A Fun Fabric Bowl

Recently C&T sent the book shown below for my review, and included a package of Fast2Fuse in the same shipment. What’s a girl to do? I made a bowl!

Photo courtesy of C&T

Here’s how it went, in case you’d like to do the same.

The first thing I did was read the book, and this was important because the organization of the chapters is unique.  Each step in the process of bowl making has its own chapter; e.g., one chapter tells how to make the outer shell, another chapter gives instruction for the inside of the bowl.  There are multiple options for several types of bowls, which adds another layer of complexity and many more options.  

The instructions are clear, but it’s important to have a handle on where the various types of instructions are before starting.  Of course, with any project it’s important to read the instructions through first, so this is nothing new.

The author discusses options for various materials to stiffen the bowl.  She discusses different fabric options as well, including special instructions so you can use directional fabric successfully. 

I thought I’d better do the first one with non-directional fabric!  Fast2Fuse worked great as the base for the fabrics.  I hadn’t tried it before, and it made a significant improvement on my previous bowl making attempts.

The whole thing went together without difficulty in about half a day.  This is the 9″ size, but the book has options for multiple sizes including an 18 inch bowl!

I enjoyed this project and, as noted above, it was easier to get right than my previous bowl-making attempts.  

Here are links to information on the book and on Fast2Fuse:

Modern Fabric Art Bowls

Fast2Fuse heavy double-sided fusible.  This comes in several sizes and in light, medium, or heavy weight.  I used the heavy weight and it worked well for this project. I would choose it for structured bags in the future.

Note: The links in this post do not provide income for me; they are for your convenience only.  C&T provides books and products for me to review, and I choose the ones I like best to present here.

 

10 Fun Items (that aren’t quilt books)

You probably know that I have loved getting to review quilt books for C&T this past year. What you may not know is that C&T has so much more than quilt books. Here are 10 of my favorites:

10. Diamond Star Quilts by Barbara H. Cline. It may look like a quilt book, but it’s actually a whole method for making those extremely elaborate-looking star quilts that most of us drool over. If you’ve been wanting to make one of those, this may be the tool for you.

9. Zakka Wool Applique by Minki Kim is full of very cute projects including baskets, bags, and home dec.  If you want to craft with “woolies” as my friends call them, this book has a number of cute and useful projects.

8. Kim Schaefer’s Calendar Candle Mats is a packet with full-size patterns for cute little mats made with fusible applique and embroidery.  She calls them candle mats, but I think they would be good mug rugs, too.  Presents for school teachers come to mind, and teachers certainly deserve gifts this year!

7. Who knew there was a puzzle book for quilters?!?  Yep, More Happy Quilter Variety Puzzles, Volume 3, is just such a book.  There are crosswords, logic puzzles, and more.

6. Everyday Embroidery for Modern Stitchers makes me want to take up embroidery again.  The book has iron-on transfer patterns included (I remember those from back in the day!).  The designs are intended to appeal to young people, but some of us “older” folks like them, too!

5.Botanical Embroidery, by Brian Haggard, is a packet with instructions and iron-on transfers for more traditional motifs.  The designs are gorgeous and would go especially well with heirloom projects. 

4. Bags!  C&T makes bags!  There’s everything from pouches to this large tote, all made from recycled water bottles.  They are water resistant and suitable for carrying things like pens and knitting needles that might poke through other bags.  Here’s the large holiday tote:

3.  The perfect hand applique paper, at last!  Oh, yes, it has every feature I want!  It is fusible on one side and, best of all, it is water soluble!  Yes!  Just iron it on, applique as usual, and the paper goes away when you wash your item.  This is some of the best news of the year for those of us who don’t like picking paper out of projects! 

2. The Foolproof Color Workbook is mostly a coloring book for adults with beautiful mandala-like designs to use for experimenting with color combinations.  It’s nice, but my very favorite color tool is the #1 item on this list.

