Wednesday, February 29, 2012

a nearly wordless Wednesday

Berry patch "granny squares"; Kona plum (background colour) doesn't photograph well, but I think this will be a sweet little quilt.

Most of all, I love this berry!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Giveaway winner!

So after a year of blogging I finally figured out how get capture the image from the random number generator on my Mac (thanks to another Jennifer, from the blog Finally in First), so without further stash raider is

                                               ...number 35, my bloggy friend IsisJem! Yay!

While Jan won the giveaway with her "extra" entry as a follower of the Bobbin, she did indicate something about her stash raiding preferences in her previous entry:

Hmmm, looks like she's pretty easy to please!  While I do read her blog (we have been in touch since last summer's Hexalong), I now have a reason to go snooping around to get ideas about what she might like best.

That will be fun!

Thanks to all for the entries and sweet messages.  Happy stashing!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

last ditch stitching

Reading week is at an end.  I have read and graded quite a bit this week, but not enough, never enough -- so this evening and (especially) tomorrow will be...stitch-free zones. 

Before that occurs, here's a little progress to report on the king-sized bear paw quilt: 9 of the 30 blocks done.  Frida and Penelope conspired to make this an awkward photo shoot.  Both toddler and kitty were in need of my attention!

And I couldn't resist the pull of the Granny Square fever, begun by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches.

I pulled a dark berry-coloured solid and raided my little tackle box of 2.5" scraps, making two of these "granny square" blocks (so far).  These really and truly are quick, so maybe, just maybe I could fit in another one in the next few days...?

Hoping everyone has a good week.  I'll check in on Tuesday with a winner of the giveaway!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Swoon 2

First, I'd like to say that it is great fun to see all the messages on my last post!  The "raid-my-stash" giveaway is open until midnight on Monday (when I'll use a random number generator to select a winner -- should have mentioned that before, oops), so please head over and tell me what you'd like to add to your own fabric stash.

Now, a quick update on the "Swoon" quilt that is on simmering away on a back burner.  I pulled a range of chocolate and blueberry fabrics a few weeks ago and made the first of these giant blocks, using some brown "Henna Garden" and blue-on-brown Lecien basic dots:

Over the past couple of days I was inspired to prep all the half-square triangles for the remaining 8 blocks (still using Triangulations, which I adore!):

I went one step further, and also cut the solid squares and rectangles needed for each block -- leaving only the flying geese to construct.  The idea was to have most of the component parts ready to piece, so I could grab a spare hour here and there and make a little progress on this project.

That was the idea.

When I started construction of block 2 this morning, I expected it to take about 45 minutes, max.  But somehow it took me over two hours -- the same amount of time it took to make block 1 from scratch.  I made a few dumb mistakes and certainly kept the seam ripper busy.

As sewing-challenged as I seemed to be this morning I was determined to finish.  And I did.  And I like the block, made from some "Etchings" Paris map fabric and a very 50s-looking brown-on-cream print of forgotten provenance (all fabrics in this project are from my stash!). 

Ramone tried to steal the show, as usual:

It's hard to believe he was feral just  6 months ago. 

Anyway, I am happy with these Swoon blocks...but it may be a while before I make another one!

Next up: progress on my "bear paw" quilt....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's my 1st blogiversary, so RAID MY STASH!

Tomorrow morning marks the 1-year anniversary of The Enchanted Bobbin.  Yay!

I started this blog on a whim: the previous month I had set up two "closed" discussion-oriented blogs for the graduate and undergraduate fairy tale classes I was teaching, and had discovered how simple it was to use blogger (at least for the basics...).  My dad wanted to start a blog, so armed with my new knowledge I helped him get it going -- Still A Brooklyn Kid is a small masterpiece, an outlet for his fabulous writing, his humour, and his wide-ranging knowledge.  He says he started his blog as a gift to me and my kids, but I know that his articles on music, baseball, and Brooklyn's past have a much bigger audience than just our family.  He was even mentioned in Huffington Post!  That's my daddy.

