Christmas card placemat 2009
Apr 8th, 2010 by Dawn

Yeah, it’s April.  So sue me.

Bathroom rug
Nov 1st, 2008 by Dawn

Does it look familiar? It’s the same pattern as the afghan I made for Steve below but in different colors and a cotton yarn. My old bathroom rug had faded to the point where it was basically white, although it started out in colors similar to these. As it faded, it also became very thin, which was a positive. My bathroom door doesn’t have a lot of clearance and my bathroom is very tiny (as you can see), so the rug has to be thin enough to fit under the door.

Well, I made a little mistake finishing this off. I wove the ends in good and hard, figuring it was going to be see some abuse, and the result was that the ends of the afghan gained width (because basically there was a double amount of yarn running through there), giving the rug a flared hourglass shape. Even after adding several rounds of a border, I couldn’t get it to lie square. The asymmetrical shape caused rippling and the rippling caused not-fitting-under-the-door-ness.

Luckily Steve had the idea of starching it. So I ironed and starched the life out of the thing which made it a little more square and a lot less rippled and the door’s been opening and closing pretty well since then. I figure over time it’ll only get thinner, just as the last one did, but I may need to re-iron occasionally until then.

Drapes for Todd
Dec 20th, 2005 by Dawn

These were actually finished back in January but it took him a while to get them hung and then even longer for me to get over there to take a photo. He went out and bought some nice bronze tie-backs for them and they look great. The fabric he chose was really too heavy to be drapes but he wanted something that would help keep the heat in during the winter and I think they’ll do that.

Last batch of bowls
May 24th, 2005 by Dawn

My machine has died. I guess it wasn’t meant to do so much satin stitching through so many layers of fabric. Here are the last three bowls it managed to turn out before biting the dust.

Holiday bowls
May 2nd, 2005 by Dawn

Can you say obsessed? I started working with my stash of holiday fabric. This is the basic square pattern but I made it smaller. The size called for in the book makes a pretty big bowl. I ran out of the gold thread I was using so this one has a different color thread along the top.

Another example of running out of thread partway through but it really works with this design. It takes a fair amount of thread to do one of these bowls. This is the alternate hexagon shape, also made smaller.

Another variation of the hexagon shape where you use a circle on the outside but a hexagon on the inside and cut the darts as for a hexagon. As you can see, these really do reverse although most of them look better one way than the other.

This one was a nightmare. First of all, it was made with canvas instead of the craft interfacing. That’s how to get the floppy corners. The book calls for two layers of canvas which I tried to fuse together but the fusing didn’t hold very well on the canvas so, as I was working, my textile sandwich (as she calls it) was coming apart in the middle. Also, the canvas shreds along the edges, so when I was doing the satin stitching around the top, I had to contend with strings of canvas everywhere and so the edge didn’t end up very smooth. On top of that, I was using this fancy gold thread as you can see. It didn’t like being wound on a bobbin very much and until I learned to lighten up the tension it kept breaking as I was sewing. Came out OK in the end though and I learned some things. The material doesn’t photograph very well because it’s shiny but it’s a beautifully elegant bowl.

My masterpiece. Isn’t it cute? This is the other circular pattern which is made with canvas. Having learned from the last one, I basted the two layers of canvas together instead of trying to fuse them. Then, once I’d trimmed my textile sandwich down to the final size, I did a line of zig zag around the top to keep the shedding to a minimum. Although you do cut through the stitches as you make the darts, the book recommends to cut and then sew each dart, one at a time, so there’s not much time for the stitches to unravel before they’re oversewn.

The other thing I learned about working with canvas is that it’s harder to pull the edges together when joining up the darts. The book has you start by joining the darts with zig zags and then going back over with satin stitch but it recommends that you start right off with the satin stitch once you’ve got the hang of it. That’s OK with the stiff interfacing but with canvas I recommend doing the zig zag pass first. It allows you to concentrate on the practicality of joining the edges on the first pass and worry about making it look pretty on the second.

I’m trying to restrain myself from making more bowls but they’re calling to me. It’s so much fun picking out two fabrics and a thread color and a shape and size and then seeing how it all comes out because they all seem to come out so nicely.

