Saturday, December 24, 2011

Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Merry Christmas to all!  I know I've slacked off on posting again.  I've been busy finalizing Christmas gifts, etc. - so I hope you'll forgive me!  I've made a few really cool infinity scarves this year and thought I'd do a little "how to" tutorial for all of you!  They are so fun, easy and really spruce up an outfit -- and/or block the cold from coming down the neck of your parka!

It all started when I posted a pic of the flannel infinity scarf I made to FaceBook:

IMG_5270 Infinity Scarf

Warm, fuzzy and my favorite colors! That led to requests for everyone's favorite redhead to model it.

IMG_5273 Infinity Scarf

He's a pro. Seriously.

That started a "how do you..." and "I'd love one" and ... etc.!  I made a bunch more, then thought I'd put together a step-by-step so you can make your own. The following one is made from a quilt-weight cotton, but you could use cotton, flannel, fleece ... whatever!  I'm a visual learner, so there are tons of pix.

You'll need a yard of fabric.  Cut said fabric 30 x 36".  Fold that so that it's now 15 x 36" -- right sides together.  Like so:

IMG_5316 Infinity Scarf

Sew that long side, using 1/4" seam allowance, forming a long tube.  Iron your seam open and give everything a good pressing.  It should look like this:

IMG_5317 Infinity Scarf

Reach into one end of the tube, and bring that far end inside the tube, matching it to the other end.

IMG_5319 Infinity Scarf

You now have a folded tube with the right sides together.  Sort of.  Line up the seams --

IMG_5320 Infinity Scarf

Instead of pinning like that, twist that inner part of the tube that you grabbed a full 360 degrees!

IMG_5321 Infinity Scarf

It looks like a mess, but it'll be OK.  Match the seams back up and pin.

IMG_5322 Infinity Scarf

Get the two raw edges nicely lined up all around your tube and pin.

IMG_5323 Infinity Scarf

Pins are your friends.  Just don't sew over them.  Sew all along your opening, leaving a gap for turning.

IMG_5324Infinity Scarf

I like to mark the stop/start of my gap with double pinning, so I won't forget.  (And yes, I was sporting a band aide.  I scraped the daylights out of the back of my hand when I moved the stove to clean behind it.  Oops.)

Now... reach into that gap you left open and turn the scarf right side out!

IMG_5325Infinity Scarf

Because I love pins, pin the gap...

IMG_5328 Infinity Scarf

... then sew shut using a blind stitch.

Here's your scarf!

IMG_5329 Infinity Scarf

I made that one and a couple more for a friend.  You can see the others here and here.  The possibilities are endless - as is the scarf.  Ha ha, I crack myself up sometimes!

I also made a flannel one for my husband that is half as wide (cut 15 x 36") just to tuck into his parka to keep the chill out.  Nothing poofy or girlie about it at all.  Then my friend Shelli (AKA the Macon Bag-a-holic) asked if they could be made with two fabrics.  Great idea!  Why not!?!  Cut two coordinating fabrics 15 x 36", sew together ... etc.!  I made one for her and think it looks darling!

IMG_5509 Shelli's Infinity Scarf

I let my Siberian Husky stuffie model it instead of one of the boys - I like to send things out as Sibe-hair-free as possible - even though Shelli has two Sibes and a kit-cat who would have been happy to bury their noses in Zim and Dave's fur!

Here are Sitka and Shelli with the Infinity Scarf!


Beautiful!  (Both of them!)

Let me know if you have any questions on the tute!  Note:  Be careful if you use a directional print!  Make sure it will go the way you want it to!  Good luck and I hope you'll give it a try!!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Laura's Sitia Marie Tote!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  It's been a while.  Miss me?  I have lots of projects to show you - I just need to find the time to do so!  Let's start today with a bag I made for a wonderful friend of mine - Laura!

Laura is probably one of the coolest people I know.  Seriously.  And now she's going to have her first baby!!!  She didn't have the perfect diaper bag lined up, so I asked her to pick one of my designs - and I'd turn it into the bag of her dreams.  Or something like that.  We opted to go for a black, white and red color scheme to coordinate with her stroller!  (I had help, of course.)  Let's get looking at pix!

Here's the front!

DSCN2623 Laura's Sitia Marie

Polypro handle, pieced outside, nice long pocket (the Eiffel Tower), and a big, black button.

I love the look of the bag in my bare tree. I have no idea why I didn't shoot the back of the bag that way, but I didn't. It's 20-something degrees out right now, so I'm not re-shooting. I did shoot it up against the house:

DSCN2613  Laura's Sitia Marie

There is another pocket on the back, as you can see. Shallower and easy to grab whatever's in there.

DSCN2611 Laura's Sitia Marie

I love these big, black buttons! I sewed it on with the same variegated black and white thread I used to quilt the bag. It's an Aurofil thread. Isn't it lovely?!?

DSCN2610 Laura's Sitia Marie

Detail shot of the front pocket and tag. Just because.