And my #1: The Foolproof Color Wheel Set created by Katie Fowler is the best single tool I’ve seen for working with color.  There are 10 disks demonstrating the various ways in which colors can be combined (analogous, complementary, etc).  I like this because it simply cuts through all the color-related vocabulary that bogs people down (tints, shades, color triad, blah, blah) and provides concrete, visible examples. It is my favorite tool of the year.  If you struggle with choosing colors, I recommend it.

What is your favorite tool of the year?

Before and After

First, just to say I’m making masks like everybody else. I did verify where they are actually needed locally before I started. Enough said.
Now, back BEFORE everything was turned on its ear, we had this fun “Easier Than It Looks” class at Studio Stitch. It was fun to see the fabric choices!

And best of all, Betti sent me a picture of her finished top!  I think it’s spectacular!

One of these days the pandemic will be contained and we’ll have classes again.  See you then!  I will continue to post about quilts weekly; you can just take it on faith that I’m washing my hands and leaving home only to deliver the masks I’ve made 🙂  Take care!

Kraft-Tex Christmas

One of our Christmas traditions is re-usable gift wrap.  I’ve made a number of fabric bags for the purpose over the years, and we have lots of hemmed lengths of holiday fabric that we use for Furoshiki style gift wrap.  (Here’s a link if you want to see an expert doing a Furoshiki style wrap.)

Enter the red Kraft-Tex recently sent by C&T for me to experiment with.  From the time I saw it, I wanted to make a flower to decorate a holiday package.  It took a good bit of experimentation, but here’s what i came up with;

This is the Crimson color of hand-dyed, prewashed Kraft-Tex

I started by cutting pointed ovals about 2″ long and then sewing a little dart in one end to make them 3-dimensional.  I did tie a knot a the point of the dart, but there was no problem with back-stitching at the other end.

I glued the petals to a button with a concave surface to give them some support, then glued a piece of discarded costume jewelry in the middle.  I’m going to glue an alligator clip on the back for attaching the flower to the package.

You may wonder how this flower will do being stored with the wraps between holidays.  The answer is: just fine!  Read on for why.

This color is “Sapphire”

I recently made this little pyramid bag from Kraft-Tex (free pattern here, if you’re interested).  There was no need for batting between layers because the Kraft-Tex has enough body to hold the bag up.

It took some DOING to get this little bag turned right side out after construction because it’s so tiny.  The material actually looked better after all that squishing and twisting than it did before!  There were no permanent creases in it, and it looks much more like leather now that it’s been manipulated a lot.  So, as I’ve said before: was the Kraft-Tex, crumple it in your hands, etc, etc.  It just improves the appearance.Please note:  C&T provides Kraft-Tex for me to play with, but the links in this post are for your convenience.  I do not make money when you buy from them.

Kraft-Tex Tray

The folks at C&T just sent me a package of the beautiful new hand-dyed, prewashed, Kraft-Tex. (Please note that they provide this to me with no obligation and I do not get a kickback if you buy it.  However, if your local quilt shop doesn’t carry it, you can get it directly from C&T here.)

The denim blue called to me first, and I needed a little tray to go beside my machine.  Unless my tools are “corralled” they tend to roll or bounce off the table when I sew.  The fabric tray I’ve been using was looking a little tired (the sides had sort of collapsed) and I thought Kraft-Tex would be a good material for making a sturdier tool tray.

I made a prototype from cardboard first to figure out the best size and shape for my tools.  Here are instructions for making the tray in case you want one, too:

Cut the Kraft-Tex 6-1/2″ x 8″ and mark (with a heat-erasable pen) 1″ in from each side.  Put a #70 needle in the sewing machine, lengthen the stitch a little, and remove the thread.  Stitch around the central rectangle without thread to mark the edges of the tray base and kind of score the Kraft-Tex so it will fold well on those lines.  Fold and press along these lines–it’s fine to fold all the way to the edge even though it wasn’t necessary to sew that far.

This picture was taken later in the process, but you can see where the material was pressed along the fold lines.  You can press either with or without steam; both work fine without distorting the Kraft-Tex.

