Bug Warmer Handspun Project

I’ve been holding onto this project to share for awhile now, as I wanted the recipient to have it in hand before posting here. So without further ado…

I started with this fiber, 80/20  superwash merino sparkly nylon blend from Ginny at Fat Cat Knits in the gradient colorway Mon Ami.

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It spun up beautifully, the smoothest merino I’ve ever spun. Usually merino doesn’t behave well for me, it clumps and sticks together horribly. But this was an absolute dream and I spun the entire braid in 3 days. I can’t say enough good things about Ginny’s fiber prep and her color sense.

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I’m still not quite back in my grove with spinning. I was aiming for a worsted/aran weight yarn and ended up with DK. Oops. If the fiber hadn’t fluffed up a TON it would’ve been sport weight. I got 330 yards of 2-ply. I tried to keep the colors together as much as possible but of course there was some areas where, as I was plying, I could see there was just way too much mismatching of the sections, so I broke the ply. It killed me to throw away what probably ended up as about 30 yards, but I was a lot happier with the finished yarn. I could have split the top in half exactly in the middle and had a one-way gradient, but I split it lengthwise and so had a purple-blue-yellow/orange-pink-yellow/orange-blue-purple yarn.

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While I was overall very happy with the yarn, I still see a lot of inconsistencies in my singles and my plying is too loose. In my opinion.

Regardless, I picked the Bug Warmer baby sweater pattern (free on Ravelry) and away we went! It was a quick, easy knit and made my happy with every single stitch. I finished it in a couple more days and then after blocking it to even it all out – something I’ve found almost entirely necessary with handspun…it helps even with the more evenly spun yarn, but especially with my slightly uneven handspun – got it off in the mail to my lovely, adorable little goddaughter who looks like she will absolutely ROCK it.

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None of the pictures show the sparkle very well…it just looks like little bits sticking out but it’s really quite sparkly.

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I love how the colors blended right here.

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Ta-da! Oh, I did add a little leftover commercial yarn on the edges. AND, since I ended up with so much yardage I only used about half of the skein (hence the one-way gradient in the sweater). So now I’m trying to find something to make with the other half for either myself or Baby Girl’s mama.

Good Monday

Normally, this is me on a Monday.

But I had a truly lovely weekend, just hanging out with my husband. We didn’t really do anything (does laundry count?), but I got to work on a lot of projects and we watched some movies.

I wrote a few letters, and practiced making wax seals.


I worked on the never-ending quilt, and determined I’m 90% sure I’m going to run out of red thread. Ugh.


I finally picked up my Tree People socks again, and am almost to the heel now.


I spun two plies of this lovely Fat Cat Knits gradient (superwash merino/sparkle), and am with  difficulty waiting about 24 hours before plying because my singles don’t seem to be as twisty then. Ideally, I’d wait about 3 days but I just don’t have the patience. At all.

I finished “The Likeness,” by Tana French. Also my 15th book for this year, whoohoo! I am absolutely in love with this series and if you like mystery/police procedural books at all you really really MUST go start it. First one is “In the Woods.” Now go. Get it. Read it. Then come back and tell me thank you.

And of course, lots of snuggles with this little guy. The big guy too, but no pics of him.

All ready for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

The Little Quilter That Could

All together! Phew.

So, this quilt? I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Not only is it the largest I’ve ever made, it’s only the 3rd I’ve attempted to free motion quilt, 2nd on this machine, and only the 5th I’ve ever quilted, period. So, while that in and of itself is challenging enough, I was also too impatient to wait on ordering backing and batting from the States to finish it. DH kept asking if it was done and why I was working on something else…he’s so excited, it’s adorable. I love him. ❤ Anywho, we decided to go down to the Korean fabric market to find stuffs to finish.

We found a very nice, but heavy navy cotton. Kind of like Kona but a tad heavier. The search for batting took longer. Google Translate doesn’t know quite what to do with the word and pictures weren’t that helpful either. After madly dashing around (the market was about to close), we found a store that looked like it was kind of a quilting supply store…kind of. And hallelujah! Cotton batting. It looked a little thicker than what I was used to seeing, but it felt and looked nice, and for 11 yards it was only about 45 US dollars.

He keeps trying to “help” and ending up only adding to my frustration. Good thing he’s so cute.

Fast forward to basting the quilt. When I picked it up off the floor, I staggered. It was shockingly heavy. Feeling the first real flutters of unease, I started it on the machine. First up was stitch in the ditch with a walking foot around the sashing. Which, while it still made my arms ache, wasn’t too bad. Took several hours, but it looked pretty good and I was happy with it.

One of the better sections.

Horrible, horrible. Red thread on white fabric = no forgiveness, at all. Stitch in the ditch obviously not for FMQ, only to be attempted with a walking foot. Lesson learned.

