Patterns old and new. As I have been sewing baby gifts I’ve dug into boxes of old patterns that I had stored in the back of a cupboard. This cupboard is difficult to reach so the patterns have just been sitting. I’ve always known that one day I would be digging into these pattern boxes for old patterns I had used and not gotten rid of. I really was looking for baby bonnet patterns. I thought I had more that I found. I liked my girls to have bonnets on their heads when they went out. They looked cute and my mother told me it would help prevent ear infections! Now I’m not sure that really helped but I did like bonnets and they were fun to make. Now it’s fashionable to wear bonnets again although it’s more likely to keep the sun off of delicate skin. I suppose the looking cute still applies as well.
In spite of the lack of bonnet patterns I did find lots of PJ’s patterns and some bib patterns and special dress patterns. After I had sorted through the boxes I pulled several patterns and then returned the boxes to the cupboard. When I was finished I laid the patterns on my desk and started looking at the differences in pictures and in price. I ended up with patterns old and new covering a 60 year span. The picture on the right is a McCall’s night-shirt pattern from 1952. The price.. $.50. The middle pattern is also a McCall’s pattern but it’s dated 1982. This bib pattern was used to make some bibs for my little girls. The cost $2.00. The third pattern is a Simplicity pattern that I just purchased. This makes it a 2012 pattern for a dress and bonnet and it’s price is comparable to the McCall’s patterns and the cost…. $14.95. Now Joann’s regularly sells them for 40% off. I guess the pattern companies want us to think we are getting a good buy! Hmm… what do you think? I always try to buy patterns on sale which you can do for the big pattern companies like Simplicity, McCall’s and Buttrick. Other patterns like Kwik Sew and independent pattern makers are usually not reduced in price so the cost is often $10-$20. I know there are usually several views and several sizes in each envelope so maybe that’s ok. Opinions?
Little Knitted Creatures are certainly intriguing to me. I am not a knitter however so they will just have to remain in the book. Do you like knit creatures or have you made anything like this before? I’ve made all sorts of dolls, stuffed bears, turtles and other things but no knitted creatures. I guess I’ll have to think about it or see who I can bribe into making me the little gnome in the book..
A new little coaster was made for a friend. And it was good. There is a woman who I have worked with off and on for at least 15 years. Our lives have changed over the course of the friendship and we are both interested in crafting. She is very creative and has a great eye for papercrafts, decorating etc. I love to sew. Recently when she was in my office she saw one fo the over sized coasters that I was using and decided she really needed on and did I sell them? This is on my list of things that I want to do but of course my head is swimming with ideas and more things that I would like to do than I realistically have time or energy for. In the middle of the night however, all things seem possible and I do have an Etsy store set up and have visions of filling it with all sorts of cute hand crafted items. For now however I had some tumbler shapes leftover for one of my frenzied cutting sessions with my AccuQuilt Go cutter. Since I have cut these out I knew that’s how they were going to end up but it wasn’t at the top of the list until last weekend. I sewed them into a little coaster, took it to my friend and she squealed with glee at how perfect it was and how much she loved it. Oh, I do love those enthusiastic folks and I was filled with smiles at her pleasure. Such a little thing but it made my day.
Multi-tasking.. it seems like a good idea but I think but for me this is one that has gone gotten out of hand. I have so many ideas, and have collected so may lovely fabrics and I want to sew all kinds of projects. This time, I have used my AccuQuilt Go cutter and I have several new dies. I want to try them all out so the cutter is sitting on my table and I have piles of fabric and piles of cut shapes and now I have a huge mess! When I picked up the fabric for my nieces quilt and then used the wrong die to cut the fabric I decided I need to change my ways. I’ve taken a picture to remind myself of the disaster and started to pick things up and put them away. I do have piles ready to cut for quilts but now it’s one at a time and it goes into a clear plastic box with the pattern. The leftover shapes are in another box along with the oops cuts and I’ve decided that I need to sew up what I have and then I can cut more. Do you have a problem multi-tasking? If you do multi-task, what is your secret to stay organized? I’m ready to try some new ideas.
It’s nice to be at a point where I am starting on new projects. It’s always fun and exciting to plan a new project, think about the fabric, the details and who will be receiving the end product. Sometimes I make something just to make it but I do find that I’m more productive and apt to stick with it and finish it if there is a time line or a reason. I’m not good at just sitting and playing. I need a purpose. I recently got a die for my AccuQuilt Go cutter. This cuts simple 5″ squares. I love to cut the fabric with this die. It’s fast and easy and accurate. The package insert always has a pattern idea. When I saw the pattern I knew I had the perfect fabric. Last year when I first started to sew and quilt again one of the first fabrics that I fell in love with was the green fabric with the Swiss houses on it. The pattern was big enough that I knew I needed a bigger block and I really didn’t have too much of the yardage. I had enough other fabrics in my stash to make the rest of the blocks and I spent an hour or so happily cutting and placing this on my design wall. It has been sitting in a box waiting for the day to sew it up and now the day is here. I’m going to make this for a young friend who is having a baby girl and doesn’t like pink. This quilt has flowers and butterflies and these darling little houses and I think it will be perfect. Now I’m off to sew and already planning another new project in my head.
