Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A new technology affair and some quilting

Where have I been??

I have fallen in LOVE...with an iPad. (Yes...I realize that this may make me sound like I have my priorities out of whack....and YES, I do know that it is not a person...but I still have a deep affection for my iPad). This is the first big tech item that I have ever purchased for myself, and man is it FUN!

Also...have you discovered Pinterest yet? If you are a visual person (like me) then this is the place for you. It is essentially an on-line version of an "ideas" bulletin board. So much inspiration! You can find me on Pinterest here. The combination of the iPad and Pinterest together is deadly. It's like a time sucking vortex. You have been warned.

In spite of all of the summer time spent with my family and iPad, I have managed to complete some crafting. A long time family friend had a baby this month. I didn't know if the baby was to be a boy or girl, but I did know that her parents like colour!

Close up (with polka dot binding):

The back (you can see that I opted for my usual favourite - straight line quilting 1/4" on either side of the seams):
This quilt definitely delivers on the colour front! I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I hope that baby Marion and her parents like it as much as I do.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Traditional blocks can do AMAZING things!

Being relatively new to quilting, I am not awesome at looking at a quilt and deconstructing it in my mind into little bits of fabric. I am only just starting to realize the full scope of what a quilt block can do when arranged in different ways (what a tricky little chameleon you are little half square triangle!).

(OK - so not technically made with HST, but you start with HSTs and cut them in half to get hour glasses! Plus I NEEDED to have an image.)

I just saw this amazing short film by the NFB (National Film Board of Canada) that animates some of the amazing patterns that can be made with traditional blocks. It's like watching a kaleidoscope, but with quilting synapses firing! Whoa man! Funnily enough, it's simply called Quilt.

You should watch it if you are spatially dim (but otherwise lovely) like me! You could also watch if you just want to be inspired by some pretty shapes and patterns. Y'know the stacked cubes in traditional quilts??? Made from diamond shapes! I know...AMAZING right??

Well...amazing to me anyway...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Giving and Receiving

The { Urban } HOME Goods swap is done and dusted for another round.

I must confess to feeling a fair bit of stress in making my project selection, but I was thrilled with the kind things that Alecia had to say about her sewing machine cover and cross stitch. I admire Alecia's style and really wanted to send her something that she would enjoy. No pressure!

I was so preoccupied with my project selection that I didn't give much thought to the idea that somebody out there was working on something specially made for me! As you can see from the images, I lucked out!

Meg made lovely placemats that incorporate so many elements that I love: Linen (check!), Amy Butler Love (check!), hexagons (check!).

Can you believe the beautiful hand stitching in these hexies?? I am so impressed and touched by the amount of work that Meg put into these beauties. Handstitched hexagons and hand stitched binding! I want to assure you that all of this lovely work is very much appreciated (and adored).

Meg also sent this fantastic mug rug that uses some coveted fabrics.

Hello little fella!

Meg included some extra treats in the package...I am thankful that my swap package gives me an opportunity to talk about buttons again on my blog! Do you see the sparkly and polka dot beauties in this package? Love.

In a strange twist of fate (or of organization by our swap Mama), I was placed in a 3-way (perhaps triad would be a better choice of terminology?? Get your mind out of the gutter!).

Meg received a gift from Alecia

Alecia recieved a gift from me

I received my gift from Meg.

I must really be a civil servant. I want to make a graphic representation of this for you. Shameful.

I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of exhanging some hand made goodness with these ladies. Somehow makes the world seem a friendlier place when you can share some crafty love.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the Olden Days...

This has become one of my four year old son's favourite expressions of late. Although he does have a real fascination for all old transportation equipment (I know way more about old street car systems and antique farm machines than I ever thought possible!), what he really means is anything that existed before him.

This gift for a new baby does not quite meet his definition, but it was completed early in 2011. I have just been too disorganized to actually cram him in a box and send him to his new baby owner. I have dreams of creating the perfect care package for my friend (who is now a mother of 3!). I'm all thoughts and no action these days. Good intentions at their worst.

