Monday, November 28, 2011

Please go vote for me!

My Emily Knitting Bag is a finalist for the final month of Stitched in Color's Celebrate Color event. So I need your help! I got close with my red riding hood pouch last month, but this time I really think I deserve to win. Why???

The Emily Bag is purely of my own pattern, made specifically for a good friend. That means that I put a lot of heart and soul into it and I gave it away when I was done! And was happy to do so because Em loves it. I put lots of care into the details and I'm really proud of what I created.

So, if you agree, please go vote for me (please please?) at:

Stitched in Color, under the "wearables" category - look for Junebug's Emily Knitting Bag!

Thanks everybody!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


thankful for...

Big family sleepovers: Four generations, 15 people, one roof.

95th birthdays, and being able to celebrate them with the important ones.

Two girls, 21 hours in the car, and no DVD player. They are troupers!

Turkey. Cherry Pie. Asian Pears.

New babies.

And a hug that feels like it came from the whole world.

It was a nice holiday this year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best Friend Tote (a tutorial)

I'd say it's been a long time since I did a tutorial. So here is a great one for the holiday season. This tute is called the "Best Friend Tote" because it is just that - a very nice tote you can make for your best friend in just a couple of hours. It will utilize her (or his!) favorite colors and a bit of linen to make just the best bag ever.

1/2 yard of linen (if you buy 54" linen, you will get exactly two bags out of it!)
1/2 yard lining fabric
scraps that will equal up to a 3 1/2 x 15" strip, in your best friend's favorite colors (what?! you don't know your BFF's fave colors? Go find out.)
37" of 20" wide interfacing, lightweight
1/4 inch seams unless otherwise noted

Okay, now do the fun part first! Piece together those fun pretty wonderfully colorful scraps together... press your seams outward... and then trim it up so that it measures 3.5" x 15"... Fun. Admire it. Set it aside.

And go ahead and cut all your other materials. You'll need:
For the main body of the bag:
3 x 15" linen
24 x 15" linen
3 1/2 x 15" scrap piece (yay you, you just did that!)
For the strap:
3 x 27" linen
2 3/4 x 27" lining fabric (just slightly less wide than the linen strip)
For the lining
30 x 15" fabric that coordinates with your scraps
30 x 15" for the body of the bag

Cutting note: If you buy 1/2 yard of 54" linen, cut it along the fold line. You should now have 2 pieces that are 18" x 27"... Cut 3" off the long side - that will be your strap piece. Then cut 3" off the remaining short side - that will be the "top" of your bag above your scrap piece. No waste!

Okay. Got all your pieces? Good. Now onto the strap...

Take the 3 x 27" linen and lining strips, and iron them down the middle. Then iron each side into the middle - just like making bias tape, but you'll end up opening the center and ironing it flat. You've just ironed the two edges toward the center of the strip:

Put the two folded sides together (aka - put the wrong sides together), and topstitch along each side to form the strap. Use a nice contrasting thread to make it look special! And look at that, no need for turning it right side out - it already is! Note that I use a walking foot to do this step - it keeps all the layers together without buckling and twisting the material, and no need for pinning this way.

Now we'll assemble the outside of the bag.
Take the scrap strip that you've pieced and trimmed... sew on the 3 x 15" piece, and then the 27 x 15" piece... press your seams toward the linen... and then topstitch on the linen side:

Iron on the interfacing, fold in half, wrong sides together, and iron across the bottom:

Now fold in right sides together, and sew up each side. This will give you a basic tote shape. With the bag still inside out, we'll box the bottom by pinching the corners - push the side seam so that it rests along the bottom ironed center fold, and sew a line 1.5" in from the corner:

Trim the corners you just sewed, flip the thing right side out, press the side seams, and you should have this:

The lining part is easy - just take your 30 x 15" piece of lining fabric, fold in half, press the bottom fold, sew up the sides, box and sew the corners - all just like the outside shell! You should now have an inner lining piece that looks exactly like the bag above, except it is in lining fabric.

Assemble your bag:
Place the outer bag (right side out) inside the lining (which is wrong side out). You're essentially putting the bags together right sides facing. Tuck the strap inbetween the outer and the lining, taking care to put the linen side of the strap toward the linen outer, and the lining side of the strap toward the lining: (don't twist the strap!)

