Abakhan Sponsors: Klona Cotton Solids & Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern Review

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post that I’d do a review of the Klona solid cotton fabric that I used to make my Tula Pink LOVE quilt.
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The fabric was provided by Abakhan Fabrics, where it’s available for £7.25 per metre. It’s a full 135 cm wide instead of the usual 114 cm, so it’s a very good deal.

It’s a bit stiffer than, say, Kona solids, which means (for me, anyway) that it doesn’t really need to be starched before you can work with it. It’s also a bit ‘rougher’, not quite as silky. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it means that it ‘sticks’ to other fabrics easily. So if you like to press your pieces together so they are completely flat before sewing, Klona solids will ‘stick’ and stay there until you can pin. Indeed, if you’re working with smaller pieces, you don’t need to pin as long as you’re careful.

I was a bit worried that it would still feel stiff after washing and drying my LOVE quilt, but it hasn’t – the motion of the machines seems to have softened it up considerably.

I had a bit of the Klona red left over, and today I decided to make myself a posh knitting project bag from a pattern I bought from Jeni of In Color Order. You don’t have to have the pattern to make one – there’s a tutorial for a slightly smaller version of it on her website. If you do want larger or smaller bags, you’ll have to get the pattern. It only costs $6.50 and is fantastic. There are 8 bag sizes and full instructions, including the formula if you want to make one to your own dimensions. It’s very clearly written, and I’m so pleased with how mine turned out that I’ve decided to make them as Christmas gifts. It was really quick to make, and the finished product is superb. They look quite professional, and if you wanted you could make the interior out of plastic so it could be a wash bag or makeup bag (my students use a cheap shower curtain to make wash bags).

I used the Klona for the interior, and again it was a breeze to cut and sew. I definitely will use the Klona again, and I really recommend it. It comes in many, many colours so you’ll be able to find one to match, and it’s SUCH a good value considering how wide it is. If you’ve never used Klona solids before, I recommend giving them a try – you may discover a new (cheaper!) favourite!

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Knitting: On and Off the Needles

Hello!! I’ve been intending to start incorporating my knitting into my blog posts, but as you guys know I haven’t been feeling that great lately. I’m happy to report that I’m feeling a bit better, and I’ve even been sewing and knitting a bit too. (I’ll do a full blog post on my mood soon – it’s no good showing only the bad on here!)

So. Finished product first because I’m so pleased with them!

These are from the Narrow Lake Mitts pattern by Katie White Designs. ($5) This is actually my second pair, and the pair I most prefer as the others grew too much and are a bit big now. I LOVE this pattern – it’s fun, it’s interesting and the mitts look so impressive!

The thumb detail is so clever. Ok, Modifications: First of all, I used a sport/baby weight yarn for this instead of the DK weight called for. My first pair was DK weight and as I said, they’re kinda big now. (I wear fingerless gloves ALL the time in the winter, and if they’re baggy they get in the way of knitting and typing, etc.) I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (available at Abakhan for £4.79) The yarn is very soft, and one 50g ball was just enough to do the pair, so they’re a good value too. I haven’t blocked them yet, so we’ll see how it goes. Also, I used a 3.5mm needle for the entire glove, not just for the ribbing. They’re VERY stetchy and that helped it stay snug. And I did my favourite all purl bind off.

Obviously these are a WIP. It’s from the Merletto Mitts pattern by Jody McKinley. (FREE!!) I’m using Fyberspates 4 ply (Sheila’s sock). And since my sister doesn’t read my blog (that I know of), I feel pretty safe telling you this story: My sister lives in IL in the big ol’ house we grew up in, and it’s freaking cold in winter. So I thought, I’ll make her some pretty fingerless gloves to keep her hands warm for Xmas. So I ordered the yarn and got started. Fast forward to Texas: I’m knitting them at the table and my sister sits down. I pass over the finished one and casually ask her what she thinks of it. I really should’ve thought this through better – I guess I was thinking that if I adore them in cold weather, everyone would feel the same… Instead she declares that she’s never seen the point in fingerless gloves. Either you’re wearing gloves or you’re not. Oops!

And in an effort to be honest, I’ll also share the boo boo with you. The lesson I learned from this is NEVER work on lace while attempting to have a conversation. I didn’t notice it until it was much, much too late, so this pair will be a little quirky. Mods: I am using 2.25mm needles for this instead of the 2.75 and they’re STILL huge. If I was doing it again, I’d cast on about 5 or 10 fewer stitches for the back (which is just stockingette anyway so it doesn’t matter.).

I’m doing the BFF cowl by Ysolda Teague and tiny owl knits (FREE!) with my wonderful friend Bonnie. Again, I’m using Fyberspates. Can you tell how much I love Fyberspates yarn? Bonnie is doing hers in a deep purple colour, and I’m doing mine using Ysolda’s Sugar Mice colour. It’s lovely! I don’t have any Mods for this pattern. But I did kinda mess up a tiny bit:

Oops! I accidentally slipped WYIF instead of WYIB! Think it matters? Should I undo it? Bonnie, what do you think? Would you be appalled to get this in the post??

So that’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully next week I’ll have more of that cowl done, and maybe even a start on a cardigan for winter. (Again with the Fyberspates! LOL) I’d love to hear about what you’ve been working on!

Happy crafting! :)

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Tula Pink Sew Along: LOVE Quilt (Sponsored by Abakhan)

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This post is sponsored by Abakhan Fabrics (UK).

Hello!!! Today’s my big day: My Tula Pink Love Quilt pattern review is up on Sew Sweetness! Please go have a look – it’s a great pattern and if you’re a newer quilter it’s a perfect way to experiment with negative space, wonky blocks and just a little bit of piecing. If you’re an experienced quilter, it’s a fast, easy quilt with plenty of WOW.

I used Klona solid red fabric for the background; it was the first time I’ve ever used it and Will at Abakhan Fabrics was kind enough to send me some to have a play. I’ll do a full review on Thursday, in case you’ve been wondering about using it.

Thanks for looking, my friends!! :) And a HUGE thank you to Sara for having me as a guest!!!

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Manic Monday Linky Party

Sorry for the late post! I taught at the college today and then got so wrapped up in sewing charity quilt blocks and listening to my new audiobook that I totally forgot to post!

On the house front: we had a couple come see the house on Saturday which meant that we had to stay up very late Friday painting the bedroom. It’s a nice neutral shade of magnolia now which I hate but since it looks brighter I’m not too fussed. Sadly the couple decided to make an offer on a different house but at least we had a clean house for about an hour. keeping this house clean is pretty hard with 3 people living in it! I hope someone buys it soon! Fingers crossed! And my tummy seems to be all sensitive again so I’ve been spending a lot of time curled up in bed with stomach cramps. Yuck city! It’s a bit more settled now but I’m still having to take meds for it. When it rains, it pours over here!

How has your week and weekend been? And I’m eager to see what everyone’s been up to in the links!

Linky Party Rules:

  • You can link anything you’ve created – an etsy shop, blog or tutorial, recipe or project, whatever.
  • You can leave up to 2 links
  • Please visit at least one other link and comment!
  • I’ll be featuring a few on the blog on Feature Friday
  • You are welcome to add my party button to your blog, but you don’t have to!



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Manic Monday Linky Party

Sorry things have been so quiet around here – we’ve been pretty swamped with getting the house ready to put it on the market. And then yesterday my husband tried to clean something. I’m sure you’ve had this happen in your house – someone cleans something and the results are SO disastrous that you have to redecorate. Yeah. So we spent yesterday scrambling to get to B&Q to buy paint, then spent the rest of the day painting the bedroom ceiling. And now we have to do the walls, too, so we have to pull out all the furniture. Guess who gets to clean behind it???

So I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to, because I’m feeling rather sorry for myself that my crafting time has been so limited.

Linky Party Rules:

  • You can link anything you’ve created – an etsy shop, blog or tutorial, recipe or project, whatever.
  • You can leave up to 2 links
  • Please visit at least one other link and comment!
  • I’ll be featuring a few on the blog on Feature Friday
  • You are welcome to add my party button to your blog, but you don’t have to!



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Tula Pink Madness @ Sew Sweetness!

I know I’m a little late (only by two days!) but I just wanted to let you know about an event that I’m participating in, which runs September 24th – November 12th. It’s the Tula Pink Sew Along! Every weekday through October 26th, you can find a show-and-tell of one of over 2 dozen Tula Pink quilts, along with a pattern review.

