Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quilting Rack

I've always wanted a quilting rack. Nothing fancy, just 4 long pieces of pine to pin quilt layers to and quilt, just like my grandma used to have in her basement when I was little. Over the years I made sad attempts at "racks" in order to hand quilt various small pre-printed quilts, but they never really worked out.

My first attempt at a hand quilting setup (2003)

A couple years ago, I finally got to make myself a quilting rack, just like grandma's!  My dad got the 4 pieces of pine needed and gave me a drill with the proper bits to make the holes on the top and bottom pieces, and to round off the splintery edges.  How exciting! An extra set was made for my mom too.

My dad showing me the drill bit to round off edges

Unfortunately I didn't have room for the rack, or to set it up and quilt right away so it stayed at my dad's for a bit. But finally, the time has come to put it to use! This past weekend I set up my quilting rack!

Quilting rack ready for a quilt
At Fabricland a couple weekends ago I found a neat magnetic tack set on sale at a great price so I picked it up. Turns out it's perfect!

Magnetic tack set
I should probably invest in some clamps to hold the corners in place, but for now it's good enough. After all, this really is my first time hand quilting on such a large scale.

Once I had the quilt rack set up, I wasted no time in pinning up my first quilt. (See "Cat Quilt").

Cat Quilt
So now I am all set! I have a task to work on over the holidays and winter months. I'm very excited and can't wait to start working on my quilt, just like grandma used to!

Keep Crafty Everyone!

Cat Quilt

Now that I finally have my very own quilting rack (and the space to set it up in), I can finally get to quilting the cat quilt I made ages ago.

Back in March 2007 I spent some time visiting with my family. While visiting I decided to make a quilt. My mom had a bag of fabric scraps that I decided to go through and use to make a scrap quilt.  I copied a cat pattern from one of my aunt's pattern books and began the complicated endeavour. It was challenging to use a complex pattern for my first quilt, but it was such a nice pattern and the scraps so unique that I really enjoyed making it.

Unfortunately, quilting takes up a lot of space and so the kitchen, dinning room, and living room were all taken up by my little quilting set up (ironing board, counters to sort the fabrics, counters to cut the pieces, sewing machine set up on the table, completed pieces laid out in the living room...). I spent about a week working on the top piece and listening to CBC, which gave me the comforting feel of home, reminding me of the times spent at my grandmother's when I was young and she did her quilting.

Some of the quilting explosion
More of the quilting explosion

There were so many little pieces to cut and sew that the blocks really needed to be cut and assembled one at a time. It was great for using up the scraps though, and I find the variation in patterns gives it a really nice and unique look.

Scrap cat quilt in the making
Top piece completed

In 2009, while living in Ottawa I  prepared a backing, got some batting, and pinned the layers together. I then tried to quilt it by hand using a big hoop (similar to small cross-stitch hoops), but that didn't work.

Happy to see my quilt again, ready to pin the three layers together
The quilt eventually got folded up and put into storage until I could find a way to stretch it out for hand quilting.

Fast forward to 2013, last weekend, I got to set up my quilting rack in the basement and pinned up the quilt. I am happy to say that it's finally on it's way to being quilted! I'm very excited to work on it AND finish it!

Ready for hand quilting
My first real quilt, this one has special meaning for me and I can't wait to put it on my bed and cozy up under it :).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pink Baby Blankets

Now that I have a lot of my stuff back from storage (where it was living for a couple years), I've been rolling up my sleeves and tackling old half-finished projects from ages ago. So far I've completed 2 pink baby blankets. It might not seem like all that much considering how many projects I have on the go, but I assure you it feels like I've accomplished much! These blankets had been started well over half a decade ago and have been just sitting around waiting to be picked back up and completed. I wouldn't be surprised if the knitted one was nearly a decade old!! Both of them were Dresser Projects (See post: "So Many Projects!!!").

Knitted Pink and Purple Baby Blanket
(nearly a decade in the making!)

