Wednesday, 18 March 2015

One cushion cover completed!

But, I can't really count it toward my finish along list, because I wasn't the one who finished it.  Elyse has decided that she wants a rainbow of cushions on her bed, and has taken the first step with this gorgeous red QAYG cushion.

 She was incredibly focused as she selected, attached, and quilted each strip.  She even sewed in the zipper!

I just love that little selvedge strip.

Maybe, once she's finished her rainbow, I'll be able to talk her into making covers for the rest of my cushions.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Finished this before it's too warm to wear it.

This baby alpaca cowl is so incredibly soft and warm.  I just wish I could get the colours in my photos to be a deep and rich as it is in real life. 

The seed stitch adds a lovely texture, and I actually managed to graft the ends together in seed stitch, so the join is virtually invisible.  Other than the grafting, it must be one of the easiest knitting projects ever undertaken.  It's pretty difficult to make a mistake with seed stitch, and if you do, it's immediately noticeable.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

WIP Wednesday

I've decided that it's time that I started posting more in progress work in order to remind myself that I'm still making progress even if it's so slow as to be barely noticeable.  Or, as in the case of today's post, several steps backwards.

The short story is that I decided to make a duvet cover.  I prefer the aesthetics of a quilt, but in winter, the light weight warmth of a duvet is essential.  As a compromise, a pieced duvet cover seemed to be in order.  So, I took several stacks of charms and turned them into a very pretty hst quilt top.  But, without a backing and batting and quilting, how was I to keep the unfinished seams on the back from fraying in the wash?  Simple, I thought.  I'd just do some faux quilting that would seal in those seams.  I tested a few of the quilting stitched on my machine and finally decided on this serpentine stitch. Voila!

The problem is that it looks much nicer in the photo than it does in person where it puckers and looks and feels very stiff.  The vertical stitching looked fine, and the horizontal rows looked okayish.  But when I started on the diagonal lines, I decided that I just couldn't live with it.  The intersecting seams are the worst, and they're also the most difficult to pick out. 

Yes, I'm taking out all that I've done.  Fortunately, the top was divided in thirds, so it could have been a lot worse.  I've finished the first column--only five more to go. Then, it's on to plan B. 

Linking up with Lee:

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Coming along swimmingly

Okay, it's a lame title, but I'm sticking with it.  It somehow seems fitting since my first finish of 2015 is a swim suit. Yes, I finished Elyse's much needed swim suit, and it actually fits her  and looks very nice on her.  Even in bad lighting.

As I mentioned in my FAL first quarter goal list, this was a challenging project, but I'm so glad that I did it.   One of the main things I learned while making the suit is not to overlook the value of hand-stitching/basting.  For example, trying to stitch those tiny cups together was an exercise in futility until I decided to treat them like a bit of English paper piecing.  Then it took about 90 seconds. 

Since this was my first attempt at sewing this type of fabric, I only made one change to the pattern, and that was to fully line the bottoms since light-coloured fabrics have a tendency to become transparent when wet. 

And, now that I've made one project with this super stretchy, slippery fabric, I won't be afraid to tackle another.  Maybe even one for myself, though I won't be modelling it for any pictures.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

First quarter goals for a new year

To say that my accomplishments in 2014 were less than stellar would be an understatement.  Two quilts, a bit of sewing and knitting for the girls and even less for myself.  (On the upside, I listened to a remarkable number of audiobooks, so the year wasn't a total write-off.) This makes assembling my first quarter goal list pretty straight forward--I just have to cut and paste from previous lists.

Number 1 was on my 2014 fourth quarter list (and in the interests of full disclosure, the fourth quarter 2013 list as well).  It's the beautiful Oh My Stars! designed by Sheila at Thought and Found. I'm determined that I will finish this.

Number 2, that I'm calling my Snow Geese quilt was also on last quarter's list.  I haven't touched it either.

And, for number 3, there are the cushion covers of shame, also a carry forward.

Number 4 is a carry forward from 2013, that I've been working on slowly but steadily.  It's about twice the size that it was the last time I listed it as a goal, and I think that there's a good chance that I'll be able to finish this one in the next couple of months. 

I do have a couple of new projects, though.

Elyse's bathing suit has succumbed to chlorine and she needs a new one, but  mid-winter isn't a good time to buy child's swimwear in Canada.  Ergo, I'm making her one.  I've never done this before.  The knit fabric is very stretchy, it has a knit lining, the pieces are small, and she wants me to make changes to the pattern.  It's challenging.  I think that the trick here will be to keep saying I think I can, I think I can...and to focus on the fact that she really needs it.

And, since it is still winter, I'd really like to finish this Ramona cowl in time to wear it this season.  I've finished one full repeat, and there are only nine more to go.  Yes, it's inside out.  That's how I knit stranded colour work.

There are many other projects that need to be finished up (not to mention the new ones I'll start-Kid's Clothes Week is coming up soon), but since I've clearly placed myself in the wishful thinking category already, I'll leave it at that.

Linking up to Adrianne, our new taskmaster for 2015.  Welcome, Adrianne, and thank you for taking this on.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Hot off the press.

I'm not one of those quilters who gets fabric as soon as it's released. And, I never, ever buy an entire line.  I wait until it's been around for (quite) a while, and then I buy only my very favourite piece or pieces from the line.  But, I got very, very lucky in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway last month, and I won this!

Yes, it's a bundle of Carolyn Friedlander's new line, Doe.  And, it's beautiful.  These photos don't do it justice, but I'm afraid that the deep grey winter days will be here for some time yet.

Now, I understand why one might purchase an entire line. The fabrics all work together so nicely--the colours, the values, all of it.  I can't wait to get started on a project using the whole lot together.  But I'm going to give it some serious thought first.  It may be the only time I get to work with an entire collection, and I want to show it off at it's best.

And I owe this treat to Becca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts  who was so generous with her giveaway.  It's really appreciated. Thanks again, Becca. Becca also has a new book on my favourite topic--colour--coming out in the spring. 
Modern Rainbow

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Last big finish for 2014

Yes, I did actually manage to finish 1 of the three-- no, wait, that was four-- goals I set myself in October.  At least, it was the most important one. 

And, I completed it on time, even if I'm only posting about it now. I've given up on waiting to see the sun again.  It may never happen, so here is the big ta-da photographed under indoor lights (you'll have to trust me when I say that there are no lurid oranges or greens in this lovely fabric line).

 The piecing went together very quickly, but then it sat and sat while I dealt with issues.  Then, in mid-December I was able to get back to it, and I pieced the back and basted it.  That would have been quick except I basted it on a different surface than the one I'm used to, and the back was a mess.  Next, I tried basting it in sections by clipping it to a table--also new to me.  It took forever (my table isn't particularly large), but the back was beautifully smooth.  And it really was much easier on the knees. 

Quilting presented another challenge.  I'd quilt a bit, decide that I didn't like it, and rip it out.  Then I'd try another motif, and rip it out.  This went on for some time before I decided to spiral quilt.  Perfect!  The circular movement of the quilting balanced out the squares on the piecing, and the modernity of the simple spiral quilted with white Aurifil 50 kept the fabric and quilt pattern from being too sweet. So, in the end, I finally achieved the modern/traditional look that I was aiming for.

As for the Hawaiian geese quilt and my Christmas star quilt, and all those cushions, well, there's always another quarter.

Linking to Katy's last link party of the year.  She did an amazing job as the 2014 finish-along hostess with the mostest, handholder, and ringmaster.  Thanks so much Katy.
Finish Along 2014