Monday, December 30, 2013

Butterfly Love -Third Quilt

As I walked through my garden
I saw a butterfly light on a flower.
His wings were pink and purple:
He spoke a small word . . .
It was Follow!

-Hilda Conkling

Butterfly Love was completed on time! It is a beautiful purple with a bit of green for Big R. For this quilt I used a handmade flower stencil to do the hand quilting. 

On my last quilt I was having trouble with the mitered corners of the binding and connecting the two ends smoothly. I found this tutorial at Valerie Custom Quilts which was extremely helpful and gave me the results I wanted.

Big R picked out the spunky backing which is a great compliment to the traditional front.

The batting is bamboo fiber. It is thin and very warm, but I found it difficult to quilt. I am not sure if it was the fiber or the glue for iron-on fusible. I prefer safety pin basting skip the fusible batting next time. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Advent Calendars

The tree is decorated - nearly. There are still 3 boxes of ornaments still unwrapped, about 100 more ornaments. We counted one year and there are over 350 ornaments. The general consensus is nobody will notice and the Butterfly Love quilt needs binding, so I agree.

I love advent calendars. The wonderful way to mark each step in the preparation of this joyful holiday. Growing up we have a paper one with the religious Christmas story and sometimes ones with little chocolates in the molded plastic tray. My sisters and I each had a "Days Til Christmas". Each night we would untie a bow until the Christmas Eve.

The poem reads:
"Days Til  Christmas"

Each night, after prayers 
have been said,

Untie one bow,
then into bed.

Then St. Nicholas comes
you can tell,

It's the night that
you come to the bell.

My kids have had Lego advent calendars. Several years ago my Mom gave us one with little ornaments. Instead of adding these to the tree. (I am sure there is space. ). I designed an advent calendar to display them. I drew the tree and figured out the pocket size, randomly labeled the pockets.


This is their favorite - the dead snowman.

This year my sister K3, the queen of paper crafting, made this wonderful advent calendar using Stampin' Up.

Each little door has either a dark chocolate kiss or peanut butter bell. Advent is so much better than Lent - chocolate is practically required. :)

Preparing for Christmas can be hectic, but an advent calender reminds you a little bit each day and you'll be ready.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Leaving the Nest

Sometimes when you are making a gift for someone, you need to keep it under wraps lest the secret gets out. At the same time you appear as if you aren't doing anything, even though you are very busy. So it was with this gift quilt for my niece Big "C".

In the spring I found this Spring House pattern by Stephanie Ryan. It is a flying goose pattern. This is a pattern I wanted to try, but I had no need for another quilt project at the present time. I filed the pattern for the future. In June I learned Big "C" and couple of friends were making plans to room together and move out on their own. Leaving the nest?!?!?

I immediately thought of this pattern and the pun it intended. It would be a wonderful house warming gift, especially since the new place has a roof top access. What better way to extend the outdoor season wrapped in a warm quilt!

I was told the move date would be October. So 4 months to piece and hand quilt. It was doable,with Butterfly Love quilt taking the back seat along with most other projects. I picked bright warm colors to suit her personality and a simple linear trace up and down geese for the quilting. A few geese have nipped beaks or wing tips, but all are free flyers. It has a scrappy back because I loved the elephants so much I couldn't pass them up just because there was not enough fabric for the entire. I finished it at the end of September.

Butterfly Love is still on the quilting rack. In January I pre-signed and dated it to complete metamorphosis from fabric pieces to quilt in December 2013. 29 days and counting and possible New Year's resolution - take better pictures :)...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Diagonal Madness - Part 1

I have just finished piecing the center portion on my Diagonal Madness quilt from one of Kaffe Fasset's books. Last December, when I was in waiting to start sewing for the high school play I cut these squares from my scraps. I was more concerned with having enough yardage then the exact layout of the colors.

I have been sewing it on and off between projects. I found was getting tiring and then the rows (which are sewn on a diagonal) began getting shorter. Light at the end of the tunnel.. The center square measures 72 x 60. There is a nice patch border which I started, but will put aside as I has been inspired for my next project - Pants - Vogue 2532. I actually bought this pattern in 2001 and never made it. It is currently available in latest Vogue pattern book, so I think it is time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blogging from my iPad

Here is a test to see if I can write a blog from my iPad. Lately things have been very busy at work. I had 11 hours overtime last week - that is alot of craft time.

Also I have been spending long hours at the hockey rink. It is down to 4 1/2 hours from 6 hours. Project to tackle there involve reading, knitting, hand sewing or in my case wrapping pipecleaners with floss for the Snow Queen Christmas ornaments I am making. It is getting colder in the rink and last week my fingers were starting to get numb after 2 1/2 hours. I think I need a pair of gloves without the thumb and first finger, so then I can still knit.

Typing on the iPad isn't too bad. (There are probably typos since I don't auto correct - too many wrong substitutions when you are asloppy typist). It certianly beats firing up the computer after a long day of working on the computer.

Let's see if I can add a picture from the iPad...

Nope it is not an option. I looked to see if I could mail it somewhere, but I think I need to be on Instagram or something like that.

Loading a picture from my Blogger stash is an option. So here is a butterfly not the hockey player I wanted.

I could not post from my iPad. I'm not sure if it was a technical or user error :). Back on the computer. Here is my life in the rink.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Flowers and Parsely for Butterflies

I am working on quilting the Big R's butterfly quilt. I decided to to do a continuous trail of connecting flowers. I made a template.

