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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sock Monkey tutorial

I have made a few sock monkeys now.... maybe it is time to describe the process.
First... buy a pair of socks... no, one orphan sock won't be enough for a monkey, you will see why later.
Some socks waiting their turn

These have a dark, un patterned sole.
The Argyle sock monkey was made..... eventually...click here to read about it.
These have stripes all the way around the foot!
The way the socks are made will affect the way you make your monkey. I do not like the dark soled socks for the head and body... see photos below....
If you use the toe for the head, the argyle stops at the side of the face.
These stripes make a better head.
Rustle the wrestler has his head made from the portion nearest the cuff, argyle all around!
My mom wanted to give a sock monkey to one of the grandkids for their birthday, so I offered to help.... if I could take photos along the way.... well.... we did get the monkey done, but I missed a few photos along the way! so here is the beginning of a monkey.
Here are the basic body parts, head and body-all one piece-including the heel of the sock;
arms from the piece with the cuff (unfolded);
legs from this sock if it is long enough, or from the second sock.
Second sock is cut for mouth, tail, ears, and hat.
Mouth is embroidered and the edge folded and basted . These legs are inside out, one end closed.

Arms stuffed and wrist stitched to form hands.
Tail stitched in a curve before cutting it from the foot of the sock. Ears will be sewn and then cut from this piece also.
Tail ready for stuffing
favorite stuffing!
Button eyes and a ribbon, but she still needs something!
A Hat!
Gretta, waiting for the birthday party!
I have a request for a monkey out of those yellow argyle socks.... hope I remember to take photos of all the steps next time!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"She made me do it!"

And I am glad too!

Let me explain.... my friend, Sharon the professional quilter, was "on my case" about my bad habit of NOT putting any label on the quilts I make. I did put a "presentation label" on the Pilgrim-league-t-shirt-quilt, because it was a "Thank you" gift from lots of people. But usually.... I just give them away with a small note or card.  Isaac's birthday quilt is a little different; I hired Sharon and her long arm machine to do the quilting for me!  After seeing her machine in action, I knew this was the way to go with this special quilt. So this post is about quilt labels and the most recent quilts finished.

Sharon's awesome quilting... see the stars in the cloth and the stitching.
Close-up of a stitched star
This is how I made simple labels for 3 quilts:

Printed the text on my computer in several sizes, used the largest one!

Printer is not working well, so printing on ink-jet cloth was not an option!
There is more than one way to get ink on cloth.....
Pigma pens (.05) with permanent ink
And....
light table tracing box my AWESOME DAD made for me!
You can trace letters onto cloth using a bright window... tape the paper to the glass, tape the cloth over the paper, trace! Since ink does not flow up hill very well..... you may want to trace with pencil first, then go over the pencil lines at the table (not on the window) with your pen. You could also embroider over the pencil lines.

Blue ink on white cloth (scrap)

Dark blue ink on light blue cloth
Let the ink dry, then heat set with your iron.

The white cloth is doubled and bound with a piece of the same bias used for the quilt edge.
Stitched into a corner of the back before the binding is complete.
Binding closes the corner
But Josiah's quilt and Daniel's quilt (shh don't tell them yet!) are done, binding complete!
All 4 edges pressed under by 1/4 inch.
Hand stitched on the back (yes, the back is large blocks)
You can see more of Josiah's quilt here. 

No, you may not see more of Daniel's quilt until after Christmas!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cooler Bag for groceries

I have purchased, used and ruined several plastic cooler bags. And I am now using my own tote bags for groceries ... so it makes some sense to have my own thermal, insulated grocery bag.  This is the story of one bag.
(I have made so many bags, one friend calls me "the Bag Lady"!)


I had an old auto window shade; I was planning to fix it!

All the edges were raggedy!

I bought 2 packs of bias tape for the fix job, so I used them for this project instead.
Looking back, now that the job is done, I probably should have used DUCT tape instead of trying to sew plastic together! Maybe next time.......

Cut the top flaps off for a clean edge to work with.

Cut the side flaps off. (save for practice stitching!)
Cut 2 sections for side panels.

Cut the side panels to match the height of the bag and finish edges with bias tape.
Panel on the left shows what will be the finished "inside".
Panel on the right shows the stitching.
Bias tape all around the large piece.

Close up of bias sewn once, the rough edge is then trimmed away.

Now that all the plastic, insulated pieces have a bias tape edge.... I stitched the bias tape together to form a box shape with a lid flap. Next time I'll just duct tape the box together!
So the size is this: 
2 sections of the shade for the front, 1 section for the bottom, 2 more for the back, and 1 section for the lid flap. 
The auto shade was already creased into these sections!


Looking inside
The lid flap fits into its own pocket; so the outer bag holds the lid open for filling up!

The outer bag is not attached to the insulated box; so either one can be cleaned as needed.
Three yards of cotton web strap support the bag all the way under the bottom and up the other side.
Upholstery weight zipper tape and a "reverse head" make a sturdy closing.
On the first trip to the store with this bag I found that it will hold:
2 half-gallon cartons of milk
2 dozen cartons of eggs
1 cottage cheese carton
3 bags frozen veggies....  with room to spare!

Pizzas had to go into the plastic "cold" bag with the broken handles!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Telling on myself!

I know better than to do that.... but I did it anyway.... and suffered the consequences!

But there is a happy ending to this story, so I think it is worth telling.

I have made personal, memory quilts for all 3 of my daughters; each in their favorite colors, from scraps of cloth from clothing I made over all these years. And I made one for myself too!
My personal size quilt

Pieces for Kathryn's quilt, sorry no photo of completed quilt!



Abi's (mostly) Blue quilt

Window "quilt" for Abi's nursery
And one of my favorite photos of a quilt in use.....

Faith's kids on THE QUILT


see more of Faith's quilt here
Faith isn't the only one who enjoys the quilt!
So I planned to make Daniel his very own quilt.....
Get all the scraps out and sort into piles... a grand mess!! 
About this time I had the urge to experiment with some different quilt techniques... crazy piecing and free motion quilting.... so why not on Daniel's quilt??!!
One block

Several blocks and a peek at the back too! (unfinished edges)
 So far so good... but trouble was lurking in the red dye....
See the red and cream colored piece in the center? It had not been checked for color fastness, and it RAN 
When I soaked the completed quilt to shrink and "plump" it a little.... the red ran out onto the green squares on the back, and I did not notice it until AFTER the dryer has set it!
Nothing I did would remove this pink blot!

More pinkness!
This is the only pink spot on the front, it did come out almost all the way.
I know better than to put an unshrunk, unwashed piece into a scrap quilt!!! yet it happened anyway!
The happy ending is this...
When Faith, my daughter, saw the whole quilt she said that Josiah would love to have it for his birthday and would not even notice the pinkness on the back (and the overall look of it turned out a bit too whimsical for Daniel anyway!) So Josiah's birthday gift is ready well ahead of time, I still have time to try again for a good "Daniel" quilt before Christmas and January!