Monday, March 23, 2015

The Calendar Says Spring

Sadly, spring is actually fashionably late. Yesterday it was -13C when I went out at 10AM. It is slightly better today, but still cold.

So, because I am impatient, I stuck my feet in my high boots and tramped out to my forsythia bush.

See the snow in the yard. The forsythia says it is ready for spring. You know, you never notice how messy your counters are until you take a picture in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, I finished the body of my baby blanket, and now I am onto the knitted on border.

I wasn't sure I liked it when I started, but it is growing on me. I need to get it finished, because there is another mystery shawl starting from Fiddle Knits.

I am going to do mine in the grey, but on earlier ones of hers, I have had to buy extra yarn. since the border can be a second colour, I think this blue will work nicely.

I made a pillowcase dress. Our children's program at the church is sending them to Africa. The fabric and trims were selected by one of our children, and put into a kit. I am not responsible for the colour choices.

It still needs to be hemmed and given a good press. The directions were rather confusing, so I just did my own thing. Here is the top.

I have another kit to finish. I wonder what I will find in it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Another Quilt for Virginia

A group of young and older people from my church are currently in Virginia, spending March Break out of the snow (we hope) helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

As usual, the ladies of the church Quilting Circle, made a quilt to send with them, as a symbol of our warm wishes. The quilt will be given to the family who will live in the house.

The top was a foundling, dropped at the church by someone who chose not to finish it. It has now been hand quilted and is ready to move to it.s new home.

It spent the last month, hanging in the church so it could absorb the good wishes of the congregation.
We got a lot of positive comments from the congregation, which makes us happy. Oddly, we weren't very fond of this quilt, when it was on the frame. It is amazing how much quilting can improve a top, making the things that should stand out, really pop.

Our next quilt is nearly finished.
Bright, isn't it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Eastern Beauty

It is finished! I saw this kit on Karen Neary's blog,  on March 13, 2013. I accidentally clicked the Buy Now button, and received the kit about a week later. I took it to retreat with me, the end of April, and finished the top in the time I was there. I even cut the binding, so I didn't forget what it was for, and use it for something else. I came home, and promptly got distracted by all the other wonderful things there are to make. (squirrel!)

Last week, I took it out, found the perfect backing fabric, IN MY STASH, and went to work.

Perfect Backing
In four days I had it quilted, trimmed and bound. What had I  been waiting for?

It looks good on my table.
The centre is quilted with Aurafil gold metallic thread, because it wasn't gold enough, and the circles are quilted with a variegated rayon thread that just happened to have all the colours in it, and was conveniently in my drawer of pretty threads. My free motion skills were not up to this, so I did some echo quilting with my walking foot.

It was worth the wait, but I feel foolish about how long it took.

I have Karen's lovely new book, and I have picked a project from it, for this retreat. My retreat buddies have challenged me to make it from stash fabric, and I am up to the challenge.

Okay, some Kitty silliness, for the cat fans.

It would be a lot easier to get at the chicken if the two legged ones didn't leave the mashed potatoes in the way!

Friday, March 6, 2015


Sometimes, I start a project, then it sits for a long time. When I finally get back to it, I wonder why it took so long.

Among my three things I had planned to finish in February (yes, I got  behind on that, too) was a wall hanging I started two years ago.

I pulled it out, and yesterday, I went looking to see if I had a suitable backing. There tucked into my stash was a piece of fabric, just the right size and colour. It has been in my stash for at least 5 years, so I have no idea why it took until yesterday to figure out it was the backing for this project.

I ironed the backing, laid everything out on the floor in the spare room and in under an hour, I had the whole thing ready for quilting.

It is my Maritime Beauty, a pattern by Karen Neary, made from a kit from Mrs, Pugsley's Emporium.
Both are in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and I discovered them through my son.

Aren't the fabrics lovely?

So, today, a clear but cold one, I am going to start quilting. I can't match Karen's lovely FMQ, so I will see what I can accomplish with my walking foot.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

As Winter Continues

It is official. Our February weather was the coldest February on record. Now they haven't been keeping official records for very long (since about the 1940's I think) but still, it has been really cold, for a very long time. Yesterday, just to tease us, the temperature actually hit 0 C. However we are back into minus double digits again. It is currently -12, with a low tonight of -21.

This was the icicle that had formed outside my bathroom window. It kept growing every time someone had a shower (which melts the snow near the vent). It was not well attached and fell off yesterday, in the warm, but I see we have a new one starting.

Knitting is the only answer to all this cold, making warm stuff. So here is my knitting update.

My Tree of Life Blanket is getting much bigger.

I looked at the picture and immediately saw a mistake, but, since it hasn't changed the stitch count or effected the usability of the blanket, I am not ripping it back. I still have a ways to go, but the end is in sight.

A friend asked me if I knew of a pattern for a long narrow cowl. I found a pattern for one here.

The temptation was too great, especially since I have lots of lovely sock yarn, and it is a mindless knit.

I love the way the yarn is pooling. Because of the slipped stitches in the design, the other side is completely different.
You would think they were two different scarves. The colours scream spring, don't you think?

I am actually considering ripping this out and starting over. I think I want it narrower and longer then it will be if I keep going with this number of stitches.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Granny Square Block

Last week, Pam at Mad About Patchwork, showed the ladies of the church quilting circle how to make a Granny Square block.

I made a block from my scraps, before I forgot, and took pictures. In case you would like to make one, or a bunch, here is a guide.

Pam used 2 1/2 strips from a roll of precuts. I have been trying to remember to cut my scraps, after the completion of a project, into 2 1/2" strips, so I used some stripes from my bin.

First I cut 2 1/2" squares.

You need 1 in the first colour, 4 in the second colour, 8 in the third colour, and twelve in the fourth colour. You also need 16 - 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" rectangles, in your background colour. Mine is a pale yellow batik.

You start laying the block out, with the single square in the middle and build out from there. I forgot to take a picture of that step. (oops)

Next you sew them together in rows.
You leave the background rectangles off the middle strip.

Now you sew the rows together, matching the seam as you go along. I sewed the top 3 rows together, then the bottom three rows.
It is much easier to get everything to match if you don't press the seams until after everything is sewn. See how nicely they match.

Sew the last 2 seams and press. Now you need to trim the edges of the 3 middle rows so they all line up.

Now sew the last 4 blocks, centred on the outer edges.
A final press, and you are ready to trim. Did I mention that the block is en pointe?

The block squares to 12 1/2".

As a group block, it is great, because everyone can finish their blocks to just before it is squared up, and one person can square them, ensuring they are all the same size. Since the coloured squares are more than 1/4" from the edge, it isn't necessary to match points when you sew the blocks together.

I discovered an interesting thing, when I was sewing the block. I am sure that I don't normally sew with green, it isn't one of my favourite colours. However, all these squares came from my scrap bin, and only the centre block is purple.

I think this block is destined to be an orphan, since I don't have any more of that yellow. However, it is so pretty, I'll have to find a use for it. Tote bag, maybe.