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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Do I need to prewash linen for curtains? on: October 21, 2010 08:05:54 AM
I'm making fabric panel curtains -- linen on the top and home decor sateen on the bottom. I have JUST enough linen, because that's all they had at the fabric store, and so I'm not sure wether to prewash it or not. Is it going to shrink up too small? The fabric panel curtains will be behind our couch, which is a high use area (couch gets climbed on, moved to get toys out from behind them, used as a fort, etc) and I'm worried they're going to get dirty and then I"m not going to be able to wash them. But then I'm worried the fabric will shrink too small -- right now I have 5cm (2") of seam allowance to hem the edges, but I've heard linen frays a lot when you washed it.

Any ideas / experience with this kind of thing? Thanks in advance.
2  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Peas and Carrots star quilts! on: March 27, 2009 06:03:33 AM
Some of you may remember me asking about making massive amounts of half-square triangles on the quilting questions board. Well, about a year later, I am finally finished my two quilts! They are twin size -- 60" X70" and machine stitched and quilted on my machine with my walking foot. The fabric is almost all Peas and Carrots by American Jane, except the cream solid and polka dots.  They were more work than I expected, but I'm pretty happy with the results (just don't look at the corners of the stars too closely).

First, the orangeish one made for my god daughter:

And the greenish one made for her sister:

When I was making the half-square triangles, I decided to cut the squares a 1/4 of an inch bigger (4") so I could cut them all down to the right size after I stitched them together and cut them. I'm glad I did that for accuracy's sake, but it caused a lot of extra work because then I had to trim them all to size. I don't know if I would do that again -- I might just try to be more careful with my piecing instead.

Thanks for looking!
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / machine skipping tons of stiches -- is this the beginning of the end? on: May 31, 2008 08:48:29 AM
So, my Kenmore is 15 years old now, and its beginning to skip stitches. At first I didn't know why everything I made had started falling apart, but in the last week or so I've noticed that every fourth or so stitch is not stitching through the fabric. I've had this machine for a long time and I sew on it pretty regularly, so I know how to work it. I don't think its a tension or bobbin problem, and I keep the machine oiled and cleaned pretty well. I've noticed it mostly in the last couple of weeks, although considering the amount of hand re-stitching I've been doing on projects lately, I think its been going on for a while and I just wasn't catching it. Could it be the needle, or is my machine on its last legs? Any other suggestions?
4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Recycled sweater bookworm keeps eating our pop up books on: April 29, 2008 09:00:05 PM
Made this guy with the "help"of my three year old. This is the last week of story time at the library for the year, and I wanted to make the librarian something to say thank you. My son suggested a quilt, but he thinks those babies appear like magic.
The full view

His face

oh no, he's getting away . . he's flexible, and comes out of the book

Basically, he was super easy to make. The wool is a thrifted sweater that I shrunk in the washer. I stitched the head and body together, then  my son stuffed a ball of polyfil in to make the head. Then I took a piece of craft wire, wrapped a scrap of fabric around it so it doesn't poke out, and my son put the "skelleton"in -- we stuffed it into the polyfil head, which makes him bendable. I put a small ball of polyfil in the end, cut him off and hand stitched him closed, and embroidered the face. The book was a pop up book my 15 month old destroyed (thrifted, fortunately, so only worth $1), which I hacked up so it looks like ts been chewed.

Now I'm wondering who else I can make one of these for . . .
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / What's REALLY the best way to make 300 half-square triangles? on: March 05, 2008 04:04:06 AM
So, I'm making two matching twin bed quilts for my god daughter and her sister, and they basically have 25 star blocks each. Each star block is made up of 12 half square triangles. So I'm wondering what is really the fastest and least complicated way to make those suckers.

