Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time to share YOUR Perfectly Pleated Clutch

Will somebody please tell me where May went? Please? I can't believe tomorrow is already June! Please tell me I'm not the only one.

The time has come to link up to your Perfectly Pleated Clutches. I know there are some beautiful ones out there, and just like every month, I can't wait to see what everybody has to share.

Each link will be your entry to win this great set from Bree at B Sew Crafty.

may giveaway

I think you already know the drill by now, but hopefully we've got some new people this month! As always, only links entered below will be considered for the giveaway drawing, not links entered as comments. You may enter more than once ONLY if you completed more than one bag, and each bag must be in its own blog post or Flickr photo & have its own link below. Please remember to link to your specific blog post or Flickr photo, not the main page on your blog or your Flickr profile.

Also, I know some of you didn't do the pleats for this one - NO WORRIES! :) Link up anyways, I want to see what you've made. I'm certainly not going to hold it against you if you made the pattern work best for you. :)

Entries will be open through midnight this Friday, June 3. The winner will be announced Monday, June 6.

Until next time...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler

BWS tips button

Leila over at Sewn is starting a year-long (don't let that part discourage you!) Skill Builder quilt-along on June 17. Each month will feature three blocks using particular quilting skills. Sounds like a perfect quilt-along for a beginner like me, but the skills could be useful to anybody who sews.

Leila has posted fabric recommendations if you're planning to join in. I haven't decided yet if I want to go with a specific color/theme, or if I'll keep it scrappy & make that decision each month. I've been trying to sew primarily out of my stash lately, so maybe I'll just keep that up. We'll see!

I'm excited to get started next month (holy cow, JUNE already?!) & hope some of you will join me!

Until next time...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Takin' care of business (and a winner announced!)

Lots of random stuff today, so I thought I'd just throw it all together. :)

First off, thanks to everybody who entered & played along with the little game of "Would you rather...?" this week. I had a blast reading through them all, I hope you did too! If you've got a little extra time on your hands, go check it out. Some of the questions are pretty funny & there are some real thought-provoking ones too. Sorry I wasn't able to respond to all of you personally, normally I do, but I was a little overwhelmed by the response. A happy surprise!

Welcome to the new followers too, I'm glad some of you decided to stick around. Hopefully you'll like it here! I recommend checking out all the info for the Amy Butler Styles Stitches Sew Along (bit of a mouthful, eh?) if you haven't already. And don't worry that you're just coming in now, you're still more than welcome to join in on the months you'd like! Make sure you check out the Flickr group to see what everybody is up to. If you're feeling really ambitious, you could probably even whip up this months project, the Perfectly Pleated Clutch, in time to enter the giveaway next week. This month you've got a chance to win this great bag & keyfob from Bree at B Sew Crafty.

may giveaway

Speaking of the Sew Along, I've still got a couple months open for sponsors. If you're interested, please send me an e-mail. It's not anything huge, past months have included purse patterns, purses, and fabric. Just something fun for those who participate.

Important info for anybody participating in next month's sew along - there is a pattern correction on the Large Tear Drop Bag. Instructions for the small bag are okay, only the instructions for the large bag need to be updated. Make sure you check your book & see if this correction needs to be noted. Printings after November 15, 2010 should be corrected in the book, so yours might be okay, but please check to be sure!

I'll have more information as the summer rolls on, but I will be taking a bit of a "maternity leave" when Goose gets here. I'm getting everything taken care of though, so the Sew Along should continue smoothly, so don't worry!

And now, the reason you're all here - the winner of the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway! Like I said, I was overwhelmed by the response this week. You're all wonderful! The lucky winner is...


And who is #254?

254 Cassie said...
I would rather blue hair.
And I don't sew in the middle of the night.

Would you rather plain or peanut M&M's?

Congratulations, Cassie! I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly. And for the record, I love peanut M&Ms, especially if they're the dark chocolate kind. Not really a fan of plain at all. :)

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WIP Wednesday #15

First off, head over & check out the giveaway for Sew, Mama, Sew's May Giveaway Day if you haven't already. We've got a really interesting game of "would you rather..." going on. Check it out!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday again?! I suppose it has to come around some time. :)

Started: The Christmas gift & crochet blanket I've been talking about the last couple weeks. No pictures since both are very much in the beginning stages, but it's nice to have them started. I'm not usually a fan of crocheting, especially large projects, in the summer since it's so warm, but I'm doing it anyways. Hopefully I won't be too uncomfortable working on it.

