Saturday, December 22, 2012

Almost done sewing for Christmas!

I'm getting closer!  Today I found the perfect finish for the curtains I made Zoey.
Pardon the colour - it is getting late!  I was looking for dragonfly buttons but had no luck - then I found these in the dollar store:
Plastic rings for childrens' birthday goodie bags - all I had to do was slip them on the tab tassels and voila!  A cute finish - and all my daughter has to do is slip them off for washing.
Then I made a little bonus that I'm going to deliver tomorrow.  My daughter found an adorable rocking chair with an attached cradle at a garage sale and has painted it white for Zoey for Christmas.  I whipped up a mattress and pillow:
I was challenged by the sloping sides of the cradle but with careful marking and an electic knife, I was able to cut the perfect size mattress.  I used the leftovers from the backing of her quilt to cover it, then made a muslin pillow.  I'm saving the little pillowcase to add to this gift from me Christmas morning.
Also pieced from scraps is the back:
She's starting to play with dolls, so I'm sure she will be thrilled!
Once I'm finished quilting this I only have one small thing left to make for Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Easy Street Link Up Week #4

Just a quick post to say I am up to date on Easy Street!! 
I cut the last of my aqua (Bonnie's lime) 3 1/2" squares.  I can't wait until first thing tomorrow morning to see what Step 5 brings!
I have a sneaky suspicion we will be cutting more aqua so I just left the pile the way it was when I was done.  My aquas range from almost blue through teal and aqua to almost green.
Sewing is good therapy.
Check out Bonnie's Linky Party to see what the other almost 200 participants have done!

My heart is broken for Newton, CT

Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar

I've been struggling to write this post ever since I heard the first reports shortly after 9 am Friday morning (my time), about noon in Connecticut.
 Now I can't stop dwelling on it and crying for those poor babies and their protectors in heaven.

Please note, I am not posting the following to create controversy, but I need to express some of my thoughts and get things off my chest.  I'm speaking as someone who doesn't live in the US, but lives very close to the border and shops there regularly.
Being Canadian, and living with strict gun controls all my life, I am having a hard time understanding the resistance to bringing safety to communities, homes and families.  My only exposure to guns has been hunting rifles, which by law have to be locked in a gun safe and the ammunition stored separately in a separate location.  I don't even recall if I have ever seen a handgun (other than in the holster of a policeman) in my entire 52 years on this earth.  And it's not like I grew up sheltered, I am a military brat and was married to a military man who hunts.
Now that I have a better understanding of the lack of strong gun controls in the US, I am now scared to cross the border.  I did not realize that Washington state (only 30 minutes from my home) issues license to carry a loaded handgun before this past weekend.  What if a fight, robbery or even an innocent fender-bender took place, and some 'hero' decides to pull his gun? I am very thankful I feel safe to go about my business at home without having to worry about that. I am also grateful that my grandchildren can visit friends and family, knowing they are kept safe from innocently picking up a firearm.  (Don't get me wrong, we don't assume everyone locks their guns up, but if we don't know you, we will ask).

I believe in the right to bear arms - by the people who are trained to protect us - the police, the military, etc.  I also believe it is reasonable to have hunting rifles and even guns for sport, as long as the person is qualified and keeps his/her guns locked up and transports them safely to the gun range (here they have to be carried locked in the trunk).  I don't believe there is any need for high-capacity, semi-automatic guns that their only purpose is to kill.  I don't believe the b******t explanation that they are for hunting - how could you ever eat the meat after picking 100 or more bullets from the carcass?

Yes, bad guys will get guns.  We have had our share of tragedy of gun-related deaths in Canada as well.  But the harder you make it for the bad guys to get them, by controlling the purchase of them and locking them up so they can't be stolen from you, the less chance there is of another child being killed.  Who knows how many deaths have been prevented because someone has had a hard time finding a gun?
Please, please, if you own guns, keep them locked up with a combination safe that only you know the combination.  If you have a mentally ill person or depressed person in your household, please get rid of them.  We need to keep our children safe, and the only way to do that is to create more difficulty for the bad guys to get them.  Besides, how would you feel if your gun was used to kill someone because your gun was stolen from your home?

