Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stash Report, Week 52 - Year-end wrap up!

It's been a whirlwind of sewing and shopping this month, delayed by many hospital visits.  My brother-in-law finally got his triple-bypass surgery on December 11th, 3 weeks after his initial heart attack.  He was home in 4 days, but of course it will take a long time for his extra-thick breastbone to heal (but like the doctor said, "I have a bigger saw!").  Unfortunately, he caught a cold and is having to try not to cough.
He did enjoy visits from his newest grandchild, Lexi, finally a girl for my sister's family after 4 grandsons:
My sister, her husband and I are very close. Having been on my own for almost 30 years now, I have often had to call on Sanford to help me with things that are too heavy or difficult on my own.  Of course, I reciprocate when I can, like hosting the whole family for six months while their home was being rebuilt after a house fire.  His friends joke that I am his second wife - poor guy!  I love him dearly, and I'm so grateful that he got through the surgery with flying colours.
On to my stash report:
Added since my last report: 2.6 metres
Added Year to Date: 72.7 metres  
Destashed since my last report: 16 metres

 Destashed year to Date: 69.9 metres
Added for 2014: 2.8 metres

 Total spent  YTD $380.19= $5.27/metre
I would say that is about as close to break-even as I am ever going to get!  And I didn't break the bank either.
I added 2.6 metres to use in my Grand Illusion quilt.  I had to get my yellow constant, and some blue since I'm using pastels instead of neutrals, as I have pretty used up my stash of those and I had some coordinating pastels in the line of fabric I chose to use for the mystery quilt.  I didn't take a picture of the fabric, but you can see it in these units.

 This is pretty much all the blocks I have done so far.  This December was just not conducive to elective sewing this year.  I hope to make more progress in January!
I made a grand total of 6 pillowcases this year, but I've already had to remake one, thanks to my dog, Daisy. 

She ate a quarter-size hole in Zoey's to get at the chocolate inside (she's fine!).
 I made 10 infinity scarves in various colours, 3 for my daughter's birthday and 7 for extra gifts at Christmas. Each one is made from a 20"x30" or 20"x40" piece of minkee, mostly scraps leftover from quilt backings.  It worked out to 4 metres removed from the stash! I even took photos to do a tutorial, which I hope to have posted this weekend.
Christmas PJ's for the kids was good for another 5 metres out.

And at the last minute, I also made tag blankets for the babies, for another metre out.  16 metres total out, not bad for a busy month.
And my newest obsession for my scraps and crumbs are Bonnie Hunter's Wild 'n Goosey block.  You can find the instructions in the May/June 2013 issue of Quiltmaker magazine . Those adorable corner blocks are only 3 1/2" square!
Check out Patchwork Times for more stash reports - I love watching people's progress.

Friday, December 26, 2014

My Christmas Presents

A Christmas spent with my babies, and canvas-wrap photos for my wall was the best present of all.

But a very close second was this pretty girl!
It's a Singer 201K3.  Unlike American-made 201-2s, this Scottish/Canadian girl has a belt and the light is on the back of the machine. 
Her serial number EH866646 dates her to numbers issued February 9, 1953 at the factory Kilbowie factory in Clydesdale, Scotland. The motor was made in Canada, which means the body of the machine was shipped to one of the assembly plants in Canada before distribution. 
She's pretty dirty, and has a ding near the bobbin spool pin, and needs a new power/foot pedal cord.  I'm confident I can get her cleaned up and running myself!
This machine is often referred to as the Cadillac of Singers, and was the top-of-the-range model of its time.  When they were first introduced, they could easily cost the average labourer 6 months in wages.  Singer was instrumental in introducing the concept of paying on time, so many people would make weekly payments over a number of months or even years to own one of these hard-working machines.
She came in a case that looks like it a 301 case, so I'm not sure if it is original to the machine, so I have to do some more research on it.  I can't wait to start the cleaning process.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from BC, Canada - I'm joining Bonnie's Christmas Eve Linky Party!