The sew-the-two-squares together method has the advantage of being quick in the actual stitching stage, and it doesn't mean sewing on stretchy triangles, but it has the downside of having to draw 450 lines on little squares. If I cut out all the triangles then I have to sew more carefully, which is difficult becuase I'm usually sewing with my 3 yr old and my climbing 1 yr old grabbing on my arms and climbing in and out of my lap and turning the machine on and off. BUt somehow it seems less complicated. Or the pattern suggests cutting squares and sewing corner to corner and just cutting off the one side of the square. But that takes a LOT of fabric, and you end up with a bazillion little triangle scraps. I'm familliar with all those methods, but I've never done a quilt with so many of them . . .

I am not a very accurate stitcher, and tend to fudge a lot, so that's a factor too . . .
Does anyone have any experience with this?
6  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / quick strippy quilt for my dad's 70th birthday on: February 07, 2008 06:46:52 PM
So, my dad is old, and I thought maybe it was time to make him an old guy present, so I made him this lap quilt.

I got the idea from several of the projects in "Last  Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" and it was also sort of inspired by the iconic Denise Schmidt strippy quilt. I had been collecting fabrics in colours that reminded me of his ties and puffs (he loves silk puffs - I got my love of colour and fabric from him) and then I just went out and bought 2 m of the homespun that is in between the strips. It is more or less two 10" wide pieces of strip sets and 3 10" pieces of the homespun.

It was really quick and fun to make -- I made the top in about a week (I have a 1 yr old and a 3 yr old so thats about as fast as it gets around here) and the tied it while I was away on vacation and just finished binding it yesterday. I was in a hurry, and not following a pattern, so its not quite square, but I don't think my dad will mind. Okay, here's the pictures. Hope you like it. All comments / criticisms appreciated.

The top:

The back (yeah, I undestimated the amount of backing I needed, otherwise the colourful stuff would have gone in the middle)

My baby testing it out (can you tell he's a quilter's baby?)
7  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / 1930's art deccoish baby quilt on: December 15, 2007 03:06:03 PM
This is my latest quilt. It is for my dear friend's baby. When we lived close together and before either of us had children we watched all the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies together. In commemoration of that funny phase in our lives I've made her baby a fantastic quilt in all 1930's repro fabric, with a big diamond a la art deco decor (she loves art deco). The main red print, and the navy blue print are both little sailors. This is a reference to my favorite Fred and Ginger movie, where Fred is in the navy. One of the main light fabrics is building blocks, in reference to her career as a kindergarten teacher. I love, love the finished quilt and I'm tempted to keep it, but I will be good and give it away.

Anyway, here's the pics:

The front:

The back (really soft, lovely flannel):

Close up of some of the fabrics:

And here it is all folded up and ready to go:

Hope you like it. All comments / criticisms welcome. Thanks for looking
8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / filling bean bags and frogs -- is rice or barley better than beans? on: December 11, 2007 06:57:45 AM
I'm making a bunch of bean bags and froggies for Christmas presents, and I was wondering if anyone had any idea how to stuff them safely for 2 - 3 year olds. Which is better, rice or beans? I was thinking of using rice because its cold around here, and then they could also be popped in the microwave as hand warmers for car rides, but then I was wondering which keeps better in the long run. I could also get flax around here, too. I'd rather use something natural, so I'm not thinking synthetic pellets.

Any thoughts or experiences with this?
9  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Robot 1-E, ready to launch on: October 25, 2007 02:30:59 PM
This is my first robot using this great pattern I just got from wee wonderfuls. It is a birthday present for my friend's son, but I already know I have to make one for each of my sons and I will probably make a few more, as well. It was super fun and easy, but a real stuffing - eater.

Hope he brings a smile to your face.
10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / What's the difference between regular felt and wool felt? on: October 23, 2007 01:47:05 PM
I'm making a wee wonderfuls robot and spaceboy (check them out, they're totally cute -- weewonderfuls.com) and I'm supposed to use wool felt for the panel on the robot and the face and trimmings on the spaceboy. Will regular old cheap felt do just as well, or is there something special about wool felt?
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