Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Other Fabric Baskets

I know - "define 'a day or two'", right? I got side tracked.

So... I loved following Ayumi's tutorial, as I said the other day. The basket came out so cute and I will definitely be making more! I wanted to make some larger fabric baskets, too - so I sort of followed the tute at this link. More or less. Give or take. I may have colored outside the lines...

In the little basket, I just used cotton batting. For a basket that size, it was perfect. For a larger basket, I knew I'd need something a little stiffer, to help the basket hold its shape. For the large basket, I used some Soft & Stable my friend Donna sent me! (Thanks, Donna!)

IMG_4165 Large Fabric Basket
The pinning stage

It was perfect! Easy to work with, soft to the feel, but even with this pretty tall basket, it looks GREAT!

Instead of turning the basket right-side-out through a hole in the lining, you stuff the lining in, turn the lining down 1/2 an inch, turn the outside down 1/2 an inch, then do some top stitching.

IMG_4178 Large Fabric Basket

That photo gives a good look at one of those times I "go reeeeeally slowly", as mentioned in the previous post. I made great use of my #8 denim foot, a 90 needle, and my leveling bars, for those of you playing along on the home version.

I was posting little snippets of what I was doing on FaceBook as I worked, and mentioned batiks about ... a million times or so. Give or take. That led to a great question by my cousin Jill.  She wanted to know what exactly is a batik?  Is it different from regular fabric?  I'm cutting and pasting my answer in, because I really can't come up with anything much better.  LOL.  "Batiks traditionally are from Indonesia, though they're made in other areas now.  They have a higher thread count - a tight weave, if you will - and have almost a silky feel to them.  They're traditionally hand-dyed, using a wax resist to add pattern.  Usually are saturated colors... really, really gorgeous."  That covers it pretty well.  I thought I'd see if a photo would help show the difference!  One of these is a batik; one is a hand-dye -- pretty, but not a batik.

DSCN2348 Batik vs. non-Batik

Keeping in mind what I said above, can you tell which is the batik?

DSCN2350  Batik vs. non-Batik
Dave, Guide Dog for the Color Blind points out the batik

Way to go, Dave! He knows the blue fabric has a tighter weave, a silky feel and is saturated with color! Dave has great taste, doesn't he?  He was  sleeping  doing something important when I chose the fabs for the large basket, so I didn't use any greens.  (Greens are my hardest colors to differentiate.)  He did come down to the Studio when I was putting the medium one together, so I let him choose some greens for me.

DSCN2352 Medium Fabric Basket

Pretty cool. I do love the green in there, I just can't tell which one/s go or don't go.

DSCN2353 Medium Fabric Basket

For the medium basket, I decided not to add the handles - basically so it would fit on the shelf easily! I used batting on the outside and heavy interfacing in the lining. I think both were good choices for a basket this size - and frankly, this lining came out best of all three baskets. So there you go.

I did a little more quilting on this basket than the others.

DSCN2355 Medium Fabric Basket

I'm not sure why. I could do that twisty thing all day, though.

DSCN2356 Medium Fabric Basket

I love how it contrasts with the double line of top stitching.

I had a blast making these baskets and they're all hard at work on my new shelf. I will be making more for sure - I think they'd make great Christmas gifts!!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fabric Basket!

Readers of my Siberian Huskies' blog saw a little fabric basket I made the other day.  I followed a wonderful tutorial over on Pink Penguin; Ayumi's directions and photos were great and I had a cute basket in no time at all!

As I was putting it together and doing a little quilting on the outside...

DSCN2335 Fabric Basket in progress

...I thought back to a question Trace asked about how I get my squiggly lines so even.  I just "eye ball" them, using the presser foot or some other visible mark (like a seam or a mark on my sewing machine) to keep the spacing about "right".  The lines themselves are not the same, nor do I want them the same (it gives more movement to have them in kind of random squiggles).  Check the back of what I was sewing on above:

DSCN2337 Fabric Basket in progress

See what I mean? The squiggles were placed at seam lines, but I didn't give a lot of thought or care to how the squigs were squiggling. Does that make sense to anyone out there? I may have lost myself on that one. Let's move on.

When I do want straight lines, I just go reeeeeeeeeeally slowly, using the presser foot and the edge of the fabric or the line of stitches as guides.

