Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Buffalo Explorer

I set my OMG or One Monthly Goal to turn a finished top into a finished quilt.  I did it!  And though I got the goal-setting post written in time, I forgot to link it up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts, but I'm still counting it as a win!

The dark blue animal fabric was donated to my local Project Linus chapter several years ago, when it still existed.  I always planned to make this Simple Layer Cake pattern that I've used a few times before, and had in fact cut all the animal fabric into 10" squares.  When I made the top, a neighbor who was also involved with Project Linus had just given me a huge bag of novelty fabric.  I went through it to find something that could go with the animals and found this fabulous gray explore/adventure fabric.  It has words like "Adventure" and "Explore" and "Roam Wild" spelled out using outdoorsy equipment like compasses and hiking boots.  

The solid in the sashing is Kona Roasted Pecan.  For the back, I used a cowboy boot print that I think was also donated to Project Linus.  (The other ladies often saved me the novelty prints.)

I tried a new quilting motif, inspired by the book Walk by Jacquie Gering.  First I quilted diagonal lines in one direction at a 3" interval.  Then, instead of a traditional cross-hatch, I did a curvy line that hit the straight line at the same interval.  While my curves are not yet uniform and there is a little more marking involved, I do like this as a variation and will use it again.

This was on my list for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail.  I have another quilt with the same blue animal print that is ready to be layered and quilted, so there will be two similar quilts for that UFO.  Both will be donated to my guild's current charity project, quilts for kids ages 2-5 in my county who receive meals from Friendship Trays

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Glue Sticks

I know there are lots of fancy glue and adhesives out there on the quilting market, but I have learned that there is a lot you can do with a simple glue stick, the same type my first grader uses at home and at school.  My favorite glue stick is the Elmer's Glue disappearing purple.

Now, I feel like I should warn you right off the bat that the purple goes on *really* purple.  The first one I used, I admit I swiped from my son's desk.  That one was either older and faded or a lighter batch, and using it didn't faze me much.  I liked the disappearing purple so much I bought more when school supplies went on sale.  And I used it on an upcoming Island Batik project to attach some Dresden units to a background and for a moment, I thought I ruined my project!  That purple is dark!  But true to it's name, it really does disappear!  I could not see it through my light background fabric at all.

In working on my recent By Annie bag challenge, one of my ambassador friends mentioned to me that spray baste did not work on Annie's Soft and Stable.  Taking her word for it, I didn't even try.  I reached for my disappearing purple.  (The one above is from my Call Me bag.) I ran the glue all over my Soft and Stable on side and smoothed the fabric over it.  I waited about 20 minutes and did the other side.  I again waited about 20 minutes before quilting.  Worked great!

One thing I really like about these glue sticks is that they are not wet at all.  I've started using them to adhere applique shapes to a background before stitching down.  I've so far not have a problem with the purple showing up after the glue dries, and that project I was worried I'd ruined has a light background and some other pretty light fabrics.  Once dried, I've also been able to remove it fairly easily by gently tugging, though I admit I've only done that once.  

I'm linking up with Kathleen McMusing's Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd.  Yes, I'm a day or two late.  But she keeps the links up permanently so you can see the tips she & other quilters have submitted any time.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Call Me

The kits that Annie of By Annie sent the Island Batik ambassadors were very generous, so I had some supplies left over after making my Running With Scissors bag.  When we first got this assignment, I went through all the patterns with Add-on videos and made note of the ones I was interested in, to help narrow down which to choose for the challenge.  When I did that, I noticed the Call Me bag.  It's one of Annie's free patterns and it's designed to hold a phone, ID, and has a zipper pocket big enough for a credit card.

I used the scraps from my Running With Scissors and for the quilting I decided to use one of the fancy stitches on my machine.  If you are looking for an easy bag that helps you learn techniques Annie uses in her other patterns, this is a good one.  I really like how it looks.  The only thing I needed was a zipper.  My LQS doesn't carry Annie's zippers, so I was stuck with one that has much narrower zipper tape.  Did not like that at all!  I definitely recommend Annie's zippers for the wider zipper tape!

