Monday, June 29, 2015

Another UFO Finish

I finished another UFO, using up more of my stash in the process.

Last October, I saw the free pattern for the Trail Tote, and thought it looked like my kind of bag.

It was a pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead, the designer of the Open Wide bag, that I keep making.

I took the pattern and some fabric from my stash to my retreat weekend, last October. I decided that (like Goldilocks) the large was bigger then I wanted, and the small was smaller. So I added 1 1/2" to the length and 2" to the width of the small bag.

Over that weekend, I got quite a bit done, but I had not brought any interfacing, so I got stuck. It fell into the void and turned up recently. I worked on it the last couple of days and now it is finished.





The outer fabric is some home dec remnants that I found at Ikea. They were cut into 8" squares, and a large bag was about $5. It is a very firm twill, I expect will wear like iron. I plan to use them to make a travel tote, but I thought I could spare 8 squares for this project.

There is a nice deep zippered pocket on the outside, for my keys and phone. Though the picture doesn't show it very well, the bag also has batik piping.


I put 2 slip pockets on the inside. I used some of my beloved Laurel Burch fabric for the lining. It is a bit dark, but it makes me smile.

I added a zipper to the top, instead of a magnetic snap. I feel more secure with a zipper in the top of my bag.
I used a zipper pull from Emmaline Bags. I have had these in my stash for awhile too. I think they make a great touch to a bag. She has zippers now that already say Handmade on the pull. I may have to get a couple of those, too.

Next up, I am going to make Two-Timing Tote from Sweet Bee Buzzings.

I have gathered up some fabric, that has been maturing in my stash. I think with these 3 fabrics I have enough to make the bag.

I got some cord at the hardware store to make the piping, and I am currently debating wheather to use a black or a red zipper.
The black one looks pretty good in that picture. Perhaps a better choice than trying to match the red.

One would think that with all the stash fabrics I have been using, that my sewing room would start to look bare. Unfortunately, using the fabric creates scraps, so now I have more scraps to deal with. I am going to need some scrappy projects, next.





Sunday, June 21, 2015

For the Kittens

Regular readers of the blog know that I foster cats for the local animal shelter. Pictures of them have appeared, periodically. Since 2005, we have fostered 144 cats and kittens, though never more than 6 at a time. I think I may be bordering on Crazy Cat Lady, even though I have never owned a cat.

Recently, my friend, cheryl, over in the Kingdom of Coco,  has been involved in raising money for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. Feral cats often live very short, hard lives, compared to house cats.

Many of my kittens were found under porches and decks, and probably had feral mothers. With proper socialization they can become lovely family pets.


Here are just 15 of my babies that have gone on to forever homes, and much healthy lives then if they had stayed in the wild.

Cheryl's group is having a sale on July 1, Canada Day. There are details on her site.  I had a bunch of half completed samples from my bag course, two weeks ago, so I finished them to send to Cheryl's sale.








From UFO's to sources of funds, to help cats, seems like a win/ win to me!

And because Cheryl is such a sweetheart, herself, I made a bag for her, with some cat fabric.



It is a different pattern for me, but I think it turned out pretty well.
It is quite roomy and also uses 2 fat quarters. You can find the tutorial over at Sweet Bee Buzzings.
Bethany is starting a tote/diaper bag sew along, this week. You can find the information here.

I think this brings my stash busting count to 25 fat quarters. It would be even more impressive, if it had actually made a dent in my stash!

I managed to catch a picture of Mowgli being cute. Seems an appropriate way to end this.





Saturday, June 13, 2015

More Stash Busting

While I was at quilt retreat in April, I worked on a quilt top from Karen Neary's new book, Quilting Beauties Come in All Shapes and Sizes.

The pattern I chose was called Thistles in the Heather. You can see Karen's version here.

I came home from retreat and fell to an infection that kept me from my sewing room for about 6 weeks (knitting was just easier). This week, I have been trying to sew a bit every day. I managed to finish the top of my version.

My personal challenge was to try to complete the top without buying any additional fabric. I recently realized that the fabric manufacturers are constantly making new lovely fabrics, so using up beautiful fabrics from my current stash will open up room for new lovelies.

While I was working on it at retreat, I wasn't sure the fabrics were working together, but now that it is finished and I can see it in natural light, I quite like the result. Want to see?

I used some of my beloved purples, along with some turquoise and green. All of the fabric was in my stash of batiks that I have been "saving" (hoarding). I think it looks tropical, and will brighten things up next winter. I left off the corner points because I had about 2 inches of the light purple from the outer arches left. This exercise may have taught me to buy larger pieces of fewer fabrics.

I have some different light purple that I think will work for the binding. Now I need to dive into the stash and find a backing. Perhaps I can manage to get this one quilted sooner than my Maritime Beauty, that took me 2 years!

