Sunday, January 19, 2020

Alexander Henry fabric drawstring bag

I used to carry a small plastic bag in my suitcase for laundry. No more! This cloth drawstring bag is much better and the Alexander Henry Fabrics are cheerful, happy designs that make me smile.

Drawstring laundry bag.
Made with Birdland from Alexander Henry Fabrics.

The fabric pieces for the bag are about fat quarter size. The fold-over casing at the top for the drawstring is about 1.25" deep. Remember to leave openings at the side seams to feed the drawstrings through. 

Two long, narrow strips of cotton knit fabric (from a garment sewing project) worked great for the drawstrings! I actually like the knit fabric "string" better than a cotton cord or ribbon. The knit stretches and springs back, but the bag is still easily closed. 

The other side of the drawstring bag.
My Planet print from Alexander Henry fabrics.

The bag bottom was boxed to make the bag more spacious inside. I sewed a seam about 3" in from the bottom corner. I like how the scene from My Planet travels up the outside of the bag.

Did you know that the fabric designs from Alexander Henry are original and drawn/painted by hand with traditional art materials—ink, acrylics, gouache, etc.? The original art is not created on a computer. You can really see the "hand of the artist" in these prints. Aren't they wonderful??

Boxed bottom of my drawstring bag.

I love using my fabric drawstring bag! Fabric is breathable, earth-friendly, soft, not noisy, and washable. So much better than plastic! And when the fabric is from Alexander Henry... well, that makes it even more special.

Visit your local quilt shop and pick up a few Alexander Henry fabrics to make something special. It will make you smile!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

UFO quilt assessment

One of my Make Nine goals for 2020 is to finish one of my UFOs [unfinished objects]. 
Oh, where to begin?! 
Work in progress: crumb quilt.

Crumb Quilt
If I choose to finish a project from the "Quilt UFO" pile, there are four *relatively* recent quilts in progress. The one above is a crumb quilt made with leftover bits, trimmings and fabric swatches. It's the most recent project which developed out of the crumb patches I started making in October 2019.
I started piecing crumbs into strips in October 2019.

I was using fabric bits for leaders and enders while working on other projects. So, the crumb patches morphed into strips and the strips began to grow.

Crumb strips in November 2019.

By December, the crumb strips needed to be a project of their own.

15 inch quilt block made from fabric crumbs.

Kinship Sampler
In early December, forty-nine of my Kinship Sampler blocks made it into this top. While traveling in early December, I found fabric for borders and backing at Neff's Country Loft, a quilt shop with a fabulous selection of Diamond Textiles' textured wovens. So, I have the remaining fabrics needed to complete this quilt. I need a plan for the quilting, however.
Work in progress: Kinship Sampler from the 2019 100 Blocks 100 Days project.

The Farmer's Wife Sampler
In August of 2018, I started work on blocks for my version of the Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. The blocks I decided to make were completed in June of 2019 to make way for the July start of the Kinship Sampler.  I've decided on a "kitchen sink" layout for these Farmer's Wife blocks... but the blocks are still on the design wall... awaiting top assembly.
Work in progress: Farmer's Wife blocks

A curated subset of my Farmer's Wife blocks are set on-point for a small quilt or wall hanging. The center section of this project is pieced.
Work in progress: Farmer's Wife blocks

What moves to the top of the 2020 To-Do list?
Do I tackle the smallest project first? the most recent one? the one with all the materials on hand? the one that's been around the longest?

I guess it will be whatever mood strikes me. Unless, of course, there is a deadline.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Project management system for makers

Forget Gantt charts, scrum boards, Microsoft Project and those other project management programs... Here's a great *visual* success tracker for makers and creatives. It's a chart by Karalenn Hippen at

Easy, colorful project success tracking system for makers and creatives.

How to use it
When you do a little work on any of your projects—stitching, piecing, sewing, knitting, swatching, hemming, mending, quilting, binding, whatever—color the space for that day (inside or outside the lines). Over time, you'll see your progress for each month.

I'm thinking about a contrast color for when I finish a project so at-a-glance, my finishes will stand out at the end of the year.

Calendar chart from Nerd-bucket.blogspot.

So grab your colored pencils, markers, or coloring tool of choice and have fun tracking how and when you spend time doing the creative work you love. Here's wishing you have a colorful year!

Thanks, Karalenn! Great chart idea.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Make Nine Challenge 2020

Yep, I'm taking the Make Nine Challenge again this year! I participated in Make Nine 2019 and was [mostly] successful. I also learned from the amendments I made in my list to better plan for this year.
My Make Nine 2020. #MakeNine

Make Nine 2020
In 2020, I'm being more flexible and open-ended in my list. This will allow for a serendipitous project, pattern or inspiration that may catch my eye during the upcoming 12 months. In no particular order, here are my project goals:
  • Pillowcases: I made several pillowcase sets for gifts last year. This year, I'm going to treat myself with some—and hopefully not wait for the holidays before they're complete.
  • Kalamkari: I have yardage of beautiful hand stamped kalamkari fabric from Diamond Textiles. It's been in my stash for the better part of last year (already pre-washed) and I want to create something wonderful with it to wear.
Kalamkari fabrics from Diamond Textiles.

  • Knitting: Inspired by my yarn rep friend, Joan, I got back into knitting last year. A knitting project was included in Make Nine 2019 and is again this year. The plan is for it to be a yarn stash buster.
  • Portable yarn project: I'm thinking about a small, fun, portable knit or crochet project to use my stash of small balls of leftover yarns. Maybe play with stitch patterns on dishcloths.

In progress MixIt top using rayon fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics.

  • Rayon top: This was on the 2019 list, but was not completed because the weather turned cold and my project choice was a short sleeve top—the Mixit from The Sewing Workshop. The project has been forwarded to the 2020 list.
  • UFO finish: Let's face it. I complete more projects that have a deadline. One of my UFOs will make it across the finish line this year.

Quilts for Kitties.

  • Charity: I have two organizations that I support with handmade quilts. One is through my quilt guild and the other is the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga.

Australian aboriginal cotton prints from M&S Textiles Australia.

  • Two Wild Cards: I've given myself two open boxes to fill this year. I'm on the lookout for an appropriate project to create something with my natural dyed fabrics. The fabric is too special to settle for something less than ideal.
         I also have a stash of lovely Art Gallery knits and cotton prints form M&S Textiles Australia that I'd like to see become garments. 

Anyone else up for a gentle nudge to make and finish things this year? Join the Make Nine Challenge 2020! It's a good platform on which to focus a small list of things you'd like to accomplish. Rochelle [the founder of Make Nine] at Home Row Fiber Co. offers some helpful tips for choosing your projects.

I'm hoping to make several of my wishes come true and move a few UFOs into the "done" pile.

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