Wednesday, 24 August 2016

It Runs In The Family

I've been trying to tidy up my sewing room lately. It's been a huge mess - which I can function in - but it's also the first room you see when entering my house.

Last year I got an Ikea drawer unit but I wasn't making good use of it because everything I put in rolled around. I measure and got my Dad to make me two sets of dividers for my threads - one is for quilting and specialty thread, and the other for general all purpose thread. I love the results.

Quilty and specialty thread

all purpose thread
 The spools won't roll around anymore and I can get them out of the plastic storage unit in my dining room.

I also got my Dad to build me a ruler holder

 this should help keep them all in one place.

My Dad is talented - he can fix anything and build almost anything. I was lucky as a kid and lucky as an adult - I just have to think something up and he can get it made.
Both my grandmothers sewed - my maternal grandmother grew up in a Mennonite home and some of her crafty makes include some traditional items like leaf mats and some quilts. She only did that type of activity in the winter - during the summer she was too busy on the farm. I don't think she considered herself very crafty but I think she was. My paternal grandmother sewed, knit, crocheted, cooked - everything. She sewed anything and everything - I learned from her. She did it all the time - she always had something on the go and didn't stop until she lost her eyesight. My Mom says I got my talent from her but I think I got it from both grandmothers.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Show Ribbons Part 2

I've totally finished this wall hanging and delivered it back to its original owner. She is very happy with it! And I'm so glad.

Here are a few more process picts and the final product...

A finished square (more or less, its a bit off square) but it still needs to be trimmed. There was a buckle/bubble in the middle of the star that I was really worried about. I took in the seams a bit - lost my points in the centre, but I felt more encouraged that it would lie flat. Incidentally, when I basted it before quilting, it stuck down with the spray adhesive and there was no more buckling.


Auditioning borders and binding:

What I did for the binding was take some of the leftover ribbon and sew it on the front, with a 1/4" seam allowance. I did opposite sides of the wall hanging first, and just trimmed those tails square. I wrapped the binding around and stitched in the ditch from the front to catch the binding on the back - like you'd do for regular sewn on binding, except it wasn't folded. On the remaining opposite sides, I wrapped the ribbon around the bound side and secured it

Then when I flipped it

Then I trimmed a little and folded it like wrapping a corner on a present. When it was stitched down, all the edges were neatly enclosed and I didn't have to wrestle with trying to fold  the binding in the corners.

I added a sleeve and 2 triangles in the bottom corners - in case it needed to be held in the bottom too.

Here's the finished product. It's roughly 36" square.


And the back side. It's very lightly quilted (around the outside of the star, the spines,  and in the middle; then both borders).

I am happy with how it turned out and the struggles while making it were worth it. My friend is very pleased and will certainly enjoy it. I included some fabric so she can make a label and a sheet of care instructions for it as well. I would make one of these again - now that I've done one I know what I'd charge and what I can and can't do.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Show Ribbons Part 1

A very good friend from university days entrusted me with her prize show ribbons she has won for showing Clydesdale horses. Those are the really big ones, with the really big feet. My friend grew up on a farm and her grandpa and dad were both involved in showing/breeding and she loves it so has carried on the family tradition.

Liz gave me a laundry basket full of ribbons - there are 97 ribbons in there, almost 90 with rosettes.
I didn't quite expect this many, but it was fine. I set about taking them apart and ended up with a pile of rosettes and a pile of ribbons.

All the ribbons sorted by size and type (with writing and without)


Liz sent me a picture of a ribbon quilt she'd found online so I had an idea of what she was looking for - a star shape to start.

I decided I was going to paper piece it. I did some research online and I found a few people who do it two different ways - some do a zig zag and butt them together, and some piece like they were cotton with a 1/4" seam allowance. I opted for the 1/4" seam allowance because I liked the look of it a bit better and the sample image had been done that way.

