Remember my post about making fabric baskets? Well, I couldn’t stop with just one, and so I made 4 similar baskets for a group of quilting friends.
I wanted to get a picture of the baskets all together in an outdoor setting. So, my family and I took a weekend drive to a beautiful little lake, with falls colors beginning to emerge.
I placed all 4 baskets into a plastic bag, and I took them with me on the very short hike. It was only 1 mile around the little lake, with a some heavy brush in a few sections.
How cute are these baskets all lined up on a log with the lake in the background?
We had a great time, having this little lake all to ourselves. It wasn’t chilly, but there was a beautiful cloud hovering over the lake surface and providing a misty backdrop to our time here. The foliage was quite wet, and so our pants became soaked as we walked around the lake, but we didn’t mind at all.
The maples were starting to turn color, with many trees displaying vibrant yellow leaves and a few turning towards orange and red.
I hope my friends like their fabric baskets! Getting out in nature is one of my favorite things to do, and it really helps me deal with times of stress. I can’t wait to go again!
Recently, I came across a fun sew along on Instagram where the participants were making fabric baskets, also called tubs. I was intrigued by them, by I knew that I didn’t have time to complete one within the sew along timeframe. I purchased the pattern called “Tub Family” from RosieTaylorCrafts on Etsy, and set it aside for a couple of days.
Then, several weekends ago, I had a few hours to try my hand at making one. The pattern comes with 3 sizes of fabric baskets, and I opted to make the largest one. I have some of the beautiful Homemade fabric by Tula Pink, which I think is absolutely perfect to make all sorts of things for my sewing room.
The pattern walks you through the construction steps pretty well, but I have a few pointers if you decide to make one.
Once you have your main basket panel, liner, and foam all ready for quilting, I do recommend using the straight-line quilting as mentioned in the pattern. I tried doing an all over swirly type quilting on my test basket, but I had a much harder time attaching the bottom and getting the basket to sit properly. It’s just kinda floppy!
On my “real” basket, I did straight-line quilting using a beautiful Aurifil bright green thread with a seam guide on my Bernina. In the picture below, you can see my seam guide helped to give me perfect 1-inch quilting lines.
After quilting at 1-inch and .5-inch intervals, I had my finished main panel, ready for my quilt inspector. I used some fun Tula Pink ribbon along either side of the fussy cut sewing machine in the center of the panel. This pattern is so flexible that you could make baskets out of scraps, a single piece of fabric, or several large chunks like I did.
After trimming the main panel to the correct size, I started to attach the base to the body. This step is the hardest part of the whole pattern because the base really needs to be eased in using clips or pins.
I used Clover clips to secure my base rather than pins. No blood! If the base is still too large after easing it, you may need to trim it down slightly.
The pattern does have you hand stitch the base to the body before using your sewing machine to help with puckers. I highly recommend doing this step. You can remove the clips after hand basting, and then use your machine to slowly and carefully stitch the base to the body.
I did my binding a bit different from the pattern by pressing one side in 1/4-inch so that I’d have a nice finished edge to work with when sewing the second long edge to the inside of the basket.
I did completely machine stitch my binding rather than hand sewing the inside, just for lack of time. I used the same color thread as the quilting, and I think it looks fine.
Here’s a look at my completed fabric basket, filled with some EPP supplies:
These baskets are addictive to make, and I want to try making the medium and small sized ones soon. Maybe Christmas themed ones as well!
There are many examples of completed baskets using the #tubfamily hashtag on Instagram.
Recently, I decided to tackle my first pattern from ByAnnie, the Zip It Up large organizer. I almost only do quilting projects so anything with a zipper seemed to be a good challenge. So instead of making just one organizer, I decided to make two!!
I made one for me using the HomeMade fabric line by Tula Pink. I just love the sewing machines and notions in this line so I thought that it would be perfect for a sewing project bag.
The pattern calls for quilting together the bag outside, Soft and Stable (the material inside that gives the bag its shape), and the bag liner. At first, I thought about quilting it on my domestic sewing machine, but then I thought why not try and quilt it using my HQ Avante? I wasn’t sure how my longarm would like the Soft and Stable project, but it quilting like a dream.
