Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mondo Bag

Hope all of you have had a wonderful July so far, and that everyone from the U.S.A. had a pleasant July 4th celebration.  I would like to express my and my family's sympathies for the families and friends of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in Arizona.  This is devastating news, and so recently after the 4 firefighters who tragically were lost here in Houston.  These people are our heros and it a huge lost to their communities besides their families.  We thank God  for our firefighters and police officers.  God bless them and protect them.

Now, abrupt change of topic, onto the next bag in my sad attempt to complete 52 "Carriers" in 2013.  I'm not defeated yet, mind you; it is only half way through the year, but it doesn't look good.  I have completed a Mondo Bag by Quiltsmart.  Originally I didn't want to do this bag at all.  I picked up the pattern at, believe it or not, my local cross-stitch store. The owner was crazy about this bag and made dozens of them.  She kept telling me that they were, "So easy.  No problem.  Whip it out in no time."  Lie, Lie, Lie.  First you have to cut out about 70 or more 2.5-inch squares from various different fabrics.  I used some Lakehouse Dry Goods fabric from a UFO project that was never going to be finished, mostly because I was over-thinking the colors.  So I picked out just two colors and used that as a theme -- oranges that ranged from peach to a searing tangerine, and pinks that ranged from a blush to a searing fuchsia.  Orange is not a color I would ever wear, but paired with the coolness of the pinks, I could get away with it.  Orange it the favorite color of several of my friends, who also happen to hate pink.

I didn't have enough of the Lakehouse Dry Goods fabric for the straps, but I had a fuchsia with gold marbling that blended well.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Ranch Hand Quilt - WIP 1

The Ranch Hand Quilt - 2 borders on, 2 more to go
This quilt started out when I fell in love with a fabric that reminded me of old western saddles.  It's a black and brown color that looks like embossed leather, "Desiree" by Blank Quilting.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beginning Quilting Class Update & Fabric Pottery Class

This post originally appeared at The Dropped Thread on 12/22/12.  It is being archived on this blog.

Dear Reader,

So sorry I'm behind in my December postings, but I'm sure you're all just as busy with your Christmas shopping and crafting.  Also after the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut, my heart has been grieving, as the rest of the world has been, and I just wanted to concentrate on spending time with my family for a little while.  I'm sure you've all been doing the same, giving extra hugs, and "I love you's".  I've been spending time praying for my own family and friends, and for the grieving families and community of Newtown.

As I've mentioned in a past post, I've been taking classes at Quilters Emporium in Stafford, TX.  First I want to give a shout out to Rose Ann Cook and the ladies in the shop who are all so nice and helpful.  They really take the time to help me when I say I'm a beginner and guide me to patterns at my level.  They helped me understand why a particular fabric wouldn't work in a pattern they way I was thinking it would and guided me another fabric (the ombre effect I was look at would have been lost when the fabric was cut up to make the border long enough to fit my piece).
My first quilt top!

Monday, June 24, 2013

May update on Carrier projects

This post originally appeared on The Dropped Thread on 5/18/13. It has been moved to this blog by the owner.

Gosh, its been a long time since I posted.  Once again I've been busy sewing away. I hope you guys had a good Mother's Day, whether you are a mother or not. There should be a Celebrate Women and All We Do Day. That could cover all we do whether we are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives or girlfriends, employees, bosses, etc. We.Do.A.Lot!

Here's some of what I've been doing:
Christmas Gift Bag - Butterick B3485
Christmas Gift Bag - Butterick B3485

These bag were both in my UFO pile.  I finished them up and now have two reusable Christmas Gift Bags. They hold a pretty good amount and are closed securely using two plastic spring-loaded do-hickeys.  I can't remember the correct name for it right now, but if I remember I'll add it to this post later.

The fabrics were random Christmas-y fabrics from my horde.  The pattern is several years old - Butterick B3485 (Making History).  It is based on a Renaissance pattern.  I wouldn't recommend sewing very many of these bags because each one has 20 buttonholes!  I used to have a home-based business making these in novelty fabrics for sale as dice bags.  They were very popular with the tabletop & D20 gaming community because they hold a tremendous amount of loose dice without any falling out.  But after I made +200 the buttonhole mechanism on my Singer sewing machine broke and never worked right again, even with repairing it twice.

