Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A New Work Bag

Behold, my new work bag!

This bag was born out of my local sewing group. One of the ladies had so much fabric she decided to cut up a huge pile into squares, and the members of the group could piece together colours of their choice into a bag. At group day, I chose my pieces, and got them all sewn together but one seam. It them came home and sat on my sewing table. I had one brainwave that my bobbin lace fish could adorn this bag, so set out stitching him onto one blank square, then promptly left the bag rolled up, unfinished, in another bag, on my sewing table. I found it again in my clean up last week, so decided to finish it.

It only needed one seam to sew, lining, quilting, a bind and some handles. The lining was scraps, donated by the lady who cut the squares. There was enough of it, it just needed to be be joined to make a piece large enough. The batting was scraps left over from other quilts that I had made. Once again joined to make a piece big enough for what I wanted.

So I made my quilt sandwich -  backing, batting and bag outer, and pinned it all together. I even checked that my fish was in the best place for viewing. Then I decided to have a play with the quilting and do something I had not done before. Because I had added my bobbin lace fish, I thought it might be fun to quilt fish shapes and waves on the bag. I had quilted  plenty of straight lines, shadow quilting, and stitching in the ditch, but stitching shapes and other lines like this was something new. I had tried once before and outlined the marks on a quilt in pencil.  As a dressmaker I should have known better because the pencil has never washed out, and as a result I have stayed away from free form quilting. This time I traced the fish shapes and waves into a tear-a-way, and quilted  through that. Wallah! Fish shapes and waves and no pencil markings! Why didn't I think of this before?

I was on a roll, and my bag was looking good, until I started to join it together into the bag shape. My bobbin lace fish that had taken sooooooooo long to do, was sitting at the bottom! I nearly cried! He couldn't stay there, he would wear, so he had to be moved. But how? All his working ends had been taken back through the green fabric and finished off. There were dozens of them, so he was not moving from that piece of fabric. The only choice was to move the square, but that meant unpicking quilting! So that's what I did, unpicked the quilting, swapped two squares around, then re-did the quilting. Sounds easy right? Took me a while, but I got there and my fish can now be viewed well and is safe from wear.

The bag was formed, seams on the inside bound, once again out of scraps. Then I made my handles, once again out of scraps. They contain slotted waist banding for strength and ease of making, and a layer of batting for some padding.

All in all I am happy with my new work bag, and will use it with pride. Amazing what can be made from other peoples unwanted fabric and one's own stash of scraps.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Soft Toy

Say hello to Mr Anteater. At least that's what we have been calling him. He is with his new owner now, so I can show him off to you all. S_____ can call him what ever he likes, or rather his parents can, because he is way too little to talk about anything yet.

The pattern came from a magazine that I was loaned by a friend, a knitting magazine I think, though this little fellow is crocheted. I made him from an acrylic yarn that I had in my stash. I had two 100g balls, one blue and one variegated, and I thought this would be enough. it was, just I was pushing it at the end. Just enough to do his eyes!

He had to be stuffed along the way, and I thought I had a bag of fiberfill in my stash. I looked everywhere, but what I thought was fiberfill was actually scraps of batting. I did harbour thoughts of cutting the batting up into tiny pieces and using that to stuff him, but thought he may turn out a bit lumpy. Then I found some old cushion inserts that were waiting for new covers, so they are not cushion inserts any more! The filling of one has become a bag of toy filling!

Anyway, he is finished now, and being cuddled by his new owner. He was certainly something different for me to make, and the first soft toy I have made for a very long time.