Shadow Boxes

I just love the way this quilt style looks. I’m usually not much of a fan of modern quilting patterns, with my taste running more towards traditional pieced quilts, but this one… Oh my!

I love the 3-D look to this one. This particular one is done in batiks. I have some. I’m not sure how much and I’ll probably have to break down and buy more. Such a shame! Shopping.  

Kauffman has a nice pattern for a Shadow Box.  You can find a free tutorial here. Thank you Jean MaDan!

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Let me know if you make or have made one of your own!

Disappearing Four Patch

So I started this Disappearing Four Patch at the beginning of summer. And I promised two flag themed quilts to two of my favorite men. And…a purple one for a special lady. Then it got really nice outside and I got lazy. Real lazy. I haven’t been in the studio much at all this summer because I love to sit and read and listen to the birds instead of a sewing machine. While I was busy being lazy the world spun without me and with that spinning came change. My (household) world turned upside down and I’m adjusting to a new kind of world. One of more solitude. And before I knew it, here it is. The end of summer is upon us and I haven’t accomplished a flipping thing to speak of.

dissappearing-4-patch

What the recent change gives me is the opportunity to have more space for my studio. I’ll be taking over the entire second floor, about 1300 square feet (yeah me!!), as my studio. So everything is going to migrate upstairs before long. I have to pick out paint colors, clean carpets, pack up all the fabric, threads, machines, tables and then the Crown Jewel and frame go upstairs. I might need a wee bit of help carrying that monster up there but it’ll happen. Just as soon as I get the room ready.

For the moment, I’m sorting out paint chips and trying to pick colors I can look at for a long time because I really don’t like to paint very much. Especially ceilings. They’re not my favorite thing. And I really don’t want to have to move all this equipment once it’s set up to repaint so I’m taking my time at choosing colors. I also have to choose a new ceiling fan with a light fixture. The current one has the capability to add a light but it’s 16 years old so I and I’m not sure I can find one that’s compatible and it’ll be easier in the long run just to get a new fixture. Then I can really light up the room when I’m longarm quilting! Or I can turn off all the lights and use black lights. Hmmm…can’t wait to try that. It’ll be nice to have all my tools and equipment in the same room for a change. I can cut, sew, iron and knit (yes, the knitting machines are also going back into service) to my hearts content without fussing about choosing one project or the other to work on at a time. I can tornado the entire room and no one needs to know!

I might take before and after shots of the new space. The before pics might be too scary for public viewing though. So I’ll think on that for a while! Wish me luck!

PS: Room color option ideas are more than welcomed!

Upcycled Bags!

20140703_1714111-e1404665282233-150x150If you’re like me and have big dogs who eat dry dog food, you’re going to end up with a collection of very large, very sturdy bags. What do you do with yours when the food is gone? Toss them? Recycle them? Our area doesn’t have a recycling program that accepts the food bags. So there you are. Stuck with a pile of bags that are too nice to toss out.

I started thinking about the bags from Costco they sell for your grocery items. They’re not made to last. At least it seems like that to me.  The handles dig into my hands if there’s much weight in the bags at all and…I just can’t bring myself to pay for them.

Now here I have several dog food bags I’ve saved and I turned them into some darn fine grocery tote bags. I made a dozen out of bird seed bags, too, but those are just the right size for a gazillion uses so the kids and grandkids have pilfered them all! I’ll have to make more bird seed bag totes before long. But for today, I want to make the larger bags.

The first second thing you should do is cut off the bottom end. The very FIRST thing you should do is make sure all the food or seeds are out of the bag. Hitting a sunflower seed or piece of dog food with your scissors while you’re trying to cut a straight line doesn’t work well. Once you have both ends open, take the bag to the bathtub and wash all the sticky residue and crumbs from the inside of the bag. You’ll find out later why this step is important. Dry the inside and outside of the bag well with and old towel or rag or hang it outside to drip dry if it’s warm out. This makes the bag more of a tube. You’ll want to either wipe the inside down with a rag with soap and water or take them to the bathtub and give them a nice soak to remove the slippery, sticky film the dog food creates. It also removes the crumbs. I’ll tell you why later that it’s an important step in case you haven’t figured that out yet.20140703_1552491-150x150

Once your bag is nice and clean inside and out and dried well, you can cut a nice straight line across the bottom of the bag. Just smash it flat and use a straightedge to mark a line. You can use scissors to cut along this line or you can do what I did. I use a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler to make a nice straight edge like I would do with fabric.

Measure up from that bottom edge and place a mark at about 30 inches. This will give you enough to make a nice size bag bottom and turn the top edge over where your handles will go. Cut along your new line. The large section is going to be your bag. Out of the smaller section, cut a strip that’s 5 inches wide. Cut straight across the bag. You’ll have a very short tube now. Cut the section from the top to the bottom of your new tube where the heat bonded seam is on the bag. This will turn your tube into a strip. Now hold the cut ends together and fold in half. Cut the strip across to make two strip sections the same size. These will be your handles.

