Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lucky Stars Attempt #2

In January I joined the Lucky Stars Block of the Month club by Don't Call Me Betsy. I started strong and had a vision of jeweled colored stars used only from stash fabric. After a month or two I was almost dreading it. My vision was falling very, very, very short and I was running out of fabrics I wanted to use. And did I mention I wasn't liking my blocks at all?

Fast forward a few months and a fair amount of paper piecing experience later and I had a much better vision. I wanted really warm and bright tones, something that would fit in with the summer, when all we need on our bed is a light quilt, and keep me happy in the dark doldrums of winter. "Luckily" my stash had grown by then and I only needed to add a little bit here and there to round it out.

So far I'm loving this series. Not every one of them is a hit of course, but when it's all assembled I think it will really come together.

I have dreams of having this done by Christmas, but only have 4 out of 24 done (I signed up for both 2013 and 2013 patterns). Oh and then I plan on hand quilting... so maybe Christmas 2015??

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quilted, Knit and Sewn Autumn Pillows

I never used to decorate for the seasons (the obvious exception being Christmas of course!). A few years ago I started changing up the art above my mantle and the wreath on my door. Then, with my total and utter (redundant) disgust with winter this year I needed to go with a full decor change and started sewing spring-like pillows with abandon.

As much as I loved the bright and airy pillows in March, I needed some cozy and autumn pillows come September. First up was to change the economy block pillow and I immediately thought of Anna Maria Horner's feather pattern. I love me some feathers but I knew I didn't have the patience to do a whole quilt in them. 

I took the general pattern and hacked a bit off the bottom to fit my pillow size. I usually prefer items in odd numbers so just two feathers bothers me but so it is.

Next up was a squishy, cozy cabled pillow cover. I hinted to a knitting friend that I wanted one until I realized that I could probably figure it out myself. It's my first attempt at cabling (using this pattern) and not without issues. Including (but not limited to!) not having circular needles in the right size and not buying enough yarn.

In the end I knit the front flat, knit the back flat in stockinette stitch, basted both to muslin and then sewed it all up. It still needs some toggle buttons and it's not the cleanest work, but it was fun to make and adds a wonderful color and texture to my couch!


Have I mentioned how much I love texture?? It's why I love fabric so much and with my new found love of knitting it's texture overload over here! Here are my 4 new fall colors. I kind of just want to dive right in.

Texture close up. The fabric on the big down pillows in the back is from a local $2.99/yd store. It's hit or miss there but this time was definitely a hit. These are (I think) high quality suiting material. Super thick and extra gorgeous.

I'm going to go lay about in my pillows now...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spiked Apple Cider Socks

Last fall I got the Knit Itch. It had happened on occasion and this time was heavily fueled by my new found friendship with the British woman who lived across the street. She is a legit knitter. Like we grew up without electricity so you learned to knit kind of knitter. Or maybe it was indoor plumbing. Yeah, I think they didn't have indoor plumbing. Either way everyone learned to knit gorgeous fair isle treasures.

So I picked up some needles and knit Goose a terrible pair of socks from yarn I had on hand. Ever try putting socks, still on the needles, on an 18 month olds foot to try for size? Terrible idea. So they were different sizes and I think the heel was on the front of the sock for one of them. 

But I was inspired to try again. This time I thought I was hot stuff and found an real sock pattern on Ravelry (Simple Skyp socks by Adrienne Ku) and bought real wool yarn (Patons Dark Grey Marle). Real, as in, not acrylic. As in, I thought I was moving up in the knitting world. WHO BUYS WOOL NON-WASHABLE YARN FOR SOCKS?? Oh and it was worsted weight. Also a smart move. The pattern called for sport weight (which meant nothing to me).

I frogged them no less than 5 times before picking them up again after the Christmas stocking project. It was then I started to recognize my errors. Error # 1) the washableness. #2) The weight. #3) Swatching, what? #4) My lovely bi-color cozy wool did not show the stitch definition at all and this pattern was all about the stitch. Error #5) I bought one skein (yardage? what's that?). Luckily Michaels still carried it a year later and the colors are so simple that if the dye lots were different I can't tell.

