Messes and Mess-Ups Link Up: Damn Curtains

The creative journey, I would argue, is even more important than those amazing finishes. So why aren’t we more forthcoming with all that happens before we post that pretty picture of our latest finish?  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that mistakes and messes are part of the creative process. I wanted to start this link up for us to say, “I’ve been there, too!”

I thought this would be a weekly feature here on Sewing by Moonlight, but I think monthly is going to be a better fit. So the next time your sewing space is a disaster, or you accidentally sewed that piece on upside down, take a photo, and come share it here. We’ll share our messes and our mess-ups because we’re all on this journey together!

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These damn curtains.

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These are my living room curtains. I had such high hopes for them. I still have high hopes for them, but fixing them is not currently at the top of my priority list. I’m leaving them up because I need something up, and “that’ll do.”

They look okay in the photo above, don’t they? Don’t look too close though …

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Ack! The one on the right is too short. It was WAY too short because I cut it without checking my measurements, and then I sewed the piece back on with a French seam, but I didn’t have enough for the curtain to drop below the trim where I want it. It’s just a wee bet too short.

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And I can’t really lengthen it because the French seam is pretending to be the hem, but it’s actually disguising where I cut the curtain off too short. Sigh.

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The other one, as you can see in the first photo, is completely unhemmed, but if I do hem it, it becomes too short. At this point, my plan is to removed the part that I added and then add a solid band to both curtains. Eventually.

On the quilting side of things: please tell me you’ve done this before. This is the back of a quilt along the edge. The batting flipped over and I didn’t notice and I quilted it right into my quilt. Enter seam ripper.

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Your turn. What have you had to unsew recently?

 

Housekeeping

Hey there!

I was supposed to put up an “after” link up so we could all see how well we’ve cleaned up our sewing spaces.

I didn’t forget. I just … um … didn’t get mine cleaned up yet. It’s close, though. Very close. Here’s what it’s looking like currently. Progress is definitely being made!

Look, my sewing desk finally made it into the room. And I found thread and hung it on the wall.

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Things are finding homes on shelves, and most of the boxes are unpacked. I still have a few miscellaneous items to go, though.

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I relocated a few more shelves for this corner from another room.

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I bought some bed risers for my cutting table, though I think I might put it in the corner under the two high shelves and move my antique Singer to its place.

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So you see, I have been tackling this project a little at a time. There have been other distractions, though. Tonight, hubs and I spent the entirety of the evening removing a door and reinstalling a new one. Why do home projects take 3 times longer than you anticipated?!

I also repainted the dining area of our eat-in kitchen. But I had “help”, which meant it actually took longer than it would have had the “help” been less helpful. Know what I mean?

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So, how’s your clean-up going? You’re probably all finished, right? Neat and organized and ready to link up. I’ll make it happen this week, even if I have to shove those last 3 boxes in the back of my closet!

Sunday Stash: Tri-state Shop Hop

Look! Two posts in one day! But only because the Delaware tutorial from this morning should have been up on Friday.

I’m visiting my parents, and my mom, who is also a quilter, told me there is a little shop hop happening in her area. Well, what a great what to spend some quality time with my mother. Friday, while hubby watched the girls, we went to shops in Galena IL, Plattville WI and Dubuque IA. Saturday, we brought along my three girls and travelled through farm country Iowa to Bellvue, Cascade, and Dyersville. We had extra stops for a playground and a long lunch, which made the day fun for the girls as well.

I loved the forest scene in this print and bought a yard. I kind of wish that I would have purchased 2; it would make a really cool back for a little boy quilt.

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These are some yellow and gray fabrics by Riley Blake. I’m thinking accent pillows in the living room of the new house. I plan on painting the walls a color similar to that yellow in the middle.

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And a couple more fat quarters because I liked them, and one yard because it was cute and on sale.

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Have anything exciting you want to share? Go link up with Sunday Stash.

Another way to baste: craft foam

Hello, hello! Welcome to the Monday Link Up at Plum and June. Please share your link below and remember:

1. Link up any recent sewing/quilting post.
2. In your post or on your blog, please include either a text link or a button letting people know about this link up.
3. Visit at least the two bloggers who link up before you and everyone who visits you from this post.

