Catch Up Post – Sewing Edition

I have a knitting update as well, but I won’t bombard you with the craftiness all at once.

I’ve been making a bunch of fun little things now that I’m on baby-quilt-making hiatus!

First Up: FRMQG Mini Quilt Swap

The theme of this one is Critters, Creatures and Mythical Beasts! Which sounded super fun when I signed up, but as I got closer to execution, just confused me. My partner indicated that she wanted a critter. And critters just creep me out. But bees? Bees are great. I like bees. They don’t scare me or creep me out. I didn’t like any of the paper-peiced bee patterns I came across, but I did like this cute little cross stitch pattern from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.

Now, I haven’t cross stitched in years. Probably decades really. Most of my couch crafting time is spent knitting, however, I shifted focus to the bees for a week. And a week was all it took for me to finish this!

Look how cute:

xstitch

 

FRMQG Mini Swap

To make the mini quilt, I chose to frame the bees with cathedral windows. Like the flying geese quilt, making a cathedral window quilt has been on my to-do list for a few years. I love the look of this block put together. The construction is fiddly, time-consuming and layered. All that work is totally worth it though. The double layer of fabric means no batting or quilting or binding required! I love the gentle curves that frame the pops of color.

I opted to include a reversible box tote – same pattern as the project bag I made a few months ago. The mini quilt only measures about 12″ square, which is a bit smaller than the swap requirements. I made bias tape out of a super colorful floral print that I got in another swap. I sketched out some curves on the front exterior bag pieces and stitched the bias tape on the pieces before constructing the bag.

Next up are some selfish sewing projects. Appropriately titled project bags. Mostly for knitting. Can’t have too many project bags, right? I usually don’t have multiple knitting projects going at once, but I’m wanting to get away from that. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I want to knit something, but not necessarily the sweater I’ve currently got on the needles. Then other times, I’m all about the sweater.

project bags

I wanted a smaller drawstring bag for smaller knitting projects. I used some leftovers from the baby boy quilt I made last month.

And I really like these reversible box totes! My first one still holds my sweater project, but I wanted another one made out of Charley Harper fabric to hold a shawl project. I bought the canvas/heavy-weight version of this fabric panel and attached the interfacing to the lining fabric to add more structure to the bag. And this time I included pockets on both the inside and the outside.

Whew! That’s a lot of typing for one post. Here’s a link to the tutorials/patterns I used for these projects:

*Beekeeper Cross Stitch
*Cathedral Windows Tutorial, Handy cutting chart for differnt block sizes
*Reversible Box Tote – free pattern
*Lined Drawsting Bag Tutorial

yarn yarn yarn yarn yarn-y yarn

(cue Bad Cop from the LEGO movie)

Hand Dyed Yarn-3

 

LOOK AT ALL THESE CUTE MINI SKEINS!
Can you tell I’m excited about them? It is because I dyed them myself, using only 5 colors of acid dye.

I took a class a few weeks ago that was all about yarn dyeing. What they are, what you need, how to do hand-paint and how to immersion dye – and how to do this all safely. I left the class with a hand painted skein of dk weight, an immersion/kettle-dyed skein of sock weight yarn, stained fingers and bunch of excitement about dyeing my own yarns.

Hand Dyed Yarn

This is all sock weight yarn I separated into 5 gram mini skeins, winding them up on this contraption called a niddy-noddy* – fun name, right? I set out to experiment with mixing primary colors, playing around with the strength of the dye stock and adding gray or black to mix. I took notes on my color ratios for reference.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Now, I don’t knit socks. At least not yet, anyway. And these skeins look so pretty all stack up, but I am going to use them. I started making hexipuffs for a Bee Keeper’s Quilt. As my friend Heather commented on Instagram – its when quilting and knitting collide! These little knitted hexi’s are really fun and quick to make. I’m not sure how long it will be before I have enough to stitch together for a lap sized blanket, but that’s what I’m working towards.

Hand Dyed Yarn-4

*I made the niddy-noddy using this helpful tutorial – link.

Made: Another Baby Girl Quilt

Girl Quilt

Girl Quilt-2

Here it is friends! My last baby quilt for awhile. The baby shower was this weekend, and I can’t wait to meet this special little girl!

I love this one – truthfully, there are not many projects that I don’t love. Because if I’m not loving it, I don’t finish it. Why waste my time?

