Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Twisted tutorial

One of my ideas for the Mouthy Stitches pouch swap was a twisted panel, so I made a practice one.....

I posted it in the Flickr group - and was promptly asked to write a tutorial for it.......of course I had no photos, so I made another one, slightly smaller and took photos as I went along.  This tute shows you how to make one side of a pouch (or a bag, cushion, etc - whatever - the theory can be applied to any project you want to make, you just have to recalculate the sizes) and my side panel is 7" x 12" with a twisted panel, incorporating 5 twists, that finishes around 3.5" square.

Please note this is my first tutorial - so go easy on me!!  This is the same methodology as Quilt-as-you-go and if any of it doesn't make sense, drop me a line and I'll help in any way I can!

What you will need:
  • heavy duty interfacing
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • main fabric (mine is Kona Everglade)
  • scraps of fabric at least 1.5" wide and 5" long (these are for the twists)
  • note - use starch on your fabric - it helps when cutting and piecing
What to cut:
  • heavy duty interfacing, 1 piece, 7" x 12"
  • twist scraps, 5 pieces, 1.5" x 5"
  • main fabric
    • 5 pieces, 1.5" x 5"
    • 4 pieces, 1.25" x 5" (we'll call these the spacers)
    • 1 piece, 5" x 3.5" (this will be trimmed later)
    • 1 piece 5" x 6.5" (this will be trimmed later)
    • 2 pieces, 2.5" x 12" (these will be trimmed later)
 What to do:

1.  Mark up the interfacing with your pencil and ruler:
  • measure in 1.5" from each long side and draw a line
  • measure in 3" from one short side and draw a line
  • from the 3" line, measure and mark a further 4 lines, 3/4" apart
  • set aside 'til later
I got a bit excited and drew one more line than I needed - you only need an extra 4 to the right of the 3" line

2.  Sew your twists:
  •  Using all the fabric pieces sized 1.5" x 5", sew each of the scrap pieces to a main fabric piece down one long side and with a 1/4" seam
I chain pieced these
  • Press open the seams (this makes it easier to get a good edge), then finger press the twists closed along the seam line, wrong sides together and press again

  •  Trim the twists so they are 1" wide and 5" long

Here are the 5 twists ready to go

3.  Piece the panel:
  • Lay the 5" x 3.5" on top of the interfacing, right side uppermost and centred between the top and bottom lines, carefully matching the 3" line and edge stitch to hold

  • Lay your first twist along this line, carefully matching the long raw edges and edge stitch to hold
The twist hasn't been edge stitched in this photo as yet

Now it has...

  • Lay 1 1.25" x 5" spacer on top of the twist, matching raw edges and sew through all thicknesses with a 1/4" seam where you just edge stitched
  • Turn main fabric over to the right and press (the long edge of the folded out spacer should be aligned with the next 3/4" line drawn on the interfacing)
Oops - forgot to take a photo after the first one, but it's just the same all along - here's the 1.25" x 5" spacer folded out after the 2nd twist and ready to be edge stitched 
  • Edge stitch the raw edge
  • Continue adding the twists in this manner until you have stitched down the last one. 
  • You will not have any spacers left, but that's ok, because now you'll use the 5" x 6.5" piece to complete the width of the panel

4.  Create the Twist:
  • from the back of the piece, sew along one of the 1.5" lines to hold your twists in place
I've turned it over so you can see what it should look like

  • fold the other end of each twist to the opposite side and pin to hold
  • Stay stitch along the 1.5" line at the bottom to hold
the panel is looking a bit wonky now, but don't fret - it sorts itself out eventually!

5.  Complete the panel:
  • Sew the remaining main fabric pieces (12" x 2.5") to the top and bottom of the panel and press open
  • Trim the panel and use as you like....

Let me know if you have a go....and I'm linking up to Tutorial Tuesday over at Lawson and Lotti's

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Winter/Summer stitching progress

I think the last couple of posts have just about covered the things I've crossed off my list so far - the remaining ones, which or may not get done because summer has truly arrived and the pool is getting more of a workout then my sewing machine..

  • Dye fabrics using sun, disperse and procion dyes and USE THE FABRIC!

    • using the procion dyed fabric as my base for the QAYGFMQQAL, but haven't yet bought any sun dyes or properly used the dispersed dye 'thing' I started a month ago.  My textiles course starts on the 10th Feb so suspect this item will very much be covered by that

  • Keep up with Oz Bee

    •  first month block completed and sent.  Feb block not yet made but have the instructions - all ok so far..

