Strawberry Dumpling Pouch Swap

My goodness I’ve been bad about blogging. What I’m going to show you today was in the mail more than a week ago and has already arrived with its new recipient! I participated in another dumpling pouch swap on Flickr/IG, this one with a berry theme. (I’ve previously done a strawberry themed one, which I seem not to have posted about, and also a Christmas one, which you can see near the bottom of this post.)

I was torn for a really long time about what to make for my partner, but I decided to try to make something that kind of… looked like a strawberry. Leaves on the bottom, red all through the top. Here’s the bottom:

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Not one of my smoother moves. I forgot how much of the green would get swallowed up by seam allowance, and so not too much is peeking through!

Even if I’d shot the photo head on, at dumpling pouch height rather than from above, you still only see about 1/4-inch of the tallest green bit! Oops.

I’m not too upset about it though because I love red (and so did the lady I sent it to) and I love the fabrics I used. I set out mostly to use solids, but I wanted a little extra bit of prints in there too, so my rule with those was that they couldn’t be white on red, but had to be kind of red-on-red prints in some way. I used a Liberty of London print for the lining – it’s not berry related, but the colour was just perfect and it’s one of the very few Liberty prints that I really love.

I wanted to send along something else, so I also made her this potholder, using this gorgeous strawberry girl print that I’d bought a year or so ago on Etsy. I just used some of the extra strips and bits of red that I’d already had cut for the dumpling and kind of cut off the excess bits of linen from around the print. It’s pretty clear I went into it with no plan at all and I quilted it at the same time as I sewed on each strip, so there’s no visible quilting on the front. The binding was actually leftover binding from sometime else I’d made once upon a time (I can’t remember what.. I’m at a loss as to what I might have bound in red!), which was pretty convenient!

Here’s the back. I was all about using scrap fabric with this, so I fished this gorgeous Laura Gunn print out of my scrap bins. The colours all seemed to work, although in the long run it doesn’t match the binding terribly well. I’m not quite sure why I decided to make this into a pot holder (with insulated batting and everything) rather than making a mini quilt to hang, but it made sense at the time.. Pretty much as soon as I was finished though I’d wished I hadn’t put in the insulating stuff because it’s too pretty to put a pot of spaghetti sauce (or whatever, really) on!

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And then finally, on the day I was sending this away, I happened to pick up a magazine that came with the materials to make a cross-stitch pendant necklace and a cross-stitch… brooch (I think…). I decided to bang out one last little thing to tuck in, chopped the chain for the pendant down to a little keyring size and stitched that up. I was aiming for something slightly berryish, but I thought it was too plain and added in the blue crosses, which turn it all into something much more abstract. I thought it was kind of cute (if maybe probably definitely useless) so in it went.

I also sent some other bits and pieces, but I didn’t photograph them first. Here’s a photo which I stole from Jan, who received this package:

Dumpling swap from Kristel

So I sent a couple roles of baker’s twine in red and green, a strawberry flavoured lipgloss, raspberry balsamic ganache chocolates, fufu berry Jones Soda candies, and a bit of strawberry related fabric. The fabrics aren’t especially visible because of the way I wrapped them up, but there is about a Fat Eighth each of that jam jar print, a print with tiny little blue strawberries, and a Heather Ross strawberry print, which was the one with the white background and kind of orange berries. I had just a single strip of the pink background version, so I wrapped it around the little stack and pinned it closed to keep them in a nice little bundle.

I really hope Jan loves everything I’ve sent her – it was a fun package to put together. (And I got to taste test some delicious chocolates while in pursuit of a berry flavoured chocolate to include… There’s never any complaints from me about chocolate.)

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Talk to me… Saturday

This is a video I recorded on Tuesday earlier this week when I received a package in the mail from Mara of Secretly Stitching! I’m trying to get decent pictures of what she sent to me, but so far my attempts to photograph the pouch haven’t turned out very well.

