As a side note - I've added some new "Favorites" to my blogger list - check them out!
First, found the Japanese book store, Kinokuniya in Beaverton - loved it! It was in a great Japanese market, Uwajimaya's. My mom and I wandered around looking at their pottery, tea pots and various "things". (I bought a really cute pig dish!) Then we made our way into the bookstore and found even the signs to be in Japanese! My first thought: how are we going to find the craft section!?! No worries, they actually had the Japanese character's for "craft" and then Crafting in English. It was a huge section. There were 2 large sections of books and they were all organized by type of craft - felting, quilting, bags, ect. I bought four books - I am so excited to be feeling well again so I can sit at my sewing machine and make some of this great stuff! The books were all very well priced. I think the most expensive one was $14 (the lunch bag one below) and I had found that one on eBay for $26 plus another $6 to have it shipped here. Here are the books I got...
I got my friends baby quilt quilted today. We are having some issues with the stitch regulator on the HQ16 - it's not working when trying to sew in an upward/downward direction. It does great across...just not up and down. So I switched it over to "manual" mode and put the speed up to 54% and away I went. I'm quit proud of myself, I got myself into a good rythem right from the start and my stitches are all pertty even. Not perfect, but you'd have to look pretty close to see the longer/shorter stiches. So i'm glad that I was at least able to get this quilted, but we have to figure out what's going on with the stitch regulator, it just makes life so much easier! This is just a sneak peak at the quilt as I haven't gifted it yet and she doesn't know she's getting it (and she reads this blog - but seeing as she's in the hospital recovering from surgery, i'm going to guess she's not going to get on for a little while). Once I have the binding stiched to the back of the quilt i'll take a full picture of it to post. It's quite cute - very colorful!
I also taught myself how to knit Satuday night. That was fun. I like knitting - purling, i'm not so fond of. I can't get it. I know it's just "backwards" from knitting...but I can't get the thread over the needled and then back through the loop...something about going backwards messes me up. I want to do this scraf project, but it requires you to knit 4, purl 4...so I have to figure out purling first. Any tips? I'd post a picture, but I have to go downstairs to get the pictures off my camera, and we all know I can't take those stairs more than once/day. And I did my once/day for today. : /
And, finally, here is my 32 weeks pregnant belly. It just keeps growing. My belly button popped several weeks ago, but I didn't realize until I was in the hospital visiting my "twin" that her belly button still looked the same as before she was pregnant. I don't know if that's fare... One of her nurses was surprised that I was due the same time as she was, I guess she said I looked like I was about ready to pop! Funny, that's how I feel! :)
I have a very unique way of going about binding my quilts. I have never seen it done this way by anyone else, and I think it works quite well! Actually, let me clarify, the portion of the binding (sewing it on and creating mitered corners) I picked up along the way...probably from the back of a quilting magazine (Fon's & Porter?) in their "How To" section. Ever since I learrned to do binding with the mitered corners, i've never look another direction. The part that is unique to me is what I do once the binding is sewed onto the front of your quilt and it comes to completing it. Some binding tutorials have you start by ironing your binding in half and then folding the edges into that center fold and ironing again so that you have both sides turned in. Then you would sew it on to the front of the quilt and hand stitch it to the back. Well, I don't like this step. I always burn my fingers and it's never quite right...so, here is what I do:
1. Creating the Binding. First - sewing together your binding strips. I generally cut 2" strips the length of my fabric (which ever "length" is longest). I don't cut on the bias like most instructions suggest. I've never had a problem not cutting on the bias. With one of my strips right side up, I lay the other strip right side down at a right angle to the first strip. I then sew a diaginal (as in the diagram above). I usually iron this "line" in to have something to follow along to keep my line straight. You could also draw this on with a ruler. After all of my strips are sewn, I trim the seam allowence to 1/4". Then I iron the seam making it one long strip of fabric to sew onto my quilt.
2. Getting ready to sew on your binding. With right sides together, match up your binding edge with your quilt edge about a third of the way down one side. You don't want to start at the edge of the quilt as you will not have an easy time of mitering that corner. Next, fold the end of the binding at an angle (as in the picture), rather than just folding it over into a straight fold, and secure with a 2 pins to hold in place. I just started doing this with my last quilt after reading someone's comment in a magazine saying there is no reason we have to have these straight binding startings/endings. I agree! Why not, your binding strips are sewn together at an angle, so this just keeps with the "look".
3. Sewing Your Binding on. I don't find it necessary to pin my binding onto my quilt, I just make sure my quilt is squared up and match up the edge of the binding with the edge of my quilt. Sew a 1/4" seam allownance.
4. Coming to a Corner. When approaching the corner of the quilt, stop sewing 1/4" from the end. Backstitch a time or two to secure and cut your thread. As you see in the picture, I place a pin 1/4" from the end as I approach it to help me see just where to stop.
5. Turning the Corner. Rotate your quilt, flip up your binding at a right angle and hold in place. Check to make sure that it is creating a nice diaginal that matches up with the corner of your quilt.
6. Turning the Corner (continued). Keeping fabric in place from previous step, pull fabric straight down over the angle created. Pin in place and begin sewing a 1/4" seam allowance from the top edge. Backstitch a time or two to secure. Continue sewing binding onto quilt. Repeat this step for all corners. When you reach the start of your binding again, I sew the binding over my original diaginal fold until I reach the straight portion of the binding after that fold. Trim away excess binding not needed.
