Finished: Stockinette Flax Sweater

I think this is the most fun sweater I've ever made.  Speckles that look like sprinkles - what could be better?

This is a Flax sweater by Tin Can Knits, a tried-and-true (hundreds, if not thousands, of projects on Ravelry agree) sweater pattern for Liesl.  I made it in a size 2-4 so she'll have plenty of time to grow into it.  But let's talk about the yarn, because that sweater pattern is pretty basic; the only thing I changed was to knit the sleeves in stockinette instead of garter, because speckles look better in stockinette.

This yarn is the Plucky ninth anniversary color, Sprinkles on Top.  It was a mystery colorway released in June and I passed on it for one reason or another (let's blame baby brain).  Once the spoiler pictures started popping up--speckles!  white background!  sprinkles!--I put out an immediate ISO in any base: I was desperate for at least one skein.  Someone contacted me offering her two skeins of Lodge Worsted, and while I was hesitant because I'd never worked with that base (a mix of cotton, silk, merino and flax), I replied during a 3 AM nursing session that I'd happily take it and PayPal her ASAP.  It had to become a sweater for Liesl, in a small enough size that she'd get a kick out of the colors and would still want to wear the clothes her mother made her.

I was so itchy to cast on this sweater!  I wanted to see the speckles--I was dying to!  When I finally did cast on, the sweater practically flew off my needles; it was my weekend project, meaning I'd work on it at night Friday-Sunday once Liesl went to bed, and I only worked on it four weekend nights before I was done.  I became obsessed with watching the colors change.  Thankfully I found it on another base and can knit with it again - this time for myself.

Let's talk about the yarn base.  Lodge Worsted is interesting.  I've never worked with anything but some form of animal fiber.  Despite living in the South, I'm a sheep/goat/yak devotee (alpaca is okay in a blend) and I'm not interested in cotton or linen.  Take it elsewhere!  I almost passed on this yarn because of that, but figured it'd be good for a little kid who may not appreciate cashmere like her parents.  (Who am I kidding?  The love of cashmere is embedded in her DNA.)  Overall I'd say it was better than expected, but I did notice the yarn didn't sproing like it usually does.  It was also a little...itchy?  I'm not sure what the word is.  Maybe dry?  I'm guessing that's the cotton.  The flax also made it a little slubby.  I don't know that I'd use it again, but I do enjoy the finished project, because it softened up considerably after blocking.

The worst thing about all these cute sweaters is that they're in toddler sizes and Liesl will only be five months on Monday.  I like to be prepared, I guess, and one day I'll pull out a ton of sweaters and will be ready for winter.  Which reminds me, I need to make her a hat in case cooler temperatures ever decide to show up.

Pattern: Flax Sweater by Tin Can Knits / Yarn used: The Plucky Knitter Lodge Worsted in Sprinkles on Top / Ravelry notes here

Finished: Old Growth Sweater

I've been rolling through sweaters for Liesl, trying to get as much knitting done before she decides she hates everything handmade and only wants the designer clothes her friends have.  (I'm sure that sounds familiar to my mother.)  I'm stocking up on sweaters, hats, gloves, in all different sizes, trying to get ahead of her growing.

This is the Old Growth Sweater from Tin Can Knits, something I originally wanted to knit for myself but is a lot cuter shrunken down.  That happens a lot these days, where I find a sweater I love and notice it has a child's size pattern - and then Liesl gets the sweater.  It saves me time and money, as her sweaters take a fraction of the yarn mine would.

Speaking of yarn, this is Plucky Trusty in Green Goddess, which seems to be the perfect name for it.  It's a little technicolor - reminds me of moss, of avocados split open, of kale with green goddess dressing (duh).  I love the tonality and how vibrant it is, perfect for a fall sweater when it's crisp and everything is still changing but not brown yet.  Liesl's hair is sort of red, mostly blonde, and I think it'll look good with her coloring when she's a bit older.  I bought it to make myself a shawl, but after the lace numbers didn't add up for rows, I frogged it and repurposed.  It's much better as a sweater than yet another shawl.

I have another sweater on the needles for her, a fun one I hope she loves when she's a clever little toddler.  My next handful of projects are all for Liesl too.  Baby knits are so sweet and fast.  I better make as many as I can while she's small.

