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?

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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.

 

Shop Hopping for Fabric and Fun

I got myself out to the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop the past few days.  Its actually my first year participating, although I became aware of it a couple years ago when the now defunct local shop was participating (which sadly I was not in town for that time).  I’d posted a reminder on Reddit for the other locals of the group and Jean asked me if I was taking the bus…. which was the first I’d heard of it, and with some encouragement, I decided to go for it.. and I am ever so glad I did.  There were just shy of 30 of us on the bus for the North bound trip, and we visited 12 shops that day. It was organized by the ladies at Gathering Fabric in Woodinville, who not only planned the route, but handled the majority of the passport stamping and picking up your free quilt block pieces, so all you had to do was enjoy the ride, discover new quilt shops and shop.

And did we ever shop….

Its a Busload of fabric!

I actually didn’t go too much overboard, and most of my fabrics were for specific quilts I have in mind.

But there was also some things I just couldn’t leave at the store.

I did find a new gift/project, and while normally I don’t post such things to my blog pre-gifted… since this one involves so much work I think I can get away with it and it will still turn out to be a surprise when its done.

So much embroidery..... so very very much.

So much embroidery….. so very very much.

I also picked up some beads and buttons for my knitting, and stopped at 6 shops on Thursday and Friday… and all before I had to pick up Ben at the airport.

It was a great time, and I met some amazing people and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

Double your Pleasure with Double Knitting Fun!

So several ages ago (also known as last December) I decided to learn how to double knit.  This is where both sides look like the stockinette or “v” side of the knitting.  You may recall a post in January or April on this project.

Well I’m pleased to report that I’m finally done!

Green and White is always Right!

Green and White is always Right!

A full nine snowflakes make up this baby!  There are 5 differently patterned flakes.  Two larger and 3 smaller patterns.

Like the force there is a dark side...

Like the force there is a dark side…

And a light side

And a light side

To me double knitting is very beautiful, but it seems like it takes so much more time, basically its like you are doing a 1×1 rib, but you also have to pay attention to the detail of which stitch in the pattern facing you and the edges so that the two sides are hooked together and not open at the edges.

From WIP to FO in 1 batch of extra determination!

From WIP to FO in 1 batch of extra determination!

And that’s one project that can go on the Christmas gifts completed pile!

Speaking of things completed… I also knit up a second Spring Thaw for a friend of mine who was admiring the first. I believe it is now presently touring part of Canada.

A shawl knitted for Sporks, but not on sporks.  (which might be possible but probably insane)

A shawl knitted for Sporks, but not on sporks. (which might be possible but probably insane)

 

Progress Updates, Future Yarn projects and a little bit more

Firstly let me start out by saying… I have been knitting things since March… just they have been very little things… or not done yet things.

Little things like this cute doily out of crochet thread on needles I never remember the size of because my needle gauge tool only goes to the first 0.  (You’d think a single 0 would be enough, but apparently the world is not prepared for negative numbers in needle sizing.):

Pattern is called Auge

Pattern is called Auge

This is not your granny’s doily though…. This baby is not soon to be draped over an armchair or under the candy dish. This is your first cup of coffee or glass of water by your bed… because that’s just how big it is.

That's no doily! That's a coaster!

That’s no doily! That’s a coaster!

I have also been working on my double knit scarf and I’m a bit further along than these photos as I am now nearly done with flake number six.

Delicate White flakes against a dark green background.

Side A: Delicate White flakes against a dark green background.

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Side B: Powerful Green flakes on a snowy white background

So I think with my current progress I am at least past the hump of the middle of a scarf project.

Now I must confess I have still not gotten any further on my bird needlework project and every time I’m up in the library room with my sewing I remind myself I really ought to finish it up.

But in the mean time…. I did say I was going to make two sweaters this year, one for Ben and one for myself.  And I’m only half done with that project… so I took the next step and… couldn’t narrow it down past two designs I really liked.  One is called Spoke, and the other is called Luscious.  Well I figured the easiest method since they took two different kind of yarns was to browse through my various yarn options and see if I couldn’t have the yarn decide.  (Each take a different yarn weight)

Well the yarn decided alright…. it decided I was making two sweaters!

A Future Spoke Sweater!  (and a side of conductive thread for gloves)

A Future Spoke Sweater!
(and a side of conductive thread for gloves)

Future Luscious.  The heathered color on the left is the main body color, with the darker as the trim.

Future Luscious. The heathered color on the left is the main body color, with the darker as the trim.

As if that wasn’t enough yarn… I got a nice reminder that I had Jimmy Beans Bucks from some yarn I bought when working on Debora.   So I did what any good knitter would and bought a beautiful skein of lace weight yarn.

I am leaning towards the Frozen Leaves Shawl with this, but it means a full charted pattern.

I am leaning towards the Frozen Leaves Shawl with this, but it means a full charted pattern.

And that brings us to the end of the updates and progress… and you are wondering what exactly I meant by a little bit more.  Well…. I was contacted recently by someone that is getting ready to cast on a Debora blanket!  And to me… well that’s pretty awesome!   If you’ve ever watched Howl’s Moving Castle, then you will know what I mean when I say that’s the “I like your spark!” compliment.

Its Curtains for you, January! & January Project bag(s) round up

Ok so first things first….. as I mentioned in my What to expect in 2013 post, I am working on a master bedroom star quilt.  What I didn’t mention, was that this was a small part of a redecorating of the master bedroom… I managed to repaint it the aptly named, Restful (seriously… its a green).  This month… I tackled the curtains.  I was inspired by this fabric:

Nifty birds and branches!

Nifty birds and branches!

Which I then designed my own…. and used my left over quilt materials for my birds!  Which I just finished up today:

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And here they are!  (Note how restful my walls look! ^.~)

Earlier but better photo of my take

Earlier but better photo of my version.  

So I’m pretty pleased with myself about those.  They did take a bit more time than I anticipated, but there is quite a bit of detail work in there.  So its curtains for my curtains project!

And now for the second bit of the title…..

You know those various tote bags.. the cute ones with bugs that you receive as gifts, and the logo splashed freebies… I have a whole collection of those that I consider my project bags.   And its a good thing I have a decent collection…..

So first off… I made my own handbag this month!

Being modeled by my new dress form no less!

Being modeled by my new dress form no less!

The pattern is called Brea.  It came together rather quickly and personally I thought was a good use of some of my Chinese Yarn I purchased from Goodwill.  (That link is to the label, if you translate it let me know!)  I still have a few more balls of the brown, as well as some pale spring green and pale lilac.

I haven’t gotten terribly far on my double knit snowflake scarf project:

Green Side

Green Side

White side

White side

Double knitting seems rather interesting, but one of those things where you defiantly need to keep your mind on what you are doing, so it does tend to get set aside.

I mostly have this cross stitch done from a kit I picked up ages ago… I just need to tackle the backstitches and the french knots.  Its my first project using black aida cloth.

Four cute little Chickadees.

Four cute little Chickadees.

FINALLY…. I said I wanted to tackle a pair of sweaters this year and… not only did I finally pick out and order my yarn for the Ben sweater….

Future sweater in the raw.

Future sweater in the raw.

I’ve cast on and managed to work bout 12 inches of the back!  (This includes the 4 rows I had to pull out and redo last night from the evening before… -.-)

I'm now even further along, but will I finish it before winter finishes?

I’m now even further along, but will I finish it before  the end of winter?

(Lastly… if you have been eyeballing any of the remaining stockings… Please note that the coupons have been disabled, but the prices have dropped significantly if you are looking for a sweetheart gift in February!)

Let it Snow!

Quilt Two is now completed!  This one I made for my grandmother, and was inspired in part by Hawaiian Quilts.  Final size is approximately 50×50 inches, which is not really a standard size for anything, but just what I thought looked good and would work as a smaller lap quilt.   I did a much better job of the binding this time around, in fact there were corners I felt looked downright professional!

“Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, O flakes of snow, For which, through naked trees, the winds A-mourning go?” ― John Banister Tabb

I am going to mail this out just as soon as I figure out my letter I want to write with it.  I’m sure that societal conventions would say this is a Christmas Gift type of quilt, but I’m too impatient to tell her I love her and think about her all the time.  So conventions be damned!

There is a whole gallery about this quilt you can check out with pictures of flakes I didn’t use, close ups of materials and in progress work available here.  I plan to send some of those photos with the quilt.

While putting this together I found some pretty cool stuff… like there was a fine Gentleman by the name of Wilson A Bentley that took the first photo of an individual snowflake all the way back in 1885!  And he was so fascinated by snow, he went on to take 4999 more!  You can read a bit more about him over at snowflakebentley.com.  Also… there are scientists at Caltech creating snowflakes in their lab to study how they are formed, and you can watch video clips of some of the snowflakes being formed on their site SnowCrystals.com.

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.