July and August did Happen.

I am once again behind on updating my blog. Sometimes it honestly feels like I am getting nothing done. Which when I go to put together a post, is clearly not true.

So first up, I participated in my second quilt block swap. This time it was groups of 16. I have just 15 blocks and am awaiting the last one, so this photo are the blocks I sent out. Its a log cabin design with a central red square. It was a great use of remnants from prior quilts in there. You will see my goldfish bargello, my guest quilt and a few other throw backs in you look close.

On the knitting front, I’ve knit up a few pairs of socks and the first of my Christmas gifts, a Santa’s Laundry Line. Yes, I am behind on some gifts while ahead on others. Its just how my brain goes in random directions sometimes I think.

I have managed to get more done on my 365 quilt. As of this morning I’m at July 11th. Which means I could add my light border, but I’m waiting until I finish all of July. There are 32 total blocks including the birthday cake block because my birthday was that month.

Lastly, here is a preview of an advent tree I am making as a gift. The Tree itself is based on a dresden plate type design. Which I am knitting a number of ornaments to hang on it.

This is just laid out flat with lights and button baubles laying on it to give myself an idea of how its coming together. The plan is to tuck the battery pack into a pocket on the backside an thread the light cord through with a button hole behind the tree itself. I have started ornaments, mostly just to get an idea of sizing for my pocket presents that should sit under the tree.

Top Grows and Warm Toes

So first up, the top for my 365 quilt has grown not just in blocks made, but I finally was able to do some assembly with the post April blocks. Which made it look like this:

End of April assembly (96 dark blue blocks, 4 lighter corners, 4 lighter borders, 1 center medallion)

The very end of April, all of May and June are dedicated primarily to lighter 6 inch blocks which will then join for border around this section. I did manage to complete my May blocks, and then laid them out around the sides to get an idea of how it is growing. The hardest part here is explaining over and over to some inquiries that, yes I have completed over 100 blocks, but I also have over 200 blocks left to go. I am going to be at this awhile, and no, I’m not close to done yet.

I might be a bit further along, but its also been Sock Madness Season, and I made it all the way into the penultimate round this year! This year, I experienced my first stacked stitches and steeked designs.

Learning new techniques is one of the main reasons I participate in Sock Madness each year. Socks are a nice small scale project with a wide range of potential building techniques. I may not always adore every design, but its at least going to turn out something useful. And as usual, by the end of Sock Madness it gives me design ideas.

Lastly, I joined in my first quilt block swap. For this swap everyone made 12 Jacob’s Ladder Quilt blocks and mailed 11 of them off to their group members. This alone would make a more lap quilt sized blanket, but if you add some other blocks, then you can build a bigger quilt. Here’s my blocks I have to make a top out of:

Socks and Borders

A regular reader may know that now is the time of Sock Madness… a time of knitting socks as fast as you can for nothing more than bragging rights, skills building and overflowing sock drawers. I am once again playing, though after being rather unkind to my left shoulder this past winter, its now being unkind back to me and so I am trying to rest between rounds. I am apparently not very good at the resting it part. So first up a gallery of socks, including my own warm up pair made for Ben of green and rainbows, the qualifier that I affectionately named “Lisa Frank barfed in my shoes“, the sparkly Elven jewelry socks of round 1, and Sock Pockets! of round 2 (none of which are their real names but if you click on the links they do take you to the real pattern pages on Rav)

I have just barely managed to keep up with the date of my 365 quilt blocks as of today, if not for the fact that I am several years behind. April starts out with the 4 long narrow borders that go around the center medallion followed by the 4 corner blocks. At which point its then back to small dark squares but at the end of April you can assemble the center with its borders and the first dark border so that’s certainly something to look forward to.

And in other quilting news… another local quilter reached out to share a photo of what the full 2006 block of the month quilt was intended to look like and also gave me her extra fabric from her hard work! So that project is now firmly somewhere on the To-Do List of Quilting!

I also participated in my first quilt block swap this past month, and got all my blocks mailed out and several of my swapee blocks are starting to roll in. This was organized on r/quiltingblockswap on reddit and this time around was a Jacob’s Ladder pattern. I have a couple ideas floating around for final layout, but something for another update.