I have the one corner to complete. After I stitch around each butterfly. I'll fill in the gaps with little flowers. I'm still on track for my December deadline.

Two caterpillars are last signs of summer enjoying the parsley. An orb weaving spider entertained us with her housecleaning when she removed the fallen leaves from her web.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer Dress

Summer is coming to an end and I finished my summer dress in time. It is a pink floral lawn which I originally bought for Little C, but it was too light weight to take the stress of smocking. It is perfect for this Vogue 1152 by Rebecca Taylor.

I learned a new technique - invisible zipper on the side seam. This went in very easily and looks, well, invisible.This zipper is easier than a regular zipper. I also lowered the front hem to make the dress have a even seam all around. I prefer it longer in the front.

Once the bodice was together I put it on my new dress form helper, Faye, to work on setting the sleeves. It was not easy to get the dress on Faye since her shoulders are wide and fixed. The side seam opening is just barely wide enough to pass over. I have no problem getting the dress on. People must bend just right. After putting it on Faye I said "Yikes! Your dial is showing!"

I could tell from the pattern envelope it was low cut, but it is really low cut. I made an insert from the suede material I used for piping.

The back has an elastic fit. After I set to fit my back, which runs small. There was too material and it forms a puffy gather. If I had realized this I would have taken off an inch or so fabric from the center so there would less gathered. Problem solved with long hair. :)

The last hurrah for summer. Now is time for orb weavers building webs in your kitchen window and one last swallowtail caterpillar in the parsley.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

And then There Were None

We plant parsley to share with the Swallowtail butterflies. As caterpillars they don't share very well due to their large appetites.

Earlier this season we had two caterpillars which didn't do too much damage. Recently we had a second batch which consisted of at least 8. Here are some in their immature phase.

After a while they started to disappear. I am not sure where they went. I did see one fall victim to one of those squishy jumpy spiders. The spider snapped up the little caterpillar with its mandibles. No picture because he jumped under cover when I stuck the camera in his space.

Here they are reaching maturity. You can see four caterpillars.

A few days later there were only three. Food was getting scarce so the littlest one struck out on his own. Here he is leaving the pot, but we don't know where he went.

Later the largest had found the last leaf. He is on the left and the middle sized one is on the right.

Then the middle one took off. He did a couple of laps on the rim of the basil and disappeared.

Checking on them later, we discovered the big one was gone. Sorry state this parsley is in, put certainly easier to weed.

A week later the parsley has made a comeback. We don't know where our caterpillars are hiding. Yesterday we saw two dancing around, but I don't think they are ours since they need 2 weeks to pupate.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Perfect Fit

The girls love their dresses.

Little C wanted to know how to sew fabric sew so it is stretchy, aka why the pleated fabric has give.

It is wonderful to be dressed, surrounded by a rainbow, loving everything you see!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Color Mood

When working on my current projects I notice they are following a similar color theme...

The next quilt...

 Socks to knit at hockey...

A new dress..

It must be summer time.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pink Pansy and Fioretti in the Mail

Pink Pansy and Fioretti are completed and in the hands of the USPS with expected delivery on Monday. Yippee!, if they arrive on time since I did the mailing via self service kisok at the post office.

Here they are:

I am worried that Pink Pansy is going to be too big, and then when she grows it to fit it, it will be too short. This is just me worrying because if she loves the dress she won't care that it isn't perfect. 

The sleeves set very nicely and the contrasting piping looks nice. The buttons are the same fabric, but it is hard to as the contrast in the photo is is poor.

The hot pink piping is just perfect for Fioretti. 'V' is petite. It should fit.

   I like my dresses to look as good on the inside as the outside. Fioretti wasn't designed with a lining to cover the smocking so you see those messy knots. Pink Pansy has a nice lining. I think the lace edging is a nice touch. None of the dresses I made for Big 'R' suggested this finishing.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Knitting Socks

Last Fall I needed a small carry with you project while waiting around the hockey rink fir Little "I". I decided to learn to knit socks. I bought sock yarn and followed the instructions on the inside of label. The yarn is dyed so stripes form naturally as you knit.After I finished the first sock I found out it was too big. I started the second one for more practice, but I could not find end to pull the yarn from the inside. After spending 15 frustrating minutes I gave and knitted it from the outside of the skein, hence the stripes are in reverse. I decided it didn't really matter since they are too big on me and I just wear them around the house.

I did some research on the internet and found great write up on adjusting a pattern to fit your foot. It turns out I need 60 stitches on a size 1 needle instead of 64 on a size 2 needle. I made a purple pair from the same brand of yarn. They fit much better. This time I knitted from the outside of the skein and did my best to start at same spot in the dye pattern. They are almost a perfect match.

The socks are not knitted the same way. The blue socks are knitted from the cuff down and have a heel flap. The purple socks are knitted from the toe up and have short row heel. I definitely like the toe up style and simple heel of purple ones.

At the book store I found "Socks a la Carte 2 Toes up!" by Jonelle Raffino and Katherine Cade. It is a great book with flip page to design your own socks with different style foot, body and cuff patterns. All the patterns are for 64 stitches so I'll need to make some adjustments. I have picked out a lacy pattern and some interesting yarn. I didn't want striped yarn,but JoAnn's didn't have any solids. Four more weeks of hockey until hockey summer break. Maybe I'll finish a sock or two.