Saturday, August 28, 2021

Aqua, Confetti and more

Aah, aqua! This was fun. I have a surprising amount of scraps with this color, so the Rainbow Scrap Challenge/52 Weeks of ScrappyTriangles blocks were a cinch to sew up this month. In fact, I had more different fabrics than I needed. Not a problem, as I'm sure I'll need to add more blocks later. So many memories in these scraps.

Another view of the whole bunch:

This seems a bit dark. That background is navy, not black.

It needs some orange, no? Pretty sure this will be a longer term project than 52 weeks, unless I decide I'm done with the slow pace and make a whole bunch.

Meanwhile, I've got a good start on Rachel Hauser's Confetti Quilt. 12 blocks done.

And the next twelve are ready to sew. These are the chain piecing parts.

I'm making this quilt by prepping 12 blocks at a time. It keeps it from taking over the whole house. Not sure yet how many blocks I'll make. It might depend on how long the background fabric lasts.

We spent several days with a couple of our grands this month between their day camp and the start of school while their parents were at their offices. One of our little treats is to shop the used book store near their house. They each found books in their interests: baseball for him and clay bead making/rock painting for her. But I couldn't resist a small purchase, too.

I didn't need this book for the lessons, but it has lots of small (4-inch) block patterns that use the smallest scraps. I won't have to draft the patterns myself, and I'll have more ideas to keep winnowing those bins full of scraps. Win-win.

There was some sewing. I didn't take my machine along, but I did bring scraps for hand piecing. My granddaughter sewed up a little tissue holder to match her new purse, and my grandson asked me to make a quilt for his tiniest Beanie Baby. I happened to have 2-1/2-inch squares with me, so I made a 6 by 6 inch 9-patch quilt (no batting) that was just the right size. No photos. Sorry. We were too busy making to stop for photos, but believe me, they were cute!! 

Before our little trip, I finally settled on a hand sewing project. I've been without one for some time. I was considering hexies, and had a good idea for a project, but I didn't look forward to the more finicky prep work. I found some squares I had cut a long time ago when I was thinking about trying a scrap system, so I added to them for a quick four-patch take-along project. I'm really enjoying them. Those scraps came in handy for my grandson's project, and now that I'm home, they are next to my chair for sewing while watching TV. I don't have a plan beyond the four-patches right now, but I'm thinking they might eventually become a car quilt. Here's what I have so far. I love how the seams spin in that little patch in the bottom right corner. 

So that's it for the scraps this week. There is something missing from this post. Where is my monthly acquisition of new fabric in the color of the month?? I didn't have time for it, so I'm hoping to combine it with the next color. (Orange, please?) 

I'll leave you with a little summer pleasure. It might look cool in the forest preserve, but in fact, we felt like we were walking in the tropics. So much hot, humid weather this month. 

All of our grands are starting school this week: pre-school, K, 1st and 4th grades. I must admit, I'm more than a bit anxious but am thankful that there are at least some protections in place for them thanks to the governor's mandate in Illinois and a county mandate in Michigan.

I'm linking up this weekend with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap. (Keep Angela, her family, her school district, her state and the whole world in mind. I just read her post. It doesn't seem quite right to post about happy quilty things when there is so much trouble in the world. Hopefully, it will raise our spirits a bit?)

Now back to the confetti quilt...I have a mile of chain piecing and lots of foundation piecing to keep me occupied. The heat index is supposed to be over 100 today, so it's a perfect day for sewing. (Oh, by the way, I have two posts up this weekend. Yes, two! If you want to read about my squirrel project this month, check it out here or at the DrEAMi linky party at mmmquilts.)

Please take care of yourself, others and the environment in whatever way you can. Our lives depend on it.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 


Featherweight Cover

Look at this pretty little squirrel!

A few years ago I made a sewing machine dust cover for my treadle machine. Since then, I've switched it back and forth between my treadle and my Singer Featherweight which worked fine until this year when many of my projects are long-term ones, and both machines are sitting out. One is always collecting dust. A few weeks ago I came across a piece of vintage fabric at an antique mall. Well, I thought it was fabric, but it was a squirrel.

I suddenly needed a new sewing machine cover. Right away. And that is how my August started. Never mind that another quilt in progress was lying in pieces all over the house. 

I had just made a bag for my granddaughter, and it occurred to me that I could make the cover in the same paper bag style as the main part of that bag. (In fact, my other cover is also paper bag style, but made a little differently. I had forgotten until I just read the old blog post about that one.) If you want to check out that bag pattern by aleah at no time to sew, click here. My cover has fusible fleece on the back of every fabric piece, so it is very stiff. Also, I made the cover and lining each from a single piece of fabric instead of two pieces with a seam in the middle.

