And to top it off…

Its not even the official middle of January and I’ve already got my first top together!  Believe it or not, the majority of the fabric was purchased back in June of 2015 specifically for this quilt idea and then it only took about a week to actually assemble.

Guest Quilt Top

The idea was hatched from a quilt someone posted from I believe Quiltcon 2014, but the bookmarked link I had is now defunct and I can’t seem to find it again.   So if you think it was you and would like the credit you deserve (or just to tell me how unoriginal I am) then drop me a line!

On the knitting front I’ve put together a couple new variations on my market bags, one with a seamless handle design and one a mosaic style to use up some partial cotton balls from the stash.

And then I frogged and restarted a new lace shawl based on the Weirwood Tree pattern. I first started this on the holiday road trip but its a less simplistic lace design which needs a bit more attention.  After getting home with a proper knit companion, its been progressing along. I’m throwing in a few photos I took from the trip (I wasn’t driving at the time) too.

Hope your new year is also producing some good progress too!

2017 Craft Forecast

I know; I know; I don’t update for a couple months then BAM! three posts in a day.  As I’ve said before… this started out mostly for me, so I’m not even sorry.  Just as I am not sorry about all those extra holiday feasts, cookies and chocolate.  So just like last year I’m going to layout some ambitious goals for the year and let’s see how close or far we get!

In the quilting department my list of in progressed/planned/ideas is at 23.  I’m going to aim for finishing 5. In particular I’m declaring my Wedding Flowers, The Guestroom Quilt, Scrappy Snowflake, and a Contours Quilt (bought kit – paper pieced) with one wild card quilt option.

On the knitting front, I want to go for third Sock Madness, and a Double OtterBingo (which is a KAL year long project with the Reddit knitters group.  I’ve got a number of yarns stashed so I shall try to stash down a bit. (She said carelessly as she browsed more yarn for sale) I’d also like to spin up a bit more of my fiber I got last year.

House plans are kind of large this year as we want to redo our floors this year which may turn into one of those more major projects, but we shall see.  I’d also like to focus a bit more on my flower beds this year, including our community cul-de-sac which I revamped a bit last year, and get the room I sew in straightened up a bit, because let’s just admit that an orderly workspace can often be a more productive workspace.

Last year I put a big focus on improving my health and saw some success, so I want to keep that trend line going in the right direction.

2016 Round Up

Well its time to check in on our goals of 2016 and see how and what we did.

Of the seven proposed quilts, I finished two. (¬.¬ )  I did quite a bit of work on the wedding quilt top as well, but apparently my ambitions for quilting in January didn’t come to fruition.

I knitted a number of socks again thanks to Sock Madness, and not as much lace.  Which when after taking a longer break from I realized I really like knitting lace.

I tried a few new things this year, including felting and spinning. I progressed on a large cross stitch project, and tackled a massive double knit scarf… which isn’t one of my favorite things.

And so while I may have knit fewer yards this year, I still tried new things and that’s important too.

 

Perfectly Presented

Its finally that time of year past gift giving when I can reveal the gifts I made.  I rather like making many of my gifts, though its generally a stressful proposition of that line called “I hope they like it”

First up is a project that was actually a few years in the making for my Father and Stepmother… a movie themed quilt.

I also made one of my nephews a dinosaur sweater… which meant finally having a good use for one of my handknit labels. (He has a great giggle!)

I made up 3 pair of socks and a pair of felted slippers.  The bottom pair went to a friend in Germany.

I also gifted some handmade jellys, lemonade concentrates, rope bowls, hooked rug and starts off my african violet.  Though the subzero weather enroute to their destination was certainly less than ideal for the violets.

I hope your holidays were amazing too!

 

 

Quick Tip: Keeping Track of your yarn labels

I thought I’d share one method I sometimes employ for keeping track of my yarn labels.

First I wind my ball of yarn as usual:

img_20161024_122052

Then I fold my label so that its smaller than the width of the center of my yarn ball, and then hold this over that center pillar as I pull the yarn ball off the winder.  This leaves the label inside the yarn ball.

img_20161024_122104

If you also pick up that center pull end and put it inside the folded label, it makes it fairly easy to find that center pull for later, although this does end up removing your label from inside your yarn ball once you start working it.

Link, Lace and Falling Leaves

There is a certain point in the fall when the morning mist becomes the wisp of smoke on the changing leaves of fire. Its a special russet and gold that creeps into your life, and you start thinking about gingerbread and pumpkin pies and getting the bulbs in for next spring’s splendor.  Around here in the Pacific Northwest it tends to come along with dark and rainy days which make the options for getting a good light photo a bit chancy.

img_20161007_140753So I’m going to start off with a lace shawl project since its shawl weather. This one is from a pattern called Robin’s Nest, it incorporates some more traditional Estonian lace with many nupps (thats those bumps in the pattern).  The yarn I used was a yarn swap gift that came all the way from China composed of yak, cashmere and milk protein. It was very soft and has a texture very similar to pure cashmere.

img_20161007_141101

The outdoor photo does a much better job of getting the color right.

