Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Retreat - 2013

Take 13 friends (12 quilters and one needlecrafter), put them 2 hours from home (to far to go home at night), give them one large room to work in, 13 small rooms with bath for when they finally decide to go to sleep, feed them at 2 hour intervals, and you have Quilt Retreat.

We held the retreat at the Nav Centre in Cornwall, ON. The facility is beautiful, the food is good, and they give us lots of space to work. 

This was our quilting room.

I got a lot of exercise, just walking from one end to the other. It is hard to see, but at the other end are the design walls and the snack table.  Down the middle are the cutting tables, which are also used to lay out blocks. We each have 2 large tables, grouped in pairs, so we can share the extension cords.

 I am not the tidiest quilter, and as you can see, I was creating a new pile of scraps!

I started my project at about 3 PM Friday, and by noon Saturday, I had finished this much.
And by supper time, I had this.
It is my version of Karen's Maritime Beauty Table Topper. Of course I seem to have been unable to follow the colour placement suggestions that came with the quilt, but they were just suggestions, right, Karen? I cut the binding for it after supper, and packed it up to bring home and quilt.
This is my retreat mascot, Twila Rose. She has her own little quilt, and goes to retreat, even if I can't go. (She brings the JuJubes.)

The other big attraction in Cornwall, is a place called Ron's Fabrics, where they sell quilting flannels for $3.99/m. and batiks for $9.99/m. The fabric is somewhat dated, but good quality, and we all end up taking home as much unsewn fabric as we brought with us.

Now I need to make some pillow cases from the flannel.

I am linking to WIP Wednesday at the Needle and Thread Network.
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring, At Last!

We thought the pile of snow in our yard would never go, but at last, it seems to have vanished. We haven't seen snow flakes for about 5 days. Yesterday, the temperature got to 21C. Do we dare suggest that spring is here?

My Bridal Wreath Spirea has tiny leaves.

The Forsythia has come into bloom, in the yard,

Small signs, but I think it may really be spring.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

More Scraps Used!

Yesterday, when I should have been doing lots of other things, I decided that my new camera needed a case. Quilt retreat is this weekend, so I wanted to take it, and I didn't want the screen to get scratched.

A Sensible Person would take a couple of pieces of fabric, put some batting in between, sew it together, and done.  Sensible is who I am in my paying work life. In my sewing room, I am a Creative Person.

So I gathered those scraps, from the other day, added a few more that were calling out from the discard pile on the cutting board (I really need to tidy) and a scrap of batting, and I was off.

If I was making this for someone else, some of the sewing would have been a little tidier, but it passes the 3 foot rule.

Of course, a little kitty sneaked onto the back.

I wanted some flannel for the inside, and this guy was waving at me.
Sorry, the picture is a bit fuzzy.
All packed and ready to go!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Small Is Too Small?

In 2010, a friend went to Quilt's Canada in Calgary. She brought me back a lovely package of 10 fat eighths. They were in my favourite colours, purples, mauves, turquoises. For 2 years, I admired this lovely collection of fabric, enjoying how well they went together. I tried to think of a good thing to do with them. They were little, just 9" by 21". They didn't seem big enough to make much with.

Last year, I finally cut into them.
They were a perfect match for yarn of my Duetta sweater. I made the sweater to help Grandma Coco test the pattern, so it didn't have a baby to go to. The friend that gifted me with the fabric, had a granddaughter in March, and the sweater was a perfect gift for that baby. (It just seemed right)

Next I used the same fabric in my Cozy Quilted Mittens.

Then I made the fabric into Disappearing 4 patch, with a twist.
And finally, I made a test block for a project I am going to do next.
The binding has 5 seams in it, because the piece of fabric I was cutting the bias from was rather small.

Now I am left with a pile of scraps.
Not bad for fabric that was only 9" wide.

Is it time to toss the scraps, or is there one more project waiting for them?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Test Pattern

Karen , of Sew Karenly Created, featured a kit for her pattern "Maritime Beauty", and I just couldn't resist. It was in lovely shades of purple, and the look of it was wonderful. I didn't even think about it, I just clicked the link and bought the kit.

Now given that I haven't done any paper piecing since I took a class about 5 years ago, and I haven't done much curved piecing, I have to wonder why I would decide to do this. I think it was because the size of the project looked like I might be able to complete it.

