28 February, 2016

Happy Mail

Happy mail indeed.
I received this valentine from a newish japanese friend who recently held a valentine party in her town. She mailed it on the 19th of February and I received it on the 26th. It's seems to be about 6-10 days in transit. ( It was only four days from Oahu!).

20 February, 2016

Zion Mennonite Church Quilting Workshop 2016

I drove out to the Zion Mennonite Quilt Show this morning after work.

I have known about this amazing array of quilts for many years but this was my first time where my work schedule and my other life schedule said "Go!".

It's not very far from my house and I know many of the quilters.
This is their 44th year holding the workshop.

Her machine is a Brother.

 You can't come to a quilt show without your quilted tote.

 I liked this strip quilt set on a dark gray solid.

Little kitties playing. Embroidered baby quilt.

 Hawaiian Applique

 The big room in their fellowship hall. Giant quilt frame. Anyone can join in.
The walls were lined in quilts.

 Liked the seeming simplicity of this pastel quilt.
It probably is easy to make, or not.

 A couple of flower wall hangings.

 Someone made the stuffed toy. 
I liked the quilt behind it and really liked the photographer in my shot.
 I love these giant sunbonnet sue variation quilts. This one with fabric and embroidery. Each one holding a posie. This quilt is hand-quilted.

 This is not some giant quilt show that charges admission. The ladies accept donations to fund their charity of choice but all items can be touched, photographed, lusted after.
Look at these tiny sweet sewing machines.

 This appliqued quilt is to the left of the sewing machine montage.

 Teeny, Tiny one-inch squares. Set on point.
Gorgeous mini quilt - although it is baby quilt sized.

 Vintage Amish Baby quilt.  Sorry - the sign tag had too much light to show up.

 Dimensional BowTie.

 And then we get to the Friendship quilts. A couple of these were from the 1970's. I thought most were done in the 40's & 50's. 

This pink sashed one above is very typical. Everyone was given a white block to embroider/sew/autograph and then it was sashed in pink with white squares between. Squares and rectangles.

 The one I found at an estate sale (for a buck) was more elaborate with the hexagons.
It was in very poor shape and I salvaged what I could and upcycled the good parts into pincushions.

Made in the 40's, this Grandmother's Flower Garden incorporates typical 40's pinks and greens.

Oh - I did find one airplane quilt made with these Michael Miller fabrics ( I have these same fabric panels stashed away!)

Nothing to compare with my Lucky Lindy airplane quilt:

I still have not decided what to do with this. The wadding is all lumpy in the seams. There are only a couple of places where the fabrics have worn through, however, it is in poor/acceptable condition because of the wadding. 

I had thought of hanging it at the head of my bed. I need to find a rod and brackets and then fashion a hanging pocket on the back.

***If you click on the photos, you can see the tag details of who made the quilt, what year, what pattern.

Donations are accepted via Zion Mennonite Church and fund various charitable groups.

17 February, 2016

Zipper Tabs Sewing Tutorial

Front: Hobnail bedspread - upcycled

Backside: Damask with lace trim covering a zipper opening

I made two 20" pillows last weekend. They have zippers on the back so you can take the covers off for cleaning (hello white!).

I used a vintage hobnail bedspread for the fronts and a semi-damask white cotton for the backside. The zippers came from stash and along with pillow forms in stash dictated the size of these pillows. The trim, loudly (seriously - it practically jumped into my hands), asked to be part of the pillow and was sewn to the zipper concealment flap.

There are two main ways to make large pillow covers. Those that come off via an envelope back or by way of a zipper. 

**Or you could just sew all four sides closed which then has to be unsewn for proper cleaning. These are typical of smaller pillows or commercially sewn decorative pillows. At 20" and above, it's easier to provide a zipper opening because I know how to sew.

I went with a zippered opening because it's more secure than an envelope back that can gape open.

To hide my zipper, I added enough material to cover it with a flap and trimmed the flap with this lovely ruffled lace trim. I plan on doing a tutorial on making a zipper flap too but I'm not too sure of my white on white fabrics showing up well.  Still looking at my photos to see if the idea comes across.

Today, I will show you how to add zipper tabs to the ends of your zippers.

I utilize all sorts of zippers. I love to find them at garage sales as they are expensive new. These two zips were more or less 20" long. But I don't like sewing the ends with metal thingies inside my seams. I add zipper tabs to the ends. This helps with managing the bulk in the seams and the aforementioned little metal thingies that break needles and hurt my machine.

Here are two tabs. Since I am hiding the zipper under a flap, I don't care if the tabs match. On top of a zippered pouch,  I care, a lot. Not so much here.

I can put these tabs  along the zipper to control length or just to make the ends pretty.

I learned this method from Nancy Zeiman - it's super easy. 

