Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Kindred Crafters Swap - Make Some Coasters!

It's high time we organize a swap over here at Kindred Crafters. We thought that finding something that didn't take a super long time to make would be just the thing, so we came up with coasters.

There are oodles of great tutorials out there. Take a look at these beautiful ones:
Ellen's cool Crooked Coasters at the long thread:

Alyson Hill's stylish yet useful Wipe Clean Coasters:

Suzanne at Foofanagle's Simple Patchwork Coasters:

Oooh, and aren't Christina's reverse applique coasters at the Sometimes Crafter fantastic?

(all photos courtesy of the creators whose work is shown. Thanks, gals, for permission to post!)

There are more great tutorials here, and here, or why not cruise around flickr to get inspired? We love these, these, these, and these, but feel free to let your imagination run wild!

So here are the rules to play our little coaster swap game:

1. Email us at kindredcrafters (at) gmail (dot) com before Friday, May 8th with the following info:
  • Name
  • Mailing address (THIS IS AN INTERNATIONAL SWAP! Please be prepared to ship internationally)
  • Blog address (not necessary, but fun to share!)
2. Over the weekend of May 9-10, you'll get an email from one of us letting you know the email address of your swap partner (don't forget to check your spam folder!). It'll be up to you to contact the lucky person for some direction on what to make. Perhaps they have a favourite drink and/or treat that you'd like to include in the swap package? Maybe they have a favourite colour or decor style? Feel free to add in a few extras to make the parcel extra special!

3. Create your coasters and get 'em in the mail by Monday, June 1.

4. Wait eagerly for your package.

5. Post a picture to the flickr group once your coasters have arrived. The group can be found at:

6. Now here's where it gets interesting. Post about the swap on your blog to receive an entry into our surprise giveaway. Those who post photos into the flickr group will also get an entry. Let us know you did these things by leaving a comment on this post.

Easy, peasy, and so fun!
We're really looking forward to seeing what all you swappers come up with...
- Sara and Donna
**PS - Please sign up for this post only if you really are interested in sending something out into the world. Keep the good karma rollin' and be sure and send something out. People put a lot of heart into swaps and we want to make sure no one is disappointed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I was away on a girls sewing weekend and it was really great, but oh how I missed you! I have some things to show you, but there was no time to photograph anything with all the sewing and talking and eating. I forgot how essential girl time is for the soul. Thanks for carrying the weight around here while I was MIA, Donna!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quilting is a Labour of Love

I can't believe that the photo I'm about to post represents about five hours of work. I'm not sure if I'm just slow or if this is really how long it takes to cut and measure pieces for a quilt that has a pattern. Insane.

So my strippy baby quilt will be 20 2.5 inch rows, abot 50 inches long (minus seam allowances, so actually a fair bit smaller than that). I'm pretty happy with how I've laid it out, but I'm not going to show the top until it's done. So for now, all you get is a pic of what looks like very messy pinned fabric.

The class only had two students, and the woman teaching it seems really experienced and supportive. I learned some useful tips about measuring and cutting, and we had time to cut enough strips for six rows, lay them out, and label them. Homework was to finish up with this step, and if time allowed, square off all the ends of the pieces as well. The teacher felt bad asking me to do this, once I told her I had two children under three at home, but I will get a gold star for effort as I finished up last night. Late, but before bed, and before I put together the baked french toast for today's brunch we hosted.

Next week we'll sew the pieces together . . 2 hours of uninterrupted sewing time. Can't wait!

Hope you're all having a good weekend. It was 27C here yesterday which felt odd. Only 10C today, and expected to shoot back up to 30C tomorrow before dropping back down. All of these ups and downs are hard to handle!

- Donna

Friday, April 24, 2009

Teach Me!

I'm starting a quilting class tomorrow morning at a nearby fabric store. (I'd link to them, but while they have a great store and a domain name, they have no web presence!)

Yay. All my fabrics are washed and pressed. I'm going to be using the Katy Jump Rope line with a small infusion of Amy Butler and Michael Miller, with a piece of thrifted pillowcase thrown in for good measure. The class is 3 sessions long, and promises to teach me the basics of cutting, sewing 1/4 " seams, and quilting. We'll be making a strippy quilt (the one in the shop looks like the easy lap quilt in Amy Karol's book, only more strippy).

So excited! And so happy that my husband agreed to giving me this time. It's hard to be one parent down for three Saturday mornings in a row. With Saturday morning swimming lessons moved to afternoons starting next week, it just seemed like the perfect time to fit in a little class.


- Donna

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A lil' bib for my lil' one

I made a cute little bib yesterday using a tutorial I purchased ages ago from jcasahandmade. It was super easy and turned out really cute. I am embarassed to admit how much binding I had leftover from my recent quilt, so it's great to have a project to use it up on. I mismeasured hugely and have a pile of red fabric all cut into binding strips. What was I thinking?? Oh right, calculating the length required involved math.

