pins but my piece was too thick. The original stated to sew it in like a book, but that didn't look right to me with the pocket. My scissors are also pretty loose and would fly out. I was supposed to attach a ribbon behind the pockets to bind the booklet closed, but I am not a ribbon-type girl. I am still searching for a good solution for a sewing case! I need a place for needles, thread, and embroidery scissors. It should look modern and be durable. No country look, no ribbons.

I finished up this panel which originated from Mini Disco from Julie at Jaybird Quilts. I could use it for a new sewing kit. I loved the design and it must have reminded me of my own with mini triangles. After I started sewing it all together. I lost my patience. My points weren't matching up anymore. I lost my desire, and put it aside for a while.

A couple of months later I started sewing on it again. I still wasn't happy with it; that's why I am not showing the front. It was supposed to look more like the one on the left, but I didn't make it that far. My design was a little tricker without a flat edge...more of a shape shifter design. Oh well, we all learn from the mistakes!

A bit of sound advice: this pattern looks awesome in solids..not prints. It is very tricky to get all of those points to match up too! Congratulations to all who successfully made the Mini Disco! This one is from Quilt et Textilkunst in Munich. It is worth it to buy the pattern, but a bit of patience also has to be planned in. Good luck!

I am still working on a simple, easy and practical needle case/sewing kit. If you have any advice or nice links for me, please pass them on. I would love to hear from you!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

no masterpiece today

As we are enjoying (the last of the) summer vacation (in the US and the beginning in Bavaria), we are not able to sew as much as we would like due to other commitments such as lying beside the community pool soaking up the sun. I was inspired by a post from my bloger friend, Leonie at Standkorb-traum, and thought I would spin off the post from hers. She brought up the question about the lack of quality comments to her posts. I personally, do not need to read that my quilts are great, awesome, the best in the world. I, too, would like your honest opinion.

I prefer to write about something meaningful (tips, tricks, experiences) and provide just a little eye candy. I don't like countless pictures of step by step sewing action over months until a quilt is finished. But that's just my style. I blog, because I want to help others if I can and to inspire them.

I thought I would share with you some of my "mistakes" that never got the credit in my blog nor got finished. They didn't scream at me...I am finished...quilt me!! They made it into my UFO drawer. Sometimes I pull them out and think about finishing them...but there are so many other rewarding projects I want to finish. I want to finish the masterpiece.

Leonie went on to criticize her own sampler quilt in oranges, yellows and lavender. I think the sampler looks terrific. One thing you have to remember is showing pictures on the Internet of your work - it's like eating at someone else's house. The food tastes great! Why? You didn't have to prepare it, and it is just different from your own. I have realized that pictures on the Internet look awesome no matter what! The real criticism comes when you look at every seam up and close in person. Those don't lie.

You could say that my table runner above is screaming aqua, it hurts my eyes! There is too much contrast! The red and brown is drowning in the aqua! I made this table runner to learn a new technique. I learned it and moved on. I used the fabric that I had. It doesn't matter to me if the project has ended or not. It doesn't matter that the contrast is too much. I had fun on that day even if others thought I was spaced out or smoking some funny stuff.

Patchwork is supposed to be fun. Have fun with it. Not everything is supposed to be perfect. We are not making products for mass production on the world market. We are making things that give us pleasure and usually for others. There isn't really a right a wrong way, because what is wrong today will show up five years from now as the "new modern."

Enjoy your summer sewing if you have time for it.

If you were wondering about the cardinal, that was a learning experiment one day in winter. I missed the sight of cardinals and needed some away time from the family. I used the fabrics that I had. It never got finished.

Monday, August 4, 2014

pinwheel parade finished

As I told my good friend, Katrin, the other day, I think August is going to be be the month of me finishing up a few projects. Since I signed up for six or more SAL/BOM this year, I haven't had a lot of time to finish my other projects that were started earlier. I have put most of those projects aside to work on the ones that I am emotionally connected to.

One very dear project is a quilt that I am making for my niece, Nina. She picked out the fabric in a fabric store when I was visiting last fall. She is a very well-raised young lady with a great sense of color.

I had three fabrics to begin with and from those I think only about a 1/4 to 1/2 yard each. If this was going to be a bed quilt, I was going to have to bring in more fabric. I added the fresher green and black dotty fabric found around the outer edges and in the prairie (pinwheel) flower. Nina and her mom both like dots, so I think they will like the additions. Now it's finished! I really hope she likes the pattern I came up with.

There are lots of pinwheels in this quilt. I think there are 96 green sashing blocks and 24 pinwheels. I don't like sewing curved edges anymore after sewing OHO for Brigitte Heitland, so I came up with an easier way to make the flowers. I appliqued circles onto the white fabric and cut them twice. After all were cut, I regrouped them into four blocks and sewed them back together. It was a lot of work, but I think it saved some time. It also gives the quilt added thickness from the applique stabilizer underneath the flowers.

I used 80/20 cotton/poly batting and 100% cotton thread for the quilting with my Pfaff home sewing machine. I started with an echo quilting around the flowers and realized after 20 sections, the thread was all wrong on the back. I wanted to rip just the ones out that were really bad, but ended up ripping everything out. You should have seen me on the floor doing this. I think my husband thought I was crazy.

I rethought the quilting through. It was hard going around the curves and struggling with the size of this large quilt (with pillow tuck) for a single bed. I really liked it, but knew I had to get the quilting done. I decided to change the strategy and quilt through the sashing. It allowed me to continuously quilt without having to back stitch or pull thread through at start and stop. This definitely saved me time!! The quilting on the back was tension was just right this time. The quilting might seem minimal, but this quilt is heavy without the safety pins.

For the binding, I decided to go with something a little different. I made 1/2 wide double fabric - single fold binding and frayed it in the back. I thought it was a little more interesting for a pre-teen and not so traditional. (It also saved a little time of not having to sew by hand to the back.) I hope it holds, because I did NOT sew around the edge twice as recommended.

And to make sure the back binding frayed nicely, I washed the quilt. I was so nervous, but the color catcher washing sheets worked! I put three in and they were full of black and green die when the cycle finished. I let the quilt air dry and threw it in the dryer for the last five minutes of drying. It worked!! I would definitely use this technique again for a youth or baby quilt.

Oh, another thing I forgot to mention. I just love the fabric I picked to match the front. It is from a German fabric company called Tante Ema. Take a look at their fresh fabric lines. It is 30 cm wider than standard American quilting fabrics too.

If you are interested in how I made the prairie (pinwheel) flowers, stayed tuned. There will be a tutorial coming out but probably on another one of my blogs. And if you want to see even more pictures of the quilt (that I almost hate to part with) check out my flickr gallery.

Thanks for dropping by!