Sunday, January 30, 2011

My patterns arrived

And now I need to get them cut out so I have them ready for sewing. That way, I can sew when I have time each day and get the blouses made in nothing flat.

I made four more Valentine heart ornaments - two are quilted and two are stuffed. I'll be sure and take photos when I put them on the tree.

I am also making time for my hexagon quilt.

Can one do three sewing projects at a time? Well yes, they can! I do it all the time. I have a few UFOs (uninished objects) to work on, including some placemats (I've made all but 2 of the set of 8 I am making), potholders (a couple left to bind), and baby bibs (I always have those in the works). I have plastic bins with each of these particular projects in them and which ever one I feel like working on, I'll pull it out and work on it. As I finish them, I'll start something new and put it in the plastic bin. It's a whacky system, but it works for me.

What are you sewing?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Heart, knee, and pattern

I made another heart ornament today. This one was a little less scatterbrained, or is it me that was less scatterbrained? I put the ribbon hanger on it before I sewed the sandwich together and turned it, so it looks a little better than a hanger put on as an afterthought. Now I find myself looking for red trims - rick-rack, ribbon, etc., to use on them! Four more to go.

I ordered this pattern today, McCalls 5896. I like the necklines and the empire waist design, and it has several sleeve lengths to play with. Because of the design, it lends itself to playing with patchwork or block color designing. The capri pants are a bonus; I really picked this up for the top (see the drawing of the pink one on the upper right - that's the one that caught my eye).

I also purchased this one. It's from 1992, but the culotte and button down shirt appealed to me. I'm not sure I like the collar in the blouse, but it was a cheapie pattern, so I didn't feel like it was a huge investment if I wasn't 100% happy with it. With the pleats/tucks in the front, it does not lend itself to piecing, but there are enough pattern pieces that it could be done with more than one fabric if I wanted to get creative.

And on to the knee - The recovery from the knee replacement is going amazingly well in my opinion. Yesterday, I was able to put on my own sock on the left foot and today, I was able to put on and tie my tennis shoe. I also am riding 15 minutes on the recumbent bike in PT and making progress with my flexion and extension as far as angle measurements go. I will be seeing my doctor on Monday for a followup and will hopefully be allowed three more weeks of PT. I practiced clutch use movements in the car today and as that is my goal, I'd like to at least stay in therapy until I get my function to the point where I can drive my own car. I would also like to be released to walk in the pool and work on kicks that I'm able to perform with flippers and without. Overall, I have zero regrets. I have a scar that is absolutely beautiful. I have plans for this new knee!

I will sew again tomorrow - what will it be? A heart, the hexagon quilt, or will I break out the Smurfs quilt and work on that for a bit? We'll see!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

February Season Tree Ornaments - Hearts Anyone?

I decided that it's time to start getting ready for the Season Tree for February. I saw some heart shaped potholders on Martha Stewart's site and thought that was a nice jumping off point for inspiration. Did I just admit that I was looking at Martha Stewart's site? Please don't tell!

I started digging through my heart themed fabrics and found a few I liked.

Then I had to find a heart to use as a pattern. My freehand drawing is not the best, so I found a picture on the web and resized it up and down for the heart and what was soon to be the heart center accent pieces. Then, came the cutting - hearts of both sizes and a piece of batting. I chose to make these flat and quilted rather than stuffed. Maybe the next batch will be pillowesque.
I practiced some edge stitching on a piece of the fabric and then jotted down te settings for what I decided to use. I'm not sure why I remembered this step, but I did! I can safely turn off the machine and not have to wonder "what in the world was that stitch I used?"

I stitched a small heart in the center of one of the large hearts with the decorative stitching. Then I made a sandwich of two large hearts right sides together with the batting on the wrong side of one of the hearts, sewed around the edges, leaving a turning area open, turned the heart, and top stitched around the edge. I did a quick machine quilting stitch inside the smaller heart so it would show on the back of the ornament as well.

These photos are the first heart I made. It still needs a hanger (probably thread) and when I make more, I'll add a hanging ribbon before I stitch the two pieces together. There's always a first! These were mighty simple, but I believe I could gussy them up with ribbons, strip/string quilting, etc.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A few tee shirt quilts

I've been discussing tee shirt quilts on an E-mail list in which I participate. I thought I would show a few of the quilts that I've done over the years for others.

I have closeups of most of these. They were primarily done with the quilt-as-you-go method and then pieced with sashing. The sashing has machine quilting that was added as the blocks were attached to each other. With every quilt, I learned a lesson. I'm most proud of the soccer quilt, but am proud of all of them in their own way. They took about 2 months each to design and make. 

