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!).