Sew Sew Sew

Or perhaps Ho Ho Ho! Those of you who are my northern neighbors I bet you are singing “Let it snow, let’s sew!”  Here on the Houston/Galveston gulf coast, we are having buckets of rain instead of snow – it still makes for good sewing weather!

Wow! I almost feel guilty, as in guilty pleasures – I’ve actually been able to sew a little something for others as well as something for myself! “Oh, what fun it is!”

Christmas Sewing!

As soon as my new quilt designs were shipped off to Island Batik, to be photographed for the Spring/Summer 2021 catalog, I indulged in a few “personal days”.  First on the agenda were Christmas placemats for my DIL Katie. I had recently asked her if she had any, to which she replied she’d love to have some for her Christmas dinnerware….so she & I dug through my stash to find just the right fabrics…

Years ago, I made these same placemats for my mother and myself. It was fun to revisit an older pattern, copyright 2004. They are so quick and easy to make, I used the “quilt as you go” method to sew the strips to my placemat form of Soft and Stable by Annie. Once all the rounds were done, I layered right sides together with a fabric backing, then turned through a small section left open (this is sometimes called birthing a quilt). Not only was this faster than adding binding to each, but it also gave a little more finished look to placemats that lay flat with a topstitching around the edges. I did a little stitch in the ditch around the center fabric to keep the layers together for future washings.

By the way, the pattern is still available, I googled it! Table Graces found at in case you’d like to make some also!

We had a “cookie” day at “Oma’s House” last week, so I gave Katie the placemats to be able to use them this season. She sent over this photo to show how the dishes will look on them. “Good job” as our granddaughter Reagan would say.

It’s a Blanket!

As a quilter, I am normally correcting someone that calls my quilt a “blanket” – this time I’m calling a blanket a blanket…I love it that our youngest (adult) son Jake enjoys explaining this too….”A blanket has one or two layers, a quilt has three.”  

When this Oma learned that Reagan’s new favorite was the original Frozen movie characters, having witnessed her singing and dancing to “Let it Go” (not to be confused with “let it snow”), I knew I had to whip up a little something…online shopping led to a Frozen panel and Frozen fleece for the backing. Knowing this was just going to be a “blankie” for her or perhaps future dolls and knowing I didn’t have time for a full quilt, I simply “birthed” the blanket by sewing right sides together again, turning inside out, and top-stitching around the edges as well as a some “stitch in the ditch” around the faux borders. I then pinned it on the longarm to add a few swirls to hold it together through, what I hope will be, multiple washes.

I couldn’t resist taking it to her as soon as it was done! Loved how she pointed out “Elsa!” and “Anna” then used it as a dance mat when she broke into song.  Another “good job!” I was pleased that she liked it!

Call Me!

Next up I wanted to make a cell phone holder for my mom and sister. I knew that mom didn’t always have pockets to put her phone in as she’s working around the house and that my sister enjoys mowing her acreage. Personally I think everyone should keep their phone on them at all times, so …. I thought they’d like this little pouch that I had made myself earlier in the year. It’s a free pattern by Patterns by Annie (available on her website) and super quick to make.

The original pattern has a larger “window” for name badges, such as the ones we used to wear to the Houston International   Quilt Festival…but I opted to make a smaller window, about credit card size, to potentially hold a notecard with “In Case of Emergency” information. I’m a real stickler for “just in case” stuff…

By making this adjustment the little zippered compartment was larger, a good place to hold a house key for when you walk out to the mailbox and the door just happens to lock behind you…okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s that “just in case” side of me showing again. Maybe it will just hold mom’s lipstick – she’s the one that taught me to never go out in public without my lipstick…of course, that was before wearing masks and now it’s “don’t wear lipstick or you will stain the inside of your mask” (grin).

My favorite part is the cell phone side – this is made with stretchable mesh with elastic binding, so the phone is easily retrieved from the pocket. Add a strap and you can always have your phone handy. 

Mom’s Call Me case is made with my 1st Signature Collection by Kathy Engle of Island Batik “for Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler” – recently announced in the Fall 2020 catalog and shipping the first of the year to quilt shops – it uses two of the blues from Vincent’s Garden. Click here to see it in my shop Vincent’s Garden Stacks Island Batik.

I love the way the “trees” look after I did a little straight line quilting to layer the Soft and Stable between the fabric. I decided to use the “starry starry night” blue for the binding to give it just a little more pizazz.

I can’t show you my sister’s as I made it with my 2nd Signature Collection with Island Batik, scraps of which I had leftover from the quilts mailed earlier….She’s sworn to secrecy, but she did say she loved it!

But wait! There’s more!

Can ya tell I haven’t sewn in a while or blogged in a while for that matter!  I know I have other pressing matters but wanted to take advantage of my short break and decided to pull out a UFO.

Years ago, 2016 to be exact, I challenged myself to “sew my stash” both for quilts and quilted projects. I made several small bags that year using patterns from multiple designers. One of such bags was Bowl Me Over by Patterns by Annie. I had the perfect fabric for it! I remember loading it on the longarm to quilt the large Soft and Stable with my main fabric and lining fabric before cutting out all the parts and pieces, packing it up for a quilting retreat….

