Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Cute Bags, finished...

These two Cute Bags (pattern by Wonder Woman) came home from the retreat, unfinished, needing some time with my mechanical machine and a jeans needle.  That final touch,  along with an adjustable strap and a fabulous magnet which secures the deep inner pocket between the identical fronts and backs of these bags, is complete.  The bag on the left is for Eileen - she supplied these Anna Maria Horner fabrics and will use this bag instead of her well-used RunAround.  The black and white bag is for Massage Janet - she has a significant birthday coming up.  I love using my Cute Bag and am thankful Sarah S bought me this pattern!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Runaround Bag

Welcome to the October 15, 2014, installment of Purse Palooza.  Like the previous purse enthusiasts, I'm very happy to be a part of this online purse extravaganza.  While I have made several of Sara's patterns - Aragon, Aeroplane, Arabesque - and love them, the one purse/bag that I have made again and again AND AGAIN is the RunAround by LazyGirl Designs.  This bag thrills girls of all ages, is simple to make, and very practical.  It finishes at 7" x 9".  This pictured bag?
Eileen's Bag

Reverse of Eileen's Bag
I made for my buddy Eileen.  She uses it to "runaround" and it becomes an insert for her bigger purses.  There's a zippered compartment on one side, and a pocket on the other - it's that simple.  Plus a strap that can be used for across-the-body or just knotted to be grabbed.  She's been using this now for over a year.

MATERIALS NEEDED:  Two fat quarters, a zipper, some interfacing like ShapeFlex, and some fusible fleece.    Plus this fabulous pattern.

Because I am a quilter, I always have tons of scraps in my studio.  When I sew these scraps and make new fabric, they turn into some lovely Runarounds.  (Note:  all pictures are in pairs so you can see the front and the back of these clever little purses.)

These purses can be playful and whimsical, like the ones I made for my great nieces.

 Or they can be formal, like these: 

So, you know I can make these RunAround bags.  But so can anyone else.  My neighbor Jo, a high school junior, came over and made this Runaround within two hours.  If you have zipper fear, this clever pattern will help you get over it.  Seriously, the zipper insertion is the simplest I have ever done.  Both Jo and her sister had no difficulty at all with this part of the process. 

Here are some pictures from that afternoon with Jo. 

Jo's fabric palette - she's a musician
Putting pieces on the floor, just to keep track of her project and mine.
Jo and my Husqvarna becoming friends - she had no sewing experience.

A few weeks later Jo returned with her little sister Kate (also a musician), an 8th grader.  And here are the results of that two-hour session:

Smiling at the end of our session!  and both girls are ready to return to the studio

One of the things I have learned from Sara through her SewSweetness blog and patterns is that the more pictures the better.  Here are more pictures of various RunArounds.  What a great pattern!

Batiks and Shot Cottons

Pieced fabric and a funky print 

Marcia Derse fabrics, zippers, and the pattern
And Voila - bags!

Treasured scraps become perfect Runarounds

Making them can become an addiction
This favorite scrap became a RunAround.

Study this last picture because it shows two bags in process.  The two left bags are the finished bags.   I made twins so you could see the components.  The top pictures are the back of the bag, including the pocket.  If you're very clever, you'll figure out a way to put a little pocket on the inside.  The bottom pictures are the zippered component.  This pattern shows you how to very clever layer these components, leaving the zippered part open.  Then you sew all the way around the four sides, making sure you've accounted for the straps, and turn the bag inside out through the zipper.

Good pattern directions.  Clever but easy construction.  Practical results which can be dressed up or down.  I estimate I have made 40 Runarounds so far.  And I don't think I am finished yet. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fun - and progress! - at the Retreat

To be in a lovely space in Racine, so close to Lake Michigan, with amazing women is one of the sweet spots in life. These quilting retreats are so wonderful. I love seeing what others work on and how they work. I love seeing how each of us has a different rhythm, and I love the joys and sorrows that each of us bring to these retreats. And I love the luxury of being able to focus on projects. I began by working on these elliptical drunkard's paths.

But then I switched over to a couple of Cute Bags by Wonder Woman (seriously, that's the name of the pattern). The straps for both bags are made, but I need to finish them on a mechanical machine here in the studio. There are a lot of layers in this bag, and my computerized machine, as fabulous as it is, just doesn't have to power to go through all of them.

The last project I worked on was from leftover bits - 2" x 22" - of the wonderful set of Pepper Cory shot cottons. After making strip sets and taping them to the wall, by Sunday night they were all sewn together. Now I need to press and quilt. ( I think this might be a baby quilt for a new great niece - to be determined by whether my niece actually likes this.)  I'm so thankful for my quilt besties - what a remarkable group of women...what a remarkable weekend.   The nuns at the Siena Center love us and nurture us - that alone is special.

