Remnants With Heart

I wanted to treat my new rubbery yoga mat better than the old one, so it will last longer. The insert with it suggested keeping it in a bag when not in use, not out in the car in extreme heat or cold, with the sun bearing down on it through the windshield.

 

I thought I remembered seeing an article in a recent Easy Quilts mag for a quilted yoga bag. Ah, yes! There it is.

Oh, wait a minute, I think I have a Sewing for Dummies pattern for a yoga bag. Here it is.

Easy Quilts yoga bag pattern

Easy Quilts bag

Sewing for Dummies yoga bag pattern

Dummies bags pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So which one should I make? And what remnants should I use to make it?

fabric

possibility for the mag bag

outdoor fabric

I like this outdoor fabric

pre-quilted fabric remnant

this quilted remnant is just what the Dummies ordered

pre-quilted fabric

other pre-quilted possibilities

 

 

I could have used the lavender and blue and quilted my own, like the magazine pattern showed….or I could use some pre-quilted fabric and save time and effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had 3 remnants to choose from: the blue and yellow patterned piece looked just like the Dummies pattern, and rather passé if you ask me. I spent at least a day mulling it over. Could I actually show up anywhere in public with that? Er, no.

 

 

 

 

 

The others: ho-hum solid brown and ho-hum solid off-white. The off-white would certainly get dog-dirty in a little while. So I guess I’ll go with the brown.

yoga bag fabrics

the chosen fabrics

 

Just to make it a little matchy-matchy with the green mat, I added a green remnant fabric strap (the pattern wants you to use 1 1/8 yards of webbing for the strap) and some green embroidery. This is a heart chakra symbol, traditionally in the color green. Embroidery from Urban Threads.

yoga mat bag

a little length of brown twill tape made a great tie

yoga bag

finished yoga bag

Now for the Zero to Hero Day 18 post, about connecting with social networks. I do connect with a few of them, but I must confess that I’m not comfortable connecting with them all. For instance, Twitter. I found that I’d been hacked in some fashion and the connection may have possibly been facilitated through a Twitter encounter. Facebook friends are alerted on FB when I post, but I prefer that unscreened people who view my blog through search terms don’t have access to my FB page. I think I’m as connected as I want to be. 🙂

Sew Happy

hologram

szdt – szdt – szdt hologram

I didn’t get much done today, and what I did do is of questionable importance. I worked on Zero to Hero Day 14, Blogger’s Choice. My choice was to add another element of new, a marked-up photo, see below…

Been planning to finish the holiday sewing but the Ruby had to go in the shop again: an error message came up over and over again like an old phonograph record with a scratch on it. “Clear out thread under throat plate, szdt szdt szdt” (the word szdt wasn’t printed out in the message but that was the sound it made).

I dreaded taking her in to the shop. Who knows when I would ever see her again? So I dramatically threw my head back, descended onto the nearest facsimile of a fainting couch, and meekly begged and pleaded with my DH to do it. He did! The silver-tongued, country-gentleman, good-ol’-boy, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, lovely man did it! And because he did, my Ruby was fixed and waiting in an hour, while 30 other machines allegedly languished in the bottomless repair pit.

sewing machine repair receipt

this was the receipt for the repair.

Would you believe they will sell your machine for the cost of the repair, if you left it over 30 days? That’s why it does pay to suck up to your local sewing machine repair shop. This shop also sells sewing machines that cost thousands of $$’s so they know if a machine is actually worth the cost of the repair or not.

Would you believe that my sewing machine review post, the one I linked with Sew Mama Sew’s blog, is one of my all- time most-viewed posts?

So I was able to finish a couple of dish towels.

embroidered kitchen towel

embroidered kitchen towel

This particular one, and its twin, are not fashioned from remnants but are finished, unembellished towels straight from the package, that I bought from JoAnn Fabric. You must use a coupon, because these are a bit pricey otherwise. I’ve got some Kokka remnants of cotton and linen that I plan to make more dish towels with.

