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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Coiled fabric basket

I know.  I know.  I haven't posted in a while.  I've been extremely busy and I haven't had the time.  But I wanted to share with you a little project that I made this weekend.  It took longer than I thought and my sewing machine didn't like to cooperate.  But I finished it and it's really cute...more importantly, useful!

I decided I needed a basket to keep all of my receipts till I file them.  So I used clothesline rope and wrapped scrap fabric around it and made a basket.  It's called a coiled fabric basket.  There are several blogs and help online.  The only tip I can suggest is to sew along the rope with a straight stitch to attach the fabric to the rope and it kind of flattens the rope, making it easier to sew.  I used the largest zigzag stitch and a heavy blue jean needle.  Don't forget the large blue jean needle. Or you will break needles.  Trust me...I speak from experience!  I even asked my husband to bring his needle-nosed pliers to help me get part of the needle out of the basket at one point!

I'm not sure if it's my sewing machine, but it didn't appreciate the thickness.  So probably using a smaller diameter rope will also be helpful.  This is a great way to use up old scraps.  I would also suggest sewing together the small scraps and cutting 1 1/2 or 2 inch strips to use.  I found that if I sewed a long strip together (kind of like sewing binding), it worked better.  Oh, another tip is I used a binder clip to hold the material to the rope until I got it sewn on.

Speaking of binding, as I was in the sewing department at Walmart to get cheap orange fabric to use (by the way...Walmart has a great selection of cheap fabric for projects like this!), I stumbled upon binding packs that are 3 yards each.  This would be a great thing to use if you want to take a shortcut and not cut strips.

To start the basket, just fold the rope and hold it firmly under the presser foot and sew a zigzag.  It's better to go counter-clockwise as you are winding the rope.  I actually had to stop and flip this over to start sewing the sides of the basket.  You'll see in the next picture.

Like I was saying, you want to rotate the basket counter-clockwise.  To start the side, just hold the basket up (like the picture above) to force it to start building the side.  

Just keep sewing the zig zag and wrapping the fabric on the rope until you get the basket to the height you want.  I plan to get a smaller diameter rope and make a tote for the guild to give away at Christmas. 

To build the handle, just form a loop and keep sewing along the edge of the side.  I double-backed (reverse stitched) where the handles attached.  Some people recommend doubling the handle and I would have.  But my sewing machine was giving me fits.  So I figured I better quit while I'm ahead.  

That's the finished basket.  It's really cute and you can use any color that you have.  You can use an assortment of colors to get rid of the scraps you've collected!  The basket below is one I made several years ago.  I had it in the back of my car to keep the road atlas, a flashlight and a few other necessities.  But I replaced it with an organizer.  So now it's my scrap bin!  It's about the size of a small laundry basket.   Speaking of which, I need to make one of those too.  I also plan to make a trash bin to hang near my sewing machine.  

And if you have a small piece of rope left, you can make a coaster...or two...or three..and a trivet...makes great Christmas gifts!  Just saying...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Let there be light!

My eyesight seems to be getting worse and worse. Quilting on the Handiquilter at night gave me headaches. I even borrowed my husband's headlamp.

I went by Huntsville Sew and Vac and looked at all of the accessories for the Handiquilter. I saw this pack of LED lights that stick onto the frame. It made so much of a difference! I cut a section of the strip off and it made the rest a little brighter.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bits and Pieces

Sorry I haven't posted in a few weeks.  I've been so busy working on several projects.  I completed two t-shirt quilts in time for graduation presents!  I also finished a baby quilt for my brother's baby who is absolutely adorable!!  (I'm not biased at all!  💗 )  I am now working on another t-shirt quilt!

OH!  Before I forget...I officially opened my little online shop.  It's A Cynch! is open for business! Like the name??  I can't take the credit.  My sister came up with it.  She's more creative than I am!  The link to my Facebook page is .  As soon as I figure out how to add the Facebook link on this blog, I will.

I also got a new toy to help stabilize t-shirts faster.  I bought a heat press.  I researched and checked reviews and this one had really good reviews for the price.  It is quite heavy though!  But what would have taken me an entire day of watching Dr. Who on Amazon while ironing stabilizer onto thirty t-shirts turned into only two hours (YES!!! You heard me right!) using the heat press!  That is worth the money in time saved!!

I watched a few YouTube videos on how to properly use it without damaging the shirts.  That's a tip for you.  When in doubt, watch a YouTube video...actually watch several.  YouTube is a great learning tool!  Just be aware that some of the videos are more what NOT to do, than what to do, if you know what I mean.

To use a heat press, you need to buy teflon sheets to sandwich the fabric or shirt for protection from the heat.  I used 375 degrees for 13 seconds.  That worked pretty well.  Another tip is that if the shirt has a vinyl design on it already, you need to let it cool before you peel the teflon sheet off.  (That's from personal experience!)  I can also use the heat press to make t-shirts with vinyl designs!  That's on my to do list.