Today my muse, Bonnie Hunter is hosting a Linky Party to share our favourite Christmas sewing projects!  I first discovered Bonnie in 2010 when I discovered the wonderful world of quilting blogs, and I haven't stopped sewing since!
I first learned to sew when I was a child, and designed and made my own Barbie clothes. I made Christmas presents for my daughters every year, even if I didn't do any other sewing for the year.  Since my sister and I became grammas six years ago, we revived our mother's tradition of "goodie bags" but the bags are now pillowcases!
This year's lineup - packed and ready to go!  I'm glad I have a room in the process of painting and new trim so that I can hide everything.  My sister and I have a deal, she does the shopping and I supply the fabric and make the pillowcases (I think I get the better end of the deal cuz I hate shopping for anything other than fabric).  They're just filled with small, inexpensive items like toothbrushes, socks, a small toy, coloring books and crayons, etc.  It gives the kids plenty to do when we have our joint family gathering on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for my American friends).
Last year's lineup.   The two purple ones went with my Easy Street quilt that I gave to my daughter and her husband (I like to make matching pillowcases when I gift a quilt, and use one to wrap it in.) The last one is a Super Mario pillowcase for my oldest grandnephew, to go with the quilt that is still under construction.  Now that the Christmas sewing is done, that's the next project on the list.
The kids love their pillowcases so much that they insist on having a pillow in each one.  My grandson now has six pillows piled on his bed!  My daughter wants to kill me - just kidding!
Christmas 2014
I also make pyjamas for the kids every Christmas.  Zoey calls these ones her "Frozen" pyjamas because they have snowflakes on them and insists on wearing them every night, even during the heat of summer.  They still fit a year later - I'm glad I made them a bit big.
The Christmas project I am most proud of is my tree skirt.  (I must remember to take a picture of it quilted.) It is foundation-paper-pieced from a Judy Niemeyer pattern and I love how it turned out.  I used all batiks except for the white areas, they have a silver snowflake pattern printed on the white.  I love how it sparkles under the tree.
Have a wonderful Christmas, Kwaanza, Hanukkah, Diwali, Solstice or other holiday you may celebrate as this year ends, and I hope you have the best year ever in 2015! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Slow and steady will get me there!

As I have done in previous years, I am using Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt as Leaders and Enders while I finish my Christmas sewing.  Last night, I finished a Christmas Countdown calendar from a panel for my oldest daughter:
I put my snips to show that behind each door is a little pocket, created by folding the fabric. She plans on putting little notes for activities they can do leading up until Christmas.
I did a fold over of the backing to create a self-binding, and I tried something new - making a mitred corner with the self-binding.  It was a little tricky and not perfect, but with practice it will improve.
Tonight I finished the five pillowcases I started on Sunday:
And I managed to get 30 more HSTs done on my Grand Illusion quilt.
My sister and I use the pillowcases as "Gramma goodie bags" for our family get-together on Boxing Day.  She's in charge of finding the goodies (little gifts like colouring books, small toys and socks) and I make the pillowcases. My mom started this tradition when our kids were little, and we are carrying it on in her memory. I've written about it before - click here.
 Two pillowcases were already done, and I only needed to make four, but I made an extra Olaf one. Now I've decided to use the Olaf ones for my older grandkids on Christmas Day, so I have to make one more for Boxing Day!
After I finished up for the evening, I got the next 20 HSTs ready for sewing.  Now I have no excuses when I have 15 minutes of free time! 

Grand Illusion total:
50 of 280 Half-square triangles done
100 black squares cut
Still need to buy yellow fabric (waiting for my local quilt shop's Saturday sale, on the first of every month they have all regular price fabric 20% off)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grand Illusion Week #1 Link Up

I didn't think I would be starting Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt with the rest of the world because I was supposed to be on a beach in Mexico, but a "Series of Unfortunate Events" allowed me to join the fun (read more here).
My fabrics have been chosen - all from my stash.  I still need to get the yellow constant, but I am using these beautiful Jason Yenter prints I bought late last year.  I'm going to substitute the pastels for the neutrals (and I still want to get a soft blue), and I'm using blue instead of the aqua.  The yellow I want to get is a creamy yellow, like butter, which is in the backing fabric on the bottom and in the background of the top piece of pink fabric.  I have 4 different tone-on-tone blacks/dark greys, including one that has a cat and one that has sharks!
I've done all the cutting for the first step, with the exception of the yellow.  It's not a problem because until I get all my Christmas sewing done, these will be my leader/ender project.
I will be piecing on my 1937 Featherweight that I acquired thanks to Bonnie introducing me to vintage machines. I do the majority of my sewing on this little beauty!
Last night, I was ready to start!  I've started the 5 pillowcases I need to make for Christmas and in between, I fed those HST through the machine!
I had 20 done in no time!  Thanks, Bonnie, for another beautiful mystery quilt.  I can't wait to see the reveal!
Linking up to Bonnie's Monday Link Up - check it out to see how many others are participating this year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Stash Report, Week 48

