Challenge Swap

For the third year, a small quilting group I belong to has done a fun challenge and swap combination project.  Around September or October we each bring a piece of fabric (fat quarter or larger) to a meeting and place it in a brown paper bag.  One by one we each pull out a piece of fabric and try to guess who put that fabric into the bag.  We are surprisingly accurate!  We then take the fabric that we pulled out and make a gift for the person who originally put the fabric in the swap.  It can be anything sewn, and there is usually a wide range of projects that come out of this challenge and swap.

This year the fabric I pulled out of the bag was a cute rectangular dot print on a light green background.  Since the green is so light, it almost read as a neutral.  It looked good with so many different colors!  In the end, I loved the line and dot effect of the black and white batik with the dot print.

I decided to make a project bag with pockets around the outside to hold supplies and notions.  The lower half of the bag has a structure of Annie’s Soft and Stable so that it will stand easily on its own.  The bag is fully lined so there won’t be a chance of having a work in progress catching on any seams or picking up unwanted threads.  I thought the orange was a fun, unexpected pop of color, and it is also a favorite of the swap recipient!

 

Back to the Bionic Bag

Most of my go-to sewing supplies and notions live in a Bionic Bag that I made several years ago.  It travels around the house from sewing machine to sofa or patio for hand stitching, and it goes with me to guild, sew-ins, and shops when I teach.  This bag is frequently admired, and following several recent requests, I will be teaching this pattern next January at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.

It was so much fun to choose new fabrics for the shop sample!  I love to mix and match fabrics from different designers and lines, and this project was no exception.  The main outer fabric is from Carrie Bloomston’s new Wonder line, and the other fabrics are a mix of designers including Alison Glass and Tula Pink.  I used a walking foot to do some linear quilting on the bag exterior.  I like the look and texture of the quilted bag, but you can also choose to use an iron on interfacing and skip the quilting step.

One of the things I love about the design of this bag is the way the front folds creates a tray when the bag is open.  In this section, I like to add magnetic snaps to hold the dumpling pouch and a small pin cushion.  I use the dumpling pouch for wonder clips, and the pin cushion is stuffed with scraps of wool batting and keeps pins and needles within easy reach.

Between the four zippered pockets and the pouches formed between them, you can fit almost every supply you need for a day or more of sewing.  Once you have made one of these bags, they go together very quickly and make great gifts for sewists and non-sewists  alike.  I have made several over the years, and you can check one out in this Bionic Bag post from a couple years ago.  The Bionic Gear Bag pattern is available for download on Craftsy.

If you would like to join me for the class, it will be held at Dabble and Stitch on Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 10am-4pm. During the day, you will construct most of your Bionic Bag, and you may or may not have time to to work on the optional dumpling pouch.  I hope to see you there!

Diamond Placemat

The charity that the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild is working with this year is Meals on Wheels.  We are making placemats that are distributed to recipients along with their meals to brighten things up.  Our Charity Chair has been issuing challenges this year to encourage participation and encourage members to use these projects to stretch their quilting skills.  This placemat is from one of these challenges.

Diamond Placemat

We were each given a line drawing of a traditional quilt block that we reinterpreted into a placemat.  I received a block called “Diamond Quilt Block.”

Diamond Block

My reinterpretation is fairly straightforward.  I stretched the traditionally square block into a rectangle, but then I had some fun with the quilting.  I matched the quilting thread to the pink, green, and white sections of the block, and extended the stitching out to the edges of the block.  Each stitching line pivots to create a triangular form.

Diamond Placemat detail

The pink and green stitching is done in 28wt thread and the white is 12wt, but the bobbins thread is always 50wt thread in the color matching the top thread.  This still allows the design to show up nicely, even on the tone on tone print that I used on the back of the placemat.

Diamond Placemat Quilting detail back

I have several bias bindings that I keep made up and ready to go for small projects, and I chose this one because it enhances the energy of the diagonal quilting lines.

Diamond Placemat back

The labels for our guild quilts are Spoonflower Prints with our guild name and Logo.  We each sign the label so the recipients know who made their placemat.

Placemat Label

 

I won’t be writing a full pattern for this project, but if you would like to make your own, you can download the templates below.  This file is templates only, and the template on the final page needs to be assembled prior to cutting your fabric.

Diamond Placemat Templates

Placemat Stats

Title:  Diamond Placemat

Size: 12″ x 18″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Machine echo quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic machine

Fabric:  Kona Cotton Solids on the front, print backing and binding

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread: Quilted with 50wt, 28wt, and 12wt cotton Aurifil in pink, green, and white

Binding:  Striped bias binding, cut 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front and hand finished on the back

Vinyl Front Tula Pouch

For the second year, one of the sewing groups I belong to did a swap.  This swap has a twist:  Each person brings a fat quarter of a favorite fabric from their stash to put in a bag.  Then, we all take turns pulling out a piece of fabric and guess who it belongs to.  We are a small group, so we are typically pretty successful in guessing the owner of the fabric.  We each take the fabric away and come back a couple meetings later with an item made from the fabric we pulled from the bag to give back to the original person.

Tula Vinyl Pouch front

I pulled this cute Tula Pink cat print from the bag of fat quarters.  It happened to be a fabric that I love enough to own, too!  The person who brought the fabric enjoys hand applique and embroidery, so I thought she may like a bag that will keep all of her pieces flat and visible until it is their turn to be secured to the block.

I used a fairly heavy, clear vinyl for the front of the pouch. The primary fabric is the cat print, and for the back of the pouch, I chose to make a nine patch from a charm pack from the same Tula Pink fabric line.  I sandwiched and quilted the fabric layers with a piece of soft and stable to make sure the pouch would lay flat while maintaining flexibility.

Tula Vinyl Pouch back

The binding is also from that same line of prints.  I machine stitched it to the front and folded it around to the back for hand stitching.  This allowed for hand finishing on the fabric portion of the pouch.  The bag finishes a bit over 13″ square, so a lot of quilt blocks could actually lay flat in the pouch.  I wish I had made one for myself when I was in a couple of bees- it would have been perfect to transport blocks!

Scatter

The same afternoon that I made the 9 Patch Circle Quilt, I also created Scatter.  I wanted to explore the visual effect of all-over organic placement of the circles compared to the more regimented placement seen in the 9 Patch Circle Quilt.

Scatter front

This is another “sketch” quilt, so prior to quilting the circles are held in place only through the use of Wonder Under fusible web.

Scatter progress 1

The quilting plays the starring role in this mini quilt.  It is a good thing that the quilt is small- even at this side I had an hour of active stitching time!  I selected a very dark 50wt thread to define the edges of the circles.  It reminds me of dark ink on paper painted with bright dots.

Scatter progress 2

For the background quilting, I wanted to define the space with a strong organic design that would echo the primary circles without overshadowing them.  Using white thread on the white background fabric to do the same stitching technique fit this need and it catches the light nicely, not to mention it feels amazing to touch!

Scatter detail

The edges are finished with a simple facing.  I love that the back creates a neutral version of the design!

Scatter back

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Scatter

Size: 18″ x 18″

Techniques:  Fused Applique

Quilting:  Free motion quilting using an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Assorted solids on a Kona Snow background with Kona Snow backing

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Quilted with a variety of 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Facings to match the quilt background and backing