Here is the fabric, threads, and chocolate:

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I may have eaten some of the chocolate since…

I don’t think I ever showed pictures of what I sent to Mara when she won a giveaway from me, but I think I must not have taken any – I can’t find any in my files. Anyway, I think I probably showed the strawberry pouches in plenty of TTMT videos in the past.

Here are some photos of the things I sent out in that dumpling pouch swap:

Dumpling Pouch
Dumpling Pouch
Dumpling Pouch swap
Dumpling Pouch Swap

Citrus Swap

So I was waiting until I heard back from my prize winners before announcing them here, but I haven’t heard back yet from the winner of my first prize, the $50 gift certificate which was provided by Pam at Mad About Patchwork. Hopefully she’ll get back to me soon – I want to be sure I had the right email address before sending her information along to Pam – no sense in emailing a gift certificate to a dead email address, right? (So Anne Simonot, if you’re seeing this, check your email!)

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In any case, the winner of the second prize, the collection of Fat Eighths in greens, was Sabrina of Sabie Sews:

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Belated birthday wishes to Sabrina too!

In other news, I recently finished up another Open Wide Zippered Pouch from the Noodlehead tutorial, this one with a citrus theme for an Instagram swap I participated in. I only just got it sent out yesterday (a day late, oops!), so it hasn’t arrived with its recipient just yet, but here’s what I made and sent:

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The one thing I knew I wanted to do was to stitch the little Lime Slice Girl, who I’ve been calling Lulu Lemon-Lime (she started out as Liesl Lime Slice in my head, which I think is a better name, but I couldn’t remember how to spell Liesl – I had to look it up, but at the time I was posting on Instagram and didn’t want to leave the app to look up the spelling). This pattern by Cate Anevski was a free stitch-along pattern from August 2012 at Feeling Stitchy. I’ve had it saved for the last two years, just waiting for a reason to stitch it, and finally this swap came up with the perfect opportunity. The pattern leaves you with a lot of room for stitching interpretation and if you check out the August Stitch-along tag on Flickr, you’ll see some really cool variations, including a passionfruit version, from which I took inspiration for the laid stitches in the skirt.

I wish I’d taken more close-up photos of the stitching, but it was starting to rain when I was photographing this zipper pouch and I didn’t want to hold up my sending it off any longer than I had to.

Lulu Lemon-Lime

As always, I’m obsessed by doing the split stitch (my back stitch just never looks as nice!), so there’s a lot of that in there. I filled in the dark green layers of the skirt with three or four tightly packed rows of chain stitch, and then I loosened it up quite a bit and did the same thing to fill in the white pith on the skirt. Her mouth and nose is done with back stitch (and it doesn’t look very good) and then the eyes… well, I’m not sure what I’d call that stitch. It’s basically just three straight stitches worked in (almost) the same hole, with another straight stitch in yellow to represent the eyelashes. I was having issues doing proper eyelashes, so this was my solution because I was afraid of damaging the Essex fabric by stitching and picking out and stitching and picking out the eyelashes over and over again. The laid stitches in the skirt are pretty crappy looking – I kept changing my mind about how I wanted it to look, so I’d done it in all green to begin with, but then I added (and removed and added and removed) yellow in various different configurations. Eventually I picked out all the yellow I’d added and then just put an extra layer on top of the existing green laid stitches. If I’d planned it out a little better, I’d have stitched them both at the same time, with a strand or two of each colour in the same needle, so that the yellow wouldn’t float on top of the green quite so much. On the other hand, I really like my winging it version of a stitched braid in the hair. I did the yellow first, just taking criss-crossing stitches in varying lengths trying to create the shape of the braid. I stitched right on top of it with the orange, filling in the shape wherever it looked a bit empty; I think it turned out pretty well.

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I didn’t want the whole front of the pouch just to be that oatmeal coloured Essex linen blend, so I added the grey on either side (it was an accidental find – I was going to just patchwork some lemon-lime panels with squares of various fabrics, but then I stumbled over the grey, which I thought would be great for the lining, until I realized it was too small a piece of fabric. It turned out great for either side of the stitched panel (except it made me wish I’d stitched on grey linen rather than oatmeal!) and then I added the green Anna Maria Horner print for something like grass under Lulu’s feet, with the ric-rack just for extra interest. The lining was the perfect print to go with the colour scheme.