And then I started The Enchanted Bobbin, with only the vaguest sense of what I would use it for and what it might mean to me.  I thought I would wrap my scholarly work in with crafting (I had been quilting for about a year at that point), but the past 12 months have been very intense for me, career-wise, with plenty of outlets for my critical writing. This is an understatement, but you need not be troubled with the details (!).  Anyway,  I found that having this venue, this blog, as a separate space -- one where I could write as casually as I wanted, about passions that are farfarfar from my work -- was an absolute blessing!  I have loved it.

Although my readership is quite small, relatively speaking, the encouragement and feedback and ideas you all have offered me mean more than I can convey here.  Having this little virtual community is so precious.  When faced with stress and pressure in other realms of my life (yes, it has been an intense year), crafting and the 'Bobbin have helped me to keep everything in balance.  THANK YOU!

Okay, off my pedestal now, and on to the good stuff: it's time for a GIVEAWAY!

As some of you are aware, I have a significant stash of fabric -- and I want to send 4 generously-cut fat quarters to one of my readers.

Please leave me a comment letting me know what part of your stash you would like to enhance -- specifically if you're looking for more fabric in a specific colour family.  OR let me know if one of these combos appeals to you: perhaps you would like to have FQs from a selection of out-of-print "Katie Jump Rope" by Denyse Schmidt?  Hmmmm?

Or maybe you would be able to provide a good home for some FQs of "Metro Living" circles? What do you say?

The giveaway will close at midnight EST on Monday, February 27th.  To enter, just leave a comment -- and if you're a follower, please let me know in a second comment so you can double your chances at winning a little fabric in your preferred colourway (or from one of the bundles above).

Hey, one of the benefits of reading a small blog is that your chances of winning a giveaway are really pretty good!! 

Have a wonderful day,


Monday, February 20, 2012

Frida's blue dress

A few days ago Frida announced that blue was her favourite colour. For a 3-year-old fixated on all-things-pink, this was a breakthrough.

Yesterday, she announced that she wanted a blue dress, specifically one made from a DS Hope Valley print sitting in a stack for my Swoon quilt (currently on a very sloooow schedule -- just one block made...but that's another story!).

Together, Frida and I pulled some additional fabrics for a ModKids "Sydney" dress, which is a pattern I have been itching to make for her.  I had my eye on Sydney for several months, because Frida loves clothing with hoods.  After a tedious shipping fiasco with I finally got a  copy of the pattern last month -- just as my workload intensified, and time for making a dress or two evaporated.

It is now "reading week" for Ontario universities, which for most students entails little reading.  Faculty, on the other hand, generally have a lot of reading to do -- but of course I am working in a little stitching time here and there (!).

I love ModKids patterns -- they are incredibly user-friendly and quick, and cute.  Here is Frida modelling her new Sydney dress (the short-sleeved option, with the rounded hood).  The only way I could get her to pose for a photo was by allowing her to stand on the glider/rocking chair, something that is usually prohibited!

As you can see, we paired the blue Hope Valley print with some lovely, soft teal Quilter's Linen (that stuff washes up beautifully -- I must get some more!), two of the pink Hope Valley prints, and a pink "Aunt Grace" repro fabric.

Frida adores this dress...and she was so enthusiastic about the making of it, asking so sweetly during last night's bath if we could just please attach the skirt so she could try it just one time before going to bed.  Of course, I acquiesced.  Frida fulfilled her end of the bargain by sitting quietly and calmly next to the sewing machine.  When I started the machine up, she said "I like that sound!"  That warmed my heart!

Once she went to sleep, I finished serging the waist seam and hemmed the sleeves.  She put it on as soon as she woke up this morning.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Enchanted Bobbin's fabric finds

I am addicted, in some kind of primal, fundamental way, to bargain hunting -- to searching, researching, weighing options.  This has always been the case, it impacts every part of my life, and I am comfortable with it!