I'm really excited to use this bag!  Annie designed it for use at trade shows, and it will be great there.  I'm hoping to use it on regular walks around the neighborhood.  We walk most nights after dinner and my pants don't always have pockets.  (Darn women's clothing!) This should be perfect for still bring my phone.  I can even stick some cash in the zippered pocket on the off chance we run into a lemonade stand.  I'm a sucker for a lemonade stand!  I haven't seen any in my neighborhood but there were some enterprising kids selling painted rocks over the summer.

I hope you've been enjoying the Island Batik and By Annie It's In The Bag blog hop.  I got lots of great suggestions for what I was missing in my Running With Scissors bag: M&Ms, tea bags, small ruler, small mat, stiletto, tweezers, collapsible thread catcher, and folded corner clipper were a few of the suggestions.  (And M&Ms were mentioned several times!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Island Batik has opened their next giveaway for the hop.  Enter to win a fat quarter pack of Nouveau Soul or Urbanization.  And there is still time to enter my giveaway for 3 Stash Builder Rolls.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Quilty Adoption: Flashy Penguins (take 2)

Cynthia from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework hosts a brilliant event twice each year: a quilty adoption event.  The idea is to pass on projects that you haven't finished that no longer excite you to someone else. 

I have three flashy penguins that are up for adoption.  I made them as samples for my Stash Bee block last year, then decided that these unconventional penguins were too unconventional for what I wanted.  These guys are each 16" blocks (finished) and are from a free tutorial by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, so making more is a possibility. I added a border around her 12" penguin to make the larger block.

This is actually my second time posting these guys.  Last year, I admit that life got crazy and I forgot about the adoption.  By the time I followed up, the woman who was interested had too many projects and the second person who expressed interest never responded to my email.  While it's hard to think that last year was crazier than this year, I do know that I have to go to the post office the first week of October, so it's safe to say these will actually be mailed out.

Quilting is more fun than Housework 

These fun and flashy friends are free to a good home.  Leave me a comment letting me know you'd like to adopt them.  Comments accepted through the end of the day Tuesday September 22nd.  I'll pick randomly if more than one person is interested.  Penguins aren't native to the US so I'm willing to ship internationally (as long as US is currently shipping there and packages from the US are being accepted).

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

It's In The Bag blog hop (plus giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on the It's In The Bag blog hop!  This month, Island Batik Ambassadors each made a bag By Annie, with a kit put together by Annie herself!  Annie included everything needed for the bag: hardware, zippers, her amazing Soft and Stable, elastic, mesh, pattern, and fabric by Island Batik.  My fabrics are from the Lemon Grass collection by Kathy Engle for Chris Hoover of Whirligig Designs and I love the prints Annie chose for me!

Here's a closeup of one of the quilted panels so you can see the color variation in this fabric.  I quilted a 1" cross-hatch with Aurifil 2783 (dark blue) in the top thread and Aurifil 1231 (lime green) in the bobbin, to match the green speckled print that is the lining fabric.  I used my favorite Schmetz needles.  One tip if you are making this or other bags with lots of layers: switch to a new needle when you get to the steps with lots of layers. 


I chose my pattern back in February when I had just joined a local guild.  I picked Running With Scissors because it's a great gear bag for quilters--it can hold so many tools and accessories!  I had visions of workshops and sew-ins with the guild.  Well, not this year, but whenever those things happen again, I'll be all set. Look at everything I can fit in my Running With Scissors!

The inside has pockets with a quilted layer to protect tips of scissors, seam rippers, snips, and anything else with a sharp tip.  There are also some smaller zipper pockets inside, one with vinyl and two with mesh.  These pockets are great for any small items; I have wonder clips, spare bobbins, a pack of Schmetz needles, letter markers for pattern pieces, and diagonal seam tape in mine and there's still lots more room.  A row of elastic loops can hold spools of thread, chalk markers, or other tools.

empty case, so you can see how many pockets there are

There are two large zipper pockets on the outside.  They are a great size for patterns or for smaller rulers or templates. 