I have always liked the look of flying geese quilts – especially the ones where all the geese are going in one direction. And I knew I wanted this last baby quilt to incorporate that. I started by pulling a few prints and then cutting the squares, then subcutting the triangles – for both the ‘geese’ part and the ‘sky’ part of the rectangle.

Once I had a decent amount of flying geese finished, I auditioned a few layouts. Deciding on keeping like prints together in a row, I sewed them together. Some strips of coordinating solids completed the quilt top.

For the back, I choose a different print and made slightly larger flying geese, framing it with the same three solids.

I added a label too!

The quilting is simple stitch-in-the-ditch to just hold it all together. And the binding isn’t separate; it is part of the quilt back folded over. I had never done that before, and I actually really like how it looks.

I used the same fabrics as in the other baby girl quilt, but the two projects look so completely different. I love that about sewing – the same basic material can be turned into so many unique things!

Whew! My second quilt in 2015 – I’m laughing about it though, because I have a feeling that it will be MONTHS before I finish another quilt this year…..

Work(s) In Progress

Hello! What a weekend! It started off fairly uneventful – gym, crafting, cooking and football playoff watching. I woke up on Sunday morning, walked upstairs into the kitchen and realized that the heat wasn’t on. We have heated floors in the kitchen (pleasant surprise 6+ months into living in this house!), and the floors were COLD.

Went to check, and yup, what I suspected. The boiler was inop*. A few calls around town (not too many since it was Sunday. At 8am.) and scheduled a service call for Monday morning.

*sigh* so. Off to my sister’s to hang out! We packed up some snacks; I packed up my sewing and knitting; Carol vacuumed the shit out of her couch/blankets/rugs while I took every allergy pill I have. And that worked, by the way, her cat didn’t really bother me. And we were there for 6+ hours… crafting and watching more football playoffs. Sucks about the Broncos, but Peyton really does not do well in the post-season.

Ok, enough about all that.

WIP-2

I put together the flying geese I stitched up on our New Year’s craft date with Heather. And then cut into the solids Chelsea from Pink Door Fabrics pulled for me to finish them off. I am determined to not overthink this quilt. It is colorful and bright, perfect for the baby girl it is going to. Which, by the way, is the last baby quilt I need to make for a few months.

WIP

And I have a sleeve! It is almost finished. This is for the Strokkur I mentioned in my previous post. I actually ripped this out because my knitting gauge was way way off. My stitches were really really big – too big to follow the pattern. I think I just was not used to knitting with this particular yarn. This second attempt is coming along much better!

Why the sleeve first? Well, one of my Ravelry friends commented that she makes the sleeve first to check gauge, and if she’s spot on, then she’s partway done with the sweater. So I thought I’d try it out.

What is gauge? You non-knitters might be asking yourselves – or more realistically, probably NOT but I’m gonna tell you anyway. Gauge is simply stitches per inch. Each pattern calls for a particular gauge specific for that pattern. Tension variations in knitter or yarn yields different gauge, which can lead to ill-fitting garments if my knitting gauge differs from the pattern gauge. Changing needle sizes usually fixes gauge.

But hey, my gauge is off from the pattern! Even with 2 different needle sizes. I did find this handy online calculator that shows how to modify the pattern to match your gauge. The good thing is that while my row gauge is short by a few compared to the pattern, my stitch gauge (left-right) is spot on. That is a bit trickier to modify than the row gauge. Row gauge is pretty easy to fix – so the website tells me!

I’m almost done with one sleeve, and I’m liking how this is knitting up so far.

Made: Baby Girl Quilt

Warning: Photo Heavy Post!!!

Baby Girl Quilt

I finished this one up awhile ago, but I wanted to wait until the little one received it before blogging about it.

What a special little girl this is, and I’m so so happy that she’s here.

This quilt came together quickly, as I had the blocks finished already. These blocks are part of Amy Gibson’s 2014 Sugar Block of the Month club. I love the fabric and the colors are perfect for a sweet little girl.

Baby Girl Quilt-4

I kept it simple with 1″ sashing between the blocks and for the border. For the back, I ordered some yardage of one of the fabrics from the collection. And the binding fabric came from my stash.