Now back to… not knitting ¬.¬

When it Rains

I live in the Pacific Northwest, known for its coffee, apples and lots of rain. So while I was eager to get photos of the rainy day quilt the weather forecast was saying “maybe next week” and I am feeling too impatient for that. So here are a few photos of my finished Rainy Day Quilt built around a couple broken up rows from the 2015 Row by Row with the theme of “water” and the Western Washington Quilt Shop hop with its umbrellas and raindrops special fabric.

While I was working this one up, it reminded me of an old English poem.

The rain, it rains upon the Just,
And also on the unjust Fella
But Twice as much upon the Just,
For the unjust stole the Just’s Umbrella

Unknown (I looked, its been attributed to a wide variety but wasn’t able to pin down the original wit)

Which means I can claim three whole quilts fully finished this year. I have three more ready for quilting, but one of them is my wedding quilt and I’m not 100% ready for tackling that one in my long arming journey although I do think that some of the stippling turned out alright.

Its been yet another busy several weeks going to Kansas and packing up and painting. So I’ve just managed to get my hats of the month KAL caught up to November and a singular pair of boring vanilla socks completed in knitting. But now I’m back and its National Knit a Sweater Month, so I’ve started on a sweater. Let’s hope I get a bit more knit time in this month and can manage to finish it!

You may remember me from such posts as…

It has been quite some time, and while I wish this update was full of a heck of a lot more quilts and knits to show off… its sadly not. I haven’t given up on either of those hobbies; but life has certainly came along and whacked me upside the head with a frying pan full of life happenings. Since my last post I have been back and forth to Kansas about three times helping out my in-laws which is sadly now just a singular in-law who is now living with us. And, since the room she has moved into was the home of many of my hobby supplies, it all got squished into the craft space that houses my sewing machine and frame. I have needed to do some serious reorganization there.

My Rainy Quilt has been sitting on the quilt frame needing to be unburied to get back to finishing it up. I am doing a bit of all over stippling on the non-umbrella and boots blocks, and up to this point it has been coming together. Here’s a couple progress photos from before the room was taken over by all my unorganized stuff.

I did get a bit of a jump on organizing (Thanks past self!) because I had started to bolt my larger fabric lengths onto cardboard magazine backers with some small binder clips. This makes my fabric a bit tidier and fits in both bins and on bookshelves a bit easier. I had a couple display cabinets of dolls that I packed up and repurposed into my yarn and fabric stash cabinets, and the nightstand from the formerly known as guestroom turned out to fit some small bolts on 5×7 backers for roughly fat quarter size fabrics.

I did manage to finish up a couple pairs of socks but I think the last pair took a month and a half! I am trying to catch back up on the hats of the month KAL, currently behind August and September but I did actually start my September hat yesterday so hopefully it won’t take too long. And oh yeah…. holidays are coming!

So everyone keep your fingers crossed that things start smoothing out soon, or everyone is getting gift cards this year!

There And Back Again

I left off last time with my quilt frame top plate having just arrived and assembled, the imminent start of the next sock madness round, and a fast approaching road trip departure to a memorial. So let’s start where I did… with my first “quilt” set up on the frame to give it a trial run. I chose to try it out on a simple triangle pattern fabric that I planned to use like a cheater quilt. Straight lines are pretty easy with a walking foot, and on the horizontal left to right or right to left, I found the frame just as easy and perhaps even more efficient. However, I struggle with angled lines. With a walking foot I’d have turned my fabric’s orientation and it would have been all straight. But on the frame I was attempting to drive free form at an angle. Some lines turned out more wavy than others. But overall the start to finish on a throw size quilt was significantly shorter and took me about one day.

On my machine I get about six inches of depth before needing to roll up the quilt, which on this fabric was about two triangles high. This seems like a good reasonable amount and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next quilt…. which I think is to be the Bargello flag because July is coming.

In the hats department… we have arrived at June, which will be the sixth hat in the series, so here’s an overview of the first five.

The next round of sock madness happened just after I got my pink quilt off the frame and before I could sew the binding down on the back side. It was an instarsia harlequin single stitch sock, so lots of fiddly tails. Personally I think if you knit a sock pattern that devotes a section to how to manage 17 yarn threads, you can no longer say you are a beginner knitter.

I managed to finish my pair at the charge stop in Clearwater, Minnesota. It was raining. My finished posts are primarily laid out on my seat, and I had to hunch over. The things we do in the spirit of competition! They took me five calendar days, but one of those days I was driving across most of Montana which hardly counts. I sewed the binding on my quilt down and started another pair for my patient husband between rounds from my new magazine subscription.

