Not a quilter.

Today, we’re going to have a story. Years ago—about 9—I decided I wanted to make a quilt. When I was a little girl, my mom had done some quilting and I just knew in my heart that I wanted to hand-sew and hand-quilt a log cabin quilt for my bed. So I mentioned this to my mom and I’m sure she said something about that being a bit ambitious. But off to the local quilt shop I went.

It turns out, hand sewing is a long process. Hand piecing log cabin squares is very long process. Now, certainly, people do it. For my first foray, I was not having much. Talking with my mom, she—I’m sure very gently—suggested that maybe using a sewing machine would be ok. So back to the quilt shop we went. I talked to that same lady and she suggested a “Turning 20″ quilt—a simple pattern with large pieces that wouldn’t take a ton of cutting or piecing. I was sold.

With her help, I picked out all the fabric and she encouraged me to bring the top in when I was finished. Back home I went and got started cutting and piecing. Well, this was just flying along! So much so, that I snuck out and got some more fabric for another quilt. A double Irish chain, I think—I’ve lost the pattern now—with something like 1000 2.5” squares. I cut those out, too.

I finished the quilt top and was so proud. Honestly, so proud. So happy at completing it and so happy with how darned pretty it was.  I happily packed it up, ready to go to the shop and show off my prized work of art. At the shop, someone else was working but I was eager and unfolded my top to show her.

She was not impressed. Not remotely. She pointed out that the points didn’t match up, where the border wasn’t straight, where the seams were wonky. She told me that it would be very difficult to quilt, and I should consider redoing the whole thing.  I was crushed. I remember taking my top back home and feeling so down. My mom was encouraging, but in my head I started thinking that quilting might not be my bag.

Over the next weeks, I slowly packed up the fabric and quilt top and notions, putting them in the closet. Over the years, I gradually realized that I am a knitter and not a quilter. When I moved, I gave all of the stuff to my mom, saying that I’m just not a quilter. A few years after that, I got the itch to sew. Make some curtains or a project bag or something. My mom happily dug out all of my old stuff and I went through it, eventually pulling out that old quilt top.

At that point, last summer, I was a much more experience crafter. I feel like I’m a pretty good knitter and I taught myself all of that, so I feel more confidence in trying new things. I looked at that old quilt top and essentially said to myself that I might as well figure out how to make it into a real quilt, one way or another.

Off I went to my new local quilt shop, here in Maryland. I took a class on long-arm quilting and brought my quilt in.  I was still awfully sheepish about bringing in my “crappy quilt top,” but Leticia—the staff person helping me for my first long-arm session—was undaunted. “Let’s get it on the frame, you can quilt it and you will snuggle under it and you will love it.”

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After all of that, I still put off binding it. A mental road block, maybe? I’ve even started and completed another quilt since:

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But last weekend, after finishing another quilt top, I decided to go ahead and finish it up. I’m tired of moving it around the craft room and just wanted it out. So I attached the binding and got to work.

I cannot put into words how good it feels to get this quilt finished. It was a big hurdle in my crafting life, something weighing me down, pulling at me. It took me 9 years to finish it, but now I don’t feel like I am not a quilter. I know that I am a maker.

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Pattern: Turning Twenty Into Diamonds by Tricia Cribbs

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The moral of my story is, don’t be discouraged by discouraging people or even by your own insecurities. Maybe that lady was having a bad day, maybe lots of things, but I didn’t have to take those words to heart and let them define me. I didn’t know then, but I certainly do now, that the crafting/making world is full of encouragement, advice, blogs, videos, forums, and all sorts of help. It’s out there for the taking. All you have to do is make things that make you happy, and a maker you will be. A knitter, a stitcher, a baker.

Even a quilter.


YoM day 85-88: Quilting


Happy making!

Linked to My Quilt InfatuationCrazy Mom Quilts, and Sew Fresh Quilts

Ending on a high note.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? March has turned out to be quite the whirlwind. Between two personally difficult weeks and a week long work trip, it’s been a bit hard to keep up the making mojo. Often, I’ve found myself crawling into bed and knitting a few rows of a sock in silence before sleep.

I cast on a new sock for my work trip, thinking a bright green sock would be perfect for a trip over St. Patty’s Day. The yarn is Lamby Toes in a one of a kind dye lot, on her corriedale base. For a relatively short flight, I was productive. I knit slowly, but steadily through the week. This work trip was for our annual meeting and is the busiest week of my year. Not much time for knitting, but by the time we touched back down to Maryland, I had picked up and started the gusset.

The trip itself was to New Orleans. I would love to go visit the city one day when I could explore the Garden District and other areas in the daytime. As it was, all of my free time was either early in the morning or late at night. We did manage a late night vampire tour, an early morning walk to Cafe du Monde, and a pre-flight afternoon walk through the French Quarter.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been a ball of stress and have found it difficult to knit for some reason. I was home Wednesday evening and fretting about what to do craft-wise. I thought I might sew, so I spent some time perusing different small projects I’ve been bookmarking. Nothing was really catching my eye, so I went into the craft room for some inspiration.