Pattern: Old Growth by Tin Can Knits / Yarn used: The Plucky Knitter Trusty in Green Goddess / Buttons from Pam's Finding on Etsy / Ravelry notes here

Farmer's Wife 1930 Blocks (Still Happening)

Over a year ago I last picked up my Farmer's Wife 1930 blocks.  I had originally intended to make it a year-long project and finish by this point, but then I got pregnant and spent that year either exhausted, nauseous or swollen, and things fell by the wayside.  I have wanted to get back into quilting lately, after just admiring everyone from the sidelines, and now that Liesl isn't sleeping solely on me I took advantage of her naptime.

I had nine blocks from last year waiting, and instead of taking on the entire book, I decided to scale down and choose 16 for a baby quilt.  Possibly 20 - and four will go on the back.  I'm still working through that.  I sewed these five this weekend: Bonnie, Caroline, Charlotte, Hope and Judy.  There are two more sitting on my cutting table, along with several new cuts of Cotton + Steel to choose from.

I was definitely out of practice when it came to piecing these - my points are a bit off in several blocks.  I was also very tired, as you can see in Charlotte; I didn't notice that upper corner mistake until Sunday morning, and by then I didn't care enough to rip it out and start over.  It's fine.  Liesl will never know the difference and, honestly, a little mistake here and there isn't enough to break my heart.

Of course, now that I'm paper piecing again, and remembering how much I love it, I'm thinking of making another baby quilt with some Farmer's Wife 1920 blocks and some other stash.  Maybe Lizzy House, or the new Rifle Paper Company for Cotton + Steel?  I like breaking into my hoarded stash.  As pretty as it all looks on the shelves, it's even better in a block.

Finished: Baby Sweaters

Hi!  Hello!  Did you miss me?  I know it's been a very long while since I've posted.  Things have gotten crazy around here.  The biggest change: we have a baby - almost 16 weeks old and a drooly, smiley, grabby girl.  Liesl is nothing but joy with some screaming and crying thrown in - but I guess that's supposed to happen with little babies.

I won't look back on the last year because, honestly, it's a lot of morning sickness, insomnia, and food, with not a lot of crafting or interesting post topics.  So let's just start over and act like the last year didn't just fly by.

I didn't knit much while I was pregnant.  Well.  I knit a lot, but compared to how I was pumping out projects before getting pregnant, I was practically comatose.  (Let's not talk about quilting.  I'm dead on that craft.)  One thing I did knit was baby sweaters.  Do you know how much fun these are?  Sweaters are wonderful to knit but take forever.  By the time you're on the sleeve you're also suicidal just to get done with the project.  But baby sweaters are about 1/16 the size of an adult sweater and take hardly any time at all.  Cables, lace, colorwork - all are doable when it's tiny and adorable.  So I knit a lot of sweaters in preparation for our baby.

Above you can see the four sweaters I've knit so far: Antler, Granny's Favorite, Flax Light and Little Coastal Pullover.  I have a baby Old Growth on my needles now.  Liesl has yet to wear these - newborns are easily cold, but we've had an incredibly hot summer - and I'm anxious for the weather to cool down.  With my luck she'll hate sweaters, or be allergic to wool, or will only want something store-bought, so I need to get all the handmade in while I can.

I'm hoping to make blogging a regular thing again.  My camera broke last year so I'm trying to figure out a different one - excuse me if the pictures aren't great.  I'll get there.


Pattern: Antler Cardigan by Tin Can Knits / Yarn used: Plucky Knitter Trusty in Narragansett Gray / Ravelry notes here

Pattern: Granny's Favourite by Georgie Nicolson / Yarn used: Three Irish Girls Springvale DK in Guinness / Ravelry notes here

Pattern: Flax Light by Tin Can Knits / Yarn used: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Silver Fox / Ravelry notes here

Pattern: Little Coastal Pullover by Hannah Fettig / Plucky Knitter Snug Worsted in Sweezy's Pond / Ravelry notes here

Finished: Exploration Station Shawl

My Exploration Station is finally off the needles!  I started this July 4 and bound off on August 30.  I guess that isn't too long considering I only worked on it at night after work, but it still feels good to have such a large project blocked and done.

I really enjoyed this shawl.  I've only made one other Stephen West pattern (Pagona, which I made last fall) so I was a little wary - this is an odder one - but the finished projects swayed me.  The instructions were very clear and nothing was as expected, which is nice when you pay for a pattern - you don't want to guess each step rather than learning something new along the way.  I learned i-cord and brioche and got to play with how the stitches are knit (moving them from one end of the needle to the other, rather than turning and working back).  It was a neat pattern.

I spent a lot of time deciding on a color palette for this, with lots of yarn piles laid out around my sewing room!  Ultimately, I went with these because they looked like fall to me, but they looked like a rooster to Nick.  Everything is up for interpretation I suppose.  I enjoyed working with tonals, variegated and speckled yarns all in one project.  It helped keep the whole thing interesting, even with 400+-stitches-long rows!

