Monday, December 30, 2013

cold. colder. coldest. And coupon.

I am grumpy.  It has been about -30 degrees here for about 3 weeks now.  As far as cold snaps go, this has CROSSED THE LINE.

But luckily I have has some cheering up from some lovely people who have been whipping up Good Old Hockey Quilts for loved ones for Christmas. Thought I would share a couple here that I have received this week….

By Alison (alisonharle on IG):

By Ileen:

By Liz:

Aren't they awesome?!?!

So I have decided to run a coupon on the pattern to celebrate the new year, and hopefully generate some good karma to banish this frigid weather!!   So, from now until January 6/14,  The Good Old Hockey Game quilt pattern on Etsy is 25% off with the coupon code "hockeycanada".

Off to shovel the driveway. Again.

Monday, December 23, 2013

favorite things

I think my singular favourite thing about the holidays is tradition.  It is the repetition of acts, from year to year, generation to generation, that I hold the most dear.  And nothing makes me happier than when my children see the value in those things as well.  This year, as we scanned our very over scheduled calendar to try and find a few hours on a weekend when we were ALL free to go to the country to the usual tree farm to get our fresh tree, there was no time to be found.  When I suggested we instead just pick up a tree in the city, the kids protested.  Together, they decided to make some sacrifices, skip some activities- ringette, hockey, dance classes- and MAKE the time to maintain our family tradition.  And so we did.  Sure, it was literally -40 degrees on the day we chose, but we bundled up and still merrily chose our tree, went on a sleigh ride, and drank hot chocolate as we do every year.  

It was magical.

I also love digging out the Christmas decorations every year.  Ornaments the kids have made, pictures with Santa, and some of my favourite Crafts of Christmas' Past.  

My quilted tree wall hanging made by my friend Cherie.

My hand quilted star table topper.

 (to name a few).

Whatever the holiday season means to you, I hope it is filled with love and joy.  I recently asked LBNL if she knew the "true" meaning of Christmas.  She replied, "Of course!  It's about baby Jesus, friends and family!"  May your holiday be filled with all of those…and maybe throw in a few fabric presents ;)

See you in 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

making a list, checking it twice

My day, from beginning to end, involves lists.  Loooooong lists that I never see the end of.  You know the feeling?  So I thought I might as well strive make lists prettier for me and my friends.

Taking an idea from Krista, I bought a whole bunch of little Moleskine lined notebooks, then dug into my scrap bucket to pretty them up!

These were quick and lots of fun.  I used a bit of glue stick to tack them on to the cover, then machine sewed around the edges.  Easy peasy. And they make great little gifts for friends or hostesses over the holiday season, each with their own little bit of personality.

I have snagged one for myself to keep and have already gotten busy with my list making. So, have YOU been naughty or nice???

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

dancing cargo duffle

I made dance totes for my kids several years ago, which I still love.  But The Middle Child has since advanced to a competitive dance troupe, and spends many hours at the studio per week.  She needed a bigger bag for all of her gear.  And a handmade dance bag was one of the only things she requested for Christmas.  Like a crafting mama needs any further prompting??

Then Anna of Noodlehead released her Cargo Duffle pattern for Robert Kaufman.  Not only is it fabulous, it is FREE (thanks, Anna!).  I NEEDED to make one, and A + B = Dance Cargo Duffle.

I modified it slightly, making it smaller in width by about 2 inches, which still provided oodles of room.  I also only did one cargo pocket as I only had a small scrap of my favourite Japanese ballerina fabric left, which I used for the pocket flap.  L-O-V-E. 

The bag is quilted in a quilt-as-you-go manner to achieve its structure.  The top half I quilted in straight lines (well, as straight as I can manage), and for the bottom portion I did a combination of freehand swirls and pebbles.  The raw sedges inside the bag are then covered with bias tape.  I had a half genius idea to cut my lining pieces a half inch larger on each side to allow fabric for fold over to cover the edges without bias tape.  I say "half genius" because if I was really smart, I would have allowed a full inch for a double fold cover….a bit of pulling and coaxing was required, but it all worked out well!

I used a variety of girly fabrics for this bag- a wee floral from Tasha Noel's Little Red Riding Hood, a bit of Aneela Hoey Cherry Christmas, some Camille and Bonnie Bliss, a Riley Blake stripe, and some Essex linen to round things out, all from my stash.  Which I have to say, only encouraged me further to justify my ridiculously out-of-control fabric hoarding….love how I had all these fabrics on hand that went together so perfectly!