But I do have an issue with fabric bargains: I find them very, very, very tempting, but I find more than I can possibly purchase, and I have been purchasing more than I can sew. Clearly this cannot go on.

I am on a zillion mailing lists, so the temptations for fabric bargains are right there, in my inbox, all the time.  I get a little thrill from finding great fabric at great prices, and more than half of my surfing time results in abandoned virtual shopping carts.  If you have seen my fabric stash (it is substantial) then you can comprehend the implications -- the vastness of the fabric bargains I resist!

In an effort to buy less -- I really DO NOT NEED any more fabric!!! -- but still satisfy my appetite for a bargain, I am going to use "fabric find" posts as an outlet. 

Okay, so here it goes, for my sake as well as yours: there are some steals right now at Hancock's of Paducah.

The first major temptation for me were the Sarah Jane prints for Michael Miller at $4.98 a yard -- they have the florals, the pink hopscotch print, the family tree panel, rocket launch.  I love these, and haven't seen them discounted like this anywhere else. Wow!  And it seems that H of P will now let you order just a 1/2 yard of web sale fabrics (they used to have a 1 yard minimum for each sale print).

The other amazing bargain (think quilt backs) are the select Taza prints by Dena Designs currently at just $3.98 a yard (not all Taza is priced this low, so look carefully!).  There is also a Dream On cheater print at 3.98 a yard.  You can imagine the willpower I had to conjure to resist all this.

I know you deserve to feel the thrill of your own pursuit, so I'll just nudge you in the right direction: search H of P for Tula Pink's Parisville or Prince Charming, or Bonnie & Camille's Swoon.  You can thank me later!!

Bargain found, bargain reported, good deed done, temptation averted!

If you pursue any of these fabric finds, please do let me know.  I would be absolutely delighted to know that someone has benefited from my scrounging surfing -- I really would!

ETA, p.s. [for my fellow Canadians:] 
Although Hancock's of Paducah's shipping charges to Canada have suddenly, mysteriously doubled (they now seem to charge $15 flat rate for shipping by Canada Post, rather than $7 as in my own two purchases from H of P), they are still exceptionally well-priced: whether my [abandoned] shopping cart had 7 or 20 yards in it, the shipping cost appeared to be the same.  Also worth noting: the purchases I have made in the past from H of P each took a full month to arrive, but had no duty charges attached. Of course, none of this is a guarantee, but personally I consider Hancock's of Paducah a Canuck-friendly fabric shopping choice. Bonne chance!

All roads lead to Julian!

We know a little boy who loves cars so much he takes his Hot Wheels to bed with him. 

Tomorrow is Julian's 3rd birthday and here racing in, just under the wire, is his completed birthday quilt. Vroom-vroom!

One of my photo assistants (my son) is feeling under the weather, so after a couple of shots I had to seek an alternative location.  I spread this new quilt out on my own bed.  Ramone seems to feel it needs some blocking.

The feature fabric is "Plaidsportation" by Michael Miller, and I mixed in some additional car-themed MM prints appropriately named "Hon-Honk" and "Toot-Toot."  I used most of a Connecting Threads micro-dot basics jelly roll and then drew on solids from my stash for the narrow borders, the two "streets" that run the length of the quilt, and the sashing.

Although I keep making resolutions about widening my quilting repertoire, I was (once again) working with a relatively limited time frame, so the quilting is a combination of straight-line and very broad meandering.  I may not have challenged myself in this regard, but it was quick and the result is a very soft and flexible quilt.  I particularly like the back, as simple as it is!

I have the perfect gift bag, and now all I have to do is deliver it. 

Many thanks to my bloggy friends for their advice about the side borders.  I had the perfect amount of the various car fabrics to add simple borders (purely by luck!), and with the clock ticking it did indeed prove best to keep it simple.