Monday link up

If you’re looking for some fun blocks to add to your sewing list, I’d love it you would join me in the Road Trip Quilt Along, going on right now! If you’d like to see the plan, you can find it here. You can see what’s already happening by checking out the tutorials for Virginia Reel and Maryland Beauty. I’d love it if you wanted to make a couple of these lovelies and share in the Road Trip Quilt Along Flickr group.

Road Trip Quilt Along: Virginia Reel tutorial  Road Trip Quilt Along: Maryland quilt block tutorial

Today, I wanted to show you the method I use for basting. There are many ways to get this done of course: spray basting, bent safety pins, needle and thread. But I prefer to baste with straight pins. In fact, I’ve always basted with straight pins. When I made my first quilt, that was all I had, but then I just never got around to buying the bent safety pins that are preferred by many.

Problem 1: the pins can fall out and then the quilt sandwich is not secure.
Problem 2: Maneuvering the quilt through the machine means you will get jabbed once or twice. Ouch!

I took a Leah Day class on Craftsy and was thrilled to learn that she prefers straight pins, too. But Leah has it all figured out. She secured the pointy pin tips with a product called a pinmoor. Brilliant! Solves both of the problem. But, now a new problem: pinmoors are expensive!! Almost $20 for a pack of 50.

However, I bought this 12×18 inch sheet of 5mm craft foam for $1.27.

baste a quilt with craft foam

With a  straight edge, a utility knife and a little bit of time, I had 192 anchors to use with my straight pins to baste a quilt. The craft foam is not as thick as the pinmoor, but I found it worked just fine. I wouldn’t go thinner than 5mm, but if you could find thicker craft foam, that would be great, too.

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I cut the craft foam into 1.5 inch strips.

baste a quilt with craft foam

Then I sliced each strip into a 3/4 inch rectangle. If you want to be precise, you could mark the foam before cutting, but I just aligned my ruler with the edge and dove in.

baste a quilt with craft foam

Now, use straight pins to baste and cap each pin tip with a piece of craft foam. They are quick to put in, stay put, come out easily, and don’t make your fingers hurt with opening and closing all those safety pins.

baste a quilt with craft foam

Hope this helps with the next quilt you have to baste.

Now, link up below with what you’ve been up to this week! Don’t forget to visit a couple other links and maybe make a new sewing friend.

 

The Road Trip Ends (Finally!)

I am beyond thrilled to finally have finished this quilt. For awhile there, I was convinced I would never finish it. The process was long. Though only a twin sized, this is the largest quilt I have quilted on my home machine and I was using this project to learn free motion quilting, so I was definitely taking baby steps toward the finish.

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Since this is the quilt from my Road Trip Quilt Along, each block represents a state, so I quilted the state names below each block (can you see it?).

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This is one of my favorite quilted blocks. I love the look of the flowers and half flowers, and I feel like I was finally getting a grasp on free motion quilting by the time I quilted this block, so it looks nice and even as well.

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The back is pieced and includes a lot of my scraps from working on the Quilt Along blocks, as well as a couple of rejected blocks.

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I did a nice back and forth loop on the border (inspired by Amylouwho on instagram) with flowers in the corner. I love the stripe-y yellow and gray binding.

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I am so proud of this quilt and the fact that I used it to learn free motion quilting. It’s reassuring to see my physical progress. I definitely need lots more practice, but you can see how far I’ve come. Below, you can see some pebbling I did in one of the first blocks I quilted on the left, and on the right, the same pattern in one of my later blocks.

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This quilt has taken residence in the living room, and in addition to a quilt, it has already been an elevator, the ocean, a hideout, and an animal home. I am sure it will be well-loved by our family!

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More fun finishes from the quilting world at Crazy Mom Quilts and Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday.

A lovely year of finishes: for Brian

I have been meaning to play along with A Lovely Year of Finishes, and here we are, month #3 month #4 (I really did write month #3 first. shit. where has the time gone?!) of 2013 and this is my first goal post (that’s goal setting blog post, not the goal post from the end zone). Though, if one finishes a goal for the month, it’s kind of like a touchdown, isn’t it? I’ll go with yes!