I used Glide thread in Cool Mint, and did some pretty floral swirls.
Romeo inspects my quilting
Quilting the Zip It Up panels
For the second organizer, I decided to use llama/alpaca themed fabric for my sister. I did straight-line quilting on her bag.
I surprised her with this organizer several weeks ago when we had a mini sewing retreat together.
Here’s a look at her completed organizer, with some alpacas giving it an inspection:
Alpacas inspect a Zip It Up organizer
Inside the organizers, there are 2 separate zippered pouches. One is a clear vinyl pouch, and the other one is a mesh mesh. There is also a second zipped pouch on the outside back of the bag (the pattern has it on the front but I decided to add them to the back instead).
I added some fun goodies to the inside of the organizers including a little cutting mat, stickers, pencils, a notepad, and some Tula Pink ribbon. The zipper pull is a cute fluffy llama that I found at a local craft store.
Zip It Up organizers, a look at the inside
Finished Zip It Up Organizers
I really like how these Zip It Up organizers turned out. These are the large size finishing at about 11.5 inches by 14 inches, which is perfect for taking a little sewing project with me while traveling.
I’ve been using a small, store-bought purse for my day-to-day needs, but decided that I really need to make my own.
I fell in love with the new Elementary fabric collection by Sweetwater and recently picked up a charm pack and some coordinating half-yard pieces. I love how the colors look together in this collection and the back-to-school theme is perfect for fall.
For the base, I wanted a heavier material than cotton, but still something that would look nice with the Sweetwater fabric. I picked up a gorgeous piece of espresso-colored faux leather. I think the leather really adds some character and style to the finished bag!
I used Aurifil 50 wt in brown (#2372) for the piecing and straight-line quilting. The lining is fusible fleece, but I really want to try Annie’s Soft and Stable when I make this bag again. The fleece will work fine, especially once the bag has a few items inside it. But, I saw the Soft and Stable product at a quilt show recently and now really want to try it out!
I did use a leather foot and a leather needle. I stitched really slowly on my Bernina since the leather, especially on the handles, was so thick. I did break 2 needles in the process so I probably will not use the faux leather on the handles again. However, on the base, the faux leather worked fine since it was just 1 layer.
The finished bag measures approximately 13-inches wide by 19-inches high. The inside is lined with the Elementary fabric as well and has 1 pocket.
Here’s a look at the finished bag, hanging in the gorgeous 80 degree weather that we had this weeekend:
I have only made a few bags so this project really help me improve some skills. I hope to make it again since it came together pretty quickly.
For the piping, I used Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax for sturdiness. The lining and handles are made from a solid blue from my stash. I used Aurifil Light Sand #2000 for the stitching.
Once I finished the basket, I added a little bird charm keychain and some fat quarters. I plan to make a nesting set of 3 baskets for my sewing room as a pretty way to store my quilty projects in-process.
I’ve been perusing the local Craigslist ad for months, just waiting for a sewing cabinet to replace the tiny table that I have been using. This weekend, a nice cabinet appeared in the listing with a 1980s-era Singer sewing machine.
The cabinet does have a few scratches and dings, but my Bernina (mostly) fits into the cut-out space. On my old little table, it just sat on top and didn’t fit flush with the table surface. As a bonus, it has 7 drawers!! My husband helped me pick up the machine and haul it up our stairs. Then, I spent a good chunk of Sunday organizing the space. That it still a work in progress!
Here are some pictures of the new-to-me sewing cabinet in my spare bedroom (aka my sewing studio).
Used Sewing Cabinet
A few small scratches on the sewing cabinet surface
Sewing Room, Right Side
Sewing Room, Left Side
Oh my, looking at those photos, I see that still need to organize some of my fabric that is on the floor!
I also worked a bit more on my Celtic Solstice quilt top. This is a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from last fall, but I’m very behind many of the quilters who have already completed their tops! You can see my part one of this project here.
For part two, I needed to make 100 chevron units for the small-sized version of the quilt. Each chevron uses 6 pieces of fabric for a total of 600 pieces on this step! This was my first time making chevrons, and they went together pretty well by following Bonnie’s instructions.
