Distractions – of the Fabric Sort

Distracted by Beautiful Fabric

I should be packing. My plane leaves in a day for my Certified Instructor Training with Studio 180 Design and what am I doing? Not packing that’s for sure!

Easily Distracted

Sometimes I lose focus. Especially where there’s too much to do, instead of just shutting down I find myself wandering in areas that I shouldn’t be, non-productive areas, sometimes involving my addictions – addictions to fabric that is <grin>

Distracted by Quilt As You Go
Using scraps from my Island Batik stash and an orphan block I got distracted in the Quilt As You Go method

Such has been the case of late. I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a new covered composition notebook for my trip, after all, I did find an orphan block, a lemoyne star to be exact, that just needed to belong….and having just finished up the August challenge of Quilt As You Go….well…here’s what happened Thursday afternoon.

 

Visit my YouTube for instructions
I love how the star ended up centered on the back…Don’t look, but I discovered why it was an orphan (sigh) not-so-perfect points (GASP!)
Perfect place to keep my notes, with graph paper lines for any design inspiration AND a place to keep my pens. Ready for Class!

But Wait – There’s More (The Distraction is Strong!)

I’ve been doing a lot of online “wishful” shopping concerning travel accessories.  I found this really nifty three zippered pouch that is supposed to fit in the seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket…Wouldn’t that be great to have things within reach after I put up my carry-on bag? I figured it wouldn’t take much to whip one of those puppies right out, just quick as you please…only I got a little carried away…it was that Quilt As You Go thing again….

Quilt As You Go strips onto Soft & Stable, then aligning zippers
Once placement of zippers has been determined, I cut the vinyl to size to form outer pockets
More pockets – how about mesh pockets for the interior!
.I sewed right sides together to make a tube…would do this differently next time, if there’s a next time
Before midnight I had a bag, of sorts….
At least the inside is light enough to see what I put in there!
One side of my  pocket pouch will hold my snacks for the plane
The other side will hold my iPod and earbuds
The idea was for the interior to hold my travel purse and phone…will they fit?
Ta da! The travel wallet and cell phone WILL fit in my seat-back pocket pouch

I think I would like to try this again, only this time not use the soft and stable, well, maybe just on one side to give it body. I also wouldn’t do the “tube” with my lining – made things too thick to sew the side seams. Bottom line, I’ve proved I’m not a bag expert and will leave the designing up to Patterns By Annie (love love love her patterns). But I’m not too proud to use my little dorky homemade look seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket holder! And who knows, I might even rework it at some point and actually improve upon it before my next trip….

This is Karen Overton, The Midnight Quilt Rambler, who seriously needs to go pack for my trip!

I must be crazy! All I really need is a toothbrush, right?!!?

 

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How To Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover

Quilted covers express creativity in the various designs used to cover a humble composition notebook
Take ordinary composition notebooks and cover with colorful quilted fabric for a fun fashion statement in organization or journaling
Make one, or two, or a few! Quilted Composition Notebook Covers are addictive

As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program I was challenged in March to make a mini quilt using paper piecing or foundation piecing. I got a little carried away and turned my paper pieced block into a quilted cover for a composition notebook and haven’t looked back since! They are multiplying like rabbits over here in The Quilt Rambler studio so I decided to share the fun by offering a tutorial/workshop on how you can make your own!

Tutorial shows how to cover a composition notebook with quilted fabric
Turn a simple composition notebook into a fun usable fashion statement

 

Step One: View the YouTube Video

The project requires basic sewing knowledge including knowledge of quilting tools such as a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat and the use of a sewing machine. A confident beginner/intermediate sewer should find the instructions in the workshop clear to follow.

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Making quilted composition notebook covers is addicting - we bet you can't make just one!
View the complete tutorial on The Quilt Rambler YouTube channel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Two: Download the PDF Instructions

Quilted covers include a vinyl zippered pocket for pens and a button closure
There is a zippered pen/pencil pocket inside the back flap of the notebook cover

Because I believe that “paper never forgets” I’ve created a guide to go along with the YouTube. To  better assist you a time stamp is referenced for each section. This is in the event you want to fast forward to review certain areas of instructions.

Supplies are reviewed in the YouTube as well as listed on the PDF.

