Thursday, 31 May 2012

Doing good feels good :)

I haven't finished the second block of the quilt thus nothing to report, I will tell about what I did last night.
I have a dog  (thus the name of the blog). Quite a large one - it weights nearly 70 kg. Such dogs are good as blood donors, because of the amount of blood that can be taken in one hit.

Once our dog friend needed the blood, we volunteered, and all went well. Last night we got a call from vet clinic again - can we? Sure, we can!
Clinic sent their car. As soon as my dog spotted the car,  she was right at the boot door - open, open, we must rush! Door opens, the dog is in in one leap. At the clinic the same - as boot opens, dog in one jump out and right to the doors (well, it's vet clinic! The dog has been there just 3 months ago and she had injections!). As I open the doors, dog is in and goes right to the weights. After weight is taken, she rushes right to the door where blood was taken the last time - that convinced me that it is not just a good behaviour, that she definitely remembers and wants to be here for the job.

Usually my dog wants to say hello to everybody, cats included, and I must convince her that clinic is not the place to have a party. This time she did not looked at anybody. Ver-r-r-y businesslike.

She jumped on the table, without any discussions laid down and voila - both front paws ready for needles. She did not bat an eyelid during the whole process - two needles in front legs and two in her back with IV (fluid and vitamins). I did not needed to hold her or anything during the whole procedure - she was patiently laying until vets gave her a go. Then she carefully jumped off the table, looked at the poor dog next room (damaged spleen) and off she went, out the door and right to the same car for the trip back home.

Sometimes dogs behave like a goofy baby, sometimes - like a complete idiots, but last night my girl was into doing good. Into helping. Next to her in the same room was laying the poor dog who needed the blood - in coma, whining badly, and my dog understood. She really did understood. At the moments like this - well, that's when you really love your dog.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cheap and proud of it

It's cold and raining outside so a perfect day for shopping. I needed batting for upcoming blanket, and some dark material for the back. For materials I usually go to nearest factory (just 10 min. from my home ) as there are good quality cotton leftovers for cheapest prices (they mostly produce materials for some quite well known Swedish textile companies).

Today was my lucky day.

First of all, there was thick, black cotton waiting for me, a tad bit over 10 m, 1.5 m wide, the whole for 12 euros. Done. Cheap, just over 1 euro per m, exactly what I expected.

Then, if you are really lucky, there are some leftovers, tied in bundle, for ravishing 14 cents per kilo. 

Like this one.

I do not know how much you pay for your materials, but for me 14 cents per kilo, cotton sateen, is dead cheap.

So, if you are really lucky like myself today, you can arrive there just at the right moment when new leftovers from factory come into their shop (trust me, for 14 cents per kilo they do not sit on shelves for long!). Today I arrived at the right moment to pick up over 12 kilos (!!!!) of cotton material. The material is cut in perfect stripes, each one is exactly 34 cm wide and 3.5 m long.

Can you see this turned into a quilt?

To be honest, design of the material was not exactly what I would picked at the shop especially because this material costs nearly 10 euros per m there. But for 14 cents per kilo - why not? I need quilting practise and this material and it's design will be just perfect to play with.

I looked at it in the factory shop and voila! - the idea for quest room makeover was born.

Now I just need to get a bit of light grey/ blue cotton for joining the stripes together and turning it all into blanket, sheets, curtains and pillowcases.

The whole makeover will cost me less than 10 euros, including threads and batting. I am proud to be cheap!

Now time to go back to sewing machine - the second block is waiting for me :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

First block ready

Today I had a very busy day fighting with mother and math over utility bills, school, hospital and grocery shopping but at least managed to finish the first block for the quilt. Taking pictures with little camera and crappy flash does not help at all, especially for the colours, but you can get at least the basic idea how it looks right now. 

Now I need wrap myself with the blanket, make another coffee and stretch out. I have some design plans to think about and a book to fall asleep. Mondays! :D

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Productive Sunday

Today I reached the stage which I like the most - started to put things together. I can't call it piecing as there are no pieces. There is one line, 250 m long holding together random pieces. When I say random, they are random - different colours, different length. The only thing which unites them is width - 30 mm.
I know, one day I will be making something with neat pattern and well fitting colours, but currently I'm just killing my scrap to make something that can be used to sit in the grassy patch under the tree or tossed underneath the dog without a regret.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Work in progress

My new project has started well. Today I made about 160 m out of 250 m I need in total to start with, according to my estimations (hope they are right). When I finished sewing what I had already cut, I realised that I'm a bit too short. What a scrap girl like me does? Runs out to the nearest charity shop. I like buying men's shirts for my projects - good quality cotton and quite a lot of material for 25 cents. I was lucky - I found two pyjamas - one GrigioPerla, other - Novila. So for 1 EUR I got plenty of nice material to cut into my stripes.

What to share tonight? Few things which explains why I like recycling.

I hate things being made just for one season, and some are even  never worn at all when they leave to the bin. OK, nowdays things seem to appear effortless, but when you look at old things and think about how much time and efforts were put in them you learn to respect them.
I have quite a nice collection of old linen. I like them and I keep them even if they are not for everyday use (at least some of them). I have some of my grand grandmother's nurse aprons from WW I as well as some fancy ones like this - I try to wash it gently and iron carefully as it is so thin and nice to put on at least when preparing Christmas meal. :D

Then there are old handmade linen towels. I mean handmade the whole - from raising and harvesting the plant until sewing the final stiches.

By the edge you can see that it has been hand woven. To use it gives me feeling like all my grannies are still looking after me, even the one who died loong before my birth - in 1932.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Set for my young lady

Set is completed and ready. It doesn't matter if you like it, it doesn't matter if I like. The young lady likes it and that says it all.

And now I'm off to the next project - the picnic blanket which I need for this summer, so again - it will be not a masterpiece of art, just a scrap blanket to get ready ASAP. :D

Already started to play with colours in my scrap box and got the basic ones selected.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Few of my favorite things... II

As my quilting ensemble is completed and my head has not settled on the next project, I can wonder around a bit, right into past...

When you are a child, you let your fantasies wonder around. I remember myself laying in bed and travelling into two wonderful old pots on the shelf. One was Japanese Cloisonne vase,  probably Meiji Period, and another was a well used  Japanese teapot.

Both of them were like a door to a fairy tale to be told, so I was telling myself these bedtime stories loud, one after another, making my parents worry about my mental health. Maybe I was just supposed to become a writer? :D

The birdie in the blue sky of  the apple garden... and especially the teapot . One side of it shows girls at school, other side - boys. I had names for each one (no, they were not Bill and Ben) and I was wondering what their schools are alike...

When I went to my school,  all was over - school was a big disappointment right away from the doorstep so I turned myself off the teapot children - no point thinking of others suffering the same boredom as I must to. :D I simply started to draw to kill the boredom and did it through the whole school... as a result I had one way out - to art college. But that's another story...

Part I here

Monday, 21 May 2012

Few of my favorite things... I

I like antique. I did like them as a child and was growing up surrounded by them. I did love the smell of an old book, glitter of china and all the mysteries about the items - some had full history, some needed a story to make. Do not get me wrong, I like modern things, but it's great feeling, for example, using my granny's Singer  which was bought for her wedding on 1907. Material value of such things do not bother me. My favorite things has no high market value and impressive price tags. They simply are priceless for me.

Few years ago I become a proud owner of this little bag which belonged to my grand grandaunt. It's in mint condition outside and inside, with so many little precious details, and the sateen inside...

Metal parts are plated silver but it does not matter because I simply love this little handbag - as a handbag and as a memory holder.

I remember visiting grand grandaunt as a little child and all I remember - she had an impressive china stand where behind the glass were china figurines. When she passed away, I got two of my favourite... a squirrel and a hippo. When you are five, squirrel is much more interesting than a handbag.

Now, when I look at this handbag, I always try to imagine my grand grandaunt... what she was wearing with it... Where she was taking it - knowing her, it was Opera for sure... But where else?

When I was 17, her daughter gave me pair of new, shiny shoes... From 1920's. Now I regret it so much because I did wore them until they completely gave up just in few months - such leather does age fast.

She was quite a lady - her husband was famous violinist, her brother - publisher and writer, and she had travelled a lot around Europe between the wars. Her last years were not so happy but she still had a lot of interesting peoples around, helping her ignore the reality.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Pillow completed

Here it comes - pillowcase has been completed! Determination rulzzzz! This is the front bit.
This the back of the pillow. I tried out a bit of creative freehand quilting and I'm quite happy about the outcome. Defects look like effects for me - the lilac material really was too thin and soft in comparison with the top sateen.

And this  - pillowcase inside out  on the other side of the quilt. So yes, I can use it as I like for the moment - matching, but completely different feel for the set. And the best - the inside looks as the top side so one way or another - this will be usable as I wanted it to be.

That's about it all today. Tomorrow is for the curtains.

It would be nice to post something clever and remarkable but I'm too tired. After I finished with the pillow, I went to Zoo with  my youngest and spent 5 hours there. I do not feel very clever after that. It's beautiful night outside, windows wide open, and upstairs neighbour playing guitar on the balcony.
Life can be good, isn't it?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Pleasures of life

This morning I had a strong plan to finish the pillow.

I completed the front layer, then did the half of the back and then... my youngest who was playing outside with children, climbing over the large broken tree, came in and asked for a bit of ice as she fell off the tree and shoulder just hurts.
Off we went to ER (it's Friday afternoon, for sure) and returned just recently - arm in temporary cast, broken.

So pillow hopefully will be finished tomorrow. Pleasures of life.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fighting the spring blues

Rain upsets me. Especially at this time of year when you are desperate to kick off all winter layers and just dive in the blossoms of spring. No way - outside is barely +10 C, raining all day and even coffee does not seem hot enough.

Yes, of course, I was sewing. Frantically. But it did not help enough. So I went out and got a parfume. Essence d'eau by Gianfranco Ferre.

Do not get me wrong. I'm typical DKNY girl, or maybe like D&G Light blue - you got the picture. No messing around.

But today I was so desperate that I just put all wise thoughts away and got the sweeeeet Essence.

They say floral : white floral, powdery, yellow floral, woody. Well, I would prefer more of woody. Essence for me resembles a hot, beautifull summer day... in a bakery :D

Vanilla is taking over everything, making me like a zombie searching around for Patisseries or at least for another bar of chocolate. But YES, it warms you up, definitely.  In a nice way.

The matching pillowcase for the blanket is progressing well. I'm trying out a bit more advanced quiling and it's bearable. At least at current stage it looks so.

Well, tomorrow is another day and then the summer is promised for the weekend. Yay!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Quilt completed!

Yes, today I completed the quilt. Now it is out of washing machine and hanging on line. So tomorrow I will hopefully start the matching pillow and then - curtains.

While I have nothing to show (washing lines are not the most exciting thing to take pictures, especially when it rains) I will share some older things.

This is my first attempt to knit the seamless Icelandic yoke  sweater. 

I had no patterns or description so I just looked at pictures, scratched my head, picked the thick wool and tried- it's not a quantum physics. 

In general there are two ways of knitting them - up, or down from the neckline. Personally I like more knitting up. First thing I do knit both arms on round needles up to armpits, then the body up to armpits, then join it all together and gradually reach the neckline. 

With my first there was a problem - armpits were not neat and tidy, they had uneven loops at the joint. So actually it is some kind of quantum physics after all! 

Nothing drastic but I prefer to do things right. After quite a lot of asking and searching on Internet I did find the answer - the gap. When joining all together, there must be left several loops unjointed both sides - arm and body, which must be sewn together later. 

So actually  there is a small seam even in the seamless jumper :) 

When finished the first one, I wanted to make another one, now with the right joints, and I went for a dress. 

So quite matching pair - like his and hers :D 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Love and hate

Yes, that's right! I love it and I hate it! Quilting is  boring !

I truly love to create the design, then cutting and putting pieces together. So when the top layer is finished, that's it - for me the job is done. The last stages of putting it all together, stitching and quilting ... necessity... but not for me.

