Friday, October 2, 2009

patchwork potholders

I am planning to open an Etsy shop soon (yay!) so I am preparing a list of items to make and sell. I have been wanting to make myself some patchwork potholders for a while now, so I figured if I was reaching for them, someone else must be too. Plus, I haven't seen any quite like this out there. I got the idea after reading this post from the purl bee. I fell in love with the quilt squares as individual pieces, and began to imagine them as potholders.

I also took this opportunity to learn how to hand piece and machine piece patchwork together. In the picture above, you can see the wobbly results of my impatient first attempt at machine piecing (the red star). Next I tried hand piecing , which resulted in the perfect blue star. sigh.

everything is lined up perfectly. it seems particularly special having been labored over by hand. the red one, not so much. when i machine stitched it, i thought pshaw! i don't need to use pins. i'm only sewing a few inches at a time. how very wrong i was.

the one problem with the hand piecing is the time commitment. I figured out a way to machine piece carefully, which seems to work well. i machine stitch from one corner of the design shape to the next, and back stitch each end. that way i don't have to sew across the seam allowance too. this requires precision, but it also allows the shapes to come together more smoothly. i also figured out that pins are necessary, even though the seam is only an inch or so. heh.

here is the result of machine piecing without sewing across the seam allowances (and, uh, using pins - ahee).

fast and perfect - yay! here it is all sewn up as a finished potholder:

the red one made a pretty potholder too despite the wonkiness.

i forgot to take a picture of the finished blue star potholder on its own, so those will be forthcoming with the next batch. And so you see what i plan to do with so many of those lovely free patches! that and other stuff like place mats, purses, and anything else I can think of.
more to come...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

happy october!

Exciting things are happening around here... As you can see, I have gotten a beautiful pumpkin to celebrate fall - and not just any pumpkin, it's a organic pie pumpkin :) Right around Halloween I plan to bake it, puree it and make a yummy pie. It's sitting on a stack pure goodness - free, 100% cotton patches. Yes, you heard right - free! I shall reveal my secret:

Wallpaper books. If you call your local wallpaper store, they will very likely have discontinued books that they would otherwise throw away! A lot of wallpaper books have fabric samples too, which is where I got that beautiful stack. I swear it's like gold to me.

There you can see a fabric patch that perfectly matches the wallpaper sample. I haven't even begun to sing the praises of the actual wallpaper - it can be used for wrapping paper, book-binding, decoupage, note cards, etc. Anything you can use fancy paper for, you got it.

Gold baby, pure gold.

This is how many patches came from seven wallpaper books.

I was positively hopping with glee. Take a look at some of these beauties:

That round of books and fabric was particularly wonderful - I doubt I'll be that lucky again. I did go to another local wallpaper store and managed to get another 10 books (!) and 15 fabric books (!!!). Not quite as fantasmagorical as the last bunch, but beautiful in their own right. I have to sort the fakey fabrics from the cotton and silk ones. Lots of projects are looming on the horizon!

Once I deconstruct the fabric books and sort the fabrics by fiber, I'll start the washing, drying and ironing phase like with the last bunch. Gotta love eco-friendly free crafts, even if they do involve some work.
Soon I will post photos of two finished sewing projects (hint: they are wearable). I hope you all have a wonderful start to fall - and lots of pumpkin :)