Friday, May 19, 2017

This is what I've done so far this month....

You're probably thinking that it's about time that I posted something here.  The month is more than half gone, and I've only updated once so far.  I've been keeping busy, but I wasn't sure that you'd want to see photos of half-completed projects, especially when you can't see progress.  Let me assure you, I've been keeping my nose to the grindstone!
The advent of warmer weather means that I'm spending more time outside in the garden.  I've already lost track of how many times I've made rhubarb muffins this spring, and I think that asparagus has been on the menu at least as often.  There are weeds to pull, and plants to move to more appropriate locations as well.  Thankfully, we've had some cooler and rainy days too, and those days have been spent on my quilting projects.
I'm WAY behind on my 150 Canadian Women quilt project, partly because I wanted to make sure that I got my Hands2Help quilts done in time.  I'm hoping to finish at least 2 quilts for Project Linus, and the first one is done.  We'll see how I do with the 2nd one - my sewing machine needs to go the the sewing machine "hospital" for some TLC.  The problem seems to be a gear in the area of the bobbin - hopefully, that's all that needs fixing!  Thankfully, I have an older machine that I can use for piecing, and my quilting machine seems to be working okay, so I managed to get the quilting done on my peach / brown quilt.  I used a wavy line in a grid pattern - the spacing varies a bit, but isn't more than 3.5" in any direction.  I tried Hobbs 80 / 20 for this quilt - I'm curious to find out how well it holds up.  I used the brown from the blocks for the binding - I think it frames it nicely...  What do you think?
 I have another quilt layered and ready to quilt - hopefully it will work for PL too.  No pictures of it yet - hopefully in a few days.
I've also spent a fair bit of time on some knitting projects.  A very dear friend needed shoulder surgery recently - and it may have cost her the job that she's done for the past 16 years.  I thought she might appreciate having a prayer shawl.  Her kids thought she liked purple, and I had a lovely rich shade of purple yarn, as well as a variegated purple, green and cream combination.  I used the 2 yarns together and knit the shawl using the "Feather and Fan" stitch.  I finished it just in time for her to take to the hospital.  I snapped a quick photo of it before it went to her:
The colours are more rich in real life, but you get a rough idea of what it looked like.
And, just because I was in a shawl knitting mood, I signed up to do a Knit-Along, sponsored by Red Heart yarns.  One of their designers, Marly Bird, designed a quick and easy triangular shawl.  A clue is released weekly, and I've managed to keep up so far!  I chose a neutral pale grey, but I'm thinking that I need to knit at least one more!  This is my in-progress shot: 
Again, the colour isn't very true...  The shawl is getting quite wide, and I couldn't show the full width of it, so you'll have to use your imaginations a bit.  The section on the needles is actually the bottom edge so far.  The final section (of four) is another lacy section, and then it will be done!  Quite a few of the participants are using variegated yarn, or are mixing it up with solid-coloured yarn for the stockinette sections, and variegated yarn for the lacy section.  It's got me thinking of using a variegated yarn for my next one.
So, you're almost as caught-up as I am.  I'm hoping / planning to have at least one more post to wrap up my Hands2Help projects.  They're to be sent out to their new homes by June 2nd.
I'm linking up with Sarah's "Can I get a whoop-whoop" and Kat's  "Sew some Love" posts.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Design Wall Monday May 1st

If you saw my design wall post last week, you saw my newest project.  I'd found a quilt kit on Pinterest - and, while I liked the project, a kit only made a 24"x32" quilt - much too small for anything I could donate for Hands2Help.  So, I figured out how to make the blocks, pulled fabrics, and started putting the top together.

I'm happy to report that I finished the top on Saturday!  That makes 2 tops finished in April - the other one was my Quilt UFO project for April.  Now that warmer weather has finally (maybe?) arrived, hubby can get my quilting tables set up again in our enclosed sun porch, and I can get these tops quilted up.
Of course, that means that my design wall needs something new on it!  Judy chose the May UFO project number, 11, which corresponds to my black and white disappearing 9-patch.  It's based on a quilt that Kat chose for a block drive for Covered in Love last year.  I thought that the block would look great using a number of Kona cottons for the center spot in the 9-patch, and I think it looks pretty good so far!  Of course, these blocks are just stuck up on the wall so far - nothing is sewn, and I've already moved a few blocks around since they went up - but have a look:
These are about half of the blocks - can't wait to see it sewn up!
Linking up to Patchwork Times Design Wall, Quilting is more fun than Housework's Oh Scrap! and Lorna's Let's Bee Social posts.