How to Cover A Composition Notebook v4.4

Step Three: Enjoy and Share

Simple or complex, each quilted cover is uniquely yours
Quilted Covers on the Composition Notebooks are as unique as the imagination of the maker

It’s my hope that you will enjoy the video and printed instructions to make several of these covers – I think they make great gifts! For yourself or others! Personally I have three that I am actively using. One has my “to do list” and calendar, one has a graph paper composition notebook that I use to draw out quilt designs before I head over to EQ7, and one is being filled with tutorial ideas!

Please do share this blog post, PDF pattern, and YouTube reference with your friends. It’s all free – just remember to give credit where credit is due.

scrap pieced notebook cover in bright tropical Island Batik fabrics
Notebook made from fabric scraps

All the quilted samples were designed and pieced by myself, Karen Overton, using Island Batik fabrics, Superior Threads and Aurifl Threads, with zippers By Annie. The Island Batik fabrics were purchased or gleaned from my personal stash with the exception of one precut package of Sweet Nectar from my Island Batik Ambassador project kit.

 

MIA: Behind the Scenes Creative Explosion

Oh my goodness! Where have the days gone! March Madness indeed! It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve last blogged.

I promise I haven’t been on a world cruise and forgot to tell you about it. Actually I wish I HAD been on a cruise!

Things have been hopping over here in The Quilt Rambler studio – and just to prove it I’m going to share a few unedited photos of the creative explosions to account for being MIA.

No bears were harmed in the studio creative explosion!

You may recall that the first of the year I totally redid my studio – with several things being moved into the living areas of the house waiting to be sorted. It’s been a slow process to get everything where I want it. So many wonderful things to go through, to get distracted by, to find a new place to store…sigh….One of the recent goals was to remove a large cabinet  from the studio….

 

Blots begging for a new location in the studio
Fabrics are being folded in storage drawers
Large cabinet needs to be relocated
But first contents of the large cabinet must find a new home
Large cabinet is finding a new home

And that was just one adventure of the past two weeks!  However, our motto has always been “we work hard, so we play hard”  There wasn’t much time to play however I did manage a bike ride to the bay with my youngest son as well as a date night in Galveston with my hubby…

So blessed to live near the water – beautiful day for a bike ride
Nothing better than a day off in Galveston on The Strand!

In addition to all this rearranging of the studio, which is a slow work in progress, there was some serious sewing and quilting going on in the studio! AND videoing!!

Currently in production is a tutorial/workshop on How to Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover – the project inspired by the March Challenge of the Island Batik Ambassadors – read about it here.

Quilting my demo for the quilted notebook cover video workshop
Text message from my “film director” eldest son showing a couple of scenes from the future YouTube workshop. And yes, as a rambler you shouldn’t be surprised that my mouth is always open!

That said I had high hopes of having this video online by now, but alas, and with a mournful sigh, I am struggling with computer issues….yep…had to restore everything to factory settings and it’s taking way too long (and my patience is thinning) to try to get things back to normal….

What is normal anyway! It’s just a setting on the dryer!

So in between all the fun clean up, the video, the computer mess and trying to get the taxes done (let’s don’t even go there!) I have managed to do just a little personal sewing in prep for an upcoming workshop next month in Arizona…more details on that to come but here’s a sneak peak of the beautiful Island Batik fabrics I’m using in said project.

Future project in the works….made spectacular with Island Batik fabrics

So there you have it, a brief accountability of the past few weeks! Short and sweet, with unedited photos and unedited ramblings! I’ve got so much scheduled for the month of April I don’t even have time to tell you about it as I do need to crack the whip and get busy!! All I can say is it’s going to be a fast, furious and an incredibly fun month full of fabulous fabric!  I can hardly wait to experience it and share it with you!

On to a new month!
April’s Island Batik Challenge is Adventurous Appliqué

Thanks for checking in with me! Stay tuned for more, and more often!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, coming out of MIA to Tell Your Story One Quilt At A Time!

Please leave a comment and share about your busy spring cleaning, or spring project, or a suggestion for future tutorials!

