Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Retreat Prep

Twice a year, I get the joy of spending the weekend, with a group of other crazys  like-minded individuals, and sew. We stop for meals, and eventually for sleep, but the majority of our time is spent sewing. Some of the ladies make large beautiful quilts. Me, I make small things, usually things I can finish in a weekend, or less.

In my ongoing efforts to reduce my stash, so I can justify buying more fabric, I pulled out some lovelies to use this weekend.

First up, I cut up some of my beloved Laurel Burch.

I've been hoarding holding on to this piece for a long time. Now I can enjoy it more often, as it becomes a knitting project bag.

I found this lovely, just waiting to join the party.

See how well it goes with the Laurel Burch.

The pieces are cut and have had their interfacing and fleece fused to the back. They are currently cooling, because the fusibles stick much better if they are allowed to chill for awhile.

Next up will be a bag for my baby boy.

The black print is actually an IKEA home dec fabric from a few years ago, so I think I can skip the interfacing and just add fleece. I bought the polka dot fabric, because I didn't have much that I could use for a lining.

The other thing I realized that I have been hanging onto for too long, are blades for my rotary cutter. I have about 20 in my stash, and I don't remember when I changed my blade, last. So, today, I put a new blade in the cutter. It works so much better with a sharp blade.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


We have now been 2 weeks without snow. Today, I got a lovely surprise.

The forsythia bush is starting to flower.

Cilla, daffodils and hyacinth are starting to make an appearance.

Although the snowplow tried to get them, my Canada 150 tulips were tough enough to survive. I hope to see the flowers in a few more weeks.

And in celebration, I have sparkles on my nails!

Monday, April 17, 2017

The March of Technology or Spring Cleanup, Day 2

I have been working on trying to put things into homes. The toughest part of sorting stuff, is that it needs to go into a permanent home, not just a temporary away. Of course, this means, for some things, figuring out what that home needs to look like.

Today, I was emptying some "temporary aways", boxes or bins that contain a collection of unrelated items. The buttons are now in the bin labelled buttons, the patterns are filed. Fabric scraps are classified and sorted into the appropriate container. I'm on my second bag for the kindergarten.

However, I turned up a bag of good intentions. I bought this pattern, quite awhile ago. I loved it.

If you look carefully, you will see that it is a case for a flip phone. It is terribly cute, and I made one as a Christmas gift. I would toss that pattern now, since it isn't really useful any more. However, in the same bag I found this.

This is just the fronts. I have cut out all the pieces to make 3 more of the cases. The fabric is purple, with silver sparkles. I tucked the bag away, and found it today. I own a smart phone. I am sure it won't fit in this case. So, now the question is: Do I toss everything, or repurpose the cut pieces. In my mind, these become cute pockets for a tote bag. So, I think these pieces will stay in my stash, and the rest will become scraps.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Cleaning

Two things caused me to start some spring cleaning.

At the end of the month, I am going on my spring quilt retreat. I have started thinking about the projects I might like to work on, and the things I need to take.

I splurged $1.99 the other day and bought a tablet stand to put beside my machine, both at retreat and at home. I try to put my pdf bag patterns on my tablet, to save paper. I looked around my sewing room today and there was no room for my tablet stand.

I have a confession to make. I don't always tidy up one project, before I start the next. This problem as grown, so it is getting increasingly difficult to find space. So I am going to see what I can do.

Today, I attacked the serger table. Since it is at right angles to my sewing machine, it is the perfect place to put my tablet stand. After 2, 45 minute sessions (no sense in exhausting myself), I ended up with this.

The serger table,  at the end next to the sewing machine, now has room for the tablet stand. It is the bright blue thing. I also found my needle book, that I was sure I had, but had no idea where it was. It is the item with the lovely purple embroidery at the lower left. It is headed for my quilting bag, for hand sewing. I also found a mug mat (under the needle book) that says "Put the chocolate in the bag, and nobody gets hurt."

At other end, I found a notebook I didn't even know was missing.

And for good measure, the ironing board is completely clear, as well.

It probably still looks untidy to some, but for me, it is a huge improvement.

I found some lovely fabric, including the ambulance fabric that I have been looking for. Also, look at that gorgeous Tula Pink, just crying out to become a bag!

I collected fabric scraps to small to use, and put them in a bag for a friend who teaches Kindergarten.

I know she will be happy to receive them for spring art projects.

Meanwhile, I decided to make some Easter Eggs for my grandson.

