Rounding the Curve

Well here we are bottom of the 9th of 2019 and I am just now posting my first finish of the four quilts I had planned to finish this year.

Now too be perfectly fair, I finished all four quilt tops and its technically just the quilting portion left, but I’ve discovered that part is not my particular favorite part in all of this quilting business.  I love the designing and assembling the tops and backs and even greatly enjoy the hand stitching down my binding… but most of the quilting is a bit of a snooze.  Though to be perfectly fair, I don’t have a long arm so its quite a bit of quilt wrangling yet.  And this particular quilt called for simple lines which I had just (or at least it felt that way) did on my last quilt.  But at least this time I had a variegated thread for my quilting!

This is an Echoes Quilt kit that I bought to learn how to piece curves.

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I didn’t trim down my curved blocks quite like they did so its more chunky… and I’m not super great at piecing curves I’ve discovered.

For the back I found a wonderfully greens and blues ombre fabric on sale (lucky me).

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This was also my first use of a black batting, which was suggested by my auntie.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing!

So quick 2019 quilt status update: One done, two ready for quilting, and one top completed need to buy and piece the backing.

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Back on top!

Boy I have really fallen behind on updating.  Not quite as far behind as I am on finishing my wedding quilt since we’ve been married now for four years, but still…

Speaking of wedding quilt… mistakes were definitely made, but the top itself is now DONE!  I’ve actually completed all four of the quilt tops for my four quilts goal this year!  I need to get backing for two, piece the backing for the other two then sandwich and do the actual quilting bits… but there is absolutely progress happening.

The wedding quilt is certainly far from perfect.  I adapted a block from The Quilter’s Cache called a posy chain.  Between signers getting into the seams and my poor measuring the points leave a lot to be desired and based on how things were coming together I decided to add the smaller flowers into the chain in order to space the main blocks out and help hide how the main blocks would have met together. It turned out to be about a queen sized quilt.  The three on the left are all throw sized.  The top one does have an additional border now, and was an experiment in learning how to paper piece.  The middle was also a quilt and my lesson on how to sew curved seams.

And speaking of tops, I also managed to finish my second sweater this year, which is also the 2 of 4 for the Neighborhood Fiber Co 2017-2018 sweater club.  (The first being the Waterfall cardigan)  This design is Nutmeg Ginger by Alicia Plummer which I picked because I wanted a bit of texture but not so much to lose the rich chestnut and cool teal from my yarn.

This was actually a project where unlike my photo poses, I attempted to be a full grown knitter and actually alternate skeins as they suggest you do with hand dyed yarn.  Usually I just eyeball and give it a close enough shrug and it works out, but this time I could tell that the balls had some distinct differences. One of the 4 balls was more muted in the chestnut and one ball had larger bits of teal than the others.  So I started out working the hem in one of the true chestnut balls, then swapped to an every other row with the more muted ball through the body and into the texture area.  I used the larger teals ball for the texture and collar.   Here is a close up of my swatch and a comparison of the two balls so you can see why I decided to go that route.

Now I just need to finish up the fingering weight (pattern selected) and navy lace weight (still undecided) before the next sweater club rolls around so I can justify my yarn expenses.  (HA! HA!)

So let’s round up all the other projects I managed to squeak out since the last time we updated… such as the 2 pair of matching anniversary socks, a replacement market bag, a pair of sideways knit zig-zaggy brown socks and a pair of very orange socks (to go with the very orange shawl I presume).  Whew!

Currently on the needles.. the second sock of a pair for Ben, and a very large, very lace project I am doing on 000 needles.

 

Toasting Time

Having looked back through my email order confirmations…. I ordered this quilt kit back in November of 2016.  Its just 36 blocks, so it really shouldn’t take nearly 36 months but… that’s how time goes I guess, I did get my blocks finished and assembled so now its just a border and backing.

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On the plus side it was bought to learn paper piecing and well I can say I have learned how and its not my favorite.  Though some of that may be due to choices I made.  For example, you can buy lighter specialty papers for copying your blocks.  I just used a copy machine and ye ole standard A4 letter size.  My main issue though is it feels wasteful.  The quantity and size of scraps using this technique seems large and then there is all the paper.  Which at least I can recycle the paper once I get it all off, which is my next project step.

For fun… here’s the backside with the papers and the original design layout the quilt came with.  I inverted the light and dark sides to come up with my layout.

In other news Sock Madness has been a bit rocky going this year.  In Round Two I made a rather major mistake in chart reading and though I did manage to squeak into Round Three there was much family related travel and so I was out.  Now its just knitting for the fun of it.  I’m half finished with my next pair and its the start of the yarn tour so… signs are pointing towards more yarn in the near future.  But I really DO need to finish a few of these quilts!

Tale of a Mom

Once upon a time there was a little girl whose mother passed away when she was just a bit older than 3.  Her mother was kind, and an experienced sewist and embroiderer, novice quilter and sometime knitter.  She taught her little girl all the nursery rhymes as she embroidered them onto quilt squares for her best friends son.  When she was ill, she sent home jelly packets from the hospital for her children’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And later, when she passed, various people put things away in an effort of safekeeping them for some time later down the road when the little girl would grow older and appreciate them.

I was that little girl.  This past month, I have been focused on helping my mother-in-law with some things going on in her life and right there in the middle of it my grandmother sent me a package.  It was a pretty decent sized box and most of its contents were things from my mother.  There are dolls, and their clothes cut out on the pattern pieces but not yet assembled.  There are vintage quilting magazines with barely the spine broken in.  There are older cork and spring embroidery hoops.  But perhaps the most sentimental of all, there are her knitting needles, her cut out quilt block pieces and her pencil drawn embroidery layouts with notes taken on what colors to use.

Now a couple of these really stand out to me.  The embroidery designs are actually quite similar in theme to a plan that has only gotten to background fabric bought for my own floral embroidery quilt plans.  I am not planning to copy hers and see where it goes from there.

Secondly, my own baby quilt was a cheater fabric quilt of reds and blues and is now at the so fragile of fabric stages you don’t wash it, just hang it outside from time to time or keep it stored away.  There had been a few murmurs at times that my mother was planning a different quilt for me, and I have to wonder… are those 21 purple butterfly wings meant for me?

And that is how moms, and grandmoms too keep looking after their little ones even on into their 40s.

P.S. I did finish the qualifier and round one of Sock Madness also but this post is just for my Mom and you will have to wait for sock pictures!

And so it grows..

Happy Sock Madness registration day! (aka February 1st)  You can bet your socks I am already signed up and mostly raring to go, with a side order of knowing I need to track down my sock needles and make sure they are free for the next couple months.

January was very green in the knitting.  I received the new yarn for Ben’s Guston sweater and restarted and got several more rounds in on my latest lace project to the point I added another segment to the cable of my needles.  Conan helped on a couple occasions.

But more importantly, I did say I was going to really work on my quilts this year…. and I have made significant progress on the Contours quilt top.  I have about 11 blocks left to go but I am far enough along to start arranging and rearranging to see if one layout suits me better than another.  Tessellations are such a fun part of quilt building in my opinion.

The first one shown here is an inverted version of the primary display on the kit.  The second, which does look a bit bears ears at the corners has the same central layout as the kit though.

Hopefully I can finish up the rest of the squares this month, pick the layout and get that top assembled.  With January being so many parts of bigger projects I’d like to move something close to the done pile.

Lastly… I get to introduce the newest member of our household.  We adopted a lovely orange tabby girl from Homeward Pet animal shelter that we have called Kaylee.  She was under socialized with people and so is rather shy, with the notable exception of Conan, whom she follows around and has started a fan club. She also likes fish tanks, balls and toys on strings.

Where did May go?

Sometimes its like everything and nothing is happening all at once.  But let’s start with the reason the log jam of the guestroom quilt made it out of the machine and onto the bed… My husband told me he didn’t want to ask for an Overwatch quilt since it seemed I wasn’t quilting as much.  Well it was more like I kept finding the repetitive line quilting boring.  So I ordered him a section of fleece and made him up a quilt for his Houston Outlaws team.

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The design is hand appliqued onto the fleece.

In knitting news… Sock Madness has come to a close.  I made it to Round 5!  That means 6 pairs of socks (Qualifier and 5 rounds).

I’ve started work on my first paper pieced project from a kit I bought.  Its a new skill for me and so far I’m up to about 8 of 36 blocks done.

Finally a Finish!

