Simple Fall Remnant Runner with Piping Edge

I found two pieces of fabric in the “orange” section of the stash, jacquard woven fabric in autumn colors.

Fall Fabric remnants

They had some pulled-out staples here and there, and I was mildly curious–Fall Festival? Raw edges on jacquard fabric make me nervous–
it’s like they are unraveling more every second. No! Don’t look, they’re doing it again!

If sewn together, the piece wouldn’t be big enough for a tablecloth, and if made into place mats, there would only be about three. So, maybe the remnants would make a table runner; or a covering for a small table?

I did sew them together, and added a piping edge. I was about to mail a package that included a lot of little items that would rattle around in the box, if it were not for a fall blankety thing to muffle them and keep them in place.

Sewing the piping edge.

I have a piping foot for my sewing machine, and it is wonderful to use. It has a little groove on the left side, underneath, and piping fits right into that groove and stays in place. I can set the needle to sew right on the seam of the piping. I do want to have a nice, continuous piping so if I run out and have to attach a new package of piping, I want to hide the raw edge like this:

1. Sew the piping to the right side of the fabric, lining up raw edges.


2. Joining piping: pull apart the edges, exposing the cording


3. Cut the cording to match up with the piece it will be sewn onto


4. Fold the cut edge under, then match it up to the piping that has been sewn down on the fabric, and continue sewing the seam


5. Sewing the continuous seam on piping that has been lengthened by the above steps


Now I have the right side of the runner facing up, with the piped edging sewn on top of the edges. I’m going to place the other half of the fabric, right side down, onto the piped piece, matching the edges. I sew the top piece to the bottom piece, using the piping foot’s groove to keep the stitching just to the right of the groove (although I can’t see the piping now, it’s underneath the top fabric). I start sewing in the mid-point of one of the sides and end about a fist’s distance from the origin point, so I have room to turn it inside out.

Turn and press all along the edges. Turned right-side out, the piping on the runner should be showing along the edges, sandwiched between the two seams. I like to hand-stitch the opening together so I can gently match the ravel-prone edges and secure them to the more stable piping fabric invisibly. Next, I’m going to topstitch along the edges, about 1/2″ from the piped edge. For this I use a clear edge-stitching foot. It has a metal blade along the edge of the foot that butts up to the stitched, piped edge and keeps the line of stitching the same distance from it.

Top-stitching the piped edge

Table runner with piped edging

Epic remnants and Free Motion Quilting

My DH pointed out to me yesterday, as he studied in Exodus 26:12, that specific uses for fabric remnants were given back in Moses’ time. Check out the King James version Online (and many variations.)

I had a little piece of yellow Daisy Lace fabric by Tina Givens Fairy Tip Toes for Westminster Fabrics, not quite 36 inches square.

Daisy Lace (Lorna Doones are Elizabeth's prescription for nausea)

I also had two coordinating Fairy Tip Toes prints, a Chocolate Cup Cake Medley and a Yellow Ribbon Fare. Plus, I found some plain yellow not-quite-quilting standard fabric, and serged together a patchwork top in 13″ squares. I used the Daisy Lace for the backing, and some Warm & Natural Needled Cotton batting (on sale at JoAnn’s).

Westminster Fabrics

I added some simple machine embroidery to the plain yellow blocks, in a dark plum color thread.

Machine embroidering motif on a plain block

I tried to embroider a name with my sewing machine’s Text Stitching function, but I couldn’t get it to do right through all the layers, so I picked it all out, then hand-embroidered it in the same needle hole-ridden spot.

Embroidery

The real reason for this madness was that I was dying to try free-motion quilting.

Currently, I subscribe to so many sites that send me creative prompts all the time. Knitting, crocheting, Artist Daily, quilting, Real Simple, Fabulous After Forty are a few of the emails I get every day! Lately I’ve actually paid some attention to the Art Quilting (or is it Quilting Arts?) ideas that filter across the ethernet to my inbox. “You can do it!” they assure me. “Don’t be afraid!” “Just put on some music, get comfortable, set your feed dogs on free motion, and go for it!”

