Week 29/2018: What am I quilting?

I’ve finally started quilting the quilt for which I made this backing. Originally I had planned some simple lines, spaced quite far apart. I changed my mind though after buying a new sewing machine! Several weeks ago, I brought my sewing machine in for a repair job and since I was already in the shop I took the opportunity to test some fancy sewing machines as well. I decided to buy the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400. It offers a lot more harp space, 28 versus 16.5 cm on my Janome 3160. It also has the walking foot option included and this works soooooo much better than the walking foot on the 3160. The stitches are much more even, things move much smoother (possibly also because of the extra harp space). Anyway, this much more enjoyable walking foot quilting experience made me decide to try a much denser quilting pattern for a change. The lines so far are only ½ and 1 inch apart.

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I do wonder whether it would have been better to use a more neutral thread for this denser quilting pattern. I picked the thread when I still had a lot less lines planned and perhaps I should have reconsidered this choice as well because it does stand out quite a bit.

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Completed: Two Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tees

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Yes, there are alpacas on my t-shirt! We’ve been experiencing some uncharacteristically good weather for the past month or so and with it came the desire for some fresh new t-shirts.

I downloaded Maria Denmarks Kirsten kimono tee pattern in early 2013 (I just saw that there was a pattern update in September 2013 but I used the earlier version which apparently has a slightly different sizing). You can get the pattern for free by signing up for her newsletter.

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I believe I finally printed and assembled the pattern sometime in 2015 but somehow never got around to actually making it. During my recent sewing room clean up it turned up again and it was just what I needed.

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I made a size S without alterations and I am happy with how it fits. For my first version I used a solid rayon knit fabric that I still had in my stash to test fit and the alpaca version is a cotton knit fabric I found in a local fabric store. I really like the background colour. The alpacas are not really what I would ordinarily choose to wear, but I quite like them too.

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The top only requires 75cm of fabric and I can make one in 1.5 hour or so using my overlocker and coverstitch machines. If the good weather continues I may end up sewing another one!

Week 27/2018: What’s (almost) on my design wall?

I think we probably all have some fabrics in our stash that we’re reluctant to cut into because we want to save it for something special. Several years ago I bought two fat quarter bundles with Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons and so far I’ve only enjoyed looking at them. That is going to change though! I bought some additional yardage in the eucalyptus colourway and am now in the process of deciding which of the fat quarters to combine it with.

The quilt this fabric will turn into is bound to bring me even more pleasure than the stacks of bundled up fabrics so it’s stupid not to use it.

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Ikea hack: How to create a mobile pegboard storage unit from the Raskog cart and Skadis pegboard

Over the past two years or so my sewing room has turned into a bit of a mess. I am not a very tidy person by nature and the mess started to annoy even me. Now that I am using my room again on a much more regular basis (hurray!) things needed to change so I can make the most out of my limited sewing time. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how to optimize the room and I have now found a solution for two of my main problems:

  • Not having a set storage space for all those things that are used on a daily basis such as rulers, scissors, rotary cutters and pins. As a result I kept moving them from cutting table, to sewing table, to ironing board, to the floor and back to the cutting table, etc.. and often couldn’t find something that I desperately needed.
  • I tend to work on several things at the same time and I don’t want to stuff these works in progress into a cabinet because I may forget about them if I don’t see them lying around, but at the same time it’s not ideal to keep moving piles of unfinished projects around the room.
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Tadaa! Sometimes, even I am amazed at the things my mind comes up with.

From looking at a lot of sewing room pictures there are two things that are being used by a lot of people that seemed to have potential as a solution for my problems. The Ikea Raskog utility cart and pegboards. The Raskog looked useful since it can be moved around and it would be great as a temporary storage unit for works in progress, but it would not change the storage issue I have with my large quilting rulers, these are 60 cm long, while the cart is only 35×45 cm. Pegboards look really useful for storing rulers, but the one thing my sewing room lacks is empty wall space. Really, the only decent amount of wall space that I have is already in use by my design wall, and no way am I sacrificing that for a pegboard.

So, I had carts and pegboards on my mind and was thinking how it would be great to be able to hang my rulers from the Raskog cart since it’s 72 cm high. I then saw that the Ikea Skadis pegboard has a connector accessory that enables you to attach it to a table top instead of a wall and I realized that it might very well be possible to use this to attach the pegboard to the smaller side of the Raskog cart which would solve both problems in one go. My husband’s initial reaction when I told him that I planned to attach the pegboards I had bought to the cart that I was still assembling was “Whaaaaaaaat?!?”, but hey, I was right, it totally works and it is really easy!

