Monday, March 31, 2014

Dreaming of beaches while iced!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we experienced several hours of freezing rain and it hadn't stopped by the time we went to bed. We still had power and internet but the phone which went down yesterday morning is still not up. That is a little aggravation we will soon have to deal with. 

All the ice was gone from the trees and the power lines when I got up this morning! They're saying we'll be getting more but I sure hope they're wrong.

Bad weather or not, I did manage to work on my De Deauville To Cape Cod Quilt Mystere by Roxane at Scrap, Quilt, And Stitch. It feels great to be up to date and just in time since the next block comes out soon! People who know me can appreciate my uneasiness at being late for anything; I just had to get these done. Besides, it was great to dream of beach weather while under this coat of ice. 

No need for explanations here... just the details!

Block no 4

Block no 7

Blocks no 4&7 are next to each other and have been sewn together. Block no 8 will span the top of these two blocks. This isn't a very large quilt; it finishes at 29 1/2" X 42 1/4" before borders.

Block no 6

I got bored with working the stem stitch so I decided to change things up a bit. I pondered long about the net wondering if I could use some plastic netting that cover fruit from the grocery store. Then by the time it came to embroidering it, I knew I just had to do it my way. I think it works. 

By the way, you must click on this De Deauville link to see Roxane's album showcasing everyone's version of this cute Quilt Mystere! It's a wonderful perspective of how each person has interpreted their blocks.

Have a wonderful day and keep dreaming of the beaches! Perhaps someday Mother Nature will quiet our shores long enough for us to enjoy some spring!



I have linked to The Needle and Thread Network and Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bad weather = more quilting!

It's not a wonder that people in this area are productive quilters!! What else would you be doing??

The weather made headlines this week and it's still creating havoc. As I write this, our trees (and everything else exposed to the elements) are coated with a thick layer of ice. Soon this freezing rain will lead to rain which really can't come soon enough since I'm worried we'll lose power. Wednesday's blizzard was phenomenal!! It started abruptly and never let up until bedtime Thursday! The winds were the worst I've ever experienced. We were without phone or internet for 21 hours. So far, the phone is the only service suffering but I fear that may change as the bad weather continues. Our daughter who was visiting from Toronto until Monday morning decided to leave this morning preempting the canceled flights sure to happen.
However, with power, I was able to keep on sewing! Several projects were finished this week.

My daughter's Cargo Duffel, a pattern developed by Noodlehead for Robert Kaufman is finished and she loves it. She filled it with all her belongings and put it in her suitcase to bring home. It will get a lot of use of that I'm sure. 

I made a few changes, some by choice! I added an interior pocket similar to the Travel Duffel, made the pockets differently, added the straps that support the bottom of the bag, made it taller by adding the blue strips on the side and lowering the purple gusset. It has Soft and Stable from in the body of the bag which is what helps it keep its shape. Soft and Stable is machine washable and can be ironed on a medium setting. I LOVE this product! Just make sure your sewing machine has an even feed and can sew through thick layers! 

This is what happened to mine while I was sewing this bag! I have no idea how to fix it nor do I know where that little piece belongs but shortly after I finished the first duffel bag, my machine started making a strange noise. You should always listen to your machine... I did listen and looked for a cause but none was apparent! Then at the end of a seam, I noticed the even feed was no longer working as it should; consequently, the top layer was longer than the bottom layer. As I elevated the foot to remove the fabric, this little piece fell out.

We live about 50 min from the nearest sewing center that carries Husqvarna parts and luckily, they had a replacement, pricey but a necessity! Luckily too was the fact we needed to pick up our daughter at the airport close by the sewing center so we left earlier to pick up this new even feed foot. The new one works like a charm, has interchangeable feet and a few guide bars for when you want to sew parallel straight lines. This alone was a bonus as I previously drew the lines.

Next came my sister's Samsung tablet cover; this is the same sister for whom I made the little camera bag. I had leftover fabric and decided to treat her to a matching cover.

She wanted room to carry the charging cable and the stylus; the quilted pad you see inside will protect the screen from scratches. I used S&S (Soft & Stable) in this one as well. I think she'll like this. This is such a fun and relatively fast sewing project. 

I will leave you with photos of our Friday visitors... 

There were 4 of them; big daddy was in the alders beyond the spruce trees. Sorry about the bottom photo... I had to take this one through the kitchen window so you see reflected light. The deer were eating at the apple trees in front of the house after I took these. Remarkable animals! We'll have to think hard about protecting our garden if we ever get a chance at a decent spring and summer.

At the moment I would take this pile over the ice we're getting!



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Better strap making... for me!

The Travel Duffel Bag is done and it's a beauty if I may say so! First, the details:

The swivel hook on the carrying strap

The carrying strap pad

The inside pockets

The inside binding

The zipper pulls

The Travel Duffel Bag... it measures 21"x13"x8"; it has a center pocket on one side,

three pockets on the front, 2 are zippered

a pocket at each end

It's really beautiful and sturdy; there's a sleeve into which you can slip an acrylic base stabilizer or foam core board for the inside bottom. It adds firmness and prevents sagging from a heavy load. I didn't have the acrylic nor did I have foam board so I slipped in a piece of Timtex for the moment. My acrylic stabilizer is on order.

There's a lot of strapping to make prior to starting the construction of the bag. It consists of sewing strips together to form a longer strip, enough to cover the length of strapping for the handles and the carrying strap. The instructions are adequate for this procedure.