Long time, no blog!
It feels like it has been forever since I blogged, and when I looked at the date of my last post, sure enough it's been six weeks.  A new baby, working extra hours to get caught up at work before leaving for a trip to Mexico, cancelling said trip because my brother-in-law has had a heart attack (and I was to be travelling with my sister and b-i-l), back and forth trips to the hospital (he's been moved to one almost 100 kms away, have all taken their toll on my energy level.
I am grateful for so many things:  that we had the trip to Mexico booked, because it made my brother-in-law get "that nagging pain" in his chest checked out, that Expedia was incredibly understanding and cancelled our trip with 98% refund (we lost $75 per seat for the airline, and got everything else back), that he has a strong heart and even though his heart has been operating at about 40% for a number of years, it built its own pathways around the blockages, and even though it is hard waiting for the surgery, the attack did no damage to his heart and he is waiting for the surgery because he "isn't as sick as some of the others" on the floor.
First up, my stash report:
I have actually added fabric for the first time in months:
2.5 metres of flannelette and 1.5 metres of a superhero print for our annual pillowcases (I have 6 left to make), and 2 metres of solids for the Super Mario quilt and binding for crib bumper pads.
Added since my last report: 6 metres
Added Year to Date: 70.1 metres 

 And I have managed to get some sewing done, despite all the obstacles (sewing is my stress reliever):

Mya's quilt is finished and in the crib (check out those chubby cheeks!).  Every time I see her, she is sleeping - but her mother assures me she has lots of awake time, usually starting at 3 a.m.  Poor little tyke has her days and nights still mixed up.  She's seven weeks today so it shouldn't be for much longer.
The finished quilt took 1 1/2 metres for the back, and 1/3 metre for the binding.  I had fun with some free motion quilting - it is getting easier.
It's not perfect, but I'm happy with it.
I also finished a crib skirt, but since my daughter supplied the fabric, I didn't count it in or out. (Pardon the wrinkles, I was still pressing it).
I use snap tape to attach it to the crib base, which saves a lot of fabric.  We stapled the other half with staples so it makes it also easy to take off for washing.
My sister and I had a sew day before my b-i-l's heart attack.  We sewed a total of eight pairs of pyjamas and nightgown sacks - these are the ones I made for my grandchildren.  My sister just became a grandmother again two weeks ago, her first granddaughter after 4 boys, so she was thrilled to sew something pink!  I used 4 metres in all.
Lastly, I made a snuggler for the car seat.  It has slits in it for the straps to fit through, so when you take the baby out, she will stay wrapped up.  Perfect for this cold weather we've been having.  It uses 2 metres of fabric, one for the front and one for the back -I lined it with the leftover minkee from the quilt.
Destashed since my last report: 7.9 metres

 Destashed year to Date: 53.9 metres

 Added for 2014: 16.2 metres
Total spent  YTD $345.19= $4.92/metre
I just might break even this year! Check out Patchwork Times for more stash reports - I love watching people's progress.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Stash Report, Week 42

I had two big finishes this week, and I sent off some more fabric to a quilter who does charity quilts, so my "out" numbers really grew!  And I didn't add anything, so I am making some headway...finally!

Added since my last report: 0 metres
Added Year to Date: 64.1 metres 

Destashed since my last report: 19 metres

 Destashed year to Date: 46 metres
 Added for 2014: 18.1 metres
Total spent  YTD $294.20 = $4.59/metre

First up, my Celtic Solstice top got finished - finished size is 50" x 60".  Waiting for a new baby really motivated me to finish 5 blocks (including piecing about 1/3 of the units first) in just one evening.  Too bad I can't be that productive all the time.

I estimate I used about 5 metres for the top.  I used a lot of scraps and fat 8ths purchased pieces and didn't keep really good track but I think I'm close.
Secondly, I have started the quilting on the quilt for the new baby.  The shower is in two weeks so I should get it done.  Since I never counted the top as done, that is some more fabric out!  Another 4 metres out. 

Since I didn't take a picture when I finished it, this is what it will look like once I finish quilting it and adding the rickrack and applique leaves.

