February 16, 2014

The Puzzle Quilt (and Glen learns how to sandwich!)

The trick to this quilt is being organised. The best tutorial I found and recommend for doing this quilt is here: http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/ss/jigsaw-puzzle-quilt-pattern.htm

One of the great things about doing a quilt like this is that I was that I got to use 2 Moda Batik Jelly Rolls.

 Why is that a great thing? A Moda 'jelly roll' is a tightly wrapped roll of 40 different fabrics that are all cut 2.5"/(approximately) 40".  However if you have not worked with jelly rolls before you should know that not all jelly rolls are created equal - some will have 40 fabrics but only 20 different fabrics in the set (so 2 of each fabric). Others will come in rolls of 35 or less. But for this quilt the benefit of having a jelly roll is that I am able to work with a HUGE variety of colours and all work together!

So I had a great deal of anxiety before I even began cutting and it all stemmed from trying to figure out if there was a formula for how to organise the colours. As a last resort I took to one of my many on-line quilt groups and asked if they had tips. I got a great deal of encouragement, but they guy who helped me out the most can be found here at Black Border Quilts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Border-Quilts/506925886036951 He has done a few of them (and won some blue ribbons at county fairs!) and I was able to look at what he had done and feel more relaxed about the process. I have to also say that any quilter who is also a big biker guy from Alaska gets "Odd's Lifetime Stamp Of Approval" (catnip, colourful bugs and sunny spots on the chair are past winners of this)
By the way there is no formula and what I ended up doing was leaving swatches of the fabrics on my wall for two weeks. Over time I began to get a feel for what was working and where and moved them around accordingly. 

 Finally I settled on how it was going to be organised!  Then I began to number ....

and sew the blocks.
Then the rows began to take shape

Here is Glen sandwiching the quilt <3  <3  <3

 We use "505 Temporary Fabric Adhesive" but I also pin down all the edges as well.
For the topstiching I did a meandering stitch and used this funky/fun multicoloured thread by Signature



January 30, 2014

Shopping bag top/handle pattern tutorial

Yesterday I posted a tutorial called "Too much unused fabric? Make elaborate shopping bags!" that can be found here: http://www.oddcatstitches.com/2014/01/too-much-unused-fabric-make-elaborate.html

In this tutorial I show how I made the pattern for the top/handle portion of the bags.

 I decided not to create a PDF ready made pattern you could print off because I felt it would be far more useful for people to see how I created the pattern - AND it is very simple to make. It will also allow you to change the design to suit your own personality or needs - for example you could make the handles longer, narrower, closer together, make only one handle, or have greater curves at the opening of the bag.

Original plan for the bag (made some changes later :)









January 29, 2014

Too much unused fabric? Make elaborate shopping bags!

Recently I listened to an extremely interesting BBC radio program called "In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg", the subject of which was Macromolecules (Dec 29, 2011 - this program can be listened to for free on iTunes Podcasts). Anycat, there were a great many ideas that I enjoyed listening to in the program, but one - that has to do specifically with fabric and sewing - was that we are doing more damage to the environment by buying those manufactured synthetic cloth bags than if we were to use plastic.

I had not considered this before, and I'm not going to go into why it makes sense, but what it got me thinking about is this HUGE drawer of reams of fabric that I have been hanging on to for years (sometimes decades!), all patiently waiting for that perfect project to pop up. Well enough!

I decided to make a special shopping bag for my mother and a few friends to start.
The project of course began to spiral into something a little more elaborate, however NOT as elaborate as it could have been (I decided not to use the bells, sparkly elastic and rhinestones).  I have made it into a tutorial. I have made a second tutorial on how to make the pattern piece for constructing the bags handles here: http://www.oddcatstitches.com/2014/01/shopping-bag-tophandle-pattern-tutorial.html