Thursday, October 31, 2013


After I said 1,000 times that I wouldn't ever become a knitter ... enter the Wearwithall Stole. I saw it on Days of a Sampler Lover's blog and just couldn't quit looking at it. I became obsessed with reading every note posted on Ravelry about it and although it's a large project, it only calls for knit and purl stitches, so it seemed doable for my return to the craft.


My first venture into knitting was somewhere around junior high when my grandmother taught me the basic stitches. I saved my babysitting money to buy a batch of the fluffiest, pinkest yarn available in Topeka, Kansas and set out to make quite the 80's sweater, a la Footloose. I knit knit knit knit knit and I actually finished the sweater. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about blocking, and poo-pooed the importance of gauge. So I fearlessly produced a very ill-fitting sweater. I did wear it a couple of times and was very proud of it and embaressed by it at the same time. (Oh the gloriousness we could be reliving, if only camera phones existed then!) I clearly remember my mom being very distraught that I put so much time into it and wasn't 100% happy with it and didn't really wear it. I couldn't figure out why she was so upset and I wasn't. I guess early evidence that the process of crafting brings me as much joy as having a finished project.


Anyway, I never picked up the knitting needles again until this weekend. The circular needles, Wearwithall book and yarn all came together last Saturday. I'm loving it. This first stripe definitely has some issues, but by the time I finish the 116,640 stitches required (literally) I should be a very practiced knitter and purler. The purls are already going better. During the first few rows, every time I came to the purls my hands were clumsy and my brain was wrapped around itself and my feet were clenched very hard to the ground. I'm on about row 19 (of 324) and it feels much more natural. Especially since I can now breathe and purl at the same time. Progress!



Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Flashback: 9 patch quilt

I don't ever get tired of looking at nine-patch quilts. I always seem to give them away, however, and I really need to make one for myself.


This was my favorite: "Coffee and Cream."


I was in the middle of piecing it when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. When I went to be with him, 1,000 miles from my own home, I took the appliqué sections and amused us all by incorporating some wacky pieces that represented our family.

A hammer to represent the woodworking my mom and dad enjoyed; love birds representing the rekindled love my parents experienced;


coffee - my dad's favorite drink; a five-person "papercut" family for my parents, brothers and I; and a pinapple to represent our trip to Hawaii when I was a teenager.


My Dad's illness lasted an astoundingly short 6 weeks, so he wasn't with us when it was finished. I sent the quilt to my mom soon after and she was very moved by it.


The quilting is much less than perfect, but it was stitched with a lot of love.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Another UFO surfaces

I've finished all of my blocks for the Mistletoe Manor Christmas Quilt, and I'm still in a sewing mood, as I wait to get batting and backing to quilt the recently finished tops. After the repetitive, yet extremely satisfying, construction of 99 triple 4-patch blocks, I was up for a little more challenging piecing.


This fit the bill!



I've revived another UFO. When I last left off in February of 2012, I had 21 blocks done, 15 more to go! (Now 14) I had begun the project as a gift, but when the gift-giving occasion came and went and I was nowhere close, I abandoned the project for the first time. I revived it at a craft camp, planning to buy more fabrics for it when I got home, and it, unfortunately, was abandoned a second time.


Now I've dug deaper into my stash and began pulling colors that weren't considered the first time around, when it was for someone else. These are a little brighter (orange, pink and lilac used in the single block above), and I think they're going to work in just fine.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Emergency crafting

Does anybody else prepare an emergency craft kit? A little project that you always keep in the car or your purse? No? Just me?


Tatting seems to be the most portable craft I know. I love quilting, cross stitch, embroidery, crazy quilting, crochet.... But tatting fits into the tiniest little pouch. And the great thing is, since it is made of knots, it won't go unravelling if it sits for weeks (or months) and you can just pick up where you left off with no problem.


The bad thing is, it is made up of knots, and so if you make a mistake because you're dividing your attention while crafting, you might be tempted to roll the whole thing up and shove it in the glove box and let it sit there over the summer - punished and forgotten.


But then a beautiful fall day will roll around when you have 40 minutes of nothing to do while you're sitting outside and you might run to your glove box to retrieve the little pouch. A few determined snips of the scissors, a couple of tatted rings sacrificed, and you're back on track again. Why did it sit so long unloved?



Those of you looking close will see I have some more sacrificial snipping to come. How did I not notice that at some point I switched to a completely different thread size?


I have no idea what I will finally attach this lace to. Maybe a skirt or a pillowcase or a guest towel. For now it's doing its job of keeping me sane while I arrive early at band concerts or doctor appointments or when I'm stuck in the car.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quilting spree

Since I discovered Bonnie Hunter's Quilt Cam a couple of weeks ago, I've been on quilting spree.


I'm working on the binding for the secret, special Christmas gift, but I've been reserving this work for car trips, of which I have many over the next few months.


I finished the Crabapples top (worst photo ever), and am on hold until I get backing and batting.


I'm also making good on my resolution to "use the pretty stuff." I've finally broken into the charm squares, "Mistletoe Manor" by 3 Sisters for Moda.


I bought these years ago when I was on a quilting retreat and I've saved them, unsure of what to make. I ran across this triple four-patch pattern and knew it was a perfect fit. I ordered a back issue of the magazine and set to work.The strong lines help keep it from becoming hopelessly feminine, as I'm making this for our bedroom for the Christmas season, and so far DH hasn't commented on there being too much pink. I think the plaids and stripes also help. I've supplimented the charm squares with things from my stash, including some plaid from DH's "toss" pile. He didn't know I scavenge from there, and thought it was pretty cool when I showed him how I was using it.



So this will be Christmas quilt #2 - My son claimed last year's. Just one more to go for my daughter, although no promises that it will be completed for 2013. :)