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". 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

This and That

 After a week of power sewing, I have spent the past week recovering.

I have spent 40 months involved in a church team, working toward becoming an Affirming Ministry. Affirming Ministries are welcome, inclusive, loving and seek justice for all creation. This, of course, includes the LGBT community and their family and friends. Last Sunday, we asked the congregation if they agreed to become an Affirming Ministry.  This explains the rainbow heart pulpit fall. 

This is what people saw on Zoom, last Sunday. 

I also made sure the participants were suitably rainbow attired.

Masks and ribbons for everyone who was in the building (there were 10).

The vote was overwhelmingly in approval of moving forward. So, I'll need to make a communion table runner, next!

My current bag project is nearly finished. The lining has been finished. The interior pockets are in place, and the lining has been stitched into the bag. 

As you can see, the bag was too thick to complete the top stitching, over the front strap. However, that will be under the flap.  I just have the crossbody strap to finish now.

I got myself a treat. I was given a gift certificate to a fabric shop I don't often shop at. I have had it for months so I decided to look for something to use it on. I don't usually buy them, but I got a fat quarter pack.

This is 7 fabrics from the Tula Pink collection " Curiouser and Curiouser", in the blue colourway. Sadly, it didn't include the Cheshire Cat fabric.

One of my pet peeves is fat quarters that aren't cut on the straight of grain. Really, how hard can it be. This one is out by about 1/2" in one direction and 1" in the other. I suspect that it is caused by the manufacturers not printing the design straight, on the fabric and the stores trying to follow the pattern on the fabric. Interfacing on the back of the fabric helps when it is going to be a bag. However, sewing in straight lines is much easier, if the fabric is cut on grain.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


 An antependium (in case you didn't know) is a hanging for the front of an alter, pulpit, or lectern. In the church where I spent my youth, it was know as a "Pulpit fall". I suspect antependium was considered too high church for us.

Anyway, I recently received a request for an antependium to be used for Pride. I needed something quick, and fortunately, Sandra, from Musings of a Menopausal Melon, had a cushion on her blog, complete with a link to the tutorial.

It was about the correct size, so I was off to my stash. I had all the fabric that I needed, except for a soft pink. Apparently when you are the mother of boys and the grandmother of a little boys, soft pink isn't in your palette. A friend helped me out, since I just needed the tiniest scrap.

Two days later, TaDa!

It has a sleeve at the top, with velcro on the back, to attach it to the pulpit, or hang it from a dowel.

It is now off to church!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

In Which Some Progress is Made

 My goal for May seems to be running into June, but it is nearly finished. 

First off, the magnetic closure experiment: it is a success, though I think it might need a bit of improvement. 

I have the metal keeper piece attached to the loop side of the velcro strap. I think next time, I would put it between the fabric so only one layer is between it and the magnet piece. 

I used a piece of washi tape to show which side the magnets are on so I can sew it the correct way around.

This is the fancy decorative strap, which has no use except to look pretty.

The front of the bag has an overlay and the pattern said to fold 1/4" under before top stiching it. Since the piece was going to be interfaced, I used a trick I learned in applique.

I stitched the interfacing to the edge that needed turning, then fused it to the back.

A much neater edge than I would get just trying to fold it under.

Today, I gave myself a sew day, and made major progress.

The exterior of the bag is finished! The curved edges went together without a single tuck or pucker. No stitch ripper was required today, except to put the magnetic snap on the back pocket. I've learned so much from other bags, that have come together to make this bag. Double sided tape keeps things in place. A basting glue stick is a big help to hold things, sometimes. Moving the needle often makes the top stitching much tidier. 

The lining and the strap are left to do. 

I finally took pictures of my "Through the Witches Garden" shawl, outside in the sunshine.

The colours are so much brighter in the sun. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Experiments in Bag Making

 My next bag will be the Pony Express by Ujamaa Bagettes.  This bag is a tribute to the classic Dior Saddle Bag. Vintage versions of the bag have velcro as the closure but the latest versions have a flat magnetic clasp as the closure.

I decided that mine needed a magnetic closure. I have lots of magnetic purse snaps (left over from last summer's hand sanitizer pouch blitz.) but those show and a single snap didn't look like enough . So I started looking for something like the Dior bag has. It is encased in fabric (or leather) so the magnet is invisible. 

After cruising the internet, I found these.

They are intended to be used instead of a pin closure on a name badge. They came in a package of ten, so I have room for experimentation.

They go on either side of the fabric. Without fabric between the magnet and the keeper, they are really hard to get apart. So I started by trying them with denim between the layers.

With 4 layers of denim between them, they hold firm, but the fabric needs to be stiffer.

Bring on the stabilizers.

In my stash I have Fast2Fuse, Stiff Stuff by Lazy Girl, and Fashion Fuse (woven fusible interfacing). The Fast2Fuse and Stiff Stuff proved to be too thick to get a good bond from the magnets. However, the Fashion Fuse was just right. 

Next step was to figure out how to make the fabric holders. I cute two strips the size called for in the pattern for the Velcro. I added the interfacing and ironed them to shape.

If you clip the folded edges while they cool the folds stay in place .

Time to find the rest of the required hardware,

I think this will work. I still need a magnet snap for the exterior pocket, but I have lots of them near the machine.

Now to sew. I tried sewing as close to the edge as possible. I ended up with a mess.

As you can see it is hard to keep the stitching straight. Also, the flat keeper fit into the channel but the magnet half was too thick. So, I will add a half inch to the width of the fabric and try again. 

Meanwhile, I am sure the foster cat fans would like a current picture of Maggie, Foster # 187. 

Here she is, enjoying a nap on a quilt. Cats are so good at that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A Walk in the Park

 I live in a lovely suburban area with lots of trees and parks. Yesterday, my grandson and I went for a walk in a nearby wooded park.

Trilliums are the provincial emblem for Ontario. The grow in deciduous forests before the trees put on leaf.

The woods were full of them.

There were also Trout Lilies. They aren't as abundant as the trilliums.

Though it is hard to tell from the picture, but in places the path goes nearly straight up and is bare rock. Good exercise for Nana, my fellow adventurer ran straight up.

Oddly, there was a lone little lilac bush next to the path near the edge of the woods.

We walked a total of just over 3 km. I was sore and tired at the end.

But somebody was still going. Only an offer of a snack convinced him that it was time to head home.

Today it is raining. However, I have some apple blossoms to keep me company in the house.

Sunday, May 9, 2021


 Did you ever start planning a project, with an idea of exactly what you want to do, and completely change your mind, as soon as you get started?

I had decided on a bag pattern for my on-going project of making some of bag patterns I have collected, and even knew which fabrics to I wanted to use.

The bag has piping and a contrast flap, so I was going to use these three fabrics. They look great together, and I had two small problems. The fabrics didn't feel very summery and  I didn't have any gold hardware in my stash. So, I will file this combination, and add gold hardware to a future hardware order. I still like it, but it needs to be a fall bag.

Second idea: If the Laurel Burch wasn't going to work, how about some Tula Pink? 

Definitely more like summer, but I just wasn't feeling this was right, either. The fabric for the piping didn't quite work.

Okay, one more try.

Wow, this suits my mood, exactly. It is bright, summery, and would look great with nickel hardware, which I already have. Now to find a lining.

Yes, that all works. I can see it together as a bright, fun bag, just right for running errands in the warm weather. Now, we just need two more things: Warm weather, and my immediate world to start opening for me, again.