Pink ZigZag Baby Blanket

Kitten helped!!
 In conclusion, it feels pretty good to finish up lingering projects. Problem is, I enjoyed working on the knitted blanket so much I decided to start another one! This time, pink and yellow! (Photos and entry to come)

Keep Crafty Everyone!

Dresser Projects Update

You may recall a while back I posted about my over ambition in starting new projects before finishing the last. This resulted in dressers full of half done projects which I have come to call my "dresser projects". (So Many Projects!!! Post).

Now that a couple years have passed and I have pulled out many boxes from storage, I have been reunited with most of my Dresser Projects. Lately I've been relentlessly chipping away at old half done projects and finishing them off rather than starting new ones, however this has not depleted the number of Dresser Projects since the entry. Although I have finished off a few dresser projects, during the past couple years, while the dresser projects were stored away, I started a whole new set of dresser projects. So I am left with still, a whole lot of projects and not nearly as much time as I would like to complete them all.  Eventually they will all be completed... but who knows when that will happen! Here is an update on my Dresser Projects:

Small Afghans and Blocks:

Nice blue/grey/white afghan
Close up of pattern, interesting stitches

Blue/Grey ripple afghan, knitted blue squares

Pink hexagons and chunky pink and purple scraps

Off white aran blanket squares and green pinwheels

Knitted heart square. Will likely be a throw pillow at some point.

Not really crochet, but a dresser project none-the-less: a braided rug that I have been working on for probably near a decade. Well, to be honest I haven't worked on it in years, but the intention is there!
 Big Blankets:

Green Aran Blanket, still kicking around. No progress on this one.

It's been a little while since I've worked on this one (old Dresser Project) I do hope to get it done within the next year or so. I started this one several years ago, and the squares may pose a challenge once I start assembling due to change in tension/gauge over time. Hopefully it'll turn out alright though.

Settlers of Catan blanket
Settlers of Catan!! My favourite board game! I decided it would be neat to make a blanket of the game. I'm not sure what the finished product is going to look like, every time I think about it I come up with different ideas, but whatever way I chose I know it'll be kick-ass cause, you know, it's Settlers of Catan!!! :)

Soft green light weight blanket
Just a light weight blanket to throw on the couch during the summer months. I've taken this thing apart at LEAST 6 times because I would never right down what size hook I was using and my gauge was always way off. Maybe one day I'll end up finishing this darn thing...

Green wool-eater blanket

I *LOVE* the wool-eater pattern, so no surprise, I've started up a green wool-eater blanket. This one won't be fancy like the large blue one-piece, or the fall coloured wool-eater/babbette ones, but should still look great once finished, not to mention nice and warm :).

Fall coloured wool-eater/babbette blanket
Speaking of which, here is the fall coloured wool-eater/babbette blanket I've been working of for a few years now. I tend to take it out in the fall, work on it a whole bunch, then get discouraged at how wonky the gauge is and how long it's taking, then put it away until I forget how much it upset me (usually about a year) then take it out again next fall, hehe. Significant progress on it from the last time I mentioned it in this blog ("So Many Projects"). The great thing is that every year I find another couple new colours to add to it. I really love the colours :).

Solid blue bedspread
This is another old one that has been sitting around in the "unfinished" category for quite some time. This is the one I'm currently working on. I'm hoping to finish this one before the end of the year and use it on my bed for the colder winter months. I ran into a hiccup with this one. I had been working away on it over the last couple weeks and eventually realized that my gauge was wayyy off. Like an extra 6 inches per side. So I had to take it apart and lower my hook size. So far so good. I'm going to put an edging around it to try and hide the wobbly sides.

So that about sums up my current dresser projects. Well, the crochet/knitted ones anyway. I have a bunch of incomplete sewing and quilting projects kicking around, but that's an entry for another time.

Keep crafty everyone! And stay focused! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jean Quilt

My very own, very first: Jean Quilt! I love these things! They are perfect for picnics in the summer, keeping toasty while camping in the fall, and cozying up under during the winter.

This quilt started when a friend of mine cleaned out their closet. Instead of discarding the 7-8 pairs of jeans and kahkis I leaped into action and demanded them handed over so I could make a thrifty quilt.

