Holiday Gifts

Greetings!

I would have posted several days ago, but ran into technical difficulties with Posterous, my blogging “platform.”  Good friend Craig Werth, who originally set up my web site and blog was available today to help straighten everything out and, voila!, I’m back!  Thank you, Craig!!!

We quilters are very lucky at holiday time to be able to make gifts for our friends and loved ones.  For years now, I have routinely set aside my own projects during the months of November and December to make gifts for others.  This year I’ve been making bags and coasters.  I have a great Susan Rose pattern for a tote bag (“Market Tote”) that is made by fusing fabric to heavy muslin.  I have made several of these in wonderful fabrics the past few years and made 3 this year, but wrapped 2 of them before I remembered to photograph them to share!!

Here’s the bag I hadn’t wrapped yet when I remembered to take a picture to share on the blog:

Bag1

The handles are long enough to put over the shoulder and I make them out of the same fabric as the bag, but they could be contrasting, like the bottom of the bag.  There’s a drawstring that goes through eyelets that allows the bag to be more open or closed depending on what you’re carrying.

Bag2

The inside has a pocket on each side and a solid, removable,bottom that I make with a thin piece of wood covered by the bag fabric.

Bag3

Here’s a close-up of the one bag  I’ve made for myself, in a different stye fabric:

Bag5mybag

The other thing I’ve been making is coasters.  I am continuing to enjoy making hexagons by hand.  I had a lot of the April Cornell “Christmas Presence” fabric left over from a large quantity I bought several years ago and I fussy cut the floral designs on the fabric into hexagon shapes.  I have a 3/4 inch ARDCO metal template for the hexagon and used it to help me cut shapes from freezer paper and I then ironed the freezer paper onto the back of the fabric shapes.  I then ironed each of the 6 sides over the paper template creating the hexagons.  I then sewed the hexagons pieces together, removed the paper (it comes off very easily) and appliqued the “flower shapes” to a  51/2 inch background fabric.  I layered the top with 2 layers of batting and a backing fabric and sewed these together to create the finished coasters.

Following are pictures I took during the process along with some of the finished coasters.

Here’s a typical set of four, which is how I’ve been giving them away:

 

Coasters1all4

Here is the template (the white shape) and you can see how I cut up the fabric!

Coasters2template

Here’s an even better idea of how I destroyed 🙂 the fabric!  Keep in mind that I had to make sure that every hexagon piece of fabric had exactly the same image in exactly the same spot.

Coasters3redfabric_with_holes

Here are 2 of the freezer paper templates, the backs of 3 of the pieces with the fabric almost all ironed over to the back (one side remains to be ironed) and 3 of the final hexagon pieces with all the ironing done:

Coasters4papertemplates

Pieces made and ready to be sewn together:

Coasters5assembly

All sewn together:

Coasters6completed
Coasters7completed
Coasters8completed

Aren’t they wonderful!!  I gave away 2 as part of our “hand made” Yankee swap at the annual Cocheco Quilt Guild holiday party.  I included a set of 4 as part of my contribution to my small quilt group’s Yankee swap at our holiday party.  And I gave 5 sets to colleagues at work.  That’s a lot of coasters, all hand stitched!!  I kept just enough hexagon pieces of this fabric to make a set for my own family.  In addition, I am finishing up a set of 4 made in a Jinny Beyer border fabric for my boss and will post pictures of those as soon as they’re finished – I love how the border fabric allowed several different designs in the hexagons to emerge.

I’m hoping to post more often over the next month or so because the semester at UNH was over as of this past Friday and I have quite a bit of time off until I return for second semester on Januray 17th.

Enjoy this wonderful time of the year!!!

 

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