My way is my way. There are a lot of different methods to use when making tee shirt quilts, several on the internet and others in books. I started a 'how to' years ago and this is as far as I got:

Tee shirt quilts

Decide how many squares
Width should be at least 60ish
Length should be around 76-80ish.

Separate tees into color piles, as well as size of design if necessary.
Set up grid, and plan the colors based on tees. 
Design any "blank" squares.

Cut muslin mounting squares exact square size after doing math for design. 
Remember to add in sashing measurements.
Cut tees about the size of the muslin, or a skosh larger.
Baste tees onto muslin for stabilization.

Have fun!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another hexagon tutorial

One of my favorite blogs to follow is Quiltville by Bonnie K. Hunter. It's all about using your stash and sewing with scraps, with a focus on quilts. As I was browsing older posts today, I found a really nice hexagon English piecing tutorial. She explains it so much better than I could, so I will provide pictures of what I'm doing rather than a how-to from here on :)

If you're interested in using small pieces of fabric to create larger items, do follow her blog. I just ordered her two books - one directly from her and one from Amazon. I can't wait to get them!

Hexagon quilt - part 2

I work on my hexagon charm quilt every day and today, I made a decision.

We have so many blankets and sheets and bed coverings that we don't use or that don't match anything at all, many of which we don't remember acquiring!, and have been collecting these things for 20 or 30 years. Today, we made a pile and went through it. One item in the pile was an old store bought quilt. The pieced side has been falling apart and we stopped using it some time ago, but it's been living in my daughter's room just collecting dust. The batting is in good shape. The backing is in good shape. I did this once in the past, so decided to do this again - I'm going to use this old quilt as the batting and backing for the hexagon quilt. It's a ready-made completion piece, it guides me to the finished size of the top that I'm making, and it's essentially free. Why throw it away? Re-purpose it. Upcycle it. Reuse it. Recycle it.

I feel good about the decision and now look forward to continuing to sew and sew and sew until the hexagon top is done.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Seasons Tree

I have a tree, a metal tree. It's been a long time coming. I've always wanted a tree to decorate year round. I used to have a twig that I decorated with tiny wooden Easter eggs. That got me started. I have no idea where those eggs went.

Over the years, our Christmas tree has gone from a huge live tree to a very small faux tree with fewer and fewer decorations on it and finally, down to one string of lights. This year, I found a small metal tree with hooks on the boughs. It's perfect for what I want to display as a Christmas tree. The more I looked at it decorated for Christmas, the more I got to thinking that this might be the tree that I will use for all seasons.

So, that's what I'm going to do. I started collecting prisms and chandelier parts (crystals) and crystal/beaded snowflakes, and as of today, I have a few. I have 9 more on the way, and they'll get here, but I have a lifetime to go.  I have some ideas for February (sewn hearts, for one) and Easter, and maybe something patriotic for July. I've got plenty of time.

The bottom line here is that it's time to carry on with things that I want to do. Why the heck not, right?

Friday, January 14, 2011

How to machine stitch bias tape around corners

I admit, my placemats are almost always oval, my potholders almost always have rounded corners, and I avoid sharp corners on purpose. Why? I don't want to deal with binding and mitering corners. I am pretty good at it by hand, but never seemed to master the mitering by machine. Well, guess what? I found a blogger who has done a very nice, simple tutorial about sewing bias tape around corners:

"Smashed Peas and Carrots

I'm absolutely going to try her method the next time I get brave enough to do corners. I made my daughter a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt when she was younger and hand stitched bias binding all the way around, mitering inside and outside corners as I went. Jeesh. If only I'd had the internet or a friend to teach me how to do it by machine!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Texas Freckles: Hexagon Charm Quilt Piece-Along

Texas Freckles: Hexagon Charm Quilt Piece-Along Another hexagon quilt. The more I look for them, the more I find! This one also includes links to graph paper and English Piecing patterns. Beautiful!

18" Doll Vest Project Up!

I love to sew for 18" dolls. Sometimes I sell the items I sew and other times I don't. I may give the clothes away, swap with others, or simply keep them. There is a huge community of people who sew for 18" dolls, be they American Girl Dolls or others. I personally have about 10 dolls, including American Girl, Apple Valley, and a few hybrids. I have some that I want to rehab to give away or sell. They need some TLC for sure! Indeed, one or two of them could get haircuts and become boy models for clothing. But I digress.