So I re-started them on a family trip in July. I believe I had to ask my Aunt how to cast on because I couldn't remember for the life of me (oh how long ago July seems!). And that first sock took from the beginning of July until the end of August. I wasn't working on it constantly but it dragged. And I'd forget the pattern and then I water-logged the pattern. And they were never. going. to. be. finished.

Eventually I realized the beautiful sock in the pattern photo wasn't going to happen because of all the aforementioned issues. So these would be more cozy slipper socks. This was later confirmed as I tried on my first finished sock and realized it was too thick to even wear with my tall boots. I re-framed my vision.

In the new vision these were clearly comfy winter socks. Sit by the fire with my spiked apple cider and knit kind of socks. I finished them up earlier in the week and when today hit, the first below 50, rainy, time to build a fire autumn Saturday I knew the socks time had come. And lo and behold I had leftover spiked cider in the fridge from a party. (This recipe by the way and delicious!). Clearly the socks were meant to be and I have some super toasty tootsies.

On to the next project with this delightful wool. And this, my friends, is stitch definition. The skyp pattern would adore this wool (if it were the right weight... I've learned my lesson!).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quick Little Baby Snowdrop Hat

Hubby's cousin had his first baby, a little girl, over the weekend. We can't wait to meet her and so in the meantime I thought I'd knit a little hat! I purchased a bunch of baby-esque yarn prior to Goose being born so I was able to raid my stash for the little bits this hat needs.

It was super easy to knit up. I started it last night after dinner and with some knitting then, some more at the park today and a bit over naptime and voila! I'm done!

Yarn: The pink is a DK weight as it's what I had on hand. If I had worsted I would go down a needle size for the ribbing. Upper level yarns are both worsted.

Needles: size 5 DPNs

Cast on 64 stitches in first CC
Rows 1-10: *K2, P2* repeat to end, break yarn
Rows 11-12: Knit MC
Row 13, 17, 21: *K1(MC), K1(CC)* repeat to end of row
Rows 14, 16, 18, 20, 22: Knit (MC)
Rows 15, 19, 23: *K1(CC), K1(MC)* repeat to end of row
Row 24: Knit (MC)
Row 25: Knit (CC)
Row 26: *K6, K2Tog* to end
Row 27: Knit
Row 28: *K5, K2Tog* to end
Row 29: Knit
Row 30: *K4, K2Tog* to end
Row 31: Knit
Row 32: *K3, K2Tog* to end
Row 33: Knit
Row 34: *K2, K2Tog* to end
Row 35: Knit
Row 36: *K1, K2Tog* to end
Row 37: Knit
Row 38:*K2Tog* to end
Cut tail, thread through rem stitches and weave in all ends. Add pom pom!

I feel like it may be a little small. Definitely a newborn hat though I was shooting for more of a 0-3month. I know that my babies could never wear newborn hats with their big bowling ball heads! Next time I'd cost on at least 72 stitches and another repeat of snowdrop stitches.

Also, all the yarn is acrylic. Ech. Like 100% acrylic. The white and sandstone aren't too bad but the pink is super squeaky. I think it's good for a baby hat because there's nothing to itch her but if I were buying yarn for this project I'd look for something soft and wooly and squeak-less. I think I'll make Chipmunk a hat next with the same pattern but not

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Baby Quilt

First, I apologize for these photos. I was on my way out the door to give it to my friend and realized I hadn't photographed it yet. iPhone + toddler trying to roll on it does not equal great photos.

A dear friend (and the only who shares my passion for all things fabric) Loves. loves. loves Lilly Pulitzer. Like lives it, breathes it, hoardes it, and sells it online (here!). Before her I thought it was just a line of dresses that looked vaguely Floridian. Since meeting her I'm pretty good at identifying "Lilly" from a (short) distance and I've grown to appreciate the designers affinity for pairing wild animals and alcoholic beverages. I also have access to a huge stash of Lilly scraps that collectors would probably give their right arm for.

When my friend told me she was pregnant with her second and planning a nautical nursery I knew that I had to get my hands on those scraps.

(Wow these colors above are way off! And super blurry!) I found the pattern for the sailboats from PieceByNumbers on Etsy.

