Saturday, December 14, 2013

Run, Run, Runner

Mom, this one's for you.

Last month, my mom saw a runner that I had completed.  She loved it so much and from what she has told me, has been talking about it since.  Every chance she gets, she asked me if I put pictures of it up on the blog yet because she told her friends to check it out.

The runner that I made was from the Zig Zag Charm Pack Table Runner tutorial, from Missouri Star Quilts.  It is quick to make, not very difficult to do and is good practice at lining up corners.  All it takes is a charm pack, some batting and a piece for backing fabric.

The two charm packs that I chose to work with are Winter's Lane by Moda, and Ho Ho Ho Let It Snow by Nancy Halvorsen.  I finished the Winter's Lane runner first but didn't take any pictures of the process, so when I was making the second, I was sure to take some pictures of the steps.

 Here are some pictures of the Winter's Lane runner.  This is the original one that my mom saw when she came over to my house.  It utilizes all 42 pieces of a charm pack.  I made this one a bit after we bought our new machine and I wanted to try out some embroidery on it too.  The back has three snowflake designs embroidered on each side.  It was a pain to get these just right because I had to measure out seams and draw a grid out that matched the front panel.  In the end, the runner looks great and I am very proud of it.

The next one I made was from the Ho Ho Ho Let it Snow charm pack.  I took pictures to run you all through the process with me.  The first step was to lay all of the squares out in a pattern that I liked.  I group all of the squares by color and just started laying them down.  Once they are all in their spot the sewing can start.  The next step was to sew the squares together until you have 10 strips (2 strips of 2, 2 strips of 4, and 6 strips
of 5).

The strips then get sewn together.  It seems like it would be tricky sewing these offset strips together, but this pattern makes it really easy.  You just continue to sew into the single square and the stitches will be covered in a later step.  I continued to sew all the strips together until the top of the runner was pieced and complete.

From here on I forgot to take pictures (I know I'm a terrible person).  After the top was completed, I needed to make my quilt sandwich.  In this case it is made a little differently because of the absence of a binding.  For this project the quilt sandwich is layerd (from bottom up) batting, backing facing up, top facing down.  I pinned the layers together and took my sandwich to the sewing machine.  I ran a stitch around the outside of the topper using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I pivitoed in the corners so it was one continuous seam.  I also left about 2 inches open on one end, so I could turn the project out after some trimming of extra fabric.  I had to go in and snip off the tips of the corners, right up to the stitch line.  I also docked the inside corners.  This step needs to be done so the ending project will lay flat.  Next, you turn it out.  I used a chopstick to push out my corners and pressed the entire project.  I then needed to run a 1/4 inch top stitch around the whole project.  This not only made a nice stitch to look at but it also stitched up the opening.  Now it was ready to quilt.  I decided for this runner, I was just going to stitch in the ditch.  I did my quilting and the project was finished.

Here are the final products.  I gave one to my mom and one to Ben's mom, but they decorated our home for a little while first.  Using a different fabric family gave the second runner a totally different look than the first.  I think the HoHoHo Let it Snow runner is much more playful and has more of a bright happy attitude. 

To me the Winter's Lane runner envokes thoughts of winter itself.  I see it and want a cup of hot chocolate and to sit by a fire.  I do like them both and they both would have worked in different areas of our home but alas, they went to good homes and I am sure they are being loved there.  I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season! Until next time.

Happy Holidays

These past few days have been a blur here at SSG.  Thanksgiving is always a great holiday for us but it is also such a busy time.  We started setting up for our Thanksgiving feast Tuesday night.  We have a large crowd over and we have to move some furniture and extend our dining room table.  You can see Duchess was helping out by standing in the way.
Wednesday night we cleaned our china and set the tables.  Ben is a collector of china and for Thanksgiving we set a table with our Wedgwood India set and we set our other other table with our set of Waterford Colette by Mark Jacobs.  Ben always knows how to set a beautiful table and he did a great job once again.  

When we finally got everything set we had a chance to go to sleep.  Thanksgiving morning brought a day of cooking to our home.  We got up early so I could start some last minute cleaning and Ben could get the turkey in the oven.  With the turkey baking, he started some homemade rolls. This year we had a smaller crowd (just 18 people) but we never are at a loss for food.  

We always feel like we are feeding an army.  We ended with 2 turkeys, 48 rolls, 4 batches of green bean casserole, 12 lbs of mashed potatoes, a huge baking dish of sweet potato casserole, a spiral cut ham, Watergate salad and a Crock pot of gravy.  I can say we sent home lots of left overs and had quite a few sandwiches with the leftover rolls for the next 4 days.

