I went to a quilt retreat two weekends ago and left the hand quilting at home. I've been itching to do more machine sewing - actually putting together small bits of fabric into larger pieces. I took along some scraps and sewed triangles that will eventually become a scrappy top. But, the project I had most fun with was a small machine applique piece. I saw on a TV sewing program a woman who teaches applique and has her students make an applique 'envelope' to hold pieces in progress without having to fold them. I thought this was a terrific idea and decided I had to make one. My first inclination was to make it out of some fruit fabric as the entry into my guild's challenge quilt this year. But, when I was looking around for a pattern for this 'applique envelope', I found these terrific cat patterns by Val Spiers. You can see her work and these designs on her blog. Immediately, I abandoned the fruit idea and decided to make these cats.
The portfolio is a little less than 14' square and will fit nicely into the plastic tote I'm using as my applique design case. I had to buy the foam core, but everything else is from my stash.
The other thing I accomplished on the retreat was to repair a shirt I had made for my mother-in-law some 10 years ago.
I did this machine applique with the flowers going over the shoulder. She gave the shirt back to me probably 2 years ago because she developed thin spots on the inside of the left sleeve. Apparently she uses that crook of her arm to carry things. I hesitated to do anything with it for a long time, but found it when I cleaned out the closet and decided it was high time to do this repair. I opened up the seam on the sleeve, drew these black eyed susans, fused them to the sleeve and did a zig zag around the edges. Just as I turned the corner on one of the middle petals, the shirt tore again. So, the lady bug was positioned created and added to the design.
Now it's done and will soon be returned to her. But, no more repairs - the rest of the shirt is too thin to work on.