Planning ahead for 2021

I really enjoyed planning last years stash buster project but to be perfectly fair, there were individual times when a project seemed too big or too small based on what else was going on that month and overall I didn’t get my two long term WIP finished that I had in my goals. Also I am partially feeling the itch of the more fabric than fiber side of things at the moment. So I am going to do a Year of Hats KAL and use up some of my kind of lonely worsted skeins, and I have planned to participate in Sock Madness again. But its also time to finish up those two projects from 2018 that have lingered for far too long.

On the quilting front I have a number of tops mostly or completely done that I would like to finish up and also there is this fabric which I’ve finally decided what to do with

I somehow ended up at one point doing this thing TWICE mind you, where I bought two coordinating fabrics one green and one yellow and had plans for something that never happened and thus they have lingered in my fabric stash. Well I’ve finally sorted out what to do with them and… check back for that in the hopefully soon department.

2020 Hindsight

Like how could I not use that title for my recap post. I am as I frequently am.. rather behind on my blog posts. It has been a not great year, but then I think that’s also true for a number of people. Though all the home time did mean I finished or moved along several crafting projects.

On the quilting front I did pretty good. I’ve discovered I greatly enjoy the piecing part more than the quilting part though. I found a backing for my Anniversary quilt top, Quilted my Contours kit, Made a Rainy quilt top, a Patriotic Bargello Flag top, and coming in hot of the machine a Warmth in our Stars is just needing some borders.

Obviously I kept knitting… I did finish all of my Stash busting projects which included four sweaters! My November one was a lace weight lace cardigan and means I finished out my Neighborhood Fiber Company Sweater club from 2017 yarns. I finished 20 pairs of socks! And managed to squeeze in 3 scarves, 2 hats a pair of mittens and a shawl! I knit over 14,506 yards which is well over 8 miles!

In retrospect with it all laid out its a bit impressive. Just the same I’d rather have had more sunshine and less craft time.

I”ll be back soon (I hope!) for my plans that are still brewing for 2021.

It’s OK if your toes don’t match

Sometimes you just have to take life as it comes at you. Sometimes its big things, and sometimes its just annoying things, and sometimes it feels like all the things all at the same time. This year has devolved a bit into one of those years for me. And while it might not be the most healthy approach to dealing with it, I tend to fall back on to just getting things done. They don’t have to be perfect but they need to move into the done pile and can’t linger in the projects in progress that weighs like an obligation.

So there I was approaching the end of July still working on my socks from June and sweater from May with a pair of socks still yet unstarted for my actual July project and… I ran out of yarn on the second toe. So I made the choice to sub in a scrap bit of yarn on toe two. Its ok, the socks are functional. I still chased down a matching scrap from a fellow Raveler but in the mean time… its ok the toes don’t match. They are done and beautiful.

I also managed to finish up the sweater AND the two pair of Anniversary socks. The sweater is my second one out of the stash of vintage black crepe yarn I picked up at a thrift store. It doesn’t photograph so well and it could use some buttons but again… its done!

I really like being able to finish things and not have them linger. So I also finished up the quilting on my Contours quilt kit, which I’d had pin basted for about six months and just didn’t feel very confident in my abilities on the quilting it kind of fancy. So I quilted it with scribbles and wavy lines and enjoyed every minute of the binding even if the quilting wasn’t so grand.

Now personally I am having a significant number of feelings about patriotism these days. But I came up with the idea for this quilt top back when I had more optimism as a thank you for some friends of ours that sometimes invite us to their July 4th celebrations. The final dimensions ended up at a very optimistic 54 x 40.

And once again… look at all the things we got done because we just needed a tick in the win column and it didn’t matter that the toes didn’t match.

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!