Sunday, October 23, 2016

October in a nutshell

I need to do a better job coordinating between my blog and Instagram.  A lot has happened this month, and I just realized none of it has been posted here.  If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these pictures, therefore you may be excused :)
Otherwise here's what I've been up to:

1. More Taryn's blocks were sewn. I can't wait to hand quilt this one.
2. There was some actual weather here this month.  It's unusual for us to get any kind of storminess in October, but the rain has been a welcome relief from the dry dusty heat.
3. The herbs I picked back in August are dried and I plan on putting them into little jars and giving  some away for Christmas.  Need to find some cute labels.
4. I followed a couple of different tutorials for a zippered pouch to make a large project bag and a small notions bag.  I used some Japanese fabric from my stash and a floral from Rifle Paper Co.
You can find the instructions at Noodlehead and Jedicraftgirl.  I haven't fiddled with zippers in quite a while, but I managed to survive the trauma of installing 2 of them.  Now I want to make a few more of these bags as gifts.
5. Just finished reading Uprooted, which was good but just missed being really good by something that I can't put my finger on. Maybe the POV it was written in, or character development, I don't know, but if you've read it I 'd love to hear your thoughts. The yarn is Quince and Co. Osprey in Carrie's Yellow.  I'm thinking of adding yarny embroidery to the ends of the scarf I'm making.  Not sure how that's going to work on garter stitch, I think stockinette might be better, but it's worth a try.
Until next time!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall Finish

Hey you guys I finished my shawl! First big knitted object for me and boy did I learn a few things along the way. Like a garter tab cast on, M1L and R, and spit splicing (always wanted to try that).  A big shout out to my Mom for helping me through a few rough patches.  I spent this entire past weekend on my butt knitting the last 2 sections, making fringe and blocking.  The Shelter yarn was really nice to work with and smelled particularly sheepy :) 
I'm still working on my nine patch quilt, and a crocheted blanket, but am itching to cast on the next knitting project, which will either be another shawl or a hat.  I ordered some yarn to make an Arika too, but maybe I'll wait until it arrives and finish up the quilt first.
The last two pictures are of a notions bag, which is made out of some kind of recycled vinyl, and is virtually indestructible.  I love that aqua sewing machine.  The fabric was bought at my local fabric store which I just heard is going out of business at the end of the year.  That puts the next closest fabric shop about 45 minutes away. Bummer.
Hope you all have a good week.  I have NOTHING going on this week, first time in a long time, except an appointment to get the septic tank pumped on Friday, which is kind of crappy hahaha. That's how exciting my life is. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trial and error. Mostly error.

Here's my first Fall finish, a small Irish chain table runner made from cheddar scraps and Kona snow.  It measures 24.5 x 28.5.  I machine quilted it and tied it with brown Perle cotton, but when it came out of the dryer almost all my ties were undone.  Dang it.  They looked cute too.  I had to pull them all out.  For the moment it's going to stay as is. Who am I kidding.  It will stay like this forever.  Moving on.
These blocks have been staring at me for 2 months now.  I've been hunting for a background fabric for the setting squares and side triangles, but nothing felt right.  I even bought 2 yards of Kaufman Essex linen blend online, in a dark charcoal, and was so sure it would look awesome, that I immediately cut into it and threw the squares up next to the 9 patches.  Bleh.  As you can see I opted for an off white background.  Kona snow again.  Typically my default color of which I am trying to get away from using so much of it, because all my quilts are starting to look the same to me. I have a whole bolt of this in my closet, so I just caved in and used it.
That charcoal fabric would have been great as a tunic or dress, but because I cut it up I now have twelve 8" squares and a small amount of yardage.  That means I can make a very short top with 12 pockets. Sounds about right.

I started this ripple because it's been in my head at least 3 years and it needed to be made.  When the book Homespun Style by Selina Lake came out there was a granny blanket on page 71 in a similar colorway and I wanted it with my whole being.  Okay that's pretty dramatic, but I loved it!  If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I hardly use purple or green in anything, let alone together in the same project. I like other things people make with these colors, but I rarely ever reach for them first.  Time to cast off color prejudices and try the other crayons in the box.
I'm using the neat ripple pattern by Lucy at Attic 24.  The pattern is so incredibly easy that I regularly screw it up every 2nd or 3rd row.  I have ripped back at least half of this blanket so far.  Mistakes happen when you're not paying attention and you're crocheting at the speed of sound, light, or how fast I run when being chased by a mad dog.

And finally, after seeing so many mini quilts on Instagram by Temecula Quilt Co., I impulsively bought the online pattern, Taryn's Baskets, downloaded, printed, dove into my fabric, cut, pressed and in just under a couple of hours had completed two 5" squares. The seam ripper is working overtime on this one.  My points are finishing too close to the edge, and most will have the tips cut off when I add the setting squares.  Grrrr. Taking apart 1 1/2" squares is not one of my strengths. Buying things online apparently is.
Here's to learning by our mistakes.  Cheers :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Petite log cabin

Yet another scrap quilt from my bottomless pit of a scrap bucket.   It doesn't look like your typical log cabin style quilt, but that's the method I used to construct the blocks.  I squared them up with my 9.5 inch square ruler, added sashing with "points" and a scrappy border.  It measures out at 43x43, which is fine because I already have a gazillion throw size quilts, and it's nice to make one for the fun of it and not worry about the size.  Before the binding was finished, I was already pulling fabrics for the next quilt. It seems my sewing mojo has returned.  I even dusted off the old featherweight.
In between quilts, I'm working on my Farmhouse shawl.  It's a very relaxing knit, nothing too challenging for a newbie knitter like me.  I have this month to finish it up as it doesn't cool down properly here until October and I'm looking forward to wearing it. 