  • Make Drunkards Path quilt

    • not even on the radar just yet

  • Make layer cake quilt

    • Vacillating between a Momo layer cake and a Cape Ann layer cake - will sort it out soonish I hope

  • Make Sanctuary Squares quilt

    • I'm thinking that the grey and citrus garden quilt fabrics will be used for this quilt as well - as I seem to have accumulated a lot of greys and citrus!  Will have to get off duff and start this soonish too

  • Make Swoon quilt

    • no progress other than I originally thought I'd make this my oz bee block - but have decided against it - might use my terrain gift on this one - still procrastinating..

  • Make grey and citrus garden quilt

    • as above re the sanctuary squares quilt - must get off duff.....

  • Quilt Dancing with the Stars

    • next one to be loaded on the long-arm - haven't done so yet as it needs a good press and it's too hot!
    pop by at FairyFace Designs to see how others are progressing.....

    Friday, 27 January 2012

    TGIFF - a finish - woo hoo!!

    On Wednesday I loaded a quilt top that has been languishing in my UFO tub for over 2 years.  One of the reasons, (the main one really) was because it needed specific custom quilting rather than an edge-to-edge pattern and I'm afraid my skills just weren't up to it 2 years ago....and while I won't win a prize at any time soon, I've custom quilted the top, made and just finished sewing on the binding - this was after a bit of a disaster which saw my bff and I unpicking some seriously embarrassing quilting lines from a row of flying geese (what a bff - comes over for a barby for Oz day and spends an hour or so helping me unpick!).

    So here is 'Which way to go'

    The photo doesn't really do justice to the richness of the colours

    The centre mariners compass is foundation pieced and came from a 2nd hand magazine given to me by my bff's mum - from the 1970's.  I also foundation pieced the flying geese as 2 years ago, my geese results where less than satisfactory - in fact, they were so bad the poor geese would have had no chance setting off on their migration nor escaping the hunter's gun, so seriously were they deformed!

    Just about all the batiks came from Bali - my husband and I (Queenly wave) went to Bali for a wedding a couple of years ago and I came home with about 50 metres for around $2 a metre - so even though this quilt fnished at around 80" square, there's still quite a lot of batik left in my stash - and I'm not a huge fan of it anymore - well, not of quilts made exclusively of batik fabrics - I do like to add them to quilts made from patterned quilters cottons - they don't stop the eye as solids sometimes do.

    I got a bit excited in the centre and quilted pebbling - this is one of my most favourite finishes..

    This quilt was in my Winter/Summer sewing list so that's another job jobbed..woo hoo to that too!

    I'm linking up with Lynn of What a hoot who is hosting TGIFF today so go and see what other Friday finishes have finished..

    Wednesday, 25 January 2012

    WIP Wednesday #12

    I'm linking up with Lee at Freshley Pieced - thanks Lee - this weekly summary really helps in identifying what I've actually done (and still to do) - although the last time I linked up was 16th November last year..............so there's some progress to report!

    I also love having a look at what others are doing - it provides so much inspiration - there is a seriously large group of very clever people out there.

    I did some sewing for Christmas..

    pj's x 3, boardies, a pincushion, a cushion cover, 2 stuffed dollies, a matching bag, journal cover and a little drawstring bag, and a frock for my ma-in-law

    Made a skirt for me..

    7 bags and pouches (other than christmas ones)

    2 do.Good stitches blocks...

    a Quilting Australia Bee block...

    2 baby quilts with matching soft baskets...

    14 Farmers wife blocks....

    total finished is now 72, so 39 to go

    put the hexy quilt together and am now working on the 2nd border...

    loaded and started quilting the batik medallion...

    made a journal cover for me...

    started knitting a pair of socks..

    and completed the first 4 of the QAYGFMQQA blocks...

    I've decided to review my list of stuff I'm reporting on to keep it more in line with the winter/summer stitching lit - but not tonight - I'll do that when I post my progress against that list, maybe tomorrow...

    Jump into Lee's blog (button on the right) and see what everyone else is up to...

    Tuesday, 24 January 2012

    A project for class

    I've left Berdych and Nadal fighting it out at Melbourne Park so I could share what I made today - even though it was 34c!

    I'm taking over a couple of quilting groups (from next week!) and last year at the end of term, I asked the ladies via a survey, whether they'd like a project of the month and if so, what types of projects.  The answers in so far indicate it's a goer and one of the ladies gave me a pattern for mug bag that she'd like to make - and several other ladies ticked 'yes' to the question as to whether they'd like to make one too.