I think my very favourite detail is the personalized label on the side panel, using printable fabric.  Super cute and prevents other jealous ballerinas from trying to pinch her bag ;)

All in all, I expect to have a very happy little girl dancing around the tree on Christmas morning!  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Just when you thought you'd seen it all…….

Warning: not for the faint of heart, but I just had to share.  This is crazy with a side of bonkers.  "Extreme knitting" to a whole new level.

Don't say I didn't warn you….click here, brave ones!

And happy Friday.

(or vaginas, as the case may be)
Image via Pinterest

Monday, December 2, 2013

snowfling mittens

When you live in "Winterpeg," you need some good mittens.

And I think mine are THE BEST!!

This is likely the fanciest thing I have ever knit up, my first go at colorwork, and while they appear really advanced, they were quite simple to do.  It is a pattern and kit by Tanis Fiber Arts aptly named "Snowfling Mitts."  I tested them- they fling snow alright!

Not only are they perfectly adorable on the outside, they are LINED with a super soft and happy coloured cashmere wool blend to keep your hands extra toasty!   That little flash of colourful lining makes me so happy, like a best kept secret :)

(I love the picot edging at the wrist- so many cute details like that in this pattern)

These have already gotten plenty of good use and have received many compliments.  I feel like a knitting rock star!  These should definitely help with the winter blues when the snow is still here in, like, April.

Friday, November 22, 2013

a quilt for the plaid baby

One of my favourite quilty friends, Kaelin of The Plaid Scottie, welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl, Merida, into the world this past week!  There are a group of us who chat daily on Facebook about quilting and basically every other issue known to man (and some I am sure no one else has ever dreamed up), and we have been excitedly awaiting this moment since the pee hit the stick ;)  Even before Merida was conceived, Kaelin had put her order in for the Coolbreeze sweater I showed you here.  But in addition to that, the group of us decided to, naturally, make her a quilt.

Angela quarterbacked the whole thing (and I pinched all the finished quilt pictures from her site, with her permission of course).  After much discussion we opted on a paper pieced square in a square block that could showcase our collections of cute and precious fabrics, perfect for an I Spy quilt!  Oh what fun watching this come together!

There were about 10 us making this quilt for Kaelin and her "plaid baby" as she is known to us; Angela, Cherie, Cara, Michelle, Kelly, Ali, Amy, Rene, Elena, Tracey and myself.  Merida's nursery theme is "The Fabulous Mr. Fox" so there is definitely and abundance of fox-themed fabrics present.  These are the blocks I contributed!

A big shout out to Angela for quilting and binding this baby to perfection!

We are all so thrilled for Kaelin, and wish her and her new little family all the best.  And we hope Merida inherits her mother's appreciation and love of good fabric!! I am sure this is a good start ;)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Loon Lake Retreat 2013

This past long weekend I had the amazing opportunity once again to attend the Loon Lake Quilt Retreat in beautiful British Columbia!  Loon Lake is and hour or so outside of Vancouver, a quiet (except for the rowdy quilters) lodge all on its own on a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains, forest and mist.  Sigh. Pretty much the best thing you can imagine.

The retreat is run by the lovely Krista/K1 of Poppyprint.  I was lucky enough to get invited on a cancelation last year, and have basically told The Hubs that there is no freaking way I am relinquishing my spot EVER, so I plan for this to be my annual get away.  I was on my best behaviour and, aside from trying to engage a group of Buddists in conversation (who happened to by on a silent retreat), I managed to behave and avoid any of the ridiculously embarrassing predicaments that I normally find myself in.  It is a pretty exclusive group of incredible quilters and women hand picked by Krista.  
Everyone gets along so well and it is four days filled with inspiration and food and wine and nature and essentially BLISS. So if you are hoping to ever crack the list and weasel in on a cancellation like me, I suggest you start buttering Krista up now- she likes coffee and chocolate, FYI.

