Category Archives: Gifts

Sew South – Swaps!

One of the many things that made the Sew South Retreat so much fun were the swaps. Anyone who wanted to participate in the “Sample” Swap, made up 4 of one thing they wanted to swap. At the retreat, we were divided into random groups of 5 and we each gave one of our 4 samples to the other 4 people in our group. Here is a sampling of what participants gave and received:

I made up these chicken pincushions and was able to swap for a few more than 4 things because I had 6 of them!

My pincushions

My chicken pincushions

Handmade fun!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Mug Rug for daughter M who loves elephants.

Mug Rug for daughter M who loves elephants.

A few weeks ago, I had big plans to make my 3 daughters and my special girl friends a mug rug for Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, this is the only one I actually made. I came down with the flu and couldn’t get myself motivated to work on them while not feeling well. I purchased this pattern from Craftsy. The designer is Amanda from The Patchsmith. She has many adorable mug rug patterns for sale for a small price.

Back of mug rug.

Back of mug rug.

A mug rug is a cross between a coaster and a placemat. It’s just big enough for a mug and a muffin.

While I was sick, I did do a bit of heart embroidery. I’ve always had a fondness for hearts because my husband is a pediatric cardiologist and this is also the field I’ve worked in as a registered nurse.

Embroidered hearts.

Embroidered hearts.

1. Chain Stitch  2.Blanket Stitch  3. Lazy Daisy Stitch  4. French Knots  5. Cross Stitch  6. Whipped Running Stitch

I was inspired by this book.

I was inspired by this book.

I have so many special woman in my life (and men but I don’t think they would use a mug rug). Sorry I didn’t get to send you a pretty little goodie this year! Love you and happy Valentine’s Day.

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Table runner made from Moda Comma

IMG_1650During the December DC Modern Quilt guild meeting, there was a drawing for some Moda fabric charms and I won a  pack of “Comma”.

Moda Comma charm pack - all 42 fabrics.

Moda Comma charm pack – all 42 fabrics!

I immediately thought of my middle daughter who’s birthday is in February and who loves punctuation. She normally likes a more vintage color palette, but this will certainly look cheerful in her condo. I went to the Moda Bakeshop website and looked for a pattern using a charm pack and found this pattern by Erin Davis of Sew at Home Mummy.

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120 Minute Gift – Drunkards Path Table Runner

It looked like the perfect pattern to use as sort of an oversized placemat.

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The pattern included templates for cutting the curves. I haven’t done a lot of curved piecing but this was not hard to do. I had to mark the centers of the curves in order to make sure they were lined up during the stitching. Instead of using a marking pen/pencil, I used the presser that my woodworking friend made for me.

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Marking the middle of the curve with a “presser”.

See how well it works!

See how well it works!

The trick of sewing the pieces seemed to be to put the smaller piece on the bottom instead of on the top.

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Hexagon detail

After cutting the curved pieces, there was quite a bit of each fabric left over. This is why I decided to make the hexagons – which is also a favorite of my daughter. I made the hexagons in a typical English Paper Piecing way, starch and ironed them with the papers in, and then removed the paper and sewed them all by hand on to the top.

IMG_1615I quilted this by stitching in the ditch on the sewing machine around the squares. Then I used a running stitch in gray embroidery thread around the circles and in straight lines on each side of the hexagons. I had a few hexagons left over and put them on the back.

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Back of table runner

Here it is in her condo.

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Happy Birthday Sandy!

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Chess anyone?

Fabric Chess Board

Fabric Chess Board

My nephew (who is 10 years old today!) visited us for Christmas. Before he came, his dad asked me if we had a checkerboard because he was going to give his son a chess set for Christmas but the board was too big and heavy to travel with. We don’t have a chess or checker board so I told him I’d make one. How hard could it be?

I picked out 2 fabrics that I thought he’d like.  One was a dark brown wood grain fabric and the other was a national park map fabric. I cut it into 2 1/2″ strips and started sewing.

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2 and then 4 strips sewn together

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Cut in half lengthwise

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Sewn together and pressed towards the dark fabric

A chess board is 8 squares by 8 squares. So now I cut these into 2 1/2″ strips.

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Eight 2 1/2″ strips

Rearranged!

Rearranged!

These were sewn together, sandwiched with batting and batting, quilted in the ditch, and a 1/4′ binding put on.

Finished chess board

Finished chess board

His new chess pieces are really cool. They are stone African animals.

Chess anyone?

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Madrona Road Fabric Challenge

Flexi-frame coin purse

Flexi-frame coin purse

The Modern Quilt Guild announced a Winter 2012 Fabric Challenge running from Dec. 1 through Jan 31. Each “local” Modern Quilt Guild that wished to participate was given fat eighth fabric bundles of Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller. The DC Modern Quilt Guild received 12 bundles and handed them out at their Dec. meeting. The challenge was simply to make something from these fabrics and the rules stated that you could use other fabrics in this fabric line other than the 6 that were given or add solids. (Other prints were not to be used).

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Since I am currently trying to use the fabric I already have rather than buy more, I picked a project that I could make using only the fabric that was given. I picked this little flex frame pouch.  It is a free tutorial by Leila of Where the Orchids Grow.

1/2 inch hexagons - sigh!

1/2 inch hexagons – sigh!

The pattern calls for 1/2 inch hexagons which I printed out on card stock and cut them out. 1/2 inch hexagons are extremely small! However, to make this pouch, you only have to piece 55 hexagons into 5 rows of 11. This group of hexagons is trimmed and cut into a front and back for the pouch. I played with how to arrange them.