Today, I received an E-mail from someone asking me for instructions on how to make an 18" doll vest. Many years ago, on a site I used to run (, may it R.I.P.), I created instructions and an online tutorial for that very thing. I re-coded it and put it up today for you to use. I made the pattern on my own. You can make one of our own or use a purchased one. The idea is to use up some smaller bits of fabric with the strip quilting process. You're not limited to the fabrics I used. Feel free to check out the projects link on the right or click here for the vest tutorial.

Here are a few vests I've made using the same general instructions:

P.S. If you go to now, it will redirect you here. As mentioned below, the content of ScrapStitching and ScrapSewing will be here and projects and other information will be provided via's space. You won't notice a thing other than ease of navigation.

Feel free to contact us anytime!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Going blog & today's sewing is going blog. I'll still keep alive for a holder of projects, tutorials, and other information, but the updates will be primarily found on the blog, right here.

A friend came by today to chat and visit, and I got my hexagon scrap quilt out and started sewing on that. I got about an hour of sewing in. It felt good to do some before my hands became fatigued with online work for today. I then showed her two of my other quilts - a denim string/strip quilt (below) and a black and white Cathedral Window.

Now I take a break and get some work done. I'll continue to sew each day and the hexagon scrap quilt will continue to grow. Happy sewing!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Threads Magazine

I used to be a magazine junkie. In the days before the internet, I received sewing magazines and would devour them from cover to cover. I can't remember all the titles, but I believe one of them was Work Basket. At any rate, I still get Sew News and let my subscription to Threads run out a few years ago. Well, today, I renewed Threads. I miss my old friend and it's always fun to read and be inspired.

Lordamercy, what if I find more projects I want to do? Eeep.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hexagon Scrap Quilt

I decided I needed a new hand sewing project for several reasons:

1) Quitting smoking 11/18 and need something to do with my hands.
2) Having surgery on 12/14 and will need something to do while I hang out and rehab.
3) Want a new quilt made of scraps and that I can work on anywhere, anytime.

Years ago, I made a Grandmother's Flower Garden for my daughter in the traditional sense. I used English Piecing and fabric I purchased. I made curtains for her room out of the same fabric with a pieced block edge. I remembered how much I enjoyed that. I printed out 2" paper hexagons on recycled paper using a border of red so the lines would show on printed paper. Then I gathered 4" squares of fabric.

Each fabric is different and I won't be using a flower garden type pattern. This will truly be a scrap quilt.

Add a paper hexagon to the square with a pin.

Trim the fabric around the hexagon.

Baste the fabric to the paper design per the tutorial above.

I chose to stitch together rows of 10 various hexagons varying light and dark colors.

And then I stitched the rows of 10 together.

This quilt is a work in progress and is being made one row of 10 at a time. You can take your time and do the paper piecing first and then do the rows or do a little of this and a little of that for variety. Right now, I have a very large tote bag with all the components in it, including an envelope with paper hexagons, a contrasting thread for basting the pieces, a bag with basted hexagons, lots of rows of 10, and a small piece of rows that I've put together. In time, I'll be able to build on the piece until it's lap, twin, or queen sized, and then I can back it and use it. When you have surrounded one piece, you can remove the paper, by the way. The basting and paper are temporary. In the end, you'll have paper only in the hexagons around the outside of the quilt and those papers will be removed so you can back and bind the quilt.

These instructions are sketchy and a bit incomplete, but you get the idea. I'll be working on this for a long time and it'll be beautiful every step of the way.

Update 05/13/12: I'm still working on the quilt and it's growing by leaps and bounds. I'm working in strips of 11 in rows of 39. Four of those will make a nice sized quilt. I have a long way to go! Everyone should have a little something like this in the "what do I feel like sewing today?" pile.

Sewing in the new year

Happy 2011!

There are a lot of big changes in my life and one major resolution. My resolution is to sew every day, even if it's just one piece for my hexagon scrap quilt. I'll post about that in a minute. The big change in my life is that I have a new left knee. I'm three weeks out from the surgery and doing great. I'm walking with a cane, off the pain meds, and able to concentrate enough to sew again. P.S. I still don't smoke after having quilt on the Great American Smokeout in 2010!

I have a sub-resolution as well and that is to attempt to make a garment for myself each month as I continue to rehab, exercise, and lose weight.

Here's hoping you have a great time with your stash and that you use your scraps like a madwoman/madman! Sew them up and enjoy the use of something small turning into something large. Why buy a piece of fabric when you can make your own with scraps?