Tying up loose ends.

It’s that time of year again, my friends. The air turns crisp (sort of, it’s Maryland after all), we’ve got pumpkins galore, and Christmas and New Year’s are nearly here. Now I know that sounds a bit crazy at the beginning of October but bear with me.

I tend to try to accomplish two goals towards the end of the year: knit holiday gifts and finish up WIPs. I like to have clean needles (of the knitting and sewing variety) come January, to varying degrees of success over the years. The crafty readers among you will know that this is no short order. It all takes time, and sometimes lots of it.

I spent a hot minute evaluating the current state of affairs: I’ve got a few long-really long-term projects going, several rather quick wins, holiday gifts, and a couple of upcoming projects. I’m limiting the new starts to the essentials, but there will be a few new projects coming down the line. With that, I was ready to finish up the projects that were just about done.

Anyway, I just dove right in and got started. Binding is kind of at the top of the list. I’ve gotten Astra’s Minecraft Quilt back from the quilter but I need to figure out how to finish that one in secret. The kid’s Christmas quilts will be back soon, so they’ll go on the binding pile as well. But I did have one project that’s been sitting around for months and I finally just up and did it.

It’s a tree skirt! I started this project back in January and just now got around to finishing it. This is the Joyful Jelly Roll Tree Skirt by Fat Quarter Shop – the top comes together pretty quickly with a whole lot of strip piecing. There are a lot of bias edges as you go which did give me some fuss, but I think the finished project turned out just fine.

I used a jelly roll in Little Tree by Lella Boutique, with Moda Bella Solids in Green Apple. I’m typically all about a fun backing but this one is going on the floor, so a solid seemed the way to go. The bias binding is also a Moda Bella Solid in a red I can’t recall. Nicole of Kwilt It! did a great job with the quilting. I’m kind of glad I waited to finish this because I wound up machine binding it. Knowing our cats, I feel as though this one might need to be washed a million times so we need durability on those edges.

If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that I’ve been sewing along on the Quilter’s Cottage quilt by Lori Holt. I finished ahead of schedule, but have been waiting and waiting for a sunny day to get good picture that does it justice. Finally!

I really, truly enjoyed this project. It was so much fun to build each block step by step. I’m probably most proud of the cottage, so so cute! I used the kit, all in fun Vintage Happy 2 fabrics. Now I’ve got to ship it out to Nicole, and then it will go back on the list for binding.

Take a look at the left most quilt on the “clothesline” – cute, huh? Well the fun thing about that one is the method in the pattern makes a duplicate of each unit. Add to that the bonus pillow pattern that uses those hourglass blocks and I bet you can see where I’m going…

Cute, right? I love this pillow! I used up some scraps from the Quilter’s Cottage quilt and some Lori Holt stash to put this one together in an evening. It’s called the Quilter’s Quarters pillow; it finishes at 24.5″ square and has an envelope back. It’s as big as my chair but boy does it make for a cozy spot.

My final finish of this recent little flurry is my Waiting for Henry socks. I just cannot. They are so pretty! This is a pattern by Tabitha Gandee, I knit them up in the Eloise sock kit from Stress Knits. The main color is Eloise; contrast 1, heels, and toes is Sunflower; and contrast 2 is Pillowmint. This pattern was a joy and I love how they turned out!

Once these were done, I turned my attention to some holiday knitting. That will, as usual, stay secret but things are moving along. I’ve got one other project I’d like to finish up by the end of the year and it’s about 1/2 complete. Buckle your seatbelt, we’re going way back to the very, very start of lockdown when I cast on a sweater. The body is complete but we still need sleeves and a collar. It’s really been lanquishing, but I think I’m about ready to pick it back up again.

Well, that about does it for the end of the year plan. As the weather has gotten cooler it’s starting to feel a bit more natural to be holed up at home. Astra even had the idea to pretty up the front of the house with some fall flowers and pumpkins. We had a fun afternoon at the local produce stand and decorating outside. I’m usually doing quite a bit of travel in the fall, so this is a nice change of pace. Silver linings, eh?