One of the features that make my t-shirt quilts unique is that I like to add extra details.  The examples below are for the quilt I am working on now.  It is for a friend of mine's daughter who played soccer and is going to college to play soccer!  Ok.  She is also going to get an education.  I found a few digital designs on Etsy and Embroidery Library.  I added the name of the school or team mascot to them using my digitizing software.  The digitizing software I use is Palette 10 by Babylock.  I also did her monogram on one of the squares.  I like to do this if I see a blank space on the quilt.

Another embroidery detail I added is her first team name on her first little soccer shirt!  That way when they see the shirt on the quilt, they will remember the name of the team.

The last thing I want to share is what I do with the leftover pieces.  I got the idea to just sew them together willy-nilly and then cut them into crazy quilt blocks!  I put all of the embroidered blocks with the crazy blocks as the center row.  This is perfect because there are seven rows in the quilt. I am sewing the rest of the shirt pieces together for her mom as a lap quilt.  Then she gets her own quilted memories too!

I will post a picture of the completed quilt when I am done.  Hopefully in a few days!  Whew!  I better get busy!

Happy Quilting Y'All!!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A baby (quilt) to love!

My brother, Kevin, and his wife, Nicki, are expecting their first baby! We are all over the moon with excitement! We can't wait to meet this new little person! Defying the popular trend of finding out the sex, they have decided to let it be a complete surprise. I think that's more fun. So Nicki said she wanted neutral colors for the baby quilt. I fell in love with the scrap bin flying geese pattern. I used neutral colors with a tiny splash of aqua or blue-green.

I said a tiny splash of aqua...I just loved the geometric pattern. 
I used the leftovers to piece a modern quilt back. 
The quilt is about the size of a lap quilt. I think that's a better size. They can use it for picnics and a play blanket. I have some bibs and burping rags to make.  I hope the baby knows how loved they are! 

Meaningful gifts is what it's all about! 
Happy quilting y'all!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Just in time for graduation!

I finished another graduation quilt!!! It's for a good friend of mine's son. And good thing too. He graduates in two weeks! It's the best one that I've made so far! I did black and gold sashing for Vanderbilt colors. I also embroidered "Vanderbilt university" on top and "Commodores" on the bottom border. The finished quilt is 96 inches wide x 130 inches long.  You may be wondering why it's so long. Nick is 6 foot 7 inches tall. So it should cover him nicely!

Happy quilting y'all!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

My New Favorite Toy!

I decided to try my hand at using the rulers with my Handi-quilter. I was very nervous at first. The longarm is still new to me. I've mastered loops, but need to add to my arsenal of patterns.

So...I watched a YouTube video (my go to "how to" site) and decided I would stitch in the ditch using the straight side of the ruler. It is really hard to stitch a straight line on the longarm without help.  How hard can it be with the help of a ruler???

It was the easiest thing to learn! I started slowly, but as I gained confidence, I got a little faster.  Unfortunately, I got over confident and accidentally tried to sew straight through the ruler! Besides sewing through my fingernail, it was one of the scariest thing to happen to me! (Maybe I should have stopped and gone to bed sooner!) The machine set off a loud alarm, the needle snapped (thank goodness the thread was threaded or it would have flown off...possibly toward my face) and I had this horrible thought that I had just broken my new longarm!

After putting on a new needle, rethreading, checking the bobbin area...I gingerly started again. I learned a valuable lesson: sew slowly when using the ruler and stop sewing when you hit that "I'm tired" wall at midnight or 1 am.

But...I love using the ruler. They are my new favorite toy. There are so many options as far as patterns and designs.  I'm so excited to come up with new design combinations.  Check out how I did below! By the way, this beautiful quilt is another charity quilt that the Rocket City Modern Quilt Guild is giving away. 

Happy quilting ya'll!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Another Gift Delivered

I finished the quilt for my friend, Donna, who is recovering from pancreatic cancer. She has been through so much and I just wanted to wrap her up in love and support. She didn't want her picture taken, so I can't share with you my strong, brave friend. She cried and said she couldn't believe I had taken the time to make the quilt for her. But I couldn't think of a better way to show her that I love her and am here supporting her as she goes through this awful journey. It's been hard to know what to do for her. So this little gift seemed perfect. 

The quilt itself is a version of the rail fence pattern. I used a jelly roll to make it. Using precut jelly rolls, charm packs, layer cakes...I think someone was hungry when they made up these names...are a great way to make a quilted gift pretty quickly. A quilt is a gift that shows how much you love someone. And everytime they use it, they can feel your love!

I have to add a shout-out to my friend, Melody. My Embroidery machine is in the shop. The touchscreen quit working. Thanks  a lot, Babylock! So she made my name "plate" for me! Having great friends to call on in a pinch is a true blessing!

Happy quilting ya'll!