Bait and switch: 2021 Year of …

So here we are, 2020 is in the books and we have a fresh and shiny new year ready for the taking. After I wrapped up my Year of Christmas last week, my thoughts turned to my next “year.” I’ve been mulling over ideas for a while, looking at stash and around the house for inspiration. I took stock of my current works in progress, and a few stood out to me.

I don’t usually have projects that languish around for very long. A couple of years at most and I will either finish or frog. I work on socks continuously, and my other projects–both quilts and bigger kntting projects–tend to just get finished up when I decide to really put the time in and concentrate on them. Recently though, in the last couple of years, I’ve started some bigger, longer projects.

These three projects are quite a bit more time consuming than my usual project choice. Let’s have a quick tour of these and talk about where they are and what they need.

My Granny’s Garden Quilt (whew my old phone took bad pictures!) has been going since 2019 and is my oldest WIP. I have about 16 blocks completed at this point, so we need another 26 blocks plus all the border applique before we can put this quilt top together.

Next up is my Granny Stripe afghan. This beauty was cast on last January and I’m over halfway done the stripes, then it will just be the border. Though, I guess “just the border” is a bit misleading since the thing is so darned big.

Finally, my Norah Quilt. Ugh, I love it everytime I look at it. I made the quilt top in pretty short order last spring, but stalled on the hand quilting. We need to quilt and bind this one.

I adore all three of these projects and really want to give myself the space to show them the love they deserve. Are you ready for the twist? Ok, so if you’re like Kevin you might be thinking that I’m gearing up to tell you that my goal this year is to finish these projects. But no! Well, sort of. One of my dilemnas with these projects is that the bulk of the creative energy is already spent. The idea has been had, the project commenced, much of the learning curve surmounted. They are all fully at the process stage, which is a bit of a challenge for me.

I love to finish things. If we’re really honest, a lot of my making comes in smaller or faster projects. Socks are a big part of that but also mug rugs and short cut quilts. I love the start and the finish, but that in-between part sometimes gets me hung up. So I started thinking of my “year of” in these terms – how do I keep the creative energy going with some finishes to keep me satisfied, but still have the time to work on the big guys?

Well, this year at least, the answer is mini quilts! In my ideal state of home decor, there are quilts everywhere–including the walls! I think this year will be the perfect time to boost the quilt to wall space ratio around here. My thinking is these smaller projects will provide the variety and gratification I know I need while also giving me the opportunity to try new ideas and new techniques. The bite size, low investment nature of minis can also leave time to put effort into the big 3.

Think about it – a whole year of minis! Mini quilts here, there, and everywhere! So here we go, a Year of Minis: 12 mini quilts in 2021. I’m not going to worry about monthly goals, that always goes awry for me. The only rule here is size – mug rugs don’t count and neither does anything I can cuddle under.

For a little nostalgic reference point, here’s a throwback to my very first mini quilt back in 2017! I’ve come a long way since and I am looking forward to seeing where this year takes me. This idea has me pretty excited and inspired. I know it was a little bit of a convuluted thought process to get here so thanks for sticking with me. I’m looking forward to sharing my progress on the long-term projects as well as all of the fun for the upcoming Year of Minis!


Happy {mini} making!

A summer update in two parts: progress

As promised yesterday, I’m back to talk about all of my current works in progress. I’m focusing on the projects that are actually getting attention lately, so the languishing will continue languishing.

Back at the very beginning of August, I decided to try a new strategy with my slowest WIP and applique for 30 minutes every day. Overall this has worked really well, I made pretty steady progress on my Granny’s Garden quilt for several weeks.

I’ve finished fourteen blocks now. My routine got out of whack towards the end of August with some family stuff, but I’m working on getting back on track. Things have been a little more hand-sewing every day since I need to prep some more blocks, but I’m not mad.

I spent a bit of time with a practice piece learning the basics of big stitch hand quilting and once I was a little comfortable with a technique, I moved on to the real deal. I’ve basted my Norah quilt and started by quilting the center block. It is definitley slow going, but the look and feel is worth it.

I’ve been experimenting with machine binding to some success so I thought I’d give it a go on my Happy Christmas quilt. It didn’t go so well so I’ll be back to smaller practice projects for some more project. All I really got out of this try was a two hour date with my seam ripper.

I have since moved on to hand sewing the binding and this is my last corner! I have to say, the flannel backing makes for a pretty easy, smooth hand sewing experience.

Since I’ve been making such good headway with those other quilts, it seemed reasonable to start a few more, so here we are. This is a quilt pattern called Green Gables, a fun rainbow log cabin quilt in Liberty Fabrics. I “participated” in the block of the month club for this project from Duckadilly, but we should use participated loosely here. Let’s just say I’ve started, at least.

