Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Yes,  this actually 3 posts in one week so far, and 3 link ups.  I am feeling sociable ;)

After my huge surge of productivity at retreat, I have basically sat on my arse and done nothing to progress the Christmas present crafting.  But yesterday, I had a day off work and opted to neglect all housework to get down to some business.

Time to do some dreaded basting!  I used my handy dandy 505 + dumbell method.

And had my trusty sidekick guard the batting.

Soon enough, I had basted my 3 quilt tops from retreat:

And then for no good reason whatsoever, I decided I needed to piece myself a Christmas table topper.  This shows how much I suck at time management.....clock is ticking on holiday gifts but I opt to start a new thing for me.  But I got inspired and couldn't help myself.

So this became this:

And in the wee hours of the night, here is what I ended up with.  I so love the result!

This finished up at 22" square, and has 185 pieces!  Inspiration was here, and decided to add neutral squares as the back drop after the fun I had making the sprout blocks for Tracey. It is going to be our coffee table topper over the holidays.  I am thinking I may cut it to be round instead of square?  And am thinking about quitting....suggestions???

See you all at WIP Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

a scrappy souvenir

While away at retreat earlier this month, I had a chance to meet the fabulous quilting Krista.  She put together a couple bags while there, and when I complimented her fabric choices, she generously shovelled her scraps over to my work table.  They came home with me as I contemplated the perfect project.  I pulled a couple complimentary fabrics from my stash and decided on this:

Our camera is reasonably new, and my biggest pet peeve (or my husband's, I should say), is that I am constantly misplacing the lens cap cover.  I used this tutorial from LBG Studio, which conveniently includes a little pocket for the cap on the side.  Perfect!  I modified the design somewhat and quilted it, as I love that look, and am so pleased with the outcome.  It feels so comfy on the neck, and it is gender neutral enough that the Hubs is happy to wear it.

Thanks, Krista, for the lovely scraps!  I will think of you every time I am clicking away :)

Sharing over at Fabric Tuesday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

and then there were three

I so loved the pillows that Svetlana made for me that I decided they needed a friend.  so, I pulled out my scraps from my quilted retreat bag and put together this snazzy chevron number:


I quilted it it chevrons as well, while I was at it!

The back is a Denyse Schmidt dot, and I basically copied the zipper installation method that Svetlana used.

Here is the happy trio!  I think I may get addicted to making these....

Happy Monday!  Linking up at Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday  :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Awesome swaps, take 2

In addition to some fantastic pillows, I also received a second fun swap package last week, from Cherie of Sew and So Quilts.  Cherie and I met at Sewing Summit last year, and have been friends ever since.  She found some adorable slippers on Pinterest and wondered if I could make her a pair.  I did a test knit, making some for myself to figure out the process first, then made some for Cherie.  I sent them off along with some assorted goodies, many the same as in Svetlana's package (and never thought to take a photo first, oops!).   In exchange, she agreed to make me this wonderful holiday mini:

(I was too excited to iron this first, haha!)

I just love it!  I have had this pattern (from Purl Bee) on my to-do list for ages!  I love that it was instead made by a friend, so that I can smile and think of her each Christmas when I hang it on my wall :)

She did a fantastic job, I  adore all of the fabrics she chose, the quilting, the binding and backing...the whole shebang!  Now I just have to pick up a dowel so I can hang it on my wall this holiday season, and for many more to come.  Thanks so much for a great swap, Cherie!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Awesome swaps, take 1

Last week was a great mail week- I received packages from two fantastic private swaps with friends!  First up was from my friend Svetlana.  She makes the most amazing pillows, which is something always on my to-do list but never seems to make it to the top.  So I swindled her into making one for my offering up some knitting in return.  I am sneaky like that :)

I have this huge chocolate brown leather sectional that has been in want of pillows for ages, but I wasn't sure how to start.  I told Svetlana some of my favorite colors and she came up with the perfect pillow.  Or, should I say PILLOWS!  That's right, she sent not one, but TWO beautiful pillows my way!

They look just stunning together on my couch :)

And they have been very well received by my family :) Last But Not Least especially loved the fabric on the back of the smaller pillow with the texty penguins!

Svetlana's work is amazing, her points are all perfectly matched, her quilting straight as an arrow!  She is really a very talented lady, and wonderful person, to boot.  As you may recall, we had the chance to meet in person this spring when I went to Naperville for a fundraiser walk for SCAD, the type of heart attack my best friend suffered in the fall of 2011.  Svetlana brought her entire family along for the walk in support.  How amazing is that?  I loved walking and chatting with her, and hope to meet up with her again next fall when I plan to return to walk again :)

In exchange for these amazing goodies, I got to work and knit her up a soft and cozy cowl, to help ward off the chill of the Illinois winters.  I used the popular honey cowl pattern from Madelinetosh and used one of my favorite wools, Tanis Fiber Arts green label in charcoal.

It can be worn long...

...or wrapped twice.

(man, am I ever a dorky model!)

I sent it off along with a few odds and ends, a journal, some Canadian chocolate, things like that.  The cowl was a fun knit, and I am glad to say the package has been received and being enjoyed :)

Thanks, Svetlana, for a great swap!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

look who came to visit!

Thursday night, to my surprise and delight, I had a special visitor.  Edward!  And I thought I would have to wait until Friday night at the movie theatre to see him again!

We had a nice chat about the world, the quilts he had seen in him many years on earth, and a bit about that Trampire Kristen Stewart.   Then he set about to make me dinner.  He made a lovely pasta with garlic sauce.  Garlic and vampires, you say?  Don't worry, I brushed my teeth thoroughly before we made out.

Then he got right to work doing the dishes.  "Let me help," I exclaimed, but he insisted I sit and relax.  "You give me everything just by breathing," he said.  So I put my feet up and let him go about his work.

After dinner, it was the Twilight hour, so we took a romantic walk in the park.  I know, as a vampire, he doesn't get cold, but I still offered him my latest cowl, the Big Herringbone Cowl by Purl Bee, knit in Madelinetosh chunky wool in Cove.  He loved the intricate herringbone pattern and said the soft texture of the wool was even soft to his stony skin.

All too soon he had to go.  But luckily, I had a date already planned with him for Friday night.  It is a tradition for the girls at work to go and see each instalment of the Twilight movie on opening night. It did not disappoint!  Loved it, though sad for it coming to an end.

On the way home, I spied someone peering at me through the window of my office.....

(Gotta love the sense of humor of my staff :)

Are you a Twihard?  Did you see the movie??  What did you think?  Discuss.

p.s.  as someone will invariably ask....yes, I do own a life-sized cardboard Edward.  I bought it in a small town in Minnesota several years ago, and it was worth every penny.  It led to an interesting encounter with the Canada/USA border control on our return....

"What did you buy from the USA to bring back into Canada?"  
" A 2-4 of beer, and a life sized Edward."  
"A whaaat?"  
They then proceeded to search our vehicle.  :P

Friday, November 16, 2012

Loon Lake Retreat Part 2: the stuff I made

I am linking up with Sew Modern Monday and with my buddy Felicity with Friday Felicities.  My felicity is PRODUCTIVITY.

Shame on you non-believers who thought I had a too-ambitious list for a weekend of sewing on retreat...just so you know, I kicked some quilting ass!

Huge quilty bag- DONE! You could hide a body in this thing.

Seven (count 'em people, SEVEN) little house purses- DONE!  Made a little village out of them, no two are the same :)  In case you missed the original post on these, they are from this pattern.  They knock me out with cuteness, they really do.

Three quilt tops.  You got it!

First up was from a quilt kit I purchased from another favourite friend, Amy from Diary of a, two years ago?  Time flies!  Anyway, had started it last year, so finished the top on retreat.

Next up, my Linky Love quilt top, pattern by Traceyjay Quilts.  This is a fabulous pattern, but a thinker!  Had to work on this early in the day before I had had too much wine :)  Turns out I left a few missing pieces at home, but I still declare this (mostly) finished!

Thirdly, I started on a quilt top for a Christmas present, using a jelly roll given to me by Alison some time ago.  Not my normal style of fabric, but some nice warm colors well suited for the recipient, and I thought once it was sliced and diced I would like it better.

Nope, turns out ugly fabric is just ugly, any way you slice it!  I loved the pattern and still plan to quilt it up, will see how the finished project feels.