I am going to sew the pieces together, and stuff them with fiberfill and a cat ball, so they jingle. I find that if you just put a bell inside, the fiberfill damps out the bell.

I checked my bobbin as I started to sew.

I have no idea how I managed to finish my last project without running out of bobbin thread. I think I had about a foot left on the bobbin.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Is it Spring, Yet?

I had great plans to post this last Wednesday. However, I had a fire I had to put out, so I postponed it, and didn't get back to blogging until today.

I finished a pair of fingerless mitts, gave them away, and completely forgot to take a picture of the finished pair. The best I have to show you is the first one, and I apologize for the very fuzzy cell phone picture.

The pattern is Sonja's Fingerless Mitts, and I added a thumb gusset, instead of an afterthought thumb.

My counter has been decorated with the hope of spring.

I love the colour, my signature purple!

I cut some Forsythia to force.

With luck, by Easter, I will have lovely yellow flowers.

I managed to get the income tax done this week. As a reward I made Hot Cross Muffins.

I didn't bother to put the crosses on them, we were just going to eat them anyway. You can find the recipe here, if you want to try them. 

I also cast on the same glove pattern, four times, before I decided that it wasn't working for me. I have changed both the yarn and the pattern and we will see if that goes better. Meanwhile, my sewing room has been lonely for me, since other things have kept me out of it.

Perhaps this week will have more sewing time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It is Done!

Awhile back, I made a pledge to finish my Christmas Tree Skirt. I can now say, it is finished, completely finished. It won't win any prizes, since it won't ever be entered in any contest, but it is done.
While I was working on quilting, Mary Fons announced an essay contest, on her blog. so, while I was quilting, I composed an essay about the quilt. in my head. I typed it up, and printed it. I even mailed it to Mary. So, binding finished, I will share my essay with you.

I bought a kit to make a Christmas Tree Skirt, a number of years ago. It is in blues, greys, white and sage greens. The colours are not traditional Christmas colours, but I liked them. I bought the kit during a post Christmas clearance at an on-line quilt shop. So it arrived in January, of 2010, I think.

There is a problem with making a Christmas tree skirt. One only thinks about it in late November, when one is too busy to do anything about it, so it gets forgotten for another year.

The October after I bought the kit, I took it to a quilt retreat and spent the weekend making the blocks. The blocks are nine patches and snowballs, set on point, with setting triangles. By the end of the weekend, I had the blocks completed and the blocks sewn into rows. I was sure I could get it finished by Christmas.

About two years later, I sewed the rows together. Then I started planning how I would quilt it. The snowballs should have free motion quilting, I thought. Maybe snowflakes, or something. Of course, I don’t do free motion quilting, but that didn’t seem to be a problem. I put it away, and planned to learn some free motion.

I came across it before Christmas, 2016. I decided that this was it, it would be finished by Christmas. Of course, I hadn’t figured into that thought that, this year, there was a new grandson, and he would need a Christmas stocking. The new grandson, himself, would take much of my attention. It wasn’t finished by Christmas.

In February, I decided that the only way I was going to finish this, was to try to work on it every day. Forget the free motion, straight lines would do fine. Even if I only did one row of quilting, each time I sat down at the machine, it would eventually get finished. Of course, I would need to be able to set up the machine and just leave it, so that I could do a row, whenever I had a chance.

So, whenever I have had a few minutes, I have added a row or two to the quilting.  I am quilting it on my 1939 Singer machine, a wonderful flea market find. Since I haven’t quilted on this machine before, it isn’t my best work, but it is okay. After all, the finished product is going to lay on the floor, with presents piled on it, and probably a cat sleeping on it. As I sew, I revel in the engineering that went into my 1939 beauty. I wonder what her story is. The decals are pristine, so the machine was barely used. The machine is sitting in front of a window, where I can see the street, and watch the snow, the neighbours, and the kids coming home from school. The time passes quickly.

Now, the quilting is done. The binding is made. I will trim the quilt and add the binding, either tonight, or tomorrow. I will take the quilt to my quilt group on Monday and show it proudly, at Show and Tell. It is done. It isn’t perfect, but it is done.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Madness

I have had one of those weeks, when I feel like I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath. However, I have a few things to show for it.

The ladies from the church Quilting Circle donated another quilt.

This one is a lap quilt and is going to a single woman who just arrived from Syria. I hope it keeps her warm, since today the weather is seriously cold, again.

