Friday, December 19, 2014

Small Finishes

I can show one finish, now that it has been given to the recipient.
At the front door in Kingsville
This is another of Joanne's Snowalong paper-pieced snowflakes, #3 to be exact.  I made it back in October, knowing it would go to my daughter, Dayna.  You can purchase the patterns for all 7 snowflakes through her website link to her Craftsy store.  They are a mere $3.

Here it is after I quilted the front of the cushion cover. Wow, what a difference from under my Ott-lite to outside, no?!

A last shot of it with Lake Erie in the background (we were leaving for Florida the next day).

We'd already had a bit of snow at that point, but it had melted.  I discovered, and rediscovered two very handy tools during the binding of this cushion.

I followed Sharon Schamber's binding tutorial exactly this time, and as I mentioned before, I am pleasantly surprised at how well I was taught: outside of the glue and the ladder stitch she uses, I do my bindings exactly as she does.  It pays to take classes at your LQS!!  Or now online, lol, as mine was nearly 20 years ago...

Anyhow, first discovery was glue: I glued the binding down (look, no pins, ma!), and the rediscovery was beeswax: I remembered a tip from an appliqué class I also took at my LQS way back.  Run the thread through beeswax to help reduce tangling.  This time I tried Sharon's ladder stitch, and quite liked it.  After trying out the new techniques, I then went full-steam ahead on the binding on Savannah, which, as you know, I mostly stitched on the trip down here.  Having no pins to worry about in the SUV was a most-welcome perk!

Bella gave the cushion her customary stamp of approval

Not my best side, lol
I nearly didn't include that shot, but she is so darn adorable in the way she is so fascinated by pretty much every part of the quilt-making process.  This time she was especially intrigued by me hand-sewing the binding down! She didn't grab for the thread, just watched intently. And would gaze at me every once in a while...

The back.  This shows the richness of this gorgeous batik.

A another close-up of the quilting.  Again, I used Sulky Holoshimmer for sparkle!

My second small finish is using the Riley Blake fabric Lara so kindly sent me a few days ago.  Did you guess what it was I was making?

Two make-up bags.  I used The Cake Clutch pattern on Moda Bakeshop.  I made a couple of changes. First, instead of top-stitching the polka-dot piece onto the red main piece, I pieced it in.  This way I saved fabric (of course!) as well as reduced bulk.  Second, I edge-stitched the centre piece along the zipper to help keep it from catching in the zipper.  I'd do that before I sewed up the sides next time I make one of these, so I could stitch along the entire length of the zipper.  I love this fabric combination! So happy.

Best of all, I worked with the laminated cotton she also sent me.  Nice touch for the inside of a make-up bag, I'd say!

I used Gutermann 50 wt cotton in white for the quilting I did in the polka-dot sections.  No marking, just aimed for the centre of the dots for the cross-hatching pattern, and for the other I did straight lines and a gentle wave (no marking, qué sera, sera feel, aka 'organic' feel) all with my walking foot.  In the red fabric, I centred 3 lines spaced 1/4" apart using Sulky Blendables in 12 wt.  Easy.

And now I'm behaving, getting back on track by sewing up my trellis blocks for Fleurs.  Hope to have this flimsy done asap!

Linking up with TGIFF hosted today by Sarah at Things I Make as well as with a different Sarah of Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday...

And it's totally off topic.  But I had an idea using the Riley Blake fabric I got from Lara...

I really like these happy colours!  Can you figure out what I'm making?

Moda Bakeshop has some amazing ideas and inspiration on their blog...

You probably have a good idea with the zippers now in the mix...  I had some fun with Gutermann thread and Sulky Blendables in 12 wt doing some simple quilting on these.

Speaking of zippers, I would like to commend Canada, specifically Costumakers, for minimal packaging for their zippers, which are available at Fabricland.  No affiliation here, just some love and kudos.

Hmm, that was not the way I oriented the photo..gremlins...

Here you see the comparison between a zipper I bought at JoAnn's and the one I bought at Fabricland.  Packaging for a zipper in Canada? A 2 5/8" long lightweight cardboard tab you see on the top zipper.  In the USA? The two pieces of lightweight cardboard you see on either side of the second zipper. The first is a 9" fold-out (so it's really twice as wide as my picture shows) telling you how to insert a zipper.  This is stapled to the zipper and then both are enclosed in the 10 " long package you see at the bottom of the picture, which also has the plastic film in the window of the packaging.  I'd already torn it out so I could recycle the packaging.  What a waste!!!  So unnecessary.  Come on!

