Wednesday, September 29, 2010


If you're a Douglas Adams fan, you know that 42 is the answer. But what's the question? How about - "How old are you?" Yep, I'm now 42. And how did I spend the last few weeks of being 41?

Well, I made this baby quilt for my cousin's baby, who is due in a few weeks:

I use the Disappearing 9-Patch technique with a couple of charm packs plus a few extra 10-inch squares. On the back, I used a non-pill fleece print:

I still have to make a label, once baby Josie is actually born. I hope she likes it!

I worked on my socks:

Plain vanilla socks in Koigu KPPPM

And more socks [did you know it takes longer to knit lace?]

Karira socks in Destination Yarn, Tuscany colorway

And a scarf:

Garter stitch scarf in Bernat Softee Chunky yarn

I went to quilt camp, but I didn't accomplish much there. I put together the back for Big Blue, which I didn't get a picture of before I sent it to the quilter. I'll get pictures when it comes back. I also did some stealth sewing that I can't show you yet.

When I wasn't knitting or sewing, I hit a few of the shops on the 2010 Yarn Discovery Tour. I only made it to 6 of the 13 shops, but I won a prize! This is the shop prize from Soft 'n Sassy:

Namaste Binder bag, The Knitter's Guide to Yarn Cocktails (book), a pair of size 10.5 wood needles, a pack of Eucalan wipes and some project labels.

And a picture of the inside of the bag:

Now, I admit the color combination would not have been my first choice, but I think it's growing on me. Now to fill up the pockets with all my knitting goodies.... :-)

Over the weekend, I went to my friends' annual Oktoberfest party. I made a pretty good banana-pineapple bundt cake to take, which I didn't get a picture of. I'll post the recipe later this week or over the weekend, though.

Oh, and while I was in my sewing room, naturally, I had help.

"Mama, what's that out the window?"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Brick Bag Tutorial

Okay this is going to be a long one. At long last I've put together a tutorial for making those small project bags. I will apologize in advance for the quality of some of the pictures. I'm crafty, but I'm a truly lousy photographer.

First, gather your supplies. You'll need a rectangular piece of quilted fabric, a zipper the length of the short size of fabric, some ribbon for a handle, matching thread and some kind of marking tool.

I scored some of the these quilted placemats on clearance at JoAnn Fabrics a couple of years ago for $0.97. It's roughly 12" by 18", give or take 1/2" or so, and I used a 12" zipper. If your zipper is longer than that, it's okay.

My finished bag is about 7" long, 5" wide and 3" tall. You can adjust the size by adjusting the size of the quilted fabric you start with. The long side should be roughly 2" longer than the desired finished height plus the width times two (5+3=8, times 2 = 16 + 2 = 18). The short side should be 2" bigger than the length plus the height (7 + 3 = 10 + 2 = 12). I think. My math might be off a bit, so hopefully you won't get your heart set on exact sizes.

If you're using pre-quilted yardage or are quilting the fabric yourself, I recommend finishing the edges with an overcast or zigzag stitch to help keep the quilting from coming apart.

Step 1: Pin the zipper to the short side of the quilted fabric, right sides together, pulling the tab down a bit to keep it out of the way.

I pinned the zipper about 1/8" from the edge of the fabric

Step 2: Stitch 1/4" from the edge of the zipper tape.

When you get close to the zipper tab, stop with the needle down, zip up the zipper, then complete the seam.

Step 3: Pin the other edge of the zipper tape to the other short side of the quilted fabric.

Step 4: Stitch 1/4" from the edge of the zipper tape, as before.

Moving the zipper tab to keep it out of the way.

Step 5: Fold the fabric back from the seam and topstitch 1/8" from the seam. This will keep the fabric from getting caught in the zipper. Do this on both sides of the zipper.

Step 6: With the tube wrong side out, center the zipper and pin, as shown.

Open the zipper a bit, so you can turn it right side out later.

Step 7: Sew the pinned edges together.

Step 8: Now here's the fiddly part. For each corner, pull the side seam up and fold it back along the side fold. Center the seam and mark the height along the edge of the ruler.

45-degree line is along the edge, the seam is 1-1/2" from the edge, 3" chalk line is along the bottom of the ruler.

Step 9: Stitch along the marked line.

Repeat steps 8 and 9 for all 4 corners.

Step 10: On the end where the zipper tab is when it's closed, take a few stitches out along the new seam line so you can insert the ribbon for the handle. You need the opening to be a bit wider than the ribbon. Do this on both sides on that end. Sorry, this is a truly horrible picture.

And this one isn't much better.

Step 11: Cut a piece of ribbon a bit longer than the side of the bag. I cut mine 8-1/2" long. Insert the end of the ribbon into the opening in the seam line on each side, making sure the ribbon isn't twisted. Pin in place.

Step 12: Stitch over the seam line to catch the ribbon.

Step 13: Using a hand needle, tack the points to the seam line on the inside.

You could use pinking shears to trim the points off, but I think they add structure to the bag.

Step 14: Turn the bag right side out and you're done.

I added a removable stitch marker.

Oh and don't forget to thank your assistants for all their hard work.

"Sleeping here, Mama...."