Here is the schedule of guest posts that will appear:

Sept 24 – Sara @ Sew Sweetness (Dream Weaver/book)

Sept 25 – Katie @ Katie’s Korner (Beanstalks/book)

Sept 26 – Lisa @ That Crazy Quilty Girl (Cloudy Day/book)

Sept 27 – Becky @ My Fabric Obsession (Houndstooth/book)

Sept 28 - Caitlin at I Don’t Do Dishes (Spiked Punch)

Oct 1 – Amanda @ A Crafty Fox (Alphabet)

Oct 2 – Michelle @ City House Studio (Fade to Pink)

Oct 3 – Marci @ Marci Girl Designs (Le Petite Salon)

Oct 4 – Katie @ There and Back (Field Study)

Oct 5 – Lorelei @ Mermaid Sews (Hushabye)

Oct 8 – Anorina @ Samelia’s Mum (Pancakes)

Oct 9 – Jenna @ Sew Happy Geek (LOVE)

Oct 10 – Lindsey @ LR Stitched (Fairy Tale Lane/book)

Oct 11 – DeeDee @ mybricole (Any Which Way/book)

Beth @ Plum and June (Cartwheels)

Oct 12 – Katy @ The Littlest Thistle (Crown Jewels)

Oct 15 - Colleen @ The Busy Bean (Shattered Glass/book)

Oct 16 – Kristen @ KD-Quilts (Stacks/book)

Oct 17 – Roseann @ Rosebud’s Cottage (Shattered Glass/book)

Oct 18 – Emily @ Mommy’s Naptime (Lollipops/book)

Oct 19 – Jeannette @ Gone Aussie Quilting (Honey Honey)

Oct 22 – Brenda @ Pink Castle Fabrics (Windswept)

Oct 23 – Bianca @ Sweet Diesel Designs (Stacks/book)

Oct 24 – Jessica @ Sew Crafty Jess (Snow Globes)

Oct 25 – Elizabeth @ Don’t Call Me Betsy (Space Dust)

              Lindsay @ Lindsay Sews and Craft Buds (Cherry Pie)

Oct 26 – Kim @ My Go-Go Life (Kiss Kiss)

Kim Munoz (Grand Salon/book)

You also have your own opportunity to make a Tula quilt, bag, dress, whatever! You have until Monday,
November 12, 2012 to make something and be eligible for some outstanding
prizes!! Here are the rules to be eligible for entry into the contest:

1. Join the Tula Pink Sew Along Flickr Group.

2. To be counted for entry into the contest, get sewing!! Sewn item must be made from a Tula Pink pattern (or from her book) *OR*
made from at least 50% Tula Pink fabric (such as a bag, dress, etc.).
If you are sewing from a Tula Pink pattern, the fabric does not need to
be Tula Pink fabric.

3. If you will be adding an item to the pool to be counted as an entry,
it must be sewn and photographed from September 24th through November
12th, 2012. Any items completed before September 24th are not eligible.

4. You may add up to 2 photographs per item.

5. You may add as many items as you want, as long as you made them each
within the time frame. If you are making a quilt, the quilt top is
adequate to be entered. Anything smaller (mug rug, mini quilt, bag,
dress) should be completely finished.

Tula Pink Sew Along
Now how about some discounts?!?
Tula Pink has generously offered a 25% discount on all PDF quilt patterns when you use coupon code tulatroop in her pattern shop. This code is good now through October 31, 2012.
My lovely sponsor, Brenda from Pink Castle Fabrics, has generously extended a 15% discount on all Tula Pink fabrics in the shop using coupon code TULA15. This code will be good now through September 30th.
If you don’t already have the book, Tula Pink’s publisher is offering a discount code so you can pick up your own copy! Use code TULA2012 when you purchase the book from the Martha Pullen store. Support publishers and authors by buying direct!
Prizes
Prizes will be announced soon, but here’s a little sneak peak at the
sponsors that have offered up their amazing products as prizes!
                  
So let’s get ready to sew!!! Join me and head on over to the Flickr Group and get ready for some amazing Tula Pink eye candy! I can’t wait to see what you create!
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Manic Monday Linky Party! :)

I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my post about my depression – I’ve still got a few emails left to answer, but I wanted to let you all know how grateful I am to have such good ‘virtual’ friends. You guys really lifted my spirits and helped me to see that there is a better time down the road – I just have to keep slogging along till I get there.

Also, last week we had a tie for most popular link!