I wrapped this shawl around my neck after taking pictures yesterday and remembered how much I love that feeling - a warm wool shawl on a crisp day.  Unfortunately it was in the 80s, but soon, my friends, very soon!

Pattern: Exploration Station by Stephen West / Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Pheasant (pink), Plucky Knitter Feet in Top Hat (dark gray), Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Candlewick (yellow), and Nomadic Yarns Trusty Sock in Chocolate Box (cream speckled) / Ravelry notes here

In Progress: Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt (Part 2)

Ann and Anne

April and Augusta

Aunt and Autumn

Aunt and Autumn

I'm still moving along on my Farmer's Wife blocks!  These are blocks 4-9, in that order.  I'm out of town next weekend at the Charleston Lizzy House Meadow class (yay!) so I decided to double-up yesterday and make up for lost time.

So far there haven't been any issues with the blocks, thankfully.  I'm getting faster as I do more, and even experimenting with some fussy cutting, as you can see above.  Fussy cutting paper-pieced blocks isn't nearly as easy to me as regular blocks, so I leave myself some wiggle room to move the fabric around before sewing it down.  Unfortunately that results in some wasted fabric but I guess I'd rather have that than an ugly block.

I've started laying out and organizing my blocks five at a time.  This saves some time in the process, as I don't have to stop and find coordinating fabrics between each block - I just pull the next set off the pile and get cutting!  It's less spontaneous but I appreciate organization more than spontaneity so it works for me.

At this point, I'm nine blocks in and starting to wonder when I'll have to start repeating fabrics.  I have a very sizable Cotton + Steel stash, even without the Halloween and Christmas collections, but each block takes 2-3 prints so I move through the piles pretty quickly!  This is a long-term project, of course, and I'm hoping to be able to incorporate C+S Fall and Spring collections before I have to start repeating.  Fingers crossed!

I'm heading out Friday so today I'm packing up my machine and my fabric and making sure I have everything together for Meadow.  I have a feeling once I start on Meadow I won't want to stop.  Sorry to all my projects in advance!

In Progress: Farmer's Wife 1930s

Have you heard of the new Farmer's Wife 1930s book?  I'm a huge fan of the 1920s book (I made a mini a few years ago but a full-size quilt has always been on my radar) and knew I had to pick up the new book.  I also saw there were a few QALs floating around and thought they would help with inspiration!

I'm going with the paper piecing method and I'm using all Cotton + Steel fabrics.  I've been stashing their lines since they debuted and have a large amount in my fabric closet!  The only fabrics I'm not using in these blocks are the holiday lines (Spellbound and Tinsel) and any alternate substrates.  That'll just make it easier to quilt when it's done.

I'm really enjoying these but the blocks take forever!  I completed the first two, Addie and Aimee, Friday night in a short three hours.  The third block, Alice, took several hours itself because there are so many tiny pieces.  It's not a quick project, that's for sure.

I'm hoping to complete two blocks a week, and feel like I'm already ahead with three done!  I need to come up with a good storage plan, as there are 99 blocks total, but I'm in no rush.  I really like using C+S in this project - I plan to have enough leftover to make a 1920s version with the fabric too!

Finished: Fresh Mini Quilt Club, Month 1

My first Fresh Mini Club mini quilt is done!  This club is released on the first of the month for six months and I'm happy to report this was quilted and bound within a week of receiving the pattern.  It makes me so happy to hear that!

You might remember I joined this club as an effort to do some stash busting.  I'm not sure that this quilt helped too much, but I was able to use lots of fabric I've had in my stash for years.  I had a lot of fun piecing it too, especially when I had all the pieces laid out on my floor and Schnoz knocked them all apart while trying to grab a rawhide.  That's a typical situation in my life.

All the prints on the front are Heather Ross scraps I had leftover from my Modern Building Blocks quilt, with Essex linen thrown in for good measure (always).  I backed this with an Elizabeth Olwen print from Grey Abbey, and bound it in the same Heather Bailey I chose for my Modern Building Blocks.  Nothing new was purchased for this, including the thread and the batting.

I decided to expand my quilting horizons a bit and quilt this in a spiral.  Elizabeth told me how to do it while we were at QuiltCon: trace something round (like a plate) and quilt out from there, and then use your FMQ foot to do the inside circles.  Things got a little rowdy with my FMQ - quilting large circles with it isn't the easiest thing to do.  Don't look too closely!

