Rita on September 26th, 2012

Here’s a first, I’m sure!  My accomplishment was actually done by my e-friend!  I published a tutorial last week about how to do a chenille rug. The details are here.  My faux “accomplishment” is that my tutorial actually inspired her to try it too.  I’m so excited that this happened!!  She did such a great job.

Here’s what she emailed me:   “I went to bed thinking I want to make chenille rug and I want to make a cover for this chair.  In the morning I had only one project in mind -  a chenille chair cover.”

done, and Gorgeous!!

original panel, pinned

Isn’t it wonderful when one can point to having been an inspiration? I am so thrilled!

And that will likely be the only thing I’ll be responsible for in the next while that’s blog-able. It’s my busy season at work now. That’s where all my creativity will be absorbed for the next few months so I’ll only have a couple of posts probably until after Christmas.

I’m linking up with TNTN, WIP Wednesday. Button on the right. See you there!

Rita on September 22nd, 2012

all bound, nice mitres and cut

This morning I bounce out of bed, ready to finish sewing down the binding and start the cutting.  It took a long time, I’ll tell you. You have to carefully cut only the panel layers (the top 3).

Then I popped it into the dryer for 15 minutes on ‘air fluff’.  I didn’t wet it but should have because not much fluffing happened.  Then I sprayed it with water liberally and put it in the dryer with heat this time.  It fluffed some but not enough.  Last resort, more spray with water and a brushing/roughing.  I guess this is sufficient.

all done, fluffed enough, I guess

all done, detail

I think if I were doing this again, a layer of flannel would help separate the quilting cotton layers.  That would be 5 layers to cut.  It might be a bit thick.  I’ve done flannel chenille baby blankets before and never had any fluffing problems.

Overall, I like the weight of this rug with the batting and extra backing layer.  It’s just the fluffing that isn’t working so well.  The one I saw in the store was much more fluffed.

I don’t think there’ll be any socks being blown off any judges feet by this rug.  To ‘get’ this reference see yesterday’s post.

addendum:  I’ve been working with the brush some more.  I think the big trick is to brush in the direction of the diagonal stitching.  If you brush from one side of the rug to the other, you’re roughing one side and flattening the other.  If you brush along the stitching, you’re working on fraying the fabric, which does the fluffing.  I think socks might be almost off judges feet with the rug now.  Here’s an updated closeup:


Rita on September 21st, 2012

Reading the list of categories in the  Metcalfe Fair book to see what I might be entering in the homecrafts division, I came across “Rug, any medium, not to exceen 48″ in any direction”. Suddenly something I’d seen in a quilting store recently sprang to mind. So, I phoned up Sue at her lovely quilting store in Rideau Ferry, Ontario and got her to send me 3 panels to make up a chenille rug.  I already had a light grey for the base layer.  The package arrived yesterday.

sewing the chenille layers together

I steam pressed all fabrics first then carefully pinned the three panels together to align the printed design, right sides all facing down.  The second step was to draw diagonal lines on the back of the light grey base layer.  Then pin this layer onto the back of the three panel combo.  The picture turned out blurry, but you might be able to see the drawn lines, the pins and a few sewn lines next to the roll.  For the first time ever, I used the extension table that came with my sewing machine.  It helped a lot, I think, to keep everything from shifting as I sewed all these  diagonal lines.

view of the sewn front

closeup of the sewn front

closeup of the back

Here are pics of the whole front and some detail shots.

I decided that I wanted the rug to be a bit more substantial than just 4 layers of fabric, 3 of which will be cut between the lines of stitching.  So, I now cut a piece of quilt batting the exact size of the trimmed chenille layers and a piece of darker grey to be the very back of the rug.  Pinning all these layers together, I sewed around the edge and every 4″ diagonally to secure the batting.  The new backing was trimmed to 1″ larger than the other layers.

adding the batting and new back

ready to wrap the binding to the front

shot of back showing secured batting

I’m just going to wrap the back around to the front for the binding.  I cut the corners off dark grey back to eliminate bulk in the corners that I plan to mitre.  that’s what I’ll be doing tonight.  Then last step is cutting the chenille into existence and tumbling it in the dryer to fluff it up.

Sue had a sample made up and I am looking forward to mine being just as lovely as that was.  It might even be nicer because the sample didn’t have the batting and extra backing layer.

We’ll see how it does in the Fair too.  I want the judges’ socks blown off with how cool this rug is!!

