It's true! I'm jumping on the Black Friday/Small Saturday/Cyber Monday/Whatever You Want To Call It bandwagon and offering free shipping worldwide all weekend. My shop has never been this full before (we're spilling onto page 3 now, people), so get out your list and start filling up that cart. The shipping rates will disappear at midnight tonight.

If you need an extra nudge, don't forget the Canada Post holiday delivery deadlines are coming up quick. This Sunday, Dec. 1st is actually the last day that international customers can place their orders and have them arrive by Christmas. Canadians and Americans have until Dec. 9th.

I also want to remind my local fans that you can find Dear Edna at craft shows for the next three weekends, starting with the Made By Hand Show at the Hamilton Convention Centre this Saturday, November 30th. It promises to be a pretty spectacular show, with over 100 handmade vendors, free photos with Santa for the kiddies, and... ME! Haha! All the usual Dear Edna fare will be there for you to browse in person as well as some extra special goodies, like pillows, embroidery and my Mom's crochet! I hope to see you there!

Block Party

I mentioned awhile back that I was taking a quilting class. Yes, I've already made a few small quilts, but there were little imperfections in each of them that nagged at me, and I figured that if I'm going to keep up with this, I best be learning how to do things properly. So I signed up for the 7-week sampler class with Johanna Masko at Needlework. And I'm so glad I did! Not only has my technique improved exponentially (talk about tight points), but I also really loved having those 3 hours a week carved out for me to learn, to sew for fun, and, quite frankly, to get out of the house! You've heard me whine before about the work-at-home lonelies. In 6 classes I managed to get my whole quilt top pieced and everything basted together, but now that the holidays are creeping in, I haven't had time to quilt yet. That's a project for the long cold winter ahead, I suppose. But I still wanted to share with you my four completed quilt blocks. Because they're pretty... and I'm proud.

Maple Star
I didn't read the title of this block until later and was pretty pleased that I had chosen a "maple" colour palette for it. Plus, I used the kitty print. Everybody loves kitties.

Star of Hope
I love the movement of this one -- almost like a windmill. I can see many variation possibilities with this pattern too. So pretty.

If I had to pick a favourite, this would be it, I think. I can see myself making a whole quilt with just this block. It's also the first one we made in class, so it's extra special.

Rolling Stone
Obviously I forgot to snap a photo of this one before it was pin basted. Haha! Fun fact: this is the second version. I wasn't happy with the centre, so after class, I went home, ripped it all out and sewed it together again with a new middle square. Silly perfectionist.

I'm pretty sad that tonight is the last class. Sniff sniff.  

If you're interested in learning to quilt at all, I highly highly recommend taking a class with Johanna at Needlework. That woman really knows her stuff and teaches it well. You'll make a beautiful blanket, learn the skills to make many more, and have fun doing it. My only regret is not having taken a class earlier!

Zig Zag Baby Blanket

Another baby, another quilt! So many of my friends gave birth to boys in the last few years, it was a special treat to finally sew something pink. I even went out and bought some more pink fabric because there wasn't enough in my stash. That's what I told myself, anyways. Haha! Planning and playing with the fabric was my favourite part of making this project.

With two quilts under my belt, I got ambitious and really upped my game with this playful zig zag pattern. It was inspired by this one that I saw on Etsy, so if you're nervous to just wing it like I did, you can purchase that pattern. Now that I've taken some proper quilting lessons, I realize how much I could've improved the final product. I don't want to harp on my mistakes, of course, but let's just say quilt math and nesting seams get a lot more complicated with more complicated patchwork.

But the biggest and scariest problem I ran into was when I gave my embroidery a quick spray to remove the erasable markings. The red thread bled all over my pure white quilt back! Ahhh! Luckily I hadn't quilted yet, so I removed the basting pins (which I had already rebasted several times) and threw it in the washer a couple times with some stain remover. It came right out. Crisis averted. Baby, none the wiser. 

Note to self: always pre-wash red or dark pink embroidery thread!

