Thursday 28 February 2013

From A - Caught Up

Woodland Sampler

I've signed up for more than a few subscription type craft projects over the years and I can honestly say that I have been completely unable to keep up with any of them. Now when I say that, I don't mean that I'm a month or two behind, rather that I rarely ever start the project, let alone finish it.

Woodland Sampler

Well apparently times are a changing in my household because after a few flights and a week of holiday I am proud to report that for the first time ever, I am actually caught up on my Woodland Sampler.

Woodland Sampler

All of the frames and both the January and February instalments of the project are done with a capital D (meaning that even the backstitching is finished). I am beyond excited and can't wait for the next pattern to find its way into my inbox. In a fit of optimisim, I'm actually thinking that I might manage to stay on top of this one.

Woodland Sampler

Two months down, only ten more to go!

Tuesday 26 February 2013

From K: Planning the Week Ahead

This week I have a few big crafty plans in the making. I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek at a few of my upcoming projects.

Last week I showed you my Shearwater Kaftan that I made with the floral print above. The aqua/teal fabric is planned for another shirt pattern that I've been dying to try.
I'm heading back to my home town soon for a wedding, and while I'm there I plan to spoil my cousin's new baby boy. I'll be whipping up a few baby gifts with the fabric above.

Lastly I've been winding down my evenings working on my very first official knitting project. I'm half way done and can't wait to share the finish product with you. And also to start a second project!

Friday 22 February 2013

From K: Llovely Llama Passport Wallet

A couple weeks ago Heather posted a family passport wallet and I literally swooned. How have I never heard of such a great contraption before I wondered? After a couple encouraging emails from Heather, I put in an order for the pattern on etsy (found here) and immediately began picking fabrics from my stash.

On the outside of the case I went a little classic and understated - keeping in mind my hubs would also carry this at times, and may want a somewhat sophisticated pallet when going through international customs.

On the inside though is where the real whimsy starts!

Laurie Wisbrun's Llook! Llamas! collection have long been coveted prints in my stash. Considering how llamas are a worldly creature, and I plan to put this passport holder to good use traveling in the future, I figured that there is no better time than now to slice into some hipster llamas!

We don't have a family of four, so this might seem ridiculously premature, but Mr. K and I both tend to hold on to ticket stubs, boarding passes and various paper trinkets as we travel, so I have no doubt the other pockets will be put to good use.

The pattern provides directions for making both a 4 slot and a 6 slot wallet so it can be customized to fit various family sizes. And for those of you that do need all four or six passport slots, it's worth while to note that there is also a great pocket on the back that is perfect for stashing boarding passes and things that require quick access.
Overall I definitely think that pattern is well thought out and I imagine I'll be making many of these for friends and family in the future.

Linked to: Finish it up Friday, Link and Finish Friday, and Can I get a Whoop Whoop?.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

From K: Shearwater Kaftan

Amanda mentioned on Monday that I was out east to visit her last week. It was a very short trip, and honestly most of our time was spent watching netflix, shopping, eating great Torontonian cuisine, and hitting up local fabric/yarn stores, but I did manage to fit in a bit of sewing.

Before heading east, I bought Make It Perfect's Shearwater Kaftan pattern, and stumbled upon some $8/m cotton at my local Fabricland that I figured would work well for my first try at a new pattern.

I found this pattern to be quite simple and quick to sew up. Since my fabric was so affordable, I took my chances and made a few alterations to the pattern. I'm by no means a trained tailor, and really just guessed my adjustments according to my desired fit, but I'm very happy with the results.
In the end I lengthened the arms by nearly 2 inches, and narrowed them about 3 inches (but was sure to leave the arm hole size as is). I also shortened the body by an inch and took 2 inches off each side of the flare.

I love the finished product, especially the cuff detailing at the elbow. I know that I will definitely get a lot of use from this shirt and have already started planning to sew up a second one! I foresee a few more spring time wearables in my future.

