Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilted things

It's been a while. I was away in Australia and Taiwan for a bit. Then I came back and immediately jumped into Quilter's Quest where I got some nice kits and fabrics. So, I now share with you some finished things.

I have a couple of baby quilts. I took the leftover fabric from the quilt I made for my cousin and made a couple of small practice pieces. I quilted one on a long arm machine at my local quilt shop and quilted the other at home on my machine. I also played around with doing a machine sewn binding and found that if I cut the binding a tiny bit wider, I don't have a problem with sewing down the binding on the machine.

Baby Quilts

Both were quilted with a general meander line. I'm just trying to get used to the motion here.

Baby Quilts

Baby Quilts

And the backs - cute little animal prints and science prints!

Baby Quilts - back

The next quilt is a kit I picked up on the Quilter's Quest. I had seen that border print at the local quilt shop and LOVED it. The rest of the fabrics are all in the same line and the rest is history. I did buy the binding print separately since the kit used that same border print for the binding but it seemed a little too blue. The binding I did use makes for a nice contrast and it goes really well with the backing fabric that I have.

Nautical Throw

For the quilting, I used some curly ques to simulate waves. In between, I had some standalone star shapes for starfish. It all fits into the nautical theme.

Nautical Throw - close up

You can see it better on the back. See the starfish in the middle?

Nautical Throw - back

Finally, the borders.

Nautical Throw - binding

This is going to make for a nice snuggle under the couch throw!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Looking for some bag testers

I'm expanding the etsy line of hex bags beyond the small hex bags. It's part of the quest for the perfect (knitting project) bag. I like the general size of these bag for a "medium size" project bag but the devil is in the details.

Quick summary:
Bag testers needed. Pick one, two, or all three of the models below. I am looking for feedback on the size, shape, and functionality of the model. What would you change about it? Do you feel any part of the bag is out of proportion to the rest? You can pick your own fabric or I can grab something out of my stash as a surprise. I am looking for about 3 people per bag. What you get may not necessarily be the final design that I go with.

I'm charging a nominal fee to cover the non-fabric costs. You get to keep the bag and leftover fabric.

I don't plan to start sewing until November. After November 4th to be exact, when I get back in front of my sewing machine. For the month of October, I'm hoping to get some volunteers and I will send you fabric requirements, if you choose to use your own custom fabric. This gives you time to find the fabric and get it to me.

Bag A has a 10 inch hex frame. It's just over 10 inches wide, 8.25 inches tall, with a bottom width of 4.5 inches. It comes with a handle that fits over your shoulders so this can work as a knitting bag or an everyday purse. There are interior pockets.

Med Bag A

Med Bag A - interior

Bag B has a 10 inch hex frame. It's about 10.5 inches wide, 8 inches tall, with a bottom width of 7 inches. This has a much wider bag bottom. The photo below has a handle for over the shoulder. Unless you specifically request this model, what you'll get will probably have two handles, one on each side of the bag. Also comes with interior pockets.

Med Bag B

Med Bag B - interior

Bag C is a zippered pouch. It is 10 inches wide, about 8.5 inches tall, with a bottom width of 4.5 inches. If you note the single D ring on the right side of this bag, there will be a wrist strap/handle on this bag. Also comes with interior pockets.

Med Bag C

Med Bag C - interior

Bag A - $14
Bag B - $12
Bag C - $16
If you choose to not provide your own fabric and want to leave that up to me, please add $8.

If you're local to me, we can just meet up somewhere
If you are not local to me, we can sort that out in email.

For those that have read this far and are interested, please email me at sewJudybags at gmail dot com.

Monday, September 30, 2013


It's like I'm on a finishing streak!


This is Semele. I first started knitting it on my Addi Click interchangeable needles. Really, those needles are not fit for thin yarn. By thin, I mean anything thinner than a DK weight yarn. It gets caught in the cable needle join WAY too easily. You spend too much time fighting the join as you inch the working stitches up from the cable onto the needle.


