Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cute Pet Pictures

Whenever I bend over she jumps on my back and won't move!

Nothing more peaceful that a napping cat, except maybe a sleeping baby.

The sisters when they were teenagers.

Items In Memory of...

This is just a small sampling of items possible for memorializing an event, time or a person.
The sock monkey was from my daughter's favorite socks. The sweater bird, and two pins are from grandparent's clothing, in shapes that are special to those people. Quilts that use small scraps of fabric work well also. I made a t-shirt quilt with commemorative logos all over it. A small heart shaped ornament from bridal scraps makes a nice keepsake. A Christmas stocking sewn from a red sweater, includes a loved one no longer with us. Something to remember when working with old clothes: they often have stains and holes. Repair what you can, cut around what you can't fix and realize a memory item may not take heavy wear and tear. All of my memory items have held up well except the t-shirt quilt. It lasted maybe 8 years on my bed with kids pulling on it to climb up. The well worn t-shirts started ripping so now it is a decorative quilt that gets hung on the wall from time to time. If I make another I think I will fuse knit interfacing to the back of each t-shirt square for strength.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Craft/Sewing Sites

Two Sites worthy of a look:
http://belleandburger.blogspot.com A great tutorial on sewing undies from old t-shirts!
http://chickpeastudio.typepad.com Free downloads for projects. There is a nice pocket bag. I haven't tried these projects, but hopefully soon I will.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sewing Room Organization

My sewing room is also a laundry/exercise/kids' craft/spare freezer and occasional guitar building workshop as well! Finding a way to organize and store supplies is an ongoing challenge. The blue, 4 drawer file cabinet keeps my sewing books and idea notebooks mostly dust free. My husband made the terracotta colored drawers where I keep most of my fabric stash. It is mostly divided by color. I also have a knits drawer and a misc. one with novelty and hard to color-classify prints. I fold and store the fabric so I can see it all at a glance.

This method works really well for my t-shirt drawer too! The dark dresser has one drawer full of notions, needles, machine feet etc. Patterns and misc. items are in the rest. It is near my sewing area, so I can reach everything without ever getting up from my machine.

This white cabinet has zippers, elastic, serger thread, etc. For actual projects- I use baskets labeled cut, machine sew, hand sew, iron. This helps if I have several things going on at the same time. Also, I can grab the hand sew basket and take it with me because it has everything I need in it.

I use plastic zipper bags that sheets come in, to store everything needed for one project. Sometimes it makes sense to organize a project in bowls. My biggest obstacle is my nice big cutting table keeps getting buried under unrelated stuff. I try to clear it off each evening, so I can be inspired to sew. Do you have tips or methods of organizing to share? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ode to a Quilt

The quilt that nudged me into my current style of quilting. It is not fancy or even carefully sewn, but it is an honest, hard working quilt that has withstood 10 years of daily use and frequent machine washing. I didn't sew it. My husband won it as a door prize at a conference. I have no idea who made it, but I would love to be able to tell that person thank you for their time and effort. My first baby and I would lounge on it. Then my second baby joined us. It is the perfect size for picnics, inside and out. My kids use it for snack time everyday. I spread it outside to fold clean laundry on. We cuddle under it on cold nights and build forts with it. I have patched it many times. The colors are faded and the binding needs replacing again, but it holds so many memories! I know it doesn't look special now, but it got me thinking. This person wasn't an expert, yet they made a truly wonderful quilt. Inspired, I played with the design and came up with a style that I have sewn at least 15 times. I made an instruction booklet-#309 Flip Quilt that is available at http://catsongstitchery.etsy.com/ I hope my quilts will be as treasured and loved as this one. So here's to imperfection and trying something new! I hope you will. And thank you to the quilter who inspired me.

This is one of mine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review: It's A Wrap

I have made many of these bowls. It is so easy and addicting! Susan Breier's book, "It's A Wrap" includes loads of photos and information.

I start by organizing my 1/2"-1" fabric strips in bowls. Quilting cottons seem to work the best, cut on the straight of grain. Experiment! You can come up with really neat effects. Try using fabric that you might otherwise think is unattractive.