It is a little stressful but always such a great time.  This year, since our numbers were down, everyone was able to sit in one room.  It made the whole night a little more intimate then usual.  After everyone ate and had time to socialize, our cleaning began.  Ben and I were able to get most of our cleaning done that night which was good since we headed down South the next morning to see more of his family. 

We ended up staying Friday in Oxnard because we were just too exhausted.  We stopped by two of our favorite fabric stores (The Quilter's Studio and Super Buzzy).  I was able to pick up the Bernina V7 upgrade that we purchased, Ben got some fabulous fabric that has mid-century modern homes printed on it.  It reminds me of Palm Springs.  His mom found some great fabric for some projects she is going to be working on and I got a very nice Jelly Roll for a baby quilt that I will be starting soon.  That night we went to dinner and hung out with his Aunt, Uncle and Cousins.  We played a card game and just spent the night laughing.

Saturday morning we headed down to Redondo to see his Grandma, brother, sister-in-law and aunt.  We had a nice brunch and spent time just visiting with them.  We had to leave around noon to head to The Ahmanson Theater for a production of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty.  It was a special ballet by Matthew Bourne.  I left wanting more.  I was so excited to see this ballet but it just wasn't up to par.  The story was a little bazaar and the dancing wasn't as on point as I would have liked.  I guess my previous ballets have spoiled me (Joffrey productions).  After the ballet we headed back to Oxnard for the night.  We stopped in Thousand Oaks to do a little shopping and get a tea.  Once we were back home, I fell asleep. 

The next morning I woke up really early and started cleaning the house.  I wanted to be sure to leave early, as to miss all the Sunday traffic and we did.  I spent the rest of the day on the couch binge watching The Walking Dead.  I was starting back at Season 2.  WOW that show is good.  Ben spent the day trying to finish up a quilt he has been working on.  He has finished it and I am hoping a post will be up soon about it. 

Hope your season is very merry and bright. 

'Til next time....

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's a Jolly Holiday at SSG

As you can see, the holidays are in full swing here at SSG and it's hard to get a second to sit down and have a chance to put our projects onto paper.  We spent this past weekend getting ready for the
holidays by putting our two Christmas trees up.  I know some of you are thinking that it is too early for a Christmas tree, but if they didn't go up then, it would never happen.  We host the holidays for our families so this next weekend will be spent shopping for Thanksgiving and getting the house ready.  We have to move furniture to bring in tables for the horde coming Thanksgiving day.  I think this year's head count is around 28 people but we wouldn't have it any other way.  Both sides of the family attend and it is a night full of food and laughter.  It takes a lot of time but we love to do it.  It is one of my favorite times of the year because we are all together and just have a wonderful time.  I will be sure to post some pictures of the "Event."

I also spent some time this weekend designing our Christmas card using our V6 software.  I got the design done and stitched out a demo.  After looking at it, I decided it should be in color.  I stopped by Strawberry Patches yesterday after work to get some thread and fabric to do the final stitch out.  I am very excited to see the final project and think it is going to look GREAT!  

I've also spent some time thinking about the Christmas coffee sleeves and how I can get them to stitch out perfectly.  I have some ideas, now it is just about getting them into the V6 software and running some practice stitch outs.  I have some grand ideas for these and hope they will come out as good as they look in my head.

Ben has been busy working on his king size quilt.  He has finished the top, now it's just making the quilt sandwich, quilting it and binding it.  I hope he has a bit of time this weekend to get some more of it done.  I am so proud of him because this quilt is going to be beautiful.

I have been busy trying to get some runners completed.  I realized we have a lot of Christmas decor and would like to kick it up a notch or two.  Santa has officially taken over our home and I'm sure he would love to have something beautiful to rest upon.  I hope I have these done in the next few days, so keep your eyes open.

I also received a pattern book (Sewing Modkid Style by Patty Young) I ordered from Modkids designs this week.  I was so excited because it has some wonderful patterns that all use knits.  I can't wait to try my skills at knits and make some cute clothes for my nieces.  Knits can be tough to use, but I think with some practice, my girls will be the best looking girls in school.

Till next time...

Friday, November 15, 2013

I might be bias.

When we decided to purchase the new machine I also bought some fabric for my first quilt.  I am not one to start out with something easy (boring), so I decided to use a twist tool to make something a little different.  These are some of the steps and pictures of my first go at quilt making.

