Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Great P is Wise, So Wise, Again

Seen outside a local children's store - "Tutus for sale, locally made". Nothing brings a community closer than locally made tutus. Remember when 'imports' were a sign of prestige and quality? I like the way this pendulum is swinging. I still like the idea of on line shopping, but I love to buy local whenever I can. I also like the idea of celebrating our ability to produce quality products in our own backyard, and be proud of them. Yah us!

I finished a quilt today. It's lovely and I'm pleased with it. Pictures next time as I'm exhausted! It took about 1 1/2 hours to apply the binding! I like to use a blanket stitch to sew down the second side. It looks lovely and perhaps adds a bit of strength. However it took over one full bobbin of #50 thread and a very very long time to work my way around a small size quilt. It's still worth it, but I am amazed!

I machine quilted it at home and I'm getting much more comfortable with free motion quilting. On one square I tried little tiny wiggles in the centre square and then careful flower tracing in the border. Took longer, but it looked good.

Until I turned it over. Another lesson from the Great P greeted me on the other side. Always floss your top thread into the tension disk or it may not settle in nicely. When you free motion you don't need to raise the pressure foot to move around. However, if you don't raise the foot when you rethread, the tension disks are not open and ready to receive. The bottom was a sweet intense trail of little loopy stitches. Now the good part of loopy stitches is that they do pull out. That is a good thing, as there were a million of them.

Now, what do you do at the beginning and end of your free motion stitch line? Do you tack a few stitches on top of each other to fix the thread, or do you just sew? I tried both. When I tacked I then just cut the thread. When I just stitched away I went back and pulled all the threads to the backside and then pulled them into the quilt batting with a self threading needle.

And then the whole question of cotton vs poly thread. And thread weight. So many decisions!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Purses, Of Course.

Yesterday it was really cold, but sunny. When you looked out my kitchen window, in just the right way - you could see little sparkles of ice floating in the air. It looked like Jack Frost glitter! Beautiful!

It's raining purse patterns! I'm like a squirrel in a ripe oak tree. I signed up for the Bag of the Month Club.  My first pattern has arrived and I have it roughly together. I'm waiting for the purse frame to come from China. I need to get this finished before the February bag arrives in my email. Ahhh!!!!

Pellon is a great site for free patterns and they have added a new bag by Swoon, the Mabel! Look at that handle. It reminds me of the plastic handles that come in peach baskets. As I have a collection of those, I'll let you know if it works. If you 'Like' Swoon on Facebook you will see this bag in a variety of great versions.

Pellon also just added the Laney bag. It has classic good looks. I've seen it done in many versions (an actual use for Facebook) and would be good for spotlighting something neat on that centre panel.

Sew Sweetness has just posted the Baker Street bag. Her instructions are clear and you always learn something new. Love that Sara!

I did just finish a new Swoon bag. I used silk decorator samples, so each panel is a different colour way. I think it adds to the charm. There is a centre zipped pocket that pulls in the ends to make a fold and give the bag shape. I like it. The zipped section is only supposed to be attached at the end panels for about an inch. Talk about honesty in instructions! You are to 'wrangle' the whole business under the presser foot and try your best. Perfection is not guaranteed! Thank you! I can trust a designer like that!

I did put a few hand stitches in the bottom of the zipped section to tack it to the bag centre bottom seam. I'm not sure that was needed. Or maybe it would be better to sew both bottom seams together? I'll try it for a bit and reevaluate. However, the designer may be right in leaving it alone. When will I learn to trust?

This bag pattern was not free, but worth every penny of its bargain price. I will make it again. Although it may not look as if it will keep it's nice shape I think it will. It seems to get better every time I pick it up. I used a suit weight fusible interfacing on every piece of fabric and it seems to suit the silk without overpowering it. The handle tucks inside easily when you want to go 'clutch'.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Be a Blessing!

What a great weekend! I had my second curling night and had several rocks stay in play! Very exciting. Although it isn't nice to threaten the other team ("Don't touch that rock!") they were quite nice and apologetic when their play destroyed my efforts. My new curling shoes are just the ticket. They SLIIIIIDE.... beautifully. Need to practice more push in my slide.

Saturday DH and I were a checkpoint at a car rally. This means you sit in your car for 5 hours on a lonely, isolated dirt road in the total dark and wait for strange cars you don't know to drive up and stick their heads in your window. We had a lovely time! I brought a picnic and crocheted a washcloth using hemp. It makes for a nice exfoliation in the shower. 17 teams came through our checkpoint 3 times, and checked on my progress. DH remembered checkpoints from his youth where other crazy ladies sat with knitting. Ah, how the world turns! He never thought he'd marry that!

I'm trying to finish a quilt and further a second quilt along. I'm off to Montreal at the end of the month and want to finish one (OhLaLa!) for a niece. I have 13 nieces and nephews. Lots of quilts required! You should see a picture of this one soon.

Actually that's not true about the nieces and nephews. They don't require anything, dear sweeties. They are, however a great excuse for quilt making. They provide excellent justification. Some are actually having children of their own now. More excuse for sewing!

The second quilt is Jacobean Journey. It's embroidered and quilted 'in the hoop' on my embroidery machine. We are doing this at work as a group and I want to get half the blocks together so people can see what they are working towards. I'm getting the hang of it, but your eyes do cross occasionally as you have to match seams fairly precisely if you want it to lay flat and look good. It's a good place to use forked pins.

I think of myself as a somewhat spiritual person. I am not a church goer, nor am I anti church. We all need different things, I figure. However, when I pick up The Great P for work I get to read the local church signboard. I evaluate the message each time and discussion may follow. This week was excellent. The boys were right on. 'Be the blessing in 2015.' Think that through for a bit. What a positive and active message! Are you being a blessing? You'll know when you are. Take pleasure in it!

It also gives me the opportunity to inform people when they are NOT being a blessing! Keep that information to friends only. The non blessings don't understand or appreciate. Makes sense, eh?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Monkey Love

I could never permanently move to Montreal. Oh, I know. The sainted nieces and nephews are there. The baby sister is there. The Fabric Stores are there!!!! However, the Tim's don't serve steeped tea.

And that's a deal breaker for me. I cannot make a good cup of tea, regardless of how I try. Steeped Tim's tea is joy in a cup.

DH and I went curling Friday night for the first time, and bought curling shoes Saturday morning! Yes, we had a great time and are looking forward to Friday date nights. I even had a rock or 2 stay in the general area of the circle things. There seems to be a social drink afterwards. As we are already up past our bedtime of 10, we'll have to go the extra km to do the social necessity, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make!

It's a new year and I have been organizing the sewing room and other crafting collections. It's been days and days and days, but I am feeling better and keen. The layers were getting a bit overwhelming.

Now I have organized mounds of UFO's. I will be tackling these in between new projects. That's the plan, as of now. First to the finish line ...

Ed The sock monkey! I haven't hooked in many years and went to a class with a friend. This is the kit I picked up there. I like hooking, but more as a means to an end. I like hooked rugs - therefore I will probably hook one or 2 to fit specific spots in the house. They'll have to be simple designs, as I don't and won't have the skills to go fancy. As you can see, Ed the Monkey is quite straight forward, but cute.