07 Apr

It’s Crafturday: 10

I recently spent a week in California hanging out with my dad while he recovered from an infection. It was brisk and sometimes snowy outside and I had few responsibilities other than to walk his dog and make meals. So, I got A LOT of crocheting done!

Grandma Meta's Afghan, and my homage in progress.

When I was at my dad’s last year, I decided that I loved this old afghan his grandmother had made and that I would make an homage to it. Here is the original with my version on top. I inadvertently made my stripes horizontal instead of vertical, but I don’t think it will adversely affect the character of the blanket. Since this photo I’ve even added a few more inches!

17 Mar

It’s Crafturday! (9)

This time it’s crafting with friends.

Daughter chain piecing

Technically, she’s my daughter, not my friend, but bear with me. The girl was inspired by the zig zag quilt behind her and wanted to make her own little quilt, and not to worry, she would “do it by herself.” Well that turned on the guilty feelings about being so caught up in my own work that the kids know they have to fend for themselves. We found a compromise. She picked out fabrics while I sewed the final rows of the zig zag quilt, then I cut, and then she sewed (with a little help from me). She made a lovely little top of neutrals which we’ll quilt just as soon as I’m done quilting the zig zag (soon!).

H and my machine getting to know each other.

But that’s not the only craftiness going on at my machine. I have some new friends from Knit Night and one, H, who is an adventurous knitter, wants to learn to sew and quilt. She admired my Julie Tasche and asked if I could help her make one. Only problem, she doesn’t have a sewing machine. No problem. I have now completely spoilt her with my machine, and empowered her by making her do all the cutting and most of the sewing. I was basically just the pinner and ironer.

H's bag almost done!

It’s almost done — just needs the elastic through the top casing and the lining sewn shut. I can’t wait to see it in use next Knit Night.

10 Mar

Crafturday (8) with Quilting

I spent my Crafturday piecing. I spent my Thursday and my Friday piecing too. I’m making a quilt for a special young lady who wanted something with a rainbow. So, I decided that a rainbow zig zag with “modern” fabrics would fit the bill. As luck would have it, I was even offered a sample pack of charm squares from Windham Fabrics that looked like they’d play well with what I had in mind.

Sample squares!

I cut 5″ squares from my stash and arranged them in rainbow-ish rows. I had lots of purply reds and greens to aquas, but not much in the way of pinks, sky blues, or blue purples and I needed more white and grey (I’ve actually heard that hard core modern quilters buy these by the bolt!). So I did a little shopping here and in Austin. Stitch Lab is a charming little shop that stocks not a comprehensive collection, but a very nice selection of fabrics that would appeal to the hip sewist, lovely wool felt and plenty of cheerful notions for projects like aprons and bags. But I digress.

Squares ready to start.

I paired one square of each color with a grey or white for the stripe above and one with a neutral for the stripe below and sewed the pairs on a diagonal to make half square triangle blocks.

The cool zig zags

Once laid out on the floor, I could refine my arrangements. The HST blocks definitely look different than the 5″ charm squares without the neutrals mixed in.

Some warm zig zags

Sewing the blocks in columns and rows is easy and it was fun to see the sections grow. The new Cabana Blooms play very nicely with my stash fabrics. And, of course, there’s a bunch of Kaffe Fasset Paperweight in there too (six colorways!). It never ceases to amaze me how well Kaffe fabrics blend with almost everything else.

An interesting aside, I could really feel a difference in weight between the Kona cottons, the Free Spirit and Moda fabrics, and the Windham and Westminster fabrics. For a well used quilt or handbag, I suspect the heavier Kona, Moda, and Free Spirit would last longer, but on the other hand, if I were making wearables, I’d much prefer the drapier Windham and Westminster. I had no problem using the various weights together though, and if a fabric had a color and pattern that I liked I wouldn’t not purchase it just because it’s base fabric wasn’t as thick as something else. It was just an interesting observation I could make because I was using quilting cottons from many sources.

Zig Zag for J

A couple of days collecting and cutting fabrics, and a good solid three days sewing, and I’ve got a quilt top finished!

Zig Zag for J

I think it looks awesome. Now I need to decide how I want to quilt it.

21 Jan

It’s Crafturday (6)

This project has been sitting on my sewing table for probably two years, and for no good reason either!

Julie Tasche

It’s the Julie Tasche and it called to me as a sister to my beloved Multi Tasker Tote. I had some fabric on hand that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with when I bought it, but looked perfect for the Julie.

My first stumbling block though was the elastic and stopper thingies for the pockets. I found a source for the elastic cord, but I would have to buy it by the bajillion foot spool. The local retailer only carried black and white, and was out of white. I waited several months for it to come in. While waiting, I searched for stoppers and came up, again, with boring black or white. At least those were in stock, so I settled and bought white.

I wasn’t sure about the base of the bag, so I mulled over some pink leather I had and mulled having the base continue up the sides and inch. The mulling lasted a few months.

Meanwhile, I went to Quilt Hawaii and learned about Texture Magic in my Threadology class. So, I came back and Texture Magic-ed two pockets. Then I started assembling the parts. But, I didn’t like all the different fabrics for the pockets and I didn’t like the orientation of the handles, so I set the project aside until I could take them off and rearrange. Being a low-priority project, that added more moths.