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I started a quilt for Brian ages ago. I wanted to be finished with it before baby girl #3 arrived. Well, she’s here, so that didn’t happen! I wanted to be finished before Brian moved into his new house. He moved in this week, so that didn’t happen either.

Brian's quilt top: turning twenty again

However, the top is finished. And so is the back. And the whole quilt sandwich is off visiting a friend with a long arm who has offered to quilt it for me. So, assuming I get the quilt back in time my March APRIL! (I did it again) goal is to bind it and mail it off to Brian.

Brian's quilt top: turning twenty again

The question remains: to hand sew the binding or to machine sew the binding? What do you think??

Nancy Drew Blog Hop: Library Tote Tutorial + Giveaway

Despite the fact that I have known about this hop for months, March was suddenly upon me and a note in my inbox reminded me that March 7th was my day on the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop.

Luckily, I had already designed my project and the paper pieced pattern I would use. And luckily, my husband is on spring break and could entertain our girls for a few hours today while I completed the project.

It seems that some of the other blog hop stops from yesterday were similarly inspired by the books featuring Nancy Drew to create a bag for books, but I do hope to give you a unique spin.

Nancy Drew library tote

The fabric I ordered from Nancy Drew Get a Clue by Moda included a book cover panel and a charm pack of 42 5-inch squares. I also picked up some text fabrics because I thought those would play nicely with the whole book theme.

Make a Nancy Drew Library Tote

Supplies:

*Front and back panel of the tote: (2) rectangles, 14.5 x 18.5 inches. My panels are pieced, so some additional step are required. I’ll explain below.
*Lining: (2) rectangles, 14.5 x 18.5 inches. Do not use quilting weight cotton. We want this bag to hold books and we want it to last. The structure of the bag comes from the lining in this case, so use something heavy: denim, canvas, heavy twill, etc.
*Handles: (2) pieces of 1-inch wide webbing, 22 inches long.
*Basic sewing supplies.

Make the pieced front and back panel

Begin with a book cover from the fabric panel. This is cut to 10.5 x 14.5 inches.

For the opposite side, I made a paper pieced book with text fabric and solids that coordinated with the Nancy Drew fabric. Come back next week and I will show the tutorial for the paper pieced book and give you the PDF pattern to make your own!

Nancy Drew library tote

Select 14 of the charms and cut them in quarters to makes 56 2.5-inch squares.

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Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew the 2.5-inch square together in strips of 7. You will have eight strips. Attach these strips along the edges of your front and back panel pieces.

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You now have the front and back of your library tote. Each panel measures 14.5 x 18.5 inches.

Nancy Drew library tote

Place the two pieces right sides together. Now that we are constructing the bag, rather than piecing, increase your seam allowance to 1/2 inch. Beginning at the top of the bag, begin sewing along one side. Back stitch 4-5 stitches and continue stitching along one side. Stop 1/2 inch from the bottom of the bag, leave the needle down, lift the presser foot, and turn the bag a quarter turn to stitch along the bottom of the bag. Repeat, stitching up the other side and back stitching when you reach the top edge of the bag.

At each bottom corner of the bag, mark 3/4 inch in from the side seam and 3/4 inch up from the bottom seam.

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Pull the front and back panels away from each other and align the bottom seam with the side seam.

Nancy Drew library tote

Sew across the corner of the bag along the line you just drew. Add another line of stitching about 1/8th inch further down. Trim off excess fabric.

Nancy Drew library tote

While your bag is still inside out, fold the top edge 1/2 inch toward the wrong side and press.

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Turn the bag right side out.

Make the lining

Remember, you will be using (2) rectangles 14.5 x 18.5 inches of a heavy weight fabric. I I used denim for this project.

Find the center of the wrong side of each lining piece. Mark a 1 inch line 2.5-3.5 inches from the center and 2 inches below the top edge of the lining.

Nancy Drew library tote

If using synthetic webbing, seal the edges by quickly passing a match along the edge. Align your webbing pieces with the lines you just drew and pin in place. Be sure your webbing does not get twisted!

