a book I’ve been waiting for…

April 7, 2011

I often look at JCasa’s blog.   Since I first read about the book she is writing I knew it would be something that I’d love to have.  Although my kids are a bit too old for most of the crafts in the book, I just know my two nephews and niece would love to take on anything in the book with the help of my kids.  I was so excited to see the variety of things that she put into it.  You can see the whole list of blog sites that will have the blog tour either on her blog or on the Crafty Crow.  ( I tried to put my favourite picture of the book here, namely the felt balls, but I can’t get it to link correctly.  Take a look over at the Crafty Crow.


Haarlem over the weekend

April 4, 2011

I was in Haarlem in the  Netherlands for the last four days for a student conference.  Eight students from our school took part and it was a very enjoyable time with the students.  On Thursday we had a bit of free time so I went looking for a fabric store I had found a couple of years ago. 

I was so excited to find a few nice things to take home.  I wanted to stock up on a few Dutch fabrics in red and blue that I had used up.  I also found two beautiful fabrics from Suzuko Koseki that I had often thought about buying on the internet.

These five smallish pieces were a gift from the shop.

I’m afraid that both of these will turn out to be that kind of fabric I love so much that I can’t bring myself to cut into it. 

De Sampler is that name of the store and it is easy to find.  They have a great selection of fat quarters and half meters.  The staff were both helpful and friendly and as most people in Holland they spoke perfect English. (What a great help!)

De Sampler in Haarlem

Haarlem is the nicest kind of little city.  There are about 150,000 people who live there, few cars, thousands of bikes (we often had to dodge them to avoid getting run over!)  The buildings are old and beautifully interesting.  The center of the city has a wonderful Cathedral with one of the largest organs I’ve ever seen.  (We were able to hear them play the organ as part of the conference.)  There are many lovely little cafes and so many nice little shops to look around in.  The weather wasn’t always great, but we had a great time in any case.  On Saturday there is a market where you can find lots of flowers in every color and some nice food.  It is just so fun to look around and makes me think Spring is coming after all.

inspired by Lucy in the attic

February 26, 2011

For a few years I have been reading a number of blogs, totally amazed by what these bloggers can do with fabric, yarn and a lot of creativity.  I love that some bloggers have such great tutorials from which  I have learned to do lots of new things.  And some things which I could do,  I can do  much, much better now.  I sort of always knew how to crochet, not well, mind you, but I knew how to make a chain and a few other things.  Then for a long while I really disliked crocheted objects.  (My Grandma Alice ,who is 92, loves crocheted items and used to make a lot of them… mostly with plastic-like  yarn from the five and dime store.)  So that may have influenced my dislike, the yarn I mean not that my Grandma made them.  In any case I happened upon a blog a couple of years ago that changed my mind, and I check that blog nearly every day to see what she is doing and making.  Her blog attic 24 is one of the most cheerful, colourful blogs I’ve seen. 

In early February she had an entry about a scarf pattern she found in a Japanese crochet book.  It is really unbelievably lovely.  She also links to another site in French with other nice examples of the scarf.  Since I don’t read French or Japanese  I decided to find a similar flower motif and make something similar.  I found several free patterns on line for flower motifs  and tried them out and finally found this one that was easy and quick to hook up and bears at least a distant resemblance to the one at attic 24.  I found it on about.com  vintage pattern

I started off with tons of circles: one in each color of yarn I have in my basket, then did the second round and finished about four or five.  I really like the way each one turns out and I got some help with the color choices from my daughter who just has a much better eye for color than I do!

I keep wondering while I am working how long I will need to get enough done to wear this scarf to school.  I just think it will cheer me up in the dark rainy morning on the way to school.  So off I go to finish some more…

Using up some scraps

February 25, 2011

A while ago I read a great idea:  when you finish a project cut all of the scraps to a certain size block to use later.  I started doing that and cutting the pieces that were left into rectangles 3 x 5 inches.  When I had lots and lots, I decided to make this quilt.  I arranged them by color and tone and was very pleased with the results.  I decided to quilt it in straight lines across the quilt.  I didn’t think to change the sewing direction after each row so the quilting pulls the blocks out of square in some spots, but if you don’t look to closely and aren’t really picky, it looks pretty good.

Some of the fabrics I was not so sure about while cutting, turned out to be some of my favorites in the finished quilt.

dying fabric

May 31, 2009

We had a day off of school this Wednesday so I went to some shops here in Istanbul to get fabric and fabric dye.  Shopping for these types of things in Istanbul is quite different than in the States.  We haven’t got any quilt shops, Joanns or the like.  There are a lot of wonderful fabric sand notions to be found, but you have to know where to look.  There is an area of the city that has shops where you can buy fabric for drapes and upholstry and another area where you can find fabric for clothing.  Then scattered around the city you can find small shops that carry a few different kinds of cotton fabric and towels, sheets etc.  On Wednesday I was in the area of the city where you find fabric for clothing and I got some silk and cotton.  I also found a store that carries fabric dye.  I got a few colors and went home to try it.blog pictures 010

Since I hadn’t ever dyed anything before, I decided to try it out on some inexpensive white cotton.  The dye here is quite inexpensive and easy to use, but the process is somewhat time consuming.  One color costs about 60 cents and it was plenty to dye about two or three pounds of fabric.  First you have to mix the dye in a small amount of water and let it dissolve while you heat it.  Then you add it to a large pot of water and then add the wet fabric.  Salt is also added.  The fabric and dye must be heated and then boiled for 30 minutes then left to cool.  blog pictures 013blog pictures 012While I was doing the first batch (a beautiful turquoise color) my daughter and I decided to throw in different scraps of patterned fabric to see how they turn out.


blog pictures 022blog pictures 033

The fabric in the middle is the original and the two on the sides the results of the turquoise and purple dye.  The turquoise one is really nice, I wish had dyed a larger piece.  I’ll do that the next time.

a bit of shopping in Munich

May 18, 2009
lots of nice colors

lots of nice colors

I was in Munich, Germany for a family get-together with my husband’s family over the weekend.  We were fairly lucky with the weather: little rain, more sunshine.  While out shopping I visited my favorite felt shop there.  The store is really just a “hole in the wall” but it is packed full of wonderful felt and felt products in every color you could imagine.  I kept my shopping there under control and just brought home a few of the colors I liked.  They also offer really nice natural wool felt by the yard. I also found some Robert Kaufman fabric and some cute ribbon and linen tape.  Now I just can’t wait to get started with a quilt that I found in a book there called Häuser-Patchwork by Bernadette Mayr.  It’s going to be a present for someone special so I can’t show too much yet.


Robert kaufman Creatures and critters frogs 

Robert Kaufman 

ribbons and linen tape

mother’s day

May 10, 2009

I often browse the many quilting and sewing blogs that are out there and my daughter thought I should make my own blog.  I didn’t really think about it, so she started a blog for me for mother’s day today.  Isn’t that a nice present. Now I just have to figure out how to do this! 

I spent some time yesterday sewing a pencil case for a friend at school.  I got the pattern here.  I hope she likes it.