Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Gifts Revealed and some Slow Stitching

I made several zipper pouches as gifts this year for Christmas.  Now that they have all been given, I can show pictures on my blog.  This one was made for my MIL.  She loves sheep and I have had this sheep fabric in my stash for a year or two, hoping to make something for my MIL with it.  My MIL was delighted with her pouch and looks forward to using it when she comes for an overnight visit at our house.

This bag was made for one of my nieces.  She has converse running shoes so this fabric called to me when it was time to make her zippered pouch.

Here is a picture of my nieces with their pouches.  The second pouch had bicycles on it.

I made a couple of pouches for friends for Christmas too, but somehow, forgot to take pictures of them before they were gifted.  

During the holidays, I have had some time to work on my counted cross stitch snowmen picture.  Santa brought me a new Ott floor lamp for Christmas so now I can see better for stitching in the evenings.  

I have been concentrating on finishing off this snowman completely.

I still need to outline the two yellow and black birds.

I also added some branch extensions to the second snowman.  This picture is coming along nicely.  I don't have a deadline for when it needs to be finished.  I am just enjoying the process.  I hope to have some more stitching time today, if our family gift from Santa does not distract me too much.  The three of us spent a few hours last night working on our new puzzle.  Most of the easy parts are for the background... 1000 pieces...

I will be linking up with Kathy and the other Slow Sunday Stitchers tomorrow.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Winter Wonderland and the Tree Skirt is DONE

It snowed most of the morning Saturday--the type of snow that makes great snow-people and clings to whatever it falls upon.  I went outside with my phone to take a few pictures once it stopped snowing.  This is a Worplesdon Sweetgum tree seed with a snowy hat!

The tree below was a bare root twig when my daughter brought it home from a tree farm in Grade One.  It's quite a bit bigger now!

Last Sunday evening, I basted my new Christmas tree skirt and then did the quilting this week---it took three full evenings and some time yesterday to finish the machine quilting and adding the binding by machine.  I sewed a line of quilting along each side of every seam --this resulted in very cool six pointed stars at every intersection.

I used a light grey Aurifil thread for quilting.  At one point, the thread kept breaking.  I investigated why this might be happening...  LINT!  Even though I had cleaned the machine before starting, it was a mess again about 3/4 of the way through the quilting.  After a thorough cleaning, the machine was humming again and no more broken threads.

I still had some yardage of this red and white striped fabric so I decided to use it for the binding.  This is the same fabric I used to bind my recently finished Christmas quilt.  I have been spending every spare moment over the last couple of days hand sewing the binding so that the tree skirt would be ready in time for Christmas.

I used white thread and tried to keep my stitches in the white stripes so they would not be seen very easily.  The backing fabric reminded me of swirling snow.

Part way through the hand stitching this afternoon, the sun came out and our living room was quite bright--perfect for a picture of a completed section of the tree skirt under the tree.  I think that reindeer fabric is my favourite!

After I took this picture, I realized that all three ornaments in this picture were made by my friend, Pat.  The wooden spool with the cross stitch cover was one of three that she made for me this year.  The bird was knitted a few years ago and the "new home" ornament was made when we moved into our house in 1999.

I finished the hand stitching on the binding while watching a Christmas movie with my daughter and MIL tonight.   It is now under the tree and ready for Santa!

 I will be linking up with Kathy and the other Slow Sunday Stitchers in the morning.   Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cross Stitch Snowflake Ornament

I purchased a kit to make a snowflake ornament at Fabrications in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago.  This week, I made the ornament and it is now hanging on the Christmas tree!

The kit was designed and assembled by Diana Watters Handmade.  Here is a link to her Etsy site. (no affiliation--I just liked the kit!) It included everything needed to make the ornament: the wooden disc, thread, needle, pattern, instructions and the ball chain for hanging.  It was fun to make and did not take too long to do.

I started the stitching at my guild meeting the other night. 

I love the colours!

I will be linking up with Kathy and the other slow stitchers tomorrow.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Christmas Tree Skirt Pieced...

I have been working on a new Christmas tree skirt for our Christmas tree for a few weeks now.  I have been collecting fabrics for this project for a while and just love the variety of grey, red and white fabrics that I used in my tree skirt.  There are 360 triangles in this project!  It took a while to cut out all of those triangles and lay them out in each of the six sections so that they looked random.  This morning, I was up earlier than usual and found that I had time to head down to the sewing room before work to finish up the last section of the skirt and attach it to the skirt.

