Wednesday, 2 September 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Last week, on Aug 26th, someone said to me - "you know, 4 months today is Boxing Day". I shuddered a little.

I enjoy Christmas and getting ready for it. I usually spread my preparations out over Nov and Dec. Some years I'm really ready and some years I'm not. Last year I put up a tree, put lights on it, but didn't get any decorations on it. I'll be better prepared this year.

My friend Button's Quilts has a friend who needed some crafting done. (I should mention that Button's sends a LOT of business my way, which I really appreciate!). The friend's mother started making these fancy Christmas stockings for her grandkids, daughter, and son-in-law, and has been unable to finish them. So, I've been hired to finish. The daughter wanted a few things customized and I said I could do that as well.

I finished the first stocking this week:


One of the customizations is a pleated back - so that the stocking can hold more goodies. The backing looks like this


To make it, I traced the stocking front onto pattern paper, then drew some registration lines, then cut it apart and expanded the pattern. Then I re-folded it and cut the bottom out - around the heel of the stocking is a funny shape. Here's what my pattern for the back looked like


It looks pretty strange, but once it was pleated, everything lined up and it fit great.

The final Christmas prep this week has been cutting and doing a rolled hem on some table napkins. A different friend hired me to do these as a gift for her mother.

These are 100% cotton and measure 13" x 13".

This should be it for the really Christmas-y stuff for a bit. I'm heading back to school shortly and I'm trying to get some of my loose ends tidied up before then.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Babies Everywhere

The school where I work has a higher than normal rate of baby production. Our staff is large and at that age and stage. If I know the new parent well enough, and like them, I usually make something for the baby.

This set is for a baby boy that is due in October. The shower is mid Sept (and I'm invited) and I got a head start on what I wanted to make for this baby. I'm very fond of these parents.
3 pairs of crib shoes (different sizes), a knit hat cuz he's a winter baby, and 3 bibs
This gift is for a baby girl born in August. I know the dad, but not the mom.

A knit hat and 2 bibs
And finally, my naturopath, who I'm very fond of and who really likes my handmade items, had a baby girl in July.

2 pairs of crib shoes (different sizes) and 2 bibs
I like making things for new babies - it feels like an especially warm welcome into the world. The parents always love what I've made (and if they don't, they don't tell me).

Sunday, 23 August 2015

What I've Been Up To

I was in a bit of a quilting mania earlier this month (at least it felt like it) and I've slowed down a little lately. I don't have any looming deadlines and I know I work better under a bit of pressure.

I have been doing some sewing and crafting bits though.

I'm working (still) on cleaning up my sewing room and I took a stab at my cabinets. This is my before picture.

It looks slightly better now, but I'm still not finished. All in due time!

Remember the clamshell quilt I made on retreat that wasn't big enough? This one


I found and ordered some more fabric  online to complete the quilt so it's big enough for a single bed. I ordered from two different US shops in order to get what I wanted (and with the Cdn dollar right now, I cringed). One store delivered and I got these last week


A coordinating solid, two prints I already used, and a 1/2 yard of an ombre stripe from the line.
The other shop hasn't delivered anything: they haven't charged my paypal and aren't responding to phone calls or email messages. I wonder if they've closed up shop and not taken down their website? I'm going to wait a little longer to see if they come through before I get going on this quilt again. I'm going to have to take a lot of it apart and I'm hoping for all the fabric I ordered to arrive. (It's Coquette by Chez Moi by Moda from about 4-5 years ago, colour is Petal).

Finally, I've been hired by the friend of a friend to complete some Christmas stockings that have great sentimental value. There is a lot of hand stitching and I'm finding it quite relaxing (once I set up a system to help me be organized and efficient). I'm making progress fast enough that I'm not getting bored.


There were a number of customization requests by the recipient - including adding the Mrs. Claus in the toe (there was originally an elf there). I'm hoping to finish this one this week, then work away at the others asap.


Friday, 14 August 2015

Quilt Retreat Part 2

This is part 2 of my retreat - the "less" part of the finished quilts.

My goal on the retreat was to finish 2 quilt tops - and I was sort of successful. There are 2 finished tops, but the second isn't big enough so I'll have to add to it, which might require doing some un-sewing.

Here is what's done so far


This is for another 5 year old, daughter of yet another cousin. (We had 3 little girls born two weeks apart one year, with another to follow a few months later - hence, the plethora of 5 year old girls in my family)

I used the "chic shells" pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful, which uses the quick curve ruler. I think I'm in love with this ruler (it is the same I used for the metro rings quilt). I had 7 pieces of fabric I purchased years ago, each 1/2 yard. I figured out my math and figured I could make it work. Not such a good idea.

I had an epic math fail. I failed to account for the partial clams on the sides and top and so I was significantly short fabric and clams. I dug into what I'd brought along - the lightest pink then got added. I was closer to the size I wanted, but still not. This is destined to be a twin size and it's more crib size. It's basically wide enough but missing some significant length.

When I got home I hunted on the internet and found enough of the fabric (Coquette by Chez Moi for Moda) to add to the quilt. I've ordered it and it should arrive shortly. It will cost me a small fortune due to US shipping and our poor dollar, but this little girl is worth it! I'll probably have to rearrange some of the clams so everything looks orderly and that will require un-sewing. I'll survive - and make sure my math is better next time.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Quilt Retreat Part 1

I was lucky enough to be invited on a quilting retreat again this year. I went with my friend, her grandmother, and friends of her grandmother. These women have known each other for years and are good company and excellent sewers and quilters. There is so much support and experience in the room it's so fantastic.

Unfortunately, this was our last retreat at the place we went because the owner has sold the property. I've only been there twice and am sorry to see it sold. Hopefully we can find another venue for next year. (And I'm hoping we can convince L to come along).

I finished two quilt tops, more or less. The more part is today.

This is a quilt for my cousin's 5 year old daughter. This little lady has a mind of her own and loves pink. I hope this meets with her approval!

This is the finished top...


I've always had a dresden plate in mind for this quilt and I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I used an 8" dresden ruler and it took 20 pieces to make a circle. I varied the height of the fabric to get the different sized dresdens. The inside circles are all the same size.

The original fabric I purchased years ago didn't suit my fancy anymore so I picked up a bunch more pink last week when I was out with L shop hopping. I'm really glad I went with the new fabrics.

The centres are a solid that I've appliqued on - by machine. The dresden's are appliqued on by machine as well. Before putting the solids on I added a circle of batting to the back of them for two reasons - I'll get some extra puff when I quilt them and the uneven centres of the dresden's are hidden as well.

This will likely get a feather design of some kind when I get to quilting it. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Progress Update

The quilting on the red and white Hunter's Star is going well. The quilt is huge so slow going as I have to re-package it to do each row. Today I finished off all the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. You can't tell much from the front - except where I wobbled out of the ditch, and I'm not pointing those out. The quilting shows up nicely on the back though.


This is pretty accurate to the colour.

I decided to quilt around the stars as well cuz I like what it adds to the back

Tilt your head a little if you can't see it - it was getting dark so the colour and lighting are terrible.

I'm definitely on track to finish for my Sunday deadline - the reunion starts mid afternoon so I might still be sewing binding on Sunday morning. It wouldn't be the first gift I made that was getting finished just in the nick of time.

Happy sewing.