7. Making it Look Pretty. Here comes the first of several parts that I came up with on my own. It may be done by others, but i've never seen it explained this way and just came up with it one day out of the blue (becuase I hate the iron in half, fold in sides and iron again method). With the top of the quilt facing up, I iron open the binding. I think this gives it a nice, crisp look for the binding on the front of the quilt.
8. On to the Back. Now flip over your quilt and iron down the binding to have a nice fold over of the binding onto the back of the quilt. Continue around whole of quilt until back to starting spot.
9. Yeah, I don't have a title for this one. This is perhaps the quirkiest part of my method. Tuck the edge of the binding under the 1/4" seam allowance created when you sewed the binding onto the front of the quilt. Iron down, creating a fold. Another way of putting this is that you are folding your binding in half to create the finished edge that will show on the back of your quilt. The difference is instead of just folding it, you are tucking that raw edge behind the quilt itself, butting up to the stitching of the 1/4" seam allowance.
10. Almost Done! And finally, I like to fold it over onto the back and iron it down just to help it stay in place and to make my life a bit easier when it comes to hand sewing the binding onto the back.
And hopefully I didn't miss anything. If something doesn't make sense to you, ask me and i'll clarify. It's always difficult when your creating directions yourself. You are familiar with what you're writting about and can sometimes over look simple things. I hope you like this method of binding a quilt!
On a side note, I use a blind stitch when sewing my binding onto the back of my quilts...at least I think that's what the stitch is called. I know that this is not the general stitch suggested by "others" but I don't like the stitch that is suggested by other quilters. See how the stitches are visible?
I think i've seen this called a "slip-stitch" elsewhere. When using the stitch that I use (blind stitch) the stitch is completly hidden and I find it gives a very secure stitch. It's like what you use when sewing on applique by hand. I tried to find a good online tutorial, but can't find one. So, I think I will have ANOTHER tutorial coming up soon. I'm going to take pictures as I sew my binding on to the back of my quilt (that's in the pictures above). So, stay tuned!
Happy Lunch Bag pattern book
For all of the above reasons, I can't wait to get my hands on these Japanese craft books where you have only the pictures to go off of for instruction. Now that is my kind of pattern!
...of course there is always the quilt I need to finish hand quilting....
Another new addiction is looking for Japanese craft books. I've noticed a lot of bloggers that have these books (in Japanese, mind you) and create a lot of the crafts from them. While not able to read Japanese, the diagrams seem to be VERY detailed and they are able to figure it out. So I found some on eBay that i'm thinking about buying...like this one called "Happy Lunch Bag". (Clicking on the picture will take you to this item on eBay where you can see more pictures from inside this book - very cute projects!)
Check out this website - Japanese Fabric!
I decided to add a little detail to the front of my bag...here is a sneak peak at it. I am particularly proud of myself for finally using one of my decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I've had it over two years now, and have yet to use anything other than the straight stitch or zigzag. This was the blanket stitch. Can you guess what it is??
Here's a look at the inside. I also used this green fabric to create a lined pocket on the back side of the bag. This interior pocket has spots for a fork, spoon (and/or knife) and a napkin. I would like to include some stuff with this lunch bag...any ideas? The gal that is hosting this swap created a lunch bag with travel place mat with pockets for silverware, i'm thinking I might make one of those. But what else could I include (store bought or homemade) that would go along with the lunch bag theme? And finally, here's the finished bag! Go on over to my flickr photos to pictures of the bag from all views.
I finished the last step on my "Swell" quilt - I got the binding stitched on. I tried out a new trick I found on another blogger's site, using a bias tape maker to create my binding. It made it a little quicker than my own wonky method of binding (which i'll make sure and post a tutorial on that the next time I bind a quilt - I think it works quite well). The only thing I would do differently next time (should I use their method again) is to not sew on the fold line that is created at 1/2" (I can't remember what this blogger advised, this was just something I did). I made it very difficult when turning it over to the back and hand stitching it in place. Defiantly make sure that you sew the usual 1/4" seam allowance. I used the bias tape maker that created a 1" bias tape (binding).
Yesterday I made another nursing cover-up out of this great Alexander Henry fabric. I've admired this fabric for a long time now, but had no clue what to do with it. So I decided to make another nursing cover-up. I think I will be giving it to a friend that is having a baby girl, as I don't think this would be good to use with my own baby boy. Might have people guessing he's the wrong sex. But it is just so cute!! I also added a stiffer boning to this cover-up as well as the last one I did - that was way too much seam ripping! I think that is definatly what I didn't like about the last two cover-up's I did. The stiffer boning helps it to stick out properly when around the neck.
I went to Fabric Depot today with my mom and bought some stiffer boning. I'm going to see if that's the problem with my nursing cover-ups. I think the boning I have is not the stiffest of bonings and that could be why i'm unhappy with it. I picked up another yard of Alexander Henry fabric, black with white dots, to make another cover-up for myself. :) I'm going to have so many cover-ups...I just might have to open my own Etsy shop and sell them! Wouldn't that be something.
My latest project (and at the top of my "to do" list) is a lunch bag swap. A local blogger whose post I read daily is hosting it. We will each create our own "lunch bag" either from a pattern or of our own design (which is what i'll be doing...I hate patterns) and then we will ship it off to someone. In return, we receive a lunch bag that someone else has created. There's a picture with link on the right to her blog. I'll make sure and take pictures (and post them of course!) when i'm done.
I also got the heart cut out for a future block. This will also be appliqued on at some point.
Cool project i'm going to have to make for my quilt room here!