Friday, July 1, 2022



Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The old and the new in England

Over the years I have made a few aprons for family members. I don't have to make any for myself since I still wear the ones that my mom made. I love her full aprons and even though I use a different pattern, they are still a full apron. I don't think I have ever made an apron that doesn't have a top or 'bib' part to it.

I found this in my daughter's kitchen drawer when I was visiting her family not long ago. I always wear an apron if I am cooking or washing dishes.

The fabric has candies on it. I still have some of it left and should really use it up. Perhaps a Hallowe'en bag? Or included in a string quilt? I have no idea when or why I acquired the fabric.

This is my latest knitting project.

It's a Wee Speedy 2 pattern - free on Ravelry. I had purchased the yarn a few years ago. I saw this little sweater in the window of my local yarn store window in a yellow/gold colour and was then tempted to go in and ask about the pattern and yarn. They had no more of the yellow/gold colour but they did have this lovely denim colour. It's cotton and thick and thin yarn. When I asked about the pattern, I was told that it was a free Ravelry pattern and so I purchased the yarn intending to make it but never did - until a couple of months ago. This will fit the little newborn who is now named Phinneaus Hunter Oak. It took quite some time to decide on a name that both parents were pleased with. I'm sure he will end up being called Finn.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Testing patterns

 For several years now I have been a tester for various quilt pattern designers.

This is my latest test pattern. I wanted to use the pattern to make it look like a flower. I finished it at 12 inches and it should have been 12.5. I may have lost some pattern by using regular photocopy paper instead of something lighter and thinner.

It's great when I get to use my stash for pattern testing. I spent a lot of time finding the right fabrics for this one. I was surprised that I had enough of the blue water fabric to complete this pattern. This took a while since it was a biggy at 30 inches square.

Both of these were paper pieced patterns.

I will point out here that I don't just test the patterns themselves but I also read the instructions over carefully to make sure there are no grammar, punctuation  or spelling errors or size discrepancies.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Number 13

The number 13 is not an unlucky number in our house. My husband's birthday, his mom's and brother's birthdays were the 13th and my eldest daughter got married on the 13th. 

I became a grandmother for the 13th time on June 15th. It's a little boy and he broke the tie. I did have six granddaughters and six grandsons but now, I have seven. Both mom (my youngest daughter) and baby are doing fine and at home. This lucky little guy has a 4 year old brother and twin 2 year olds. While the twins weren't too sure about him in the beginning, they are accepting of him now.

No name yet but he was 6 lbs. 12 oz.

Another baby quilt to be made soon...

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

New quilt

I finally had time to get my granddaughter's quilt top done. It will be quilted later this summer. Life just kept getting in the way.

This pattern is called Giraffe Family by Sew Fresh Quilts. I have several of her patterns but this is the first time I have made one.

First of all, my granddaughter likes giraffes - just like her mom. The original quilt is suppose to depict a mom, dad and baby giraffe but I made it to depict my granddaughter and her two older twin sisters. One twin likes blue, the other one has pink as her favourite colour and it just so happens that if you combine the colours, you get purple or mauve and that's her favourite colour.

On a side note, my trusty, faithful, circa 1980s Kenmore sewing machine stopped working and gave me an 'Er' status when I tried to sew. Luckily, I have a couple of back-up machines. I made some burp cloths for my youngest daughter and as I was sewing the flannel corners on my Singer, I bent and broke the neede because it didn't like going through 8 layers. I changed the needle and bang, another bent needle. Change again and the same thing happened. I then gave up on that machine and took the needle out. No sooner did I do that and I put the needle back in. I wanted to take the machine in for repair and this way, I could more easily describe what was wrong with it. My Jenome Jem then finished the job and I am now reading instead of sewing. I know I need a new machine but I have to find a cabinet model and a machine that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles - features and stitches I won't use much, if at all.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Updated frame

I finally went to the frame shop and got a new frame for the old needlepoint. It's not far from where I live and I have never used their services before. It took less than two weeks and the whole experience was not stressful at all. My daughter came with me to help choose the frame. I wasn't sure if I wanted gray or brown but in the end, the brown looked a lot better.

This is the 'before' shot.

And this is the 'after' with the new frame.

I tried to get a shot without glare. Both my daughter and I liked the wood grain that showed in the frame.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A new baby quilt and baby knits

I belong to two quilt guilds and during the pandemic, the meetings have been online. Both guilds have kits that members can take and make into quilts which are then given to various charities. The quilts vary in size. Even though I had my own quilts to make, I decided to take on a baby quilt. The fabrics in the kit were all bright and it was fun thinking about what pattern I could use for the fabrics.

I quilted it in my new kitchen since I had the room and knew that it wouldn't take too long.

There was enough of the yellow fabric to bind the quilt.

I happened to have some fabric that was perfect for the backing.

This is a little hat that I managed to knit. It didn't turn out as I had hoped.