After I finished the Sunday Henley, I swapped out the needles and starting knitting this on some Chiagoo needles and voila! It went much more smoothly! Not only that, I finally hit the half way point. This is one of those patterns where you increase until about the halfway point and then you start decreasing so that there is minimal leftover yarn. Between the change in needles and hitting the halfway point, it started to feel like I was making progress a lot faster!


I neared the end and started panicking about not having enough yarn. I sat on the couch yesterday morning and knit and knit and knit and then, I was done! There is an itty bitty bit of yarn leftover that I can add to my scrap blanket so I'm excited that it all worked out. I'm not sure what would have happened if I didn't have enough yarn!


Pattern: Semele
Yarn: Wollmeise 100% Pure Merino
Needle: US 6 (4.0 mm)

Friday, September 27, 2013

FO Friday - A sweater! A finished sweater!

It's the Sunday Henley pattern by Neoknits from her book Metropolitan Knits.

Sunday Henley 

Funny story behind this. Someone else on the ravelry Puck This! group was knitting it when it caught my eye. I found I already had the yarn called for by the pattern and there was a little bit of egging on in the group to get me to knit one. I LOVE the stitch pattern so that's what helped me to decide. So, it was a little bit of peer pressure. Now that I think of it, the person on the ravelry group is a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. Neoknits is a Philidelphia Flyers fan (and pointed out this is a nice Flyers orange). I'm a Washington Capitals fan. In most other worlds, we would not get along.

Sunday Henley

Pattern: Sunday Henley
Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee
Needles: US 6 (4.0mm), US 7(4.5mm)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

PA National Quilt Extravaganza

On Thursday, I took the Quilter's Unlimited bus up to the King of Prussia area to check out a quilt show. It was pretty awesome, aside from having to get up before 5am which does not leave me feeling right all day. At least I didn't have to drive since we did hit some rush hour traffic on the way back.

I came back with some fabric and some patterns and I was really happy to find some novelty print hockey fabric! I was so excited about this one that I came home and immediately made a knitting project bag with it.

One of my purchases - the hockey print fabric!

Aside from vendors, they also had many quilts on display. As a newbie quilter, it was very inspiring to see them all. I have the full flicker set here but here are a few of my favorites:





Saturday, September 07, 2013

Day in Pictures - Sept 7, 2013

In an effort to get myself out and about and out of my introverted head, I'm going to try to capture the day in a few good pictures so here we go.


1. Farmer's market - buying some peaches, 2. Bikes on a beautiful day, 3. Bridge Opening ceremony for 11th St Bridge, 4. Police cruiser from the late 1960s, 5. Naval ship behind the Navy Yard, 6. Doing some beading

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

WIP Wednesday - quilting a queen sized quilt

Quilt #2

I know that normally, one quilts the layers before trimming and sewing on the binding but I changed the order around slightly. I basted my layers together and stitched in the ditch around each square. Then I quilted the lines in the border and sewed on the binding. I had a friend coming to visit and I wanted to make sure there was a lighter blanket available should he need it. I also wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt the blanket but I didn't think I wanted to stitch in the ditch around all the pieces. I was inspired by the lines in the border and decided to go with a free form line stitch. It's my first time using the darning foot on an actual piece I expect to finish and not just a test swatch.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Here's Looking At You!

We all thought I stopped beading but sometimes, it just takes a little bit of inspiration to get back into it.

The cabochons are some sort of crazy lace agate that I picked up at Bead Fest last year, along with the spikes. The eyeball is an antique prosthetic eye that I got from Laura McCabe. I knew about how I wanted to place stones and when I saw the glass eye, I knew where it would go in the piece. The only thing stopping me was another beading project that I didn't have much interest in but felt I had to finish. Well, I decided to put that aside until some later date and got started on this.

Eyeball Necklace #1

I also knew I wanted to incorporate a spike bead into this piece. I knew I had the large spike but when I dug through my bead stash, I also found the smaller spikes that I thought would be fitting to line the eye.

