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21  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Re: Sparkly plaid embroidery and applique madness! on: February 26, 2008 06:05:39 PM
These totally rock.  You'll have to also post the completed bags.  Awesome idea!
22  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Re: Twin Sisters & Safari Baby Quilts on: February 26, 2008 10:40:01 AM
No problem Pinx.  When I started quilting I kept hearing weird quilting lingo like fat quarters (yard of fabric cut in square quarters vs. strip quarters), fat eighths (same as fat quarters but with 1/8 of a yard), and fussy cutting, etc.  I had no idea what people were talking about.  Generally, fussy cutting in quilting refers to cutting (usually the least efficient use of the fabric) around a desired design/motif on the fabric so it appears centered in a block or uses only part of the printed design on the fabric.  So I have pieces of fabric with holes cut in them like swiss cheese from making "I-Spy" quilts were I want that one specific animal or space alien centered in the piece I cut for a block.

In this case, the lions that look like they are sitting on the border of the front and the animal silhouettes that look like they are sitting on the border on the back are the same fabric.  The strip design ran the length of the fabric so I had to hand cut along the lines to get the borders to be straight (usually the print on the fabric isn't exactly on grain) and or stretches so it's "fussy".  It's not as labor intensive as it sounds but is certainly more picky than just lining up your ruler on the fabric and cutting.  Hope this helps!
23  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Re: Twin Sisters & Safari Baby Quilts on: February 26, 2008 07:59:45 AM
These pics might help to explain the pinwheel layout. 

Here are the positive / negative "twin" blocks for these two fabrics.  Each block (except for the center one on the quilt) have a "twin" in reverse positive / negative fabrics.

To make the pinwheel - these were so fast and easy (they just look tricky) - you cut two fabric strips to sew together (each strip should be 2.5" wide x 26" long to make a 6" block).  Sew the two strips together on the long side to create a 4" x 26" long piece.  Then cut the longest side into four pieces that are 4" wide x 6.5" long that should resemble this (pretend it's not cut yet):

Using a straight ruler, cut the piece once from corner to corner diagonally. Be sure that the same fabric strip appears on the same side when cutting and that the diagonals are cut going the same direction on all four pieces (otherwise you won't be able to make pinwheels with the triangles).  See photo below:

The 8 triangles you just cut should produce the pieces to make both the positive and negative 6" blocks - you'll have two blocks as shown in the first picture when finished sewing.  All the left sided pieces (from the left side of cutting line) should form one block and all the right sided pieces (from right side of the cutting line) should form one block. Two completed blocks.

Assemble as shown:

Hope this was useful!
24  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Twin Sisters & Safari Baby Quilts on: February 25, 2008 10:05:59 PM
Two quilts I finished awhile ago and have been meaning to post.  The first is based on the Twin Sisters Pattern shown by Eleanor Burns on Quilt in a Day.  It was machine pieced and quilted.  The first one I quilted on my machine.  I used micro-tachs to baste the quilt, and quilted the border using borders on a roll.  SO EASY.  The pattern was a sinch.  I finished the top in a day.  Machine quilting took some practice.  Each pinwheel is a positive  / negative "twin" to the reverse positive / negative pinwheel patch of same fabrics.  I love the idea. 

Front Twin Sisters Quilt

Back of Twin Sisters Quilt

The Safari quilt is one I made for my god daughter.  I saw the pattern in the Quilter's World magazine, I think it was called Zoology.  I'm not sure anymore - it was awhile ago.  I loved it and tried to recreate it, but I have a few corners that got cut off when I rewrote the pattern.  I like it anyway.  I machine pieced and hand quilted it.  I was so thrilled that the "fussy cut" borders worked out so well and didn't look warped or crooked.

Front of Safari Quilt

Close up of Front

Back of Safari Quilt

Close up of Back
25  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Polar Fleece Dog Jackets on: February 25, 2008 09:38:43 PM
So our 17 year old "puppy" gets extremely chilly in the winter and will sit in his kennel shivering and shaking all day without something besides his fur to keep him warm in our cold Wisconsin winters.  Not to mention that the snow around here is about twice as tall as he is.  So, this winter I decided to make him two polar fleece jackets (so there's a clean one when he's getting a bath because he gets stinky faster with clothes on).  Not only does he like them, he will happily sit in his kennel on top of his heating pad wearing them and hibernate all winter. 

As an added benefit, he also has started to let us know again when he needs to go outside (before when he was nekkid and chilly he would just go in the house instead).  Can't say I totally blame him.  If I were 97 years old, nekkid, and crotchety I'd pee in the house too.  Smiley

I traced a pattern off an existing "dog shirt" and made this one out of double layered polar fleece. Since it didn't "give" like the shirt did, I added the zipper.  The zipper closes away from his head so I can zip it closed as he walks away.

