Friday, September 26, 2008

Staple it Together: September Edition

I've been wanting to learn how to quilt for years. After buying the Janome, I decided that it was as good a time as any to finally get started.

While looking at various course offerings I found a Toronto quilting store called The Quilter's Palette that was offering a free Quilt Sampler program. The program offers participants the chance to make 12 different 12" sampler blocks from one of three colourways. Every month you head down to the shop to pick up your kit during the specified week. If you bring along the previous month's completed block you get the next month's kit for free. Perfect!

I love that I have a whole month to fuss with each block, and that I'm not overly invested in the finished product. It takes the pressure off and makes the learning by trial and error process much more fun.

Cutting Block Pieces

I had some issues during the cutting phase when I ended up running out of white fabric (100% my own fault after some overzealous squaring up of the fabric). As a result, the centre block ended up being a smidge smaller than intended.

My iron was on the fritz so there were also a few setbacks during the pressing (as seen in this photo).

Pressing Block Pieces

After a few kicks at the metaphorical can, I managed to get everything pieced together into something that looked both like a square and the block that I was supposed to produce.

Completed Block: September

It's not perfect but I am pretty happy with it as a first attempt at the whole quilting thing. The seams appear to line up pretty well in the centre and the block is only a little bigger than it is supposed to be (I should be able to trim that down when the time comes).

The next block kit will be ready for pick-up in little more than a week. I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Toy

I spent some time at my grandparents' house in August after my grandfather had his hip replacement surgery. My grandparents own a farm where I spent all of my summers as a child.

Almost every day during those summers was the same. I would get up early in the morning and catch the horses to go for a quick ride. Afternoons were always filled with baking, gardening, crafting and board games. Evenings were reserved for card games in the kitchen.

For the last few years, I've only been able to visit them over the Christmas holidays. It wasn't until I went back last month that I realized how much I loved being there at harvest time. While I was there I couldn't help but fall back into the routine I'd set as a child. I found a reproduced vintage dress pattern and some cheap taffeta and set about making myself a dress (photos to come).

I didn't get the dress finished while I was there but did manage to rediscover my love of sewing. After I got back, my grandmother suggested that I buy myself a sewing machine as a gift for my upcoming birthday and after much debate, I eventually ended up with this.

New Sewing Machine

A Janome 4100QDC. At this point it appears that this machine is the best purchase I've ever made. I've already made two small projects with it with many more in the planning stage (more on those next time).

That said, I'm still knitting. Instead of detracting from my knitting, the sewing has actually kicked it into high gear. Hopefully there will be some Autumn Rose progress worth sharing shortly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A long time comin'

It's been a while. I've spent a large amount of time thinking about how I was going to get back into posting regularly on the blog again. Turns out that the easiest way is to simply start posting again.

Big news is that after many months of little to no knitting, I've finally managed to finish the Autumn Rose Sleeves.

Autumn Rose Sleeves

Seeing the finished product has made me very glad that I took the time to frog the first sleeve and spit-splice the ends. The overall effect is much more polished and uniform.

I plan to cast on for the body later tonight. Hopefully the longer rows on the body and less frequent colour changes will mean that I will actually get this done before next fall.

I'm looking forward to posting more frequently in the coming months. Thanks for stopping by!