Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lucy not working - gift bags instead!!

Lucy, my longarm, is not working.....again. Sigh. My husband has been commenting that I haven't been myself lately and I think this happens when Lucy is not working. It puts me in a huge funk, knowing that I have these quilt tops that won't be finished, at least not for now.

Now, I get that other people don't understand why I get so upset. After all, most people go through life not being upset that they can't make quilts ;) But just imagine that you've bought a new car, and you've now had it for 3 years, but for most of that time, you couldn't drive it. And you can't really afford to buy another one to replace it. That's how I feel about my longarm not working.

I have this fantastic machine that alot of quilters dream about owning, which was me 3 years ago. We finally made the plunge and bought one. Unfortunately, it's never really worked right and I am at my wits end to fix it. I have quilted 30 or 40 quilts on it, when others are quilting hundreds on theirs, making a living off of them even. I will be calling a repair person to let me know, for once and for all, if this machine is fixable or if I should just forget it! Honestly, I just want to know.

Anyway, so I didn't really feel like working on a quilt top today, knowing my longarm is broken and I wouldn't be able to quilt it up. Yes, I could quilt it on my domestic machine, but that has come to really bother my hands and my shoulders and my back (no, really, I'm *not* getting old!), which is why we decided to buy the longarm in the first place.

A few days ago, I was organizing my scrap stack. When I cut pieces for a quilt, I cut the scraps into usable-sized squares for future scrappy quilts. I just pile them on a side table until the pile threatens to topple, at which point, I sort them into piles and file them away into bins. Sounds organized, right? I'm not really a terribly organized person by nature, but I am with my craft supplies!! It doesn't really matter to me if I can't find the duster, but I can get very upset if I can't find the right tool to craft with :)

So, today, I'm looking at my piles of squares and all of a sudden, I thought "gift bags!" I took my pile of 6" squares and within half an hour, I had 25 little gift bags, all ready for the holiday season.
The one at the top of this post is my favourite, and I'm definitely keeping her for myself! It has rain, of course, like all good things do. And sweet vintage girls holding gifts and umbrellas. I am just going to use this little bag for decoration. It holds a bar of soap perfectly, and that also helps it stand up.
I'm also thinking of having a few of these around the house at Christmas, with something little in them, maybe soap or chocolates, in case someone comes over with a gift for me and I don't have one for them. You know that always happens, and this way I can just grab a little bag and give it to them! And if they're still there after the holidays, I can eat the chocolates myself ;)
These are so much fun to make, I'm thinking they may be making an appearance in my Etsy store so be sure to watch for them!
Don't forget to follow my blog so you don't miss any of my fun little projects!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beanie on the USM!

This past July, for my birthday, my Mum gave me money to finally buy a garter bar for my Ultimate Sweater Machine. Now, in case you're wondering, I don't actually make sweaters with my USM. Okay, so I have made a couple of tiny baby sweaters, but never an adult-sized one. I usually make hats and scarves, lots of hats and scarves!

You see, I really love, love, love, to buy yarn! (And fabric, but that's a different post!). So, basically, I have piles and boxes, and bags of yarn in my basement (not to worry, my basement is very dry and the yarn is quite safe there), that is just begging to be made into something.

I also love making things to give away. I often make things for the local food bank. They have a bin where they put the donated hats, scarves, mittens, and slippers, and the children can pick something from the bin when they visit. This thought makes me happy, that children are wearing the things I make.

So, to make a long story short, my USM helps me make lots of things faster. Do I know how to knit and crochet? YES! And I love making things by hand, too. But sometimes I just want to make a bunch of things quickly with all that yarn I have laying around. At times like that, I turn to my trusty USM. And now, I have the garter bar my Mum so nicely paid for, because she knew I really wanted it and would not likely buy it for myself. I'm embarassed to say that it has taken me months to take the garter bar out of the tube it came in and use it!

The above photo shows a few things. At the top, the top rows of a hat hang off the needles. The top row is my decrease row for the gathering at the top. After that come the 35 or so rows of straight knitting which go very quickly! The bottom 6 rows were done with the garter bar. The garter bar allows me to remove the knitting from the needles, turn it around, put it all back on the needles, and knit a purl row. If you do this a few times (or 6, like I've done), it makes a nice edge that won't curl, as just straight knitting would do.

This photo (above) shows the process to remove the knitting from the black plastic hem that holds the weights at the bottom of the knitting. I could start with a different type of cast-on that would allow me to remove the knitting without having to stitch by hand, but I don't like doing it that way.

And, finally, the finished beanie. I love how the top looks and this style looks perfectly sweet on little heads! Next, I will experiment with how to use the garter bar to do decreases that will allow the hat to lie flat against the head, and not be gathered like this.

This is the back seam of the hat - and my huge error! I was too busy learning to use the garter bar to notice that I had skipped 4 stitches at the beginning of a row. Oh well, the hat will still be warm, even with the mistake.