I have come to the conclusion that I really enjoy knitting lace as one of my favorite things.  Unfortunately there are only so many lace shawls you can knit for someone  as unasked for before it gets ridiculous. I’m starting to get a bit of a stockpile.

I did get some time at the sewing machine this past month too.  I found a wonderful Link fabric and made up some throw pillows for the living room as the old ones were starting to look kind of flat and sad.  I’ve managed to track down a more colorful version so I’ll have a few more to add to the family room soon.

img_20161007_180230

I also turned over the quilting stash and found a pumpkin row kit and decided I’d make up a table runner out of it.  The original kit called for a five pumpkin row, but with a couple tiny additions from my stash I added in a sixth as we frequently leave the extra leave in our dining room table.

img_20161031_161809

The reason why I was turning over the stash… well its getting to be that time of year and there are certain projects that need to be completed and considered for holidays.  Time to pour another cup of cider and tuck in for the cold.

Of Failures, Fibers and Finished Objects

So let me start this off with an apology.  When I started my blog it was just about knitting and probably 90% or more for my own edification.  Then I made a couple things and a few things more and found myself with a blog that while not front page news is being visited more days than not out of the year.  So this year I started off with a goal of bumping up that post number so there would be a bit to read a bit more often… and its looking an awful lot like I’ve failed at that, but I hope you will forgive me as I keep trying to keep up.

I was kind of holding off on updating this time because of my failure feelings, so you can probably imagine my surprise when I have six finished objects to share.

First up, I finished my twisted two color socks made from yarn swap yarn!

The pattern for these is an obscure free one called Twisted. Its done without a cable needle and for me, I decided to continue the design on the legs, which meant going up a needle size.

Then I turned up the full steam of “really its only 180 more rows” and finished up my There and Back Again Hobbit Scarf even before Ben’s birthday.  I figure this way he can wear it on the winter trip rather than finish for Christmas and have him freeze before then.

Now if I had this to knit over again, I’d probably not have chosen single ply yarns (the pills!) and I’d have picked a true solid instead of a tonal.  That said, the charts are exceptionally well done and its an epic scarf with an epic tale.

Now at this point I shall remind you that I was yarn swapping last post and so point out that my gifter sent me some AMAZING gifts, including a glorious skein she spun herself (on the left here).

img_20160822_191936

This is relevant because whenever I do a yarn swap I have a wonderful time picking out the yarn to give which is then immediately followed by shame and guilt over yarns that are still in my stash.  There is yarn in my stash I was gifted three years ago.  You see… I have this thing where gifts are significant to me, and thus yarn gifts need to become something significant and meaningful.  And there are a few yarns that end up in that pile too… such as the Araucania Lauca yarn which was a wool, camel and silk blend.

So I fixed that by knitting up a honey cowl, and in true “leave no yards behind” mentality I also made up a matching slouchy hat.

Now September and October are currently lace knit along months and so I started out with a lace and bead cowl.   The yarn for this one includes Sea Cells in the blend, which is made from the cellulose of sea weed fibers, and when I saw it on the yarn crawl this year I knew it was in need of something with beads.

I should mention that this is my first time using bicone style beads and they are taller than a typical 6/0 bead so instead of border beads on the side of the pattern I just did a simple purl stitch.  I restarted this so many times before I did that change just trying to make it work.  This was a classic example for no one is judging your final project based on the tribulations you went through except you…. unless you tell them.

Which brings us at last to the sixth finished object.  Technically this was cast on way back in January, but at that time I had a bit going on and this is a pattern with both front and back side charting and is one of those projects you kind of have to pay attention to… but boy is it worth it.

This is in fact another swap yarn and you may remember it from the Maple shawl.  This time its a white oak lace scarf, and there is actually a bit of this yarn left… I’m contemplating a matching hat to finish it off, but don’t hold your breath just yet on that one.

Whew! That’s quite a few finishes.

But wait!… There’s More!

I did put Fiber in the title for a reason… and not just because I was going to namedrop so many different fibers either.  It was actually about something that came just today.  I found a thrift auction for 6 lbs of wool fleece, and it was a good enough deal that I bought it.

For yarn reference there are over 450 grams in a pound and most average commercial skeins weigh either 50 or 100 grams.  Its a very big bag.

img_20160928_144558

The majority of the bag looks to already be washed and is ready to be carded then spun.  There was a smaller amount of it still “in the grease” which shows it was a bit of a curly hair breed.

img_20160928_150154

So we will see how this new endeavor spins out.

And lastly a WIP update… I need to get back to my tulip cross stitch.. I did make it past the half way spot, but I’m a bit behind for where I wanted to be at this point.

img_20160718_094527

 

Everything is happening, so Nothing is happening

Life never seems to happen at a steady pace, it surges and wanes into tides.  Its not that there isn’t progress in a wane period, its just that we mark the starts and ends of things.

Which means that I have plenty of WIP to post, just not much for the done pile.  I actually did finish two projects, but one is a gift and the other is… well its brown.

