Is this my Everest? Perhaps. It feels like I’ve slayed the beast.
Cosi feels the same way, we’ve been revelling in our victory. My Granny’s Garden quilt top is finished.
Can you believe it? Two and a half years in the making, a solid 60 hours of prep, and probably around 150 hours of hand sewing – this was a lot of work but the so very worth it. I just love it.
This was an insta-love pattern for me. The pattern and all the fabrics are by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet. This is called Granny’s Garden and I used the full quilt kit with all fabrics from Lori’s Granny Chic line. I hand appliqued all the flowers and the scalloped border. I used Lori’s suggested interfaced applique technique – you can read all her advice on her blog. I had never never never appliqued a thing when I started this project. I learned a lot and this method really did work well. My one gripe is that prep took a long long time – but sometimes that’s just the way.
The execution took some time, but once I buckled down and focused primarily on prepping in the mornings before work and appliquing in the evenings after supper it just started to flow. It took the better part of six weeks once I got rolling again this year. It’s finish 4/20 for my year of WIPs and what a finish it is! I’m shipping it off for quilting this week. I had toyed around with thoughts of machine or hand quilting it myself, but y’all – this sucker is heavy.
I don’t want to speak too soon, but my year of WIPs has certainly lit a fire around here. The first ten days have been great! I know from experience that my mojo ebbs and flows throughout the year, so I definitely take advantage of it when it’s running high.
I knew out of the gate that Kevin’s hat would be the first item on the docket. He had waited so patiently while I knit advent socks that he deserved his hat finished next. I love how it turned out.
This is Kennecott by Caitlin Hunter. I’ve had this pattern for ages, it was great to get to try it out. It’s actually a very intuitive cable pattern and easy to do. I knit it without a cable needle as usual. The yarn makes me this pattern just soar. I used Sweet Sparrow yarns – bottom is the Chickadee base, suri alpaca and silk, in the On Softest Wings colorway; top is the Phoebe base, tweed DK, in the Blanketry colorway. I held them together to create the most luxurious texture and lovely soft grey-blue color. Kevin reports it as wonderful.
Next up, I finished off my shawl. The pattern is by Susan B Anderson, the Yowza Weigh It Shawl 3. Fun pattern to knit, tons of garter until you get to the boarder and then that’s even quick and meditative. I used Miss Babs Yowza, as called for in the pattern, in the colorway, Sugar Sugar. All in all, it’s soft, simple, and cozy. Just what I’ve needed on the last few cold nights.
After finishing two quick projects I was sorely tempted to plow right on ahead and keep finishing fast. Thinking about that though, I imagined being frustrated by the summer with only long or barely started projects to work on. So I am, in my own way, eating the frog first. I dug out my Granny’s Garden quilt.
One of my side goals this year is to talk more about projects in progress, so lucky you – let’s dive in. A brief history of the progress, starts and stops so far:
August 2021 – 14 blocks total, getting cozy with applique. I finished two more, one of my faves:
The project then basically snoozed until this week. I had the goal last year to finish the quilt, but we know how that went. I pulled out some blocks and made the shapes but then that was it. Found out we were moving or something, you know? And so this week, I pulled out those shapes and basted them and stitched them and voila! More blocks!
My goal is to finish 3 blocks per week because that amounts to finishing a row every other week. I like to build quilts as I go, when possible. I think that will be helpful to have the main part of the top complete when I start on the border. Because of course, it’s more applique.
I’ve really enjoyed stitching lately, I like hand sewing a lot. It does make my hands more tired than knitting, so I’ve been taking breaks and switching to knitting when I need to. The hard part of this project for me is making the shapes. It’s a great method for getting a really nice finished piece, but boy does it take some time. Cosi helped me yesterday morning before work. He’s very supportive.
Well, that’s where we stand. I don’t know that I really have the right mix of projects to balance them throughout the year like this, but I like this so far. I do have a block of the month to catch up on, but I’m doing my best to stay firmly on the applique train.