Baby Girl Quilt-3

Baby Girl Quilt-2

Baby Girl Quilt-6

I’m most proud of the quilting. I did all the quilting myself on my Juki AND I’ve finally figured out how to machine quilt with Aurifil thread (hint: thread on a cone makes a difference vs thread on a spool).

Baby Girl Quilt-5

I made the label using Adobe Illustrator and printed it on iron-on transfer paper on my inkjet printer. I’m not sure why I’ve never done that before.

The fabric is Kate Spain Daydream – warm colorways. The pattern is the 2014 Sugar Block Club blocks.

Made: Endpaper Mitts

endpaper mitts-2

When I want to knit, I really want to knit.

This fact is supported by all the yarn I’ve purchased this past month. Yikes. And if you knit or crochet, you know that quality fiber is pricey. The cost for sweater quantity yarn quickly approaches $100+.

JJ and I agree on most things, one of which is putting our resources (time + money) towards things and experiences that we enjoy. Where I about shit my pants at the cost of the yarn I love, he doesn’t even bat an eye. He has told me many times that he knows that I enjoy my crafts – sewing/quilting/knitting – so he doesn’t really question how much this stuff costs.

With that, I’ve actually got 2 sweaters I’m about to begin. Both are designed by Ysolda Teague. I’ve knitted a sweater by her a few years ago, and her patterns are well written and the garments are so well designed. I didn’t intend on knitting two sweaters, but I had already bought the yarn for a Strokkur when I saw that Fancy Tiger is hosting a knit-a-long. With the knit-a-long, they offered a discount on selected yarn. Since I want to knit a Blank Canvas at some point anyway, I thought “Why not” and picked out some yarn.

BUT.

Before I even start with the sweaters, I’m going to share these fingerless mittens. I decided to knit arm/hand warmers because my hands get so cold at work! And I chose this pattern because I wanted to learn how to knit colorwork. Extra bonus is that these are extra warm because you ‘carry’ the second color of yarn behind the work, thus creating a double layer of warm wool. Yay!

endpaper mitts

The Endpaper Mitts are a free pattern. The instructions are not PDF, but they are posted on her website with links to tutorials on the tubular cast on and bind off. I had never done either, so in addition to learning colorwork, I learned the benefits to these techniques. Note: The kitchener bind off is really great for edges that need a lot of stretch, but I had to watch several different video demonstrations before I got it.

I started these in the car ride to Ohio. And the mechanics of knitting with 2 strands of yarn took some getting used to. I used this little plastic strand guide on my index finger, and that worked really well. The pattern designer claimed that the pattern was easy to memorize, but that was not the case for me. I definitely had to refer to the chart often, and I did have to un-knit more than a few rows when I made a mistake. I also used a free knitting counter app on my phone to help keep track of how many rows and pattern repeats I completed.

These were super fun to knit. The colorwork forced me to slow down, which I’m convinced helped alleviate some of the wrist pain I had due to knitting my Antrorse.

There are more details on my Ravelry project page, to include the type of yarn, colors etc….

endpaper mitts-3

Made: Baby Boy Quilt (2 of 2)

boy quilt2

Yikes! This one was a rush. We hosted a shower for my dear friend Christy on Sunday. Guess what I was doing late Saturday night? Yup, you guess it. Quilting and binding this mofo.

And actually, I love this little quilt. It’s about 35″ square and I mostly used my stash of blues and grays to finish it. I did buy a few fat quarters of Art Gallery’s Chromatics in Triangularity but everything else came from my plastic bins of goodness.

boy quilt2-2

I was aiming for a wonky log cabin of sorts, but then I ended up with these. I threw the blocks up on the design wall and then added the larger pieces of solids to make up the quilt top. I saved two blocks for the back and pieced them in with the lighter gray. I quilted straight lines going one direction for most of the quilt, then turned it 90 degrees and went the other way. It is bound with some leftover Cotton and Steel basic from my Weekender Bag and a teal solid. I finally used Susie’s Magic Binding that Marti keeps talking about. It really is magic. I can see why Marti keeps encouraging us FRMQG-ers to use it! Thanks, Friend!

The photos I have of the quilt aren’t that great. Since I finished it so late on Saturday night, I wasn’t able/engergized enough to take proper photos. And since we were working so hard to prep for the shower on Sunday morning, I forgot to grab more photos.

These are the ones I have. The quilt really turned out great. And Christ was so excited. She said, “Oh! I get a Norine quilt!” which was sweet. I’m excited for that kid to get here!

Made: Baby Boy Quilt (1 of 2)

It seems like ALL of my friends are pregnant. I know that not ALL of my friends are expecting, but sheesh. It sure does seem like all of them are.

As I count, there are 3 little ones still cooking, and 2 little humans that are already out and about.

I have one quilt enroute, and another one already gifted. I’ll blog about those later this week. And I only have one more quilt to finish!

boy quilt1

Here’s the top of one that I finished in November – for some reason, I do not have a photo of the complete quilt! What is wrong with me?? These are blocks that I’ve had complete for awhile, yet of course, I waited until the week before her shower to finish it! It was pretty simple to put together, and I kept that simplicity in a whole cloth back and straight line quilting. I attached the binding with my machine, partly to finish it quicker than hand binding but mostly for durability. This is a baby quilt after all. I expect a bunch of washes!

The baby shower was lovely, and when the mama-to-be started to open my gift, she said, “Did you make this?” knowing that I make stuff. I said, “yes” and then we both kind of teared up. The other guests were kind and lovely with their compliments of the quilt and of my work.

I forget that even though I might think it is simple, folks that do not quilt or sew do not. So, even though I kind of ‘poo-poo-d’ my effort – “oh, its just simple blocks and straight seams” the other ladies were impressed. And according to the mama, the quilt matches the nursery.

Anyway, the fabric is Bluebird Park by Kate & Birdie Paper Co (fabric I ended up not using in my 2014 Sugar Block of the Month) and the pattern is a loose adaptation of Stitched in Color’s Color Brick Quilt. Kona Celery frames the bricks.

Made: Sleep Season Slouch Hat + Leftover Hat

My friend, Tra’Cee, wanted a me to knit her a hat.

Me: What kind?
T: Surprise me.

Fancy Tiger hosted a Holiday Pop Up shop for a few local vendors. I picked up this skein of DK weight Merino dyed by Heather of The Lemonade Shop (link to her Etsy shop). I saw a sample knit of the Sleep Season Slouch Hat in the store and thought it’d be great for Tra’Cee. And the pattern is a free download.

Bad Day Yarn

For Christmas, we opted to drive to Ohio rather than fly. The cost for 4 plane tickets were just too much – that’s what I get for waiting to even look for plane tickets – so we packed the car and headed east. Which meant LOTS OF KNITTING TIME. I knitted up Tra’Cee’s hat all the way through Kansas and part of Missouri.

The pattern is pretty simple and a great one for beginning knitters.

hats in the car-2

hats in the car-3

I had a bit of yarn leftover and was able to squeak out a skull cap. Which I’m going to keep. Modeled below by my little guy.

hats in the car-4

Ravelry project pages linked here and here.

Made: Red Antrose

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I did it! I am finished with my Antrorse. And I love it!

I bought 2 skeins of Cascade Eco+ about a year ago, intending to make Idlewood. I started it. Then put it aside. FOR MONTHS. The partially knitted collar – because that’s as far as I got – and yarn balls sat in a paper shopping bag in my closet. FOR MONTHS.

After I finished the Great Divide Shawl, I immediately poked around my Ravelry queue and decided on Antrose. I had added it to my queue a few months back after seeing Tashia’s version of it on her blog, thinking, “I really like this one.”

And I really do! It knit up pretty quickly. Bulky yarn, size 10 needles…. this sucker went pretty quick.

I made a size 34, and I’m glad that I erred on the smaller size. By measurements, I should have knit a 36, but the 34 fits really well.

Some design notes: The chevron pattern is a nice design touch. The cowl neck is pretty too. I thought about adding some waist shaping, but ended up too lazy to calculate the rate of decrease and increase. When I got to the body hem, my ‘garter stitch in the round’ looked craptastic, so I ripped all that back and worked it flat. Then I seamed up the side when I reached a good length.

The underarm still looks a bit … hole-y, so I’ll probably go back and fix that. I haven’t yet cracked the code on how to make that part of a hand-knit sweater look good. At least that part is at the armpit, mostly hidden.

Pattern: Antrose by Very Shannon
Yarn: Cascade Eco+ in Cabernet bought at Fancy Tiger Crafts
Buttons bought at Fancy Tiger as well.
Link to Ravelry project page, here.

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