Although I’ve always thought of myself as (gawsh, gee-whiz) artistic, I also have that left-brain push that wants me to go by the book, everything pigeonholed into the correct category and function, to make it work. That’s why I needed to see the instructions for free-motion quilting, even though what it amounts to is, you just do your own thing. You lower the feed dogs (my machine has a settings screen with check boxes and + or – numbers), attach a free-motion foot (mine is open-toed) and just move the fabric around while you put your foot on the pedal.
I tried it out and needed to adjust the plus or minuses, which govern how close the needle gets to the throat plate: you want to have enough room for the fabric to move around freely. The current issue of Quilting Arts has several articles on free-motion machine quilting. I decided to try the stipple motif, which turned out not exactly perfect. But you don’t have to be. Grabbing the rather heavy thickness of several layers of fabric and batting, and moving it around, can be a bit strenuous! I can see how Nancy Zieman’s grabaroos might be useful.

For the binding, I used double fold bias tape in a coordinating plum shade.

finished little quilt

It is small, maybe a good size to throw down on the floor and let the baby roll around on! Not exactly an epic project, like using a remnant to decorate the tabernacle in Moses’ time, but in my personal history, it is my very first attempt at free-motion machine quilting. I like it!

Woolly Fabric Redo

The focus for this week (actually last week, I’m posting a week behind) is a repurposed fabric rather than a fabric remnant. I have Kay to thank for the idea: she visited my scary sewing room this past weekend and witnessed, first-hand, the hoarding-in-progress that happens in this little den. But she made a comment that stuck in my mind long after Homecoming Weekend was over and she went back down south; she said “Pillows made from old felted sweaters are really popular right now.”

Do I have felted sweaters? Yes, I have a whole bin of them. I opened the sweater equivalent to Davy Jones’ locker and assessed the possibilities.

first, the RED one

The beautiful red sweater had been cannibalized before, about the sleeve area, to make felted roses; all that was left was a vest. I cut it just under the underarms, straight across, and seamed the felted edges, using the sewing machine. As luck would have it, my zipper stash offered up a perfect specimen, right size and color, and the zipper pull had the letters “AG” in a burnished, antiqued metal. I don’t know! After stuffing with a size 18″ x 18″ pillow form (on sale at JoAnn’s), I realized that the sides formed an unattractive bell shape, so I sewed another seam that looked straighter. Then, seeing a plain but sumptuous woolen pillow, I felt prompted to add some needle felting, using wool roving I had left over from another project.

felting tools

The felting table looks like a square-ish scrub brush. You put the woolen fabric over the brush, then drape strips of wool roving in the pattern you want, and punch the roving into the sweater fabric with the felting tool, which looks like a pen with 3 long needles sticking out.

cutting the pillow shape out of the sweater

Next, I found a felted turquoise sweater with a single chain down the center in the stash. Since the chain looked so elegant, I saw no need to embellish any more with roving on this pillow. And I was not as lucky with the zipper; the only one I had that even looked similar was a 10-inch Talon that I’ve had for so long, it says 35 cents on the package. It also says “turquoise” but it looks like robin’s egg blue to me.

ancient zipper

The reason I don’t get stressed-out over zippers as much as I used to, is this narrow zipper foot I bought for my machine: oh, please consider getting one for your ultimate peace of mind! I love this foot.

the good narrow zipper foot


So, as a result, I have a couple of new woolly pillows for winter TV watching and vegetating on the couch. Thanks, Kay, for the great idea!

Snuggle time

Kidney stone pincushionery

It’s a down day, but the last day of the week, so I know I need to get a postaweek 2011 done. I chose a project that represents something I’ve been going through, and also uses up remnants! Yay-hey!

I made a pincushion that represents my kidney problems! Here it is, stone and all!

kidney stone pincushion

I started out with a remnant, cut into the shape of a kidney. Then I covered some cord so I could have piping edges around the kidney.

cording

back of pincushion

The top is a selvage from some gator collegiate-pattern fleece. Why save it? The gators are LOSING anyway. I also used some of it as stuffing; I had loads of it stashed because I am a keeper of stuff like that, storing it up against lean times of running out of stuffing and batting. I couched some blue-ish woollen yarn on the top to represent the prominent veins of the kidney. And the stone is a one-of-a-kinder in my stash, hopefully never to be replicated.

ITunes music this day: Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Bob Dylan; Sweet Child O’ Mine, Guns N Roses; Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Bob Dylan; Who’ll Stop the Rain, CCR; Tell Me Why, Neil Young; Sugar Mountain, Neil Young, Presence of the Lord, Blind Faith. Let everyone sleep so peacefully tonight, you loved ones!

Celebrating the Lifeliners’ Return with Remnants!

For this week’s Remnant Redo, I first want to say how much I appreciate our Armed Services, particularly the 101st Sustainment Brigade Lifeliners as they come home now from their past year’s deployment. Can I get a Hoo-rah? And I also want to honor the ladies associated with that brigade! The soldiers, officers, and the wonderful military wives!

So, I made a project that borrows a little motif from the military: camouflage, but in this case, pink. I started weeks ago with a skein of the most soft and comfy-cushy acrylic bulky yarn, made by Hobby Lobby, in the color Pink Camo.

purse body in Pink Camo yarn

I used size 19 needles and just mindlessly did stockinette until I felt like it was big enough. The strap is in a rib knit with garter stitch at either end where it will be sewn to the purse body. I knitted a big fat rose and leaf from a pattern in the July issue of Simply Knitting magazine.

After sewing together the body, straps, and flower, using cotton quilting thread and a big needle, I needed to make a lining. What do you know, I just happened to have some Cotton Rib knit Camo Pink fabric in my stash, having gotten it last summer from fabric.com. I eyeballed the size of the purse body, then cut a rectangle of the fabric that size, folded it in half, and serged the two sides, leaving an opening at the top. I also cut a narrow rectangle, turned under the edges and hemmed them, then sewed it to one side of the liner with a row of stitching down the middle, so that the liner would have a few pockets. Naturally I had a zipper in the stash that would serve. I machine stitched the zipper to the liner top, then hand-sewed the liner along the zipper tape to the purse body at the top opening.

Cotton Pink Camo lining


Finished purse

Woo-hoo! to our awesome, awesome military! Welcome back, 101st!

Flying high, with remnants

From a creative standpoint [picture in your mind, someone standing and pointing at a fabric remnant] last week was strange. I was recovering from lithotripsy, a medical procedure in which you get naked except for a hospital gown and a pair of socks with rubber traction-stripes. Next, you lie on a table, and a machine that looks like a giant play-doh fun factory extrusion tool (only not in colors like purple or lime green, but white) pounds your kidney with sound waves three thousand times in a row. You need to be anesthetized as you go through the process.

As I was recovering from that over the next few days, I made a couple of play pillows. Here is one:

play pillow

I found a remnant that featured Marvel comic characters, a venue that one of my young grandkids can’t get enough of. This pillow, at first, started out to be a duffle bag. I let the machine stitch his name on the front.

embroidery

I realized I didn’t have enough fabric for the bottom and strap of a duffle, but by then, I thought I could picture him much better slamming into a big fat pillow after flying around the house wearing a cape, and so I made it, drawing another remnant of green cotton flannel out of the stash for the oval-shaped top and bottom. I did not use any sort of pattern but kept sewing until it turned into the monstrosity it became. I used up my entire stash of stuffing and batting, as well. I feel that being on pain pills for a few days facilitated this creative process.

Meanwhile, things were happening on the other side of the world. My son who’s been continuously deployed since his last leave in January came home a bit earlier than planned, so I got to scoot out of town with his wonderful wife and meet him at the airport. And we did not drive to the local airport to pick him up, we drove to the airport that is an 11-hour drive away from my house!

Welcome back to the real superhero!

Yay for air travel!

Quickie Quilt 2 With Remnants

Here is a pic of the remnants I used for this project.

remnants

I like to have an assortment of flannel and soft minky in the baby-blanket-making stash. The pink flannel became the designated backing, since it was the biggest piece. The others would have to be pieced together, which I did on the serger; having decided how many blocks would need to be cut to fit on the backing piece.

lining up the blocks on the backing

I did a little machine embroidery on the pink flannel backing. I had a couple of options for finishing: satin blanket binding or white jumbo rick-rack. Which would you have chosen?

I wasn’t going to add batting, until I showed the work-in-progress to the Wednesday Night Knitting Group, and Lois asked “What kind of batting are you going to use?” After mulling it over, I knew that I would insert batting (polyester because that’s what I have in the batting stash just now), use the satin blanket binding, and tie-quilt the patches with white baby yarn. Thanks, Lois!

finished

the backing side

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