Happy, uh, Christmas?

It is the new year and that means new projects, new ideas, and the same old me. Turning over the calendar always gets ideas sparking for me. Part of that is the general sense of new and fresh that surrounds the start of a new year. The other part is returning from our holiday trip. I don’t typically knit much and it’s usually socks, so the last few years I’ve been dying to start something new and big once I get home.

This year, I had my mind on holiday projects. Every year, I want to make something a bit Christmas-y but by the time my mind heads that way, it’s December and I default to socks. Now, don’t get me wrong, this has resulted in some awfully pretty pairs of Christmas socks. Did I mention I finished my latest pair?

This is CindyLou by Junkyarn. I love these. My dad called me CindyLou when I was little and this color just gives me the warm fuzzies. I cast these on as a bit of a holiday knit and finished them up this week. Anyway, pretty, speckly socks aside, I’d like to make more holiday makes. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do much serious holiday crafting in December, so why not spread the love around?

That’s right, this year, I’m making Christmas all year long! Christmas knitting, Christmas sewing, Christmas quilting, maybe even some general Christmas crafting?!? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, so I was able to hit up some holiday sales and bump up my Christmas stash in general. I’ve amassed some fabric and yarn for this endeavor:

On the list is a quilt, a tree skirt, socks, a holiday sweater (I’m looking at you, Julgran), mini quilts, scrappy little items, and maybe even a holiday outfit! I’m going to try to finish one Christmas item per month. Slow and steady with time to make other things throughout the year.

In classic style, I just couldn’t wait to get started. My first official start of 2020 is a Christmas quilt! Who cares if it’s January? I’m hoping to knock out this big old beast early so it can get quilted and finished. I’ve started the Happy Christmas Quilt by Holly Lesué of Maker Valley. I had a kit for it from Maker Valley and so I thought I’d get started cutting it out last night. It took no time!

Since that was so fast, I thought I’d go ahead and do a wee bit of sewing. You know, just to start. Before I knew it, I had all the green HSTs sewn and the presents and star done!

Sorry for the horrid lighting, but I was pretty excited at midnight last night. I can’t wait to get some more done on this fun quilt. I think this is a pretty good start to a year of Christmas making.

I just love the thought of pulling out handmade holiday items year after year, but they have to get made sometime. 2020 is the year for me: a whole year of Christmas.


Happy {holiday} making!

In which gifts were given.

Well, here we are at the end of the year. Once again, I have gone a bit dark on the internet (this year was a bit of a blackout, to be honest) and just busying myself like a wee elf with gift making.

This year was all about the socks. I gifted a personal high 5 pairs of socks this year! I righteously finished the first pair back in May and tucked them away for my [not quite yet at that point] sister-in-law, Madelyn.

The main, stripy yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in Wood Pigeon and the contrast is the same yarn in the Poppy Seed colorway. These were my first ever circular sock machine socks. Back in 2018, I traded someone yarn for circular sock machine services. I cut my tubes up and knit in heels, toes, and cuffs and voila! socks!

I other circular sock machine news, I made Kevin’s mom and my other sister-in-law each a pair. Kevin’s mom, Jackie’s are knit in Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering – a lovely 100% BFL base – in Zombie Prom. Kevin gifted the yarn to me years ago so I love the idea of making socks for his mom out of it.

Crystal’s socks are knit out of Into the Whirled Bukavu Sock, a longwool/nylon blend. They should be nice and hard wearing and I love the short color repeat rainbow effect. The colorway is Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly.

My brother Noah’s socks are in Patons Kroy FX in Clover. These socks are so stinkin’ squishy that I want a pair for myself. In general, I knit most gift socks (all three pairs above) the same stitch count and all as mine, I just adjust for foot length. My brothers both have pretty narrow feet and all so I go down a bit. These are knit at 52 stitches on a 2.5 mm needle, where I typically knit mine at 56.

Last, but certainly not least on the sock train, are my brother Judge’s socks. A few years ago, I stumble across some old yarn that used to be spun with possum fur. Knowing that Judge would get a kick out of the thought, I went on the hunt for this yarn. I finally found it on Ravelry destash and snapped up two balls. This is Naturally Waikiwi Prints, a New Zealnad made yarn with an interesting blend: 55% NZ Merino, 20% Nylon, 15% Alpaca, 10% Possum. The colorway is aptly called Greens.

Let’s count the socks in the picture above. How many do you see? If you said four, you’d be right. That’s right my friends, this pair of socks was knit twice. I cast these on in August, and finished in October. I kept telling myself that things were fine, that it would block out. Of course it didn’t. The socks I had knit were completely different sizes. I think the first sock got stress knit at a stranglehold gauge. Once I came to terms with this result, I frogged them and washed the yarn. The second try was much more successful and now my brother’s feet are warmed by possum socks. In case you’re curious, yes he thought this was hilarious.

The last, and I do mean very last, gift I made this year was a quilt for my mom. I finished sewing the binding the night before we left for our holiday trip. So late that I didn’t even get a picture of the thing. That turned out ok, mom agreed to help with the picture.

This is the Fat Quarter Flowers Quilt, a free pattern from the fat quarter shop. I used all Art Gallery prints and solids, the fabric is just so fine and crisp, it makes a lovely quilt.  The back is a gorgeous navy print with feathers all over. I think she likes it.

That was the extent of my holiday crafting this year. I’ve got big plans for holiday making next year in the non-gift department, but it’s always fun to gift a bit of cozy to my loves.


Happy making!

 

Just a few things.

I don’t feel well, but I’m knitting and making and sharing. So here we go for a very brief share. Happy fall and fall alergies, y’all!

