Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Make my day!

After a week of rain which resulted in some flooding in our basement over the weekend (now we know why our landlords provided a wet vac and a huge fan with the house rental...), you can't imagine how it made my day to receive a lovely parcel in my mailbox.
Somehow, I happened to be the lucky winner in Chase's blog anniversary giveaway.  I was practically dancing when I opened the parcel to see she sent me a charm pack of Denyse Schmidt's Picnic and Fairgrounds, a beautiful patchwork and linen bag (made by the talented Chase) and some lovely sewing notions.  Wow. Even though I should finish sorting out the mess from the flooding we had, I couldn't resist starting to make something from those charms.  Thank you so much for a wonderful giveaway, Chase!  You truly made my day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quiet Crochet

Leafing through this new book I borrowed from the library, I became inspired to dig out my crochet supplies from my storage bins.  
 Amongst my crochet threads, I found some bits that I'd worked up and just put away.  I have some ideas for putting those pieces to use - no more storing them!  I also decided to try out some patterns from the new book, so I spent last evening crocheting while watching the The Quiet Man.  

There's nothing like a good  movie when it's raining and you have some handwork to do.   Do you have any old favourites that you love to watch?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Long Weekend...

I spent a lovely, relaxed Victoria Day long weekend enjoying time with my family,  gardening and sewing another cushion cover.  I've been admiring the "Love Beads" quilt from the book the Modern Quilt Workshop for ages now, so I decided to try making a "bead" using some of my scrappy yardage.  I love trying new ideas out on a small scale - cushion covers are a just the right size for experimenting.
 Linen was my background fabric for this cover as with the previous two designs. Although I didn't quilt this cover as densely as the other two, I did have some fun free motion quilting a flower design into the patchwork circle (like I used for this quilt) and then hand embroidering some "petals" around it.

 I also tried out a new foot that I acquired from a thrift store visit - it's a foot for inserting invisible zippers. It worked like a dream on Belle and I will be using it from now on for sewing in invisible zippers.
 Here you have the three new covers temporarily arrayed on our love seat, patchwork sides up
 and here's the reverse side of each.  These three are destined for my bed, but I still need to finish the quilt that they were made to complement.
The covers have made for some fun Spring sewing!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2011

The quilt I chose to share this BQF, is one I made from my collection of plaid shirts for and from my oldest teen-aged son.  Throughout his growing up years, plaid shirts have been his wardrobe staple, so quite naturally, this led to me saving any he outgrew.  I did add in a few thrifted shirts to give more variety, but this quilt was made from shirts that my son wore as far back as when he was 5 years old.

Although this is the second quilt made for him from the plaid shirts I've been collecting (click here to see my first plaid quilt), it's my first experience making a quilt using hexagons.
 Before attempting making the quilt, I decided to give myself a practice run making plaid hexagons, so I designed a reading pillow using them.  This smaller project allowed me to see how much of  a challenge it would be to cut and match all those plaids (because I made the hexagons using a trapezoid pattern I was able to sew it by machine, but it did involve fussy cutting every single trapezoid so that the hexagons wouldn't end up looking pieced - unless closely inspected ;o).  Happy with how the pillow turned out, I decided to undertake making the quilt for his bed.
I finished off his quilt using a solid flannel shirt for the backing and then bound the quilt in plaid flannel, making this a very cozy and homey looking quilt.   My son was happy to add some more plaid to his bed and I'm happy to have re-purposed those special shirts.
Thanks Amy, for the opportunity to be a part of another wonderful and inspiring BQF!  To see other entries go here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bits and Pieces Pillow Cover

Discovering that my walking foot attachment worked on my vintage Singer gave me all the incentive I needed to experiment with making a grid pattern on my most recently finished pillow cover.
 The inspiration behind this scrappy design came to me as I was looking at the quilt called "Little Bits" in the book,  Last Minute Patchwork and Gifts.
 I thought it might be fun to make the "bits" from my scrappy yardage, rather than using one fabric at a time, as in the book.   That way, each "bit" would be completely unique from the next and it also looks more complicated than it actually is.
This time around, I opted for dotted backing for my cover, but I used the same batik to make piping as I did for my first linen and patchwork  pillow cover.  I know I will get more mileage out of these covers with such fun backings to mix up the look.

 Initially, I was making new pillow covers to spruce up our living room.  I've changed my mind.  I really, really think they'll go great with the quilt I'm making for our master bedroom instead.  I'm rather excited about the prospect of having new furnishings in our bedroom.  It's been too many years since I last stitched up matching bed linens and boy, it shows!  I'll be happy to retire the set that's currently on our bed and can't wait for the new "look" to be finished.  At least I have 2 unique cushions as a start. ;o)

Monday, May 16, 2011

This foot was made for walking...

and it just so happens that this modern attachment works just as well on my 1948 Singer 15-91, as it does on my 1991 Janome Memory Craft 7500.