What do you suppose this print is supposed to be?? (Yes, that vase was an impulse buy, too.)

My fabric was 36 inches wide (old fabric was like that) and 44 inches long. I had to wash it because it reeked of old house (acrid, but thankfully, not smoky). It shrank a bit, but came out smelling fine.

I was so involved chasing that squirrel that I forgot to photograph the steps, but I made some drawings and took photos of my paper mock-up that might help you if you'd like to make a similar cover.

Yes, you may be distracted by that sunset art piece my granddaughter made.out of polymer clay.

First, I measured my Featherweight with the bed extension folded up so it would be compact.

Here are my measurements:

Here are the dimensions of the fabric pieces:

Main piece of outer fabric and lining (cut one of each):

L + W + 1 inch (for clearance) + 1 inch (for 1/2 inch seam allowances)

12 + 7 + 1 + 1 = 21 inches


2 (H) + W + 1 inch (seam allowances)

2 (9) + 7 +1 = 26 inches              

Pockets (cut 2)

L + W + 1 inch (for clearance) + 1 inch (seam allowances

12 + 7 + 1 + 1 = 21 inches


desired height of pockets + 1 inch (seam allowances)

5 + 1 = 6 inches

Fusible Fleece  Cut 1 piece for each of the fabrics above, 1 inch smaller in each direction, 

so 2 pieces 20 by 25 inches, for outer fabric and lining

2 pieces 20 by 5 inches for pockets.

If your sewing machine is a different size from mine, the formula should still work if you plug in the numbers for the measurements of your machine.

Before I sewed, I made a paper mock-up to check my dimensions.

Perfectly snug.

I ended up having to piece the lining a bit because of the shrinkage of my fabric, and this is all I had left. I'll have to think of something nifty to make with it. 

I think if you bought about 1 1/4 yards of modern fabric, you'd be okay, but if in doubt, you could make a paper pattern to help you figure it out. This cover works best with a fabric with no directional print. Otherwise one side of your cover will look upside down. 

So here we go. I cut out the fabric pieces and pressed the fusible fleece on the backs according to product directions, centering it so there was 1/2 inch of fabric showing on all sides.

I sewed the pocket pieces right sides together along a long side. I understitched along the seam for stability. Not sure it's necessary, but it's neat. If you need to learn how to understitch, you can see here. I did my understitching about 1/8 inch from the seam. Then I folded the pocket section wrong sides together along the seam and topstitched about 1/4 inch from the edge. 

I laid the pocket section along the bottom edge (one of the narrow edges) of the right side of the outer fabric piece, aligning the raw edges. I sewed lines of stitching from the top of the pocket to the bottom edge 4 inches in from each side, and then stitched two more lines  between those for additional pockets. As an afterthought, I extended those stitch lines to the other narrow end of the fabric as sort of quilting lines. 

I folded the whole thing narrow edge to narrow edge right sides together, and stitched down each side from fold to lower edge. I trimmed the top edge of the seam allowance at an angle to reduce bulk. I repeated this step with the lining fabric. 

The next part is a bit tricky to explain. I turned the outer fabric right side out and poked my finger into the fold right where the seam comes together, then shaped it into a triangle like the ones you see on paper grocery bags. 

This is how that looks on my paper mock-up.

I like to fold these right sides showing. Then I stitched along the quilt line that I made when I sewed the pockets. That line at the base of the triangle is about 7 inches long. I did the same thing with the lining.

Almost done. This all takes much longer to write than to do. I put the two bag parts inside each other right sides together and stitched around the raw edge, leaving about 4 to 5 inches unsewn. Then I turned the bag right side out (think giving birth) and topstitched around the edge about 1/4 inch, which also closes up that open part. 

The last thing I did was fold the triangles down on both the lining and the outer fabric and sewed some big buttons through all thicknesses to keep the triangle flaps in place. (My buttons are handmade by an ceramics artist named Sandra Lance that I met on a trip to Vermont a few years ago.)

Now I have two dust covers so I can leave both of my machines out as much as I want. The older cover is a bit floppy because I used quilt batting. Maybe I'll make an extra thicker liner for it. If you want to see that old cover, click here

It sounds like a lot of work, but the prep (mostly figuring out the size and pressing the fleece) took the longest. Sewing took maybe 20 minutes. If I had read my old post before starting this project, I would have had two of my measurements instead of having to figure them out. Doh. 

I love how the cover is stiff enough to hold my sewing tools. To keep my little sewing scissors from poking holes, I slipped an empty thread cone into the pocket, and they sit just fine. 