Just wrap and zigzag until you are done. It is perfect for when you want to make something, now, but don't want to spent time planning, cutting etc.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trend Setter-A great way to help animals

I love animals and taking care of them, but I can only have so many pets. I realized a while back that I really enjoy watching the wildlife in my yard from my big sewing room windows. I decided to have my backyard certified as a wildlife habitat. It was fun and really easy. Visit www.nwf.org/backyard for more info. After we got our backyard certified, then my Mom and her husband got theirs certified and my niece earned her certification (she is 9). Just think if people all over did this. Our neighborhoods would be so much more animal and plant friendly!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recently Visited Sites

Last night, I was surfing around and found these interesting sites:
www.greenkitchen.com Has fun craft info.
www.quiltersmuse.com Crazy quilt inspiration. Nice closeups.
www.fiberfantasies.wordpress.com Quilt history and some great crazy quilt closeups.
www.diynetwork.com Crafts and organizing info etc.
www.hgtv.com Crafts, home dec etc.
www.chihuly.com/glass.html This glass artist is inspiring with brilliant colors.
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com Good info.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How To: Sew a Lingerie Bag

Lingerie laundry bags are great for protecting delicates. I just toss these in the washing machine along with my other clothes and wash. I chose a sturdy synthetic lace (usually very inexpensive too). Cut one piece of lace 32"x12" (you can vary the size depending on your needs). Turn under the short sides 1/2". Sew the lace to the zipper, leaving the zipper exposed as shown in the pictures. Topstitch a narrow ribbon or trim on top to dress it up a little. Cut 2 ribbon pieces, 3 1/2" long each. Fold each piece in half and stitch ,raw edges even, to each end of the zipper as pull tabs. Open the zipper, turn inside out. Position the zipper 1 1/2" down from the top (as in the pictures). Stitch the side seams, 1/2" seam allowance. I double stitched for strength. Turn right side out. Add a piece of ribbon for a zipper pull and you are done! Makes a great gift too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's New-A Great Weekend Bag

I call her Lola. She is carefree, always up for fun and adventure. Roomy enough for all your essentials. Make her for yourself with my new pattern: "The Weekend Bag Instruction #409", available in my shop http://catsongstitchery.etsy.com in the Pattern section. Finished size: 15 1/2" wide by 13 1/2" deep. One inside pocket, padded handles, fully lined. PDF format so shipping is free! Let me know what you think!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Review: Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo

I have made many items from Kumiko Sudo's books, "Omiyage" and "Kokoro no Te". Both are fabulous. The pictures are beautiful and the instructions are easy to follow. The projects are mostly handsewn and small enough to take places so they are perfect for waiting rooms etc. I really like the permission she gives teachers in "Omiyage" and the lesson plans in the back of the book along with traceable patterns. "Kokoro no Te" also offers traceable patterns for beautiful small bags with beading, the tiny kimono, and the needle book shown above as well as the pansy pin that I like to make for gifts. Both books are well worth checking out!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sewing Journal

It took me years of sewing before I realized that keeping a sewing journal is a great idea. My current one is shown here, but yours doesn't have to be fancy. It would work just as well if it were a plain notebook from the dollar store. I write the project, who is it for, size, pattern or book used, date and any changes I made or would suggest in the future. I include a drawing and note fabrics and colors. If I go back years later and make another one, I write it on the same page. It has really come in handy to keep track of gifts I've given. I also get a real sense of satisfaction seeing how much I actually sew! I also record knit, crochet, and craft projects I make. It is helpful when my current jeans wear out and I want to recreate them but can't remember how I changed the pattern. The other photo is of fabric swatches from clothes I've sewn. I group them by warm and cold weather clothes. I take the swatches to the store and can easily match and coordinate new projects with what I already own. It helps avoid the closet full of clothes and nothing to wear problem!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Cat Sisters- Cute Pet Pictures

Here they are, the girls responsible for the name Cat Song Stitchery. I was up late one night trying to come up with a name for my new shop (http://catsongstitchery.etsy.com ) when one of them came sauntering through the room, singing! The rest is history. They sing often.

They also enjoy dressing up. Really! She sat like that for almost an hour, enjoying all the attention. They like to look outside and ride my exercise bike too.