I have completed the quilting on my Christmas Tree Skirt and I am on to the binding.

I am half way around!

Meanwhile, I got a new phone recently, and my lovely quilted case is the wrong size for the phone.
The case is too short and too wide. That was the last of my favourite Laurel Burch fabric, however, I remembered that I had this in my closet.

This is the purse I made originally, from that fabric. I carried it for about 2 years and the fabric is considerably faded, and the bag is worn in places. However, the pattern was called the X Bag and there is still pristine fabric inside the pockets. I just need to take the bag apart and wash it. So, I did that, and maybe, soon, I will have a phone case that fits the phone. The fabric is already quilted so I just need to cut, sew and bind.

I made a trip to Mad About Patchwork, to buy more interfacing, and this followed me home. It is a linen blend, and I think I know what I will use it for.

Meanwhile, I was at the mall, today, with my delightful grandson and his Mommie, and I came home with this.

 It is a bit hard to read, but all good Canadians will recognize this as a winning Tim Hortons RRRoll Up the RRRim cup. I won a coffee! I am such a cheap date! I was seriously excited.

Meanwhile, for the kitty fans, this is my current baby, dreaming of warmer days.

I am linking up to Needlework Tuesday, and the Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Not Spring, Yet

I feel like it should be spring, however, the temperature is -15C today, so not yet. These are the tulips in a pot on my counter. They are a happy dark fuchsia colour, a lovely contrast to the white stuff outside the window.

I finished up some projects, that have been hanging around.

The mosaic scarf that was suppose to be an advent project is finally finished. It needs a blocking to straighten the edges, but it will be great, next winter (please, no more cold weather.)

The bag that was the sample for my bag making class got finished. I figured if I didn't finish it right away, it would be in the nearly complete stage forever.

 It is very purple, even for me. I did add a contrast pocket, on the inside.

I made another pair of baby socks. Baby socks are my favourite gift for a new little person. These ones were completed for someone else, who wanted to gift a pair to a new mom.

I love how the self striping yarn makes two really different socks, because they use so little yarn. this yarn is the greatest unisex yarn. It has a bit of everything.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bags, Bags, Bags

I have been on a bag making binge.

I started with the sample I made for a possible class at my quilt group.

I got some takers for the class, so I needed to partially make a second bag, to show the steps.

The pieces were cut and labelled.

One side of the lining was made, to show how the pockets go on.

My little band of students finished the first part, last week. They were to go home and quilt their exterior pieces. So today, I finished the lining and did my quilting.

These pieces are ready for my class, tomorrow. I really must finish this one this week, before it becomes a UFO. I am sure I can find a taker for a purple bag.

Meanwhile, last year, my church group made a Dresden Plate quilt, to send with a group going to Virginia for a Habitat for Humanity build. The quilt will be given to the family who will live in the home, as a warm hug from Canada.

There were two blocks left over, and I volunteered to turn them into a tote for the quilt. Of course, I had a whole year to finish the tote, so I finished it yesterday, just in time to send it with the quilt.

I used every scrap that was left from the quilt itself, plus another scrap that I thought worked for the handles. The edges and lining of the bag are made from the scraps of the baking. The bag has a zipper in the top, and with luck, the quilt will fit inside.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

An Auction

Anybody who has visited here more then once knows that I have a special place in my heart for homeless cats. For the record, I have never owned a cat. However, I have 4 grand-cats and have provided foster care for 170 cats, to date.

So, when I heard that the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project was having an online auction for the Gananoque Humane Society, I was pleased to make a donation.

This is my Eyre of Romance Shawl, and it is one of over 100 items being offered this week.

If you would like to have a look at all the lovely items, many cat related, and perhaps bid on one or two, you can see them all here:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Colour Unboxed

Last week, I decided that I really needed to see the exhibit at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, called Colour Unboxed. The show featured the works of the "Out Of The Box Fibre Artists". The show has been on since December and ended on the weekend, and since I had heard really great things about it, I didn't want to miss it.

It was worth the trip. On a grey day, it was a feast for the eyes.

And now, I am wondering how I managed to miss the purple.  I saw them, I just forgot to get a picture.

There were many other wonderful pieces, all beautiful, full of colour. It was definitely worth the trip.

I also went to the annual gathering of animal Foster Volunteers. We were greeted by a lovely cake, made by one of the shelter staff.

 Cats, dogs, bunnies, and I think there was a guinea pig on the cake. Adorable.