Friday, March 6, 2015

More finished Sashiko pieces!

I'm working on 2 different Sashiko projects.  I do that with most of my hand work (knitting, Sashiko, quilting, etc).  I like to keep from getting bored. :-)

One of my projects is Sylvia Pippen's Chinese Bird Series.  I did the owls last month and just recently finished the albatross.  This series is pre-printed on the fabric so it's super easy to stitch over it.  A very relaxing project.  I'm not sure yet how I will use them.  When I'm finished stitching the whole series, they will most likely become the focus blocks of a quilt.  In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the process.

Then, there are the background blocks for my Tropical Sashiko Sampler quilt.  There are 16 different blocks (hence the title- sampler).  I finished 4 of them last month and here are my latest 4.


And close-ups:

Hemp Leaf





Seven treasures


Mountains

Overlapping Diamonds


I'm far from at expert at this, but since I believe that "practice makes perfect"  (or at least it makes you better), I started this sampler to improve my skills.  So far, I think it's working.  I improve with each block.








Sunday, February 15, 2015

Snug as a Bird in a Boot!

New home for the birds....

 It's always fun to run into an old friend after years apart.  That's what happened to me last week.  Since we last saw each other, my friend, Ted, has retired.  Now that he has time to spend being creative in his garage, he turns cowboy boots into bird houses.













Ted sells his boots to the Backyard Bird Shop in the Portland, Oregon area.  Each one is unique and very well made.   He gave this one to me as a gift.  WOW!  How cool is this!?!?











If you want to see more, you can find them at the Backyard Bird Shop.  Or you can contact Ted directly.

My birds are gonna be livin' in style this spring!  Thank, Ted!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Diamonds are a Quilter's Best Friend- my table runner in progress

When I posted this pattern as a giveaway, I said I was going to work on mine.  And I did!

Here is my finished table runner (just the top).  I still have to quilt it.  I think I'll do some cross-hatching to echo the diamond setting.


I love the batiks in this.  I'll try to get it quilted soon, but for now it's making me happy adorning my design wall.  :-)  But, it will make me smile even more when it's on my kitchen table!

Diamonds Table Runner Pattern Winner- Congrats, Kathy!



I got a nice surprise yesterday when I learned that I won a giveaway on another blog (see the previous post on the Close to my Heart giveaway).  Then I remembered that I forgot to select a winner for my OWN giveaway!  BAD Sue!

So I went right to the trusty random number generator and asked it to select a winner of the Diamonds are a Quilter's Best Friend table runner pattern.  Congrats to  Kathe E. from Dubuque, Iowa.  Kathy's blog name cracks me up.  It's called Sprinkles and Sparkles and Everyday Crap.  Thanks so much to all who entered.  There will be a new giveaway soon, so keep watching!

I'll be posting my progress on making this table runner in another post.  Sadly, the remaining patterns have sold and they are now gone.





Thursday, January 22, 2015

CTMH Scrapping Giveaway

In my "spare time", when I'm not sewing or knitting or playing in the garden or playing with my granddaughter.... I like to play with paper.  I love paper crafting.  (If only I had more time!!!).  I used to make a lot of cards, but now I'm doing more scrapbooking.  That probably has something to do with the fact that both of my sons were married in the last handful of years and I now have a granddaughter.

 

My friend, Tamara, is a Close to my Heart consultant.   She sells wonderful paper crafting supplies, and takes good care of me when I have a scrapping project going and cry for help.  It's funny--- I help others with their quilting or knitting and I LOVE to teach.  But with paper crafting, I sit back and just remain the student.  Tamara takes good care of me and bails me out whenever I need it.  Gotta love having a friend like that!  Tamara and I have a mutual friend, and the three of us spend a weekend at the beach about twice a year---- cutting and gluing all weekend.  It's a blast. 

So Tamara has a blog and she's having a cool giveaway, so I thought I'd share it.  Check out the giveaway on her blog HERE.  Good luck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Diamonds Are a Quilter's Best Friend pattern- Giveaway

My next project--- and maybe yours, too!  I picked the fabric and got a start on this a few years ago, and then it... well.... sat on a shelf in a zip lock bag.  I dug it out today and decided to finish it.  I have 2 of these patterns left.  I'm going to put one in LAST CHANCE on my websiteWhen it's gone, it's gone.  I don't think I can order more of them.  And I'm going to give the other one away.

This is a really cute table runner.  I saw one that the designer made and liked it so much I wanted to make one.  Unfortunately, I didn't get very far on it at the time!

So here's how you enter to win the one I'm giving away:
For one entry, just comment on THIS POST and tell me you'd like to win the pattern.  That's it!  You'll be entered!

