Accidentally Awesome

Every once in a while I have the pure joy of making something that just makes me want to squeal, “Eeeeeee!”.  Even before it’s finished, I know I have something I’m going to love.  Today was one of those days.  Oh, and if you don’t love it, just keep it to yourself, Buzzkill.

Meet my Fauxberry Disco Clutch.  Not since Tollhouse Cookies has a domestic catastrophe ultimately turned out so well.  IMG_0079Back in December I sat down at my loom to try to make a Burberry inspired scarf I’d seen on Ravelry.  I think I was so eager to get weaving that I got lazy in the vital prep stages.  Weaving is not nearly as forgiving as knitting or sewing.  If you make a mistake setting up the warp threads or miss a few strands as you’re picking the weft, it can be hours of work or downright impossible to fix.  No seam rippers here.

I like to warp directly on my loom (if you’re not a weaver, just go get a cup of coffee here and catch up in a minute…) because it’s faster, but if you don’t pay careful attention to the tension you can have problems.  I have experienced this before with other pieces I’ve woven, but as they weren’t plaids I could ultimately salvage the piece.  In this case, the more I wove the more wonky my warp tension (and my plaid) became.  When I stopped and attempted to “fix” it I just made it worse.  There was no way to save this puppy.  It was a tragic waste of yarn.  I cut the 20-30″ of fabric I’d made off the loom and just couldn’t bear to throw it away.  It was pretty, but it was never going to be a scarf.

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It sat orphaned in my workroom, mocking me, until I saw the pattern for the Discotech Clutch from Sew Sweetness.  It was cute, small and simple.  Oh yeah, did I mention it was also free?  Sara, from Sew Sweetness, makes the most amazing bags, and I own and love two of her books, but this one was a freebie.  Maybe, just maybe, I could make something of that mess after all.

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Since I’ve never actually CUT anything I’ve woven – you know, because I’m not insane – I wasn’t sure how this would work out.  I may have gone overboard to stabilize the fabric. It’s a loose weave wool and I didn’t want it unravelling on me.  Ever.  I fused lightweight interfacing to the wrong side before cutting out the pattern.  Then I applied a bead of Fray Block all around the edge inside what would become the seam allowance.  Then I ran an overcast stitch all around the edge with my sewing machine. Then I sacrificed a live chicken to the gods.  Only then did I begin to assemble.

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The actual assembly of the bag was a snap.  It’s a great pattern.  It even has handy pockets on the inside.

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If there’s anything I don’t love about the bag it’s that handle.  I chose a cheap one because I was experimenting.  The pattern calls for a similar, but nicer quality handle. But this will do, and hopefully I’m the only one who’ll notice.  When I cut the holes for the handles there was more Fray Block and some UHU fabric glue, swearing, and finger crossing.  And, oh Lordy, were there some serious fumes!  Thankfully they dissipated in about 30 minutes.

Here’s the other side:IMG_0081I wish I’d photographed this from the side, because I’m seriously proud of how the plaids all align at the seams.  I’m so fancy.

As soon as the fumes cleared, I filled it up (it’s tiny so it didn’t take long…) and headed off to do some shopping looking extra chic.  I’m pretty sure I was the envy of everyone at Petco. 🙂

 

 

 

New York Beauty Pillow

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Like so many people who craft, I have materials everywhere.  I’m lucky enough to have a designated room to sew in, but it is jammed full.  Every once in a while I go tearing through a drawer or cupboard and discover something I’d forgotten completely. The other day I rediscovered a few yards of Benartex Foundation by the Yard fabric.  Have you heard of this before?  I hadn’t.  My friend Melissa and I found it during a Korean fabric shopping trip a couple of years ago and bought some because it seemed cool and the price was right.

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It’s a pre-printed muslin panel.  Each panel has 12 foundations for New York Beauty quilt blocks and complete instructions for how to piece them are printed along the sides of the panels. Apparently, Benartex makes these panels pre-printed with lots of classic quilt blocks.  I’ve always done my foundation piecing on paper, but this works just the same way only the muslin stays on the back of your finished block.  No picking bits of paper out of the seams?  Sign me up.

I’d been wanting to make a pillow with a Valentine’s feel to it, so I decided to try making a few of these blocks in shades of pink and red.

I started with foundation block pieces:

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I decided to use solid shades of pinks and reds for the points and text prints for the background.IMG_3203

Originally I was planning on making this a square pillow with four blocks forming a circle in the center, but I got to this point and had an idea:

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About a year ago I bought a couple of down lumbar pillow forms for a pair of chairs in our family room.  I never got around to making the covers I had planned.  I liked this half circle so much (and – amazing – the measurements worked out) I decided to make covers using just 2 squares each for those instead of a big square.  Lazy or brilliant?  You be the judge.

I quilted in arcs on the background fabric using the edge of my walking foot as a spacing guide.IMG_3206

I added an invisible zipper and some backing fabric from my stash using this helpful tutorial.  IMG_3210

And voila – a finished pillow!

IMG_3213The colors are right for Valentine’s Day, but I think I can get away with leaving it out a little longer!

Block Printed Goodness

I always have too many projects in my head.  I wish I could make them all.  After making lots of passport wallets for the Etsy shop on Saturday, I indulged in some more selfish sewing on Sunday.  There’s a backstory to it.

My lovely sister-in-law is a such a talented woman and my dear friend, too.  She’s a poet, college professor, animal lover, intellectual badass, and recently, a block printer.  She and my big bro’ (who also does not suck) have been carving away at linoleum blocks in their free time.  Their prints are so much fun that she finally gave in to all the requests from friends and family and opened an Etsy shop of her own, SentimentalAsylum, to sell some of their work.  Isn’t it great?

 

Of course, when I saw all their work I immediately though: “How do we translate that onto fabric?”  God love her, she went out, bought quilting cotton and got to work. She’s brought me several yards of printed fabric to play with.  I have a secret to admit:  I’m afraid to cut it!  I mostly just stare at it and admire!  This did not make Sista’ Friend happy, though, so I made a teeny attempt to actually use my printed fabric on Saturday:

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This was a safe choice with the small-scale print, but I love how it came out so much that I can’t wait to try to sew more with some of my bigger block prints.  Wouldn’t the wave print above look great as a fussy cut on a bag?  And those leaves as an all-over print?  Must get her to print some leaf fabric next… Can’t wait to make more.

They taught our whole family how to carve blocks when they visited a few weeks ago and we were all hooked.  My kids haven’t spent this much time away from electronics in ages! My snapshot isn’t great, but this kids and Super Uncle moment was too cute to miss:

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After all the lessons, Sista’ Friend says I don’t need her to do my fabric printing anymore, but with designs as cute as theirs, I plan to keep begging for more yardage!

 

 

What’s in Your Wallet?

My wallet’s full of crayons  – and I’ve got loads of them…

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These sold so well on Saturday of last year’s bazaar that I had to go home early and make 10 more to sell on Sunday.  We won’t talk about the part where I stitched half of those upside down, and no one wanted to buy them, and some know-it-all PTO mothers made snide remarks, and I narrowly avoided smacking them.   This year, I’m older and wiser (ha!) and just made 25 of them ahead of time.  I’m proud to say they’re all right side up, too!

They’re from a pattern I purchased here.

 

Camera Ready

Today was a Town Hall Meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Dempsey and his wife.  Interesting, but it sounds more impressive than it was.  He was running late so we all sat in the auditorium for an hour + waiting.  They didn’t even let me bring in my purse so I couldn’t knit while waiting! 😦  I was getting a little twitchy from craft withdrawal.

I did manage to squeeze in one tiny sewing project this morning though:

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A prototype padded patchwork camera strap cover for the school bazaar.  I love the little pocket for the lens cap and they really do fix the way the regular camera strap digs into your neck.   Now that I’ve worked through how to make one, I think I’ll crank out a few more when I get the chance.