    So I tried out the pattern (it's one of those that's gone from pillar to post, has been altered all over the place and as a consequence, hasn't been terribly well written)  Anyway, I had a crack, made copious notes (so I can re write it and change a few things myself) and produced this:

    It's got pellon and wadding and it's fully lined - and not really my cup of tea (no pun intended) - the fabric has been in my stash forever and my tastes have changed -  but I'll make one more with the changes I want to make and maybe use them as a raffle prize for the classes.

    .....and despite the heat, I got out a quilt that's been languishing in the UFO bin (and it's on my winter summer stitching list) and laid it on top of the long-arm ready for pinning - I don't want to pin it just yet though because I had my nails done today (first time I've had a manicure!) and I want them to stay a bit gorgeous for a bit longer..

    I had a thing about batiks quite a few years ago - which was when this quilt top was put together - batiks are not so my thing these days - this is a gift for a friend and I'm sure he'll like it..

    Just had a quick look at the score and Nadal leads 2 sets to 1 with a break in the 4th.......

    Monday, 23 January 2012

    De-cluttering, the weekend just gone and more Farmers

    I was catching up online and reading Helen's Archie's Blog and she's got a fantastic idea - she got it from Di, who got it from her sister Geri....and no doubt there'll be heaps of folks adding a 'LIKE' button on their blogs to reduce the amount of wordsmithing - you know, when you want to acknowledge you've read a post, and enjoyed it, but have nothing really concrete to say about it - I say lame stuff like 'lovely colours', or 'great block' and while I genuinely love whatever it is, lame comments create additional work for the blogger who feels compelled to respond to every comment - even the lame ones!  So, in order to declutter and reduce time spent on the computer when I can be sewing, I'm going to use the 'LIKE' button if it's available and I have nothing pertinent to say - that way the blogger can see their post is appreciated without having to send a reply to me, the bloggee - and I've added one on mine - mine is 'What's not to....' and you click 'LIKE' if you're so inclined - and/or leave a comment obviously - I LURRRRVE those........and Bob is very much your uncle, as Fanny is your aunt...perfick!!

    Last Friday, my husband and I (Queenly wave) drove to the Bellarine Peninsula and spent a couple of days with a whole host of folks, including family and friends of family with lots of babies, in a luxurious holiday home complete with lap pool, quad bike and tennis court.  Wow - it was wonderfully relaxing and wonderfully entertaining with all them babies (because I don't have babies at home, I can say that it was the best wake-up call - babies laughing and playing together - not sure their parents would agree!).  My sister, niece and I made a huge roast dinner for 12 adults on saturday night and overall there was a lot of talking, watching tennis, lazing, reading, playing tennis, swimming, quad biking and football (the AFL type - all the blokes were Aussies and have not yet succumbed to the Beautiful Game).  I even managed a spot of stash building at a wonderful LQS called The Naked Sheep (she hasn't got a website yet, but the shop is inside the Gateway Plaza Shopping Centre, 621-659 Bellarine Highway, Leopold 3224) and the service was absolutely sensational - Amanda offered to cut a FQ from any bolt in the shop as well as searched, downloaded and printed a sock pattern for the Noro wool I bought.  So if you're ever in the vicinity, go and check her out.

    just picked what I like - nothing much matches!

    and already started the socks - easy to do when watching the Tennis
     Before we left for the weekend, I had a bit of a spurt on and made 6 new Farmers blocks, so now I'm up to 72 (wow, only 39 to go....).  The Pine Tree block (no. 67) was a stinker - I had all sorts of issues with the points - I could say it was because I'm using my new machine and the 1/4" foot is really 3/16" and I'm having a couple of issues adjusting from the old 1/4" foot - but good workwomen don't blame their tools and all that - so instead of unpicking I got out the Inktense watercolour pencils and some fabric goo and coloured a couple in - stepping back you can't tell and I won't ever make the block again - not my cup of tea at all......

    Top row: 69-Practical orchard, 71-Puss in the corner
    Middle row: 72-Railroad, 68-Postage stamp
    Bottom row: 67-Pine tree, 70-Prairie queen
    I think number 68, Postage stamp is my favourite of these - red, asymmetrical - no wonder the fabulous Rita of RPQ  made a complete quilt using this block.  Now I really must make some more patterns up in EQ for the remaining 39 blocks so I can keep going - not this week though, too many things to prepare for class next week....arrivedeci

    Wednesday, 18 January 2012

    Mouthy Stitches - zoom, zoom...

