Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Groundhog Day!

I learned today that another name for a groundhog is a whistlepig. One should never stop learning!

I love buying pots of flowering bulbs in February, and this week, I have a pot of purple hyacinth.



I was surprised and pleased that I have some people joining me, on my 29 day effort to spend at least 20 minutes a day on projects they wish to finish. Some are knitting and some are sewing. Welcome all, I enjoy company.

Today, I spent about 2 hours in my sewing room. Of course, much of it was spent cleaning up my teabag wallet marathon, and the scraps from 2 quilts I have put bindings on over the last 2 weeks. I also need to figure out where I had left off on my Backgammon Bag.

I began cutting out the pieces of the bag, and discovered that I should have cut the bag front and back before I cut the pocket pieces. I was left without a piece of fabric big enough to make the back of the bag (whoops). Ever resourceful, I did a bit of piecing. The seam will be inside the outer pocket, so I am sure it will be fine.


I have the front and back of the bag and the outside pockets cut.
Next up will be the lining.

I like light coloured linings in my bags, it makes things easier to find. However, the inner pockets will be a surprise, because I can.

Fergus has taken a liking to the TV.

Perhaps he can take me on the cruise he is planning.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Drop Everything and Give Me Twenty Pledge

For the past 3 years, I have taken part in Beth Helfter's blog challenge, to sew or do something sewing related, for at least 20 minutes, every day in February.

This year, her challenge has moved to Facebook. I have nothing against Facebook (well, I have lots of things against it, but I won't go into that here), but I don't DO Facebook.

So, I am going alone this year. I won't be entered to win any prizes, but I don't really care.

So, my pledge:

I, Kate, an easily distracted sewist and quilter (squirrel),  pledge to quilt or sew for at least 20 minutes  every day of the month of February, 2016. In doing so, I hope to get something (really anything ) DONE, reducing the amount that my family will have to dispose of later. I will also endeavor,  as far as possible, to use the supplies I already have on hand, to complete my projects.  In this way, I hope to further reduce my materials at hand.

Last year I manged to complete this clutch, which has gotten lots of compliments since. I figure that is an excellent prize.

So, does anybody want to join me, and get a couple of long running works in progress finished?

Hard at Work


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tea Wallets...

I have been sewing tea bag wallets, and I can now say that I don't think I will be stocking an Etsy store any time soon. I am not good and making the same thing, over and over. I found the best way was to make 3 assembly line fashion.Then I don't get completely bored.

I intended to make 10 wallets to give to the church bazaar. Then friends saw them and I sold 5. Since I had promised 10, that meant I needed to make 15.

My progress so far:

These two were presold, and the buyers asked for specific fabric.

These ones even have their buttons on! The cat fabric is the very last I have of that. I bought it about 8 years ago, and I have been hoarding the scraps.

The cat pocket is pieced to give me enough fabric.

I call these my boring ones, fabric not quite to my taste, so easy to use up. The blue and white is home dec. fabric from IKEA. It came as a bag of roughly 8" squares, 40 for $5, and using them meant I didn't need interfacing.
My latest batch is a little more my style.

The narrow one at the top is a card holder, since the scrap was too small for another tea wallet.

The blue one at the bottom is special order for a lady in the choir.

Twelve down and 3 to go! I only need one more for the church I think and the other two are special orders.

If they all sell, that is $75 for the church refugee fund.






Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I recently had the opportunity to reread a favourite book. It is called "Wedding Ring" by Emilie Richards. This was the first book I read that I knew was by Emilie (I discovered later that I had read some of her earlier works, without realizing who she was). I have since become a huge fan of Emilie, and have read everything she has written, that is currently available. The book had, of course, originally appealed to me because I am a quilter, and quilts are an important part of the story.





This is the cover of the copy I recently read, but my original copy had a double wedding ring quilt on the cover.

In this story, three generations of women all reach a turning point in their lives, and together they find their way through. They have never been very close, until the summer when Helen, the grandmother, loses control of her "stuff" and her daughter Nancy, and granddaughter Tess, come to help her downsize her "stuff", and in the process, find their own lives again.

Cissy, a young pregnant neighbour of Helen's becomes an important part of the story, as each of the women help Cissy, in their own way.

One of the things that struck me, in the book, is that Helen, a quilter, has no idea how beautiful her quilts are, how each quilt is a work of art. Her daughter Nancy, who never appreciated the quilts, as she was growing up, finds a way now to show her mother's artistry to the world.

So where am I going with all this? Well, a couple of years ago, an elderly lady, in a local apaprtment building, was trying to clear out some of her "stuff", so her children wouldn't have to decide what to do with it, after she was no longer able to tell them. Among her things were some Dresden Plates, that she had pieced many years ago (I am guessing sixties or early seventies). She had never done anything else with them and asked a friend if they would be of use to any one, or if she should just throw them away. Her friend brought them to me.