Now keep in mind I LIKE the chocolate brown and it is 100% Alpaca so its soft and warm.  This yarn was languishing in my stash for the past two years from a yarn swap and ever subsequent yarn swap I have this extreme onset of guilty feelings about not having used yarns from previous swaps or gifts.  But I’m not sold on its final form and perhaps I’ll just have to frog it and start over again.

So onto the WIPS!

I was determined to finish those blocks by my anniversary, so I set our a few days to finish off the last few. They need trimmed up and I am considering adding some inner vining borders, but overall here’s where we are.  New goal is to have the top and backing done and ready for quilting by Christmas.

IMG_20160807_135817

I am technically still on schedule for my cross stitch project since I am working on the 3rd quarter in the 3rd quarter, but it feels like I’m a bit behind.  My hobbit scarf is actually behind by about 60 rows.  We are currently riding in barrels on the way to Lake Town, but if I can get to the Last Light of Durin’s day by the last light of August 31 then I’ll be caught up again.

Meanwhile in the “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and “good lord what can I do for the Ravellnic games” depts…  A fellow knitter started a color work socks informal KAL.  And I started two different socks and then they got set aside to join that one sock on the last round I was in of Sock Madness 9 in May of 2015.  So that’s my challenge… to finish up all of my partial color work socks.

You might recognize that blue yarn in the last sock… its from my most recent completed yarn swap.  I am midway in another swap.  My recipient has already received what I sent and took great photos.  And I really can’t wait to see what shows up at my door.  Until then… back to socks and scarves and stitchery things.

 

A Knights Tour

Two years ago, a user on reddit posted a TIL about the concept of a knights tour and the sheer volume of tours a knight can make on a standard 8×8 chess board.  The thumbnail of which was a knight’s graph image showing the number and move lines for a knight on that same size chess board.  All I could see was a future quilt.

I’ve posted this as a work in progress a couple times since then, but today I just finished the last of the bind off so I’m ready to call it my first 2016 quilt.  There are some minor items that need to be done (quilt tag, a final seam on the hanging loop, the first washing) but overall I am very pleased with how it came out.

IMG_20160714_150442

The coloration of the circles within the squares represents the number of possible moves from that square and the quilted lines are the moves.  Final size was ~60″ by 60″ and my plan is to hang this one.  The outer edges look like an argyle quilting, but its worth noting that in some tours that back and forth circuit is clearly visible.

Here’s a few more beauty shots!

I have no plans (as yet) to make any oversize chess pieces.  Next up in quilting… the last few of my wedding quilt blocks!

Yarn Shop Hops and Swaps

Before I get into the yarn eye candy, let me start with a view of my 2016 sock collection from Sock Madness.

SM10socks

Just like last year, by the time we reach the finals I have thoughts of designing a sock for the next time.  Technically I have until September, but thus far my pile of projects doesn’t look like it has an opening.

At any rate, I ended up out on Round 5 with the upper left socks, Eisregen.  And while they only took 13 days, those 13 days included a trip to Mount Rainier (we were hosting a guest), the redditgifts yarn swap, and my first LYS tour hop.  Which means I may have gotten a bit carried away on the swap.  She said crochet, not too fussy about yarn quality, and purple; do you know how many shades of purple there are? Way more than the five I sent, but I hope it was a good first swap for them.  I actually ended up receiving from the person I sent yarn to last year!  She sent me a skein she hand dyed herself.

IMG_20160524_151848

I’ve got it wound up and set aside with a gunmetal grey for what I think may turn into a pair of Twisted socks.

I did manage to contain myself in the yarn shopping. (My husband may not fully agree, but he wasn’t there so he didn’t see all the yarn I didn’t buy, did he?)

Here’s my first day haul:

IMG_20160518_180413

I specifically wanted to try the Smooshy with Cashmere since I really love my socks from last years madness which were a cashmere blend. The skein on the right is by a local dyer that I met to hand off the remnant from my Golden Waikimari socks and there is some up currently in their etsy shop. The two on the right are my first yarns with sparkles, since I don’t look at color labels I found myself at the register discussing how much I liked the second from left colorway and saying it reminded me of “80s rose wallpaper” its called Zombie… which is OK too.

On Day Two I may have found a couple crazy deals at a shops discount section.

IMG_20160519_183856

The three on the left all came from the same shop, but the navy is a mink and the white is a cashmere… and how do you leave such softness behind?  I was thinking maybe some lacey brioche project, though the white is significantly more yardage than the blue. The pale amethyst and mint on the lower left clearly has said it needs lace and beads and gets its shine from sea cell, which is basically a rayon made from seaweed.

So two days combined with a couple thrift shop pick ups and… my yarn stash is threatening to regrow. Thankfully the local energy co-op has someone new looking to make hats for charity, and some fellow knitters are doing stash busting projects so hopefully I can destash a bit yet this year.

On the fabric front, the annual quilt shop hop is happening next week. ¬.¬

I am not sure what happened but there are significantly fewer shops this year and looking at my fabric and yarn stashes I’m leaning towards not going this year.  I do like the fabric this year so I might have to visit one or two shops, but I think I won’t do the bus.