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I only have this one bad photo of the back (rain!), which is pretty plain. The stitching was just me trying to use up some of the leftover bits of cut thread from the stitching on the front (hence the different colours in the top and bottom rows). It’s very… rustic. The background fabric is more of the same Essex linen. I just machine stitched the hexies onto the linen (and did a slightly appalling job of it – I’m still getting used to the new Juki machine and don’t have great control over where things are lining up with the needle). I made the bag an inch taller than recommended because the stitch was a little tall and I wanted to be sure there’d be some visible “grass” under her feet, but you really notice in this photo how off the proportions are – I really should have widened it out by an inch to compensate.

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We always fill up the pouches a bit with various different things. I was hoping to get something else made, but my plans fell apart, so instead I loaded it up with a little extra candy (originally I was only going to include the orange marzipan bar and some grapefruit TicTacs, which nobody in my house will admit to opening, but nevertheless were partially eaten… perhaps by the world’s most clever, invisible mouse?): some orange gummy candies, lemonade gummies, the aforementioned orange marzipan, and (because I’m ever so clever) Moda Candy.

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Lemon, lime, orange…

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And then the rest of the crafty goodies. Some fabric – I’ll post another photo of all the scraps in the bundle on the left – including a bunch of citrus-coloured dot and gingham charm squares, three rolls of citrus-coloured washi tape (the orange one is a different brand from the other two, hence the size difference), a roll of grapefruit coloured baker’s twine, and to appease my sister who is annoyed with me for buying more floss instead of just finding a way to use what we’ve got… I included all the remnants of the floss I used on the Lulu Lemon-Lime stitch.

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This is the bundle of fabric scraps. Some of them are just off-cuts from the fabrics I used in the construction of the pouch. The others are all just scraps straight from my scrap bin that I thought were in appropriate colours. They’re not terribly visible, but Mari-Ann/RockIslander who hosted this swap sent me the little chicken fabric just so that I could turn around and send it to my swap partner. Sweetest person ever 😀 And finally, the yellow on top of the centre column of fabric is a print from Leah Duncan’s Maya line, which my partner once upon a time was looking for. That was a long time ago, so she’s probably found all she needs by now, but I included it specifically because I knew she liked it. My partner seemed to be pretty quiet in the various places I knew to find her online, so I’m really hoping that what I made for her will appeal.

In any case, in spite of my ability to find flaws in pretty much everything I do, I really do love how his pouch turned out.

Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap

A little while ago I talked about the package I received from the Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap, but I never really did get around to talking about what I sent out. And that’s because I super-stalked my partner so that I could tailor the package to her tastes as much as possible, but that meant that revealing any sort of information would really give everything away before it ever arrived. So for the swap, we were mailing out a hand-made pouch, 50 charm squares, and a notion of some kind.

Simple and Sweet Swap

I ended up unrolling the charms to mail, but the roll is 51 charm squares (I sent one extra that I think is linen maybe), the pink fabric is a 5 or 6″ by WOF strip of Heather Ross’s camper vans fabric, which was just an extra because I knew my partner was looking for it, and then three rolls of washi tape (which are kind of acting as the notion – I don’t know if washi tape can really be called a notion, but we’ll go with that :D).

Unrolled, these are the fifty charms I sent out:

Simple and Sweet Swap

Nadine’s favourites included, with five(ish) of each…:
– text prints
– greys
– aquas (though I leaned pretty hard on the turquoise end of the spectrum)
– a row of the five main fabrics in the pouch I sent out
– oranges (please note all the sneaky additions of turquoise there too!)
– polka dot fabrics (I kind of went rainbowish there) (duplicated in the top of the second photo…)

Simple and Sweet Swap

– chartreuse fabric, though I wound up mostly with lime – that’s what happens when you choose fabric at night, I guess, your colours aren’t quite what you were expecting 😀
– Tula Pink fabrics (I tried to aim mostly for older fabrics, but couldn’t bring myself to cut into my Neptune prints, which had been my intention to send :D)
– Mendocino mermaids and swimming sisters, in aqua, brown, and gold
– assorted Heather Ross, aiming mostly in the aqua and orange realm

Simple and Sweet Swap

The fifty-first charm, the linen one, is shown above.

So then the pouch. Well, Ms Lobster Grrl is a fan of Union Jacks and is going to London in spring for her honeymoon, so I made her a Union Jack pouch using her favourites orange and aqua, with some grey text:

Simple and Sweet Swap
Simple and Sweet Swap

The pouch is made using Noodlehead’s Open Wide Zipper Pouch tutorial, a favourite of mine. This is the medium sized pouch. The flags are made using this pattern from Four Twin Sisters.

I really enjoyed putting this package together for Nadine and I’m so glad it seems to have hit the mark for her. It’s great to be able to put together something that you’re really certain will please someone.

Pencil Case style Zipper Pouch

Yesterday my sister and I went out to do all the things:
I went book shopping while she got her hair cut, we got manicures, we got our eyebrows threaded (this is like… high-speed plucking, but with a string rather than a pair of tweezers), we went junk food shopping (ahem), and… I forget. All I know is I hadn’t slept, because I worked the night shift again, and then we did all the things ever and then I came home and slept for an hour and a half so that I wouldn’t pass out in my dinner, and then I made my sister a little zipper pouch in the space of time it took me to watch the last 15 minutes of the Shakespeare episode of Doctor Who, plus the episode that came after. (Cats + traffic jams + other weird aliens.) (I’d forgotten how much I loved the season with Martha Jones. She doesn’t get that much respect in a lot of the online forums I read, but I really liked her and there were a lot of fun episodes in her season.)

Anyway, the book store that I went to, like a lot of book stores, has had to put more and more home decor and personal care items into the store alongside the books because book sales are tanking, and so I spent a long, long time looking at all the ridiculously tempting things they had there. (I bought some Polaroid style greeting cards and a Chuck Klosterman book, but otherwise avoiding spending money on anything.) When my sister came in, she found a zipper pouch, which was this great purple colour, but had ugly gold lettering on it, which she was tempted to buy to use as a passport/receipts carrying pouch while in the US next week – she and her husband are taking a road trip to California, leaving tomorrow and returning in September – and she’ll need to collect all her receipts for purchases that she might have to declare when coming back into Canada.

Honey. You live with someone who has a sewing machine and too much time on her hands. (I’m on vacation this week too! But I’m not taking a road trip to California 😦 )

Pencil Case-Style Zipper Pouch

So I made her a super simple lined and divided zipper pouch. I didn’t follow a pattern – it’s really basic! I just figured out the size she wanted (large enough to hold two passports, plus some room for receipts) and found some fabrics in colours I knew she’d like. I didn’t decorate the outside in any way – it’s just Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in Black – because my sister is not into anything very fancy or cute or whatever. Even simple patchwork would have been more than she’d have wanted. She pretty much likes red and black and white, so there’s the black (and kind of white…) with a red zipper from Zipit. (The zipper pull is also from Zipit. I have a pile of Octopus ones, but this one with the robots in love was attached to my last order of zippers from Zipit. It seemed to fit the black white red theme a little better than any of my octopuses.)

Zipper Pouch

The interior is lined with a red MoMo print and then I put in a divider in a red Kona Cotton. It’s not perfect – somehow the divider feels loose, but I don’t know how to make it more taut? I did it the same size as the lining pieces, but should I have made it a touch smaller and then stretched the bejeezus out of it to make it fit but stay taut? I also messed up the zipper/seam somehow at either end – I’ve done it with my last two pouches and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the zippers are winding up all lumpy on the ends and I couldn’t even top stitch this pouch because I didn’t think I’d be able to get the sewing machine to stitch over the lumps at the end where the zipper opens. (The end of the zipper isn’t quite so bad.)