Like Judy's Nugget (Quilt Paradigm), Rocco hasn't made an appearance for a while.  He spent a solid hour while I was doing my yoga today (which I do in my sewing room; it's my happy place in more ways than one!) lying like this.  He has discovered that the low windows in this house are a perfect resting spot for his head, while he takes advantage of my newly repaired window to sniff the air and watch for critters in his new 'hood.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesdays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life's a Bi-each...

So a few days ago I needed to just sew something. Anything.  Feel the whir of my newly tuned-up Bernina...  Yes, I could have/should have worked on piecing some more of the trellis for "Fleurs" (thought I'd left her, forgotten, forlorn, didn't you?), but I wanted something pretty much as mindless, well, maybe not as mindless, that would yield a more interesting result.  Tula!  Yep, I brought the scraps and fat quarters and newly purchased book (I'd previously borrowed it from our library) down here with me to keep plugging away at the 100 blocks.  Here's what happened:

Let's has been a while.... oh yeah, guess I was on Block #8.  Pick colours. Cut.  Ahh, feels good to have a rotary cutter back in my hand.  Sew. Press. Yes!!

So pretty!

When I went to add them my pile of blocks, I discovered, that I'd already made this one!  And four more after it...
To keep or to rip?  I am making all 100 blocks, so 101 is not going to cut it...I could put the extra on the quilt back.  Or I could rip it and see if I can use the pieces in another block, since she repeats many same size squares and rectangles.

Life is a bit*h...Spent a day ripping.  Very carefully.  These squares finish at 1", so not a lot of room for frayed edges.  NEEDED TO SEW! MINDLESS!  Spent last night sewing UFO project #1 for this winter.
Love this Roll It Up! pillowcase pattern from All People Quilt.  Made it many times. Had the blue fabric for years to make pillowcases. Notice the 2.5" squares in a pile? A tip from Cynthia's Scrap-a-Palooza series is growing my stock of organized 2.5" squares!
Life's a beach...  Today, I got my sewing room window fixed. (I know you're thinking wth? She was writing about Tula Pink blocks.  No, pillowcases... Welcome to my menopausal regular mind...Just wait...) Yay!  I can open my window now, and the screen is fixed so no bugs will come in!  After my window was fixed, we headed out to Manasota Key for our first beach sesh.  Needed to soothe my ripped up soul, lol.  Not really, as I am so happy in this new house, but a beach day is always a good day. And today was stellar.

Look at the colours!  And this was just my iPhone 4.

Came home and sewed the Tula Pink pieces back together.  Had to cut the centre square and the bars of the plus but managed to make the other pieces pretty much all work:

Ta-da!  Block #13...
Don't you just LOOOVE the tray I used for background interest?!  It's a "happy new home" gift from my darling friend and other-side-of-our-wall neighbour in Kingsville, Jude.  Say what?  Are you confused?  Well don't be; they came for a visit!  Our first guests here.  They have a winter home in Winterhaven, Florida, so not too far away.  She has an affinity for all things France, as do I, (especially Paris for her).  I love to have my morning coffee outside, as well as my afternoon tea, with my book, and chocolate, so this will be perfect to load up and carry to my spot! So thoughtful of her; she knows me well.

Speaking of happy new home gifts, on Saturday a Priority Post parcel was placed at my front door.  Remember I won Lara's (Buzzin Bumble) wreath fabric she created on Spoonflower?
Bella likes it too!
Well, that darling girl (I truly am so very blessed with such wonderful, thoughtful, caring friends) sent me a gift for my new sewing room.  And WHAT a gift!!!!

Holy generosity, Batman!  There are three 1-yard cuts of Riley Blake Designs (a fabric line I've admired, but never have bought), a 1/2 yard cut of Kona cotton "Breakers" (Lara is so smart in how she labelled it with its colour name, and I'm going to copy her idea: a skinny Post-It note pinned to the fabric).  And there's a yard of a laminated cotton in aqua (the top fabric in the picture above)!  I have never seen this before.  I immediately thought of make-up bags, lunch bags...think there are a few members of my family who might benefit from experimenting with this.  I was blown away, and so touched.

I love florals, pastels, earth tones.  But this past year I have been drawn to the modern bright colours, especially aqua with red (see my Over and Under quilt, though it's more of a mint than an aqua).  I love the Christmas quilts and décor that I've seen done in aqua and red.  Well, Lara has given me a push to actually create something (and I have a few ideas) with these two colours.

I've been writing this blog just over a year now, and I started it, as most do, mainly to keep track of what I sew, and, a close second, to keep family and friends in the loop as to what I'm up to.  I never dreamed I'd meet some wonderful, talented, warm people, who I now consider good friends.