Grab a scrap rectangle piece of material that is 3 times the width of the zipper. Most zipper tapes are one inch wide. Your scrap would be 3" wide. It doesn't matter how long your scrap is, but generally, less than two inches.

Wrap this piece around the zipper tape with raw edges down. This piece lays on the zipper tape and will be flipped over the end. Your stitch line will be on the end of the zipper. If you can't visualize, please refer to the following photos.

Once I've stitched the scrap down,  I trim the little zipper ears off (end of tapes).
The tape is thick, by cutting it off, it's less bulk in your side seams.

 This particular zipper is short. I used a longer scrap to extend the length on the second end. I don't care that the tabs won't match as they will be hidden under my zipper flap. No one will ever notice, I promise you.

To determine the length of the zipper, I start by making a tab for the bottom of the zipper. The top with the zipper pull is the second tab. I usually sew my tab just above that bottom metal stop. This stop gets trimmed off when I flip the tab over.

Then I lay the zipper along my pillow fabric which has been cut to 20" wide. I place the bottom tab - where the raw edges are - in line with the raw edge of my fabric. I can see that my other end (with the pull) needs a longer zipper tab. You can trim these tabs easily so cut a scrap piece that is longer than you need. {3X width of zipper by length needed to get to edge (plus some)}

 I usually stitch across the zipper to keep zipper  tapes in place. Then I wrap my scrap around the zipper tape and sew at the end.

There goes the zipper ears and the metal stop.

Voila!    I flip that scrap over and we have a nice, pretty, & clean end to the zipper.

The raw edges will get serged into the pillow side seams so I don't bother trimming.

 Here is the zipper tab sewn into the pillow cover. How pretty is that?
Neat and tidy.

 Here is the zipper installed with flap trimmed with lace.
The lace trim is also sewn into the side seams so we won't be able to lift that flap up as much once the pillow is finished.

So - the main reasons to do this style of zipper tab is to keep bulk and metal parts out of my edge seams.

There are other methods to make zipper tabs. Especially on zippered pouches you will see a finished tab - no raw edges at the end. This style is used to keep the tab (and zipper) out of the side seam altogether. The stitching seam is sewn alongside the finished edge of the tab. Again, the main reason is to keep bulk out of the seam.

Rusty is still with us. My friend in Japan says it's illegal to put pets to sleep there. I cannot get my head around this. I was taught that it was our (human) responsibility to be humane with our pets. So interesting to hear other people's stories about losing pets. 

Rusty has rallied abit - we are currently managing his pain better, I think.  There have been some rough spots but we are all managing as best as we can.
Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. It has meant a lot.

14 February, 2016

February Stuff

Rusty this morning. His hind legs won't bend anymore.

 Hibernation at this time of year seems to fit the bill.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now.

Books I have read or am reading? I couldn't put Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah down. This one is set in the Olympic forest on the Washington State coast.  This winter, I've been gravitating to Pacific Northwest writers.

Teresa got me started on Sara Donati - ordering me to read her books in order. I've checked out all of them except the pesky first one which is checked out by someone else. Shhh....don't tell Teresa, but I started in on her Queen of Swords.

Bill Brysons' new book came up in my library queue so I switched over to Road To Little Dribbling which re-visits his treks around Britain. I'm at the part where he mentions Chertsey and I suck at geography anymore but I'm wondering if that's near  where Benta lives?

It's gray and rainy and windy right now. I brought the sunny weather back to Oregon when we got home from Oahu in January but it only lasted a week. At least we aren't buried alive in frigid snow drifts like the midwest and the east coast. I love Oregon and it's soft seasons. However, dreary takes it's toll.

My 14 year old yellow lab, Rusty, is dying. I've always had to put my other big dogs to sleep because of pain, seizures, and incontinence. I am hoping Rusty will die naturally. It's a delicate balance to watch this which is more difficult than I thought it would be. 

Balancing how much pain he is in, making comfort care  as good as I can make it in his last days with the possibility of too much pain, nausea, not being able to take care of his business. Being humane.

My snowdrops last week

His hind legs don't much work - we have to help him get up. He is able to manage his business by himself. But he isn't eating as much, or when the nausea is a bit too much, not at all.

I've stuck another balance point by giving him one pain pill every 8 hours - which  means they overlap a bit in dulling the pain. He's been eating a bit more and walking a bit more but his care is using a lot of my brain right now - thinking of ways to make him more comfortable.

Valentine plant from my Mom & Dad

I can usually create and sew despite living in my typical chaos. UFO's are UnFinshed Objects. WIPs are Works In Progress. I think I've reached my personal limit because I walk into my sewing room and walk right back out.

Today, I walked in, walked back out, but came back with several ziploc bags. I proceeded to bag up five projects from my sewing table where my machines are.

I hid them in a corner.

I dusted down my table and instantly came up with a pillow project that I finished. Mostly. 

