Friday, June 7, 2019

Fortunate Finds

A few weeks ago, in my ongoing sewing room cleanup, I found a quilt top that had been resting for quite some time (I suspect it might be 10 years). If memory serves, I was originally overwhelmed by the size of the quilt, then, when I next looked at it, I thought it looked too Christmas-y to put all that work into.

This time, I took a careful look at the top. The green borders had not been sewn on, merely pinned and there was more fabric in the box. My original plan would have made the quilt huge. After I removed the green borders, and added just red borders, it is much improved in my mind.


It is now about double bed sized. It has very nice red borders.


Doesn't look Christmas-y at all. It actually looks kind of like my backyard trees.


Lots of red and cream with some green leaves.

In a piece of good luck, I was at the quilt shop where I got the fabrics for this in the first place. Another store in the building had had a flood from a burst pipe, which caused the quilt shop to go through their storage area, looking for things that had gotten wet. They found some older fabric, that they dropped on the sale rack.  I found a bolt of the floral print.


There was a little over a metre on the bolt, so I took the whole thing. I now have binding for my new quilt, as well as extra fabric for doing something with the borders I removed. I have a plan!

Oh, and I figured out a way around the overwhelming size. I am sending it to be quilted on a long arm. Turns out you don't have to do every thing yourself. I just need to make the backing and it will be off to be quilted.




Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Spring Retreat

The quilting retreat I usually go to about this time of the year was cancelled. So instead my friend, Maggie, of The Cheerful Chickadee, and I decided to have our own retreat. She came on the train to visit, we dined out with friends, visited our favourite quilt shops, and spent time sewing together. It was a great weekend.

This was our retreat project.


This is the Puffy Coin Purse by Emmaline Bags. It is a free pattern and the pattern page has a link to the frames. The frames are sewn in by hand, which is probably the most complicated part of the entire construction.

Maggie had brought the embroidered front panels with her. The side panels are a scrap of Shweshwe fabric from South Africa.


Of course, the bag has the required cat fabric lining. I am going to store my binding clips in the bag. I got some purple ones to match the outside.


See, they all fit.

It is a really dull day, and it took a bit of work to get nice clear pictures, so I thought you might like to see my setup.


This is my table top photo studio. This is also my dining room table.

Mystique, the foster cat, has been trying to find her passion, while waiting for her "forever family." Last week, while we were having some problems with the kitchen sink, she decided to try plumbing.




"Okay, I think I have found the problem."

She was a big help in getting the drain flowing again.



Monday, May 20, 2019

A New Shawl

I haven't been posting much of my own work lately. This is partially because I haven't sewn much for myself,  partially the "Great Sewing Room Clean-up" and mostly, because I have been frantically knitting.

You see, I sort of volunteered to be a test knitter for a designer I follow. The project didn't look too complicated (not like 1001 Nights) and I had lots of wool on hand that I could use.

The shawl was 303 stitches across. Each row took a long time to knit, and it required careful attention to detail. I needed two contrasting yarns to make the shawl, and I had one I thought would work, but nothing to go with it. So, I needed a trip to the yarn shop. When I started knitting, there wasn't enough contrast between the two for the pattern to show properly. I ended up buying another skein of yarn.

After much knitting, I finished the shawl before the due date, although my hands and shoulders were not happy about all the knitting. It is now blocked, and ready to wear.

The Big Reveal:


This is Tyche by Claire Slade.


After blocking, it is lovely and long. It does take awhile to start to see the mosaic pattern, but it goes much faster after you figure it out.


You can tell I was pining for some nice spring weather when I started this. The yarn is Indigodragonfly Cariboubaa in colourway Guppy Longmockings and Sublime Baby Cashmere Silk in colourway Pinkaboo.