Nancy Drew library tote

Attach the straps to the wrong side of the lining using an x-box. This will ensure your straps will stand up to hauling books around and will not rip from the bag.

Nancy Drew library tote

Place your two lining pieces right sides together and sew along each side and the bottom with 1/2 inch seam allowance, as you did with the outside panels. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches.

Again, at each bottom corner, mark 3/4 inch in from the side seam and 3/4 inch up from the bottom seam. Pull the front and back away from each other to line up the bottom seam with the side seam. Sew along the line you drew to create the boxed bottom of the bag.

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Fold the top edge toward the wrong side and press. If you are using synthetic webbing do not touch the iron to the webbing!!

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Assemble the bag

Slip the lining into the outside of the bag with wrong sides together.

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Align the top edge of the lining with the top edge of the outside of the bag and pin in place.

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Edge stitch very close to the top edge of the bag. Repeat a second line of stitching about 1/8 inch below the first.

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Finished!

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Giveaway

Do you want to win this super cool, super sturdy library tote? Just leave me a comment and let me know what sort of handmade bags you would be inclined to buy.

For another chance to win, be a follower of this blog, or become a follower and let me know in another comment.

For a third chance to win, Like Sewing by Moonlight on Facebook and leave a comment saying that you do.

Giveaway will close Friday, March 15th at 9PM EDT.

Don’t forget to come back next week for the paper pieced book pattern!

Go check out the other stops on the Nancy Drew blog hop today!

Sewing By Moonlight (you are here!)

Sewing Room Clean Up Along: The BEFORE

Okay, friends, I’m about to show you the before photos of my sewing room in all their embarrassing glory. Yikes! Please don’t think less of me when you see this disaster.

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s time to clean up the sewing room, and I want you to clean up yours along with me. I do love working in a nice, tidy space, but I admit, my creativity tends to explode all over the room and destroy the tidiness. Regularly. Yes, “explosive creativity” is what I’m going with here.

Prepare yourself. Here is your grand tour.

Here we are standing in the doorway of the room. Look left and you can see the wall that holds shelves of most fabric and supplies. Next to that is my cutting table (which is actually too low for cutting). Notice that it is currently covered in randomness, which makes it rather difficult to cut anything. Hmm. One lonely mini on the wall. And a small shelf with bottom weight fabrics (plus more randomness) and other sewing/craft supplies above.

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Moving clockwise around the room. To the right of the window is my sewing table. Notice the absence of the sewing machine. Hmm, kind of difficult to sew without a sewing machine right? A friend borrowed it a week ago and the state of this room is so appalling that I haven’t even bothered to put it back yet!

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

Moving on. Ironing board. Suffering from the same “covered in stuff” affliction as the cutting table. Same outcome of “kind of difficult to iron anything.”

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

And finally, looking back toward the door at the shelves. These have already been tidied just a touch.

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

Some details. Scrap bin with a mini quilt ready to be put on the wall. Seriously, I love this mini, and I received it 5 weeks ago. I LOVE it, and it deserves more respect than hanging out of my scrap bin. There’s also a race bag that’s been there since December.

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

Shoe shelf. Empty. On its side. Why? 

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

That (presently unusable) cutting table with a small (completely disorganized) bookshelf below.

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

Pin board. Some paper with notes for projects that have been completed, random templates for quilt blocks, etc.

Sewing Room Clean Up Along - The Before

 

I’ve been intending to jump in and clean up this room since the beginning of the year, but here we are, mid-February, and I haven’t done it yet. Now is the time! My sewing mojo has been at an abysmally low level all year, and that makes me really, really sad. My sewing time is usually my happy time, but I just haven’t been inspired.

I was motivated by Amy, who last week posted a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #sewingroomcleanupalong20122013. That was just the reminder I needed. These unpleasent tasks are always easier if we do them together, right?

Let’s Clean Up Our Creative Spaces Together!

Go, take some before photos of your sewing/craft space. Write a blog post or post to Flickr and share with the link-up below. If you use Instagram, tag them with #sewingroomcleanupalong20122013. You are not alone (“explosive creativity”, remember?).

