Fabric flowers

I’ve been asked a few times where I get inspiration for the quilts I make. And, (as with any of my crafts) the answer is “all over!”

With this next project… it started with a piece of flannel from the clearance bin.

It wasn’t huge (about a yard and a half) but it’s just enough to use for a back of a small baby quilt. I bought it and tucked it away, no t thinking of it again until I saw the Dizzy Daisy tutorial from Missouri Star Quilts. I immediately knew this would be the block!

But I didn’t have any fabric for it. Normally, I would just let the idea marinate, and eventually I’d come across something. But I needed to order some foam for the tote bags I’d planned on making, so I decided to take a look at Layer Cakes too!

The colours and prints were perfect!

The other day, I got everything cut and ready to go.

And of course, sewed up one block just to see!

These flowers are so fun and easy to make. I can whip one up in about 10 minutes, so it’s the perfect project for when I’m waiting on stuff for the day job, and have a little time to kill.

From patches to snowballs

I have finally made enough four patches for my Leader/Ender project. In fact, I made more than enough. I have 26 too many. But that’s ok, I’ll use them in another project eventually.

Now I’m on to snowballing two corners on some plain white squares. I need 160 of them, and then I can start assembling the blocks. I don’t imagine that will be any time soon, but that’s ok. I’m in no rush

Here’s where all my other quilt projects are at.:

  • Blockhead quilt – Waiting for next block!
  • Flannel adventures – Sewing super soft paws!
  • L&E – As above.

And suddenly…. fall

We had a mostly beautiful long weekend, and then the day after Labour Day, BAM! Fall hit like a brick wall.

The first few days were cool and rainy. And the rest of the week we struggled to hit 20 Celcius (68F). The roses are feeling it most of all. First the shock of being moved, now this:

Hopefully it’s not too much for them and they get through winter ok.

No doubt, second summer is on it’s way and we’ll have at least one more blast of warm weather, maybe even two. And despite the roses, there’s still blooms to be had in the garden.

The Physostegia is just a mass of pinky purple blooms. I’m so glad I came across this plant last summer. My neighbour has one that’s a slightly lighter shade and it’s so pretty.

The marigolds are having a grand time. The entire backyard is ringed with them and they have spread out all over the place. I have to admit, I’ve always had good luck with Marigolds.

The butterfly bush is happy…

Which means the Monarchs are too. Of course, I haven’t seen one since the cold hit. But this beauty stopped by on the weekend for a snack.

The sunflowers have had a tough year, but despite squirrels, wind storms, and now this cold snap, they are still blooming.

The sedum is in full bloom, a definite reminder that summer is over, regardless of what the weather is doing.

I just hope we get enough warmth that my fall crop of berries can grow and ripen. They are never as big as the summer ones, but they are a nice treat in late September, early October.

My tomatoes could REALLY use some warm sunny days. There are lots of green ones – they just need a chance to ripen.

Still… I look forward to fall. It’s my favourite season for many reasons. one of which…

Is fall Mums! I grabbed this one at the grocery store the other day. It’s been a bit of a tough week (not just because of the weather) and I needed the pick-me-up!

Friday Felines

The other morning, something unusual happened.

Relic came in after his early morning romp for breakfast (which is not unusual), but instead of immediately heading back out after stuffing his face (which is the norm unless its raining), he headed up to bed for a nap.

Because this was out of the ordinary for him, I went upstairs a short time later to check on him. Burton was hot on my heels – which is also not unusual, that boy is my furry little shadow most of the day.

But when I sat on the bed beside Relic, Burton immediately jumped up and snuggled in beside Relic.

Now Relic is not normally a snuggler, but as you may recall, he does let Rupert curl up beside him at night. But Burton… while Burton loves to snuggle with people… he has NEVER snuggled with the other cats. Even when he was a kitten.

But just look at that.

Cats are weird!

Grey sleeves

I’ll admit it, I’ve been procrastinating on sewing together the body of the barnyard sweater. Not because it’s itchy (it is). Not because it’s smelly (it is). Not because it’s really heavy to have in the lap (it is.)

Because it’s got a weird construction, and I was worried I had knit it wrong and it wouldn’t go together right. But, there was nothing to do but suck it up and get on with it.

So I did.

And it worked! It’s not the prettiest sewing job, but it will hold.

Here’s a peak at that weird construction.

You see here, the shoulder seam actually falls to the back of the shoulder, not in the middle. First I had to graft the two sides of the collar together, then sew the back to the fronts and collar. I was so relieved when it all lined up and fit right!

Now there was nothing left but the sleeves. As I mentioned in my previous post, they are knit on. This involvs short-rows to form the sleeve cap. This isn’t an issue for me, I’ve done it on a few others. But this thing is so bulky. It’s a lot to have in your lap and hanging from you needles as you work back and forth.

But I persevered and last night I was able to complete the entire sleeve cap.

Now it’s knitting round and round and round to finish the sleeve. Then I get to do another one exactly like it. The end isn’t quite in sight, but there’s a small glimmer of light showing at the end of that looooooooong tunnel!