Everything is quilted with Aurifil 50 wt in 2805 from the Simplify collection.  I bought that Aurifil set as a splurge two years ago and it has saved me many times - I use those colors for just about everything and it turned out to be a great purchase.

I'm excited to receive the next pattern and add to my mini wall - the one quilt looks very lonely up there!  It definitely needs some friends.

In Progress: A Bear Paw Quilt

I think it's inevitable for most quilters to get started on a quilt as soon as they think of it.  Usually we have other projects going on, projects that are nearly done or which have a due date, and we make notes of our ideas, thinking someday we'll get to it.  Sometimes those ideas are replaced with better ideas, sometimes we actually get around to them.

I had this idea years ago.  I bought the Lush Uptown re-release within a week of us getting married, and our second anniversary is in two weeks.  It sat in my stash that long because I had this idea and I just never had the time to get to it - another quilt always wanted my attention.  And I was hopelessly stuck on the background color.  And I couldn't find a decent bear paw tutorial, because the math was just too much for me.  So the fabric sat and I just kept thinking, "I'll get around to it.  I'll do it someday.  And it'll be a great quilt."

QuiltCon really kicked me into high gear and I wanted to cross quilts off of my "someday" list.  This was a high priority, especially with another Erin Michael fabric line coming out this fall.  I knew I didn't have that much room in my stash so I'd have to cut down.  It was time.

I don't want to bore you with too many technical details, but I'm using this tutorial from Fat Quarter Shop for the blocks, but I'm planning on making the blocks pretty scrappy as you can see in the first picture, rather than making each block in the same fabric, which was my original plan.  Gotta step out of the box just a bit!

This doesn't really have a due date, so I like working on it for a few hours on the weekend, sewing a few blocks, chain-piecing a bunch of HSTs, ironing while it rains outside.  2015 has been the year of favorites, so sewing with my favorite fabrics is turning into a pleasure, rather than a race to the finish line.  But, of course, that next quilt is always in the back of my mind.

Finished: Moonraker Shawl

This is one of those rare projects that I didn't share on social media at all before finishing it.  I usually only keep gifts secret, in case the recipient gets a whiff before it's ready, but I just never got around to sharing it.  Really the only social media I use frequently is Instagram, so I guess it's not that much of a surprise.

This is my Moonraker, which I really enjoyed knitting.  The little moon rocks (I guess?  I don't speak German, obviously) were a neat, new stitch and weren't difficult at all after I watched a YouTube video.  I let Nick pick the colors I used for this--color overload is a real thing and happens frequently in this house--so unfortunately I'm a little meh on it.  It's pretty, don't get me wrong, but it reminds me of my grandmother more than it looks like something I'd wear.  So while it was fun to make and while the yarn is amazing, I'm not entirely sure I'll ever wear it.

You'd think I'd know by now that I need to stick to fall colors.  Every time I make something in my favorites--mint, gray, fall colors--I wear the hell out of it, and when I step out of that comfort zone, it never gets worn.  I'm a one-trick pony I suppose, but I'm learning that that's okay, and why knit if you won't enjoy the final product?  The same goes for quilting.

Anyway, speaking of fall, I just got home from buying some interfacing at Joann and they were putting out their fall decor.  As someone who both lives for fall and has a soft spot for somewhat-tacky craft store decorations, my heart was all aflutter.  If it was on sale, I would've come home with two "chalkboard" signs and glass string lights shaped like pumpkins and owls.  But my coupon was expired and they were full-price; the decorations will have to wait.  Fall is coming!

Pattern: Moonraker by Melanie Berg / Yarn: Plucky Knitter Bello in Early Light (light blue), Plucky Knitter Snug Fingering in Salty Dog (pink), Plucky Knitter Feet in Top Hat (charcoal gray) / Ravelry notes here

Finished: Moda Modern Building Blocks

I am so, so excited to finally have this quilt all done and at home.  It is my most favorite quilt I've ever made - my favorite fabrics, my favorite quilting, my favorite batting (100% wool and oh-so-wonderful).

I don't really know where to start to talk about this quilt!  It didn't take a particularly long time, but I suppose it was a long time in the making because some of the fabrics used have been in my stash since 2009.  Maybe that's why I feel so connected to it?  We bought the Mendocino prints at Fabrika in Savannah when I lived there after college, over six years ago.  Their store was a tiny little thing on Abercorn with fabric bunting in the window and a small but fun selection inside.  We walked away with yards of the swimming sisters and the goldfish, and my mom eventually made a dress from some of it.  But the rest lives in my stash and now in this quilt, and whenever I see it, I think of that summer, before I even owned a sewing machine.  To say I'm excited for the 2016 reprint is an understatement, but then again, when am I not excited for new fabric?

