Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Business Card Holder

Last week, I showed you the little business-size cards I made with my contact information. So then I needed a way to carry them in style!

This little holder requires only four short seams. If you'd like to make one too, here's how. Don't worry, the instructions look much more complicated than they are. These are really fast to put together and would make great little gifts for a job-seeking graduate this spring!

From left to right, you'll need a 4 1/2" x 5 1/2" piece of fabric for the outside cover, two 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" pieces for the pockets, and one 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece for the lining. You'll also need a 4 1/2" piece of elastic, preferably something nice and decorative.

Fold the pockets in half and press.

Place one of your pockets on top of your cover fabric, with raw edges aligned.

The side of the pocket that's facing downward at this stage will be the outside of the pocket later, so decide which side you like better now. I wanted the adult penguin to show, so I placed that side down.

Sew down the end of the pocket with a 1/4 inch seam, and repeat on the other end with the other pocket. You might want to overlock the edges too.

Fold the pockets away from the center, and cut a piece of elastic the width of the holder. Tape it down about 1 inch away from the pocket seam on the cover piece of fabric. Pick the side you like less.

And fold the pockets back over the cover.

Now, place your lining piece, right side down, on top of the pockets and cover. (The pockets will be in between the cover and the lining.)

Like so:

And sew the side seams with a 1/4" seam. Overlock too, if you like.

Clip your corners, and this is what it will look like. Notice that there is a gap between the lining and the cover/pockets.


You'll use that opening to turn it inside out.

Like so:

Then, you'll fold the pockets over.

There's the elastic and the tape!

 Remove the tape and pull the elastic over to the pocket side.

Put your cards in the pockets, fold shut, and fasten with the elastic.

Ta-da! Believe it or not, I didn't fussy-cut that cover fabric. The penguin just ended up on the front like that!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Stash Report (Not My Fault!)

I didn't fall off the wagon this week. No sirree. I bought 2 yards of fabric for the background for my one patch quilt so I can finish that top off, and that was it. The other 7 3/4 yards into my stash this week were brought back from a business trip by someone who clearly loves me very much. All together now: awww!

Aren't these gradients gorgeous?

I might back the octopus quilt with one of these.

This is a seriously awesome batik.

I have been sewing this week, but not much fabric out and I'm not quite ready to show you the results yet. Soon, though, I'll be ready to actually finish some quilts!

Used This Week: 0.25
Used Year To Date: 14.875
Added This Week: 9.75
Added Year To Date: 44.75
Net Used For 2011: -30.125

See if anyone else is doing better than I am.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Marine Snow

One of the quilts which I entered into the recent quilt show and which I haven't posted about here yet is called "Marine Snow." I also just entered it in a Weekly Themed Quilt Contest here (you can go vote if you'd like to!). I made it as a birthday gift for my fiance, who does research on marine snow. Marine snow is--in his words, the technical terms of a prominent researcher on the subject--"dead crud that sinks."

Here it is hanging in the quilt show.

More specifically, marine snow consists of dead algae, small plants, poop, and other detritus that clumps together and slowly sinks. (I just realized I made a quilt about poop. That's got to be a new low in quiltmaking...) It's called marine snow because it looks a lot like snow (sorry that video is a bit jargon-y, but it has a nice shot of the stuff at the beginning). The reason marine snow is interesting to scientists is that there is a lot of carbon in it, and when carbon sinks to the deep ocean it stays there for a long time. Carbon, as I'm sure you know, is important as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It moves between the atmosphere and the ocean, and so if a lot of carbon sinks to the deep ocean that means it's not in the atmosphere contributing to the greenhouse effect.

I quilted it with long meandering vertical lines, which are supposed to represent the paths the particles take as they sink, although if you look at them horizontally they could also be waves in the ocean!

This quilt is the "Confetti" pattern from the book StrataVarious Quilts by Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover. His favorite color is teal, so I kept that from the original pattern and just switched out the colors of the "confetti" pieces. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, although it was a pretty labor-intensive pattern and wasted a lot of fabric (something I am not a big fan of!). And he seems to be pretty happy with it, too!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Business" cards

At the quilt show, I was exchanging blog addresses with Frances, and while I was scribbling mine down in her notebook, she handed me a business card with her contact information and a picture of one of her quilts. I hadn't thought of making business cards for something I do as a hobby, but I thought it was genius! So of course I had to make some of my own.

I started with a plain design--my name (calligraphed by my now-fiancĂ© as seen here), email, and blog address, and printed them out.

Then, I used a craft punch to punch flowers out of pretty scrapbook paper:

I picked some fun variegated thread from my stash:

And then I sewed the flowers onto the card in a curvy sort of line. I like to use a needle I save just for sewing on paper, because my mom used to yell at me when I tried to use her fabric scissors on paper, and now I'd do the same thing to someone who tried to use my fabric scissors on paper.

You could just sew one line, like in the top card, but I liked the effect of two lines of stitching.

The great thing about this design is that you can chain-piece them!

So the next time I'm telling someone that I make quilts, I can whip out one of these beauties. Stay tuned for instructions for a quick business card holder!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Stash Report

In this week, 3 yards of Kona White for the quilt I posted last week. I also dropped by the local quilt shop to try and find another pink to go with the one I already have. I didn't find any, but I did find one of the owners who gave me a half hour lesson on squaring quilt blocks and getting sashing and borders straight. As soon as I got home I put my new understanding of getting stuff straight to use adding the borders to my octopus quilt.