Kokka linen fabric

Kokka fabric

Kokka fabric

Kokka

cotton linen fabric

dish towel fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word to the wise: if you don’t want trouble with your machine, clean out from under the thread plate with a vacuum, not canned air.

vacuum thread plate

Do

canned air

Don’t.

 

 

Even though I bought the canned air on Nancy’s Notions web site for cleaning lint out of small crevices, apparently it blows lint onto a sensitive sensor and then there is szdt! to pay.

In the Beginning

fabric remnant

an early remnant

If you want to see other photobloggers’ takes on Beginning, click here.

When I started this blog a few years ago, this exact remnant was a point of interest. Now it’s back on my work table, waiting to enter its new life of usefulness, as something other than a cast-off end of a fabric bolt.

I believe my first remnant redo project was a pink apron, from a linen remnant that had an embroidered edge, and was much too small to have a commercial pattern lain upon it and cut into anything conventional.

I asked my “audience”–Facebook friends, as I recall, what they thought I should do with the remnant. I think I lost followers as soon as they saw I wasn’t going to take their suggestions! But I just couldn’t keep on doing what other people have always expected me to do.

That was a much simpler time!

I was about to retire from my long-held office job. I needed something to do, new interests. I bought a new sewing machine that could do embroidery. I had lots of fabric, mostly remnants, and various notions. I could never have predicted that some things I found fascinating have no audience, and some things I wrote about that were simply aggravating turned out to be most-viewed posts. Like yo-yo’s. And things I didn’t like about my sewing machine.

This blog has evolved: I’ve gotten into photography a bit more, and jumped into the river of info flow in the bloggiverse, cascading along with the flotsam and jetsam of images and stories in this happy, eclectic form of communication revolution. That means I follow a lot of other blogs and am daily influenced by their posts and prophecies. Thanks for all your virtual friendship, input, and inspiration, and here’s to a great 2014!

Holiday Gifting Damage Control

Are you like I am? Do you like to make things for people and give them as gifts for a holiday occasion? But do you sometimes fall short of your projected gift list goals?

When the holiday got really close, I narrowed my to-do list down to 2 basic things: shopping bags and dish towels. I still fell short…

Mostly because of this little number…which by the way, is a fabric remnant project. Another Kwik Sew shopping bag.

Snow White shopping bag

the diabolical Snow White bag

In retrospect, I can see where the red flags should have driven me back, but I was very distracted. A lot of things happened that I didn’t expect.

Red flag #1: the embroidery was too big for the pattern piece.
Red flag #2: the embroidery was too complicated for the design and function of the item.
Red flag #3: my available time was cut short when people dropped by and I was asked to do things I hadn’t planned, so I set the embroidery going and left it to go and do other things…

So that I ended up with a finished embroidery that is a poster child for what NOT to do.

Snow White machine embroidery

the puckered and distorted embroidery

The complex, busy, heavy embroidery was no match for the thin cotton center panel of the shopping bag, even with a sturdy tear-away stabilizer underneath. When finished, the shopping bag fabric was considerably drawn-up and needed some adjustments if the pattern pieces were ever going to fit together. I had to add extra fabric and cobble it together with some stitching. The straps went on a little crooked and covered some of the thick embroidered flowers, but what else was there to do? Aargh, some of the fabric ended up not exactly on the straight of the grain. I was in a hurry and it shows. Sigh. But the recipient will still get it (in January!) and she can decide whether or not she thinks it is too shoddy to use! I think she can use it for something though, as she loves anything Snow White.

Here are some shots of other holiday things that (in retrospect) seem a bit weird or short of their mark:

deflated Santa

Bad Santa, lying on the neighbor’s lawn sleeping

under the Christmas tree pic

Grayzie, hiding from Psycho Granny Claus, who’s holding her candle upside-down

Nativity set

tiny crystal Nativity Scene overseen by a giant cardinal that is the wrong color

religious decoration

Madonna and Child with large turtle over a brass buddha

A little eccentric, perhaps, but I have room for all.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community…Gossamer

Holiday flings…party things….gossamer wings

Images of Christmas season in my little community: headed to the office party, living in my community of cats, fashioning gifts from remnants. Dragonfly pattern from 5D Embroidery. Sulky metallic embroidery thread. Shopping bag pattern is Kwik Sew K3612. Happy holidays, all!