For this project, I added the seam guide bar onto my walking foot because I was doing a lot of straight line quilting.  This guide makes sewing parallel lines easy.

For now, here's a little portion of my quilting and I'll show you the finish on this tomorrow.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday finish...

Yay! It's done.  I took the scraps and linen I gave previous glimpses of  to make a removable cushion cover.  Initially, I had no design in mind, I just wanted to make a cover combining patchwork and linen.  This design developed as I worked with it.
I could go on and on about the love I have for linen.  It goes so well with patchwork and can be formal or playful looking depend on what you put with it.  Obviously, I'm going for a more playful look with the bright colours and basic hand embroidery stitching.  Linen is such a perfect canvas for experimenting.
Love the texture created by all my straight line machine quilting.  I  had some fun using 5 different coloured threads for the machine quilting!
 Like I said, when I started this project I didn't have the whole design worked out, which includes not knowing what I would use for the backing or for the piping.  A good dig through my stash and I found a lovely multi hued batik that became the piping and this Sandi Henderson print for the backing.  What a match!
This finish has only prompted me to head back to the scrap bin,  grab more of the  linen  to go with it and start stitching. Funny how one project so often leads to another. lol Stay tuned. :o)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy with my progress

I'm working on making something from the scraps and linen I gave you a glimpse of last week, in this post.  My progress so far?  Scrappy pieces have been made into a bit of patchwork that I've now heavily quilted for texture.
 For the linen, I've used five different coloured quilting threads combined with a variety of quilted line designs.
 I even added some hand stitching in colourful embroidery threads
 and some shiny shell buttons.  All this means that I am getting closer to finishing, but I still have a few steps left before I have a completed project to share with you.   The more time I spend on this, the more in love I am with linen.  Could there be any fabric more appealing for combining with patchwork and embelllishments?  Part of me wants to hoard the linen I have, but then the temptation for creating with it is so strong.  Am I the only one this crazy about linen? lol

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

She needed some friends

It's been quite some time ago that I made my first Tilda doll, Violet, from this book.  She has been a constant companion in my sewing room, keeping watch over all things crafty, but she seemed lonely.

Now she has two new friends, Tansy and Ginger. 

 Don't they have a sense of style in their felted sweaters and bright slippers? ;o)

Life is better with friends!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All the way from Ireland

and into my mail box
were the sweetest handmade lovelies from Virginie.  The cute factor on these is off the charts!  Prompted by mutual admiration of our handcrafted bags, we decided to do a private swap.  I  love the sweet ball clasp coin purses she makes to sell
 and she requested a small pouch made from hot pink with orange, along with some applique.  I hope this fits her request. :o)
 This patchwork pouch is similar to other versions I made shown here and here.
 Virginie and I also share a love of polka dots (you noticed that she made my gift dotty) and I couldn't resist lining the inside of my pouch for her in orange dots.
I included a matching needlecase complete with felted wool "pages" for the needles to rest in (because we all know that wool keeps needles from rusting), but I didn't take photos before I mailed it to Virginie. You'll just have to trust me on this. ;o)
Thank you Virginie for a wonderful swap!  I know I will be putting your lovely gifts to good use - they are so pretty and yet so practical.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A new addition to my sewing room...

and my Mother's Day gift this year, a vintage sewing machine cabinet.   My husband and sons had wanted to buy me a super-duper stand mixer as my gift this year, but it's just not in our budget at the moment.  I have been wanting a vintage cabinet for several months now,  so when I found this little gem advertised online this past Saturday,  I told my husband that this would make a wonderful gift for me. :o)

 Opened up, you can see it has spool and bobbin storage on the side and is set up for a knee control for the sewing machine foot pedal ( a feature that my 15-91 Singer has and I love!).
 My first desire was to have my husband modify the cabinet so it would house my Janome Memory Craft 7500 for machine quilting,  but now I'm thinking I want it for my serger.  The cabinet needs some cosmetic work before I will be putting it to use for my sewing projects, though.  I really don't want snags or flakes of varnish marring my sewing - lucky for me that my husband is a talented carpenter. ;o)
Thankfully, Spring temperatures have finally arrived so that this can be refinished in our garage.  I can't wait to have this vintage treasure ready to use!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My creative space...

Look who is waiting patiently for me in my sewing space.
 She's keeping watch and wondering where in this mess she can find the rest of her wardrobe. ;o)
*To see other creative spaces, pop by Kirsty's and check out the links on her post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding my way back...

Whew.  I'm  happy to say that my sewing mojo has returned.  It seemed I needed a creative diversion in the form of great books, favourite movies, whipping up new recipes in the kitchen and Spring time walks in the park.  Now I'm re-energized, have gained some focus and am brimming with ideas and plans for my fabric projects. Curiously, for me, creativity often finds its start with my scrap bin!
This time begging for me to do some scrappy piecing and combine it all with linen. 
 The more I piece, the more I'm inspired.   Ahhhhhh, it feels good to be back.
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