I plan to take the kit with me, next week, when I go away on retreat with my quilting friends. I thought that today might be a good day to make a test block, with some scarps, before I cut into the lovely fabric.

I was excited to discover that I have not forgotten how to paper piece. I cut my scraps carefully, so that I didn't have any pieces that didn't cover. Karen's pattern is very precise, so the curved piecing goes together beautifully. I was so pleased with the result, that I immediately turned it into a mug mat.

The binding has multiple seams, because I was using up the last of that fabric. I think, for a first try, it will do nicely. Now to cut the fabric from the kit!

Karen has her hard working assistant, Polly, helping with all her projects, so I put Polly on the back of my mug mat.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Turning a Heel and Turning a Corner

I think there is something exciting about turning the heel of a sock.
I expect that part of the excitement is in the fact that the sock is more than half finished and I have entered the home stretch.  Just a few more inches of straight knitting, then the toe and I am done. Of course, there is still a second sock for this pair, but that doesn't dampen my sense of accomplishment.

However, I think the real pleasure is in the idea of knitting in 3 dimensions. I am sure it is my geek side showing, but I have delighted in this since I figured out (many years ago, at about the age of 10) that knitting on 4 needles was just a grown up version of spool knitting or corking. However, with 4 needles, you could go in other directions , as well. You weren't stuck just making a tube.

And turning the heel is really the coolest thing of all. With very little effort, you can make a 90 degree angle in your knitting, so that the sock actually looks like a foot. It just makes me feel so smart, that I can do this.

Meanwhile, at my house, there are big changes. We have become empty nesters!

In an effort to keep it that way, we are painting the bedroom, to turn it into a lovely spare room. Still needs a bit of work, though.

The cat and the dog are still here, so we won't be too lonely.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What Happened?

This was my street on Thursday.

This was my street, this morning.
Apparently there was some kind of party on my lawn last night.
Probably some group that should have stayed south a bit longer.

Okay, Spring, where are you?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A New Camera

Yesterday, I purchased a new camera. I have been having lots of fun figuring out how it works.

Whatcha doing Mom?

I'm sleeping here!

My favourite models have been happy to assist in my experiments!

For my next trick, I think I need to figure out how to do watermarks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

March Tinner

My March "Tinner" was due today. This month, the request was for a block done in 1930's fabric. Not among my favourites, but part of the exercise is to try working with someone else's favs.

Since we can add some of our own fabric, I added some kitty fabric (the only 30's fabric in my stash).

The block might be called "Road to California" or maybe "Wild Goose Chase", but I think this one is "Kitties on the Road to Bed". Solves the name problem.

I was going to show you my helper, but he made his getaway, before I could get the picture.

That was Finnegan, before he ran away!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday on the Needle and Thread Network

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Totally Tubular

Spring is trying to come to my neighbourhood. It snowed 3 days this week, but none of it stayed, so that is a start.

My dining room is doing better than outdoors.

I have 3 containers full of Forsythia, in bloom. It almost makes up for the dirty snow, still bordering the streets. It also means that if the snow every leaves, the bush will be lovely, with blossoms from top to bottom.

Since I started knitting socks in earnest, I have developed a taste for luxury yarns. The only problem is that they tend to come skeined, so I have to wind them into balls. Although I have a swift and a ball winder, I seem to let them pile up. Then I can't use them immediately, because they aren't wound, so I use something else. I decided the other day to do something about it. I think I have enough wound now to last a few months.

There is alpaca here, and silk, as well as some lovely merino. The ball that has been wound by hand was a skein that hadn't been done properly, and was tangled within the skein. This is the second one I have gotten from that company, with this problem, so I will be thinking twice about buying that brand again.

I finished my pink striped socks.
They are not perfectly identical twins, but so close that I don't have a problem with them. I think I am out by about 1 metre , and I can live with that. Finishing trumps perfectionism any day!

My new skill is tubular cast ons, in the round. These socks are my first use of this skill.
 I like the look, and it usually isn't hard. I have had a request for a pair of Birthday socks, from my principal sock consumer. Since his birthday is a month away, I cast them on last night. And ripped out the first try. This morning, with better light, I ripped out the second try.

Here is the third try. I think I got it right this time! The yarn is a silk and merino mix. It has a lovely hand, and is a grey and purple hand dye, with the improbably colour name of "Bright Lights, Big City, Busy Highway, Slow Unicorn". It suits the recipient.

Off to knit!