Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Gifts

Well now that Christmas is over, I can finally post pictures of what I made!

The first gift, which I am incredibly proud of, is a travel backgammon set. The pattern is in the new book "Sew Gifts!" I decided to make the set magnetic, which was not in the pattern. I sewed magnetic strips under each triangle on the board and glued little magnets under each game piece. Now as you might imagine the magnets are pretty weak, but I still say they are better than nothing for keeping your pieces in place on a bumpy plane or train ride.

It looks pretty simple, but actually took quite some time to put together. The first time around I stitched each triangle in the opposing color thread, as shown below. Unfortunately by making the thread so visible I really highlighted my wibble wobbles. Plus, I discovered that the instructions omitted seam allowance (note below how the triangles go right up to the edge of the board) so I just scrapped the whole piece and started over. Luckily felt is super cheap and I had bought a bunch, so it was no problem.

 All of the game pieces were made with fabric covered buttons. The biggest pain here was working with pliers to remove the actually button backing from each button so that they would lie flat! And of course I went to special store to get the yellow and blue dice, which I am very proud of. They really complete the whole thing. :)

 This project actually used very little fabric, so I had a bunch leftover. With the spare fabric I made this lovely potholder!

The potholder is from a free Moda Bakeshop pattern. I think it comes out lovely, and all those layers of folded fabric mean that your potholder is extra thick and safe. Of course, my mom immediately nailed this to the wall upon receiving it, so I doubt it will get much potholder use! I also made a few more of these in different colors, but apparently never photographed them. I tend to do that.

Next we have the quilter's wallet! I bought this pattern, AND all the supplies, back in 2011. In my quest this year to rid myself of UFOs, one day I just decided to sit down and do it. The pattern was not necessarily easily, but the instructions were incredibly detailed and easy to follow. I never had to worry about being confused.

The wallet has all kinds of goodies inside. A vinyl covered slot holds your ID, and there are many little slots for credit cards. There is also a penholder, a zipper pouch for change, and many narrow slits for stuffing your checks or cash. It's pretty nifty!

And here is the decor on the outside. Very pretty. BTW, this came together with only two fat quarters and one half yard of fabric.

 Now I did make other presents, but apparently took no photos. The other main ones were hot/cold packs. These are basically long tubes of fabric filled with rice. You can put them in the freezer or microwave. They are great for icing aching joints or warming your toes when you go to bed.

Also, of course, was the quilted jacket which I gave my mom. She wore it to work today and got tons of complements. It fits okay if not buttoned up and worn with a nice sleeveless top underneath. Of course whenever I look at it I see all the errors, but I know others won't notice them if I don't point them out so I have been trying to keep my mouth shut!

Okay, here are the sewing presents that I received!

I am very excited about the Quiltak system after hearing others wax poetic about it. It is supposed to be far faster than pin basting. AND you don't have to remove a pin every time you come to it while quilting; the little taks can just be stitched right over! Pretty awesome! We also have a new rotary cutter (ooh ahh) and a pinking blade, which I specially requested. The small ruler and measuring tape are souvenirs of our trip to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this year. And that last thing, which got a bit washed out, is a ruler for marking where to stitch your quarter inch seams on weird junctions and angles. For example, at the dreaded y seam, which I am pretty awful at stitching.

And of course I have been keeping up with Bonnie's Celtic Solstice mystery and am ready for the next clue.  Here are my finished squares from clue #4.

Also, I have been experiencing an issue, one which I experience a lot actually. I think it's a tension issue. I sew together two straight pieces of fabric with a straight line and the end product comes out curved. See the top edge of the piece in the photo below. I can't get this strip to lie flat, the curve you see is the natural way it wants to sit. Anyone know why this happens?

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