Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Challenge Piece

My quilt group has a donation table, where we can bring those "What was I thinking" items and they may become someone else's treasure.

About six months ago, a large piece of seersucker arrived, and one of our group decided it would be fun to have an odd fabric 3D challenge. We could take a hunk of the fabric (as much or as little as you would like, and make a small quilted item in which the fabric needed to be used. The item must have a 3D element to it, preferably in the odd fabric.

So this is what I got.

Now, I wouldn't call it ugly, but it isn't something I would normally use in quilting or bag making.

I had an idea, a sort of a tribute to Laurel Burch.

So this is what I have so far.

These are the exterior pieces of my bag, and my zipper.

These are the 3D elements. I think the hot pink flower is out of scale, so I need to make a couple of the smaller flowers in hot pink. I am debating whether I will change the zipper pull, because I can.

And, of course, the creative process goes much better with a large cup of coffee. The work continues.

Canada 150 Tulips, Part 2

It is the strangest thing. My first batch of tulips have faded to cream and white.

The maple leaves in the petals show quite clearly now they are nearly done.

I had a second group of 5, in a shadier part of the yard, and they have just flowered.

Ignoring the yellow one that was already planted in this garden, this batch are the colours I expected. 

The Forget Me Nots are again taking over the lawn (I planted them in the garden, but they have all escaped.)

These Wood Violets have little purple faces. There are plain white ones, and two shades of plain purple, as well. I think 5 months of snow makes us very aware of the flowers when they bloom in the spring. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

More Spring Cleaning

When we first bought this house, we would sit on the patio, swat mosquitoes, and say to each other, "We need to cover in the patio." At the time we were house rich, and money poor, so it went on the list of dreams. Eventually we saved enough to create the space of our dreams, and from May until October, it becomes the focal space of the house.

However, it is an unheated space, so it serves as an airlock for the dogs and a home for outdoor things during the winter. Today, we declared winter over, and did the annual clean out of the sunroom.

It is now ready to serve as a refuge for knitters and readers. It is a playroom for little cats.

There is a table and chairs for meals, and nearly all meals will now be consumed here, from now on. The wooden benches will become home to pots of flowers, as soon as I go to the garden centre and get some.

Since spring is now officially here, I have pictures of the last cool weather knitting.

Fingerless gloves, I need to spend 5 minutes and finish the second thumb. I might need them come fall.

One last pair of socks in size 6 months, "Jett" will need bigger ones in the fall.

The first spring start is a shawl.

It is called "Into the Woods Owl Shawl" and it will have owls.

In more spring news, my Canada 150 tulips bloomed.

Does anyone besides me see a problem here? I planted 30 in clumps of 5 bulbs last fall.

They all look like this. For those who are unfamiliar with Canada 150 Tulips, they were advertised as being white with red stripes, like the Canadian flag. They look really yellow to me. apparently I am not the only one with this problem. Oh, well.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Work In Progress

Work in progress pretty much sums up my life lately. We are renovating, I am trying to get some cleaning done, as the dogs track in mud, and I have only just finished unpacking from my retreat last week.

Today, I got back to the bag I started on the second day of my retreat. It actually looks like a bag, now. The sun was actually shining, so I took the picture in my sun room. Don't you love Doug's tail, behind the chair? There must be a squirrel in the yard.

It still needs a lining and a zipper. From the looks of the picture, it needs some edges straightened, too. It is a visit to Nana's house bag, for my little boy. I used Bethany's excellent instructions for her "Two Timing Tote" 

I have made this bag two other times, so you can tell I like the pattern. When it is finished, it has 10 pockets. Lots of room.

Meanwhile, I thought you might like to see what other projects were in progress at my retreat.

Diana made this lovely baby quilt.

Diane had these great project bags. I must try to make a couple of those, myself.

Judy spent the winter doing this lovely embroidery and put the top together at retreat.

A closeup of her embroidery, isn't it great?

I missed getting pictures of other projects, because I kept forgetting to get my camera out. However, Kathryn made 17 pillowcases for the children's hospital, Maggie made about a million half square triangles and Doreen made a lovely wall hanging, and I took her scraps. I have a plan!

