Wednesday, July 2, 2014

finished knit: dragonflies sweater

I was so excited to put the last stitches into this sweater and finally be able to wear it.  Wasn't it considerate of Mother Nature to provide a cool and rainy July weekend for me to do so?  Well, at least this was a plus side!

The pattern is the Dragonflies Jumper by Joji, from Ravelry.  You can see all my notes on my Ravelry page here.  It is the first time knitting one of her patterns and I have already purchased another because I was so happy with the style and fit.  The design is so intricate and I just love it paired with this Plucky Primo wool (in bohemian blue).  The cashmere is this wool makes it so soft to the touch- such a treat to wear!

The pattern required more thinking than average, so this wasn't the best "social"or "tv" knit, but it wasn't difficult.  I did a few mods- the pattern called for a 2 stitch side band in garter, but I decided if it was there, I would make it more district by extending it to 6.  Also, I opted for 3/4 length sleeves so I can pair it with some cute bracelets :)

Love the look of this with a tank and jeans.  I think it is a pretty flattering fit and will be a real go-to piece for me!

Already have cast on the next knit!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day!

The weather didn't exactly cooperate this weekend, but we didn't let that stop us from heading to the lake and enjoying Canada Day festivities.  The fireworks were cancelled due to rain and wind but we still managed to take in the parade, fair, and even a quilt show!  And lots of visiting with family and friends.

Hope all of my fellow Canadian friends enjoyed some fantastic celebrations as well.  We are pretty lucky, eh?

Friday, June 27, 2014

teacher gifts

It's the last day of school today, so along with the sheep happens bag and yarn I gifted to one of my kids' teachers, I made a couple summer totes with some Anna Maria Horner "stacked" fabric in home dec weight.  This book-inspired fabric is the perfect choice for a teacher, wouldn't you say?

I accented the handles and lined them with a couple other of her coordinating prints.  Then filled them with summer goodies- a water infuser, some chips and Smarties (for helping make my kids so smart!) and a gift card for them to choose some summer reading.

I made the totes without a pattern, just sewed some rectangles together, made a gusset bottom, lined and added a slip pocket.  Sometimes simple is best!

Blogging will be sporadic for July and August as I will have 3 energetic little people wanting my attention on my days off!  Plus heading out to the lake for some family R&R :)  But,  I do hope to sneak in some regular sewing while I am there.  I have a stack of quilt tops meant for the cottage bunk beds that need quilting and binding!  Plus a couple secret swap projects that I plan to finish up.  So, hopefully some good things to show you once routine is restored. 

Wishing you all a fabulous summer (or winter, in the other hemisphere!).

xoxo Kristie

Friday, June 20, 2014

"sheep happens" bag: a tutorial

Awhile back, I picked up a set of some cute Japanese polka dot fabric, with some sheep in the polka dots.  Right away, I was thinking these prints would be perfect for a knitting project bag (or any type of project for that matter).

With the end of the school year drawing near, I have decided to make some gifts for my kids' teachers, one of which is a knitter!  I decided to use this fabric to make a drawstring bag, and give a skein of pretty sock yarn along with it.  I named the bag the "sheep happens" bag, and it turned out so nicely that I thought I would make a tutorial to share with you here!

The bag is made of linen and cotton on the outside, and is lined with cotton.  It is round bottomed, therefore can sit nicely on its own without toppling over, and the drawstring closure doubles as a handle.  It came together quickly, and is the perfect size for small projects.

And here is how you can make your own!


fat quarter of linen or home dec fabric for outer
fat quarter of cotton for inner
30" of pretty ribbon, 3/4" wide
Thread, etc


6" x 21" of sheep fabric
6" x 21" of linen, sub cut into a 4" x 21" piece and a 2" x 21" piece
11" x 21" of lining
two circles of 6.5" diameter, one of each outer and lining fabrics (I used a bowl as a template)

NOTE:  I used 1/4 seams, not the traditional 1/2" for bags.  Because I am a quilter, after all ;)

1. Sew outer pieces, right sides together, along long sides such that the 4" strip is on the top, and the sheep piece is in the centre.  Press seams.

2. Fold outer and lining, right sides together so that short raw edges are aligned.
For lining, sew along short side to make tube.
For outer piece, do the same, but stop sewing 3" from top.  Backstitch.  Leave 1" gap, and sew remainder of side to top.  Flip to right side, finger press seams at gap away from hole, and sew short lines on either side of the hole to secure.  This will be where the drawstring ribbon exits.

3. Press outer and lining tubes in half, and then in half again.  Press along bottom edge to mark quarters.  Do the same with the circle pieces (see photo).

4.  Align circles with bottom of tubes, right sides together,  matching and pinning the four creases around the circle.

5. Sew circles to tubes, working fabric from tube along circle's curve and ensuring that all 4 pinned corners line up.

6.  Insert outer, right side out, into lining, wrong side out (i.e. right sides will be facing each other).  Ensure side seams for the outer and lining are aligned.  Pin, if desired.

7.  Sew along top, leaving 2" hole for inverting.

8. Turn bag right side out and press top seam.  Top stitch along top, close to the edge, to close the hole.  Also topstitch on either side of ribbon hole to make channel for the ribbon as shown.

9.  Turn edges of ends of ribbon over and stitch to prevent fraying.  Secure large safety pin to one end and insert into hole.