The next round (still ongoing) started on the 29th with me needing to hand wind up my skein of yarn. They have beaded embroidery embellishment after you finish knitting, and alas after a few delays for me, I am out of the competition, but have managed to get one sock knitted.

But wait! There’s more! (Sorry… couldn’t help myself there) I also managed to finish my big monogamous knitting project and can now reveal it in some of its glory. I managed to finish and bind off right under my auntie’s nose and then found a sneaky place to block it a bit. Honestly I am mildy disappointed I didn’t bring it home to block it again to get the last of the bunched bits flattened out but based on how things have worked out.. I might not have been able to block it for awhile yet and this way she got it as an early birthday surprise.

If you look closely, the new cone is slightly different on the edges, but I am calling that a design element. This is the Tannenzpfen/Fir Cone pattern by Herbert Niebling. Its 405 rounds, and I knit mine on 000 needles and it came out about four feet square-ish.

Whew! That was quite a bit. But there is more coming up this month. I’m debating if I may do at least some of the quilt shop hop this year which is happening this month. And strawberries and raspberries should be ripening for picking soon too. And of course… new month… new hat to knit. Until then… socks, socks, and more socks.

The Monotony of Monogamy

That title seems ominous, but I assure you its not. Its just a reference that when you are working on a large scale project and you want to finish… you start to just work on that project monogamously and at some points you just want it to be done already because if you look at that yarn and needle combination any longer your brain is going to wither away from the monotony of it. Now that I have teased and explained myself, you would naturally assume I was going to reveal my finished large project. I regret to say no such luck, its a gift so I don’t usually reveal photos until its been given (Though if you check my Ravelry projects you can figure it out). I am past the monotony stage and am now in the panicking about yarn chicken stage and I will show you where I am in that regards. I bought two cones of lace weight for a couple lace projects. Both cones were by weight the same size and a bit of 3300 yards range which I was (at the time) confident would see me through. Well here’s those same two cones just a couple weeks ago at a bit over 80% done:

I am down to my last 25 rows… wish me luck!

Now… the last post I said I ordered a smaller quilt frame and I’ve actually been holding up this post because while the main part of the frame has arrived… I’m still waiting on the last part, which is the carriage top and handles that make it work with my home machine. Maybe by posting about it anyway the cosmic universe will get the nudge it needs to break it free from limbo. So now here’s some photos and details.. and I confess in my eagerness I didn’t do any cleaning up of my craft space so I apologize for the mess.

First up.. let’s talk about working spaces. The space I use for my quilting is a bit multi-use in that my husband and I keep lots of books and as what happens in extra space that’s where sometimes things end up as storage. So I try to get a lot of use out of my space. One of my great finds was the Ikea Norden table I use for a cutting table and general workspace. With the leaves folded up I get a nearly 60 inch workspace, but then if I fold them down its a bit under 13 inches! The gatelegs that hold up each of the leaves is incredibly sturdy too. So my frame space and my cutting space are basically the same, I just fold up my table when I want to use the frame. The only “downside” to my table that I have found is that the drawers are 3 each side so my super long 6×24 ruler doesn’t fit in across the whole length… that would have been perfect!

The frame I chose was the Grace Q-Zone Hoop frame. I chose the Pro version to get the cloth leaders, the upgraded track system and the table inserts for the potential of templates/pantographs. I also ordered a laser and stitch regulator and those two items arrived first a few days before the frame boxes. I ordered through my local sewing machine store because I do try to go local when I can. I was dancing with glee when they called to let me know my frame was in. It came in three boxes labeled 1 of 3, 2 of 3, and 3 of 3 (plus the two accessories in their own box). I used the paper instruction booklet and immediately set to work putting it together myself. And, I honestly find that step important for this frame as the way you assemble and walk through the steps is a basic hands on approach to how you will adjust and use your frame. 90% of assembly can be done solo and the last bit you can do solo if you have something to rest the table end on when you put on the first leg brace (such as a chair) if you don’t have an assembly partner. All of it can be done with the included tools; it does take a couple hours.