The rest of the lines were collected over the years.  When I limited myself to four yards of fabric during the entire summer of 2011, Far Far Away III was what I purchased.  Briar Rose dropped into my lap soon after we moved to Charlotte.  Nursery Versery is another summer purchase - summer typically means a new Heather Ross line in my house.  I bought the fabrics from stores that are still open, stores that have since closed, Etsy sellers who were selling secondhand.  Everything has a story behind it.

I talked about fussy-cutting previously, and I still think it was the best thing to do for this quilt.  It used a lot of extra fabric, but it was fun finding the exact kitty to include, or the random knitting details throughout the fabrics (Briar Rose features knitting in a few prints - had to include them).  I'm not typically a fussy cutter and I'm not always a details person, but this quilt felt like anything less would be a disservice.  I wish I could take a picture of every single block, every single detail, but I think the pictures I've included are enough to overwhelm most of you.

This quilt is large, even with some of my poor piecing.  I had it longarmed at Quilted Thimble Cottage, which is my LQS and they've never steered me wrong in the past.  I spent about an hour with Jenn and her mom, talking about the quilting design, the thread color, the pattern details.  I opted for light pink thread (this is a girly quilt, though unfortunately Nick is not swayed) and 100% wool batting, as I mentioned, which I've never tried before.  I am in love with wool batting now.  It puffs!  It's warm!  It breathes!  I want it in everything.

Though you can't see it, I backed this quilt in older Anna Maria Horner fabric.  I originally wanted to use the new Lizzy House butterflies, but I'm glad it was out of stock everywhere, because this quilt required some creative piecing.  Even nine yards wasn't enough for a clean piecing, so there's a strip down one side that had to be sewn together randomly - thankfully, the AMH design is pretty abstract so it isn't too noticeable.  I used Heather Bailey to bind it - Jenn, Mary Catherine and I were auditioning fabrics at Quilted Thimble when I picked it up yesterday, and we decided purple was the best choice.  I guess it's fitting that I used these designers as well because Anna Maria, Heather Bailey, Heather Ross, and Amy Butler (missing from the quilt!) were the first designer names I knew - my mom and I would shop at the Olde Green Cupboard in Jacksonville, where they deemed these designers "novelty" and didn't carry much of their stock.  And then they closed like five years ago, so I'm going to go ahead and say it's directly related, even though I know it isn't.

So this quilt is done and I'm so happy when I see it.  I tend to be someone who focuses on the final project, just getting through the process.  But I'm glad I savored every part of this quilt, from partnering fabrics to sewing the binding.  I wanted this to be my best quilt, and I think it is.  It won't stop me from making more, of course, but I want this to be the quilt that lasts forever.  So Nick and Schnoz need to stay away from it.

Pattern: Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt sampler / Fabric: Heather Ross (multiple lines, from Lightning Bugs to Far Far Away reprint, and Munki Munki pieces); Dear Stella mini dots as the coordinate; Anna Mara Horner Field Study (backing, not shown); Heather Bailey Lottie Da (binding) / Long-armed by Quilted Thimble Cottage with 100% wool batting

In Progress: Fibery Friends Sampler


I picked up cross-stitching again last week! Kali started stitching a few months ago and has been sending me pictures of her progress, so I was naturally inspired. I've had the Frosted Pumpkin Mystery Halloween Town project sitting on my coffee table for a year, but of course had to start a new project anyway.  

This is the Fibery Friends sampler from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, on glittery Aida from Picture This Plus. I originally started another cross-stitch on this fabric but decided to salvage it for this. I think it's perfect! I love the glitter and the hand-dyed nature of it. The plan is to frame it and hang it in my sewing room when it's done. 

I've been working on it alongside my knitting projects, trying to make progress on both. Maybe one day I'll just have one hobby. For now, though, I'll balance all of them and try to get as much done as possible. 

In Progress: A New Fall Quilt

I try to make a fall quilt and a Christmas quilt every year.  "Try" is the operative word there: last year I finished the fall quilt but my Christmas quilt is still sitting, about 25% done, on my shelf.  To avoid that this year, I started my fall quilt around Memorial Day, which is totally and completely normal for quilters.

I read somewhere that people like reading blog posts about in-progress projects, not just FOs.  So, in an effort to blog more and share my projects, I give you my fall quilt progress.  