Eyeball Necklace #1

Eyeball Necklace #1

I wanted to do some sort of a spiral rope for the actual necklace part so I incorporated more of the Czech firepolished beads and the small 3mm pearls from the fringe into the spiral rope and later the clasp. The clasp has also been slightly embellished to go with the rest of the necklace.

Eyeball Necklace #1

As for the fringe, I didn't want normal fringe. The main body was starting to remind me of the characters from Greek mythology and while I didn't want to go the route of Medusa (I have a snake phobia - I wont' even touch pictures of them in a book!), tentacles seemed to fit. I ended up doing a layer of fringe in a embellished square stitch. The 3mm pearls with the small red size 15/0 beads make up the tentacles. I added another layer of fringe underneath that with some dagger beads. When you look at it all together, they remind me of the arms of a large squid!

Eyeball Necklace #1

I'm very happy with how this came out. I know the eye ball freaks out some people but I think it's neat!

Thursday, August 15, 2013



You all probably thought I stopped beading. Well, I thought so too but I've been recently re-inspired. The cabochons were purchased at BeadFest last year and the eyeball was bought at the Laura McCabe class I took last year.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WIP Wednesday - another quilt top!

Quilt #2

Yup, right as I finish one, I've already got another one going! It all started when I had seen the Dizzy Spell over at the Lella Boutique blog. It's a simple enough concept of strips into squares and all I really needed were the fabric requirements. The yardage for the yellow fabric that is the binding theme through the entire quilt was one I had calculated out ahead of time. I made a good guess for yardage for the rest of the fabric and after I was through cutting and sewing, I barely have any scraps left.

Today, I'm off to the quilt shop to see about border, backing, and a binding fabric for this. I think I'm going to actually try to quilt this at home, so that should be an interesting adventure!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finished! - Charming Stars Quilt

Charming Stars Quilt

I finished my quilt! This is the Charming Stars Quilt, instructions from Moda Bake Shop. The original instructions called for 4 x 4 squares of the star blocks. I recalculated everything for a 5x5 block queen sized quilt. Maths, I can do it!

I pieced the top together and sent it out to be quilted by a local long arm quilter. You saw in my last post when it came back and then I started working on binding the quilt with some beads.

Charming Stars Quilt - close up of beaded edging

I'm also very happy with how that turned out. You don't notice the beads as you sleep under under the quilt though I do wonder if the beads help to stiffen up the edge. We'll see when I get the next quilt put together.

I am very happy with this AND it's a much lighter blanket than the one I had on my bed so it keeps me cold and from having nightmares when I start to over heat.

Charming Stars Quilt

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Charm Stars Quilt on the Home Stretch

Yesterday, I got my Charm Stars Quilt back from the long armer and I am SO EXCITED!


The quilting pattern is one of dragonflies. It's not a very dense quilting pattern since I didn't want it to detract from the piece fabric on the front side. You can see the dragonflies better on the back side.


In preparation for its homecoming, I sewed the strips of fabric I needed for the binding. When I got it home, I got ride to work in attaching the binding to the edge. My huge bead stash came in handy and I was able to find the beads I wanted to use on the edging. In binding off the baby quilt, I found the needle motion very similar to that of the back stitch in bead embroidery. I knew that on this one, I wanted to attach a row of beads to the edge. I wanted hot pink beads to bring out the few pieces of pink in the fabric.

Bead embroidering the binding

So far, the beads don't stick out so I'm hoping that when all is said and done and I'm under this blanket every night that the beads don't make this blanket uncomfortable.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hex bags on Etsy

There's been a slight rearranging of things to the right hand side there. You'll notice a new etsy shop. I decided to open sewJudyBags for the various bags I've been making. So, there's some shopping to be done if you don't want to make your own!

I look at it as a sewing adventure as try to create a good knitting bag or a good tote bag. Sometimes, it's so hard to find the perfect bag for my uses!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let's finish that hex bag!

Okay, I'm back with the end of the hex bag instructions. As I'm working my way through it, I realized that for this size, you can actually make a bag out of 2 fat quarters of the exterior fabric and 2 fat quarters of the interior fabric. So, you can have fun picking out fat quarters!

