Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fabric on my mind

Or to be more precise, the combination of patterned and solid fabrics and squishy batting into a quilted object. I've been reading The Modern Quilt Workshop over and over, and leafing through Denyse Schmidt Quilts at the bookstore. I would love to make a quilt, but find it rather intimidating. Not the sewing and quilting part, though I'm sure I'll complain if I ever get that far. I'm just having a really hard time in choosing colors and patterns that look good together. I've been collecting pictures of fantastic quilts I found on the internet and just marvel at how beautifully they work. My favorite has to be the verb quilt by Jane. This surprised me as I always think of myself prefering subtle colors, but the simple squares and the vibrant combination of the red and soft blues takes my breath away. It's beautiful. Very different, yet equally stunning to me are these wool& cotton quilts on Denyse Schmidt's website. They remind me of some of Mark Rothko's paintings.
Whenever I get into something new I often make it hard on myself by starting out with something difficult, which in the end gets tossed into a corner for lack of success. I'm getting tired of these sad ufo's taking up space and decided on starting with a small object. Man, I think I'm growing up! My hot-water bottle needed a cover, I'm sure some of the funny dreams I have come from my toes touching the cold wobbly rubber in the middle of the night. I got some cheapy cotton fabrics at Joann's, all in pink and aqua (my current obsession), made a pattern by tracing the outline of the bottle and added three or so inches on each side. It's a bit misshapen. But here you see my dilemma with the fabrics. It's too bland. I think it's the fault of the top print, because its background is the same pink as the solid on the bottom. What do you think?
Let's not even talk about the quilting. At that point, I just wanted to have a one-night project, hence the boring squares.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Weekender Bag

After a 10-hour sewing session on Saturday and a few more hours on Sunday, I finished my Weekender Bag. I can't find the words to express how thrilled I am to have finished this and to be completely happy with the outcome. Seriously, it took me ten minutes to write that last sentence and I'm not even sure it's grammatically correct. But enough stammering, here you go:




I started this bag 4 or so weeks ago, enamored with its cute vintage look and oblivious to how much time this would take to make. The outside fabric is from Amy Butler's Sunbloom line, for the lining and piping I got cocoa colored denim at my local Discount Fabrics. If you make this bag and want to center and match up your pattern, I suggest getting at least 2 yards of the main fabric. Instead of timtex I got peltex, which the sales lady claimed to be the same. I wonder though if it's not a bit thicker, as my bag is pretty sturdy and keeps its shape very well. Buy more than one big roll of thread and buy extra needles as well, I broke so many trying to go through a 3/8" layer of fabric. Because I couldn't find a 30" non-separating zipper in the color I wanted, I got a 36" separating zipper, sewed a zipper stop at 30" and chopped the rest off. It works perfectly. While the pattern instructions are easy to follow, they often didn't work for me and I used this book to help me especially with the zipper. After many failed attempts to have my pieces lining up correctly I stopped the pinning and sewing method. Instead I pushed the pins straight through
then handbasted the layers, then sewed. Basting everything all the time through such thick layers takes a lot of time, but it was worth it, I had to rip and redo a lot less than in the beginning.
I would have liked some more explicit instructions on the cording/piping as well, instead of just "don't crowd the cording". When I made the piping, I sewed app. 1/4" inch from the raw edges, with my needle positioned in the middle (my sewing machine has a dial to adjust the placement of the needle, 3 is the middle, 4-5 move the needle to the left, 2-1 move the needle to the right). After you make the piping you will have to sew twice more, always to the left of the previous stitching line. When it came to sewing the piping onto the panel, I moved my needle to position four, while my zipper foot still sewed 1/4" from the raw edge. When you sew the last layer on with a 1/2" seam (the piping is now sandwiched between two layers), I moved my needle to position 5, my zipper foot still aligned to the raw edge (but the distance from the needle changed from 1/4" to 1/2" from the raw edge). I hope this is helpful. I'd recommend this project if you have patience. Mine was just about to run out, but my happiness over it now is already clouding the bad memories.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


My Kim Hargreaves kit came yesterday.

And this is how I feel about it:

I don't like the color. I've seen it before in the store and remembered it as a rich dark pink. In reality (the photo didn't bring it out well) it looks like a strange faded bubblegum pink. Maybe it needs to grow on me.
The weekender bag is getting there. I made Saturday my deadline.