Aside from Krista/K1, I also got to reunite with Krista/K2 Withers, the amazing long arm quilter.  Just a warm, personable fun girl.  I also finally met Krista/K3 of Spotted Stones, who I just loved so much.  Incredibly sweet and kind, and just an amazing aesthetic.  She whipped up the most beautiful things!  I even got spoiled with some gifts on my first day there- one of K3's fabulous deer hyde and screen printed fabric pouches and a Liberty hand embroidered bookmark and book from K1.  Thanks ladies! I love them :)

And of course there is the lovely Felicity of Felicity Quilts, the hilarious Berene of Happy Sew Lucky, the talented Janet of What Comes Next?, and Sindy, JoAnne, Paula and more who you may know from IG.  Such an amazing group who have become true friends! I sewed a table with Felicity, Sindy and Petrushka all and they kept me in stitches (pardon the pun) all weekend!

(3 o'clock in B.C. but 5 o'clock Winnipeg time…time for wine!)

Anyways, enough name dropping ;)

So what did I actually DO?  I spent some time each morning having tea and doing a little stitching outside on the dock, enjoying the quiet and the view.

I went on a two hour hike around the lake with a group of ladies.  We channelled our inner Huckleberry Finns to use this wooden raft on a pulley system to cross the lake.

Of course I did some sewing.

In fact, I borrowed K1's old Pfaff and I am pretty sure it was crying for mercy!  Amazing how much you can get done with a glass of wine in hand ;)   I pre-cut all my fabric which was a huge help, and managed to stitch together 3 quilt tops and 5 pouches!

For two of the quilt tops, I used the same fabrics but different patterns.  They are twin sized, meant for Last But Not Least's bunk beds at the cottage.  Bright and happy pinks, oranges and yellows, perfect for summertime!  I went with simple classic patterns, ones I thought that would fit in well with cottage style- equilateral triangles and Granny Squares. I love how they coordinate without being match-matchy.

I ran out of steam before finishing the final twin quilt top for the girls, but squeaked out this baby top from squares that Alison sent me ages ago in a lovely french-themed gauze print.  Will be perfect for a French-Canadian little girl who recently entered the world!

I was gifted some adorable zippers from Berene, so some pouches needed to be made :)  Three were for my kids, and the other 2 will head overseas full of goodies and Christmas gifts for some sweet kids. I hand embroidered the girls' names on theirs, mimicking the speech bubbles in the Erin McMorris Moxie fabric.  For the boys' pouches, I embroidered a simple first initial and patched it in with Essex yarn dyed linen and some home dec weight text fabric from Sweetwater.

Looking back on these pictures makes me a bit moody.  Hard to believe it has come and gone again.  Yes, I am going through a bit of withdrawal.  Only 360 sleeps until next time!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

epic bag.

Just a couple days until I return to Loon Lake in B.C. for another fabulous quilt retreat hosted by Krista.  I have a million things to do to get my house in order before then.  But instead, I decided I NEEDED to make a new bag.

Inspiration hit and nothing could be done- the world had to stop until I got it made.  I made some sketches and got to work.  And the longer I worked at it the more excited I became.  I nicknamed it the "Epic Bag" in some of my Instagram progress pictures, and I think the name has stuck.  Because this bag is epic, dudes.  It has all the elements I love- wonky patchwork. Bits and pieces of some favorite fabrics.  Little details. Fussy cutting. Hand stitching.  Great color mixed with fun low volume fabrics. Hardware and zippers.  Function.  And I think after years of frustration, I finally used the perfect amount of interfacing!  I am so pleased with myself (can you tell?).

The front panel was inspired by a flying geese block tutorial by Hyacinth Quilt Designs found here.  On the back, I added some random flying geese as well, and some fun hand stitching with Perle cotton.

A detail shot of the hardware tabs for the cross-body strap and some of the patchwork and random hand stitching for you!

I even used some favorite fabrics for lining.  Heather Ross pin people in the front zippered pocket....

...and some precious Anna Maria Horner Good Folks for my inner lining. The interior has two rows of slip pockets and another zippered one as well. I should have no excuses not to be organized!

The top of the bag has an inset zipper as well to close it securely.

Two sets of straps, so that it may be worn cross body like so, with the top folding over (cute, eh?)....

....or slung over my forearm.

I am thinking that I might draw up a pattern of this is there is any interest??  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

severe crafting warning in effect

I have been feeling rather inspired lately, which means a rash of new sewing, quilting and knitting projects.  Last night I worked into the wee hours on one such project (more on that tomorrow).  It looks like a tornado touched down in my kitchen......

I will neither confirm or deny if it was fuelled by Halloween candy.