Thursday, February 28, 2013

Atlanta trip- the sewing

I had one goal and one goal only while in Atlanta: work on my Good Folks king quilt.  And...I even finished the top!!

I have had this bundle of Good Folks for almost 3 years, and was too paralyzed to cut it.  I knew I wanted something special just for me.  Finally, I decided it was Time.  And go big or go about a king quilt for our bed?

Being a king quilt, I wanted larger blocks to keep things proportional.  And, I am not gonna lie to you, I didn't want to spend a million years cutting teeny tiny pieces, so that by the time it was done, I hated the thing. Besides, Anna Maria's fabrics look amazing in larger chunks.  These blocks finish up at 15" each.

I am happy to say (and I have witnesses), that not only was I gushing and giddy the entire time that I was sewing this top, I didn't even utter a single swear word during its construction.  True story!

It came together much faster than I had even dared to dream it would.  But I was on a mission.  Juki and I went hard!

I decided to use a mixture of low volume fabrics as my neutral, and this is one of my favorite parts of the quilt.

I bought a bunch of buttery Little Folks voile for the back.


This baby finishes up at 120" by 90"!  It will be sent to Krista to do some quilting magic :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Atlanta trip- the loot

Ali came up with the great idea to do a swap while we met in Atlanta.  Everyone was assigned a secret partner and make a little handmade treat for them.

My partner was Cara.  I am convinced that she and I are somehow linked in the constellations.  First off, we share the same birthday.  Secondly, her oldest daughter is the same age as my youngest, and they share the same name.  Thirdly, we both have funny embarrassing crap happen to us ALL THE TIME.  I could go on and on about all the things we have in common.  In addition, we both have 3 kids and careers and struggle to find the balance.  She has become a true friend and support to me, and I was so glad to have a chance to make her a little something special.

Cara's favorite color combination is pink, yellow and orange, and I had so much fun with that colorway! First off, I decided to knit her a fun pair of fingerless gloves in some soft squooshy yarn I had been saving!

The pattern is called Nalu mitts, free on Ravelry.  Nalu is Hawaiian for wave, and I loved the wave cable down the front.  You can read more details here.

My second gift had to do with her daughters.  When I was having a particularly bad parenting day last November, Cara not only gave me her ear, but also sent me a copy of her favorite parenting book!  So I decided to do the same.

I love having this book on hand, to record all the cRaZy things my kids are saying, the funny moments and such, so that I can remember and focus on those good moments when they are driving me around the bend.  I flip through it often to recall those moments!  So I knew I needed to give Cara a copy.  I then proceeded to make a patchwork hand quilted cover for the book!


The personalizing touch was to add the three little girls across the front to represent her daughters, using Heather Ross's pin people fabric from her Crafty Chloe collection.  I was fully inspired by this pouch made by Krista.

On the inside cover, I added an inscription on printable fabric.

Then, as a final treat, I made three little coin purses with the corresponding pin people sewn on, one for each of her daughters :)

I had so much fun making this package for Cara!!

In return, I had a gift made for my by Ali.  That girl is such a sweetheart, I love her.  And she could not have hit the nail right on the head any better than with these pouches!!

I love them so hard.  They are absolutely perfect for toting around my knitting projects.  I just love the hand embroidered touch!  And she used some of my favorite fabrics of all time, the Heather Ross roses from FFA2, including the pink roses, which I used the last of mine up for Cara's gift!  So now I have a little of my own to enjoy every day.  Thank you so much, Ali!!  I am already using it to tote along my latest project, a cabled cardigan all for me, using the same yarn that I used for The Middle Child's sweater.

Just love watching these cables take shape!

ALL of the swap gifts were just amazing!  There were minis, bags, and so much goodness, and all so perfectly matched to the recipient.  I wish I had a better photo to capture all of the amazing details.  We were a happy, screeching bunch!

(and a foot picture, just for giggles.....just because it is SO GROSS to see feet in quilt pictures, IMO!!)

In addition to Ali's amazing gift, some of the girls decided to bring packages for the whole gang!  Man, were we spoiled, get a load of this!

So many fun goodies.  Incidentally, if you want to make a beaded necklace like mine, Ali wrote up a tutorial here.