The first step was to decide on a pattern.  Instead of finding a pattern online, I decided to design my own.  I used excel to design the pattern and also used it to calculate the final size.  I purchased four different fabrics, so I made the design and gave each fabric a number.  I wanted to have some of the colors pop so I ultimately decided on this design.

I started cutting my squares out.  I needed 5x5 squares for the twist tool that I was using.  I probably cut 300 total because I wasn't paying attention at first and now the extras are in with all of our scrap pieces.  We use these to test different stitches and to run practice embroidery designs.

The next step in my plan was to sew all my pieces together.  I went a little crazy trying to keep all of the squares in order and pressing the seams all the same way.  It's something you really have to think about because sometimes you're looking at your rows upside down and backwards.  The beginning part of the quilt was quite large.  I would lay it across my table and, from there, I could see the pattern taking shape and make sure all my squares were in the right position to complete the pattern correctly.  There were a few rows I had to seam rip and redo but I thankfully caught them and made the corrections.  You can see in this picture that it wasn't fully sewn together yet.

This pictures shows the pattern from a different angle and you can see the different fabrics.  This was the mid-point to finishing my quilt topper.  I could have used this for my quilt but since I decided to use the twist tool, it was time to cut my project up again.

The next step in my quilt making process was to cut out the twisted blocks.  At every intersection of four squares, the twist tool is laid down and the square is cut out.  This started to become very confusing and I had to take a step back a few times and make sure everything was coming out correctly.  I cut the squares out two rows at a time, stacked them all in the order they were cut.  It was very important to keep them all in order as to keep the final pattern flowing correctly.

This is the first two rows sewn together.  If you look at the first intersection of four squares on the right, you can see the first pinwheel that was formed using the twist tool.  The final project has 13 pinwheels across.  I cut all of my twisted squares out and gave them all a row number.  I decided to buckle down and get them all sewn.  This is a picture of two rows left to sew.  You can see that it is kind of dark in our sewing room.  I am an early bird and this is what I would do in the morning to get my project finished.  I would log a good hour or two in the morning trying to complete my quilt top.

I finally got everything sewn together and added my border fabric.  I picked out this dark grey color to make the lighter colors of the pattern stand out.  I wanted to try and have my embroidery machine do all of the quilting for me since it was my first quilt but I decided to use the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) and a freehand stipple stitch.  It was tricky at first but once I had the hang of it, I zoomed right along.  A stipple stitch is a zig-zag stitch that doesn't have a real pattern to it.  It is just a continuous curving line that never connects with itself.  I first drew my lines on the front of the quilt.  After all the stippling lines were drawn on, I made my quilt sandwich (quilt top, layer of batting, backing).  These get all pinned together so they don't slide during the quilting process.  I used the BSR to trace my stippling lines and this was the finished product at that point.  You can see the stippling lines from the top view (left) and bottom view (right).

The final step to completing the quilt was to make the bias binding.  To cut on the bias means to cut the fabric on a 45 degree angle.  When fabric is cut on the bias, it has a little bit of stretch to it.  I chose a coral color that compliments the coral on the quilt top.  This was all my bias strips sewn together.  You can see Duchess wanted in on some bias tape action.  I didn't know at the time but putting the bias binding on a quilt is not that easy.  By the end of my binding experience I was frustrated and just wanted it to be over.  Needless to say, I am going to need some practice in this department.  Now I just have to go into my scrap bag and put some binding time in.  

I think the quilt turned out well for my first go at it.  I got to use a lot of the features on the sewing machine, practiced lining up my seams and got to use the BSR on a real project.  I am already looking for my next project to start.  I have a few little things I have been thinking of and want to try to make my nieces some type of outfit.  I found a few cute patterns and might give that a go this weekend, if I can find some time.  
You can see here Roger loving it, but we might be bias! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Did someone say pajamas?

We have been quiet here at Seams for the past week but, rest assured, we have been busy sewing, among other things.  One would think that writing a blog doesn't take much time, but it feels like every time I sit down to write, something comes up.  Now I have some time, I might get a few posts written.  Ben and I both both enjoy our quilt projects but we would really like to get into making our work clothes.  This post is about our first "clothes" making experience.

Ben found a pattern for pajama pants and we found some fun fabric by Robert Kaufman.  I don't know if you all are like us, but once we are home from work, it's work clothes off and pajama pants on.  I think the fabrics are funny and indicative of our personalities.  Ben picked out the birds and I picked the cups.

