August 24, 2016

Fabric Shopping

My friend Deb and I went fabric shopping this morning (there was an inch of space in one of my fabric drawers and that is a big No No!). The ladies at the front desk at Riley Blake Designs are so helpful and fun!

The vibrant solids were calling my name...

... but I was in the mood for grays! I would like to make a quilt with different prints of a color plus gray, something like Teens at My Home below, but haven't decided on the design yet. 

In the meantime, as soon as I have a chance I will be adding some of these fabrics to my Etsy store.

All that eye candy can be really hard to resist! I stayed focused and got what I needed, including Aurifil thread because I am just about out of white (2024) and beige (2309), my go-to colors for piecing which I got by the box...

Love fabric shopping trips! Hey, before you go, there is still time to enter the Back to School Giveaway - deadline is tomorrow at 5 pm - for a chance to win a Color Theory jelly roll!

Until then,

August 22, 2016

Back to School Giveaway

Are you ready to celebrate back to school? With two teenage boys still at home, I may or may not have been partying since 7 am this morning... I want you to join in the fun by participating in this giveaway: one Color Theory jelly roll by Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. for Moda Fabrics. This giveaway is sponsored by my BFF Deb. Isn't she the best?

Here is what you need to do:

- Leave a comment below telling me what was fun about your summer. Anything goes: a project  you made, a meal you had, a trip, etc.
1. For another chance to win let me know that you follow this blog;
2. For yet another chance, let me know that you follow me on Instagram ( @piecedbrain ).
- If you are a noreply blogger, please leave an email for contact in case you are the winner. Be sure to write it as "soandso at gmail dot com" so you don't get spammed.

This giveaway will end at 5 pm this Thursday, August 25, and it is open to both the US and international friends. Let's party together!

OK, I will start. This summer I enjoyed my mom's company for two months. She lives in Brazil and I had not seen her in two years. Yikes! Loved her cooking, her jokes, shopping and traveling with her. Sure I can think of other things I liked, but having her around was the best treat. Now it is your turn.

I am looking forward to reading your comments. In the meantime, I will dance the day away!

August 19, 2016

Upcycling blouse

My sister had a blouse which she loved but the silky fabric frayed after a while. She was about to throw it away when I snagged it with the intention to turn it into something else to prolong its life. That was YEARS ago! No idea what do do with the blouse. Until yesterday, that is.

Pretty cool, huh? I looked through bag pattern books, then through my loose leaf patterns, and found Whistlepig Creek Productions' Scrap Bag Cuties. The Small Messenger Bag was perfect.

Here is a look at the back. The quilting is very simple because the fabric was so delicate. I used embroidery thread to quilt it...

... turning some of this blouse into something she can use. 

I used Soft & Stable which you can find at It is my favorite for bags and other projects. I made some other changes to the pattern, too: I did not add an outside pocket and changed the way the handles were made (see below).

Introducing the buttonhole foot for my Bernina! I practiced a few times before making the buttonhole on the flap because I had not done this in a VERY long time. Super simple, though.

Now, for today's 'sewing hack'. I did not have interface for the handle. Crud. I wanted to use batting but there was no way I could sew a tube with it, then turn it inside out - you know the drill. So, I cut a long 3/4" strip of batting, put it on the wrong side of the strip of fabric, folded fabric over batting strip and zigzagged it all the way through. Works like a charm!

Oh, yes, the button is courtesy of Lots of Buttons. They have super fun buttons which I have used on many different projects.

So, don't throw away your favorite blouses. You can still enjoy their fabric if you turn them into cute bags. I hope Miriam likes it!

Have a fun weekend,

August 12, 2016

Beanie and Bundles

How do you like my newest beanie? Three down and a bunch more to go as my boys' inner circle of friends love these beanies! My husband tried this one and said: "Wow, this is so soft!", so he is getting one, too. This is from the man who cannot understand why one would knit a pair of socks ("If you want a pair of socks, just go buy one" - he doesn't have a clue!).

(Ryan, my 15-year-old, is turning out to be quite the model...)

(Toby the dog wanted some attention, too, and may just get a beanie of his own some day...)

I am enjoying this pattern so much I only look at the directions when I forget the number of rows I need to knit when I change yarn. This beanie is called "Alphie" and I found the pattern in the book "Knit Beanies" published by Martingale (read my original post with the first beanie here). At this rate, it will be a while before I try some of the other patterns I have chosen from this super fun book.