In progress: Goose's quilt is all pinned up & ready to be sewn together! I don't have a "design wall," and didn't want to lay these out on the floor, so I just pinned them to a full-size mattress we currently have against the wall in Goose's room. It worked perfectly, and I'm loving the look of it! There is actually one more row at the bottom that's already been picked up to sew together before I took this picture, so it's going to be pretty good sized.

Postage Stamp Quilt

Completed: Elizabeth's block for the May month in String Me Along. I had some major struggles with this one, but I'm really happy with how it turned out in the end.

String Me Along - May

The last two Origami Bags! YAY! But of course now I can't find the first one. Go figure. My zippers are much nicer on these ones, and they were a breeze to finish up (they were already cut & interfaced). The only thing I looked at the pattern for was to see what size to make the gusset. I feel like I could just about make these in my sleep now. :)

Amy Butler Origami Bags

Amy Butler Origami Bags

Amy Butler Origami Bags

On hold: The i-spy project.

All in all, certainly not a bad week! Especially when you consider all the issues I went through with my sewing machine.

Head on over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else is up to!

Until next time...

Monday, May 23, 2011

May Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew

***Giveaway is now closed***

It's May Giveaway Day over at Sew, Mama, Sew! Make sure you head over & check out all the other giveaways.

If you're stopping over from Sew, Mama, Sew, feel free to take a look around & think about joining in on the next round of the Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew Along. Come to think of it, this month's pattern (the Perfectly Pleated Clutch) is so quick & easy, you could probably jump in this month if you'd like.

For Giveaway Day, I'm giving you all a chance to win this Keyka Lou Lots of Pockets tote. It's one of my favorite Keyka Lou patterns, and one of my favorite fabrics.


I've also got a matching wallet for the winner.



You don't have to be a follower to win, but why would you not want to be? We have fun around here. :)

For entries, I'm going to mix things up a bit - we're going to play a little game of "Would you rather...?" Each person must answer the question from the comment before them, and ask the next question. You may answer & enter as many times as you like, except you cannot answer your own questions, so you've got to wait for someone else to ask a question.

Comments have gone to a second page, so please make sure you click the "newest" link to make sure you're answering the most recent question! :)

I'll kick things off with the first question - For gifts at the holidays, would you rather recieve a store-bought gift, a handmade gift, cash, or a gift card?

Entries are open until midnight, Wednesday, May 25. I'll announce the winner Thursday, May 26. Please make sure you either leave your e-mail in your comment, or have your e-mail on your profile. International entries are welcome. Winner will be chosen at random by random.org.

Until next time...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's alive!!!

On Saturday after I shared my poor, pitiful story, I had to put everything back together, so I thought I'd take one more crack at fixing my machine. I paid very, very close attention to what exactly what was going wrong, realized the thread was catching in two separate spots, and decided if I could tweak those little spots just a hair, it might help. It certainly wasn't going to make things worse, and after all, I only needed enough give to get a piece of thread through. So I used the screwdriver that came with the machine, pushed just a bit (not hard enough to visibly move anything), then tried it again. Magic! So I'm not certain exactly what I did, but it's sewing just as good as new now - nice and quiet and I've got the tension turned back down to a 5 & it's sewing beautifully. I think I'll probably still take it in at some point just to get tuned up, but at least now it's not a necessity. Yay!

Overall it's been a great sewing weekend - I fixed my machine and got some good stuff finished up, but more on that later this week.

And thanks again for all your great advice & tips, you're all wonderful! :)

Until next time...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

There's good news, and then there's bad news...

Thank you all for your great tips & tricks about my issues with my sewing machine. I really appreciate all your help!

The bad news is, nothing is helping & it's still having more or less the same problem. I stripped it down as much as I dared without causing more damage, and got everything as clean as I could. Slowly, I started adding pieces back in & tested it at each step of the way to see if I could figure out where things were going wrong. One nice thing about having a computerized machine (I have a Brother CS-6000i) is it's got a button to automatically move the needle completely up or down, so I was able to just hit that & watch & listen to everything. Not until I actually got thread back in it, and started sewing did I start hearing the noises again. So I pulled the cover off the bobbin to see if I could tell where things were getting snagged up (it's still having tension issues), and I was able to see where the thread it catching with the tension turned down. I guess that's good news, except I don't think there's anything I can do to fix it myself.

The good news is that I found out the local quilt shop in my town is a Brother dealer & services them! So I can just drop it off with them & hopefully it'll come back good as new.

Unfortunately, there's more bad news - when I called the shop, the woman said it usually takes two weeks to get the machine back. Two weeks without my machine?! Not cool.