Here's the latest rainbow blanket. I used a light gray for the background this time and I think it's quite delicate looking.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Needlework - needlepoint from long ago

My mom grew up on a farm in a part of Finland that now belongs to Russia. She came to Canada after the second world war. 

This is a needlepoint that my mom did in school. I don't know anything more about it. It has travelled through time and distance. I keep it in my linen closet. It has a backing that my mom put on it when I was a teen because I recognise the fabric. It is stitched with the threads going up and down instead of a half cross stitch or tent stitch as it's called.

I love this needlepoint. My mom taught me how to do needlepoint and we worked on this together. She bought the canvas and tapestry yarns and perhaps she was hoping I would love needlepoint as much as she obviously did. I think that she framed it herself. The glass is now cracked and I will get it reframed - perhaps with a darker frame so that the needlepoint takes priority.

This is another one that we stitched together. Initially, the lady at the department store where we purchased the canvas and yarns chose a reddy-orange colour for the cheek highlight that was a match for the colour legend. Once it was stitched, my mom disliked it. She ended up taking that section out and replacing it with a more suitable, lighter shade. I remember when we went to get it framed, she let me choose the frame and this is the one I picked. I wanted something that looked like driftwood. 
For anyone who has ever done needlepoint, it can be a very expensive hobby. The canvas is hand painted ($$), the yarns are wool ($$) and the framing costs quite a lot too. My mom raised my brother and me on her own after my dad passed away when I was just 13. She cleaned houses for a living and didn't make much at all but she was frugal. This was one thing she did spend money on. Later, she stitched more. Each of my three daughters was given a pillow that she stitched and a foot stool had a new cover that I remember. It had African violets on a black background. A smaller stitched floral canvas was framed and my middle daughter has it in her home now. I do love needlepoint and have recently purchased kits and canvases. It goes quicker than cross stitch and I just need to find the time. I prefer stitching with wool yarn as opposed to embroidery floss. I have seen the needlepoint of today and they are sometimes done with silk thread or cotton and the stitches are quite different and elaborate. I'm fairly 'old school' and prefer using just the tent stitch.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Needlework - embroidery

I'm lucky to have the knowledge to do many different needle crafts that I enjoy doing. My mom taught me to knit as a child and when I was a teen, working as an usherette in a theatre, I learned, along with my fellow usherettes how to crochet. I remember looking in a book and following the steps. I'm pretty sure my mom helped along the way with that too. 

In home economics, in grade 6 or 7, I remember that the first project we did was Swedish Huck embroidery on a towel. I found this in my linen cupboard and the colours I used were purple and green. 

I enjoyed doing it.

There are a few stains where the fold is so I should probably soak it in some Oxy.

It appears as if I still use that combination of colours. 

When my son's twins were born, we didn't know the gender and so I made a cross stitched card with those colours (which are really a lot brighter than the photo.)

Thursday, March 31, 2022

More quilts

Spring has arrived. Some days it feels like it but other days it's cold, windy and feels like winter will never leave. 

My hall quilt has changed with the change of season. Bob the Snowman has been replaced with this. It's a quilt called Flowers and was a BOM in 2011 by Diana Schmitz. She had a few BOMs that incorporated embroidery, applique and piecing.

This is a quilt that my daughter brought back with her from her visit to her father-in-law. Whenever she visits me, she takes her two sons to visit their grandpapa about 4 hours north of us. She was given this quilt that was made by her mother-in-law who passed away a few years ago of Parkinsons. I thought it was lovely and delicate. I took a look at it while it was here and I think it was made by the old apartment style or quilt as you go method and machine quilted.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

New quilt

I've had my eldest daughter and her two sons visiting so I haven't been doing much sewing or doing any other needle craft lately. I managed to get a few repair jobs completed after they went home and one day, while they were out visiting, I cut and sewed this little baby quilt.

These fabrics were in a kit that one of my guilds put together for charity. The suggestion was to make either a baby or child's quilt. I stuck with a baby size and this is one of my easy, go-to patterns for a baby quilt. It's a free pattern called Star Bright Quilt from Swim, Bike, Quilt. In the same package was also solid black yardage and another piece with bright prints on a black background. I don't do black and especially not for babies or children. I plan on giving that back when someone comes to collect this quilt after it's been quilted. I am hoping to get it up on the frame soon so I can finish it and get on with other things.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The new and the old

Since I'm the one who sews in this family, I am asked at times to repair items of clothing and other things. Most things don't take long at all and I am happy to help since it prolongs the use of the item.

My granddaughters wear a lot of stretch leggings and sometimes they get small holes in them. 

At times I sew up the hole and at other times, I am asked to cut off the legs so they become shorts. 

These then become useful to wear under a dress.

Once upon a time a quilt store, that has now been closed for years, had a Buck-a-Block monthly block program. You were to pay $1.00 a month (plus purchase a set of Thangles for $6.00) and then you were given a little bag that held pre-cut fabric, instructions and a pattern. The Thangles package held papers to make half square triangles that were 1.75 inches finished.

