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!
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.
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.
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).
Round 1, duplicate stitches
Color work, and 2 beads
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.
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!
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!
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.
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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.
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….
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.
Yep, that’s me
Caoua Coffee’s Albert de Montcref Socks
Future Colorwork Combos
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…..
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.
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.
Don’t forget to look behind you.
Just your average giant hammer.
The Red Roads
Mt.Rainier’s West Side
Hope your new year is also producing some good progress too!
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.
A variegated Rose color
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.
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.
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.
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.