Now I don't know what to do. I know it needs to be serviced, there's no question about that, the question is when. Do I take it in right away so I can get it back as soon as possible? Or do I deal with it for now, and drop it off when we go out of town in a couple weeks? I obviously wouldn't be able to use it while we're gone anyways, but I know it's probably not going to be good on it to use it in the meantime. Decisions, decisions. But at least I know I can get it fixed!

Until next time...

Friday, May 20, 2011

String Me Along - May

I've gotta tell you, I love how this block turned out, but not so much the process to get there! I mentioned before that I struggled a bit with it, and that's no understatement.

It all started out innocently enough, I got my pieces all nice & pinned to do these pretty little blocks in the center of the first round.


Easy enough, right? I thought it should be! I got my pieces pinned on & sewed them down, then turned it over and found this:


I think I cried a little inside. I can't remember at that point (a lot has happened since then!), but I don't think I knew anything was wrong as I was sewing, so it was quite a surprise to see. I fiddled around with my machine for a while, trying to figure out what the issue could be. I can't remember if it was before or after this that the bobbin casing accidentally got put in funny, and the whole thing jammed. But I got that put back in correctly, and all seemed to be fine. Then at one point I checked the backside again to make sure everything was going together correctly to find that my tension was way screwy. Even now, I can't figure out what's really wrong with it, except that I have to keep the tension at an 8 ("normal" is 4, and it only goes up to 9), and it makes this horrible clunking sound with every stitch. I can't tell if the noise is coming from the bobbin or the part that moves the needle up & down, so I'm not even sure what to check. I've pulled off the plate covering the bobbin & pulled out the bobbin casing to make sure everything is (relatively) cleaned out & where it belongs. Everything looks okay, so I'm not certain what to do. I don't even know where to take it to have it checked & serviced since it's just a measly little cheap-o Brother machine. But it still sews fairly decent, even if it makes a racket, so I guess I'm just hoping it'll pull out of whatever is wrong. It's made funny noises before & seemingly fixed itself, so maybe I'm hoping for a miracle here...

Anyways, pity party over - sewing machine issues were only half my problems (although, I'm sure they didn't help the "operator error" issues), the other half was, well, just me I guess.

Like I said before, I had a hard time making a truly wonky block for Beth in March, and I was trying my best to keep this one perfectly square & even for Elizabeth. "Perfectly square & even" is HARD. Boy is it harder than I thought.

Let's start with this brown part here:


Looks pretty much perfectly square right now, huh? Let me tell you, it's not! After I sewed on the first two pieces, the other two sides were a smidge short. But too big of a smidge to just use them as they were ("smidge" is a technical quilting term, you didn't know that?). But I didn't want to cut two new pieces, even though Elizabeth sent plenty of fabric (thank you, Elizabeth, I love you for that!). I was trying to conserve as much as possible since she wanted scraps back to use to make more blocks. So I decided I'd just trim the sides (evenly on both sides - I was thinking, at least a little bit) and everything would be good. Except that I forgot to trim the width of the other two sides, so suddenly it was 1/4" wider one way than the other, but of course I didn't realize that until a few more rounds in. Doh.

And then...then there was this:


I got all excited about piecing that bit in between the stripes of yellow. But somehow, somehow, it got curved. How in the world did it curve?! There should be the same amount of yellow along that full strip. ARGH! Obviously I didn't realize it right away. Of course. And, of course, when I was getting ready to sew the next piece on, that corner was sticking way out, so I trimmed it off. Didn't think "oh hey, maybe it's sticking out because there's a problem!" Nooooo...I wasn't thinking that clearly (remember, through all this my sewing machine is clunking away like an old-timey car), so of course by the time I realized there was a problem, I couldn't do much to fix it.

Out came my friend, the seam ripper. We're close. :)

I think I ended up ripping out & resewing the seams around that area (I got so frustrated I quit taking pictures - Bad Blogger!) at least five or six times. And once I finally got it fixed (eventually completely replaced the yellow strip I had trimmed), of course the other yellow piece (top piece in the picture above) was too short. Go figure. Too short by the amount of the seam allowance, so I hoped I could just put in a little piece (again, sorry for no pictures) that I thought the seam would pretty much fall right at the seam allowance so you wouldn't be able to see it. Do you think it worked out that way? Of course not! Out came my trust seam ripper again. We became the best of friends working on this block. :)

I put on another new piece of yellow, resewed all the seams around it that had been torn out for the 20th time. And, oh, how I wish I were exaggerating by a lot! And finally, finally it was happy.


