Friday, January 9, 2015

My King Size Batik Quilt

My husband wanted to know when I was making a quilt for our bed. Well, we have a king size bed I told him, that is a big quilt. SO,  I have always loved purple. I saw this smaller quilt at my local quilt shop and inquired on the pattern. I though this is a simple pattern not so complicated. 
It used two Bali Pops and yardage of the purple and rose color for the borders.

My longarmer called her The Big Purple Monster because she was huge.

I had all my strips matched lie I wanted them, sewn and cuts into squares. I took them with me on a quilting retreat with some girlfriends. This photo is me putting the blocks on a design wall in the way I wanted to sew the rows. I had cut the purple triangles to put the quilt on point. Here you can see some on the left side.

Here the photo shows after I added the two borders on.
This quilt
measured 125 inches by 125 inches when
 I brought her to the longarmers Kim Norton.
 I wanted no pillow shams and to be sure it was
wide enough not to have to fight for cover at night.
I used 80/20 cotton batting by Hobbs.

Don't you love my scrappy back? I used extra blocks and
Some fat back extra wide fabric I had.

I absolutely love my quilt and so does my husband.

I am so proud of my self.

You see I have only been quilting about two years. I am loving quilting.
I have two more kings in progress now I will show you soon.

Thanks for dropping by my blog. Come back soon to see what I am up to.
Stay creative every one.

Quilters Portable Design Board

I saw these portable design boards being made over at A Bee In My Bonnet Blog Click Here
She make all different sizes for making quilt blocks. When you have a block cut out lay it on one of these cute design boards. You can just pick up a piece at a time and lay it back down in place. Never getting the pieces mixed up. I like using these going back and forth from the ironing board and sewing machine also. You can make several board and layout several quilt blocks ready to sew. Just lay them on top of each other next to the sewing machine.

I buy my foamboard in big sheet for $1 at the Dollar Store at Dollar Tree.

 I cut my foamboard in to different sizes.

This one I cut into 4 pieces

 I cut quilt batting to cover only the top of the foamboard.

 See in photo above

I have four pieces ready to make. 

 Get your hot glue gun ready.

I run a thick line of glue on one side at a time

 Put the glue all the way around and press the batting down.
I use strips of scrap fabric to make base tape to cover the edges. You don't have to cut it on the bias. 
I cut 
Scrap strips 2 1/2 wide strips to use.

Next I press under a small piece of each edge of fabric.

I run a glue bead on top of edge of batting and press with my fingers 
the fabric strip
 all around the square.
Fold the corners just like you do quilt binding.

Also glue the back the same way. Run a glue bead around a little at a 
time pressing the fabric down with fingers.

 See how pretty they come out.
Now when you do your quilt blocks they stick to the batting and want fall off.

I love that when transferring back and forth from the ironing and cutting
 boards you want loose and pieces of you quilt blocks. The block pieces stay in order.

 I make several sizes of these. I want to make one big design board to put 
in front of my sewing machine. You can make these in sizes you match the different sizes of quilt blocks you make.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Stop by again and see what I am up to.
Stay creative.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Make Your Own Sewing Desk

Make Your Own Sewing Desk Tutorial

Dracula hands. That's what Craig calls them. At 4'10", my arms were always uncomfortably perched in the air reaching up to the sewing bed of my Bernina . I felt it more closely resembled a pose in the Thriller dance.  My arms were wildly waving in the area to reach the sewing surface which was about 3 1/2" above the table. You can get a sense of how crap sewing is on a normal desk from this photo taken just last week. The surface isn't flat. Cords drape everywhere. It's uncomfortable. A friend came over and we had a good chat about the height of machines and sore shoulders. She found a solution in a portable table, but it just wasn't my style at all. 

I fret about where I sew almost as much as what I sew.  I shopped around and realized there aren't many good choices when it comes to modern sewing cabinets. In days gone by, you could get an awesome Singer cabinet or something mad, crazy awesome like this midcentury modern sewing desk. So utterly clever, the machine stores inside and then flips up for sewing. Nowadays, sewing cabinets tend to be both expensive and ugly. The cheapest start around $150, but they run into the thousands. I lamented my options.

I also realized that I absolutely love how my ALEX and MELLTORP fit together. With that in mind, we set off this morning to the shops to make our own homegrown IKEAhack.

- IKEA EFFEKTIV door panel - $5 in AS-IS (any laminated panel will do!)
- 4  Cap-head 3/8" x 6"  (we could have gone shorter)
- 8 Washers - 3/8" 
- 8 Nuts - 3/8"

Total Supply Spend $13.32 AUD since we already owned the table. $62.32 to buy it all with the table.

- pencil or marking tool
- jigsaw or router
- drill with 3/8" bit
- spanner or wrench for nuts&bolts
- orbital sander or sanding block

The basic idea was to mount the door panel below the surface of the desk. This would allow the machine to be sunken into the table and let the sewing bed sit flush. We decided using bolts to mount the panel would make it easily adjustable so we could move it up and down to assure the surface was flat.

I traced the outline of my Bernina sewing machine and it's acrylic sewing bed onto the MELLTORP table allowing slightly extra room for cords. Craig used the jigsaw to cut it out.

We used an orbital sander and some sanding disks to smooth out the rough bits.

We then marked out holes and mounted the EFFEKTIV door on bolts below the desk. It all went so quick that I missed pictures at this stage. Using bolts allowed us to adjust things up and down to make sure the sewing bed sat flush with the desk. We reinforced it all with nuts and now I've got a custom sewing table that perfectly fits my machine.

I think it's a great solution. The only downfall, if I must pick one, is that bolt heads do stick up slightly as we couldn't find long bolts with countersink heads. The cap heads are round and smooth though and don't interfere with fabric flowing over them and aren't uncomfortable for my arms. They are noticeable but not annoying. Aesthetically, we could have done a little better there.