Meanwhile, we have a new foster cat. Meet Mowgli.

He is a lovely 6 month old Fawn Tabby. I told them at the shelter that if he spends much time in the sunroom, he may come back as an Orange Tabby. He is very sweet, though he has an adolescent appetite.



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Bag Workshop

When one is teaching it is difficult to remember to take pictures. I had 8 people making the Open Wide Zipper Pouch.  I managed to remember to take pictures of a few of finishes.

My yoga dogs are now a bag.

The first two finishes, by Pat and Ruth.

How did I miss getting some of this fabric? Sheila's bag was very cute.

I missed getting a picture of Corina's bag. It was her first attempt at something like this. I think we may have her hooked!

Yesterday, I finished a pair of baby socks, to go with the bear hat. However, I didn't get a picture and they have already gone to their expectant grandma. since my needles were empty, I dove into my sock yarn stash and came up with some yarn that I bought quite awhile ago, because it remineded me of  Dolly. Dolly is a Tricolour Blue Merle Australian Shepherd. Here she is helping me knit.





Here is the sock.
It is Regia Extra Twist Merino, a lovely yarn, they, of course, no longer make. The sock pattern is a modification of the Simple SKYP Sock.The pattern uses a slightly heavier yarn so I am using the men's size medium to make lady/narrow man's sock. Haven't decided who they are for yet. Best part is, the dog hair won't show!





Saturday, June 6, 2015

Down to "Earth"

My shawl, "Earth", is finally finished and blocked.

It is large enough that it is hard to get the whole shawl in one picture.

The branches look lovely.

The lace blocked out beautifully.

It took about a bazillion pins to block it.
Because my hands can't be idle, I started another shawl, Eyre of Romance Jane Shawl.

I am getting lots of practice at German Short Rows.

I also started a little scarf, with Cat's Paw Lace.

I used a slightly different technique to make each of these 4 paws, to decide which I liked best. I chose paw # 4.







Monday, June 1, 2015

Under the Influence of Fabric

When I started quilting, in earnest, about 10 years ago, I bought fabric with abandon. I went to quilt shows and on shop hops and bought things that I liked, just because I liked them. Now most of these were fat quarters, so the cost was fairly low. Somehow, I never did find a use for all these fat quarters.


This piece is called "Under the Influence of Fabric". I still like it, but I can obviously bought it with no plan in mind. There is a whole metre, untouched since I bought it.

I am teaching a workshop on "Open Wide Zippered Bags" this Friday. I need to get some samples done, so today, I was pulling out fabric. I went to that collection of fat quarters, and other impulse buys and choose a few for bags.

Dogs, cats, threads, koalas, geckos, and some orientals, all purchased because I liked them. I still do, but I think it is time they became useful.

I actually would have bought more of this one, but they only had a fat quarter left.
Dogs and Cats Doing Yoga! The big brown dog is doing a "downward dog".  The cat, of course, is doing the "corpse pose".  This needs to come out of the drawer, and make somebody smile.

Currently, I am on a fabric diet.  I look at the fabric I already have, and only buy what I need to fill in the gaps.

I worked on a project on retreat, using my stash, entirely. Here is a sneak peak.

I also have a whole lot of gorgeous batiks, and they go together.






Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Queen's Birthday

Traditionally, in Canada, the Queen's birthday is celebrated on May 24, which was Queen Victoria's official birthday. In my part of Canada, it marks the unofficial start of summer. These days it is celebrated the Monday before May 24 so we get a long weekend.

Last Monday, we got a day off to celebrate. My neighbourhood had a parade, with pipers, flags and kids on decorated bicycles.

Dolly loved the parade.

Doug was not so sure, it was his first parade.

It was a lovely day, with a high temperature of 25 C. We followed the parade visit with a barbeque of burgers, traditional food for this holiday.

Because the weather this time of the year is fickle, last night we had frost warnings, and a low of 2 C.

We covered the plants and today, everything looks very spring like.
They will look better when they have filled in a bit, but my patio has herbs and flowers. I no longer have much in the way of gardens, because the trees make my yard too shady. The pots can be moved.

I got bored of knitting the lace border on my Earth shawl, so I did something different for a change. So, today's Department of Redundancy Department picture:

Yes, it's a bear, wearing a hat with bear ears. Babies aren't cute enough, so now I am making them hats with bear ears, because that is even cuter. Here is the pattern.  The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash. I think I will try cat ears on my next one.

I was looking through my stash and found these two balls of yarn, asking to become a project together (doesn't everyone's yarn talk to them?)
I am not quite sure what they will become but they seem to need to go together. I haven't knit anything purple in a very long time.