A month or so ago, I stumbled across the Layer Cake Pop quilt pattern and thought it might be a good thing to hone my skills on, so I purchased the fabric for the top. It’s a free pattern and uses a teensy bit of fabric—really, half a layer cake and a jelly roll. I saw the fabric sitting on the shelf and decided that I could at least get started cutting it out. An hour and a half later, I had finished all the cutting. I don’t know what came over me, but it was so enjoyable.

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I started piecing it and it just seemed to magically grow. It is supposed to be a shortcut quilt, and I’m telling you—it flies by! I finished the top this afternoon. I never even took any progress pictures, I just made the thing!

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The fabric is a Lecien layer cake in Retro 30’s Child Smile and a Moda Bella Solids jelly roll in white. You can find the pattern here, I highly recommend it, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. My piecing is certainly not perfect, but this was a good size project to practice on.

I’m feeling the sewing bug coming on strong, so we’ll see what happens this week. It felt great today to finish the quilt top, after such a busy couple of weeks. I can’t wait to quilt it!


YoM day 69: Sock knitting and snowmelt shawl

YoM day 70-80: Sock knitting.

YoM day 81: Quilting

YoM day 82: Sock knitting and quilting

YoM day 83: Sock knitting and quilting

YoM day 84: Finished Layer Cake Pop quilt top!


Happy making!

Sock knitter.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I like socks. I’ve always liked cute socks but when I figured out that I could knit them, something clicked. I am by no means a prolific sock knitter, but it is definitely my go-to project.

I don’t know what it is, maybe the dichotomy of spending so much time and effort on such a practical object. Maybe it’s the freedom to put any and every color of the rainbow on my feet. Maybe it’s just that they’re steady and simple and I don’t need to think much.

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Tumbleweed Yarn in Sidewalk Sand

I have certainly evolved as a sock knitter. This is the first pair of fingering weight socks I made and they took me months and months. I gifted them to my mom, because I knit them too short for me and din’t know how to take out the toe and re-knit it. I also have slowly gone down in needle size and stitch count over the years. I think I have some delusion about having very wide feet and legs, so my sock size has just slowly gotten smaller as I’ve tried to get a more snug fit.

These are socks I knit a little over a year ago and you can see how loose they are! I was knitting those at 72 stitches, I’m down to 64 now. If you’re curious, nowadays I generally follow Susan B. Anderson’s sock recipe, except I knit mine on 2.0 mm needles (US 0).

I do deviate from this pattern for self-striping socks, or any other yarn where I don’t want to disrupt the pooling or striping along the front of the sock, and for contrast heels. For those, I’ve done a fish lips kiss heel or the smooth operator sock, but now I am a full on Kirbywirby convert. I knit a 12-13″ sock tube and cut in the heel according to her tutorial.

All of this to say, that I love to knit socks. I love learning more about them, honing my skill and the fit, and of course, wearing them. My new pair is humming steadily along, and this color, Sweet Sweet Candy, makes my heart sing.

We’re on a surprise roadtrip to be with family, so my car knitting game has been strong—and my snowmelt is finally getting some love.


YoM day 62: Sock knitting!

YoM day 63: Sock knitting!

YoM day 64: Sock knitting!

YoM day 65: Sock knitting!

YoM day 66: Sock knitting and snowmelt shawl

YoM day 67: Snowmelt shawl, finished clue 3!

YoM day 68: Snowmelt shawl


Happy making!

Finished, nonetheless.

I did not finish the socks in time. I’ve come to terms with that fact. I’ve decided that really February is a short month and doesn’t count, right? Right.

All jesting aside, I just couldn’t get it done. I didn’t have the knitting mojo for it at the beginning of the week. I did learn that I can knit a complete heel flap on the train from College Park to Tenleytown and back.

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The knitting mojo was back on Wednesday with a vengeance and  I finally finished them Thursday evening. I just adore the finished pair. The colorway is a little out of the box from my typical palate, warmer I think, but that’s one of my favorite parts.

The yarn is Tempting Ewe Yarns in the Rainbow Brite colorway. It’s on their Ewe So Happy sock, which is a plump and squishy 90/10 merino/nylon. These may be the squishiest pair of socks I’ve knit. Ewe So Happy Sock comes in an over-sized skein of 125 grams. I had about 57 grams leftover after these, which is plenty to make another pair of socks with! I am thinking about making a pair for my sister-in-law, the colors remind me of her.

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I decided to do a contrast toe for these and picked out a mini I had received from a friend a while back. The yarn is Countess Ablaze in Orange Fizz. I was a little afraid of running out, since I only had 6 grams of it so I did a mini contrast toe.I just knit the first three decrease rounds before adding in the orange. Normally, I’d put in the contrast for the first decrease row, but this was a cute change.

These are my fourth pair in my box o’sox. It makes me excited to be a third of the way to a full box already. I remember the year where I just couldn’t get 12 pairs done and that feeling of progression is nice. I  do just love knitting socks and it brings me joy to see them in my box. I’m considering not wearing them until next year, having a whole box of pristine new socks at the beginning of next year is awfully tempting.

My next pair is already on the needles. The yarn is from The Lemonade Shop in Sweet Sweet Candy. I’m enjoying these but also thinking about my Snowmelt shawl, the last clue is out!


YoM day 58: Sock knitting

YoM day 59: Sock knitting

YoM day 60: Sock knitting

YoM day 61: Sock knitting


Happy making!