Saturday, 27 August 2016

Framed Sampler

One of my stitching friends collects antique frames and then sizes her stitchery to fit the frames. I thought that was a great idea. Having the frame ahead of time would certainly entice me to finish my projects and get them on display.

My recent completed piece, a garden sampler, measured 5" x 12 3/4" so I needed a frame about 7" x 14". The perfect commercial frame was one that would fit 3 - 4" x 6" photos. I'm very pleased that the one I found had a couple of colour choices. I went with the brown wood look rather than black.
It took me a while to figure out where I was going to sign it.
I just need to get a nail and hammer in the same room as the piece and get it on the wall.

I'm prepping the fabric to do another piece from the same book. I have everything I need so I just need to edgestitch the fabric and get everything in one place to take to the cottage.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Casting On

I've been in a bit of a knitting slump lately. I thought it was time I got my butt in gear and started a new project. I just wound this skein of Superwash Merino 2-ply fingering weight handspun
into a yarn cake
and am ready to cast on Martina Behm's 'Brickless'.

I'm getting ready to go to a friend's cottage so am assembling various knitting and stitching projects to take with me. I'm also taking my spinning wheel to finish plying my latest alpaca singles and maybe even will get some other spinning done.

I hope the weather is nice for us. I aired out my sleeping bag today. I haven't used it in at least 20 years. It smells nice again. Lots of things to remember to take...

Monday, 22 August 2016

Catching Up

I'm finished The Pastoral except for deciding where I'm going to sign and date it.
I backstitched around the little insect to provide a contrast with the fabric.
I decided not to backstitch around the other insects.

I'm getting to the end of the Garden Sampler. A couple of nights of stitching and I'll have it done.
I modified the background where the four incomplete birds are pecking at the as yet unstitched seeds. It was supposed to be dark green but I decided to leave the natural linen background.

This morning I finally finished the pair of socks I started in May after dyeing the sock block at a spinning retreat.
Skip and I visited my old stomping grounds last week, visiting family, and doing some sight-seeing. We just happened to be driving through Corunna, the home of our Olympic High Jumping Gold Medalist, Derek Drouin. The sign went up the day after his victory and we were there the day after that.
After his previous medal in the 2012 Olympics, they named the main street after him.

One of the cool things we did was cross the St. Clair River at Sombra. The ferry accommodates about 9 cars, costs $7, takes only a few minutes, and lands at Marine City MI. We had a lovely drive up the river to do some shopping and then returned to Canada via the Bluewater Bridge.

In about an hour, I'm heading out for a rehearsal for a ukulele group I'll be playing in on Friday. I . practiced yesterday and look forward to rehearsing with a larger group of 14. I have another rehearsal on Thursday before the gig on Friday at a Seniors' Corn Roast in Courtice.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Olympic Stitching

I was glued to the Republican and Democratic conventions for 2 weeks and now, the Olympics. I have done quite a bit of stitching.

I am 99% finished The Pastoral.
I still have to do some backstitching around these wings to make them stand out a bit more from the fabric.
I was inspired to do French Knots on the sheep after seeing the same technique on a cross-stitch piece at my friend's place last week. I love the contrast in texture.
I'm in the process of finding a frame for it. I bought one yesterday but it isn't right. I'll take it back and pick up another. This time I'll take the cross-stitched piece with me to measure before purchasing.

I started another sampler during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It is from The Prairie Schooler No. 45 - Garden Sampler. I bought the chart on a trip to Cape Cod in 1994 and stitched the right hand one for a friend shortly after. I'm stitching the middle one now.
I like it because it mentions birds and flowers. Both things my husband loves.
I had all but 7 of the colours in my floss stash so purchased the missing ones yesterday. I'm also on the lookout for a frame for this one. It's stitched on 32 count Belgium linen over two threads. I have enough left to do another of the samplers.

I haven't done a lot of knitting lately. That reminds me, I do have some more sample knitting for the upcoming cruise. I'd better get cracking.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Monarchs 2016

We have released 4 monarchs in the past week. 

The first one was a male.
This is its first flight. See the dots on the hind wings? That's the male identifyer.
Back inside, one of the ones in the Bug Bottle was getting ready to emerge. The chrysalis goes clear and the wings can be seen through it.
Another in the big jar was also getting ready to emerge.
I caught a couple of pics of it emerging and determined it was a female - no black dots on the vein of the wing.
When the Bug Bottle butterfly emerged, I put a stick in it so the adult could crawl out and take its time drying its wings.

This can take a couple of hours so I put up the umbrella for shade.
This morning, the last adult emerged. It was a male. Again, I took it outside and put up the umbrella.
The orange drops on the leaf were from the adult after it emerged. It takes a while for the wings to expand fully, dry out, and be ready for flight.
 Meanwhile, in the bug bottle, the two remaining larvae were chowing down.

I suspect they will pupate in a day or two.
The newly emerged adult hung in there for over an hour.
It took me a long time before the wings opened.
It looks like I'll only get to release a total of 6 this year. WAY down from previous years, especially last year's 10. There really was a shortage of eggs everywhere I looked.

Swift Bag et al

Last fall, Jen1 and I went fabric shopping and she bought a couple of kitty cat themed fabrics so I could make her a bag for her swift.

