Monday, February 28, 2011

It's still cold and wintry here,

so I happily stayed inside to piece my freeform quilt design idea while my husband helped me out by working on the techie stuff for my tutorial this weekend.   Turns out, what I was doing was less complicated, so I had better success. :o)  I look forward to sharing my tutorial with you, but since this is my first time to transfer my pattern into a pdf file, it's taking more time than I thought it would.  It's getting those pieces the right size that has been causing more trouble than I thought it should. Obviously, being a novice at all this is slowing the process down.  Thanks for your patience while we work it out.
 Back to my weekend sewing...Belle did a lovely job stitching up all those scraps to make a quilt top 52" x 57".  I'm impressed that I had enough scraps, which includes the background whites, to make something this size.   I'm just debating whether I should stop here or make it bigger (because yes, I still have some scraps left to use... surprise, surprise ....;o).
I wish the photo was brighter, but between the lack of sunshine on this blizzard-y day and the dark wood background, this was as good a shot as I could take today.  At least I don't feel guilty putting on some homemade soup, baking some bread and then sitting down to do some more sewing.  That's the upside to having cold, snowy weather.  ;o)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whirrrrrr and Brrrrrr

What can I say? Many, many days ago, I left you  wondering about the possibility of a tutorial for the mini backpack coin purse design. The answer is, "Yes, I'll do it!"  I'm working on some techie bits and hope to share it soon.  Meantime I thought I'd show you progress on one of the projects I've been keeping Belle whirring away stitching.
It's my free form quilt design made completely from scraps.  I wanted to challenge myself to take a colour that I don't use much and be creative with the odd bits of fabric from previous projects to make something that develops as I go along.   I've still got a healthy supply of scraps to go!
As for the "Brrrrr..." I referenced in my title, we've been having some chilly winter temperatures so I was especially thrilled to find a special package in my mail a couple of days ago.  Look at the lovely pine box my flannel treasure arrived in.  This box is now holding fabric treasures in my sewing room.

 Last month, I became the lucky winner of Dana's giveaway and after letting her know which style I wanted,  this beauty was made just for me! Can you believe it?
 The nightie is so beautifully made and the finishing details are divine.  I adore the sweet pin tucks on the yoke and the pretty piping.   Here's my dress dummy, Mabel, modelling my nightie.  That's right, this nightie goes right to the floor for extra coziness and believe me, this is one cozy nightie.  I absolutely love it!  Thank you so much, Dana.
I joked with Dana that the nightie is so cozy that I would wear it all day if I could.  Hmmm...maybe if I put an apron over it I could wear it all day and still keep the nightie nice and white. lol  Although, I'm sure to receive some teasing.  Just seeing the nightie sparked some good natured teasing from my teenaged sons... something to the effect that now I could look like a character from all those Jane Austen movies I continually watch.  Ha, ha, my boys.  Maybe this Jane Austen character will stop cooking for her offspring. ;o)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New and improved

Here's a design to keep your coins corralled and your keys together.   A mini backpack coin purse and key chain!  These are a fresh take on a design that I've had kicking around for years.

 This time around, I fashioned them  from scraps of laminated cottons.  I first made mini backpacks years ago, when my sons were young.  They could clip a coin purse to their clothes ( my youngest liked to clip his onto his coat zipper).   The mini backpacks proved handy  for shopping trips or a day spent at an amusement park  as a means of keeping  spending money safer than stuffed in a pocket.
 My newest versions are decidedly girl-y looking with polka dots and pretty ribbon.  I believe only one of the early versions is still around, made from a cotton with a snake print, which appealed to my sons at the time. The downside of using cotton is that it eventually wore out, believe it or not, from the dollar bills chafing it on the inside.   I don't see that happening with the laminated cottons, plus there's no fraying on the unfinished seams.  A great little project to use up laminated cotton scraps!  Any interest in a tutorial?

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Creative Space...

My sewing space occupies the room which was designed to be a family room, which has pros and cons.  I love that the space is open, next to the kitchen and mostly that it is "my" room.  The downside to this room is that of the three walls in this room, only one is a flat painted surface.  One wall has a brick fireplace with a floor length window on the right side of it and the door to our deck on the left side, making this wall an unsuitable spot for any shelving etc. for my sewing paraphernalia.  Opposite the fireplace is a dark wood, raised panelled wall (original 80's decor).  As renters, we are unable to change this and are not to hang anything on the walls. My dream would be to have this wall hidden behind floor to ceiling shelving, but until then, I found a way around the "No nails or screws in the walls" rule. 
Pieces of painter's tape are holding a quilt-in-progress that hasn't seen the light of day since our months living in old Edith.  Being able to see my design up on the wall is certain to motivate me to finish this ad hoc creation.   Guess what Belle will be working on soon? ;o)

Meanwhile, Belle is now nestled against the 1930's dining table I use for cutting, with my computerized Janome sitting at the other end.  It's a cozy set-up.  My ironing board had to be moved to become accessible to either machine and that seemed a bit of a trick to figure out in the limited space, but I think I've made it workable.   A lovely discovery was finding that the cabinet housing Belle is at the same height as my cutting table, so it seemed meant to be!  Please believe that the mess you're seeing (a sliver of) means that I've been busy sewing and not just digging through my fabric bins to pull out scraps to play with or WIPs that need finishing. ahem.
See more Creative Spaces here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Old is New

Meet the newest addition to my sewing room, a Singer 15-91 from the 1940's.  I'm calling this little beauty, Belle.
For the past 10 years, Belle was  hidden in her cabinet because no one in the house knew how to use her.  Her original owner chose to sell her along with the house they shared, so Belle was left behind.  The vintage loving new owner gave Belle a place of prominence as a pretty table to place vases of flowers on and now that owner is moving.
Imagine my delight after months of researching for just the right new member to welcome into my sewing circle, on finding Belle.  Her first owner was definitely a keen sewist because not only was Belle in fantastic shape for her age, but she has a number of special attachments.
Here she is with the zig-zag attachment.

Keen as I was to test Belle's abilities, I made a wee sampler of some of her zig zag capabilities (jotting down settings will make successful repeats more likely to happen ;o).  Call it fun with a purpose.

Having always had an electronic sewing machine, I had never experienced using a buttonhole attachment that worked using cams. 
 Belle, went right to work on making gorgeous buttonholes!  I'm so smitten with her.  I sought her out to be used specifically as my quilt piecing machine, but am delighted to discover she is capable of much more than great straight stitching.
I have more attachments for her and many ideas of projects I will make using them.  Chances are I'll be sharing some soon.   First things first though, I put her into action making an improv style piece to be used to recover the padded stool that came with her.   How fun to make a modern quilting project using a vintage machine!
I'm pretty sure that Belle is not going to find any vases of flowers on top of her, anytime soon!
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