A rag blanket finish happened this week. It actually was fun to do and I’m pleased with the finished product. When I first bought this die I thought this would be a great way to use the flannel remnants. As it turns out, because you use two pieces of fabric in each block the remnants don’t go very far. I knew that I was making this blanket for a little boy and have since learned that the mom is already in the hospital waiting for this little one to appear. It’s a bit early for his arrival however so they hope he will take his time! In the end, I was able to mostly use fabrics from my stash. I did end up buying a small piece of yellow. Hubby was a bit reserved about the project but was also impressed after it had been washed and dried. Like he said, it almost makes a chenille type fabric after it’s been in the wash and I’m sure it will get softer with each wash. I think I’m off to make another.
Making lanyards for the girls was lots of fun. I started with one of the Robert Kaufman Girl Scout roll ups and separated the strips into the Girl Scout prints and the coordinating prints. For this project I knew that I wanted to the use the fabric that was specifically Girl Scout themed. Becuase the strips were two and a half inches wide, I cut my light weight interfacing two inches wide and ironed it to the inside. Then I folded and pressed the fabric so I could add the lanyard clip and finish the seam and do the top stitching. This was a fairly quick project for one but of course did take a bit longer to make 24. That way we did a few extra for special staff and other gifts. The girls were able to use their lanyard for their whistle and their schedules which they put in plastic name tag holders. All in all, making lanyards was a very successful project!
The zip pouch finish was a day to celebrate. I got them all done and was very pleased. Pleased that not only were they all finished and three weeks before I needed them but also that they looked good. What a relief. From the box I laid them all on the counter so I could get a good picture and then we packaged them up in groups so they were ready to hand out as thank you gifts. People were surprised and pleased I think to get a hand-made gift that really reflected the Girl Scout theme. Thanks to the Robert Kaufman Company we were able to commemorate the 100 years of Girl Scouting celebration in a very visual way. The zip pouches were finished!
The next step in my adventure was to match up the strips and the zippers. I knew that I wanted each of the zip pouches to be unique. I wanted the strips in pairs of patterns and also didn’t want to be too random and stuck at the end with odd color combinations of strips and zippers. I took the roll ups apart, matched two of the plain prints with a patterned print and then added a coordinating zipper. I laid them out on the cutting table about 20 at a time and them clipped them together with a binder clip and put them in a basket. My friend and co-director volunteered to sew the strips together and press the seams open. That was a life saver for sure! With a few strips isn’t not so bad but when you are talking in the neighborhood of 70 or so.. this accounts for some extras and several “test” pouches.
When I got the strips back from Linda, I cut the strips in half and restacked them with a layer of batting. At this point I could baste them and head for the sewing machine. Now it’s on to the next step.
Camp and a Girl Scout 100th birthday celebration. What do they have in common? Well of course, this is a Girl Scout camp so we have to celebrate the birthday. As a co-director my thoughts deal with staffing as much as girl activities. The adults spend many hours planning and preparing for camp and then volunteer to spend a week of their summer as camp counselors so 160 girls can spend a week out doors cooking, canoeing, swimming doing crafts, archery and nature activities. Of course there is singing and learing to work in a team environment as well. We are an all volunteer run camp so money that is collected from the camp fee is used for the camp rental, food and camp program. At the end of the week we like to celebrate with an all camp campfire and thank the adults who helped with a small token of our appreciation. It’s always a challenge to think of something that might be fun, meaningful, useful and not just a trinket. Last year I realized that the Robert Kaufman company had produced a wonderful line of Girl Scout fabric. I knew it would be fun to make something for the staff and for the high school girls who worked as program aids. The dilemma was as we are a non-profit organization and volunteer run camp we did not have much money for thank you gifts and buying fabric to make gifts for 80 people was in our budget. I also was concerned about sewing 80 items in enough time for camp. My original thought was pillow cases. I knew from experience that I could make pillow cases in an assembly line fashion and with several months lead time I could probably make 80. The Robert Kaufman company agreed to donate Girl Scout roll ups. If you are not a quilter you may not have figured out that pillow cases were not happening with roll ups. Roll ups consist of 40 2 .5″ strips of fabric. I was thrilled with the donation but knew I would have to come up with a different plan.
The thinking cap went on and now I was to plan #2. After a bit of experimentation and discussion with my co-director we decided that zip pouches for the adults and lanyards for the girls would be perfect for the fabric available. The adults would love the Girl Scout fabric in the zip pouches and the girls would find the lanyards useful for their schedules and their whistles.
The next project was to order supplies and make a few trial versions.
All was ready for step number two.