Now, I want to back up for a second and talk about my history with bags.  I'm terrible at them.  Terrible. Every few years I would convince myself that I'm not as bad as I remember, and I convince myself to try another.  The last time I made a bag was 2015. Since then, I've remembered and I've not attempted a bag since.  To say I was worried about this challenge is a huge understatement. 

My kit from Annie with everything I needed          

I had made one of Annie's patterns before, her project bags that I took as part of a class at my local quilt shop--and it was my first time with a zipper! But I assumed the only reason I was even halfway successful was that I did it as a class.  Turns out, it's Annie's patterns!  Annie is very thorough, which is probably why I like her patterns!  (We joke at work that Thorough is my middle name.)  I do want to be honest, this was not an easy project, nor a quick one.  I spent 3 sewing sessions just making/prepping the components of the bag, and probably 5 or more sessions on assembly.  But while it was not easy, it wasn't what I would call hard.  You just do each step as explained and make your way through it all.  I did have to concentrate, but the end result is well worth it.  

Annie's add-on video helped with some of the tricky parts.  Many of the patterns come with a code to unlock these videos on the By Annie website.  If you have an older pattern without a code (like mine of the project bags) then you can by the add-on video separately.   I also want to give a shout out to Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life who did an unofficial QAL with me--she knew I was worried about bag making in general and she gave me a ton of moral support.  Quilting friends are the best!

In process, with lines marked and pockets pinned

I'm amazed at my confidence now and I want to make all the bags!  I think the companion to this one, Take A Stand, may be my next make.  Though I'll tell you, I really want to make the Ultimate Travel bag.  And there are so many great other By Annie patterns to choose from!

Running with Scissors also includes instructions for a small ironing pad.  When storing, the pad goes over the tools on one side to protect all the tools in the case.  I think my case also needs some coordinating sewing supplies like a needle book and a pin cushion.  I still have space in my case--what do you think I'm missing?

 Annie's pattern does give instructions for zipper pulls for all the outside zippers, but I am not really fan of zipper pulls.  I decided I only needed one for the main zipper keeping the bag closed and that I wanted to make my own.  My friend Kate gave me a sewing necklace and earring set a few years ago.  I don't wear earrings, so I saved them for the charms.  I added a blue bead that matches the color of the dragonfly fabric to the sewing machine charm.  I'm not a beader but I had some very basic supplies and I made a pull I'm happy with that is unique to my bag!

Supplies for this project were provided to me by By Annie, Schmetz Needles, Aurifil, and Island Batik.

No blog hop is complete without a giveaway!  Visit Island Batik to enter their weekly giveaway for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the fabric from my bag, Lemon Grass, or a fat quarter bundle of Mandala Magic by Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quilt Works. And I'm giving away 3 Stash Builder rolls of these luscious green fabrics.  Each roll has 4 strips that are 5" by WOF, so that's 60" by width of fabric in total!  Cut them into charm packs, 2 1/2" strips, or use for applique. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for By Annie for the chance to make this great bag and have confidence that bag making is something I can do!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

September OMG

 It is so weird that it's September.  On the one hand, this year has flown by.  On the other hand, March was 5 years ago.  But regardless, since it is indeed September, it is time to set a monthly goal.

I took Fire Monkey's first day of (virtual) school off and I stayed nearby in case of technical problems or other reasons I might be needed.  My sewing room/guest room and his room are next to each other, so once he was in a class, I could sew and keep an ear out for any problems.  Except that the project I was working on at the time required deep concentration.  So instead, I worked on a quick top that will be donated to my guild's charity project.  This is also on my list of UFOs to earn my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail.  Linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts for her fabulous monthly motivation challenge. 

September OMG link-up is open!