I thought Laura would need nice, deep pockets in her bag, and decided to pretend I knew how to make pleated ones to add depth:

IMG_5153 Laura's Sitia Marie

I think they work! Here they are in the finished bag:

DSCN2616 Laura's Sitia Marie

Oh... yeah. That one didn't have a cuff at the top initially, did it? Cute touch though, right? I mean ... it's not like I did that because the pocket came up too high and would have been sewn shut when I top-stitched the bag together.


OK, that's exactly why it has a cool cuff. Creative solution, don't you think? Oy.

I put more pockets on the other side of the bag, too:

DSCN2620 Laura's Sitia Marie

You can't have enough pockets, can you? Actually, that's a divided pocket with another pocket on top of it.

I also thought I'd throw a Huffle Duffle Bag in there -

DSCN2617 Laura's Sitia Marie

For a clean outfit for the baby? Or to house diapers, clean or otherwise? (The Huffle Duffle can be tossed in the wash - cold water wash, machine dry on low.)  Or ... for whatever Laura's heart desires!

Here's a peek inside:

DSCN2618 Laura's Sitia Marie

I have to say, I totally love working with black and white!!!

DSCN2619 Laura's Sitia Marie

And red. It needed that touch of red, didn't it?

Laura, your bag should be there any day now.  I hope you can feel the love that went into making it for you and your baby girl!

I'll post more projects soon!  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Table Runner - Santas!

Hi everyone!  A couple of posts ago I showed you one of the "UFO"s (unfinished objects) that I'm working on - a Christmas table runner.  How about a closer look?

IMG_4862 quilting my Christmas table runner

I quilted my twisting ribbon/rope/whatever that I like to do in the interlocking black rectangles. In the Santa squares, I did 1/4-inch in, twice, for two boxes.  It's not super creative, but that print is so wonderfully busy that it doesn't need much.

I marked a general arch to twist through in the black rectangles using white chalk - mostly so I'd remember where I was going.  I have a super great tool to remove the chalk marks:

IMG_4874 how to get chalk marks off a quilt top

Oh, sure. It might look like an old toothbrush I ran through the dishwasher a time or two ... but ... well, OK. That's exactly what it is - and I haven't found anything that works any better. (It's an extra-soft, in case anyone is wondering.) Just a light brushing - no floss required. ☺

Here it is, all quilted and ready for the binding:

IMG_4875 Christmas table runner - ready for binding

As you can see, my Guide Dog for the Color Blind was extremely helpful in the process.

I would have loved to use the green for the binding, but alas, I only have a few small scraps of it left.  I went with black - which I also used for the back.

IMG_4894 Christmas table runner - binding

Once I get it hand-sewed to the back, I'll be spending some quality time with a tape roller, removing errant husky hairs.  (Black?!?  What was I thinking?!?)

Love how the runner is coming out - it's a "Magic Nine-Patch" block (or Disappearing Nine-Patch) ... with a little special lay-out employed.  Very fun and easy!!!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Half-Square Triangle and Flippy Squares Tutorial!

There are all kinds of great tutorials out there about quick-piecing half-square triangles (HSTs).  Most involve sandwiching two squares of fabric, drawing a ling down one diagonal, sewing 1/4" on either side, then cutting the two HSTs apart on that drawn line.  That's how I normally do mine - or did.  Now I'll be doing it my friend Pam's way!!!  Here's what she's got for us!

Actually, let me back up a little.  Just to be clear ... there are TONS of quilt blocks and borders that use HSTs - they make up the block or part of the block. Look at this part of a Bear's Paw block on one of my quilts:

DSCN2530 part of Bear's Paw block

See how the "points" are actually little squares made up of two triangles? Like this:

DSCN2532 Half Square Triangles

In the center of the block above, you should see that it's really a square... made of HSTs.  That's what we're after!  I made that years ago, when I was in my "miniature quilts phase".  Those "squares" are just shy of an inch across.  Yes.  I may well have been crazy, thanks for asking.  Oh, how I wish I'd known Pam's technique for making those babies!  Let's get to it!

(Pam's photos used with permission!)

First, take two fabric squares and line them up, right sides together.  Now get some masking tape!

Cut two small pieces and tape to your sewing machine bed.  (Take care not to tape over the feed dogs.)  Have them meet exactly where your needle comes down!  Measure and mark exactly 1/4" to either side of where the tape meets.

In her example, Pam used 4" squares of fabric.  No need to mark that diagonal line!  All you have to do is line one corner of your fabric squares up with the line you drew down the left-hand piece of masking tape.  The other corner corresponds with "the last nick in the quilting foot".  (Pam sews on a Bernina and is using a #37 foot.)

How long have I been sewing HSTs and never thought of this?!?  And never noticed that the corner would line up with that little notch?!?!   Ha!  OK... moving right along...

Pam said to "just trust your judgement for a few mm's [millimeters - Pam's from South Africa ] until the corner is in line with the marked line. On smaller squares you do not have this problem." Keep going ...

... and see how they line up? Love it!

