Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peek-a-Boo ...

...I finished you!   This project involved crochet and knitting, using up some  bits of yarn and fabric from my stash.
The pattern to make your own "Peek-a-Boo Pillows" and can be found in Knitting Loves Crochet by Candi Jensen.  Lots of lovely projects in this book.  You will be inspired to pick up your hooks and needles.
I started out thinking that after I made the first cover in this pale (rather uninspiring) green, I would dye it.  The  original colour is so bland.
Even the moss stitch patterned pillow back looked lackluster, so I was getting ready to dye it.
 Then, I discovered a couple of small skeins of  cotton yarn in Rowan's denim hiding in my stash.  Hmmm... perhaps pairing the blue and the pale green would jazz things up?  Unfortunately, I found I did not have enough of the lighter blue yarn to make the front and back of the cover.  I opted to redo the back in the larger skein of darker denim coloured yarn and used every bit of it.  Whew.

Thinking there was so much potential in the openwork design of the crocheted front, I began searching for the right fabric to make the pillow form.  I stumbled upon some off cuts of pre-quilted cottons I received from a friend (thanks, Jacqueline!).  Stitching those pieces together so that the seam would be in the middle of the front, I thought I could hide it under the seam that joined the crochet motifs together.  Yes!  It worked.
The bright blue of the pre-quilted cotton really shows off the pale green crochet  and better, yet, gave the pillow form a firmer shape.  Perfect!

Now, when it came time to sew a pillow form for the blue cover, I did not have enough scraps in one colour.  I was just able to make the front by piecing two scraps together and hiding the seam under the mid line of the crochet pattern, but had to use a cream colour to sew the back of the pillow form.  Thankfully, it also worked well and you don't notice that the form has two colours.

Paired together,  I'm quite happy with the results and surprised at how much better that pale green yarn looks now that it has the bright blue behind it.

Happier still, that I used up some small bits from my stash and that the newest pillows should go quite nicely with that king-sized quilt I have planned for our bed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Simply Gorgeous Day

Mother Nature has gifted us with a mild winter this year (the past few days especially), so I took the opportunity to head out of doors to see if I could  capture some better pictures of some of my quilts.  Nothing beats natural lighting, right? On our walk home, I couldn't resist looking at the sky and admiring the winter blue, with the bright slice of moon showing.

I love the contrast in colour that the winter months bring.  The palette of this season can seem stark at times, but then there's something so pure about it.  Softer, somehow.  Clear and clean.  Beautiful.

Back indoors, I'm slowly working away on a new piece of bright patchwork.  I had hopes of being nearly completed, but somehow this weekend I got caught up in other things first and today I'm thankful to have spent some time soaking up the beauty in a simply gorgeous day.

Wishing you a week of gorgeous days!  Happy sewing....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Granny has a happy ending...

It took me some time, but I have figured out how to finish my crocheted granny squares.  I now have two brightly coloured cushion covers!
Initially, I played around with crocheting the two to one another, but thought it would be nicer to have two cushions instead of one that was reversible.  Then I started considering backing the crochet  with a fabric back, but was concerned that with all the stretch crochet has, it would be an issue (plus I would have to finish the edges of the fabric to prevent fraying). 

Finally, I came up with using felted sweaters to make an envelope style backing for the covers.  It has proven to be the perfect solution!  I was able to incorporate the bottom hem of the sweater to make the lapped over edge and used single crochet to form a band with button loops.  Ta-da!  A removable cover and it even gave me the opportunity to use some vintage buttons on the back of one cushion.    Love, love, love it!
For the back of the second cover, I determined that 5 rather than 3 buttons, would work even nicer.  This time, I made some pretty self-cover ones to complement the colour of the cushion's back.

Joining the crocheted front with the felted sweater for the back was super easy.  I simply placed them right sides facing and whip stitched them together with yarn.  The stitches are visible, if you look for them, but I think it adds a homespun look and that's okay with me.

I'm feeling pretty happy that I was able to use not only left over bits of my yarn to crochet the granny squares, I made good use of some felted sweaters and buttons from my stash.  Pretty satisfying, I must say and well worth the time it took for me to figure out the best way to finish them! ;o)

How lucky to discover that the bright yarns in my new crocheted granny cushions go so well with the beautiful quilt I received from my lovely and talented friend, Nicolette.   Don't they look made for one another!

 I'm a little high on the success of this project and with my fingers crossed, I'm inspired to give another crochet project ,  it's own happy ending this weekend.

Wishing you a happy, creative weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heart Felt

I came across a really cute and clever knitting pattern in the book, Gifted: lovely little things to knit + crochet by Mags Kandis.  Knitting is a craft that I'm slowly getting more proficient in.  One day, I even hope to knit a sweater, but quicker knitting projects are helping me build my skills and confidence for that "someday" dream.  Anyways, I thought I'd share this felted heart project, to give you time to make your own, if you choose, in time for Valentine's Day.
Once I got the hang of knitting this pattern with its short rows, I wanted to knit a heart in every colour of yarn in my stash!
  Each colour seemed to felt at a different rate, so it was a good thing I kept an eye on the process!  They vary slightly in finished size and shape, but at least you recognize them to be hearts.
Next time, I will put less fibre fill into them because I did find that during felting, the stuffing wanted to escape and then retarded the felting.  Not a big deal, but something I will adjust, so that the finished hearts will felt more consistently and look more like those in the book.