I don't think it's any surprise that I chose Denyse Schmidt fabric for this quilt.  Denyse and I just get each other--she's always in my top three choices for fabrics and I love all of her lines, buying at least an FQ bundle of each one.  They make the perfect fall projects.  Look at those colors!  Rich oranges, clear blues, scummy greens.  My fall quilts have used Chicopee and Hadley; I'm excited for Franklin to join them, hopefully on the copper quilt ladder Nick promised he'd build me.

For this quilt I'm using the Spiced Chai quilt from Vintage Modern Quilts (an awesome book if you don't already have it!), as well as the Modern Maple block  from Pretty in Patchwork Holidays (another awesome book!!).  I'm thinking I'll do the maple blocks in coordinating solids that I bought from Westwood Acres.  They typically sell FQ sets of coordinates which makes it easy for me, because then I don't have to agonize over whether or not my computer is showing the colors accurately.  They're already bundled and I get to support that fun little shop.  The background is Free Spirit Designer Solids in Mountain, a nice cool gray.  I'm thinking of quilting this with orange or possible green Aurifil, as I already own those colors and, again, I hate guessing about colors!

I bought some Chicopee when Hawthorne Threads had it on sale earlier this year to back this quilt.  But because I'm making the quilt larger by about 30%, I'm thinking I'll need to piece the back to make it work.  I had the idea while sewing these blocks to add in a few Donut quilt blocks across the back in the Franklin prints I didn't use for the front. I want this quilt to feel like all the things I love about fall: chai lattes, colorful leaves, pumpkin donuts.  I might even use wool batting to make this over-the-top cozy!

I'll try to stop in more with my in-progress projects.  I do want to apologize for the picture quality: my digital camera broke last week and I have yet to buy a new one.  My iPhone is great for what it is, but it isn't perfect.  Thanks for hanging in there!

Stash Management 2015

Real talk: that above picture is my stash, in all its disorganized glory.  And by the way, that is a standard closet; my sewing room is a 9'x10' bedroom formerly used by children, so this isn't some kind of trickery.  My stash truly takes up that much space and still can't be contained.

First, let's discuss shaming.  There's a lot of talk out there about the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is great.  People should definitely clean up and clean out.  I love cleaning out closets, donating old toys, filling up garbage bags.  But underneath that talk, there's been an underlying thread of elitism: I own less, therefore I am better.  And to that I say, why?  Why does everything have to be a competition in this world?  I'm not a competitive person by nature, so this line of thinking baffles me.  And because I have some teenage rebellion still coursing through my veins, it makes me want to order five more FQ bundles just to shove them in your face and show you what I think of your high horse.  Please don't think I support hoarding or irrational emotional attachments to objects; obviously there is nothing more important to me than my family, my pets, our health and wellbeing.  But goddamn, if I want to own fabric and yarn and buy more while I'm at it, just because it makes me happy, then I'm going to do it and you can take your weird book elsewhere.

Okay, that's out of my system.  So this post is pretty much to say I have a lot of fabric.  A lot.  And I know I do, because I see it everyday.  I see it come in, I see it go on the shelf, I see it stay on the shelf.  And I want to use it.  I'm obviously not going to stop buying it (see above), so why not use it?  Cutting into my precious Heather Ross stash made me realize it's just fabric.  It's meant to be loved and made into something.  It isn't meant to collect dust on a shelf.

I've tried buying less and curating a collection of only fabrics I love.  The problem is I love everything.  Give me Tula, Heather Ross, low-volume, solids, alternative substrates.  They're all welcome here.  Shit, I even love some repro prints and batiks (please don't stop being my friend).  It's all welcome here.  And if you go through my stash deep enough, you'll find Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler I bought in college(!), and flannel with purple kitties on it.  So buying less/only buying what I love is out of the question.

I have no other choice but to cut.  Quilts need to be made.  It's time.  But seeing as how there's been an HST quilt sitting on my project table since Memorial Day, I'm obviously still easing into this nonsense.  So while I'll still work on big quilts--quilts that will keep us warm in this 100-degree heat--small projects need to happen too.  Such as mini quilts (duh).

I recently redecorated my sewing room (still need two carts from Ikea) which left me with a ton of wall space.  Mini quilts are the perfect solution, as every blogger out there has a mini wall these days and they all look prettier than my plain walls (though the pink I chose is seriously my favorite color ever).  This morning I saw Megan advertise her next round of Fresh Mini Quilt Club on Instagram and the lightbulb went off.  I can totally do a mini each month.  That's just a few hours, a Saturday at the most.  And it'll cut down on stash because not only can I piece with what I have, but I can back with FQ cuts pieced together.  

