Pack it up, pack it in.

At the end of my last post, I was wondering if I wanted to stay true to my Fairyhill shawl or if I wanted to cast on a million other things. It turns out sort of both and neither. I did not cast on anything new, but I cheated on the Fairyhill a bit anyway.

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First things first, the Fairyhill. It’s coming along beautifully. I’ve added the second color, Refresh by StressKnits, and I’m nearly at the 60% mark. It needs a touch more concentration now that I’m to the lacier section, but it’s still a really relaxing knit. I’m flying to California today, so I’m taking it on the plane. I would love to come home ready to block it.

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I’ve also been working on Joshua’s birthday socks. They are so fun and colorful, I can’t wait to give them to him. He picked the order of the colors but I haven’t let him see them after that. He wanted shortie socks, so I’m knitting a wee sock tube and I’ll cut in an afterthought heel later.

This week, I’ve been doing a little bit of sewing. And by a little bit I mean I’ve been making little things. I finally got some crushed walnut shells in, so I’ve been itching to make a new pincushion. I used some corner scraps from my Layer Cake Pop Quilt. They were little half-square triangles so I just sewed them together, trimmed them to 1.5″ squares and made a 9-patch. I quilted the little thing with straight, diagonal lines and used a random charm pack square for the back. I filled it with 50g of crushed walnut shells, but I think it could’ve use more.

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The side that I closed after filling it is wonky, but it’s super cute anyway. In more sewing news, last night I was looking at my Halloween notions pouch and decided it was time for something fresh on that front. I got started on it but decided to go to bed when I sewed the zipper in without bobbin thread. This morning I finished it before my coffee got cold.

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It’s so cute! I’m a complete novice with zippers, they give me a fit! But at least this guy turned out ok. I made my mom an identical little pouch for Christmas and I’m glad I finally made myself one. I used a tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl.

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Now I’m in the middle of packing for today’s trip. Of course, I had to throw in my next pair of socks… just in case. I tend to over-pack the knitting, but heaven forbid I ever ran out on the other side of the country. These are my second pair of revival socks. Both yarns are from Marigoldjen, but I’m going to have to do some research to figure out the colorway names.

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Well, here’s everything going to California today. This is a work trip, but I won’t have any coworkers there so I’m planning to put all of my free time into knitting. I’d love to come home with an FO or two, ready to cast on something else fun. Now to go get a shower and finish the suitcase. At least the important stuff is packed.


YoM day 129: Shawl knitting and sewed up a pincushion

YoM day 130: Shawl knitting

YoM day 131: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM day 132: Sock and shawl knitting


Happy making!

Mojo.

I’m in a lovely mood of finishing things and starting new things all over the place. My knitting mojo is raring to go.

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To start off, I finished my seventh pair of socks for the year. This yarn, BAERfoot sock from Baerenwolle, is the squishiest yarn I’ve ever knit. I felt the same way when I knit my sockhead hat. The socks feel so soft and squishy and lovely. Plus the colorway… that color combo, man.

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In related news, the leftovers from the socks are headed straight for my Marled Magic Mystery Shawl. I finished clue 1 and got started on clue 2. I’m not in a rush, but it is a fun project to pick up when I feel like playing. In case you’re wondering, the yarn is currently being carried around on the lid of my scrap bin. It seemed fitting.

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At the moment, I am positively vibrating with anticipation over the first installment of the Shawl Society II. The pattern comes out Thursday, May 4, but the other day Helen released the name of the shawl, the Fairyhill Shawl. I love it and cannot wait to get started. I’m so excited that I made my Fairyhill Shawl a shiny new project bag:

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The bag is from the Lined Drawstring Bag pattern from Jeni Baker. I love this pattern. The free tutorial takes you step by step through making the bag but I do think it’s well worth purchasing the full pattern for all of the different sizes. Jeni’s patterns are very well written and so well thought out. I made the project bag size, which is a nice 2-skein bag.

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As if all of this isn’t enough on my plate, I’ve balled up some minis to get started on some birthday socks for Joshua’s birthday. They will be quite scrappy, using a set of My Little Pony minis from Vivid Yarn Studio. The set is called Friendship is Magic:

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L-R: Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. (I only knew Rainbow Dash, had to consult the kids for the rest)

I’m also casting on my next pair of revival socks. I am having so much fun knitting and making these days, the bright sunshine has really livened up my motivation!


YoM Day 120: Sock knitting

YoM Day 121: Sock knitting and sewing

YoM Day 122: Finished socks, more sock knitting, plus some 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!

Progress and plans.

Yesterday, I got up pretty early for a Saturday to see Kevin and Astra off for a trip. Joshua and I stayed home and had a fantastic evening with my brother’s girlfriend, who was stopping through on her way north. We took a long walk, made supper, and stayed up late—for us—knitting and talking.

Before our lovely evening Joshua and I ran a few errands, one of which was a very important trip to my LQS. I’ve had it in my head for a while to make myself some spring bags, but mostly was looking to replenish my stock of solid white yardage. They were out of the solid white, but I did find some fun prints to stoke my creativity. I picked a solid to go with each and got out of the shop before any serious damage was done.

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I dug into the sunshine and clouds fabric this afternoon. I just love the sweet take on grellow. I made a lovely little project bag a la Jeni Baker’s tutorial on her blog, In Color Order. The tutorial is a great guide to making this cute little project bag, she takes it step by step with clear pictures and explanations. I am quite pleased:

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In knitting news, my revival socks are coming along really nicely. I’m falling in love with the yarn all over again, and can’t believe how different the new sock (top) looks from the old sock (bottom).

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I’ve also signed up for the second season of Helen Stewart’s Shawl Society. I didn’t participate last year, but I enjoyed the Snowmelt so very much that I decided to take the plunge this time around. The Shawl Society is a six-month club, with one shawl pattern released each month. I’m challenging myself to knit all six, let’s hope my steam holds out through September! Yarn hints for the first shawl come out tomorrow and I can’t wait to go stash diving.

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Finally, tomorrow marks my first 100 days of making! I’m going to do a bit of recap and I’m looking forward to taking a moment to reflect on this project.


YoM day 95-98: Sock knitting!

YoM day 99: Made a project bag and some sock knitting


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!

A pincushion with no pins.

I have a finished cross stitch project! It is so sweet and I do love it so. I finished the stitching over the weekend and finished the cushion this evening after work. I trimmed the cross stitch to around 3/4″ outside the edge of stitching and cut a piece of yellow fabric to match:

I sewed the two together, right sides facing, with the sewing machine. Turned it inside out, stuffed it with Falkland wool, and ladder stitched the opening closed. Basted the pom pom edge on and voila!

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There is so much pleasure in creating such a purely fanciful, decorative item. I don’t plan on using it as a pincushion, but just as a pretty accessory for my sewing room. I just can’t stand to haphazardly stick pins my first finished cross stitch project. But gosh, is it precious! The pattern is one of the Spring Trifles by Shepherd’s Bush, stitched on 28 ct. linen.

I have also been knitting on my Snowmelt Mystery shawl and now that clue 2 is out, I can show it! This is such a fun knit, so easy and soothing but varied enough to be very interesting.

It would also seem that I am quite taken with cross stitching. After finishing the above, I immediately started a new project:

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This post is decidedly devoid of socks, mostly because the rainbow sock I have finished is too small and thus in timeout.


YoM day 38: Socks and cross stitch

YoM day 39: Socks and cross stitch

YoM day 40: Finished pin cushion and started shawl clue 2!


Happy Making!

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts