May 18, 2015


This is what my Color Catcher looks like after the washing it had with the flannel, faux-cathedral-window baby quilt. You can't get Color Catchers in Canada, but I've recently heard that there's a similar product that you can get at London Drugs. This thing was white when it went into the washer. All the colour that bled from the blanket is now safely in this thing, and not all over the white on the quilt. PHEW!

This is how it looked before it went in the wash. All of the white bits have raw edges showing, so they poofed up and look a lot more interesting now that they've been washed and dried.

I'll give it to the Mama at the baby shower. I should be able to get a couple more things made by then too. I love sewing and knitting for babies!


May 8, 2015

the sewing update

Now then ... this is where you see a lot more photos, my friends.

I was resisting telling you about quilt camp in my last post, but now I may type freely. I didn't want to make the knitting jealous, you see. A few weeks beforehand, I decided that I needed to make an iron caddy for going on retreats, and that my Mum should have one too. So I made them. My Mum picked the black and white one.

First off at quilt camp, I made a couple pillowcases for my daughter, the Batman lover. My Mum brought along a pattern for the easiest, cleanest pillowcases ever, and they were fun to make. It was the pillowcase burrito pattern.

There is one hidden seam that joins the pillow body to the cuff and the trim. It's super clean and lovely. Then you sew up the bottom and the side on the outside (wrong sides facing), turn it inside-out, and sew a seam that traps the seam allowance inside. That's a French seam. There's nothing to fray and nothing to pull. Genius. I have plans for three six more.

By the end of quilt camp, several other people were making pillowcases too.

I assembled the Batquilt next. It came together really nicely. I've fallen in love with bias-cut half-square triangles. I thought maybe the quilt wasn't going to be big enough, so I bordered it with a 1/2 inch of red and then put on about a 6-inch bat-border. I had it all sandwiched and ready to quilt, but my machine's behaviour scared me off. I send it out to a lovely woman for quilting on her longarm machine. If it looks good when I post the finished quilt, just ask for her name and I'll pass it along.

Also at quilt camp, I assembled and finished the Riley Blake challenge piece that I had to get done before July. My niece asked for a pillow with her name on it, and I had to do a challenge ... two birds, one stone. It's a 24-inch square. She loves her pillow.  :O)

We are having a zippy pouch exchange in my modern quilt guild. I had to do a practice one, so this is my daughter's new makeup bag, mismatched zippers and all.

I have two more cut and ready to go. One of them will get stuffed with something extra for the swap. That'll be fun. I got that fabric at a swap, by the way. I love it. I got about two metres of it, so it was a great find.

That's all for now. I'll try to do this more often. It'll make me look less productive, but whatever.


Apr 30, 2015

the knitting update

What have I been up to lately? Well, let's have a look:

On Pi day, which you may know as March 14th (3.14), I cast on a Pi Shawl. It's from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book called the Knitter's Almanac and this is the pattern (if you can call it that) for June or July. One of those hot months when you really want a massive circular shawl. This could also be a big circular table doily, but alpaca's a little too ... alpaca for that. 

Anyway, when this shawl is worn, you wouldn't know it's a big circle. It gets folded and wrapped in such a way that you're warm as heck and no one is the wiser. It's a very interesting knit and it really does use pi in its construction, so it's a great name for it. And who doesn't like pi? I'm now on the last stretch of about 50 rounds, and I've just gone up to my 60-inch circular needle. There are a (Canadian) TONNE of stitches on that needle!

Also in the knitting realm, I have begun a little baby cocoon for my future nephew. It'll be stripey. I'm not going to spoil it, so no picture yet. My sister-in-law likes to request specific things, so she knows it's coming. Having said this much, there's no spoilage.

I went to quilt camp. It was great. I made a ... neveryoumind. You'll see that in the quilt update - it's coming later. So anyway, I made some stuff. During the making, my machine was skipping stitches and behaving badly. My Mum's friend Robin was so very kind and, after providing me with a different needle, trying my machine with her technique, and eliminating all the variables, she finished off the last bit of stitching for me on her machine. There's a lot to be said for a high-end quilting machine vs. a very basic domestic non-quilting sewing machine.

So anyway, I was so happy that I promised her a hat. She doesn't knit, but I do. There's a colourway that I named after her - Fishing for Robins - so I'm making her an alpaca hat in that colourway, and I'm using the Swirl Hat pattern that I like so much. It's a really basic k2, yo, k4, k2tog, but the way the stitches line up and twist around is very pleasing. I've done a bunch of baby hats with that pattern, but this is my first adult-sized one.

Remember I said I'd have a pattern to release? I haven't decided if I really will yet. I'm not sure the slant on the YOs and the way the decreases work is really the best way to do things, and I'm sort of waiting to see if my daughter can't live without the tank top version this summer. If she loves it that much, I'll publish it, but if not, I'll probably let it slide into the ether.

That's all the knitting news. I really ought to design something new. Maybe a series of accessories. I'll get right on that.


Apr 27, 2015

an oops and a win

The most striking and beautiful pillowcase of the weekend goes to the tiger/dragon combo, with the white contrast trim and the black cuff.

I might have to make more of these. It also came to mind that the fabric may be good for a One Block Wonder. I saw one in progress at quilt camp and I couldn't stop thinking about the possibilities.

Also in the photos, you can see the sassy little zippy pouch with its striking lining. And the second photo shows a surprise inside ... we are doing a swap and someone is going to get that little surprise. Exciting!!

I don't have a single pattern to link to for the pouch because it's a bit of a mash-up. The outside zipper is angled too, which I like. (I do like geometry, but everything can't always be up-and-down, right-and-left.)

Because this is a mash-up, I have a small boo-boo that I need to confess: when I put in the side zipper, I put it in like it was a top zipper. The difference, dear friends, is that one is horizontal with the pocket hanging down and one is not -- that one is vertical and the pocket hangs down, not out. So when you build it like it's horizontal and then sew it up and it's vertical, the pocket has a bit of extra fabric on the near side. I'm going to have to hand-tack that down. It's not huge and it won't be in the way, but it's BUGGING THE  #*$%# OUT OF ME!


Apr 24, 2015

burrito love

I visited the fabric shop this evening, armed with a list. I had plans for four more pillowcases, but ended up cutting for five of them. I can't wait to get sewing on them. Three seams each, and we will call the cutting the 'hard' part. (There isn't really a hard part.)

Want to find out more? Just Google 'pillowcase burrito pattern' and you'll see a bunch of tutorials doing the same thing. I like to use a little trim piece between the body and the contrast edge. On some of these, it will be quite obvious.

I have a couple zippy pouches to finish, but these pillowcases should also be done in no time. Photos to follow!