Happy fall, y’all!


and happy making!

Super Secret Summer Sew

As you may have heard, this summer has not been what any of us expected. When last we spoke, I was deep into a sock fog and I’ll admit my knitting mojo has not come out of that haze yet.

One thing has happened as expected, Astra’s summer visit out of town. A few months ago, I saw a pattern on sewing blog that I just knew had to be made for Astra – but she’s probably the hardest to make a secret make for. The boys are easy, mostly because they sleep in, but my little early-riser is tougher. Enter the super secret summer sew: The Minecraft Quilt!

I gathered up the fabric and got started about a week after Astra left. The pattern is less of a pattern and more of a tutorial/guide from the Seriously… I think it needs stitches blog. I started with Steve and progressed on through. I made the face blocks in batches, cutting out 3 blocks at a time and chain piecing my little heart out.

It took me about a week to cut and piece all 20 face blocks. I did have a bit of advice from Joshua for a few modifications. Block 17 became Diamond Steve and block 18 subbed in the chicken. All in all I enjoyed the process quite a bit.

I knew I wanted to do the Ender Dragon for the back so I checked all my measurements when I was trying to decide on sashing and border widths. Turned out, unless the sashing was bizzarely wide – that dragon would be wider than the front of the quilt. And so I did what any normal quilter would do… I made more blocks for the front.

I decided we’d do her name down the side to widen it out a bit. Next came the dragon. Much like eating the proverbial elephant, the dragon came one bite at a time. The tutorial broke it down into three sections, with 10-15ish blocks in each section. I think the whole dragon alone was something like a 12 hour project. For reference he finished at 70″ wide and 27.5″ tall.

I finished this guy up last Sunday, and from there it was just sashing and borders for the front and a whole lot more purple for the back. In the middle of the week I picked up my new sewing machine and that made the final bit of the process fly. I’ve packed it all up and sent it off to be quilted. When I get it back, I’ll just need to spend a few nights hand sewing the binding before tucking it away for Christmas.

The top finished at 74″ x 80.5″ – a really generous throw. I used the recommended Moda Fabrics fat quarter bundle with a few scraps from my stash thrown in. I also purchased additional black, light, medium, and dark grey, and a ton of purple – all from Moda as well. The fat quarter bundle isn’t available any more but the list is provided here – I didn’t use all of the colors. I also used less than a half yard extra of the greys, an additional 3.75 yards black and about 5 yards total of purple.

Overall, I enjoyed the process and I’m super proud of how it came out and that I finished it and shipped it out before Astra’s home. I do have to say though, it was way out of my usual wheelhouse and I am beyond ready to get back to the pretty, floral lights and brights that I usually sew with. That was a lot of solid purple and black!


Happy {super secret} making!

The most fun I’ve had at a sewing machine.

About a year ago, I spied a sew-along on instagram that took my heart. It was from the ladies of my favorite fabric shop, Sunny Day Supply, and was for a quilt called The Norah Quilt.

The quilt is simple: a single block log cabin. I’ve ooh-ed and ah-ed over all the Norahs out there and this year decided to join in. The sew-along started last Friday and I was off for the day, so I started early. I had already cut the fabric and was ready to play.

I decided to go similar to the original and do pink, neutral, mint, and blue for my logs with fussy cut, offset center. I got going on the center but wasn’t quite happy with how I started.

I realized I wanted more navy than yellow and this arrangement was going to give more yellow. So I unpicked all of the seams and started over. A wee rearrangement later, we were off to the races.

Things went pretty quickly at first, I honestly didn’t have much rhyme or reason but went round and round adding strips. I tried not to concentrate any one thing in an area: no pools of lights or darks, balanced large and small scale, that sort of thing. Over the last week, she grew and grew:

Until today, I headed outside to snap this quick in-progress picture and decided it was awfully close to plenty big enough. I wound up adding another 3 rows after this point and called her a day. The quilt top finished at 66″ square and is a crazy mish mash of fabrics. So much fun!


Happy making!