The Bernina sewing bed has a slight arch to it naturally, but the edges sit smoothly with the desk.

We saved ourselves a fortune, and we've made something that we're proud of.  The supplies cost us $13.32 and we got some awesome new power tools to play with.

Happy hacking. Happy crafting. -- Amy


Edit: I was asked for additional photos to answer some questions:

Can you show me the final construction so that I can show my husband? 

Here it is. You can see the small door is mounted below the table. It is sandwiched between a pair of nuts on each bolts.. This photo is taken from floor height. You really don't see this from eye height because of the lip of the table.

You could use white iron-on melamine to line the edge of the desk.

Great tip. We had thought of it and decided not to since it's not visible when the machine is in place. Good tip for others who are less accurate with the jigsaw and sanding. If you are going to use the melamine make sure your hole will be large enough with the melamine in place.

What if you need to sew a cuff?
I can lift the sewing plastic sewing bed out and still work around the machine arm. Or I can pick up the sewing machine move it over on top of the rolling cart briefly and sew up there.

What are those shiny silver things?

Smooth nut  heads. Ideally, we'd use countersink nuts but we couldn't find any over 4"  in our local hardware store. We decided to use the roundish smooth cap heads. If they seem like they'd annoy you, you could always use a bigger bottom surface instead of a cabinet door. Then you could move the mounts further out and away from your machine. We needed ours close so the ALEX would still fit under when not in use as a cutting surface. You can see there's only an inch of clearance for the ALEX.

Is it hard to change the bobbin?
My small hands can reach underneath, but it is a little fiddly. 
The easy way is to slightly tilt the machine and slide the sewing bed off. 
This gives easy access for cleaning as well.

 I saw this tutorial on another blog and have wanted to do this for a long time to my desk. 
Flush sewing would be so nice and by doing this to a reclaimed piece of furniture is the cheapest way.

Linked back to the original blog:            bad skirt.blogspot  by Amy Badskirt

Thanks for stopping by. Come back again to 
see what I might be up to. Stay creative!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Petite Strawberry Pin Cushions

 Strawberry Pin Cushion!!

I have seen these on the Martha Stewart website, in my local fabric shop, and more recently at V and Co.  where I was finally pushed over the edge to give this a go.  And, to my delight Vanessa created the perfect tutorial to follow!  So go over there and bookmark this page  and together we will follow it to make a ton of cute strawberries in the 'nic of time for Valentines gifties for your sweet valentine or even just a few for yourself!

I mean, how cute would one of these be on a little gift box?

I always start by gathering up all my supplies.  After reading the tutorial and then trying one... here are the items I ended up using:

  • Fabric scraps in red/pink and green.  I also experimented with a totally non-traditional choice for a strawberry and love the outcome!
  • pen
  • thread
  • needle
  • sewing machine (not pictured)
  • yarn in place of the floss
  • bits of left over batting in place of polyfil
  • hot glue gun.  you know it's going to be a good project when you get to pull out the glue gun!
Following the tutorial directions I cut my fabric to size -- this felt like an easy part!

Next was making the ice cream cone shape.  I free handed the cut and came to find that this part is also very forgiving.  The shape isn't terribly important... since the curve becomes the top of the strawberry which I was happy to find out gets hidden with hot glue.  I *heart* hot glue! 

I have to admit I was nervous until I opened up my cut and matched it to Vanessa's photo.  They look pretty similar!  Phew! 

I went on to the first sewing part.  After all... this is Sew-a-thon!!  I used my sewing machine for the two lines below... but I could see just as easily doing this by hand. 

How are you doing so far?  Motivated to give this one a try?  Are you mid trying?  Any questions?

I cut the little tail off as instructed, flipped this inside out.  All good so far. 

I stuffed the batting bits in the turned out strawberry.

I did the running stitched around the top and was excited when I really could pull the thread to tighten the top.  Looking back now, I think I pulled the top too tight honestly compared to the tutorial where it looks like it is actually ok to leave the top stuffing sticking out... since you cover it with the leaves and hot glue.  That might be why my strawberries ended up being skinny.  I like them skinny, but might also try the other way to see what it does.

I followed the instructions for the leaves (the tutorial has good instructions and pictures for this part)and found it fun to make this shape organic.  I did use my sewing machine to stitch the pieces together... but this is another great place to hand sew if you prefer.

I also made the pink one with four leaves... I would say it looks just as good as the five leaf one if you were wondering.

At this point I had my skinny strawberry and leaves!  I can almost taste victory and cuteness to gift!

I didn't have the floss recommended in the tutorial.  I did however have some gold rick-rack... I tried it out and guess what... it looked like a Christmas ornament.  Confirmed by Mr. Happy.  Here's a quick snap of the rick-rack in case you have the same stuff on hand.  That got me thinking about what else I had to use instead...

That's when it struck me to pull out some yarn.  Yarn to the rescue! 

My other note here would be to make the yarn a tiny bit longer.  The tutorial recommends 9 inches, but once I knotted it and hot glued it in place I didn't have a long enough loop to attached them to my rotary cutter.  Yup, I would make the yarn maybe twelve inches next time.

Following the last bit of instructions was a snap!  The hot glue hides anything you may have been nervous about up to this point and it finishes fast!  I am a geek and sewed four strawberries up first and was able to hot glue them all in about 5 minutes.

I really like the results!  And I am already looking for different combos to try and thinking of all the lovely ladies in my life who sew and NEED one of these.  Can't wait to hear what you thought!! 

I love Pin Cushions!
Thanks for stopping by. Come back and see what my 
little Garden might be growing!
Stay creative!