Anyway, this pattern free sewing didn’t go so bad despite the few little issues and my sister is happy – it saved her $25 or whatever that one from the store cost and it’ll get the job done. (The photos are pretty awful though. I should go steal it back and take some better pictures now that I could use natural light instead of the garbagey yellow overhead light in my sewing room.)

Stuff and Things

Earlier this week, every time I thought about writing up a post about what I got done over the weekend, I’d start thinking instead about how I needed to be stitching up my Tardis block and so I’d wind up not writing that post. But here’s more or less what I finished up this weekend:

1. Sewed, pressed, and trimmed all the half square triangles and flying geese units in my Star Surround quilt top.

Star Surround Flying Geese

I still can’t pretend to love these fabrics, but I do like them a lot better here than I did in that collection I was trying to create for a baby quilt. Maybe by the time this is all sewn, I’ll like it so well, I’ll just give this baby quilt to my friend rather than doing the double hour-glass thing I’ve been planning.

2. Sewed up a sample pouch for the Simple and Sweet Swap (wherein we will swap a pouch and 50 charm squares with someone)

Don't be scared off, Simple & Sweet Swap Partner...

I hadn’t made one of these in a while, so I picked a few fabrics up off my pile of solid fabrics and thought “The more garish, the better” apparently, and then added some matching scraps of an Amy Butler print. This has a kind of early 90s vibe (for me, but most trends hit my hometown late). I just wanted the practise, so it didn’t really matter what I used. Style-wise I think the pouch is pretty great. Colourwise… it’s certainly interesting. I may give it away someday, but I’m not really sure who would want it. (I had someone in mind, but seeing it finished in all it’s technicolour glory, I’ve kind of lost the desire to send it to her.) There are a couple small flaws (my ruler slipped when I was trimming one half of it, so you’ll notice the colour lines don’t meet up on the side seams – I lost close to a quarter inch on that one side) and I flubbed something to do with the zipper that I can’t really explain but which means it’s a bit lumpy near the opening of the zipper. (I pressed the fabric to one side, but should have opened the seam.) Anyway, now I know what to avoid, so I can make a proper pouch for my recipient. (But I won’t show it until after she receives it because it’ll be obvious to her that it’s for her if she sees what I’m planning to make.)

3. Stitched up a Hufflepuffian quilt block.

Black and Yellow Quilt Block

There was yellow and black fabric on the futon in my sewing room, so… I made something with it. The colour is a little off in this photo – the wall is beige not grey – but it’s surprisingly close to the real deal. The yellowest yellow you’ve ever seen.

I feel like there should be more – I wanted to do another churn dash block and I wanted to get a couple flags done for Lac Megantic – but I went on a cleaning spree in my bedroom and got rid of a bunch of stuff that needed to be recycled or donated and I straightened up the fabric shelves in my sewing room. Surprisingly, both those things took quite a long time.

Stash

I went through most of the fabric that was new or hadn’t gone back onto the shelves after being put to use (or after testing and rejecting it for some project or other) and got it refolded and stuffed back on the shelves. I haven’t come up with a storage solution for my solids (not visible in this photo) yet or my voiles, flannels, children’s fabrics, home decor fabrics, linens or linen blends. Or the few pre-cuts I’ve got. (There aren’t many, two or three jelly rolls besides what’s stuffed into one of the shelves on the right.) Oh, or the “quilt in a bag” kits that I’ve got – the bag in the bottom right hand cube is actually a quilt top in a bag (along with the pattern), but there are two or three others I’ve never gotten around to making…

And then finally, the other thing I did was sort out the unruly, unholy mess that was my “Quilting” bookmark folder in my browser. I went through and sorted everything by type of link and deleted any dead links and links to things I don’t think I’ll use (or know I won’t).