Helping a friend clear out their closet and stealing all the jeans
Of course it would take a year or two of them sitting in a box in my To-Do pile, but eventually I got to it. What a process it was! Although it only took a couple months, it felt like forever!

First I had to take apart the pants, and I don't mean just cutting the good pieces and discarding the seams. Being ever conscious on using up as much as I can, I took the seems apart in order to maximize the amount of fabric available for the quilt. I even took off the pockets and used them!

Next I washed all the pieces, then decided on an approximate design. I made up a cardboard template for the squares then took out my rotary mat and blade and got cutting. This part took sooooooo long. It became nearly excruciating in the end. I was real happy when I was done with this part.

Gurr interfering as usual

All the pieces cut

Once all the pieces were cut I started assembling, laying the pieces out in the living room floor in order to find a nice pattern that would work with the amount of squares I had for each colour.  The fun part is always the shortest.

Choosing a good design

Soon enough it was time to pick out a backing. I had a large bolt of dark blue and green flannel plaid that I had been lugging around for a while and it was perfect for the backing to a jean quilt (glad I lugged it around instead of getting rid of it a few years back (that's for all you nay-sayers who criticize my carrying around my large stash of fabrics every time I move :P)). The backing to this quilt pretty much used up the entire bolt.

Deciding on which fabric to use as a backing
Pining the 2 layers together for sewing

I sewed the backing on around the edges, and although I haven't yet secured the middle, at some point I will, most likely using phentex yarn, but only on a few squares.

The finished product!

I used this quilt for the first time on a camping trip last weekend and it was phenomenal! Nice and heavy and super warm! I'm VERY happy with how this one turned out. Jean quilts are very awesome and I recommend every household have one! :)

Keep crafty everyone!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wedding Gift

Two great friends of mine have gotten married! Naturally, I got crafty.

Heart blanket: C *heart* S
I've done this pattern once before several years ago and thought it would be great to make as a wedding gift if I personalized some of the middle squares with their initials.  The pattern is originally from Afghans by the Alphabet.  This version turned out nice and I'm definitely going to keep it in my repertoire for future use.

Wedding Gift
Another great big congratulations to Curtis and Sharon!

The happy couple!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pink and Yellow ZigZag Afghan

After visiting a friend for a couple weeks, I was sent home with a scrappy crafter's dream gift: a great big mystery bag of craft scraps! It's like Christmas! What will I find? My creativity goes into overdrive! I sorted the yarns to one side and the fabrics to another.

All the yarns from my "mystery bag"

While going through the yarns, I noticed there were enough pinks and yellows to make an afghan. I decided on a simple zigzag pattern. I tried to keep the width of the coloured rows varied while keeping a somewhat symmetrical pink-yellow pattern to keep the afghan visually balanced.

Pink and yellow yarns
This afghan was very quick to finish, only took about a month or so and was made completely out of the random discarded yarns from a friend (yarns are various weights, textures, and compositions). I *love* getting crafty!

Finished product (finished May 2013, pic taken Nov 2013)

Keep crafty everyone!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mini Crochet Rugs

I love getting crafty scraps from crafty friends. It's always a fun challenge to find materials with no evident use and creatively turning them into something beautiful and useful.
While visiting some crafty friends in Hamilton I got to dive into a bag of scraps and found these small balls of fabric yarns. What to do?  

Left over fabric yarns

I decided to make mini rugs!  I used the largest crochet hook I could find and just used single crochet rows for the two rectangular ones then a long chain plus rounds for the oval one.  The small circular one was made using circular rounds and is great for under a cake tray or under large potted plants.

3 Rugs

Smaller circular rug/placemat
Keep creative and crafty everyone!

*Update*  November 12th 2013:
I'm happy to say that all rugs are currently being used in my new place here in Thunder Bay. :)

Under the rubber tree in the kitchen

In the bathroom

In the living room on the ottoman/chest to keep cat hair contained
*Not shown: pink and green rug in my roommate's bedroom*