Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Repair

So as someone with a not so tiny fabric and yarn stash, I’m doing alright at crafting in a time of Staying Home for Covid.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that its also Sock Madness time so for brief bits of time I have specific projects to occupy my time.  This year I made it into Round 5, and we came up against a rather technical sock and I didn’t make it into the Final Five round Six, but I’m still plenty pleased with how I did since to me its all for learning skills and making socks. This year there was a significant portion of colorwork socks in their various forms. Here’s a few including the vibrant yellow of a warm up pair but just one of the three teal & aqua I ended up making with a fourth planned for someday soon.  But at least I have reduced some of my yarn stash right?

April was slated to be a pair of Hermoine’s Everyday Socks in my Mystery Stash Bust along… but the timing felt like I’d be running into other Madness rounds so I substituted in a pair of Morrison socks which were a DK weight.  Theses were on a yarn dyed by Black Trillium whom sadly is getting out of yarn dying. So I may have partook in the going out of business sale and this is also partially why I have such a stash.  In my defense… the socks and a couple of the skeins are for Ben so….

May is also Conan’s 17th birthday month.  So to tackle his gift it was decided to make him a heated car bed.  You can buy a basic heating mat to place under the cushion in a traditional store bought bed, but you can’t just expect a cat that regularly sleeps on Stargate beds to sleep on something from the store… so into the fabric stash I dove.  I will admit I am a fan of some of the novelty cat prints and came up with a cat and mouse design that seemed big enough for the project.  I quilted the cat fabric through two batting remnants into a fabric that back in my much younger days started out as a sink skirt in an apartment with almost no storage. (Reuse!)  Then I added bolsters with more cat fabric on the interior and a durable Sunbrella fabric on the exterior.  At the bottom I made a pillow of some fleece remnants and stuffed that with overlapping edges and scraps of fleece batting and pillow stuffing.

The heating mat slides between this pillow bottom and the quilted topper.  The bed was a pretty big hit and is large enough for at least two snuggling orange cats. Conan is pretty good about sharing with Kaylee

Quite some time ago in 2015, I picked up several Row by Row quilt kits and even went so far as to assemble an umbrellas and a rain boots set of rows.

umbrellas and boots

And that was as far as I got but with me trying to organize my stash and use up… I found fabrics a couple years back that also exemplified the rain and with a bit of pondering and math I decided I could make something of them if I turned those rows back into blocks. (Recycle!) So I pulled the seams and did a bit more math and am able to present at least the center of a Rainy Day quilt top!

Sadly while I do have enough of the Rain drops trim, I am mostly out of the Umbrella tops fabric (and the novelty toss) which I think would be an ideal border so its going to probably sit a bit longer until shops re-open or my online wandering find a new solution.

Which finally brings us to the repair portion.  This happens with socks… sometimes far sooner and more often than I would hope for, but there it is. I know I have posted before about the use of duplicate stitching and making patches to fix them, but my husband presented me with a unique problem recently in his Bamboo socks I had just made up last October.  He wore BOTH the toe soles out of them!

img_3497So I decided it would be best just to take out that portion of the toes and reknit them back from the yarn I still had in my partial balls stash.  (I’d like to say this is the reason I keep them but honestly its that I rarely make up scraps projects)

Step one is pretty easy, you just snip out the toe and then start unraveling like you were unhappy with it, until you end up with a row of loop stitches.  Then thread your needles through the loops, join your yarn and reknit back down the toe.  Be sure to look carefully which way your yarn is on your needle as I find I tend to pick up twisted and then need to knit the first row through the back of the loops to get it to untwist.

Now, yes there is some color variation due to wear, but a few washes along and it will even out a bit more.  You can also (I did this on one of them) use the yarn that you pulled out of the toe and duplicate stitch reinforce that area where the hole formed to give it a bit more sturdy of fabric.

Whew…. that was quite a lot going on in April and early May… and I didn’t even get into the next sweater of the year… guess I’ll save that for next time. 🙂

2020 Vision

How could I NOT make that pun in the headline?

So I am trying something a bit new this year inspired by all those “of the month” clubs. I’ve decided I’m going to do a Mystery Stash of the Month club out of my own stash yarn.  How it will work is I am picking 12 projects that I have acquired yarn for and setting them aside.  Four of those projects will be sweaters since I want to do one sweater per quarter this year to use up some of my larger stash quantities. I shall enlist the assistance of my husband in sorting them into bags numbered 1-12 (ok 2-14 since I settled on what to stash out for this month I think) and each month I will open its own bag and knit up that project.

I am also planning to finish up my Anniversary Quilt and my Contours Quilt that is actually all ready to be quilted.  That is to be the second full free motion quilting adventure.

So I’m printing patterns and sorting through my stash and getting a bit excited for the year to come!

2019 In Review

In 2019 I managed to finish 2 quilts (3rd is ready for quilting and a fourth has the top done), as well as 3 sweaters and 2 shawls.  Seen here for the first time is the late finish on my NakniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month) Anne of Cleves sweater joined by my other large projects of the year.

Back before 2014 I swore I’d never be a sock knitter because the second sock every was just sooooo boring.  Well… I finished 11 pair last year.  ¬.¬

There were a few other notable projects worth mentioning also… I tackled one of my oldest stashed yarns (recorded in Ravelry during the great yarn stash recording of 2013) by knitting it into a drop leaf scarf!  I made my first yarn bowl and my first tea cozy.

There was quite a bit of travel for me this year and one larger unfinished gift that ate into my craft time, so overall I am rather pleased with how it all sorted out.

Things In Motion

You know, sometimes the very best thing about a project isn’t the actual project itself. (I feel like I’ve mentioned this before…)  I could tell you all about the things I learned as I tried free motion quilting a whole quilt for the first time. I figured it was about time since my plan for this one was to keep it for ourselves.  For example, I only got about half done before I remembered to drop the feed dogs so that’s one thing.  But honestly the very best part of this project happened during the binding.

IMG_2793

Last January we adopted a new kitty and named her Kaylee.  Kaylee was not yet a year old, but hadn’t been socialized in the home she was born to.  She is incredibly curious, but also incredibly shy.  One of the assistants at the shelter shared concerns that she might not ever be a lap snuggle cat.  Kaylee loves our older cat Conan even though there is nearly 15 years age gap between the two and he has been a very good example to her in how to be a cat.  She comes up to get pets and treats from my husband and I, and is slowly getting more and more social.

IMG_1906

So trust me when I say, the best thing about this quilt is that part way through the hand binding, Kaylee decided to try out being a lap cat.  And not as in a quick hop up and never fully settle, but a full on settled in several minutes stretch.

Since this experience, she’s getting more at ease with getting up on the couch next to me, but hasn’t yet tried out my husband’s lap other than just a quick situation check.  But I have high hopes for my orange girl’s future.  Though I do have some concerns about our Christmas Tree this year.

 

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.

IMG_2667

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).

IMG_2669

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.

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.

ExNvOpHr99NqqCLPPcCldFoG47I9LGLcZgg8MkGkEn9_PpTi8yDkflPmvpgo_L2v8J227abJxl6l5DDIDTyNCweIQEO7NBnWZy_XOjTPTR5qKdmJKQGWSHMsqBDfJGvF_ANJXe5YrYNGGnJbYxaNguCVxa0MljLw3o1XFyQkDdhrKPlvUy22Jw3n1qDKQnUWeXujdPkDsKzbDfjSkVsZjpnvDYn9Owpk

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.

IMG_1104

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.