August 18, 2017

Craftsy's lowest prices of the year

Guys, I just heard this: Craftsy is having a major sale event with the lowest prices of the year on fabrics, kits, and supplies this weekend only! I will check it out because I "need" supplies to keep me going - you know how it is!

Here is the schedule:
Starts: Friday, August 18th at 12:01am MST
Ends: Sunday, August 20th at 11:59pm MST

There is plenty of time to shop. Guess what I am doing once I press the 'Publish' button to post this?

Enjoy your weekend,

August 15, 2017

Origami Pouch

Stop the presses! Look at the pouches I made! They came out so nice - a few more gifts ready for my family in Brazil! They are called Origami Pouch (es) but I am calling them my Sock Monkey Pouches because of the buttons I added.

I used this fantastic pattern created by Amy Barickman at Indygo Junction. It is called Origami Pouch because with a few folds you can create a very cool little bag! The pattern is very detailed, super well written, and features lots of diagrams so there is no guesswork. You can use fat quarters or ready-made napkins - yes, I said napkins! Imagine the possibilities.

Before I searched my stash for fabrics I remembered I had leftovers from a bed cover I made eons ago: main fabric and lining already picked and stitched on one side. Time to upcycle!

You cannot see the color of the stitches because I am closing the opening with Aurifil monofilament. Click here for a very short video of how I do this. I went ahead and stitched all around to ensure the lining stayed in place and would not show on the right side of the pouch. That is a trick I've been using for a while. The monofilament does not show on the main fabric.

Look! I made three at the same time. The front flap is lifted for you to see the outside pocket created as you fold the sides. Notice the edges that crisscross - you can tell they are stitched but cannot see the monofilament, nor can you see the lining poking out.

It was at this point that I decided to add buttons to the flaps since I had chosen a solid fabric for the outside. At first, I was going to use beads of the same color for the closing strings but I changed my mind later as it is possible they will go to the same household: they need a way to determine if they are holding their own or someone else's.

The sock monkey buttons are so happy!

First one done! I am so loving it! I have made other pouches with closing strings and beads before, and this is my preferred way to attach the beads so they stay in place:

I feed both strings through the wooden bead, then rethread one string at a time ...

... pull strings so they are tight around the bead and knot the ends. This bead ain't going nowhere.

There wasn't enough string for the three Origami Pouches so I will finish the third one after I get more of it. The fabric for the next pouches is already chosen and it will go even faster as the Bernina and its walking foot won't have to work as hard as they did with the upholstery fabric! I am doing the happy dance because of how they turned out.

Since this pattern was so good, I am looking forward to trying other patterns from Indigo Junction. I want to try the Upcycled Aprons and the Jack and Jill Jammies - my grandson would love pajamas with Star Wars fabric!

What are you sewing today? Drop me a line to let me know.

August 14, 2017

Classic Crochet Shawls

My collection of yarn and crochet hooks keeps growing. I have crochet hooks that belonged to grandmothers long gone, metal ones I began crocheting with, others I purchased in the US. If the desire to crochet strikes when I am traveling and I have no supplies, I run to the nearest craft store, get what I need, and the fun starts. I also love that I have the electronic version in my laptop of books with projects I want to try. Armed with a pattern, yarn, and hook I nestle on the couch in my hotel room and enter a zen-like state of creation.

In a few weeks, I will be visiting my family in Brazil and I am already planning what type of project I will take along. My nieces have recently learned to crochet and it would be fun to crochet with them.

Interweave has just released Classic Crochet Shawls - 20 free-spirited designs featuring lace, color, and more and I am thinking this might be the book I take as eVersion to work with my nieces. What do you think?

As the title of the book implies, the designs break with the tradition of shawls moving from functional to layering accessory, from conventional shapes to geometric statement makers, from tight weave to super airy work which will become classics.  These 'free-spirited' shawls will, no doubt, appeal to my nieces who are in their late-teens, early twenty years. Here is what I am talking about:

Photographs by Joe Hancock for Interweave. Used with permission.

I love the uneven edge with beads on Eolande by Kathryn White!

This is Emergence, also by Kathryn White, a beautiful design featuring filet crochet, popcorns and beads on the edging, too.

Endymion, by Sara Kay Hartmann, is romantic yet practical, with fluted edges adding movement and fullness.

Dover, also by Sara Kay Hartmann, is my favorite! It is amazing what chain stitches and double crochet can become... A perfect candidate for a blooming crocheter!

Parisian Gardens by Mary Jane Hall can double as a scarf or cowl due to its lightness.

Speaking of lightness, Tiffany by Jill Wright may top the list! What a great idea to work double crochet columns on the bias! I found a combination of Mohair and Silk similar to the one Jill used in this yarn:

These colors are so enticing I could make one shawl of each...