The skirt is large--63" from flat side to flat side.  The hole in the middle is large to accommodate our Christmas tree stand.  The tree was put up last week and decorated on the weekend.

The Christmas tree skirt will look better than the plastic sheet and towels I have under the tree now to save the carpet in case of leaks!

Last night, my husband and I added lights to a new 4' wreath for above our garage using zip ties to attach the lights to the frame.  Tonight, we hope to put it up and admire our handiwork.  Our old wreath was 19 years old and was looking a bit tired.

This picture was taken on the dining room floor.

Next, I need to buy some backing fabric for the skirt so I can get it quilted and under the tree!

I will be linking up to Finish it Up Friday with Crazy Mom.  There is a link in my sidebar.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

London Modern Quilt Guild Christmas Meeting

Yesterday afternoon, the London Modern Quilt Guild met for their annual Christmas meeting.  There were a few announcements at the beginning of the meeting followed by potluck snacks and shopping with a local vendor who set up a table in our meeting room.  The rest of the meeting was sewing/craft time.  I chose to make a folded fabric Christmas tree ornament.

We were supposed to bring our own fabric for this craft, but in my rush to get out the door on time with my show and tell, gift for the gift exchange, food for the pot luck and tea, I completely forgot to bring the fabric.  Ugh!  Lucky for me, Mary brought along a few extra kits to make this ornament and generously gave one to me.  Thanks, Mary--you saved the day for me!

Each ornament requires 40 2.5" squares and over 100 pins.  Mary supplied the pins and styrofoam balls to each person making this craft.

Above, you can see my ornament after two colours have been added.  The same pattern is on the other side of the ball as well.

Here is my finished folded fabric star Christmas ball.  In the picture below, you can see the trim piece that hides the edges of the folded fabric as well as the silver ribbon that I used to create a loop to hang the ornament on the tree.

Our tree is up and the light are on, but the decorations still need to be added.  Our nieces have been helping us decorate our tree for the last few years but this year they are away at university so my husband and I will be doing this ourselves this afternoon.  I am still working on my new Christmas tree skirt--I just have one more section to piece and then do the quilting and binding.  I am still hopeful that I will have it done by the time my daughter is home for the holidays.

I purchased this kit at Fabrications in Ottawa last weekend and will work on it after the tree is decorated today.

I will be linking up with the other slow Sunday stitchers at Kathy's blog today.  There are always lots of inspiring links at her weekly linky party--Go take a look!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Quilt 'til You Wilt

Yesterday was our annual Quilt 'til You Wilt day with the London Friendship Quilters Guild.  I packed up my sewing machine, supplies and projects on Friday night and my husband helped me to load the car at 8am on Saturday morning.  I was among the first to arrive and got a table for four near the ironing station. By the time I set up my machine, Cathy arrived, coffee in hand. A little while later, Christine and Karen showed up. We all had a great day, chatting and sewing and admiring all of the sewing going on in the room.

Christine finished up the last few blocks for a quilt she is making for her daughter and by the end of the day, the quilt top was finished, except for the final border! She used her 1951 featherweight.

Karen stayed up late the night before pin basting a pile of table runners that she had pieced and spent the day quilting them and adding binding. I see lots of hand stitching in her near future!

Cathy was working on an I Spy quilt for her grand-daughter and had the entire middle of the quilt done by the time she went home late afternoon.  She will add the borders and get it quilted in the next week or so.

I worked on a comfort quilt block for the Elgin Piecemakers to get me warmed up. February's colours are lime green and yellow with white--I needed to make a star block.  I found this pattern on the internet.  There was some math involved as the pattern was for a 6.5" block and my block is 12.5"

Next, I worked on a project I have been wanting to do for years...A new Christmas tree skirt.  My old one is over 30 years old and looks like it was made in the 80's, which it was.  I saw some pictures on the internet of a tree skirt made with 60 degree 8" triangles that I liked.  Most of the fabrics that I had been collecting for this project were fat quarters so I decided I would use 4" triangles instead.  What I did not realize at the time was I would need 360 triangles to make my skirt.  I spent one evening cutting triangles this past week when Christine was over to sew.

I used my table to lay out all of the triangles for each section before I started to sew.

You can see the piles of triangles for each section at the top of the picture above.  I divided up all of the fabrics evenly so the whole thing will look balanced in the end.

