Yesterday, I went to two local quilt shops to cash in on my birthday discount. One shop offers 20%, the other half your age. The one day it actually pays to be older!
I came hope with 2 jelly rolls and fabric to make gifts for friends. A quilt kit for me! Seriously, I actually bought something to make for myself. Picked up a Halloween applique pattern and a few free motion books. One of these days, I’ll conquer free motion. For the icing on my cake, I added quilt themed microfiber cleaning cloths. If you don’t own those, you should.
Hope you’re lucky enough to know quilt shops that offer birthday discounts.
In my excitement to get these wrapped, I forgot to take pictures. So this is one I made for myself. It’s a little smaller than I like, but you get the idea. I plan on making another one for me. These little handy pot holders for your microwave make great gifts. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to make them. They are machine washer and dryer friendly. Basically you set your bowl in the holder, pop it in the microwave, and use the corners to lift your now hot bowl out of the oven. **Contents will be hot, so use caution.** If you stop reading at this point, please note; YOU MUST USE 100% COTTON PRODUCTS WHEN MAKING THESE BOWLS. I have heard of fires starting because someone used what they thought was cotton batting or polyester thread.
I purchased a Layer Cake (a package of 42 pre-cut 10″ squares) knowing I wanted to make a bunch of these and it was faster than cutting the squares myself. I used a product called Warm and Plush for the batting and cut them into 10″ squares. That’s when my mind went off again. There had to be a better way to stitch each square corner to corner, but with 10″, simply marking a center line on my sewing surface wouldn’t work. Then I came up with template. Basically, I took a 10″ square piece of construction paper (cause I had some) and cut it in half on the diagonal. Then I trimmed a quarter inch off of that. I clipped the paper to my fabric/batting layer and stitched along the edge with a quarter inch foot.
Next were the darts, and my mind went thinking again. This time I used cardboard and marked the top and the side with my dart markings. Cut that off, and then trimmed off a quarter of an inch. I just held the template in place and stitched my darts.
I could have just as easily marked my lines, but each bowl has 4 lines of stitching and 8 darts. Multiply that by 10+, well you get the idea. I normally use my #10 foot on my Bernina for top stitching, but I found the #20 foot seemed to work better on the bulk. I was able to butt the fabric against the inside of the right toe and moved my needle to the left.
So Christmas is over and now that the gifts have been opened, I can finally update everyone on what I was up to the last 2 months.
Grocery Bags: I love the Stand ‘n Stow pattern by Atkinson Designs. I first made this bag about a year ago and promptly left it somewhere. The secret to this bag, in my opinion, is the use of Pellon’s Peltex 71F stabilizer. This gives the bag shape and allows it to stand upright, like the paper grocery bags of my youth. Plus they fold flat so they are easy to store. I keep mine in the back seat of my car. The large one holds gallon milk bottles and tons (ok maybe not actual tons, but a lot) of groceries.
My Sassy adjustments:
I either want straps that are long enough to be shoulder straps or short enough to carry without the bag dragging on the ground. I made the straps 27″. This measurement is perfect for me. The added plus at this length, is that you can wrap the straps around the bottom of the bag to hold it closed for storing. There is still enough length to carry the bag when it is full.
I found inserting the peltex to be easier if I put a ruler in the fabric opening to slide the stabilizer on. This really sped up that step.
The pattern calls for covering the inside side seams with a binding. In an effort to save time and fabric, I serged those seams. It’s a grocery bag, not an evening one.
Lastly, I did not put binding on the top. I cut the fabric a little longer and folded it over and topstitched it down. I did press the fold and opened it before sewing the side seams.
So far, the reviews have been great. My daughter took hers to the grocery store this afternoon and received a number of comments/compliments. I love hearing about those.
Have you ever seen something that you just had to try? Perhaps a recipe, a patio table, or even a new route to a familiar place. For me, it’s almost always a fabric thing and if I don’t jump on in right away, it ends up in the forgotten, “Someday” file. That file exists in my head, but I’m working on getting it out of there and into a digital format. This table runner was one of those things.
The pattern is called, Triangle Frenzy™ Swirl. I love the simplicity of cutting only one fabric and ending up with an eye-catching design. I chose Halloween themed fabric, well cause it’s that time of year and it was on sale. I made the larger one first and had enough fabric to make the smaller one. They will find homes with my two daughters.
I considered a few quilting options, but I’m really practicing not over thinking things and not making them more difficult than they need to be. I pulled out my walking foot and went to work. I used a very narrow zig-zag stitch; perfect for the Halloween theme and much more forgiving than a straight stitch. I now have a few go to table runner projects for when the mood strikes.
Before you start thinking that I really have it together because I’m making Christmas presents in May, know that these originally were supposed to be given out in 2012. Unfortunately, I sustained an injury with a sewing machine needle that required a trip to the ER while finishing a set of these and the project got put away until……..well now.
The pattern is called “Pot Handlers: Potholders & Oven Mitts with Personality” by Tiger Lily Press. Super simple to put together. The only change I made was to leave the hanging loop flat on the back. The holders themselves still hang nicely if one wants, but you can also use them as a mini trivet.
I came up with a nice little trick for the binding. I left just enough of a tail at the beginning to fold the binding at a 45⁰ angle. Then I put on a very light line of Liquid Stitch™ using a toothpick. I laid the ending strip of binding across and finger smushed it together. I let dry for 30+ minutes. At this time, I could trim the seam allowance and then sew the binding down. I think this is a great technique for joining the ends of binding on smaller items and will definitely keep this in my toolbox of tricks.
Place Liquid Stitch™ on the pink line.
Overlap the binding and smush down.
When dry, trim and stitch down.
Lesson Learned: I bought this holiday fabric thinking it would be great for this project. Some of it was; like the little cups of cocoa. The Snowmen and Santas…not so much. You can’t tell what they are on most of my pot holders. The next time I make these, or anything this small, I will think differently when I purchase my material.
The rick rack was actually used to cover up a slit in the fabric. I fixed the slit with Liquid Stitch™ and then covered it with the rick rack. No matter what the mistake, it can always be salvaged one way or another. I hope these pot holders inspire you to start thinking about your holiday sewing plans.