Sunday, September 30, 2012

Travelling Handmade - the 241 Tote

Travel Handmade with The Sewing Summit

Did I tell y'all about the lovely stomach bug that hit all three of us last week? The one that came in the middle of the High Holidays? The one that hit me like a ton of bricks? No? Let's just say it was nasty. I feel so behind as a result: at work, at Sewing Summit preparations and at photographing and blogging my finishes. Kivi and Levi are out right now picking up the rental car for our visit to London so I'm seizing the moment to quickly share my latest finish: Noodlehead's 241 tote!

Front view
There is so much to love about this bag! The two pockets in the front, the side pockets, the size, the pattern itself.

Zipper detail

Side view

The back

Flipped inside out

Lessons learned and things I'll do a bit differently next time around

  1. First off, the pattern was really well written and easy to follow. I'll definitely buy more of Anna's bag patterns.  
  2. I used quite a thick interfacing which made sewing the side curves rather difficult. It does make the bag sturdy though. I think next time (and there will be a next time!) I'll make sure to cut the interfacing smaller so that it's not captured in the seam allowances. I think things will go much smoother that way. Is that kosher? Do people ever do this?
  3. I'd like to make the bag a bit bigger so I'll be increasing the size of the centre panels next time.
  4. I love the length of the strap, but I might try and make an adjustable one next time so I can wear it across my body.
  5. The magnetic clasp I used is REALLY strong. Too strong. Even though I added interfacing to the lining where the clasp attached, I'm afraid the fabric will still rip. Next time I'll use a different clasp. Maybe velcro or a simple snap.
  6. I need more inside pockets. I'll add a second one on the inside and split it into two sections.
  7. I might add a horizonal zipper to the back next time. The vertical zippered pockets look terrific but are a bit fiddly.
  8. My topstitching isn't beautiful. I struggled with it a quite a bit. Not sure how to improve this, but I sure want to. I think only I will notice the wonkiness.
Oh! Here come the boys! I better go feed them. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Making Progress!

I'm totally impressed with myself. I've made awesome progress on my Totally Manageable List of Sewing Summit Prep Work. This progress didn't come cheap, unfortunately. Much fabric was purchased today. Good thing my fabric diet ended in August!

First, I found a medium weight knit for my Summit maxi skirt class. It's a heathered dark grey and feels wonderful. At first I wasn't very excited about this class. It wasn't one of my first, or even second, choice. But now that I have the fabric in hand, I'm looking forward to making a comfortable skirt that I know I'll get tons of wear out of. If only I could find a knit print for my tee shirt class. I had no idea how difficult it would be to find a print in a medium weight knit!

Second, I finished my Ginger skirt. It fits beautifully (pictures coming soon, promise!). The only thing is, the print and weight (quilting cotton) make it more of a spring/summer skirt and I want a Ginger to wear now! Enter Chicopee cordoroy! Isn't it fabulous?

Third, I picked a pattern to make a tote for Summit. I chose Noodlehead's 241 tote. This bag is all over the blogosphere and I thought it would showcase my Alexander Henry Matryoshka doll print perfectly. I selected a Tula Pink print from The Birds & the Bees, a gold Grunge print and some Quilter's Linen in burgundy to round out the palette. I cut out all the pieces tonight and am hoping to start stitching this together tomorrow.

In other news, have I mentioned before that our Levi is an artist? The kid LOVES art. At daycare last week they painted on fabric! I'm planning to use this piece in a project. Any ideas on what I could use it for?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Invisible Zipper Edition

It's no big deal, I just I installed my first invisible zipper last night. Oh, who am I kidding?! It's totally a big deal! SQUEEE!

I'm making a Ginger skirt by Colette Patterns using this bright and happy print from the La Dee Da line by Erin Morris. I decided to get fancy and add some trim to the waist band. Full disclosure: I had binding tape already made up. It was left over from the Sew Happy Quilt and it matched perfectly so it and seemed like a good use for it. 

I used Colette's photo tutorial and video tutorials to learn how to install the zipper. Being able to refer to both was extremely helpful. I relied on the video primarily, but was grateful to be able to look at the photo tutorial when I needed a little more guidance. The zipper isn't perfect (notice how the trim on the waist band jogs a tad?) but it's pretty good for my first attempt, don't you think?

The skirt still needs to be hemmed and the inner waistband isn't attached yet. I'll write a longer post about my first skirt making experience once it's done.

Since my last WIP Wednesday post I've completed my Liberty Wiksten tank (photos pending) and that's about it, other than working on Ginger.  What with preparing for the Jewish high holidays, a work conference and several trips to the ER (everyone is fine!), there's been little time for sewing.