I can’t wait to show this rug all finished.


Rita on September 19th, 2012

first half of the front

This is my favourite client quilt yet!!  It’s going to be entered in the local fair in a couple of weeks and I am featured as the machine quilter.  I’m hoping it will do well.  I think it deserves to do well.  It’s very square, measuring perfectly: 78.5″ x 100″.  I love rainbow quilts!  The binding is hand-sewn.  Ugh!  Now I remember why I’ve been getting good at machine applied bindings but I knew it would be disqualified if I had done it that way.  I had a hard time picking where to take the detail front pictures.  She used so many pretty fabrics.  I love tone on tones!  They’re sort of like solids but a bit more exciting.  I just LOVE this quilt!!!

first front detail

second half of the front

second front detail

second front detail

back detail, also showing nice mitre

Linking up to TNTN, WIP Wednesdays, button—>
Go visit!


Rita on September 12th, 2012

More stuff for this bazaar in November, this is what’s on my cutting table: 49 Christmas bags, partly done.  I layered 7 different Christmas fabrics and cut them all out at once.  They’re all serged into bags already, turned wrong sides out still.  All raw edged tops of bags are serged as well, so they’re ready to turn down and sew for the drawstring casings.  I wrote a tutorial for creating 7 variously sized bags from one yard of fabric.  I referred back to it and found I hadn’t written the tutorial all that well.  I’ll have to fix it.  It’s not inaccurate but it’s definitely one of those tuts where you better keep your brain in geer while you’re doing it.

Here are the fabrics I used.  Since each yard makes 7 bags, and I used 7 yards, every bag in each collection will be a different fabric.  This went a lot more quickly than I thought it would.

I’m hoping to start a few families wrapping their Christmas gifts in bags.  It’s greener (think: all that Christmas paper garbage every year) and SO much faster to wrap this way.  No measuring, cutting, taping, and folding the paper.  Then measuring, cutting, taping, and tying the ribbon.  Just pop it in, pull it shut, tie and label.  Easy huh?

I’m linking up with TNTN WIP Wednesday.  The button is on the right.  Lots of very creative people share there!!


Rita on September 9th, 2012

Our quilt guild had a summer challenge to keep us out of trouble during the summer.  “Here’s a bundle of fabric, ready to make modified snowball pattern flimsies with.  Please bring them back in October either as a flimsy or better yet as a finished quilt.  The prize is a draw: $15 for flimsy and $75 for a finished quilt.”  I’ve had the flimsy done for a while now but I decided that I should make sure I can get in for the larger prize.  The chances would likely be better, as fewer people are likely to finish, I’m thinking.

I thought doing the snowball pattern would make for difficulty matching the triangles in the corners but it didn’t seem to be a problem.  I’m not sure why, because there ought to be at least a couple of misses, no?  The other thing I’m pleased to report is that I’m getting about as good as I think it’s possible to be at machine applied binding.  It took a while to get the feel of it, literally.  You have to place the folded over binding and feel with your fingertips where the seam underneath is.  It’s a little tricky but clearly, it’s quite possible.  I’ve been binding like this for about a year now.  Quilting is an amazingly large collection of small skills, isn’t it?

I just stippled it, although it’s such a loose stipple that perhaps it should be called a meander.  I’ve been told that my quilting of these community quilts has been too dense; that I’m spending too much time on them.  The stitching is 1″ to 2″ apart where the meanders come close.  There are the spaces and those are 2″ to 3″ approximately.  All of these are well within the 8″ that needlepunched batting allows.  If you actually only quilted every 8″, I think it would look too poofy.


Rita on September 6th, 2012

I worked yesterday and today on this, something I just love.  I don’t know if I CAN sell it at the bazaar but that was the original intent.  And we’re not even doing Christmas traditionally this year, so we wouldn’t even need a runner.  sigh.  Anyone have any soothing, solving words?  Here’s the full frontal.  The inspiration came from here, a post from last November.  If you go look, I made some changes.

This table runner measures 60″ x 17″.  Any ideas what it should sell for, if I do sell it?

And here are a couple of detail pics, one showing the back and end.

If you click to enlarge, you’ll be able to see the machine quilting.  I put a star on top of every tree.  Looking at the pictures now, I may go back and stitch in the ditch on the outside of the white border.  I love the scrappy outside border.  I don’t usually make light bindings but it seemed the right thing this time.