Monday 18 February 2013

From A - Found Time

Kelsey came for a quick visit last week. We spent a fantastic weekend crafting and hanging out. While she was here, Kelsey decided that she wanted to knit some socks. We went to my local yarn shop to pick up some yarn and needles for her.

Apparently the yarn fumes got to me because before I knew it, I was bringing home yet another new skein of sock yarn. Moments after I arrived home I had a yarn cake wound and a set of needles ready to go.

I cast on immediately and then picked away at these last week during the "lost minutes" in my day: in the elevator, while in line, when walking to the corner store, waiting for a table, etc. Those lost minutes are adding up. So far I've managed to finish a cuff and most of a heel flap.

This sock is nice reminder of how much I can get done during those in between moments. Exactly what I needed to combat the effects of a stressful work week!


Friday 15 February 2013

From K - Finished: Moving Walkways

This quilt has felt like it's been a long time coming, but in actuality I only started it in the early winter. I struggled with this quilt for more reasons than I'd like to remember and it feels a bit like my brain was wiped clean as soon as I finished the binding. So lets glaze over all of the frustrations and look at what makes it all worth while.
As much this quilt challenged my patience, I have to say that it was well worth all of the effort. What I love most about this quilt is that the arrows form a chevron-esque pattern across the quilt top. Even after all of the seam ripping that occurred, I am really glad that I took the time to tweak the original Pow Wow pattern to get this effect, and in the end I know that I made the right decision for me. The black to white gradient layout that I did on this quilt also really speaks to my style and was a lot of fun to work on.
For a backing on this quilt I went with an old favorite, Britten Number Fabric from Ikea. I used this print last fall for a quilt that I gave as a wedding gift, as I felt like this numbered print is quite fitting. Since this quilt is also a wedding gift and has a black and white quilt top, it seemed like the perfect backing option.
For the quilting on this quilt I decided to out a few new FMQ designs. Inspired by the Plume Feather design in Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters but realizing that my blue chevrons weren't quite wide enough, I decided to do half a plume of feathers instead by making a line of slanted S shapes. In the B&W chevrons I chose to do loops, with the occasional double-loop thrown in for fun. Around the border I decided to do a slightly wider version of Angela's Wishbone pattern.
Final Quilt Details:
  • Quilt Name: Moving Walkways Quilt
  • Finished Size: lap size (54" x 66")
  • Fabric: Black and white fabric scraps (largely from this quilt), Kona Water (background and sashing), and Fabricland B&W Flower print (binding)
  • Pattern: modified version of Pow Wow by Cluck Cluck Sew
  • Quilting: explained in detail above

I also went ahead and made a custom label for the couple using the Love Birds in Grey print from Sarah Watts' Feather 'n Stitch fabric line, and I think they'll appreciate the extra special touch. Arn't they little love birds the sweetest? I can't wait for them to see it next month!

I'm linking up to Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday 14 February 2013

From A - That Last 20%

I've spent more time than I'd like to admit this past week thinking about the ol' 80/20 Rule. Basically the idea that 80% of your outcome requires 20% of your effort and that 80% of your effort is required to get that last 20%.

Smitten Quilt Top

This theory has been once again been proven true when it comes to my Smitten quilt. I finally got the blocks pieced together last weekend. That took only part of Saturday. For sure I was going to have a finished quilt top by the end of the weekend. FOR SURE. Then I cut and attached the first border from the background fabric. When that was finished I cut a yellow border and sewed that on and then came the green border.

Smitten Border

You can see from the top photo that attaching the green border is stalled at the halfway point. I have attached the long sides but now need to finish up the top and bottom. The end seems so close but so far.

Smitten Border To Be

Once I pull myself together to finish the green border, I am then faced with the red border. After that I have to make a backing, baste and quilt this bad boy. Totally an 80/20 situation. So close but it is going to take a lot more effort to get there. Sew on.

