Are we done yet? A post about Progress Tracking

Let me be up front, if you came for some finish photos, well… there won’t be any here today.  In fact when I first thought about making this post I wasn’t even sure there would be knitting or quilting in it.

Confession time; we are now midway into the second week of the year and I have not knit or quilted a thing! Last Wednesday I had nothing to post in the WIP weekly thread for knitting and it surprised even me.   Taking just a moment now and then to track how your projects is good for the soul.  Unfortunately, we sometimes want to scrub our beginning efforts from the record.  I was reminded of this when I went through my stash for yarns I want to use up or donate this year (I’m calling it my Knit It or Quit It stash) found the yarn from my first scarf, which I at one point had frogged. Its a bit of a shame really… and now I am going to find something new to make with it.IMG_20160104_104007

Tracking progress both on an individual project and on abilities over time doesn’t need to be complex.  A large percentage of the population actually have cameras in their phones at their fingertips.  When you finish for the day, or get to a spot you want to track, just snap a quick photo.

Maybe you turned a heel (always feels so satisfying) or got to a point where you could finally see the pattern or texture (and maybe you frog it or keep going) or you are trying out a layout… it doesn’t matter the reason. Taking a few minutes to make a note or snap a photo is worth it.  When you look back across the span of your skill journey you see how your latest socks with its cables/beads/no pattern design compares to that first pair of plain stockinette with a heel turn you just had to believe in the pattern because your brain didn’t yet wrap around the concept yet all fit together.  For my knitting, I upload these to Ravelry. (Pro Tip, if you tag your projects with the year you have a nice view with yardage of what you have done for the year too!) For my quilting, I file them all in a folder/album on Google, since my phone is already set to auto-update to there.  Once a week or so I just go in and move the relevant photos to their albums.

You don’t need to master photography and only take beauty shots either. Its ok to show the wrong side of your work.  In fact, there are times when as a crafter that’s exactly what other people want to see.  Sometimes its to see how that pattern fits a body shape, or how a color variation (variegated/stripes) may look.  Maybe you knit it up and can then show visually what you are having trouble with and ask for help.

And.. because we all know I wasn’t not crafting… here’s my latest WIP.

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My in-laws bought me a cross stitch kit off of my wishlist for Christmas.  Based on my math its final design is in the neighborhood of 50k stitches.  I have already made a few mistakes, corrected a few, and am probably doing it all wrong according to at least one person.  But isn’t it fun to watch it grow?

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Get Wrecked! And NaKniSweMo

I know, I know… its hard to believe but I’m adding a new blog post already!

So first up… the Wreck Yourself Cowl pattern has been written and proofread, and basically all I need is a test knitter who can knit it up and make sure that my brain and my typing fingers weren’t conspiring against me. If that is of interest to you, get in touch (just a phrase you don’t actually have to physically touch me) and I will send you the pattern.

Secondly…. I finished up a hat.  And not just a plain old hat, but a reversible 2 color brioche hat, so its full of smoosh and color!

Pattern is called Flaming Hat (and there is a matching scarf pattern).  The pattern is very well written and charted.  My biggest problems were occasionally dropping a stitch.  So I worked on my how to pick up a dropped brioche stitch skills.

Which brings us to NaKniSweMo… and if you think that’s a made up word, you are right.  Its an abbreviation meant to represent National Knit a Sweater Month.  This is more a knitters commandeering National Novel Writing Month’s premise of writing a 50,000 word (or more) novel in a month.  Only in knitter feats that translates to a 50,000 or more stitch sweater.  I am sort of participating.  I say sort of because… I am skipping the whole how many stitches portion and just knitting up a sweater.  My added difficulty is the yarn I’ve selected (from my stash) is 26 balls of black fingering weight that doesn’t have any yardage listed.  I have attempted to assure my brain that even should each ball only contain 100 yards I have more than enough yarn for the project.  Now I just need my brain to kick over out of “I hope we don’t run out mode.”  As a bonus difficulty I am also attempting to work on a quilting holiday present.  Naturally I can’t post about it here until after its finished, but… COMING SOON!

Perspectives and Finish Lines

Ok so for the first part of this post there’s going to be a bit more non-kniting/quilting stuff, so if you get bored or you just came for the crafts, scroll down to the quilt picture, and I won’t get offended, because frankly I can’t tell if you scrolled past or not anyway!

My non-traditional Ruby Wedding Ring. (Mid finger because its being sized atm)

My non-traditional Ruby Wedding Ring. (Mid finger because its being sized atm)

In the spirit of “out with it!” the news is… I got engaged on Valentine’s Day! (insert squeals and wedding march hums here).  My fiancé and I have been together for quite some time, and have decided to formalize the situation with paperwork and pageantry.  Because we have been together long enough that the only answer to the query of how long we have been together actually is, “long enough” we are planning to get married this year in a smaller ceremony with our parents and closest friends.

This means that I am now on a 6 months to wedding plan and making lists of things to do.  Do not fear dear readers, I still think I will have time for updating my blog in my usual “sometime every month” schedule. But, it does bring me to the perspective portion of the blog.

I have been rather noticeably in a bit of a GO!GO!GO! rush mode as I make my list of all the things needing to get done in time for an August Wedding.  And yesterday, after booking our photographer my fiancé (woo!) sweetly reminded me that in the past 10 days I had managed to settle on the date, book locations, and get the photographer.  I had been spending all my time looking at the to-do portion, I hadn’t appreciated the scope of the done part. So I am passing it on, and telling you… take a moment to change the perspective, and look away from your to-do, and appreciate what you have finished.

And speaking of finished….. (way to segue there!)

The third Star Trek Quilt!

The third Star Trek Quilt!

I have finally finished the Star Trek Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt I first teased about in June of 2014.  The quilting on this one is a clear indication of some attempts at something more than just stitch-in-the ditch.  The central blocks are stitched in an echo around the Star Trek insignia, with the outside blues and reds in decorative horizontal and vertical stripes.

The backing and binding is a space/stars print with glow in the dark stars.  (I did attempt to get a glow photo, but its not super great.)  I used a different technique on the binding, that I’m sure has a real quilting name, but I’m calling it a fold over binding, instead of making the binding a separate piece.  After quilting, the batting is trimmed to the edges of the top, and then the backing is folded over (at least twice to give a nice edge) and then seamed down.

This one is currently homeless.  This quilt has found a home! The idea came from a commission request that fell through.  Now down to 13 planned quilts on the idea board. 

Pillow Fight! (And Mario QAL updates too!)

So, Jean, who invited me on the Quilt Shop Hop Bus introduced herself as a “Beginner Quilter” in that she begins all her quilts.  This was a minor consolation when I was organizing my fabric space and discovered my Sewing Works in Progress was overflowing a 14 gallon tote.

Now, to be perfectly fair, the first photo makes the tote look rather unorganized, but in reality under the bag of eventual Christmas Cathedral Window Quilt and the loose future Mario QAL blocks its all sorted out by project.  But in my organizing I did find a few items that have languished in unfinished land for far too long.  Primarily there was a set of three needlepoint pillows where all the needlepoint work was done, but the actual making into pillows part was never done.  (One of which I posted about in July 2011, the other two were from even prior to that!)

So in an effort to finish some of the things… I forged ahead and finally finished making them into pillows.

The sunflower pillow I had actually bought material specifically for finishing.  (Though I bought way more, because at the time it made perfect sense that I would make several sort of matching pillows and want to finish them the same.)  The other two, I completed with stash fabric I’d originally bought for other uses.

So between the pillows and the two Mario QAL Blocks I made, it looks like I can at least close the lid of the WIP bin. (Until I need to get into it for the next project anyway!)

As I mentioned at the End of May in my last Super Mario Quilt-A-Long update, I am looking to do more than just 12 blocks in my quilt.  Mario’s princess will be in this castle quilt.  So I’m doubling up the next couple months to be sure I get all my blocks done for year end finishing.  This time I tackled two from the sky.

This cloud so happy, you'd think Bob Ross painted it.

This cloud is so happy, you’d think Bob Ross painted it.

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Ben said I should say this was an “8-bit” quality photo. (Instead of  admitting I took it with my cellphone in the later evening.)

Future blocks include, Peach, Green Mushroom, Coin, Fire Flower, and a few more!  I am aiming now for a 16 (4×4) block quilt.

I won a prize!

So a bit ago I mentioned I entered my Stargate Cat beds into some Instructables Contests, namely the ThinkGeek Sci-fi contest, but also… I took a chance and entered them in the Sew Warm Instructable Contest as well.   The ThinkGeek contest is still ongoing, so there is still time for people to vote or enter in that one.  But it is my honor to say, I won a second place prize in the Sew Warm Contest!  Which means I  won one of these:

Singer Adjustable Dress Form

Singer Adjustable Dress Form

How awesome is that?!

 

 

The things I get talked into….

So… yesterday Ben points out to me the very cute Chewbacca that Wil Wheaton was reposting.  And I mentioned that I had seen it and it was actually a contest entry in the ThinkGeek /Instructables Sci Fi Contest. (Yes that is 3 links, but the last one there is the one you want for looking at entries)

So naturally… I let myself be talked into entering the Stargate Cat Bed.  (OK it didn’t take a LOT of convincing… just some encouragement)

Still maintaining wormhole stability!

So if you are also a bit of a fan of such things…hop on over to look at the entries, and put in a vote for your favorite, whichever one that may be… because there are some amazing things over there!

Now in .com!

A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and updated the blog URL to misscarlotta.com, which may be a bit easier to keep track of… at least that’s a hope.

Starting the end of this month I’m going to start clearing out the stash of finished items, and I’m debating about posting a page here or just over on my wepay or etsy page.  If you have seen something you liked on the blog and want to enquire about a particular item you can send me an email using this handy form for now, it does get scanned for spam automatically:

Not just geeky knitting happens here…

I realize that I knit quite a bit of geeky things… even my first quilt was all videogame blocks. But I do work on other more traditional beautiful projects. The banner above was a peg-rack full of scarves. So here’s a couple in the works projects…. (apologies in advance these are cell phone photos)

First I have some pieces that will eventually be a baby afghan. I don’t have children, and frankly don’t really know what I’ll do with it when its done, but I just liked the designs and was given some children’s weight/color yarn. So these are my edges based on and a wheat ear cabling. I like the leaf design, and my somewhat matching yarn is just the blue verigated with no greens…. I am thinking I will make it a tree row and then add a border.

Half Done with the second side.


Here’s a closer detail on the stitching.

To be fair, I’ve had that project on the needles for some time, was working on it while traveling and just getting distracted and kept pulling out rows because I flubbed it up and then going back… but I’m finally making some solid forward progress.

Second item…
I am working on my second quilt. The original plan was a very hawaiian style quilt, as a gift to my grandmother. She used to go to Hawaii every winter with my grandfather. And I wanted her to know how much I think about her and worry about her even though I am the world’s worst letter writer (in the mailing it out dept). However, my quilt blocks aren’t super Hawaiian, and fall more toward the snowflakes realm of things… so its a snowflake quilt. I have all my flakes cut out and I’m currently appliquéing them on.

Yes, I love snow.

Unfortunately my quilt shop near me is closing this month. 😦
Which has me all manner of sad, since the proprietor was the kindest and most helpful person in my quilting experiments. She always seemed sincerely interested in my quilting efforts, even though it was obvious the subject matter wasn’t familiar. So now.. my nearest fabric shop is once again.. at least 30 minutes away.

Second Most Comfortable Wormhole in the Caterverse! (And Directions)

So yes… two cats means two cat beds.  And never one to repeat myself  (I got bored on the second sock of my first pair of socks!) I decided to up the ante with an Atlantis version of the StarGate Cat bed.

Cats are so smart they can use both Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxy design gates to access the Caterverse!

While I got through the repetitive main gate stitching a bit faster, when it came to the glyphs… the stars were about seven levels of more painful.  I ended up hand stitching the majority of those tiny blue dots.  For reference, they were created using a paperhole punch and there are 114 of those things.

Gates to the Caterverse have been tested at various stages of construction. Conan is testing the Pegasus gate pre-chevrons.

This gate is a bit bigger than my original gate.  It has a total of 10 symbols.  Otherwise basic construction was the same.

SGC (StarGate Cat) technology is adaptable to multiple universe gates.

I am providing my instructions with patterns on how to make your own gate.  These are freely available for private use only.  If you use these directions, I’d love a photo!

    Stargate Cat Bed Directions (PDF)

Most Comfortable Wormhole in the known Cat-erverse

This is Conan:

FDR had Fireside chats.... we have Fireside cats.

Conan has a foam fetish…. as in we used to have two cat beds, much loved and well used, but Conan liked to pull all the foam out from the bottom.  So now we have strange misshapen lumps of former cat beds.

So I thought I’d see what kind of unusual geeky cat beds were out there in the world… and frankly the pickings were pretty slim.  There was one person with her Millenium Falcon pillow bed… and lots and lots of fish.  So with some thinking and pondering I finally hooked on one familiar circular shape…. a Stargate!  You know that movie with Kurt Russell and James Spader where they travel through a giant circular wormhole gate to another planet and defeat Ra, that spun off a TV series(SG1), and then another TV series(Atlantis), and another TV series(Universe).  THAT!

So with a lot of repetitive decorative stitching….. I now give you the Stargate Cat Bed:

Sonja was quick to test the gate out.

My gate has 9 symbols (including Earth, my birth sign, and Ben’s birth sign) and 3 chevrons.  The interior floor is done in a wormhole blue.  Most importantly though… the bottom foam is covered with canvas to keep out a certain foam fetishist.

Link:  Lots of additional photos of the gate in progress

Update:  Well it took a few days but Sonja finally considered sharing her Stargate Bed with Conan.

Sharing... but only until the Atlantis version is done!