Category Archives: fabric

More beading…

Not much happening around here in the way of new creativity. After finishing up the towels for the shower gifts for my daughter’s upcoming wedding I started in working on the rest of the beaded scarves for the bridesmaids. I almost managed to finished one whole side yesterday of one scarf so that leaves me with 4.5 scarves left to go. Needless to say this is going to take a bit so I probably won’t have much posted in the next couple of weeks. I felt such an incredible relief to get the oven towels done that I’m determined to finish off the scarves so I can then concentrate on other stuff that needs doing.

I may have to start with the list-making idea to be more productive. Half the time I feel like the proverbial chicken running around with it’s head chopped off and I look back at my day and think where did all the time go and what did I do? The thing is I know when I’m wasting time but there are days when I don’t feel like I have yet…kaboom…the day is done.

Anyhow for lack of anything better to post visually, here are some pictures of the latest shipment of fabrics I ordered. I’m done with ordering material for a long while now. I was pleased with the blues I ordered and for the most part not as pleased with the rest of the colours. I sort of went haphazard with some of the choices with the result that I didn’t like some of them unlike the first shipment. I hate to say it but I truly am a boring, small calico print type of girl; conservative I guess. (Except when it comes to tie-dye) I won’t bother posting a picture of the beading I’m doing as I have already posted a picture before.

Blue prints

Assorted coloured prints.


Oven Towels Done

Well I finally finished all of the towels for the shower in August. I ended up crocheting 28 towels and giving away two for the oven towels tutorial so I have 26 left for little thank you gifts for the wedding shower guests.

Oven towels for wedding shower.

I took a photo of the poppies so that people could see the after picture. My flowers have turned out nice this year but there is always the problem of trying to stake them so they don’t fall over. I haven’t figured out how to do that with the poppies, oh well.

Poppies, one of three beds.

I received the swirl swap in the mail that we did last month. I did this same swap last year as well so I now have enough squares to make a quilt but I’ll hold off on that until after I finish beading the scarves for the bridesmaids but I thought I’d post a picture so people could see the different colours.

Swirl swap 2008

And finally I’m posting a picture of the material I received from “Thousands of Bolts”. I had placed a small order a few weeks ago and was pleased with the quality of the fabric so decided to order more. Well because I live in Canada and the online store is based in the states shipping costs are always a factor so it was cheaper per metre to order 30 yards instead of six at a time so yes I ordered 30 yards. Needless to say I was so pleased I ordered another 30 and I’m waiting for them to show up in the next couple of days, then I can probably safely say I’ll call it quits for quite a while until I use up some of the fabric.

30 yards of assorted colours from Thousands of Bolts (well not actually I seem to have chopped off a few yards when I took the picture).

The fabric on average is around $3.85/4.15 yard for cottons and around $5.95 yard for batiks. With the taxes and shipping it works out to less than $6.00 yard which is far cheaper than what I’d pay here at the fabric or quilt store; it’s even cheaper than Walmart, which by the way is closing down the fabric department in their stores in our area.

I’ve checked around the Internet and these are pretty good prices. I wouldn’t be ordering the fabric otherwise. Some of the fancy name brand fabrics go for around $9.95 yard and thats a bit to rich for my blood. The quilt would have to be pretty special for me to out-lay that kind of money especially for buying fabric over the Internet rather than in person. I’m not even sure I could get the same prices if I crossed the border and bought at JoAnn’s so I’m happy.


Rainbarrels and Internet Goodies

My husband and I bought a couple of rainbarrels for the gardens and the lawns in an attempt to conserve water. It was a challenge to try and divert the water from the upper downspout in a way that we could collect the water but also have the overflow continue along its previous path.

The water seems to just dribble but I’m glad to say that we got at least one barrel of water from this last rainfall maybe two if it keeps raining. Here’s a couple pictures of my newest additions to the family.

Rainbarrel #1 – Recycled industrial food grade barrels, olives I think.

Rainbarrel #2

I also got some goodies in the mail. Yesterday I received the material I ordered from “Thousands of Bolts” They can fit six yards of fabric into a priority envelope which costs me $9.95 to send to Canada so thats what I ordered and they sent a bonus fat quarter which was a pleasant surprise.