This post brought to you from the former student of the no-mojo dojo!  This particular quilt has been a bit of a paper jam in my quilting projects because its big, bulky, and boring! I had decided on a very simple narrow horizontal lines as the main quilting. So back and forth and as I don’t work with a quilting frame… draping this queen size sandwich of fabric over my shoulders.  It got to a point where my husband even said something about losing interest in quilting… which at that point it was about half done or more but then had been set aside for a marathon of knitting.

But in finishing it, and especially in the binding of it there was such joy and freedom just moving it into done from “need to work on yet.”  So it took a year but I’m so back I even stopped at the fabric store for a jelly roll for another top already!

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This one is for my guestroom which is a very vibrant green and getting wonderful morning sunshine.  Its also home to my crafting bookshelf with baskets of yarn.

I am particularly pleased with the binding which is pieced from the yellows and greens.  And was so happy to get some sunshine to photograph this one in this weekend too!

I am tempted to send out the Christmas quilt top that is done since I do have that together and then maybe it will be done by Christmas! But I also have a couple kits and ideas for a myriad of other quilts… just as soon as I finish the latest Sock Madness round!

Looking Ahead to 2018

If you’ve read my year end/years beginning in the past you probably know I don’t really make resolutions.  I do set out ideas and monthly goals and try not to get too worked up when something goes off the rails.  (Hello, last year’s quilting goal!)  Life happens, and you just have to roll with it.

So here’s the plans thus far for 2018 and maybe I will surprise myself again.  I certainly didn’t set out to kit 11+ miles and double my socks knit count last year!

On the knitting front, I have 3 more sweater quantities of yarn coming from my Neighborhood Fiber Co. Sweater Club subscription, and I’d like to knit them up before the next one arrives.  Thus far I knit up a lovely cardigan and I’ve picked out my next yarn which should arrive sometime this month.

Additionally my husband bought me yarn for a Havar Sweater Dress.  (Maybe Valentines Day outfit??)  I am still committed to my Op-Art Socks though I was a bit of a slacker in December and knit neither KAL pattern, so now I am a pair behind.  (Though I totally did knit a different pair of socks that month… it counts right?) I have also committed through admiration to test knitting a lace weight brioche shawl by the same designer as my Weirwood Tree Shawl.  So perhaps fewer projects but of greater yardage is the plan for this year.

On the quilting front, I am tempering my number of quilts goal, though the guest room green and yellow modern is still on the list to be finished.

Guest Quilt Top

All that being said, I am a bit of a sucker for beautiful quilts and the woman behind the 365 Day quilt (which, again, I have not finished…) is doing a Block of the Month that is downright gorgeous, so I’ve signed up for her Aves Quilt A Long.

One item that can not be overstated enough is how organization helps with actually getting things completed.  I try to keep my stash updated on Ravelry so that when patterns catch my eye or when I’m contemplating what to knit next I have some idea of what I have without needing to go up and sort through the yarn bins. Alas, there isn’t (or at least I haven’t found it) a Ravelry equivalent for fabric and quilting.  So with the aide of my husband, I started a database to input my fabric stash so I can sort through what I have and perhaps liberate the ones I’m not madly in love with and find solutions for the fabrics I really do love.  So this year is going to be year of the fabric stash organization.  Right after I put away the Christmas decor….

Keep Busy and Keep Going

Sometimes the best you can do is to just keep moving in the general direction of where you want to end up.  Then the next thing you notice you are already well on your way to a pile of stuff that somehow managed to get done.

I attempted to start my latest finished shawl on our holiday road trip.  And while its well written its spread across a few charts and as someone that sometimes has eyes wander in a chart, it was put on hold.  But I’m happy to say my first project with Stellina (aka sparkles) is complete.

The pattern is called Weirwood Tree. I suppose a more dedicated knitter than I would have knit it up in white and then hand dye-painted each leaf that burgundy/magenta of its namesake.

Also on the knitting front, its approaching Sock Madness time, and yet I managed to plan out extra socks to make, and even finished a pair for Ben, who has since decided he actually likes hand knit socks.  And I churned out a brioche cowl for a KAL this month too.

And last but not least I said I wanted to make 5 quilts this year… so I managed to put together another quilt top (I have the backing and binding fabric for this already)

Yes, it is a Christmas Throw Quilt.  No, I don’t have plans for it other than to make it. The design is called a Four Patch Lattice and goes together rather quickly.

Next Up: Expect a bunch more socks, Maybe a sweater, and I should probably get around to quilting one of these quilts…..

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!