Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jigsaw Puzzle Quilting

My son requested a pirate quilt, and drew up a lovely sketch that included a large jolly roger, with a big pirate ship beneath it. I figured I could only do the ship with appliqué or paper piecing, and I thought paper piecing would probably look a lot nicer. I scoured the internets and was fortunate to find a free ship pattern from the Piece By Number website

It was a six inch block, which I needed to be a lot larger, so, fortunately, I was able to select the "poster" option on my printer which printed the single page PDF pattern onto sixteen pages, for a finished size of 24". I cut it out, and felt a little intimidated.

I then stayed up much too late on Friday night (yes, my life is super exciting, don't be jealous!) putting this together:

I still have to add the water at the bottom, which will be done the same way as the sky, which is apparently called strata technique - I used curved improv piecing the make the block, and then chopped it up for the paper pieced sections.

I am so pleased with how it has turned out so far, it looks exactly like I pictured it when he first drew his little sketch. The paper piecing, which I worried would be too hard, actually made getting all those precise shapes really easy, and it totally appealed to my geeky jigsaw puzzle loving side.

Now, I just have to finish the sea, and then figure out how to paper piece a jolly roger!

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Danke Schoen!

I read my emails this morning to discover that Sarah at Sarah Sews has awarded Chez Roo the Liebster Blog Award! Thank you Sarah!
This award is to show your love for your favourite small blogs, with less than 200 followers. The rules are as follows:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you
3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed (see below)
5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog
Now to pass on the love:

One of the newest blogs I discovered through a thread on Ravelry is Angie's at She is a fellow Canuck, and takes beautiful photographs. And I'm insanely jealous of her pink vintage brother sewing machine.

Another Ravelry member with a new blog is Rachel-Lou at She is from my old stomping grounds in the UK and is making some lovely vintage inspired clothing. She has also signed up for Me-Made-May, so you'll have to check out what she is going to whip up for that!

Most of the other new blogs that I read were discovered through the Small Blog Meet at Lily's Quilts. First is Fiona at from Australia. I love seeing the how people live around the world!

From another, slightly colder part of the world is from Finland. Her style is simple, clean and modern. Lovely.

And, last but not least, Plum and June: I love the bright colours and embroidery!

Blogging is a great way to meet people and experience life through other people's eyes (okay, my blog roll mostly represents crafty life...), so, lieblings, if you're reading, hop on over and meet some new friends! I am heading back to Sarah's blog to check out some of my fellow nominees.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out of focus

Our family will probably be moving this summer, due to job changes for my partner, and I am faced with the near-certainty of losing my sewing room (I've only had it for a year, but it's been pretty awesome). In the meantime, I have so many projects that I need or want to finish before having to pack (and probably having to do some major destashing). I feel the need to focus on priorities, so that I don't find myself making random things that I want to make, but don't necessarily need to make right now.

So, priorities:

Kindergarten quilt - will be helping the class make an appliqué quilt of house blocks, since they have been studying architecture. A friend and I will go in with lots of scrap fabric, let them pick their fabrics and help them cut them into house shapes and glue them onto their blocks, which I'll take home and sew down. If anyone has done anything like this (quilting with kids) and wants to share any hints, I will probably need all the help I can get!

Sack boys x 2 for school auction - deadline June 2

Quilts for my boys. Due to some quilts that I offered to make for a friend, which I'll blog abut soon, my boys are feeling like they are always at the bottom of the list when it comes to making stuff for them. They saw the quilts that I was making for their friends, and reminded me that I had also promised them quilts :( isn't that always the way - we're so busy helping others that the needs of our nearest get neglected (okay, it's not like they're sleeping out in the cold without blankets, but you know what I mean!). So, number two has requested a pirate quilt. Not a quilt with pirate fabrics, mind you, but a quilt with a giant pirate ship in the middle. And a big jolly roger flying above the ship. Appliqué or paper-piecing are the only options I think (he doesn't want a basic ship block, he wants a proper fancy ship. With a plank).

He's already part pirate, as you can see:

(By the way, that is what happens when you naively think your kids are being quiet because they're settling down to sleep. In actuality, they are tattooing themselves with non-washable markers, and you will be spending the next morning explaining to their teachers that no, that's actually not a black eye!)

For his quilt, I found a free paper piecing pattern for a ship, so I plan to try to enlarge it and use that. Of course I've never done any paper piecing, so a little practice may be required, and I'm loving the new patterns from sew-ichigo. Hmm, did I just add another project to my list? See my problem here?

