Thursday, November 12, 2020

Using up stash

When I start a new quilt the hardest part, at times, is finding the fabrics for it. I like to use up fabrics that are in my stash, especially if I am not all that keen on the pattern or I don't know what I will do with it once it's finished. I have been working on a quilt for the past couple of weeks and I have been using up some older fabrics that I found. 

This is part of the quilt I am working on. It's actually the outer four corners and that middle fabric is a gray/blue that I found. It just so happened that I had enough of a piece to use for that L-shape.

This is the fabric I found. After cutting what I needed, I don't think there's much left.

I was surprised at this, though. It seems that this fabric has been in my stash for almost 40 years. I started quilting in 1980 and these are the kinds of fabrics that were available at that time. Cottons with small prints. A lot of the fabrics had small flowers on them. I wasn't all that keen on the prints and preferred solids to work with but cotton broadcloth was very expensive and the variety of colours was very limited. I used a lot of polycotton broadcloth and I still have an extensive supply of many different colours and shades. The quilt I am working on has a bit of polycotton broadcloth in it along with another really old bit of fabric - the navy print in the first photo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A bit of knitting and some butterflies and baking

 

I remembered to take a photo of these hats before I sent them to three little boys in England. I wasn't quite sure of the size and went with what the pattern said but I did make some a tad longer. The outer two are made with Patons Decor and there is about 20% wool content in them. They are machine washable. The middle one is acrylic.


I also managed to finish this little cowl for one of my granddaughters. It's a great pattern and the yarn is Drops Air. It's a very soft and non-itchy wool. I did tell my daughter that it was hand wash only but really, how dirty can a cowl get? I may just make a few more. This was one of my unfinished projects and I am glad it is now done. I have at least one sweater that I need to get finished and then I can move on to new things.

On one of the facebook groups I belong to, a lady in Belgium requested 15 cm (6 inch finished) butterfly blocks from around the world. Her friend passed away at the age of 38 and she left a mother and two children. The quilt will be for the mother. I will send these off today.


I also managed to get in some baking. Four loaves of Finnish pulla (cardamom  sweet braid) and some apple squares. No nuts so the little ones can bring some to school with their lunch. I bought some apples and wanted to see what other recipes there were besides apple pie. The recipe I used got great reviews but the people who made them mentioned that it had too much sugar and not enough apple so I used less sugar and more apple. They were a hit and I made a second batch later.

Now, I shall continue on with a quilt I am putting together. I am a pattern tester for a couple of designers and this top has to be finished by the 11th of November. It's 72" square and I just have to get the top done. I am using my stash of blues.

Stay safe, wear your mask and wash your hands.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The making of the True Blue Canadian quilt

I have been absent for awhile in posting on my blog but there has been a good reason for that. Every year, since 2015, during the summer months, I participated in the Row by Row. This year the name changed to Quilters Trek and, even though I knew I would be busy (baby twin grandsons born in the UK in March) sewing and quilting for grandchildren, I just had to participate again. The theme for this year was True Blue. Since Covid-19 was hampering the visiting of quilt shops, we were allowed to order kits online. I only purchased 3 that way and the rest, I just visited the shops - wearing my mask, of course and using hand sanitizer. My husband's idea was to purchase the kits and support the little local businesses and so, that's what I did. All together, I collected 10 kits - one from out of province. In years past, I would just get the free pattern and use up my stash. 

This year there was also a chance to collect tokens. Each kit was supposed to contain a provincial or state token. This was a 2" square of fabric. I was lucky to get a special Golden Token in a kit from Threads That Bind quilt shop in Maxwell, Ontario. You could take a selfie and upload the photo onto a special facebook site if you were lucky enough to get one.

This was the beginning of my idea for the layout. I hadn't gone to get the applique kit yet with the Amish/Mennonite row with the lone stars.

Here are the pieces being put together into some kind of order. Some of those blocks took a long time to put together with lots of seams.

Laying out the letters. They are four inches square and I got them from the Temecula Quilt Company. I had made an alphabet quilt for my grandson Teemu about five years ago and remembered the letters.