 This is the last quilt block that was in a bin. It wasn't even started.

This block of the month took place in 2009 with the last installment being January, 2010.

There were two fabric options. One was blues with creme and one was vintage 1930s reproduction fabric and, even though blue is my favourite colour, I opted for the prints - just for something different.

In order to get the next installment for $1.00, you had to complete the block and bring it into the store. If you missed a month, you had to pay $5.00 and if your block was not completed, you had to pay $5.00. I made sure that my blocks were completed each and every month. I don't know how I will finish the quilt but at least they are all done now. If you haven't tried Thangles, you should. It's an easy way of making a bunch of HSTs (half-square triangles.) The fabrics in the 'kit' were pre-cut to the 2.25 inch strip and there was always enough fabric. All the maker had to do was put the two fabrics right sides together and lay the paper on top - pinning well. Sew on dotted lines and cut on the straight lines. Easy and quick. The instructions showed you how to put the pieces together to form the various blocks.

Well, at least these are now done and they are back in the bin with other fabrics that I had put aside that were either 1930's fabrics or ones that were very similar.

Sort of another UFO completed. Now I am off to knit a rainbow baby blanket and start sewing a quilt. I also have some cross stitch to get done. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Cross stitched bookmarks

 Years ago I cross stitched some bookmarks.

This one was a fun one. I need to give it a backing with some interfacing so it's a bit stiffer.

This one was for my eldest daughter but I never gave it to her. It needs to be cleaned and it too needs backing with interfacing. I'm debating on whether to add her married initial and another balloon.

I found this cross stitch bookmark pattern in a book I borrowed from the library. I changed the colours to suit my preferences. It took a long time because it's full coverage and I left it for months.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

An oldie

I have to make a few quilts this year but before I started something new, I decided it was time to finish something.

Once, long ago, I have no idea how many years it's been, this pattern took my fancy.

I had, and still have, a lot of green fabrics in my stash.

So, I started this quilt.

The green squares were all done and border around them had been attached. I had also cut all of those little green rectangles. 

The gray fabric was in the plastic bin too but nothing had been cut. 

I didn't think it would take long to put the whole thing together - but I was wrong.

There were 42 blocks.

That's a lot of blocks to add all that gray to - but it got done.

The light blocks are just light green. Here it is all sewn together into a top. I now have an empty bin and this top is folded over a hanger and in the closet waiting to be quilted. The blocks are 14 inches - 13.5 finished. I don't think I'll be adding a border but I may change my mind.

I have a few more bins with partial quilts that I would like to get made into tops at least but they will have to wait a bit more. I need to make a granddaughter or three some quilts. There are also a pair of almost two year old twins that don't have a quilt yet. Oh well, all in good time.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Finally finished some knitting

I have made this chunky knit sweater several times. Once again, I decided to use up some of my yarn to make my twin grandsons some warm pullovers. They live in England so they don't get the cold and snow that we here in Toronto get.

The free pattern for this chunky knit pullover can be found on the Canadian Mary Maxim site.

I'm not keen on sewing up the pieces and so these have been sitting around for a while. The blue one went home with Otis after Christmas and I am about to send this one to his brother Archer. 

My youngest granddaughter needed a new hat and so I knit this for her.

It is such a versatile hat and has a lot of stretch to it so it should fit her for a few years.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Crafty little people

I am fortunate that seven of my grandchildren live within walking distance of me and as a result, five of them attend the same school that my own children went to. Each day I pick up two of my grandchildren from school. Just before Christmas, my four year old granddaughter, Esme, was quite adamant that she was going to show me how to make a snowflake. She had learned how in kindergarten. Well, first of all, she took an 8.5" by 11" piece of paper and folded down one corner to make a triangle and then she cut off the extra so that the piece that was left was a square. Then she showed me how to fold it and cut it. I was impressed with her explanations and directions. It was all very serious business. Here is my product.

Around this same time, one of my seven year old twin granddaughters, Severn, came for a visit with her sisters and brought along a kit that she had made up. We were to make a craft together.
She had everything prepared - I was really quite impressed. We worked together because she had made a kit for herself too and so she showed me the steps.

This is Severn's picture. (sorry for the blurriness but if you click on the photo, you can see the details)

Once again, click on the photo to see the details. This is my craft project. We started out with a green crayon and made three curved lines on the sides - two on one side (sorry, but the lines don't show up well on the black paper.) Then, we added smaller lines to make them look like pine needles. This was all done without me knowing what the end product would look like. The three white balls were to be coloured, and glued under the green curved lines, the snowman could be given arms, a face and clothing and the Christmas tree was glued and decorated any way I wanted. The paper and crayons were all supplied by Severn and the only thing I supplied was the glue. It was fun. I am looking forward to her coming up with more craft ideas and kits.

I must say, my grandchildren are starting out to be lovely crafty little people.