Monday, February 24, 2014

What do you do when baby arrives early?

I had all these elaborate plans on making a fabulous "superhero" quilt, but the little man arrived EARLY! Egads! I rushed out and found a superhero cape panel. Well what can you do with something like that? I took it apart and re-assembled (in a hurry !) I added extra pieces with the colours Momma requested, and added "Jacob" to the front.

Hanging it isn't quite as nice as displayed on a fence or somewhere with more pizazz -- but it is nice and square when laid flat! The colours are bright and should keep the little man occupied when he's having tummy time on the floor!

My great longarm quilter Karen did a fabulous job! I love how she has the stars in there. She backed it with incredibly cozy Cuddlesoft in a bright red! I just wanted to wrap myself up in it! It's a great weight!

I am new to machine applique and did have a nice satin stitch around the pieces. Once it was complete with the binding, I put it in the wash. I pulled it out and many of the edges were unraveling -- thus having to go on TOP of the applique's again and re-do it with a wider stitch. It worked! Yeah! saved! I always wash my quilts before handing them over  to make sure everything holds and puckers nicely. Unfortunately my photo's do not show as well on here, but I grabbed a couple of quick photo's with my point and shoot. The quilt is already to go to new baby!

I wanted to add a fun binding but I didn't want it to look like a candycane by placing it on a diagonal. It sure does add some more interest to it. Binding is my favorite part of the quilting process believe it or not! I love sitting in front of the TV with a cozy quilt on my lap, hand stitching the binding to the back.  I challenge myself every time to make smaller and smaller stitches to near invisibility. Just to see the finished product is worth it -- even if it's a quick quilt! 

Only one more to go -- but that particular little man is staying put for a couple more weeks! I'll be crossing my fingers that he holds out for his due date so I can take some more time for this one! Again, some more applique! SIGH.... maybe with each one that I do, I learn more and more? If anything, I won't be making the same mistakes!

If any of you have any tips on how to get that nice finished product via machine, let me know! I would love to hear how you get it done! (Without having to un-sew and say choice words throughout the process!)

Happy Quilting everyone!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

FART -- Fabric Acquisition Road Trip -- to Montana!

We've taken advantage of "Reading Week" here in Alberta and of course "Presidents Day" in the U.S. We were planning on going somewhere "hot", but with the prices, it wasn't worth the ticket. We saved a bunch and drove ourselves to Montana -- of course giving me more dollars to spend on fabric! Love it!

We did most of our shopping in Great Falls and Helena.

We spent two days in Helena. We've normally just driven through, but thought we would do a little more walking around. We heard about the walking mall and went to Prickly Pear Quilts. It was quite expensive and geared to very traditional (read: dark) fabrics. Price-wise, it was the same as Calgary prices, but of course I did buy a bit of fabric to add to my stash along with another Purple Thang! (I love that thang! I use it to push fabric, pull fabric, measure 1/4" seams and I would be thrilled to hear what you all use it for besides that!)

 The fabrics I found there were for an upcoming baby quilt that I have planned. Momma-to-be is having the baby room in blue and brown (I did pick up some more coordinating fabrics to go along with this). Eileen was a great help to us and gave us some great places to check out for lunch and dinner! Always nice to hear what the locals recommend!

Just a couple of doors down was Aizada Imports.

"Aizada Imports is a new store on the Walking Mall located at 26 N. Last Chance Gulch next door to the Holiday Inn.  The store features felted woolen handicrafts from the country of Kyrgyzstan.  Store owner and manager, Paula Halverson has been working with women in Central Asia for over 10 years, selling at fiber arts festivals, trunk shows and special exhibitions.  She chose Helena as a location for a new store.  The store also showcases other Fair Trade products from around the world.  One of the reasons Halverson selected Helena for her bricks and mortar store is because of the diplomatic relationship with Kyrgyzstan as part of the Partners in Peace Program with the Montana National Guard, the capital being a central location for this program."

This is such a happy place! It's full of color and of course incredible hand work. I had to pick up this little felt bird to hang on my shelf. Those are little beads along with the embroidery thread used on the felt!

Another little "bird" that I fell in love with, along with a needle work zipper pouch. Just beautiful! The little pouch is worked on both sides! I will cherish these items for many years to come!

 I just love the little beak on this bird! It has a little magnet in the back and he sits beside my sewing machine as well looking down over my work.