Ben completed his before I did but we had such a busy week the week of Halloween, I decided I was going to spend my Sunday sewing.  I had already pre-washed my fabric so I ran a quick iron on it and started my cutting.  The pattern is really simple.  There is a total of 4 pieces and just a few seams.  I also had a chance to use the button hole program on our sewing machine and it couldn't be any easier.  I was laughing because I put in my inner leg and crotch seams and confused myself really bad.  I kept looking at the pajamas wondering how I was going to get two legs out of it.  After 10 minutes of confusing myself and not understanding Ben's explanation, I finally figured it out.  It was a good laugh for me.  I did the hem in the waist and added some elastic and a strip of bias tape to make a tie.  

Like I said, Ben finished his pajamas a little while ago and he mentioned that he wished he had pockets in them.  Well that gave me the idea and chance to put pockets in mine.  I improvised a pocket pattern and did my best to put them in.  Well...they function as pockets, but they are a little low and don't really look that good.  I can say for our first go at pajamas and clothing for that matter everything came out well.  They are very comfortable and that is what matters most.  My family was over for on Sunday so I had my mom take a picture of us in our pajama pants.  Fifteen pictures and three photographers later this is the best one we got.

This is not the best picture but it makes me smile and I hope it leaves you smiling too.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Another Super Buzzy Weekend

Well, we have had another Super Buzzy weekend here as Seams Sew Gay.  Between checking out the new release of Bernina Machines, finding new fabric stores in the Ventura area, and theatre tickets, were were go go go.

We started out our Saturday with Trudy at The Quilter's Studio in Newbury Park.  They showed us what's new from our friends at Bernina.  They just released the new 560 and 880 E.  These machines are wonderful and have tons of features.  We had a chance to play around with them, check out the features and do a little shopping while we were there too.  If anyone is looking to purchase a Bernina, I would suggest a stop by The Quilter's Studio.  Ask for Trudy and you will be in good hands.  She is my go to gal when it comes to quilting.  When we ended there, we headed to Ventura with Trudy to visit some fabric stores on Main Street that we never knew were there.

We hit up Fabric Town first.  My initial thought was WOW!  They had everything someone could want in the areas of fabric.  I spent most of my time walking around and just taking in the sights.  We found some beautiful wool fabric to make some slacks, a soft geometric Minky fabric for a dog bed, and some heavy black out fabric for drapes.  I'm sure we will be back with Ben's mom in the future to buy out the store.

The next stop was a store that Ben found though Pinterest.  It's called Super Buzzy and it just made me smile.  We meet Kelly and her mother.  Kelly had so much knowledge of Japanese designers.  I have always been a fan of Japanese artwork and their style of animation, so this is the store for me.  They specialize in Japanese and Modern fabrics.  I was checking out their website on Friday and found a Christmas fabric that I wanted to make a runner out of.  I found it and it looks even better in person.  They were so friendly and helpful with any questions that Ben and I had.  Ben is a fan of anything London and he found this fabulous fabric that he is going to dress our bed up with.  There will be throw pillows to come.   I also bought the black London inspired design.  I am thinking that one of the dogs is going to have an outfit soon.  I also bought Making Magazine and can't wait to start making some of the Asian inspired projects from that.

After our busy morning, we had just a little time to hang out with the dogs and have a quick bite to eat before we had to head out to the Ahmanson Theatre to see The Sunshine Boys.  It stars Danny DeVito, Judd Hirsch, and Justin Bartha.  It was non-stop laughing from me.  I told Ben, some of the scenes could be played out by our family members and that made the connection just a little closer.  Danny DeVito was exactly what I expected and the slap-stick type humor is MY type of humor.

Sunday, we planned to just hanging around the house.  I have some embroidery ideas that I want to get programed out on my Bernina V6 software.  I also need to put my quilt dimensions into the software and try to do all the quilting though the software.  Ben has a queen size quilt that he is working on and there are a lot of strips that need to be pieced together, so he will be getting some of that done.  I was going to get samples of the Christmas coffee sleeves done but alas, Ben's mom invited us over for dinner and we couldn't pass it up.

While spending an evening with Ben's parents, I took was able to get some pictures of Karlyn's (Ben's mom) latest project.  She is a lover of all things Halloween and she put together an appliqué project.  The day we introduced her to The Quilter's Studio she found some fabulous fabric to use for her appliqué.  She has the Slice cutting system and used it to cut out the moon and a witch.  She appliquéd the moon, did some decorative stitching then added the witch.  Her final step was to add some glitter to give it a little more POP.  She also dressed up the collar.  On the front of the jacket, she appliquéd some jack-o-lanterns and coordinating fabric.  She finished off this with a wonderful whimsical cat button.  She has a great eye and imagination to dress up anything and is my go to sewer for quick questions.