Pin along the top edge, placing each end of the strap centered on either side of the bag, the strap should be inbetween the linen and the lining layers:
looking from here, bag lining, lining side of strap, linen side of strap, linen bag...

back side of pinning

pinned top edge - ignore the hardware and pocket sticking out of this pic. i added them to my bag but not to this tute!

Sew all the way around the top edge with a 1/2" seam. All the way around! Good job.

Now? Go get your seam ripper and rip a 2-3" section of one of the side seams, near the bottom of the bag, so that you can flip the whole assembly inside out. Like this:
yup. your bag is being birthed through that hole.

it should look like this once you've flipped it all the way through that little seam ripped hole

Once you've confirmed that everything is where it should be, sew the seam-ripped hole closed from the right side, with a very small seam allowance:

Push the lining into the outer linen bag, and press along the top seam:

Topstitch along the top of the bag:

And you're done! Go give that nifty bag to your bff - they'll love it!

** Please use this tutorial for personal use only, gifting to friends and family, etc. Please give credit back to me (Junebug!) when showing off the bag/tute online. Thanks for respecting my work :) **

Linking up to Pink Chalk, Sew Modern Monday, Inspire me Monday, Just Something I whipped up, Made by you Monday, Take a Look Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Sew Cute Tuesday, Tute in Tuesday, and Fabric Tuesday...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do the right thing

Being a parent is sometimes excruciatingly hard, and I'm sure I haven't even been through the worst yet. But if there is way for Mira to go to sleep without struggle, I will do it. After 6 days of trying to trick and cajole her into being comfortable in her bed with no pacifier, she is peacefully and quietly sleeping with a brand new one in her mouth. Giving it back is better than the increasing level of anxiety she was having for nightnight time, and it bumps the sanity level back up a notch. I'm going to channel my mother in law on this one and repeat... she will not go to college with the thing. it is OK. it is OK.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I am loved

First, my wonderful husband wrote at little ditty to nominate me for the Blueberry Hill Sewing Retreat...

June parents - 2 young girls
June cooks - delicious, healthy food

June cleans - up after us
June entertains - friends and family
June smiles - almost all the time

June runs - couch-to-5k!
June loves - her family
June wields - an ivy leage engineering degree
June inspires - everyone she meets
June blogs - about sewing and family

June devours - sewing blogs

June swaps - fabric, crafts, and chocolate on flickr

June etsys - is that a verb?
June sews - all by herself :(
June needs - a weekend sewing getaway

Then, he encouraged me to go to my second show ever, when a last minute table opened up at a church bazaar....

And while I was working at the show, he went out and bought me a case of one of my favorite edibles...

... as my friend Heather said... "He sounds like a good one." Yup. He is :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

the Color Purple

You know what? I love the color purple. Not the movie, the actual color (although I hear that movie is pretty good). So when I heard about this little mini quilt challenge, I went after one of my favorite peices of scrap fabric and went all out purple. Purplicious if you will.

Mini quilt1

I LOVED this idea of mini quilts as skill builders. I went for a basic log cabin since I was short on time, and did my first scrappy binding. I need to work on my bindings, for sure, but it came together all right and I got to use yet another decorative stitch to finish the binding.

Mini Quilt2

One of my flickr/internet/invisible friends calls me the straight stitching beast and this mini is no exception - lots of straight lines and I actually measured them apart instead of going free form :)

Thanks for the inspiration to go for it, amylouwho!

I'm also linking this up to Celebrate Color, my favorite contest of the season ;)
Celebrate Color

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I wasn't ready

When Lili was born, we were anti pacifier. She became a thumb-sucker and only recenly (within the last 6 months) gave it up.

After Mira was born, we needed some sanity from the constant crying (screaming). So at about 3 weeks old, we ditched all former preconceived notions and popped in a pacifier.

It worked, and has worked ever since. Mira's been a great sleeper, and probably finds her paci in her bed when she wakes in the night. She loves it, and calls it her cha-cha.

Today... after her nap... she said she wanted to throw her chachi's into the garbage. After taking a moment to explain to her what this meant - she went ahead and did it anyway.

The pediatrician told me this might happen - Mira's a smart and stubborn girl and so if she decides to do it don't question her.

But at bedtime tonight (*tear*)... "I need my chacha. I don't want my chacha in the garbaaaaagggeeee!!!!". Sorry girl, it's a done deal. Apparently now I need to give you 5-7 days to settle into a new sleep pattern and if that doesn't work? I will gladly buy you new chachis.