I choose fabrics from the creams/tans/ecru section.

Today I got the polyester colour twist thread from ThreadArt. I’m not sure how this will sew up, hopefully it’s good quality thread. The price was right at 12 spools for $19.95 and I also ordered a couple of their namebrand rotary cutters, which were a good price at $2.49 each.

Polyester colour twist thread. The thread is composed of two colours.

Rotary blades, one is a pinking blade and the other a wave blade.

Lastly a picture of the flowers sent to John’s dad’s funeral on Monday from his fellow staff members in Performance Engineering at Darlington.

Gordon Waldie 1917 – 2008. RIP dad you were loved and cherished by all.


Shopping Booty

My husband and I went away for a weekend with my sister-in-law to Fort Erie, Ontario this weekend. L has bought a new home – as in new to her – with the intention of fixing it up. My husband is an electrical engineer, not an electrician but he does know the basics of wiring a house and how much electrical load should be on the breakers, wires etc, etc, more than I know. What I know is if you’re going to buy a century old home with the idea of fixing it up to make a profit or even to just get your money back out of it…well…don’t bother unless you’ve fallen in love with the location and said house.

 I suppose having said that there is no profit to be made in buying an older house that there are exceptions to the rule such as location, lot size, type of house etc but if the lot isn’t that great, the house unspectacular then chances are you’re going to be spending a lot of money without a great return on your investment when you go to resell the house in a couple of years. (There was a movie made about this, I believe it was called the Money Pit)

What I learned this weekend is that it’s really hard to re-wire a house that has plaster walls and has been wired not according to code and the wires are running hap-hazardly across the ceiling and walls. In other words my hubby and SIL’s boyfriend spent most of the weekend trying to figure out which wire was which (yes they did have a wiring diagram but had to test every line to see which breaker it was on etc). In all my husband managed to re-wire a ceiling fan and that was it. The house does have a few more holes in it then it did before such as when they figured it was better to run a wire under the house in the crawl-space and up the floor only to crawl under the house and find out the crawl-space was flooded (standing in water to put in an electrical connection is “not” a good idea). Did I mention the house has no eavestroughs? I realise now in a big way why houses have eavestroughs. I could go on and on about this house.

I don’t think I fully realised before this weekend how careful you have to be when wiring new circuits into an existing system. You might think that if you over-loaded a circuit then the breaker would just trip but I found out that you can have a scenario where there is too much of a load and the breaker doesn’t trip. What you then have is a wire that gets very hot and can cause an electrical fire.  I believe this is what happens when people plug in mutiple extension cords into one outlet and fires start. I have to admit to being one of those persons who doesn’t think about it and just plug in to the wall and figure if it works it works and if it doesn’t it doesn’t.

Anyhow, long story sort, while the boys were busy trying to install outlets us two girls went cross-border shopping as the Peace bridge was five minutes from the house. I managed to hit JoAnn’s and buy some goodies or booty if you will while my SIL bought stuff at the Bed and Linen while I was getting my loot. (The Peace bridge is the crossing from Canada into the United States for those not knowing) Material is cheaper in the States for the most part although I noticed there isn’t quite the descrepancy in prices for items as last time I visited, maybe because our dollar is almost on par this time around.
The stash in it’s entire glory.

Fabric to make crayon rolls for the church kids at Christmas.

Stash fabric for quilts.

Oriental fabric
Oriental fabric bundles and geometric bundle – fat quarters.

Oriental fabric2
Side view of above.

Flannel for possible pj’s or quilt and some fusible fleece for future projects.

Plastic template kit to use with a rotary cutter for a wedding quilt I’m contiplating making for my daughter who’s marrying in September. The cashier graciously gave me 50% off as I didn’t have a coupon being from across the border. I thought she was splendid because I wasn’t expecting it and it’s an example of one small kindness that made my day.

Back of template kit giving you an idea of what’s going on.

Plastic bin, thread in basic colours, quilting needles and replacement rotary cutter blades.

The Gutermann thread was a good deal at half the price for the larger size. I picked out some basic colours that you always need plus I bought the reds, greens and gold for the Christmas fabric that I’d bought at the beginning of the year so I’m pleased. Funnily enough one of my favorite purchases was the little plastic bin, which is a nice size for keeping the bits and bobs together off my working surfaces. It only cost $3 dollars so it goes to show you that the things that make you happy in life are not necessarily expensive.