Fold the handle section in half lengthways and use your finger or a wooden pressing stick to make a nice center crease in the strip. Fold the long side cut edge to meet this fold line in the center. Or as close as you can get. Again, press this new folded edge with a pressing stick. Do the same with the other side. Then fold that together and you’ll have a nice edge on both sides (easier on the fingers when you carry it). It’ll almost look like folded bias tape. Sew along each side 1/8 inch from the edge and one more time down the center of the strip.

20140703_1643461-150x150Now it’s time for the tricky part. Sewing the top of the bag over and attaching the handles in the same process. It’s slippery. You can’t use pins.

 

20140703_1656441-150x150I’m sure you technically could use pins but why put holes in the bag on purpose? I use binder clips to hold the handles in the position I’ve marked ahead of time. The binder clips work as a general third hand but don’t even try to sew near them.  They do not budge when budging is needed. When you get close to the clips, remove them before sewing past the handle. Before you can do this, you have to turn the bag inside out so the pretty side is inside. Did you remember to wash and dry the bag first? If not, you probably now have a mouthful of dog food crumbs. And your hands are sticky. I told you to wash it first! Don’t ask me how I learned how important it was. I’ll admit to nothing. Ever.

Once you get past this challenge, it’s time to form the bottom of the bag. I do this by squishing the corners flat so the end makes a triangle. Try to match both corners up the same. 20140703_1739311-150x150When you’re sure you have the measurements correct, it’s time to sew across the corners. Turn the bag inside out so the right side is showing, press those corners with your fingertips so you get a nice sharp corner. The excess folded triangle corner parts can be cut off or do as I do and leave them in, press them to the center of the bag and forget they’re there. I like to pretend they add a bit more substance to the bottom seam, making the bag stronger. Regardless if that’s true or not, we tested the first bag I made by having a willing adult female step inside the bag while her strong he-man lifted her up in the bag and carried her though the kitchen. No fails!! If the bag can carry a young woman, it’ll hold your groceries without worrying about dumping them in the driveway. And here ya go! A bag that will last a long time and will carry more than you want to lift in the first place!

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2014 Christmas Projects Undone

I’ve got a lot on my list that is supposed to be done for Christmas giving. I think I either need a cloned me or someone who’s willing to step in an volunteer to do everything else. Maybe slip me a piece of bread under the door to the room I happen to be in at the time.  I’m easy to please. Maybe a bit of jelly on toast? A cup of fresh coffee?

  • Baby Doll Clothes and Hats
  • Hats and more hats for grands (not sure how many I’m going to get done…short notice on the requests and all…)
  • Sweater dress (have a good start on this)    DONE!
  • Scarves for the elderly people I know. (Yes. I do know people older than me so stick a sock in it!)
  • Quilts to be quilted (I still have two or more that need to be pieced)

And all that doesn’t include the cooking, cleaning, shopping and chores that still need to be done every day. I’m so glad I’m “retired”.  I sure can’t figure out when I ever had time to have a job outside the house when I was younger.

Hand Puppet Scarf Crochet Pattern from Red Heart Yarn | FaveCrafts.com

Quoted from http://www.favecrafts.com/Crochet-for-Kids/Puppet-Scarf-Crochet-Pattern-from-Red-Heart:

Hand Puppet Scarf Crochet Pattern from Red Heart Yarn | FaveCrafts.com

Crochet a colorful scarf that also entertains with fun hand puppets at each end. This scarf crochet pattern is a great crochet pattern for kids.

Crochet Hand Puppet Scarf

Materials:

  • Yarn: RED HEART® “Super Saver®”: 1 Skein each 929 Bikini A, 722 Pretty n’ Pink B, 256 Carrot C. RED HEART® “Sport”: 1 Skein each 1 White and 12 Black for eyes
  • Crochet Hooks: 5.5mm [US I-9] and 3.75mm [US F-5].
  • stitch marker
  • yarn needle

Size: 4¾” x 62” including puppets

Gauge: Scarf: 14 sts = 4”; 9 rows = 4” in hdc with larger hook. Puppets: 4 sts = 1”; 5 rows = 1” in sc with larger hook.

Instructions:

NOTE: Scarf has tapered ends designed to fit inside of the puppet neck.

