Wednesday, December 7, 2011

a blogging break

Life has been more than busy lately. It's been a bit of a crazy year at home and work, and I have been feeling increasingly overwhelmed and drained. The stuff I normally turn to for stress relief, like blogging and crafting, haven't seemed as fun, and sometimes have even felt like another chore to deal with.

Signal received- time for a break.

I made the decision a few weeks ago, during a particularly stressful week at home and work, that I was just going to STOP. Could I really do that? Give STORE BOUGHT Christmas gifts?!? BUY a platter of dainties for Christmas? The concept was so liberating. For the last couple weekends I have spent my energy going out and reconnecting with friends, spending quality time with my kids, enjoying an extra glass of wine, making snowmen instead of making supper, watching some t.v. (while not simultaneously stitching). I have enjoyed some good belly laughs, and it made me realize how long it has been since I have felt REALLY GOOD. I miss that Me, and I am hoping to spend more time with Her in the coming weeks. I am on the right track!

I also want to be sure to really soak in the holidays this year with my kids and husband (aren't they cute? These pictures were taken by the talented May Arason-Li). My kids are at that perfect age, where everything is so magical, and I don't want to miss a second because I was holed away in my craft room sewing.

So, I am shutting things down for a bit! Only craft when the fever strikes, and not because of any feeling of obligation. I plan to limit my computer time as well, but I promise to pop in from time to time to say hello and to check in on all my crafty muses :)

Happy holidays, everyone! Hope you live it up! See you in the New Year!

And if you have a minute, this video by a talented local Winnipeg high school student is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit :) Shot all around my beautiful city!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Drunkard's Path QAL: Winners!

Thanks again to everyone who braved the curves and participated in our quilt along, and to those of you who couldn't participate but who cheered us on! It was my first time piecing curves as well, usually I have done them with applique in the past, and I have to say that this quilt was certainly the cure for curvitis! Despite the learning "curve" (hahaha!), it was a fun block to do and with its versatility I know I will be back for more. If you haven't done so already, you can go peruse the finished quilt tops here.

Now it is time to announce our prize winners! Thanks to our sponsors for their donations :)

The fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's Prince Charming fabric donated by The Fabric Shoppe goes to:

B. Yazoo!

The $40 gift certificate courtesy of Fresh Squeezed Fabrics goes to:

Beth at Sewing for Sanity!

Congratulations, Ladies! We will be in touch to get you your prizes :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am thinking of using this:

for this:
That Girl... That Quilt


What do you think? Anything I should remove/add?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Drunkard's Path QAL: Link up your quilt tops!

Whoo hoo! We finished! This block wasn't for sissies :) Good job everyone! It has been so fun for Kate and I watching all the lovely quilt tops take shape over in the Flickr group.

The process had its moments, but once I saw my final quilt top, I was in love. I am pretty sure this will be my favorite quilt ever. And it is mine-all-mine!! I am treating myself to some long arm quilting on this one by Jenny :)

I love the fabrics (Bonnie and Camille's Ruby), and am really happy with the block arrangement that I chose (thanks to everyone for their input!). It was the scrappy diamond shaped option which had the secondary shape of the flower in white once the blocks were joined together. With so many great block options, I am pretty certain that I will be back to do another of these in the future.

Now it is time to link up your finished quilt top (or quilt, for those of you who have finished!) to be eligible for one of our prizes! We have 2 amazing prizes:

- a $40 gift certificate from Randi at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics!
- a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's Prince Charming fabric from Fabric Shoppe!

Be sure to visit these great shops to show your appreciation :)

So go ahead and link up your quilt tops! Links will show up both here and on Kate's blog (how cool is that?). You can link up until December 5, 2011, at which time we will randomly select our 2 winners. Good luck, and congratulations on your finishes!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Snow Day!

Woke up this morning to some beautiful, fluffy snow. Just gorgeous. The temperature was mild, just around freezing, which made this snow sticky and perfect for snowmen (and snowball fights!).

Chores were abandoned and we got to work. We even had Christmas carols playing on our outdoor speakers! Couldn't have been more serene and perfect.

Over the course of a couple hours, we assembled a little snow family! We set them up facing our house so that we can see them perfectly while at the kitchen table. One snowperson to represent each of us :)

I think this was just about the perfect day. Time with the kids, the spirit of the season in our hearts, a little bit of time sewing this morning (finished off my DP top! Yay!) and some Christmas baking. Plans to snuggle up on the sofa to watch a Christmas movie tonight with a big bowl of popcorn. Life is good!