Like you can see that they're straight in this picture. Ha!

Used This Week: 1
Used Year To Date: 14.625
Added This Week: 3
Added Year To Date: 35
Net Used For 2011: -20.375

See everyone else's progress here!

Friday, March 18, 2011


It's been a busy week at work, so I haven't gotten much done, but I did finally start sewing some cubes so I can get my one patch quilt put together. It's really fun! I'm going to have to put a quilt of nothing but interesting cubes into my queue of Ideas For Stuff I Don't Have Time To Make.

It needs a few more cubes, but here's the quilt on my design wall at the moment:

I might rearrange it a bit to add another row in.

It's fun to color the cubes on graph paper and then see them take shape in fabric form!

You might be able to tell that the fabric for the background hexagons is owl fabric. Coincidentally, the local quilt guild has just announced that the next challenge is a "zoo" challenge. I think I will be able to finish this in time to be a challenge quilt!

I'm hoping to get quite a bit of stuff done this weekend, so hopefully I'll have a lot of progress to show you soon!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Stash Report

I've been sewing stuff I cut up and counted last week, so nothing out this week. Nothing in, either--but I just came up with a new quilt idea, and I don't have the right fabric for it so I'll probably have to go out and get some soon:

Used This Week: 0
Used Year To Date: 13.625
Added This Week: 0
Added Year To Date: 32
Net Used For 2011: -18.375

See everyone else's progress here!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Remember that new tool I was so excited about? I washed the fabric.

I cut it up.

I sewed it together and cut it up again.

I laid it out (on the floor, because the design wall is occupied by something else that I should also finish).

I went to fold a load of laundry.

And then I found this.

I'd had these fabrics for a while, thought I knew them, and didn't look at them too carefully before tossing them in the washer. I had been thinking while cutting them up that it was odd there was no orange fat quarter, seeing as there were two greens and two blues. I must have missed this one when taking the fabrics out of the washing machine.

So, I think I could:

1) Rip up a whole bunch of blocks and add the orange in.
2) Somehow put the orange in the border instead.
3) Leave the orange out and use it in some other project.
4) Stuff it in a box and decide "later."

I feel like the orange really wants to be in there, so I'm leaning towards #1... but that's a lot of work, so I'm also leaning towards #4. Sigh. I always hear about "Mommy Brain," but is there such a thing as "Quilter Brain," too?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pictures from last weekend's quilt show

There were so many beautiful quilts and inspiring quilts on display at last weekend's show, I thought I'd share some pictures so you can be inspired, too! I'm sorry that a lot of the cards showing the title and the maker's name got cut off, but for large quilts it was often hard to get far enough away to get a picture of the whole quilt.

First, some of the winners:

"Best in Show" winner

"Best Use of Color" winner. This was one of my favorites in the show!

"Best Hand Quilting" winner. This was huge and amazing! I don't have the patience to hand quilt.

A close up view of the hand quilting.

This is not a closeup of the same quilt, it's one of the "Best Machine Quilting" winner, by this fabulous lady. She did this on a home sewing machine, not even a longarm. It blows my mind.

Many more pictures are after the jump!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Stash Report

Well, I promised you a terrible week in terms of my recovery from fabric-buying addiction, and I'm here to tell you that I didn't disappoint.

You see, Schoolhouse Quilts was there selling fabric for $6 a yard... including batiks... and I turn into a gibbering heap with no control over my wallet when batiks are involved!

Plus, assorted bolt ends and half yard cuts from a few other vendors...

That's all the fabric, but I got this sweet pincushion from Anita Heady Fiber Arts:

Finally, something other than a tomato pincushion! I just love it.

I also picked up a Lil' Twister tool, which I was excited to find after having seen this tutorial, and I immediately started cutting fabric, since this finally is a good use for a cute fat quarter stack I've had sitting around for quite a while.

In other news this week, I also put together the bulk of my octopus quilt top.

Why does this look lopsided? This better be the camera angle...
I'm still thinking about the border. I was originally going to add just a narrow turquoise border, but I'm now thinking about a wider turquoise with a darker orange or maybe a yellow line in it.

Used This Week: 3.5
Used Year To Date: 13.625
Added This Week: 12
Added Year To Date: 32
Net Used For 2011: -18.375

Time to start behaving myself again! See how everyone else is doing...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shameless bragging

Tonight was the member preview of the Cotton Patch Quilt Show, and of the five quilts I put in the show, two won ribbons (and check out how gorgeous the ribbons are)!

A red (second place) ribbon in the Novice category for my second quilt ever, The Other 71%.

And an Honorable Mention for Global Warming. As you might remember, I really felt that while some of it turned out well, it wasn't a great effort overall. If it hadn't been made specifically for the Show Challenge, I would never have entered it, so this came as a huge surprise and is very gratifying. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the judge's comments on all my quilts.

I think they look pretty sweet hanging in a show! I'll be taking lots more pictures, but today was a bit crazy (awards + find where your quilts are + take advantage of the vendors' preview discount all in only two hours!), so I didn't really get to look carefully at all the quilts--but I can tell you there are lots of gorgeous ones!