I agonized over what design it should have. When I finally decided how I wanted to make it (long bag with boxed corners), I had a heck of a time finding a zipper that would be long enough. I remembered that I could cut down a duvet zipper. Then it took me months before I could find a duvet zipper.

Once I found one, I finally got around to constructing the bag. I decided to quilt the two fabrics before putting in the zipper. I quilted it around the names of the cats.

I then folded the long edges in 1/4" and sandwiched the zipper tape between the layers and sewed the zipper into place. After boxing the corners, I added a handle.

It fit the swift with the bottom screw in all the way.

I also added a tab at one end.
There was still a lot of fabric left over so I made her a grab bag.

The long handle slips through the short one.
The bag is completely reversible because rather than leaving an opening in the lining for turning. I turned the bag right side out through one of the handles.
There were several inches of quilted fabric left after I trimmed the bag, so I made a flat zipper pouch. I used double folded fabric over the raw edges on each side. 
See the quilting?  I used invisible (nylon) thread on the dark side and white on the inside. I guess I could have used black thread for the quilting - oh well.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Luggage Tags

Mo came over this morning for a sewing coaching session. She made a lined zipped bag with boxed corners. This tutorial is almost exactly what we did. She did very well.

After that, I was inspired to make some luggage tags for my upcoming trip to Iceland.

I had made some a while back and tried to find the pattern I used. It is a hybrid of this one and this one. I couldn't find the pattern but 'unvented' one that I had previously done.

When folded up, it looks like this.
Opened out, it looks like this. The vinyl window is bordered by bias tape made from the inner fabric and sewn right onto the vinyl with the open end towards the centre.
A business card fits nicely in the vinyl window.
Then a buttonhole is centred near the end to accept the bias ties.
I made two of these, completing each step on both as I went along.

Then I made another one with some of the cute fabric I bought a week ago with Diane.

Here are the instructions: (pardon the crappy hand-drawn diagrams)

  1. Cut a 3.5" x 10" strip from each fabric, a 1.5" x 24" strip of the inner fabric to make the double fold 'bias' tape* (not on the bias, though), a 2.5" x 3.5" piece of clear vinyl, and a 3" x 9.5" piece of fusible interfacing.  *OR make 12" of bias tape and use 11" of grosgrain ribbon to attach the tag to the luggage.
  2. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the inner fabric, centring it. There will be 1/4" edge around the interfacing.
  3. Make the double fold tape with the long strip by folding and pressing in half lengthwise. Then fold the long raw edges inwards, meeting at the crease you just pressed. Press.
  4. Starting part way down the long side of the vinyl, stitch the bias tape all the way around the vinyl piece, I sewed to the edge, snipped the threads, mitered the corner by folding the tape along the next edge and re-starting the stitching. I then lapped the tape over where I started.
  5. Topstitch the open edge of the rest of the tape. This will be used to attach the tag to the luggage. OR you could use grosgrain ribbon.
  6. Fold the inner piece in half and finger press to mark the centre. Then topstitch three sides of the bound vinyl piece to the inner piece, leaving the short edge at the centre unstitched. That is where the address card (business card size), will be inserted.                                                                    
  7. Fold 10.5"  tape (the remainder from edging the vinyl piece) in half lengthwise and lay the raw edges side by side, centred and flush with the end of the half that does not have the vinyl window. Lay the sewn strip towards the centre.                                                                              

  8. With right sides together, pin all around with the outer fabric on top.
  9. Mark a diagonal at each corner starting 1.25" in from each edge. This will be your stitching line when you get to that spot at each corner.                                                                                          
  10. Right sides are together here. Draw on wrong side of outer fabric.
  11. Starting near the centre, stitch 1/4" seam, pivoting 45 degrees when you arrive at your diagonal at each corner. Continue stitching around until you get past the last corner about 1/2" and backstitch. This leaves an opening adjacent to the vinyl piece for turning right side out. Trim all corners near stitching at 45 degree angle.                                                                                                             
  12. Turn right side out,  reaching inside to grab the folded tape inside.                                         
  13. Poke all the corners out and finger press the open edge closed. Press, to ensure crisp edges for topstitching.
  14. Topstitch the opening closed, then all the way around the tag.                                                              
  15. Fold the tag offsetting the ends and mark both sides of the folded tape. This will be the ends of your buttonhole.
  16. Stitch the buttonhole and clip it open.                                   
  17. Insert a business card or address card into the vinyl window,                                                                                                                     then slip the folded tape loop through the buttonhole. Put the loop through your luggage handle and insert the rest of the tag through the loop.
Here's the other side.

Inside (of the other tag):
It takes me about an hour to do each tag. The binding around the vinyl is the fiddliest part. After that, it's smooth sailing.

These tags will help identify luggage and are very secure. I like that the personal information on the business card in the window is covered but accessible if necessary.

Back when I did the original tags, I also made a matching cosmetic bag. The tags and bag were for friends who were going on a river cruise in Europe a couple of years ago.

Another friend went on a painting (watercolour) trip to France a while back so I made these for her. The fabric was PERFECT for her. I remember using a round charger plate for the curve on the top. You can get a lot more stuff in the bag that way.
I used fusible batting - fused to the outer fabric - to give it structure. Boxing the corners ensures that the bag will stand up and gives a nice, flat bottom.

Her sister was also travelling with her so I made her a set reversing the fabrics.