Wednesday, January 30, 2013

FO: 1621 days

There are projects that don't get finished. Sometimes, it's because something new and shiny comes along, but sometimes, it's because I'm scared. It's silly, but if I feel like something might not fit/work/turn out perfectly, I will set it aside until I can face it.


This sweater is the oldest of these scary WIPs. I cast on for the Central Park Hoodie, in July, 2008.

It's funny to think about how much has changed since I started this sweater; also hilarious? The fact that I started a SWEATER in JULY. In fact, I took this as a "beach knit" when my sister and I went on a little vacation that summer. I don't recall doing any actual knitting on the beach, which is great, since Cascade 220 is 100% wool.


I finished the back in a week. It just flew off the needles.

From my ravelry notes, I can see that my first problem came with the right front piece. I knit it longer than I should have, and decided to put it down instead of fixing right away.

That right there is one of my biggest problems when I make a mistake.

If I had fixed it immediately, the I wouldn't have lost the momentum.

Here's the really embarrassing part: all sweater pieces were done in 2009.

My avoidance of picking up stitches prevented me from starting the assembly process.

My fear of messing up this long-term project caused me to just leave it in the closet, unloved. My lack of experience with seaming an entire sweater was the root of that fear.

Sometime in 2010-2011, I knit the hood and button bands, and then in the last week of December (2012), I picked it up and resolved to finish. It didn't take long.


And after a nice blocking on New Years Day (and a couple of days after that), I have a new sweater. And it fits. It's not perfect, and I still have a lot to learn about seaming.

But it's mine. I finished it.

This wasn't my first sweater, but it was the first sweater of its kind for me.

Proof of:

Here's to more scary finishes, for you and for me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Thanks for all of your nice comments on my quilts this week. It feels fancy to share two quilts in one week! I'll have another to share (this one) as soon as pictures are taken.

Finishing a blouse

Today, I am finishing up a new garment, from New Look pattern 0134. I picked up this purple plaid last year sometime from Hart's Fabric. All I lack is the hem and snaps (instead of buttons!). There are already plans for a second one, because the fit is nice.

Then, I'm hoping to finish up my Madrona Road challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild. I'm making a baby quilt; the top is done!

more and more

And I hope to get back to my true love, x & + blocks. I'm sure you've heard about the informal -along that Katy and Brenda put together, right?

Speaking of Brenda, Pink Castle is having a sale on all precuts and bundles, using BUNDLE25.

A pile of unfinished, and Olias

My pile of unfinished projects never seems to get smaller, although I have been sewing away!
But Olias does need a place to sleep, so no complaints here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

FO: Earthy Strips

Baby quilts are always fun to make.

FO: Earthy Strips

This one, for Bill and Meena, was no exception. Starting with Elizabeth Hartman's Xylophone quilt from her second book, I used Kona Stone, along with green and brown strips to make some (slightly) wonky wedged blocks. I decided to only use these two colors (although I considered yellow as well), mostly to avoid having a lot of wasted cuts. I do have a small pile of waste, but I intend to use them up as scrappy bits in some improv blocks.

The quilt finishes at approximately 48" x 52". I like to size baby quilts generously, so they can grow with the baby.

I'm remind of last January's baby quilt, for Wyatt. More green and brown, there!

First meander

As part of my ongoing free motion practice, I tried the meander stitch this time. Full disclosure: I started quilting this twice before landing on the meander. First, I tried pebbling, but it looked all wrong with the strips. Then, I started straight-line quilting, but I didn't think that worked here either.

So, the meander, which I did only on the Kona Stone.

Back of Meena's quilt

For the back, I used a long ago stashed Deer Valley cut, which I love. I think the yellow/brown print works perfectly! I broke it up with some white Kona and a lonely leftover block. I left an unquilted area for my mom and I to sign.

And that's it! Another quilty finish, and another one I wish I could keep.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First quilt finish of the year

FO: Wintry Shoo-fly

Wintry Shoo-Fly is finished! Blocks for this quilt were made by the Love circle girls of do.Good Stitches.

Shoo-Fly block

I asked for blocks with blue shoo-flies on a mixed gray background (this was my block) of any size.

WIP: Blue & gray shoo-fly

Assembling this type of quilt makes me happy. The first do.Good Stitches quilt I assembled was similar. I like quilts with varying block sizes. It's like working a puzzle, in a way.

Shoo-fly top

After the top was assembled, I searched the stash for backing and binding fabric.

Detail of quilting on the back

I chose this Hope Valley print and Kona Lake for the back, and a Dear Stella dot for the binding.


Olias was my quilting helper, as well as the Machingers gloves that Nicke gifted me last year.

FO: Wintry Shoo-Fly

I chose a loopy quilting design, and only quilted the negative space. I like the texture it provides (especially on the back, as you can see above).

It is exciting to feel some progress in free motion quilting!

This quilt finishes at 50" x 64", and I think it will find a good home with our charity, Wrap Them in Love.

And it's always promising when you want to keep the quilt for yourself, right?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A dire need

Well, not dire.

But if this was your pincushion, would you want a new one?

It's been a good little pincushion, and does it's job, but it doesn't make my heart sing?
And shouldn't it?
When you sew frequently, why not indulge in a fabulous pincushion?

So, I made one. You may remember this one I made last summer, for a swap partner. Using the same Elizabeth Hartman pattern, found here on Sew, Mama, Sew, I made one with favorite fabrics.

FO: Weighted Pincushion Organizer

A little Lucky Penny Bike Path, a little out of print Good Folks, and two text prints (Blend Fabrics and Moda Authentic), I can now say I LOVE my pincushion.

Hello, pretty.

Happy day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

WIPs: A look back

In review of my 2012 WIP post, I think I have done pretty well this past year.

That Central Park Hoodie is waiting to be photographed! It was my final finish of 2012 (or maybe it should be considered first of 2013), and I am mega-relieved to have it done. Better yet, it's wearable!

I finished two of the four knits I mentioned in my post.

As for quilts, I finished one of the four quilts.



Of course, I finished lots of other things that weren't on the list. Typical fashion.

You may remember the video I shared last year, which was inspired by C.

Well, this year, a video just didn't happen, but feel free to check out my 2012 flickr set, if you are so inclined.

I still intend to post a list of concrete goals for the year, asap!

Monday, January 14, 2013


I'm glad you guys agree with my choice of the word 'focus'! In terms of craft, I felt pretty confident that I nailed it this past week.


With one project exception, I was able to finish a few smaller things, but mostly worked to get the shoo-fly do.Good Stitches project quilted. It will be bound this week, and the first quilty finish of the year will be done!


I'm using a Dear Stella dot for the binding. It's against my beliefs to stick to such a limited palette, but it's good to challenge yourself, yes? I really wanted to throw in some yellow, or green, but I resisted!

Wonky bee: Melissa's quilt

I finished my next Wonky Bee assignment, some gradient strips (with pops of accent) for Melissa's project. I owe you guys a full post on round three of the wonky bee.

more and more

I also knocked out eleven more X & + blocks, thanks to a full afternoon of cutting scraps. It really is fun to sort through a stack all at once, and then sew them at my leisure.

Wonky stars

A couple of wonky stars in the happiest of colors was also on my to-do list. Not a chore at all, no sirree.

Scrappy trip along blocks for Sharon

I got to give the scrappy trip around the world block a run, for Sharon, as part of BaMS.

WIP: Meena's baby quilt

I also worked on a new baby quilt project, for my (?) step-sister (?), I guess you would call her? Whatever. She's family, and she's having a kid. This is actually a finished quilt top now. Picture to come!

So, whew. That's a lot, but like I said, it was a very productive week.We won't talk about the project that stumped me thrice, and still isn't finished. Because I will get it finished, and like it.

Wishing you a very productive and fun week!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy making and my word

Good morning!

Blocks 1-19

I wanted to share a picture of my x & + blocks.

These have been so fun to make, and I cut scraps for several more blocks this weekend. I plan to sew them up this week!

I have been trying to pick my word for 2013, and I looked back at my posts from a year ago. Last year, I did choose a word for myself, and that word was voice.

I think it was a great selection, and although I didn't come back to discuss it here, it is something I kept in mind, and I still do. I'm better about speaking up for myself (still not perfect, though), and I do think I'm finding my artistic voice as well.

After some careful thinking, my new word for this year is: FOCUS. Again, it's a word that encompasses many acts I hope to accomplish this year.

A focus on finishing projects.
I tend to divide my attention amongst many things at once. While I will always make small projects in between the big ones, I want to finish those big projects.
I've started well with this, although I have no photographic evidence as of yet. Soon!

A focus on goals.
Although I'm not being rushed, I need to find a new career. This is something I hope to contemplate this year.

A focus on everyday.
It's easy to get wrapped up in future events, but I have been trying to be present in each moment. It's not a hard thing, but it is.

And in the photography sense of the word, focus.
I think my photography skills have improved astronomically, but I want to keep improving and push myself with my camera.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A little bit of baking

So, I know that a few days into a new year is not the time to discuss baked goods, but I wanted to share a baking endeavor from the holidays.

Apricot-hazelnut tart

I made an Apricot-Earl Grey Jam Tart with a hazelnut crust.
Impressive, no? The recipe is here in case you're interested (at some later date, of course!).

Making hazelnut dough

My favorite part was making the dough, and shaping it in the tart pan. I specifically bought a pan with a removable bottom (as suggested in the recipe), and it made for a much easier removal. You could use essentially any jam you'd like!

One of my goals for the new year is to try three new recipes each month. I think that's a pretty attainable goal, and I've got a new stack of cookbooks I received as gifts. I'll share my progress here!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fresh start

Happy new year! I did not anticipate being away for so long. I had a pretty fabulous end to 2012. I hope you did, too!

I am hoping to get organized in this space in the next few weeks. I want to share my annual "best of" post, a recap of my crafty ventures in the last year, and my goals for the next 12 months.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share pictures of some of my last 2012 finishes.

FO: Second Tote

I made a second Art Student Tote for a friend.

Scrappy stockings

I filled some custom orders, including these stockings for Jenny.

Shoo-fly top

I assembled my second do.Good Stitches quilt top, which I'll be quilting very soon. Love the shoo-fly blocks of various sizes!


I made a few quick dishtowels for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law with some fun scraps!

Pillow in progress

I worked on some pillows for the shop, which I hope to finish this week.

Tiny Bear Paws in the making

I started working with some tiny HSTs I assembled earlier this year. These are leftovers from the mini quilt I made

Oh, and last but not least, if you're looking for the winners of the Holiday Craft Bash prizes, Meredith's post is here!

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