Friday, June 23, 2017

Prairie Girl

I was surprised when someone noticed that I had been missing for a week. I took a trip.

Before I left, I made myself a new bag. I actually made it in about 3 days, around getting ready for the trip


This is Prairie Girl by Emmaline Bags.

I saw this fabric on the Mad About Patchwork website and knew I needed it.  It is part of the Maker Maker line and it is a cotton linen blend, perfect for this bag. Luckily, I managed to get to the store before it sold out, because it sold out quickly.

When I brought it into my sewing room, another fabric that had been resting there for awhile, stuck its hand up and declared it to be the perfect lining. I agreed.


Pink paisley cats just seem to make the lining pop. Exactly what I was looking for. The front pocket served as my wallet, lightening my load.


It also has two large inner sections, that are big enough to stow my tablet, phone, just about everything I needed in transit. Add to that a cross body strap for running between flights, and it becomes the ideal travel companion.

And, because of the name, I felt it was necessary to take its picture, in Calgary airport. It is a prairie girl, after all.


Calgary was actually just a layover, on the way to Victoria.

This was a working trip, so my view of that lovely city was kind of limited.


The mountains in Washington, as seen from the overpass over the Pat Bay Highway.


A beautiful dogwood tree, in full bloom near the Starbucks we frequented.


The "flowers" of the dogwood, British Columbia's provincial flower.




Monday, June 5, 2017

Two Timing Tote Times Three

I seem to be obsessed with making Two Timing Totes.

I made one last year in red.

Then, I made one in green.

So, yesterday, I finished another. This one is in an assortment of colours.


I am calling it the "Going to Nana's Bag", and it has lots of room for a little boy to bring his stuff when he comes to visit.

Pockets, on the front, back, and sides.


The side pockets are elasticized.


Six pockets on the inside make for a grand total of ten pockets.


A zipper closes the top to keep everything secure.

This is the first one I made in home dec fabric. I had a couple of problems with the thickness.


I ripped out the top stitching to get rid of this pucker in the lining, and it puckered again. I decided that it just wanted to stay that way, so I gave up.

The bag is big enough to hold the actual baby, so I think it should get a lot of use.

Meanwhile, my owl shawl now has heads on the owls, with cute blue eyes.


They are looking a bit cross eyed at the moment. I am hoping blocking will fix that.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Challenge Piece Completed

We have had the rainiest May on record, according to the keepers of such statistics. On the upside, more time to sew, since we are stuck in the house.

My challenge piece for my quilt group was finished, on time. I was impressed with the creativity of the ladies that finished their challenge pieces.  The seersucker was turned into a stuffed animal, flying fish, and desert scene, butterflies, and a playing card holder.

Here is mine.


I have a reputation to uphold in this group, so mine is a clutch bag. There are, of course, cats hiding in the flowers.


The back is just the "grass".


Cats on the lining, because...cats!

The pattern is Clematis from Blue Calla, a free pattern on her web site. The piecing and flowers are my own inspiration, based on my love of Laurel Burch fabric.

Meanwhile, in the rain, I have made progress on the "Going to Nana's" bag, that I am making for my grandson. I started it at my retreat, but it hasn't been finished yet. Yesterday, I managed to make most of the lining.


The bag has a total of 10 pockets, these are the six inside pockets, and the zipper.

I am already planning my next bag (yes, I am a bit obsessed). It has a front panel that allows for a focus fabric, so I have been auditioning some choices in my stash.


Option one:



Option two:



Tough choice, I think.


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.