Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GreenStitch Episode 52 - Why I Didn't Clean My Sewing Room

Thanks for tuning in to another episode. Haven't listened yet? Get it here.

The batik quilt from the guild retreat is in its messy stage in this photo - just blocks clinging to my makeshift design board (aka, batting taped to the wall). I trimmed up the setting squares and put a silvery batik border around it. I'll post another photo once it's back from the longarm quilter.

Also, if you look closely, you can see a proper little stepstool on the floor. If you use a design wall, and it's actually a must for any sort of on-point setting like this, please use something sturdy. I was lucky to have no ill effects from my clumsy tumble off a folder chair earlier! All it took was a little asking around at the retreat center to come up with a better way to reach the top of my wall. I'm embarrassed I was so cavalier about it, but I hope you can learn from my mistake.

Here's the cute potholder made out of selvedge strips foundation-pieced onto a square of muslin, then layered with Insul-Brite and a cotton backing. So cute!

OK, here's one of the things I uncovered while trying to clean my sewing room. Ugh - awful, right? I have no idea why it didn't felt, but it did shrink up and get lumpy and thick. It was a no-risk proposition to cut that thick neck off and slice right up the center front.
It's still not a wearable cardigan (sleeves just too lumpy!) but I have to say, cutting the sweater and adding a cotton placket and neck binding was way, way easier than I thought it would be. Even though it hadn't felted, there was no unraveling in attaching the fabric. I didn't actually sew on these vintage buttons - just put them in place for the photo. Now I'm on the lookout for a cute, pastel, springy crewneck sweater so I can make myself a fun spring cardigan.

Here's the laminated garden apron that also distracted me in mid-clean. I had already started detaching the binding, thinking I would just narrow the bib portion. I realized the whole thing was just too long and too stiff to be really useful as a full apron. So...

...slicing right across the middle turns this into a right-sized, highly useful apron for the garden. Despite our unseasonably warm March weather here in New York, it's still too early to really get out and plant, but I'm really looking forward to using this soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Episode 51 - Catching up, and Mats for Uganda

Oh, what a long time it's been since I recorded! Here's the current episode.

It was so much fun to visit with Beth from Think Liz. You'll want to check out her blog for any number of reasons, but especially to learn about Mats for Uganda.

Use this handy link on on Beth's site to learn how to make "plarn" -- crochetable "yarn" from plastic shopping bags.

To go direct to the Mats for Uganda site, just click right here.

I won't be so long to publish another episode - thanks for sticking with me!

Monday, January 2, 2012

GreenStitch Episode 50 - Happy 2012!

It's a New Year's miracle - I posted after going dark for more than a month! Thanks so much for tuning in (you can get the recording here.)

It was so much fun to see Jim Henson's original puppet creations at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The original Kermit at the left of the pack is faded but it was easy to see how he had started out life as Jim Henson's mother's old wool coat!

And a few other links from today's ramble-fest:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 49 - Care for some tea?

Surprise! An actual tutorial! Hope you enjoy this fun little tea wallet - so easy to make out of fabric scraps. (Oh, and for the full podcast, just click here.)

For your cover pieces, cut two strips, 6" by 10" -- also cut a strip of interfacing 6" by 10".

For your pocket pieces, cut three contrasting strips, 4 1/2" by 7".

On your pocket strips, press under about 1/4" on the short end. Then press lengthwise each one forms a double-thick piece, 2 1/4" by 6 3/4".

Put your first pocket strip in place on top of the interfacing and one cover strip (save the other cover strip for later.) Make sure the folded edge is pointing up and it'll be about 1 1/2" from the top raw edges. Align the raw edges on the left, and have the folded-under edge on the right side. Stitch close to the raw edges along the bottom of the strip.

Lay your second pocket strip on top of the first, just moving the folded edge down; stitch the raw edge into place. Do the same with the third strip.

You can see here how the pockets are forming. Stitch along the left-hand edge (the folded-under pocket edges, through all thicknesses). I also used a straightedge to mark my middle row of stitching.

I actually ended up doing two rows of stitching down the middle, because I thought it might make it fold easier when full, but I don't think it makes that much difference.