Now I'm off my soapbox and I'm going to look for some fabric to make some pillowcases for the Sandy Hook survivors. Becky at Quilter's Corner in New Milford, CT is collecting pillowcases for the children at Sandy Hook School. She is trying to collect around 600.  If you want to do the same, you can send them to her at:

Quilters Corner
312 Danbury Rd.
New Milford, CT. 06776


Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday Stash Report on Monday, Week #50

I fell off the no-buying wagon the last two weeks, partly because I don't have many purples for my Easy Street quilt, and that is my main colour.
Of course, that meant I had to check the sale racks.  I only paid full price for the piece of "Oh, Deer" and the purple on the top from the Cuzco line.  Everything else was less than $8/metre!  And if you know Canada prices, that is an awesome deal.  The other two pieces were priced at $14.95/m and $13.95/m - at least I only got a fat quarter of each so it didn't hurt so bad.  Other than the two pinks at the top, I bought everything at my favourite quilt shop, Hamels. (PS: They have a great Christmas fabric sale on right now).
So at the end of it all, I got 1 metre of purples, and 6 metres of fun!
I also did a little online shopping and got this pattern (fabric from Hamels), along with Quiltmaker's Nov/Dec 2011 issue, which has Bonnie Hunter's pattern "Moth in a Window" (about half-way through the post) and a cute penguin quilt.  Construction Zone will be for my grandson, and I'm going to use those plaid shirts I got to make 2 Moth in a Window quilts for my sons-in-law for next Christmas.
Added since last report: 7 metres

Added Year to Date: 104.15 metres
But....thanks to Christmas sewing, I've had some impressive finishes in the last two weeks!
First up, this quilt is finished! Daisy is checking it out for comfort before I put the binding on.  It has a curved border, but is already packaged up for Christmas! I'll show the final picture after it is presented.
The backing is a sheet I bought at Wal-Mart - aren't those colours perfect?!  I've already counted the top and I'm not counting the backing, so all I have to count as used is the binding (.5 m).

I'm still struggling with free-motion quilting so it doesn't have as much detail as I would like, and my sewing machine didn't like it either. However, I discovered using a pre-printed panel makes it easy to "follow the lines".
I also made matching tab-style curtains with a removable blackout liner (3.5m, not including blackout liner - never counted in).  There is still a doll quilt to come this week, along with the two pillowcases I've already finished, which apparently I have never counted with the Christmas pillow cases (2 m).
I got the apron finished for Zoey.  It will be big, but she'll grow into it.  Santa is bringing her a play kitchen so she'll have fun with this. I was puzzled that I had fabric left over from the lining, but after it was done, I remembered I was going to put a ruffle on it!  Oh, well.  My new year's resolution is to make notes when I plan a project, instead of relying on my not-so-good memory.
I've also made some casserole hot pads from old Debbie Mumm vest panels, but no pics yet, they are wrapped as well (1.5m). 
I made some coasters as well.  These were on a panel as well, and I still have the top part to make wallhangings with - next year (0.3m)!
I still haven't figured out how or whether I should count those men's shirts in. I'm still de-boning them so I haven't determined how much fabric actually came out of them. 

Used since last report:  7.8 metres
Used year to Date: 98.3 metres
So my final number this week is in the negative, but I still have some things to finish before Christmas plus I have time after Christmas to do some of my own sewing.  My goal is to break even this year, and then next year I want to try and finish more, and keep my purchases down.  Maybe I need a rule to finish two projects before I can start a new one.

Net Used/Gained for 2012: 5.85 metres

Friday, December 14, 2012

I can't rely on my memory anymore!

I found a cute fabric at a local fabric chain store, and thought it would be fun to make up some 'ort' catchers for a few friends. 
UBI (useless bit of information): An Ort is the little snippet of thread left over or tiny fabric scraps, according to Wikipedia and  I had no idea these were called Orts until I went surfing for these triangular thread catchers.  For more information, there is a great article here.
I found the tutorial I was looking for at Needling Things blog, by Edna, another fellow Canadian. I read through it and quickly determined I could get at least 4 from 2 pieces of 10" wide fabric - no problem, I remember that part when I bought the fabric.
I followed the directions and cut out 4 - 10" squares of each fabric, and cut out the triangles.  And then I went to bed.
Yesterday, I made the triangles and topstiched them.  And then my memory failed me:
This is one heck of a big thread catcher! And how come I can only get one when I was supposed to get four?
That should teach me not to rely on my memory and re-read the instructions.  It took me a few minutes to figure them out (I'm not sure why I was slow), but one triangle makes one threadcatcher - duh!
Now all I have to do is sew on the buttons.  Tonight I have these two little cuties so I'll be able to get it done after the baby is in bed!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A break from the sweatshop!

I took a little break from finishing Christmas gifts to do a little Easy Street cutting and sewing.  I buried them under the binder and proceeded to cutting more 2" HST for steps two and three.
I'm still working on all 3 steps. Now I'm ready for a little sewing.

I can't wait to see the final layout.  I hope my daughter likes it - if so, king-size it will be.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Easy Street #3 is live!