This project is also great for using up scraps from other projects - you can make great stripey patterns! I know I'm weird for thinking this, but I really can't wait for the snow, when I will find more time to hole up in my sewing room and make sure the USM gets used lots more!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Super Serger Cushions!

A few weeks ago, while browsing around my local quilt shop, I came across a brochure for a serger that was for sale. Well, I already have a serger but the brochure looked kind of cute so I peeked inside and found the sweetest little cushions!! They are super quick as they are made entirely with the serger.

I asked if I could take the brochure so I could make my own version of the cushions and the owner of the quilt shop asked if I would make her some samples. Of course, I didn't mind (it's not like I don't have the fabric!) and so these are my two, very different, samples:

These are so fun to make, I think I'll make lots more to scatter around, maybe even change them seasonally. I'm thinking my scrap pile of random squares is about to get a little smaller!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Quilt or Not to Quilt

Today, I took some of my favourite fabrics out of the fabric cupboards and pieced them together, whether they matched or not, and got this:

A runner that I am in love with!!! It looks fantastic on the long table in my centre hall and makes me smile every time I pass it. I may even feel motivated to dust the table every once in awhile to make the runner look better :)
The question is: Should I make it a quilted runner or should I just back the way it is? I'm thinking I may just back it so that it lays really flat. I have a few photo frames on it as well as my Baby Brother sewing machine (my Mum used to sew on it when she was a little girl), and my 1906 Singer sewing machine. So, really, I think it will be better if it lays flat, so the frames will stay standing up.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who Knew Litter Could Be So Cute?

I know, I promised to post this last week but I've been having trouble with my camera and so I am finally showing it to you now! I went on a little "small project" binge last week. You already saw the sweet beanie helper and now I present: The Car Litter Bag :)

I found this little guy in a book called "One Yard Wonders", the premise being that all the projects in the book can be made with one yard of fabric. Since I'm a quilter, and often buy fabric in 1/2 metre to 1 metre cuts, this book is perfect for me.
Truly, I have to give a big thank you to my friend, Shana, who was sent this book by accident after joining a book club. The lovely people at the book club told her to keep it and she gave it me!! I can always use another craft book ;)
Now that I have the "small project" bug out of my system for the time being, I am feeling like working on my larger projects again. It's true: Sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beanie Helper

As promised, I made a little beanie helper to act as a sweet bookend for my recipe books above the pantry in the kitchen. I am in love with this little guy! He is filled with great northern beans and, even though he is small, he is a great little worker!

With a ribbon on the back to hold him together, he is functional and beautiful! This is a great project to use up your scraps from larger projects.

I also made a fabric litter bag for the car today - pictures coming tomorrow! It was lots of fun to do a couple of small projects that are done very quickly. I am so used to making quilts, that to finish a project in under an hour seems like a miracle!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Home

I was looking around my house today and I suddenly realized that I don't have much of my work on display. Sure, there are quilts and such hanging in my sewing studio, but there aren't even any hanging in the quilting room, the place where I actually quilt the quilts!

So, I spent some time today rearranging the furniture in my living room, putting the couches on an angle so they look a little more interesting. And I've decided to make a new quilt for me, or rather, for my living room, to add a little creativity into the space.

I have a friend in my local quilt club who just adores the colour teal. I have to admit that I really don't like teal as a rule and I doubt I own more than 2 pieces of fabric in that colour. I love purple and green. My friend never uses purple. Today, however, I put a cute teal lamp in my living room to add a punch of a new colour and guess what? I love it! I guess I'll have to add to my fabric stash and buy some teal so I can make a quilt that will be friends with the little teal lampshade :)

I also found a new home for my recipe books on top of the pantry. They keep falling over and they are just begging for a new bookend to keep them standing up. I think tomorrow I will make a sweet fabric bookend, filled with rice. I am so excited to add some fabric touches my rooms, bringing more of myself into them.

Because, when all is said and done, it's simple. Fabric makes me happy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

So Many Ideas!

Once again, a day has gone by and I didn't find time to design anything. I truly love designing crochet patterns and I think next I will start designing quilt patterns next. Quilt patterns will be so fun, and I will get to play with all that fabric stacked on the shelves of my sewing room :)

So, what do I do with the simple fact that I don't have very much time right now to design? Make more time? But then, what doesn't get done - dishes, laundry? No, we really need that stuff! Hmm, I could console myself with the thought that winter is coming and that inevitably leads to more quilting time (and possibly more designing time) - what else are you going to do when it's 30 below??!!

Okay, so I'll just breathe, relax, and tell myself that tomorrow is another day. And, while I have promised the monkey that I will play *whatever* he wants to play tomorrow, I will also promise myself that I will find time to sew something.

What will you make time to do tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

15-year-old quilt top finally quilted!

Well, I have had this quilt in my sewing studio for almost 15 years now. It was missing 2 borders so I put those on and finally quilted this one up! I was using this quilt for practice while we were trying to fix my longarm so the quilting is not the best but I fixed the worst of it.
I'm excited now because I get to work on one I really love next! Yay for UFOs getting finished!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dolphins Baby Quilt finished!