I did however, get organized enough to make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross to assist in Japan!

This sweet elephant fellow is from Last Minute Patchwork Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. Making him really took only the 4 hours designated in the book and he was not tough to make...even for a 3D impaired lady, such as myself! Now my cute boy would like one for his very own. The highest praise indeed!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Time for the { Urban } HOME Goods swap mail day. I have been mostly finished for a few weeks now, but have been procrastinating with the mail out. I am super anxious that my partner like what I've made. Oi - the pressure!

I noticed that my partner (who participated in the last UHG swap) has listed a sewing machine cover twice in her list of asks. One of her comments indicated that she wanted a cover that was closed on the sides for maximum dust protection. I surfed the net and found a good tutorial at Notes from the Patch. I made a few small adjustments to suit my own purposes, but followed the instructions for the side pockets exactly. Love them. They would be a great little spot for scooping all of the little bits of sewing equipment out of the way in a hurry. BEGONE stitch ripper! BEGONE rotary cutter. I think that my partner sews in her living room, so I would imagine quick clean-up would be key.

My partner's "likes" also included turquoise and vintage. I happened to have some vintage linen with turquoise polka dots - MMmaaaaaAAAAAnnn, I hope that she doesn't dislike dots.

In an attempt to keep the scale of the swap reasonable, we were instructed that we are only allowed to add one "small" handmade treat in this swap. I had a hard time picking, until I saw a post at the Martha Crafts Dept. I am very happy with my choice. Hope that my partner is too! I opted to stretch the cross stitch over an artists canvas (again!) because I like the clean, modern look. It could easily be dropped into a frame if preferred.

Dear swap partner, I hope that you are happy with your treats. I had a great time picking, plotting and making them!

Friday, February 18, 2011

X-Stitched lemonade from a lemon

I made this cross stitch at Christmas for one of my very dear and crafty friends.

I had plans to wrap the finished cross stitch over an artists canvas, as I had done with some pieces for the craft show last year. I like how it makes the cross stitch look really simple, clean and a bit more modern (cross stitch can easily walk the line into the dreaded "quaint" territory!).

The problem??? Once again my lack of planning. I thought that I was being clever in using up an end piece of aida cloth (the fabric used for cross stitch). I thought that it was just "the right size". I thought wrong - AGAIN. Hmmm...Why do I always feel the need to "feature" my crafty mistakes???

This does not make for a pretty, modern, clean edge at all. Behold...the Frankenstein of cross stitch!

I set this monstrosity aside and did not deliver in time for Christmas. I just couldn't stomach what my lovely cross-stitch had become (visualize a dramatic crafter with her had placed dramatically on her forehead here).
When I was finally ready to revisit this project, I was able to adopt a more reasonable approach. I decided to do what is done with all major flaws - cover them up!

I made a strip of fabric and wrapped it around the canvas, sort of like a quilt binding. In the end, I rather like how it turned out!

That is what I love about the hand made...It forces me to get over my "imagined" perfect ending and make the best with what I've got. From Frankenstein to an extra excuse to add fabric to a project. Hmmm....there could be a lesson for me to apply to my life in this....

PS - Martha is doing a cross-stitch feature in her March issue. Find a preview here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Illicit knitting

I'm not supposed to be knitting...Knitting is my compulsion, my soothing drug....mmmMMMmmmm.

When the world feels busy and a bit out of control some knitting will put it right. The problem? I am a worrier and the world is often a bit out of my control. So I knit. And knit. And knit and knit. I knit until I have injured my arms and wrists and my fingers go numb. I knit until I have permanently damaged nerves and tendons.

I have to stay away from knitting...but sometimes I just need a small FIX.

A new job for me and waiting for the new job for my husband to be finalized have resulted in sleepless nights. So I found myself surfing Ravelry (so dangerous!) and making an emergency trip to the yarn store.

These fingerless gloves should be complete very soon! And suddenly the world seems calm and right....OOOOhhhHHHHmmmMMMMMM. Ahhh. Knitting.

Just in case you need a fix too, the pattern can be found at JCasa *handmade.