Thursday, May 22, 2014

Catching Up Pt 3 - Wallets

And then I came across a pattern for wallets.  And that was that.  I made one or two or a whole lot more!!

I loved making these, the inside, binding and closure tab took just one fat quarter, and then the front portion was cut out of a second fat quarter (a quarter yard of quilting fabric, usually 18" x 22") .

Inside there is space for six credit cards and then the two deeper pockets can hold something larger - perhaps receipts, health cards etc.

Now I made these primarily for myself - not that I need so many wallets, but I like to keep my cards all together so there are no zippers or coin pockets.

And I get really excited about some of these fabric matches - the colours are just such fun!

I called this wallet (above) the 'Cool Cats in London' (what-do-you-mean . . . . your wallets don't have names??)

I bought a panel for the wallet above - it is what I would call 'Primitive Americana' and there are different scenes on it so I could make a number of wallets and although you could tell that they belonged together - they would all be different.  A bit like a clothing collection really.  I got a bit carried away with the labels though, and this one ended up with two!

To finish off I made a sweet little coin purse. This was a new pattern and I'm not too happy about how it ended up (my issues, not the pattens) so I guess in quilting terms it could be known as a 'useable muslin'!!

All in all it has been a fun diversion. I know that I am nearing the end of this sojourn, because when I went to look in my local fabric shop, the quilting fabric was not calling my name! I did have some fun with precision sewing - those 1/4" take a bit of getting used to, but a 1/4" foot helps immeasurably. I also got to play with interfacing weights (some of the wallets are pretty rigid whilst others have some bendability).

And the fabrics - I really love the colours and patterns that you get with quilting cottons. I love that these projects are quick and easy (and don't take a large table to cut out on!) and I suspect that I will continue to make little bits and bobs during the week and dress-make at the weekends. I have also toyed with making up some wallets and purses, and maybe some mug rug patterns, to sell on Ebay. Isn't it great that we live in a time when we can realise these kinds of dreams?

I have a busy weekend this weekend - my father really loves Charley Pride, so I am taking him to see Charley in concert this weekend.  Although it is not my kind of music - I remember growing up listening to it, and he has a fabulous voice and great stage presence. So, not much sewing this weekend, but I am now ready to start planning what to make next.  It looks like Winter has finally turned its back on Alberta - we have had temperatures in the 20's (centigrade) all week, so it is probably time to chop up the linen!  How is your Spring/Summer sewing coming along?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Catching Up - Mug Rugs and Wall Hangings

The second post from the trilogy that chronicles my brief sojourn away from dressmaking (I can hear my dress fabric calling me back!) was to dabble in mug rugs.  I have mentioned them previously in this post, and have had a great time sewing up some more . . . .

1. Whales, 2. Jigsaw, 3. Scottie Dogs, 4. Flowers, 5.Tea Cups (my own design), 6. Scottie Dogs (see 3), 7. Four Seasons, 8. Autumnal Leaves, 9. Jigsaw (see 2), 10. Red Flowers, 11. Snowman, 12. Christmas Tree Sampler, 13. Rainbow Stripes (my own design), 14. Autumnal Leaves (see 8.), 15. Home

They range in size from about 8" x 4" to 10" x 6" and do not use up much fabric.  I learned a lot about colours and how they play together, as well as working with light and dark values.  I also found these great outlets for precision sewing (1/4" seams, stitch in the ditch etc) and, of course, hand-sewing!  But most of all, they are just so damn cute - it makes me smile to delve into my fabric stash and choose such lovely fabrics to play with - and a fat quarter goes a loooong way!  I plan on making up some more for Christmas/birthdays - I would parcel one up with a cute mug and some hot chocolate and/or fruity tea.

I have already given most of these away - the 'new home' one was made into a tiny wall hanging for my brother and his wife when they moved into their new house.

I love that the windows are a little wonky - I think it adds to the quirky charm.

And finally, for this post, I made a few wall hangings:

Again, these have all been snagged - I only have the photos to remind myself of them!  I will make another version of the last wall hanging as it is from a fabulous quilt shop in Canmore, Alberta (as is the 'We Love Canada' one), and features the Three Sisters Mountains which were in most of our wedding photos as we got married in Canmore.  Happy memories!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Catching Up - the Knitting Chapter

Well, it has been a few weeks since I last posted (Gosh! It sounds like I'm in confession!) and thank-you to those who inquired about my well being. I am fine - I just lost my dressmaking and blogging mojo. Most strange as it seemed to leave a gap that was quickly filled with knitting and patchwork/quilting! I have been a little loathe to share this diversion with you as I have read many blogs were people say they are put off by posts about quilting/cats/children etc., and then I reminded myself that it is my blog and my journey, so I hope that you will read on and who knows - maybe open your thoughts to other projects that you may find fun!

I am going to start off with a couple of knitting projects - both socks, so no surprise there, but also a little tale about how this has leaked into work.

The first pair of socks are made from my Billy Basic sock pattern (free on Ravelry)

I remember years ago - probably in the early-mid ‘80’s reading about Kaffe Fassett. It was a magazine article and he was photographed sitting on the floor with baskets of yarn around him and he was knitting a jumper or cardigan.

Each basket had a different color of yarn in it - and not all the yarns were the same weight, and some of the lengths of yarn were only a metre or so. He would pull out a piece of yarn in the color he wanted, and would just knit, using many different shades (yellow springs to mind) and it gave such fabulous depth to his knitting. To me, it seemed such a ‘way out’ way of knitting - so liberating to knit with what you had (including leftovers) rather than buying X balls to complete a project, and although I never knit like this myself, he has always been an inspiration - the first knitter that I had read about who broke to rules.

Fast forward 30 years (has it really been that long?) I came across some of his yarn in my local yarn shop, and all those happy memories came flooding back. So I knit some plain socks to show off the lovely yarn. And this is them!

Second up was a pair for Mr. SDSC.  Plain brown in colour but a fabulous pattern that makes clever use of  contrasting knitting and purling to get great results.

I am so pleased with both of these pairs as I have not been able to knit for the best part of 2 years now as I have 'thing' called De Quervains Syndrome that effects my left (non-dominant) wrist.  It has been excruciatingly painful and meant wearing a brace, lots of physio and finally . . . . . a steroid injection.  Oh boy - that injection was fabulous and means that I can now knit quite happily.  Woohoo!

So, a couple of my colleagues at work commented that they wanted to learn to knit and had contemplated signing up at a local yarn shop.  I volunteered my services and for two lunchtimes a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) we gather in our lunch room to knit and chat  no work conversation allowed.  It has really been fun - I have taught four or five ladies to knit, and it has really helped in the workplace (not that we have tough jobs or anything like that, but we do have to deal with quite volatile situations and angry people on the phone and in person).  One of things that I found interesting was that having taught someone to knit - they wanted to go and purchase fancy yarn to actually make something - rather than practice, practice and lose interest.  As a result, there are a number of finished fancy ribbon/fluffy scarves, booties, cowls, infinity scarves etc., and the feeling is that this is 'their time' in a busy workplace, a time when they can relax and clear their minds.  It certainly makes my week a lot happier being able to knit at work!

How about you - any sock knitters out there?  And what are your thoughts on blogs that cover a number of different topics/crafts?