Monday, September 16, 2013

Empty Nested

We are officially empty in our nest! Sophia went to school last week. Though there have been many trips to see her and bring "stuff," the house feels as if it has tripled in size. I'm cleaning piles of stuff that's become invisible, and the house is staying a lot more tidy than it did this summer. 
This pillow was just a little self-indulgent project I threw together this weekend. We were going to visit Alexandra, a 90 minute drive away, in order to check out how she is doing and drop off some winter clothes. Rather than spend the 3 hours in the car doing almost nothing, I quickly cut out 80 colored squares and 40 white squares in order to make a pillow cover. I did the gluing of the pieces in the car Saturday, and Sunday, put the thing together.
Good news! I’ve gotten back in front of the longarm machine and have put a serious dent in the quilting of my McKenna Ryan Chicken Coop quilt. It wasn’t bad at all, and I really need to do a little more quilting in order to chip away at the backlog. I think in the summer, I just can’t bear to stand up there, A/C or no, to quilt. I’ve got some inspirational new books on free motion quilting, which seems to be all I’m interested in biting off. I also got the quilting discs from the Electric Quilt Company in order to try to inspire more custom quilting ideas for good block quilts. I need a push in order to quilt any of the BOMC quilts I’ve got waiting in the wings. I’ve had paralyzing trepidation when it comes to quilting large quilts. I must work on breaking through whatever barrier is keeping those in my “to quilt” basket.

Monday, September 2, 2013



Long overdue, this pillow is a gift for Sheila. Why did it take so long?

Lexi has a new diet plan, and a la Richard Simmons, I devised a card system to help her track her portions. She and I designed these cards, which she decorated and laminated. The wallet is a redesign of those in my last post. I made a panel 7.5" tall x 18" wide with 10 pockets, set 1/2" apart. 

Now, if you don't want to make one, ignore this next section because it will not interest you in the least. Fold the panel of pockets in half width-wise, right sides together, and sew along the top and bottom, 1/4" from the raw edge, ONLY the 3 1/2" against the folded edge. Clip the corners, top and bottom, and turn right side out. Press. 
Topstitch along the folded edge, and along the top of the finished section, making sure not to exceed 3 1/2" from the topstitching along the folded edge. Now, stitch a vertical line from the top to the bottom, 3 5/8" from the topstitching along the folded edge. This closes the pockets along the binding edge of the wallet. This is what the pockets look like if you open up the sides:

Now, you will notice tha the sides are about an inch wider than they need to be. I did that to make any errors in the measurements less dire, since I was making this up as I went along. I decided to leave that measurement alone because trimming the extra now makes the whole thing neater and easier in the next step, which is a little tricky.
If you place the pockets, folded edge to the left, on your cutting surface, you will notice that the bulk of the pockets makes the section a little wider on the bottom v. the top edges. Line this baby up straight, even though the left edge will be a little off at the bottom. Trim the two sides by cutting a straight line, 4 5/8" from the vertical seam that you sewed to define those other pockets. It looks like the total width is about 8 3/4". (righties: hold onto the wallet tight by resting your left forearm down on the left side of your ruler, with your left hand holding down the ruler well above the wallet, and not overhanging the right side of the ruler, so your rotary cutter has no chance of meeting fingers. I have only sliced into my left forefinger once, and I hope never to experience that again. Good thing I'm not Yo Yo Ma or my audience would have been disappointed for a several weeks! lefties: as you have had to do your whole life, mirror image these photos.)

Now, out of your exterior fabric, cut a piece 7.5" tall by 9"wide. Cut two 3" squares. Interface as the other pattern has you do, and attach the tab with velcro as in the other wallet. Attach the velcro to the exterior panel, and place, right sides together, over this pocket thing, with the middle "page" off to the right side. Match up corners and sew the left edge, along with no more than 2" of the left edge of the top, and no more than 3" of the left edge of the bottom, backstitching at the start and stops for stability.

Now, slide your middle page into the part you just sewed, and line up the right side of the exterior with the right side of your pocket panel. Sew that as you did the left side. You are leaving a nice-sized area on the top to turn right side out, and leaving a tiny opening on the bottom to make the binding lay flat for topstitching later. Clip corners and turn that baby inside out, poking the corners out with a blunt instrument to make nice corners. Press and topstich the left side and right side separately. Now, sew two vertical lines, 3 5/8" from the sides topstitching on each side to make the pockets on the exteriors a little bit more than 3 1/2" wide. woohoo!!

Stash Used: 1 yard for the pillow, 3 for 4 wallets
Stash Used total: 149.7 
Stash Acquired: 0 yards
Stash Acquired Total: 178.75 yards