Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Late Christmas Gift


Yes, my timing was so off this year that I only came up with this idea for a present the week before Christmas, and didn't actually start on it until a few days before. I finished it up on Monday and mailed it on Tuesday - it will make the revised promise of arriving before New Years! I'm banking on the recipient's love of purple to absolve me.


I've made this tote before (see also here for the finished product)- it is actually a purse pattern and smaller than the normal tote (about 10" high), but a perfect size for carrying a book or two or notebooks. The recipient had mentioned several times this year of needing another tote, so I don't know why it took me so long to make the connection that I needed to make her one. Nor why it took three hours to find the pattern - sometimes I am my worst enemy when it comes to my ever evolving filing system. But find it I did, where I was reminded that it calls for pre-quilted fabric - it's the batting that gives this bag its best attribute of stability, in this case Hobbs 80/20 - but you know I'm going to make my own. Which of course led to several days of pondering just how I would quilt the 15 x 23 inch rectangle. This sent me on a hunt again, for a handout from a machine quilting class I took quite awhile ago. Instead, I found some quilt sandwich samples from other classes, and as I studied them, I noticed I'd played with "writing" names. Aha! Not trusting my free motion abilities, I marked the top with a removable pen, repeating the recipients name the length of the piece.


I have had a love/hate relationship with free motion quilting since I started doing it. My biggest problem of late has been getting the quilt to move freely on the bed of the machine. No matter how I cleaned the Plexiglas surround or treated it, no matter how much I starched the backing, it was always a push and pull fight with the occasional snagging on the places where the surround does not perfectly meet the machine. It has made me dread every session facing me. But I may have just solved that problem with The Super Slider! I've looked longingly at this in ads and catalogs, read glowing reports of how well it works, even from my machine quilting mentor Diane Gaudynski. But its price put me off, along with the memory of all the other sure fire solutions I've spent money on that were a disappointment. But truthfully, I've been feeling desperate about this and decided to spend the money. Oh my - it appears that it solves my problems and machine quilting this little piece was sheer joy. Is this the fun everyone talks about?


The straps are made from a 4-inch wide piece of fabric sewn into a continuous loop. The raw edges get folded into the inside and stitching along both edges holds it all in place. Because there's batting in there, the directions say to run a line of stitching down the middle of the strap as well. That didn't seem like much fun, so I pondered what I could use instead - a meandering line? A pre-programmed embroidery stitch? Wait! My machine stitches letters, so the better and more fun solution was to stitch the strap with the recipient's name again. Well, I am certainly guaranteeing that she cannot re-gift this present to just anyone!

5 comments:

Amo said...

Fabulous idea using her name!! The slider does make all the difference, wouldn't be without now.

margaret said...

Great idea, using the recipient's name as the quilting pattern - very special...

Felicity said...

Super bag, Sheila, I love the idea of free motioning the name. I'm so glad you discovered how much fun it is! I love it too but not for larger bed quilts. I'll have to check out that Super Slider.

Susan Sawatzky said...

I bought one of the sliders online about four weeks ago. I can't say for sure that quilting three twin size quilts for grandkids was much easier than before since these are the first I've done on my machine. But...I did find that they slid beneath the needle much more easily than the sandwiches in the free motion quilting class I took. So I'm sold and today trying to get started on MY "late" gift of another quilt for the last grandson. sus in spokane

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks everyone! The recipient loved it, yet had not noticed her name all over it until I told her to take a closer look. She thought it very clever.