I showed you a peek at the bags I had packed before I left. Inside I had tucked in a couple Canadian goodies, since I was the only Canuck represented.  Some maple green tea and some Bernard Callebaut chocolate, along with some cute stitching tags I found at my favorite shop, Pine Ridge Hollow.

So fun to be spoiled!!

Next post- the quilt top finished!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Atlanta trip- the fun

So, I have said it before, and I will say it again: my life runs kinda like a sitcom.

So, the trip starts like this.  Trotting into the Winnipeg airport, all cute boots and stylish, thinking of hanging with my girls, with my Juki sling over my shoulder in my handmade tote.  Am going through the rotating door thingies when....SMASH!  The straps on my tote give way, and my Juki falls to the ground, wedged in the revolving door, with that patronizing electronic voice calling "stay clear of the door, please!".

So I grabbed what was left of the handles and dragged the bag, sled style, through the airport.

The security guard at US customs asks what happened to my bag, and what is in there that is so heavy that the straps would break.  I tell her a sewing machine, and she replies, "Well, why not go find a plug and stitch it back up?" I told her I would if only I hadn't CHECKED MY THREAD with my suitcase.  Grrr!!  But the two of us then dissolved into eye watering many people can say they did that with an airport customs guard?

To make matters worse, I then noticed a bunch of dentist coming to the flight waiting area....crap!  Forgot I was SUPPOSED to go to the big dental conference in Chicago this weekend, which I am connecting through to get to Atlanta, but when some friends bowed out on the conference I had made up an excuse how I had to stay home, too.  You know, for the kids.  Busted!  So then I had to explain to each of them that, no, I wasn't going to the conference to better my education, and yes, I really was flying all the way to Atlanta to sew stuff.  With people I had met on the internet.  Somehow it doesn't sound so awesome and cool when you say that out loud to non-quilters!

Anyhoo, a couple flights later, and dragging my sled-bag through three airports, I made it to Atlanta to meet up with 8 of the most fabulous women I am proud to call friends.

Ali (a2w) arranged it all, and Kaelin (plaid scottie), Angela (cut to pieces), Elena (hot pink stitches), Michelle (i like orange), Cherie (sew and so quilts), Kelly (kelby sews) and Cara (me? a mom?) all joined in and brought their A-game for good times.  We did fun things like stab cans with knives, drink wine, have handstand contests, drink wine, watch girly movies, play a game I invented called "boob or butt?", drink wine, have a plank-off (I'll get you next time, Cherie!!), and oh yah, we sewed quite a bit as well (more on that tomorrow!).

(p.s. that Kelly is such a tart, she likes to sew topless ;)

We rented a house that had lots of space and a great layout for us all to sew in the main area.  But the sitcom continues as we noticed a gas smell.  So Cara (who, incidentally, had also driven 8 hours to join us and forgot her suitcase!!), called the "gas cops" who came and told us that there was a major leak and shut off the gas.  No heat, no cooking, no hot water?  Well, it all got fixed and we made it out alive somehow, so all is well that ends well.

So that more of less wraps up this segment of the sitcom.  Tune in next time to see the sewing and swapping magic!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quilty Girls take Atlanta!

Unlike the legions of sewists heading to Quilt Con this weekend, I am packed and heading to Atlanta for some of my own quilting fun!

I have been fortunate to make so many incredible friends via quilting and my blog, and there are a dozen that I chat with on a daily basis in a little Facebook group set up shortly after Sewing Summit in 2011.  We talk quilts, of course; and where to find the latest fabric sales.  But the groups has evolved into a full fledged support group, where we discuss every aspect of parenting, marriage, career, dreams....really, no topic is off limits.  We decided it was time for a face to face meet up.  And luckily, nine of the twelve will be able to swing it!  

Included in the weekend is a little {secret} swap, so I will show you that later, but I also put together some small packages for all the ladies.

And what sleepover is complete without a pillowcase?  Made one just for me out of some of my favorite Denyse Schmidt I was hoarding, and added some crochet trim to make it perfectly girly :)


And since I am going to have moral support on hand....I finally took the plunge and sliced up my coveted bundle of  Good Folks!  

This will be combined with a bunch of neutrals to make a king sized quilt for our bed!  Also bought a bunch of Little Folks voile for the back.  I plan to have Krista do the quilting, so, when all is said and done, this will be a million dollar heirloom quilt I am sure!!  As it is such a large quilt, I am keeping the pattern simple, and large to best display the beautiful AMH prints.  Will be sure to show you my progress!  

