Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Chance to Catch Up?

Well, preschool is over for Ely. He'll go to the Summer session for one week in June and one week in July, but other than that he is home full time with me. I'm rather excited about this, because I missed him a lot this year. I spent a ton of time with Agnes, and I'm grateful I could devote so many hours of my day solely to her in her first year. But, I dearly missed doing all the stuff we used to do every week - storytime, playground time, puppet shows, playdates, and going to the Y - with Ely.

The last day of school ended with an evening picnic. I brought my family's most favorite sandwich - brie, apple, and basil on a baguette - as our food contribution and I almost missed out on getting one. Of course, it isn't truly the end of the school year without worrying about teacher gifts.

I decided (sort of at the last minute) to make tote bags from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts for the two classroom teachers. I had the exteriors already pieced and sewn from good intentions last year, so all I had to do was make the straps and interiors. Of course I love to make something quick and simple much harder, so I decided to embroider each teacher's name on the outside of the bag. I was supposed to finish the bags up Wednesday evening, but instead spent those hours with my needle and floss and had to play hooky from work the next day to finish. I hope my husband (aka the boss) doesn't read this blog...

When I make tote bags, I like to use canvas or linen or a decor weight fabric for either the interior, the exterior, or both. I chose quilting cotton for the exterior because I wanted bright colors and big patterns, and had a lovely matching brown linen in the stash for the interior. Now, I've used linen for bags many times before, but I had the most difficult time with this linen. No matter how many times I trued up my piece, the folded line was not straight and the cut edges seemed to turn wavy as soon as I lifted the ruler. I decided to ignore it, and figured it wouldn't matter too much if the inside was a little wonky. It baffled me, and I wonder if it was because the linen was a looser weave than some of the other stuff I've used in the past?

The tote bags turned out lovely. I only made one change to the pattern, and that was to topstitch an additional line 1/8 of an inch from the top edge. The 1/4 inch line didn't feel secure enough for me, and I had visions of the handles ripping out.

So, I'm hoping to be able to blog a little more over the Summer. I'm not sure if this is going to happen since I'm home with the kids just about full-time, but I'll be home more so that is a good start. One of the first tasks is to finish my Alabama Chanin post about the trunk show from over two weeks ago! Another overdue post is to show you what I made and what I received for DQS6.

I also just decided to join this quilt a-long. I've loved this quilt by Melanie ever since I first saw it (actually I love every quilt Melanie makes), and I'm trying to make all the fabric odds and ends go away so my sewing nook will be a little neater.