Quilt On The Go – II

Here I am with a stitched background layer – it took 3-4 hours to assemble the pieces – the difficult part was collecting them from the floor in the order they were placed and keeping the paired squares in the same order while I was sewing them. I did reference yesterday’s photo several times to be sure I hadn’t reversed blocks.

Stitched Background Layer

I began by creating the vertical columns stacking the 13 pairs from bottom to top proceeding to the next column, then the next. I put post-it notes on the top square of each stack to identify the order in which I needed to sew them. I chain stitched the pairs in each column, cut them apart, pressed the seam to alternating sides, then built each column being careful to nest the seams.

Contrast Fabrics

Yesterday I pulled 27 contrast fabrics from my stash from dark green to light green – in the photo there is a lot more turquoise in the selections than I saw when I stacked the fabrics and the light green looks rather peach. I think my pale colours aren’t strong enough to make the elements I plan on cutting out pop. So back to the stash I must go – I’ll see what I have in yellow that might provide a better contrast, or maybe (heaven forbid) I will have to go shopping for more strong bright lime green batik for the appliqués over the dark background  blocks.

I’m trying to stay within the stash for this quilt, although I already know I’m probably going to have to shop for some fabric to create a border – that’s because about a third of my blocks came from a charm pack (I have no more of those fabrics) and the other fabrics I used came from my scrap boxes (there is very little left of those as well – not enough to do 4″ borders).

Finally – A Quilt On The go

I finally have a quilt on the go.

I started by pulling from my stash a double jelly roll of batik fabric (5″ width of strips) with an idea – but beyond opening the package of fabric strips I haven’t been stuck. Nice fabrics but I just can’t find a way to start. Next I pulled out a charm pack of blue batik fabrics (5″ squares) and that seemed to get me underway. 5″ squares are rather small – ending up as 4 1/2″ blocks so I’d need a 10 x 13 array at the least to make a decent size quilt.

Quilt Background

By adding more than twice the number of squares in the charm park using fabric from my stash of fat quarters and scraps I’ve managed to come up with 130 blocks to set up a graduated 10 x 13 array from light to dark which I can see serving as background for an appliqué quilt.

Inverted Array

I’m still not sure what will develop as a layer on top of this background – I will likely use circles somewhat in the way I did the original “Double Vision” quilt which my niece now has.

The question is what colour palette will complement these blues – shades of green ranging from light chartreuse to dark green/blue? I’ll have to see whether I have enough fabrics in my stash to make this work.

More as the work progresses – now to stitch this assembly together. That’s for tomorrow.

Latest Socks

Finally finished this most recent pair – turned out rather differently than I expected from the appearance of the ball of yarn – much more yellow than I had anticipated. The knitting went reasonably quickly but I got side tracked by a week-long trip to Toronto for a family event last week. I took my knitting but didn’t actually get to do much – there was a ton of  parties – Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, Sunday morning – not much time to work on sock knitting.

Latest Socks

I’m just about to start a next pair – shades of grey/mauve/rose – more subtle.

Leather Bag

This is the second time I’ve made this bag – made one a number of years ago (~ 2015 as I recall) using the beautiful soft purple kid skin I bought in NYC in 2010. I’ve used the bag a lot – the colour faded and it got scratched. It was time to use the remaining purple kid to make another one.

New Leather Bag

Today was the day. Actually I cut out the leather pieces and the lining pieces yesterday, even dashed off to Fabricville to purchase 14″ zippers (longer than the bag is wide so I didn’t have to worry about the zipper ends when sewing them in). It took me just under three hours this morning to put the bag together. I reused the fittings when attaching the strap.

I made a couple of modifications this time, the two painted leather inserts are narrower making the pockets accessed through the khaki zippers larger and therefore more useful than in the first iteration of the bag. I also used a painted leather insert at the top of the back to make the back long enough to match the front.

Otherwise the internal construction is the same – the major central pocket has two small side pockets built in to each side to hold things like hand sanitizer, nail file, wallet, glasses cleaning cloth, Swiss army knife (credit card style), etc. With stuff stored in the pockets I can find what I’m looking for easily – it’s not all a jumble at the bottom. The other two zippered compartments are simple pockets – one for my check book (yes I still carry a check book although I must admit I haven’t written a cheque in almost a year!), and for stuffing shopping receipts in one place so I can find them.

I could put my phone in the bottom pocket if I wanted to – it’s large enough in this version of the bag. But usually I carry my phone in my right pants pocket.