The Quilting Circle at the church appliqued the plates to some off white fabric. The background fabrics were scraps from other projects, so they are not all the same. Then they were joined together on point, with some dark sashing, and we hand quilted the whole thing. Yesterday, we finished the binding.

Gorgeous, isn't it. It needs a tiny bit more work, and a label. I will post a picture, when we hang it in the church. We always hang our finished quilt, for a few weeks, so it can absorb all the love and prayers of the people, before we send it on it's way. The quilt will be going from cold and snowy Canada, to a Habitat for Humanity build in Kilmarnook, Virginia. It will provide a warm hug, from us to the family that will live in the house, that the youth of our congregation will help build.



Which brings me full circle. Wedding Ring takes place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Another Snowy Day

We went for our walk this morning. Dolly looks as excited as I am about the snow. Three weeks into winter weather, and we are not amused. I figure I have now earned some play time.

I have a bunch of projects on the go.

I have finished piecing the pockets for my Backgammon Bag.

I started out making them the same, then decided that since they meet at the bottom seam, they needed to be mirror images.

Doesn't that look better? I am liking the colour combination. Just enough purple to make a statement!

My Advent Scarf had a hiatus while I did some Christmas presents. I have made a bit more progress. I am up to Day 10 now.

I also seem to have a sock problem.
I have started a pretty lace sock, for a summer bride.

Then I got a notice from Craftsy about their 2016 Sock Knit along, hosted by Lucy Neatby. It was free, and I have lots of sock yarn, so I started the January sock for that one, too.


Meanwhile, the church is hosting a bazaar, along with the local mosque, to benefit Syrian refugees. They are looking for some handmade items, so I thought teabag wallets would be just the thing.
I made these back in 2013, and gave them to friends as gifts. I used the pattern from here. I have shown mine to 3 friends, and sold 3 already. Of course, they all had specific fabric requests. I figure a fair price is $5. My sweetie says that is a bit low, and while I may agree, I figure I want them to sell, not get left.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Auditions and Some Silliness

The weather has turned frigid, obviously time to hide in the sewing room, playing with fabric.

In the Bag of the Month group, there are already lots of Backgammon Bags finished, but since the next pattern isn't due for weeks, why rush? I am auditioning fabrics, and thinking about changes I might make to personalize the bag to suit me.

First up, picking the fabrics for the points.


I think I finally have what I want.
A monochrome to check for sure.
I have a dark blue twill for the main body of the bag.  You can see it behind some of the audition pictures.

Somehow, the cold also brings out silliness.
I read that the Pantone colours for 2016 are Rose Quartz and Serenity. Since I received nail polish in those colours for Christmas, I had to play.



When the world outside is frozen and white, paint flowers on your nails!

Cat picture of the week.

Angus is sure he used to fit into this basket. Must be too many Christmas treats!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Looking Back (And Forward?)

Last year I did a summary of my "arts and socks", and I liked taking an accounting. Some days, it feels like you are not getting anything finished, projects just seem to drag. So as a bit of boasting on my part, these are my completed projects for 2015.

Knitting

I spent less time on shawls this year, although I had an afghan that took 3 months to complete and consumed nearly all my knitting time.
Hats - 7
Shawls - 2
Afghan - 1
Adult Socks - 4
Baby Socks - 3

Since there are 2 socks in each finish, not a bad total.

I also published my first pattern on Ravelry. (see the sidebar) As of today, it has been viewed 625 times, and one person even put up a picture of her finished hat.

Sewing and Quilting

 My most memorial finish of this year was my bag made from cat treat bags.

Project Bags - 9
Clutch Bags - 3
Toes or Purses - 4
Electronics Cases - 3
Pillowcases - 6
Table Topper - 1
Wall Hanging - 1
Quilt - 1
For the church - Pillowcase Dresses - 2, Table Clothes - 14, Christmas Tree Skirt - 1

I did some excellent stash busting. I used up about 35 of my fat quarters, and some of my yardage. I didn't bring in anywhere near as much as I sent out finished (although it is hard to tell). I have gotten my sewing room a bit more organized, it is getting easier to find things.

We have also fostered 14 cats, from Gaston, to the Celtic three we currently have.

It is time to turn the page in my journal, and start again with a new set of finishes. I have some UFO's I need to either finish or re-purpose. I want to continue stash busting, both my yarn and my fabric. I don't intend to use only stash, but I am going look for something suitable in my stash, before I buy more.

I joined the Bag of the Month Club. You get six patterns, that are exclusive to club members, over the next six months.

This is the first pattern, by Betz White. I think I need some interfacing, but I am pretty sure I can find a lot of the rest in my stash. The new year deserves a new bag, right!