Quilting Bookmarks Folder

You can’t, of course, see into any of the folders, here, but all of it was in one very, very, very long folder, mixed in with a bunch of embroidery related links (I still need to sort those ones out, but there aren’t nearly so many). So much neater and more usable now! The ones at the bottom that aren’t in a folder are for projects currently in progress and though there is a folder for that, these are ones I want dealt with now, not just soon. (The Leibster link… I’ve been nominated 3 or 4 times, but keep not following through. I’m really undecided on the whole concept because I’ve never liked anything that involves chain letter style attempts to make people “pass it on.” And it’s a nice thing to have someone choose you, but I don’t know what point it serves? I don’t know. Still churning that one over.)

Anyway, I guess it was my weekend to organize as much as anything else! But now… I should go sew.

Modern Scrappy Bits Swap

First a quick (okay, not at all quick) note: I mentioned in one of my last couple entries that shipping prices from the US are going way, way up – here’s a handy chart from Sew Mama Sew if any of you are Canadian like me and want to know just exactly how bad it is. One pattern, one fat quarter, itty bitty amounts of things, basically? SIX DOLLARS FIFTY CENTS. If you go up to the larger size, the flat rate envelope (previously about $13) holds (according to SMS) up to ten yards (though I’ve seen other sites say about 7 yds),.. so let’s just say I were to buy a full ten yards of non-organic print fabric from SMS (sorry to pick on them, they just happen to be the site with the up to date shipping chart), it would be approximately 10 (yds) x 10 (approx non-sale price per yard) = 100 + 20 (shipping) = $120. If I were to buy 10 yds of non-organic print fabric from Mad About Patchwork (chosen because it’s the Canadian store I most often shop at), it would be about 10 x 11 = 110 + 6 = 116. It’s not a massive difference, and if anything were on sale in the US or were some of the cheaper fabrics (because A LOT but not all fabrics are in the $10 range, especially if you buy solids) then it might still be more economical to buy in the US. (And I assume shipping prices in Canada are going up this weekend too, so Mad About Patchwork may have to re-evaluate their shipping prices. Don’t quote me on any part of that, just speculating based on the fact that shipping prices go up EVERY year.) So, okay, then it comes down to some other factors: I usually don’t, but might get charged customs or duties (esp if buying a large amount) if I order from the US, it takes 2 weeks pretty much always, if you don’t spread the $20 shipping cost over a full 10 yards fabric your shipping costs (per unit) shoot up (6yds x 10 = 60 + 20 = 80 vs. 6 x 11 = 66 + 6 = 72).

All of which by way of saying that Canadian shopping is looking better and better and better. (Though I assume this means it will become more expensive still for a Canadian shop to bring in fabric, so that base price of approximately $11 may have to go up to 12 or 13 so that shops can still make SOME money off what they’re bringing in.)

Here’s a couple other things I foresee happening:
1. More bees will disallow Canadian/International participants. (Because never mind that when one of us participates we have to spend higher shipping on EVERY non-Canadian bee member where most American bee members might only have to spend higher amounts on one or two people. Yes, I get a bug up my ass about American people who don’t want to play outside their own sandbox because it’s more expensive shipping to the two or three of us on the other side of the fence.) Alternately, more bees might be run with geographic groupings, so that the Americans will play with the Americans, the Canadians with the Canadians, the Europeans with the Europeans, etc. Which may mean I’ll get to know my fellow Canadian sewists a lot better, but narrows the pool significantly.
2. Giveaways will become almost exclusively limited to country of origin. (Meaning Sew Mama Sew’s giveaway day will be by and large a for US participants only phenomenon. Again, not to pick on SMS, they just happen to host the largest giveaway party.) Non-Americans are already excluded from a lot of giveaways and I predict it’s going to become a whole lot worse. (Which, I hate to harp on, because people giving things away for free are still giving things away for free, and that’s a nice thing, even if it’s given away in a limited way.)

Anyway, nothing to be done about it. Except to shop Canadian and get to know my fellow Canadian potential-bee-partners, right?