I hope all of my American friends are enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, but still a special weekend here as tomorrow is a big day for sports is Grey Cup Sunday, the Canadian Football League's equivalent to the Superbowl, and our hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in the game. Go Blue Go! And pass the chips and dip ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seed stitch mittens: a pattern

I wanted to make some mittens in seed stitch to go with my hat made with the Autumn pattern by Jane Richmond. Nothing I could find was catching my eye, so, with necessity as the mother of invention, I decided, what the heck, I would write my own pattern!

This pattern is for one pair of seed stitch mittens. The smaller size is a woman's, the large are made to fit men. To modify size larger or smaller from here, you need to cast on with +/- 6 stitches to maintain both the 2-1 ribbing and to have an odd number of stitches for the seed stitch.

Pattern notes:

Sizes: Woman (Men)

Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, gauge 3-3.5 st/inch
- approximately one skein (104 yards/ 3.5 oz) required (I went slightly over for the men's size)
Needles: 6mm/US 10 dpns or long circular if using the magic loop method
Yarn needle to weave in ends

Abbreviations: K=knit, P=purl, M=make one, dpn= double pointed needles, st=stitch, K2tog= knit 2 together, P2tog= purl 2 together

Seed stitch: this stitch involves alternating knitting and purling stitches, then repeating the same in the opposite order in the proceeding round.
round 1: k1, (p1, k1) to end of round
round 2: p1, (k1, p1) to end of round

Note: Both left and right mittens are knit the same.

Cast on 21(27) stitches. Divide stitches in multiples of 3 onto 3 dps or into 2 groups for magic loop method. Join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Round 1: (K2 P1) to end of round
Repeat for 2.5 inches

Thumb gusset:
Round 1: K1, (P1, K1) repeat to end of round
Round 2: K1, P1, K1, P1 then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 3: K1, P1, K1, M1, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 4: K1, P1, K2, P1 then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 5: K1, P1, K1, M1, K1, P1 then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 6: K1, P1, K3, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 7: K1, P1, K1, M1, K2, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 8: K1, P1, K4, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 9: K1, P1, K1, M1, K3, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 10: K1, P1, K5, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 11: K1, P1, K1, M1, K4, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 12: K1, P1, K6, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 13: K1, P1, K1, M1, K5, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 14: K1, P1, K7, P1,then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 15: K1, P1, K1, M1, K6, P1, then seed stitch to end of round starting with K1
Round 16: K1, P1, K8, P1, then then seed stitch to end of round starting with P1
Round 17: K2, slip 8 onto stitch holder, cast on one stitch using backward loop method, then (P1, K1) to end of round: 21 (27) st on needles

Body of mitten:
Round 1: P1,(K1, P1) repeat to end of round
Round 2: K1, (P1, K1) repeat to end of round
Continue to repeat round 1 and 2 (i.e. seed stitch) until mitten is 7 (8) inches from top of ribbing, ending with round 2

Top shaping:

Round 1: P1, (K2tog, P2 tog) to end: 14st on needles
Round 2: (K1, P1) to end
Round 3: (K2tog, P2tog) to end: 7 st on needles

Round 1: P1, (K2tog, P2tog) to end: 11 st on needles
Round 2: K1, (P1, K1) to end
Round 3: P1, K2tog, (P2tog, K2tog) to end: 6 st on needles

Both sizes: Cut yarn, leaving a 4 inch tail, thread through remaining stitches and pull tight. Weave in tail on inside of mitten to secure.

Transfer 8 stitches from holder onto needles and knit. Pick up 6 stitches at base of thumb (for a total of 14 st). Divide on 3 needles (4-4-4) and knit in the round until thumb measures 2 inches.
Next round: K2tog to end (7 st on needles).
Next: knit
Next: K1, (K2tog) to end
Cut yarn with a 4 inch tail, thread through remaining 4 stitches and pull tight. Weave in tail on inside of mitten and secure.

Weave in remaining ends and get set to make some snowballs!! Don't forget to make a second one, eh?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

stuff I've knit lately

I am a bit behind lately with blogging stuff that I have made. Keep forgetting to take pictures, which must tell you how very busy I am, I am usually really good about that! Anyways, with snow and cold now finding us in the Great White North, these items have been swallowed up into my everyday wardrobe and are being happily put to use to keep all my bits and pieces warm :)

Another slouch hat (details on Ravelry here):

Another Autumn hat (details on Ravelry here):

And some matching seed stitch mittens, in a pattern by yours truly. Which I plan to post for you in the next day or so :) Again with the Ravelry.

The winter ensemble. Photo courtesy of Big G :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mother-daughter quilt collaborations

I was thinking that I would make Last But Not Least a doll quilt for Christmas, using the design she drew as she was so excited about it. But, seeing as my kids have the attention span of goldfish and in 6 weeks she would likely not even remember, I thought I would instead make this a "together" project that we could work on over the weekend, between ballet, tap, hockey and several hundred loads of laundry. You know, life.