DSCN2339 Fabric Basket in progress

Some people use a double needle (twin needles that plug into your machine) but I have only used a double needle once (in my "How To Use Your Bernina" class) and I wasn't terribly comfortable with the process. I'm not sure exactly what the problem was, but I just don't have any double needles and can do the double top-stitching without it... so there you go.

Ayumi has you leave an opening in your lining, so you sew the two "sides" (outside of the basket and the lining) together completely, then turn it right side out through that opening.

IMG_4121 Fabric Basket in progress
 Don't text and sew. 

Oops. Yes, I sewed it together wrong and my lining was inside out... but that's OK; I was having fun texting with a friend - and that's why God gave us seam rippers.

The little basket came together in no time at all. My trusty Guide Dog for the Color Blind helped me choose the fabrics (I will NOT use green unless he comes to the Studio to help me!) and was pleased with our joint effort. He posed with the basket and I did a little special effects on the pic:

IMG_4126 Fabric Basket

We're a good team!

DSCN2345 Fabric Basket

I've since made a couple larger fabric baskets. I have a new shelf in my bathroom and am using the baskets for storage on it. I'll show you those in a day or two!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fruit Stripe Gum

IMG_4043 Fruit Stripe Gum quilt

I more or less made this up as I went along, using a roll of 2.5" strips my cousin Jill sent me. I had a vague idea in my head and went with it. I think the blocks only took a few hours to put together.

I sewed the blocks together into the top yesterday afternoon:

IMG_4056 Fruit Stripe Gum quilt

In the back of my mind, while I worked on it, was a gum I used to love when I was a kid. I could picture it, but couldn't come up with the name. My hubby Googled it for me last night - Fruit Stripe Gum!!! Remember that?!?  See the connection?  Ha!  I love it!  Maybe I need to put some zebra stripes on there somewhere.  Maybe the back.

Speaking of which... here's what I'm probably using for the back:

IMG_4057 Fruit Stripe Gum quilt

The pink, the green, the purple, and frankly, probably some of that green, too.  Oh.  And I'm binding using the pink and blue.  Because... yes.  I used the whole roll of 2.5" strips for the top, so I have no more of any of those fabs.  Oops.  Maybe these new fabs would blend in better if I did throw some of the zebra stripe in...

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm As Shocked As You Are!

I am.  I STILL am, even though I finished this little project several days ago.  Why so shocked?  Because not only did I do pleats again, I put in a ... brace yourselves ... zipper. That's right, I said it - the "Z" word!  (Insert audible gasps here from those of you who know me.)

I decided to follow this great tute for a Pleated Pouch; I saw it quite a while ago and it's been hovering in my InstaPaper queue pleading with me to make it. I finally forced myself to try it ... and wow.   I did it!   I put in a zipper!!!!

Look!  A zipper!!!  And I lived to tell about it!!!

Yeah, OK, I did insert a zipper once before, but that was years ago and was sort of one of those "OK, I've done it, now I don't ever have to do it again" things. Sort of like inset Y-seams or mitered corners. LOL! Just kidding. (Kind of.)

The tutorial was very well-written and well-photographed, so the little pouch came together in no time at all!


Totally cute and totally wild batiks and I love it!


There's a chance I'll be trying this again.  I can't believe I'm writing that.  About a ZIPPERed pouch.  Wow.  Shocking!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Batik Braid Tutorial

Thanks for joining us, everyone!  I have a special treat for all of us today - my friend Donna is my first guest blogger!  Donna and I "met" over the internet about 10 years ago through our common love of Siberian Huskies.  I'm happy to report that she has caught the quilting bug lately (yea!) and has also joined the ranks of Bernina converts (yea! again).  It's been so fun seeing the quilt spark catch fire in her - and wow, her skills already blow me away!

One of Donna's recent projects is a VERY cool table runner.  Along the edges, she used a Batik Braid she made from half hexagons.  I just smiled like crazy when she told me she was watching a TV show about the process... and was already dissecting everything in her head with the "I could figure out how to do that".  ☺  She made the table runner for a fund raiser for Harnessed to Hope Northern Breed Rescue using her technique - and wrote up a tutorial for all of us along the way!!!  Without further ado, here is Donna's tute!