Alas, it was a project that didn’t get much further than that and became a UFO (unfinished project). Top it off, it was further delayed by Hurricane Harvey…and went home with a quilt angel to be washed and returned only to be placed in a project bag among the other UFOs. 

This week, when I pulled it out, I discovered that all the labels had been removed (due to washing of course) and that it appeared a little bit of the fabric had shrunk…undaunted I decided I wanted to make this bag!

Picking Up the Pieces

I found my place in the pattern and relabeled the parts and pieces. Working my way through the pattern I attached zippers, prepared bindings, added a magnet clasp…it was taking some time, but it was going to be worth it!

It had been a while since I have made a bag, so I decided to go online to the “add on videos” from Patterns by Annie and discovered that there was one for Bowl Me Over 2.0…..hum…there’s a new edition … that’s okay, I can probably still learn from the video – so I purchased it.

Stuff Happens

Like needing to rip out a seam every now and then…. that’s sorta common to all of us, but I can’t say I’ve ever had my sewing machine eat my zipper pull while trying to topstitch! That took a little reverse engineering to release it from the bobbin housing! (No fabric was harmed in this shocking event).

Making the front panel of Bowl Me Over
Front of Bowl Me Over bag, outside flap with pocket underneath, inside bag with quilted zippered pocket
Use the slider arrows to compare the two photos

Later I developed my own theory of what might have changed between the original pattern and the 2.0 version…..confirmed by watching the video… replace the inside quilted pocket with a mesh pocket to reduce the bulk, yep, good call, wish I had the 2.0 version…I broke three needles trying to sew through all the thicknesses! Me who doesn’t “change a needle with every project” was mortified! I mean, if I use a new needle from that nice little package then I won’t have any needles “just in case” GASP!

Part of the needle, broken off in between all the layers of Soft and Stable, while sewing on binding
Outside back panel
Inside back panel – replaced small quilted pocket with mesh pocket – Design change!

Two Days, But Oh So Worth It!

I truly don’t want to know how many hours I have in this project, let’s just say I’ve been listening to a lot of audibles lately.  

Can we say “broken needle” as we sew around the front panel
Attaching the binding wasn’t for the faint of heart. Glad I use titanium needles or I would have needed more than one package!
Preparing to sew on the back panel
Don’t judge – the binding got a little wonky, but I showed it who was boss!

  Except for the Calamity Jane issues of zipper pulls being eaten and using up half a package of needles, this was an enjoyable project. I wasn’t particularly fond of the hand sewing of the binding (it took me 45+ minutes for each side) and I have to admit things were a bit wonky (due to the bulk), thankfully it’s on the inside!!

Bowl Me Over, Patterns by Annie, front of completed bag
Back view, Bowl Me Over, Pattern by Annie (notice the fun zipper pulls!)

I like how it turned out and proudly loaded it up to take to our “socially distanced” worship service this morning. With all the pockets I was able to keep everything in its proper place – keys, cell phone, a notepad for sermon notes, lip balm (instead of lipstick), and a snack for the ride home.

I added a mesh pocket inside the back panel zippered pocket – this is where I kept my small notebook and a pen.
Front panel’s quilted zippered pocket. I probably read the directions wrong (more like I didn’t read the directions) as I’m pretty sure the fabric should have been the lining fabric. Oh well, another design change. This is where I zip up my wallet and keys.
This was a design change too. Original pattern had divided quilted pocket – perfect size for my power bar snack!

I will say, that if I make another one, I will invest in the newer version! I noticed that it has a detachable shoulder strap, and I can see where that might be fun to add to the project. Plus I’m pretty sure that the quilted interior pockets were constructed differently to reduce bulk in this newer version. By the way, how do you like all the colorful zippers and different colored pulls? I think it adds to the whimsy and fun of this bag!

That’s a Wrap

At least for the personal sewing this week….on to wrapping up the year with Christmas celebrations this next week! Our sweet Reagan loves to sing “Happy Birthday,” and all month she’s been singing “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus.” On a recent visit to Oma’s house, she sang it at least twice.At the conclusion of the song she claps her hands and says “yay!” then blows (as in blowing out a candle). I can only imagine we will have a big sing-along when we celebrate together soon! When my boys were little we’d even have a birthday cake for Baby Jesus….I’m thinking the tradition continues….we’ll see!

Thanks for hanging in there with me, I hope you were able to take a break from your holiday preparations and relax a little as I rambled.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Reagan playing with a hand painted nativity set that her daddy played with when he was young!
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2 thoughts on “Sew Sew Sew

  1. rl2b2017 says:

    Merry Merry Christmas, Karen! I know you will have a fabulous one. I can just hear Reagan singing along with Let it Go in her sweet voice (because my Addison is also singing it as well). It’s a great quilt that you made for her . . . and I love seeing her playing with the nativity figures. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

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