Monday, April 24, 2017

My design wall - April 24, 2017

Hey, I've actually got something up on my design wall!  I haven't had much time to work on any of my on-going projects for any length of time over the past 2 weeks, but I made time on Saturday to start a new one!
I'm SO thankful my daughter warned me not to install Pinterest on my cell phone - she told me that I'd spend all my spare time scrolling through the various pins, and I'd never get anything else done...  So, I resisted - for about 3 weeks...  Last week, I ended up having to wait for someone, and so, to kill a bit of time, I scrolled through the day's offerings - and found this pin.  I really had no use for a kit, and I'd actually have to buy at least 3 or 4 kits to make a quilt the size I needed.  It didn't look too complicated though, so I thought I'd see if I had any fabric to make the quilt.  (See hubby, it DOES pay to have a stash!)  I found exactly the right fabrics, got them cut up and sewed up a bunch of them - and then I noticed that two of the fabrics were directional, and to get the pattern right, every other block would be upside down...  So, back to the fabrics, cut some more, reversing the two "problem" fabrics, and laid out the blocks.
And this is what they look like!
I'm hoping to finish the top this week - not sure if I'll leave it as it is, or put a border on it - I'll have to see what it looks like then.
Linking up to Judy's Design Wall post.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A productive day!

It's been quite a while since I've actually been able to sit at my sewing machine for longer than 5 or 10 minutes.  My sewing room needed a major clean-up / sort out / purge (this is what's kept me from sewing for the past two weeks), and most of what I needed to do has been done.  Hopefully, I can finish it up soon!
Part of what started all this is the UFO challenge that Judy issued a few months ago.  I listed 12 projects that I needed to finish this year - some of them are at least 8 or 9 years old - and am trying to complete them in a month's time.  In order to make that list, I had to find some of the projects, and determine how much needed to be done - could I do it in a month?  Then I'd wait for Judy to choose a number - and then I'd pull that project, work on it, and hopefully finish it.
This month's project number was #1 - which was my pink and brown log cabin quilt.  A number of years ago, I belonged to a quilt forum - we had a great group of ladies!  We did a lot of block-of-the-month swaps, and then different projects - one of them being a log-cabin swap.  We each chose a log cabin pattern, and our colour scheme - then the administrator would pair us up and we'd make the block our partner chose, in her colours - and she'd do the same for me.  Unfortunately, we only made it through about 5 or 6 months before most of us lost interest....
I had chosen pink and brown for my colours - it was a good thing that I really loved those colours then, because I had to make a few more!  The strips had been cut, and actually moved with us twice, so it was definitely time to finish this project!
I had most of the day today to work on this quilt, and I'm very happy to report that it's finally a top - ready to sandwich and quilt!  Voila!
Now the one thing about sewing log cabin blocks is that you have to do a LOT of "stitch a seam, press a seam; repeat" - and in order to press my seams efficiently, I found it best to use a leader-ender project to avoid wasting the thread on my last wound bobbin.  So, I also managed to make a few scrappy blocks!  I've put them up on my design wall - and here they are: 
These blocks are super-simple to make - all of the parts are 2.5" x 4.5", so they are easy to cut up and the blocks go together quickly!  This probably won't be the final layout, but it gives you an idea of how bright and cheerful the quilt is going to be!  There are a number of charities that are looking for quilts just like that, so it will find a home soon!
Linking up to Judy's Design Wall post, as well as Quilting is More Fun than Housework's Oh Scrap post and She Can Quilt's Scraptastic Tuesday post.