Then you get to page 9, the back rail assembly, and the directions point you to page 18 for the carriage top plate assembly and realize those parts didn’t come in those three frame boxes. Now, I have read several reviews so I didn’t panic too much straight away (just enough to be slightly miffed I couldn’t move on to actually using my frame just yet) because a number of reviews mentioned this additional box that shows up a couple days later with those parts. I did call the next day to the sewing shop and confirmed they are expected. Everyone cross our collective fingers. The good news is that as you can see, although the frame is wider front to back than my table, lengthwise its actually a bit shorter. So it fits easily in the space.

Meanwhile, when I’m not knitting the big monotonous monogamy project its speedy Sock Madness. I hoped to be knocked out in the early rounds because end of this month I need to travel to a funeral, but due to my inability to not attempt to be competitive, I’m still in and moving on to round four. So here’s the first three pair, which have encompassed knitting inside out with cables, beads and two color with brioche.

Marching Onward

For this update I am presenting some awkwardly taken photos in handknit hat and scarf, some pretty awesome Sock Madness qualifier socks and a whole laundry basket of quilting plans.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. It rains here. Quite a lot in the Spring and Fall. So much so that last spring at the end of a particularly rainy week, I pulled out of the garage and noticing it was just misting and thought aloud “well at least its not raining.” This means overcast days and also they get pretty short on the winter end of the year, so lots of photos when I finish end up at far less than ideal lighting. So in today’s less than grand photos… I bring you my March hat, knit up in the remnants of my Harvest sweater yarn.

You may recall my sweater was a lovely shade of chestnut brown with splashes of a lovely teal. And while this hat is knit with the exact same yarn, this photo is taken at 9PM in the dark and I was trying to be a bit creative with the mirrors.

Next up, I picked out a deceptively simple garter stitch short row scarf. I started in January with the goal of using up the 90% skein of Cascade worsted and at least one skein of some Liberty Wool I was gifted back far enough I put it in my Ravelry stash in 2013.

I ended up running out of the Cascade and had to sub due to availability of BLACK yarn of all things… and only used one skein of the Liberty Wool, but I love how it hugs the neck and transitions through the color changes. Sadly most of the color changes are hidden behind the fold.

Now that those horrible photos are behind us… onto the Sock Madness Qualifier round! The designer of these beauties is more typically submitting later round socks, last year was the three color Lampropeltis, but she writes in a way that if you just jump in with trust they are clear. I actually chose one of her designs as my third pair ever. My first pair were vanilla stockinette and I thought they were the most boring things ever. My second set was a KAL pair which taught me that socks don’t have to be boring. I mostly avoid boring socks.

And in quilting news; I have placed an order for a smaller frame that should fit my machine for quilting! I decided letting my quilting projects pile up without getting to the actual quilting part was kind of sad. So today I went and bought some backing fabrics for my future quilts and here’s the previews of some future projects. There is also my wedding quilt but no photos of that one yet.

So its sock season… expect more socks and eventually some quilt frame assembly and hopefully some finished quilts!

Getting Ripped

That’s right this post is all about bulking out and… oh no, its about having to fix mistakes, which in sewing involves the seam ripper and I had some ripping adventures on this latest project! You may recall the yellow and green fabric from a post back in January where I finally decided what it was going to become. I picked a pattern called Ruby Reflections in a post holiday sale and while I didn’t have quite enough to do a full pattern, I was able to scale it down one step with what fabric I had (plus a wee bit to supplement the yellow that I was lucky enough to find on ebay) leaving me with what should be enough of the green for the binding so all I need for this one is some backing! But along the way I had one row where I apparently turned the blocks 90 degrees and that one row I seamed together the wrong side so there was plenty of seams to pull apart and redo, but some of the corners seamed together into some practically perfect points.

I’ve discovered that just about the time I’m starting to get that confidence and mental motion of “I’m totally nailing this! I am going to finish this up so fast and nicely!” then here comes reality with a humility check roll. But my determination stat is pretty high so… I’ve finished this quilt top! All 84 blocks in one month and coming out at approximately 67 inches square.

At the end of January I got most of my backing/binding and border fabric for the Rainy Day Quilt, so here’s an updated version of that quilt top. I want to do something a bit fun on the back of this one since its already a bit of a hashed together front.

In the knitting department I finished my first socks of 2021, a pair of Fifteens, which is a warm up pattern for Sock Madness and a celebration of their Fifteenth year! And I completed the February Hat. I did quite a bit of a knitted gift as well, but as per my usual, I don’t post gifts until they are given or under special circumstances.

With Sock Madness starting up next month… expect more socks coming soon! (And the March Hat too!)

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.