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
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.