In which binding goes wrong.

Recently, I decided to have a go at making a mini quilt. A shortcut mini quilt, even. I wanted to practice quilting on my home machine before tackling something larger. So, as I seem to do lately, off to the Fat Quarter Shop’s free pattern library I went. The Mini Charm Box seemed just the ticket. A couple of mini charm packs and next to nothing in background fabric and I was on my way.

It took me a couple of hours to put together the center of the quilt and another half hour to add the border. I basted and quilted it a few days later. I went ahead and made the binding too, but saved the pressing till later.

Last night, when I got home from work, I had an hour of downtime while rice cooked and kids played. Perfect time get that binding attached in hopes of some late night hand sewing. I got started pressing but when I got to the second of two seams, I discovered I had put it on backwards. The seam faced the wrong way. So, I ripped it out and redid it.

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Wrong. Again. (That’s 2 if you’re keeping count) I sewed it in the wrong direction. So I sewed it in the right direction. Ripped out the errant stitches, trimmed it and…

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It was backwards again. (3) So I fixed that. It was right this time:

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Happily, and only moderately irritated with myself, I set to work, attaching the binding to the quilt. I mitered all the corners nicely, and got the whole thing on. When it came time to sew the ends of the binding together, I set to work, sewed it, trimmed it, and…

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Backwards. (4) I said some very bad things and ripped out the stitches. Of course this time, it had been measured and trimmed so that was no excess. Surgery would be required.

And so, surgery is what I did. I pulled out the leftover binding to attach and give me more fabric to work with. And attach it I did, in the wrong direction. Naturally. (6) At this point I ceased to take pictures. I ripped out and redid the extension. Backward. (7)

And that is how it sits to this very minute. I promptly turned off the sewing machine, went up to the kitchen, cracked open a beer, and made supper. The quilt is still sitting in the sewing room, judging me with it’s backwards binding hanging from one side. I’ll get it in the end. I can and have bound things before. But I haven’t forgiven the quilt yet, so it’s still sitting in time-out. Do you put projects in time-out? Sometimes it’s the only way we come come to terms with each other.


YoM day 167: Sock knitting

YoM day 168: Quilting

YoM day 169: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM day 170: Sock knitting

YoM day 171: Sock knitting and quilting

YoM day 172: Quilting


Happy making!

It all happened so fast.

Last Sunday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and cut up some strip sets I had sewed together ages ago. They have been ready to cut for… 2.5 months? Yep, time to cut them. Once I got started though, I couldn’t stop myself. In what felt like no time, I had sewn up all the blocks!

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This is another of The Fat Quarter Shop‘s amazing shortcut quilts. So, no surprise, as advertised the blocks came together lickety-split. I spent an inordinate amount of time arranging these on the sunroom floor, trying to get a nice distribution.

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I like the final arrangement. I went to the sewing machine to sew it up, thinking I would finish it that evening. I sewed the first couple of blocks together and was horrified to find that my seams didn’t match! And they didn’t match by a lot. I ripped out the seams, measured the blocks, and was baffled. The blocks are the right size, all pretty darned even, especially for a newbie piecer like me. I went back to the video and watched it again. It turns out that the seams aren’t supposed to match. Silly me.

The only seams you really need to match up in the whole quilt are when you sew up the rows, the seams between blocks need to match up. Which I was very careful to pin a million times and do my best with. There’s something so pleasing about seams that interesect. This week, I’ve put in teensy bits of time, sewing a row up and adding it on here and there. This evening, I decided to add the last few rows and get it done. And then this:

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My sewing machine has an offset needle position by default, but my quarter inch foot only has a teeny hole for the needle in the center. Normally I’m really good about turning on my machine and automatically moving the needle position, but not today! So, the end of the quilt got a nice, fresh needle and I was off and running. I finished it up!

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My second quilt top of the year is all done. This is the Jelly Roll Twist, available for free at The Fat Quarter Shop. I used a jelly roll from the Eden collection by Tula Pink and a Bella Solids charm pack in white. That’s all the top needed! It finished at about 51.5″ x 60″.

I have to say, I love these shortcut quilts. It’s very satisfying to finish a top, and the projects are very manageable. I feel like the two I’ve made have really been great ways to practice my piecing skills without biting off more than I can chew. I’m on a definite sewing kick at the moment!


YoM day 162-165: Quilting/sewing, sock knitting, sweater knitting

YoM day 166: Quilting/sewing


Happy making!

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.