Born a bramblin’ man

While there hasn’t been a whole tonne of sewing lately (pot painting taking up more of my time), there is still sewing.

It was time to turn my attention back to a bit of a neglected project… the Bramble Patch quilt.

I started it back in mid-May, but ran afoul when I didn’t have enough prints to do what I wanted. This is how it looked then..

I needed to swap out those white prints for something off white. I had a few potentials from Mom’s stash, but they weren’t quite right. Every time I went to a fabric store, I looked, but nothing was jiving.

And the more and more I thought about it, the more I just wasn’t loving the layout anyway. It was just too busy, and not quite what I had in my head when I first started.

It needed a rethink.

My first thought was to use some of the red leftover from the back of Royal Stars. I did an audition. It was better, but not quite what I was going for. Then I thought about the lefotvers from the back of Home Is Where The Heart Is…

And as you can see, it was a perfect compliment to the tone-on-tone flowers I used in the four patches.

Add a little sashing, a few cornerstones…

And voila! A completed top for a baby quilt! And one I am VERY happy with. Just as with knitting, sometimes you have to listen to the fabric. It knows what it wants to be!

And as for the leftovers from Royals Stars… I Frankenstein-ed them together and they are just enough for the back of this one.

And one of the pieces I snagged from Mom’s stash (top) is perfect for the binding!

FO and pattern release: The Socks Are Lava

I did it. I finished the Lava socks before the end of the weekend and now the pattern is ready for you all!

It’s a freebie: The Socks are Lava. (If you don’t use Ravelry and would like a copy, leave a comment here, and I’ll send it to you.)

It’s a very simple pattern. The lace is only worked across 18 of the 64 stitches. And only on every fourth row. These socks are almost vanilla…

Vanilla with a little spice!

The pattern was inspired by the yarn (Cascade Heritage Wave in the “Lava” colourway). I wanted to evoke the feeling of a lava flow with the pattern, and I think I’ve managed it.

The yarn is very soft, though it can be a bit splitty. You can see the slight ombre effect, though the length of it is not ideal for socks. It would be much better suited to a large project, like a cowl or shawl. Still it was nice to knit with, and pretty cheap for a pair of socks – under $20 CAD.

My pot problem

Yup… I was at it again.

I found a couple more terra cotta pots kicking around, and there was some nice weather the other afternoon and well…

These ones are a touch smaller than the last few so I kept the motifs large and simple and I’m quite pleased with the results. Just some simple flowers on thee above pots – nothing fancy, but I think they are charming.

And for the second pot…

Cats, of course! How is it that I’m only just now doing cats? Again… simple but whimsical and it works!

I don’t actually have any plants for these ones right now… But don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll come across something appropriate soon!

Creatures great and small

I promise no spiders in this post!

You’ve all seen the fun we’ve been having with our little picnic table this summer…

But there’s more than just squirrels who come by for a treat.

This past week, I’ve been greeted almost daily by not one, not two, but FOUR blue jays.

They’ve been tough to get pictures of (especially as they steal peanuts from the table), but this one was brave enough to pose above my bird cage for a few minutes.

I know they can be jerks to other birds, but I do love the blue jays.

And though our garden is small, we’ve had a wide array of visitors this summer.

Bees, of course, are regular visitors. And we have all kinds, honey, sweat, carpenter, bumble and more!

It’s been a good year for ladybugs too. And the real red ones – not the orange ones that like to bite people!

I shouldn’t be happy to see this Gypsy Moth, as they are an invasive species, but I just love this little guys feathery antennae!

This little jeweled Damselfly was hard to get a picture of, but I finally managed it, when she stopped for a rest on the coneflowers.

And of course, we can’t forget our beautiful Monarch friends. They are stopping by almost daily, and we just love them!

The great garden revamp

I mentioned in a previous post that I was planning on rearranging the garden. When I started garden building the year we moved in, I did not have a plan. Year after year, the gardens expanded, and still there was no plan. I just stuck new things in wherever I could fit them.

Naturally, that resulted in some things being over-shadowed by other plants. The front and side yards weren’t bad (they are smaller and get less sun, so I was more selective on plant placement). The backyard was beautiful chaos.

Last Sunday, the weather was perfect. I wasn’t really planning on tackling the task until the end of September, but it was hard to pass up such a good day. Plus, I told myself, this would give the relocated plants more time to put down good roots before winter.

I made an inventory of everything I had, and drew a quick sketch of where I planned to put it all..

That done, there was nothing to do but get digging!

Naturally, I had someone to snoopervise the process. It took all morning, and small part of the afternoon. By the time I was done, all the roses (with the exception of Navy Lady) were in the back yard where they will get much better sun; and all the rest of the plants were arranged according to height; and I had some very dirty hands.

Sign of a day well spent, if you ask me!

Naturally, everything went all wilted from the stress, but a few days later, most of it was beginning to bounce back. I may lose a couple plants, but most of them will be easily replaced come spring if they don’t make it. I’m not too worried.

The Lupin is already putting up new sprouts. So are the Oriental Poppies and Coneflowers.

I won’t really see the rewards of this until next year, but I think it’s going to be worth the wait!