For a second chance, be a follower of this blog.  It doesn't matter if you just signed up or if you've been a follower for years.  But you have to say you're a follower in a SECOND COMMENT.  I'll be counting comments to determine the number of entries, so you have to put it in a second comment if you want a second entry.  Make sense?

For a third chance, help me spread the news.  Post it on your own blog, put it on Facebook, tweet it, or tell your quilting group about it.  I don't care how you spread the word.  Just come back and make a third comment to this post and tell me how you shared it.  Just one entry for spreading the word, though,  You can't tweet it 17 times and get 17 extra entries.  Ok?

And just for fun, for another entry, tell me if you've ever made a table runner.  I'd love to see a picture!  If you'd like to show me your table runner (s), send your pictures to me in an email and let me know what pattern you used and if it's ok for me to share your picture on my blog.

I'll let the random number generator pick a winner on February 1st.  Good luck!

And don't forget- there's ONE pattern on sale on my website.  When it's gone, it's gone!

I'm going to get busy.  I'm going to try to finish my table runner and show it to you by Feb 1st.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tradewinds Pattern Winner- Toni Anne!

Congrats, Toni Anne!
You win the Tradewinds pattern!  I'll get in contact with you and get it shipped right out!

Thank you to all who entered, and a BIG WELCOME to the new followers of this blog!  I hope you enjoy reading along.

I'll post a new giveaway tomorrow that will run for two weeks, so be watching!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Machine Thread Delivery

This is one of the latest videos with Bob Purcell of Superior Thread.  Superior has the best education tips and videos!

Do you ever wonder if it matters whether or not the spool of thread is in the horizontal or vertical position in your machine?  Most people think it's important but don't know why... or when to put the thread in which position.  Watch this short video and the mystery will be solved!

I'm sorry the video is a little shaky... or at least it was when I watched it (It's not the blog- it's shaky on YouTube).  But you can still see what he's doing and it's worth the watch.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More knit finishes....

I've done a lot of sewing in the past week, but I need to take pictures.  So for today, I'll just show you some more knit finishes from recent months.

I do a lot of test knitting for a designer friend of mine.  Her designer name is VeryBusyMonkey and you can buy her patterns through Ravelry.  A while back, she designed a series of 4 little shawls inspired by gardens.  I love them all!


Alpinarium Shawl is made with Serenity Yarn in the Salt Water Taffy colorway.  It's a blend of Alpaca, Merino and Tencil and it's ooooooo so soft!  Available through Knitter's Brewing Company.





The second one is called the Knot Garden Shawl.  I made it with Achilles in the Pumpkin Moonlight colorway.  Achilles is merino wool with just a tiny bit of nylon for strength.  It's available through Barking Dog Yarns and is beautifully hand-dyed one skein at a time.






This is the Orchard Shawl.  I bought this beautiful kettle dyed yarn on vacation in Lancaster, PA a couple years ago and I lost the ball band so I can't tell you more about it.  I do remember that it's Merino.  Beautiful color!







And the last one in the series is the Border Garden Shawl.  I had a little trouble getting the color right in the photographs on this one.  It's a beautiful deep red-burgundy color with a hit of purple.  The yarn is hand-dyed by Abstract Fiber and is their Merino Silk in the Cosmopolitan colorway.  It has a beautiful drape.





I tend to wear these shawls as scarves.  They do drape over the shoulder, but I like the look of them scrunched around my neck.  They really do keep me cozy on cold days!  I need to remember to wear the last one (Border Garden) on Valentine's Day. :-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My New Knit Sacks

Are these cute or what?!?  My friend, Peg, has a business on Etsy making little project bags for knitters.  Her Etsy site is Peg's Procrastinations.  They're so handy to carry your knit project around.  This photo shows one large and two small sacks and two needle holders.  She also has a spindle sack and an XL sack for big projects like sweaters.

I asked her for an assortment of cute sheep fabric for my sacks, but she has a HUGE assortment of fabrics of all kinds.

I assume that most people who are reading this blog are quilters or knitters or crafters of some sort.  So I think a lot of you might relate to this.  All my life, I have made things for other people.  I remember knitting and sewing for people when I was a child.  Well... when you're one of those people who makes things a lot, other people who "make things" don't tend to make things for you.  There are exceptions, of course, and I treasure the things my friends have made for me.  But I hear people say, "Why would I make her a quilt?  She's a better quilter than I am!".  Or... "Why would I knit for her?  She doesn't need anything knitted- she knits all the time!".  Well, nothing could be farther from the truth.  I have a friend who made me a little pin cushion trash/thread catcher thingie and I LOVE it! I use it all the time.  But what I love most is that she made it for me.  And I have a few pin cushions made by friends that make me smile whenever I look at them.  I never judge the workmanship.  I just look at them and think about the care and time that went into them, and I think about how my friend spend her time making something for me.  It's a big warm fuzzy, I tell you!