SCARF
With larger hook and A, ch 9.
Row 1 (Right Side): Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across; turn – 8 sc.
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in each sc across; turn.
Row 3: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in each sc to last sc; 2 sc in last sc; turn – 10 sc.
Rows 4 and 5: Repeat Rows 2 and 3 – 12 sc.
Row 6: Ch 2, 2 hdc in first sc, hdc in each sc to last sc; 2 hdc in last sc; turn – 14 hdc.
Row 7: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc across; turn.
Repeat Row 7 until 46” from beginning.
Next Row: Ch 2, skip first hdc, hdc in next 11 hdc; [yo and draw up a loop in next hdc] twice, yo and draw through all 5 loops on hook – hdc2tog made; turn – 12 hdc.
Next Row: Ch 1, skip first hdc, sc in next 9 hdc; [draw up a loop in next hdc] twice, yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook – sc2tog made; turn – 10 sc.
Next Row: Ch 1, sc in each sc across.
Next Row: Ch 1, skip first sc, sc in each sc to last 2 sc; sc2tog – 8 sc. Fasten off.
Edging Rnd: With right side facing and larger hook, join C in any st; ch 1, work sc evenly around entire scarf. Fasten off.

PUPPETS
** Neck and Upper Head/Jaw: With larger hook and B, ch 24; join with a slip st in first ch to form a ring, being careful that ch is not twisted.
Rnd 1: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc), hdc in next 23 ch; join with a slip st in top of ch-2 – 24 sts.
Rnds 2-6: Ch 2, hdc in each hdc around; join.

Head Shaping-Rnd 7: Turn to work on the wrong side; ch 1, sc in first 12 hdc, ch 12, skip next 12 hdc; join with a slip st in first sc to form ring on which to crochet upper head/jaw. Now work in continuous rnds without joining, marking first st as beginning of rnd and moving marker up on each rnd.
Rnd 8: 2 Sc in first sc, sc in next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 5 sc, [2 sc in next ch, sc in next 5 ch] twice – 28 sc.
Rnd 9: [2 Sc in next sc, sc in next 6 sc] 4 times – 32 sc.
Rnd 10: [2 Sc in next sc, sc in next 7 sc] 4 times – 36 sc.
Rnds 11-14: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 15: * [Sc2tog] twice, sc in next 14 sc; repeat from * once more – 32 sc.
Rnd 16: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 17: * [Sc2tog] twice, sc in next 12 sts; repeat from * once more – 28 sc.
Rnd 18: * [Sc2tog] twice, sc in next 10 sc; repeat from * once more – 24 sc.
Rnd 19: [Sc2tog, sc in next 10 sc] twice – 22 sc.
Rnd 20: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 21: [Sc2tog, sc in next 9 sc] twice – 20 sc.
Rnds 22-24: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 25: [Sc2tog, sc in next 8 sc] twice – 18 sc.
Rnd 26: * [Sc2tog] twice, sc in next 5 sc; repeat from * once more –14 sc.

Shape Nose-Rnd 27: * [Sc2tog] twice, sc in next 3 sc; repeat from * once more changing to C in last sc – 10 sc.
Rnd 28: With C, [sc2tog, sc in next 3 sc] twice – 8 sc.
Rnd 29: [2 Sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc] twice – 10 sc.
Rnd 30: [Sc2tog, sc in next 3 sc] twice – 8 sc. Cut yarn leaving a long tail. Weave yarn through remaining sts to close nose end. Bring needle through nose to point where nose rnds begin and wrap the yarn tightly around the base of the nose several times, fasten securely. Weave in end. This gives the nose definition and prevents the need for stuffing.

NOTE: When working the lower jaw, the “mouth corner” can be found by laying puppet with slit opening facing upwards. Attach yarn to the rightmost stitch and proceed working in continuous rnds as directed.

Lower Jaw-Rnd 31: With wrong side facing and larger hook, join B in first ch of mouth corner to work in 12 remaining ch-loops of Rnd 7 and 12 remaining hdc of Rnd 6, place marker; sc in each st around – 24 sc.
Rnds 32 and 33: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 34: [Sc2tog, sc in next 10 sc] twice – 22 sc.
Rnds 35-37: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 38: [Sc2tog, sc in next 9 sc] twice – 20 sc.
Rnd 39: [Sc2tog, sc in next 8 sc] twice – 18 sc.
Rnd 40: [Sc2tog, sc in next 7 sc] twice – 16 sc.
Rnds 41-42: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 43: [Sc2tog, sc in next 6 sc] twice – 14 sc.
Rnd 44: [Sc2tog, sc in next 5 sc] twice – 12 sc.
Rnd 45: [Sc2tog, sc in next 4 sc] twice – 10 sc.
Rnd 46: [Sc2tog] 5 times – 5 sc. Fasten off. Weave yarn through remaining sts; draw up firmly; fasten securely.
Ears (Make 2)-Rnd 1: With larger hook and B, ch 2; working over beginning yarn end work 5 sc in 2nd ch from hook; pull yarn end to close any gap at center.
Rnd 2: [2 Sc in next sc] 5 times – 10 sc.
Rnd 3: [2 Sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc] twice – 12 sc.
Rnd 4: [2 Sc in next sc, sc in next 5 sc] twice – 14 sc.
Rnd 5: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 6: [Sc2tog, sc in next 5 sc] twice – 12 sc.
Rnd 7: [Sc2tog, sc in next 4 sc] twice – 10 sc. Fasten off leaving a 10” tail. Sew ears in place. **
Repeat from ** to ** with C for second puppet, using B for nose.