I did a couple of mock ups and this one got approved.
(don't mind my feet there)


I drew out a lonestar shape on paper and got busy. There were a few snags, especially when cutting angles. I had very little wiggle room in my seam allowance because the ribbons were already a set size (2" width and I sewed at 1.5" width). I'm a decent paper piecer, mostly because I cut my fabric much bigger than it needs to be so I have lots of room when pressing. I also found that I couldn't iron the ribbons like cotton - they could melt (and some did a little) and once there was a seam in them, if I ripped out the seam, the needle holes showed and wouldn't disappear. Wetting the ribbons resulted in a water stain. This added some complication (and a little swearing once in awhile) but I got it together. I used a size 70 needle and grey aurifil thread.

I'm almost totally finished - I'll post more picts soon.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Never Again

My last post was about a little sweater I was knitting for some friends expecting a baby. I talked about all the problems I was having. It didn't get any better.

The sweater is now finished and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
(Don't mind the shadows from the deck outside)

I think the sleeves are maybe a bit long - hard to tell unless it's on a baby.
There's a lot of detail in the sweater. That's part of the reason I choose it - I didn't want to be bored while knitting. (And in this case, I was more frustrated than bored). The yarn is acrylic so it can go right in the washer and dryer - an important consideration for new parents.

I used a thing called a "lifeline" every time the pattern changed. It's basically a thread/strand you put in so that if you have to pull the knitting back, it is easier to pick up again. It helped me a lot!

In the end, I'm very happy this project is finished. The parents will like it, and they asked for something knitted, rather than sewn. In hindsight, I would have enjoyed making a hat much better.

I leave notes for myself on patterns that I've made, with suggestions for next time or to remind myself of things. On this one, I wrote "never again".

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sometimes It's The Little Things

I've been knitting lately - I think because I do it in front of the tv and fan while watching Suits on Netflix. 

A former colleague and his wife are having a baby towards the end of August. The dad, who I knew first, always asked (and seemed interested in) my crafty and quilty creative pursuits. When I asked if they'd like something sewn or knit for their new baby, they asked for something knit.

I looked through my books and found a cute sweater pattern. It fit my criteria - I already had the needles and pattern and it was small so likely quick - so I didn't have to dish out any money for that and not too much time. The pattern is made with a solid yarn and has enough variety in the stitches that I figured it would keep me occupied and interested, but be simple.

The little thing is kicking my arse! I have pulled it back, due to mistakes caused by misreading the instructions, enough times that I would almost be finished by now.

Where my finger is below, is a pretty sizable mistake in the pattern. Then I looked over the pattern more carefully, and realized it was about 2" too long. Of course I didn't notice until I was almost finished the back. The pattern is tricky enough, and I'm only skilled enough as a knitter, that I had to pull the whole thing back to start again.


Then I got the back finished - there is still a mistake, but only I'd notice it.
Then I got started on the left front. I didn't read the instructions carefully, and realized, when I was almost finished, that I read incorrectly again. So I pulled it back. And re-knit some more - and pulled it back again.

I don't know what my problem is with it. Maybe the heat is getting to me. I just was texting with my friend Buttons, about errors vs design choices. I should follow my own advice. However, if I make one more mistake I'm not pulling it back - it either has to work as is, or I'm tossing it.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Q3 Finish

When I joined the Q3 Finish Along a couple of my projects were really small.

These pillowcases are for my nieces for Christmas.



The fabric is Pixie Noel, by Riley Blake. I just love it!! And thanks to my friend Buttons, I got some at a bit of a deal.



The images are the perfect mix of retro and whimsy for me. I got some extra fat quarters to make something for myself for Christmas. I need a new Christmas tree skirt - hmmm.

I hope my nieces love these as much as I do.


Oh, and I used this tutorial for them. They took a little longer than 15 minutes, but not much.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Dresden Update

I've making excellent progress on my dresden quilt. I enrolled in the Finish Along for Q3 and it's one of my goals (left over from Q2). I'm enjoying it and very happy with my results. All the petals are sewn together.


There are a few partials in there - on the left hand side - I like to have a few running off the quilt.

This week I need to get to a fabric store to pick up some solid for the centre. I have Kona watermelon in mind, but I need to see it in person.

I'll keep you posted.