I used several value village finds, one of which I'm sure you'll remember from my recent quilt. I think it'll keep showing up in things until it's gone!! The khaki fabric is a piece of the tab curtains from ikea that I recently unearthed in a basement clean up. Before I sewed, they would have been nothing more than cast off curtains, but as a sewist, these curtains are fabric gold.

- Donna

My Favorite Quilt

Throwing my hat into the Quilt Festival going on over at Park City Girl.

I can say with complete confidence that no matter what happens or how many quilts pass through this house, this quilt will always be my favorite.

When I was little, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, Nana D. She taught me a lot of what I know about creating things out of what seems like nothing. She mothered 11 children and lived through the great depression - the woman knew how to stretch a dollar. Nana D was known for her crocheted afghans and our family came to expect a pair of her handmade mittens and socks for Christmas. She got started early in the new year, preparing for the next Christmas; she knit sets for each of her children, their spouses and all of her 18 grandchildren.

It took me by surprise when she put the knitting needles aside and got to work on a quilt. She'd seen a pattern in a magazine and wanted to try it herself. Of course, she turned it out in a New York minute and it was even more beautiful than the one in the magazine. Once that one was finished, she had me help her make a smaller one for my cousin, Cheryl. We sat side by side, upstairs in her spare room, working on the quilt together. She liked it there because she had a bird's eye view of who was driving past. She'd comment on how fast the cars travelled and how someone was inevitably going to get hurt out there.

I traced out the hearts and she appliqued them on. Once it was time for the quilting, she had me threading needles while she quilted. I had a handful of needles and would stick them all along the windowsill once they were threaded. I remember her bragging to her friends about how good I was at threading a needle. You never know when you'll need that kind of skill! I was so proud of that quilt and really hoped my cousin would appreciate the work we put in to it.

On my 12th birthday - the birthday where the clown my parents ordered came a day early and ended up getting stopped by the police for speeding (not a lucky clown, to be sure) - Nana D arrived with a box. It was a fair size and I was curious what she had inside. Normally she gave us homemade jam or more socks and mitts. This box was too big for socks or jam. I can still remember how I felt when I saw what was in the box - our quilt! It was mine to keep. Surely I couldn't have know then what a special gift it really was, but I had a sneaking suspicion. I really haven't let it out of my sight since. It came off to university with me. It cuddled my baby when she was little. It's still serving it's purpose, snuggling each of us when we're sick or when our toes just can't get warmed up.

I know it's not looking it's best, but I can't bring myself to alter it. I can't bring myself to pull out her stitches or replace the missing hearts with fabric that she didn't choose. It's my little piece of what I remember about my relationship with her and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


It's Contagious!

This is Big E with her very first quilt. How pround am I to have a girl that loves to quilt?

She was hooked from the first seam and saw it through right up until the part where handsewing the binding reared it's ugly head. That's where Mom came in handy! Her favorite part was quilting it and it shows in the final product. Her lines are so straight!

She's a natural.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Pillowcase Compulsion

Remember when I bought this book? I think I shouldn't have bought it, because I have yet to sew anything from it, yet it has hugely fueled my compulsion for thrifting pillowcases.

Some recent finds:

Except for the cross hatched one, they all seem very girlie. I think they'd make great backing for a baby quilt, but that would require me waiting to see if girls are born rather than boys . . .and I'm so keen to make quilts right now that as soon as I hear someone is pregnant I am already scheming and laying out fabric. There are tons of cute projects in the book, I've just got to pick one!

- Donna

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Fabric Incentive

In an attempt to find ways to get my butt in gear and get more exercise, I've decided to offer myself an incentive. Starting last week, I'm transferring $3 into a separate account every time I do an hour of exercise.

Last week I managed 6 hours of exercise and I treated myself to some cute FQs from a local quilt shop and a few vintage pillowcases from the thrift shop that is conveniently located just next door. A good haul, and a few dollars left in the kitty for next time.

I love fabric. I don't always love exercise, but I think it makes sense to push myself a little in this regard, and 'earning' fabric seems like just the push I need.

Off to go to a spin class . . .there's fabric in it for me!

- Donna

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Mother Lode

My mother-in-law to-be got to cleaning out her stash and ever so kindly gifted me with a lot (to put it lightly) of what she was getting rid of. This is just a small portion of what the boxes (yes, boxES) included:

I have big plans for this stuff and of course, would love to jump over the rest of my ongoing projects and in to those boxes. I'm thinking something like this for the fabric in the pictures? What do you think? Thankfully, I know better than to clutter up my small sewing space with too many WIPS, so I got a few things cleared away today in prepration for my grand plans.

Trying my hand at one of these quilted pillows has been on my to do list for a while...

...and those poor oven mitts (made with a pattern from Lotta Jansdotter's book) were a half finished Christmas present for my mom.

Glad to finally have those off of my conscience! The only thing standing between me and the boxes now is that baby boy quilt. Almost there...


Sunday, April 12, 2009

A quilt for TuesdayBread

I 've been working on this one for a few weeks, but it's done.