So.... could I make these bags?  Probably.  Although Peg's workmanship is beyond compare.  She really has these bags down to a science.  They're beautifully made with high quality materials, fully lined, enclosed seams, and very sturdy construction.  The designs are well thought-out, with pockets and closures in all the right places.  But still... I could make something to fit my needs.  But there's just something about having hand made items that are lovingly crafted by someone else.  It's just a treasure.  I'm sold on these little bags on so many levels.  They are well priced, they're useful, cute, and well made.  But best of all.... PEG MADE THEM!  Check out her Etsy site.  She's a terrific lady and she makes terrific project bags.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Some Recent Knits

I thought I'd do a little catch up and show you some things I've knit that I missed posting here on the blog.  I'll show a few here and there until most of them are on here.

I do a lot of test knitting for VeryBusyMonkey, a popular sock and shawl designer.  Last summer, she ran a mystery Knit-Along on her Ravelry group.  She had two patterns- one for a pair of socks and one for a shawl.  Both were released as a series of clues- one per week until the pattern was complete.  It was very popular and lots of people anxiously awaited the clues each week.

"Clue Socks".  The yarn I used for the socks was dyed by Hazel Knits.


And here is the "Clue Shawl".  This yarn is by "Crave Yarns".  It's 50/50 Merino wool and Silk.  It's sooooo soft and luxurious and drapes beautifully. 


And a couple more pairs of socks:  These are designed by Valerie Hobbs, called "Lazy Day Socks".  The yarn is Achilles by Barking Dog Yarns in the "Siesta" colorway.


 And last but not least, this is another pair designed by VeryBusyMonkey.  The pattern is "Centrifugal Force Socks.  I must admit that I lost the yarn band and I forget exactly what the yarn is.  I think it was dyed by "Miss Babbs",


I'm on a hat and mitten binge now.  I'll show you some of those another time. :-)

And I always put a plug in for Ravelry when I post photos of my knitting.  If you're a knitter (or if you crochet), you HAVE to check out Ravelry!.  It's not optional- you just HAVE to do it!  My user name in Ravelry is SueHauser.  Everything I've knitted in the past 4 years is documented on my project page on Ravelry.  It's kinda scarey- I have over 200 projects on there!  I wish there was something like that for quilters.  I'm guess that's where the blog comes in!  I'm working on binding my Tradewinds quilt.  You 'll see that soon.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wrangle those plastic bags!

Here's a random organizational tip for the new year.  

I don't know about you, but I had a mountain of plastic bags under my kitchen cabinet.  I just keep the ones you get produce in under my kitchen sink.... I keep the store bags in another spot.  The bigger store bags I just put inside one of the larger bags and I have it hanging on a hook in the laundry room.  Every once in a while I recycle the whole mess and start over.
But I use the smaller grocery store produce bags a lot in the kitchen.  I saw this idea on Pinterest (where else!).  I just stuffed a bunch of them in an empty tissue box.  I was amazed and how many it holds!  I did sort of flatten them.  I wasn't fussy or neat about it.  I just wanted them to fit a lot in and I wanted them to  pull out one at a time. I'm not sure if that's an important step, though.  It works GREAT!  You put them in here in seconds and pull them out one at a time.  Best of all?  My under-sink cabinet looks almost empty!

If you have dogs and take bags with you to clean up after them, this would be a perfect answer.  I'd keep one of the smaller (square and tall) tissue boxes near the leash.  Then pull out a bag when you go for a walk.

Edit to add:
Somebody asked me where to recycle the overflow of plastic bags.  I live in the Northwest.  Around here, most grocery stores have a container somewhere near the door for clean plastic bags (all kinds- just clean).  Every once in a while, I take the overflow with me when I go grocery shopping and pop them in the recycle container.  I also pop a few in my reusable shopping bags.  When I do my grocery shopping, I pull out my old produce bags rather than taking new ones.  But I stress that they are CLEAN bags.  I never re-use the ones that were wet inside.  Oh- and if you want to save the wet ones, just turn them inside out and leave them on your counter for a while- they'll dry out.
OK- this is MUCH more than you ever wanted to read about plastic bags.  I'll stop now.  :-)


Friday, January 2, 2015

Sashiko.... I think I have a new addiction!

Oh, MY!  I think I have a new addiction!  I started a couple of new Sashiko projects and I can't stop!