My other new start is another sewalong – the Quilter’s Cottage quilt by Lori Holt. She’s fast becoming a favorite designer of mine! This one is a weekly sewalong and I’m completey caught up and on pace! I am really proud of this project.

I decided to go ahead and assemble the quilt as I go – I’ve learned that assembly and sashing are my least favorite parts of the process. This method has the added bonus of fun in-progress shots like this one! I’ve only got 4 weeks to go, which will be the final row and some borders. I’ve cut out the blocks for the final row already.

A few months ago, when I finished the quilt top for my Fat Quarter Pile Up quilt – the kids loved it. Both loved the big blocks of pattern and the big throw size. Later on, Joshua specifically asked for a Christmas quilt and so I told them they could each pick out fabric and I’d make them holiday snuggle quilts. Once I finshed my bright and cheery version a few weeks ago, I spent a half day on a Sunday putting together their quilts.

This is Astra’s quilt – fabrics from the Polar Magic line from Lemonni.

And this is Joshua’s – fabrics from We Whisk You a Merry Christmas by Kimberbell. Seriously, this is the fastest quilt I can imagine. It’s a really fun canvas for some fun quilting and we went a bit nuts with the backing – you’ll see! My kids never ask for anything so I’m pretty happy to oblige when they put in a request.

Moving from quilts to blankets – my blanket grows. This is 55 rows out of a probable 120 or so and it’s folded into quarters width-wise. It’s postively massive. I’ve gotten much quicker with practice and have been putting several rows on each week. The nice thing about crochet is that it’s usable as a blanket all the time, so it’s cozy to work on.

And finally, I’ve got a pair of socks I’ve been working on. A few weeks ago I had some very stressful waiting time on my hands, so I grabbed the most rainbow skein of yarn in my stash and just started knitting. I got pretty far and didn’t have a tape measure or scales so I switched needles and started knitting from the othe side. I’m hoping to use all the yarn for the tubes and then I’ll cut in some contrast toes. Gosh I love a good rainbow. This is Color Study by Gauge Dyeworks.

I’ll leave with you a sweet shot of my crafting buddy in the quilt hoop. Cosi has been a constant companion with all this sewing going on. I think we’re all caught up and some of these things will be getting finished up soon, so until then.


Happy making!

One month later…

Well, I’d venture to say it’s been a fairly crazy March for us all. Four weeks ago today, I arrived in Denver for my organization’s annual meeting and it was canceled that evening. It’s been crazy with work ever since, and now I’m working from full time with the kids and Kevin all in the house. I know it’s a crazy, scary, uncertain time for many. I’ve been really finding joy and comfort in the simple motion of my hands creating things, so I thought we’d have a little photo montage of the last month.

My only finished object since we last spoke, and I don’t really have a picture of it! I need to attach the pompom and take some real photos, but the knitting on my Skiff is all finished up.

I’ve put a bit of work into these socks but not much. I still don’t have much drive to knit patterned socks, but these are sooo pretty that I really want to finish them. One day. The pattern is Rhinebeck Roomies by Crazy Sock Lady.

My first cast on of the month was the Calan Mai cowl. I completely misread the pattern and had to rip back about 3 inches, but now we’re moving on it.

I finally decided to frog my Prim socks, I spoke about my dislike of the yarn base last post. I dug some trusty 80/20 out of my stash in these fun stripes and they kind of zoomed for a while. This is Gynx Yarn (a retired yarn dyer) in the Magical Girl colorway.

Completely out of character for me, it seemed that two pairs of socks weren’t quite enough so some Christmas socks went on the needles! This is Once Upon A Corgie Handmade in the Marie Cutie base (a squishy corriedale nylon blend) in the Christmas like it’s 1882 colorway.

In this flurry of startitis, I also managed to cast on a sweater! I’m knitting the Rosemont Cardigan in Quince & Co. Lark in the Pea Coat colorway. I’m looking for a cozy go-with-everything cardigan and I think this fits the bill.

And then last weekend, I finally finally finally finished up my Happy Christmas quilt top. I’m so pleased with how it came out! This is a pattern from Maker Valley, and I got the scrappy kit from her as well. This cutie is out getting quilted and I can’t wait to get it finished up.

Once I was in the sewing room, I haven’t been able to leave much. I decided to throw together a cute little mug rug for my #yearofchristams plans and this one came together pretty quickly. It’s a single block from Lori Holt’s granny square inspired quilt pattern. I used random scraps of Lori Holt fabric and I think it’s just precious!

