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Saturday, April 23, 2011

iPod Purse Tutorial

Upbeat music helps me keep a good pace when I walk at work.  But my dress clothes have no pockets, and the clip on the iPod is useless, so I made a small iPod purse.  I have an iPod Nano, so I didn't need much fabric!  If you make this for a bigger MP3, add 1.5" to the length and width of your device for the front and back pieces. 
You'll need:
  • 4 squares, 3 x 3"
  • 2 strips, 42 x 1.5"
  • 2 pieces of batting, 3 x 2.75"
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Rotary cutter, straight edge and cutting mat
  • Experience binding a quilt
Stitch each pair of squares, right sides together, with 1/4" seam allowance.  
Press seam open.  Lay batting along one side of seam.  Fold over and pin. 
Stitch 1/4" from top edge.
There will be a very small bit of batting protruding from the bottom. 
Carefully trim this. 
To prepare binding/strap, stitch ends together diagonally and trim. 
Repeat with the other end, to form a loop.
Fold and press binding in half. 
Fold both sides in toward the center crease.  Fold in half.  Press and pin.
When loop is completed, locate both seams.
Pin purse front and back together.  
Pin binding to purse bottom.
Position purse away from the binding seams. 
Use pins to mark where to start and stop stitching, 1/4" from side edges.  
Position binding/strap center fold to the right, snug against your 1/4" foot. 
Stitch, tacking both ends.
Pin binding to both sides. 
It may be necessary to trim about 1/8" off the corners to reduce bulk.  
To stitch one side, begin stitching at the very top of the binding/strap loop. 
Position binding/strap center fold to the right, snug against your 1/4" foot. 
Stitch downward.  Complete your stitching at the bottom corner.
Then flip the purse over.  Start again at the top of the binding/strap.
Stitch downward toward the purse. 
Finish stitching at the bottom corner of the bag.
Trim any threads, and tie a knot in the strap to adjust length.
Your bag is complete!  
Add closure or embellish if desired.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Silly Yak Bakery

I spent much of this winter baking/cooking GF food from scratch.  But an unseasonably warm day made me realize I'd rather be outside once the weather gets nice!  So I headed on over to the Silly Yak Bakery to see what I might find.  Today I bought their Classic Rice Bread, and it passed the peanut butter sandwich test (that means it has to be edible at room temperature, and you can swallow it without a drink of water).  BTW, it tastes good too.  Hooray!

Check out their website.  They have a short (32 seconds) video that says it all.  The link below gives you their baking schedule for the next few months:

If you're in the Madison area, do stop in.  Saturdays are great because all the bakery is fresh, not frozen.  If you're not in the area, that's OK too.  They'll ship your food to you.  Some people place orders prior to going on vacation.  When they reach their destination, the food is already there.

I can personally attest to the quality of their breads and scones.  And their cut out cookies are to die for.  :)

Lavender Chic - It's a Finish!

It's a finish!  Each time I complete a project, I like to reflect on what I've learned:

1.  Just because something looks simple, doesn't always mean it IS.

2.  Some quilt kits are better than others.  Until I got this one home and read the instructions, I didn't realize it wasn't meant to be quilted or bound.  It called for completing it pillow case-style, with no batting.

3.  If you think you still might bind the quilt, don't cut the back to the final size according to the instructions.

4.  Flannel is a lot stretchier than cotton and distorts easily.  It would probably be OK if working with all flannel.  But doesn't work well with cotton.

5.  Chenille and quilts do not go together.  It stretches (a lot!) and leaves fuzz all over.  The nap should be considered when you lay out the quilt.  Fleece is much easier to work with if you want something warm and cuddly.

6.  Machine applique looks pretty, but requires just as much practice and patience as hand applique. 

7.  Do any decorative stitching last - even if you have to stitch-in-the-ditch first, and later stitch over it.  The decorative quilting I did didn't have balanced tension, which caused puckering when I quilted individual squares.

7.  Decorative stitching is a GREAT way to finish a binding - and lightening quick!

Its been a great day for quilting.  Look what it's doing outside:
This is what Spring looks like in Wisconsin!  BTW, I didn't see the cardinal in the tree until I was cropping the picture.  Can you see him?  :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lavender Chic Binding

I thought for sure I'd have this quilt done today.  What a time to run out of thread!  I'll show you the binding now for, and the rest of the quilt when its complete.  I'm  using the same decorative stitch on the binding, as I did on the seams.  Here's a look at the back side. 
Its kinda nice when you're working on a quilt with no deadline.  You can take time to  experiment.  The decorative stitch looks pretty, catches any minor deviations in binding width, and eliminates the need for hand stitching.  Heck - why didn't I think of this sooner?  :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lavender Chic Quilting

Had a little fun with machine embroidery and decorative stitching on the seams.  Now I'm wondering how to quilt the individual squares.  I want to make the quilt sturdy, without losing the simple country charm.  Is one 1/4" echo (in an 8" square) strong enough?  Or a 1" decorative echo on either side of the horizontal and vertical stitching?  I DO have a heart stitch that I've never used.  Hmmmm...decisions, decisions!  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Machine Applique - Part 2

Visited Jerry's Sewing ( for some advice on machine applique.  Got some great tips:  1.  Use the open toe applique foot (Janome F2) if the regular applique foot (F) is blocking your view.  2.  Use the needle-down setting so you can stop on the right side of the stitch and pivot on curves.  Go slow, and pivot every few stitches if necessary.  3.  Practice...just like FMQ, it will eventually feel natural.

This is my favorite heart.  Once I remove the freezer paper from the back, I can begin pin basting.
So if quilting makes the quilt, what motif is best? That's a decision for another day! :)