Saturday, April 30, 2016

Getting a Grip

In more ways than one.

It has been a c-c-c-cold April here in Canada's southernmost town.  The Detroit weather dude said we are 10-20F degrees colder than average, and the Windsor weather dude, Arms Bumanlag (don't you just love his name?!) concurred, about 5-10C.  The wind out of the north is freezing; when it's out of the south, because it comes off the lake, freezing as well.  I could count on one hand the number of times I have walked Rocco without earmuffs and gloves.  Yesterday and today I was grouchy the entire walk, barely looking around to admire the burgeoning Spring glory of magnolias, Japanese Cherry, azaleas, Forsythia, other white floral trees that I do not know...

Today I got home, hit the shower, my cheeks (both sets, ha) ice cold to the touch, and started to have a meltdown of frustration and depression and anger all rolled into one.  And then....wait a second.... I grabbed myself by the scruff of the neck (metaphorically, although I did scrub my neck, lol) and said, "Sandra! Get a GRIP!  You are crying about the weather?!  Meanwhile you have made two beautiful quilts that you hope to give to two children...said children who have suffered unspeakable horrors of sexual abuse and YOU THINK YOU HAVE IT BAD???"  Insert steam-out-of-nostrils emoji.

Yeah.  So.  I got out of the shower and told MacGyver the positive aspects of my walk with Rocco:  1.  Just two steps from where he did his first poop (he saved up today) was a perfectly good, nicely folded, just a bit wet from the drizzle, pretty lettuce-green doggie poop bag! (had you wondering, didn't I?) I didn't have to use one of my own, and at about 1.5c each, a girl's gotta save money where she can, snort.  2.  The drizzle stopped not even half way into my walk.  3.  The lawns are the most incredible, lush, Irish green.

Speaking of incredible green (love it when I get a good segue like this), a few days ago, I used a piece of Quilters' Candy Basics from Connecting Threads (no affiliation) from a fat quarter bundle I got from them in early December to make this:
Remember I said I was on Lara's Crafted Appliqué blog hop next month? I've been playing with her new method for appliqué that gives the pieces a great grip, yet leaves a soft hand to the fabric.
Here's the back:
No it's not another mini, although I think it would be a great one!  It's a potholder.  My current ones are disgusting, to the point where washing doesn't seem to help.  I quilted this with Exquisite polyester, a thread I am in love with, as is Avril the longarm, and my Bernina, which is what I used.  It has a lovely sheen to it, and it is half the price of Isacord.  I bought it at the Bernina dealer in Port Charlotte, FL.  After echoing the butterfly appliqué (more on that baby in a sec),  I did a flower design from Judi Madsen's book Quilting Wide Open Spaces, and a flower of my own design that I have doodled forever...  The blue wash-out marker from Tish came in handy yet again!  On this one, I sewed the binding to the back, and then top-stitched it down on the front.  I was happy with the result.
I pulled the potholder out from the machine to clip the threads once I'd finished stitching down the binding, and this 1.5" tail of thread was all that was left on the bobbin!  Talk about Luck o' the Irish!

Here is its partner.
and the back:
I quilted this one with swirls, as you can see, using YLI variegated 40 wt thread in purples, burgundy, blues and grey.  Love this thread too.  I applied the binding to the front, folding it over to the back and stitching it down.  I like this look better, as from the front it looks like it could be hand-sewn down, which is what I prefer.  However, these will be washed and washed so I want sturdy.  Unless, that is, I follow Tish's advice, and make a sign that says, "For cookies and cakes only; NO lasagne."

Here they are together.  I cannot get over how lovely the two colours look beside each other.  The mottled bits in that gorgeous green look the exact colour of the rich purple.
The binding is a piece from a collection of quarter metre cuts I snagged at Fabricland several years ago, again thinking kaleidoscopes.  What a pleasant surprise to find it worked so well as a binding for both!

So, appliqué, or as I am wont to say, "Aaaack!-pliqué."  This is my first attempt at Lara Buccella's Crafted Appliqué technique.  Her book just came out, and yippee! I get to be a part of the blog hop next month celebrating her book launch....

The book is available on Amazon, and doing well, yay.  Isn't it just right when good things happen to good people?  (I am not an Amazon affiliate.)  The method is SO COOL; take a close look at my butterflies...pretty sharp edges, huh?  Here's what the fabric looks like after the kaleidoscopes I did several years ago (and seem to want to do again) and this project:
Fabulous fabric by Michael Miller, bought in about 2000, used in two Paula Nadelstern-style kaleidoscopes

I'll be sharing more, much more during the hop.  If you have admired appliqué, but thought, na, can't be bothered to turn under all those edges, or na, don't like the look of raw edge, or it seems too much work, well, you need to check this book out!  I think you will be pretty amazed and excited, and, if you're like me, have your brain start fizzing with creative possibilities.
Tried to capture the gorgeous variegated thread in the rather elusive sunshine the other day

Creative possibilities.
You might recognize some of these lovelies; they're from the Three-Quarter Patch Tote (and it's on SALE this weekend!) I reviewed for Craftsy a while back; post is here.  Everyone loved how the colours played together, so I am cooking up another project with them.