Is it just me or has January been a bit of a blur? I’ve had quite the perfect storm of work stress, video game addiction, and just all around lack of mojo. I’ve not really felt like crafting most days and so have fallen back into a certain game over and over. I’ll confess, I do love of Stardew Valley and I’ve appreciated the distraction.
I’ve certainly piddled around the sewing room, both Josehphine (sewing machine) and Paggy (serger) got a serious cleaning. I even rethreaded Peggy from scratch — for the first time… it wasn’t as bad as I expected. And then one evening after supper, Astra asked if we could do a little sewing because she had an idea. Tough to say no to that. So we lit a candle, turned on some tunes, and got down to business. She wanted to cut the fabric this time, so I cut strips and she cut the squares. A bit harrowing, but we made it out alive. While she sewed, I decided to play around with some scraps and see if I had what I wanted for a cool mini quilt tutorial I had come across.
The kids were a bit horrified at this scene, but I love it. I have tons of strips of all sizes leftover from my Norah quilt, ends of fat quarters, and even the packaging from some fabric orders! I had decided to try out this tutorial for a mini scrap quilt by Amy Smart. It’s foundation paper pieced and pretty darned fun. It took me far longer to arrange the scraps than to sew them down.
I fussed around with this for quite a while before I started sewing. I finished my first block right as Astra finished her quilt top. She likes to sew fast, wonder where she learned that? Anyway, this was her idea: a checkerboard table topper for the cats to sit on.
I kept on sewing; the cats had already settled into little scrap nests so there was no way I could leave that mess laying around for another night. By the time I was ready to turn in, I had all four blocks complete.
Cute, huh? Gosh I love a good pastel. Well, so this tutorial has you make these blocks, then cut them apart, rearrange, and sew them back together. Classic quilter stuff, there. Cut it up and sew it back together differently! Anyway, the effect is just darling, and much, much easier than making 16 little blocks!
Astra and I found a half yard of some soft pink fabric in my stash, so we split it into fat quarters to use for the backing for our quilts. She’s still working on quilting hers, but I went ahead and did a 1″ diagonal grid for mine. I’m really pleased with how the quilting turned out. I also machine bound it, which I think I’m getting better at.
Voila! There she is, the first mini of the #yearofminis. I love how it turned out and I’m especially pleased to have a few favorite fabrics included. I’m sometimes hesitant to use up scraps like those honey bears, but just a little 4″ piece and I get to look at them on my wall as long as I want. This honestly makes me want to dive into more scrap quilting. I’m trying to resist starting any more long-term projects, so be on the lookout for more scrappy minis this year!
In other news, I’ve been doing teensy bits on other things. The crochet blanket has seen a few stripes and I’m trying to spend a bit of time here and there prepping applique pieces. I really like the applique technique that Lori Holt uses, it makes it pretty easy to get the shapes right — but the prep is kind of a beast. It takes me quite a while and that’s been part of my stumbling block on this project. So I’m trying to eat the frog first on this one and get all the applique prepped so I can just stitch stitch stitch on it once I’m done.
Well, dear reader, that is that. Not much going on around here, but that’s ok. Sometimes I get a bit overly productivity minded with crafting, so I’m working on being kind to myself about just not feeling like it lately. The mojo always comes back and I’ll be here when she does.
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!
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.
I’ve honestly been a bit all over the place. Something about being at home all the time has me flitting from project ot project, craft to craft. I am managing to finish some and have only started a few, so I suppose I’m keeping some level of balance.
After finishing up my Happy Christmas quilt top, I was in a bit of a mood for something quick and easy. Enter Fat Quarter Pile Up:
This was a fun little quilt pattern is by Knot & Thread Design and I used a fat quarter bundle that was curated by one of my fave’s Maker Valley. I barely had to think about this one and it came together in a little under 4 hours. It finishes at a really generous 57″ by 70″ and uses 12 fat quarters with extremely little waste. I’m goign to use some random stash yardage for the backing and call this one a day.
