Jul 142018

My youngest is finishing up her last year in a preschool we LOVE, and I’m so sad that we don’t get to go there anymore! The teachers work incredibly hard and they’re wonderfully loving with the kids, so I wanted to make quilts for them.

I was very excited about this dog quilt pattern because it’s wacky and cute, and I was looking forward to making more quilts in the series, but I had such a junk experience with the pattern designer that I don’t want to give her anymore money. Basically, I bought the pattern directly from the designer’s website and received a file that had a ton of errors. I spent a few hours writing up all the corrections I could find and emailed the designer back. It turned out that she had sent me a non-final draft, so she sent her actual final draft, along with the tiniest apology possible (“Sorry about that.”), a bunch of non-apologies that made me SO MAD (“I am sorry you…”), many explanations that just felt like excuses, and a refund.

The thing is, I didn’t ask for a refund and I would have been perfectly happy without one if she had just replied with a pleasant and sincere apology. Bleah. Then, to add insult to injury, when I finally made up the pattern — with the final draft! — it STILL had errors!

I’m just happy that I’m finished with this one. It does make a funny quilt!

Elizabeth Hartman’s Legendary quilt — as always, her pattern was a pleasure to sew. The sasquatch block is delightful!

Pen and Paper Patterns’ Tonal Trees quilt was super fast to sew. I like it! I didn’t realize when I bought the pattern that the trunks were made from bias tape.

This quilt made me really notice how much better straight line quilting ends up when I go SLOW. Previously, when I had problems with stretching while quilting on the bias or rippling in any straight line quilting, I thought it was just me or the batting or my basting, and I didn’t think I could do much about it. But when I quilted Tonal Trees, I did the top half while I was sewing with friends, and I quilted very, very slowly because I was talking at the same time. The next night, I quilted the bottom half by myself, and I went faster because it was so boring. It was ripple city! I even picked out the quilting and redid the lines as slowly as possible because the difference between the top and bottom halves was so noticeable! You can still see how my bad quilting pulled the bottom trees’ trunks out of shape. Ooooops! I actually hadn’t noticed that until writing this up.

I had the kids sign all the teachers’ quilts. Since all the backings are solid, I was lazy and told them to write directly on the quilt. Now they can’t be regifted! Muhahahahaha!

I have one more quilt for the teachers that is finished, but not signed yet. Just in time — the preschool summer session ends this month. I’m going to miss this school!

Jun 302016

Ever since I joined my quilt guild, I’ve been getting to go to sewing events (yay!!!), and I’ve been wanting to make one giant bag to carry all my supplies in. A long while ago, I bought Elizabeth Hartman‘s Sewing Circle Tote pattern (it looks like it’s no longer available 🙁 ), and last month I finally sewed it up!

sewing circle tote

I used some of the blocks I received from the awesome Piece Bee I belonged to a few years ago — everyone sewed up their own original foundation paper-pieced blocks according to the month’s theme. I chose the blocks mainly based on which ones fit the size of the finished pocket. And I just realized that I forgot to take pictures of two of them, oops.

sewing circle tote

Even though this is actually a pretty basic tote (just with a bajillion pockets), it took me kind of a long time to make. The instructions are very clear, but my brain takes a long time to parse her style of writing. I think it’s because I prefer pattern writers who use lots of bullet points. For instance, one set of cutting instructions says:

Cut 2 strips 14" x width of fabric. From these, cut 2 pieces 14" x 20½" for the front and back, 2 pieces 14" x 10" for the sides, and 1 piece 10" x 20½" for the bag bottom.

I understand that more easily written this way:

  • (2) 14″ x wof
    • front and back: (2) 14″ x 20½”
    • sides: (2) 14″ x 10″
    • bottom: (1) 10″ x 20½”

Aaaaaanyway, this bag is HUGE and I love it! The bottom is especially nice and sturdy — I didn’t have Peltex, so I substituted a few layers of duck canvas and Pellon 65 stabilizer. I think that worked out fine, but then again, I’ve never actually used Peltex, so I don’t know how my bag’s bottom compares with the recommended three layers of peltex. I really liked the way the lining is tacked down at the seam allowance so that the lining bottom never pulls away from the bag. It’s so smart!

There are four external pockets, five elasticized internal pockets, and three internal zipper pockets. It’s always nice having the option of pockets, but the first time I took it to a class, I barely used any of them.

I added a long keyfob to the inside front of the bag. It comes in handy when it’s raining and I only think to fish out my keys when I get to my car, heh.

sewing circle tote, inside

The two sets of handles are a nifty idea — there are longer shoulder straps and also shorter handles that seem like they’d be useful for things like moving the bag around your sewing space. However, since I’m short and consequently make my shoulder straps super short, both sets of straps ended up being almost the same length. It’s a little confusing on my bag, and sometimes I found myself carrying my bag by one shoulder strap and one “short” handle.

sewing circle tote

In summary, here’s what I learned: buy patterns as soon as you like them because otherwise they might get discontinued on you! ;D