Random?

Random?

Flower?

Flower?

Rows?

Rows?

Obviously, I decided on the later. Here they are all sewn together.

Notice that each hexagon is about the size of a quarter.

Notice that each hexagon is about the size of a quarter.

The sewing of the pouch was very quick and easy. I probably spent the better part of 2 days fiddling with piecing the hexagons (by hand) and less than 40 minutes sewing the pouch together (by machine). The mechanism for opening the pouch is stiff enough that if you really did use it for coins, I’m sure they would not fall out!

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Finished pouch

I used a 3 1/2 inch hinged frame from Ghee’s. They come in a package of 2 frames for $6. The description on their website says “Frames can be used to make an eyeglass case, coin purse, or a tote for your scissors, curling iron, or cell phone.” Perhaps I will make one of these other things with the other frame!

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Circular Knitting Needle Holder

 

Holder for circular knitting needles

Holder for circular knitting needles

This knitting needle holder works by sliding each needle into a fabric “tunnel” marked with the size of the needle on it. This has made a huge difference in keeping track of my own knitting needles. Instead of searching through my knitting supplies for the right packet holding the needle size and length I need, I just go to my closet and find this holder and I can immediately see what I have available.  As you can see – I have quite a few circular needles!  I basically don’t use straight needles anymore.  The curve of the circular needle just feels better in my hands and I use them even if I am not knitting “in the round”.

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I made 2 of these for gifts – one for my oldest daughter and one for my sister-in-law. I hope that they have them filled with their needles by now!

I evidently didn’t take a picture of it (rats!), but I put a pocket in the back that holds a tool that sizes knitting needles. It has different size holes in it which you can poke your needle through to see what size the needle is if it isn’t marked. That way you can slide it into the correct slot of the holder. This was a fun project to make up and I hope to write up an actual tutorial soon.

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Shower Caddy

I made this shower caddy for my daughter, Lindsey, for Christmas.

Shower caddy

It is made with laminated cotton fabric. I ordered this fabric from lu summers on etsy. I love the fabric and at the time I ordered it months ago, I wasn’t in a rush, so I didn’t mind ordering it to be sent from England and paying the postage. Laminated fabric is fairly heavy and this added to the postage fees. I was going to make this pattern by Terry Atkinson which I blogged about here

However, there are so many pieces with fussing and cutting, zippers and binding that I decided this was not the pattern to use laminated fabric for. I did an online search for “shower organizer sewing tutorials” and came up with this:

This pattern is a free tutorial by Alida Rad who blogs about DYI projects at http://www.Radcrafter.com. She has many other fun tutorials for all sorts of things on her site. Her organizer finished is about 9″ long, 6 inches wide and 7 1/2″ inches tall. I used her pattern pieces but I cut 2″ off of the height. This pattern has only a few pattern pieces – 2 sides, bottom and handles. I added the pockets to the inside by simply cutting an 8″ wide strip which I folded in half lengthwise to create 4″ deep pockets (less seam allowance) on the inside.

These fabrics are all laminated

I had to do some research on sewing with laminated fabrics. If you use pins, they leave holes so you have to either use them in the seam allowance where the holes won’t show or use something else like binder clips or paperclips to hold pieces together. Another problem is that the laminated side of the fabric wants to stick to the presser foot and to the throat plate. I happen to have a teflon presser foot but I found that using my walking foot worked better. I used painters tape on the throat plate to keep the fabric from sticking there.

Walking foot and painters tape to keep the laminated fabric moving!

I added the pocket pieces to the sides with small pleats in the bottom to create room to insert things like makeup brushes or hair brushes.

Pockets sewn onto side piece

The next step is to sew the bottom to both sides.

Sides are sewn together.

Sew the bottom to the side next.

Held together with binder clips.

Lining finished.

The outside of the bag is sewn together in the same way except that there are no pockets involved.

Outside of bag.

Lining sitting inside of outer bag.

If I followed the traditional directions for this bag, I would sew the handles onto the sides and then place the lining and outer bag together right sides together and sew around the top. I would have to have an opening somewhere in order to turn it right side out. I did not want to do this.

The laminated fabric will not fray and at this point in my sewing shown above, with the lining looking taller than the outer bag, it seemed to be a brilliant idea to just fold the lining over the top and sew it in place. I had to decide what to do about the handles.  I thought I might just add them under the “binding” as I had in the original caddy.

Possible handle placement

However, this makes the handles somewhat awkward to use. I decided to simply make a “slit” at the top where each handle would fit.

Slits made for handles

Before I sewed the handles in and topstitched around the top edge, I decided to stiffen the sides and bottom with pel-tex. I cut pieces to size for the bottom and all 4 sides and inserted them in between the lining and the outer bag. The Pet-tex that I used was fusible so I did try to fuse the sides together by touching a hot iron to them with a press cloth in place. I’m not sure this fusing will hold indefinitely but I figured if it held it in place while I sewed the top edge, that would be enough to keep the inside pieces in place.

Inserting the Pel-tex to make the organizer more sturdy.

Finished shower caddy

The finished bag is a great size, about 9″ x 6″ x 5 1/2″.  It has inside pockets on all 4 sides and can be easily wiped off, inside and out if it get’s wet or dirty. How great is that? I can’t wait to try another project with laminated fabric.

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