 Rusty always has his ball nearby. 
The ball he 'borrows' from FauxPas - the poodle, three houses away.

After I finished two pillow covers, I found some small stains on the upcycled hobnail bedspread that I had not noticed when cutting them out. I had been focusing on the hobnail pattern and didn't think to look on the other side.

So - a little soaking in the washer was in order. I'll see if the stains 'disappear' or are at least more faint and then pronounce them done.

Back to work tomorrow plus a lovely doctor visit to discuss what else I can be doing for my SIBO auto-immune.

Last summer on the patio

11 February, 2016

Extra Pull Key Fob Tutorial

 These Key Fobs are fun to make. 

Getting the zipper pulls on can be fiddly but I love the end result. As someone who fidgets, unzipping and arranging the pulls and then zipping it  back together are fun for me.

You'll need:

  • Zipper (10 inches or longer). I used a 22"  YKK brand. 
  • Extra zipper pulls.               Atkinson brand with YKK pulls 
  • Key Fob Hardware               Bought on etsy. 
  • Scrap fabric 1 7/8 inches wide by length of zipper tape. I used a Liberty print.
  • SF 101 Interfacing.                Bought at Joann's

 I found a little light interfacing gave me the firmness I wanted in this keyfob. My go-to is SF 101 (pellon product). Iron this to wrong side of fabric strip. To help with bulk at center when folding, I cut my interfacing narrower than the fabric.

 I'm trying to decide which zipper tape color goes best with my Liberty fabric. Purple, Orange, Hot Pink???

You'll need to cut off the top and bottom metal stops on your zipper. Unzip the pull all the way off. You are left with two tapes.

Sandwich your zipper tape inside the Fabric trim. Sew and top-stitch. I don't have to use my zipper foot on my machine. I can move the needle over to the far left. That way the foot rides evenly on the fabric strip and doesn't get all lumpy-bumpy with the zipper teeth.

If you can't move your needle over, switch to your zipper foot to sew this fabric trim.

I used two parallel lines of top-stitching, I could have used one. Or, a decorative stitch on my machine.

 Okay - here are the fiddly bits.

You can google, "How do I put a zipper pull back on" to find a lot of youtube videos. I like the one by Erin Erickson of DUMD (Dog Under My Desk) Sewing patterns.
{I don't think my left hand is up to taking video as well as close-ups}.

I'll try to explain the process. Zipper teeth need to interlock with each other. One side of your tape will be higher than the other. Always start with that same side for each subsequent zipper pull.

Don't mind the messy ends, you will trim these later. You might even trim them while your giant hands try to fiddle with tiny teeth.

Slip the top of the pull on whichever side you decide to start with. Slide until you hear a little click. Two clicks is also okay. Take the other end of the zipper tape and start it. The first side is easy, the second side is a lot tougher. There isn't as much room in the pull for two tapes.

Try pulling on your left tape to give the second tape room to maneuver. Try using the pad of your finger to tap the bottom end of the pull while tugging the left over and maneuvering the rightside into the pull.  Are your fingers getting more clumsy?  Take a deep breath and repeat.  If you listen carefully, you will hear the "click" as the second side engages.

If you totally have nylon coils disintegrating, trim off the end and start again.
At some point after hearing the 'click' of the second end, you will be able to pull the tab and zip it up the tape.

It does get easier now that I've made half a dozen. Just remember to breathe.

 The first pull zips up the teeth. Carefully, tug the tapes apart at the end where you start the zipper pull and do the next pull. If you start on the opposite side, it will create a little gaposis. If you start it on the same side as before, it looks straighter.


 You can buy key fob hardware pliers for $20 and up, or like me, I use pliers I found in the hangar. I put masking tape on the jaws to soften the teeth. I also use a scrap of fabric to try not to mar the shiny fob hardware.

 Once you have your fabric butted up inside the fob hardware, you want to squeeze gently all over the hardware. Don't do one place at a time. Gradual squeezing on the left, then on the right - make sure your fabric is straight, squeeze again until it's all tight.

Some people use glue also but I've never had one pop out so I skip the glue.

 I used a 22" zipper, sewed my fabric trim on, then cut it in half to make two key fobs.

 See how the front one is twisting towards the camera - this is one reason I used interfacing. I think with time and use, it will lie flatter.

These are the pulls I ordered. YKK brand pulls mix well with YKK zippers.

I ordered the key fob hardware on etsy years ago - I still have some. I did have to google search for the zipper pulls and then bought the cheapest one. I haven't seen these colored pulls in a store. The zippers are usually in stash or if I have to order some - then I generally use ZipIt on etsy.

I would love to see ones you've made. Throw a photo at  me in the comments or by email or Instagram (sidebar).

This is an easy project for gifts.

I'm linking up with Sew and Sow's Saturday linky party:
Sew and Sow Farm