Beginning Quilting Class at Quilter's Emporium

This post originally appeared at The Dropped Thread on 11/19/12.  It has been move to this blog by the owner.

Have you ever started something that you think is going to be soooo easy, only to find out it just kicks your butt?  Well, that's the humbling lesson I've just learned, once again.  I'm taking Beginning Quilting Classes at Quilter's Emporium in Stafford, Texas.  I thought, "I've been sewing (fashion) most of my life.  How hard can this be, it's just a straight seam right?"  Wrong!!!!  This is geometry - and I'm an English major.  My brain doesn't function that way.  Thank goodness there are patterns, and flying geese rulers, and internet resources; not like in my grandmother's day when she figured out the math for the triangles and how much material she needed to make binding for a quilt that was so big.

On the first day of class Rose Ann Cook (the teacher and store owner) gave us so much information my brain felt overloaded, but I left feeling like this is a REAL art class, not just some hobby.  The quilts that are being designed today are true works of ART!  
Block #1 - "Album 2" (learning Flying Geese)
We learned how to pick out fabric (which was eye-opening) and how to cut it out.  For our learning quilt we needed a focus fabric with at least three colors, a dark fabric, a light fabric, and a "bling" fabric pulling a color from the focus fabric.  

Comicpalooza and Carrier Updates

This post originally appeared at The Dropped Thread on 05/22/2013 .  It has been moved to the blog by the owner.

Two posts for May - I'm on a roll. I told you I wouldn't wait long for my next post.  Hopefully, I can make this a habit.  There won't be any sewing going on at my house this week.  I've volunteered as a Personal Assistant to guests at Houston's Comicpalooza.  Many people ask me if this has something to do with comedians, but no it's a comic book convention.  We have several celebrity personalities who have acted/are acting in Science Fiction related movies and/or television.  This year GalactiCon III has chosen our convention to host their convention.  GalactiCon is held every 5 years with actors from the original and reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series, along with the followup Caprica series.  Here is a photo of me at last year's convention with the voice actors of Zim and Grr from the cartoon series Invader Zim.

Richard Horvitz, Rikki Simmons, and me
Comicpalooza 2012
I'm so excited that the guys asked for me to work with them again this year!  Yay! We had a good time at last year's con, and they are so funny!  We were the most popular table; with everyone laughing so hard you would think it really was a comedian con!

Carrier Challenge Update

This post originally appeared at The Dropped Thread on 4/4/13. It has been moved to this blog by the owner.

Dear Reader,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Holiday.  I know it's been a while since I've posted.  I'm already behind on the 2013 Carrier Challenge due to various technical and personal mishaps.  But, I'm not giving up!
I did get several carriers done. Here's an update:

Carrier #1 - Indygo Junction's Crossover Carry-All #IJ890
Indygo Junction Crossover Carryall
Exterior fabric - Duck cloth
Interior - 100% cotton bright pink solid
For my first carrier I used a duck cloth that was on clearance at Hobby Lobby for the exterior because that allowed me to eliminate lining the bag with additional stiffening.  I'm for anything that allows an extra step, and it turns out that the sewing machine I was using at the time wasn't made to handle too many layers.  There were issues with the dog feed.  (Have since replaced machine with a Janome Memory Craft 6600 Professional - Yay!)

I used the short handled version included in the pattern (there is a variation with a longer strap for wearing across the body).  The pattern was easy to follow, but I had to cut the strap enclosure wider than called for to allow for the strap to fit.  Also, as I understood the way the side enclosure and strap are finished, the strap is sewn down and not movable.  This does not allow for the sides of the bag to gather as shown in the pattern front photo.  The purse ended up have a wide opening on each side, which I feel makes it easier for someone to stick their hand into the bag and steal something.

For the interior I used 100% cotton quilting fabric in a bright pink solid, which I had in my horde.  I regret using it because it is too flimsy to hold the snaps firmly (even with interfacing) and will eventually tear through the fabric.  I also used a standard snap (for clothing) instead of a magnetic purse snap.  The snap sides fit so tight, it is almost impossible to get the stupid thing open.  Lesson learned.

Changes I would make if using this pattern again are: