Wednesday, November 30, 2022

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

 Or maybe just a little bit around here - I usually don't start decorating until December gets here, but this year our Island Batik Ambassador challenge for November was to make a Christmas stocking, so I did have to get started a little early!  (I received the products used for this challenge as part of the Island batik Ambassador program)

Island Batik Creative Christmas Stocking Challenge

The challenge was to make a creative Christmas stocking with any Island Batik fabric - nontraditional was encouraged.  Well, I had a nice collection of scraps from a previous year in blue and white, and I usually decorate my front room in those colors so that was an easy choice.  I was actually happy to have the excuse to replace the not so wonderful stockings I've been using in there with some nicer ones!

Blue and white batik triangles quilted in a swirl pattern

The scraps of fabric I had were pretty small, so I had my husband help me by cutting them all up into two- and half-inch triangles using the GO! fabric cutter from AccuQuilt that I received several years ago as part of the Ambassador program - he seemed to enjoy it.  I sewed together all the triangles using Rice as my background and had my handy assistant press them all for me, too!  Then I started sewing the triangles together and ended up with two squares about 20 x 20 - enough to make two double sided stockings.

pretty swirl quilting
I used Hobbs Fusible batting to layer these - I'm really getting addicted to the ease of using this batting. It makes the quilting a breeze with no pins to worry about! I added solid gray for the backing, and I used a light blue Aurifil 50 wt thread and a size 12 professional chrome needle from Schmetz for the quilting.  A nice swirl always looks good!

Tracing a Christmas stocking to make a pattern

Next, I traced a pattern from a stocking I made long ago.  These are a nice chunky size, so hold lots of little presents!

cutting out pieces to make blue and white stockings

It was a tight fit, but I could cut two stocking shapes from each quilted panel.  I angled them a bit to get a more interesting look and avoid getting all the seams in the same spots on the edges. The most important thing was to remember to reverse the second two for the back side of the stocking.

cutting bias binding

I wanted to put binding around the edges, so I cut bias binding from a fat quarter of this pretty poinsettia fabric. I'm not sure what collection this was from - Island Batik has a pretty blue and white line in the winter collections most years!  It's nice because they mix and match quite well!  Here is the mini quilt I made a couple years ago from the Glacier View collection:  Winter Mini

adding binding to top of christmas stockings

First, I added binding to the top of each stocking part.  Then I basted them together in pairs and stitched the binding all around - I cut my binding at 2 1/4 inches and it was perfect! I did them just like I do my quilts, machine stitch to the back, then turn to the front and top stitch by machine. I finished by making a loop at the top of each stocking, and now they are ready to use!  

Binding a stocking and adding a loop-

I put up my wreath so you can see how nice these creative Christmas stockings look with my blue decorations!  So pretty!  Perfect for winter!

Creative Christmas Stockings with blue wreath

I think I will hang them below my banister - but now I think I need to look for a swag with blue accents for the top of it!  Or maybe create one - that's what I did with my wreath,

Creative blue and white Christmas stockings

Another fun challenge from Island Batik!  Now we are gearing up for the final blog hop of the year!  I'll be announcing that shortly, so keep an eye out - it's going to be fantastic!!  In the meantime, check out the rest of the ambassadors to see what they made for the Creative Christmas Stocking challenge.

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs

Megan Best ~ Bestquilter

Pamela Boatright ~ Pamelaquilts

Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio

Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts

Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts

Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting

Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood

Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Anorina Morris –

Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia

Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads

Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute And Quirky

Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts

Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations

Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt

Thanks to these wonderful companies for the products used in the project!

Saturday, November 05, 2022

A Little of This and a Little of That

 It's been a nice week - I've kept busy working on getting some things done in my sewing room - so many piles of fabric to deal with!  Here is my design wall from earlier this week - lots of color, which makes me happy!  Right now, I've made another big mess because I decided that in order to justify jumping in on Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt starting on Black Friday, I need to get this older one finished up before it starts.  I've had this bin of fabric sitting for four years now.  

I would pull it out sporadically and work on it, but never really got much momentum going.  I decided that I would see where I was with the units and see what size I was going to get out of them.  I actually had most of what I needed to make a five by five setting, so that's what I am working on this weekend.  I love the cheerful colors!  I'll end up with a smallish lap size, so that will be great.  I did find out that I need to make all the border units, and there are four different borders!  I got one pieced, and the units made for the next one, so am making good progress on this quilt!  It will be great to get these fabric piles put away before I pull out the next piles for this year's quilt.

We are enjoying our fall walks.  The leaves are falling in earnest now!  So pretty!!

And the rain is bejeweling the spider webs, too.  Whether it's sunny or rainy, there is beauty everywhere!

Way back in high school I got a cutting for this plant, which has traveled from Colorado to Oregon and now is actually blooming after all these years!  (I call it a Creeping Charlie, but it's also known as Swedish Ivy)

Remember these blocks from the May Island Batik Challenge?  

  I finally decided to make one larger lap size quilt out of the rest of them, so finished this top up.  Now I just need to figure out a backing and it's ready for quilting!

I had a huge pile of cut off triangles from the Stepping Stones Flora quilt I made, so I decided to see what I could make with them and the rest of the leftover fabric.  I ended up with two cute mini quilts!  They measure about 17 x 20 inches each.  I plan on piecing together more leftover fabric for the backs, so that will cut down that pile of scraps by a little bit anyway!

Aren't the colors pretty?  I had 160 of these little triangles and used them all up!

Block 2 of the Secialites 2 Quilt Along came together pretty well - I did have to use the seam ripper again, but not three times for this block!  Haha!

For the shop, I finished up this adorable little Nativity Stable!

It was a challenge with lots of tabs, velcro, soft and stable, and fusible fleece going into making the stable.