Eyes (Make 4)-Rnd 1: With smaller hook and white yarn, ch 2; working over beginning yarn end work 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook; pull yarn end to close any gap at center.
Rnd 2: [2 sc in next sc] 4 times – 8 sc.
Rnd 3: [2 Sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc] twice – 10 sc.
Rnd 4: Sc in each sc around – 10 sc.
Rnd 5: [Sc2tog, sc in next 3 sc] twice; slip st in next sc – 8 sc. Fasten off leaving a 10” tail.
Embroider a French knot pupil with black yarn. Sew eyes in place.

Puppet Edging-Rnd 1: With right side facing and larger hook, join A in any st at cuff opening; ch 1, sc in each st around; join with a slip st in first sc – 24 sc.
Rnd 2: [Ch 3, slip st in next sc] 23 times, ch 3, slip st in first slip st. Fasten off.

Finishing: Lay the scarf flat; place a puppet at either end of the scarf with the opening towards the tapered scarf end and the nose facing away. Insert tapered end of scarf into the puppet opening about 2”; pin scarf to the upper part of the puppet only, (in the “wrist” area if this were a mitten). Sew the top layer of puppet securely with matching yarn to the tapered scarf ends, being careful not to sew the opening closed.

Pattern: Amish Star

Quoted
from http://www.mccallsquilting.com/patterns/details.html?idx=7226:

Pattern: Amish Star


Amish Star

Skill Level BEGINNER

Finished Size 12″ x 12″

Download Instructions: Click here to download a .pdf with these block instructions. (Problems downloading our .pdf? Click here for troubleshooting tips.)

Cutting Instructions

Gold print
… 4 squares 2 7/8″ x 2 7/8″
… 8 squares 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″
… 4 rectangles 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
… 1 square 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

Navy solid
… 8 squares 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″
… 4 squares 2 7/8″ x 2 7/8″
… 4 rectangles 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

Assembly Instructions
Step 1. On wrong side of 2 7/8″ gold print fabric, draw diagonal line with the marking tool of your choice. Layer square with 2 7/8″ navy square, right sides together. Sew 1/4″ seam on each side of marked line; cut apart on marked line. Press open to make pieced squares (Diagram I). Make 8 pieced-squares.

Step 2. Using Diagram II as a placement guide, sew 2 pieced squares to 2 navy 2 1/2″ squares. Make 4 total.

Step 3. Draw diagonal line on wrong side of gold print 2 1/2″ square. Referring to Diagram III, place marked square on navy rectangle, right sides together, aligning raw edges. Stitch on drawn line; trim away and discard excess fabric. Press open. Repeat on opposite end to make pieced rectangle. Make 4.

Step 4. Using Diagram IV as a guide, sew pieced rectangle to gold print rectangle. Make 4.

Step 5. Using Assembly Diagram as placement guide, sew units together to make rows. Sew rows together to make Amish Star Block.

Pattern: Sawtooth Star

Quoted from http://www.mccallsquilting.com/patterns/details.html?idx=8322:

Pattern: Sawtooth Star

Sawtooth Star

 

Sawtooth StarSize: 12″ Finished
Beginner Level
Sawtooth Star Block
Cutting Instructions:
Green
1-A … 4 squares 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
1-B … 5 squares 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″
1-C … 4 rectangles 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″
Red
2-A … 8 squares 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
2-B … 4 squares 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1. Flying Geese Unit
Draw a diagonal line on wrong side of Piece 2-A red squares. Layer Piece 2-A square and Piece 1-C green rectangle, right sides together. Sew on top of drawn line. Cut away excess fabric 1/4″ from seamline. Press seam allowance. Repeat for other end of rectangle (Diagram I). Make 4.

Flying Geese Assembly
Diagram I

Step 2. Nine-patch unit

Using Diagram II as a guide, sew red (Piece 2-B) and green (Piece 1-B) 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares together to make nine-patch unit.

Nine-Patch Unit
Diagram II

Step 3. Block Assembly
Using Diagram III as a guide, sew green 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ squares (Piece 1-A) to Flying Geese units and nine-patch unit together to make Sawtooth Star Block.

Block Assembly
Diagram III