Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Did Someone Say Snow?

From Sunday morning until Monday, we got 28 cm of snow. That was not as much as they got on the East Coast, but still, a lot.

This morning we got up just as a "snow squall" was beginning.

We got 10 cm of snow in about 90 minutes. It was the light fluffy kind, just right for snow angels.

On days like this, we all wonder why we even get out of our nice warm beds.

My twenty minutes of sewing pledge took a bit of a hit, this weekend. I caught a cold, and decided that colds were more suited to knitting than sewing. So, I started a pair of socks and a pair of mittens. No picture, because I don't have a lot of progress on either.

However, today, I got back into the groove.

I continued working on my tree skirt, on the Singer 15-91.

It isn't my finest work, as I get used to using the machine, but it passes the three foot rule, so, since the final destination is on the floor, under the Christmas Tree, I am sure it will be fine, and a good piece to practice on. The old Singer is a joy to work with. It runs really smoothly (thanks to the expert cleaning it got last winter), and it doesn't even notice when it crosses a seam. A few more days, and it will be ready for binding.

Last spring, I finished knitting my Eyre of Romance Jane Shawl.

It has been sitting here, since. I knit it as a way to improve my short row knitting. I didn't really have any idea what I would do with it next. The Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project is having a fundraising auction, on Facebook. I have decided to donate the shawl to them. So, today, I finally blocked the shawl.

It will head off to Lyndhurst, hopefully tomorrow, via Canada Post.  The shawl is a Merino and Cashmere blend, lovely and soft, just the thing for reading Charlotte Bronte, by the fire. If you are interested in the shawl, or any of the other lovely artisan offerings they will have, be sure to follow them on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Adventures in Sewing

I have owned 5 sewing machines. My first was a White machine. It did straight stitch, zigzag, and if you held your mouth right, a blind hem. It had a buttonholer, but I never really got along with it. I bought it with the proceeds of a summer working as a camp counsellor. The machine weighed a ton, and I lugged it with me, to university and on my coop job placements, unless I had to use the plane to get to my placement. I used it to sew my clothes, including numerous formals and bridesmaid dresses. We were very close.

When I was a woman of independent means, I bought a Beaumark machine. It was much lighter then the White, and it had electronic speed control. When you stepped on the foot pedal, it started to sew. I used it to make baby clothes, children's clothes, costumes for my kids Halloweens and theatrical endeavors. I actually wore it out.

I added a White serger to my collection, when knit fabrics were popular. I made track suits and t-shirts, as well as 1 hour shorts. It still lives in my sewing room and serves me well, though not as often as it used to,

I then made the big plunge and replaced the Beaumark with a computerized Husqavarna. I was assured that I would not wear it out as easily. I enjoy it thoroughly. It does everything I would want a sewing machine to do. It even has an alphabet.  The only thing it doesn't do well, is handling thick fabric. This is a bit of a problem when bag making.

A couple of years ago, I found this machine, filthy dirty, at the church jumble sale.

It was originally priced at $25. Then some volunteer looked at it, declared it was a featherweight and that it was very valuable, so they changed the price to $150. I realized it was not a featherweight (the thing weighs a ton), so I volunteered to research a price. It is a Singer 15-91. According to the historic singer websites it was built in 1939, and sadly, for the church, its value is $25-$50. Armed with this information, I went back and bought it for $50. They were willing to take the original $25, but it was for charity, I paid $50.  It is a direct drive machine, which should take heavy fabrics well.

Last winter, my husband took the motor apart and got it running much more smoothly. Today, I plan to take it for a test drive, quilting the tree skirt that got lost over Christmas, when things in life went wrong. I figure that quilting the skirt in February guarantees that it will be ready for next Christmas.

Meanwhile, I finished my first sample bag for the course I am teaching.

I think it turned out well.

It has a zipper in the top.

Pockets on the inside, including one for your name badge.

The lining is a piece of "What was I thinking?" out of my stash.

The pockets are cut from more patches from the scrap of Laurel Burch.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Drop Everything 2017

For the last few years, I have tried to take the twenty minute challenge for the month of February. How hard can it be, spending at least 20 minutes every day for 28 days doing something I love? Sadly, I think we all tend to put ourselves last, so, maybe for February at least, I can try to give myself this treat.

So, for I think the fifth year in a row, here is my pledge:

I, Kate, an easily distracted sewist and quilter (squirrel),  pledge to quilt or sew for at least 20 minutes  every day of the month of February, 2017. In doing so, I hope to get something (really anything ) DONE, reducing the amount that my family will have to dispose of later. I will also endeavor,  as far as possible, to use the supplies I already have on hand, to complete my projects.  In this way, I hope to further reduce my materials at hand.

Last year I completed this bag. And it was entirely from my stash.