Fabric Bowls
May 1st, 2005 by Dawn

When I first read through Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Bowls I was a little intimidated by the unusual materials and the need to do satin stitching which I’d never done on my machine. So I put the book away for a while. What a mistake! It turns out that the fabric bowls really are fast and easy to make, and as for fun, well I think I’m addicted to them. Here are the first three I made:

This is the first one I made. It’s the square pattern. I love the colors. It really goes with my dining room.

This is the hexagon pattern in a classic delft look.

This is one of the circle patterns, the one with darts. I didn’t read the instructions all the way through first. For the other shapes, the darts are made by measuring but with this circle shape, the book includes a pattern for the darts. That means that you either need to make the initial circle the size the book told you to or plan ahead and have the pattern reduced appropriately. So I had to fudge the darts a little to make them fit the smaller sized circle I’d started with. It still came out OK.

For the most part, you can make the bowls any size you like, but careful with that circular one. Each bowl is reversible and you don’t have to use a contrasting color for the base if you prefer a solid look. As I worked on each bowl, there would be a point where I’d attached the contrasting base and I’d look at the flat bowl with the blotch of contrasting color and the satin stitches running around it and I’d think how ugly it looked and a little warped too.

But in the end every bowl I made has come out fantastically. It’s almost as though you can’t go wrong. More to come.

Basket weaving
Feb 21st, 2005 by Dawn

Remember in high school how “basket weaving” meant a gimme class? Maybe we should have tried it. I think basket weaving requires more hands than I have. This was made from a kit. I got better at it as I went around but you can see that my shaping efforts fall somewhat short or perfect symmetry. You need one hand for the sewing needle, one hand to hold the bunch of pine needles you’re weaving in, and the other hand to help shape the basket.

I’m using this to hold spare buttons. Isn’t it purty? My grandmother has given me a book of advanced patterns and I might try another basket if I can find a good source for the supplies.

Sewing room and futon cover
Feb 11th, 2005 by Dawn

I’ve been slowly making my spare bedroom over into a sewing room, replacing furniture pieces with more functional (and more attractive) ones. I needed to keep the futon chair and ottoman which turn into a single bed for when my grandmother comes to visit, so I made new covers for them to match the new room better.

The fabric is a microsuede I got super, duper cheap at Jo-Anns because it was on the clearance rack plus I had a 40% off coupon. The covers are a little sloppy because futon mattresses are a little sloppy, so perhaps trying for a tailored look with piping wasn’t the way to go, but I love it anyway. The first time I made my own piping I was intimidated but I’ve come to think of piping as one of the easiest and most rewarding things you can do in sewing. It’s really almost foolproof and I love the professional looking results.

Here’s the finished sewing room:

I have a comfortable chair and footrest, filing cabinet, huge desk/work surface with room for my printer, sewing table, cutting table, bookshelf full of crafty books, TV and CD player. What more could a sewing room need? I might get some new lamps, but other than it’s done!

Afghan for Lisa
Nov 27th, 2004 by Dawn

Lisa selected the pattern for this very lacy afghan. It’s made from Caron’s Simply Soft yarn so it’s beautifully soft and light. The funny part about this afghan is that the border is about half the total afghan. When I finished the body of the afghan, I thought I was just about done and was going to have a skein of yarn left over. Instead, I ended up buying two more skeins.

Here’s a closeup of the detail. This was a fairly complicated pattern. I ended up writing a crib sheet to keep near me while I was working so I didn’t have to have the whole book on my lap.

Chair reclaimed from trash
Aug 17th, 2004 by Dawn

Twice a year my town has what we call “big trash day” where you can put out large items for collection. Pickup trucks and strollers will cruise the neighborhood, checking out the sidewalk sale. On the last big trash day, I contributed a couple of items that were claimed almost immediately. Then Todd and I took a walk around to see what there was to see. We found this chair in perfectly good shape except it had no seat. I really needed a chair for my sewing table at Todd’s house. I was actually using a folding chair. So we grabbed it for rehabilitation.

Todd made a seat out of plywood for me that fit the gaping hole. Then I added foam and made a cover for it. On the top, I sewed it like a regular seat cushion with contrasting piping and everything. But on the bottom I just folded the fabric over the plywood and stapled. That way you can’t see the plywood. It came out really nicely and it’s very comfortable. Not too bad for free!

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