Monday 11 February 2013

From A&K - Feeling Humbled

Eight months ago when we started this blog, we had no idea how much it was going to open our world to such a great community of like minded crafty folk! We started out just wanting to upgrade from the daily picture text messages we were sending each other, to a forum where we could share our passion - and lets be honest, give each other better quality eye candy to drool over.
Now more than 100 posts later (this marks the big 101), we can honestly say that this has been an amazing experience and while we always hoped someone would read our little blog posts besides each other, neither of us ever expected to make such great quilty friends, let alone be nominated for a blog award! Imagine our surprise when perusing Adrianne's fabulous blog to see our little web space nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The rules for the Liebster Award are:
1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. List 11 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 of your favourite blogs that have less than 200 followers.
5. Ask your nominated bloggers 11 questions.
This is going to be one long post!

1. What is the first quilt you made like? If you have a picture - please let us see!
Kelsey: I've spent quit a bit of time over the past few months reflecting on how the making of one simple baby gift morphed into quilting becoming a fundamental part of my life. The first quilt I ever made was a bento box shortly after I found out I was about to become an auntie. I posted the story and some photos here if you want to check it out.

Amanda: I bought the fabric for my first quilt back in high school. I decided I was going to make a twin sized Around the World Quilt in shades of purple. Armed with some newspaper (for templates) and a dull pair of kitchen scissors, I began cutting squares. You can probably guess that I never actually finished that quilt but it is still sitting in my WIP pile so I might get to it eventually. My first finished quilt was back in 2008 when one of my close friends had her second baby. It was a simple whole cloth quilt. A yard of fabric on the front and a yard on the back, machine quilted in a diamond pattern. It was simple but cute.

2. What is your favourite part of making a quilt?
Kelsey: I love every aspect of quilting (well except for basting!). It depends on my mood, but I love FMQ and binding - is there anything more exciting than working on a nearly complete quilt with the finish line in sight? I don't think so :)

Amanda: My favourite part of making a quilt is cutting the fabric. I love sitting in front of a movie with my cutting board and slicing up all of my lovely fabrics. The thrill of starting a new project combined with the pinpoint accuracy involved in making neat stacks of fabric really do it for me (it could also be elation at the fact that I now have a rotary cutter and cutting mat instead of newspaper and dull kitchen scissors to help me with this step).

3. Do you have any pets?
Kelsey: in December 2011 I surprised my husband with an early birthday/Christmas gift - a beautiful black lab puppy. I had never owned a dog before, but he grew up with a lab and had really wanted a dog of his own. I wasn't completely sure what I signed up for but I've been smitten with her since that first day, and now can't imagine life without Aveta. I also have a 9 year old cat that would snuggle 24/7 if she could.

Amanda: I married into pet ownership. My husband had a sweety pie yellow lab named Bowser before I met him (actually Bowser was the reason we got together in the first place). He's such a sweet boy, charms everyone he meets!

4. What would your karaoke song be?
Kelsey: I'm a dreadful singer so hopefully no one ever has to live through me singing karaoke! With that being said though, I admit that I can't help but sing along with loud music in the car.

Amanda: I love all quirky and fun music. Anything from twangy country to upbeat pop to Hawaiian folk music. Pretty much anything that will boot up a classic living room dance party. It all just depends on my mood. My best karaokee also happens in the car.

5. Have you ever been to a quilting conference or retreat?
Kelsey: I haven't yet but would absolutely love to soon! Amanda and I have been tossing around the idea of Sewing Summit 2013, so hopefully that comes into fruition. It would be SO great to meet some bloggidy friends in person.

Amanda: I've been to some pretty awesome knitting events but nothing quilting related. Ask me again in a year, hopefully I'll have a different answer.

6. Who in your non-quilting life knows you have a quilt blog?
Kelsey: My mister and a handful of very close friends.

Amanda: The hubs (a.k.a. technical advisor) and maybe two other people (although only my husband knows the URL).

7. What is the strangest search term you've seen in your "Search Keywords" stats?
Amanda: I'm going to say "61 days". I'm not exactly sure what a person might be looking for when those are their search terms or how that would bring them to our blog.

