Saturday, September 21, 2013

I guess I'm officially a quilter?

Mom and I went on a trip up to Pickens last weekend to see a Fiber Arts show at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History. Lots of familiar names, and not just the two we've seen at recent guild meetings.

On the way back we stopped in Easley for lunch. Of course, they lured Mom in with the antique stores. I have a feeling the cafe we ate at could've been a bar and we still would have eaten there because it was between two antique stores.

Antique store 1 I didn't look around in too much. They had a no bag policy and I wasn't stuffing my camera bag in their little lockers. Before I got caught I did spot a toy for Mom to look at. Sure enough, it came home with us. Meet Josephina, a 1948 Featherweight. A really good price and Mom did get it working. It just needs a good tune up.

Next, it was my turn to get in trouble (not THAT much, though). There's a reason I've been trying to stay out of antique stores for YEARS now. The 2nd antique store did not have a bag policy so I could roam at will. On the second floor I found this quilt I ended up buying. I have no background, but I like the fabric in some of the blocks. I have no idea what I'll do with it, either.

The sashing is definitely put on by machine. The button hole stitching around the petals was done by hand, but the petals have also been stitched on with a machine. Some look like they were stitched on before the button holing and some after. In a few places, the button hole stitches are missing or coming apart..

Want to see the blocks?

row 1 block 1

row 3 block1

row 3 block 3. This is the fabric I like the best.

row 3 block 4

row 4 block 1

row 4 block 2, my favorite fabric again

row 3 block 2

row 3 block 1

row 2 block 4

row 2 block 3

row 1 block 2

row 2 block 2

row 2 block 1

row 1 block 1

row 1 block 4

row 1 block 3

So that's my "new" quilt. Like I said, not sure what I'll do with it but it's mine.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How to Make a Hedgie Bag

With the addition of a 3rd hedgehog into my house I've found myself having to make new hedgie bags. The ones the boys like the best are getting a bit worn and the rest are either too big or too small. I took one of the "favorites" and did some measurements to make sure I got the size right. I've had folks ask how I make these, so I decided to do a blog post about it.

My hedgie bags are made out of 100% cotton. I use cotton flannel for the inside and regular cotton fabric for the outside. While I do use fleece in their cages, I don't like making the bags out of fleece. I try to have a minimum of seams and very little thread for the hedgies to find. They can get their nails caught in loops of thread, so no decorative stitching please.

I try to pick darker fabrics for the outside, but don't always have some on hand. Hedgies are nocturnal, have poor eyesight, and are sensitive to sunlight. Lighter fabrics can let more light into the bags. My first hedgehog, Ender, would hesitate sometimes before entering his bag if he could see light coming through the pattern on the fabric.

Anyway, start with cotton fabric. 1 yard of flannel + 1 yard of cotton fabric, carefully cut, will make 3 hedgie bags.

Cut your fabrics into 1 long piece, 12" x 25". I like to use June Taylor cutting tools, so I cut my fabric when folded

In this picture I've kept the fabric folded the way it came off the bolt and just folded it over one more time. I then cut the fabric in to 12" segments. This is the width.

In this picture is one of the segments from above, turned sideways and unfolded once so there are two layers. I measured from the fold (on the left) and cut it at 12.5". This is your height.

Do this to your flannel pieces and your regular cotton fabric

Now it's time to sew.

Turn your pieces right sides together and sew up each side. I sew from the fold up with a 1/2" seam. At the top and bottom I backstitch a couple stitches to keep it from unraveling.

You should have two inside out little sacks. Take the flannel one and turn it right side in. Now, stuff it into the cotton fabric sack. It should look a bit like this: 

Next, you need to pin the top edges together, making sure to match the side seams together.

More sewing. Pick a spot that is NOT one of the seam lines and sew around the top of the bag. DON'T sew it closed. Leave a opening big enough to fit two fingers. About 2 inches? Use a 1/2" seam again and backstitch again at the beginning and end of the sewing.

Now for the fun part. You get to reach in the hole and pull the whole thing through the hole. Huh? You ask. Trust me, it works.

try to grab a corner to pull through first
pull the WHOLE thing through

You're almost there!The next step is to push the flannel back inside to make the inside of the bag.

Now it's time to sew up the hole. Line the folded edges together. Sometimes I pin them together so they don't wiggle. Now for the sewing. I sew as close to the edge of the bag as possible, starting about 1/2" before the opening and going 1/2" on the other side. Once again, backstitch at the beginning and end and you are done!

You now have a completed hedgie bag! 

Of course, the next thing you get to do is throw it in the washing machine. You've got to get all that sizing out. If you have some dirty hedgehog laundry (towels, liners, fleece, other bags) wash them together. I try to get the bag to smell as familiar as the old bags. The flannel part will probably come out in the wash. As annoying as it is to stuff it back in, you know it's clean.

With ALL of my hedgies I have to wash their bags 2-3 times before they'll take to them. I try every time after the first wash, but they all go in, sniff around and then poop or pee in the bag. Be prepared :-)

Ender and Calvin (RIP)