I obviously need a new handbag, this one is so last year.

I need to get a couple of tote bag samples finished, and today, I got off to a good start for the month.

I cut the fabric for the back of the first bag, cut some batting and did some quilting. I was looking through my thread stash and found the perfect thread. I think it followed me home from a quilt show a few years ago.

Doesn't everyone have a spool of thread in shades of hot pink, turquoise, purple, and royal blue?

It disappears on the Laurel Burch fabric.

The back of the bag is a solid piece of fabric, and I think I might have some fun and quilt the whole thing with this.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Last Friday, there was a discussion around the quilt frame about washing fabric. I suggested that it is always a good idea to wash fabrics with intense colours.

I usually try to wash my fabric as soon as it comes in the door, these days. However, when I first started my fabric collection, I was not so careful.

I finished my bag front yesterday, and this morning was looking for something to use for the back of the bag.

Since I used royal blue for the border on the front, I wanted some more royal blue.

I came up with a batik fat quarter in the same royal blue. However, it obviously hadn't been washed, so I threw it in a sink of hot water.

This is what happened as soon as I dropped it in. The water is a great match for the fabric on the front. I think I may need to rinse this, a few more times to get all the excess dye out. I will then iron it dry to heat set the colour.

So for those that asked, I always wash my fabric.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Looking for Some Brightness

The weather person tells me that winter is about half over, but it has been a very gloomy week. On the up side, it is light until nearly 5 PM now. I was looking for something to brighten my blog.

First up, my indoor plants have decided it is spring.

The amaryllis is blooming in the kitchen.

The azalea that lives in the sunroom all summer, is now blooming in the dining room. I have had this plant for about 15 years and I can't believe it still loves me enough to flower. You can see the snow behind it in the backyard.

A gerbera, that we found still alive in an outdoor planter after a significant frost, decided to brighten our lives, this week, too. It isn't even in a pot, just stuck in a convenient takeout tray.

Of course, there is this little day brightener.

Since she thought she should wake me up this morning, I thought I would wake her up to take her picture while the light is passable. She is making sure I wash those aprons before I use them again.

I am teaching a class on making a tote bag, and have been less then successful at getting my sample made and my supply list done. It must be done this week. I did make a block for the front of the tote.

Nice and bright! It was kind of an improv block using some scraps I liked. Now I need to find the rest of the fabric.

I was auditioning these fabrics, and I am not sure any of them work. Odd that with those fabrics, the hot pink looks coral. I will pull more fabric. I am determined to buy nothing!

Meanwhile, I am still working on my Advent scarf, that I started in November.

Only about 366 rows to go!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Because Cute Baby Hat

No other excuse for it. If your grandmother knits you are doomed to a lifetime of silly hats. Here is the latest.

A fox hat is being modeled by Bear.  Bear thinks it is pretty silly I am trying to turn him into a fox.

Same hat as the Pikachu, but knit in fingering on smaller needles.

The weather has been up and down. On Tuesday, I noticed this.
The water off the neighbours flat roofed garage has formed an ice column.

So, it is time for spring flowers, indoors.

Nancy, our current foster, had to give them a closer look.

Nancy is quite a girl. She was fascinated with the baby's bouncer, pushing on it while he was in it. We lifted him out, and here is what happened next.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Simple Gifts

I managed to get the Christmas decorations put away, finally. As I was packing them up, I just had to take a picture of this.

These happy little guys and girls are my Christmas tree stuffed animals. A number of years ago, my sweetie gave me a set of 12 teddy bears for the tree. My son informed me that teddies don't like to hang from their heads, so they sat on the branches, fair game for the cats to toss on the floor.

Over time, my dear ones and friends have added to my collection. This year I received 12 more. The box is full, but it is a happy, cheery box. I expect they are downstairs on the shelf, resting up for next year's frivolity. However, they might need a bigger bin next year.

I went looking for a box of baby bedding that I knew I had packed away (the risk of living in the same house too long, you know it is there, but where?). It turned up under some computer equipment, of course, because where else would you put baby bedding? In the box, I found this treasure.

It is a quilt, made for my oldest, by my mother's dearest friend.  I didn't even remember having it. It has been much used, it is lovely and soft. I guess in the years that my own babies were tiny, it just became part of the baby's stuff.

I am looking at it now with new eyes, the eyes of a quilter.

Look at the stitching! Tiny, and even, and entirely done by hand. I can hand quilt, but nothing like this. This was made by the woman who taught me to sew. Knowing her, I think she would be pleased that the quilt has been well used, and loved. This week, I will mend the worn binding. I will add a label to the back, so the next generation will know where it came from. And I will wrap the next generation in it, and tell him about the lovely lady who made it. Thank you, Ann. I am sorry you aren't around to meet my little boy.