Baskets!

For the last few months, I’ve been working on what I’ve been calling “Operation Organized Sewing Room”. At all the houses we’ve lived in so far, I’ve only had a corner of a room for all my crafting things, and now that I have a whole room, I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out where to put everything, with storage being an especially big issue. I like to have stuff at least partially visible, because I often don’t know what I need until I see it. It basically always looks like fabric just exploded in there, especially the scraps everywhere that I refuse to throw away. I wanted to sort them by color (I’ve found that works better for me than say, by shape), so I needed a lot of containers, and those containers had to be pretty but functional – this is going to be my studio for the foreseeable future, so I want it to look nice! I tried a few different variations on a basket, but my absolute favorite is rope bowls.

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I’d seen some pictures around Pinterest and they looked fun, so I grabbed a couple of packages of clothesline and started experimenting…and now I’m hooked! If you’ve ever made coil bowls out of pottery, it’s a very similar build process; you slowly coil the rope, zigzaging with your sewing machine as you go, and then when you feel the base is big enough, you just tip the whole thing up to be parallel with your machine and keep sewing. It’s like magic! This is the shape you get with no manipulation at all, just letting the bowl shape how it wants to:

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But you can also vary the tension of the rope as you sew to make more deliberate shapes:

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And, to make cool patterns, you can cover the rope in scraps of fabric:

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I finish my bowls with embroidery thread to close the ends, but lots of people just go back and forth with the thread to secure it, which looks cute too.

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I use variegated thread on most of mine, because I really like the way it looks, but really any thread works (I’d recommend 40 weight or thicker; anything thinner than that kind of disappears into the rope). I’m having a lot of fun working out how to different shapes, adding handles, and (maybe my favorite thing), making yarn bowls!

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Some of these are already listed in the Etsy shop, and there will be a lot more in my future, so keep checking back for new listings. Happy Friday and have a good weekend, everyone!

Blue and Green Stripes Quilt

It’s 5 days to Christmas, and we got a little magic this morning here in Seattle :).

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Yes, that’s snow! I know everyone living basically anywhere else is rolling their eyes at us right now, but we never get snow that sticks around here, so when we do, the whole city freaks out. Our puppy Zoey was very confused by all this white stuff but decided it was an occasion to run around all crazy (although basically every occasion is that for Zoey).

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Okay, enough of our teeny snow storm; pretty sure it’s already melting anyway! So, after a couple of days of fighting with my machine, I’ve finally finished my latest quilt:

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I was asked to make this one for a woman who was having surgery, and I put a lot of thought into this one (not that I don’t put in a lot of thought to my other ones, but this one was special). I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals and surgery centers, so I while I was picking out fabric, I thought about what would have worked for me during those times. Blue is a calming color, and when I saw the jelly roll of these prints, they seemed feminine but not girlie to me. I pieced the strips and then cut them into triangles, which I’ve paired with plain white. I also made it slightly longer and skinnier than a regular lap quilt, as sometimes regular sized blankets hang over the sides of beds and get in the way when someone has to come do things at the side of the bed.

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I tried piecing the squares of all prints, but it was incredibly busy looking, so I think the white goes nicely. For the quilting part, I free motioned white in the blue triangles and blue in the white triangles. Now, this is where the trouble came in. I tried to use plain white cotton thread for the white free motioning, and it seems that since I tried the nice stuff, my machine (and me) will accept no substitutions. After two days of fighting for every inch of quilting and dealing with serious breaking issues, I replaced the thread with Aurifil. This went much better; I think I’ll save the cotton for piecing and use the smoother thread when I need to free motion.

The blue thread is a silk finish from Mettler, and I was even happier using that while quilting. The silk finish makes it really smooth while free motioning; I finished all six white triangles in probably a quarter of the time it took me for the blue ones. It’s hard to see, but the thread has this amazing, gorgeous luster:

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I’m really happy with the loops and curlicues, and it didn’t loose any of it’s finish after it was washed. So far I’ve been incredibly happy when using Mettler thread, so I will definitely be using it again. For the back I used some spare polka dot cotton that had some teal dots that matched, and I embroidered her name.

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I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, despite the rough start, and it should arrive just in time for Christmas :).

I also decided, since I was already sitting at my machine, to make a little bandana for the doggy out of some extra fabric I had laying around.  When I say that she loves Christmas, I am not kidding. She tries to help wrap presents, she sniffs the tree every morning like it just got here, and she is a huge fan of dropped cookies. So, she got a bandana with some gingerbread men on it.

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And believe it or not, she sat for this picture with no treats involved :P.