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Sunday, November 29, 2009

A New Handbag Project for a New Week

After making 13 blocks from the leftover scraps, I finally ran out of blue. I was happy to be able to clean off the ironing board so I could use it to iron a coat that's been waiting for over a week.

I can't stand not to have a project going, so as soon as the sewing room was reasonably cleaned up up, I brought out more fabric and started a new tote bag.

Remember I said I was going to try one in black and red? This skinny PP'ed block was the starting point.

As always I just start sewing and never planned anything out. I only knew I wanted the bag to be only two colors. I did not want a quilty country scrappy look. I wanted something a bit more chic.

For once I lucked out and had just enough of the striped red fabric to make a band at the bottom of the bag--I didn't have a half inch to spare.

I rummaged around the bins in my sewing room and was thrilled to find this black/white polka dot fabric.
I think the tiny bit of white in the dots complements the red/black nicely. This is where I stopped to begin dinner preparations. I am feeling pretty good about it. I need to make all of the same pieces for the back side and then I will decide what lining, handle, etc.

Here is my inspiration pattern:

As almost always happens, it does not look a thing like the inspiration, does it?

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Table Runner Turned Out to Be Perfect for a Chairback

I have spent a lot of time the past few days getting the family room ready for Christmas.

As I sat looking at my aqua and bronze holiday-decorated entertainment center, I noticed that the colors sort of matched my latest table runner.

I went to get the runner.

I threw it on the back of the chair to see how it would look.

I think it will work during the holiday season. I wish I had made two of them because I have a matching chair that could use it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Handbag Handles Sale at Joanne Fabrics

Yesterday I picked up all of these handbag handles. I am loving that red leather braided handle. I see a black/red bag as my next project.

They were on sale for $4 each. If you spent $25, you got $5 off. I could not resist stocking up in anticipation of making more handbags.

So far I have made 8 star blocks from the scraps I showed you a few days ago. I still have all these scraps left!

There must be enough for at least another 3 or 4 blocks.Are they multiplying while I sleep?

I am starting my Christmas decorating so I probably won't be sewing as much this week. Anyone else decorating yet? I do quite a lot of it, so I need to start early. You can follow along if you want to at my main blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I made a Bag--REALLY I did!

If you have been reading my blog for some time, you know that I buy quite a few tote /handbag patterns, but I never make any bags.

I think it's some sort of compulsive disorder.

Last night I pulled out this pattern.

I was inspired by this bag -- it's the size of a handbag-- not a tote bag--but I thought it would work with the current star blocks I have been making.

I find my inspiration pieces very interesting because what I make never turns out to look a thing like what I was inspired by.

This bag is no exception.

The front and back are two different stars:

It doesn't look a thing like that pattern, does it? LOL.

Here is the lining:

I sewed little loops on the ends to attach the shoulder bag strap:

I think this bag makes a perfect gift bag, too.

Here is the runner whose scraps I used for the bag:

Don't you think that bag would be perfect as a gift bag for the runner?

I thought it would, so I rolled the runner in some tissue paper:

Then stuck it into the bag and fluffed up the tissue paper.

I would attach the gift tag to the loop on the side. The handbag handle is inside the bag.

I am pretty happy with this bag. It's not perfect, but it's a start.

The only thing I needed the pattern for was the bottom piece. I used the front pattern piece to size up the block (I added the striped fabric to make it the correct size) so that the bottom piece would fit.

I think I may be making more handbags. Next time I will make a top that closes because I like my handbag to zip shut.

So far I have made 4 stars from those scraps and I still have some left. I think I probably have enough left for another 2 or 3 star blocks. I am not yet sure what I will do with the rest of the blocks, but you can be assured I will show you as soon as I make something from them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Simply Sensational Nine Patch Stars

I was asked what patterns I am using for the current bunch of star blocks. The patterns are from Carol Doak's, Simply Sensational Nine Patch Stars. Here's some of the different foundations:

The beauty of these foundations is that you can print them off in whatever size you want and combine them in oodles of different ways. I have a ton of fun with these. I've made dozens since buying the book.

Last night I made two more. You will notice that none of them are the same.
Here are few other samples of different stars I have made by combining many different blocks.

I don't always use centers that are from this book. Last year I was into flower centers. At the moment I cannot remember where these centers came from.

Mattsmom, I think these little blocks would be a great way to use up your two bins of scraps!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

A lot of people think paper piecing is wasteful. I don't spend time to cut the pieces exactly the size I need them. To the contrary--I whack off a nice size piece to be sure when I flip it over, it won't end up too small. Those of you who paper piece, know how frustrating that is!

When I finished the last runner, I was left with this little heap of scraps on the ironing board.
Instead of throwing them out, I decided to make some 3-inch foundations to use for scrappy star blocks.

I also used black scraps from a previous runner and a bit of the new blue striped fabric I bought last week. I plan to use the same neutral background for all the blocks.

Were it not for paper piecing most of us would never use up tiny scraps like those above, nor attempt blocks these small.

The one with the black has 13 pieces in it -- that's a lot for a 3-inch block! So I guess you can make the case that PP is wasteful, but you can also make a case that it's a frugal method of quilt making (if you use those tiny scraps).

And who would not want to use them, when you can fit all those tiny blocks into stars with this much detail?

I will be spending my small bits of free time this week making more of them. I wonder how many I will get from that pile?

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Finished the Runner Ends

I just finished the ends of the runner. Before posting, I read Heather's comment on my last post.
If I am reading it correctly, Heather, we had the exact same idea. Here is what I did, which I think is exactly what you suggested.

Because I ran out of blue fabric, I used a combination of blues and browns for the fan.

Back to the Drawing Board

After all the time I spent trying to design and end to the runner, I don't like it all all!

The fan pieces are way too big. From now on I will just wait until the runner is done before I even think about the ends.

Tonight I will come up with another idea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Blue/Brown 12-inch Block Completed

and I LOVE it!

I just knew that this striped fabric

would make a great block.

Most people would just walk by this bargain fabric. I have to admit I would never use it as it for anything as it comes off the bolt.

But once you rip it into strips of each individual color, it's wonderful.

If you ever see striped fabric like this at a good price, don't pass it up! It's such a great way to get a lot of coordinating fabrics in the same color. I have bought four different colors in the past year. I only wish I had bought more than 2 yards of each!

I need to make two more of these 12-inch blocks. It takes about an hour to make one. I should finish this runner by the weekend if I maintain my enthusiasm.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A New Project in More Subdued Colors

I found another block that I thought would be fun. This one has a LOT of pieces -- 18 in each 6 inch foundation--times that by 4 to get one 12-inch block.

I do believe that adds up to 72 pieces in each 12-inch block.

This looks pretty busy and I had intended to omit that star in the middle.

But after picking my fabrics, I decided to keep it.

The fabrics I picked are much more subtle than those in this illustration.

I used that blue and brown striped fabric I showed you a few posts ago. I ripped it into strips before leaving for work this morning.

Just a few minutes ago, I made one of the six-inch foundations because I couldn't wait to see how it would look.
I think I am going to like it. What do you think?

This time I planned out the ends before I made the runner. I think it's the first time I've done that. The ends are normally the last thing I do. I spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to do the ends and then printing the patterns, which were too big for one sheet of paper, so I had a lot of taping together and trying to get the lines in just the right spot.

Now I don't think I will have enough blue fabric left to finish the end pieces! Maybe I could use all the different brown fabrics for the ends...I will just wait until I finish and then figure it out. It seems to work best for me that way!

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