March Mini Madness – Foundation Piecing

trimming a paper pieced block with the add-a-quarter rule
Picture of miniature quilts using Island Batik Fabrics
Island Batik Ambassadors are up to the challenge

Who knew that being an Island Batik Ambassador would be this much fun! This month the event is March Mini Madness and our instructions simply stated “foundation  or English paper piecing 24” x 24” or smaller.”

Time to get my creative juices flowing using the always inspiring beautiful Island Batik fabrics.

Foundation Piecing or English Paper Piecing?!??!

Okay. Hum. I realize that there’s a whole community built around English Paper Piecing, or EPP as it is fondly referred to, but that’s not my tribe.

Hum…take off the English and it’s just paper piecing, right? Well, that’s not really my tribe either…My UFO closet could prove it – I have a beautiful paper piecing quilt in progress from a class I took from Judy Neimeyer herself back at the turn of the century– great teacher, beautiful designs (ask me how many I have custom quilted!) but this paper piecing thing is just so backwards for me…. now give me a good ruler (or a dozen) and the only paper I need is graph paper….

But! Challenges are just that – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Besides, it’s a small project, how hard can it be? I got started right after the Galentine’s challenge…. thinking I’d be ahead of the game! But the project kept growing!

I Choose Paper Piecing

Desktop view of supplies for paper piecing project, pattern, fabric, thread
Pattern by Carol Doak, Aurifil thread for piecing,  and beautiful Island Batik fabric

Another name synonymous with paper piecing is Carol Doak. I was thrilled to find that she had a section of “free patterns” on her website. As I scrolled down there was one that is available has a handout for teachers to share the technique.  Being both the student and the teacher (for this blog post at least) the decision was quickly made and I downloaded the pattern. You can too if you click on this link.

trimming a paper pieced block with the add-a-quarter rule
It’s all about following instructions and having the right tools

I printed out the paper foundation, gathered my fabrics, I even owned the Add-A-Quarter Ruler! Having the right tools does make a job easier!

I must admit, working with batiks is much easier than my previous dilemma of distinguishing between the right and wrong side of printed fabrics, but that backward thing had me taking my time…it wasn’t too painful as I only had to rip out once!

I must march to the beat of a different drummer – when I did the “what if” I decided I liked an alternative layout….

colorful paper pieced blocks laid out to form a flower
Four units pieced according to the paper piecing instructions
Blocks are rotated to form an alternate layout for paper pieced units
Auditioning an alternate layout for paper pieced units

Design Change Switch to Foundation Piecing

And then I made another interesting decision…I didn’t necessarily have a purpose in mind for a mini quilt – not that there has to be a reason to play in fabric, but I did want to doll up a composition notebook I was using for my to do list….so one thing lead to another!

there is a hole in the quilt top
Discovered an unsewn seam while stitch in the ditch quilting

I figured out that I needed to cut up more of my Sweet Nectar stamps (5” squares) to make patchwork to make this “mini quilt” large enough to cover my notebook. I didn’t want to make binding so I just sewed the quilt top right sides together with a piece of lining and batting, leaving an opening to turn and then top stitch down before quilting on my domestic sewing machine with a little stitch in the ditch…..that’s when I discovered a boo-boo.  I didn’t check carefully when I pulled the paper off to make sure I didn’t pull apart my seam. Oh, well. Life goes on.

After quilting I laid the notebook on top of the wrong side of the mini quilt and folded in the sides to wrap around the edges to secure the notebook. I just top-stitched them together and ta-da, I had a stylish planner!

bright colors add to the beauty of this paper and foundation pieced composition notebook cover
Paper piecing combined with foundation piecing plus quilting turns a common composition notebook into a stylish planner
Island Batik Sweet Nectar fabric makes colorful patchwork on the inside of a notebook cover
The 5″ Sweet Nectar stamps made beautiful patchwork for the inside flaps and back
Quilted paper pieced notebook cover is laid open to show front and back
Open view of finished project. Superior’s Fantastico 5112 was the perfect thread for quilting!

But Wait, There’s More! True Foundation Piecing

I also have a composition notebook with graph paper that I use to sketch out designs for future projects. It needed a cute little cover too! Only it needed a place to keep my pens and pencils…so back to the drawing board.

beautiful blues, yellows and greens make up this pineapple foundation pieced block
The Pineapple Block lends itself easily to foundation piecing

This time I decided to take the instructions literally when it said “foundation” as I was reminded of foundation piecing string quilts years ago. I had some left-over strips of a beautiful line called Caribbean Splash that would be perfect for a pineapple block! So away I went!

