Plate Cosies

This project has been on the go for ages.  I started it long before I became ill and I just never seemed to get anywhere with it.  But, now the "plate cosies "are finished.  There have been made to fit a full size dinner plate and I used this project to learn how to machine quilt straight line patterns.  Each one consists of a front and back piece, so 12 different patterns and lots of thread used.

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I used the same fabric for the back of each piece and three different fabrics for the front.  For the example in the picture above I used a serpentine stitch, which is a built in stitch on my machine.  There are so many 'fancy stitches' on machines these days I am going to experiment with these and see what I can come up with.

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Place mats and coasters are a good way to experiment and it is  time I replaced my old ones.  I don't like machine stitching nearly as much as hand work but it is still stitching.

There are lots of patterns for these cosies on the web but here is another one.

Download Plate Cosie

Still struggling with the computer

One step forward, two back.  That seems to be how my life goes at the moment.  But, I keep trying, not always successfully, or so it seems at the moment.  I am not receiving the comments to my email, but they do show up in the Typepad comments and there was an interesting reference to a tutorial on the "Elefantz" blog regarding another tutorial for the envelope bag from Alison.

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What is the saying? "A picture is worth a thousand words."  This is a nice blog with lots of interesting articles.)

There are just so many variations on this basic design.  I have another one on the go using left over strips that I cut for the binding on my 'Chicken Quilt'.  When I started the quilting I realised that it would work well with strip quilting as well for the construction. You know I did all that practice for my walking foot quilting and now can't remember any of it!!

But this is coming along nicely.

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I don't think I will decorate the seams but I need tassels.  I bet I have used all my purple threads!

Because Hand sewing is painful.

It is too, and the hand therapist tells me this could go on for some time.  So I have been exploring what I CAN do and one of those things is machine sewing.  I have just finished another quilt and sent it off to the long arm quilter and in my quest to 'do things' I have been looking back at some of my past tutorials.  I have chosen these little thread holders, although you can use them for lots of other things, like sweets and chocolates.

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I am on a mission to use up my fabric stash and although these bags are only small they make useful gifts.

This is the link to my free pattern and tutorial.

(It is in PDF format so is easy to print out.)

My mug bag

Before my run in with "The Virus" I was working on making a new mug bag to take my mug to Patchwork meetings.  As I said before I have a lovely bag that is somewhere "safe", but , not knowing where "safe" is I needed a new one.  I liked my 'lovely bag" so decided to base the design on that and as I wasn't feeling well when I started I would just use fabric I had in my stash, also, as the mug had an Australian Native Flower printed on it I would look for those kind of fabrics.

The only fabric I could find that fitted this criteria was some Furnishing Weight fabric that was printed with May Gibbs "Bush Babies".  I proceeded to 'fussy cut' out panels of this.

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Then to find the co-ordinating fabric.  Once again, only one match.  This time a small remnant of Tilda fabric I had collected but this was a light weight.

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And them I cam across some stripped fabric that matched, another weight of fabric from the other two.  I immediately knew I was going to have problems putting three different weights of fabric into a project. But, I could handle this.

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This bag design is basically a rectangle, which is then folded into three parts, the 2 sides,  and the base.  You insert the side pieces of fabric on  the base rounding of the corners to make the insersion easier, and then attach  either side of the insert to the sides of the rectangle, Add some handles and then bind the edges with a "quilters binding". " Easy Peasy"   I little more difficult when you are using different weights of fabric.

The size of my bag was dictated by those fussy cut panels but you could just use any fabric and make it the size of your mug.

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I just used a hair tie for the loop to close the top.  An elastic casing at the top of the side panel, that I cut on the fold at the top edge and then stitched the casing holds this nicely.  But if you are not fussy about seeing the underside of the fabric you could just sew an ordinary casing and save fabric.


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I would have made the bag a bit smaller if I was using other fabric but I decided to add a couple of pockets inside to hold extra things.

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So now I am all ready for when Patchwork meetings recommence.  I have enclosed a PDF drawing of the measurements I used to make this bag.

Download Jan Mug Bag

Still designing

Even though I am not teaching anymore I just can't stop designing embroideries and other things.  For my "exploring more stitches" class, which I no longer teach, I designed a book cover every year.  This is a very handy piece if you use a pen and paper diary like I do, so I got to thinking about what I would make for next year.  I got out all the past covers I have made and found I had made quite a few.  (Not all were embroidered, some were quilted.)

In amongst all these I found a small applique that I had done to test the design for an applique class, along with a piece of Indian embroidery I picked up when I was in India and some plastic wood-grain fabric,  I thought I liked.  I have no idea why I stitched that applique on the wrong side of fabric but now I can use the right side as a contrast.

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So this will be the basis of my 2023 Diary Cover.   Incidently, this is the finished cushion cover I developed from this little piece and there is a free copy of the applique if you would like it.  (This is only the drawing no instructions.)

Download Applique class

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The book marks.

As I said before, these make nice gifts and should be quick and easy but...  Maybe it was more difficult because I didn't have a pattern and I was making it up as I went along? So, here they are.


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Anyway , I have included a pattern,  Download Book mark Xmas 2022 if you are interested.

Some interesting pointers along the way were:

Keeping the hexis straight.  Those things move around!!! I folded a line down the middle but they just moved on their own.  Luckily I had cut my base fabric a bit bigger so I just cut the edges so the hexis were straight. I bought my 1/2" hexis pre-cut.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 12.17.41 pmIt is important to be consistent with the number of stitches you make along each side of the hexi, I settled on 4 as that looked the best.

Different Interfacings.

I tried 3 different weights.  The one I ended up with I don't even know the name of, it has been in the stash for years.  I think that if I had to buy one today it would be a light weight 'Parlam fusible wadding.'  (You don't want the bookmark to make a big wedge between the pages.)

