Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crochet with thread? Are you nutz?

Apparently I am! I tried my hand for the first time with crochet thread. I didn't have a crochet hook small enough, so I had to go out and buy one! The smallest I had was a US00 -- and I needed a size 10 (1.15 mm). I could barely see the little holes! Are you people crazy? (the ones who do all those beautiful doilies with the thread!) I always admired those who could crochet those beautiful things -- now I am even MORE impressed!
A few years ago, my assistant had her baby girl that I made a quilt for. She's coming up to three years old now, so I thought a little dolly blanket was in order. I found some super-soft flannel that was so yummy! I wanted to dress it up a bit and saw a great idea in Glacier Quilts when I was down there in September. I used a hemstitch needle to finish the edge and create a place to crochet into. Next time I will space out the stitches a bit more and see if I can trim a bit closer to the edge (or sew closer?) My crochet up close is a bit messy, but the end result above really doesn't show.
My hands hurt poking in the crochet hook for the first round. Once the first round was in, the rest of it was completed quickly! So while I was crocheting tonight, look who came to "Trick or Treat"! Was definately MY treat tonight!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Georgetown Inn, Canmore, Alberta

Along with Creative Stitches -- a weekend wouldn't be complete without a wonderful getaway with Chef Murphy. He surprised me with this place in February this year and I decided to surprise him for his birthday this weekend! Take a look at how beautiful this place is! Every room is beautiful and they treated us like gold. I just love that the rooms are not cookie cutter! The food in their "pub" was fantastic and again we were not dissapointed. If you are looking for a peaceful and romantic place -- this is it. By the way, they also welcome scrapbookers and quilters as well as they have great workrooms that a group can gather in.
One of the other rooms we got to stay in! *sigh*
They have an old-fashioned elevator where you open the door yourself and have to hold the button in for it to move. The rooms are cozy and warm. What a gem of a get-away! Call them up and make a reservation! Take your honey there for a night away! ;-) You deserve it!

Creative Stitches Calgary 2012

Well! Now that was interesting! I haven't been to one in a couple of years. Did it get smaller? Where were all the people? I found it really, really quiet! I was surprised to not see so many of the quilt stores that were there years ago. I know they are still in business, but perhaps the sheer cost of renting one of the tables vs. the income they would make from sales, wasn't worth it? I did manage to find some fabulous fat quarters to add again to my stash. No rhyme or reason, but I did pick out a few black and whites that I am building on.
I also did some thread shopping. I know that so many of us use cotton, but I thought a polyester/rayon would do me well with some of those Christmas crafts that were not "heirloom" quality. I really do love the colours and I got a great deal on these. I'm thinking I may take some of them out and send to my quilting daughter up in Fort McMurray. She always seems to have to pay an arm and a leg at the quilt shop up there. My fat quarters were $1.50. Can't beat that price! The thread was $15.00 a box plus you got the third box for free. You can never have enough fabric or thread!
Speaking of thread... I have a load of cones that I am having trouble using on my machine, so I bought one of those thread stands. I hate not being able to have the right tools to use things I have right now - so the thread stand was a good buy for me. It's not pretty by any means, but it is certainly functional! I have quite a lot of thread that won't fit on the machine spool holders -- so unless someone has a better solution for me, the thread stand it is! I also grabbed one of those cute little collapsible buckets for threads and snippets. I am always taping little plastic garbage bags to my table. Until I make a cute little fabric bucket -- this is the perfect fit for now
Of course I have to give you a sneak peak at the newest project! I am excited about this one as it's a new pattern from JayBird! The instructions were fabulous and easy to follow once I got it straight in my head. I'm pretty much an "inside the box" kinda girl and I'm working towards being more spontaneous and trying new things! I love the way it all fit together easily (even if I can see my mistakes, once it's together you can't see them! YIPEE!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another finish

Finally completed the baby quilt that has been on the design wall for a month! It's been a busy month and now under the gun I finally finished it! The quilt has been "pre-hugged" for the new little one by "Nana and Grandpa". Very different colours, and I hope it will be worn to pieces! Gotta love it when a little one drags a quilt all over the place! I will be more than happy to fix up the holes! To me it means the quit has been well loved! The BEST compliment any quilter can get!
Wish I could have taken a better photo, but it's late for the mail as it is!
I contemplated putting the baby's name on the back, but then of course because I'm a paranoid Nana, if it was out in public, strangers would know the baby's name. Still in the era of "Stranger Danger" I opted on "B A B Y". I had a big band that I had to fill in with something. Chef Murphy picked out the fabric for the letters and I rolled with it.
Another new thing for me (don't know if you can see it or not), was to piece the binding in different fabric. As it was a "make as you go" quilt, I just pieced together what I had and went with it. I hope they like it! Maybe I'll be lucky enough to get a photo with the wee one and the quilt to share! Happy stitchin' all and oh! HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pink Chalk Fabrics AND Chef Murphy's Schnitzels!

How lucky can a girl get? A package in the mail on a Sunday no less and Chef Murphy is making me Schnitzels for dinner!
Building on your stash is always a good thing! One of the quilts that I thought should be in my future is a scrap quilt by colour. All those little pieces that I have been tossing out will be now saved and will go towards the new colour quilt that I have planned. I love the Kona Cotton Starter! Look at those beautiful colours! I couldn't resist getting a yard of Dena McKenzie fabric. I thought when I ordered that it was purely black and white, but once you look at it IRL (in real life), there is a bit of pink. Love it anyways! The bobbin saver is something new. I am always having issues with keeping thread and bobbins in an organized manner! So many of the old threads in the studio are mixed (i.e. polyester, rayon etc.) I am still trying to find a way to manage those. Slowly, but surely those too will be organized and under control! Loving Pink Chalk Fabrics! Their service was a bit slow, but I am sure that it's the postal system and NOT the company! My order was sent out within 2 days of my ordering -- but took a while to get here! (My order was on Sept 22 and arrived here today!) Needless to say -- it was worth the wait! Check them out! You won't be dissapointed!