On Saturday, I cast on a new hat for Kevin. I am trying to get into the tradition of making Kevin a hat every fall, so here’s this year’s entry. He picked the pattern and the yarn.

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.


Happy making!

Only the beginning.

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!


Happy making!

Whatever I feel like.

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.


Happy making!

Off the list, one way or another.

Do you ever notice how life just seems to get slowly, inexorably busier all the time? At least that’s how it seems. Somehow, I am making progress on projects. I have crossed some more things off my list–four!–all in the last few days. Last week, I wanted to finish my 4-patch heart mini quilt and get my No Frills Sweater past the split for the sleeves. I knew that I was headed on a work trip and that the sweater would provide all of the endless, mindless knitting I would need.

First, I started quilting the mini quilt. I decided to try something new, and not do all over quilting. It was really all going well until I thought I would try a bit of free motion quilting around the hearts. Hard nope. It took me about 2 hours to pick it all out, but I finally did. I wound up going with a very nice grid instead.

On Sunday last, I finally gave up the dream of finishing the mini and got back to the sweater. The rows had gotten long and felt like they took forever so I tried to just plow through. I finally got to the split on Sunday night. I wound up more yarn to take with me on the trip and… decided not to take the sweater. It was just too much bulk with the extra yarn. I had to carry on my luggage–which I hate–and it seemed like I should just take something else.

Enter the Divi Divi Shawlette. This is one on the list that I have been hemming and hawing about. I thought this would give me a chance to really put a dent in it and try to just get it off the needles, even though I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to knit it. I don’t think I did really want to knit it, I was trying to slog through, but it was a struggle.

And then, about 2 minutes after this picture, the lady in front of me dropped something behind her and proceeded to swat around and spill this cup of coffee all over me and the shawl. Decision made. The yarn got soaked pretty good with coffee and we were early in the day of travel, so it dried on. I will try to save the yarn but I’m done with the shawl. Cross it off the list, it’s out of my mental space now. Thank goodness that wasn’t my sweater! I’d probably have cried.

With the rest of my plane trip there and back again, I worked on socks. I’ve not had much sock mojo, as we know, but it was good to just kick back with a good book and put some rows down on a vanilla sock. I finished that first sock and pulled out my rose city rollers. I knit and knit on them and… ran out of yarn.

On the plane, I cast on the second sock for the other pair. When I got home that night, I pulled out a mini and knit the last threeish rows in pink and finished up my shortie socks.

These are Rose City Rollers, a free pattern by Mara Catherine Bryner. I used the last of some Tempting Ewe Yarns in the colorway Saftayy. The mini is from Miss Babs, in the color Hot Shot. I didn’t bring scissors or neeedles on the flight, so I also kitchenered the toe of the holiday socks once I was home.

Once the socks were in order, I went straight back to binding that mini quilt and managed to finish it up. This is the 4-Patch Hearts Mini Quilt by Jedi Craft Girl . I used the same fabric as the pattern, but I had a charm pack instead of a jelly roll. It worked out, although I didn’t have as much red in my quilt.

I love it so much! I am pretty proud of this one. It’s been tucked away in a box for about a year and half because the first block I made came out super wonky. Now my blocks and points are much better. I used some yardage of the same fabric line for the backing. I just can’t get enough of this print.

I also really went out of my comfort zone for the quilting. I really like the effect. I even washed this one to make the quilting stand out. I usually don’t wash minis, but this one was just begging to crinkle up!

Once on the binding train, I couldn’t really get off. I pulled out my bunny mini dresden and finally got it all bound and finished off. This was my first try at binding a circle. It’s a wee bit poofy but overall pretty good. I think it is adorable.

I had made the whole thing strawberry themed, inspired by how much the bunny loves his strawberry. I think this one will be a mug rug for my desk at work. I just love seeing this bunny hanging out. The back is a pretty little strawberry print.

I think that’s it for now. I’m working on my sweater and contemplating a few new sewing projects. I’m down to 8 WIPs and I have been feeling pretty diligent so I’m ready for a bit of freshness.


One other thing, in completely un-crafty news, I saw the pacific ocean! I worked a lot on this trip, but did manage to walk out to the water a couple of times. I’m a mountain girl at heart, but the ocean is just so peaceful.


Happy making!

The end of the line.

Welp, I’ve done it. We’ve finally come to the end of my storage space on the blog. Two and a half years of craft blogging really does a number on the old photo uploads. While I figure out what I’m going to do, let’s talk quilts.

I came to a bit of a frustration point with Lumen, so I decided to step back into the sewing room. I pulled out those sewing WIPs and that kitten dresden was calling my name. I finally bit the bullet and just quilted the thing. I finished the binding the same day and lo’ and behold, a mini quilt:

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It’s so precious! I did pretty simple quilting and I think it turned out very nice. It measures about 8″ x 8″ so it’s a generous mug rug size, but it’s just hanging on my wall for the moment.

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After that, I was in a bit of a binding mood, so I went ahead and tackled my last full size quilt WIP. It took me a couple of nights to get the hand stitching done, but now it’s finished and it’s my favorite by far.

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This is Layer Cake Pop – another free shortcut quilt pattern from Fat Quarter Shop. I used a 1930’s reproduction style layer cake from Lecien. I love the old fashioned looking prints in bright, fresh colors. I quilted it on a long arm at a local quilt shop.

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That’s two sewing projects off the list! It’s back to the drawing board on this blog thing, we’ll see where we come out. I’ll just be over here plugging away (hopefully) on Lumen.


Happy making!