I also sent about 10 metres of fabric to a quilter who does charity quilts.  I was in a hurry so I didn't take a picture.  It sure felt good to get it out. 
I'm doing some fun quilting on the baby's quilt.  Today I finished the "grass".  I did "organic" lines about 1" apart (kind of like lines of mowing). 
I used my Purple Thang to eyeball where to start the next row of stitching. I measured from the top of the tool to the top of the elongated hole you see in the picture below.

I've also stitched rays of sunshine around the yellow block, and I'm about to start the swirls of wind through the blue sky! Then I will do tight swirls of wool inside the sheep.
 Little Mya is doing great!  After just an overnight stay, she was home Monday.  She is eating well, but has her days and nights mixed up a bit.  Every night gets a little better.  This gramma has been enjoying lots of baby snuggles this week - I am so fortunate my kids both choose to live close to me.

Ready to go home

A rare daytime sighting of eyes

Big sister is finally warming up to her sister, and helps with a top-up feeding.
This weekend, my ex-husband is in town to meet the new baby so today I will enjoy sewing.  We all got together for dinner last night, but I think it is good for him to have his own bonding time with all the grandkids without me around to distract them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

While I was waiting...a quilty finish

While I was anxiously waiting for word from the hospital, I picked up a project that has been waiting in the wings for a while.  I only had 5 blocks to finish assembling and a few more blocks for the borders.
Since Bonnie Hunter has announced the fabric choices for her newest mystery quilt,  Grand Illusion, I better get this one done.  I only made 1/2 the amount of blocks required, but looking at it I think I needed one more row on the bottom (it is hanging sideways on the clothesline). Oh, well, I'm not taking it apart now.
I modified the border to emphasize the points of the stars more, and used Bonnie's pieced cornerstones (I redrafted it to a 3 1/2" block) for the corners.  I like it!
I went to bed at about 2 a.m. and Mya was born at 4:16 a.m.  I had both Zoey and Alex for a sleepover, but lucky for me the kids slept in until about 8:30 so I did get some sleep.
Then we headed to the hospital for some baby snuggles!
She's a chunky monkey at 8 lbs, 11 oz. with lots of dark hair. I think she's going to end up fair though, because there are blond tinges to it and her eyebrows and eyelashes are blond, unlike her sister who had dark ones.  Her eyes are lighter, too.  Zoey's were jet-black when she was born, and are now light brown.
This is a close as Zoey would come to holding her.  She spent most of the time ignoring her!  Alex was in love though, and he will be a great big cousin!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm a gramma again!

I have so much to be thankful for this thanksgiving!  Beautiful Mya Gillian arrived at 4:15 a.m. this morning, weighing 8 lbs 11 oz.  She is already feeding and they will be home tomorrow, on Thanksgiving day. 
Mom, Dad and baby are doing great!

Last night, since I couldn't settle, I finished my Celtic Solstice quilt top.  I'll post pictures of that later.
Now I'm off to the hospital to meet my new granddaughter, then bring her big sister home with me so mom and dad can bond with their new little one!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I'm back! Sunday Stash Report, Week 40

I took an unplanned blogging break - after vowing to post for 30 days straight.  I have been struggling with my depression again, and I thought by setting a goal would help motivate me - instead it seemed to "freeze" me.  
I have been doing a small amount of sewing - primarily to get some much-needed baby projects done for my niece and my daughter.  And now, another niece has announced her much-wanted first pregnancy.  That's the third niece this year!
The only fabric added since my last report almost three months ago was project-specific, bought by my sister and right back out so I haven't counted it. 
Added since my last report: 0 metres
Added Year to Date: 64.1 metres 
Destashed since my last report: 3.35 metres

 Destashed year to Date: 27 metres
 Added for 2014: 35.75 metres
Total spent  YTD $294.20 = $4.59/metre
First up, I finished this quilt for my niece's baby due in November.  It's my own design, I call it "Modern Rail Fence". Once things simmer down around here, I want to develop a pattern/tutorial for it.  I first wrote about it here.
I quilted it with alternating organic straight lines in pink and wavy lines in purple, which really didn't show up much but that's okay!
She also asked me to make a car seat cover - I made it rag quilt style and backed with the leftover minkee from the quilt.
I made a burp cloth with the leftovers so that I didn't add to the ever-growing scraps.
And while I was at it, I made a new car seat cover for my daughter - her baby girl is due in just a few days!
I'm almost finished her quilt top, then on to quilting it so hopefully next week, I'll have a big finish!

Linking to Judy's Stash Report and Michelle's Let Make Baby Quilts