Producing Produce Bags

I’m currently away on a dog-sitting mission in Dorset, so I couldn’t resist paying a visit to Hansons in Sturminster Newton.  It’s quite the Aladdin’s Cave of crafts!  I didn’t really have anything particular I was looking for (and when has that ever stopped anyone shopping anyway?), but in the back of my mind, I recalled the fund-raiser coffee morning for the Riding for the Disabled Association I’d been invited to by the local sewing group I joined last Monday.  Part of it will involve a tombola with bags as prizes, and when I saw some really great novelty fruit and veg prints, I had a bit of a *ping!* moment.

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How cool are these?  Definitely the kind of thing to use as the feature fabric on shopping bags, I thought.  A bit more rummaging and pondering and I came up with four toning solids and an earthy-looking brown blender (Makower’s Spraytime):

This, I felt, could become something.  I added a metre of cotton batting to the pile for good measure and proudly carried my finds home (after getting hopelessly lost in Blandford while looking for the vets).

After playing around a little with the numbers, I cut each of the novelty prints into two 10.5 x 19″ rectangles (the FQs were really generous!), attached them to each end of a rectangle of brown Spraytime, lightly quilted the result with straight lines, sewed up the sides and boxed the corners to make my outer bag.  The solids made very nice coordinating liners, and I finished the raw edges around the top with a binding of more brown and added brown handles.  It didn’t occur to me until I was part-way through bag #2, but the brown really does look like the nicest kind of soil, especially after I quilted it with brown variegated thread!  (No, I have no idea why I own brown variegated thread, but this weekend I was really glad that I did!).

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For variety, I quilted the print area with perpendicular straight lines – happily again I discovered that I (mostly) had coordinating thread suitable for each colour.  Yay for random purchases!

I think they look really neat as a set:

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In total, 12 FQs, 1.5m of brown Spraytime and 1m of wadding was just enough to make all four bags (it almost wasn’t when I messed up cutting the brown a bit, but luckily I managed to gather enough off-cuts to make binding and handles for all of them in the end). My plan is to donate two of them (probably the lemons and carrots) to the RDA coffee morning and keep the other two.  I’m really proud of how they came out.  🙂  I think I will also write up a tutorial/pattern for them (with slight size adjustments so they’ll be more US FQ friendly).  They’re pretty easy to make and I had a lot of fun with them.

Linking up with Monday Making and Sew Cute Tuesday as and when they go live.  🙂

The Bumper Post of Finished Things

Usually I try and spread things out a bit into dedicated posts, but recently there’s been a fair amount of busy creating and not a vast amount of posting, so things have kind of snowballed.  But in a good “yay things are finished” way, so that’s ok.

Baby Round The World

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This is the finished quilt I posted about here.  Not much to add other than binding, it was an easy finish.  The only bit of drama was this:

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Yep, that feeling when you cut all possible strips from your binding fabric and it still came up too short!  Uff!  Luckily, I had ends left over from the top, so I added in just a small piece of bubbly circles to fill the gap – job done.  No, no pictures of the fill-in bit – I completely forgot.

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It’s done!

It was an absolute pig to get together – it nearly killed me *and* my poor sewing machine!  I’m fairly happy with it, however, and I’m still in complete love with the RK Shimmer 2 line, so that’s good too!  But I’m going to need some time to forget how frustrating it was before I try making another one for me.

Poppy’s Flower Garden

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It’s good to finally get this one done and handed over, I’ve had it on the back burner for too long.  It’s for a friend’s little girl; by chance, they happened to be visiting our area this weekend and little Poppy’s third birthday was just a few days ago, so the timing couldn’t be better.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t made any progress on it since I last mentioned it way back in August!  After a hasty purchase of wadding (I wonder when I’ll finally cave and just buy a bolt?) and some frantic riffling through the stash for a backing (hello fleece!), I quilted up the top sans flower shapes with a FMQ flowers ‘n’ leaves ‘n’ stippling motif:

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My hot pink variegated YLI thread was perfect for this project!  Quilting on the fleece was a challenge because it’s so stretchy – it was hard to stop the quilt from puckering or distorting, I probably needed some stabilising straight stitching first before I started on the FMQ, but once the whole thing was done it looked alright.  It’s interesting how much more obvious the quilting looks on the fleece side!  After the quilting was done, I arranged all my petal shapes (once I’d finished folding the last ones), pinned them approximately in position and then used machine blanket stitch to fix them in place.

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The flower centres were cut from some off-cuts from a strip roll and appliqued on with a zig-zag stitch.

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The binding is yet more left-overs from a strip roll – you might recognise the prints from the Round The World quilt above!  It goes with the front and the back, which makes me really happy, and the recipient seemed really pleased with it, so job’s a good ‘un!  It’s always nice to get something off the UFO pile.