8. How did you choose your blog name?
Amanda / Kelsey: We both have pretty chaotic lives, and more often then not, it feels a bit like our lives are a jumble of frayed bits and pieces. After a hectic day we love nothing more than coming home to make a beautiful pile of frayed fabric. One way or another, it's a fray everyday here.

9. Are you a member of a real-life quilt guild?
Kelsey: I recently joined one in my home town but I always seem to be out of town on the meet up days. Fingers crossed for this months meeting!

Amanda: I'm currently in the process of moving (closer to Kelsey). I've been scoping out the guilds in my new home so hopefully after the move I'll find one to join.

10. What is your favourite sweet treat?
Kelsey: Coke flavoured slurpees from 7/11! It might be cold in Canada in half the year, but on a hot day, nothing beats a slushy treat.

Amanda: Cookies, and cheesecake.

11. Do you like to have something to listen to while you are quilting - like the TV, music, an audiobook?
Kelsey: I love watching tv series when I quilt! Mad Men and Downton Abbey were my previous obsession, and now that I'm all caught up, I'm moving on to Pretty Little Liars (thank you Netflix!).

Amanda: I have a bit of an obsession with CBC radio and pretty much spend all of my waking hours listening to it. My favourite program right now is about advertising and is called Under the Influence. You can stream it or download episodes from iTunes. So convenient for me since I'm almost never home when it actually airs Saturday mornings.

11 Random Things about Kelsey & Amanda:
  1. Neither on of us has a sister, which has resulted in each of us upgrading the other from cousin status to sister status.
  2. In elementary school Kelsey's oldest brother, Scott, once conspired with Amanda to convince Kelsey that their parents had traded the girls as babies - because Scott and Amanda look way more alike. Kelsey believed them for longer that she'd like to admit.
  3. Neither of us care for cooking but fortunately we both married husbands who are extraordinarily chef-like in the kitchen. Baking is way better, and more delicious too!
  4. When dinner is not being provided by our spouses, we both agree that yoghurt, popcorn, and peanut butter on a spoon are acceptable substitutes.
  5. Collectively we've travelled to 23 different countries from various regions including, North and Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Within the next month that total will raise to 27 as we both have winter vacations lined up. We love to travel...a lot!
  6. Even though we only get to see each other once or twice a year if we're lucky, we have so many of the same mannerisms it's scary.
  7. We both live in big cities now, but spent our childhood in small communities. Though we listen to all types of music, we both have a soft spot for twangy country tunes - Garth, Shania, Tim? bring 'em on!
  8. We come from a long line of crafty women. At family functions, it is not unusual to see three generations working on their WIPs.
  9. Kelsey has always been into team sports: basketball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, while Amanda is more of a solo sport kind of gal: figure skating, riding, skiing, swimming.
  10. We both have perfectionist tendencies even when the time required to make it just right far outweighs the importance of it being just right.
  11. Kelsey's closet is organized by type of clothing in ROYGBIV colour order. Amanda's closet has more of a "choose your own adventure" approach to clothing organization.

Blogs We Love and Nominate!
  1. Elvy of Elvy Crafts
  2. Yzo of Chez Roo
  3. Alison of Little Bunny Quilts
  4. Kristan of Doodle Do Designs
  5. Carin of Shaped by Stitches
  6. Gina of Party of Eight: Our Story
  7. Alia of card table, inc.
  8. Heather of Winding Bobbins (this blog has slightly more than 200 followers but is worth bending the rules for)
Questions for the Blogs we Nominated:
  1. What style of fabric do you tend to gravitate most towards, and are they often fabric lines from the same designer?
  2. What was the first quilting blog that you remember stumbling upon?
  3. Have you ever kept a quilt for yourself or are they always gifts?
  4. What is the most sentimental quilt project you've ever worked on?
  5. Are there any colours that seem to find their way into every project you make?
  6. Do you have any other crafty talents besides quilting?
  7. Reading or watching TV/movies?
  8. Where will you spend your next vacation?
  9. What is one skill you wish you had?
  10. What is the best and worst gifts you have ever received?
  11. Camping or luxury hotel?