Mary at Mary Emmens got this beautiful set of vintage sheet fabric in a lovely swap.

Q from JAQS Fabrics made this adorable chevron quilt – I just love the stripey binding!

Ok, and now for this week’s linky party:

  • You can link anything you’ve created – an etsy shop, blog or tutorial, recipe or project, whatever.
  • You can leave up to 2 links
  • Please visit at least one other link and comment!
  • I’ll be featuring a few on the blog on Feature Friday
  • You are welcome to add my party button to your blog, but you don’t have to!



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I Guess This is Why I’m Not Getting Anything Done

So I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m bipolar. Most people think that means I have delirious bursts of energy all the time during which I get tons of stuff done while eschewing sleep. Actually, 97% of the time that a bipolar person is ill, they’re depressed. It comes and goes and there’s not a whole lot you can do about your brain being weird and broken.

I haven’t been getting much accomplished this week. I didn’t get anything much accomplished last week, either. About the only real relief I can find is when I’m reading absorbing fiction. I can’t pay attention to a TV show, and I don’t feel like sewing, knitting or baking. Which is really pretty weird when you consider how much my life normally revolves around those three activities. I can’t sleep before 3 am, which inevitably means I take some sleeping med to try to hasten things, and then I’m so ‘hungover’ that I can’t get up before noon. This SUCKS. I’m not ever a morning person, but I do try to get up between 8 and 9 normally, and do computer chores in the morning, reserving afternoons for sewing, cooking, baking, etc.

But lately my head feels like it’s full of molasses. I can’t remember to do stuff, and I feel too sluggish to talk to anyone for any length of time. Last week at Romsey Quilters (where I’m a committee member AND the resident techie), I was so out of it that I couldn’t process what people were saying to me. I must come off like a comatose junkie. I’ve tried everything to get to sleep – mindful meditation, that melatonin stuff, the OTC ‘PM’ stuff which is actually just an antihistamine, even Valium. But no matter how hard I try to sleep, I just lay in the dark berating myself for my failures. Then I berate myself for berating myself because in actual fact I lead a pretty happy life. Seriously, this SUCKS.

I have a TON of stuff that needs to be done. I need to clean the house like crazy to put it on the market. I need to overhaul the website. I need to write a couple of magazine articles. But what I’m doing instead is reading, because it seems to be the only thing I can do. This SUCKS. I want my brain back. I want to feel the irresistible urge to sew, to knit, to bake. (Of course, I also want to lose weight, too. Baking doesn’t help that very much.) I know I could get on more medicine, but honestly I’ve been down that route, and once I start taking two or three different mood meds, I start to feel more like a pharmacy than a person. And I’m sure the depression will ease with time, but it’s hard to happily anticipate anything right now. (Except Christmas cake. I LOVE Christmas cake. I’m always happily anticipating it.)

I’ve gone on long enough. I just wanted to get a bit off my chest, so to speak, and apologise for the less than stellar service around here. And please, don’t think I’m encouraging any depressed people to take a quasi-Scientology view – I wholeheartedly believe in the power of medicine. Hell, I’m taking medicine for the bipolar now, and probably will do for the rest of my life. And I’m totally ok with that. I just don’t want to take more, if that makes sense. But if you are depressed, or you know someone who might be, GET HELP. Depression SUCKS, but it doesn’t have to suck forever. I’m fairly certain mine won’t, but you may have to bear with me for a bit.

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Posted in Depression SUCKS | 37 Comments

Manic Monday Linky Party

Linky Party Rules:

  • You can link anything you’ve created – an etsy shop, blog or tutorial, recipe or project, whatever.
  • You can leave up to 2 links
  • Please visit at least one other link and comment!
  • I’ll be featuring a few on the blog on Feature Friday
  • You are welcome to add my party button to your blog, but you don’t have to!



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Abakhan Fabrics Giveaway Winner!

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Wow, thanks to all of you who left comments for the Abakhan Fabrics giveaway! I’ve got the two winners right here:

The winner of the bright bundle is: Elizabeth McDonald

The winner of the pastel bundle is: Kaitlin M

I’ve emailed the winners using the email address they left in the comment, but if you think you’ve won and haven’t had an email, let me know at jennaexcell (at) gmail.com and I’ll try to sort it out. :)

Thanks everyone! And a special thanks to Will at Abakhan Fabrics!

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