While I was gathering supplies for this, I discovered the required needles were lounging in a forgotten UFO. It was a scarf I started in 2015, then ran into difficulties when I realized I didn't have sufficient yarn in my stash to finish the scarf. The yarn was a sale bin purchase of a discontinued line. This is when it is good to have friends. My buddy Cheryl of Grandma Coco fame had rummaged through the same sale bin and had a skein of the yarn in the same dye lot. While waiting for the yarn to arrive in the mail,  I moved on to other projects, and this one got forgotten. It last appeared in my blog in January of 2016.

I spent a great deal of time on Saturday, figuring out where I left off in the pattern (one should always store a UFO with a marked copy of the pattern). So, I am working away on this scarf. Since I am optimistic that scarf season is over,  it can go into the gift box, for next Christmas.


I do find that 39 stitch rows go much faster than 303 stitch rows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

RFID Protection and Other Scams




Mystique - Because she is just so cute!


I have been asked, more than once, if I put RFID shielding into my wallets and bags. The answer is no. I have never seen the need. My Geek Girl qualifications are now invoked. I have spent most of my working life in technology. I taught computers to woman before everyone owned a computer. So I understand how this stuff works.

I have seen the demonstrations on TV and on the internet, showing how easy it is to skim a credit card with an RFID chip in it. Most of us (at least in Canada) have cards we can tap to pay for our purchases. I tap to pay all the time. It is quick, easy, and I don't have to remember the PIN number for that card.

When a video made the rounds on the weekend, with the subject "Why You Need an RFID Protected Wallet", I looked it up again. Although it is certainly possible for criminals to get the information from your card, the information is encrypted. They would also have to know how to translate it into something they can use. As well, if you have more than one of those cards in your wallet, they will cancel each other out, confusing the reader, and serving as a shield. I checked my wallet. I have four cards with RFID on them. When I travel, I add my passport, which has one, too.

RFID shielding of your bag also blocks phone calls and messages to your cell phone. Of course, if you don't want to be bothered when you are out...

The biggest reason I don't use a shield in my bags is because NO ONE HAS EVER REPORTED HAVING THEIR DATA STOLEN THIS WAY! It has just never happened. It is too much work to collect the data, figure out how to break the encryption, and produce data that can be used. The only people profiting from this supposed threat are the people selling wallets and other products with RFID shields in them. Next time you see one of these demonstrations, ask yourself what they are selling.

If you want more information, check out this article.

It is far easier for scammers to ask you for your information directly. Everyday, I get phone calls and emails, trying to get me to volunteer my credit card information, either by offering me a fabulous interest rate, or trying to scare me, by telling me my account will be closed. This is much less work for a scammer, you do all the work for them.

These days, I provide computer support for a small number of (mostly) seniors, who trust me to solve their tech problems and like the way I explain things to them. I keep being asked to clean up computers when someone has clicked on the wrong thing, or believed someone who has phoned them to tell them they have a virus, and now they really do have something. It is not my favourite job to fix, because I have to assume that something bad has happened and prove it hasn't first. It takes hours of slow, careful work, before I can declare the computer clean.

My best advice is to never click on a link in an email, if you are unsure of the sender. Never give your credit card number to someone who calls you. NEVER EVER give access to your computer to someone outside your house. Once someone has remote access to your computer, they have access to all your information.

Instead of spending money on an RFID shielded wallet, find yourself a computer tech you can trust. Preferably one who didn't call you to offer their services. Her services are worth the price.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Spring and a Quilt Show

Spring seems to have arrived although the sun is still at a premium.


 The daffodils are outside, not in a pot on my counter.


A few tulips made an appearance for Mother's Day.


We planted this forsythia, not long after we moved into this house. over 25 years ago. It was beautiful with a lovely shape and it always bloomed right to the top. About 10 years ago, the city had to dig up the watermain, and they learned that it isn't on the city easement, where it is suppose to be, but instead goes diagonally across my yard, right under my fence. I asked them to be careful not to disturb the bush. However, that wasn't possible. They were going to toss it and get me a new one, but I asked them just to move it, roots and all, away from the digging. We carefully covered the roots, and put it back in the hole, after they were finished.  It has taken nearly 10 years, but it is back to near its original glory. It also has a new companion on the inside of the fence, that grew from the root that was left in the ground.