After this lighting fast start and finish, I made the mistake decision to list out all of my current WIPs. It’s not a short list, so I was looking to cross some things off. My Magical Girl socks were an easy target as they were close-ish to done. I also pulled out my little matchbox quilt since it only needed to be quilted and bound. I tried out hand quilting and really love the texture it delivered.
Once that little guy was hanging up in my sewing room, I started looking around at what else to work on and I landed on my applique. I’ve had quite the hand sewing mojo lately so I went with it.
Blocks 5-8 of my Granny’s Garden Quilt are now done. I also traced all the shapes out for the rest of the quilt, but that’s not very exciting to look at. Once those were done, I turned my hand to sewing the binding on my Arithmetic Quilt.
I started this quilt way back over my birthday weekend last summer. I don’t know what takes me so long to finish quilts, but I finally got around to binding this one. It’s so big and fresh and bright! I love it.
The pattern is by Jeni Baker and I used all fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection by Annabel Wrigley. I sent this one off to be quilted by Nicole of Kwilt It! – she did an excellent job and I already have two more pieces with her to be quilted. This quilt finished at 74″ x 80″ – I made twin size with 4″ squares. I highly recommend this pattern! A super fun finish.
I’m still plugging away at my second pair of Christmas socks this year. I’m hoping to finish these soon — and by soon, I’m hoping for today — they’ve been on the needles for quite a while.
Looking now, that may be a tall order for today, I’m only just started the decreases! Well, we’ll see I suppose. Finally, I started a new quilt. I’ll talk more about this one soon — it certainly deserves it’s own post. Suffice it to day, my Norah Quilt has begun.
That’s been pretty much it around here. I’ve been working, playing with makeup, watching movies with the kids, and making up a storm. All in all, we are well and I hope you are too.
On Saturday night and Sunday morning, I appliquéd the 3rd and 4th (bottom two) blocks for my Granny’s Garden Quilt. I really love the way these are coming out. Applique is pretty fun, but I may need to take a look at my thimble situation.
It really was no time until I finished Kevin’s hat. This is the Chapelfield Hat by Kari-Helene Rane, knit up in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Snowbound colorway. I knit the medium size to the pattern exactly. Once it was finished, ends woven in and all, and Kevin tried it on and quietly asked how much trouble it would be to make it just a few rows longer.
Ripping back finished work is never something I relish, but as I told Kevin–my goal is that he wear the hat. If it doesn’t cover his ears like he likes, he won’t wear it, and that’s no fun. So I ripped out back about a fourth of the hat and knit one extra repeat in the first crown shaping section. This added soemthing like a half inch, which was perfect.
And last, but certainly not least, once I was on the Shelter train I didn’t really feel like getting off. I love this yarn. I’ve been wanting to knit a Winter Honey shawl for several years but had just kind of been collecting the yarn for a while. I finally procured my final skein and couldn’t wait another minute. Almost. I decided to swatch for the shawl because I was afraid of the cables making the shawl to tight and small, or of going the other way and having an overly loose fabric. So I swatched.
Well, that was less brief than expected. A wee bit of crafty recap for this Wednesday night and I am back to my new shawl cast on.
I’m doing it. I decided to take a huge leap in my making and dive right in to a fully appliquéd quilt. I have long loved the look of appliqué but much like colorwork knitting, I thought it was out of my grasp. Well, it seems I was wrong. At least so far.
I have started the Granny’s Garden quilt, by Lori Holt. It is so gorgeous I cannot stand it. I took some time reading through Lori’s other sewalongs and appliqué tutorials and it seemed like I could do it with some practice, so I decided to dive right in. And let me tell you, the water is deep and the shore is far.