I hope to complete the whole today - my arms are aching, my shoulders are aching, my back is aching and most of all - my brain is aching! :D

I adore beautiful work of others - you know all these pretty fancy quilting patterns looking fantastic. It just not for me.

So what I do?
Rough free motion rubbish. Hoping that nobody will ask me to expose the backside of the quilt. :D

How you can love half of the job and hate the other?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Patchwork... coat

Sometimes life go crazy (if it's not crazy enough for a moment or two).

This is one of such moments :) - a patchwork coat.

The project was funny and very challenging and some lessons I learnt.

If you decide on something like this, think about bottom line. How to make it heavy for better flow.

Early Chanel dresses had a little chain sewn in at the bottom to make dress flow better.This is one of the cases when such a solution is a necessity.

Other than that it was well worth making  and so much fun of wearing it - you can imagine.Definitely a head turning thing on the streets. Love it!  :D

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Wolfie

When young ladies do have special needs, they simply do.

Two months ago my 9 yo girl  announced that she needs a wolf. A wolf cub actually. And it was very SPECIAL, she needed it to be made by myself. A bit of a Voodoo thing, I would say. She even donated one of her faux fur collars for it.

 I looked at Internet. Did not find anything suitable (thousands of teddy Bear designs and patterns, but no wolves).

 So I looked at pieces of materials I had, scratched my head and made some approx design. I even made rough pattern on paper.

And then 2 days of sewing by hand, and voila! Here it is, our little Wolfie! :)
(Must admit it was well worth the job - Wolfie is resting his head on young lady's pillow every night since then.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Dress for a young lady

This all started with the boots that we bought. Really nice boots.

Then we realised that young lady has nothing to wear with these.

 In my tours through the shops we did not find anything suitable. Then in the charity shop we spotted the skirrt. Right colour, nice light cotton but size did not matched at all. So...

Out of the skirt the dress was made.
But... It looked plain. Boring.

Then we decided to add a vest. A nice colourful vest - partly patchwork, partly appliques.

 And at the end - the hat  But it all started with the boots :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

My second one

Well, the new quilt I recently started will be my third quilt ever. I have no pictures of the first one, but the second one I made last summer (seems like quilting urge for me comes as a spring fewer because the knitting bug hits me hard every autumn ).

It was made out of old shirts I had bags full off, and one curtain. Even the filling was from an old cheap blanket.So fully and completely recycled one.

I wanted the quilt to be as random as possible, so I avoided any patterns - cut the pieces 4 " wide, sew them together in a long strip and sew it all together, starting from centre. It took nearly a month to complete it (I love putting bits and pieces together, but hate the final stage putting it all together in one finished piece. Size matters as well, as this one is 8X8 ft to fit on a really big bed, so it was a big job, demanding a lot of space). But all in all, I enjoy the crazy pattern.

Starting a new patchwork quilt

You know the proverbs about idle hands and all that... As I got a spare week this month, I decided to start a new project - a patchwork quilt and matching curtains for my youngest daughter. As it's lilac time of the year, then it will be "Lilac" quilt.

My fav pattern for a fast quilt is the pinwheel.  It's fast, easy and looks well.

I do recycle. By principle. Especially with projects like this, it is silly to start with shopping right away - the whole idea pf a patchwork is recycling.

So I picked up several quite horrible cotton sateen leftovers, played with colours and I think I find quite bearable combination. 

The next thing is - the scheme. How many of each kind of blocks I need for this project.

According to my calculations, for my single bed blanket I will need 12 blocks of a full pinwheel (each of 4 square blocks),

20 single square blocks 

and 31 double blocks.

So far so good.

Then I needed the base material. For the quilt and for the curtains. And the trouble started. Went to the shop. The choice? Right colour?  Only light cotton available. Right material - sateen - completely wrong, heavy colours.

So... I went for the colour. Nice lilac colour. And now my big troubles have started - heavy sateen blocks to be joined with light single cotton.

Nobody is perfect! I'm not nobody, you know :D