I finished the Dolphins Baby Quilt today. I really love the colours in this one. Really, this should have been done a long time ago since I only needed to finish the edges. I'm not sure where this quilt will go. At first, it was to be for sale but I'm not very pleased with the quilting so then, I thought I would donate it, but now someone I know would like to buy it so I suppose I will end up giving it to my friend :)

The backing fabric looks like knitting!

Now, which UFO is next?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ballerina Kitten UFO finished!

This little quilt top, that I pieced about 10 years ago, turned out cuter than I thought it would. I will donate it to Project Linus in the fall, with the rest of the donations from my quilt & craft club.

You can see the quilting a bit in this photo. This is my go-to swirl, when I just want to get something quilted quickly and I don't have to worry if it will look all right :)

I bought this fabric for $2.00/m - I'll buy almost anything for that price! It actually looks pretty good with the top, as it mimics the pinks and greens.
Now, which UFO next?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Second Quilt UFO almost finished!

A friend came over the other day and fixed my longarm (it has had a problem off and on for two years now so I'm super excited that my longarm is finally working perfectly!) so I was able to get the "I Nearly Lost My Mind This Christmas, 2009" quilt up on the frame and quilted. This quilt is crazy busy because all I did was grab my pile of 4 1/2" squares and keep sewing until I felt better :) I think it will be a great picnic quilt, since I won't care too much what gets spilled on it. It's only about 50" square so it's not very big but will be easy to take along when we go kite flying for the day.
I ended up backing it with a very tiny, busy print that is black with pink flowers. It was only $2.00 a metre (I'll buy almost anything for $2.00 a metre!) and I'm glad I found a quilt to use it on.
So, tomorrow, I'll finish the edges and then I'm on to the next quilt! It's feeling so good to get some of these quilts finished!
Happy stitching, everyone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Graduation Quilt is Finished!

The graduation quilt for my next door neighbour is finished! It looks a little wavy in this picture but I just couldn't wait to take photos and it's raining today so I couldn't lay it flat on the lawn. The edge of the table is slightly curved which makes it hang a little funny.

The next two shots are closeups of the quilting - it shows up a little better in the natural light.

This last photo shows the backing.

On to the next quilt!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Graduation Quilt - quilting finished!

I have finished the quilting on the graduation quilt! Yay!!

As much as I enjoyed the design I free-motioned on this one, I kept quilting myself into a corner and so had to stop and start a few times more than I should have had to.

Well, on to the edges and label so I can move on to the next quilt that needs finishing! It feels so good to get one almost done - I don't think I would have pushed myself to find the time if it weren't for the UFO Club on Ravelry, so thanks!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Graduation Quilt - free motion quilting pics

I have finished piecing the top of the graduation quilt (the recipient has just graduated grade 8 so I thought a rainbow would be good for that age). It is up on Lucy now and I had a bit of time the other night to quilt and got about 1/3 of it done.

The photos below show some of the free motion quilting I'm doing on this quilt. It's a new design for me and it's really fun and easy.

I should have some time this week to finish up the quilting and then it's on to serge the edges, put a lable on, and deliver it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Although this quilt didn't photograph very well at all, I am very excited about it! It's for me and I love the colours I'm planning for it.
So, I think that's all my UFOs for now. Phew!

Oops, forgot to turn this photo - this is another stack'n'whack that looks better in the photo than in real life :) I don't even know if I should finish this one but maybe if I sash it with the right fabric, it could look all right.
This looks alot better in real life than the photo shows. I can't wait to keep working on this one. It's just green and pink in a checkerboard. I love how busy it is.

I have two of these baby quilts to finish adding borders to and quilt up.
This is a small wall hanging for myself. I fused the circles on and then stitched them down. I'm still trying to figure out how I want to quilt this and I am thinking of adding some beads and stuff.
I have a stack of these blocks done; some still need trimming. I love the colours in this one so I can't wait to finish it.
Still one more post to come!
This quilt is much nicer in person than the photo shows. Again, I'm not really into it anymore but I would like to finish adding the purple borders and quilt it up for Project Linus.
This quilt is pretty cute in person - I made it about 10 years ago. I just need to get it up on Lucy and quilt it!
This is big enough for a twin bed I think and just needs the top and bottom borders added (this was done when I did add borders to my quilts sometimes!) and then it needs to be quilted. Again, likely for Project Linus.
This quilt has been on my design wall for at least a year now. I would love to finish piecing it so I can get my design wall back! It is made from batiks so it's quite pretty and I would love to see it quilted and finished.
Still more to come!

These 3 photos are of a stack'n'whack I started at least 12 years ago. I'm not in love with this project anymore but it will be nice to have it finished finally.
This is my latest project. It will be sort of like a horizontal Chinese Coin design in yellow with white strips inbetween the coins.
This is a baby quilt that will eventually be sale in my Etsy store. I really love this quilt but it is very busy and definitely needs a border to unify it. I still have to buy fabric for the border.
More in the next post!