10. Using your fingers, pull safety pin along the channel until the ribbon emerges out the other side.  Tie ribbon ends into a knot.

Ta da!  You have yourself a Sheep Happens project bag.  Now go make something else to stick in it!!


Wanna win a sheep happens bag?  I am giving one away on Instagram today, Friday June 20.  Come check out my feed for details (kristieocd).  If you aren't on IG, leave a comment here before 3 PM (Central time) and I will enter you. Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

my favourite mini quilt

Yesterday was my best friend Michele's 40th birthday!  I am sure she loves me sharing that with the world ;)  But hers is extra important to me- she survived a rare SCAD heart attack a few years ago, so after having had to face the possibility of losing her, I am all the more grateful to have such an amazing friend in my life.

For the big 4-0, she put in a request over 6 months ago- admiring the mini quilt I have at the cottage with and Emerson quote, she asked if I could make her something similar with a quote that has been a mantra of sorts for her since her heart attack:

"Do not let yesterday take up too much of today." 

For months I waited for my inspiration to strike.  How to make the quote and the fabric come together into something inspiring and beautiful.  It stumped me.  Then I got to thinking about life, and how we are all made up of these random experiences, some good and some bad, but how they all meld together to form us as a person.  How often it starts out one way and then takes on another path, a diversion.....about all the colours and textures that make up a life.  Kind of magical.

I set out without any end plan.  I just started piecing bits of neutrals together.  Got out some fabric paint and stamps.  Pieced some wonky letters in colours where I wanted impact.   Tried my hand at  some embroidery.  And slowly brought it all together. The more randomness I added, the more cohesive the piece started to look and the more I liked where it was going. And here is the end result!

The quilting included some new frontiers for me, and I went with the same carefree attitude I had with the piecing. I channelled my inner Krista Withers and started filling negative space with swirls, pebbles, lines.  The quilting is dense and the resulting texture is amazing.

Added sections of clamshells and waves and used touches of hand stitching to accent the stamped letters and to outline the pieced ones.

On the back, the London subway map fabric (to represent time she spent living in England). And some hanging sleeves with a birthday message :)  For the binding, I continued with the scrappy theme.

It was gifted yesterday, and Michele declared it was her favourite gift she received (which pretty much brought tears to my eyes).  Then we had a lovely afternoon at the I am HOPING this is indicative of life in our 40s?!?!

Happiest of birthdays, Michele xoxox

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 4: less stress project meets hormones

This week, HORMONES were introduced to the LSP.

It wasn't even a fair fight.  Hormones clearly won.

I am grateful I survived this week without becoming a news headline.  I had fantasies of running away from home or dropping my children off on a street corner somewhere far, far away.  I also considered divorcing my husband several times.  No, I did not eat well, sleep well, exercise or accomplish any of my LSP objectives.  I was in survival mode, people!

It's truly amazing how a normally rational (??) human being can be completely blind sided by little molecules coursing through the blood stream.  The tiny fraction of my brain that survived the onslaught kept saying, "You have been taken over by aliens, hang tight and do NOT make any major life decisions for 5 days! You can do this!"  I clung to that voice and muscled through.  It seems my monthly craziness has just compounded with age, a smaller part of the rational surviving each time.  Is that true for anyone else?  Or am I totally losing my marbles?

Anyways.  This morning, I could tell the war was over.  I popped into my youngest daughter's room to wake her up this morning and saw this sight:

Little sleepy toes popping out from quilts made by mama.  I was awash with love, and all was right with the world again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

quilt journey: Angela's quilt!

The #quiltjourney continues, where a group of seven of us quilty friends are mailing pieces of quilts across the continent to be added to, eventually forming a whole quilt filled with love!  I wrote about the start of my quilt, and my addition to Cara's (IG: meamom) as well, and today I will share Angela's quilt so far!

Many of you know Angela- she blogs over at Cut to Pieces.  I love this girl.  So talented and more than that, just a sweet, loyal friend with a wicked funny sense of humour (my favourite!).  Anyways, I was sent these two awesome pieces from her and Cara as the start of her quilt.

Both with lots of colour, bold and graphic.  And both already pretty large!  I loved them both, but honestly was having a hard time visualizing how they would tie together, not battling each other but in harmony in the quilt.  So I decided to do a bit of a "bridge" to allow some transition.

First job: picking fabrics with my trusty sidekick ;)  I used lots of my hoarded favourites like Katie Jump Rope, Heather Ross and AMH.

Next was determining design. Angela has written an amazing book on curved piecing called A Quilter's Mixology which modernizes the Drunkard's Path block.  Not sure if it was a wise move or totally delusional one, but I decided to add some curves to the curve guru's quilt!  And while the other sections sent to me where predominantly colour with pops of white, I opted to do the reverse, but inserting curved stars of bold colours into a white background.

I began by making modified drunkard's path blocks in 3 sizes.  I trimmed them such that the edges of the coloured fabrics would feather together to form the stars.

I then came up with a random arrangement of them onto 3 sides of one of the previously made sections...

....and pieced them all together with white.

In the end, I didn't attach the strip of blocks on the right- I will send them along to the next quilters in line and they can decide accordingly.  But, I am happy with my "touch", and hope Angela likes it, too!