Moving along…
So I’ve talked in the past about the things I’ve received from my partners in the Scrappy Bits swap on flickr (sign-ups for Round 3 are currently open, if you’re interested in joining in! Join the group if you’re not already a member, and then go to the Sticky Post section of the discussions where you’ll find a sticky post with a link to the sign-up form – you NEED to have a flickr account to join), but I’ve never quite got around to talking about the things I’ve sent away.

I’ve participated in both the previous swaps, so I’ve got two sets of things to show you here. I don’t remember a whole lot about that original swap, though it seems to me that we were able to talk about our likes and dislikes or something to that effect. My swap partner, CraktPot had requested a pouch, if I remember right, and hoped for something in an aqua/red/black colour scheme. Then again, I might be imagining all that. I knew from her Flickr account that she was a fan of Tula Pink, and originally I’d started trying to stitch one of Tula Pink’s clock-work birds in shades of aqua/teal on black Essex linen, which I was going to turn into a pouch. But, holy time consuming! And I didn’t have any of the Tula Pink fabric, so I was basing my pattern on a much-blown up image off the internet, which wasn’t very clear and wasn’t working very well. I’m pretty sure that project is still in a hoop somewhere, and I’ll salvage what I can of the linen someday because I don’t think the bird will happen…

Anyway, I had to re-evaluate, and I made up two different pouches using that colour scheme before deciding which one to send away. I still have this first pouch, which actually makes a pretty good pencil case and has been doing just that for the last few months:

Scrappy Bits pouch #1 (Mosaic)

This pouch, called the Elise Pouch from IThinkSew, is kind of shaped like a computer mouse. It’s a very interesting one to put together, though I found the directions a bit weird and maybe more difficult than they needed to be. I found it kind of fun putting together the outside of the pouch – it’s essentially just a circle, with a bridge connecting the sides (and a zipper through the middle of the bridge), so I made up a big square and then cut slashes through it to insert all the stripes of colour before trimming it down to a circle. (I’ve been contemplating making another with wedges, like a Dresden plate.) After it was done I pretty much immediately wished I hadn’t made the bridge piece in red – it just didn’t seem to fit and that’s ultimately why I didn’t send it away.

The one I did send away is this pouch, made with the open wide pouch tutorial from Noodlehead:

Scrappy Bits pouch #2 (mosaic)

I made the outside of the pouch the same way as I did for the Elise pouch (slashes of blue through the black), but this time I added a little stitching alongside some of the slashes of colour (which turned out to be largely pointless – so much of it got cut away when I boxed the corners! Ought to have thought about that…). The black in this pouch is Essex Linen, which is a cotton-linen blend that’s pretty nice to work with.

I really like this tutorial (which is free, the Elise pattern is a for-purchase pattern) and definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get into the pouch-making game. It’s fun and pretty easy, if you’re as scared of putting zippers into things as I am. (And on the zipper note, I can’t recommend the zippers from ZipIt enough. They’ve got a billion colours in a lot of sizes and the customer service is great.)

All that said, the point of the swap really is to give away part of your scrap stash and to receive back a pile of someone else’s scraps. I always have plans for things to do with my scraps, though I never seem to do something with any of those plans, but the way I see it… the more variety the better. If I get back into paper-piecing again, I might get bits and pieces that’d work out in ways my own scraps might not. Officially we send away the equivalent of one fat quarter’s worth of scraps, but I’m not very good at restricting myself like that, so I sent away a fair bit more than that.

Modern Scrappy Bits

I also sent along a little Elypoo notebook (it’s a book of paper made in a way that involves elephant poo, though I don’t really recall too much more about it) and some DMC rayon thread, which I picked out because it was so very, very shiny:

Modern Scrappy Bits

For the second round I made another Noodlehead pouch, though this time I modified the size (and shouldn’t have, since it threw off the proportions of the pouch) and machine appliquéd it with stars.

