Saturday, May 30, 2020

Virtual Sewing Retreat - Day Three

H MY GOD -- we had so much fun yesterday at the Virtual Sewing Retreat. Fran from Sudbury poped in, Mary from Scarborough, Carol from Parry Sound, Susan from London, and many others more local and are too numerous to mention. Sorry!!!  But what a fun time. OK - so I didn't get a lot of sewing done, and I'm perfectly OK with that. 

It was great to actually have a NORMAL conversation with a group. I love it!!!!

We got to see other people's sewing rooms, projects, pets, and a whole lot of stuff. We got to sew some blast from the past projects. Shoot - I didn't ask Carol to send me pictures of her stuff. I'll do that today! Oh, what fun!!!!

Fran has been working like mad during the shutdown, and her stuff is gorgeous. She sent me some pictures to share with you.

I love this one. It's made with hexies that are "floating" on the surface and get tacked down during the quilting process. I'd like to make one of these quilts someday!!!  Did you notice that it's quilted and bound??? I don't think she has any UFOs.

Fran's hexie quilt

This is a paper pieced project. I CANNOT remember the name, but I believe it was a sew-along. Look at the colors. This is just stunning. You know me and scrap quilts - I love them.

Fran's scrap paper pieced quilt

And then she showed us her Dream Big panel. It's gorgeous. This was done FREEHAND on a domestic machine. We saw her quilting at her sewing machine, so we know this for a fact. The quilting is fabulous! I bet one of the hardest parts was choosing the design to go in each petal. Oh, shoot - I didn't ask how many thread colors she used.

Fran's Dream Big panel

I have a couple more of her quilts to share, but they need to be rotated, and I don't have time for that this morning. Fran -- it was so lovely to chat yesterday, and thanks for sharing!!!!

I started my day off by making up some tea bags for the week. It made me think of people who rolled their own cigarettes. I dumped the bag of loose tea into a bowl, got out the tea bag filters and the spoon. Soon enough, I had a stash of tea bags to put in my small tea chest.

Making tea bags
I don't usually make tea bags, but I have no problem doing it. We have a "few" small containers of loose tea. Now for the tea snobs amongst us, they would probably tell me that the tea is too old and stale. My palette is NOT sophisticated enough for that, and the tea tastes just fine by me. The trick for most of these teas - DO NOT use boiling water. I love the taste of the teas, and I'm using up the stuff in the cupboard. I'm happy. It won't take much to keep me happy in that nursing home.

 Then it was down to work. I was determined to finish those bags if it killed me. I started off by going on a shopping spree. I have THREE boxes of accessories for bags. Clasps, handles, and other stuff.

Three boxes of bag accessories

What is nice is that now that everything has a home (more or less), I feel confident that when I shop through these boxes, that I see everything I have in this department. Just like in a real store!!!

Oh - the things that I found! I found another set of beige handles that will work perfectly. So I scooped those up before anyone else could!

A stash of handles
I even found handles with the bill still attached. Note the date on the receipt - April 4, 2009. I just shake my head! BUT it's all good because I have handles to use for my bag, although I could have made handles from fabric. I did NOT use the handles attached to this receipt.

A receipt for bag handles from 2009!!!!!!

This is a view inside the other two boxes of handles. Holy - there's a lot of stuff in there. A while back, I did put like items in plastic bags, but a few more bits have been added since. It would take about five minutes to dump all three boxes and make sure that everything is in the appropriate plastic bag. Then it would be even faster to shop.

Inside the other two boxes of bag accessories

Look what else I found in there. These are the plastic bag bottoms that were designed for the company whose pattern I'm using. Well - I might as well use those. I had one already with the unfinished bags, and I found one more in the right size. The two smaller ones went back into my supply box.

Plastic bag bottoms
I did have to make one more bottom out of corrugated plastic. Now here's the thing. I much prefer the corrugated plastic over the purchased bottoms. Why? For one thing - they are much LIGHTER. Second, I found the bag bottoms could have been ½" longer to fit perfectly in the bottom of the bag. I find they shift around because they are slightly too small. And I find they are very slippery, so when you make the fabric envelope to cover the bottom, it's too slippery. That doesn't happen with the corrugated plastic.

I'm so glad I found that solution, and it's free - I just walked to the garage store and selected a piece of corrugated plastic and cut it up to make my own. Now, I made it the SAME size as the purchased ones, and I could kick myself that I didn't measure. Live and learn!!!

By the way, those purchased bottoms were $11 EACH!!!!  My corrugated plastic? Free!