On Monday, February 25th, I will show you my “after” photos and invite you to share yours as well. We can pat each other on the back and work, newly inspired, in our (temporarily for me, I’m sure) tidy spaces!

You have one week and two weekends, so knock it all out in one day, or do it a little at a time. But before you sit down to sew this week, first do a few minutes of cleaning up, putting away, or reorganizing.

After the clean up post is here.



Sewing Room Clean Up Along

My husband came home from dorm duty (we live at a boarding school) at 11:30 last night. I was in my sewing room, up to my eyeballs (possibly deeper) in disaster.

What are you doing?” he asked me.

“Looking for something.”

Um … did you find it?”

“It’s my sewing mojo. It’s in here, somewhere,” I said. “If I dig deep enough, I know I will find it. I think it’s buried.”

My sew-jo disappeared somewhere around the beginning of the year. It has made a few brief reappearances, but it’s still a little lackluster. This bums me out because my sewing time is usually such a welcome respite for me. The kids are in bed, the house is quiet, it’s just me, some music, and the hum of my machine. I cherish those hours. Or I did. And the worst part is, I have some projects that I actually want to work on. I do. I’m just feeling rather uninspired.

When I first posted about my lack of sewing inspiration back in January, I suspected what I really needed to do was to clean and reorganize my sewing space. Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet.

But now it shall!

I want you to have a nice, clean, organized space to work in as well, so join me in a Sewing and Craft Space Clean Up!

 I might be a bit embarrassed about that first photo of my disaster of a creative space, but I know there are others like me out there. A few have shared your craft room disasters under the Instagram hashtag #honestcraftroom. And now, I want to see photos of your CLEAN #honestcraftroom!

So, this Friday, February 15, I will open a linky and we can all share those embarrassing “before” photos of our creative space. And then the clean-up begins. Maybe you can dive in and have your space all tidied up in one day. Perhaps you only have a few minutes each day. Regardless, before you sit down to sew next week, I encourage to take a few minutes and fold up a few of those fabrics from that project you finished last month, or put all your WiPs in one spot, or clean off your ironing board so you can actually use it!

If you are on Instagram or Twitter, we’ll share our progress with the hashtag that Amy first started using #sewingroomcleanupalong20122013. You will have 10 days to get your space in order! On Monday, February 25, there will be another link-up to share our “after” photos. Cleaning is really NOT a good time, but if we are all in it together, perhaps it won’t be such a daunting chore (misery loves company, right?)!

I’ve made a little bit of progress already … here’s that corner of my sewing room now (not yet “after”).

I’ve got a long way to go; will you join me? Okay, see you Friday!

January Fresh Sewing Day

Ack! It’s February! I saw my husband flipping the calendar and had a mini panic attack. “It’s already February!” Him (sarcastically): “Yes, that usually comes after January.” Me: “That means we are having a baby next month!”

As far as things on the sewing front: they were slow, to say the least, in January. Nothing like a new month to remind you what you didn’t do last month. Blah. I spent the early part of the month in a serious no sewing loss of sewing mojo. It has only returned to a moderate level. I’m fairly certain that a major clean and reorganization of my sewing room would help, but I’m sort of dreading that task!

I did manage a few sewing projects, though. As well as some sewing related projects that were exclusively digital.

I’ve got all the blocks planned out for the Road Trip Quilt Along this summer. I think they will make a nice little sampler quilt!

Road Trip Quilt Along sampler quilt 2013

I made my first printable PDF for a quilt block. This one is to go with my tutorial for the Spiderweb quilt block.

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finally finished the top of the quilt from the free form robin I participated in last year. I can’t wait to finish this one!

Wonky diamond border for free form robin quilt

I have a few more blocks for Brian’s quilt finished. I really need to get this put together!

Turning twenty again blocks for Brian

And I wrote a tutorial for a pretty little checkbook cover.

Checkbook cover tutorial

 

I also have finished bee blocks that will go in the mail today and have been practicing free motion quilting by working on quilting my Road Trip Quilt Along Sampler quilt from last summer.

So, that’s it. No real finishes per say. Leaves me something to strive for I guess.

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