Here is the first section, all sewn together.  The skirt will be a large hexagon and the long side on the right being the outer edge.  The narrow part on the left will be near the tree.  I am making a large hole in the middle to accommodate the tree stand.

Here are sections 1 and 2, sewn together.

By the end of the day, I had three sections done. --Half of the tree skirt.

I will work away on sewing more sections this week as time allows.  I would like to have it done by two weeks from now when we put up our tree.  I will be using the same red and white striped binding as I used on my Christmas quilt.

Just before I went home for the day, I made three string blocks for January's comfort quilt for the Elgin Piecemakers.  This fabric was donated to our guild and two of our members cut it into strips and gave us muslin foundations to use.  The only instructions were to put the yellow strip down the middle diagonally for each block.

Today, it is time to slow down and do some counted cross stitch with the other Slow Sunday Stitchers at Kathy's blog.    I am adding outline stitches to this snowman's hat and scarf today and would like to  finish him off including the birds and sticks as well.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Zippered Pouch

I made this zippered pouch from a tutorial I found at Noodle-Head for a friend who helped me out with a problem.  I'm not going to talk about the problem, other than to say that, with her help, the solution was sorted out and there was no longer a problem!  I am very grateful for her assistance at a time when I was feeling powerless.

The two fabrics on the outside of the pouch were part of the same line of fabric and have been in my stash for a couple of years.  The lining fabric was in my dotty fabrics drawer and it had all the same colours in it and it was purchased at a different time and place from the other fabrics!

The turquoise zipper was a perfect match.

I quilted this little pouch with green thread in straight lines with my DSM.  I used some batting scraps  to give the pouch some body, rather than the interfacing suggested in the tutorial.

The Elgin Piecemaker's Guild met last night and we brought our grey, black and turquoise blocks in for this month's comfort quilt for an adult chemo patient at our local hospital.   I think this will be a stunning quilt!  Sashing and borders will be added by two members of the guild and then it will be given to another member for long arm quilting--this is a true group project!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

My Thread Stash and a Finish

Back in August, I took a two day design workshop with Jacquie Gering.  You can read my blogpost about the workshop here. 

If you went back to the post, you would have read that I had the quilt pin basted shortly after the workshop--I just needed to find the right colour of thread.  I had lots of colours in my thread stash, but not the right colour. (Here is a picture of my thread drawer--the colour I used in the quilt is in the picture.)

Jacquie had suggested a lighter colour of thread for the quilting of this project and I did not have any suitable colours in my thread drawer.  Every time I was in a sewing store, I checked to see if they had Aurifil thread and if they did, I searched for a light colour that would work for my quilt.  Finally, I found this light peach colour.  This was one of the colours that Jacquie had suggested. 

I have saved my empty spooks in a basket in my sewing room for several years.  You can see that I have gone used lots of thread since I started sawing the spools.  Each orange spool represents a kilometre of thread--half a kilometre of sewing if you consider that half the thread gets used in the bobbin. 

Now, back to my quilt...

I used a quilting idea from Jacquie's book "Walk".  If you don't already have this wonderful book, go out and buy it or drop subtle hints to Santa...  I used my Hera marker to draw two gently curved lines diagonally across my quilt, intersecting them in the centre. Then, I echo quilted each quadrant, using the edge of my presser foot as my guide. 

The lines of quilting are 3/8" apart  and by the time I finished all of the quilting, the quilt would not lay flat.  Jacquie had told us about how she blocks her quilts by spraying them with water and stretching them out to flatten them after quilting and before trimming and binding.  I decided to give this a try, but first I had to buy a clean spray bottle.  This took a while because I kept forgetting to look for a bottle when I was at a hardware store.  Finally, my husband picked one up for me when he was out one day.  I sprayed my quilt, stretched it out and pinned it to the carpet in my family room.  I sprayed it one more time and left it to dry overnight.  In the morning, it was flat!!!  I trimmed it and made binding with some navy fabric leftover from making the quilt.

This week, I sewing the binding on first by machine and then finished it off by hand last night.

I had this bicycle print in my stash and since the front of the quilt spins, I thought it was appropriate.

Here is a close up of the quilting.

And... here is the finished quilt:

When I first made the label, I called this quilt "clockwise"...then, I realized that it if actually spinning counter clockwise, so I had to change the label to reflect this name change.

I will be linking up with Kathy and the other slow stitchers.  Go and take a look at what everyone is up to. I hope to have some more hand stitching time later today.