Thursday, September 16, 2021

Staying Home Isn't All Bad

 Some of you might know that I take immuno-suppressants for my chronic illness. So, I am still staying home, to stay safe. I am a pro at staying home now, and I have discovered some good things.

1. The library has lots of resources available online, like magazines and newspapers, all available for free. Of course, there are also books available as ebooks and audio books. I haven't tried audio books yet because I'm not sure i can keep track of the story.

2. I now have my own yoga studio.

The classes are on Zoom, and the tablet is currently sitting on the stool for my vintage singer machine. You see, they share the room. Yoga blocks work well to raise your feet up if the floor is too far away from your knee and your machine has a knee control.

The room also stores my knitting yarn and the spare bed. 

3. I have discover online sources for all my sewing. knitting and bag making supplies, so I don't have to worry about picking a project and not having what I need.

This fabulous fabric and zipper came from Blue Calla Bags in Toronto. I ordered on Friday and it was here, Monday. She still has the zipper tape but I think the fabric is sold out.

The hardware for the bag came from Emmaline Bags, in Alberta. I had the required hardware in stock, but I may need to take inventory because she usually has a first snow sale, and I need my list ready.

The pattern is a PDF from the Ujamaa Bagettes. Their patterns are on Etsy and Payhip, so they arrive instantly.

Interfacing came from Cleaners Supply and I buy it in bulk, 5 yds at a time. 

4. I have enjoyed streaming British TV on my BritBox subscription. I spend evenings in the Caribbean, or Majorca. I can learn about history or see wonderful gardens. Don't try and knit lace, while Midsomer Murders is just getting to the climax. My biggest grumble is that they don't have the Great British Sewing Bee.

5. I am becoming an expert on seeking out items on the internet for family and friends. I have ordered groceries to be delivered across the country. I've found parts for broken appliances and computers. The only thing I haven't figured out is how to get a haircut delivered.

6. I've learned new computer skills. Some of you may have noticed that my mail notifications come from Mail Chimp now. I'm also getting better at photo processing. I'm still figuring out how to use my Chromebook.

I miss my quilt groups and teaching my little knitting students at the library. I hope this will eventually return. Meanwhile, if you are looking for me, I'll be at home.

As always the retail recommendations are my own. I paid for all the products shown.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

More Masks

 I seem to have disappeared again. However, I've been knitting, and reading. Of course, back to school in Ontario means more masks. Little people are going to in-person learning for the first time, while some are returning to school after a five month break. 

I have lots of fabric, so I don't charge for my masks, parents have enough on their plates right now. Instead, I ask for a donation to our local food Cupboard, of back to school supplies. I said yes, too many times, so it turned into a bit of a marathon. I finished 27 masks for elementary students, by Sunday.

I discovered that my vintage Singer does a nice job on the top stitching, and isn't bothered by the multiple layers.

She is 82 years old and still shines like a debutant!

The masks have all been sent to their new homes, but now I have requests from university students! So, I guess there will be more masks in the future. I bet they don't want Paw Patrol, although I think Super Dinos might go over well with the university crowd. 

However, I have plans for a bag first. I need a new cross-body bag for walking. 

Meanwhile, if you drop in for coffee, today, I have Orange Zucchini Bread. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

I Sewed Something!

 I've been avoiding my sewing room for weeks, but I saw something on another blog, last week, and had to try it.

From Sandra's blog MMM quilts, I saw these makeup bags.

Since I have a bunch of charm squares and no plans for them, I grabbed 9 and started cutting. I have lots of batting scraps, so I got one of those, and some scrap fabric for the lining.

This is my version of Sandra's bag.

The other side.


And the lining! My seams mostly match, my zipper is a nice contrast and the lining was a perfect match. These charm squares were a give away by Northcott from the AQS show in Syracuse, a few years ago. There were nine in the package. They were meant to become a little pouch.

I'd try a few more, but I don't know just what I would do with the pouches.

Meanwhile, the Birds of a Feather shawl is progressing.

It is going to be a long shawl.

And, a new foster cat has arrived. Say hello to Mia. 

She will be with us, until somebody sees her on the web, and decides she needs to live with them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Suddenly August

 I'm not sure what happened to July, but it whizzed by without my doing much in the way of sewing. I did seem to do  a bunch of knitting and reading, but not much blog worthy.

Our latest foster cat has come and gone. His name is Carleton and he went off to his new family, last Tuesday. He did think that all parcel deliveries should be for him.

The potted garden is coming nicely.

It seems to be the year of coleus. They are really brightening the pots. On the other hand, the gladiolas fell over in the rain the other day.

The front door pots are also thriving. I love the fuschia pink in this coleus. It is so bright.

A chipmunk keeps digging in this pot and nothing seems to deter him. However, the plant isn't too unhappy.

