Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A Birthday Minecraft Finish

I have two nieces - the oldest will turn 8 this week (and the youngest is 6 1/2). They are delightful and we enjoy spending time together - especially when we have a crafternoon.

They are starting to get to the age where they really appreciate the hand made things I make for them.

The oldest - E - is in love with Minecraft. So I put my brain to it to think up something special for her birthday. After some consultation with E's mom, I decided on a mini duffle bag, decorated with Minecraft characters.

E got asked for her 3 favourite characters - she responded quickly. And I had to look one up to see what it looked like. Her interest was then piqued - what is Auntie making me for my birthday? She asked her grandparents at least once, if not more times, what I was making, so I knew I had her interest.

Thanks to Button's Quilts, I got an online quilt-a-long for a Minecraft quilt at Seriously...I think it needs stitches (which I think is a very clever name for a blog). Kelli very generously is sharing her patterns over a number of weeks. I used her basic layout for Steve and Alex, although mine is much smaller than hers.
Alex (a girl); finished 4"square

Steve; finished 4" square

I drew my own graph paper (4" by 4" blocks in 1/2" increments) and coloured. Then I figured out my cutting (the numbers on the side). And Button's Quilts (who has a magnificent stash and therefore a magnificent scrap bin) lent me some kona solids to help with the people. (Steve's hair is espresso and his skin is rafia; those are the only colours I know).



Here is a progress shot of the purple girl - she's called Enderman Girl, to the best of my knowledge


The duffle bag pattern I got from a friend at sewing group so I don't have any other info than that. It's 12"x6"x6" and made from Cotton + Steel fabric.

Initial for ownership; 4" finished

Enderman Girl; finished 4"
E got her bag Sunday and was delighted with the outcome. She begged all day to open her birthday presents before supper, but she had to wait. She dropped a few big hints to me, hoping I'd slip and tell her what I made. I didn't tell.



Now I'll have to see if little niece puts in an order for her birthday.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Sunday Stitching (A Day Late)

It's been a busy week around here. We had a spring ice storm last week and I got an extra day off school - so a 5 day Easter weekend for me.

I finished another block in the Winter Wonderland quilt.


I'm still delighted with the process and am really enjoying the hand sewing.

The next block is traced and ready to be started tonight.

I'm linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching (unless I'm too late).


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Slow Stitching

There is a fellow Canadian blogger I read at Kathys Quilts.  I'm not exactly sure where she lives, but it's not too far from me - I found her when we had our big ice storm a few years ago. Her style of quilting is very different from mine and I appreciate her workmanship. She hosts a "Slow Sunday Stitching" link up every Sunday - the idea is you do slow hand sewing on Sunday.

Since Christmas I pledged to do some hand work in the evenings when I'm watching tv. Sometimes I knit and sometimes I do embroidery, and some nights I do both. I'm really enjoying this time and seeing the fruits of my labours. Nothing goes quickly but I'm happy with my progress.

My first hand stitching project is a pattern called Winter Wonderland by Crabapple Hill Studio, which I've had forever. I have a thing for snowmen and that is what caught my eye in this one. I've finally got at it - in my year of selfish sewing, this was one quilt on my agenda. I'm embroidering on white kona, with a mulsin backing. So far, I've been doing my marking with a pink chalk pencil by Bohin.

This is my current block:

For some reason, my white fabric looks blue. You can see the pink markings. I'm doing it all in red (2 strands of DMC floss colour 321), with a simple back stitch. The machine stitches you can see at the top and bottom are just basting to hold my two layers together.

I've finished 3 other blocks:


Again, the machine stitches are just basting to hold everything together.

I'm pleased with my results and I'm enjoying the process of this. I will probably use a different quilt layout when the hand work is finished - I'm not in love with the pattern layout provided. I'm hoping to use it as a winter quilt on my own bed. I'm not certain how my cat's claws will get along with the embroidery though, so I'll have to wait and see.

I'm linking up to Kathys Quilts today.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Hand Sewing

I decided to try to do a little hand sewing in the evenings when I'm watching tv. I'm really enjoying it - much more than I thought I would.


This fellow is on a 12x12 square - he'll be cut down eventually. The grey line around him is basting to hold two layers of fabric together. The top layer is kona white, and the back a muslin. It gives the fabric a lot more body and you can't see anything through from the back.

I've had this pattern for ages - it's called Winter Wonderland. I'm going to embroider all the snowmen then piece them into a quilt. I don't like the layout on the pattern, so I'm not sure how I will put it together yet, and I'm sure I'll think of something.


The embroidery floss is DMC colour 321 - I like the red (which isn't photographing well) and the stitches are a simple back stitch with some french knots. The pattern called for lazy daisy for the snowman eyes, but I made french knots instead. I pre-wash everything, including this floss. And I'm glad I did because it ran a little when pre-soaking. I treated it with a chemical dye retainer so that it wouldn't bleed all over my quilt once finished.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Mittens for Me

I finally knit myself a pair of mittens - after having it on my to do list for a while.


(The light is bad here too - same reason as here)

The red looks more red in person, and the white doesn't glow in person.

The grey yarn is by Berroco and is called Vintage - it's a combo of wool and acrylic so that I can wash them. The red and white is Vanna's Choice acrylic from Michaels.

The pattern is by the Yarn Harlot and is called CloisonnĂ© (and it can be found on ravelry.com under Stephanie Pearl McPhee). If you knit or crochet, and you haven't checked out ravelry, you must. It's a perfect social media site made for knitters and crocheters. You can store your yarn stash there. I wish someone would make one for quilters.

These were a relatively quick knit, once I got the sizing right. I did pull them back several times until I got the width and length right. I had a little trouble in the cuff, but it worked out fine. These are knit from the cuff to the fingertip.

I've gotten several compliments on them and I love them so far!

I've started another pair, different pattern, in a much lighter weight yarn - for spring.


These aren't too far along, and they require a lot of concentration, since they are two colours. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Quilting Update

I've been working away at quilting my Under the Stars quilt (sort of). It's not going quite as fast as I'd like - I think because it's been a bit tricky to quilt with the walking foot because it is so thick that it doesn't feed quite right.

The weather is warming up so I want to get it finished - I likely won't use it until next winter. And I refuse to start my next quilt, which I really want to get going on , before this one is finished.

So far, there is a grid quilted in all the squares and the stars are outlined. I free-motioned around the applique snowmen and did a loop-de-loop in the sky. In the green I want to do snowflakes (in grey) with swirly connectors between them - not too heavy quilting, but enough that it holds together nicely.


The light is really bad - but I'm not complaining, because it's pouring in through my sliding glass doors into the kitchen.