Select your lining fabric and cut it 1″ bigger than the Kraft-Tex in both length and width; my lining fabric was cut 7-1/2″ x 9″.  Fuse the lining material to some stiff interfacing, then apply Heat’n’Bond or your favorite fusible web to the interfacing.

Once all of that is fused, cut the lining down to 7″ x 8-1/2″ using either a pinking blade in your rotary cutter or your pinking shears.  Or, if you don’t want a decorative edge, just cut the edge straight.  NOTE that if you use a pinking blade in your rotary cutter, you will want to cut on the back side of your cutting mat because the blade can kind of chew up the mat.  Also, the blade will chew up the edge of your ruler, so either use an old ruler or cut about 1/8″ away from the ruler.

Now lay the Kraft-Tex down on the fusible side of the trimmed lining.  Note that Kraft-Tex has a slightly different texture on each side, but there is no “right” side–use the one you like best.  Get everything centered, then turn the decorative edge to the outside and clip it in place with something heatproof. Fuse the edges, then the central part of the lining, to the Kraft-Tex.  Again, you can use steam if it helps.

Now put some thread in the machine!  Sew around the edges of the tray bottom where you previously pressed the sides up.  I marked the edges again with heat-erasable marker to make this easier.  This step will help hold the lining in place.  Edge stitch around the upper edge of the tray as well

Now don’t do what I did 😉  I mistakenly cut out all 4 corners on my first box.  Just cut one side of each corner to create a flap that can be used to hold the box together!

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the corner will look finished–see the flaps?

Fold and press the box along the stitching lines bordering the bottom.  Fold the flaps in and glue or sew them in place.  I glued them, then sewed a decorative X in each corner.  I used the awl shown in the picture to punch little holes for the needle to go through when I made the X stitches by hand.

And that’s it!  The resulting tray looks plenty sturdy to hold those little tools beside my machine.  And besides, it was fun to make something new!

What have you been up to?

Kraft-Tex Baskets

When I finish a quilt, I cut the scraps into usable sizes.  If there’s enough for strips, I cut them and store them in bins by width.  If there are chunks that make good squares for the next scrap quilt (I always have at least one in progress), I cut those and toss them in a pile for use the next time I have a scrap quilt day.scrap block, slabs, scrap quilt

About those piles…it’s easy for the studio to be a mess, so I thought I should have a basket to hold the scrap quilt pieces until I’m ready to make the blocks!  I found a free pattern by Noodlehead that makes baskets in two sizes; you can get it here.

I made the baskets out of some of the Kraft-Tex sent to me by C&T when I agreed to be a Kraft-Tex ambassador.  The patterns have only the corner seams, which are 1/4″, so they worked out very well for Kraft-Tex.  For the smaller one, I did not use any interfacing, but for the larger one I used fusible interfacing as instructed.  Yes, it fused to the Kraft-Tex just fine.  I ironed from the interfacing side, using a press cloth, and it adhered to the Kraft-Tex without difficulty.

I made another one of the larger baskets, adding a handle, and am thinking of hanging it in the laundry room to hold stray socks.  (Although, really, does a missing sock ever show up, or is this a futile plan?)  This picture better shows the lovely color of the Kraft-Tex, which is one of the newer pre-washed offerings.

One final benefit of these baskets–they were fully washable. I have washed Kraft-Tex  in the past, and it came out just fine.   Now to organize some scraps!

Three Bag Patterns That Were Worth Paying For

Just as there are lots of great free bag patterns, there are many excellent patterns for sale on the internet. Here are 3 of my favorites.

1. Divided Basket.  This is another pattern from Noodlehead, who also designed one of my favorite free patterns.  The instructions are excellent and the divided basket is cute.  It was just right for a diaper basket for the changing table for my grandson.  It is available here.

fabric basket

Divided basket made from pattern by Noodlehead

2. Clothesline bag/basket.  This pattern is from Indygo Junction and was much easier to do than I had anticipated.  You can read my review of it here, or buy it here.