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The ribbon trim.  I'm going to have to start checking Op shops for ribbons, I had to buy this one as I had non in my stash.

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The other thing I bought was a collection of 2nd hand books to put the bookmarks in before they go in the baskets.  There are lots of good cheap  2nd hand books around. 

Those bookmarks have got me thinking about other variations I could use in that design.


Just a book cover, pot holders, (I found the pattern here,) and little bags for the jams.


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This year is nearly finished so time to set up a new diary.   I thought I would play around with some scraps of fabric I had.  No real plan, just stitch and flip.  It fitted the front of my 2022 dairy so I made it into a book cover.  The other fabric I found on a fabric scrap table.  This diary if for my quilting and embroidery meetings, classes and important dates, like the dates of all my friend's birthdays.

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I had a tutorial, back years ago (2011), for this book cover.  Still works.  The only thing I have changed is that I have bound the edges of the flaps, it looks neater.

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Recycling for September

I am feeling well enough to sit at the computer for a while now.  Most of last week was spent just laying around.  My head ached so badly I just couldn't do anything much.  I think it will still take another week or so to get over my reaction to that food additive.  But I did go into the Guild and on the sale table saw this needle book that caught my attention.  It had been made out of curtain fabric with a beautiful bead used for the closing.  I have all those soft furnishing sample pieces and I thought I would see how that would make up.  I am quite pleased with the result.

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This needle book is based on a  Octagon.  Luckily I have a template that came with a book I bought years ago, but they are not hard to draw up.

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My fabric is heavier than that which was used in the original piece, so to get the finish I wanted I had to use the largest size with 3.25" edges.

I used a lighter weight patchwork fabric for the lining and some left over batting for the leaves. A bead for the closure and 3 strands of stranded cotton to make the cord.  I cut this 75" long so that there was a little extra to play with.

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I cut one main fabric and one lining and pinned these together at each of the corners.

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I then sewed these together using a .25" seam, leaving one side open to turn the piece through to the right side.  Before doing this I took a little of the fullness out by notching each point.

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After turning through I slip stitched the opening closed.  If I had used lighter weight fabric I think this could have been done when edge stitching.

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Next step was to press this really flat.  I used my water spray and a lot of steam from my iron to achieve this.

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I then edged stitched the piece using the edge of  my machine foot as a guide.

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Because the furnishing fabric is a bit lumpy I ran another line of stitching inside this to get the edge to sit flat.

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For the leave I cut a 6" circle from waste quilt wadding and marked it into 4 quarters using a water soluable pen.  I positioned this in the centre of my piece and attached this piece sewing on the marked lines.

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I started stitching at the edge of the leave, reversing at the beginning and end of each line.   Then removed the markings before ironing the piece flat.

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The next step it to fold the 2 sides into the centre and then press well with your iron.  This next step is better described in pictures rather than words.   I started with wonder clips to hold the pieces in place.

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But because of the thickness of the fabric found that clothes pegs worked better.  After this lots of steam from the iron to get it to lay flat.

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The final step was to make the cord.  I did this with 3 strands of stranded cotton using an old fashioned pencil and the door knob.  I made it long enough that one side made a loop when attached in the middle and threaded the bead on the other end. ( This is different to the original piece there they used a button and cord.)

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And it is finished.

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I intend to make these as Xmas gifts for my friends.  I like the furnshing fabric, even if it is a bit heavier.  A great way to use those swatch samples.


A bit of home organisation

All this thinking and pondering over my stitch club activities has made me not see what is under my nose.  I have missed some of the basics like making sure all the linen in the kitchen is up to scratch.   I have stepped back, tidied all the draws in the kitchen, discarded old tea towels and replace them and had a look at the hand towels.  My home is on three levels.  From the living level, where the kitchen is, I go up to the bedrooms and bathroom and down to the guest rooms, bathroom and laundry.  ( My husbands workshop and office is down here as well but that is not my concern.)

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What it does mean is that there are stairs to ascend or descend if you need to wash your hands.  Who is going to do that?  This results in the tea towels being used to dry hands.  There is nowhere to hang a hand towel so I have resorted to the type you buy in markets with the crocheted tops.  The draw back with these is that they have to be changed every day.  My solution is to make a version that suits me, and, as I need at least 7, are a lot cheaper.

I start with a packet of tea towels from the supermarket.  Five for $10, that makes me 10 hand towels.

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I cut these in half, overlock the cut edge and run two lines of machine gathering to pull the top in.

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I then do a line of double crochet with a cotton thread over the gathering.  I use a No 2 steel crochet hook, this goes through the fabric easily, and a soft cotton thread, about a 4ply.  I keep these supplies in a see through bag so they are just there if I need them.

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I don't count how many double crochet I do across the top.  This very much depends on how tight the gathering is.  But after the first row I work 2 more across the top.  It gets smaller with each pass.

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I then switch to treble crochet and  evenly decrease in the following rows until the work is the about the width I want the hanger to be.  When decreasing I do make sure I end up with an even number of stitches.  When I think it is long enough I make a button hole by working to the centre and then back to the edge.  I then return to the centre and slip stitch back down to where I began and work the other side.  This takes me back to the outer edge and I crochet all the way across again.  I then work 2 rows of treble crochet followed by 4 or 5 rows of double crochet descending at the beginning and end of each double crochet row to round the end off.

I find my biggest problem is finding the buttons, which need to be a good size, to finish off.  After this lot I am down to just one large button in my stash.  I usually source these from the Guild sale table or St. Vinnies but non of these are open at the moment.

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I find I can complete 2 towels in an hour or so.  I have tried a more sturdy hanger and although this looks nice it takes more materials and time, so this easy version is the one for me.

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in these times when hygiene is so important I feel a lot more comfortable with this.