My weekly stats:

Liberty Wiksten Tank

In Progress
La Dee Dah Ginger Skirt
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -working on my woven blocks
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - I cut out fabric for two more blocks and started stitching one up during a meeting last night.

Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - I received my final block. Now I need to make a bunch more.
In the Queue
Sewing Summit Quilted Name Tag
Sewing Summit Tote bag
Kona Sea Bundle quilt 
I'm linking up with  Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network this week. Check them out!

Matryoska Madness!

Look what came in today's mail!

L to R: Little Kukla Matryoshka Dolls by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman;
Zhivago Nadya Matryoshka Dolls Metallic by Alexander Henry; Unknown Japanese import.
I'm so glad my pretty Matryoshka dolls have arrived. As you know, I'll be using some of them for my Sewing Summit name tag. I'm also going to make a tote for summit, hopefully using the Alexander Henry. I only bought a 1/2 yard of it so I'll need to use it judiciously.

Aren't these tea towels adorable? When I saw them at one of the gift shops in my neighbourhood I just couldn't resist adding them to to my kitchen linens.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sewing Summit To Do List

With Sewing Summit less than a month away, I'm starting to get overwhelmed with everything I hope to get done to bring with me. You see, the Google group is full of people planning swaps, dinners and outings. It seems like everyone is planning to make crafty things to bring with them: clothes, name tags, swap items, etc. Well, I don't want to be left out of all the fun, but I also don't want to make myself crazy! In an effort to be organized and also realistic, I present...

Lisa's Totally Manageable List of Sewing Summit Prep Work!
  1. Cut charms for the Colour Wheel Swap. I was assigned orange and have ordered two prints from Heaven and Helsinki.
    1. Make a name tag. I've ordered Matryochka fabric for this. I still have to work out the design details.  
    1. Finish my Colette Ginger skirt. It's my first attempt at a skirt and so far, it's going okay. I think making it with quilting cotton was a mistake because of the wrinkle factor. Other sewists on the blogosphere have done it so I thought it would be okay but now I'm not so sure.
    2. Make a reversible tote bag to carry stuff around in.
    3. Make a zippered pouch for the swap. This is an "only if I have time" thing.
    4. Cut out Farmer's Wife pieces to work on during shmooze time. I have two cut out already, but I started piecing one of them at the hospital the other night (my thumb wasn't healing well - it's fine now).
    5. Purchase jersey knit fabric for my tee shirt class and my serger maxi skirt class. If anyone has ideas of good places to purchase this type of fabric either online or in Toronto, please let me know!
    I finished my Liberty Wiksten tank last week, which otherwise would have been on this list. I have a LOT of work ahead of me!

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    A Tale of Two ER Visits

    Part One: The Happy Wheezer

    I can't remember if I blogged about our Sick Kids visit last July.  Probably not, as I try to minimize the mommy blogging and stick to my adventures in fibre. Short story: it was hot and smoggy; Levi had a cold; he was wheezing; daycare called; we took him to the doctor; the doctor sent us to the hospital; Ventolin; steroids, and home.

    We were told that asthma isn't diagnosed in little guys like Levi until there are three wheezing episodes. Given that my husband has had asthma all his life, odds were good that Levi would too, so this seemed a bit stupid to me, but I'm not a doctor. They sent us home with a puffer, but no prescription and we've been keeping it at day care in case of emergency. We usually remember to bring it home on weekends (foreshadowing!).

    Levi has had a bad cold for a few days. Being a daycare kid, he always has a runny nose, but this was a true cold. Last night he was crying for a bit, after which Kivi noticed he was wheezing. His little stomach was working overtime to breathe. Aaaaaand, the puffer was at daycare. Off to Sick Kids we go!

    Last time we were lucky, in that it was a quiet night and we were in and out pretty quickly. Yesterday, it was packed. The good news is that little guys with breathing issues get seen pretty quickly. The less good news is that he needed multiple rounds of Ventolin which takes time. We ended up getting shuffled from room to room to room and they were out of cribs (seriously, it was crazy busy in there) so we could not get Levi to sleep. Poor little guy was was overtired and running in circles for hours (literally). The Ventolin and steroids did their job well, but we were still there for about five hours. We got home at 11 p.m.

    Silver lining(ish): We got an Asthma diagnosis and prescriptions for puffers. No more trips to the ER to deal with asthma attacks!

    Part Two: Thumb War

    My left thumb has declared war. Against me. And it's totally winning.