I treated the fabric foundation just as I would if it were paper (that backward thing again) and I must admit, I like the precision of the points coming together at the yellow triangles!

yellow triangles of this pineapple foundation pieced block are precise
Foundation piecing is precision piecing

For this cover design, I decided that I needed to wrap the front flap as in the previous cover but that I needed to be able to slip the notebook into a quilted strip to hold it in place so I could wrap the back flap around to the front of the book to secure with a decorative button. Underneath that flap would be my zippered pocket for my pens.  And it worked!

rectangle foundation pieced pineapple block sparkle in caribbean fabrics from Island Batik
Foundation pieced pineapple elongated block makes a great  composition notebook . Opened up full length  reveals the true splash of the Caribbean colored fabrics
A composition notebook covered in quilted fabric is opened to show the hidden extra of a zippered pen pouch
The right hand wrap over flap has a vinyl zippered pocket to house pens. Pieced with Superior’s Sew Complete 217, zipper “ByAnnie” sewn with Aurifil 2120, quilted with Superior’s Fantastico 5004

A Little Bonus Just For You

Fabric strips are tied to the ends of paper clips to make colorful fringed bookmarks
Make decorative DIY bookmarks from simple items, fabric scraps and paper clips! Easy!

I tend to hold on to scraps so I was delighted when a young mom at church shared with me how she uses tiny strips of fabric to make bookmarks for her Bible Journaling…so here’s a bonus for you as a thank you for reading all the way to the end (almost to the end that is).

Third Time’s A Charm! More Foundation Piecing

a mosaic of fabric scraps sewn together using a foundation piecing method to make a larger piece of fabric
It’s fun to “make fabric” from sewing together colorful fabric scraps Aurifil 2000 is perfect for scrap sewing but Aurifil 2530 was perfect for piecing the raspberry lining

Well, I couldn’t stop.  I still had scraps left from my Sweet Nectar paper pieced composition notebook cover and this time I decided I had fulfilled my “foundation” obligation so I just played. Technically I did use a fabric foundation as I “made fabric” by sewing small pieces together and then sewing the pieces to the foundation with a flip and sew method. It is very therapeutic.

Before too long it was time to quilt. Okay, I’m not much of a free motion quilter. As I like to say “quilting on a domestic made a good woman cuss, so I bought a longarm.”

To the longarm I went. Now this is my tribe! I turned up the tunes and I was in my happy place!

close up of longarm quilting machine needle with small quilting designs on scrap pieced top
Superior Threads’ Rainbow in Bubble Gum complemented the scrap piecing perfectly

 

scrap pieced notebook cover in bright tropical Island Batik fabrics
Finished is good! Thank you Island Batik, Aurifil  and Superior Threads!
Scrap pieced notebook cover is open to show the pages of the notebook and zippered pen pouch
Open the notebook to discover a colorful front flap to hold the notebook and a practical zippered vinyl pen pocket
opened to the back of the notebook the back flap which secures the notebook is revealed in the scrap pieced composition notebook cover
The back quilted tube allows the back cover of the notebook to be held in place
colorful patchwork scraps make a notebook cover using the foundation piecing technique
No rhyme or reason when making fabric from scraps. No stress either! Batiks play nicely together

Truly Quilting is an Inexhaustible Topic!

Three fabric covered notebooks designed by The Quilt Rambler
Colorful, stylish, practical, fun!

It’s hard to say which one is my favorite.  I learned something new as I worked through each one.  I don’t think I will ever tire of quilting or rambling about quilting!

Be sure to check with the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs to see their beautiful creations! Follow me as The Quilt Rambler on social media to see more!

Photo for Pinterest showing three quilted fabric composition notebook covers
Pin, Share, Save, Hashtag when you post your creations #TheQuiltRambler #CoveredCompositionNotebook

 

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time

Please leave a comment with your thoughts below. Would you be interested in a more detailed tutorial on how to make your own composition notebook cover? If so leave a request and we will see what happens!