Thursday, July 23, 2015

Purse Kitten

Lady GaGa's French Bulldog, Miss Asia Kinney, has a modelling job as the new face of Coach Pups. You can check out her picture on the Coach website.

Tillie decided that she was the perfect spokes model for Arts and Socks bags, so here are some pictures of her recent photo shoot.

A little too dark, Tillie.

You can see more of the purse, but maybe not the best angle.

Better, but now you can't see Tillie.

Perfect, I think that qualifies as the money shot!

Every day is a silly day, with a house full of kittens.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another Brick and The Perils of PUL

I wanted to try PUL fabric as a lining for some of my makeup/ toiletry bags. I had found a source, in Canada (actually, fairly nearby) and last weekend, Simplifi Fabrics had a flash sale on PUL.  Obviously, I was meant to get some to try. I ordered on Sunday and was pleasantly surprised when my fabric arrived Tuesday afternoon.

I decided to try it right away, so I made another brick pouch.

I was fairly pleased with the end result, but I had a few problems along the way. This might not have been the best project for a first attempt at using laminated fabric.

First, the end result:

The outside looks pretty good. This is another fat quarter, from my stash, which, of course, has cats on it.

The inside certainly meets most commercial standards.

However, it fails to meet my standards.

The laminate on the back side of the fabric is sticky, so it doesn't feed well through the machine, and rides up on the batting, so my first attempt at top stitching the zipper, ended up as a mess. I took a picture after I picked out the seam.

You can see that the line of stitching on the lower edge was way off. So, first lesson learned: clamp the bottom edges together to keep the fabric from riding up.
Since the fabric was sticking to the presser foot, and I don't have a Teflon foot, I tried parchment paper strips on the seam line.

Better, but I substituted slippery for sticky.

Try number 2: I used some of the paper piecing paper. I had a couple of pieces that had misfed through the printer, so I didn't mind cutting them up. (Of course, I never throw anything away, so the slightly scrunched pieces of paper were still next to my printer, waiting for me to think of a use.)

This worked much better, although I couldn't see the fabric underneath. This only became a problem when I went to box the corners. I solved that by cutting the paper the exact size of the seam, laying it across the corner so it just touched each end, and sewing across the line I had drawn down the centre. I forgot to take a picture of that.

In the end, I had to rip out the stitches near the end of the zipper, on the lining and redo them by hand, and I ended up with a pucker in that seam. Otherwise, since my lining seams end up between the layers, my other problems weren't noticeable, except by me.

I think I will look into getting a Teflon foot for my machine. I expect that might be a better solution. I have seen people who claim that the walking foot will also work, but it doesn't get into the tight corners very well.

After all that, a dose of cute, as your reward for reading this far.

Birdie, Will, and Charlie, all lined up, trying to figure out what I am doing with the camera.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Water - Part 1

I was surprised on Friday morning to find in my inbox, the first clue for the next Mystery Knit Along from Fiddle Knits Designs, Water.

I had forgotten when it was suppose to start. Fortunately, I had purchased yarn for it at the same time as I purchased the yarn for Earth, the previous MKAL, and I had already wound it, so I had no problem getting started.

The first clue is often the easiest to finish in her designs, and I finished it last night. I am liking it. I might have to keep this one for myself.

The yarn colour is called "Frozen" and the yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Tonal. It is looking good, so far.

This morning, I found this little surprise on the counter.

It was a grocery store purchase from about 4 years ago. This is the third time I have managed to get it to flower.

I thought you might also like a picture of the photographer's assistant, Rorey.

She was grooming the leaves, while I took the picture.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

An Alien Invasion

Mowgli returned to the shelter, today, so he could find his forever family.

So now we have a new set of fun.

It is hard to see but there are 5 of them. We have been joking about counting the legs and dividing by 4. Here's a closer view:

Girl 1
Girl 2
Girl 3

Boy 1

And Boy 2 with one of the girls

I think that might be Girl 1.

They don't have names yet. I have asked some young friends of mine to help. I am open to any and all suggestions.

Just in case you think getting the pictures were easy, I took 65 pictures to get these. Most look like this.
I think all 5 are actually in that shot.
And they think Doug is some kind of big toy.

They are 6 weeks old and they weigh about 700 gms. or 1.5 lbs.

With this kindle, we have now fostered 149 cats and kittens. We are still having fun!
(Kindle is the collective noun for kittens, related or not.)

Girl 1 is Tilley
Girl 2 is Rorey
Girl 3 is Birdie
Boy 1 is Charlie.
Boy 2 is Will.

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.