Number one requested a day of the dead quilt, and I knew that Alexander Henry has all those great prints, some of which I already had, so we went online and picked out some more prints:

So we have plenty of fabric, but it's all pretty busy prints like these, so well need to pick a neutral (I'm thinking black, what do you think?) and come up with a design that doesn't induce vertigo. I'm so happy that he picked this - I was a little surprised, as some aspects of these prints could be perceived as feminine, but his love of skeletons superseded all that, and day of the dead is one of my all time favourite holidays, so I hope we will both be happy with the finished product.

Lower priority items include:

A second ice cream dress for the little chicken (first dress here). This is already cut out, so no big time commitment.

A camera strap - inspired by Amber's.

A Kitchen Aid mixer cover, along with matching oven mitts and hot pads.

Knitting project bag - one of those drawstring bags from Jeni's blog that everybody except me has made.

Amy Butler Barcelona skirt, Colette Iris shorts and Colette Jasmine top.

Cathedral window pin cushion. Need at least two of these!

Vintage sheet quilt with grey background - inspired by the hideaway girl

Ack, seriously, I want to run downstairs and make a vintage sheet quilt with a grey background, right now! And yes, it's at the bottom of the list. That's why I need focus, people!

Thanks for listening to me ramble on. Oh, and on the topic of the ramble, Levon Helm, the drummer from The Band, is dying of cancer, and his family posted on his Facebook page a request for people to send their love and prayers. This has turned into a wonderful living memorial that Levon and his family get to experience prior to his passing - a tradition that I think would comfort so many people in the late stages of terminal disease, and their families. I also think it is incredibly generous of Levon and his family to give people the opportunity to say goodbye while he can still hear them.

Thanks for visiting!


Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

So, I did say at the end of my last post that I had two important finishes to share...Well, I would if I had been a little less procrastinatey, however as of today, we are down to one sad sack boy:

The boys have loved their little sack boys (which is good, since they bugged me mercilessly to finish them), made them little clothes out of cut up tee shirts, and taken them everywhere with them. Hence, the incident of many five year old lost his sack boy at school today. A search party was sent out, but with no luck. The search will recommence tomorrow, but sack boy may be gone. The kindergarten teacher asked me to make more to put in the auction for the spring fair, so she could bid on them for her nice and nephew, so I may be starting a sack boy production line, with two for spring fair, and one for a sad little boy.

In other news, I finished an ice cream dress for my little one.

I was going through some of my patterns recently and realized that my copy of this only goes up to size four...eek! This little one is going to be four in the summer, and I bought this when she was one, I think. Must use patterns before they are outgrown! So I spent a weekend morning cutting two different versions of this dress out for her (she approved the fabric choices, of course), and sewed this one up yesterday afternoon. Just a couple of hours. Honestly, I think struggling with my loop turner for the button loop was the most challenging part. She dressed herself this morning, and I thought the cherry dress accompanied by rainbow leggings and monster socks was too cute! I guess you could describe her style as eclectic :)

That's all for now, thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Long Long Weekend

The kids ended up having a five day weekend, due to the Easter holiday, and their dad visiting from Toronto. Dad had to leave on Sunday, which left me wrapping up the long, long weekend by myself. Let me just say, I love my kids and I love hanging out with them, but by Monday afternoon I was counting the minutes until the school doors opened!

Fortunately the rain clouds parted long enough to enjoy some of this:

This is my favourite time of year in Vancouver. I first moved out here about thirteen years ago, in April. It was still wintry and dirty back East, but Vancouver was green and lush, full of these beautiful buds of spring.

I did manage to finish a couple of started projects over the weekend. The first is a second 241 Tote. This one is for my cousin's birthday. Last March. She chose this fabric, based on the buttercup bag that I made the School Fair last year.

This is Ruby Star Rising fabric, lined with a vintage sheet. I perfected the zipper pockets on this bag (not so perfect on the last version), and used an adjustable handle and added the key fob like last time.

I heart the hot pink top stitching. I started doing the top stitching on my featherweight, but ended up finding that using a denim needle on my newer machine gave a better result, and struggled less with the thick seams.

I did however use the featherweight to make this:

This is the Shearwater Kaftan made with Wrenly voile. My other sewing machine kept trying to eat this lightweight fabric, but the straight stitch plate on the featherweight made it no problem. I bought that featherweight off Craigslist last year for $175, and I keep seeing them all over CL for around $500. They're not selling, just keep getting relisted. Crazy!

Overall I'm happy with how this turned out - although telling the right side from the wrong side of the voile was so hard that I ended up with a piece the wrong way out - oh well, I figure if it was that hard for me to tell, then no one else will notice. I am still learning the secrets of bias binding, I found the bound neckline was a little stretched, but still wearable.

There were two other important finishes, but I will have to save them for another day!

Thanks for visiting!



Monday, April 2, 2012

This, that and the other.

Not totally sewing related, okay not at all sewing related (I'll save that for the end of the post), but I cannot sing the praises of this book enough:

So far, my eight year old son has made us Swedish Meatballs and Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa for dinner. Since their dad is working out of town for the next few months, I have really been giving them a lot more responsibilities (aka chores) around the house. They empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, set and clear the table, clean their rooms, and now, Ta da! Cook dinner! (With my help and supervision of course.) It's a beautiful thing. Plus, they're a lot more interested in eating their own cooking than mine (barfing, simulated and real, has actually been elicited by my cooking, and I'm really not a horrible cook).

This morning, on an impulse I bought the PDF version of the Wiksten Tank pattern. I should have been cleaning the house, but instead I printed the pattern and cut it out from a vintage sheet. I blame Leila at Where the Orchid Grows where she posted a beautiful Wiksten Tank made from Liberty, after seeing that I couldn't resist. I will probably make mine out of voile, but am starting with a vintage sheet to make sure the sizing is right -- I know it's a tank, and it doesn't really get any easier than that, other than making yourself a headband, but I have had such bad luck with fitting lately that I just want to make sure.

Also on my to-do list for this week is to make these little charmers:

These are Easter Nests from the original Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson. They are not super healthy, but they check all the other boxes when it comes to Easter treats for my kids' classmates, even for their gluten-free friends. Not to mention, they are too cute!

Now, a crafty blog needs at least one crafty item, and I do have a huge backlog of FOs to show. This is the item that probably gets more use than anything else I have made:

It's a zig zag quilt made from vintage sheets (you have probably figured out by now that I have a thing for the vintage sheets, and have a rather large collection). I used Amanda's brilliant tutorial at Crazy Mom Quilts in order to avoid the HSTs. It is a bit smaller than twin sized and lives on our couch. I love it, but if I were to make another one I would sash it with a solid (like in Amanda's tutorial).

The binding is hand sewn with some unknown but well matched stripey fabric from the big cupboard. There is nothing so sweet as seeing your little ones all snuggled up in a quilt that you made :)

Thanks for visiting!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Baby I Do!

Here is the most recent quilt that I made for my sweet new baby niece, Adeline. It is the Baby I Do pattern from Cherry House Quilts.

It was obviously pretty straightforward, with the exception of the circles. I have never pieced a circle, or anything curvy, before. Fortunately the pattern suggested using Dale's 6 minute circle method. This worked like a charm - those circles are pretty flawless, however, her six minute method took me about twenty! I managed to get it down to about fourteen by the last one, but still. I guess there's a reason my Ravelry name is turtlegurl -- and it's not just because I love turtles.

Baby quilts are the perfect size to practice free motion quilting - big enough to give you time to develop a rhythm, and big enough that little mistakes disappear, yet small enough that you don't have to give yourself a hernia wrestling it through the throat of the machine. I hadn't planned to do it, but decided to quilt around the white pears - they disappeared into the white background on the top ofmthe quilt a little, and were asking for a little extra pop. This is what they look like on the red backing.

I regretted it when I had to tie off and bury all the ends (I could have just made them join up with the rest of the quilting, but I thought this looked better) but it ended up looking cute.

I have quite a few quilting finishes to post soon, just have to upload the photos. In the meantime, here is a picture that I did just upload, this is my baby girl, on the beach in Mexico last year, about to fly off into the stratosphere like the crazy little tinkerbell creature she is.

Thanks for visiting!


What's Going On?

We had a break in The Rain here on the West Coast and the sun brazenly showed us what we've been missing -- bluest skies and warmth on our skin. We planned to go skating this afternoon, but instead ended up enjoying the tropical climate at the Bloedel Conservatory. Prior to the Conservatory and the sun's unexpected visit, I cut out a bunch of patterns. I struggle with finding time to sew (or do anything not-kid-related) with all the kids around, so cutting out patterns on the dining table while they tear apart the living room at least makes me feel like I did something. So, I had a few thrifted t-shirts that I had been planning to make into some "Tee for Two" raglan tee-shirts (I don't see it on the Figgy's website anymore, but some people still have it for sale). I traced various sizes and variations of the pattern for all of my kids, and then cut the fabrics. I have been avoiding sewing knits, even though that's pretty much all that we wear for tops. Inspired by Made by Rae's series on knits, I figured taking the leap with Value Village tee-shirts was pretty safe.

This should keep me busy for a while:

I also cut out some more Valorie Wells voile for another Shearwater Kaftan. I can't wait.


equals awesome.

Since this is a brand new blog, with zero followers, I think I qualify for Lynn's Small Blog Meet Up on Lily's Quilts. It seems like a great way to meet fellow newbies, and I know I've found some lovely blogs there before I started this. If anyone came this way from the New Blog Meet Up, then it's great to meet you!

Lily's Quilts