I didn’t have time to take the pictures and post about what I did the day before yesterday, but I did work on my friend’s apron made from the mantel decoration panel.  The panel was a half circle.  We decided to cut it in half, add a bib from a matching fabric, a neck strap that adjusts (using a couple of D-rings) and nice long ties.

I haven’t done the other one yet because she might like a slightly differently shaped bib on the next one.  She’s out of town but will be back in a couple of days.

The bib is lined with the same fabric.  The bottom of the apron has a nice rolled hem made with my serger.


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Rita on August 30th, 2012

As is becoming usual, I can’t seem to get my act together to post on Wednesdays so I can link up with TNTN.  Oh well, maybe next week.  I did have a lot of stuff on the go yesterday however.

On Monday, my friend Cheryl and I went to Perth, ON to a fabulous fabric store there.  In the sale bin, I found some lovely dusty rose panel fabric to make into girl baby bibs.  The reason it was in the sale bin was because it had been in the store for quite a while.  The folded edge is either dirty or faded or both.  The result of that is that the baby bib backs had to be pieced.  I found some other fabric to back them with.  It’s too bad about the seam.

My friend and I are doing a table at a church bazaar in November.  These bibs will be there as well as these sachets.  I’ve made 8 already and yesterday I made 8 more.  I started out only using gathered lace.  When that ran out, I starting using flat lace.  Surprisingly, I actually like the flat lace ones better.  I was worried about being able to go around the corners but taking an eighth inch tuck on both sides of the corner did the trick just fine.  I am now an expert at this process.  It only took 2 hours start to finish for these last 8 sachets.  They’re serged inside, ready to be filled.

Cheryl will put lavender into cheescloth and put them inside these covers.

Also on Monday, I bought a duvet cover plus 2 pillow shams, 100% cotton for $10. Today I shall finish a couple of boxers I have already started making from the duvet cover fabric.    They’re turning out really nice.  On a recent fabric expedition to Montreal I found a cubic foot box of suitable elastic for another $10.  There’s enough elastic in there to keep me in boxer or pyjama elastic, perhaps for the rest of my life.  Have you noticed how expensive boxers are???

Addendum:  And here are the boxers.  As I suspected, the fabric was super for this.  It sewed beautifully.  These will be slightly cozier than thin shirt type cotton boxers.  I re-taught myself how to sew the waist elastic in with only one row of stitching that tucks in the raw edge and keeps the elastic from twisting.  They’re perfect, if I do say so myself.

I’m wondering if a tutorial would be a useful item.  Is there anyone making their own boxers or wanting to?  Is there anyone wanting to buy handmade boxers?

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Rita on August 23rd, 2012

Work was very busy over the last month so hence the absence.  There will be a lull and then my season will begin in earnest about mid-September.  Unfortunately, that’s too soon.  sigh.

I have gotten a tiny bit done lately, despite my injury and putting my back out a week ago.  Hopefully I can stop my self-assault now.

It’s my month to lead the Block Bee I joined in January.  Most people in the bee have been posting each block that they make diligently.  I did post a few here, but put the other pics on Flickr here except for the January block which I was in such a hurry to mail that I forgot to snap it entirely.  Hayley kindly uploaded an image when she got it here.  I hope all who wish to are able to see these blocks.  I did my best work, picking fabrics carefully and following directions as well as possible.  So, my reward will be coming in the mail shortly and I’m so excited about this.  I got some 2″ squares from an e-friend, Katie, a while back and it suddenly dawned on me that my turn to ask people to make blocks could be blocks made from 2″ squares.  The point of these little squares is to make postage stamp quilts where each piece of fabric is different, but that’s certainly asking too much.  To fix that I came up with a compromise and the resulting tutorial is here.

Then another e-friend, Carolynn, was ditching some of her stash fabrics that she wasn’t going to need anymore due a change in quilting direction and because I was sending her a tiny bit of fabric that I thought she would like, she sent me a bunch of her fabric.  It wasn’t a very fair trade but perhaps I can fix that sometime in the future.  One of the fabric items she sent me was a small zip loc bag of 2″ squares.  Oh joy!  When the music is playing, get up and dance, I always say.  So, I took those square and made up 16 patches to go with the ones that are coming in the mail.  I took a pic of the 4 I made today and the squares still left over.  I’ll bet I get a couple more 16p’s at least.