Now Pam says, "Turn your square around and do it again or carry on chain piecing with a new square."

All that's left is to cut apart on the diagonal (just line your ruler up with the corners!) and you have two perfect HSTs!

I use flippy squares a lot. They are such an integral part of my quilting repertoire that they are second nature to me. I used them a lot during construction of the Gettysburg Battle Flag Quilt -- check the Cotton Boll block at this link. It's basically marking a small square of fabric on the diagonal and sewing it to the corner of a larger square or rectangle so you get a triangle. (Scroll down in this post in the Quiltville blog until you see "Flippy Corners" - same-oh, same-oh.) Pam has a way for us to tackle flippy squares without marking the center diagonal, too!!!

Here's another of my minis; this one was made using flippy squares:

DSCN2529 Flippy Squares

Those dark triangles were actually squares (flippy squares) in the construction phase.

DSCN2528 Flippy Squares

I love using this method - it's so easy ... and now Pam makes it even faster and easier!  Here's how she does it!

"Line your corner up with the centre mark on the tape," says Pam --

Keep sewing ...

"Now doesn't that beat having to draw lots of lines????" YES!!!

I can't wait to try this out.  Love the idea - especially when you're doing a lot of HSTs and/or flippy squares, all that marking can really be a drag.

Pam, thank you so much!  Your photos and descriptions make the process so very clear!  Easy, quick and accurate - just perfect!

Thanks to Pam - and thank you for reading!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lots To Cover!

Hi everyone!  Yes, I know ... I need to get better about updating this blog!  Things have been sort of busy here - but I have managed to get some sewing done!

Before I get to my latest projects, I am THRILLED to announce that one of my friends has entered the sewing/quilting blog world!  Please check out her blog One Little Birdie.  She's an amazingly talented artist and I know you'll just love seeing her latest creations.  Would it be too corny for me to say that a Little Birdie told me she'll also be selling some of her items?  (Go ahead and groan...)  Very exciting!!!  Good luck, my friend, and welcome to the quilty blogosphere!

I finished all of the bags I was making for the Beads of Courage program that I told you about in my last post!

IMG_4722 Bags for Beads of Courage

They're in the mail, heading out to Tucson. It was really fun making them, playing with fabrics I don't normally work with. If one bag or one fabric brings a smile to the face of one child in the Beads of Courage program, then I'm a happy camper.

After I finished the bags, I decided to grab some of the webbing I ordered a while ago and make my boys some new collars and leashes!

IMG_4813 Zim's new collar/leash
Zim in his new collar and leash!

IMG_4854 Dave's new collar/leash
Dave's new collar and leash

I think these are my favorites so far. Maybe. They're cool!  Dave's doesn't photograph well from a distance.  Guess it's good camouflage.  LOL!

I was thinking of putting up a tutorial for the limited slip collars. Would you all be interested in that? I always love reading and following other people's tutes and think I should try doing one. Any interest? Please leave a comment or email me! (Or FB me!)

Speaking of tutorials! My friend Pam in South Africa has put together a great one - how to do half-square triangles quickly, easily, and accurately - and flippy squares, too! I'll be sharing that with you tomorrow or so. She makes it all so clear!

As per right now, I'm quilting a Christmas table runner that I pieced a long time ago. I'm trying VERY hard to wrap up some "UFO"s, and this one was first up!

IMG_4864 Christmas table runner

I really like it! I hope a family member agrees... hmm...

The boys also helped me reorganize the Studio a bit. I'll post pix eventually, either here or on their blog. We did some moving around in the living room, and I "inherited" a tall, glass-shelved unit. It's perfect for stacking projects, finished and "un".   :)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More Placemats!

Remember a while ago I showed you some coffee-themed placemats? Hmm... I had great excuses in that post for not having posted for a while, too. Hmm. I notice a trend. Anyway, I finally got the other coffee-themed placemats done - in the brighter colors.

DSCN2363 Scrap Placemats

I conceivably could use the four of them together. They have a few of the same fabrics as the other ones, but bolder, splashier ones, too. Here's a close-up:

DSCN2364 Scrap Placemats

The pinwheels in each of the placemats are left over from a quilt I made for one of my wonderful nieces. They just either didn't have enough contrast or something - but they work just great for our placemats!

DSCN2366 Scrap Placemats

What a fun way to use up some scraps!!!

Here's a cool tip for you! You know those sleeves made of nylon netting that you get at the grocery store? They hold tomatoes or grapes or other produce? Save them! They are GREAT for holding interfacing onto tubes or for holding cording onto their spools!

IMG_4303 Cording

Isn't that great?  Love that stuff!  Very handy!

As to what I've been working on - you can see lots of my "mess" spread around the background of that photo.  I'm making bags for the Beads of Courage program.  If you're looking for a great way to contribute to a really worthwhile cause, please follow the link provided and check them out.  I'm having so much fun picking out fabrics I think kids would like!

Also in the design stages of a new bag.  I've gone slightly past the "sketch it in the fogged-up shower door" stage, but not much beyond that.  I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading!