Monday, April 14, 2014

In the event of a fire...

Have you ever thought about what you'd grab first if ever your house was on fire?

Not a pleasant thought I know but it has crossed my mind.

Of course I'd make sure that Frankie and Ollie were safe and then...
I'd snatch up my sewing kit and high tail it outta here!
I can see you all shaking your heads and saying, 

"Your sewing kit?  You've got to be kidding!" 

But my sewing kit is a veritable treasure chest.  Really!

It was a purchase I made about 5 or 6 years ago at Jo-Ann's and if my memory serves me correctly, with the 40% off coupon, I believe I paid about $8 for it.  

It's not very big, about 7" x 10" x 5".  There was a larger size as well and I remember thinking at the time that I'd have trouble finding enough stuff to fill the smaller one, so that's the one that came home with me.  

To this day, it suits my needs perfectly and has become my second right hand.



There's an upper part...
into which I've crammed every possible tool that one could possibly need for stitching or sewing including... 

Permanent markers, sketching pencils, Frixon pens, chalk pencils, needles, glue stick, tape measure, rulers, thimbles, straight pins, eraser, seam ripper, 3 pairs of scissors, a Tide stick (which removes blood from fabric when I prick my finger stitching), a thread catcher...even an extra pair of glasses...plus a host of other things too numerous to mention. 
And that's only the top tier!

The lower compartment is comprised of several zippered "pages".
There's almost an entire notions section that you'd find in most shops stored in this kit.
And it doesn't stop there.
Finally, the bottom layer...
It's the first thing I pack up whenever I go stitching or sewing with my friends. 

Many times I've heard, "Does anyone have a ______?"  Usually the reply is, "Ask Kaaren.  She has everything you can possibly need in that kit of hers."

See what I mean?  Wouldn't you reach for it as well?  After all, the only thing that's missing is the kitchen sink!  Hmmmmmm...maybe I should have bought the bigger size.

Happy stitching!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Back to "normal"

My quilt for the Winter 2014 issue of Primitive Quilts & Projects magazine was sent off to their offices in West Virginia last Thursday.  

Yay, hurray, hallelujah, eureka and a BIG woo hoo!  

I made the deadline with a little time to spare and I know how important that is in the publishing industry.  Now I can relax again.

When I finish a project, especially one of this size and importance, I have to put it to bed.  I've spent the last couple of days tidying, cleaning, dusting, reorganizing and purging my studio.  Most people wouldn't call that relaxing but it's a cathartic way of to unwind for me.    

This is my "BIG Bernie" corner now with my new Bernina 750QE dream machine.
Things were literally upside down and topsy-turvy while I was working on the magazine quilt.  I know I'm more anal than most and find it very difficult to be creative and work in messy surroundings.

This is my "Little Bernie" corner with my beloved Bernina 1080QE.  What a workhorse she's been over the years and she's NEVER EVER had a problem or caused me grief. 
My studio isn't large, perhaps 12' x 14' with one small closet that we had built just after we moved in.  Stored inside are about 10 clear plastic bins full of fabric but I like my "go to" fabric out in the open where I can see it at a glance and be able to shop from my stash with ease.
I had Mr. Painted Quilt bring a three-tiered plastic shelving unit that wasn't being used in from the barn and had to move things around in order to make room for it.  

The middle or blue shelf has four tiers of fabric neatly stacked next to each other behind the box that my iron came in. 
The loud colors aren't the greatest in terms of matching the decor but they serve the purpose for now until I find something better to replace it with. 

Ideally I'd love a little antique cabinet with drawers and shelves so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for the perfect piece.

So now I can relax and admire how nice and clean and tidy everything looks...until I start in on my next project...which will be tomorrow...when it will all start again.

Spring has finally arrived in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.  All the snow is gone, the grass is greening slightly, the croci are in bloom, the tulips have broken ground and the robins are back. Oh, and the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. 

I know this is our little piece of heaven on earth!


Happy stitching!

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Aurifil giveaway winner is...

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and enter my giveaway.  Between here and my Facebook page, there were over 500 participants.  I wish I had some Aurifil thread to share with all of you because I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Seriously, if you haven't tried it, treat yourself.  You know I'm hooked!  I'm a firm believer that the thread we use in our quilts is just as important a factor as the fabric.  We put so much time and effort into our projects and I personally want the best thread available...and you all know what mine is!
So without further ado, the winner of this luscious collection of Aurifil's Floral Gatherings thread and the Floral Gatherings charm pack is...Shazy!  Here's what she had to say...

"Beautiful Kaaren! Please enter me in your very kind giveaway. I rarely enter any giveaways now but this one I can't resist.....I need me some new threads and Primitive Gatherings is another weakness-Fingers and toes crossed. Thanks for including across the pond and for the fun:)"

Once again, thank you all for entering.  Stay tuned because I'm going to have another giveaway in the near future and it's going to be a doozie!


Happy stitching!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Aurifil Giveaway

Do you love Aurifil threads as much as I do?

In addition to the wide spectrum of wonderful colors to choose from and in different weights, the quality is second to none.  

I have been using Aurifil thread exclusively for the last six months for all my machine sewing. Thread breaks are virtually non-existant and what has completely blown me away is the reduction of the lint build up under the stitch plate.

Allow me to digress before I get to the nitty gritty of this post.

Just recently I found out that my friend Lucie's son and his wife were expecting a baby.  I thought I had three weeks to make a quilt for the new born but Clara decided to enter the world two weeks early.  I dropped what I was doing and spent an afternoon and the next morning making this quilt for Clara.
I used 1930's reproduction fabrics from my stash and it was pieced using Aurifil Mako 50 wt #2021.
My friend Lisa quilted it on her new mid-arm using Aurifil Mako 50 wt # 2115.
 Didn't she do an awesome job?
Clara says she loves it too!
If you've never had the good fortune to try Aurifil thread, here's your opportunity.

Aurifil has graciously donated this 10 color collection of 100% cotton 50 wt spools of thread from the Floral Gatherings collection for my giveaway to which I've added a charm pack from Floral Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings for Moda that coordinates with the thread.
Beautiful, huh?

To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment at the end of this post.  I will ship internationally.  Please ensure that you can be contacted by email.  I'll announce the winner on Friday, April 11th.

As always, thanks for stopping by.


Happy stitching!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's a wrap!

One thing about crummy weather, it forces you to stay inside and sew!

But who needs an excuse, right?

Not twenty minutes ago, the last stitch was sewn on my wool crazy Autumn-themed purse.  

I'm really thrilled with the way it turned out!
I am an artist and that was my job for twenty-five years until I retired in 2006. 

I have always loved to work and create with my hands and that's when I'm happiest.  Having said that, the only subject I failed while in school, including four years of university, was home economics in my junior year of high school. Mercifully, I wasn't forced to take it in my senior year.

So this whole quilting/sewing thing is relatively new to me.
I don't have a problem creating and coming up with new designs because that's a part of who I am.  Sewing is not.  But I've always loved quilts and virtually anything and everything that is created with love by someone's hands.  

When I retired, I was bound and determined to teach myself how to quilt and sew...and this is where I am today.
As an artist, I love detail...the more the better.  I find that this same "obsession" has transferred itself to my new canvas of choice...fabric and wool...a perfect marriage!

I struggle sometimes with the logistics of sewing but I persist and try to think through the steps...like with this purse, for instance.

I knew that I wanted to make a wool crazy purse so I drew out the shape I had in my mind on paper and constructed one from newsprint.  Once I knew that it would work, I drew the elements that I wanted to appear on the face of the purse.  I used some of them and will use the others in another project some day.
It just evolved as I progressed.  

I had no idea until this morning as to how I was going to finish the top outside edge.  Then it dawned on me that I could bind it in a similar fashion to finishing a quilt.  So I applied the "binding" in the exact same way only I used wool instead.  

It worked up beautifully and with very little effort.
I can now consider it a FINISH and the best thing is that I L-O-V-E it!  It is sooooo me!


So...

Should I write up a pattern for it?

Should I offer it for sale?

What do you think?


Happy stitching!