Funny about life: that at 50+ I find kindred spirits, people like Jude, like Lara, both of whom I've recently met,  and yet to whom I feel such a deep connection.  :-)

Today, I'm linking up for the first time with Freemotion By the River.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Savannah 2 - A Finish on Friday!

I've been busy!  I got most of the binding sewn down on the 18-hour drive down here...but then that last section took me a week!  Good thing we had the ducts cleaned yesterday, so I sat on the lanai with the animals and finished the last half of the last side!  Done and done!  Washed 'er up today, and I have to say, I'm actually a little less not in love (get the double-negative?) with Savannah.  Okay, pics.

Under my favourite kind of tree!
Texture - mmmm
The thread has sunk in and blended beautifully.

Another shot of the thread and the loose, flowing leafy designs I quilted

I showed these in the previous post, pre-washed stage but worth a second look now the quilt is washed
The back.  FMQ feathers in the border
I'm getting better at turning corners!
A shot of the back where I pieced in a strip because I was short on the backing fabric, and this way I could once again piece the label in as an integral part of the backing!
Texture, and green grass!!
Folded up -- love the poinsettias that are outside everywhere!
Joe and I were musing about that today: how on our first trip here we marveled at seeing poinsettias absolutely everywhere outside: in pots, planted in the ground, on steps...we'd only ever known them as inside plants!  True Northerners... We still appreciate it.

Bella is settling in nicely to our very own sewing room.  She was visibly happy the other day when I was organizing some of the projects I have brought down with me to sew, sniffing and then rolling on them as if to say, "My stuff!  My smells! I'm okay now!"  She misses our basement sewing area, I'm sure, but she's fast adapting to this new space with familiar items from Kingsville as well as from the condo in Bradenton.

That's a subject for another post.  Lara of Buzzin' Bumble (you need to check out her Spoonflower fabric, a piece of which I won last week!  Woot!  Woot!) asked me today how I manage my sewing "world" between two homes.

Savannah Quilt Specs
Pattern:  Turning Twenty Around the Block
Fabric: Shangri-Là by 3 Sisters of Moda
Backing: Jacobean Joyeux/Provence by Benartex
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted on my Avanté using Sulky Blendables 30 wt and Aurifil variegated 50 wt
Size:  80.5 X 96.5"  (it shrunk 2" after quilting and washing! Might have to remeasure...)

Linking up with TGIFF on this week at Quilt Matters!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I was hoping to get this quilt done in a day or two...and I almost did.  I started quilting yesterday morning.  If I hadn't been fighting with thread breakage, I would have had this done in full daylight!

I took it off the frame at 5 pm and raced upstairs and outside for a couple of daylight twilight pics.  Yep, I haven't even trimmed it up, or trimmed off hanging threads!

Bella gave the back her stamp of approval:

I was short about 9" of the backing I'd bought but no problem:  I had some extra border fabric, a nice large label (exactly 9.5" high) and a few, no make that a TON of smaller pieces left from the front.

When I made this quilt last winter in Florida, (the post is here), I had no name for the quilt.  As I pieced the backing I let my mind free-associate, realizing that I have yet another floral quilt... I came up with Savannah because we stayed there for a night on our way back up north this past spring, and I fell in love with that city.  The floral fabrics are from the Shangri-Là line by 3 Sisters and they have an old-fashioned feel, so I thought the name "Savannah" à propos, seeing as I'd made it not long before the trip.

I purchased the fabrics at Cotton Patch Quilt Shop on their New Year's Day Fat Quarter Sale a few years ago.  I wanted a large quilt for our bed.  I'm not a fan of how much brown there is in this quilt; I would have preferred a focus fabric leaning to either more green or more blue.  (Hmm, I see after finding the link for the Turning Twenty post that I wrote (January) that I wasn't a fan of the quilt at that point, with a flimsy finish.) Uh, which might be a reason as to why the fabric has sat on my stash shelves for oh, about five years...  I'm liking it a little more now that I've quilted it, but I still don't have a "wow-I-love-this-quilt" feeling.  I bought the backing from Cotton Patch's sale section (love that) at the time I bought the fat quarters for the front.  It is Jacobean Joyeux/Provence by Benartex.

You may recall I had issues with tension on the Watercolour Steps quilt I recently quilted on Avril, my Avanté.  I am worried that I might have messed up the timing or something on my machine when I hit my blue ruler while quilting Summer Breeze.  I thought I would test the tension by using a basic cotton thread for this quilt.  I had nearly a full spool of Aurifil variegated cotton left over from Brady's quilt, and I thought it would blend in nicely with the multi-coloured fabrics in this quilt.  I just wanted a flowing, fairly large-scale overall design for this quilt as the fabrics all blend.  The Aurifil sewed quite nicely once I played with the top and bobbin tension for a while.  I really am liking Aurifil more and more...and man, there's a LOT of thread on those 1300 metre spools!!  This quilt took 2.5 bobbins so about 500 yards of thread.