So I signed up.

That's the first step in the right direction, I think.  But I'm not satisfied stopping there.  It's difficult to find resources on stash management--there's a million ideas out there for scrap management and scrap busting, but what do you do for a stash?  So I'm going to keep looking, keep thinking of ideas, keep researching new methods.  And I'll update you here.  Because I'm sure just as many of you are like me, watching these folks destash while reading their magical books, and thinking, "they'll never take my fabric."

Finished: Honeycomb Cables Socks

It's officially the time of year when I want to close all the blinds, turn down the AC, and pretend summer isn't happening outside.  With temperatures nearing 100 everyday, I'm ready already to say goodbye to summer (which won't even be here for another week).  I already have Fiona Apple playing and I lit a Mahogany Teakwood candle yesterday; it's October in my heart.


I mentioned in my last post that I had socks on my needles since January.  These are those socks!  I really have no excuse for taking so long to complete them; I suppose the cabling got tedious and I didn't want to work on them, is all.  As you can see in the final picture, there's cabling going on, but you can't really tell because of how crazy the yarn is.  The cables help them fit well, though.

Let's talk about the yarn!  I used the first skein of Spun Right Round that I ever bought, 80/20 Sock in the Fluff colorway.  Fluff isn't my preferred name for this color; maybe Flamingo is better, because it looks like flamingos and the shrimp they eat?  I had four months to stare at these socks so a lot of thought went into the color.  The yarn is really springy and fun - you can tell these will be really durable socks!  The speckles were fun too, as always.  

I used a Fish Lips Kiss heel, as always.  I think at this point I'm just using that heel because it's so damn easy.  I don't even have to think about it and I can turn a heel in 30 minutes without having to balance 64 stitches on a single needle.  Easy peasy.  I also don't have particularly round heels (I have a weird bone at the back of my heel, TMI and FYI) so they fit really well.  I did six repeats of the pattern on both the leg and the foot, which makes for a decent sized sock, certainly longer than I make when doing vanilla socks.  There's something to be said for making the most of your skein, but I don't think I have the stamina to knit a knee sock, that's for sure.

I've already started another pair of socks.  I don't think I'll make my goal of 12 in 2015, but every pair counts.

Pattern: Honeycomb Cables socks by Louise Tillbrook / Yarn: Spun Right Round 80/20 Sock in Fluff / Ravelry notes here

Jam Muffins

I was going to teach myself how to make pies this weekend, but these Jam Muffins from Back in the Day Bakery: Made With Love happened instead.  No regrets.

Here are five things on my mind this Sunday:

  1. We are still three weeks from the first day of summer and Nick and I talked about how excited we are for fall this morning.  All I can think about are apple orchards and cans of pumpkin.
  2. I've had the same pair of socks on my knitting needles since the end of January, and I'm focused on getting them done and off before I go to Tampa Tuesday so I can start something full of stockinette or garter.  Lord help me, a business trip and a flight (eep).
  3. Why is it that, no matter how many times I clean, I never get all the crumbs?  It's like they hide until I throw away the paper towel and then all hell breaks loose.
  4. At some point over the last year I became a serious, mega coffee drinker.  Today I've had three cups; yesterday I had coffee after lunch, like a totally normal person.  I went from never touching the stuff to buying a subscription to Counter Culture.  Adulthood.
  5. My living room needs to be furnished ASAP.  Everyday I see it and realize just how bad it is, and everyday I ignore it.  I'm making it a goal to at least buy furniture this summer.  That's not too hard, right?

In other news, I finished my Heather Ross Modern Building Blocks quilt around midnight last Saturday.  I thought about taking pictures but I think I'd rather wait until it's 100% done--bound and all--to reveal it.  I'm so excited to have it quilted.  I ordered fabric Friday night and will probably drop it off next weekend.  Hang tight!

Finished: Meadow Grass Shawl

It's been over a month since I finished one of my knitting projects.  That's way too long.  I made it my mission last week to get something, anything, off my needles, and thankfully Friday night I succeeded!

This is my Meadow Grass shawl, which was originally a Cameo.  I started Cameo when we went to Florida for Kali's lingerie shower, realized about 20 picots in that I had been counting the picot stitches wrong, and then subsequently realized I no longer wanted to make picots and cut the whole thing off the yarn.  As pretty as Cameo is, I need to keep my sanity, and Meadow Grass helped with that.