I love this yarn (Deborah Norville's Collection "Everyday" for Premier) but will have to get creative with the color combinations so the beanies won't all look alike. 

Now, here is inspiration of the textile kind:

I have added to my Etsy store many fabric bundles and yardage - beautiful fabrics at very discounted prices so you might want to check them out!

 This yard bundle, for instance, has fabrics by Cloud 9...

... and here is another combination. Yummy fabrics!

There are fat quarter bundles, yard bundles, half-yard bundles, yardage for backing... As you can see, there is a lot going on here, so stay tuned for more additions and upcoming giveaways.

What have you been up to? Whatever it is, I hope it involves lots of colors... See ya!

August 3, 2016

Paper Pieced Mug Rugs

Remember this quilt I made a while ago? I had two paper pieced tulips left and have wondered, for the longest time, what to do with them. I would take them out of the drawer and put them right back in because I could not come up with any way to use only two of them in a wall hanging. Then, after I made the mug rugs I showed you yesterday I realized I had seen the light! 

I made two rectangular mug rugs adding ribbons of matching colors. I used Aurifil monofilament to stitch in the ditch, as well as Aurifil 50 wt white thread to quilt them using wiggly lines to contrast with the straight lines of the paper pieced flowers.

The top mug rug has a hand stitched binding because I forgot to attach the binding to the back in order to stitch it by machine. The finishing was fast, anyway, because the mug rug was about 8-1/2" x 6". These are, in fact, mini mini quilts, making them extra special. 

Those are the threads I used on all the mug rugs. Oh, yeah, forgot to add the Aurifil 50 wt white to the picture, but you can see it on the mug rug. You may also recognize on the flowers Bella Solids and other fabrics by Moda. Oh, those Bella Solids come in handy!

I hope to have inspired you to pull out your stack of leftover blocks and make some cool, fast quilted gifts with them. Add ribbons and other trims. I would avoid buttons because you want to provide a flat surface so mugs won't topple, unless you add them close to the corners.

By the way, I have another knitted beanie to show you soon. In the meantime, enjoy your day!

August 2, 2016

Orphan blocks mug rugs

I was going through my kitchen cabinets looking for something last week when I found this cutie. Suddenly, I had another idea of what to do with the orphan blocks I could not turn into quilts - mug rugs!

I began with these two blocks (remember the baby quilt I made for my youngest grandson, Alex, with similar blocks?). Got some batting scraps and backing fabric, pinned them together, chose the Aurifil threads...

... had fun quilting with them, and added binding by machine (quick project, right?). Here are the first four I finished that afternoon:

 I've had this block forever and could not think what to do with it. The fabrics are so romantic. Problem solved!

I have no idea where these tiny blocks came from! Now they going to be used a lot (forgot to switch to the walking foot while quilting so it did not turn out perfect... I used Aurifil monofilament while quilting the last two mug rugs.

And here they are together:
Oh... if I continue this way Christmas will be so easy this year! I have two more mug rugs to show you tomorrow.

I could have just as well turned them into pot holders but I don't like them as I prefer mitts. I have mug rugs all throughout the house, though, and hope the recipients of these will enjoy them as much as I do!

Happy sewing day,

July 22, 2016

Beanie Friday

Guys, check out the beanie I knitted this week. My youngest son, Ryan, is loving it! Never mind it is 97 F outside... This pattern is so fun to make, very simple, and fits teens and adults very well.

It calls for two contrasting yarns which I happened to have in my [yarn] stash. Nothing too fancy, just a handful of cable twists to add charm to the beanie.

I used Deborah Norville's Collection "Everyday" for Premier - soft with cool colors. I have no idea what the gray yarn is called but it was a good match. It was such a relaxing and fun experience that I have another one in the works...

Same yarn, different colors. Oh, yes, I found this Alphie beanie pattern by Violette Lovelace in the book Knit Beanies - Easy to Make, Fun to Wear:

(This and photographs below by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used by permission.)
I mailed this first beanie this morning to my brother-in-law in Brazil (Shhh... don't tell Ryan), but will be making a few more of this same pattern as Christmas gifts. Then, I will move on to different ones such as these: 

Aren't they gorgeous? Yes, the beanies, too!

The other patterns in Knit Beanies are beautiful as well, so this book is a keeper. The instructions are easy to follow and if I wasn't sure about something I just had to look at the end of the book in the Techniques and Abbreviations Glossary. Great reference for future projects!

I am so glad to be knitting again! Have a great weekend,


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