Batik Braid Made from Half Hexagons
Used on Batik Dog Sled Table Runner
Donna Gazda
Note:   I saw this braid made on a TV show.  I thought it would be perfect for a table runner.
Pic 1
I made the above batik braid strip using the 2-1/4” half hexagon template from the Marti Michell Set G template set. Her templates already include the ¼” seam allowance. There is also a 1-1/2” half hexagon template in the Set G package, along with full hexagon templates, along with other templates. 
Below is the Batik Dog Sled Runner with the batik braid:
Pic 2
I used 10 different batik fabrics for this braid and used the 2-1/4” half hexagon template. I cut 2-1/4” strips from each piece of fabric (the strips were cut crosswise grain – selvage to selvage edge). Fabric was folded in half (selvage edge to selvage edge). Using the 2-1/4” template, I was able to get 5 cuts of half hexagons for a total of 10 half hexagons.    
Alternate the template (as shown below) to cut the half hexagons.Pic 3
 By using an even number of fabric strips, when they were sewn together, the same 5 fabrics ended up on the same size. I think if you use an odd number of strips, the half hexagons will alternate on both sides of the braid strip.
I took the template and laid it in the manner in which you will lay out your pieces and sew them together. See first picture below. The second picture shows all the fabric hexagons that I used.
Pic 4

Pic 5
Lay piece 1 onto piece 2 as shown below (right sides together) and sew using ¼” seam allowance. Press piece #1 down.
Pic 6

Pic 7
 Lay piece #3 across pieces 1 and 2. Stitch as shown. Press piece #3 up with seam toward pieces 1 and 2, as shown below:
Pic 8

Pic 9
 Lay piece #4 across pieces 2 and 3. Stitch as shown. Press piece #4 up with seam toward pieces 2 and 3, as shown below:
Pic 10

Pic 11
 Lay piece #5 across pieces 4 and 3. Stitch as shown. Press piece #5 up with seam toward pieces 4 and 3, as shown below:
Pic 12

Pic 13
 Lay piece #6 across pieces 4 and 5. Stitch as shown. Press piece #6 up with seam toward pieces 4 and 5, as shown below:
Pic 14

Pic 15
 Keeping sewing your half hexagons together until you get your desired length you need for your quilt. Square off the bottom and top of your strip, then sew onto your quilt.
Pic 16
 Finished length should look like this (above).
 Squaring off bottom and top of strip….see below.
Pic 17

Pic 18
 And a look at squaring up the top:
Pic 19

(Note from KZK: Hmm... something tells me Donna has already started ANOTHER braid!)

Here is a look at what the back of your braid should look like, prior to squaring it up:
Pic 20

Wow!  Donna, thank you so much!  You really made it look so "do-able" and I can't wait to try it out!

Now, for those of us who don't have Marti Michell's templates, Donna says you can really use any size of half hexagon and any size strips.  Just remember that if you use a whole hexie -- add the 1/4" seam allowance beyond that "half way" line.  Hopefully this photo will help explain:


See there on the right, how the "half hexie" extends an extra 1/4" beyond the center of the full hexie?? That's what you need to do! And you can ALWAYS order a set of your own Marti Michell templates at this link. Donna used the "G" set for her runner!

For another great tutorial on this technique, please check out Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company's video tute at
this link.

If any of you try Donna's tute out - let us know how it goes for you!

Thanks again, Donna - and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Checking In and a Special Announcement!

Hi everyone!  Sorry it's been a while since I've posted.  It's been a little crazy here!  I've finished up a couple things (will fill you in eventually!) and have just sort of played around a bit in the Studio.  Remember the second of the two blue and white table runners?  It's finally all set to go.

DSCN2248 Blue & White Table Runner II

I think this one is my fave of the two. Oh, I know - the fabs are identical on the front --- but I did squiggly-like quilting on this one and I think it adds a certain flow. Or something.

DSCN2249 Blue & White Table Runner II

Don't you think? Compare it to the photos of the other one found here. Just a matter of preference.

Here's a look at the back, too:

DSCN2250 Blue & White Table Runner II

This one is more "me".

Speaking of me - or not - I have a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT to make!!!  I've lined up a guest blogger!!!  A friend of mine who professes to be a "beginner" quilter (ha!  yeah, sure, she just started, but my WORD, she is already doing amazing things!!!) made an awesome table runner using a "half-hexagon braid" technique.  It's just STUNNING!  She put together a great tutorial for all of us that I'll post tomorrow!  So grab your friends and come on back - I can't WAIT to try her technique!!!

Thanks for reading!