100 days of making.

On each of the last one hundred days, I have put time into making. Some days, it’s been hours and hours of knitting or sewing and others it’s been just a few rows on a sock before I fall asleep. All in all, it’s been a great experience so far. I’ve become much more mindful of my time and it’s become easier to squirrel away a few minutes to myself no matter where I am.

I keep track of what I do each day in a little spreadsheet. According to the spreadsheet, I have knit on 88 of the last 100 days. 88! That’s a lot of knitting. I think it’s easy to see where my passion lies. 77 of those included sock knitting. If you’ve read this blog before, you probably aren’t surprised—I do love my socks. There was a bit of shawl and hat knitting thrown in there as well. The rest of my days were spent sewing, quilting, and cross stitching, with one evening of kraut mixed in.

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This is my first 100 days worth of finished objects. It’s a pretty happy lot to look at, if you ask me. I am by no means prolific, but I’m happy with my progress. In the first one hundred days of last year, I had made three pairs of socks, a shawl, and a hat. This year, I’m up to 16 FO’s! That’s quite the increase.

I always think of myself as a product maker. I want the thing—the shawl, the quilt, the jam—so I make it. It makes my heart soar to see all of the projects I’ve finished, to use them and love them. But one thing I’ve learned over the last 100 days is that the process is equally as heartwarming. Making de-stresses me and stokes my creativity. Writing this blog has helped me see all of the stories that are woven into every project I make and that has been a wonderful discovery.

I can’t wait to see what the next 100 days has in store for me. We’ll be well up into July at that point so I hope there is a fair bit of canning alongside the socks in my next collage.


Year of Making Day 100: Sock knitting, what else?


Happy making!

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!

The Long and Winding Road

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Yesterday, for New Year’s Day, my family participated in one of our time-honored traditions. We road tripped back from Tennessee. Now, Tennessee is not incredibly far from Maryland, but it is not that close either. Usually the 8 hour drive takes us somewhere between 10 and 12, since we are most often travelling on the worst days possible. I fully expected this to be the case on New Year’s Day, and had visions of long hours of knitting while Kevin (dear BF) drove and long hours of dream knitting while I drove.

It was a pleasant surprise, then, when we clocked the trip at just over eight and a half hours! Alas, I was only able to knit the gusset and half of the foot in Joshua’s (my son) sock. I did plan somewhere around 4352 projects while I was driving, though. With all of that extra time we had, I decided to try a new project that has been tempting me.

Year of Making, Day 1: Joshua’s second sock and a granny stripe blanket!

I have been itching to cast on a scrappy granny stripe blanket. However, I am not a crocheter. At all. Last Christmas, I crocheted two hexagons – but with BF’s mother (an expert crocheter) right there, answering every question. With my unexpected free time last night, I thought it was the perfect time to go for it. What have I got to lose? They do say crochet is easy to rip back if you mess up. So far, so good. I love this “blanket” already!

I am making my blanket according to the advice from Chelsea from the Legacy Knitz Podcast. I made three magic knot balls to start, all from mini skeins I have collected in one way or another over the past few years. I’m using a 3.5 mm hook and chained on 360+2. From there, I’m just following the granny stripe tutorial from Bella Coco.

Today, we are off but the kids are not, so it’s hot coffee, a lunch date, and some leisurely crocheting for me. Happy New Year and happy making!

Year of Making

A Year of Making

 

Last year around this time, I was inspired to choose a word to encapsulate a goal for myself for 2016. After a great deal of thought, I chose “make.” I chose make because that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to become more of a maker: to produce, to create. I feel that I achieved the goal I had in mind at the time. I finally knit 12 pairs of socks in a year, I canned something other than jam, and I made Christmas gifts for my siblings.

As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about how to proceed. Whether to choose a new word or to continue with my word in a new way. I stumbled across an Instagram post tagged “yearofmaking” and that got me thinking. What would a year of making look like for me? I know that I would not be able to make something everyday, unless we start counting messes and spaghetti dinners. But can I work on a making project every day? I think so. I hope so.

Sweaters and shawls, quilts, canned goods, preserved goods, perhaps even bread. My goal is to put energy into a making project every day. Some days that will amount to a few rows on a sock, and that is ok. I plan to chronicle my progress here. I often see the sentiment that a year from now, you will wish you had started today. And so today, I will post this first post and knit on my sock and look forward to the promise of a new year.

2017 will be my year of making.