I did make one slight change between the last post and this. I opted to not include the instructions for the bag handles.

For the refresher:

Remember the 1/2 inch seam allowance!

For the exterior, start by ironing on the fusible quilted backing to your exterior piece. Then, with right sides together, pin the sides and the long bottom. Back stitch at the start and end, and sew along the three sides.
Exterior  - sew three sides

As with the interior, press the corner seams flat so that you match up the seams. Check the inside of the bag to make sure the seams are meeting and pin the outside along the seam. You can check both sides to make sure the pins are entering and exiting along the seam. Measure in from the very corner 2 inches and draw a line perpendicular to the seam. This line should be about 3 inches long. Now, sew along the line. It is very important to backstitch here. Repeat on the other side.
Sew the side bottoms

Trim the fabric to 1/4 inch from the seam. Turn the bag exterior right side out.
Trim corner

For the bag bottom, cut from the plastic mesh a piece that is 3 inches by 10 inches. To double check this measurement, measure along the seams at the bottom of the bag. You may need to trim the mesh down a little more. You just want it to fit the bottom and lie flat. I like to pin this to the bottom with safety pins while I install the feet to make sure it doesn't move.
Cut the plastic mesh

To mark the location of the feet, I measure in 3/4 of an inch from the long side and 1.5 inches down from the short side and mark the fabric. I will mark it with a pen or a sharpie because you're going to be making an incision right through the marking and the feet will end up covering the ink.
Measure for bag feet

Using your seam rippers, make a 1/4 inch incision for each bag foot. Depending on the size of the square of the mesh, you may also have to cut the mesh slightly for the bag feet to fit through the mesh.

Insert the feet from the bottom to the inside of the bag. You may need to use plyers to slightly separate the two prongs. Once there is enough of a separation, use your hands and bend the prongs down. Do this for all of the feet. The bag feet are now holding together your plastic mesh and the fabric.
Insert bag foot

Bend prongs of bag foot to secure

When all the feet are installed, the inside of the bag should look like this:
Bag feet installed

The bottom exterior looks like this:
Bottom exterior with feet

And now for the magical last steps
The exterior piece is right side out. The interior piece is wrong side out. Place the exterior piece inside the interior piece so that right sides are facing each other. Start by matching and pinning the seams. Once the seams are pinned, pin around the sides.
Pinning the exterior and interior together
Sew around the top edge of the bag with your 1/2 inch seam allowance, being careful at the seams. You can backstitch at the start and end, or stitch straight through while making sure that the first and last stitches overlap and lock. You want these stitches to be locked in place. Trim your threads.

Remember, the bottom of the interior lining is open. Reach your hand through and pull the bag exterior out.
Pull the exterior out

Seat the interior inside the exterior. Press the top seams and topstitch around the edge. Try to stitch as close to the edge as possible, while catching all layers of fabric. Be careful at the side seams so that you don't end up introducing any pleats.
Press and topstitch along the top edge
Now, to finish off the sewing, pull the interior back out. Press a half inch seam allowance into the two open sides. Pin the gap together, matching the folds and top stitch the bottom closed, remember to back stitch at the start and end.
Topstitch the interior bottom seam

If the hex frame is fully closed, and the screws are in, you'll need to remove the screws first. The easiest way I've found to insert and remove the screws is to hold the frame in the open position so that the two sides are lying in a flat straight line. Sometimes, a third hand is useful here. Once it is open, you can push the screw in or out.

Once you have the frame disassembled, slide each frame piece through the frame casing. I like to lead with the side with one hole.
Insert the hex frame

Hold the end open and put the pin in. Repeat on the other side.
Hold the frame open

And now, the bag is done!!!
Finished bag, open

I hope you had fun with this tutorial and were successful in your bag making attempt. I've shown you my thought process in the pattern drafting and how the bag was created so you can use different sized frame and make different sized bags based on this basic concept.