Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Cat Litter Bag Holder Project

So sorry for the blog delay! Getting married has kind of gotten in the way of crafting. No, not yet, next weekend is the wedding and I feel like Matt is slipping speed in to my tea in the morning. I am literally running from getting out of bed to getting back in bed. But enough about the boring stuff, let's talk about my newest craft! The Cat Litter Bag Holder. What a terrible name, but it kind of reminds me of Bill Nye, "The Cat Litter Bag Holder of Science!" And take a look at the finished bag!

 The finished product!

Of course the Crafting Cat Neti had to be involved, especially because this was helping aid in our scooping of the litter box morning routine. Since this was such a small project I decided to ransack my scrap bucket (just a small bucket so far, my grandma has like three giant bins of scraps. I have made many a crazy quilt out of her scraps). I found a few panels in really bold colors but nothing really matched so I defaulted to rainbow, which I could not have been happier with!

Neti, the fabric choices, and a tape measure

And as you can see WE NEEDED THIS! Our bags are collected from grocery store trips, trips to the hardware store and our little convenience mart downstairs which refuses to let you leave, even with one item, without taking a plastic bag. Needless to say we have a lot of them and habit has us shoving them into the closet where they build and build faster than we can poop and scoop. 

What a mess!

So the solution was a bag to hold the bags. Genius! I was also DYING to christen my new sewing space. I have a man who loves me! He is requiring that I take over our dining room table and make it my "sewing room" instead. I've made a little space he complains is not good enough but we'll need the table a lot soon with family coming so it's just a temporary set-up for now, but how wonderful! The space is amazing! Why didn't I think of this? As you can see, the cat has a little nap area. She requested that forcefully. But with a view like that out the window I can't really complain about a little cat takeover.

                              The "sewing room"

                                                                                                                               The View

First things first. I needed a plan. I was basically molding this thing in my mind and marrying an engineer has taught me to make a blueprint! So I did with Neti's help... er, uh company.

The plan

I decided I needed a large bag, or at least a large diameter bag and something that would filter the bags down. So as I added more bags to the top I could pull them out of the bottom. It works a lot better when you work with gravity. Each panel (I chose eight fabrics) was 18" long and 4" wide. Once all of the fabric was cut I lined them in rainbow order with an adorable cat fabric at the end. How would I know what to use it for if it wasn't designated with cats? Come on guys, I had to use it.

Ironed and staged fabric panels

Once I decided the order and everything was ironed (my least favorite part of sewing) it was time to piece! I love this part. It's the closest to quilting I can get with this project. Quilting is my true love.

Piecing panels

I next ironed all of the seams open and reviewed my workmanship. Straight seams? For the most part. I'm still working on it. I used 1/2" seam allowances.

Wrong side view of piecing

Once my ironing was completed I hemmed the ends...

Pinned the hem shut

... and then realized that was stupid, I forgot I wanted to tie it shut to keep the bags from falling out. Why hem it when I have to put a ribbon track in? Oh well. I then chose my ribbon, a teeny-tiny yellow ribbon I had on hand and worked it in to the hem.

I sewed it in to place making sure I never sewed over the ribbon so it would be free flowing and I could actually work it as a gather to bunch the fabric closed on both ends of the bag.

Sewing a ribbon track

I then realized that I would be shoving bags in and pulling them out. With all of those seams on the inside I would just be creating more friction with the fabric jutting out and getting in the way and possibly holding up some bags from coming down. So I tediously began a zig-zag stitch on EVERY SEAM to tack them down. I am told that the process is the important part in sewing. I still don't have the patience to believe it. It's all about the end product, baby!

A zig-zag stitch to tack down my seams

Once finished I put the right sides together and sewed it shut! How exciting! It was practically a bag! As I was tying the bottom ribbon shut, which would allow bags to be pulled out but not fall out, Neti helped hold the top of it for stability (I'm sure).

Neti's seal of approval

 Once tied up I added a loop to the top made out of the cat fabric so I could hook it to our industrial shelf next to the washer and drier. So it is practically in the same place as that messy mound of bags but now when you whip open the laundry door it's a splash of color and an organized way of doing of things. Music to my ears.

Want a bag? Just pull!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Table Numbers Project + Yoga Sweater Project

I FINISHED! I love finishing projects and just standing back to look at them. This one is especially exciting because I officially am over doing handwork for awhile. I'm ready for a sewing project. With the wedding a mere five weeks away and counting and with a July schedule filling up to ensure everything is finished in time I am happy to have these finished. So again in case you think I'm crazy these are the table numbers for the wedding. Each one is a different fabric all hand-trimmed in light pink embroidery floss in a simple hand stitch. I made 13, hoping I have no more tables than just that. I have some extras waiting in the wings but figured this should be enough. Otherwise (Maid of Honor Devon) we will be whipping some out just before the wedding. 

Behold the work of my hands! All 13 lined up for show.

And of course Neti had to get involved, as she usually does. Really I think she just likes to chew on the strand of my camera wristlet. Regadless, I think she approves of my handiwork (haha, get it?! I made them by hand?!)

So now that I'm finished with the Table Numbers Project I needed to move on to a new one. I recently had a friend who just had a baby and I will be meeting sweet little Liam for the first time at Christmas. He'll be a whole six months old by then but I figure he should have a properly quilted baby blanket. And I'm in the mood for a sewing project. My last quilt project was such a long time ago I figured I should start a new one. I NEED one. Do you ever get that feeling? I want to piece and block and quilt. (le sigh)

So I have been geeking out on Moda Bakeshop's blog. It's AMAZING (and free). And I found two baby quilt ideas. Two you ask? Well, my dearest friend Becky just called me yesterday to let me know she's pregnant!! Well, since I'm making one for Liam I should make one for her's too, right? Plus, I figure since I have 9 months I should may as well tack on a baby sweater and hat and booties that are knit. But the wedding is coming up!!! Plus I am having major problems finding the Charm Packs and Layer Cakes needed for those quilts. I've gone to three quilt shops and come up with zilch. So I grabbed an old knit project I haven't touched in ages, due to being derailed by wedding projects and worked my way through it. Plus, I kinda want to wear it already. Here's what it will look like once finished (p.s. I am not making the leg warmers, it's not the 80's anymore).

Tools: Yarn (Premier Yarns Serenity Sport Weight)- 4 skeins- Cafe au Lait colorway
          Needles (size 10 and 11 to fit the needed gauge with this yarn)
          Scissors and Patience

The pattern is wicked easy and I pulled it for free off of Ravelry. If you are a knitter and you are not on Ravelry you are a crazy person! It's amazing!! Plus, I get to keep track of what I'm working on and some yarn shops are so nice that they let you get on your Ravelry account in the store to make sure you have the needles you need for your newest project. So last night while watching an Austrailan horror movie called The Tunnel (really good and really scary) I finished the back panel. Below is the look.

And of course Neti had to try it out. So while I'm searching for fabric for the baby quilts and awaiting the fast approaching wedding date I will only dream of quilting. Let me tell you when I get back from our honeymoon I'm going to have those quilts finished so fast your head will spin! That's how bad I want to sew right now.