While I was at it in the sewing room yesterday, I finally, months and months later, attached the binding to my Arithmetic quilt. Now I’m ready for my favorite part of quilt making, hand sewing the binding!

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been rather obsessed with my Granny Stripe blanket. I figured out a few weeks ago that is way wider than I intended. That discouraged me for a while with how long it might take. I had a really inspiring talk with Kevin the other night about the process of my making and now I just can’t stop. I’m really enjoying the rythm and the slow progession.

Well. that’s it in pictures. I’ve been kind of all over the place these days with making all sorts of things — I’ve even picked up my applique a few times! — but I’m letting it take me wherever my heart and hands need to go.


Wherever you are, be well and happy making!

(Mostly) Never before seen WIPS!

Well, now that it’s been three weeks I suppose we’re do for a bit of an update. I’ve been all over the place. Between the new sewing room, kicking off the year of Christmas, and a healthy audiobook obsession – I’m been doing quite a bit of making.

I am reasonably confident that the only active WIP that has even made a blog appearance is my Happy Christmas Quilt, so let’s do a montage. The current state of affairs of my crafting is as follows:

I cast these socks on over our holiday trip. My goal was a pair of utility socks, I love Patons Kroy yarn for hard wearing socks. I’m not in love with the color combination (Mexicali Stripes), but the socks will do their job.

I made Kevin a pair of pijama pants last year out of this flannel and he asked if I had enough left over to make him a pillow for the couch. I barely did, but I think it turned out cute.

I finally started these gorgeous socks this month. This is Gauge Dyeworks in the colorway All Together Now. I had some yarn management woes and a great deal of indecision with what color I wanted to start with, but they are kniting up quite nicely. This yarn is a plump dream to knit with, by the way.

I finished all the blocks for my Happy Christmas Quilt and here it is all laid out. I’ve since sewn all the rows up and just need to sew them together. For the beady eyed among you, yes, I fixed the mistake in the border before sewing. Thank goodness! I am in love with this one.

I made the top for a tree skirt, too. I’ve been talking about making a tree skirt for years and have, unsurprisingly, put off purchasing one because of that. So we have gone without a tree skirt for a long time. No more! This is a jelly roll pattern, which I thought would make it very easy, but the bias seams got me in the worst way. That was tough.

Since I started my year of Christmas with a quilt and a tree skirt that may as well be a full quilt, I thought it would be nice to get a bit of instant gratification. Enter the mug rug. I love making mug rugs and micro minis. They’re like snack sized quilts. This one included a paper pieced tree, which was a new skill to me. It was pretty easy and quite fun. I love the result! This is a free pattern from ThreadBare Creations and I used scraps from the Happy Christmas quilt and a bit of random stash.

The mug rug is my first project and the January entry in my year of Christmas. I think we’re off to a good start!

In the last few weeks, I’ve been obsessed with a couple of audiobook triologies. Nothing makes me quite so dedicated to a long knitting project as something compelling to listen to. Enter Marley. I cast it on in October, but hadn’t made much progress until about 10 days ago. Now I’m now only a few rows until the finish.

I’m still only halfway through the current amazing trilogy, so I decided to start another long project. This is not my first try at crochet, but it’s definitely the farthest I’ve ever come. I’m really enjoying the rhythym of it.

So that’s it. Quite a bit of variety these days. I’ve got some non-holiday ideas for the sewing room, we’ll see when I get to them. I’m also hoping I’ll be back very soon with a finished shawl and maybe even a finished quilt top.


Happy making!

Year of Making: 2017.

On the first day of this year, I decided to commit to one small thing: “put energy into a making project every day.”

At first, that meant a conscious decision to sit down with a project every day. Sometimes it meant sleepily knitting a few rows before bed so that I would keep my commitment. As I went on, it became easier and easier. As I got more in the habit of doing something everyday, I found myself reaching for my projects more and more.

I’ve kept track of what I’ve worked on in a spreadsheet. I’ve been more than a little curious to see how the numbers would shake out. It’s no surprise that I spent 342 of the last 365 days knitting. I tend to reach for my knitting more than anything else. On 266 of those days, I worked on socks. I love knitting socks so it’s not much of a surprise that three quarters of my knitting days involved socks.

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I finished my box of socks a few months ago, but that didn’t stop me from continuing on. I’ve finished five more pairs of socks for myself since then. I love the look of them all laid out. This last pair was knit on Christmas vacation, so it hasn’t made it home to meet it’s new sock drawer mates.

