Monday, 19 September 2016

Useful and Good Looking

Just like the kids, when September hits I'm back to school. This year I'm not in the same room all day so I needed something to help me be portable and keep me organized.

I decided on the Caravan Tote as a good sized bag. It will fit my binders and whatever marking I collect. It got great reviews online, which is always helpful. I didn't make all the pockets and zippers it called for - I didn't need them and I wanted to keep the cost down.

I used Essex linen as the dark base with Mon Ami as the floral and a dot pattern as the inside. I bought .5m of each fabric and had very little left over. The base has a quilted cross hatch in it - hard to see in this photo - of 2.5-3" squares to help hold the fusible fleece in place. Sorry I don't have a photo of the inside. I put in a small zippered pocket and a hook to hang my keys on. I've been using it every day for the last two weeks and it works great. It's the perfect size and I love how it looks.

I also made myself a marking pencil case to go in this bag. I don't do any marking at home so I need a small case that holds my essential marking supplies for when I'm marking - usually at Starbucks.
I used some of the fabric left over from the bag to create this:

It holds all my essentials - kleenex, pens, highlighters, clips, and post its.
I used this pattern (by the same designer as the Caravan tote, but free) and made the size small. It's big enough to hold pens and plenty more.

Finally, I needed an every day pencil case to hold all my other supplies. Pens, pencils, clips, elastics, everything I could possibly need. I used the Sew Together Bag pattern and put this together. The fabric is "Apple of my Eye" by The Quilted Fish - it's part of the first fat quarter set I ever bought. I've been saving it, I don't know for what, and broke it out for this project. This bag is great and holds everything I could possibly want in a day.

And maybe the best thing about everything I made - I love my fabric choices and they make me happy every time I see them.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Q3 Finish

One of my 4 projects on the Q3 Finish Along is a pair of mitts for myself.  I finished them and I'm very happy with my results.

This is my first major foray into colourwork and these mitts had a lot of it. None of my stitches are too loose or too tight, which is good. I can definitely use more practice to improve. They fit perfectly, which is awesome (since most of the mitts I've knit to date don't quite fit the way I'd like). And the pattern was free so that's a bonus as well.

The pattern is on ravelry: bird mittens. I used Koigu wool, size 3.0mm needles. And the coral ran when I blocked them, but not into the white, which I can live with. I may add a bit of elastic to the bottoms to pull them in a bit. My knitting is looser where there is little or no colourwork, and that is giving these a bit of a gauntlet look.

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.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Sunday Stitching

Here's my progress this week.

I'm still happy with it.

I'm linking up to Kathy. You should go read her - she's very thoughtful and insightful about being mindful when sewing.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Q3 Finish Along

I found this Finish Along in March and joined for Q2 - April to June. I only got one of my goals completed - and I'm good with that since there is no penalty for not meeting a goal (other than those we impose on ourselves). There are great prizes available for those who finish and are lucky enough to get chosen as a winner.

This quarter (July - September) I'm entering a few more things for finishes.

In no particular order:

Mittens for me - 1 is 3/4 finished

A cardigan for my oldest niece:

The dresden quilt I was supposed to do in Q2:

And Christmas pillowcases for my nieces (in this adorable Pixie Noel fabric):

I feel like I've given myself a good variety of projects to finish - the pillowcases will be quick - the rest will take more time. A deadline will help (I hope).

I'm linking to the Q3 Finish Along.

A Finish And A Start

I've been working on my Winter Wonderland embroidery all winter. It's coming along nicely. And, honestly, thinking about winter in these hot days helps me stay a little cooler.

I finished off the snowman fight block

It was relatively quick and easy and finished in one week.

I have 2 (or maybe 3) blocks to finish. The remaining blocks are large. I started this one

This is the left side of the block - a tree holding up a clothesline.

I had to do some quilty math first to make sure I could get my blocks cut out of the remaining fabric I had

And I had enough fabric left.

I'm linking up to Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Q2 Finish Along Finish

In early April I joined a finish along - hoping to win some prizes - and get motivated too.
My goal was 2 quilts - 1 for a baby and 1 for me.
I made some progress - the baby one is finished.
Here's my progress:

The baby isn't born yet - the shower was the end of May and the Mommy-to-be loved it. I'm very happy with it, and glad I got it finished.

The quilt for myself didn't go as planned. I just got busy doing other things. The baby quilt was baby sized (about 40"x45") and easy to do - my quilt will be queen sized and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the size (at least I think that's what my problem is). I'll continue to work on it - maybe for Q3 Finish Along?

I'm linking up here - go check out what every one else has finished.

Q2 Finish ALong Finish

In early April I joined a finish along - hoping to win some prizes - and get motivated too.
My goal was 2 quilts - 1 for a baby and 1 for me.
I made some progress - the baby one is finished.
Here's my progress:

The baby isn't born yet - the shower was the end of May and the Mommy-to-be loved it. I'm very happy with it, and glad I got it finished.

The quilt for myself didn't go as planned. I just got busy doing other things. The baby quilt was baby sized (about 40"x45") and easy to do - my quilt will be queen sized and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the size (at least I think that's what my problem is). I'll continue to work on it - maybe for Q3 Finish Along?

I'm linking up here - go check out what every one else has finished.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

A Little Tardy

The beginning of April I signed up for a Finish- Along, in hopes that I'd be motivated to work on some quilts.

I finished one of the them and the other has been a slow start. This quilt is for me. Over last weekend I started putting pieces up on my design wall - hopefully that will help me get a little more motivated.

And now that I've put this on my blog, I'm a little more accountable too.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Baby Gifts

A beloved secretary at work has just had her first grand-child - a little girl. This baby does not live close to the new grandma and I know she is anxiously waiting to see the new darling. When any baby comes into work G coos and cuddles and talks baby talk in English and Persian.

I made these as a gift for her to take along when she goes to visit her new granddaughter.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

This Cools Me Off A Little

It's hot again outside. It's been hot for a few days - without humidity - today we have some humidity and I don't like it much. I'm fine if it gets hot during the day only if it also cools off at night.

To cope with the heat I'm hanging around inside getting some sewing done.

I've finished this panel. I started it in early April and have been working at it steadily.

Thanks everyone for the kind comments on this panel!

I'm linking up with Kathy.