So, today I have a tutorial so you can make your own mobile pegboard storage unit for your sewing room (or any other hobby I suppose) by combining two Ikea products, the Raskog utility cart and Skadis pegboard!

Materials

I’ve added the Ikea product numbers so you can easily find them on the Ikea website of your own country, links are to the US website since I expect most people that found this blog are able to read English.

  1. 1x Ikea Raskog ultility cart (white: 203.829.32, beige: 202.718.92, black: 903.339.76 or dark blue: 304.017.89)
  2. 2x Ikea Skadis pegboard 36×56 cm or 14 1/4×22’’ (white: 503.208.05 or wood: 703.471.73)
  3. 2x Ikea Skadis connector (2/pack, so you have 4 in total) (white: 103.207.89 or black: 703.207.91)
  4. 1x Ikea Fixa stick on floor protector set (241.556.00)
  5. 2x (white) tie wrap (I used ridiculously long ones, but 25 cm/10” is probably long enough)
  6. 4x screws/bolts, size M4, 10-12 mm length is probably ideal.
  7. Ikea Skadis accessories of your choice. On my pegboard I used:

Method

Step 1: Assemble your Raskog trolley according to Ikea’s instructions.

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Step 1: I decided to use the white cart with the white pegboard to make it appear that these 2 products really belong together.

Step 2: Stick a large circle of the Fixa floor protector set on each of the 4 Skadis connectors. There are 4 large circles in a pack so that works out great (we still had a pack at home with only 3 of the large circles left so I used some of the smaller ones on one of the connectors, this also worked). The connectors are made of metal and so is the Raskog cart. The felt protectors prevent scratching and also make it a bit easier to attach the connectors firmly.

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Step 2

Step 3: Attach the connectors to the pegboards, in the pegboard use the holes in the 4th column from the sides and on the connectors use the lower set of holes. Otherwise use the Ikea instructions.

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Step 3 and 4: The left picture shows the side that will be facing the cart. The right picture shows the side that will be facing out.

Step 4: Each pegboard comes with 2 plastic spacer units that are normally used to make sure the pegboard hangs some distance from the wall. These are now used to make sure the pegboards end up in a good vertical position and an equal distance away from the cart baskets. The spacers should be attached to the same side as the part of the connectors that sticks out (see pictures). The screws that came with the pegboards have already been used to attach the connectors so this is where you need the 4 extra screws or bolts. They should end up positioned in the 9th column so that the top one touches the middle basket and the lower one the lower basket (and not the bolts that were used to attach the baskets to the cart). On both sides I attached the top one in the 9th hole from the bottom, but the lower one is in the 1st hole on one side and in the 3rd hole on the other side. Apparently my bottom basket ended up a bit lopsided even though I am pretty sure I followed the assembly instructions correctly. Simply try out what fits best before you firmly screw on your spacers.

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Step 4: The plastic spacer and on the left the screw that it came with that you already used to attach the connector and on the right the bolt that I used instead. It’s much shorter than the original but this is fine.

Step 5: Attach the pegboards to the cart, this works best if you lay the cart on the floor so that the pegboard is horizontal. The spacers should end up exactly in the middle of the cart, you can use the bolts that were used to attach the baskets as a guide. Screw the connectors lightly to the cart. Test whether you can swivel both wheels of the cart. If you can’t, your pegboard is not centred correctly and you should reposition it. If you are happy with the placement, screw the connectors on tightly.

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Step 5 Please note how I positioned the white plastic part of the screw so that there is enough space for the wheel to swivel.

Step 6: Use the tie wraps to attach the pegboard to the cart just above the second spacer unit. Position the closure so that it doesn’t get in the way when you put things in the basket and cut off the extra bit. Neglecting to add the tie wrap will result in a pegboard that topples forward as you hang things from it because the connectors were made to attach things to something square like a table and not to something round like this cart. With the tie wrap attached, the whole thing becomes really sturdy and everything will stay in place perfectly.

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Step 6

Step 7: Attach your chosen accessories to the pegboard and fill it up with tools, notions and projects.

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Step 7

Step 8: Enjoy a better organized sewing experience!

 Some things to keep in mind

It is possible that not all of the Ikea products that I used are available in your country. I saw, for example, that in the US the Raskog cart does not come in white so you may have to use a different colour.

The Skadis pegboard has oblong shaped holes while most pegboards I’ve seen have round holes. As a result you may not be able to attach other accessories than the Ikea ones to this pegboard. Since the pegboards are not very large this did not really seem like a big problem to me since Ikea has several useful accessories, but you should realize this in case you have something very specific in mind.