Another thing about my friend... she loves color and pattern. Like loves it nearly as much as she loves Lilly. I had to audition 3 bright pinks before her before she agreed that the one I used for the binding wasn't "neutral"! So I used as many patterned fabrics as I could and prayed that it wasn't too "neutral" or too crazy.

When Cotton and Steele debuted we were a wee bit obsessed so that obviously had to make it in there. And then I snagged whale fabric at my LQS and even though it didn't seem like a good fit at first I really love how it gives the lower sea some depth.

Free motion quilting was, as always, a pain. I actually love doing it and I love the effect, but I'm terrible at it. I don't know if it's my skills (probably) or my machine (probably not) but I'm constantly breaking thread and making beautiful little nests on the back of the quilt. It seems I've tried every needle and thread weight under the sun but it always ends up the same.

I love these fish. They were a last minute addition and I was inspired by a quilt photo I can't find anymore so I slapped together a paper template myself which explains why they are a bit wonky.

I hope she likes it!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sunshine Quilt

When I started this I had some sort of bizarre dream that I would be peacefully finishing up the handquilting while in the maternity ward after Chipmunk was born. I think because I spent 5 boring days at the hospital with Goose that the same would happen. Instead, I was beyond exhausted at the end so there was no energy for quilting, then she was a week late and we spent less than 48 hours in the hospital. Poof! Dreams were gone.

Then it was a rush to finish quilting it because I forgot how freakin exhausting the first months are and she was a good sleeper even early on!

So the quilt that I started in January so that I would have some sunshine during an otherwise gray and seemingly unending winter... was finished in July. Whoops.

And then of course I couldn't find the photos I took and had to sheepishly ask my cousin to send me some. I'm sure that didn't sound narcissistic at all!

I love how wrinkly a hand quilted quilt can get!

Goose's Fishy Hat

After Chipmunk's stocking I had a new love of knitting. Unlike quilting I didn't need to hole myself up in a sewing room covered in threads and with little bits of fabric strewn everywhere. I could binge watch Netflix with the hubs, have coffee with my girlfriends or kill time at a doctor's appointment while being productive.

While looking through patterns on Craftsy, I found this adorable fish hat . I had similar colors in the stash of yarn I've slowly accumulated for various craft projects and thought I'd give it a go.

A few things: I was still trying to figure out a stranding technique: how to hold the yarn so it didn't pull, when to twist it, how to read a pattern-- all foreign to me. Thank god for YouTube. And the pattern designer, Lisa McFetridge, told me I picked a difficult project for my first stranding. Which makes me feel equal parts crazy and proud!

Also, gauge meant nothing to me. Check the gauge? That must be like pinning when sewing... Useless. Turns out it's not terribly useless at all. Different yarns, different needles, different knitters all end up with different gauges. Lesson learned. (Woof, look at that mess down below! Full disclosure here...)

Then there's that whole "measure the head" thing. Why in the world did I think Goose would fit into a youth size hat?? My dear 2.5 year old who comes from a family of large noggins, who had always been off the charts head size, who can't wear turtleneck shirts, who has never fit into a toddler size hat....sure lets make him a youth size hat.

So the technique was a work in progress, the gauge is a bit small and luckily I switched to an adult cast on before I started though I had only printed a chart for the youth size printed out and had to ad-lib a bit.

It's tight. Like let's- you-a-hair-cut-and-hope-that-makes-it-fit-better-tight. Again, the pattern designer came to the rescue and suggested steam blocking. So I'm going to cross my fingers this isn't acrylic (I really don't think it is?) and give it a go!

I've now attempted two more stranded colorwork (I don't even know if I'm throwing this terms around correctly!) hats that have been much, much, much more successful. I can't wait to get them up here to redeem myself :)

And as a side note...

Chipmunk woke up for an early morning snack at 5am today. I stupidly took that nursing time to look on Ravelry which got the wheels spinning which means I didn't fall back asleep. Today is going to be rough, but this cool, misty, almost-autumn morning with a zebra mug full of hot tea, a lap full of quilt, and a house full of sleeping family is my One Moment and I'm loving it. Thanks for indulging a little Pinterest inspired moment. I feel like I should throw in #blessed or something... :)