If you have lots of sewing notions, you could add pockets to the other side. But there seem to be enough pockets for me. I put smaller items (seam ripper, ruler and hera marker) in a little scavenged plastic sleeve so they wouldn't get lost in the pocket. 

One more photo.

I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial. I am not a designer or pattern writer. Obviously! So I have to say this is what worked for me. (That's why I wrote in first person instead of imperative). So take it with a grain of salt if you want. (That's imperative.) If you do want to try it, though, I strongly suggest making a paper mock up (without seam allowance) to make sure you're on the right track, I'm sure there are other bag patterns out there that are similar or more succinctly described, but at least this post will help me remember what I did if I ever need another cover (and remember to read this post before I start working).

I'm linking up on the last Saturday of the month with Sandra at mmm quilts for DrEAMi (Drop Everything and Make it), 'cause that's just what I did.

Now, back to regular sewing...

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)  


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Positivity QAL Link-up 3: Finish on Location

Lots of photos today. After a year and a half of photos only on the garage or in the yard, I went crazy getting some while out and about. What fun (but also always a bit self-conscious)! My Positivity Quilt for Preeti's challenge to benefit Bernie's collection of Mercyful Quilts has been finished for awhile, but this is the final link-up party to celebrate.  

First, let's get the obligatory garage photos out of the way for documentation.


The back used up a lot of the leftover fabric.


Initials and date. (Marker disappears when washed.)

Okay, let's take her on the road. We decided to visit some of our favorite spots on campus after a carillon concert at our local university. 

A bench near the music building:

A lovely old tree branch:

This spot was striking in the evening sun. I took a closeup, but I prefer this one with the arch of the entryway.
My husband had classes in this building in grad school.

On to the garden by the fountain.

Let's look at the back again.

Don't forget we came here to see the fountain.

We weren't done yet. To get back to our car we needed to walk past the art museum. I have to admit I don't care for this building in this old area of the campus. It's a modern piece of folded metal. I like old brick. But it is an art museum. If you'd like to see the whole museum, click on this link. It is a neat place for a quilt shoot.

How about that Dr. Seussian grass? It matches the green in the quilt.

We stopped at Andromeda, dancing in the median. This is not her best side, but I would have had to stand in traffic. (I know there's none there, but the traffic light was about to change.) If you'd like to see a better angle, here's a link to a photo
So we went to her friend Cassiopeia, my favorite quilt model.
The tee-shirt store behind her was likely a casualty of the pandemic. I feel sorry for the owners and workers, but I think Cassiopeia's surroundings are much improved without the advertisements plastered on the windows behind her. And now you can see the reflection of the campus building across the street. I wonder what she's contemplating this evening.

Here are the stats:
Pattern: A variation of a Plus quilt suggested by Preeti (Sew Preeti Quilts) for the Positivity Quilt Along.
Fabrics: Blues and yellows are mostly scraps from many years of quilt-making; Also some new yardage, especially for the background and backing. (Sorry, I didn't keep track of what they were, but those pluses in the background were serendipitous.)
Batting: Fairfield 80/20. (My machine loves this.)
Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Superior King Tut in Temple for quilting, and I think Superior Treasure in Little Prince (variegated blues) for hand stitching the binding.
Binding: Scrap pieced from leftover navy fabrics. 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back. 
Size: 80 1/2 by 60 1/2 inches before quilting; about 59 by 78 inches after quilting. I forgot to measure the quilt after washing. Oops. But I'm sure it's a few inches smaller each way. 
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot quilting and  machine work on the binding.
Previous posts about this quilt: Here and here.

Here's the quilt all washed and ready for her trip to California. She didn't want to travel alone, so she took a friend with her. 

I hope this quilt will bring comfort to a hospital patient and loved ones. Thanks to Preeti for inviting us to build this collection of quilts for Mercy Hospital and providing all the design ideas, and to Bernie for always keeping us updated on the needs of this special program. I'm looking forward to seeing all the positively wonderful quilts that everyone has made this summer. By the time you read this, the Quilt Along will be over, but the need for quilts goes on, so if you feel moved to do so, you could still make a quilt and send it along to Bernie. The quilt along was spread out for a long time to give quilters time to work throughout the summer, but the quilt sews up really fast, and there are lots of ideas for making/setting the blocks at Preeti's site Sew Preeti Quilts. Or you can make a quilt of your own design or choosing.

Oh, and I did use my bonus HSTs from the snowballed corners in the quilt to make some placemats. You can read more about them in the middle section of my last post here.

I hope your summer has been positively wonderful. Do continue to take care of yourself and others. You know what I mean.

I'm linking up with Bernie at Needle and Foot for our final party. Come join the celebration!

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)