Meanwhile, Spring means Quilt Show, around here.  So Friday, I went with friends, to check it out.

My friend, Barbara Karim, took Best of Show for her wonderful Civil War Bride quilt, hand appliqued and hand quilted.



Here are a few of my other favourites.







I obviously have every broad tastes in quilts. I think I like the paddles, best.

Meanwhile, Spring Cleaning 2019, continues. Today, I started attacking the drawers in the sewing machine table. Over the years they have become catchalls for things that don't have a home. In my 30 minutes, today, I got one drawer done.


Now it just has things I use at the machine. Sewing machine needles, wonder tape, glue, and room for my clips.

This is another drawer, tomorrow's project.


I have no idea what is in there.

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Joyous Easter

Winter decided to hang on through all of Lent, despite how late Easter was this year, so it is nice that spring seems to have arrived with Easter.




The forsythia came from my bush. If I cut it on Palm Sunday, I can force the flowers for my Easter table. The tulips were from the chancel at church. If one was on cleanup, yesterday, after church, one got gifted with a handful of cut flowers, so they could be enjoyed a little longer.



I made these place mats years ago, for my mother's table, but Mom liked to save things for "good" so I found them, unused, in her linen closet, after her death. It makes me kind of sad that she didn't feel a cup of tea in the afternoon, with a friend, was "good" enough. Quilting is an art to be used, so yesterday, when a friend was coming to join us for dinner, I pulled them out and put them on the table.  By the end of the meal, there had been coffee spilled on them, but they enjoyed by the diners, and the coffee washed out. The place mats were made from a free pattern from Jenny Beyer.

I made my favourite little boy an Easter Egg.



It has cats on it, because he loves cats.


I made it entirely from materials from my stash, and used the sewing of the egg as my reward for my 30 minutes of tidying. The pattern was suppose to be "easy" but there was some very tricky parts.  My vintage Singer 15-91 was very useful for the sewing of the thick sections. That machine does a fabulous job on things too thick to go through my Husqvarna.

Eggs at Easter are said to be symbolic of the empty tomb, or something that appears to be dead but is actually alive, or they are a pagen symbol of new life (depending on who you consult). So of course, there is a surprise inside.


He fits very nicely into the egg. There is even room for some chocolate. The pattern is from So Sew Easy.

My snowbird friends are returning from the south. So some fabric I ordered from a company that doesn't ship to Canada, came back with the snowbird.


I have a ridiculous 8 yards of this, because I didn't know how much I needed.  I am pretty sure I can find things to use it for.




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Spring Cleaning - Week 2

I put in my 30 minutes, yesterday, and I found a long forgotten project.


I started this quilt longer ago than I can remember. My memory said that I set it aside because it was too "Christmas". Why would I put a lot of work into a Christmas quilt?

I pulled it out and looked at it, yesterday. I realized that I had done a good job on the piecing, and if you take away the green border, it doesn't  look very "Christmas" at all. The fabric is actually much more cream than the picture shows. It was a very grey day when I took the pictures. I can replace the green border, with a red, tone on tone border. Best of all, someone has asked for the finished quilt.


So it has moved from the give away pile to the "to be finished" pile.

I purchased some "mini bolt boards" also known as comic book boards, to wrap my fabric around and make it tidy. Some ironing may be required. I bought 100, I wonder if that is enough.


I see that my toss toward the wastebasket missed and you can see a discarded envelope in the background. I've since picked that up.

I am test knitting a shawl for a designer, more on that later, but this is the start.


Winter just keeps hanging on. Apparently we are on day 157 of discernable snow on the ground. So brightness is required.


 Currently blooming in my kitchen! I am also forcing some forsythia so it can grace our dining room table, on Easter.