Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crochet Projects finished in the last week or so . . .

Show n Tell time :)
I usually knit or crochet in the evenings in front of the TV with the family.  Occasionally I'll read, but that's beside the point :)

Here are some things I put the finishing touches on in the last week. 
This neck scarf/cowl had been crocheted a long time ago - last summer maybe
.. but I just added the buttons last night. 

I made this based on a hat that I saw at our homeschool group.  It's not quite exactly the other hat, but it's got a similar feel to it.  Used Bernat Comfort "mixed nuts" which I purchased at Charity's

This is the same type of pattern as the brown & white one .. but it's using Bernat Softee Baby yarn.  I also "puffed" the main body above the band a little bit, so it's a bit "more". 

Following are three photos of some baby bands.  I didn't have a lot of yarn left in the skeins from the hats I made, so I made a few simple baby bands.  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tara's Favorite Bag - more on Handles

It's come to my attention that maybe my directions on laying out the handles made more sense to me then it did to you *grin* so ...  I will show you a slightly different way to lay out your handles.

First lay your purse base flat (on the floor, on the table - anywhere you have a little room to work).

Lay your handle strip on top of it so it looks like this:
If you are using this layout to test the length of your handle, then just determine how much loop you want on each end (this will be the part that you hold onto or put over your shoulder), and cut it to the length you desire. Then continue with the stitching)

If you already have your handle to length and have stitched down the entire length of it, then you can mark the "middle" by making the "circle" of the handle flat, and then putting a pin at each end.  These can be your "middles".  You will then lay your handle on your purse, and put these "middles" in the middle of the purse between the pockets as seen here: (it's kind of hard to see the pins - :(  )

You want to put your stitching right on top of the stitching you did to secure the pockets .. I've folded back part of the handle so you can see how you should line the stitching up.  Your second line of stitching will be "outside" the pockets. 
So, better?  A little more visual atleast.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green Grocery Bag Challenge

I'm a huge fan of using fabric or re-usable grocery bags EVERY time I shop.  I don't use them just for groceries either.  I grab one when I go into JoAnn's, or Hobby Lobby, Best Buy or WalMart, Bed Bath & Beyond or Bath & Body Works.  Wherever you would normally get a plastic or paper bag, bring your own and do your part to decrease the amount of trash that's created!

Here are a few links to help you on your exploration of this concept :) (sounds important doesn't it?) *grin*

Stash Books Blog  has a great article on this very thing .. which prompted me to write this post, btw.

They even have a great post about re-usable lunch bags.

There's a formal Green Grocery Bag Challenge on facebook.

Here's a link that shows you how to make a fabric bag that looks very much like the ones you get at WalMart, Target, and HyVee.  However, this one is just a single fabric thickness, and if you are using basic quilting cotton or even cotton/poly blend, you may want to double up the fabric to make it stronger. 

I have one bag that I used a regular plastic bag as my template, cut out a liner and an outside, and then stitched them together using these instructions.
This is my favorite fabric bag.  (using the standard plastic bag as a template.)

My favorite takes a little bit of time, but this one is very quick and easy ... It's from Lazy Girl Designs.  They have a lot of great bag designs...numerous and inventive.  I love just browsing through their site for ideas.

Well, that's about all I have to say on that .. other then I would LOVE to see some of you bags that you make, from any of these patterns, or from your own!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Tara's Favorite Bag - The Handles !

Okay, let me start off by saying Facebook is WAY too addicting! I must get myself to stop playing so many facebook games .. it eats up way too much time. Just think what I could accomplish if I forgot all those online games?

Anyway... with that self-recriminiation out of the way .. Let's think about the handles for our purse/bag. We will be using 4" wide strips for the handles. I have cut 3 - 4" x width of fabric strips for my handles. I also have joined them end-to-end on the diagaonal so that I have one long (about 120 inches) 4" wide strip.

To join them end to end, start by laying two ends face to face as shown here and marking from one corner to the other corner, this will be a 45 degree angle on your ruler.

