Sunday, January 31, 2010

Started a Surprise

Today I started work on a surprise for someone!

All I can say is that it has some crazy quilting on it, and that I am trying to use up all the last pieces of a FQ set.

I have been doing crazy quilting for almost 28 years now - wow, I must have learned before I could walk! ;-) My first piece has one type of stitch and one colour of embroidery floss - how things have changed! I love all the different threads, bead, buttons, charms and doo-dads that can be used.
My Grandmother use to crazy quilt and I love the things that she made. It was the first type of needle work that I took up and it is still my favorite. I think I really like the name - crazy! It is the only type of needle work that I ever won any awards for (the only kind I ever entered in anything too).
I hope you take time to do something that you love to do today!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I have finished the gussets on the socks. Started the foot. That will take awhile to fit my big feet. Plain wool makes it seem like it takes forever!

I posted a tutorial for the tote bag I made. I think I am going to have figure out a way to make my directions more concise! Oh well, it's my first one.
Have a great day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Show and Tell Friday

This week's Show and Tell is the only quilt that I have from my Father's side of my family. It came to me from my Grandmother about 20 years ago. The only thing that I knew about it was that my Grandmother didn't make it.

I recently asked my Aunt if she knew anything about the quilt. She was a wealth of information! (Thank-you Aunt Carolyn!)
It turns out the quilt was made by my Great Grandmother, Amelia Mitchell Stephens (nee Etter), 1865-1962. She was an award winning quilt maker in Tenecape, Nova Scotia. I didn't even know that she was a quilter!


I think that the quilt was made in the 1940's. It is in very good condition. I don't think it has ever been used. It is hand pieced and hand quilted.

Today was a very cold day, -34C with the wind chill. It was wonderful to see a white jack rabbit along with a rabbit eating under the bird feeder.

Have a wonderful day!

Tote Bag Tutorial

This tote bag is 15" wide and 15.5" deep with a slightly ruffled top edge. It has a zippered pocket inside for security.

I used 7 fat quarters to make this bag (3 were whole the rest were not quite complete) As few as 4 fat quarter could be used. Any fabric combination could be used. I also used ~1 yard of diaper flannel (could be thin batting, I like diaper flannel for bags), ~30" piece of fabric for the lining and the pocket, ~2 yards of lightweight woven fusible interfacing (the interfacing I used is only 19" wide - you will need less if it is wider) and a 7" zipper. I used 1/4" seam allowances. I used sulky variegated thread for top stitching and quilting.


The bag starts with a rectangle of fabric - 36"x16.5".
It can be any combination or pattern you would like, or one or two beautiful pieces of fabric.

I pieced the top section with 8 - 2.5"x20" strips - I used two strips from 4 different FQ's. I then cut it in half and evened the edges to make 2 rectangles - 9.5"x16.5". I pieced the two rectangles with a rectangle - 17"x16.5" . This resulted in a rectangle - 36"x16.5".

My middle fabric was non-directional. If yours is directional, you will need to add 1/2" to the size of the rectangle, cut it in half and sew it back together so that the fabric will look nice on the finished bag.
Layer a piece of interfacing - fusible side up - ~37"x18" - on your work surface. Place a piece of diaper flannel - 31"x18" -on top of interfacing. Lay the pieced fabric on top, centered with 2.25" on both ends larger than the flannel.

Pin and machine quilt as desired. Trim and iron.

The 2.25" section at the top without flannel will be folded at the top of the bag, this will make it less bulky. It is still quilted in that section.
Fold the bag, right sides together. Make a 1.5" pleat at the bottom.

Sew along the sides, leaving a 1/2" opening on each side, 4" from the top edge.

This will form the openings for the ties.

You will need a rectangle of fabric - 28"x16.5", and another piece - 18"x10" - for the pocket. Iron a piece of fusible interfacing on both pieces of fabric. On the back of the pocket, mark a rectangle, 7.5"x3/8" , 1" from the top of the short side.

Center, right sides together, on the lining, 1" from the top of the lining.

Sew around the marked lines.

Cut a slit down the center and in a "V" at the ends.

Turn inside out, baste and iron.

Pin the zipper on the inside, centered in the opening and stitch around.

Fold the pocket in half and stitch around.

Pocket is complete!

Fold the lining in half and stitch the sides, leaving a 3" opening along one side.

Fold the corners of the lining as shown and mark a line 1.5" from point. Sew and trim.

Two 3.25"x27" strips of fabric. I cut 3 - 3.25" pieces from a FQ, and pieced one and a half sections for each strap. You will also need two 1.25" strips of flannel, 27" long. Iron a 1/4" along the long edges of each straps.

Wrap the fabric around the strips of flannel.

Stitch along the folded edge of the straps. I always add a few rows of stitching down straps, either decorative, wavy or plain.

Two 3"x30" strips of fabric needed for the ties. With FQ's I cut three 3"x20" strips and cut one in half and pieced them. Sew them right sides together, tapered at the ends, leave a 2" opening in the middle to turn them. Turn and press. No need to stitch the opening, it won't be seen.

Place the handles 3.75" from the outside edges of the bag, extending the handles 1/2" past the edge of the bag. Sew in place.