Friday, April 7, 2017

On the Needles Fri. Apr. 7, 2017

I have a finish to report today, as well as my next "works in progress".
I'm part of the TinCanKnits group on Ravelry.  They recently partnered with 7 other knitwear designers to create 9 unique sweaters using the same body and sleeves - the women each designed a different yoke pattern that worked with the body / sleeves.  Sales of the patterns funded the purchase of mosquito netting for the "Against Malaria Foundation".  
I chose to make the "Tenderheart" pattern by TinCanKnits, in teal and off-white for my son-in-law's nephew, baby Owen.  He was born in November, but I didn't want to make a baby sweater, so I knit it in the 2-4 year-old size.  I hope his mom likes the colour!
Another group that I belong to on Ravelry is the "17 in 2017" group.  We've been challenged to complete 17 items this year - hopefully (in my case), works in progress.  Every month we're issued a specific challenge, and I try to match it with a project on my list of unfinished objects.  
My oldest daughter's best friend (Erin) from high school had her first baby (a boy) last summer.  I've been working on a sweater for him for quite a while now, and it's SO close to being done.  Well, the challenge for April's 17 in 2017 is "Doubles".   

The group moderator wrote "Suggested ideas for doubles:
  1. Mittens
  2. Socks
  3. Two projects from the same designer
  4. Repeat of a pattern you have previously used"

I just found out that my cousin's 2nd daughter is expecting a baby girl this summer, and I thought that I'd take this opportunity to make a girl's version of the sweater that I made for Erin's baby - here are the backs of the 2 sweaters - the blue one is for Erin's son, and the red / multi colour print is for Melissa's baby:




Getting these 2 sweaters done this month should keep me busy!
Linking up to Judy's On the Needles post, and also to Sarah's Can I get a whoop-whoop post.

Friday, March 24, 2017

On the Needles this week, and some other goodies!

Here it is - Friday again...!    Both DH and I have a parent that has dealt with some serious health issues in the past 2 weeks, and the days seem to have just blurred into one another.  Of course that means that not a lot has happened in the crafting department.  I can't remember when I last sat at the sewing machine, but I have managed to get some knitting done (you can get a lot of "mindless" knitting done in hospital waiting rooms!).
You'll probably remember my sweater project from 2 weeks ago - I've managed to finish the second sleeve, and the body up to the yoke section; I've joined in the sleeves, and am now starting the yoke fair-isle patterning.  The pattern is Tenderheart from Tin Can Knits - they collaborated with 7 other knitwear designers to produce 8 different sweaters using the same standard body and sleeves - but with the twist of having each designer create a unique yoke.  Right now, there's a Knit-Along going on - we have until April 18th to finish our project, and there are some pretty sweet prizes!
Here's my progress so far:
You can see the picture of the completed sweater design on the pattern page.  I'm making the 2-4 year-old size - hopefully, the little guy receiving it will get a lot of use out of it!
I did have about an hour to make a few cards one evening.  Two friends were celebrating birthdays; we also had a few deaths in our church family...

These cards have gone out to the folks that needed them, and I ended up with a few extra birthday cards so I'd have some on hand.
Hopefully, the next few weeks will be a little more settled than the past ones have been -  I need to get going on a few quilting projects, and there's been another baby boy born, so I picked out another sweater pattern this afternoon.  I'm hoping that I can use some stashed yarn for it.
And finally, in the middle of the chaos that we've had, we've had some fun too!  Meet some of
our newest "family members":


I'm linking up to Judy's On the Needles post.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Blocks, blocks and more blocks!

It's been an absolutely crazy week - and I thought I'd have a few days to get some sewing done...  Well, that didn't happen quite the way I thought it would, but it is what it is.  I did manage to get a few seams sewn on Monday, but Tuesday and Wednesday were too busy with more important things. So, that brings us to today, and I made up for lost time!
First off, Kat's charity Covered in Love is hosting a block drive once again - a very interesting textural 3-D block that she calls "Grandad's Shirt".  She asked for blocks using black, grey and blue fabrics - and I managed to make 5 blocks:

Next up, while I had those fabrics out, I cut a few strips and squares to make more  "Raspberry Kiss" blocks:

They aren't the most exciting colours, but when added to the rest of the blocks on my wall, they'll fit in quite nicely!
And finally, I got to work on the stack of blocks that have been piling up on my sewing table - these are for my 150 Canadian Women quilt.  I'm still behind, but I've managed to get close to being caught up again:


Linking up to Leann's Scraptastic Tuesday; Cynthia's Oh Scrap;  Kat's Sew Some Love; and Quilting and Learning's Celebrate-Fetons-150-in-March posts.