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2015 Q1 – knitting review

31 Mar

Looking back at the first 3 months of the year, I made much better progress on my knitting than on any other projects. I blame this partially on the cold cold weather – my basement sewing studio gets really cold in the winter (I keep a space heater on set to 58F but when I accidentally had it off for a day it got down to 50, even though we keep our house at 68-70). So when I want to sew I need to remember to go downstairs and turn up the space heater a few hours beforehand. Most nights it was much more tempting to snuggle on the couch with Gregg and knit.

I blogged about Gregg’s Watchtower Socks but I did finish a few other projects. All yarn/pattern details can be found on Ravelry:

Striped baby hat – just a simple hat I sent to a friend who is expecting her first grandson. I used Cascade 220 Superwash Sport leftover from Davy’s Baby Whale sweater. Fast and easy!

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Mike’s Muffler – this was one of my goals for the Q1 FAL from Adrianne at On the Windy Side, and I’m pleased to say I finished it juuuust in time to mail off to sunny SoCal. My FIL is very pleased with it!

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Lala’s Wurm – made with the yarn I received for finishing Gregg’s socks before Feb 14; the superwash yarn grew when blocking and so my first hat turned out way too big so I ripped it out and reknit it with fewer stitches cast on. I’m happy with the finished project and glad I re-did it. But I probably should post a photo!

Juniper Sage Hickory – another Q1 FAL goal done and another pair of socks for me! I’m really pleased with how they came out, I’ve already worn them a few times.

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Rainbow Leg Warmers –  another  Q1 FAL goal, also a birthday gift for my niece (who conveniently had a rainbow-themed birthday party).  Arrived in time for the actual birthday and my SIL reports she wore them to bed that night :)

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I’ve also started another pair of socks, the goal is to finish and give them to my mom for Mother’s Day (a tradition I’ve done nearly every year since I started knitting socks). And I do have some other knitting plans but I’ll include the rest in my post for the Q2 FAL.

 
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Craft Room Redo – details

12 Mar

Another post written months and months ago – posting this now but I will try to do an update with how it’s working and the changes I’ve made.

 

 

I guess first off, I should say I’m lucky to have a dedicated space. When I bought my house I was single and I decided that I didn’t want a TV on the main living level. I have a walkout (mostly) finished basement, so I turned half of that into a TV/media space and the other half into a craft studio. I had an L-shaped desk with a whole bunch of crap on it and a bunch of large bins that held yarn. I’ve been wanting to redo it for a few years but had been holding off because I didn’t want to spend the money and, especially once Davy was born, I rarely had time to do anything crafty! Now that he’s older (and sleeping in his crib), I have more time to create things but was still putting it off.

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Well, a few weeks ago, a generous friend came by to give me a big piece of IKEA furniture – I think it’s something they don’t make anymore, it looks like the old Hemnes except with 10 cubbies that are all the same size. It’s big, really big, and it didn’t really fit in the space we had. But I figured it would fit with a new sewing machine table and cutting table. So Gregg and I talked it over and I made a spreadsheet (yes really) costing out how much to make both a custom sewing table and cutting table and we were off and running. I don’t know the final cost since there were a couple of random trips to Home Depot in there to return one thing and buy another but it was probably between $300-$400. We had nearly all the tools necessary (borrowed a staple gun and a truck) so the cost was all materials. I was able to justify the cost by cashing in a whole bunch of credit card points so it was semi-free.

So, inspiration. I don’t know when or why I was even looking, but at least a year ago I ran across the DIY IKEA Sewing Table Tutorial on From Marta With Love, and I was totally inspired – I loved the idea of a custom table for cheap! But at the time, I still had my not-great starter machine and there just wasn’t a budget for any kind of redo. But I’d definitely been wanting to do this for awhile, and now was the time! Sadly I didn’t take any in-progress photos of this project.

My mods – for the sewing table, we didn’t bother with the pocket holes, just screwed the 2x2s in through the front and back rails. We also didn’t countersink the screws – we attached the 2x2s slightly lower than the top of the table so there is space for the bolts. My machine has a knee lift so we also drilled a hole for that. At some point I would like to paint it, but we knew we were having family visit soon and I wanted it to be presentable/functional when they arrived, not midway through the painting process.

What I would do differently – I traced the machine footprint directly onto the table before making the cut with the jigsaw and honestly, I didn’t do a great job. If I had to do it again, I would make a template on cardboard rather than directly tracing the machine. I’d also set up a piece of wood to act as a rail – my jigsaw kept fighting me, trying to go in a different direction. Gregg had to step in and finish the cutting, and the hole is bigger than it needed to be. Luckily it was salvageable, but there were tears.

