I added a new project today. It's one I've done many times. It's also not as time consuming as it looks, but it's a bit exacting. There are probably 100 different ways to make these, but this is the method I use and perfected for myself. I have custom covers all over the derned house! I've also sold a few on Etsy. They're fun to make. I like to do a bunch at once as I can use the decoupage medium, make a mess, and just in general get it all done. I usually do these over three days to allow for drying of layers and paint (if you use it). There are some bare bones instructions as well. Use what you can instruction-wise and discard the rest. This is a jumping off point for you, so go for it.
So, I have this puppy. She's a delight, but she is still young enough to think everything belongs to her, including shoes, food, pillows, and anything else left on the floor or within her reach. She has an affinity for stuffed things and my sewing patterns. My sewing patterns! What makes them so derned interesting?
Interestingly, my last blog post was about turning a potholder fail into a pillow. And here I am writing about turning pillows into potholders. I sense a pattern emerging!
This is Abbey. She joined our family in November of 2012. She's my mischief maker.
This is Lindsey. She was with us for 10 years. I show you this photo so you can see one of the pillows that I spoke about above and you can see where the fabric for the potholders came from
Now to the potholders. Abbey decided yesterday that the pillows in Lindsey's picture belonged to her. She proceeded to quietly, systematically, one at a time chew the backs to bits. I was able to rescue the tops. The pillows were made from a vintage quilt top that I had bought some years ago as a cutter. My original intention was to make a vest, but there were too many holes in the quilt top. I was able, though, to make the four pillows. I was crestfallen to find the pillows in an after-dog-play state, but if you know me, it won't surprise you to see what I did with the quilt tops.
I took those lemons and made lemonade - potholders. I had a roll of 2" strips of denim, so decided to make a simple back with that. I cut down the pillow tops to 6-1/2" squares with rounded corners, added Insul-Bright batting for heat protection, and strip quilted the denim through all layers. I had some yellow bias tape left over from another project, so I added that by machine on the front side and am working on attaching it by hand on the back. They were photographed on some recycled denim placemats I made years ago and which were on the table and looked like they wanted their picture taken.
Yes, I have a puppy. Yes, she thinks the house is hers. Yes, she tears a few things up. But that won't get me down. I will turn trash into treasure whenever I can. And now, I have four potholders to give as a gift or to use.
New techniques. Always fun to try, but not so much fun to fail!
I saw a lovely hexagon project where the hex was cut into 6 pieces and then strip pieced before being pieced into the final hexagon shape. Hey, I can do that! I rustled up some primary colors from my marbled solids and made bias binding from a rainbow colored fabric. My plan was to make a hot pad, so I cut a hex for the backing and some InsulBright for the batting. And I failed. But I know why - the 1-1/2" strips must not have been cut fussy enough, the seams must not have been consistent enough, and the matching of the strips upon construction of the hexagon was off. Here's the fail:
Yuck! I started to do the binding and then just gave up. The matchy matchy parts that worked are very good, but the ones that don't match so well, they sort of stand out like a sore thumb.
Here's the better version (you can click these photos for larger pictures):
I decided to go for another try, using a modified log cabin type of piecing. I started with a small hexagon and strip pieced the ROYGBV around it. What I didn't take into consideration was that it would not be a balanced hexagon using that method. This one wasn't such a fail, though, so I got a piece of recycled denim and appliqued the now primary color flower via machine using variegated thread. Before I satin stitched the bottom, I added a piece of the rainbow bias tape I had made and called it a stem. I made some corded piping with the bias tape and added that around the edge, but not before I used the basic flower/snowflake function of my Bernina to add a little something around the edge of the flower. I used non-bias rainbow fabric for the back and stuffed it with PolyFil. It's no hot pad, but it's a cute 8" x 11" pillow.
The bottom line is that I practiced making bias tape and the piping, and used the embroidery feature of my machine, which hasn't been used in forever. I also took what I called a fail out of the trash and made a dog throw out of it.
Even when I screw up a little bit, I'm learning something and I'm sewing. the creative muse gets put to work whether I want it to or not!
I love the fat cat wedge ruler that I'm using to make the tumbler quilt for Tracey. After sewing a few more rows he other day, I wondered how big of a Dresden Plate it would make. It makes a pretty big one. In addition to the quilt, I'm going to take this block and make a pillow.
Each block on that cutting mat is an inch square if that gives you some idea of the size of the circle that the quilt wedges made!
You never know when there's going to be a bonus, right?
My best friend's mother recently died. About a month after, she came by and brought some sewing items of her mom's. One of them was a cross-stitcher organizer. It was a fabric three-ring notebook with floss organizers, pockets, a zipper closure, and handles to carry like a tote bag. She asked me if I could use it. I don't cross-stitch, so was sort of befuddled as to what to say.
Then I looked at it closely. Hmmmm....if I take the three-ring part out and take the pockets off, I could make a tote bag. The pockets would make a great potholder or oven mitt. Hmmmmm. So, that's just what I did. The fabric is quilted, so it's nice and sturdy. I removed the binding and took out the zipper, I discarded the three-ring thing and the pages that were in it. Yes, I do discard things from time to time, rare though it may be.
I folded down the top of the remaining binder fabric and stitched it down, catching the handles in the seam to provide stabilization. Then I sewed the sides together, starting at the top to make sure the top lines matched up. I double stitched this and then turned it inside out. Here's how it looks:
Not bad if I do say so myself!
Next to use those pockets. I found an oven mitt pattern on line and put it together. Ooops, the pattern required enlarging and I didn't do that, so the oven mitt was a) too small to turn properly and b) too small to put my hand in it! What now? Potholder! I cut the forlorn mitt into an almost square, rescuing what I could of the fabric. I found some matching bias tape in my stash, made a hanger with a piece of fabric that I "unquilted" from leftovers, and done.
It's not he best potholder I've ever made; it has a seam up the middle and the binding bunched in one place, but I don't dare take it apart! this is one of those "thought that counts" items, right?
I'll be giving these to my friend on Thursday. They're her memories now, and mine because I made them.