After sewing the long strip (with right sides together) into a tube, you need to turn that tube to the right side then iron it so the seam is in the center. Once the tube is ironed, you attach a pin to your strapping and slip it inside that tube making sure it doesn't twist on itself as you feed it through. Then you sew it in place along both edges. Many steps!! It makes a lovely strap, don't get me wrong! I don't know about you but I've never liked turning tubes. I always try to avoid that process.

Today, I'm working on my daughter's duffel bag and had to make straps for it but this time I chose to make them my way.

I'm using King Tut 40 weight thread for this duffel in colors that complement the bag.

My strapping is 1 1/2" wide so I cut my strips 2 1/2" wide. I need 110" so the strapping is cut to size, and the 4 strips of purple fabric have been sewn together to make a longer than needed length.

I fold one side over the strapping and sew on a grosgrain ribbon 1/8" from the edge. 

When you reach the end, cut the excess fabric leaving 1/2" beyond the length to fold over and do the same for the ribbon to prevent fraying. Stitch across the end then start stitching down the other side. I don't have an awl so I use my seam ripper for turning the edge and guiding the fabric under the needle. 

The resulting strapping is sturdy, in this case it's two-toned which is the decorative look I wanted and I didn't have to turn a long tube. It looks like a piped edge. Sure you end up spending a little more $$ but the result looks great and making it this way is a time and sanity saver. The bonus is that there is no seam visible as in the strapping of the Travel Duffel. I much prefer this method and will use it whenever I have to make handles for a bag. 

My WIP for this week...

I leave you with a photo of our spruce trees and the water in the bay... someday we'll be living closer to that water just beyond the two tall spruce trees on the left flanking that power pole. I zoomed into this view to show you the spruce trees we transplanted in 2009-2010 along the new driveway that will bring us to the cottage. Over 300 spruce trees were dug up by hand from our back lot, hoisted onto the old wagon and driven down to the new location where a fresh hole was hand-dug and the tree dropped in. A lot of hard work but we're really happy to have done it.

It looks as though we'll be very close to the water but we really won't be that close. There's another field and another row of trees between the cottage location and the water. Plenty of room and elevation. Someday I'll share photos of that location.

I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network and Let's Bee Social.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014


It's been a busy week catching up on projects. Last Tuesday I started preparing the 3 blocks from the De Deauville To Cape Cod BOM by Roxane at Scrap, Quilt and Stitch; I felt really behind and wanted some evening handwork desperately! The crazy quilt was first on my list but after looking for hours for the beads I gave up. I know someday I'll come upon them while searching for something else. Until that happens, it has to remain a WIP! I promise to keep looking! Not all my craft boxes are empty for lack of space. Frustrating...

So far, De Deauville to Cape Cod quilt has been the favorite project! I so dearly love working on this quilt probably because it makes me think of the beach days that we all long for. For these blocks, I decided to use the sky fabric I painted in Mickey Lawler's class at Road to California Quilt show. What great fun that was; I had never painted on fabric before, at least not intentionally like this. She's a wonderful teacher and I believe we all had a great day playing with paint and fabric. So it's fitting to put some of it to use in this quilt THIS year! 

Block 7

     Block 6    

Block 4

Just after Christmas, I made a camera bag for our daughter Isabel and it didn't take long to get requests for more bags. Our oldest daughter Madelaine wanted a weekender bag so it's been a project of mine to hunt for the supplies. Don't you love the hunt?? After close examination of the pattern I had originally chosen, it was clear that some changes would have to be made to make it sturdier. I decided to use another pattern but the amount of fabric I purchased was not enough. What to do? I decided to sew a sample of the bag in fabric I had on the shelf to see how I can make Madelaine's with her fabrics. 

First step was to quilt the outer fabric and lining... after Lolah got a good warm up, she was ready to go and she sewed like a dream! Not a skipped stitch, not a knot, nor a broken thread!! What a treat!! This pantograph is called Flowers For Haley. I used Magnifico in grey... LOVE IT! First time trying it out on Lolah and it quilted beautifully! Love the sheen too.



Then it was time to draft the pattern pieces... THERE ARE A LOT OF PIECES TO THIS PATTERN!!! and 3 small errors or discrepancies. I will be contacting the designer to inform her of this so she can make the changes. It does have to do with the measurements listed being different from those on the diagram. I cut before crosschecking the listed measurements... luckily I had plenty of fabric.

You'll have to wait to see the results of this bag. Remember it's only the sample bag!

Yesterday, though I chose to play with a smaller, quicker to assemble bag. One request came from one of my sisters; she wanted a small camera bag too. I asked her to measure her camera (Kodak Easyshare) and to choose her colors. Her request was for grey, blue, and yellow! This is what I found... you can see the chalk lines for quilting. This is a fat quarter piece of fabric.

 And I couldn't resist the mice for lining! The brown in the above fabric was very difficult to match!! :) Don't you love the 3 Blind Mice?

 Love the mouse on the bicycle too.

 This is the result...

 All the inside seams are bound. And she LOVES it! I have yet to add my logo on the strap.

Patterns... you see them everywhere! Paper patterns like the ones above, patterns in the snow, on the water, in the sky, in fabric, on this bird... a visitor to our yard this weekend. He's called a Northern Flicker; he's in the only family of woodpeckers that forages on the ground for food. This one is around our house daily... quite cute! Love his coloring! and the pattern on his back and wings.

I'll be linking to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts