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.

IMG_20160424_205441

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?

Advertisements

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.

row_by_row_quilt_small

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.

IMG_20160224_160415

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)

IMG_20160212_162455

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.

IMG_20160201_112913

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!

IMG_20160202_130443

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.

 

I swear I was only going to look

So, you may recall a couple posts ago I shared that my husband told me he was buying me a larger quilting sewing machine for Christmas.  Something that should enable me to quilt larger than a twin size like my current machine.  So once we got back, with budget in hand, I got down to sorting through possible machines.

One of the things that I wish would change about the sewing realm is that there is a sincere lack of pricing information.  To be honest, its a bit like car shopping wherein you can find all manner of details about the features and functions but the majority of pricing is “call for details”

So I scribbled out a few notes on which machines had good reviews, what the workspace (aka harp space or throat space) was and decided I’d take a trip to the local sewing shop where I bought my last machine and see what they had and probably a trip to a sewing expo in February before I made my final decision.

At least that was the plan.

So yesterday we went into the shop and took a look around.  There was a nice BabyLock Aria right at my budget, and the Juki I had been thinking about and a pair of nice Janome machines, though based on my online searching I figured these were out of my budget range.  But again… there aren’t really much in the way of prices when sewing machine shopping, so we asked anyway.

Turns out they were actually selling their floor model Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP!  Complete with the additional remote thread cutting foot that is usually extra.  So instead of looking… we did some buying.

IMG_20160113_143334

Numerous feet, including accufeed (like a walking foot) and multiple variations on free motion feet as well as the extension table.  The 11 inch workspace is a nice step up from my prior machine.

Here they are side by side for scale.

IMG_20160113_150058 My husband’s comment upon seeing them side by side was that he didn’t realize in the shop just how much bigger the new machine was. And its not just the machine… one of my adjustments is getting used to how much larger the foot pedal is, when the much smaller thread cutter pedal is about the size of my old machine’s pedal.

The thread spool and numerous feet are stored under the top cover with the bobbin winder and the lid doubles as a handy quick reference to the stitches.

IMG_20160113_143201

I’ve done a bit of piecing with it today, played with some stitches and wound a bobbin.  And she sews like a champ!

Now I just need to get my sewing room better organized!

Gotta have Goals: 2016 Edition

The past couple years I have done fairly well at setting and keeping my crafting goals.  I don’t always hit the overall for the year goal, but I definitely make forward progress.

Its my first Christmas as an officially married woman and my husband gave me this:

IMG_20151228_154252

So let’s tackle that first and say… we are getting a machine suitable for quilting larger projects!  A step up the ladder from my Janome DC2011 which I love.

I have another seven quilts, some started, some planned that I would like to tackle this year.  I have one for a gift (Movie theme), and the guest room (greens and yellows).  I have one to use up my white strip scraps from my snowman, and one to use up general scraps with the latest discovered tiling hexagon.  And I have three that have started, including Knight’s Tour, Wedding Wishes and my now nearly infamously languishing in WIP land, Field of Stars.

On the knitting front, I have more socks (Going to go in for Sock Madness again I think) and some more lace, and trying to find the bottom of that second overflow stash box!

I have some great patterns and yarn combos in my queue.

I’d like to get a few more designs out of my head and onto a pattern as well.

And now onto the blog and not so crafty front….

Last year I posted 20 posts, which means a few months I just posted once… so this year I am going to aim for at least twice a month updates.  This may mean a few more works in progress instead of dumps of finished items, but we shall see how it shakes out.

I also want to work on getting my craft space (which also flows a bit into my guest room) a bit more organized and usable. I want to read a few more books, and play a few more games too.

 

2015 Recap

So its that time of year when I take a moment to see how things went in the past year. And looking back this year its looking pretty good.

In 2014, I didn’t finish any quilts, and I set a goal in 2015 to finish seven. Well, I finished five.

I did work a bit on some others and hatched a few more plans for quilts, but this brings my completed total to twelve.

I knit over 14,000 yards and I did indeed focus on my stash, some shawls with beads and on socks. I eliminated one of the three overflow stash boxes entirely!

I knit twice as many socks last year as I had in all my knitting time prior!

I did a bit more lace work, with over 3000 beads.  This included my wedding shawl in my own dyed yarn and some never wilting hair flowers.

And I even designed a bit with two patterns published, my hairpin flowers and one project that needs another run through to refine.

So now I’m sitting here feeling like I did SO much last year and wondering just how much I can get done in the coming year.

Presenting some presents

So a few weeks ago I posted a few teasers about some of my holiday projects.  And now that they are finally in the hands of their new owners… It’s time to give them their due.

First up is a project I mentioned over two years ago when I bought the pattern at the 2014 shop hop. Once the post wedding frenzy had calmed down a bit I realized that holidays were coming a bit sooner than a crafter hopes for, and in sorting out my gifting plans, landed on top with a hope that if I really worked on it, I just might finish in time.

*drumroll*

My redwork winter embroidery quilt!

IMG_20151201_125015

My embroidery blocks are stitched onto several white/off white on white/offwhite Prints. Various trees, snowflakes and swirls. The remainders and scraps of which got paired with some red prints in a scrappy sampler style border. You can see pinwheels, churn dash, shoo fly and Dutchman’s puzzle blocks in there.

For the back, I chose to piece in three blocks, including one for my gift tag, that I hope looked a bit like some falling flakes.

IMG_20151201_125005

Here’s a few detail shots.  There are also several WIP photos in the WIP gallery. 

The recipient called me up to tell me she cried when she opened it… so time well spent!

Secondly… I finished up my Super Mario QAL quilt without Ben being aware I was working on it since my last post about it.  Got it wrapped and took it with us to open on Christmas Morning.

IMG_20151214_120627

I had three more blocks and some custom printed level fabric for the back side.

IMG_20151214_120706

He also got a knit lego man and a pair of socks that he picked out the yarn for, and promptly wore on the first day of our return trip home.

Which is probably why I am now double knitting him a lace weight single ply Hobbit scarf.  Which I managed to get through the first chart of 11 (8o our of 810 rows!)

KNITWITS-APP-IMG_20151227_105358

Just keep Knitting

Weddings sure do eat up a bunch of time out of a month!  So alas this time I am a bit light on the finished items, and have lots of Works in Progress to share (WIPs).

First up… I am continuing my stash busting, and tackling some yarn I thrifted a few years ago.  These big hanks take up most of one of the closet stash boxes.  They are slowly becoming a sweater with some modifications to give it a collar and pockets.  I am up to the right front, pockets and the collar to complete.

Well this is rather complex, and a bit bulky, so less transportable… so I started some other project too.  It may be getting out of hand.

There is a baby blanket from some stash acrylic in a modified tree tops style.

ground beneath her feet

And a couple row by row quilt rows:

umbrellas and boots

I’m a bit of a ways from being done with those last few projects.  Hopefully they will show up in a blog post her soon…..ish.

These Goldfishes are so Delicious!

Ok so yes.. I love the Goldfish crackers that inspired the title.  (Its my go-to snack for road trips.)  During the 2014 Shop Hop I picked up some adorable goldfish fabric which I then set out to decide how to use.  I came across this design that used some of the same fabric in combination with some small pieces and appliqué and it all snowballed from there. So today… I’m bringing out my Goldfish Bargello Quilt, fresh out of a run through the wash after I finished binding.

goldfishes front

Front Side

Back Side

Back Side

I’d never tried a Bargello, but a tutorial on the tube method looked simple enough to give it a whirl. I tried to get a wee bit creative with my quilting on this one, and let’s just leave it at… I still need some practice.  But it was a fun experiment all around and I think it turned out pretty darn cute.