    I kept hoping that the throbbing and swelling that began sometime on Wednesday would go away on it's own but on Friday afternoon I relented and went to the doctor. I have some kind of random infection. No idea how I got it. The doctor gave me antibiotics and told me to come back in four days if it wasn't getting better, or to return if it got worse.

    It totally got worse. This photo was taken on Friday. By this morning the thumb was much larger, an angry red, and hot to the touch.

    Since Levi needed to be seen by our family doctor anyway, he and I went to the clinic this morning. Levi is a-okay. I, on the other hand, got told to head to the hospital because they would need to CUT OPEN my thumb to get the infected stuff out. EWWWW!

    It sounds worse that the reality which was a little incision so that the infection has a way of getting out. But! It still doesn't feel better at all and I still need to take these antibiotics that make me nauseous. And! If it isn't on the mend by Wednesday evening I need to return to the hospital to be reassessed. Which is just awesome because I'm leaving town for the next three days for a work conference.

    Part Three

    Actually, there is no part three. Yet. Let's hope this saga ends here. Two ER visits in less than 24 hours is more than enough for me.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    WIP Wednesday: The Quickie Edition

    I really want to get some work done on my Sew Intertwined quilt tonight so this post is going to be short and sweet. Besides chipping away at the woven blocks for Sew Intertwined, I whipped up an arrow block for my We Bee Learning bee mate Lauralei. She didn't specify colours so I chose four prints that have a retro feel and each have a warm chocolate brown hue. Three of the fabrics came from my scrap bag. I just love using my scraps!

    A few commenters asked for the link to the tutorial so here it is. The tutorial is fairly basic and to make a 12.5 by 12.5 block you need to make four arrows and then sew them together.

    I've also started my Liberty Wiksten tank.  Now that I think about it, maybe I'll work on it tonight instead of the quilt. I'd love to get some wear out of it while it still feels like summer.

    Here are my weekly stats:

    In Progress
    NEW - Liberty Wiksten Tank
    Mug Rug Swap - DONE and RECEIVED by my Partner. I got mine in the mail too!
    Curious Nature quilt - no progress
    Sew Intertwined quilt -working on my woven blocks
    Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
    Farmer's Wife QAL - I cut out fabric for two more blocks and started stitching one up during a meeting last night.

    Hibernating projects
    La Dee Da skirt - no progress
    Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
    NY Beauty QAL - no progress
    We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - I received my final block. Now I need to make a bunch more.
    In the Queue
    Sewing Summit Quilted Name Tag
    Kona Sea Bundle quilt 
    Please take some time to check out everyone else's WIP's on  Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network.

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Monday Stitching: A Photo Post

    I finally cut into my Liberty Tana Lawn Cotton today to start working in another Wiksten tank. I've adjusted the neck according to Made by Rae's instructions and am hoping to avoid neck gape.

    Isn't the print divine? Those are wee little books!

    I also made my September block for the We Bee Learning bee. I wanted to get this one out of the way early in the month because September is going to be extremely busy with the High Holidays and a conference out of town (my first over night away from Levi!).

    I wasn't excited about this block when I saw the tutorial, but now that it's done I love it! It was so easy to put together and I got to use up a bunch of scraps. I hope my bee mate likes it!

    Scrappy Mug Rug Swap: Completed!

    When Christine posted the mug rug she'd made for the Scrappy Mug Rug swap, I had a sneaking suspicion that it was for me. You see, it was a Matryoshka doll made in pinks and greens. I'd listed all three of these as favorites in my entry form. Christine is in my We Be Learning Bee so she's well aware of my likes and dislikes.
    Christine also sent a TON of goodies in my package. She made a matching pin cushion and included some extra fabric. Plus, she made me three extra blocks for Levi's bed quilt, one yellow, one blue and one red! I was floored by her generosity.

    My partner, Nadine, posted yesterday that my package had arrived! I'm so happy to hear that she liked everything I sent her. She said that I did a great job of "stalking" her and picking out items that were to her taste. She posted photos of the goodies I sent her here.  I sent her a bunch of charm squares and fabric scraps by her favorite designers, plus some text prints which she'd said she loves. I'm so thrilled that she liked her package.

    Overall, this swap was such a positive experience. It was fun trying to figure out my partners likes and dislikes and design something especially for her. I tried some new techniques to great success. I'm definitely going to sign up for this swap again.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Counting Down to Summit!

    Sewing Summit is less than six weeks away! I'm starting to get really excited. There's going to be a lot of hanging out. In the Google group, we've been discussing what projected we're bringing to work on when not in front of sewing machines. I've started to prepare fabrics for hand sewing Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks. Two down, so many more to go!