Linking to The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Retreat Bag

I have returned from my lovely retreat weekend. It seemed appropriate that one of my projects should be a Retreat Bag. This is a free pattern, from Emmaline Bags.

The bag came home, completely finished.

Pretty snappy, right?

The bag has a wire frame, that you slide into the bag, after you finish it. This makes the bag sit open on a table.

I added handles to the pattern, to make it easy to carry. I wanted it as a project bag, to take my knitting to meetings.

Lots of room inside, so I can stash a whole shawl in here.

I had to make sure the kitty ended up in the middle of the pocket.

On the other side is a zippered pocket, with a bright surprise on the inside.

The fabric is a Laurel Burch that has been in my stash for quite awhile, along with some purple fabric I bought a couple of years ago, on spec.

I like the pattern and I think I might make more of these.The straps and the zipper pocket are my own modifications.

My dear friend, Maggie, of  The Cheerful Chickadee, bought to retreat a present for me.

No calorie cupcakes, in Tula Pink!

She gave me a box of five, presented in a bakery box. Isn't that the perfect gift of a quilter? Now, what shall these become?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Retreat Prep

Twice a year, I get the joy of spending the weekend, with a group of other crazys  like-minded individuals, and sew. We stop for meals, and eventually for sleep, but the majority of our time is spent sewing. Some of the ladies make large beautiful quilts. Me, I make small things, usually things I can finish in a weekend, or less.

In my ongoing efforts to reduce my stash, so I can justify buying more fabric, I pulled out some lovelies to use this weekend.

First up, I cut up some of my beloved Laurel Burch.

I've been hoarding holding on to this piece for a long time. Now I can enjoy it more often, as it becomes a knitting project bag.

I found this lovely, just waiting to join the party.

See how well it goes with the Laurel Burch.

The pieces are cut and have had their interfacing and fleece fused to the back. They are currently cooling, because the fusibles stick much better if they are allowed to chill for awhile.

Next up will be a bag for my baby boy.

The black print is actually an IKEA home dec fabric from a few years ago, so I think I can skip the interfacing and just add fleece. I bought the polka dot fabric, because I didn't have much that I could use for a lining.

The other thing I realized that I have been hanging onto for too long, are blades for my rotary cutter. I have about 20 in my stash, and I don't remember when I changed my blade, last. So, today, I put a new blade in the cutter. It works so much better with a sharp blade.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


We have now been 2 weeks without snow. Today, I got a lovely surprise.

The forsythia bush is starting to flower.

Cilla, daffodils and hyacinth are starting to make an appearance.

Although the snowplow tried to get them, my Canada 150 tulips were tough enough to survive. I hope to see the flowers in a few more weeks.

And in celebration, I have sparkles on my nails!

Monday, April 17, 2017

The March of Technology or Spring Cleanup, Day 2

I have been working on trying to put things into homes. The toughest part of sorting stuff, is that it needs to go into a permanent home, not just a temporary away. Of course, this means, for some things, figuring out what that home needs to look like.

Today, I was emptying some "temporary aways", boxes or bins that contain a collection of unrelated items. The buttons are now in the bin labelled buttons, the patterns are filed. Fabric scraps are classified and sorted into the appropriate container. I'm on my second bag for the kindergarten.

However, I turned up a bag of good intentions. I bought this pattern, quite awhile ago. I loved it.

If you look carefully, you will see that it is a case for a flip phone. It is terribly cute, and I made one as a Christmas gift. I would toss that pattern now, since it isn't really useful any more. However, in the same bag I found this.

This is just the fronts. I have cut out all the pieces to make 3 more of the cases. The fabric is purple, with silver sparkles. I tucked the bag away, and found it today. I own a smart phone. I am sure it won't fit in this case. So, now the question is: Do I toss everything, or repurpose the cut pieces. In my mind, these become cute pockets for a tote bag. So, I think these pieces will stay in my stash, and the rest will become scraps.