A Crafter's Life, Studio

An Unexpected Treat

I could not decide what to title this post. I started with “An Unexpected Surprise” but that sounded redundant as “surprises” are “unexpected”. Next title idea as “A Surprise Treat”. Finally I went with “An Unexpected Treat”. (Blog post naming, one of the great struggles in my world…)

This afternoon I attended our Central Oregon SAQA (Art quilters) group. A very awesome SAQA member, Marion, gave me a belated holiday gift – a stash of fabrics!

She wrapped the stash very sweetly in the Japanese fabric wrapping style with a handmade braided fabric ribbon. I opened it in front of her but I have attempted (poorly) to rewrap it to give you a feel of how it looked when she presented to me:

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A very subpar re-creation of a once beautifully fabric wrapped gift

Inside was a stack of fabric scraps, fat quarters and yardage:

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Yummy stack!

Here is what the gift looks like laid out:

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Yummy pile!

Did Marion randomly give me fabric from her stash? No. The story behind this is a while back one of the SAQA members who lives in Portland, Elizabeth, who is a prolific art quilter, was thinning her immense fabric stash. She posted to our Oregon SAQA facebook group that any SAQA member in the Portland area could drop and take away a haul of beautiful fabrics on a specific date.

Portland is a 4 hour drive for me and as much as I love free beautiful fabric selected by talented art quilters, an 8+ hour road trip was a bit much for free fabric.

What I did not realize is that Marion, who has a good feel for my taste in fabric, was picking me up a surprise stash!

It was a very thoughtful surprise!


Postscript

I so enjoyed the comments on my previous post, Prepping to Make Fabric Bowls, Continued, and so did Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH).

Believe it or not, he actually returned to my sewing area today (with a gentle suggestion) and worked on a couple more feet of the coil for the fabric baskets/bowls.

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He’s back!
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This time Mike the Mini Schnauzer settles into the chair in my studio to monitor TTQH
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Is Mike comfortably napping or fretting over when this whole TTQH sewing abuse will be over?

Now that we were getting some serious length on completed coil, we needed to do something to keep it organized and accessible (instead of become a twisted mess) for when it was time to make the fabric bowls. So I started wrapping it around an old piece of cardboard (I save cardboard from calendars, etc. to use as a surface when making cards, etc.):

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Studio

Prepping to Make Fabric Bowls, Continued

This post is an addendum to yesterday’s post Prepping to Make Fabric Bowls and contains a rare photo of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) who usually avoids being photographed for my tierneycreates posts!

Alright, this is going to appear like major husband abuse, but somehow I convinced TTQH to work on tedious sewing the coil of batik strips and clothesline required as prep to eventually make more fabric bowls.

I set it all up on my machine, provided training, and he got to work!

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After a while, Mike the miniature schnauzer came in the room to check on him and witness the abuse:

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Mike: “What is she making you do?!?!?”

Mike gave me the “furry eye ball” for putting TTQH through such tedium!

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Mike: “I want to extract him from this room and bring him back to snuggle with me on the sofa”

TTQH finished about 12 – 15 feet of coil and then took a break for an underdetermined amount of time (though he promises to return to it in the future):

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I did take TTQH out to dinner to his favorite brewery this evening, so this makes up for the tedious task as well as upcoming tedium!


Postscript

I love real rainbows, they make me smile.

Our winter has been surprisingly mild in Central Oregon so far and last week we had rain instead of snow. We seem to always get rainbows after a rainstorm here and I took a couple photos while on a neighborhood walk.

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Studio

Prepping to Make Fabric Bowls

This is a follow up to my 12/30/17 post “Throwing Pottery” on the Sewing Machine in which I shared images from making this fabric bowl from batik strips sewn onto clothesline:

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In the post I mentioned that I do not make a lot of these baskets because the preparation to make these baskets is so time consuming.

Recently I was cleaning out old projects and found the start of a prep for another set of fabric bowls. I thought: “what the heck, let’s finish up the prep and maybe make some more bowls”.  This time I enlisted the help of Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) to help me with the prep.

Below I will share a summarized overview of the cumbersome prep and where I currently am on my journey to make more fabric baskets.

It Starts with Strips

The pattern I originally used, Bali Boxes pattern by Aunties Two, appears to have been designed/inspired by the famous (and addicting) Hoffman Bali Pops. I know not everyone reading this blog is a quilter, so let me share an image of the packages of 42 pre-cut 2.5″ color coordinated/themed batik fabric strips:

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image from eBay, photographer unknown

Did any of you who are quilters, get addicted to collecting sets of Bali Pops when they came out in the 2000s? Hoffman still makes them but for me the novelty wore off (as did the novelty of buying “jelly rolls” which are another configuration of 42 2.5″ coordinating fabric strips).