The price of the plastic bottom

While I was searching, I also found two packages of interfacing, specially designed for bag handles. Hmmm - those packages were $9 each!!! The old me would have put them back in the box, and I decided NO - it's time to use them.

Package of bag handle interfacing

So while it was super easy to use, there were a couple of things that I did NOT like. Of course - I'm such an old dog - you do NOT want to try and teach me a new trick. Unless I'm the one who wants to learn the new trick. I"m just like my MOM!!!   😃😃

There must have been 6 feet of interfacing in each package. So you fused it to the wrong side of the 2" wide strap for your handle. Big red flag - two inches is NOT wide enough for a decent bag strap. But I was following the directions. Then I folded the long edges in. I will admit that it was a HUGE time saver. But then what???  There were two raw edges down the entire length of the handle. That is NOT a sturdy handle. Nothing gets me going like a WIMPY handle on a bag. Oh - I should do an entire blog post about wimpy bag handles. Here's a heads up - I'm going to do an online class on making bags. But I digress.

You're supposed to sew some trim over the two raw edges. Well, I don't have trim -well, I might have trim that would have worked, but I didn't want that. So instead, I took another 2" strip and created another handle and topstitched the two pieces together. One package was NOT enough to do the two widths of fabric. I was short by this much, so I dug into the other package of bag handle interfacing.

Making handles with bag handle interfacing

I have enough for one more pair of shorter handles, and that's it - I won't buy that stuff again!!!  Great concept, but not practical. And I like a wee bit wider strap and MORE substantial than I got even with doubling it like I did.

Look what else I found in the accessory box - a gorgeous orange shoulder step that matched the fabric, but I wasn't going to use that strap on those bags. That's for another project!!!!

Orange leather strap matches the fabric perfectly

So what did actually get accomplished amidst all the chatter? 

Here are my three bag bottoms.

Three bag bottoms - DONE!
I topstitched the tabs for the purchased handles for two of the bags.

Topstitching tabs for the purchased handles
I'm sewed the tabs on the bag. Yikes - that is a LOT of layers to go through. But the PFAFF creative icon went through with no problem. That's something like 24 layers of fabric at the highest point. I might rethink how those tabs fit on the next time. I may have used a WEE bit too much interfacing.

Stitching the tabs in place

I don't know how many times I had to sew on the tabs or the handles. I sewed them to the inside of the bag when they should have been on the outside. And then one of the handles was twisted. Oh yes- it wasn't fun, but I was chatting so much, it didn't surprise me!!!

Honestly, I was OK with not getting a lot done. Quilting is a social hobby, and well - we've been missing the social part of it. I'm in catch up mode!!!!

Here are my THREE almost completed bags.

Bag number one with purchased handles

Bag number two with fabric handles

Bag number three with purchased handles

And what was I thinking because I already had a finished bag kicking around!!!!

Bag number four with purchased handles

I mean - I had some serious issues back then. One was never enough. I needed MULTIPLES of everything!! Thank goodness those days are behind me.

So what didn't get done? The flap on the bag that you can see above. The Velcro is already in place on the other three tote bags, so it's not like I can leave the flap off. But when I went to my box where the Velcro is stored, I couldn't find the box of beige Velcro. It looks like this one, but this one is for the black Velcro. That means the box of beige Velcro is in the house somewhere. I did search last night but haven't found it yet, so I'm going to do a wee bit of searching today to see if I can unearth it. It's likely in a box with another bag project. GRRRRRRR   - why did I do that????  I also have a box of white Velcro, and it's also missing.

Box of black Velcro

This is the pattern I used for the bags - The Miranda Bag by Lazy Girl. It's a great bag.

The Miranda Day Bag

A bunch of us were yakking past 8 PM last night, and I finally had to shut the call down at 8:30, so I could get my steps in. I got a little over 6 miles in for the day. I'm behind, but I'll make it up next week.

Here's the shot of Highway 16 east of the Battlefords.

Highway 16 east of the Battlefords

 And here's the map view. I'm making progress. It's a long road!!!

My position on the map

Phew - well, I see I'd better run. I can't wait to see who pops into the Zoom Virtual Sewing Retreat today. Remember, it's open for ANYONE. I love meeting new people, and I was so glad to see some new faces. Quilting is all about socializing, and since we're social distancing, this is a GREAT alternative.

Here's the link for today - SATURDAY, May 30.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 827 3564 3607 Password: 277672

Have a super day, and see you on ZOOM.


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