One final note: my 1st blogiversary is right around the corner -- less than a week away! I think a little giveway is order, don't you?  Perhaps it's time for you to raid my stash? 

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend -- and a good "family day" if you happen to live where this newly-minted holiday is celebrated.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

(mostly) wordless Wednesday

It's here, oh lucky me! Oh lucky day!  Oh (future) lucky quilt! Thank you Fat Quarter Shop!! Thank you Katy, for the Swoon-along and giveaway!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

nearing the finish line

My car-themed quilt for our little friend Julian's upcoming birthday is almost fully pieced.

This is one project that I am going to carry straight through to the finish line without any distraction, simply because I have a deadline.  Julian's parents have been tremendously generous to us, and very appreciative of the little quilt I made last spring for Julian's baby sister Imogen (below).

I'm excited to be able to make something special for Julian's 3rd birthday.

To fit Julian's twin-sized (big boy) bed, I need to add about 8" in width, about 4" to each side. The question before me now is what to do with those 4"?

I have enough "Plaidsportation" yardage left to do this -- that's the car print with the black background featured in the centre of each log-cabin block, and in 4" squares between log-cabins.  But I'm not 100% sold on the notion of long dark strips at each side of this quilt top, although it seems fortuitous that I have just enough of my feature fabric to complete this task.  And I have completely depleted my stash of light gray, used to make my two "streets," so that isn't an option.

As always, I would welcome suggestions from you, my wise and talented readers!  Plaidsportation?  Strips of solid colour? Or maybe my favourite option for the side strips,  at least from a design perspective (but also the most labour-intensive option): something pieced? (!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

sneak peek Sunday


This project -- a birthday present-in-progress, with the car theme selected in consultation with the b-day boy's parents -- has already transformed beyond what I'm showing here, but just for now here is a little sneak peek....

My sewing project load has officially entered OVERDRIVE / CAUTION / EXTREME CONDITIONS zone!

Let's take stock for a moment, shall we?  I have FOUR projects completely pieced, and now awaiting basting and quilting --

* the Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese quilt-top
* Frida's "big softie" / Folksy Flannels quilt-top
* Jackson's green quilt-top
* Northern Star / Made in Cherry QAL quilt-top

And I now have 5 piecing projects on the go:

* King Bear Paw
* Swoon
* Vroom-vroom
* Farmer's Wife QAL
* Mystery Quilt


Has anyone else ever scattered their creative energies among so many projects at once?  I used to take a sewing project from start to I console myself by looking forward to several finishes, soon (I hope).  It will be a relief!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

not a baby anymore

Last night Miss Frida slept on her own -- without coming to get me, without getting out of bed at all -- from 8:30 until 4:30 a.m.!!!  If you have never had a little one with sleep "challenges" you might not think that this is cause for celebration, but believe me when I say, that in context, this is a MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT!  I wasn't awoken until 4:30 a.m. -- hallelujah! 

When she did wake up, Frida crawled into bed with us and "cuddled" for a while, waking up happily at 7:30 a.m.  Good girl!  And then my sweet husband took her downstairs for some Backyardigans-viewing and let me sleep until 9:30 a.m.!!!!  I feel so much better today -- a total turnaround from yesterday, when I was miserable with a cold, now just a sniffle.

Frida isn't a baby anymore, although it seems like yesterday that she looked like this:

or this:

She's a big girl now, 3 years old!

I have told her that she can have a nightgown -- made by mama, just like her big sister's -- when she learns how to sleep on her own, in her bed, at night. Honestly, I will settle for 8:30 - 4:30.

So if -- let's say when -- you see a post about nightgown sewing, you can take it as a good sign! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

more paws

My immune system finally admitted defeat...I have a cold (The Cold), and am not in very chatty mood today.  Nevertheless, I made a few more "bear paws" (for Bear Pa) and wanted to share them -- lined up on the yardage of brown Painter's Canvas to try to get a sense of the larger design.  Just 26 more to go!

Now it's time to hibernate.