Another Useful Idea

Even though my sewing machines have cutting blades on the left hand side I don’t use them because as a right handed person I want to reach for my scissors, instead. 

I’ve found this simple way to keep a small pair of scissors nearby on each sewing machine (I have 4, but three are on my sewing tables). 

Plastic hooks with removable tape on a clear spot on the side of the machine does the trick – once I got used to not having to hunt for scissors when I’m sewing I no longer have to think about it – they’re always right at hand!

A “Good Thing”

Living is about improvisation. One of life’s small frustrations is finding the end of a roll of tape. I think I came across this idea on Pinterest – using the little plastic tabs on the end of the plastic bread bags (among other places) to mark the tape end. It’s a “Good Thing” as Martha Steward would say.

I use many different kinds of tape in my sewing room – double sided tape for positioning the machine embroidery hoops, masking tape to mark alignment positions on my sewing machines and to mark front/back of fabric, to identify rows of blocks for quilting, to convert cutting rulers to templates, duct tape when something needs a more secure temporary join.

Life got a whole lot easier when I started using those little pieces of plastic instead of throwing them out!

My Sock Drawer

I’ve been knitting socks for myself and others since 2003. So far I’ve probably knit about 350 pairs of socks – of which I have 42 pairs in my sock drawer, including the latest pair I finished last night.

Socks drying after being washed

I started knitting socks for myself because I have always found the seam across the toes of ready made socks uncomfortable. I’d read about “self-patterning” yarn and when I came across some I thought I’d give sock knitting a try. 

The great thing about knitting with variegated yarn is that a pattern emerges and I keep knitting to see how the sock will unfold (the first sock is always an adventure, the second sock is boring, but hey, it doesn’t take a huge time investment before a new sock adventure begins!).

Within a couple of months I had half a dozen pairs of socks; within a year I’d got rid of all my store-bought socks and I just kept knitting.

I produce about 26 pairs a year on average, some years a few more. I always have socks on the go. I find the act of knitting very relaxing. I’ve never knit the same pattern twice so each new pair of socks is a new exploration. Making something interesting from leftover yarn is the most enjoyable – I really never know how they’re going to turn out!

So as long as my hands will allow I’ll have socks on the go.

Quintessential Toronto

My nephew and his gang and I attended the TSO (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) Saturday afternoon a week ago. We took the subway from the northern-most end to Dundas Street and back – the best part of our adventure as far as Charlie (age 4) was concerned. The concert (The Science Of The Symphony – a one-hour program for kids) was well put together and the two older boys enjoyed the music.

As we were leaving Roy Thompson Hall I turned back and captured the CN tower framed by two tall buildings with RTH in the foreground.

How more Toronto than that can you get?

Hand-me-down Socks


“These socks are very needed in this Arctic cold weather!!! Thanks again !! ”

Poonam stopped by for a visit during the Christmas holidays. The weather was cold so I pulled two pair of socks from my sock drawer and gave them to her. Her feet are a bit smaller than mine so I selected two of the smaller pair.

This was the first pair of socks I knit – in 2003! Because I have so many pairs of socks they don’t get worn heavily so these were still good as new. 

Glad they’re appreciated and doing their job.

Charm Quilt

One of the things I’ve been teaching in the quilting class is how to deconstruct a quilt design. To this end I’ve shared images of quilts with the gals and helped them break down their construction.

One of the quilts I shared was a photo of a quilt made from “charms” (5″ blocks) bordered in two neutral shades. I’ve had 4 charm packs in my stash for some time and I thought this would be a good way to use them. 

I selected the most interesting blocks from 3 of the charm packs (the rest I put into a scrap pile and a use later pile). I auditioned the chosen blocks, sorted them into rows, then bordered half with the darker fabric, the remaining I bordered with the lighter.

What caught my attention with this quilt was the contrasting sashing linking the blocks vertically.

I used some leftover charms for the back keeping the motif intact in the inserted stripe. I thought about backing the quilt with the darker border fabric, but I happened across this batik and thought it would bring a bit of life to the quilt.

I think I will bind the quilt with the darker grey. I still have to think about the quilting motif and whether to include the block borders in the embroidery or not.

Jellyroll Quilt – Finished

I actually finished the quilt before I went to Toronto to visit my sister’s kids and grand-kids 10 days ago. I was happy with the border and how the mitre worked so well; with the splashes of colour; with the quilting design and how well it filled the block…. I was pleased with the second side and how it used the leftover bits and I had enough border fabric leftover to add a stripe to the back.

The only thing I might have done differently was to use a lighter thread for the border. I chose a dark variegated thread to blend into the border but I could have used a little contrast.

The quilting shows best on the second side:

The class meets again tomorrow – our focus will be on embroidering in the hoop – how to hoop, how to center the block, how to precise position the design, how to embed thread ends within the quilt. And we’ll discuss various ways of binding a quilt.

I will try arranging another get together in a month to show off the finished quilts. 


I may have been quiet for the last three weeks but I’ve been knitting and sewing away each day!

Finished this pair of socks from leftover bits of yarn. I find I enjoy turning those bits of yarn into something that’s even more interesting than some of the variegated patterned yarns.

I like this pair so well that they’ve gone in my sock drawer instead of the give-away pile.

Of course I started a next pair straight away.