Monday, September 1, 2008

A nice Labor Day weekend.

Well, today is Labor Day which means I have had a three day weekend to consider what kind of projects to work on. I got a new sewing machine last week (her name is Lucille) and have been trying to wrap up a few projects that have been put on hold until I found a new machine that could do what I needed it to.

­­­Jason and I went to JoAnn’s to look at machines one night last week… (NOTE: I have a very creative and supportive husband. He might not sew or do much of anything with fabric, but in addition to the BS in Design we both have, he also has a BA in Studio Arts, so he understands my artsy behaviors.) I had been shopping for a new machine for a while now. The night before we went to JoAnn’s I had created a spreadsheet with all of the features I wanted and the different models I was considering. (When we shop we like to research things. We feel like we enjoy our purchases more if we fully analyze them and understand what we’re buying.) I have a Janome HF107 that my mom gave me a few years ago. It’s a great little machine, but I have outgrown it. I have decided that the things I have wanted to make have become too much for the little Janome to handle and it would be better for everyone involved if I upgraded.

When we went to the store and I was able to touch and sew on this machine, I fell in love. The machine I chose is the Singer Confidence 7470.

Poor Jason spent about an hour in the patterns department looking at magazines while I chatted with the nice sewing machine sales lady. After I had played with the machine and asked all the questions I wanted, I said to Jason, “I want this one. I don’t want to keep shopping. I’m just going to come back to this one anyway, so let’s do it now.” His response was, “Well, when will I get them?”

We’ve lived in our apartment for a year now. I’ve had a curtain rod hung in our dining room since probably Thanksgiving of last year. We’ve had the fabric picked out and purchased for probably 6 months. What Jason was asking was when we would have curtains hanging in our dining room. Well, honey, faster than you expected. Less than a week! They’re not the highest quality project I’ve ever made, but they are done and Jason is happy to have them. Below is a picture of them. I based them off of the Simplicity pattern No. 3693.

I spent a bit of time this weekend gathering fabrics for yet another baby quilt. I seem to be making a lot of those lately. Our friend is having a baby girl soon, so I’m going to make her a baby quilt. I need 9 fabrics and am one shy. It’s all pinks and purples with butterflies. My focus fabric is shown below. I’m not including all 8 I have so far because my camera battery died. All of the other fabrics are colors found in this print. It should turn out pretty cute.

The pattern I’m planning on using is one of the free JoAnn’s project ideas. You can get the pattern for free at:

It’s called the contemporary string quilt. I chose it because I thought it was fun and cute. This girl is pretty young and I don’t really know her all that well. When it’s a quilt for a fun and young couple, I like to do something a little more spunky and untraditional.

Here are a few other quilts I’ve made in the past:

I did this one for my best friend’s little brother’s daughter. He and his girlfriend are 18 or 19, so I wanted something fun and spunky. This is the first quilt I didn’t tie. I machine quilted it on the small Janome. If you look at the full quilt image, you can see how it doesn’t quite lay flat and was a bit bunchy. That was a major problem I had with the Janome. The pattern for this quilt is from the Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits & Pieces book. Available on amazon at I love this book. I’ve made 3 or 4 quilts from it and it’s great. This one is a paper pieced quilt called “Crazy Logs Kid’s Quilt”.

This next set of images is the quilt I did for my nephew, Lucas. I also machine quilted this one. It came out a little better, but still has a few bunching issues. It’s from a book I got from the library called Learn to Be a Wacky-Pinwheel Quilting Wizard by Linda Causee. It was super easy and turned out pretty fun. The blue fabric in this one is of different colored zebras flying. The third image below is not the exact fabric used. It’s a quilt panel that I found on a later trip to the Hancock store, but the small square in the bottom right is the fabric I used. Hancock just didn’t have a good image of the exact fabric and I don’t have any more of it left in my stash, but I’m including it because I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what I started with.

The next pair of quilts I made for my good friend who got married last summer. Jason’s grandma did this for our wedding and I thought it was a pretty cool idea, so I borrowed it. I made them a pair of lap quilts. They are different patterns and different colors, but each reflects its intended recipient. The pink one is out of the Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits and Pieces book again. It’s the “Eight-Pointed Star” pattern. The green one came out of a book from the library by Rita Weiss called 24-Hour Quilts. The pattern is called “Oriental Garden”. It went together nice and easy and so fast.

So, on one of my many trips to JoAnn’s this past week, I found a two patterns. I’m trying to come up with items I could make and sell on Etsy.

The first pattern shown below is McCall’s 5604. I think almost all of these items are useful and something I could make and sell pretty easily. I was at dinner at my in-laws house tonight and was thinking how nice it would have been if my niece’s parents had brought something like item D. My mother-in-law uses an old towel to put down under her chair, but I’m not sure how effective that really is. If Ella really wanted to throw some food around, I don’t think that old towel is really going to save your carpet. I also really liked the napping mat (item E). We’ll have to see what I come up with and how exactly I tweak these things to suit my needs.

The next pattern I found was McCall’s 5642. I’ve been looking on Etsy lately at things I’m interested in making. I’m really disappointed in the baby quilt selection. It seems to me like people make things that aren’t really of that high of a quality and then sell them for outrageous prices. I am well aware that quilts take forever to finish. I went to college for architecture, I know making things takes a whole lot longer to finish than people anticipate. It doesn’t matter if it’s a skirt, a building model, or a quilt… they take time. I thought the quilts in this pattern looked like something that would produce a nice product in a minimal amount of time.

I have had a pattern in my stash for a while that I’m thinking I’ll do as my next project for myself. It is Butterick 5006. I want to do item D for when I go to my mom’s house to sew and have to take my machine, patterns, fabrics, and whatever else I need. I think it looks like a nice sized bag and I could fit my machine pedal inside along with my scissors, needles, patterns, and whatever. So, as soon as I find some fabric, I’ll get started on it.

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