Luckily, I did some traveling off-island and not only found while elastic cord, but many colored stopper thingies. I stocked up (thank you Mood)! But I was still too busy with other projects to get back to the Julie Tasche.

Julie Tasche

Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided I just needed to finish the bag. It’s not like it was hard to sew or anything, and at least now I had all the supplies. The pink leather base looked wrong, so I switched to denim from an old pair of jeans. I opted not to alter the pattern, and hey, it looks great. I left my contrasty Texture Magic pockets as-is but flopped the striped center pockets so the stripes became the lining (ah, much better!). I changed the straps so that instead of each one starting on one side of the bag and ending on the other, each strap stays on it’s own side of the bag. This makes it hang “right” for me when I put the straps over my shoulder. I love the turquoise stopper thingies on the elastic cord. Now, I just need an outfit to coordinate with my bag so I can start wearing it.

14 Jan

It’s Crafturday! (5) The Hawaiian-ish Edition


It’s customary in Hawai’i to give lei on special occasions. The event could be a birthday, a graduation, congratulations on a job well done, or a welcome to the islands. Normally, lei are flowers, but sometimes they are made of shells, candy, origami lucky stars, or paper blossoms. My sister and her family arrive today, and while she and my BIL will be bedecked in flowers and kukui nuts, I figured she wouldn’t appreciate candy for her young kids, and conversely, the kids wouldn’t appreciate the fresh flowers.

So I got crafting. I’m definitely NOT the first to make this kind of lei. Elementary school teachers have been helping kids churn these out by the dozens every May for Lei Day. They make theirs from construction paper, but I used double sided scrapbooking paper for a fancier look. I really wanted aloha prints, but my stupid craft store which used to have them no longer carries such regional stuff, and I wasn’t willing to drive all over the island looking for hibiscus patterned paper. But, I digress. I used two punches to cut out about 40 flowers from three different papers.

After punching out the flowers, cut about 6 regular drinking straws into 3/4 inch bits. Cut a piece of string about 60″ long and thread it onto a large needle. Tie a knot about 6 inches from the end of the string. Poke the needle through the center of a flower to thread it onto the string. Add a straw section, then another flower, then a straw section, and so on until you’ve used up all the flowers. Tie another knot after the last flower. Put a straw bit on both tail ends of the string (as spacers) and tie the ends together with a square knot. If desired you can cover this plain knot with a little bow or puff of curly ribbon. Plastic pony beads instead of straw sections looks really nice too, but remember to punch out about twice as many flowers.

Place lei over the head of a deserving kid and give them a big hug and kiss. Aloha!

07 Jan

It’s Crafturday (4)

Our beloved exchange student leaves today. She’ll be returning to Germany well equipped for the new school year though. In addition to well honed English skills and a suitcase full of American clothes, I’ve sent her off with a Multi-Tasker Tote bag much like mine which she’s been coveting.

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

This side has a big velcro-topped pocket in addition to the floral lined ones that are part of the original pattern.

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

I love this side in which I kept the integrity of the uniform blouse front. On my tote the button front is purely decorative. On this tote, I lined it so that the zipper can open to an actual pocket!

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

There are so many pockets on this tote it’s crazy! My hubby’s favorite is the pen pocket that normally lives on the uniform sleeve. I moved it to the tote interior along with a patch pocket and a flap pocket from the blouse front. And there’s a little loop to clip things on to too.

ACU Multi Tasker Tote

And, here’s the bag in situ as a fabulous beach tote.

31 Dec

It’s Crafturday (3)

Look what Santa brought for the kids!

I love this silly Hawaii themed fabric and decided it would be perfect for little bags for the kids.

Circle Zip Earbud Pouches

Everyone got Circle Zip Earbud Pouches. The tutorial from Dog Under My Desk was easy to follow and I think the pouches are cute and practical. I’m putting a few on my list to make for myself (excellent use for mushroomy fabric methinks) in a few sizes perhaps.

Pleated Zip Pouches

The girls got Pleated Pouches made from the Skip to My Lou tutorial. Again, this was a very nice, easy to follow tutorial. I’d definitely use it again as I think the pouch is quite handsome. One change I would make would be to add a little interfacing to the top band fabric for a little more structure. I also added wooden beads to the zipper pulls.

24 Dec

It’s Crafturday (2)

Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Well, except that we don’t HAVE a chimney. And, we have additional kids here this year who don’t have Christmas stockings.

In Germany, St. Nikolaus comes on his Catholic feast day, the 6th or December. And while often brings candy or a gift, he leaves them in a shoe by the door, not a stocking by the fire. So, I thought our German guests would enjoy getting a stocking from American Santa Claus. And, as long as I was making new stockings, why not update my kids too?

Simple Embroidered Stockings

I started with the simple embroidered stockings from Purl Bee, but I sped up the process a bit by using grosgrain ribbon for the loops and sewing it into the lining seam. I used the fancy schmancy embroidery module on my sewing machine instead of hand embroidery for the names. Also, no good linen at the fabric store closest to me so I went with muslin from my stash for the lining.

Simple Embroidered Stockings

I probably should have taken the time and effort to go to the fancier fabric store (Kaimuki Dry Goods, home to the full color range of Kona cottons) and get a different color green for each kids. I do have one more green, but it’s a secret for now. These were so easy to make though, so maybe I’ll get lucky and there will be a sale after Christmas and I will get two more greens so Art and I can have new stockings too next year.