The patterns in Classic Crochet Shawls will fit various levels of expertise making it a great resource as we progress in our abilities. I realize I am not ready to make some of the shawls when I look at the diagrams; however, the instructions are clear and I may just have to dive in.

My list of things to take with me on the trip is growing, but one thing is for certain: one can never travel without craft supplies. Ever.

Happy Monday!

August 11, 2017

Rock Solid WINNER

Good morning to the world of quilters! We have a winner:

I follow your blog and I can't pick one color even though I tend more toward earth tones. I really liked all of the colors in Solomon's stars. All of the fabrics are luscious.

Pamela Arbour won a copy of Rock Solid - 13 Stunning Quilts Made with Kona Cottons by Martingale ,plus 2 fat quarter bundles of Kona Cottons by Fat Quarter Shop! I will send her an email soon to make hers a happy Friday.

Thank you so much for participating. Keep coming back because I have more awesome books to talk about and projects to reveal - all to inspire your quilting, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and sewing journey! If something makes me smile, wish I could put my fingers to work and give me the inspiration to create, I might as well share with you, right? And so I do.

Here's wishing you a fantastic day!

August 10, 2017

Lady of the Lake Blocks

I chose the other fabric for my blocks for Fat Quarter Shop's upcoming pattern called Lady of the Lake. They are looking so pretty!

This is the first one. I like that the points of the half square triangles show well, no doubt because of the method we are using for them (see the previous post).

I am loving them! So fast to make... Of course, since I have solid fabrics on my mind due to the giveaway going on this week, I can already envision this pattern made with Kona cottons!

This week I am sewing like a mad woman, so this is all I can write for today.

Have a fun sewing day,

August 9, 2017

Reading while hand sewing

I love hand work: embroidery, knitting, crocheting, hand sewing binding to quilts... It is relaxing and the final products make beautiful gifts. I made the pincushion above for a blog hop (click here to read about it).

This is an embroidery project I made for Christmas a few winters ago (click here for details). My mind wanders as I take each stitch, the textures of the project make me feel good, and the colors cheer me up.

I have another passion: reading. I read many books per year (my long time followers may remember I used to have a page where I reviewed the fiction or nonfiction books I read). I usually read right before I go to bed. Lately, though, I've been going to bed very tired and can barely get through a few pages of my favorite book.

One day, while walking and listening to an audio course, it occurred to me I could be listening to books while hand sewing. Yes! I remembered I had downloaded a couple of audio books for my youngest son who refused to read but had to do book reports for Middle School. I started with those Michael Vey books, and I was hooked. After reading four from that series, I decided to join Amazon's Audible. Here is what I have read so far:

[Reminder: I am part of the Amazon affiliate program.]

- By Frederik Backman
A Man Called Ove
My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She's Sorry
Britt-Marie Was Here

- By Amor Towles
A Gentleman in Moscow
Rules of Civility

All the Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
By Gail Honeyman

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
By Lisa See

Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography
By Julia Baird

The Secret Wife
By Gill Paul

Everything We Keep
By Kerry Lonsdale

A Criminal Defense
By William L. Myers

Ordinary Grace
By William Kent Krueger

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
By Jacqueline Kelly

The Whistler
By John Grisham

Phew! You can see I have an eclectic taste, and once I find an author I like I will read most or all of his/her books. I took advantage of a promotion Audible had where I could get two books for free (Click on the ad at the end of this page if interested), and the rest is history. I like that we get credit for books we purchase, and can later use these credits to purchase others.

This week I will show you hand work I am doing and have planned to do, which means I need more audio books! Yes, this has been a throwback to the days when this blog featured book recommendations in addition to crafts. So, if you are looking for your next read, check out reviews on them to choose your next one.

In the meantime, don't forget to enter the Rock Solid giveaway (see the previous post)!

August 8, 2017

Spinning Wheels Quilt Pattern

Hello, everyone! I am happy to introduce another pattern to the Pieced Brain line: Spinning Wheels. The blocks are very fun and easy to put together, yet I added photographs and diagrams to make the process even quicker. It is downloadable from my Etsy store Quilterly so you can start choosing the fabrics right now!

Speaking of fabrics, Spinning Wheels features a beautiful fabric collection by Timeless Treasures: Tonga Cranberry. Here are some of the batiks I chose from this line for the pattern:

These gorgeous batiks are all lined up on my cutting table but I have a tough time cutting them but you will see the blocks as I make them. A better idea: sew along with me! Spinning Wheels would look beautiful with solid colors or novelty fabrics. Check out this sample I made:

This table topper features leftover fabrics from my quilt Box Garden and it is perfect for my kitchen table as the prints have eggs, tractors, chicken wire, farm animals, farm landscape, etc.

Be sure to send me a photograph when you finish your quilt - I love to see your projects from my patterns. In the meantime, don't forget to enter the Rock Solid Giveaway (see my previous post) because you do not want to miss the chance to get their fabulous prize!

Happy Sewing,


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