 My new necklace is from Gigglin' Grizzly Glass Studio. Some of her works were also in Aizada. I fell in love with this piece!  Very unique!

Any trip to the U.S., (other than the duty free for booze!) has to include a trip to Joann's! Of course I bought some bambo knitting needles and some cotton yarn for mom's dishcloth's -- but lookie at what I found! How adorable is this? I know it looks busy sitting on my ironing board, but this little pin "armchair" will be perfect on my sewing table! I fell in love instantly and grabbed it! I have been looking for one of these when I saw a "couch" in a quilt shop down in Arizona. Nice that I recently added some red to my sewing room! What a perfect fit!

Great Falls was on my list on the way down and on the way back to Calgary. Of course we had to stop in on Big Sky Quilts. Every time we walk in there though the women offer to send Chef away for a coffee! Why do they do that? He's the BEST when it comes to picking fabric and finding the deals! Why send him away? He gives me great ideas and supports my creativity like no other! I wish that quilt shops would embrace men coming into their shops. It's like this invisible cloak of protection to turn off men from coming into "their domain". I remember 3 Quilt Dude's in Arizona. They have a comfy couch, homemade cookies and fresh coffee and love it when the guys come in and browse! Now if you welcome men, the men are more apt to bring in their wives/girlfriends to browse! More browsing = more sales! I managed to keep Chef in Big Sky Quilts, but not for long. I bought some much needed fabrics, an extra pair of snips and of course added to my purple stash!

On to the Sewing Palace.... full of women, but very little help. We waited for a while holding bolts of fabric in front of the till before someone asked if they could help us. Not sure if there was a class going on or what. We weren't in a hurry, but when other people come in AFTER you that were dealt with first - makes you wonder. 

I always wanted one of those color tools so I could study up on "color" and how to work different colors against each other. 

Our last quilt shop tour was in Great Falls in Bernina Silver Thimble. I have been adding to my "purple" stash and found a great little pattern for those little duffle bags. This is the first time that I saw one with iron-on vinyl. You can use whatever fabric you want and you can iron on the vinyl. No more having to buy limited type of vinyl fabric -- you can make your own. Of course I had to buy some more heavy pellon for the bottom of the little bag to hold the shape. What a great little "gift" for someone. I am thrilled to have something to make in a pinch for those little gifts!

My next trip to Great Falls will have to be Bernina Silver Thimble "first" and not the last! I would have loved to browse some more, but we were trying to beat the snowfall that was coming!

Of course we had to make a stop to Costco (Helena) and pick up my Chobani yogurt (yum!) and we even bought our first Christmas Pressie!'s February and I'm already thinking Christmas! Maybe this year I will manage to sew a Christmas tree skirt BY Christmas? The grandson got some new clothes as did we, and of course always something that we swear we couldn't do without! 

All in all, it was again a most wonderful vacation! Getting away with Chef is wonderful as always! 

What do you look forward to when you go on vacation?

Knitting for newborns!

Well I've been absent for quite some time! I've been busy knitting away! I am NOT a knitter. I remember my first knitting class was a sweater that I absolutely HATED. Then I thought I would make my toddler a sweater with cable knit....was great when I did one sleeve with cables and finished the other without and then realized it when I was sewing it together! You get the picture!

So, in order to do something little, and something where I could give "back" to the community by volunteering, I started knitting little infant toques for the Rockyview Hospital. The company I work for encourages volunteering, but the things they suggest take me right out of the pool of volunteers (i.e. my asthma and environmental issues such as pollens, perfumes, dust, etc.) This was a perfect fit! The best part was my company provides grants to the non-profit that you volunteer for!  How great! I have been loving the new yarns they have out there!

One the best places  I discovered on the net is Willow Yarns that deliver right to your door! The prices are great and the delivery was excellent! It gave me a chance to try out those different yarns.... bamboo and silk to name a couple! WOW! No wonder people are getting hooked on knitting! Of course I also went to a local yarn shop with "self-patterning" yarns. The price for one skein was a bit hefty ($19 a ball!). I can say I tried it and I love them, but I can't afford them on a regular basis. Willow Yarns has a wonderful selection and they have regular sales for those who want to save a few dollars. The shipping was decent for what I ordered, so I'm happy with it all!

Are any of you getting into knitting? What are you doing? Are you a newbie or a seasoned veteran? What's your next un-quilting project?

Happy creativity!