Layer your pocket assembly with the other cover strip, wrong sides together. Cut a curved edge through all three layers (two fabrics, one interfacing) - you can see the fancy guide I used!

Apply bias binding. I cut my strip 1 1/2" wide, and pressed under 1/4" on the edge that would later be hand-stitched onto the other side. This is just an ordinary quilt binding technique, and made a much tidier edge than trying to turn it inside-out. It does need to be bias, so it'll go smoothly over that curved edge.

Binding done!

Now, just choose a button and make a buttonhole. Be careful when stitching the button on - you'll want to reach inside the pocket so you don't stitch it closed.

Six teabags, ready to roll.

Here's the quickie version out of a shirt cuff. I just moved the buttons in and did a very narrow zigzag stitch to join the edges together.
I forgot to take photos of the door draft stopper before I mailed it off, but Maureen will send me one later. In the meantime, here's a video I found that explains the buttonhole stitch technique I mentioned (also known as blanket stitch) - so handy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 48 - All zipped up

Finally back on a Sunday recording schedule, which I hope to keep up for awhile. If you haven't checked out this episode yet, you can do it right here.

Zipped-up earphone cords! Here are the original instructions. It's easy to adapt to use a fabric casing instead, if you prefer.

Here are the little preemie quilts. Can you see the cherry print? It looked great as backing on both quilts, too. You can probably easily figure out how to make the center square, but if you'd like instructions, try this link. I use the option on Page 5 of the instructions with the flying geese forming a star.

OK, as for other links in this episode....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Episode 47 - Rippers and such

Just realized I've gotten a little off in numbering the episodes - today's is #47 and not 46 as I said in the recording. At any rate, here's the link to our little foray into the world of seam rippers.

Bad shadow from my poorly-lit sewing room at night, but here are the seam rippers I have on hand right now -- from left to right, the Clover, the Dritz, and the Schick Quattro trimmer. Still haven't gotten the hang of the trimmer yet, but I'll keep practicing. You can see the ergonomic design of the Dritz (in the middle). It really makes a difference with big rip-out projects!

Remember, replace a ripper as soon as you notice it getting dull. It's just not worth it to try to struggle through with a blade that's not tip-top.

Here's the start of my just-couldn't-resist-it pumpkin project. I was going to use the circular doily on the top but that looked pretty dumb. You can see how easy it was to just snip the medallions out of the little table topper instead.

One layer of the Mod Podge just looked awful. Gummy and patchy. It's amazing how it dries clear and shiny.More poor lighting but the finished result really did look pretty cute.

Feels good to be easing back into a schedule - talk to you soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Episode 46 - Home again, home again

It's good to be home again, home again, after a super trip to Prague. Here's the link to the full episode.

Here are our travel bags against the colorful backdrop of the quirky little Prague lock bridge.

Listener Nancy asked for a tutorial on the messenger bag -- tutorials aren't my strong suit but I'd like to practice on them so yeah, I'll do that soon. Thanks for asking!

The kitchen rug is done and looks great -- but as far as photos go, it looks even cuter with Betty hiding under it.
OK, here are the slippers made out of heavy cotton placemats and cotton flannel scraps. The soles and uppers have three layers -- placemat, fleece interfacing, and flannel. The section around the heel is just a strip folded lengthwise with wide elastic inserted through it. I stitched the fused uppers to the soles first, then added the strip with the elastic -- quarter-inch exterior seams all the way around. A little binding around the edges would definitely improve the looks, but so far I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Odd looking, but so comfy and they really stay on! If I do get around to making a more attractive pair, I can refer to these as the prototype. Until then, I'm using and enjoying them.

Look how easy it is to make your own pattern. One piece of paper, one pencil, one foot. Just cut out your pattern a quarter-inch outside your tracing line. Make your upper pattern to fit right around the toes, then flare out to extend about an inch either side of the sole piece. Go slowly in stitching them together, easing the larger piece into place. Easier than it looks!

Other stuff from this episode:

Finally, here's the 9 x 12 quilt from the guild's summer challenge: "My Life with Fabric." Lots of textures, recycled materials, sentimental scraps from family and friends. What would your quilt look like?

Good to be back on a schedule - talk to you all soon!