Sunday, May 24, 2015

Reversible Tote

I was so happy with the results of my one hour basket, I decided to make a tote for my neice.  She just graduated from JMU with a Bachelor's degree and is now pursuing her Master's, as she prepares for a teaching career.  Originally, I had made the hour basket thinking I would give that to her,  but decided to make something more versatile for her gift.  I read that a teacher can never have too many totes, and she is still in college, so I decided on a tote for her.  Here's the thing, I learn by doing and often change horses in mid-stream. So, while I was in the middle of making the tote using the Egg Finding Bag tutorial from, I thought I bet I can make this reversible and twice as useful!  I then referred to another tutorial from, "How to make a simple (reversible) tote bag".

I wanted the bag to be sturdy, so I used canvas for one side and quilting fabric for the other. Originally, I was going to try to do something using JMU colors, but just couldn't find coordinating purple and gold that I liked.  So, I used the same canvas that I used for the outside of the hour basket and found a nice blue and white medallion print in my stash to coordinate for the other side.  Again, thinking canvas would be sturdier, I opted to use the canvas for the handles.  I also made an "S" template and appliqued one on each side of the tote.

I wasn't quite happy with the way the handles turned out.  After finishing, I went back and fabric glued the edges of the handles, then zig-zagged stitched the ends to correct fraying issues.  The tote finished at 16" x 16".

On this project, I learned that if the directions aren't quite clear to sew a sample with extra fabric to make sure the process is going to work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

One Hour Basket

I was able to work on a quick project Saturday.  The free 1 Hour Basket tutorial was kindly shared by Hearts & Bees on Craftsy and can be found on the Craftsy site.

Let me be honest, it took me a few hours; but I am still a newbie.  I had a great canvas find I had picked up at Tuesday Morning and this looked like a good project to use it.  The cute fat quarter for the inside was from FreeSpirit Fabrics' Bridgette Lane collection, designed by Valori Wells. .Aren't those little elephants adorable?   I could so see this as a diaper holder or burp cloth holder.

I didn't have any fusible fleece onhand, but hoped the canvas would be sturdy enough to give the basket enough stability and, of course,

when I added  a bunch of my Free Spirit fat quarter bundles, it did!

This was a fun, quick project with great instuctions.  Now, I need to make several more for the rest of my fat quarter bundles :)

Happy quilting!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dogwoods and Butterflies Quilt

I've been absent for awhile due to a trip to Hawaii, then a family reunion trip to TN.  When I got rested up from traveling, I had to get my mom's birthday/Mother's Day gift finished.

I fell in love with the AQS 30th Anniverary Dogwood Fabric Collection and ordered the half-yard collection.  (Of course, I then added additional yardage as it went on sale.)  Mom loves green and Dogwood is Virginia's state flower, so I combined the two and set out to create a quilt for her.

My inspiration came from Dogwood Blossoms, Sylvia Schaefer's quilt featured in McCall's Quick Quilts May 2015 edition:

I chose Kona Cotton Tarragon for the blocks of my quilt and created the flowers with the Dogwood fabric using my Sizzix Dogwood/Rose petals die, alternating small and large and dark and light flower blocks.  I used a dark green polka-dot fabric for the centers of the flowers.  Using fusible adhesive to attach the petals and the centers to the fabric, I then applique stitched around the pieces.

For the sashing to connect the blocks, I chose the Blue/Green Pearlized (leaves and berries) Dogwood fabric.

See that little butterfly in the middle?  Lucky me, while I was working on the idea for this quilt, I won a pack of Shabby Fabric's new laser pre-cut, pre-fused 3" butterflies from Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Alyce then kindly sent me her left over shapes and her remaining April Showers charm pack and some cute heart-shaped buttons!  Seriously, how sweet is that?!?  You can find Alyce at  Gosh, I hope to get to her level of quilting one day.

So, of course, I added some butterflies to the quilt, which really made it pop.  After fusing the butterflies, I applique stitched around them using a silver metallic thread, which my mom quickly noticed while admiring her gift, SCORE!  For binding, I used the Blue Petals Dogwood Fabric and back to the Tarragon for the backing.  Dogwood and Butterflies finished at 40 x 41".

I have to say that I am so very proud of this quilt.  It's the first quilt I've created the pattern for, first time I've appliqued, first time I've made a quilt uing blocks and the first time I've gifted a quilt to someone who really understands what goes into making them.  Although Mom didn't quilt (she sewed our clothes when I was small) her mother quilted and I'm lucky to have a couple of quilts from my beloved Grandma Sallie.  So, of course, I had to add the label on the back just in case I'm lucky enough to have it live on:

What I learned this time:

  • Shoot, make sure to add that 1/4" seam allowance to the blocks before trimming!  When I trimmed them all to 6", I ended up being a bit short in connecting some of the blocks.
  • Leave enough extra fabric to overlap and join the ends of the binding, ARGH!
  • Always double-check to be sure the phrasing is spelled correctly before pushing the button to sew the lettering on the label.  The letters are close together on my machine and I ended up with an "n" where there was supposed to be an "o".  Not to mention, it took two days of work to get the label how I wanted it.
  • Before fusing, make sure the rows are placed correctly.  The flower blocks were actually supposed to alternate between large and small within the rows.  I actually didn't even notice until I was wrapping the gift, LOL!
  • When I'm in tears and ready to quit, just remember...

this makes it all worth while...