White Polar Fleece Puppy Jacket

Side View

Blue Polar Fleece Puppy Jacket

Side View
26  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Double Sided Baby Quilt on: February 25, 2008 08:48:24 PM
I've got four babies (thankfully not mine) all due on St. Paddy's day that I've been sewing for.  Here is the latest project I completed. It's a double sided (I'll never do that again with the same block pattern on both sides) baby quilt.  Whipped it together in about two weeks.  I love the fabrics, but the place where all the points meet (on both sides) made it a *&$#% to machine quilt.  I also tried bias tape binding which was challenging to say the least and after stitching down two sides of the quilt binding I ran out of the variegated thread I was using.  All at about 12am at night - fun, fun, fun. I literally KILLED my machine. It's dead. Oh, and not one but two basting tag guns.  So, I'm looking for an old Kenmore to rip parts out of now so I can get it up and running again.  Amazing it got done in time for the shower.  YEAH! 

Front Side

Back Side

27  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Pattern Ideas for Indian Fabric on: December 30, 2007 08:31:57 AM
I would recommend looking for a book by Jinny Beyer at the library or local sewing shop.  She is known for using fabrics with a strong pattern in rows and incorporating them beautifully into the design of the quilt.  Might be a great starting place for ideas.  See her websites for examples:

Good luck!  It's beautiful fabric and great memento of your trip.

28  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Horrible souvenir - to turn into something cute on: December 28, 2007 06:46:29 AM
Is there a silk screened medallion on the back as well?  If not, I could see it reconned into a funking light weight cardigan yoga jacket w/ the medallion on the back and a zipper on the front. 

Or you could make it into a sleeveless hoodie by cutting off the arms and the excess on the bottom and fashioning it into a hood - then taking in the sides to make it a more tailored fit (just make sure you can get it over your head and on before you taper it too much).

Or a funky tote bag?
29  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: First Sewing Machine - Opinions Needed on: December 25, 2007 07:41:53 PM
Just my two cents Smiley  I have a very bare bones basic machine - a 13yo Kenmore which I use for everything - sewing, repairing, quilts, clothes, costumes, bags - you name it.  My personal recommendation is that any machine should (with the right attachments) do whatever you need unless you need fancy stitches, or embroidered designs.  If you are essentially planning to sew pieces of fabric together and occasionally need a decorative stitch any new basic level machine at Target or Walmart should work. You can literally spend thousands of dollars on souped up machines that will do all kinds of funky stuff but the question is do you need it? 

I would say to start out if you're not sure how much you'll use it and for what - your best bet is to go to St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill and buy a used machine for $15.  So long as the machine works - you should still be able to get parts / attachments (especially Kenmores).  Many a good machine has been donated when a parent stops sewing or dies because the children don't sew.  If it's older, the most you might need to do to get it in fine order is to have it tuned up (usually $25-$35) - they recommend you do this every so many years - I'm overdue I've never had my serviced.  Any local sewing / fabric store should be able to direct you to a service person.  My local Jo Ann stores in two states offered a service where they advertised a drop date and you could bring your machine in and the service guy would pick it up, and bring it back w/in a week serviced.  Made it easy.  With a used machine - you can also find out what you really need / want in a machine before you invest in an expensive one.

Attachments and feet can often be bought at the local sewing store from other manufacturers for different machines.  If you bring in a foot from the machine you buy - and show the store personnel how it attaches to the shank you should be able to find a different brand foot that works on your machine.  I've bought at least 3 different brand feet (non-Kenmore) for my Kenmore machine that work fine (often fancy feet for quilting and sewing that Kenmore just didn't make for my machine). 

The other cool thing about an older machine is that overall they're tougher.  I had an old black Singer (in the cabinet electric) that was tough as nails.  I'm so sorry I let my parents sell it after they bought my existing machine for me.  That Singer could punch holes in metal - it sewed through multiple layers of leather just like it was butter.  My newer machine isn't quite as tough.  It squawks when I ask it to sew through 10 layers of fabric.  It's great for every day but not so good for some of my more recent attempts at foam padded laptop cases and stabilizer reinforced bags. 
30  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Quilt Labels??? on: December 25, 2007 07:24:43 PM
I've read that if you iron freezer paper to the back of the fabric and cut it (accurately - what am I saying, I'm talking to a quilter - you know accurate) 8.5" x 11" you can print on it (just like the expensive printer fabric they sell for more $$$).  I haven't tried it myself only because I've had jamming issues with my printer when I use the $$$ printer fabric).  Also, there are ink setting / bleeding issues depending on the printer and the ink.  I would suggest lightly starching the fabric if you decide to make your own printer fabric as well as wetting it after printing and ironing to test color fastness before sewing it to your finished quilt.  Might be worth futzing with if you prefer typed fonts vs. handwriting.  You can also design labels w/photos and clip art if you can print it.  I was able to avoid the printer issue by (don't tell on me) going to Kinkos with my printer fabric and using their color copiers and placing my fabric in the paper tray - don't tell them you're doing this.   I just pre-printed my color label on paper, then took it to Kinkos w/my printer fabric and copied it on the color printer to my fabric.  I would still recommend wetting / ironing it to test before adding to your quilt.  Otherwise - it worked like magic. 
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