Linking up with Free Motion Mavericks,  Oh Scrap! and Monday Making.  🙂

Mothering Sunday Gifts

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK, so I made a couple of gifts for mum that I hoped she’d like.

First up is a purse.  My first go at making a purse for mum didn’t go all that well.  However, I thought I could see how to fix what had gone awry, so I took a seam ripper to the failed attempt and rescued the zipped pockets, card pockets and magnetic snaps (important because I didn’t have any more suitable zips and no time to get replacements!).  The first thing I did was to trim down the card pockets so that the total depth was much less, making the purse a bit more elegant.  I also took about 1/4” off each side (after checking the width with a card), since I wasn’t planning to turn through and therefore didn’t need to allow for the seam bulk.

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I re-did the lining and the outer cover (fortunately, the new fabric I chose for the outer goes really well with the red lining fabric!):

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I used some much firmer interfacing for the outer cover (maybe a little too firm, but it’s come out ok) and a medium-firm interfacing for the lining.  The whole thing holds its shape really well now.

I was really pleased with the exterior zipped pocket I’d added to the previous version, but wasn’t fussed about the contrast strip, so I just added the outer pocket without any extra decoration:

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Luckily again, the gold-coloured zips go well with the new fabric I bought!  Because of the reduced depth of the purse, I made the outer pocket shallower as well, but it’s still pretty roomy.

The interior pockets are much the same as before, but they sit much better now that they’re not all twisted out of shape!

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Still plenty of room, hopefully!

To finish it off, I made some bias binding from left-over lining fabric (not a wholly enjoyable task, I have to say) and, after basting the layers together, added the binding all the way around the purse.  Machine binding is, alas, something I’m still not terribly good at.  Something to work on, definitely.

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The next thing I made wasn’t really planned at all, it just kind of… happened!  I had a whole bunch of 1-1/2” squares in yellow, cream and purple left over from a couple of different projects and I had my postage stamp template out because I’d just been using it for something else, so I started to arrange the squares on it with the purple in one corner, the yellow in the opposite corner and the cream between:

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It must have been fated to work, since I only needed to cut two extra squares to make a full 10×10 layout!  Once I’d made the postage stamp patch, it told me it wanted to become a cushion, so I rootled out some more of the cream fabric from the scrap box, added borders to bring it up to a sensible size (16” square), and quilted it with simple diagonal lines.  To add a bit of a twist, the quilting is partly yellow and partly purple, to match the respective corners:

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This is an effect I’m really happy with.  Some simple quilted lines around the border to frame it, and a nice envelope back from some more scrap-box fabric and my surprise cushion cover was finished!

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Mum seemed pleased with her presents, so that was a relief!  🙂  It is quite a challenge crafting for someone you share a house with and who doesn’t really understand the concept of privacy…

Linking up with Oh Scrap! and Monday Making (when it’s live).  🙂

Science! Baby Quilt

And suddenly, a baby quilt!

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A good friend of mine, who I worked with for four and a half years, had her first baby a couple of weeks ago.  I’d planned to make him a quilt anyway so I already had these fabrics pulled, I just needed a spark of inspiration and a kick up the bum – handily provided by the email announcing his birth!

The colour scheme is based on my friend’s preferences (her favourite colour is blue) and the fact that she is a chemist and her husband is an engineer, so I used the most science-y fabric I had to hand!  These are two of my favourite prints in the quilt:

I chose to do a random arrangement of squares that finished at 9, 6 and 3″ and started with a rough sketch of an arrangement on some graph paper so that I would know how many squares of each size I would need to cut.

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The layout meant there were some partial seams to deal with, but by going slow and thinking carefully about which bits to sew in which order, it all worked out well.  Because I wanted it done and sent off quickly, I decided to do a simple diagonal cross-hatch pattern for the quilting.

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The quilt is backed with a funky chevron print that has a lovely soft feel, and bound with left-overs from piecing the top.  I’m very pleased to say that the whole quilt (other than the wadding) came from my stash.  🙂  It’s all washed so it just needs a label and I can post it off along with a card and some well-earned Cadbury’s chocolate for the proud mum!  🙂

Linking up with Monday Making, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF (when they go live).  🙂

Origami Crane Cushion

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And here’s my finished Origami Crane cushion.  I’m really pleased with it.  It’s actually been finished for a lil while, but the weather’s been too foul (and I’ve been too busy) to take any decent pictures until today.  🙂

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The back is another envelope arrangement, with some nice wooden buttons I found at a local haberdashery shop.  It now lives on my bed and is great when I want to sit up and read a book.  🙂  Hooray for finished things!

Linking up with Monday Making, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF (when they go live).  🙂