Sewing

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In May, I took a virtual walking foot quilting class with Jacquie Gering with my local guild. Her class was a wonderful variety of walking foot skills. We filled 5 panels with quilting during the 6 hour class.

And... right at the beginning of the class she talked about open toe walking feet. Did you know that a walking foot can have an open toe!? I did not. Our class started at 9am that morning, and when the local sewing machine shop opened at 10am, I called up and asked if they had an open toe walking foot that would fit my 1982 Viking. I sent my husband to pick it up, and before noon it was installed. Let me tell you... game changer!

The walking foot on the left is the one I've been using for... over a decade. And the one on the right is my new, open toe walking foot. I can actually see where I'm sewing now! This allowed me to be really good at connecting points (see below).

Here are two of the panels we made in class. I had a couple quilt sandwiches left over from a previous quilting class, but for these two 12" x 18" panels I chose a least favorite solid color for the top and a print I was not likely to use in a quilt for the backing fabric. At the end of class, I had five quilted panels. I decided that my 18" x 18" panels would be great cushion covers (coming soon). Then I decided that these two with the printed backings could be turned into zipper pouches with the print side out.

I love the Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Noodlehead. I've made it many, many times. (This is one of my favorites.) It's so versatile. Previously, I have used fusible fleece on the outer panel to give it some structure and a quilted look. This is the first time I used a three-layer quilted panel for the outer portion of the bag. It's a lot more thickness, but it worked out well, with one minor adjustment.

I chose a coordinating fabric that isn't likely to make it into a quilt anytime soon for my lining fabric. Here's a peek. I'm pleased that I had a zipper that matched my outer fabric.

The Open Wide Zippered Pouch stands up on its own and... opens wide when unzipped. You may notice that my directional fabric is cut two different ways inside. We could call it a design element. Or a mistake. But really, it was the only way to cut the two panels out of the remnant of this print. I'm embracing the concept that "done is better than perfect" these days.

While the quilting is subtle on this one, the organic, overlapping curves is a great motif. It's easy to use in a lot of applications, both in walking foot and in free motion. My daughter helped me quilt a couple of the lines.

For my second pouch, my direction fabric ran the wrong way to cut panels large enough for another Open Wide Zippered Pouch, so instead I constructed this one in flat, rectangular panels. I love that the quilting is really a feature on this one. It also has a handbag feel to it with this shape. My panels were cut about 6" x 12".

I used the same basic construction (with the same adjustment) as the Open Wide Zippered Pouch and omitted the step to box the corners. I chose to use a remnant of my quilted panel to make the tab on the zipper. Since this was many layers of fabric (and batting!) I hand stitched the tab in place. It was way too bulky to get under the foot of my machine.

And for the one adjustment that I made. Since the bulk of the doubled layer of the quilted outer panel would have made topstitching around the top of the bag difficult, I simply tacked at the seams. In the photo above you can see my brown tack stitch (a simple zig zag stitch in place with the feed dogs down) about 1/4" below the top edge. I figure this is enough to keep the lining from popping up and getting in the way of the zipper.

I love the delightful whimsy of the children on the fabric. It worked out well that I got a variety of kids on the two panels I cut. (Today I saw this adorable quilt block which featured fussy cutting of another color way of this print.)

These pouches are part of my 99 Days of WIPs (yesterday was day 30), which I'm posting about daily on Instagram. I'm focusing on projects started in classes in the last 5 1/2 years. (2016 was the first year I took quilt classes, after quilting for over a decade!)

While they aren't perfect in numerous little ways, they are lovely, and finished, and will someday make their way to a new home with a friend or family member. I'd love to hear about your favorite, faster-than-a-quilt, gifts to sew or make.

Thanks for visiting!

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Season 11 of Project QUILTING ended two weeks ago and Kim decided to keep challenges rolling while much of the country (and the world) is sheltering in place during COVID-19. So PQQ 2020 (Project QUILTING: Quarantine 2020 edition) began last weekend with PQ Q.1: Big. Quite frankly everything seems big right now.

I have been sewing while I can, in the minutes I can steal between monitoring two elementary-aged children doing school at home, preparing too many meals per day, and all the other normal household tasks. I'm getting out nearly daily for short neighborhood walks alone. And we're trying to have quality family time among all the chaos. Since I have been sewing, I've been creating schnibbles (all those little bits of unusable fabric and batting). I save most scraps down to about an inch wide, so most of my schnibbles are the truly little bits. I keep them in a little trash bin from IKEA. Well, my pile of schnibbles had gotten quilt big and was threatening to overflow the trash bin. So it was time to do something about it.

I pulled out my fleece cat bed kit from Bay Area Modern Quilting and sewed it up so I could stuff it with all the little bits. It's hard to tell the scale, but the dimensions are approximately 16" x 20" on top and 5-6" tall. The top and bottom ovals are identical, with a double pass of stitching on each seam to attach the strip used for the sides.

I've developed the habit over time that when I have scraps I cross-cut them so the pieces are small. This goes for fabric, batting, and practice quilt sandwiches. All are cut up before going into the bin, so they are ready to go when I stuff a cat bed, or when I bag up my scraps to pass on to another guild member to fill cat beds.

This was a pretty quick project and it turned my big pile of schnibbles into a medium-size pile:

A big thanks to Kim for hosting additional quilt challenges during this weird time.

I hope you and you are healthy and safe. Thanks for visiting. Make sure to pop over to see what others have created for the Big challenge.

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I'm writing today as part of the Aurifil Artisan Sew Organized challenge. (My pictures include thread that has been given to me by Aurifil.)

My thread (and all my other stuff) is stored in Ikea PAX wardrobes. These units are super flexible, both in design and in function. I opted for plain white doors on my cabinets and, with the help of my shopping buddy Mel Beach, chose Komplement pull-out shelves for thread and a few other tools. I added Komplement clear dividers on my thread shelf to help organize.

While I love the aesthetics of a thread rack on the wall, I wanted to protect my investment from exposure to light. (I also keep spools in their factory sealed packaging until I'm ready to use them.) At any given time, there are a handful of spools at my machine or on my table, but the bulk of my collection stays tucked inside my cabinet. It's easily accessible and the pull-out feature of the shelf means I can easily see my whole collection.

The majority of my thread is 50wt since it is my first choice for both piecing and quilting. I've arranged my 50wt thread mostly by color family: pink/red, yellow/orange, green, blue, purple, dark neutrals, light neutrals. The remaining five sections in the front two rows have my other thread by weight. My Aurifloss is kept in a separate container with other embroidery tools. The back row of my thread shelf is where I keep Aurifil brochures and thread which I distribute when I teach.

 

I prefer to match my bobbin color to my top thread color. (In a pinch I'm willing to use something that's close.) Long ago, I decided it was worth the investment in additional bobbins to save myself the time, expense, and confusion of unwinding partially full bobbins when I need a new color. I have two tips for keeping those bobbins organized.

First, I label the bobbin with the Aurifil thread number using a sharpie. It could be erased with a little rubbing alcohol if need be.

Second, I use Bobbin Buddies (affiliate link) to connect my bobbin with my spool of thread. I find they work a little better with a large Aurifil spool compared to the small spool. The smaller size of the opening on the large spools create more tension to hold the Bobbin Buddies in place. That said, both work. On a large spool I loosen the bottom of the spool (it's removable) to tuck in the loose thread to stop it from unraveling.

What are your best organizational tips for thread? Or for other tools in your studio?