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When I wasn’t knitting on socks, I knit up shawls, hats, mitts, and even a tiny owl for my mom. I’ve spent a significant bit of time cross stitching, quilting and sewing. There were even a few days of canning, fermenting, and crochet thrown in. Looking back it feels like a productive year:

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There is something about looking at a year’s worth of creating, thinking about how my hands knit every stitch, cut all the fabric, pitted every cherry. More than just the products of my hands though, my makes all feel like teeny time capsules, moments of my life molded into something tangible. Knitting socks at the beach with my family, figuring out how to sew my very first garment, picking cherries with Joshua.

Writing about everything has really crystallized that notion that there is a story in each of my makes. I love thinking about that and having the blog to look back at all of it.

Now that my year of making is coming to a close, I don’t believe I’m finished with it. I’m not sure that I will keep track of things daily like I have been, but that idea of putting “energy into a making project every day” still rings true for me. It’s exciting to think about a future full of years of making.

At any rate, I’ll be right here tomorrow, the first day of the new year, spending a bit of my day creating something.


Happy making!

In Fits and Starts

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This week has been a struggle to keep the commitment to making. And yes, I realize I’m talking about days 2-5. I have quite nicely sick, in the nobody hug me and I don’t even feel like making a sandwich kind of way. On the first day, I knew it was coming and was in denial so I cast on a hat I promised to Kevin months ago. Thank goodness it was beautiful yarn (and soft, such lovely silk content), that helped keep me going for the ribbing and a repeat.
On the second day, I finished Joshua’s second sock. To be fair, it only lacked a toe and weaving in of ends, but I did finish it. They fit him quite nicely and I’m happy to report that when he grows out of them, likely sometime at the end of the month, they will fit me as well. Right now he can’t wear things out before he grows out of them, which is great for those of us whose sizes he’s passing through.

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Nearly man-sized socks – Knit Picks Felici in “Beyond the Wall”

By the third day, I had to make myself work on something. Two blanket rows, that’s it, but I felt good about it. As I was zooming along, I discovered an error or three in the first row and decided to push through. It’s my first crochet, I thought, of course there are mistakes. It’s ok, I thought, nothing is perfect. It’s hardly noticeable, I thought, no one but me will know. And so this morning I decided that, of course, I’ll just frog the thing.

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Well, that’s just not right.

I spent last night working on Kevin’s hat and today I am going to cast on my January socks. I feel my making mojo coming back, along with my ability to breathe. Usually, when I lose my drive or don’t feel particularly well, I don’t knit or make for days at a time. It’s heartening to look back on this week and see some progress as a result.
Tonight, at least one of the next two pairs of socks are going on my needles, one with my traditional recipe and one toe up and two-at-a-time:

 


Year of Making (YoM) day 2: Cast on hat for Kevin

YoM day 3: Finished Joshua’s sock! (pictures to come)

YoM day 4: Worked on granny stripe blanket

YoM day 5: Hat progress


Happy weekend and happy making!

The Long and Winding Road

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Yesterday, for New Year’s Day, my family participated in one of our time-honored traditions. We road tripped back from Tennessee. Now, Tennessee is not incredibly far from Maryland, but it is not that close either. Usually the 8 hour drive takes us somewhere between 10 and 12, since we are most often travelling on the worst days possible. I fully expected this to be the case on New Year’s Day, and had visions of long hours of knitting while Kevin (dear BF) drove and long hours of dream knitting while I drove.

It was a pleasant surprise, then, when we clocked the trip at just over eight and a half hours! Alas, I was only able to knit the gusset and half of the foot in Joshua’s (my son) sock. I did plan somewhere around 4352 projects while I was driving, though. With all of that extra time we had, I decided to try a new project that has been tempting me.

Year of Making, Day 1: Joshua’s second sock and a granny stripe blanket!

I have been itching to cast on a scrappy granny stripe blanket. However, I am not a crocheter. At all. Last Christmas, I crocheted two hexagons – but with BF’s mother (an expert crocheter) right there, answering every question. With my unexpected free time last night, I thought it was the perfect time to go for it. What have I got to lose? They do say crochet is easy to rip back if you mess up. So far, so good. I love this “blanket” already!

I am making my blanket according to the advice from Chelsea from the Legacy Knitz Podcast. I made three magic knot balls to start, all from mini skeins I have collected in one way or another over the past few years. I’m using a 3.5 mm hook and chained on 360+2. From there, I’m just following the granny stripe tutorial from Bella Coco.

Today, we are off but the kids are not, so it’s hot coffee, a lunch date, and some leisurely crocheting for me. Happy New Year and happy making!