I started a new shawl, using some gorgeous yarn I bought from a dyer in Edmonton.  The pattern is Birds of a Feather, by Andrea Mowry. I used the needle the pattern asked for, and I felt the resulting fabric was too loose.

The edges seem to have big loose loops.

So, I started agin, using a smaller needle.

I think the stitches look much neater using this size needle.

Now, I think I will spend some time putting things away in my sewing room so I can make my little guy some shorts before summer is over.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

I Got Lost

 Since I hardly leave home, it seems hard to believe that I could get lost, but somehow, I have missed nearly 3 weeks, this month. 

First off, it has been hot. It is hard to doing any sewing or knitting when it gets up to 30C.  Much easier at -30C. 

I also spent some time, trying to figure out how to create a new mailing list for my blog. I've used Feedburner, but apparently Google is phasing it out. I downloaded my list and found over 1000 email addresses, most of which I suspect are spam. So now I need to filter out the spam and try to create a new list. Hopefully my email subscribers will only miss a couple of posts.

I went for my second vaccine, and my arm was sore for a few days, but otherwise, I had no problems (except, no crafting). 

A big obstacle was that I started reading The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. The book is 625 pages and I had to keep going. What a great story if you are into mystery and intrigue. I found out that the Duchess of Cambridge's grandmother worked at Bletchley Place during WWII.

Pictures! Let's have some pictures.

The hollyhocks are looking very good.

The neighbours took down the huge maple tree that shaded the back of our house. The tree was probably 60 years old, and had already damaged the their house. They were afraid it was no longer stable. the yard is now so bright that I am in search of new blinds for my family room. 

Fires in Northern Ontario are giving us blood in the moon. My camera tried, but this was the best I got.

A friend introduced me to a new shawl pattern, that is currently free as the designer runs a knit along on Instagram. It is called "Reach For the Stars"

It is progressing slowly. The yarn was in my stash, a hand dyed skein called "Stay Home For Christmas".

The designer of the shawl pattern is also a hand dyer in England. She created a colourway for the knit along. I managed to get two skeins of it.

Gorgeous, isn't it. I'm sure I can find a pattern to knit it into. Surprisingly, it got here faster than yarns I have ordered from Canadian suppliers.

Needless to say, the My Bag of the Month project is not moving forward, this month!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

June DrEAMi

Sandra, over at mmm Quilts has a monthly link up called Drop Everything And Make it (DrEAMi) where you can show off the squirrel projects, the projects that distracted you from your intended projects.

In the midst of making my Pony Express Bag, I was asked to make a PRIDE Antependium for church. So I pulled out my scraps and made this.

It is based on a pattern for a pillow top, that I saw on Sandra's blog. Here it is, in place.

Since we only have 10 people in the church right now, and everyone else watches on line, I made masks for everyone who would be taking part, as well as ribbon pins.

I have used up much of my rainbow fabric in this effort. However, I might have added a bit more to replace it.

(also got some dinosaurs and border collies). No risk of my stash running out before I can do in person shopping, again.

Linking up with the DrEAMi Link Party.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

You Got To Please Yourself

I make bags simply to entertain myself. I enjoy making them, turning out something that is to my taste. I have taken on a few commissions but I am very careful, because I don't want to get stuck making something I don't enjoy. 

Back in February, I saw a bag pattern that I liked, by Ujamaa Bagettes, a group of ladies in Calgary who like to design bags, and sell their patterns, in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

The bag is called Pony Express, and I didn't realize at the time that it was reminiscent of a vintage designer bag. Of course, since I make my own bags, why would I know anything about designer bags?

So, my May bag project (that also ended up being my June bag project) is Pony Express. This is my version.

Black denim, combined with a bright rainbow fabric, it gets noticed. It turns out that the bright fabric is really hard to photograph in natural light.

The fabric gets washed out, on a sunny day, outside.

The designer bag lacks pockets to hold your things, but pockets are required, in my bags. So it has a outer back pocket.

It has an inner zip pocket.

I forgot to unzip the pocket to show the bright rainbow striped lining. 

Found one in my WIP photos.

It has a slip pocket, inside, with a pocket for my phone, and one for my library card, or a similar sized card.

The lining is a bit more subdued, because I need to be able to find stuff.

It has lots of nice heavy hardware, because I love that look. Hardware is by Emmaline Bags. 

I added a guitar strap, that you can see in the first picture. I made it two fabrics, and made it look like it was piped on the edges.

The bag has a magnetic closure that I created from the magnet stripes used on name badges. I need to work on this a bit more. My original experiments are here.

Second try is here.  I might post a tutorial when I get the whole thing figured out.

In other news, Maggie the foster cat found her forever family this week.  i keep checking my feet, because she was hard to spot in the evenings when the light isn't as good. I'm sure they will find us a new kittie soon.

If you missed the musical reference, it is from a Rick Nelson song, "Garden Party".