I still have 3 – 4 Bali Pops leftover from my Bali Pop days; and all the fabric baskets and bowls I have made are from Hoffman Bali Pop sets. One set actually makes a couple baskets – 2 or more depending on how deep you make each basket. I am thinking I could get 3 bowls out of a Bali Pop.

I do not know the name of the Bali Pop I am currently using (they all have cute names for their color combinations like “Green Tea” and “Citrus Grove”) but I think it had to something to do with the ocean as you can see the colors are blues and greens.

The Tedious Steps Begin

This post is not intended to discourage you from making a covered clothesline fabric bowl or basket, but I want to show that a bit of patience with tedious tasks is required to make these items via the Bali Boxes pattern method.

First you have to sew forty-two (42), 2.5″ strips which each measure 44″ long, end to end. Do the math – that is one mega long strip you are creating. Not accounting for all the 1/4″ seams you are creating sewing end to end, 42″ x 44″ = 1848 inches, or 154 feet (46.94 meters).

After that is done, you have to fold each strip in half and then fold into itself again, to create a pocket/tunnel to nestle the clothesline.

Now for the steps above, this time I enlisted (or would this be considered “abused”) TTQH. He amazingly created this ball of batik strips after much work:

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It is a large ball and tightly wound/packed. I am amazed at his patience to do this for me, especially to double fold like 140+ feet of sewn strips (I used some quick and suspicious math to subtract 42 quarter inch seams).

Creating the Coil

I am on the last part of the prep to make fabric bowls/baskets – and it is equally as tedious. I have to stitch cotton clothesline into the center of the 140+ feet of sewn strips to create the coil.

But first I had to decide what coordinating thread to use, so I put together some options:

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I let TTQH select the thread (he likes to make design choices like that) since he did all that work to create the “Ball-o-Batiks” for me. Here is the thread he selected from the options above:

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After winding coordinating bobbins (making a basket or bowl on the sewing machine used a lot of bobbin thread) I was ready to start making the coil on my sewing machine:

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I set the ball of clothesline and the “Ball-o-Batiks” on the floor side to side as I work them together through the sewing machine:

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Here is what I have finished so far, not very much but I plan to work on it at a leisurely pace:

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2 feet down, 138 feet more to go…

I will share a photo of my progress in a future post.


Postscript

In yesterday’s post, Oh Scrap!, I mentioned that I had moved the fabric scraps from their organization in color themed boxes to a large bag. Well after completing this process I also ended up re-arranging my tiny sewing room again and thought I would share a photo:

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I’ve added this photo as an update to my page tierneycreates Studio Tour, where you can see a tour of my entire studio.

Although I could use the space for something else, I always try to find a way to keep my old futon chair (it coverts to a bed for a very small person) in my studio to always have a cozy place to sit and think (about my next studio reorganization project, ha!)

Studio

“Throwing Pottery” on the Sewing Machine

Are you familiar with the phrase “throwing pottery”? This phrase relates to creating some type of clay vessel/bowl on a pottery wheel.

Recently I made a fabric bowl by “throwing” it on my sewing machine!

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This bowl is made from batik fabric strips wrapped around clothesline using the instructions from the Bali Boxes pattern by Aunties Two.

It measures approximately 11.5″ in diameter and is 4″ deep.

Several years ago I was really into making batik fabric bowls and boxes and had a stash of cotton clothesline and 2.5″ pre-cut batik fabric strips (like Hoffman Bali Pops). Here are a couple of my baskets from that period:

I burned out on making these baskets, however I had enough wrapped clothesline to make one more small basket and set it aside for the day I wanted to make another basket (into my “abandoned project stash”).

Well that day arrived a week ago – I was ready to “throw” a new basket!

Here is the wrapped clotheslines and the fabric for the center:

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Making the basket begins with making a coiled foundation around a Timtex (heavy interfacing) filled center fabric pouch:

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Once the base is created, it is time to “throw” the basket and angle it around the sewing machine as you add rows of covered clothesline using a zig-zag stitch:

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The piece is finished off with a binding on top to cover the ends of the wrapped clothesline:

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And now a couple images of the completed bowl (I added a little tierneycreates tag to the top under the binding):

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I am pleased with my “thrown” fabric bowl and glad I pulled the remaining wrapped clothesline out of my abandoned project stash!