You then want to sew on this line and cut off the triangle.  
I press my diagonal seams open to reduce the bulk.
Next, we need to press this strip in half lengthwise. 
Re-open the strip and press each raw edge to the center crease.
After both edges have been pressed to the center, you want to repress your first crease.
At this point, if you want a padded handle, or one with a bit more "umpgh" to it, then you can add a 3/4" strip of batting inside these folds, or even use some interfacing.

Before stitching to secure the folds, test the length of the handle against your purse. 
Lay out your handle so that it looks like this:
You want to start at a handle end all the way at the top of where you want your handle, go down below the purse and come up the other side to the same height, then go back down under the purse and come up and meet your original end. Cut off any excess.  My handle ended up about 100 inches long.

Now you can join the two ends of the handle on the diagonal, but be very careful not to twist.

Next, you want to sew 1/8" to 1/4" from each edge of the handles, plus perhaps a decorative stitch down the middle.
You can see here that I am doing a smocking stitch down the center of my handle.

The next steps will envolve adding the handle to the purse base :)

Exciting isn't it?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tara's Favorite Bag - Attaching Inside Pockets

At Long Last :) .. Here are the photos from attaching the inside pockets to the bag base.

In this picture you see how I have my pockets about 5 1/2" from each side, and 4" down from the top of the bag. I line these up, pin well, and sew (with a even-feed foot) down the sides and along the bottom of each of these pockets. Be sure that the bottom binding of this pocket, is below the binding of the outside pocket. Your sewing machine will thank you for it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tara's Favorite Bag - Attaching outside pockets.

Well, with the binding on the pockets, we are ready to attach the outside pockets to the base of the purse.

First we will lay out the purse base with the "outside" fabric facing up. We then lay the 6" x 18" pocket pieces on top, Leaving 3 1/2 inches from the edge of the bag to the top of the pocket. There will be between 2 and 4 inches between the bottom of the pockets.

As you can see in the picture, I chose to use the purple side of the pockets on the purple side of the purse base. I like this look better for my particular fabrics, however, you may want to turn the pockets over and use the reverse side as a contrast on your bag. It's totally up to you. Try both ways and see which way you like best.

After you get these positioned, pin them in place so they won't shift. Then take it to the machine, and use a walking foot to stitch the bottom of the pocket. You will want to stitch right in the crease of the binding.

While you have this piece on the machine, you will want to baste the edge all the way around.

Next, we'll look at the inside pockets.

A Lavendar Knit Hat

A night or two ago I finished a knit hat.

Its more of a beany style .. I can't seem to knit long enough to make it more slouchy .. Ah well .

what do you think? It will probably go on Etsy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tara's Favorite Bag - binding on pocket pieces

Well, I will be showing you today how I am putting binding on my two 6x18" outside pockets. I took a few pictures and will be showing you how to put binding on, totally by machine.

On the smaller inside pockets, I am putting binding on all four sides, so I will treat those like I do my full size quilts, sew the binding on the right side of the quilt first, then turn it over and stitch the backside of the binding by hand. I find this is the easiest and neatest way to do it since I'll be turning corners and turning corners on the machine be tricky.

For the large pockets, we are putting binding only on the top and the bottom, and the sides will be covered in the seam of the bag so there is no need to bind the short sides.

To start with, I sew the binding on the right side of the pocket, with raw edges matching.

Then, I fold the binding over, and pin it from the right side. It might be seem more natural to pin from the back, but the purpose of pinning from the front is so that when you are stitching, you will be able to remove the pins easily as the needle comes close to them.

You can see both the front and back sides of the pinning in this picture.

I then stitch very closely in the ditch in the crease between the front of the pocket and the binding.

In this picture I had stopped just before a pin to take the picture, but before I started sewing again, I removed the pin.

So there you have it. At the end of this step, we'll have binding on the two long sides of the two large outside pockets. You'll also need binding on all four sides of the 3 smaller pockets.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tara's Favorite Bag / Purse

Okay, so, are we ready for more about my favorite bag/purse?

The last few days I've been working on getting my quilted fabric quilted. As I mentioned/showed earlier. I finally finished! See !?!?

I had several thread breakage problems, but mostly in the beginning and end, surprisely, the middle section went fairly smooth.