And then there was the stuffing of the 12 figures to go inside!  So cute!  The panel is Joyful Joyful Nativity Stable by Stacy Hsu for Moda.  

So that's been the last couple weeks.  I think we are getting back into a good routine finally - it's really hard coming back from a long trip!  Maybe it's road trip atrophy - we were carefree for so long we forgot how to do our everyday routines!  And now we get to turn our clocks back, so who knows what that will do to my newly found rhythm...I'm hoping it will help me get those borders done on the Good Fortune project!  Don't forget to set your clocks back - it means an extra hour of sewing!  

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

It's In the Bag - October Challenge for Island Batik

I was excited to come home from vacation this month because I knew that I had a fun project to look forward to - the October Island Batik Ambassador Challenge!  It's always fun to get one of the ByAnnie patterns with all the supplies plus fabric from Island Batik.  We got to choose our pattern and fabric - I picked the A Place for Everything 2 pattern and fabric from the Paisley Got Mod collection designed by Kate Colloran - so fun!  I love the different patterns that ByAnnie has - they always come out so nice and professional looking!

Here is the fabric for the outside of my bag - isn't it fun?  I'm a sucker for paisley designs!  Love the raspberry with the bright yellow/green, so cheery!

The soft yellow was my choice for the lining of the bag.  This bag features a ton of pockets, some are clear vinyl, and some are mesh.  Since there are lots of pockets, there was lots of cutting to do.  I love that the ByAnnie patterns help keep you organized with a sheet of tags to put on all your pieces.  I always print a copy so I can cut that up for labeling my pieces.

After the first part of cutting is done, it's time to quilt the panels for the main pieces of the bag.  Quilting the soft and stable isn't difficult, I used my walking foot to quilt straight lines.  I chose Aurifil 50 weight thread in a bright green for the quilting, it really looks good on both sides!  I used a size 14 topstitch needle (Schemtz Professional Chrome) for the entire bag, it was great through all the layers!

I love the definition you get in quilting the Soft and Stable!  I used straight pins to baste because it was easy to pull them out as I went.

Here's a look at the back.  Isn't this a pretty fabric, too?  

After quilting the larger pieces the next step was sub-cutting the pieces for the bag and the interior pages that the pockets go on.

The next step was prepping the zippers - a lot of them!  Thank goodness for the zippers by the yard, it made it easy to create zippers for the divided pockets with two sliders, as well as a long zipper for the outside of the bag.

I was thankful for the good instructions on adding the zippers to both the vinyl as well as to the mesh.  Each page has three small pockets on one side and a large pocket on the back, some of the small pockets have zippers and some have elastic binding.  You get to decide how you want to make all the pockets, including dividing some of them to make smaller pockets.  I pretty much stayed with the set up in the pattern.

The center of the page has a finishing strip, then you have to sew binding around the edge of the pages after you round the corners.  After the pages are completed it's time to work on putting the bag together!

The straps are the next step, this bag has a detachable shoulder strap, plus carrying handles.  Lots of tubes to sew, and you want to press the seams open so that they will look nice on the reverse side as well as on the front.  A good tip I learned is to use a wooden dowel slipped into the tube for pressing!  It works great!

After I topstitched the edges and added hardware, I was ready to work on the outside of the bag.  This is the third fabric in my bag - a bright yellow/green that looks awesome with the bright raspberry pink!

Sewing the straps went well - that Schmetz topstitch needle did the trick - no skipped stitches on this one!

More zippers - this front pocket features a contrast trim and zipper pocket!

The inside of the bag also has a zippered pocket with the mesh. 

The back of the bag has a slip pocket with a contrast binding.

And an inside mesh pocket with elastic binging.  

Getting close to putting this all together!  The front and the back look great!  I pinned the handles out of the way and rounded the corners preparing to add the zipper strip and back to complete the bag.

The zipper and back make a long strip that needs to be sewn all the way around the front and back of the bag.  This step can be a bit tricky - I use a lot of clips to hold everything together!  I also changed to a pretty pink 40 weight Aurifil thread that came in my Ambassador box, it's a little stronger than the 50 weight so I thought it would be a good choice for this last step.

It takes patience and a lot of smushing of the edge strip, but it all comes together!

No - I didn't accidentally sew this together wrong, this bag is a bit different from the ones I've done before, the binding goes on the outside of this bag instead of the inside!  I really like it because it gives the bag some extra pizzazz!

I really love seeing the bag at this stage - almost finished!

The binding is a little tricky, but taking it slow helps!  I also like Annie's tip to not press the binding in half, it really helps to keep those corners smooth!  I switched back to the lighter thread for this step.

The final step is adding the strap to hold the pages.  It's a neat feature of this bag that you can remove the pages with the pockets!

Isn't it fun?  The carry strap goes across the bag diagonnaly, making it nice for carrying over your shoulder!

I love how professional the results are!  And how handy this bag is going to be!  I went through my sewing room and found lots of things to add to the pockets.  This bag is pretty much a portable sewing kit - I've got scissors, rotary cutter, and all kinds of goodies stored inside!

With such an amazing assortment of pockets, there are so many things you could carry with you!  It's plenty deep enough to really fill up with all of your notions and supplies for a quilt retreat, or just to keep things organized in your sewing room!  

I loved making this pattern - it's definitely not a one day project, but the time I spent was totally worth it to make such a fabulous bag/organizer!  I am thrilled with the results!  Thanks to Island Batik for the beautiful fabric, and to Patterns by Annie for the pattern and all of the notions that went into it!  Also to Schmetz Needles and Aurifil thread for making all the stitching possible - I used almost three bobbins worth of thread total for all the stitching, which looks terrific!

If you want to make a great organizer for you sewing supplies, I can definitely recommend the A Place for Everything 2 bag!