Most of these are from fat quarter bundles that I have got from Craftsy.  Buying a fat quarter bundle is a great way to build your stash, or to try fabrics you may not normally buy, and to push you a little out of your comfort zone.  This weekend, you've probably heard, there is a terrific sale on kits and supplies (um Mother's Day coming right up, anyone?)

and fat quarter bundles can be had for about $2CA a fat quarter.
Supplies like....
That's Kaffe Fassett on the right, Free Spirit on the left, and yep, at $35CA that's just over $2 per FQ; US is $26, so just over $1.50 per FQ
That's Anna Maria Horner fabric on the left, I own it now. :-) And have a plan! the one on the right is Free Spirit
Here is a link to the Anna Maria Horner; you will find great deals on lots of other bundles, such as Craftsy's Boundless Solids precuts.  These are all affiliate links; I became a Craftsy affiliate about a year ago, because I think they are terrific; dollar value for product is, IMHO, just excellent.  Some of you have used my links to purchase stuff (I never know who, don't freak out), but I truly appreciate the business.  Affiliates make 10% on kits and supplies. :-)

Full circle:
Positive thought #4 about my morning walk with Rocco.  If I got my butt in gear, I could finish my Fisherman's Wife Cowl and wear it, since the weather is still going to be pretty cool.  And so I did!

Love how it turned out!  The kit is on sale right now at Craftsy too!
It's Wool-Ease and it is great to work with, knits up fast, and is really cosy, not itchy, around the neck, because it's 80% acrylic, 20% wool.  I had two really pretty black buttons, but needed 3.  Of course.  Then I found the one with flecks of white in, same size, and I thought maybe?  I like the effect.

Something I tend to forget is that it's not just quilting supplies and kits on sale; it's knitting kits, like my cowl, and yarn, sewing fabric (look at these two!)

threads(!!), scrapbooking, cake-decorating, etc.  Now I have this project done, I plan to start one of the other knitted kits I picked up at the last sale, like maybe these Brooklyn mitts...

Bella had some purring/kneading time on the leftover yarn from my cowl:
There's something endearing, heart-warming, and mesmerizing watching a cat knead.
Linking up with
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict

I'll be back Sunday for the April yoga pose for Sunday Stretch.  I'm off to walk Rocco, and then peruse Craftsy's sale... restraint? What restraint?!


  1. "Aaaack!-pliqué." :) When I read that in her introduction it had me rolling, Sandra.

    I hear you on the weather stuff. I'm not a fan of cold (or wind), and we've been getting our fair dose this past week. But rain. We have had rain for the first time in years and the flowers and blooming and hills are green. Celebrate the positives, right?

    The pot holders look great and now I'm thinking it might be time to find the perfect fabric to test out Lara's technique. I'm so intrigued and ready to give it a try!

  2. These are just so beautiful, I have always hand appliqued but I hope the book becomes available in UK before long as I will try this. Regarding the necessary bags for your dog, over here my family use perfumed nappy sacks, so much cheaper. 150 for around £1. I am no reply but will try your advice to change.

  3. Craftsy solids are the best! I buy them all the time

  4. Cute potholders and I love that knitted cowl. You are such a busy bee!!

  5. Some day it might actually warm up here. I am making a new set of potholders, well they are in the planning stages. love those butterflies you used and the quilting is lovely as always.

  6. Great post! It's been pretty much the same here in Cape Breton, same wind conditions, N or S off the water, same bitter cold. Except today. It was actually quite nice. Whew! Perhaps spring really is going to make an appearance! Love your cowl! XO

  7. We're freezing our biscuits off over here by Lake Ontario too. What a lovely cowl you knit! This weather will definitely give you some time to show it off.
    It does make you think of the positives when you know other's face such terribly hard times.

    Your butterfly potholders are so gorgeous Sandra. The quilting you did just takes them to a whole higher level too! LOL, the first time you ever blogged about Aaaack-plique it made me laugh so much that I just knew I had to quote you in the book. Thank you for all your enthusiasm and for diving right in with gusto and trying out my new technique! Can't wait to see what you dream up next!

  8. Beautiful potholders! I think I need to step up my game in the kitchen accessories department! I definitely need to check out Lara's book.

  9. Love your potholders AND your quilting! Gorgeous! I'll check that book out too!

  10. This past week has been cool, dreary and drippy here, so SICK of it, but sunshine is on it's way this week. Luckily I didn't have to be out in it-I had my nose to the grindstone(sewing machine) happily sewing away :-) All that to say I love your new potholders! When I first saw them I thought it was going to be a child'a quilt!

  11. I'm a wee bit sick of the weather myself, and I know what you mean about getting a grip. Your applique is great....but I probably won't try it myself.

  12. I'm looking forward to the blog hop. I'm intrigued by the technique. You did a great job on the butterflies.

  13. I can't say that I'm freezing, my friend, but I am starting to consider trading my SUV in for a boat. We aren't flooded, but man everything is wet and the storms cut in on my quilting time. Remind me about my whining say around July when I'm complaining about how hot it is and where the rain is :) You have me super excited to get my copy of Lara's book. Hopefully, it will be here in a few days. Your butterflies look like they could float right off the pot holders. They are gorgeous! Can't wait to see what you come up with for the additional project. Bella looks like she adjusting that nice yarn to use as a pillow. She's a smart girl.

  14. I enjoyed reading about both - cheek pairs and pot holders pair.
    After a very rainy weekend, finally, today the clouds broke and it is a lovely sunshiny day. Hope I can get home in time to take pictures of my finishes. I bought the Rhoda Ruth FQ bundle. It is so yummy...
    Talk to you soon,

  15. Your hotpads are beautiful! I would definitely say not for use with lasagna. Do you worry about the polyester thread and the hot pans? And I love your cowl as well.

  16. Oh how beautiful! Butterflies! And the cover of Lara's book TOTALLY brings childhood memories back of my little felt cut outs that you stuck to the felt(ish) board, do you remember it?


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