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To be honest, I really wasn’t happy with this one. I had this idea in my head, which started with the idea of constellations and I don’t know where the thought came from, but I wanted to make a constellation with the fabric and stars, but then I couldn’t find a small enough paper-pieced pattern for a star and, oh, I don’t know, just the general metamorphosis that happens going from thought A to B to C to reality and somehow it just wasn’t working, so I thought, well, I’ll machine appliqué the stars randomly and fuzz the edges so it’s kind of twinkly around the edges and… ugh. I wasn’t happy. But I was late! I spent so much time dithering over what to do – my recipient, Prsd4tim2, has this lovely blog full of things she’s made, but so very much of it was things she’d made for other people and I couldn’t decide if the things on her site were things she made because she loved them or because she thought someone else would love them, so I didn’t feel I had a real handle on her tastes and what sort of thing she’d really like to have. (If I’d been a wiser woman, I’d have looked at her flickr profile because she’s got a great big list right there in front of your eyes and mine that I could have used to narrow things down!) So dithering lead to the due date lead to me rushing through the project. And being a little more unhappy than happy with the final project. I don’t think it’s TERRIBLE, it’s just not what I wanted, you know? And then I also think it looks more suitable for a child than an adult, which is… frustrating, because she’s not an 8 year old with a collection of multi-coloured gel pens, you know? Anyway, despite my general frustration and slight dislike of the project, happily my recipient seems pleased AND likely to make use of it.

Anyway, I also sent along this collection of fabric scraps:

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In deference to the Christmas season, I mostly chose fabrics from the red and green parts of my scrap bag (with some aquas thrown in likely because they weren’t sorted by colour but were sitting in a heap on TOP of all the sorted stuff)

Awesome. Okay, I’m writing this in the bathtub, with my laptop propped on the toilet while I awkwardly lean over the edge of the bath to type, and I just managed to pull down my shower curtain rod. Thank DOG it didn’t crack me in the skull or my laptop in the screen. But just for good measure: UGH. Also, note to self: there’s a reason we don’t typically write blog posts in the bath. If I had a camera in here I’d take a picture. Of the shower curtain.

ANYWAY, in deference to the Christmas season, I mostly chose fabrics from the red and green parts of my scrap bag (with some aquas thrown in likely because they weren’t sorted by colour but were sitting in a heap on TOP of all the sorted stuff). That said, I very, very intentionally choose red and green fabrics that WEREN’T actually Christmas prints. (I don’t have any, anyway. Gave them all away.) I wanted the recipient to be able to use them any which way she pleased without being locked into a full-on Christmas project.

Modern Scrappy Bits swap package

I also sent along (one by one the last few attached shower curtain hooks are sliding down the rod, disconnecting, and giving me a little jolt of shock every time one of them slips and clanks down) some crewel wool in two shades of orange, because I know she does some embroidery and also I thought crewel wool might actually be a nice addition to a quilted project, even if you don’t actually do crewel embroidery and also just barely visible (hooked through that bitty square of fabric with the bird on it) a number 5 Bohin embroidery needle. Prsd4tim2 had mentioned on her blog her quest for a great needle, and I LOVE my #5 Bohins. They’re fantastic to work with (though a little large for more delicate embroidery), beautifully made, and just FEEL good in the fingers. They’re the only Bohin needles I’ve used, but I’m in love. (So in love I bought 4 packets of Bohin needles for an upcoming project of mine – they’re all different sizes/types ranging from beading needles to assorted embroidery sizes to tapestry to millners and sharps.)

Anyway, just wanted to remind anyone who is interested that the sign-ups for Round Three of the Modern Scrappy Bits swap are open now. I don’t see a date when sign-ups close, so sign up now not later!

Talk to Me Tuesday (on a Wednesday) 81: Stuff, stuff, stuff

In which I show blocks I’ve received in the mail from my Birthday Blocks group on Livejournal, crochet from my mom, and embroidery from my Grandma. And also two pouches that I made for my Modern Scrappy Bits swap on Flickr, one from this pattern (The Elise Pouch at IThinkSew.com) and one from this tutorial (the Wide-Zippered Pouch from Noodle-Head.com), and a needle book, which features crewel embroidery using a Katherine Shaunessey pattern (which can be found via this article).