Bonnie Hunter is so generous and I love her consistency!  She uses Blogger's scheduling feature to have her posts go live before most of us are even out of bed.  This week's step 3 requires I do more colour adjustments:

My colours are the same as Bonnie's, just with more emphasis on the purple and less on the lime.
Her purple is my LIME, her aqua is my PURPLE, and her lime is my AQUA.  It gets confusing so I printed out my mockup and labeled the colours A, B, and C. So, tomorrow (too much going on today), I will be cutting 2" Lime squares, and HST from Purple 3 1/2" strips.  If I don't write it down here today, I'll forget by tomorrow!
I missed some additional cutting in Step 2 - I need 64 (+ for king size) 2"x 3 1/2" black-on-white rectangles 'for future use' and in Step 3, she also wants to cut 2 - 3" squares - my colour will be Aqua.
I have a feeling there are going to be fewer steps this year.  I can already visualize a couple of block possibilities, and as soon as I finish a few of this week's blocks, I'm going to start playing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It's bad enough I have half a dozen projects still to finish before Christmas, but I got a brain waive to attempt to complete not one, but two rag quilts by then as well.  Of course, that meant shopping for fabric!
But not just any fabric, but plaids and stripes as these are going to be guy quilts for my sons-in-law.  I went on the hunt for some men's shirts.  Not having a man in the house, that meant I made a round of the thrift stores.  Value Village (pronounced 'va-loo vi-lawj' in our family) was too pricey at $6-13 for a used shirt, but I scored at Bibles for Missions.  Men's dress shirts were just $3 each, and today they were 50% off.  So for $1.50 a piece, I got eight great ones to supplement the 5 shirts I already had (bought at 50c each in the summer):

They probably aren't enough, but I think the sale is all week, so I'll go back for more once I know how many 5" squares I can get from a man's XL shirt! Now I have to 'debone' them - for a great tutorial, check Bonnie Hunter's method here.
The shirts I already had were mostly neutral beige so these black and blue ones should work well.
PS: Don't you just love that orange one?  And it's an XXL - perfect to add a little pizzaz to each quilt!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy Street, Step #2

I am loving Easy Street!  Thanks to Bonnie's great instructions, I finally have made perfect flying geese that are straight and true, with no trimming required!  First, I made some more 4-patches:
Then on to the flying geese - they are so pretty!
I have about 14 different black-on-white, and about 8-10 different greens and I am really pleased with the results.  I've changed the colour combination and using lime green in place of the purple.  I'm hoping my daughter and her husband like the quilt layout, and if they do, I'm making this king-size.
My finished pieces so far:
Step 1: 4-patch - 111 of est. 300
Step 2: Flying Geese - 73 of est. 200
I used the leftover ends of the strips to make a couple of 3 1/2" crumb blocks.
When I was doing my Orca Bay mystery last year, I used the trimmings from my string blocks to make some crumb blocks in monochromes:
I have no immediate plans for them, but they make a nice decoration in my sewing room.  I also make 3 1/2" selvedge blocks and houses:
And even a 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" block from the trimmings of my Union Jack pillow.
Once the line is full, maybe then I'll decide what to do!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Stash Report, Week #48

The only addition this week was 4 yards for my Easy Street quilt.
Bonnie's instructions only called for 2 yards, but if my daughter likes it, I plan on upsizing it to king-size!  I have no idea how much more fabric that will be to go from 84" x 84" to 104" x 104", but in square inches a king-size is more than 50% larger so I thought I would play it safe and double the yardage.  It never hurts to have a little extra in the stash!
Here's a better closeup picture of pattern, the last picture I took was so blurry.  I am loving the way the 4-patches look. 
Used since last report: 2.25 metres

Used year to Date: 90.5 metres

Added since last report: 3.65 metres

Added Year to Date: 97.15 metres

Net Used/Gained for 2012: 6.65 metres
I got my room tidied yesterday, and it is so much nicer having some space to work.   In the meantime, I've unearthed the serger I borrowed from my sister:
I picked up some more plastic shoe boxes (for less than $1 a piece!)

 And I separated my stash into colour groups instead of warms/cools/neutrals:
And then I spent a few hours sewing!

I finished 4 of my Christmas projects, accounting for the used yardage above.  More about those tomorrow! I'm almost done Zoey's quilt and curtains and that will make for a big reduction in the stash numbers next week!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

24 days 'til Christmas - and a confession!

First, my confession - I am a slob! 
I have always worked better under pressure, and the tighter the deadline, the worse the mess! In this picture, I can count 8 projects on the go - not all of them for Christmas presents.  There is also a bin under the table with another 10 at least.
My goal today is to clean this up, and only have those projects that are for Christmas gifts on deck.  I'll be checking back in tonight!