Monday, 26 January 2015

Little Winter Birdy

My quilt guild has a show every other year in the spring. This year when it's on I'll be out of the country so I'll miss it. One of the things they do is have guild members make mini quilts that they raffle off. Since I won't be able to help with the actual event I decided to make a mini quilt for them.

This little guy comes from a book called A Critter Christmas which I picked up at my LQS. The animals are pretty cute and my nieces are still at the age where they like cute.

My progress:

These are my freezer paper templates

This is the branch and leaves. I don't know why it's sideways - you'll have to tip your head cuz I can't rotate it.

This is round one. I didn't flip the direction of the bird from the templates and so he faces right - I like him facing left. And if you look closely you can see that my curves aren't very smooth because I clipped them.

So, I tried again. Instead of clipping the curves I did a running stitch and gathered them before starching and pressing. I'm much happier with this method and the results.

Almost finished

All Done. I quilted around the shapes, added an eyeball and pompom and a hanging sleeve.
I'm pretty pleased with my results and hope someone is happy to win this little winter birdy.

Monday, 19 January 2015

On Paws

Yep - you read that right - paws, as in dog paws.

One of my best customers for alterations is the computer secretary at work. She is Persian and tells me she loves me all the time - and I don't get that from just anyone.

Last week she stopped me to ask if I could make doggie boots for her dog so that the dog (Mocha) would be able to go out in the ice, salt, and snow. I suggested she buy some but for some reason, that wouldn't work.

So, I looked up dog boots online and found these two tutorials on how to sew them and how to fit them .  Who knew?

Here are the finished products:

I used some scrap fleece (good quality stuff) and some scrap suede I had from somewhere. I used double sided velcro that I found that is normally used like zip ties.

They look great and the dog loves them.  Mission accomplished.

Monday, 12 January 2015


Happy New Year Everyone!

I've been away from blogging almost the entire fall. I think I'm back now.

A few times recently I had a facebook posting cross my feed that is about cultural traditions in other countries that we don't have in North America. The second or third time it crossed my feed I decided it was time I did something with the idea (I believe that the universe sends us hints and to me, this was one). I've decided to adopt the German idea of Gemütlichkeit, which basically translates into a feeling of warmth and coziness - there's a bit more to it because it doesn't translate exactly, but you get the drift. It's something they do that is physical and emotional - like hanging out with friends and feeling warm and cozy at the same time. I struggle every winter with the darkness and I think this might help me. You can read more here.

My word for the year is "self". Sounds very selfish and it is! I do a lot of things for other people and it's time I did some things for myself. I have a sabbatical coming up the beginning of February. Teachers have this option to have reduced pay over a long period of time, then take a leave and be paid. I've funded this leave myself with pay reductions for five years. I have many things planned for this time off - and I want to focus on myself.

This fall I did a lot of knitting, mostly for Xmas presents. Maybe I was getting into the Gemütlichkeit idea before I even new it.

2015 finish - new cover for a bench

2015 finish - superwash wool flipper mittens for me

Matching cowl and flipper mitts for my sis

flipper mitts for my sil (I was on a roll with the flipper mitts)

trimmed tea towels for mom

an interesting book I read this fall

These are the mitts Ana wore in the movie Frozen. I made two pairs for a friend at school with two little girls.

Sweater for L's baby

flannel pillow cases for my nieces 

matching hat and mitt sets

2 of 3 knitting needle cases

Michigan State football pillowcases
This is what I've been up to for the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2105.
I have many sewing projects on the horizon, just none under the needle right now, and I'm good with that.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Blog Around the World

My friend L is a prolific quilter and blogger (and a great mom too). A few weeks ago she asked our friend C and I to participate in this Blog Around the World. I said yes (as usual) and promptly forgot all about it (not usual). Until L reminded me tonight that I had to post tonight. I'm sure I've forgotten what I'm all supposed to do.

Here's what I could glean about what I'm supposed to do...

1. What am I working on?
Way, way too much. Hold on while I go take a few pictures (in this dark evening light)

a) I knit too. This is a very cute sweater for L's baby. This is the front, back, collar, and the beginnings of a sleeve.

b) I did a swoon-along with C and L this summer and I was the first to finish making the top. My progress is stalled since then. This is for my cousin's little girl. It's her - welcome to the world quilt. She'll be 5 the end of Oct. Sigh.

c) This is my ironing board. Full of bra making supplies (I am in a state of desperation for them) and two partial Dear Jane rows.

d) This is my actual design wall and the (damn) Dear Jane quilt (which is what I really need to be working on. These are rows D and E completed.

e) This is my dining room table. On here are parts of bra making supplies, two pillow cases for Xmas presents and a couple of pairs of baby shoes. I think that's all that's on here. Oh, wait, some bib making supplies. And fabric for a dress for L's little one.

This shameless display of un-finished-ness also carries on upstairs in my house, but is out of sight so out of mind.