Turn bag inside out, place lining inside the bag, right sides together. Match side seams, pin, and sew. I used the walking foot. The lining is shorter than the bag.

Carefully turn bag right sides out through the opening in the lining. Fold the 2" top of the bag to the inside. Baste, making sure that all the seam allowances and the ends of the handles are towards the bottom of the bag (reach inside the bag through the opening in the lining). When the channel is stitched, where the handles are will be reinforced, that is why I extended the handles by 1/2". Stitch the opening in the lining closed.

Top stitch (with a walking foot) two rows, ~2" from the top of the bag and 1/2" apart, to form a channel around the bag. Making sure that you stitch on either side of the 1/2" openings that are on the sides of the bag.

Carefully thread the ties through the channel. Knot the ends.

Hopefully this tutorial makes sense. It is my first attempt at a tutorial. If you have any questions please email me. If you make a bag, please email me a picture, I would be thrilled to see it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tote Bag Finished

I finally finished my leftover fat quarters tote bag. I am really pleased with how it turned out.

Since January is coming to an end, I will have 5 OPAM finished to report. I didn't know if I would be able to have even 1!
OPAM has been a great motivator for me (not to mention the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and to see what they are up to)! Hopefully OPAM will keep me motivated for the whole year. Thanks to Peg and Kris for hosting it!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So Many Contests

All the pieces for my tote bag are cut and ready to go. I am working on the inside pocket with a zipper.

I spent a bit of time today checking out all the contests that are going on out there. SO MANY!
Here are a few that I need to mention.
The Vintage Pearl is having a give away of a beautiful new necklace. Erin is such a talent artist and her stuff is amazing. Check out her website! I have already hinted to my DH that a necklace with our children's names would be great for Mother's Day!
At the Polka Dot Chair there is another give away for a gift certificate for the Vintage Pearl!
Yellow Rose Arbor is having a Disney themed give away for her 4th anniversary.
Barb at Bella Vista is having a Rooster themed give away for her first year of blogging.
Over at They Call Me Jammi there is another rooster themed give away! She is also celebrating her 1st Blogaversary.
Joan over at Americana By Candlelight is having her first give away of some beautiful bird plates, all ready for spring!
Good Luck everyone!
I am off to enter a few more!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Working on my Tote Bag

I am still sewing my tote bag. I don't have a pattern, just an idea of what I want. It is taking awhile to figure it out. It is coming along nicely though.

I am making it from leftovers of a fat quarter bundle that I used to make a wheelchair bag for my MIL. I am trying to use up the rest of the fabric, because it doesn't really go with other scraps of fabrics that I have. I will have enough leftover to make another small bag.

My Nordic Needle catalogue came this afternoon!

A good excuse to sit down, have a cup of tea and some chocolates. And dream! I love doing embroidery, I just haven't been doing as much recently.

Have a great day, and take some time for you!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Snow Day!

Well, the forecast blizzard finally arrived. My youngest couldn't go to school. So I had a break from my regular Monday chores! Yippee!

Sewing on another bag. You can never have too many!

I don't think the blizzard was as bad as expected, still lots of wind and blowing snow.

It was a good day for surfing the web. There is an amazing event going on over at A Whimsical Bohemian , called "One World, One Heart". Be sure to check it out. Lisa has created this event and is hosting it. She started it as a way for bloggers around the world to meet. Hundreds of different bloggers have signed up. They are all having giveaways on their blogs. It is a way of visiting all kinds of different blogs that you might never think of visiting. Fantastic idea! The event ends on February 15th. I have been working my way through the list and have seen some amazing art work! There are so many talented people out there!

Take some time in your day for some fun!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good Day to Sew

We haven't had the blizzard that was expected, but I still spent the day sewing. It's a good life!

This is a pattern from Laundry Basket Quilts , I made the bag that is on the back of the pattern. The appliques all cut out, ready to be ironed.

Everything cut out and ironed, ready for sewing.

Ready for assembly.

My fourth OPAM finish for January. This was a nice bag to make, I did make a few changes to the pattern (lengthened strap and changed position, also changed inside pocket placement). I never seem to follow a pattern to the letter!

I came across another give away today. Cathy over at Live well, Laugh often, Love much! is having an apron give away for her 200th post. Contest closes on Feb 4th.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Socks coming Along

I have turned the heels on my sample socks and am working on the gusset.

I think I have figured out the mistakes from the "2-at-a-Time Socks" book. It is like learning to make this sock technique again. I guess all the mistakes didn't matter too much, I managed to make quite a few socks before I knew about the mistakes.

I found a couple of contests today. Amy over at Kati Cupcake Pattern Co, is giving away a fat quarter bundle. It doesn't say when this give away ends. Sande Chase over at A Gift Wrapped Life is having a give away of beautiful Charlotte Moss products. Just in time for Valentines Day, the draw date is Feb. 1st.

We are supposed to be having a blizzard later this weekend. Today we had a lot of wet snow, something that is very unusual for us. Usually it is so cold here, that the snow doesn't stick together. My family shoveled and played (tobogganing, snowball fight etc) outside this afternoon, we even started a snowman. I can't remember the last time we were able to make a snowman!

I am hoping to get some sewing done tomorrow.
Hope you are having a great weekend!
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