    Procrastination almost cost me a spot on the very popular Mouthy Stitches Swap - this one is for a zippy pouch and a fat quarter's worth of scraps and is being hosted by Swap Mammas Susan, Hadley and Cindy.  Susan previously hosted the Christmas Tablerunner swap that I participated in - and had such a great time (and received an awesome table runner to boot!) but spent sooooooo much time looking at and commenting on the posts and pictures of other swappees that I got pressure sores on my backside!!  Given that from next month I have lessons and school and lots of the other sewing to do, the procrastination started - and luckily I was able to fight my way through with harking back to my new life maxim - follow your bliss.  I found a lot of bliss and satisfaction in the MCTR swap so expect to really enjoy this one too - the mosaics on Flickr are gorgeous..  I haven't figured out how to add the Mouthy Stitches button as yet, but this is my inspiration mosaic for my secret partner...

    Simple, screen printed fabrics, a little linen, a little hand sewing with perle thread and a boxy shape - perfick!

    Tuesday, 17 January 2012


    Laura posted requirements for the next 2 blocks and yesterday, without having another look at what they're supposed to look like, I had a go.....

    This is the spirals block - and I  obviously need a lot more practice - it didn't help that the needle kept skipping stitches now and again  (apparently that means I have to change the needle) - the spirals aren't uniform at all - but as an old Polish fellow once said, "The first pancake is always lumpy" and it just means I have to beat it a bit more....

    The 2nd one was supposed to be a stylised and loopy flower - but as I mentioned, I didn't go back to view Laura's, I just remember her post mentioning adding all the elements we've done so far, together (loops, flowers and spirals) - so off I went....and unfortunately, the 2nd pancake is lumpy too..

    It looks a bit better from the back....but still looks like the huntsman after I sprayed and sprayed last night!

    For all that, I'm enjoying the FMQ on the domestic - it is making a little more adventurous on the long-arm and that's always a good thing!

    BTW, look what came for a visit it my house yesterday..

    A cormorant decided to stop by - he sunned himself on the rocks next to the pool, then every so often dived in to cool off.  He stayed for about an hour having a high old time then flew off.  We get ducks on the water, minahs, cockies, grassies and wattle birds fly in for a quick drink or a splash, but this is the first time I've seen a cormorant.

    Monday, 16 January 2012

    Between the devil and the deep blue sea....

    I've posted before that I'd like to make sewing and all other things quilty, provide me with an income...so I've made a few things and listed some of them on Etsy and on Madeit.  I priced them according to the value of the actual materials it cost me to buy as well as a cost per hour for the time it took me to make them (and I have to say the cost per hour was exceptionally low - I could make 3 times as much per hour serving in a shop - this is not a moan, honestly, just wanted to highlight that my cost per hour is not over the top).

    I was super excited that I sold one of my pouches, and looked forward to perhaps selling some more - but unfortunately, to date, that hasn't been the case....I seem to have a few viewers of my stuff, but no takers.....are they too expensive?, are they naff?, have I not adequately highlighted the care I've taken in making them?, is my taste in my bum?..and today I finished a couple more items that I'm going to list and I have worked out how much they cost me to make (materials and time).

    bright baby quilt with matching soft basket

    pastel baby quilt with matching soft basket

    My quandry though is one that I am sure everyone who has attempted to put a price on a handmade item has experienced - where is the line between value for money and expensive?  I really don't want to completely understate my time and effort but if I undercut my per hour rate further, I will be earning less than those working in sweatshops in 3rd world countries!

    Obviously, I'm assuming that the reason no-one's buying is because of the price - but maybe it's because I don't have a big enough audience, or maybe it's because there's a recession on, or my stuff doesn't stand out from whatever else is on Etsy or Madeit - maybe I need to offer items at a vastly reduced price to 'get my name out there' and go for volume - but this then means I can't afford to spend as much time per item as I do - something will have to give.  I tell you, it's a real quandry.

    I'm currently reading:

    The Handmade Market Place:

    How to sell your crafts locally, globally and onlineBy Kari Chapin

    recommended by the lovely Kathy and hope to have further insight into 'selling handmade' success, as well as reading the Etsy 'boot camp' lessons that I filed away to read another day - obviously need to digest the pearls of wisdom provided.

    This on-line selling is very much a learning experience but I will persevere....anyone out there have any pearls of wisdom for me?