Just a little bit of measuring to make sure the other side coincides.


Auditioning background fabrics for the letters. I have a lot of blues in my stash.

Trying to figure out placement of the letters once I decided on the lighter blue as the background. In the end, my daughter suggested bringing down the letters 'True Blue' and leaving the upper part blank - to give the eye a rest. It worked out well because I was able to quilt some maple leaves in that area.

The final layout before putting it all on the frame. I used leftover cuttings for the blocks on the upper and lower left-hand corners.
I didn't think it needed another border.

On the frame and almost finished hand quilting. 

I have my quilt frame set up in the basement and I guess I forgot to use flash. Or perhaps the quilting wouldn't have shown up with the flash.

I just used a couple of different sized maple leaves that I had made cardboard templates out of years ago. They somehow turned up at just the right moment.

I suppose I could have quilted in a darker blue but the quilt just seemed to need the lighter touch.

I just used a plate and a lid for the circles.

All done - the indoor shot.

The outdoor photo.

The label. I embroider my labels on 14 count Aida cloth these days. Before sewing it onto a quilt, I machine stitch the edges down. It makes for a nice clean edge to then hand sew onto the back of the quilt.

This year I brought my quilt into Homespun Designs in Stouffville, Ontario. It was the closest shop and these were my winnings.

This year, each shop could have two winners but unfortunately, because of the virus, many people did not participate and so most shops had no winner. I received 15 fat quarters.

Since I used the block/row that the shop offered (the orange peel flowers on either side of the butterflies) I received an added prize. This is a little organizer to house those little things like scissors and a seam ripper that might get lost in all that fabric. The shop owner knew I had hand quilted it and so she also added a rubber thimble.

And I also got a package of charm squares.

I leave you with this photo. These are the number 7 and number 8 quilting needles that I bent while quilting this quilt. It's a record for me. There were so many thick seams that at times, I had to stab stitch.

And now, I'm back to making even more masks. Then, it's a kitchen set for my soon-to-be three year old granddaughter. Her parents got her a pink kitchen set and her mom asked me to make a few items. I'll show you once they are all done. After that, it's back to quilt making.

Stay safe, wear your mask and wash your hands - lots.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Creative time

I have finished knitting the squares for the Covid 19 Blanket Project.

They have now been mailed away.

My twin granddaughters turned six last month but since school started they haven't been able to play with their cousins anymore (so as not to expose them to the potential of the virus.) It was then decided that the birthday party would be held two weeks earlier - before school started. The party took place at our house so everyone had lots of space to run and play. The girls wanted a She-Ra party. That meant capes were going to be worn. Since my grandsons in British Columbia had reversible capes that I made, I figured that the twins and their little sister could have some. 

I have loads of fabric to use up and these capes were made from cotton polyester broadcloth. This one is for their three year old little sister, Darcy.

This is the reverse side. I made her cape a bit shorter.

Side one for Mackenzie who wanted stars on her cape.

Side two.

Side one for Severn who loves pink.

She chose purple for the other side and she also wanted flowers.

The cousins all had capes so I didn't have to make any extras. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

School time

This year, school is looking quite different. All children are being asked to wear masks. Even those little ones just starting school at age 4. The girl twins will be 6 at the end of September. They are entering grade one in French immersion and the beginning of the school year has been pushed back a couple of weeks. Since I already made masks for the boys, who live in British Columbia, I figured I could make the twins an equal amount - one each for every day of the week. That would be 10 masks but I thought I may as well make a couple of extras. That meant getting more elastic but I thought I might try different widths of elastic to see what would be more comfortable since they have to wear them all day.

This is called elastic thread. It came in white or red. It wasn't expensive so I got 10 yards. We'll see how it holds up.

 The loose elastics I got from Fabricland and they were sold by the metre. Two of them are 1/4 inch and one bundle was 1/8th inch. The package elastic I bought at Dollarama.

The elastics in the middle I purchased at Fabricland too.

I decided to make four masks at a time so I didn't get to hate making them. Perhaps later this week I'll make four more.