Doesn’t look as bad from the back, somehow. At least not to me, even if you can still see some of the wobbliness. Ignore all the fuzz.  

Well. Attempting to free-motion quilt…not. so. much. It’s horrendously heavy and no matter how I try to support it (granted, I only have an oval dining room table) it slides around so badly that every time I stop, I end up with a jagged stitch out of place. I’m very frustrated and just want it to be over. I’m glad my next FMQ project is already basted, backed with wonderfully soft, light Bella and with an almost paper thin cotton batting. And it’s only lap size.

On the bright side, even when I threw a literal temper tantrum over all the mistakes in the quilting, my husband declared he loves it and please stop fussing about it because he won’t notice my “mistakes” and if he does ever see anything it will just remind him I made it. Awwww.

28 blocks quilted, 52 more to go.

Creative Madness

Sometimes I think being creative is a curse. I mean, normal people don’t seem to wake up with a million projects and ideas running through their head. They don’t seem to prefer making things to socializing, or eating (though I do get HANGRY when I’m in a the midst of a project and have to stop). When I get in the grip of an idea or project it literally almost eats me alive. I don’t want to do or think about anything else. I really do try to balance it out with other things. Work, of course, but time with my husband too doing other things (movies, dinner). It’s just SO HARD to not be able to do it all at once!

I’m mainly talking about my quilting bug. Knitting, to me, is an inherently slower process and so the grip doesn’t take hold in quite the same way, though sometimes it does turn me into a very monogamous knitter.

Don’t worry, the machine wasn’t running. He was just spot-checking.

This quilt has been in the works for over 2 years. I bought the fabric in the winter of 2013, because I wanted to make a kind of tribute quilt for my then-boyfriend-now-husband, for his military service. Then all kinds of crap happened and it got put in a box. I hadn’t even finished cutting it. When my sewing machine arrived here this was the first project I thought of, but it still took me months to feel ready to pull it out and go to work.

I’m using the Quilted in Honor line of batiks from Island Batik. The red poppies especially just seemed perfect to me. My husband has given up a lot to serve his country, and several of his friends gave their lives. Art is a memorial, to me…and I hope that this quilt when finished will be that for him too.

“Done, Mama. Done for tonight. Pet me. Mama. Mama. Mama, STOP!”

Tristan was not impressed by how many hours I sat at the kitchen table, late into the night. He finally resorted to trying to grab all my tools with his paws. After about half an hour of this, I surrendered for the day.

Inspector General of Projects

IMG_1972    This is where my progress sits at present. All the blocks and sashing strips for a queen size quilt are finished (and pressed, though the sashing hadn’t been in this photo). Next up is appliqueing 99 stars to 3 1/2 inch squares…I’m kind of scared. This will be my first attempt at applique, and it will not be over quickly. Husband promises to help cut them all out though, and I’ve been reading tons of online tutorials so hopefully it won’t be too painful.

This is the quilt that is next up for quilting. I finished the top about two and a half years ago but never got to the quilting. I’m trying to decide what designs I want to use. Much doodling. Hehe.

Finishing the Things

Pretty proud of all the stuff I managed to accomplish during the last 3 months as a result of participating in the HPKCHC! Ravelry is such an awesome place. 😀 So, pictures.

yarma_medium2Socks!

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Boy hat!

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Baby sleepsack!

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Dishcloth!

Halloween Sampler 2015

Massive Halloween sampler!

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Yarn!

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More yarn!

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And more!

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Last yarn!

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Sweater vest!

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Baby hat!

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And last but not at all least (see the beads?), Mr. Penguin ornament!!

It feels so good to be making things again. Hope everyone else had a great November, I’ll be back with holiday stuffs postings soon!

The Wheel Turns

I love this time of year. This time and spring makes me feel the most connected with history, both my own personal history and the history of the world. I like the old traditions of Halloween, or Samhain as my Irish and Scottish ancestors probably would have called it. All the modern day gore and zombies aren’t what I love about the season. It’s the idea of the thinning of the veil, of our loved ones perhaps being able to see us or maaaaaybe even communicate with us that pulls me. My dear grandfather passed near this time, on October 6, 12 years ago, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Every October, I miss him and wish I could talk to him, even once more.

Samhain also seems to be my time to finish things. Around this time I feel a huge push to get things done, largely because I want to start new ones. But I really think there’s a desire for closure that pushes me too. Anyway, here is my large finish for this year’s Halloween season.

Halloween Sampler 2015

I’ll get some better pictures once it’s framed, but I’m so damn proud of it. It won’t hang on the wall this year, but definitely next. My husband even likes it and kept asking me if it was going to be done on time. I’d pick up another project and he would ask if it was finished. All kinds of motivation there!

Hope you all have a very happy, blessed Samhain.

The Struggle


Alright, friends.

I’m struggling. I’m really struggling. I’m trying, but I’m struggling. I feel like my life is a mess, a disaster. All our household stuff from Virginia finally arrived last week, and while I’m super excited to have all my stuff, the number of things broken, damaged, or missing continues to go up, and it includes a couple of things that were really important to me.

I try to sit down and relax but the house is such a mess I can’t. Everything is everywhere. Nothing is organized. Well, except the kitchen. I did manage to get the kitchen done because, you know, we have to eat. It’s very awesome to have a crockpot and a bread machine again. And MY mixer. It’s a KitchenAid of the handheld variety, and even though it’s probably 40 years old (it was a hand-me-down from one of my grandmother’s friends to me about 8 years ago) it works so much better than the cheap ones in the store now. Even if the beaters don’t really stay in anymore, the motor is in great (knock on wood) shape!


Then there’s this…


  
 Which is substantially worse after I panicked after not being able to find the flyer to my spinning wheel a couple nights ago.

I just. Can’t. Deal.

I did finish a little dishcloth for the HPKCHC. Made me feel a little better.

Where I Am

I’ve been sleeping a lot lately, truth be told. But tonight I’ve been awake since 2 a.m. courtesy of a migraine prompted by any number of things. I sat in the shower for an hour and a half, and now I’m sitting with a much-dimmed laptop screen (the distraction is worth the slight pain increase from the light) on the couch with a candle burning.

Misery loves company so I’m sharing mine with you. 😛

On the bright side, my first month back at playing the HPKCHC went well. I finished a hat, a baby sleepsack, and a pair of socks. I started another pair of socks but didn’t get them finished. Also I started a “Mission,” a larger project that will take longer than a month. So there’s been lots of knitting, and a few other things.

 

 

The finished socks

The finished socks

Finished hat and husband being goofy. :D <3

Finished hat and husband being goofy. 😀 ❤

Unfinished socks.

Unfinished socks.

Start of the Mission project.

Start of the Mission project.

Patience…Or Lack Thereof

I am excessively frustrated with Shutterfly right now. Apparently they send all their image prints via UPS, which take 6 weeks plus to arrive here. Absolutely ridiculous, especially considering what I paid for shipping. How hard is it to ship via USPS?? WTF.

I’m so aggravated because I’ve been itching to work on my new Project Life obsession, and I only have a handful of pictures to work with at the moment. Most of which aren’t even mine, they’re ones my parents took and sent to me! Ugh. So even the 4 pages I have are extremely bare and nothing is journaled yet because I don’t have all the pictures so I don’t know if everything is where I want it…OMG HURRY UP ALREADY. I’ve put in a test order with Persnickety Prints, which, according to their website, ships Priority. So we’ll see if those get here any faster.

Here’s what I have so far, my very first attempt at Project Life and my first attempt in a very long time at any kind of scrapbooking.

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These are a little Instalbum thing I’m trying to do.

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These are pics from my grandmother’s trip to see my parents. They sent me a ton of pictures and even though I wasn’t there, I loved seeing them all so I decided I’d put them in my album too. And let’s face it, they were the only prints I had at the moment and I was dying to start putting some pages together. I have next to no tools/embellishments/paper with me at the moment, other than the PL Core Kit I bought a couple months ago (thanks Shutterfly…STILL WAITING), so they look very plain, but I’m having fun.

Stitching Rotation – Or How to Make Progress With Project ADD

I mentioned switching projects in my post last week, and I decided that I would work on my Quilter stitch for a week before moving back to Earth Goddess. I wrote in 3 days this week to work on it for an hour – which, including this weekend, I probably put in about 5 hours of work on it. Listened to The Dark is Rising while I stitched. Why didn’t I read these books when I was a kid? Anyway. I’m pretty stoked about how much progress I’ve made since picking it up last week! Check it out.

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And now:

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How about yeah??? I’m thinking even if I only work on this every 3rd week, a Christmas finish is definitely in reach. I would be so excited to be able to mail this to my grandma for her Christmas present. SO EXCITED. Fingers crossed.

In the midst of this progress, I discovered I was missing a thread color. Because it seems I can NEVER buy thread for a project without missing one or two. So of course I had to put in a 123Stitch order…squee! Coming this week. Can’t wait. Because, also of course, I didn’t just order the one skein of floss. Hehe.

I might work on Earth Goddess some this week, but my main goal is to get a little caught up on the Sabbat smalls I’ve been supposed to be working on since February. I ordered more fabric for them from 123Stitch and since I found a tiny little scrap shuffled into the middle of my patterns when I was reorganizing (and inventorying) this morning, I’ve started on the Beltane pattern. We’ll see if I can finish it by next week!