I was really unsure about the color combination at first.  It's a bit outside my comfort zone, but I like it.  Mary Catherine helped me choose it, actually, after I was plagued with failure to launch and was overwhelmed with too many colorwork choices!  The yarn is a skein of Tosh Merino Light I've had in my stash forever and one of my first Hedgehog Fibres sock club skeins.  An unlikely pair, definitely.  After working on it for a while, I realized it kind of looks like DC in the spring: cement and cherry blossoms.  I think because of that it makes the perfect spring shawl!

I'm not 100% happy with the way it blocked.  I'm not sure if the bindoff was too tight or if I blocked too aggressively, but you can see in the last picture that the bottom keeps rolling up.  The bindoff doesn't feel too tight, but who knows - it still might be.  I hope the rolling isn't noticeable when it's on.  There's no way I'm going to rip out the bindoff and do it again!

I'm working through my remaining WIPs--a cowl, a shawl and a pair of socks I started in January(!)--before I start anything new, though I did just get the Little Skein in the Big Wool Little House shawl kit!  I'm anxious to cast quickly can I complete everything else?!

Pattern: Meadow Grass by Heidi Alander / Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Fragrant (pink) / Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Dolmen (grey; September 2014 sock club colorway) / Ravelry notes here

Moda Modern Building Blocks (Part Two)

More Modern Building Blocks!  I'm making good progress on these - I've only had to set aside one block so far due to fabric uncertainty.  You know how sometimes, you plan a block and it looks great, but when you cut everything and lay it out something's off?  That's going on with Block 3.  I'm hoping that if I leave it to the end it'll figure itself out.

I should note--because I can't remember if I did last week--that I'm sewing these section by section, so these blocks are Sections C and F.  Section F is entirely six-inch blocks and I'm loving them.  What's cuter than a one-inch fussy-cut square?  Nothing.  Nothing is cuter.

I've now completed over half of the 48 blocks and I'm wondering if I should start sewing the sections together!  That's not as fun as sewing the tiny blocks, but it has to be done.  I have a stack of 25 finished blocks just hanging out near my design wall - they deserve some attention, right?

I had to cut myself off from working on these after work at night because nothing else was getting done.  They're addictive!  I'm not sure I'd feel the same way if I hadn't chosen fabric I love so much, but the Heather Ross factor definitely helps me lose myself in them.  For someone who only made one quilt last year, I'm definitely getting my sewing groove back with this project.

Moda Modern Building Blocks (Part One)

After thinking about this quilt for months, I finally started my Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt last week.  I bought the pattern in the fall and knew I wanted to try something scrappy with it - my Heather Ross stashed seemed like a natural fit, as I have a ton of it and it all seems to go together, even if at first glance it doesn't seem like it.  When I saw Tiger Lily at QuiltCon, I assumed I'd wait until summer to start so I could incorporate the new line, but as it turns out I just couldn't wait that long!

I planned the first 39 blocks, as you can see in the pictures, with stacks of fabrics and post-it notes.  I had enough stash to plan those blocks without any fabric repeats, though I admit I picked up some fun OOP pieces to help round out what I already have, including really cute Munki Munki cuts.  I think those last nine blocks will be made from my leftover scraps, as they're all six-inch blocks and it looks like I'll have a decent stash even after I finish these blocks.

Instead of sewing blocks in order, I decided to sew them section by section based on the recommended layout.  While my blank sewing room wall isn't quite large enough for all blocks in their layout, at least I can get the gist while I'm sewing.  Part of section A is there (a bunch of six-inch blocks are missing), section B is complete, and section C is on my cutting mat, up next.  I was starting the first section C block last night when I realized I cut like 30 triangles in the wrong size.  That's when it was time to go to bed.

I'm learning a lot about my quilting style through this project.  First, fussy-cutting isn't as difficult as I originally thought, especially with a clear ruler and a Frixion pen.  Second, having a project like this that includes so many different blocks is really what I need to keep my attention - I found that once I started sewing these, I couldn't stop.  I wanted to keep making more and more.  Finally, I'm also pushing myself a bit with the fabric choices.  Having a somewhat-limited selection and fabrics that aren't "safe" together--meaning I'm using different lines and incorporating two coordinates, the white and Dear Stella mini dot--really makes me work outside my comfort zone.  I'm trying to limit the number of blocks that are one print and a coordinate; instead, I'm looking for a scrappier palette.  I'm not quite where I want to be yet, but I'm hoping it gets easier with each block!

I plan on working on this project over the next few weeks or months, depending on what else I have going on.  Hopefully I won't bore you with the updates.  I'm also trying to decide on a backing fabric--let me know if you have any ideas!