3. Sweetpea Pods, by Lazy Girl Designs..  This little bag was so.much.fun that I made more than a few!  Once you learn the zipper trick it is easy, quick, and so satisfying.  I’ve given away many of them and I keep a couple on hand for when I need a little gift for someone.  (Of course it should contain chocolate!).  I even gave one to a male friend, and rather than ask “what the heck” he said he’d use it to carry his guitar picks!  The pattern is available here.

And so you know I’m not just blowing sunshine, here’s one I thought was more trouble than it was worth, even though it is very, very cute (and was all over the internet for a while):

Which bag patterns do you recommend?

Three Great Free Bag Patterns

There are so many free patterns on the internet that it can be overwhelming. Therefore, I’m here to tell you about 3 of my favorite free bag patterns.

1. Pyramid bag, I adore this pattern, and it is so easy that I’ve made a few many.  Available with an excellent tutorial at Loganberry Handmade.  After you’ve made one per her instructions, experiment with different sizes.  So cute and so fun!

2. Tote bag.   The instructions for this “market tote bag” at Bijou Lovely are very clear, with great photos.  I’ve made several of these because they are an excellent, practical size. Of course, I’ve modified this pattern, but it is great just the way it is on her site.

3. Noodlehead’s Open Wide Zippered Pouch.  Anna Graham is the queen of bags of all kinds, and there are some great free tutorials on her site, Noodlehead.  Of course, she has excellent patterns for sale, and I’ve bought some of those, too.  Anyway, go try her free zippered pouch tutorial if you’ve had doubts about zippers.  Her instructions and illustrations are clear and easy, and you CAN do that zipper!

I’ve made a bunch of these in different sizes, as well.

Please tell me if there are free online patterns or tutorials that you love!

Best Bag Handles

I can’t seem to quit making tote bags, and I’m especially happy to have discovered foam batting, which makes them nice and stiff and doesn’t need to be quilted unless you just want to.

This is one I made several years ago

As a bonus, I’ve discovered that foam batting makes terrific handles for large totes.  I just wrap fabric around it and sew it down, avoiding the awful task of turning a fabric tube inside out to make a handle.  The resulting handle is quick to make and comfortable to carry. Here’s how:

Cut 2 pieces of foam batting about 1-1/2″ wide and about 1″ longer than you want the finished handles to be.  Cut fabric for handles about 4-1/2″ wide and about 3″ longer than the finished handles will be.

Use a heat-resistant straight edge to turn under a crisp 1/2″ on one long edge of each handle.  (I’m using a metal tool made by Dritz for turning up hems.)

Now turn the same long edge under an additional 1-1/4″ and press well.

Tuck the batting into the handle, centering it between the ends, so that one long edge of the batting is firmly inside the handle.

I like to use clips to hold everything in place

Now turn the remaining long edge of the handle fabric snugly around the exposed long edge of the batting and tuck this raw edge under the folded 1/2″ edge.  The ends of the handle will have raw edges, but the long edges will all appear finished now.

Topstitch close to the folded edge.  Place a second line of stitching near the other long edge of the handle so that you have a nice professional-looking handle.

Attach handles as usual, allowing about 1/2″ of the batting at each end to be sewn down to the bag.  The rest of each end, without batting inside, will go smoothly into the side of the bag so you won’t have much of a bulge where the handles are attached.  Sew that down, too.

And you’re good to go!

 

 

Thrift Shop Finds

My friend Tierney occasionally blogs about fabric she’s found in thrift shops and I’m always envious 😉 The good news is that I recently found a new (to me) and really good thrift shop. (Better news: it’s near an excellent bakery. Oops!)

A recent trip yielded 3 flat sheets, all in the same floral print.  They seem to be twin size.

I think they will make wonderful backing for some quilts!  Back in the day before there was much wide fabric available, I usually bought sheets to back my quilts, so this is a great throwback!

On the same trip I found these pewter buttons, which I believe to be good quality because they have detail on the back, not just the front.  I will use them to decorate a quilt at some point.

Oh yes…cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and cookies 😀