Thursday 7 February 2013

From K: Basting

This week I'm working on my hit list, and simultaneously taking one more step toward finishing another WiP.

When quilt basting, I use a combination of 505 spray, and curved safety pin. My trusted Kwik Klip tool is always a staple when pinning a quilt sandwich, and I find it speeds up my basting time significantly.

I'm on the road this week so I don't know if I'll find time to finish the quilting of this baby quilt right away, but I'm making it a priority next week.

You can read more on this Black and White Kites quilt top, here and here.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

From A - Ready for Takeoff

I spent the weekend visiting my husband in the U.S. where he has been working since January. A long flight plus a few hours in airports makes for meaningful progress as far as the crafting goes.

Woodland Sampler 001

Every time I get on a plane, I try to pick that perfect project that will be easy to work on, fairly compact but that will last me for the whole trip. What won out this time? My Woodland Sampler cross stitch.

I registered for this monthly sign-up back in December but didn't actually do anything except print the charts, round out my floss collection and pick up some evenweave in an appropriate colour.

Woodland Sampler 004

Before leaving it was just a pile of supplies but Saturday morning at about 4:00 a.m. I dug out the sewing machine, finished the edges of my fabric, gathered all of my floss, found a project bag and stuffed the whole thing in my suitcase.

I started stitching when I got on the plane and by the time I got back to the airport for the return flight home I had finished about 1/3 of the frames (largely due to the two hours of extra stitching time courtesy of a flight delay).

Woodland Sampler 002

Five hours later, when my plane hit touched down in Toronto, I was more than halfway through all of my frames. I'm hoping that once I get these finished that it will be easy to keep up with each monthly instalment (let's ignore the whole missing January thing).

Woodland Sampler 006

I haven't had much crafting time at home lately and am definitely looking forward seeing what I can get done on my next trip. Anyone else have a travel project on the go?

Tuesday 5 February 2013

From K: Final Stitches

Over the weekend I put the final stitches in my Moving Walkways quilt and I'm so pleased with the final product. Here's a sneak peek at an upcoming reveal post.

There's few things better than that moment when you realize that the days are getting longer. I'm loving the extra daylight hours, and my quilting is too!

Friday 1 February 2013

From K: 2013 Hit List

I recently mentioned in a post that I set myself a new years resolution to finish up my current WiPs. In an attempt to keep things fresh, and to keep me motivated, while simultaneously crossing projects off my 'to sew' list, I thought I could really use an updated hit list. So without further ado, here are my 2013 hit lists:

2013 Sewing/Knitting Hit List:
  1. Sew at least three garments (I'm thinking that a Washi dress, a Wiksten Tova and a Shearwater Kaftan are all spring must haves);
  2. Add a new homemade bag to my collection (possibly a Runaround Bag or some form of duffle bag);
  3. Whip up at least 6 baby/toddler gifts asap;
  4. Make more Travel Handmade items (this year I think that I would like to make baggage tags, a camera strap, an eyeglass case, a cosmetics bag, and a make-up brush roll);
  5. Make some beach essentials (a beach bag and bikini bag are in the works); and
  6. Knit a pair of socks (definitely out of my comfort zone with this one!).

2013 Quilting Hit List:

1. Magic Wax Print Quilt (quilt top blogged here)

2. Moving Walkways Quilt (quilt top blogged here)

3. Black and White Kites Quilt (quilt top blogged here)

4. Camping Quilt (blocks blogged here)

5. AMH Fieldstudy Sundial Inspired Quilt (fabric blogged here)

6. Complete at least 3 quilts using my current stash - which includes various lines by Anna Maria Horner, Tula Pink, Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, Lucy Summers, Lizzie House, Laurie Wisbrun, Dena Fishbein etc.