Just please don't look too closely at the back, it's a disaster area with all that piecing. And this thing is kind of a monster, about 15.5" square. As close to square as I could get it, at least, considering that little snafu I mentioned earlier. Can you see now how the two brown rounds aren't quite even all the way around? I totally meant for it to be that way. ;)


I hope Elizabeth likes it, in the end I definitely do. Even after all the blood, sweat, & tears, I think it ended up worth the work. Except, I think the one thing that amazingly didn't happen was to stab myself with a million pins. So no blood on this one. :)

Until next time...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Perfectly Pleated Clutch: Inspiration

Time for our monthly inspiration! You've still got plenty of time to work on your clutch if you haven't started yet, I promise you it doesn't take as much time as it looks. Really, the most time-consuming part is making the pleats, but you can do that in small batches when you've got a few minutes.

And remember, you will not need the crazy amount of fabric called for in the pattern. Yes, the pleats do take quite a bit of fabric for the size of clutch you end up with, but nowhere near what's called for. And trust me, it's super easy to hide a seam in the pleats, so you can easily piece together smaller lengths of fabric to get the full length.

Here's mine again. Remember, I pieced together three fat quarters for my panels (cut into 8" widths for the small clutch).

Perfectly Pleated Clutch

I love the way this fabric looks when it's pleated on this clutch from SewCraftyJess. I wish mine had a little more random look like her's.

Amy Butler Perfectly Pleated Clutch

Absolutely loving the bright colors on this one from Marci.

Perfectly Pleated Clutch Front

I mentioned this non-pleated version from Nellie's Niceties earlier this week, but just incase you missed it, keep in mind this is absolutely an option!

'Perfectly Pleated Clutch'

Another bright & fun (non-pleated) version from simplybeu, and the flower is a perfect addition!

Perfectly Pleated Clutch

The batik on this one from Fried Okra looks fantastic pleated & those yo-yos are just adorable!

Perfectly Pleated Pouch - May

Lookin' good! Remember to share your pictures and ask any questions you might have in the Flickr group. I look forward to seeing more of your clutches!

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WIP Wednesday #14

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Feels like another busy week around here, am I the only one?

Need to start: A Christmas present (for last year), a crochet blanket, and a so-far-undecided project from my many "new" patterns for Sew Mama Sew's May Giveaway Day. I decided early this month that each month I want to try to work on at least one pattern I already have, but haven't used yet. I have something else picked out for the giveaway as well, but want to make something else to go with it. Make sure you check back on Monday for all the details!

Started: The May String Me Along block for Elizabeth at Don't Call Me Betsy. I'm kind of intimidated this month & really don't want to screw up (not that I ever want to) since Elizabeth is a pretty amazing quilter. So go figure that this block would give me more troubles than any project I've worked on recently. Or maybe ever. It sure is giving the Cosmo Bag a run for its money. Seriously, I've completely lost track of the number I've times I've ripped out & resewn some of these seams. Elizabeth chose this great (non-wonky) drunk love/square in square block. I remember having a hard time making a wonky enough block for Beth in March, and now I'm struggling to keep this one nice & square. I'll share more of my adventure once it's completely done, but here's the first couple rounds.

Oh, how I wish I could go back to this brown round & make one tiny tweak...sigh...

In progress: Goose's postage stamp quilt! Mega progress this week & I'm super excited. I haven't had a chance to start laying the blocks out yet, but I'm excited to start getting the rows sewn together.


Completed: Not a thing, but that's quite alright. :)

On hold: Two Origami Bags & the I-spy project. My, my, my...how quickly that project got put on hold. ;)

Head over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else has been up to.

Until next time...

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Giveaway from B Sew Crafty

This month's giveaway is sponsored by Bree at B Sew Crafty. Bree is the very first fellow bloggerI "met" last year when I started this little adventure. Make sure you check out her Etsy shop & blog.

Bree has made this great Keyka Lou Sweetheart shopper & matching key fob from Anna Maria Horner, Innocent Crush, First Impression in Potpourri for the exterior of the bag & Anna Maria Horner, Innocent Crush, Shattered in Punch for the interior of the bag.

May Giveaway

May Giveaway

May Giveaway

May Giveaway

Once again (or should I say, as usual) I'm totally jealous that I can't win my own giveaway! Get to work on your Perfectly Pleated Clutch (or non-pleated, like this great one from Nellie's Niceties!) so you'll have a chance to win! I'll have your inspiration post up later this week or early next week, so get your pictures uploaded to the Flickr group for your chance to be included. There are some gorgeous ones out there already!

Until next time...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blocks are done!

YAY! I finally finished up getting the blocks all put together. I mentioned the other day that I was going to be one short of the 42 blocks I was hoping for (making the quilt 6x7), but I realized today I had forgotten about the block I had fully put together a month or so ago. So I've got exactly the 42 blocks I wanted. Yay! :)


So, now all I've got to do is arrange them, sew them into rows, sew the rows together, decided on (and possible make) a backing, baste it all together, quilt it, and bind it. Whew! I guess I've still got a lot of work to do.