Another day, more dyeing.

Cool…somehow when I went to edit my latest blog when I hit the save button it disappeared. At risk of repeating myself…below are a couple of pictures of fabric that I dyed yesterday.

The first piece is aqua, island blue (A ProChem internet special, which looks like aqua almost) , sapphire and lemon meringue. The second piece is bronze and sapphire blue.
Aqua snow dye
Aqua snow dye.

Bronze snow dye
Bronze snow dye.

In my previous post, which I edited and lost I mentioned that this would be the last of the snow dyeing pieces because the snow was all melting. Little did I know, 8 hours later, that we’d be in the midst of another snowstorm, oh well…I’m sure spring is just around the corner somewhere.


Same dye…different look.

Well with all of the snow yesterday I felt inspired to do my snow-dyeing, that and it was a good excuse “not” to do any housework. It had also occured to me that this might be a good technique to use to dye the backing for my unfinished quilter’s garden quilt top. I’d been putting this off for well over a half a year because I hadn’t really decided on the dyes to use (I wanted to match the fabric) and because I was a little unsure about dyeing that much fabric for a queen-sized quilt in a parfait. It occured to me that using the snow-dyeing method I’d have more control over where I placed the dye than tossing it in a garbage bag or putting it in a bin. I’d also come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to match the dye to the fabric colours so I might as well go ahead.
Quilters Garden
Quilter’s Garden – pattern and fabric by Lynette Jensen.

I started off the day by doing a test piece using olive, rosewood, ecru and burgundy dyes on a one metre piece of fabric.
Olive, rosewood, burgundy, ecru snow parfait
Olive, ecru, rosewood and burgundy snow parfait.

Olive, rosewood, ecru and burgundy small piece
Test piece.

Having mailed away the two vase parfaits I did the other day I decided that I would do another one up for myself because I liked the colours in it.
Parfait Cerulean blueGrecianRoseIvoryAvocado
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, avocado and ivory (light) vase parfait.

 I also decided to create another snow parfait only this time I’d wondered what would happen if  I just squirted the dyes on randomly back and forth instead of putting the colours in blobs.
Cerulean snow dyeing
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, avocado and ivory (light) snow parfait.

Cerulean blue, grecian rose, avocado and ivory parfait resulting from the all-over plaid design.

The dye I used was the same dye but it’s interesting how differently the two pieces of fabric turned out.

Well the snow was beginning to melt so I began to get the larger piece of fabric ready to be dyed. I had to do this in the bathtub so what I did was to scrunch the material up and put it onto two large bin lids, which had been propped up on other containers in the bathtub. I then began the process of layering snow and dye.
Scrunched fabric in tub
Scrunched material loosely tied to keep material from floppin over into tub.

Bin of snow
Lots and lots of snow.

snow in tub
Snow packed on over fabric.

Dyed fabric in tub
Dye artistically placed on snow.

Yorker bottles
Why I don’t normally use my yorker bottles – they leak badly.

Dyed hands
Dyed hands from leaking bottles, what gloves?

Tub fabric
Exposed fabric after snow melt.

After the snow had melted I had the problem of leaving it overnight as this piece of fabric was too large to microwave so I lifted the fabric and put old dye towels underneath the fabric to absorb the left-over dye that had puddled underneath the fabric on the lids. I then tossed the fabric into a plastic bin and covered it and then washed out the next morning.
shower curtain
Material hanging from the shower curtain still damp hence a bit darker then when dry. You don’t get the aspect ratio but this piece is queen-sized.

The test piece that I had done didn’t really show the olive so when I made the dye up for this larger piece of material I added an extra teaspoon of dye powder to my solution and was careful not to muddy my colours so I’m much happier with how this larger piece turned out.
Dried quilt backing
Dried quilt backing on bed – it’s pink!

All in all the experience with snow has been a positive one. While the first piece I did was okay I really like the effect I get with placing the snow on top of the fabric and then squirting the dye on afterwards. The pieces remind me of flowers of the impressionistic era in painting.

More Snow dyeing

Well I decided to try snow dyeing one more time only this time I did it a bit different. Instead of squirting dye all over the snow outside what I did was take a one metre length of fabric (that had been soaked in soda ash and wrung out) and put it in a plastic bin and scrunch the fabric up in the bin.
Bin Snow dyeing
Scrunched fabric in plastic bin.

I then took the bin/fabric outside to the deck and put handfuls of snow on top of the material until it was covered.
Snow covered fabric in bin.

I then took the bin into the laundry room and began to squirt dye over the snow in what I hoped was a pleasing pattern. The dyes I used where cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory and avocado.
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory and avocado.

I tilted the container slightly so that the melted snow and dye wouldn’t pool under the fabric and as the snow melted I used a syringe to siphon off the liquid. This method had the snow melting at a quicker rate than last time when the fabric and snow was in a massive lump.
Bin 4
Snow melting, fabric propped up with some extra containers so it wouldn’t slide down into excess dye.

Bin 5
Dye pooled at bottom with syringe on the left for draining it.

Bin 6
Material with all the snow removed.

At one point most of the dye had drained down through the snow so I just removed the excess snow as it didn’t seem it would have any effect on the fabric. I took the fabric and nuked it for three minutes as I’m too impatient to wait for the material to batch. I then washed it out.
Bin 7
Finished fabric, reminds me of a Monet garden.

I decided to take the remaining dye and create a couple of parfaits the way I normally do them – in a vase. I take a piece of fabric and squirt some dye into the bottom of the vase; I then tamp down a corner of the fabric, I then squirt more dye onto this fabric, tamp it down, squirt dye, tamp down fabric…etc, etc. I then put a cup of water + soda ash on top of the tamped down fabric and let it batch for a couple of hours before wash out.

The first piece I did I forgot to wet it with water first so when I applied the dye the fabric sucked it right in. I was afraid that all I would end up with was blobs of fabric but it still seemed to have a bit of creep along the folds after I added the soda water.
Cerulean parfait medium
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory, avocado parfait – medium intensity.

I then took the remaining dye and added water to twice the volume to have a lighter batch of dyes and then did another parfait.
Cerulean parfait light
Cerulean blue, grecian rose, ivory, avocado parfait – light intensity.

The difference between the regular parfaits and the snow dyed parfait is in the edges. The snow dyed piece on the whole has a softer blending of the edges whereas the other parfaits the colours creeps along the folds so I guess it just depends on what effect you’re after as to which method you want to use.

I’m thinking it would be cool to freeze dye as ice cubes and then smash then into little pieces and sprinkle these pieces onto a piece of flat fabric. I’m wondering if the effect would be similar to salt crystals but maybe not.


One Person’s Treasure Another Person’s Junk

My MIL is moving into a senior’s apartment come the beginning of April. From what we could see of the outside I’d be excited too because it looks quite spacious with just over a 1,000 square feet of living space with a balcony and lots of nice big picture windows. Once she’s in there she won’t have to worry about the maintenance that comes with owning your own home, quite a chore when you’re 88 years young.

Anyhow, mum has been narrowing down what she wants to take into the apartment and what she needs to part with so that things will fit her new living space. I being the crafty one in the family was to inherit her excess stuff, which I did. Quite a collection and as my title suggests what’s “one man’s treasure is another man’s junk”.  I wonder what my kids will think of my stuff when the time comes for me to go through the same process. I thought I was bad but…..
Bags of Scraps
Bags of fabric scraps…hmm…wonder what is in here?

I was hoping for a bounty of cotton fabric scraps and had visions of making memory quilts from the material but much to my surprise I’ve found that I am a fabric snob. Lately, I had come to the realization that my MIL didn’t much care for working with cotton prints but I was hoping for at least one or two in the pile. What I found was a pile of fabric that…well quite bluntly I don’t even know what kind of fabric it is and not in a million years would I be able to quilt through it.
Fabric scraps
Okay, what is this stuff?

Looking at this pile the question comes to mind “How small a piece of fabric should you keep before you deem it useless?” I read this question on another blog (sorry can’t remember who’s) and there were a variety of answers. LOL, I don’t think my MIL ever threw out any of her scraps and I’ll post a picture where she tied up the little bundles of leftover’s with fabric scraps. I think the mentality was “someday I’m going to make a quilt out of that”, hence my fabric snobbishness. I’ve never considered making a quilt out of anything but cotton. My MIL obviously came from a more frugal era where quilts were made out of any leftover material and indeed some of the fabric scraps that are in my pile are leftover clothing. It goes to explain why the stitches in the few quilts that she does own have huge stitches, I don’t think the material was thin enough for fine stitching.
Tied fabric bundles
Tied fabric bundles of scraps – one way of keeping them together.

It was interesting to listen to her talk about how her aunts were fine sewers and would make themselves nice dresses out of good material. Having five girls in her family my MIL’s mother was grateful to receive any hand-me-downs from the aunts. The children being smaller in stature, mom’s mother was able to cut these dresses down and make outfits for her girls. It was a peek into an era where material was hard to come by and people didn’t have much money to waste.

Bright coloured fabric
Fluorescent pinks and corals…is this the 70’s?

Green polyester
This is typical polyester material that the pantsuit era used. I absolutely hated those pants. Two huge pieces, I probably shouldn’t have taken this, oh well.

Navy-white fabric
Quite a large piece of heavy duty cotton almost looks like Amy Butler, I score!

The larger pieces were from the various boxes that I also carted away, also full of more scraps but I haven’t the heart to post pictures of those as well. Some of the material in one box is from bridesmaid dresses that she made for her oldest daughter’s wedding – coral material and filmy stuff that goes over top. I have visions of making a little girl’s dress out of these scraps. My hubby’s sister was married…hmmm…about forty some odd years ago?


Nested Round Robin Colour Wheel & Parfait

Well yesterday I finally got busy and dyed some of the fabric for the nested round robin I will be participating in this coming year with my one of my fabric dyeing forums. The idea is to start off with a centre block of each participant’s choosing and then each month add a border to the quilt. The borders can either go around the center block or the quilt can be made up of rows of borders. Each border idea is drawn by the hostess co-ordinating the swap. One month you could have appliqued leaves for instance and the next month a border of stars, etc. There are no restrictions on size; the finished quilt could be a wall-hanging or end up being a bed quilt.

The easy part for me was choosing the colours, I’m still not sure what to decide on for the central block and then when I figure out my block I have to decide on the colour arrangement. The idea is to incorporate as many colours of the colour wheel in the starting block so you can bring them into the quilt borders somehow. The colours need not be from the one colour wheel but could also be from gradations of individual colours within the wheel or colours with additives – much like the colour wheels plus additives that I posted previously.

I’m not a very creative person. I enjoy making the creations I do but not coming up with my own ideas. I like looking at something and saying “That’s nice I want to try it”. This round robin sounds simple but will probably stretch me out of my comfort zone; actually it already has since I’m in angst and haven’t even started.

I guess the idea of a round robin is to work on the border of a quilt and then mail it on to the next person on the list; because of rising postage costs our group decided to keep the quilts at home and work on them ourselves. I’m just as glad, I don’t think I would have participated if I was respondsible for working on someone else’s quilt.

Anyhow pictures are below. The main colours I used were from Dharma – Burgundy, Navy Blue and Marigold. Kudos to BettyAnn for choosing these colours in our Rainbow swap, I was inspired.

Colour Wheel - Nested Round Robin
Dharma’s Burgundy, Navy Blue and Marigold

Parfait with colour wheel
Parfait from left-over dye with colour wheel.

Round robin parfait
Parfait using about 1/4 cup each of burgundy, navy and marigold
on one yard of fabric.


Bed Jacket and Christmas Fabric

Well I finally finished the bed jacket, I’m just hoping it will fit my mother-in-law and that she’ll like it. If not I guess she can give it away to another lady at the seniors. The pattern is by Ceil Cummings.
Bed Jacket
Bed Jacket

And here are the Christmas fabrics that I bought on sale.
Christmas fabric 1

Christmas fabric 2

Christmas fabric 3

You can’t see it very well but most of the fabric has shiney gold in amongst the berries, flowers, etc. I wonder how well the gold washes up. I guess it won’t matter because whatever I make will only be hauled out once a year anyway.