Quilting Gloves and free-motion bomb!

I tried to "free-motion" stipples on a baby quilt that I just finished. Of course I was excited with my new machine and have done stippling on smaller projects, but this time I wanted to do something different. I got out the cute little flower motif stencil and drew that on my squares. I was thinking I would do the flower and then stipple around it. BOMB! MAJOR BOMB! I did two flowers. Of course I didn't check. Why check? It was going ok. Hah! I pulled it off the machine and looked on the back in horror! I had "E's" all over the back. Looked like stitches with eyelashes. I spend the next hour ripping out both of the pretty little flower and was so discouraged! Thank heavens I am going to a free-motion class/machine quilting class in November! I figure I have my Symphony...and it was anything BUT an orchestra! I came out of the studio totally crushed. I know that "perfection" should be out of the vocabulary, but seriously??? It's a simple little flower! Surely I could quilt a measly little flower! The internet is an amazing resource. As Chef Murphy was making lunch, I browsed and looked for a solution to my problem. I knew that you needed to have your hands in a good position. I tried the Neutrogena hand cream on my hands so it would grip a bit better (seriously it works!). But my research indicates my hand speed is too fast for my foot pedal. I move my hands and turn the quilt much faster than the speed of the foot pedal. The reason why I was getting those eyelashes was because I would turn the quilt around corners faster than the speed of the machine. BIG PROBLEM. It's like barely touching the accelerator on a car and turning way too far! The solution to this of course is more practice! Unfortunately the baby quilt cannot wait as it needs to get in the mail asap! So, the short-term solution was to use my walking foot to get something on the quilt. I did what I thought would be good, then realized the quilting was too far apart in some areas. Did I read the instructions on the quilt batting? Of course not! I grabbed the bag that the batting came in and read it was ok to quilt up to 3.5" apart. Some areas were bigger than that, so back in for some more lines! By this time, my hands were sore from wrestling this tiny quilt through the machine. How am I going to ever manage a bigger quilt?
To the rescue...Fons and Porter quilting gloves! I tried them on and thought how stupid I looked with gloves on my hands, but then quickly tossed that aside when I realized how much easier it was to move the quilt! I really had a grip on that quilt and felt more confident moving it on the bed of the machine. Some of the other things I thought about a little too late was the Supreme Slider that I bought a while back.
I am thinking that if I would have known all this and used those nifty tools BEFORE I started my cute little flowers, perhaps I would have been a tad more successful! Learn by your mistakes! Looking forward to my class now more than ever! I'll make sure I take the gloves and the Supreme Slider! Maybe I should start practicing more beofre I put it on a quilt that's headed out the door?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My blocks are done! United Way here we come!

I spent last night sewing strips together and tonight after work made up the blocks. They measure approx 16 1/2 " each. Six blocks will make a nice size quilt. One of my co-workers, also a quilter, will be trimming up the squares and putting the strips on and assembling the quilt top. The left-over fabric strips will be cut into the piano border. It was frustrating as I discovered the strips of fabric (that came in a package) were different weights. Normally I would deliver the blocks perfectly squared, but think I have to let her have the option of cutting them down even more if she needs to. *sigh* This is the second go at the same pattern and I found the finished squares do not measure what the pattern says it should. I was a very good girl and made sure my 1/4" was dead on by sewing up a sample piece and measuring! (ha! I even surprised myself as I normally just wing it!) I'm not dissapointed. The outcome is beautiful don't you think?
The colours are quite different than my Arizona quilt, but just as effective. I'm curious as to what the color choice will be for the strips and how it's put together. My co-worker is working on it this weekend and we hope to have it to the longarmer by next weekend. It will be ready for binding well before the auction for the United Way fundraising we have planned! (Just in case you wanted to see a closer view, here is a closeup!)
I was looking for some patterns for another baby quilt. I searched through the magazines that I have and the books.... sigh...still nothing that I really loved. So, I headed over to the library and for $10 I renewed my library card and picked up some books. While I was signing them out, I spied a table with books for sale! Of course, books and fabric are two of my favorite things! Wonders never cease! I found some quilting books they were selling for $1 each! WHAT?????????
So as I was taking out my wallet, the librarian tells me there is a mistake. WHAT? I'm thinking, ok, a little more won't be so bad -- it's a deal already! She says, "They are 2 for $1.00, so 50 cents each!" YIPEE!!!!!!!!!!!! So today, one of the books that I "borrowed" I fell in love with and had to take a trip to Chapters after work to pick up a copy!
I'm looking at my scraps now and know there was a reason I was keeping them! I can see some scrap quilts in my future!
and of course.... I couldn't resist another photo of the Little Man! Happy quilting everyone! I'll be at my sewing machine this weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

United Way here we come!

Here's the next project! At work we have been trying to find new ways to raise money for this great cause. Voila! What do you think of the fabrics?
Another co-worker and I are working together to get a quilt together! Wish us luck! We have a limited amount of time in which to get the quilt top done and then off to the longarmer! I think I want to get some raffle tickets on this. The fabrics are wonderful and rich.