So we started by pulling fabrics to represent her purple, pink and yellow color scheme- I love how well the Anna Maria Horner print goes with the Hope Valley! We chose some Erin McMorris that I have been hoarding for 2 years for the back.

Next, I made a quilt sandwich and bound it up with some of my favorite yellow seed stitch fabric. Then I ironed some Heat and Bond to the back of strips of fabric, and then had the girls cut them up into nice wonky squares, just like in the "design"!

Last But Not Least then used her drawing as a guide and instructed her sister as to where the squares should be placed. I gave them a press and then sewed them onto the sandwich, ticker tape style.

Voila! A completed doll quilt. Smiles are free.

When asked if she was happy with the quilt she designed and help to make, her answer was, "It's nice and all, but I think my picture looks MUCH better." Can't win 'em all. To be fair, she was cranky and suffering from separation anxiety from Kitty, who was in the wash due to an unfortunate swim in the toilet at some point in the midst of all this fun. Life.

Well, for those of you who have more than one child, you know what comes next.

The Middle Child announces, "Don't I get to make a quilt?"

Of course you do. Fair is fair.

She is all about princesses and puppies, and since I have a huge stack of Heather Ross FFA2 that I am still planning to use to make a quilt for her bed (eventually), I suggested we start there. She selected the fabrics she wanted and got to work making a design of her own. But don't forget the pink puppies, Mom! Out comes the Pips.

I made this one wonky long cabin style, kind of like the blocks I had started with the Ghastlies. I must have been in a wordy mood that day as I chose another text print for the binding here, by Sweetwater (though I am too lazy to get up and go look at which one). For quilting, I just did some straight line quilting around the edges, because, let's face it, at this point it was time to make supper already.

The Middle Child was very pleased with the result (no critiques at all this time!).

So, my friends, that is the tale of 2 minis, made with my daughters, on a sunny and crispy cold Saturday afternoon. Probably the most fun I have had quilting in a very long time. And that's what it's all about!

Linking up at Canoe Ridge Creations and Quilt Story.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A+ Art Portfolio by Hopeful Threads

Have you met the OTHER Kristy, over at Hopeful Threads? The whole philosophy of her blog is about sewing to give back. She is awesome. She recently has become involved in a great organization called Create H.O.P.E. Designs, where a bunch of talented designers have come together and donated their time to make patterns, which are then sold for a mere 5 bucks a piece, with 100% (!!) of the proceeds benefiting orphaned children all over the world.

Kristy's contribution is the A+ Art Portfolio! It is a super cute bag designed with the little artist in mind, with a laminate lining for containing messes. She even details a bunch of modifications and variations to the pattern on her blog, here.

The pattern can be found at Create H.O.P.E. so go check it out, along with the many other great patterns available! I got my copy and hope to whip a couple up in time for the holidays :) Kind of perfect to make a great kid gift, while helping other kids at the same time, wouldn't you say?

Friday, November 18, 2011

like mother, like daughter

Last But Not Least has been into drawing lately, and does amazingly good work for her age (in my unbiased opinion as her mother). She has an "artist's notebook" in which she makes her most prized creations. One night this week, she decided to make a quilt, like Mom! So, with one of mine spread out on the floor as her "inspiration," she chose her color scheme (pink, purple, yellow) and got to work designing her very own quilt.

She even carefully labelled it as such in her sweet little handwriting at the top of the page.

I am actually really digging her design....maybe I should translate this into fabric?

That's my girl! I guess you could say she is a chip off the old {quilt} block ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Anti-Thrifter

Seems like lately I have been "helping the economy" like gangbusters. I was showing lots of restraint until Salt Lake City- then it was like a dam broke. I have been buying things here and there and, well, I am just going to brag about it now. Simple as that.

First up, I love me some nice accessories. And I found the perfect pair of ankle boots that tie up with these cute wraps. I admit they cost a pretty penny, but, when I strut myself around town in these puppies, I feel like Hot Mom. Bonus: most comfortable shoes EVER! No regrets. All 3 kids don't have to go to university, really.

This box arrived for me...come to mama. I am going to love you up into a sweater, oh yes I am! How awesome is this color?

I admit I am a Fabric Pig. Pig, I say!! In a moment of weakness, these lovely fabrics found their way into my cart....The Echo line is divine, and who can resist Denyse Schmidt and Joel Dewberry? I had no choice, truth be told.

Jewelry. Pinterest is going to cost me a lot of dough. I see cute stuff, I follow the link, only $15 on etsy? Okay! Invite a few sparkly friends! Yikes! Here are a couple awesome finds I found here and here (in case you want to come and join The Dark Side).

Off to find some new hiding places for all my goodies!