Warm ups


My oldest daughter teaches 3rd grade, and in the morning she hands out "warm-ups", half sheets of paper with a few math problems or vocabulary words.  Something quick to occupy the class while they settle in.  My crafting lately has consisted of warm -ups.  It's been a while since I've flung myself headlong into a pile of fabric to make a large quilt, and that's okay.  When I'm ready I'll know it.

Lately it's been all about smallish makes, portable knitting or crochet.  Easy projects to keep my crafty muscles flexed, requiring minimal mess or time on my part.  Like the long pincushion above.  I always wanted one to lay at the base of my sewing machine, so I whipped this one up with scraps of bark cloth, linen and Liberty fabric.  When the middle daughter came back from a visit to the State Fair this summer, she proudly presented me with a small bag of wool from the sheep shearing.  It still had dirt and sticks in it.  I swear my kids get me. Anyway I stuffed it into the pincushion, so now it has extra magical powers.   

There is an abundance of rosemary, thyme and sage in my garden right now, so I cut the plants back real hard and have them drying upstairs in the loft on pieces of paper towel.  I always save small glass spice jars and those have been cleaned and ready to fill with this years herbs.  Then I ordered lavender, wormwood (repels moths), dried orange peel and mint from Mountain Rose herbs to blend with my rosemary.  To this I added sweet orange essential oil, and I stuffed the concoction into sachets made with vintage cotton and some recycled linen from an old skirt of mine.  There's a tutorial on Purl Bee if you want to make some for yourself.  I cut into some Liberty fat quarters, and those will be sewn next.
Ginny made some here, and sold them in her shop.  They lasted all of about 5 seconds and sold out.  I wasn't quick enough to buy any, so figured I might as well make my own.  Done.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Smitten Blanket and other crafts

I started this in the middle of June thinking it would make a great summer project. Well I was right.  It went with me to my mom's chemo appointments, on the train to Portland last month, and any time there was a road trip.  In fact this thing has been practically living in the car.   Since it was one color,  and you crochet one square at a time, it was quite portable and there weren't many ends to weave in!
I used Knit Picks organic cotton worsted which was amazingly soft, not anything like the kitchen twine I've struggled with when making dishcloths.  The pattern was free over on byHaafner, and there's a handy little chart you can print off if you like that sort of thing.  I found it helpful, although it was easy enough to memorize once you made a few squares.  All the details are on my Ravelry page.

   There hasn't been much sewing going on around here.   I broke down and bought a quilting hoop and a nimble thimble and am trying my best to hand quilt, but it's slow. The leather nimble thimbles are a great idea, but I seem to be in between sizes.  The medium was too big and kept slipping off.  When it finally flew across the couch and hit the dog, I decided to order a small.  Now that one is too tight.  This is a bit like Goldilocks testing out the beds.

I bought some goodies in Portland at Knit Purl and have started knitting the Farmhouse shawl, and it's so fun!  Probably another reason why the quilting has taken a back seat.
Anyway that's my summer so far. Hope you're enjoying yours. Seems to be wrapping up doesn't it? Bring on the Fall.   Can't. Wait.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Plain Obsession

When I was in Portland last week, my sister and I walked into a posh little boutique on Alder St. to have a look around.  It was the kind of shop that would drain the pocketbook in minutes.  The wares however, were quite beautiful.  Table tops displayed fine gauge cotton tee shirts, soft wool sweaters, wide legged pants, linen napkins, carved wooden candlesticks and large coffee table books.   Most of the clothing they carried were in shades of navy, black, cream and tan.  If you wanted a few nice basic pieces to start a minimalist wardrobe, this was the place to get them.  I fell in love with this little creamer by a local artist and brought it home with me.
I  also spied a quilt on sale for just over $300. It was a color block quilt in cream, black and gray that fit in with the shop's aesthetic. I kept looking at it.  Thinking about it long after we left.  Obsessing about it's plain simple design.  In fact on the train ride home, an Amish (or maybe Mennonite) family joined us in the dining car and their starched white caps, and dark somber clothes reminded me of the quilt again. I couldn't wait to get home and make my own version.
It only took a few days to put together as I already had everything I needed.  And thank goodness.  A trip to the fabric store would have ruined my momentum.  The Lotta Jansdotter fabric I used for the backing has been in my stash for about 2 years. I never wanted to use it because I loved it so much.  Really that makes no sense.  I need to start incorporating these pieces into my projects instead of hoarding it.  It's not doing any good folded up in the cupboard.

Anyway, now I can get back to my WIPs and relax a bit.  Obsession over.