Sunday, January 15, 2017

Christmas Stitching Recap

I finished stitching my last Christmas gift yesterday, so now that all gifts have been stitched and delivered, I can finally post pictures!  I'm including the link to the blog post on each one (if there is one).

A few pillowcases

And, some zip pouches!

That's it for this year! 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Noodlehead's Trail Totes

I was glad for the push to make this tote for a Christmas present!
My friend Denise asked me to make some kind of a tote out of some vintage barkcloth curtains that had been in her mother's apartment back in her college days.  

Right away, I thought of Noodlehead's Trail Tote pattern.  I had used it to make this tote for myself the other summer, but I was too lazy to add the magnetic snaps or purse strap hardware.  I don't know why those details intimated me, but they did at that point, for whatever reason.

But, since this was a gift, I pushed myself to add the extra details that would make it extra special.

Thankfully, the magnetic snap was super easy to install thanks to Anna's clear instructions (I just wish I had thought to get an antique brass snap to match vs. the silver one), 

as was the case with the strap hardware.

Before I got started, I was stumped as to what other fabrics to incorporate to give the bag some interest, but I was really happy with the results!

The contrasting fabrics gave it the extra punch it needed,

and this yellow zipper adds the final touch.

I have been ordering my zippers from Zipit Zippers, an Etsy shop with super prices and excellent customer service.  I recently got a set of 14" zippers from them in the 65 colors they carry.  I wish I had done that a long time ago!  This way, I always have a zipper on hand in every color imaginable, and then all I need to do is order a replacement for my set.  

I do wish the hardware was a little easier to obtain.  I ordered what I needed from another Etsy shop, but the service wasn't as good, so it took a bit to get a response and then get it ordered and shipped.

I used Pellon SF101 interfacing.  It bugs me to no end that it's so expensive, but it is the perfect interfacing to give quilting cottons the shape and structure they need for these kind of projects.  

Even though it's after the fact, I think I'll order the strap hardware for my tote.  I'll need to open it up and take it back apart a bit, but I think it will be worth it!

The Trail Tote can be made in two sizes: large or small.  I chose the large size for the two I made.

The large size was perfect for the large-scale print on the curtains.

Click here for the free pattern download from Robert Kauffman Fabrics.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Sew Together Bag Love Continues

I stitched a few more Sew Together Bags for Christmas presents, keeping one for myself. (Yes, I am fully aware that Christmas has come and gone, but I finally found time to get these stitched!)
It's amazing - I thought these bags were so difficult to sew when I made my the first and second attempts last Christmas. A year later, I expected to struggle through them again, but for some reason, they went together like a charm!   I do think it's worth sewing more than one at a time.

I thought this "Keep Calm" fabric was so fun, so I stitched several of these, varying the interior fabrics to suit the receiver.

Kathy is a Densye Schmidt fan, so I selected a variety of DS fabrics for the lining, pockets and binding.

I love how different the bags can look depending on what fabrics and zipper colors you choose!

Eileen's bag was stitched out of Kaffe fabrics.  It's a bit wild, but I love it too!

It's so fun to add my labels for a special touch.

Of course, I have some more in mind to stitch....  I do think I prefer a quilted exterior like this one - it gives the bag a nice soft touch instead of the stiff interfacing, so I think I'll do a little patchwork with some quilting on the exterior of the next ones.

You can get the Sew Together Bag pattern here.  
And, you can order zipper sets in your choice of any color combination from Zipit Zippers here.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

I am in love with this pillow pattern from Nana Company!!  I've been wanting to make one ever since I saw it a few years ago.  A little bit of patchwork, a little bit of embroidery (which I love!), and some big stitch quilting - perfection!  

I frantically stitched the embroidery last night and so that I could post this picture today.  :)

Click here for the link to the free pattern.

A very Merry Christmas to you!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Zip Pouches

I had fun stitching a variety of zip pouches out of for Christmas gifts this year.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures of all of them, but here are a few photos

I used Julia Rothman's Type Fabric.  I had purchased a fat quarter bundle from Westwood Acres a while ago, hoarded it for a time, then realized it was the perfect fabric for zip pouches of all kinds.  Luckily I was able to purchase some more here and there.

As always, it's fun to add one of my labels as the finishing touch.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stash and Dash Foldover Organizer

I stitched up another Stash & Dash Organizer today!

I'm so grateful that Jan from The Old Country Store asked me to test this pattern/project to see if it would be appropriate for their staff Christmas party project.  I would never have attempted it otherwise!  I would have read the directions, saw that it called for Soft and Stable stabilizer (something I've never used before), and that would have been enough to cause me to pass over it.  But, Jan was kind enough to give me a finishing kit (zippers, mesh, strapping, vinyl, buckle, and Soft and Stable), so all I needed to do was select some fabrics from my stash and give it a try.  I'm hooked!  It was so fun to stitch, and so professional looking!  They make great gifts, too!

It's simply a foldover pouch with mesh pockets that zip close.

There's even a handy vinyl pocket on the back. 

You simply slip the strap through the buckle, and everything is neatly contained.

Soft and Stable stabilizer is kind of like a foam batting that gives it a firm, flexible structure.  Batting wouldn't do the trick.  Even though it's a bit pricey, it's exactly what's needed for this type of project.

I quilted straight lines on one, and did a cross hatch on the others.

It's so fun picking out different fabric combinations!

They were so much fun - I'm looking forward to teaching a class in February at The Old Country Store, and I can't wait to make some more for Christmas presents for next year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Stash and Dash Staff Christmas Party for The Old Country Store

I was thrilled to be invited to lead The Old Country Store's staff through making a ByAnnie's Stash and Dash Foldover Organizer for the store's annual Christmas party today.

Staff members were treated to a day of sewing, morning pastries, lunch at The Kling House Restaurant, followed by luscious desserts in the afternoon.  

It's been such a privilege to teach at this premier quilt shop over this past year, but being asked to participate in their staff party was quite an honor.  I was a bit stressed - every year they treat their employees to a really special event.  Last year they took them to see the Kaffe exhibit in Doylestown, so I was feeling the self-induced pressure to make sure this was a wonderful day for each one of them!

I love interacting with the staff, but of course, they are busy working the store and caring for customers when I am teaching my classes, so we have little opportunity to stitch and chat and learn together.  Spending the day with them was such a treat!

The Old Country Store is the most amazing quilt shop....  Dean and Jan Mast do a fabulous job at running a successful  shop while at the same time creating an environment where their employees thrive.  They have a dedicated and loyal staff who love working together, and as a result, create a wonderful atmosphere for customers.  It's no wonder that customers come from all over and give the shop rave reviews.  And, it's no wonder that they were recently selected as one of the 10 featured shops across the United States for the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine, published by Better Homes and Gardens - they definitely deserve this award!

So, it was an amazing day for me to see how these ladies worked together to finish their projects.  What a caring, competent group!

Jan selected the Stash and Dash organizer for the project.

She had each staff member select their fabrics, then she cut and prepped each kit for them in advance so that the day would go as smoothly as possible and so that each employee could go home with a finished project.  She even printed up special "Merry Christmas from The Old Country Store" labels for them to stitch inside their organizer - so special! (I didn't think to get a photo!)

They each indeed went home with a finished organizer!

I'm looking forward to teaching this class again in the spring!