Archive for February, 2013

This year the Quilt Festival in Hampton, Virginia fell on the same weekend as my church’s Women’s Retreat in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I haven’t been to every one of the quilt shows since I’ve lived in Virginia, but I wanted to go to this one and visit the Featherweight vendor for some bobbins and maybe other things.

I had two choices: go to the show on Friday and drive to Fredericksburg afterward, or go to Hampton on Sunday after the retreat was over. The latter wasn’t very appealing as it’s a 2 hour drive between the two cities and the retreat wouldn’t end until about 11:00 or 11:30, usually. Some people don’t stay for the Sunday worship but as I was the photographer, I felt I needed to be there. So I opted for the former and it worked out pretty well. Except that I ended up not taking many pictures that morning. Oh well.

The weather Friday morning wasn’t the greatest, freezing rain. I planned to get on the road by 9:30 but decided to wait to see if the weather got any better and by 10:30 it had changed to rain so I headed out. I got there at noon, caught up with the Stitchers group who had gotten there earlier, talked with them a little and then made my rounds of scoping out the quilts and cruising the vendor booths.

By 2:30 I was on my way to Fredericksburg. I have to say, I think this year’s show was disappointing. At least to me. I didn’t see any jaw-dropping quilts, although every quilt is filled with sweat equity and I know about how much work goes into them. I’m not discounting the craftsmanship but the designs didn’t excite me.

I have a developing interest in beading on quilts, so I limited my picture taking to those with beads. Oh, and my friend Margaret (from work and Stitchers) had one of her quilts on display so I got her picture next to hers.


When I texted my husband to let him know I was hitting the road again, he asked me if it was worth going all the way out there just to stay 2.5 hours. It was, of course, I got my bobbins and talked to the Baby Lock dealer about the serger I want (still couldn’t afford the show price) and you never know ahead of time if it’s going to be a good show or not.

So here are the photos I came home with:

IMG_2835IMG_2834 IMG_2836 IMG_2840 IMG_2839 IMG_2838 IMG_2837
IMG_2819 IMG_2821 IMG_2822IMG_2831IMG_2830 IMG_2832 IMG_2833


If you went to this show and got more out of it than I did, that’s great. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t had to get out of there at a certain time. And the show always takes a lot out of me even when I’m not on a time constraint. But the Stitchers were there from 10-4 and they must have a lot more fortitude than I.



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Snap Happy II bag


I want to talk a little about the pattern for this bag. If you have made one, perhaps you ran into the same annoyances I did. I don’t want to say the pattern was not tested properly, it’s just that the directions could use an overhaul. Read completely through the steps and make sure you understand each one before you start.

First off, the yardage requirements aren’t quite right. There’s no reason to buy a half yard (18″) of the fusibles when you only need 10″; buy one third yard (12″). Of course, too much is better than too little. I’d be really hacked off if that were the case.

Second, I’m beginning to be a little wary of patterns that say “fat quarter” for yardage requirements. A fat quarter isn’t necessarily 18″x22″ anymore, it could be 18″x20″ or 21″. If your pattern makes full use of a fat quarter, make sure you know the layout of the pattern pieces before you buy your fabric. You might find yourself just an inch or so short. That’s what happened to me here. I opted not to make the pocket, which I would have made out of the lining fabric. The sleeve isn’t included in the yardage requirements for some reason. I wanted to make the sleeve out of the lining fabric and I came up a half inch short. So I bought another fat quarter. It’s no big deal this time because I have a lot of the outer fabric left, I might be able to make a whole second bag. If not one this size, then one of the smaller ones.

The next problem I encountered was understanding the step about fusing the fleece to the outer fabric. I did figure it out, but “fuse it down in the center?” I discussed this step with my friend at the LQS and she thought it meant to tack fuse the fleece in a line down the center. No, I’m pretty sure that’s not what it means. That’s not how I did it.

The step about inserting the metal tape into the casing doesn’t explicitly say if you should put it in the front of the casing, between the lining and the outer fabric, or the back of the casing, between the outer fabric and the lining (the outer fabric is sandwiched between the outside lining and the inside lining. The tape could have been inserted either way. Maybe it doesn’t matter). I inserted mine in the front.

If you’ve never made a box bottom for a bag before, you’ll never ever figure it out from the directions in this pattern. Do what I did and check YouTube, I found a couple of videos that show exactly how it’s done. Another detail that’s not mentioned is what to do with the extra triangular pieces after you box the bottom. I trimmed mine with my pinking rotary cutter. There was just so much bulk otherwise.