Yup, I posted a picture of my garbage can. Yup, we indulge in Halloween candy. Evidence right next to the discarded chachis."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Emily Knitting Bag

I have this beautiful friend named Emily. She's one of my besties, and so when she requested a knitting bag I decided to go all out. And I mean ALL OUT! She and I collaborated on the design process, and the end result is stunning:

Emily likes rich deep hues, and she needed a pretty big bag to house all her knitting works in progess. She reported to me while I was in the construction phase that her yarny projects were littered about her house in plastic bags. Like a hobo. So she was pleased to find out how roomy this bag is.

Inside there are two large pockets to hold various sundries: a needle case, a few stray balls of yarn, a snack or maybe a little bottle of wine...

The outside back boasts two large flat pockets for patterns or her wallet. Emily is the cause for my recent obsession with leather handles, and I made good use of them on this super sturdy bag. This bag is no fewer than 4 layers thick and stands up on it's own.

Doesn't she look great with the bag? Everyone said... Oooohhh that bag is so Emily! And it's true. It looks good on her :)

This bag has been a highlight of sewing for me so far. It's all of my own design, and it's made with a lot of heart and passion - it helps that I made it for someone I really admire. Therefore, I'm submitting it to the final month of Celebrate Color and hoping it's well received!

Celebrate Color

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Today... a little glimpse into my sewing workspace. I'm lucky to have a really large space to work in - it is the downstairs room of our house, which is a guest room, playroom, sewing studio. I take up about half the room with my workshop.

I have a little design table where I put my works in progess, and where I sketch out designs. You can see that there is some storage of display peices for shows. Right now I have both of my sewing machines out which makes it look particularly impressive, but one of the machines is covering the fabric cutting area.

Right now there is a big stack of kid Tshirts on the chair behind my sewing chair. I'm cranking through them for an upcoming holiday market, but really I wish I was sewing something more fun... in the corner you see the ironing board, which is always set up.

You know what I'd love though? Some better organization. Wouldn't we all? At least it is bright and cheery down there, and I can make it as warm as I like!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Well, you'd think I mean sergers, but I don't.

I'm slowly preparing myself for the fact that Mira is in fact not a baby anymore. She turned two last weekend, and she knows it. So when I asked if she'd like me to cut her hair, she was all for it. She sat down in her "birthday chair" and fully cooperated while I trimmed her scraggly baby locks.

before: a hairdo all her own

In progress: a good two inches (or more?)

after: a nice neat haircut her Puo Puo would be proud of

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Other Mail

Some of the other mail in the box yesterday...

Some ahhhmazing fabric from Japan... a great little etsy shop called Beautiful Work has an incredible selection of hard to find Japanese fabrics - cute zakka stuff, matroyshka dolls, kokka, and look at that wonderful Alice in Wonderland print! I bought some of this to use for my Goodie Bag Swap partner, and some because it's so adorable I can't pass it up... I have noticed that stateside, Fabricworm sells some of these prints, so check out both those stores if you're interested in great Japanese fabric.

Musings on Swaps

There was a LOT of mail in my mailbox yesterday... Among the packages was my surprise Pretty Little Pouch!

PLP (R3) - Recieved

Along with the dome pouch was a cute little bird pincusion, and a FQ of Ty Pennington fabric. Which I didn't have, and which I have admired.

This is the 5th swap package I have received. I have participated in three rounds of A Little Fabric A Little Chocolate, one round of For the Love of Solids, and this has been my first round of Pretty Little Pouch.

I've had really wonderful experiences with all of my ALFALC swaps. I think this is largely due to the fact that partners are not "secret"... We are notified and are able to communicate with each other throughout the swap window. I like this for a lot of reasons... Partners get to know each other, and can really get a sense for what you'd like in your swap package.

I have also enjoyed participating in the "secret" swaps (FLOS, and PLP), but it's been a really different experience than in the open swap. For one thing, it really makes you work to create a mosaic that represents yourself. For another, it really opens up the mind to some inspiration and creativity: you're really working outside your typical box to work within someone else's mosaic. What I don't love is not being able to openly communicate with your partner, and therefore not really getting to know someone else all that well. I have also found that swapping this way tends to garner something totally unexpected - sometimes for the good, and sometimes not so much.

Anyway, even though my husband thinks I should stop doing swaps (he thinks I nitpick too much), my overall experience with them has been great. I've learned more about myself and my sewing, and I enjoy sending off a little parcel that I hope someone else appreciates.