The first is my Two Owls piece.  Sylvia Pippen has a series of panels to make Chinese Birds.  This owl piece is my first one.  I'm starting on the doves next.  I don't know how many different birds she'll have in the series.  I'll just keep making them and figure out what to do with them when they're all done.


The owls are done on Moda Marble fabric with  traditional Sashiko thread.  I just love these little guys.  I think I need to put them up on my design wall so I can look at them often.  They make me smile.

The next project will take a little longer.  It's a quilt with 16 sashiko background blocks and 9 blocks that combine hand applique flowers with sashiko stems and leaves.  I'm starting with the 16 background blocks.  Here are the first 4:

 Key Fret

 Persimmon Flower

 Double Cypress Fence

Bishamon

The pieces will be trimmed to 7 1/2 inch squares when I use them to make my quilt top, but since this fabric frays, I think I'll wait for the last minute to do that.  I'm using Essex fabric because I like working with the open weave.  I'm not sure if that was a good choice for the quilt, though.  I should have used a flat cotton.  Oh, well... it's all part of the learning curve.  

Speaking of learning curves-- I'm new at Sashiko  As I make these pieces, I can see my work improving.  We're going for even stitch length, crisp turns and intersections, no pulls, and no long thread pieces on the back, so you need to plan your stitching path.  I won't point it out (because you should NEVER point out your mistakes when you show other people your work!), but I can tell which pieces were my oldest and newest.  I don't look at the first piece and cringe at the blooper spots.  I look at the most recent one and pat myself on the back because I can see improvement.  

I LOVE doing Sashiko!  It's a lot like machine quilting when you meander around... you just keep going, and going, and going...... 

Time for a little plug.... I carry a wide range of Sashiko products on my website.  I don't have the bird panels on there yet, but they're coming soon. The 16 Sashiko blocks are on there now.  They originally went into a quilt, but that pattern and the floral blocks are being discontinued.  If you really want them, let me know soon and I'll see if I can still get any.   I'll also be doing more Sashiko posts and tutorials.  This is so much fun- I'll be doing a lot more of it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Magnetic Snap Application Tutorial

Ever wonder how to apply magnetic snaps to your projects?  It's a SNAP!

Lots of bags use magnetic snaps. These pictures demonstrate the use of magnetic snaps using the "Girlfriend Bag" by Among Brenda's Quilts.  Brenda graciously gave me permission to use her photos.

I plan to add some of the Among Brenda's Quilts bags to my shop, and I already have the Girlfriend Bag pattern on order.  If you are interested in any particular patterns, let me know.  Brenda has some great designs!

I don't have the snaps on my website yet, either (they're also on order).  But if you're having trouble finding these or any bag hardware, let me know and I'll do my best to help you find what you need.  I have a Handbag and Tote category on my website, and it will be expanding throughout the year.


The Girlfriend Bag is a cool design.  It uses 3 magnetic snaps.  One is used as the bag closure, and the other two are used on the sides.  You can leave the side snaps open, or closed, to change the look and functionality of the bag.  Gotta love it when your bag gets overloaded and you can just open the snaps and make it bigger!


 One side, with the snap open.


 Bag closure, shown open

.
 You'll need  ¾ inch magnetic snaps for this particular project.  Dritz makes them.


 .  Magnetic snaps have two halves and two washers.  Note that there is a male half and a female half.  (Insies and outsies!)


  Shown here for demonstration purposes, are two 4.5 inch squares basted to foam stabilizer, just like you'd do with the bag.


  Mark where you want the snap.  Center one of the washers over the mark on the fabric.  Using a Frixion pen, mark in the long slots to either side of center.  Repeat for the other fabric piece.


 You'll have a dot with two lines marked on each piece.  


 There are two ways to puncture the fabric.  Using an awl does not cut the threads of the fabric....


  ...snipping along the two lines with sharp scissors is easier but it does cut the fabric.  I usually snip. 


  To save wear and tear on the fabric from the edges of the magnet I like to cut small 1 inch squares of clear vinyl.  I center them over the marked lines on the fabric and trace those lines on the vinyl using a Sharpie marker.


  Next I fold the vinyl in half and snip along the lines using my sharp scissors. 


 The vinyl gets placed over the snipped area...


 ...and a snap is pushed through the holes to the opposite side.  In this case we are using an outsie.


 The washer is placed over the arms of the magnet.


 Then the arms are bend back using the ends of large scissors or a pair of pliers. 


 The unsightliness of the vinyl can be trimmed away so that just a little bit remains to protect the fabric from future wear and tear.


  Repeat this procedure for the other fabric piece using an insie. 


And presto you have completed a successful application!