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Community click here (and go ahead, add your own!)

Weekly photo challenge: Grand

20131207-202738.jpg

A grandiose Christmas tree in the Thornebrook shopping center. Or, should it be called a “holiday tree”? If the focus is shopping and buying presents to curry favor with our materialistic friends and associates, probably “holiday tree” is good. For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand and/or to submit your own interpretation of the theme, go here.

Holiday remnant project: gym towels…possible quick gift, or even wrapping for small gift.

machine-embroidered gym towels

gym towels for yoga class

I found some terry cloth remnants at Joann Fabric, cut them into small towels, and embroidered yoga motifs: crown chakra, aum symbol. I found some nice chakra embroidery designs at Urban Threads. Then I just turned under the exposed seams and sewed narrow hems. The shiny stuff on the brown crown chakra embroidery is Solvy stabilizer that will wash out. It’s good to put on top of fabrics that have a nap or texture, to keep the needle from snagging or skipping during embroidery.

I was looking at some old family photos and found this one of my GRANDfather’s Christmas tree, circa 1910. He decorated it himself, as he attests in the handwritten inscription on the back.

Christmas tree 1910

Grandad’s Family Christmas tree c. 1910

Christmas 1910

Grandad’s (as a child) own words on back of Christmas tree photo

Walker Tote Bag from Remnants

I visited a relative recently, who is living in an assisted living apartment building. She lives on a way upper floor, and I noticed that when she goes down to get the mail, she would hold the letters in one hand while trying to maneuver her walker at the same time. After I got home, a subsequent search of the Internet revealed that lots of creative sewists have posted many awesome free patterns for “walker bags;” I had plenty of designs to choose from!

I picked this one from Debbie Colgrove at About.com. I liked it because it has pockets, looks like it holds its shape, and has sturdy straps to attach it. I snagged some collegiate sports fabric while I was in the vicinity, knowing that it’s football season and boy, does she love football! Of course, in my remnant bin I happened to have some pre-quilted fabric for the body of the tote, which the pattern called for, in a relatively decent color match! I thought personalizing it would be a nice touch, and I love the script lettering in bold crimson red (I didn’t say Crimson Tide, here, slow down, buddy.)

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

The bag’s wide top straps button over the upper bar of the walker. It also has two bottom straps that can be fastened to the walker legs by lacing through D-rings. Hmmm, I just might have some D-rings in the old button box here—wait, here are some! Just the right size, too (1-inch)!

D-rings

D-rings

The best way to sew those D-rings to the straps was with a narrow zipper foot. That foot is a trouper!
Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Er, pay no attention to the fact that you only see one D-ring in this pic: I had to rip out the seam because I forgot to insert TWO D-rings onto each strap. No biggie: I also have a LOVELY seam ripper that gets more use than any other attachment!

finished bag

finished bag

I had buttons galore to choose from, stashed.

Thank you so much, Ms. Colgrove of About.com, for the wonderful free pattern. The changes to the original pattern that I made were the embroidery and the center button: I sewed a velcro strip inside rather than adding another button right over the embroidered name. Why? Because I thought the button might detract from the embroidery and make it look even more off-center than it is. Plus, I don’t have the greatest button-hole making capability with my machine and my teeth were already grinding plenty enough enamel after making two buttonholes and having to trim bird nests off the underside of the buttonholes and repair with a satin stitch. 🙂

The only other little quirks I noticed with the pattern were that it directs you to do something with one side of the body: if you personalize it with a name, it does make a difference which side you do some things to, like attaching the straps. And in attaching the top straps, it directs you to place them 2″ away from the seam but the picture shows 2 1/2″ from the seam. I chose the 2 1/2″ distance. I thought the collegiate fabric added a nice touch, what do you think? An elderly person has seen lots of purty flowers in their lifetime, but what’s not to love about a touchdown? Northern Illinois University actually played the Florida State Seminoles last year in the Orange Bowl. At the time, we were all saying “NIU who?” But it looks like a pretty good little football team!

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