The more I look at these, the stronger the temptation is to knit some more!  Can't you picture these making a colourful garland?  Of course they could be a lovely heart felt gift for Valentine's Day....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's list of projects waiting to be finished...

I just happen to have lots of projects on the go at the moment.  How about a peek at a select few?   Just a warning...there's some knitting, some quilting, some sewing and some crochet work going on here these days.

First up is this scarf, knit from yarn that has been living in my stash for too long.  I'm attempting to add flounces to the ends of the scarf, but not sure yet if I like the result enough to continue with that variegated novelty yarn, or if I'm going to remove them.
The next WIP on the list is the quilt for my hubby.  I've put together all the crazy 9 patch blocks and now I'm waiting for my husband to complete some designs he wants to add to the quilt top.
Then, there's this denim shirt I'm supposed to sew for my oldest son.  Everything is cut out (well, except for the interfacing), and  waiting for me to set up my serger and get to work on it.

Last (but only the last I'm showing today ;o), is this crocheted cushion cover.   Again, this project came about as a way to use up some yarn that has been sitting in my stash, while trying out a new to me pattern.  I'm thinking I should add a zipper to the cover, although the original pattern doesn't call for one.  I find I appreciate being able to easily remove a cushion cover because I like to change things up.  After that, I need to sew a pillow form for it.  You would think that wouldn't take me long... except I find myself trying to find just the right fabric to show through the open work of the crochet design.

I'm hopeful that by the end of the week, I will have some finishes to share.  My youngest son has said that it will be easy for me to finish things... as long as I do NOT start anything else.  I think he has a point. ;o)

Want to see what others are working on today?  Check it out here:

and here:


Friday, January 20, 2012


Milestone day here... my eldest son is 20 today.   I'm not sure how that is possible, but it's exciting, wonderful and heart squeezing-ly true.  Amidst the cake baking and other celebratory stuff, I have a feeling that I'm going to be a bit misty-eyed as I  reminisce over those 20 years with the young man that changed my life 2 decades ago and then I will think of all that lies ahead for him.

 Sometimes, I like to joke that we've grown up together, because with a firstborn,  everything is new and we're learning the ropes together as parent and child.  I know it's been said by many others and those more eloquent than I, but it truly it is amazing that once you become a mom, it changes everything... from the way you look and think, to the extraordinary way you feel.  I did not know just how much love my heart could hold.  Now I know and I cherish the blessings that come with the gifts children are.

Okay, I'll leave the rest of my mushy Mom thoughts to scribble in his card (he's bound to give an awkward, semi embarrassed eye roll over that... but I know being told everyday that you are loved, is never too much).   When he was little, I would say that in order to grow up big and strong, he had to have lots of hugs and "I love yous".   Today, I can tell him that it worked. ;o)

The birthday boy (wearing a shirt I made especially for him... yes that should identify him as the plaid quilt loving son), hard at work fashioning a knife of his own design, from an worn metal file.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cozy Toes

Still dealing with frosty temperatures here, although it has warmed up to -19C (-2F) today, which is way nicer than where we were earlier this week.  Luckily, it will be warmer by the weekend, with daytime temps. above zero.  Whew.  Just the same, with my last pair of slippers more than a little worse for wear, I got busy and knit a new pair because I hate having cold feet! 
The pattern to make these most cozy slippers is by Bev Galeskas and they are my all-time favourites. Here's how mine look one day after being felted (so I'm still waiting for them to completely dry before I can wear them).
Each time I knit a pair of these slippers, I have fun trying different colours.  This time around, I chose turquoise blue and chocolate brown.  My husband's comment about the colour referenced the Muppet, Grover.   Oh well, I make no apologies for my love of bright colours and take the teasing in stride because after all, I'll have cozy toes!  Thanks in part, to the fact that there's a double layer of felted knitting for the soles of these beauties.
Want to see how the slippers look before felting?  Pretty amazing that something this large and floppy
only needs some hot water, agitation and a touch of soap to shrink right down to fit me perfectly.  The transformation amazes me every single time I use this pattern .   Makes me want to knit a pair in every bright coloured yarn I can get my hands on!  I highly recommend making a pair if you like your toes to be cozy and warm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Drive Me Crazy 9 Patch WIP

Rather excited about starting that orange quilt for my husband, I have been sorting, ironing and cutting like crazy.  Despite it being late in the evening, I couldn't stop myself from tackling the piecing.  This is where the magic is... I love piecing!  Too bad I didn't temper my enthusiasm with some double checking...
because I may have avoided the major piecing boo-boo I ended up with.  This being my first time stitching up a crazy 9 patch block, I played it a little fast and loose with being disciplined on the order of the fabrics.  Like a house built of cards, it all came tumbling down when it came time to stitch the last seam to make the block.