I bought a sheet of plastic canvas for the inside bottom on the advice of the LQS friend who said if you use cardboard and the bag gets wet… But I’m not sure this inside bottom piece is even necessary. The plastic canvas isn’t as sturdy as corrugated cardboard and really doesn’t do much of anything to keep the bottom stabilized/square. I’m open to new suggestions for that. I have enough leftover lining fabric to make another one.

The directions could benefit from better/more diagrams. The ones they have are adequate, except the one for the box bottom, which isn’t at all helpful. A photo would be better. I also used Electric Quilt to diagram the fabric cutting layouts for different options: with a pocket, without a pocket, sleeve, no sleeve, etc. That’s how I confirmed that a traditional fat quarter won’t be enough if you want to make the lining, sleeve and tabs out of it. You could make the pocket and sleeve out of the outer fabric if you want, and maybe that’s what the designer was thinking, but I wanted the whole inside of my bag to be consistent. A third of a yard will do it.

You can buy this pattern and more from the designer, Stitchin’ Sisters or from Create for Less. The pattern costs more from the designer but the shipping is half as much as from CFL. I just ordered the original pattern for the smaller sizes. I had purchased a metal tape measure from the dollar store but I wasn’t paying attention and got one that was 5/8″ instead of 1″. Maybe the smaller bags can use the smaller tape. We have a new Harbor Freight Tools store in town and this weekend they were running a coupon for a free 1″ tape measure with any purchase, so I bought some rotary cutter blades and got my free tape.

If you’ve made this bag, I’d love to hear your impressions of the experience and what you might have done differently.


ETA: there’s a few things I left out of this post. When I fused the fleece to the outer fabric, it must have shrunk the fabric a little because the outer fabric and lining were no longer the same width. I should have squared up the lining to match the outer fabric’s width because I had a problem with the side seams. I had to take a wider seam to make sure I caught the outer fabric in it. It ended up being no big deal, but I’ve made a note to do this square-up process if this happens again.

Also, when you’re sewing the French seam, go back and stitch along the casing again. This stitching takes a lot of stress when you’re turning the bag inside and right side out during construction.

My LQS friend gave me a very helpful tip that I wouldn’t have thought of myself: if you’re using directional fabric for the outside, add a seam allowance to the length of your layout, cut the fabric in half and sew it together so that your directional fabric won’t be upside down on one side. You’ll have a seam on the bottom, but so what?



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Design Wall Monday 02.04.13


This is what I made this week. It’s called Snap Happy II and measures about 7″x10″.

It’s bigger than I need and I made this one more as a test than anything else. They have patterns for smaller bags and I’ll probably try that next.

The cool thing about this bag is that you take sections of a metal tape measure and insert it into a casing at the top. If you insert the tape the correct way, the bag flexes to open and close. I don’t know what happens if you insert it the wrong way, I guess it doesn’t work 🙂

That’s all I’ve got going for now, I didn’t get the other Strippie quilt started, that’s tomorrow’s project.

Check out Judy L’s site and see what everyone else is doing.



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Happy Birthday Joey


Eleven years of doggy joy! Happy Birthday old man.


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A trip down Memory Lane

It was 17 years ago today (also on a Friday) that I boarded an airplane with 2 kids and a cat on our way to start our new lives in Virginia. The moving van had packed up our house in a monsoon pouring rain the day before and was on its way east as well.

The trip became more of an adventure than planned when we were stranded during our layover in Chicago because Richmond’s airport was closed due to an ice storm (a very big one). What was I going to do? I had a cat that hadn’t used a litter box all day and the airline was not going to pay for a hotel room.

It was near dinner time and after calling my husband with the bad news, decided to try and reach his cousins who live in one of the northern suburbs. I caught them just as they were making dinner plans with friends and these Angels (capital A) cancelled and came down and got us.

I didn’t realize how much I was imposing on them until Sharon walked into the terminal (you could do that back in those days hahaha) wearing the biggest Eskimo-like down coat I had seen. Seems that from the relative comfort of the inside of the terminal I didn’t know it was minus 60F outside with the wind chill. Or maybe without wind chill. Her husband John was circling the airport because if he’d parked, he wasn’t likely to get the car started again. And here we were with our southern California-weight winter jackets.

I treated them to dinner and they gave us a warm, dry place to stay the night and we were able to get on a plane the next day and fly into RIC. The kids were so jazzed that their first day of school that Monday was a snow day. They’d never had a snow day in their lives (neither had I). Because my car was still en route, I took John to work that morning and was impressed when I heard on the radio that it was 0 degrees. I don’t think it’s been that cold here since.

We have now officially lived in Richmond as long as we lived in our house back in California. Had John not gotten the opportunity to transfer his job, I wonder if we’d still be in that house. Probably so.


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