Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

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After a week of deliberation, and quite a few pattern purchases, I thought I had settled on a pattern.  I bought some extra fabrics and got to it.  After a few test blocks, I thought I was ready.  I started to make strip sets–cutting into some very precious fabrics and sewing up a storm.

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And then I cut into them to make the blocks.

And all was well.  But, on block number 6 of …lots, I started to think that I didn’t like it.  So I panicked, looked for new patterns, and eventually resigned myself to the idea that I may have no idea what I’m doing.

But now, I have found a new pattern.  I’m going to give the disappearing four patch a try.  Let’s hope it treats me better.

Taking the Plunge… Q1 FAL List

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I’m gonna do it.  I’m gonna join the 2014 Finish-Along.  Firstly, I must make a disclaimer.  My finishes this quarter and this year always fall lower on the list than my job and grad school. Also, I am pretty fickle, so I’m just gonna post all the things that are in my head right now as well as WIP’s and UFO’s.  It’ll give me a better chance at actually accomplish something.  Without further ado, here is my list:

  1. A blue quilt for my niece.  Probably HST’s sewn together to make small and large squares.  Gotta finish it by her wedding in June!!!!
  2. The “Welcome Back, Kevin” quilt.
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  3. Quilt my rainbow bricks quilt.  It has been languishing on the shelf for a year!!!!  The only decision left to make is black vs. invisible thread.
  4. Quilt the starshine quilt.  It’s mine.  I deserve a damned quilt.
  5. My parent’s crosshatch quilt.  Only 30 partial seam blocks to go!
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  6. The Christmas echo star quilt.  Okay, so this one probably won’t be done anytime soon.
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  7. Andy’s fingerless gloves. Attach the finger flaps, then knit and attach the thumb flaps.  If I don’t hurry up, it’s going to take me another winter.
  8. My mother’s blueberry pillow (or possibly throw-sized quilt, but probably pillow).  This should probably get finished before her birthday in March.
  9. My jeweltones scrappy quilt.
  10. The Vintage Quilt Revival sampler in solids!!!!!
  11. Possibly even a Retro Rubies tablerunner.

Well, that’s a long and entirely unmanageable list.  Can’t wait to get started on it this weekend!!!

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A New Project

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Sometimes– okay, most times– I buy fabric without a specific goal in mind.  Such was the case on Black Friday.  I go out because JoAnn’s is having a sale and I can get some stuff that I need.  I get there and there are some cute Christmas prints.  This is clearly a sign from the heavens as I do not often like themes or prints.  I buy them.  I bring them home.  I’m browsing the interwebs in an attempt to get some inspiration when it strikes!  I’m going to make a giant eight-pointed star out of half-square triangles.  I’m going to echo it twice.  After some sketching and some math I come up with this:Image

I’ve since been working on this thing through all of the craziness of life.  And here is the progress:ImageImage

I’ve pieced a bit more.  And I am superduperflipping excited.

 

Stats:
Fabrics: Assorted “Holiday Inspirations” from Jo-Ann Fabrics, Kona White
Piecing Thread: Coats and Clark, 30 wt, 100% Mercerized Cotton, White #1

Stops and Starts

Well, it’s been a while since my last post.  Partially because I started grad school and haven’t had time to get much done, and partially because I’d much rather actually craft than write about it, if I only have one choice.

With that said, I’ve gotten a bunch of things started.

Currently on my needles:

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A simple tube scarf for a friend om my niece’s.  The scarf is knit in the round, then flattened and the ends are stitched together to form a scarf that’s twice as thick and super warm.  This particular pattern may be boring, but it’s perfect for faculty meetings and movie watching– just enough to keep the hands busy.

Currently on my machine:

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About two weeks ago, I started working with these great fabrics.  I cur them up into 2 1/2″x5″ rectangles and stitched them into pairs.

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Those pairs got stitched to 9 1/2″ rectangles, then those were sewed onto 5″x5″ squares. To make lovelies like this:

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A planning/measuring issue threatened to derail the whole project when I went to sew up my first block and realized that the 1/4″ seam matching the colored blocks together had thrown off my entire design!  Luckily, by making my outer muslin pieces 3″ wide, I was able to save it.  It makes the colored sections a bit narrower than I intended, but I like it anyway.  Also, It means that I didn’t have to go back and cut 1/4″ off each end of the colored blocks.  I would not have been happy with that.

Now I have 7 of the 56 total blocks necessary to make this into a queen sized quilt.  Why can’t I ever do anything easy?  What’s wrong with a nice table runner? Or a pillow? Or a flipping key fob?  Why, simply, that they aren’t all that functional!

Currently on my mind:

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This lovely box of joy arrived in the mail from Connecting Threads just yesterday!  Look at all of that wonder!  I’ve got a quilt kit, enough strips to make a second of that quilt, a kit for an advent calendar and one for some ADORABLE felt stocking ornaments!  I can not WAIT to start this stuff!

With all of that said, the school year started today, so I, unlike every other quilter in the apparent universe, have way LESS time to quilt as I am busy with all of the teaching and grad schooling that has to keep going on.  Alas.  At least I have my dreams.

Star Light, Star Bright…

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Last year, my sisters and I went to Keepsake Quilting‘s tent sale.  It was my first foray into the quilting world.  There were women going through boxes upon boxes of scraps, a tent full of patterns, kits, and fabric by the yard (a very generous yard at that).  I picked up a quilt kit and two patterns.

That kit turned out to be the Starshine Quilt by Creative Sewlutions.  The kit was full of blue batiks– featuring light blue stars, a beige lattice, and wonderful navy background fabrics.Image

I started piecing it over the summer.  Image

There were lots of half-square triangles to deal with, and I did not have a 1/4″ foot at the time, so, alas, my corners do not all match.ImageImage

But they came out pretty okay.  Today I finished up the other squares and started piecing the stars!

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Just look at those swirling stars!  I love it!  Such a great way to take my mind  off things before school starts up again on Monday.   I do love a good distraction– especially when it’s a productive one!

A New Hobby

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Since the new year I have started quilting.  I started out by  cutting and piecing the bricks for a full sized quilt based on this one.  It will be full of some wonderfully bright batiks I picked up from Keepsake Quilting with my sisters.  I decided not to assemble the top, however, because I was afraid it would be far too unwieldy to quilt on my own.  I have since finished a mini-quilt based on this tutorial where I got in some practice with straight-line quilting.  I quilted and bound the whole thing during Winter Storm Nemo after school was cancelled for the day.

I’ve got the bug now, though.  I decided to pull out my bricks last night and lay out the design.  Now I’m piecing the bricks into blocks of four bricks which I will connect up after.  Unfortunately, part of the reason I stopped the piecing before was that I did not have a 1/4 inch foot, so I eyeballed the piecing of the bricks (which I’m not sure were cut all that well to begin with).  A lot of them are off by up to 1/8 inch.  I’m hoping that constructing the blocks in this way, unlike the tutorial where they are assembled in strips will help me to get a more even quilt.  The batiks are hiding the abnormalities a bit, but I would like to have the corners as tight as possible.

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I’ll post pictures later.  Unfortunately, I left my camera at my parents’ house over Christmas and will not be able to get it back until the weekend.

New Skill Aquired: Kitchener Stitch

I was finally finishing up my niece’s Norwegian Snowflake Scarf, a colorwork piece knit in the round from both ends, the joined in the middle.  It needed to be grafted using the kitchener stitch.  May I just say: super easy.  The only thing you need to focus on is pulling your yarn tight.  Really, do the world a favor and keep it tight.  If you are looking for a how-to, I used this YouTube video from the Knit Witch and found it to be incredibly helpful.

Norwegian Snowflake Scarf

Overall, I am very happy with the scarf.  It was my first attempt at colorwork, which meant that I had to learn to knit with my right hand.  Once I got the hang of that, however, it knit right up!

A Few of My Favorite Things…

I’ll admit it… I love gadgets.  I love random tools and specialized pieces of equipment.  One of my favorite pastimes is walking through the notions, knitting, and quilting aisles at JoAnn’s to see if I can find anything new to try.  But I must say, of the very many tools I have bought and inherited, the one thing I could never never ever live without is my set of addiclick lace interchangeable knitting needles.  I bought my set at Alfred Knitting Studio three years ago and I cannot imagine my life without them.

I did try a set of Denise needles first, I had seen them on display at the same yarn shop the first time I went in, in 2008, and was amazed at the idea.  At the time, I was only just getting back into knitting and could not imagine spending the $100 to buy them.  Every time I saw a set of interchangeables, I told myself “You already have all the needles you need” or “You never knit on circular needles anyways” or “Bamboo is so much nicer to knit on.”  Especially after I bought a set of bamboo DPN’s in every size, I thought I was done.  Up to this point I usually knit on straight or double pointed needles.  I was usually knitting scarves and hats.  But all of that was about to change.

When I started knitting sweaters, I realized something I should have already known: I HATE DOING FINISHING WORK!  How many dresses did I need to sew where the seams weren’t trimmed, the hook and eye’s weren’t installed, and the final ironing wasn’t done before I realized this simple fact.  The same holds for knitting.  After all that love and care I put into crafting the sweater, I just want to put the damned thing on and wear it.  It only took me a bit to discover the joys of top down sweaters knit in the round.

Now I was in need of new needles.  But not just one or two, I would need to buy 3 in each size just to make a basic sweater.  After doing this once and borrowing needles from friends on occasion, I decided to do it.  I was going to treat myself to the most expensive and indulgent thing I could: tools for my hobby.  Keep in mind: I was in college.  I was living on my own, buying textbooks and groceries and gas and everything on a lifeguard’s budget.  I made all of my money over the summer, then worked about 6 hours a week while taking 28 credit hours of classes to make all of my spending money.  This was not a decision to be made lightly.

So in 2010, when I was looking to buy a set of interchangeable needles.  I was perusing the internet, trying to get the best deal I could, and I came across the Denises.  They had good reviews and they came in rainbow!  I was very excited, but when I got them, they weren’t quick, they weren’t easy to change, and they just were not working for me.  Because the cables were so thick, when they were linked I couldn’t even get my knitting across the connector.  I had to set them back.

So I kept looking.  The problem was that I had done a lot of knitting on 20″ and 24″ cable needles, which you just couldn’t get from most interchangeable companies.  But then I found them:  the addiclick lace.  A set of needles that go all the way down to 16″ without trouble.  But then I discovered the scariest problem yet:  you couldn’t get them on the internet.  They were only distributed through local yarn shops (so good for them!  Yay!), but most local yarn shops weren’t online.  And Alfred, NY is not exactly a booming metropolis where you can get whatever product you want.  But I decided to give it a try.  I went down to the Knitting Studio and asked if they had a set.  They did!

Since then I haven’t touched a set of straight needles.  I hate how heavy they feel and the way they distribute the weight out past my wrists.  I almost never touch my DPN’s.  Aside from knitting a hat I never need them.  I am ALL ABOUT THE ADDICLICKS!  I have added to my set, buying a second set of cables for the lace set because I tend to work four or five projects at a time, a set of long cables for eternity scarves and afghans, and a set of US10.5 tips for a few special projects.

I can’t say enough good about these needles.  They are fast, they are easily adjustable, they are great for travelling, it’s so simple to change needles, they’re great for trying to determine gauge, they’re small and easy to store, they make it so easy to switch between projects, they are a knitter’s best friend.  These needles are, by far, the best purchase I have ever made.  Every semi-serious knitter should get a set, it will hook you for life.  The addiclick lace Interchangeable Needle set is, hands down, my most favorite tool in the world.

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