Here they are after a press and trim:
Celtic Solstice Chevrons
I have added the chevrons to my units from part one, and they are living together in this little basket:
Celtic Solstice, Parts 1 and 2
I’ve started part three for this project, and I think it will go a bit faster than the chevron units. You can still get the instructions for free on Bonnie’s site until June!
This weekend, I found time to work on my project for the Star Light Star Bright QAL hosted and designed by Melissa. There is still time to join the fun so pop on over to her blog to check out all the details!
Our assignment this week was to create our half square triangles. I’m making the 9-block baby size quilt so I had quite a few HST’s to sew and trim!
The sewing part went pretty fast as I chain-stitched each grouping. The important part of this step was to keep our groupings separate so we don’t confuse the half square triangles between groups. I labeled each group with a sticky note and only sewed one group at a time.
Next, we trimmed our little HST’s! This part makes me happy to sew all those perfectly square little blocks, but I definitely get a sore left forearm. I cut with my right hand, but seem to hold onto my squaring ruler pretty tightly with my left hand so that the fabric doesn’t wiggle. This seems to lead to soreness the next day when I do lots of trimming.
Here’s a look at my little mountain of trimmed edges:
I’ll use these trimmings to make more cat nip presents for my quilt inspectors.
Here’s a look at all my half square triangles, neatly trimmed. I have group 1 spread out on my cutting table next to groups 2 through 9.
Half Square Triangles for Star Light Star Bright QAL
And here’s a look at all my HST’s and flying geese bundled up together in a little tray:
Organizing Tray for Star Light Star Bright QAL
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I will show you my block centers for this QAL.
I also had the opportunity to attend a Downton Abbey tea party hosted by Andover Fabrics on Saturday. I even won a prize – eek! I’ll upload my photos from this wonderful event to an upcoming post so stay tuned!
One of the great things that happens at quilt conferences, classes or events is learning about new techniques from other quilters. Several weekends ago when I attended Quiltmaker’s Block Party, I learned a new way to create custom quilt labels from Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts.
In the past, I’ve either made an embroidered quilt label, printed one at home using fabric paper, or hand written one using a fabric marker. I would then hand sew the label to the quilt after completing quilting and binding. That is, if I remembered the label at all!! The problem with this method is that hand sewn labels are not very secure. The stitching could eventually become weakened and the label may fall off (or the label could even be removed at some point). Another issue that I had with home printed labels is that I could never be sure that the printed images would be archival.
Spoonflower to the rescue! What is Spoonflower? It’s an online store where you can create your own custom fabric or purchase custom fabric designs from other people. The beauty of this service is that you can create a simple quilt label as your custom fabric design and upload it to Spoonflower. Your design is then printed on the fabric of your choice and shipped to you.
I created a simple quilt label that is approximately 4 inches by 6 inches using a graphic program on my computer. I used PaintShop Pro, but you can use any graphic program. At the top, I used my initials as well as my name and location. I left the middle of the label blank so I could use a fabric marker to write in the quilt name, date, or any other important details about individual projects. At the bottom, I listed my blog address as well as my blog’s avatar for easy identification. I then drew a grey line for seam allowance around the label.
I got 60 labels printed onto 1 yard of basic white combed cotton for $15.75 plus $3.00 shipping. I got a 10% discount for using my own design.
Here’s a look at the whole yard:
Spoonflower – 1 yd – quilt labels
And here’s a look at 1 label with quilt details added:
My goal with these labels is to piece them directly into quilt backs and quilt through them. The stitching will secure the label permanently to the quilt.
I hope this post inspires you to label your own quilts and maybe try your hand at creating custom labels.
I have this great wooden light table that my grandfather made for me when I was in high school. I use it for many quilting and craft projects, including paper piecing and applique.
I realized that the table was too cluttered. I had rulers, rotary cutters, and writing implements all over the top of it. I kept pushing things to the side to make room to work on quilt blocks (using my wonderful combo Omnigrid cutting mat/ironing surface).
So a recent trip to IKEA became a hunt for a small organizer to hang above my light table!