  Each of the 9 blocks is to have 9 different fabrics in it.  That's the beauty of the Crazy 9 patch and what drew me to choosing these for my quilt.  Well, here's what happens when you don't make sure that between the sewing machine and ironing board that you didn't inadvertently, reverse the order of those 9 fabrics... you will end up with a block that looks like the one on the left rather than a correctly pieced one as you see on the right.  One block messed up, isn't terrible, but  due to the method of piecing a crazy 9 patch... the error is extended to include ALL 9 blocks in this set.  Major "uh-oh".  See how this could drive you crazy? ;o)...LOL...  Well, that mistake was humbling.... Can you say, "seam ripper"? ;o)
Leaving the ripping apart for the moment, I carried on with my next set of nine fabrics and made sure to not repeat the mistakes made on the first.

 Check out 8 of the 9 blocks I made from the second set of fabrics!  The blocks haven't been squared up yet, but I was so excited with the results that I had to show you.

Then I went on to sew the third set of fabrics, making another 9 blocks.  The dark brown Kona stands out like a beacon at this point, but I'm sure it'll be great once I decide on the final layout of my blocks (not that I'm finished making blocks just yet).

All this luscious colour is so energizing!  My husband is very happy with my results so far on his quilt.  I'm quite content to be staying indoors, drinking lots of tea and being creative while our cold weather continues.

I'm linking my WIP to

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's like eating salsa and chips...

when I decide to use scraps for a project.  I always wonder which will happen first... will I run out of scraps  before finishing my project or will my project leave me with more scraps.  Not that it will stop me from going ahead... which is why it's like eating salsa and chips.  I never seem to be able to balance it out so I have just the right amount of salsa to go with the right amount of chips.  One or the other always ends up gone... leaving me with leftovers of one or the other... I never can get the two equally matched. ;o)  That strange lead in is my silly way of explaining my current project conundrum.   My granny square crochet project worked out as far as using up the short bits of bright yarn I had in my stash...

but I ended up only having a enough cream yarn to join this set and...

this set of motifs before I ran out.  I had about 10" of cream yarn leftover which was obviously not enough for me to finish my project.  Argh.  The whole idea behind this project was to use my yarn stash... not to have me dashing out to buy more!

My plan for making a scrappy yarn pillow, edged in cream, may have to wait until I make more of a dent in my yarn stash.  Otherwise, I won't have space to store the leftovers I will have from this project. ;o)

Which reminds me... I've got lots of homemade salsa, can anyone bring the chips?  I promise I'll share.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Warm Colours on a Cold Day

Cold winter temperatures arrived overnight on Sunday, along with lots of frost on the windows and powdery snowfall dusting the frigid landscape of winter.  It will be a least -30 Celsius tonight and not much warmer than that tomorrow.  Kind of hard to be excited about temperatures that cold!  Is it any wonder then, that I found myself seeking solace in  some pretty fabric?  I know, I know, I'll use any excuse to explain my fabric obsession. ;o)  Tell me though, don't you feel better when you see the warm and sunny brightness of orange fabric?

I will admit that this colour has slowly started to win me over, perhaps in part because I've been on a mission to collect orange fabrics to make a quilt for my husband.  Orange is his favourite colour and I thought a quilt of his own would be mighty nice when he's at his desk (in our home office).  It's amazing how cold you get sitting in front of the computer.  Orange not being my favourite colour, meant that it was basically non-existent in my stash.  What's a girl to do?! ;o)  I think you know.  Well, it was only a simple matter of patience, as I started gathering what I needed and (thanks to some New Year's specials) I'm really excited to also be trying out some Kona solids for the first time.  Look at the lovely bundle of FQs I bought on sale from Pink Chalk Fabrics!

Here's the newest fabric delights, along with some Heirloom FQs I scored a few months back. I think I've got the beginnings of quilt that will bring a little warmth and sunshine and help me ignore the deep freeze climate outside my sewing room windows. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Going round in circles

I've succumbed to the temptation of my yarns and now have a couple of different crochet projects on the go in between my quilting and sewing projects.  This particular project started out as a way to use up bits of left over yarn,

but quickly progressed into new skeins as well.  Colour gets me every time, no matter whether it's yarn or fabric. ;o)
I had so much fun playing with the arrangement of these circle 'granny square' blocks.  Once I determine the layout, each successive circle is crocheted to its adjoining block at the same time I crochet the square border around it.  Makes for a few less yarn ends that I will have to weave in later (which is always my least favourite part... just the same for when I quilt. I don't relish weaving in thread tails either...  I know,... whine, whine ;o).

A surprising discovery is that it took nearly a whole skein to make the background for all these blocks/motifs.  That means I won't attempt to make an afghan at this point, as tempting as the finished blocks look.  However, I can't claim to be finished just yet.

I'm going to keep going round in circles for awhile more because these fresh colours make me dizzy with happiness... and I need a few more to complete the project I have in mind
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