After quilting, I cut off three 6" width strips for my pockets. Two of them 6"x18" will be outer pockets, and one of the 6" strips will be cut into smaller pieces for the inside pockets.

So first we trim the edges.

After we have the edges of the 6" pieces trimmed, then we move on and trim the edges of the larger piece which should be 18"x22" (or there about) I fold this piece in half so that I can use the fold as one of my ruler guides, and then trim the edges neatly square.

And here we are with the nice and neatly trimmed pieces for the purse.

Out of the quilted fabric we have:
1 - 18" x 22" piece for the base of the purse (if this is longer, it's ok!)
2 - 6" x 18" pieces for the outside pockets
2 - 6" x 7" pieces for inside pockets
1 - 6" x 4" piece for an inside pocket.

And there you go - quilted fabric ready :)

My Recent Accomplishments ...

The last two evenings I've been knitting and crocheting using up some scrap yarn that was sitting by my chair (or my "nest" as I've begun to think of it.)

I thought I would share with you what I've done.

This first picture is of a mile-a-minute doll afghan that I used up a couple of small balls of white-ish yarn, and added some green from a larger skein. Can you tell the difference between the two whites? One has a bit of "confetti" look to it.

These next two hats are from some Bernat Softee Chunky that I had. Three balls (pink, yellow, and green) were given to me, and I had a small ball of blue leftover from previous projects of my own. I still have some pink and yellow left, but the blue and green are basically gone.

These next two photos are of hats that have been finished for awhile, but I thought I'd share them with you. The green/white one is made with a very interesting yarn I picked up at Charity's in Altoona, IA. The yarn is made from cane sugar! I thought it was very unique and so I picked up a skein and knit this hat using part of it. I still have a bit less then half the skein left I think. I haven't weighed it, but that's my guess. The yarn is fine and very soft .. a nice lightweight hat.

This blue baby hat I can't remember what type of yarn it is, a fairly common acrylic I think.

Well, there you go. My show and tell for the afternoon.

The next post should be more about "Tara's Favorite Purse" :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meander Quilting - Video

I thought you might like to see how I meander quilt. I had my son help me record this video. It's only about a minute long, ... enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Beginnings

I'm going to be sharing with you a project that I'm working on. I'm going to be sharing the pattern with a yahoo group called One Stitch At A Time. They are a great group of ladies, and I really enjoy being part of their group. A lot of the time I just sit back and watch. For now, I'm going to be actively leading in this pattern.

The pattern is called "Tara's Favorite Purse" and it is just what it sounds like, the purse that I make for myself to use every day. I use it every day, I don't make one every day .. lol.

I've chosen my fabric:

And I basted the base (1/2 yard of quilted fabric is the main requirements, along with some extra for binding and handles. Don't forget an 18" zipper!)

Here are the steps I used in basting.

I prefer to baste using binder clips when I can. Masking tape can be very temperamental, and come undone when you least want it to. I use the binding clips on the edge of the table, and then use masking tape for the remaining sides.

After I get the backing laid out and slightly stretched (not too much, just a little bit.) I lay the batting on top and smooth it out, then cut it to be the same size as the backing. You can wait and cut it just a bit bigger then the top if you'd like, I trimmed this one before I put the top on. For this project I found a small piece of bamboo batting that I had leftover from a previous project.

I then lay the top on, smooth it out, and start pin basting.

On a smaller piece like this, I do not close the safety pins, because they are a pain to open while you are machine quilting. If it's a larger piece, you will want to close them, because the risk of them falling out before you get to an area is greater then the pain of opening them.

I haven't quilted in years (2 or 3) so I was a little intimidated, but it's like riding a bike, comes back to you. Must be that "muscle memory" they talk about. Anyway, I chose to do a meandering pattern for this. Although I may rethink that, as my thread keeps breaking! I loosened the tension, I changed needles, and it's still breaking. So, I am going to take a break and get back to it later this afternoon or even tomorrow. I may just decide to do a mixture of straight line and meander quilting. It's my purse, so it doesn't matter, and it'll be artistic, right? :)

Here's how far I got . . . .

Will you join us in making this purse?