Apologies about the focus.  I can’t seem to take a clear picture anymore.  My last lense had image stabilization and I sure miss that.

Carolynn's left over 2" squares

4 x 16p from today

On the left, the squares are arranged lightest up top, switch-hitters further down to darkest at the bottom.

16p's from Katies 2" squares on the left, my 4 x 16p's on the right

When you add the 16p’s made from Katie’s squares and the demo 16p’s from the tutorial, I have 14 blocks already.  And, there’re 44 more coming in the mail.  Surely this is enough to justify some excitement!!

And while I was going through my inspiration folder, looking for ideas for the next family baby quilt that needs to be made, I came across another way to use these 16p’s.  Lookit this great idea!  You alternate 16p’s and 4p’s.  I’m sorry I don’t remember whose design wall this is from.  See the two pics below on the right.

alternate use for the 16p's

one block

On another front, there has actually been a tiny bit of other sewing.  My friend wants me to help stock and man a table at her church bazaar being held in November.  We’re busy racking our brains for things we think might sell.  So far, on our list we have:

  1. baby bibs (6 of each made but I keep giving the blue ones away, so there’s only 3 left)
  2. lavender sachets (8 made but not filled)
  3. scarves that my friend knits (she’s made a bunch already)
  4. Christmas gift wrapping bags (aiming to make 3-4 sets of 7 variously sized bags: tut)
  5. Christmas table runners (aiming to make 2-3)
  6. boxers?  (I’m not sure about this, aiming to make 4 pairs)
  7. baby quilts (aiming to make 2)

It will be an 8 foot table.  Does that sound like enough stock?  It will just be sad to have the table too bare.  I know we could put more stuff on it, but we don’t want a lot of stuff left over.  This wasn’t to be a new venture, just a one time thing.

Any ideas anyone?  Is there something you think would sell that’s quick to make and people would want?

Do people even want frilly lavender sachets anymore?  Are they too old-fashioned?

The baby bibs are reversible (shown) and cute, cute, cute! on an actual baby.  We’re going to display them on a big teddy bear.

This has turned into a monster post, at least for me.  Sorry.  I guess there was a bit of a backlog.

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Rita on July 19th, 2012

I’ve always been a bit uncareful.  Some people call it clumsy but since I’ve always fallen well, meaning I don’t get as hurt as I should, being careful never became much of a priority.  It’s silly to depend on one’s quick reflexes like that, waiting until it’s often a bit late.  This type of thing really catches up to you as you age. You don’t heal as quickly, making the unlucky times easier to remember as the results linger.  Also, the injuries will become more severe as your reflexes slow I suppose.  That one hasn’t hit me yet but I can see it coming.

This brings us to what happened a couple of days ago.  I was not rushing but slightly distracted as I walked by the fireplace hearth.  I smashed the little toe on my right foot, something he’s come to expect periodically.  This was a good one.  I lost my balance slightly and used my forearm to stop from falling into the corner of the brick wall.  People like me should not have interior brick.  No.  The forearm bleeding, the toe sticking out at an unnatural angle, I immediately started to overheat and feel faint.  No stranger to fainting, I crouched down.  While I’m closer to poor toe, I push him back to where he should be – a crunching sound.

I put an ice pack on toe, popped a couple of pain pills and lay down for a while breathing deeply and mindfully relaxing all those muscles that panic when part of you is hurt.  I’ve come to the conclusion that much of the overall pain of an injury is just the flood of messages from gossiping and uninvolved muscles.  Once you get them to be quiet, most of the ‘pain’ is gone.  Ah…

24 hrs

36 hrs

Do you know that it is quite difficult to cross your feet to show both little toes evenly side by each and take a picture?  24 hours later a nice bruise was starting to show and toe was swollen.  36 hours later and in better light, the bruise is becoming more photo-worthy.  Pain is gone but threatening to return with the slightest bump.

ps. 60 hrs

pps. 84 hrs

Walking is less limpy today.

Can this old dog learn a new trick – live more carefully?

If not, I’ll never need a bone density test.  I’ll know almost immediately if my bones aren’t strong anymore.

ps. It’s now July 20th and we have the 60 hours later pic.  It’s interesting how the bruise is still spreading.  I wonder if it’s spreading out or still bleeding inside.  There’s no pain unless I bumped it.  Oooh!  Then I’d go through the roof!

pps. July 21st.  Bruise still spreading.  Swelling going down finally.  Middle starting to go green.