Using the wall at the Siena Center

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Getting Ready to Retreat

These are the Pepper Cory shot cottons I bought last fall - 26 fat quarters.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this.  Each quarter becomes three blocks.  But now how to mix these fabrics and create a layout?  Stay tuned.  My goal is to finish cutting and pair up the blocks so that I can just start sewing once I get to the Siena Center in Racine.  I also want to do some Cute Bags by WonderWoman.  And?  I have the next two days to decide what else I want to work on.  Major kudos to DH John for being so supportive of these retreats!  and for swapping cars with me.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sky Full of Stars

 Young Baby Boy Lee is coming into this world soon - his due date is November 1.  And young baby boy Lee has artistic parents.  His dad Ivan is a graphic artist - his mom Jenny Seidelman is a playwright.  This young child has a beautiful nursery, which is a big consideration for a quilter.  Grandma Laurel went shopping with me for the fabrics and bought them.  Eight-pointed stars of varying sizes seemed to be a natural for these fabrics.  While I thought about sending this quilt out to be long-armed, I ultimately decided to put on my big-girl free motion quilting panties. 
From this detail you can see that I did quilt stars throughout the quilt.  QFF Wayne was surprised at how many bobbins I went through during the quilt - I was too.  However, I do like how this turned out. Grandma Laurel loved the Aurora Borealis fabric, and we decided to use it for the back of this quilt.  It's perfect. This baby quilt is meant to be dragged around and used.  Today was Jenny's shower - how much fun to see her in her 8-month glory.  Here's to a lifetime of love for young baby Lee and his parents and his grandparents! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

An Ellipitcal Drunkard's Path or Feathers

Pinterest - what a great source for inspiration.  ZenChic pinned this quilt from an Etsy store.  And I fell in love.  Hard.  And I began my research.  This quilt is by Helen Richards, an Australian quilter.  Her web page has pointers to her Etsy shop.  So I began to google rectangular Drunkard's path and elliptical Drunkard's path - with little success.  One source led to some out-of-stock templates for little 3" x 6" blocks.  Too small.  Finally I wrote to Helen through Etsy to ask her about her templates.  And this lovely generous woman sent me a PDF of the block.  This morning I walked to town, had what she sent enlarged onto card stock, and have already made a test block.

 Because this curve is so gentle, the block is easier than a standard Drunkard's Path block.  The finished block came out to 13" x 6.25".  Now I must figure out how much Helen's color choices have had on what I love about this quilt.  To borrow from Macbeth, I think I'll be bloody, bold, and resolute in the execution of the quilt - and be thankful for my design wall as well as Helen's spirit of generosity. 
Luckily I received Helen's PDF before I went any further with this feather block from Anna Maria Horner. I've beeen intrigued by this pattern and already had some made fabric from my scraps to test this template and pattern out on. This block with the red border finished out at 12" x 20" and will be yet another opportunity for my hand quilting. I won't give up on the feathers. But for now the Ellipical Drunkard's Path is the clear-cut winner for October!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Little pale zippers and scraps

My sister-in-law Kim is teaching her granddaughters, my great-nieces, to play jacks and requested little zip bags for these little pieces.  These bags are 3.5" by 4" and 4" x 4".  I'm afraid they might be too small - I haven't played with jacks in over - well, my math isn't that good but to say 55 years would not be inaccurate.  This is a perfect way to use those little pale zippers that seem to accumulate in my zipper stash.  While I'm working away on things that I either cannot post about yet or getting ready for the big Purse Palooza 2014 blog post (this link is for Purse Palooza 2013), I've been working my way through scraps - perhaps for a scrappy log cabin?   

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Cute Bag - and New Eyes

Lynn, who does my cosmetic tattooing, saw my Cute Bag by Wonder Woman and requested one in black and brown. The design is made for three fabrics, but the two  worked out just fine. The appeal of this bag?  Pockets on both sides, zippered pockets on both sides, and a middle pocket with a terrific magnet at the top as well as little pockets on the inside.  The only downside to this pattern is that there are a lot of thicknesses , and I must use my mechanical machine to get through all the layers. 
Lynn also liked the little zip insert I made for my Cute Bag, one that holds credit cards and cash and has a little pocket on one side for something like a Starbucks card and a bigger pocket on the other side for perhaps cash. So I made her one of those. As I have greyed, my eyebrows and eyes have disappeared. Lynn's cosmetic pigmentation technique lets me find myself in a mirror.
And now? Back to a new baby quilt. The grandmother-to-be selected and bought the fabrics. I think I have finally decided what I want to do. Stay tuned!