Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kind of Like Tetris

Did you ever want to use a piece of fabric for a project, but found it was not big enough? It might just be, if you play 'Tetris' with your pattern pieces!

Just cut them out in a single layer, rather than on doubled fabric. Cut one out (as you can see I did with the T-shaped pattern for the 'bucket' from the book I told you about in the previous post) and then flip it upside down and fit it onto the rest of the fabric! You could do this with any pattern, I think. Just don't forget the 2nd piece (although not in this case) is usually a 'mirror image.'

Hope everyone is staying safe as Irene rushes up the coast. We are as ready here at my house as we could ever be!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Straight Line Sewing

Even after 40 years of sewing, I'm always on the lookout for the easiest, but nicest-looking, projects. So when I read (somewhere) about a book called "Sewing in a Straight Line," I had to check it out. A brief sample on my NOOK and I knew I wanted it. I actually used some money from the gift cards to Barnes and Noble that my kids gave me for my birthday last January to buy the actual copy, not a NOOK download. I'm glad I did.

The author is Brett Bara. If you are lucky enough to get "Crochet Today" on public television, or if you've read "Crochet Today" magazine, you'll know who she is--the girl with blondish-brown hair and blue eyes. Who knew she was a sewist, too? And the book is true to its title: all straight lines!
The book if full of adorable and quick ideas, even clothing! Above is the "Clutter Busting Bucket Tote." Mine is a little saggier than the book's since I used what was on hand (she recommends canvas for the outside and I would guess the interfacing should be stiffer.) I'm using it to store my 'baby' yarns. (I should also point out that I just topstitched the straps to the outside. In the original, they are in between the layers.)

I also made a pillowcase, but you've seen enough of those without a picture.

Now I'm going to go check out her site:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A project for next summer

I've always wanted to make a "Disappearing 9-Patch" quilt, so when Joanne's had some bundled fabric on sale, I decided it was time. I chose patriotic prints, as you can see. I cut the 9 pieces of fabric (actually, there were 7 in the bundle, I think, and I added 2 more fat quarters) the same size then sewed  a big 9-patch quilt with them. (Not so big, really--it's about 60x60 inches.) It is nicely ironed at this point, and this is as far as I'm going this year with it.

I haven't taken my Fourth-of-July decor up into the attic yet, but I just thought I won't put this in with those items, after all. If I take it out before Memorial Day (when the first patriotic decor goes up) it will never be finished in time.

So I think I will put it in with my Easter/Spring decorations. Or maybe St. Patrick's Day...that will certainly give me plenty of time to work on it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canning today (again)

Yesterday I cut up tomatoes, peppers and onions for salsa. I made it up today.

Recent lessons learned:

1. Just because something looks like a canning jar doesn't mean it really is! So if I buy them at garage sales again, I will look for "Mason" or "Ball" on the jar!

Why was this lesson learned?  Well, I noticed bits of vegetables floating in the water where I was processing the 2 pints of salsa I made. (More on only getting 2 pts. next.) At first I thought I just spilled some on the side and didn't notice.
Then I spot more and I lifted up the jars. One jar was fine. But the other?

The WHOLE FLIPPING BOTTOM BROKE OFF! We're talking jars hot from the dishwasher, with hot salsa (it's a cooked recipe), so it isn't like there was a quick temperature change. Needless to say, that whole pint had to be trashed. Fortunately, the other jar is completely intact, so it  wasn't a total lost cause.

2. Five or six big tomatoes make very little salsa. Which would be okay if I hadn't lost half my batch. However, (and this is really the lesson), I need to find tomatoes that don't cost 3.99 a pound. And that's from a farm stand! I guess it is time for Mike and I to take a ride out on Long Island to visit farm stands more east of us. As for my own garden, I got a big 4 tomatoes so far. Wow. At least they tasted good.

Right now I have grape jelly processing (thanks for the pectin, Maryann!) and so far, so good. It's an easy recipe with just grape juice, sugar and pectin. I've never made it before. I hope it comes out good.

 When I was a kid, my mother made the best grape jelly from grapes that grew in the corner of our backyard. I have never tasted anything like that again in all my life!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Giraffe head

Yes, his ears are off-kilter. In the words of the great PeeWee Herman: "I meant to do that!"

Actually, I didn't. But sewing in the ears and those horns was a pain in the you-know-what, so they stay as they are. Nothing in nature is perfect, anyway.

I don't know if you can tell, but the back of the head is in two pieces. This creates a 'pocket' that the top of the neck will fit up into. (The neck isn't stuffed yet. I just tucked it in there to show what I mean.) I'll have to hand sew it shut, obviously. 

The google eyes I bought turned out to be way too big, so I'm going a size smaller next time I hit Michael's.

I would say Mr. Giraffe is 90% finished now! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Snowflake Quilt, cont.

Row 3 is stitched together, and ready to be added to the first two rows, as you can see. It's coming along!
Basically, I had to stop blog-hopping and spending my time drooling over all the inspirational crafts out there and get down to actually DOING something yesterday, LOL! It's easy to get lost in bloggy-craft paradise, isn't it?
I also made what I hope will work for horns for the giraffe. I simply rolled up little rectangles of yellow felt very tightly, then stitched them shut. The head is ready to assemble.
I see both of these projects being done in plenty of time for Christmas!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Apron, mostly done

The apron is done except for putting on some ties. As you can see, it's reversible. I used fancy stitching for the heart appliques because it shows up on the other side. It isn't very visible against the busy floral background, but it's there.
Can you see how the bias tape has different colors? (Can you also ignore my messy office?)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Apron part III or so

I think it's fun to make multi-colored bias tape with fabric scraps. This is the binding that goes around the apron. 
There are many excellent tutorials on line to make bias tape, especially the continuous kind. Mine is in sections, obviously. You simply fold your fabric into a triangle so that the lengthwise grain edge meets the crosswise edge. The slanted fold is now your bias. If you measure along this fold, remember to only  measure half the width of your tape! (When you open the fold out, obviously you'll now have the full size.) I measured an inch from the fold to get a 2-inch-wide strip.
Then, being somewhat impatient and non-fussy, I just used that 2-inch strip  to mark off more 2-inch strips. (I do like wide bias tape, LOL!) Then I just sewed the strips together. (I'm thinking of making templates for this in various widths out of cardboard.)
As you can see above, I folded the long strip in half and ironed it. Then I folded the raw edges into the center. (That step is obviously the top photo.)  The result you get is super-cute, original and colorful bias tape!
I took pictures of the apron, which is now finished except for the ties. I either have to plow through my fabric stash and find something to match or go out an buy ribbon. (For all the ribbon I have, nothing works with this, LOL!) Pictures tomorrow, I promise!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Apron, continued

Cut another strip as wide as the apron and as deep as you want it. Sew it along the bottom edge of the top piece. I just sewed it right through the blue 'lining' apron.

Fold and press. Repeat this with as many strips as you want. Mine only has 3. I'll show you the rest next post, as well as the bias tape I made for it.

BTW, almost  finished one sock and 90% done with the other. They look sort of weird but they fit. I also have two rows stitched together for the snowflake blanket and five snowflakes ready for the next row. Picture soon, I promise!