I’m still procrastinating about starting a quilt! I’ve pulled out some fabric – a double jellyroll (5″ wide strips) to start something – Tomorrow! I’ll get going on something tomorrow, for sure.

“Ugly” Socks

I have to say this wasn’t my most favourite pair of socks. I had a difficult time knitting them – I really didn’t enjoy working on those colours/that pattern. I had a solid yarn that blended very closely with the green in the socks but nevertheless knitting them was slow going.

“Ugly” Socks

I’m glad I finally finished them Thursday evening and I was able to move on to another yarn. This pair is in the giveaway pile – people will get these socks for Christmas.

I also went through my basket filled to the brim with balls of leftover patterned yarn. I pulled them out, put them in a bag and gave the remains to one of the knitters in our Friday afternoon group to pass on to her crafting women. There’s enough yarn in those balls to make a pair of socks for a child, or small mittens; or combine them and end up with a Dr. Who scarf. I just wanted that leftover yarn out of my house. I’ve knit nine (or maybe it’s ten) pairs of socks combining some of them. I couldn’t summon any further interest in trying to use up that yarn. And now it’s gone – although there is a new collection starting with the leftover from this pair of socks!

Thinking About Christmas…

I haven’t posted a lot this past month but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing. I began in earnest as soon as my cast came off on July 31.

In August I made:

  • Four pair of pants for myself – two in linen, one in a summer weight wool/poly blend, the fourth in a stretch twill. (Now I have to take four pairs of pants out of my closet!)
Wool/poly Pants
  • I remade a pair of jeans I bought at Costco (I had to lift the back pockets and create a teardrop dart down the centre back of each leg; resew the pockets).
  • In the end I made 30 sets of seat belt covers! (For the folks who chauffeured me while I couldn’t drive)
  • I improvised a set of zippered pockets which I attached to a blanket for a friend in a wheel chair. (I forgot to take a photo of the completed project)
  • I also made a new five-pocket zippered wallet for myself out of ripstop
Five Pocket Wallet

I sewed almost every day. I didn’t get any quilting or wall art started but I’m thinking about it.

I also managed to cut out fabric to make 30 zippered bags – in two sizes.  Two weeks ago at our knitting group I noticed the bags I had made a couple of years ago are being well used. I asked the gals whether anyone was interested in having another bag – silly question – you can’t have too many small zippered bags, for heaven’s sake. So I decided to get that organized.

I dug out the bright fabrics I had set aside to make bags and cut it into appropriate sizes (17″ x 6.25; 21″ x 7″). I cut batting scraps into similar sizes as well. Found suitable (dull) fabric in my stash to be lining for the bags. I went through my zipper tape and cut enough lengths to the correct size.

Fabric Prepared for Zippered Bags

To make a bag I need one outer piece (twice the width of the finished bag), one lining piece, a piece of similar size batting, one half of a zipper tape cut to length, a zipper slide, and a short piece of grosgrain ribbon.

Setting Up For A Bag

I make the bags this way because it allows me to create a zipper loop at the closed end which is much neater than trying to stitch over cut zipper ends.

Using Zipper Tape

I’ve made three bags so far – two larger (9.5″ x 6.25″), one smaller (7.5″ x 5.25″).

The First Bags – 2 sizes

Now I need to sew the remaining 27 bags! Each bag doesn’t take long – maybe 15 minutes were I to do each one completely, but I’ll do this factory style – I’ll add zipper tape to the outer fabric and batting, add lining and stitch to zipper on the second side, for all of the bags. Press. Next turn right sides outside and add the zipper pulls. Then turn right sides together with lining and outer fabric/batting separated to stitch the open side (remembering to insert the folded twill tape into the seam close to the zipper on the outer fabric side – fold toward the centre of the bag). The bottom of the outer fabric/batting is sewn next. Now the important thing to remember: open the zipper! If the bottom of the lining is sewn before the zipper is open, you can’t open the bag. Turn the bag right side out, sew the bottom of the lining (wrong sides together) then push it inside the bag.

It sounds complicated – I probably should take photos of each step along the way (I will try to remember to do that when I get started on production). But the process is fast and the finished bags are neat.

You can’t have too many zippered bags! I use them for so many different purposes: for jewelry, to store elastic bands,  spare change, specialty threads, sewing machine attachments, flash drives for my embroidery machine…. It looks like it’s going to be bags this Christmas.