Until next time...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Proud Mama

I got a 3D sono done yesterday, and just had to share a few of the shots. Maybe I'm a bit biased, but isn't this just the sweetest little face?!




I love my little man! :)

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WIP Wednesday #13

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Lucky #13, huh? I've had a pretty good (and productive) week, so I say yes!

Need to start: A Christmas present (for last year), the May String Me Along block, and a crochet blanket. I'm also thinking about getting a head start on next month's sew along project, but we'll see about that.

Started: Two Keyka Lou basic wallets. These have been on my list for way too long. In fact, I looked back at the last to-do list on my bulletin board, and my self-imposed due date for these was October 31. I'm pretty sure that was pushed back from the beginning of October as well, so it's about time I got working on them.



These are actually pretty quick & easy to put together, without much cutting or fusing, so I'm not even sure why I put them off for so long. Just one of those things, I suppose!

I also spent last night sorting all my I-spy squares into groups by the alphabet. I've decided I'd like to do a wall hanging/play mat/blanket/something-or-other for Goose using them. I was thinking I'd like to use the pieces to make the letters of the alphabet, but then got to thinking maybe I'll use them for the background & do the letters from solids. I'm not sure yet, so it's still very much a work in progress. I'm not in a huge hurry to get it done, but it was something I got in my head, and it was nice to sit in the nice, cool basement for an hour & sort through all those squares.


Obviously I'm missing a few letters! Any ideas for J, N, Q, X, Y, and Z? I'm thinking I could use solid yellow for the Ys & a zebra print for the Zs (I'm hoping to do capital & lower-case letters). We'll see how (if) it all comes together.

In Progress: Goose's postage stamp quilt! That's right, it's back off the "on hold" list. I got the rest of the pairs sewn together and 2/3 of them pressed & pinned together to start my blocks. I estimated at one point that I would be able to make 42 blocks (remember, mine are 5x6 instead of 5x5), and I ended up with 41 blocks & six strips of 3 solid/2 pattern left over. So essentially exactly enough for 42 blocks, although I'm not sure how I ended up with extra of just the one kind. Unfortunately, that doesn't even leave me with enough of the right squares to unpick & resew them, so I'll have to work them in to the back or something. Of course, that also means I can't do my quilt 6 blocks by 7 blocks, so I'm not sure what I'll do yet. I guess I can make it one row less & work the extra blocks into the back. I'll figure something out!


Completed: I was able to finish up the fire pit cover this weekend, I ended up going the "belt loop" route. I liked the idea of doing grommets, and may end up switching to them at some point, but this works for now.


The drawstring doesn't slide through the loops as easily as I would have liked, which makes it kind of a pain to tie since it has to gather around the edge of the fire pit. It does its job for now though, so we'll see how it holds up to the storms & sun this summer.


I also finished up both Keyka Lou basic wallets in just a couple hours. It would have been much less, but I screwed up at the very end of the first one. I was putting in the magnetic snap (I very much prefer it to Velcro) & when I checked the placement after putting it in, I thought it opened kind of funny. It was lined up perfectly (lots of trial & error on placement over the past year!), but the pieces didn't pull apart as easily as I remembered. I figured it was fine, and went on my merry way sewing up the opening & top stitching the flap (using my new favorite double top stitching). It looked as close to perfect as I was going to get it!


As I was getting ready to put in the first half of the snap on the second wallet, I grabbed the reinforcement washer to mark the slots when I realized I hadn't gotten out a second snap yet, and really shouldn't have another washer on my sewing table. That's when I realized why the first one felt off when I was opening it, I didn't put in the washer! ARGH! I went back & forth about ripping out the (double, of course!) top stitching & adding the washer or just starting over from scratch. In the ended I opted for ripping out the stitching & salvaging the original, but it was still pretty frustrating. In the end, it worked out alright, but it made for a frustrating day!



Holy cow, I almost forgot my biggest completion of the week! I got the Perfectly Pleated Clutch finished up! It only took staying up until midnight last Wednesday. :)

Perfectly Pleated Clutch

On Hold: The last two Origami Bags. It actually crossed my mind to do them quick this weekend rather than the wallets, but since the wallets are for somebody who probably thinks I've completely forgotten about them, I decided they were a higher priority. And I can't work on anything but Goose's quilt right now since every single pin I own is in use. I guess that's one way to make myself work on something! :)

Head over to Freshly Pieced to see what everybody else has been up to.

Until next time...