Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vancouver, B.C.

A friend of mine is from Vancouver and she goes back frequently to visit her family and friends. I had never been there, even though it is only a couple of hours from here, and we easily worked out a couple of days in our schedules to make a trip up there together. One of her friends with a quaint apartment downtown was away for a month so we had a place to stay and it was a nice holiday (as they say in Canada) for both of us. We visited with her mum at a coffee shop but mostly we had some girl time, shopping and eating interesting meals and going for long walks in a very clean and lively city. She liked driving me through some of the areas where she had lived long ago, showing me her childhood home and telling tales of youth and and adventures and old jobs and relationships. I liked it all - the big, sprawling parks and the tight neighborhoods, the cosmopolitan feel of the markets and the streets, the ethnic food and the long and lovely views.

Public Market

Maureen and her mum, Gloria
I have been trying, these days, to catch up with friends and reading and get some exercise and the garden in and work a bit at the clinic and not focus so much on the dumb quilts. Of course, I really don't think sewing is dumb but when I recently had a quick look back on the blog from five years ago, I didn't care at all about the socks I had posted about. Ray and Dave are what I care about the most and that's what I lingered over - what our life was like back then and the pictures and words that tried to capture a glimpse of it. This blog will never be much of a personal journal - I can't be all confessional and self revealing in public like some folks on the net - and it also has never become a real interactive blog as some popular craft blogs do. 

I think Mexican Yarns will continue to be what it has been all along - a place for me to record most of my projects and a small slice of my life with my family and friends. There will always be lulls - sometimes posting to the blog doesn't seem very important. I love my teenage boy and my dear, fine man and though I would love to write something here that does justice to our rich and easy life together, the words won't gel and I have no pictures. 

But I am working on the pictures for the next dumb quilt post. Kind of. When I feel like it...

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I went down an internet wormhole a couple of weeks ago and got lost in the world of sewing for children. I saw some beautiful clothes and REALLY wanted to dive in and make some cute outfits for a little girl or boy. It sure seemed impractical, though, as my boy towers over me and kisses me on the top of my head. I ended up making a couple of shirts for myself.

Kwik Sew 2849
I didn't want to drive the 20 miles to Joann's so I found a basic shirt pattern at the fabric store in Anacortes. The pattern has sizes from XS to XL. I held the pieces up to a couple of blouses from my closet and traced off size S, guessing that it was the closest size in the anatomical areas that mattered the most. I used freezer paper for the tracings and then made a muslin to check the fit and add adjustments. 

Many riffs are possible from a simple pattern like this. Sleeves, collars and necklines are easy to adjust. Fabric choice makes a huge difference and with corduroy or a heavier cotton or linen, I could go up a size and make a lightweight jacket. We'll see. Summer is coming and I hope I need cooler clothes instead of more coats.

Back view

Another version

Friday, April 05, 2013

Churn Dash Pillow

I just finished another pillow, though honestly, it feels like all I've done recently is watch basketball. I get SO absorbed in March Madness but am far from a true fan. I need my brackets from previous years to even remember who won the championship in the past and it isn't until I see the faces of the players or the coaches that I really remember who is who. It is such fun and great entertainment and it's perfect for this time of year. 

The pillow is made from a classic block called the Churn Dash. I made a nine patch top out of these blocks and bordered, bound and backed it as shown. The only quilting is some handstitching with #8 perle cotton. There is a hidden zipper under the placket. It finished at 16" square and went home with my sister, Anita. I'm so glad she liked it.  

Monday, April 01, 2013

April 2013 Bee Blocks

The quilters in our bee are getting their assignments out early! These blocks were quick and easy for me as I have recently finished a quilt top using a variation on this tutorial, the Granny Square Block by Blue Elephant Stitches. The tutorial inspired a LOT of quilts since it was posted last year and the author, Jolene, has written another one that uses a strip pieced method to the same end. 

I also used a different method for cutting and sewing the background fabrics, which is nicely described here. Our quilter asked us to use bright, gender neutral colors as the finished quilt will be donated to a child via Project Linus. I was lucky to have a pretty good selection of 2.5" squares already cut. It is a practical size to use when chopping up leftover scraps of fabric.

The quilter will trim up the blocks and finish the quilt. Once these are in the mail, my part is done.