So, all in all, a very productive weekend.  Only 359 sleeps until next year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Loon Lake retreat part 1: the people

I think it would be near impossible to NOT have fun spending four days sewing to your heart's content, eating gourmet meals that you don't have to make, and waking up to this view every day:

But it's really the people who top it all with awesome sauce.

And this group of ladies was a saucy bunch!


Let's start at the beginning: the master planner, puppeteer, orchestrator of the magic, Krista of Poppyprint.  As this is a small invite-only retreat, you may want to start kissing her arse now so that you can get invited should she have a rare cancelation next year.  Let me tell you, I was on my best behavior and didn't even utter an f-sharp until the last day (I was trying to unsuccessfully sew together some very ugly fabric, but more on that later).  It seems I may have bamboozled her and now have a sturdy foothold that I never plan to relinquish!

If you ever get a chance to take a retreat planned by Krista, do it.  The woman is not only Awesome with a capital A, she is organized.  We wanted for nothing on this trip, all things were smoothly handled and just simply perfect.

For example:  I hoped to borrow a sewing machine so I didn't have to drag mine on the plane, she provided it.  I was short some Pellon interfacing, she happened to have a bolt (!!!) on hand.  I needed some buttonholes for a project that my machine couldn't do, she made them.  For wine of course.  Just look at her, hard at work......

Then there is Krista Withers, longarm arm quilter extraordinaire.  That woman can quilt the bejesus out of stuff, let me tell you, you really need to RUN over to her blog and check it out.  Love this girl.  

I do believe that I may have found a wee bit of a sister-in-mischief with her, as she backed me up as I tried to bring this schenanigans to fruition:

The two Kristas make up K1 and K2, and the missing Krista of Spotted Stones, who attended last year's retreat, is K3.  They granted my the name of K3.5, and said to get the full K4 status I have until next November to have my name legally changed from Kristie to Krista.  Am currently sorting through the paperwork.

Felicity- I could go on forever about this wonderful woman!  She has the most gorgeous eyes and the best laugh...all weekend I strived to be funny just to hear it!  She and her family welcomed me into their home on my arrival and fed me a wonderful brunch while her adorable daughter G showed me all of her precious toys and some of her very best dance moves.  Then she took me shopping for shoes....I love that she was able to find the PERFECT pair for me in seconds: "These shoes scream "Kristie" to me."  Just goes to show you how well you can know people you hadn't physically met.

We got to enjoy some extra time together on the car ride to and from Loon Lake, and just had a blast.  Never an awkward pause in conversation, just instant friends!

In addition to these handful of blogging friends I had known prior to the retreat, I got to meet a bunch of other amazing women who kept me in stitches (pardon the pun) all weekend long.  I was seated with an amazing group of five new-to-me women who took me under their wing and became fast friends.

Berene of Happy Sew Lucky has a wonderful sense of humor that I instantly loved.  And I admit I had a bit of a girl crush on her for her mad skillz.  She is a designer by trade, and has the most original ideas, and an amazing shop full of fantastic kits and patterns that I loved!  And by fluke it turns out she is the designer of my latest favorite fabric I recently purchased from Spoonflower!  Felt like I was seated next to a rock star. Check out this pincushion and needle holder she designed and has in her shop!

Janet of What Comes Next? is likely not only the nicest person I have ever met, but also the most talented   machine quilter that I have ever seen.  What she was churning out on her home machine truly dazzled me.  Loved her humour, too...we could all use a "Hit head here" pillow!

Petrushka was a hoot, constantly coming up with zingers that shocked even me.  Really?  A waitress in a bunny suit?

Vicki was the first to finish a quilt on the weekend, and an amazing one it was.

Jan was a tablemate and one of the Fab 4, a group of, you guessed it, four of us ladies, along with Susan and Ellen, who took some time each day to enjoy some fabulous hikes.  These ladies were kind enough not to leave the prairie girl in the dust. The trail around the lake was fantastic, with a moving dock that had to be pulled over to cross the lake at one point.

Luckily we made it back just before dark!

So many other amazing women met who I now call friends....Sandie, Sindy, Paula, Joann, Rebecca (Never, ever, ever.....) and more!  Can't wait to meet up again next year!

Next post- the stuff I actually made :)