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…..

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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!

Bind Off and Flail!

I am a bit behind this month on my posting.  But it all goes back to the topic at hand.  I have been pretty good most of the time making monthly goals and getting things I want to do done.  But every now and again the instant I finish a project, my brain spits out an error message and I get stuck in this loop of “what should I do next?!”  Do I focus on catching up a quilt project? Or maybe work on freeing up a knit project?  Or perhaps the cross stitch project?  And that’s precisely what happened after I finished my latest Sock Madness socks.  Which I really love how they came out!

Golden Fleece Feet

I ended up #17 out of 30 to advance to the next round, and then they have given us an optional round pattern which I’ve not started, because I’m hopping around doing all the other bits.

I squeaked in two more of my block a day quilt blocks.  Technically I should be done with the inner medallion of squares, but I’m really behind.  I was going to measure up the backs for both the snowflake and the chess quilt, but I discovered that I am short a few supplies for the back of the snowflake.  So I instead snipped out some of the extra backside fabric from my flake so that when its laid on the batting it won’t look so dark.

 

Since my other Knit ALong group was also doing socks and I felt like I was cheating a bit being in sock madness; I cast on a sock using some worsted superwash I need to use up (its leftovers from Debora) and I did manage to finish my monthly Hobbit progress!  (We are now past the Carrock and moving into Murkwood and spiders!)

And in my midst of not wanting to “fall behind” on my projects I realized that April is the start of the second quarter of the year, so this naturally means I need to work on the second quarter of my tulip cross stitch project.

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Between all this I’ve been trying to keep up on my gardening and housekeeping (hey the linen closet got sorted and refolded!) And I’d like to say that all that stuff was the reason I was a bit later updating the blog.  But in reality, my brain was looking at things that weren’t done and things yet to get done and it felt like this ominous cloud of “Not finished!” “Undone!” “Incomplete!” right up to the point I wrote this post and sorted out photos and realized… progress even when its not a finish on all of these things has been moving right along.

Now… what should I work on today?

Getting Ready to Go Mad

Sock Madness is coming up right around the corner and I’m signed up again.  I made it into Round 6 last year.  So in anticipation, I’ve sorted out some yarn options for the Madness and spent a portion of the other day turning hanks into balls.

This year I also decided to put together a few prizes for the Madness, so I put together some notion bags and fabric boxes with working button holes so you can use them like a yarn bowl if that’s your jam.

The bag tutorial can be found here, and the fabric boxes here.  My only alteration was to add working button holes to the boxes instead of just decorative buttons.

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I bought my zippers and buttons at Pacific Fabrics and picked up the rest of their Row by Row kits to make a nice PNW quilt. (Can there be more hours in the day?) That’s what it will eventually look like there on the left.

Sometimes I feel like the quilting side of things tends to fall behind… and if I want to get my goal of seven quilts this year I’m going to have to kick over into quilt-ville after the Madness. Today I put in the first six days of February of my 365 day challenge.

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And before I forget…. I did finish my KAL shawl!  Its the latest in my bird themed ones.  This one is based on the local Stellar’s Jays with their blue and black.

The 32 days of January

No, that’s not a typo in the title. As I mentioned in my last post, I signed up for a 365 block-a-day quilt.  The designer of which offered two blocks for the first of January, one for the beginners and one for the more advanced.  Well I decided having an extra block might be nice for the grand scheme of things so I made up both.

So while I am still a couple weeks behind (which considering I didn’t sign up until the 22nd of January is closer to caught up than where I started!), I am now able to show all my January blocks.  These are all finished size 3 inch blocks (so 3.5 inches unfinished)

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As for the knitting front… Its getting closer to time to gear up for Sock Madness, so I’m working my WIP and knocking out my February/March KAL shawl early so I can be prepared to knit all the things!

Here’s a few teasers of knits yet to come!

Sharing and Joining in

Some people that know me would tell you that I am kind of selective about what social media sites I frequent and join.  That has its good and its bad points. On the one hand you avoid the spam style commentary, but then you can sometimes miss other things you might be interested in.

img_20150516_230236Last year was my first year joining Ravelry’s Sock Madness group.  I really enjoyed myself, even if I still have not actually finished my last competition round socks. (I got to the first heel and then made a flub and so I was fixing it and just got burned out…sorry!) So its once again February and I’m signed up to give it another go!  I have quite a bit of sock yarn set aside in prep and its an amazing way to grow my sock drawer.  If you want to KAL with us, the sign ups are open and the competition (which is very friendly) starts in March.

Secondly, someone on a quilting board pointed me to a 365 Day Challenge, based out of Australia in which you make a sampler square every day and at the end of the year you have a 90 inch square quilt.  That’s roughly queen size.  Well I’ve signed up and bought a bunch of fabric and now I just need to get going.  I’m about a month behind, but since I am not going for any of the weekly prizes (See also: Above note about social networks) its just for me.  If you want to join in late, the designer is planning to host 3 months of blocks at a time, so you can still find all the blocks that have been released thus far and do so!

And if you don’t want to join in, that’s fine.. how about I just share some of the things I’ve been working on? I have, naturally, been testing out and enjoying my new sewing machine. And after the latest trip to the quilt shop I managed to pick up some fabrics for other projects.

First up, I decided the plethora of strip remnants from my snowman quilt would make a nice base for a scrappy Dresden style snowflake.

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My original thought was that this flake would be on a green background, but this batik made me feel like frosted windows.  So my flake is all pinned out and needs some hand stitching to tack it down.  I am still debating borders to make it bigger or just leave it as it is (roughly 42 inches square)

Secondly I have been on the prowl for a good match or replacement for the border corner chess boards on my Knights Tour quilt and I finally managed to find just the thing.  So I finally managed to get the borders done and now its down to backing and quilting!

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I also put in some work on my wedding signature quilt and practiced Free Motion Quilting on some small Quilt as you go type blocks.  I guess if you like puns you could say I was sew busy.