For the rectangles set on their long side, I quilted a figure 8 design

And for the rectangles set on their short side, I did a woven design

I did have trouble with the Sulky Blendables thread I used, which is not normal for me.  I ended up stitching with the stitch regulator on, and sewing very slowly.  Even so, it broke fairly frequently, seeming to get pulled down beneath the quilt.  I still blame hitting the ruler...did I mention I hit it again during the quilting of this quilt?  It was while I was quilting the border 1/4" from the edge.  The hopping foot hopped over the ruler, probably because of me holding the ruler against the wrong side of the foot, or just the trickiness of quilting the very edges of a quilt...anyhow, chunk #2 flew out, a small one, which I have yet to find to Krazy Glue back in...might have a new ruler in my future here.  Sigh.  And Avril has a trip in her future to the doctor to get checked out.

Anyhow, it is just the perfect thread for the feathers I did in the borders, so I persevered.  Sorry for the hasty pictures, and rumpled quilt...

Swirls and hooks, a teardrop shape echoed, and a leaf design, echoed again, are what I used for the centre of the quilt
This is a shot of how I need to leave quilts overnight when they are in the middle of being quilted.  A certain feline has left trademark fur blobs on in-progress quilts, and created a little more sag on the quilt than how it was left...  And yes that is an open jar of Bath & Bodyworks body butter; she detests lotion smells, so I figured that would be a sure-fire way to keep her off!

Note, Angela Walters' new book!

I plan to sew the binding on tonight or tomorrow, and then hand-stitch it to the back as we travel down to Florida...oh YEAH!  It's official:  we have bought a house--EEEEEK!-- and we are leaving this weekend to move our stuff out of storage and into our new abode.  I've kept that under wraps for some time...anyhow, it's been a tad hectic this last month and especially this past week as we switch gears to head south with the birds!

 Next pic of Savannah will be with her binding on and in Florida!  Linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's Been A While...

I was out West visiting my darling grandson, my daughter and my family and friends all last week.  While I was gone, I took the opportunity to take my Bernina in for her checkup and service.  Finally sat down last night and checked her out; she purred along much like Bella, who was so happy to have me back sewing in the her basement!  I had started Snowflake 6 of Joanne's Snowalong before I left.  I finished it last night.

Version 1 of Snowflake 6
This is yet another background colour, a Christmas-themed batik.  Love it.  Sorry about the dark area at the bottom...didn't see that when I took the picture. 

Brianne and Brady loved their snowflake cushions.  Brianne thought they looked great together on her black leather couch, but Brady said, nope, it was going in his room, with his Christmas quilt.

He LOVES quilts.  He slowly went through the first quarter of my American Patchwork & Quilting magazine that I'd taken with me, studying the pictures and making comments.  He really liked a particular Halloween quilt in that issue (I'm behind in my reading) and has asked me to make it for him!  All right then.  What Brady wants, Nana will do!

Brianne got a little bit of Christmas in her room as well:

This is All People Quilt's Roll It Up! pillowcase pattern, free on their website.  I've made it many times.  This fabric is from O'Susannah's Quilts and Gifts in Watkins Glen.  Hey!  I see they are having a viewing of the first episode of Season 5's Downton Abbey a month early!!  Can.  Not.  Wait.  for it to start, but I will have to wait until January 4.  Don't you just love this modern Christmas fabric?

I also made Brady a new pair of warm flannel pajama bottoms:

And I made my mum a warm short scarf to be worn under her winter coat, so her neck and chest will be extra-warm this winter.

I've made two using this pattern where you knit 2 together and then put your wool forward and knit 1.  It gives it the diagonal look and drape.  The yarn is from Joann's, a 70% acrylic, 30% wool (I thought it had some wool in it, Mum!) which is made in Turkey.  It is lovely and warm!  I know I will be wearing my scarf I made last year when I walk Rocco today.  We have had 4 days of gale-force winds, about 2" of snow and temperatures down in the 20s, brrr.  We are all Florida dreaming... 

This was Monday, Nov. 17. Some melted, more fell, so it looks about the same today

Rocco will be in his hoodie, that's for sure.
It says "Don't Bully My Breed" on his back.  Keeps his bare belly warm!

Naala is the only one who isn't bothered by the cold.  Thank goodness that we are on the west end of Lake Erie, so the Lake Effect Snow means that we got 2" whereas Buffalo got...well, a TON.  Yowzers.

Not too happy about wearing my hoodie, but I'll put up with it if it means I get a WALK!