I'm really happy with the finished product and and even happier with my friend's reaction when she opened it. I've spotted it in a few of Leah's pictures too, which makes me a proud "auntie"!

As you may have guessed, I'm getting pretty hooked on this quilting business. It's labour intensive, but also intensely satisfying. The more I learn, the more I want to sew! What's next?

Call for Contributors

Now that my holiday collection is finished and my shop well stocked, it's time to think about blogging... specifically, blogging for my annual 12 Days of Christmas series! This will mark my fourth year doing the series and I'm determined to make it the best year ever! But I'll need your help. After all, I've never been able to do it alone, and I don't intend to try. Have a read through some of my posts and guest posts from past seasons and if you think you'd like to contribute, please send me an email (dearednashop [at] gmail [dot] com) with your ideas. I look forward to hearing from you!

Hand-drawn images by Baylee Brown

Holiday Collection Preview

It's been a busy few weeks, but I'm proud to announce that the 2013 Holiday Collection is ready! Can I hear a Woohoo!? There are some new design features, like pretty peter pan collars, and fun new prints, like gold deer and bicycle-riding snowmen! I hope you like them as much as I do. In order to keep things fresh every year, I buy very limited quantities of these holiday fabrics — so in some cases there are only one or two items available. Let this be a warning: if you like something, please please please don't think on it too long, or you might miss out. I'll be listing everything in my shop in batches over the next few days, but here is a preview to get your in the holiday spirit!

Downton Abbey Fabric Collection

It's true! Today I heard the exciting news that Andover Fabrics is releasing a licensed Downton Abbey fabric line! I'm such a huge fan of the show and an even bigger fan of vintage textiles... my head is exploding! The premier collection focuses on the women upstairs, with each palette inspired by a main character: the three sisters and Granny. I'm not sure why Cora was left out, but does anyone really like Cora anyways? Check out the mood boards and sneak peaks below. Which one is your favourite? I can't commit -- I love bits and pieces from each! 

The Dowager Contess

Lady Mary

Lady Edith

Lady Sybil

Sewing a Downtown Abbey quilt while watching Downton Abbey is a dream I didn't know I had until today. And can you imagine the clothing and home decor possibilities? What would you make?

The line isn't available until later this month, but it looks like some retailers are taking pre-orders now, like Quilt Home (where I first heard the news) and Hawthorne Threads. If you hear of any Canadian stores carrying them, please let me know.

All images via Andover Fabrics

Laced With Love

Once temperatures dip below zero, I pretty much want to be crocheting all the time. And this weekend, those cravings hit. First, I got organized and made a fabric liner for a big old basket so I could finally merge my many tote bags of yarn in one place. Then I began to crochet another baby afghan for a friend expecting baby #2, because, get this, baby #1 is too attached to the blanket I made him to share. Haha!

When I went to Ravelry to log the project, I realized my profile was sadly out of date. As I fixed that situation, I also realized that I had forgotten to share one of my favourite projects. So here it is! The pattern is called Laced with Love by Julie Barber of Blue J Crochet and the yarn I used was Cacade Yarns 220 Superwash in Summer Sky Heather. This was a really easy and quick project to whip up and I love the zig zag shell effect. Since this blanket was for a baby boy, I left off the lacy border, but I'd love to try it again with the border included. 

This cutie pie seemed to like it.

Shop Update

It's officially November, folks, and Fall is here. No sense denying it, it's time to dig out the woolies and get snuggly with a pot of tea and a good book. I also pulled my trusty tea cosy out from the bottom of our linen drawer this week. If you don't have one already, it's your lucky day, because I've just listed ten new ones in my Etsy shop! They really do work -- your second, third and fourth cups will be just as steamy as the first and you won't have to put down that page-turner to put on the kettle. You're welcome! In typical Dear Edna style, they're all reversible and available in two sizes, to fit a standard-sized tea pot and a smaller two-cup pot. Click here to check out the whole line. I hope you find them to be "your cup of tea". Har har!