Adding the pegboards does change the dimensions of the Raskog cart. The width doesn’t change that much, it goes from 35 to 36 cm, but the length increases quite a bit, depending on what you attach to it. If you only attach hooks and clips it changes from 45 to around 53 cm, if you add containers to both sides like I did, it goes easily up to 68 cm. It is, of course, possible to only add a pegboard to one side or to only use the containers on one side and hooks on the other side which limits the increase in length.

On my cart I am now using the storage bag and roll holder to store my rulers. After assembling the whole thing I realized that the long rulers could also hang from the pegboard if a hook is placed in the middle column of the pegboard so the bottom of the ruler doesn’t touch the wheels of the cart. However, the holes in my rulers do not work with the white hooks that I have because they’re not deep enough. Ikea also has black hooks that are a bit differently shaped (703.216.39), I think these may work with my Omnigrid rulers, but I currently don’t have these hooks so I am not entirely certain. I’ll probably pick them up next time I’m at Ikea but that will take some time since we don’t live next door.

I advise against using the shelf accessory since things are bound to topple off when you move the cart around…

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So, are you dashing off to Ikea to make your own mobile pegboard storage unit? If you do, I’d love to see a picture of your unit in use!

Completed: A wedding tie and corsage

Last week I showed you the jacket I made to wear to my wedding, today I am showing you my husband’s tie and corsage.

I researched tie making for a bit and bought the PDF of David Page Coffin’s “Custom making neckties at home” booklet. If you do plan to make your own tie I can greatly recommend getting this as I found it very useful for making the tie pattern and constructing the tie.

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It was a time consuming project. Several years ago they had to make a tie in the Great British Sewing Bee and I believe they had 2 hours or so to complete it. I am not surprised most (perhaps even all?) of the contestants did not finish in time. I did do some trial pieces first for sewing the tip section of the blade to make sure I really understood all the steps when I was making the final tie.

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The outer fabric is the same as what I used to make my jacket. This was not ideal as it has a bit of stretch to it. I used a wool tie canvas interfacing and I think this worked well. For the lining I used a piece of quilting cotton.

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I also made corsages for my husband and our families. These were created by cutting 8 fabric circles which were then folded in half twice and then  the bottom of the circles were stitched together to form the flower (for a tutorial click here). I then glued the flowers to a felt circle using fabric glue. The felt circle was glued to another circles with a magnet in between the two pieces. The magnet was used to attach the corsage without having to pin through expensive suits and dresses.

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I didn’t have a bouquet because I didn’t want to have to drag it around all day. To me it didn’t really make sense to give our family a corsage with real flowers when I wasn’t carrying any. By making the corsages from the same fabric as my jacket and my husband’s tie we did have a link to what our families were wearing.

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Picture take by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

 

Families belong together

familiesbelongtogetherTo the president of the United States,

The current practice of the United States government of splitting up parents from their young children as they enter the United States to seek asylum is not ok. It is cruel and will result in a generation of traumatized children.

As a parent of a young child this practice breaks my heart. My child is scared of strangers, even when she can still see me. I cannot imagine how these young children in your country must currently feel, not knowing when and if they will be reunited with their parents.

Claiming that your political opponents force you to separate children from their parents is not ok. Your political opponents are not splitting up families, you are. You have the power to reunite them, you have the power to prevent this practice from happening again. You are like a boy on the playground saying that it’s not his fault that he hit all the girls in his class, the other boy didn’t want to let him play with his toy car, so clearly it is that boy’s fault? No, Mr. President, it is not.

If you know a cruel practice is going on in your country and you have the power to stop this practice, but instead you sit back and do nothing, you are negligent. History will judge your actions.

Best,

Emmely

 

I may not have the power to reunite these families, but I do have a sewing machine, so I stitched my protest. I decided to start with Amnesty International’s slogan for their campaign against this cruel practice. Will you join me?

Apparently Trump has said that he is going to change the current practice, but it is still unclear how, and until all children are reunited with their families and no more new families are split up it remains important that people continue to voice their protest.

Have no fear that this blog will turn into some kind of political blog, the rest of my protests will from now on be stitched to my brand new Instagram account.

Week 25/2018: What’s on my design wall?

For my Cherrywood quilt I auditioned several background colours using Photoshop and decided on dark blue. I’ve now attached the fabric on all sides and I’m pretty happy with the result. It still needs some squaring up and I’m debating how much I am going to chop off the bottom. It currently measures about 130×230 cm. I know people make much larger quilts than this but to me this feels ginormous and I’m somewhat dreading the quilting stage…. Perhaps if I use a really thin and lightweight batting it will still be enjoyable?

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Curious what this top looked like without the border?