And if you are on instagram and want to watch along, I will be loading up pics under the hashtag #quiltygirlstakeAtlanta :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Purple Sweater

I finished up my "Downton Sweater," which I knit like a fiend while watching all 3 seasons of Downton Abbey over the past month!  It is for The Middle Child, and both of us could not be more thrilled with the finished product!

(shown here on a lovely quilt made by Alison, that I was lucky enough to win!) 

Loved the pattern, by Cotton and Cloud, and was so entranced by this yarn (really, that IS the word) that I had to order a bunch more to make a sweater for myself.  It is the PERFECT color of purple, in all its variations.

The sweet braided cable along the shoulders is what sold me on this pattern.  Buttons were selected by my daughter from my stash.

And this is my first time knitting a hood!  Cute, and she loves it, but what a yarn and time sucker!

I think the only thing more adorable than this sweater is the little girl wearing it :)

All the details on my Ravelry page here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

sweet wee things

After 7 months, I finally go to meet my friend Anna's sweet baby, Esther Mae, during their recent visit to Winnipeg.  I have made a few things for Esther Mae in the past...a quilt, sunshine hoop and some knit goodies, but I wanted to bring something small when I met her in person.  And what a gorgeous little person she is!

I whipped up this soft and simple minky/flannel blanket for the occasion.  It was a fast, satisfying project.  Am thinking I should make up a bunch of these to donate to the local hospitals and homeless shelters from older fleece and flannel I have in my stash.

Perfect little blankie for the car seat or stroller!  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A run for the border!

Last weekend Big G had a hockey tournament in Fargo, ND.  So, we packed up the van and headed south of the 49th parallel to have some fun.  Now, Fargo is not known to be a metropolis or anything, but it is a pleasant little town, very friendly to its neighbors from the North, and they have is good.

Another bonus of a drive to the USA?  There is a little border town called Pembina, which basically consists of a gas station, duty free booze store, cafe, and a handful of parcel depots where Canadians like me can have a variety of items shipped and stored, for a small fee, until we can pick them up and cart them back north with us.  Considering the crazy increases in postal costs recently, it just makes sense to take advantage of the cheaper, and often free, shipping opportunities within the US!

Oh, and I really took advantage!  Thanks in large part to a bunch of post-Christmas sales (including $3.50 yards over here, still some there!), I ended up with several boxes of fabric, and don't forget some yarn! The question isn't "what did I buy?" but more like "what DIDN'T I buy??"

So many pretty things......stacks taller than your average schnauzer, in fact !  Does that mean I have a problem??

Monday, February 11, 2013

not my normal style....

I am a firm believer that if you are making a quilt as a gift, you need to make it to suit the recipient's style, not just make what YOU like and then pass it off on them.  I try to really consider the person's tastes, style and color presences....really, who wants to do all the work and have a "meh" reaction?

So, when it came time to make a quilt for my mother-in-law, I followed the same principles.  She is an amazing woman, not to mention a very talented crafter herself, who can sew, knit, crochet and has now taken up some quilting!  She celebrated her 60th birthday this week, so I decided a quilt was in order.

Being more of a traditional type of lady, I opted to try a log cabin pattern, from a jelly roll quilt book (can't recall which one at the moment).  I loved the inclusion of the little stars at the junctions between blocks!  The fabric choices is where I really left my comfort zone.  My in-laws' home has a lot of browns and earthy tones, not colors I gravitate to normally.   My MIL loved the be honest, not my favorites.  But, it's not for me!  Make for the recipient, right??

The back is just a taupe sheet, which is very calming as the top is quite bright.  For quilting, I did swirls again, like on my retro Christmas quilt...might be my new favorite?

The quilt has been gifted and was appreciated :) On to the next project!

Friday, February 8, 2013

cutest kid ever (and her mittens)

I made a pair of classic mittens on strings for Last But Not Least, in the perfect pink/orange yarn, as bright and sassy as her young self!

To say she loved them is an understatement.

She wore them while eating dinner......

.....and then sobbed until I let her "cuddle" them in bed.

Cutest kid ever, made even cuter by some mittens on a string :)  Makes me almost love winter!

More details on my Ravelry page here.