I am hoping to have some patterns done for my Christmas coffee sleeves soon and will get some pictures up.  I have had multiple people ask about purchasing one and  I was thinking, what a good idea for a Stocking Stuffer attached to a Coffee Gift Card.  I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend too and I will be back soon with my completed Winter Charm Pack Runner.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sleeves were a Hit

First thing first, the coffee sleeves were a hit at work.  This is my coworker loving her Starbuck's cup now that she is not burning her hand.  I was a little nervous that they would not really block out the heat, but they did!  People saw them and now I am getting orders for the Christmas season.  I have been thinking about different patterns that I can make and have three different versions in my head.

I have been working on a hand embroidery project the last few days.  The mother of another coworker of mine makes these adorable quilts for friends and family of hers that are having a baby.  She does all the piecing and appliqué by hand but needed someone to do the embroidery on it.  Luckily, I was taught how to do a bit of embroidery a few years ago.  When I was initially asked to do the embroidery for the project, I thought it would incorporate my machine, but, alas it didn't.  I can't get over how cute these blankets are.  They come from vintage patterns that used to belong to my friend's grandma.  I have seen a few of the different patterns completed (sheep, dog, cat, elephant) and they kill me with cuteness every time.

One last thing, this is what I came home to at lunch today.  This is Simon enjoying the crocheted throw I completed last winter.  I used the Katherine's Wheel stitch in 5 colors.  It was the first throw that I completed and I was very happy with the outcome.  The stitch is a yarn eater but it makes for a very heavy and warm throw.  Perfect for the chilly winter mornings.  I'm glad that someone can enjoy it when it's still a brisk 85 degrees outside.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Busy Weekend

Well, you can see we had a busy weekend.  Ben made a quilted pillow and I was busy learning our new embroidery software and making coffee sleeves.

It was Ben's grandma's birthday, so we left to Redondo Beach early Saturday morning.  On the way down we had to make a stop to meet our friend Trudy who works at The Quilter's Studio.  I call her my "Quilting Fairy Godmother," she is wonderful. We got to see some of her projects and award winning quilts. She is such a talent.  If you can make it to The Quilter's Studio, make sure you tell her Hi.

After leaving her, we had to pick up our Jumbo Hoop for our Embroidery Unit.  I haven't used it yet but I am very excited to.  I am planning on trying it out today.

Finally, we headed down to Redondo Beach to celebrate Ben's grandma's birthday. It was nice to hang out with the family in nice weather. 

On our way home we stopped by a local quilting shop in Redondo Beach, AAA Sewing and bought some Halloween fabric (seen on the pillow and coffee sleeve) and I bought a pattern for a lunch bag.  We finally got home and started on our new projects.  Ben started in on the pillow and I started on coffee sleeves.

Starbucks sells a reusable cup for a dollar but it gets very hot if you don't have a sleeve, so I decided to make one.  I told a friend at work I would make her one too, so I found a pattern by Crafty Stacy and made a few. They turned out really cute and got me thinking of other designs that I can make for the seasons.

Today, after work, I stopped by Strawberry Patches to check out their Halloween Fabric.  We wanted an orange fabric with black polka-dots to complement the black with orange polka-dots on the other pillow.  I also tinkered around in the V6 software and am now stitching out another spooky house to try out the multiple hoop design needed to work on our machine.  We will have pictures of that as soon as it is completed.

A Special THANK YOU to Trudy for the wonderful embroidery and inspiration!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Project

This is Ben, I'm writing my first post for the blog.  Adam and I love Halloween, A LOT!  We were given this awesome embroidery on a really pretty orange fabric by our friend.

Clearly, there wasn't enough time to make a quilt before Halloween, given my schedule with work and grad school, but the Bernina "weallsew" blog had a pillow project that I really liked, so I adapted it.  The original project can be found at  I made the embroidery the center piece and bordered it with a really neat black fabric with orange polka dots.  I quilted squares around the embroidery in orange thread and I really like the way it turned out, especially given that the whole project was complete in a couple of hours.  I love that the bernina instructions included a zipper, I'm not a huge fan of envelope back pillow cases.

 On the back I used a black charcoal Moda fabric with a modern print.  I quilted it with the same orange thread diagonally, straight lines, one inch apart.

 If I had decided to spend a little more time I might have considered cross quilting the back, or pulling some of my quilting and straightening it up, but overall I'm really happy.  It looks great on the sofa, we're considering embroidering the same design on black fabric in orange and making one more.  I can't say enough about how easy this was.  I would recommend anyone looking for quick holiday decor give it a try.  Happy Halloween!