A New Quilted Bag

Happy Monday!

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.

I used a bag pattern called the Oak Park Bag by Loft Creations.

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:
Oak Park Bag Closeup

Oak Park Bag

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.

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

A Cute Little Basket

I picked up a cute pattern recently for a fabric basket called Banded Baskets by Indygo Junction. The pattern actually contains 3 sizes of nesting baskets.

I decided to make the small basket and fill it with little fabric treasures for a special someone! It’s the perfect size for carrying a small project or storing fat quarters.

Small Banded Basket

Small Banded Basket

For the outside, I used a pretty little fabric on the bottom portion called Chickadee (# A-7029-LC) by Andover Fabrics.

The dark brown leaf print on the top portion is from P&B Textiles line called Bear Essentials 2 (#ESS2 569S).

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.

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

Sewing Cabinet Find and Celtic Solstice, Part 2!

Happy Monday, quilters!

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

Used Sewing Cabinet

A few small scratches on the sewing cabinet surface

A few small scratches on the sewing cabinet surface

Sewing Room, Right Side

Sewing Room, Right Side

Sewing Room, Left 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

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

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!

Hope you enjoyed the look at my sewing space!

Happy quilting,
~Jennifer

Star Light Star Bright QAL, Half Square Triangles

Happy Monday!

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:

HST Trimmings

HST Trimmings

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

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

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!

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

Create Custom Quilt Labels with Spoonflower

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

Spoonflower – 1 yd – quilt labels

And here’s a look at 1 label with quilt details added:

Spoonflower Label

Spoonflower Label

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.

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

Organizing My Quilting Tools

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!

I found a great set in the kitchen section called Fintorp. I purchased 1  rail, 2 sets of hooks, and 3 galvanized caddies.

Next, I decided to use my Cricut to cut some vinyl labels for each caddy.

Here’s the finished product organizer above the table:

Craft Room Organizer Above Light Box

Here’s a close-up:

Craft Room Organizer Close Up

I think these little buckets will really help me keep my cutting surface organized!