I'll definitely be hitting Sara up for some mitered corner lessons when she's in Ottawa, but all in all, I'm really happy with this lil' quilt. It's for the first baby of friends of mine, baby shower to be held in a few weeks. The inspiration for the colour palette was the fabric I used for the back, which is cut from a toddler duvet cover from Ikea that I thrifted at Value Village, new, for $2. It hadn't even been washed. The front is a mix of some of my favourite stashed pieces: some japanese cottons, a bit of vintage thrifted cottons, some 1930s repro, and some new cottons. I also framed up some of the animals cut from the duvet cover to tie in the front and the back.

I free motioned quilted it, and these photos were taken after the first wash. Should I wash it a few more times before giving it, do you think?

Sara helped me out with some really good advice for squaring the quilt off before attaching the binding. Long distance or not, she's really there for me. I made quite a few mistakes along the way, but a few of them actually ended up enhancing the final product, in my opinion. I mismeasured some of the pale blue for the front, and was short by a few inches, so I added another strip of patchwork, which I think worked out nicely. My original sketch had just four strips of patchwork strip at the bottom, but I ended up including 5 strips, three with animals, and two without. This happened because I got really tired the night I was framing up the animals, and with three completed, I laid out what I had on the floor, and they ended up all staggered which I thought looked cute. Before the yawns that were threatening to take over succeeded, I called it a night and the next night I added a fifth row of patches so that the bottom would look more balanced.

I can't wait to make the next quilt, which will be for my older daughter, who incidentally, has decided that the baby who will receive this quilt should be named 'TuesdayBread'. I've suggested this to the parents to be but I have a feeling that while they'll love the quilt they may find their own name for their baby.

- Donna

Ps - Do any of you get a little sad when a stash item (especially one this is either vintage or out of print) gets used up? I'm lamenting the almost goneness of this little gem that I found at a thrift store. I may hoard the remaining piece for awhile before I'm brave enough to use it all!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Time for Recess

Sara's 5X5 arrived yesterday, and I love it! She shared some of her American Jane Recess charms. I've been hunkering after some of that line for awhile. Thanks, friend!! I especially love the shades of blue in this line.
- Donna
ps - thanks for the photo, too. How do you get such nice photos of fabric?

Donna! Look what arrived today!

This monthly swap thing just keeps getting better and better! Some sweet Easter inspired choices sent from Donna to lil' ol' me for our April 5x5 swap.

I was also the fortunate recipient of this awesome vintage trim. Not creepy at all, D. Just the opposite!
Thanks so much!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Bunny Shirts Galore

Last minute gifts are so fun. And not very stressful when lovely templates are provided. Lollychops ran a big time bunny week a while back and I was only slightly late to get in on the fun.

I whipped up four cute appliqued shirts for some cute little girls in my life. We had friends visiting from out of town last week and I was able to hand deliver the shirt. My daughter, big M, and her friend A are just 5 weeks apart and don't get to see one another nearly often enough. They wanted to put those shirts on immediately and get back to sticker trading. My battery camera was out of juice so I don't have pictures of all the shirts but my friend luckily had hers out to capture this sweet moment.

Thanks, Lolly, for the templates!

- Donna

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I think I'll keep my day job...

...and leave the cake pops to Bakerella.

I knew from the get-go that I wouldn't be capable of anything fancy, tiny things and I aren't exactly BFF, but I desperately wanted to give this little bit of genius a try.

In my mind's eye, these would be wonderful little rainbow eggs with nice smooth surfaces. My mind's eye needs glasses in a bad way.

Nevertheless, they're headed in to Big E's class for an Easter treat. That's the thing about fourth graders, they'll eat just about anything as long as it's all coated in neon!

Here are Big E's masterpieces - she called them "abstrak":

Now that they're finished, I can say they were kind of fun to make. Not sure I'd rush right back to the kitchen to make another batch or anything, but maybe sometime down the road there'll be another kick at the cake pop can!


A Little Baby Boy Number

Big E stands firm that this could be for a girl, too. She's so progressive for a 9.5 year old.

I cut into some Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope charms for this one. It's still in it's early planning stages - pieces pinned to my project wall and not a stitch sewn. I'll have to change that soon.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Local Find

I found these gems in a little quilt shop downtown. What a pleasant surprise. They're Moda, but I forget which collection. What would you use these for?


Friday, April 3, 2009

Please Send Help!

Can't. Stop. Making. Quilts.

Two more on deck. I'll do one at a time so as not to appear completely out of control.


Giveaway a la mode

These treasures could be yours by simply leaving a comment over at a la mode. This is the best giveaway ever, hands down.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Done like dinner

So it's finished and I'm not really over the moon about it. I think it's the off-white sashing that's irritating me. I am kind of proud of my progress on mitred corners though!

Edited to add: I went with the free motion again because of the backing I chose. I was scared that it would be too visible if my lines weren't straight if I stitched in the ditch. I feel one coming in the near future though!