2. How does my work differ from others who quilt?

I think we're all different and that's what makes quilting so great. I like to do patterns that are more on the traditional side with fabric that is more on the modern side. 

3. Why do I quilt?

So I don't go insane. I like it. I especially like how appreciative other people are when I give them a gift that is handmade (not only quilts); I can see that they really love that I took the time to create something for them that they can't do themselves.
That being said I need to start doing some sewing and crafting for myself. For all the quilts I've made, I only have one wall-hanging for myself. Nothing to snuggle under at all. I'm working on changing that (there are patterns in my wip containers).

4. What is my creative process?

I don't really have a process. I wait for inspiration to hit and when it does, I listen. I sometimes go long periods where nothing catches my attention, then I find a project or fabric or idea that I like and I go with it. I read some blogs and I really like instagram for ideas. I have thousands of pins on pinterest (and I do look at them). I like variety and I think that's why I switch between projects before they are finished. My Dear Jane quilt is a case in point; I get so sick of it sometimes that I need to put it aside and work on something else - eventually I get back to it.

I hope you've learned a little bit about me.

I think I'm supposed to refer you on to other bloggers (but I've neglected to make arrangements for that). Here are some bloggers I enjoy - and I'll ask them if they are interested in participating, so if they don't make a post, be upset with me, not them.

This one makes me laugh:
This one inspires me and reminds me of when I lived up north:
And this one teaches me about a part of my heritage I did not know about:

Sunday, 17 August 2014

I Am a Negligent Blogger

I have been sewing this summer - just not blogging very much. I actually got into instagram and like it a lot - you can follow me as @howmytimeflies if you're interested.

I went on a quilting retreat last week to QMBH and it was awesome. The facilities are great and I had fun. I worked only on Dear Jane and took a chunk out of what I have left to do. Here's my progress:
I don't know the reference numbers for all of them - some of them had over 45 pieces. I have about 20 to do to get the 169 squares done. There is a big reveal the end of Sept for everyone who started the class. I at least want the centre squares finished for then.

I've also made a bunch of baby shoes for assorted people:
These 5 pair are all size 0-3 months.

And I made a boxy pouch to store my knitting in. It's Riley Blake "Apple of my Eye" - the first fat quarter bundle I ever bought.

I started with this...
And finished with this
It's about 9" long and 4" tall and wide. If I make another one I'll for sure put zipper pull tabs on both ends of the zipper. I'm happy with it and it's the perfect size for knitting projects.

And my friends and I made our own swoon along quilt project for the summer and we're all finished ours. Mine is for the daughter of my cousin. The light isn't great here - it's actually quite purple - and huge so I don't have a floor space big enough that is lit very well to show the true colours.

Soon it's back to school time and there will be a significant decrease in the amount of spare time I have to sew. I'm  going to try to get as much done as possible before then and I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Design Wall (and Floor) Monday

Here's an update on what I'm working (and not working) on.

These pieces make up three
more swoon blocks. My friends and I are doing a swoon-along this summer and all our fabric choices are different. Mine is a gift for my cousin's daughter. All my blocks will be the same. After I made the first three one at a time, I decided I'd had enough of that and was going to start chain piecing to go faster. It sort of defeats the purpose of a swoon-along, but then I decided I really needed to finish something this summer so went ahead. Also, my sewing friends might just be competitive enough that it will motivate them to keep going.

Here are the three blocks I have finished. They are huge - 24" finished - and they only place there is room to lay them out - barely - is on the floor.

On my actual design wall is my Dear Jane. These are rows D and E. I an woefully behind where I should be according to the schedule set by the teacher. This is definitely my next project.

I'm linking up to Patchworktimes - go over to see what everyone else is up to.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

I Should Sew Something or Something

I'm a high school teacher so I get the summers off.  Some people think it must be really nice to have the summer off - don't get me wrong, it is - but sometimes I get a little lost and don't know what to do with myself. Personally I'd rather have a more balanced timetable throughout the year, but that's a topic for another day.

I had one of those days this past week.  I felt a little lost for a day - probably because I had nothing planned for the day.

So I thought I should sew. But I was paralyzed with all the possibilities.  I think I puttered the entire day away without doing anything productive.

The rest of the week went better.

On Thursday I stopped at a fairly local quilt shop that was involved in a shop hop I'm trying to do - the second prize is a suitcase full of Aurifil thread and I have my eye on that. I wasn't intending to buy fabric, then I saw these awesome fabrics which would be perfect for baby shoes.

Today I worked on my swoonalong blocks. A bunch of friends and I are all making swoon blocks together this summer. I feel like I need to get something accomplished so I'm sewing ahead. All my blocks will be the same and I'm only making 6. Today I finished chain piecing all the HSTs and flying geese for my remaining 3 blocks. I'll try to sew them into blocks tomorrow.

My lost feeling is gone and I've set some goals for myself - including cleaning up my office - who wants to do housework though when there is sewing to be done instead.