I decided to go ahead and get all the cutting over with in one fell swoop. That turned out to be a monumental task. All in all, the fabric, background, and interfacing took me about 18 hours to cut. I also organized everything into baggies by block. Don’t worry, I’ll be saving the bags for the next inevitable huge project like this!
Apologies for this photo! I think it’s time for a more photogenic bedspread in the guest room. In the 18 hour marathon of prep, I also made about 8 yards of 1/4 inch binding for the stems. I like my little card with them all wound up!
That prep took me a whole weekend. I couldn’t even stand to think about sewing after that, and I’d done a pretty good number on my shoulder. So I took the night off and went for the first block after work the next day. Now, this is a cool appliqué trick. Lori has you sew the interfacing onto the fabric and then turn the pieces. This was my first heart, a little wonky at first.
A few minutes with my handy point turner and, voila! a heart!
After turning the rest of the shapes, I pin basted everything to be sure I liked the arrangement. I followed the pins with a nice little glue-baste to secure everything.
I’ll be honest, it took me a minute to get the hang of the appliqué technique. While it’s certainly nowhere near perfect, I think my stitching is starting to look pretty good.
I like the way stitching looks on the back of the piece, all the colorful outlines.
And that’s a finished block one! I think it turned out pretty well, though there’s a bit of wrinkling going on. At any rate, it’s super cute. I think I’ll try and prep more than one block at a time, since the hand sewing is the fun part.
I am way behind on the actual sewalong, she’s doing four blocks a week. With my skill level, free time, and multiple other projects that was just never going to happen. Kevin’s comment was that this quilt will take me forever. I think that’s mostly fair. I would love to complete it in year! My goal right now is to finish one block per week. At 42 blocks plus the appliquéd borders, that should be about right.
It’s really fun to learn a new skill like this. It’s challenging and takes a while and can be frustrating, but I’m hoping this quilt will really give me some good practice. After 42 blocks, I should be an old pro!
What happened to August? It felt like a whirlwind and here we are, a whole week into September. The kids are back in school and I’m back to cooking in a way that makes me feel good. Something has switched with me this week and I’ve felt motivated to make. Let’s catch up.
I finally finished my Christmas socks! The yarn is Lattes and Lllamas BFL sock in Ugly Christmas Sweater. That’s one off the #wipwipeout list.
I decided to try needle turn applique on soem clambshells. I’m using the tutorial from over on the Sunny Day Supply blog. I still need practice, but they’re super cute.
I finihsed a quilt top! I cut it out and sewed up the rows over my birthday weekend and then finished sewing the rows together a couple of weeks later. I really liek this quilt top, the pattern is great. It’s Arthmetic by Jeni Baker, I did the 4″ square version.
Pretty much as soon as the Arthmetic top was done, I started sewing up some rainbow strips for a bargello quilt. It’s still in the sewing strips together phase at this point.
I did wind up casting on another pair of socks, but these are a gift so I won’t say much.
I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the sewing room and the stash shelves were starting to look pretty rough. That’s the before…
And this is the after! It’s pretty nice, if you ask me.
As I mentioned, the kids started back to school this week. This was at 6:30 right before Joshua walked off to his first day of high school. Astra was up early for breakfast with us, but her first day of fifth grade was hours away at this point.
Something made me want to pick up my No Frills and knit a row or two and now I’ve been obsessed. I’ve only got a couple of inchs to go till the ribbing now!
And last, but certainly not least, I have started an Everest of a project. This is the first block of my Granny’s Garden quilt, a fully appliqued monster of a quilt. I’m excited but this is definitley a long term project. I’ll have to ellaborate in another post, but let’s just say it took me about 18 hours to cut the thing out. Yeah.
Well, there you go. Not very much making for six-ish weeks but I’m trying to have peace with that. I do what I feel like doing and that’s ok. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have some quota to meet every year.
Making feels a bit all over the place at the moment, but I’ve really been just picking up whatever feels fun at the moment. At any rate, I’ve got some enjoyable projects going on right now, and I’m digging it.