(yeah, this is the same image in my other post)

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Around the same time that I found the sewing table, I was poking around IKEA Hackers and ran across <a href=”http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/06/new-customized-sewing-room-cutting-table.html”>this project</a> and I was in total lust. I didn’t have any large surface to cut fabric on, so I either hauled my cutting mat, rotary cutter, rulers, and fabric upstairs to use the kitchen table (naturally, this was only possible while Davy was asleep) or, most of the time, I kneeled on the floor of the basement and cut my fabric like that. So I was really excited to have a new cutting surface. At some point, I decided I should add some fabric and batting so it would do double duty as a pressing table.

So my inspiration was much looser for this project. We used 2 KALLAX units (the replacement for EXPEDIT, but practically the same) and arranged them in an L shape, sandwiched between 2 pieces of melamine cut to 3ft by 4ft (we started with a 8ft x 4ft piece of melamine). We added 6 BESTA legs to give it some additional height – it’s 36″ tall, approximately counter height. We also found some iron-on melamine edging to finish the bottom edge with.

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After attaching everything together, I sewed up a giant piece of frankenbatting to cover the unit and staple-gunned that in place. Then I added some ironing board fabric, and then some IKEA fabric on top of that.

 

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The L-shaped arrangement means I have some storage space good for batting and fiberfill and other large items. I also added some KALLAX drawer inserts so that I could keep my sewing machine supplies handy and some DRONA boxes to store fabric and quilty WIPs in.

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Craft Room Redo

12 Mar

So I wrote this maybe 9 months ago and for some reason never posted it, but since I was commenting on another blog about redoing sewing areas I figured I’d better post it – better late than never!

 

Lots of exciting changes to my crafting area have occurred.

My husband surprised me with a new sewing machine for my birthday:
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We made a design wall:

We got rid of the corner desk that was my old sewing area

Before:

After:

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More details on how we redid it next time!

 
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Magpie Fiber Socks and Scallop Bunting

23 Jan

Today I have my first knitted FO of 2015! These are socks I made my husband, from a new indie dyer local to me – Magpie Fibers. I went to her debut trunk show and was blown away by the gorgeous colors of her yarns, and I really like the base yarns she uses to dye. I went planning to get a few skeins of her Swish Worsted for another project. As we were talking about colors, she mentioned that she was trying to make sure she included good masculine colors that were not just a flat grey or blue, so I also picked up a skein of “All Along the Watchtower” in Swanky Sock to make a pair of socks for Gregg.

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I had originally planned to modify a pattern that called for a multiple of 6 sts and so cast on 66. It was clear almost immediately that the pattern was fighting with the yarn so I ripped back, and since I didn’t want to redo the cuff I went with a simple k4p2 rib which I think shows off the yarn nicely.

I really liked the yarn and would definitely buy it again. Soft, nice stitch definition, generous yardage, great colors, and no knots/flaws in the skein. Gregg is also a fan of these socks – I usually try to block them but he wanted to wear them today.

This is also my first finish for the Q1 FAL.

I also have another sewing FO – as I mentioned, I’m doing the Curves class and I finished my Scallop Bunting project!

I was not planning to finish the whole project but once I got going, it was so easy and looked so good I didn’t want to stop!

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I’m kind of sad I need to wait a whole year before I have an excuse to hang this up again.

 

Linking up with Amanda Jean at Finish it up Friday!

 
 

Finally Quilting

21 Jan

Wednesday again already?

I’m thrown off because Monday was a holiday for me. It was also one of the rare days that my work is closed but daycare is open! My initial plan was to spend the day in sewing land, but then reality set in. Gregg and I had a house project that really needed to be finished and with Davy out of the house it was the perfect time to do it. Our townhouse has 6 concrete steps leading up to the front door, and last year our metal railing rusted through at the bottom so Gregg took it down. It took a ridiculously long time to source a replacement that wasn’t a super expensive custom railing, and once we got it it’s taken us forever to get it up due to some quirks of installation and needing some heavy duty tools. But Monday, after hours of work and multiple hardware store runs, we got the final part of the railing in. It still needs caps on the uprights (they were included but there are no instructions so we still have to figure out how to install them) but it’s at least usable – timely, because we’ve gotten several inches of snow today.

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Luckily, we did finish before daycare pickup so I took the opportunity to start the quilting on my Winged Quilt. I played around with designs on a practice block as well as taking a photo and doodling in one of my apps before I made the decision to do angled lines following the piecing. Until I get better at FMQ, walking foot quilting all I’m comfortable with. Luckily I think it looks pretty good! I’ve gotten maybe 1/3 of it quilted.

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Last night should have been dedicated to quilting Winged but instead I started my first project for the Curves Class, from Rachel at Stitched in Color. It’s a scallop bunting, and I decided to use up some of the Christmas fabric leftover from my tree skirt. I’ve only made one of the scallops (because I frittered away my time making bias tape) but it came out really nice so hopefully I can get some more sewn tonight.

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

 

Tree Skirt

16 Jan

My first FO of 2015! And at least I have a tree skirt for next Christmas.

Details – inspired by this tree skirt from pepperknit, but with some modifications – I started with 7.25″ triangles (no, I have no idea why I picked such a weird size either). Each wedge is made up of 16 triangles. I bought 10 different fabrics but switched around which fabrics repeated in each wedge so I’m pretty happy with the layout. I had a hard time finding 10 fabrics I liked that I thought went well together. If I was going to do it again though, I’d probably throw in some solids because Gregg thinks it’s a little loud.

 

This is it after quilting but before washing – my mom still had her tree up so I was able to take a quick shot of it.

I did straight line quilting an inch from each seam, so I ended up with some nice intersecting lines. I was afraid they’d highlight the spots where my points are a little off but I think it looks fine.

I tried to pick a backing fabric that I thought would work as reversible. The binding on the center isn’t the greatest on this side but I think I could still use it since that part will be hidden by the tree. I used regular 2.5″ straight grain binding and attached it all by machine.

After a wash and dry it ended up 50″ in diameter (flat wedge to flat wedge) which I think is a good size. The wedges ended up 28.5″ along each wide side. I was worried about it running since I didn’t pre-wash and the fabric is all cheapo stuff from Joann’s (because tree skirt, I’m not too worried about it being an heirloom project) but I threw in some color-catchers and it came out fine. I’m quite pleased with this!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

 
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2015 Q1 FAL/WIP Wednesday

14 Jan

I have a bunch of projects planned/started with deadlines so I’m hoping that by linking up to the 2015 Finish-Along at On the Windy Side it will help keep me on track. I’m trying to put these in the order that they need to be finished!

First up (of course) is the Winged Quilt that was supposed to be my mom’s birthday gift – I need to piece the back, quilt, and bind it. This needs to get done like, yesterday (and yes, I realize all these photos look the same but there’s really only one angle I can photograph my design wall from).

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Second is Gregg’s Watchtower Socks – the dyer of this yarn, Magpie Fibers,  is offering a free skein of worsted or bulky yarn to those who finish a project and post it to Ravelry, Facebook, or Instagram before Valentine’s Day. I went to her trunk show and her colors are really amazing (ignore my photos, taken in my basement at night with crappy overhead lighting); I had a hard time deciding what to get so I’m determined to finish these socks and get my free yarn! I have the first sock done and the second started. This is a great “masculine” colorway that is not blue or gray. The yardage is also very generous – I’m thinking I might be able to squeeze out a pair of socks for Davy from the leftovers.

Third is Mike’s Muffler – my father-in-law kept borrowing a scarf I had made Gregg while my in-laws were visiting over Christmas and he mentioned that he would love one of his own.  His birthday is Feb 26 so I need to get it finished and in the mail by probably the weekend before. I’m several repeats into the pattern, which looks complicated but is pretty easily memorized.

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Fourth is the Giant Plus Quilt – I really just want to get this done so the pieces are off my design wall and we can start using it. I have it all cut out and have started piecing it (you can see it at the top of the Winged quilt in the first photo).

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Fifth is Rainbow Stripey Legwarmers, for my niece’s birthday in March. I had special-ordered some self-striping rainbow sock yarn with a longish repeat – hopefully you can kind of see that in the photo –  and it’s wound and waiting for a free set of needles. This will just be a simple ribbed pattern.

Lastly is some socks for me! I started these Hickory socks uh, back in October? I have the first done and the second started. My goal last year was to do a pair of socks every month and I didn’t meet that, but I’m finally able to knit when Davy is around so I’m hoping I can do it this year because I don’t have enough hand-knitted socks to get me from one laundry day to the next. Also, I really need sock blockers because there is a cool pattern to this sock that you really can’t see in the photo.

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Wow, that doesn’t seem like a lot but I’m also going to be participating in my first quilting bee as well as taking an online quilting class so hopefully I will have the time to finish all these projects up!

Also linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

 
 

Christmas roundup

07 Jan

I had grand plans for Christmas this year, but some persistent ick in my house took it’s toll toward the end of the year. We all got sick mid-November and it was just one thing after another. We’ve been through an ear infection (Davy), sinus infections (Gregg and I), pinkeye for the whole house – once for Gregg and twice each for Davy and I! Davy doesn’t sleep or eat well when he’s feeling crummy, which meant Mama was up a bunch in the middle of the night and thus not inspired to wake up at 5AM to sew. A good lesson to me in planning though, and luckily we are all on the mend and none the worse for wear.

One of my goals for Christmas was a handmade gift for everybody. How did I do?

My mother-in-law and father-in-law got some socks I had fortuitously made earlier in the year:

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My poor husband got nothing – I started a pair of convertible mittens but didn’t get gauge and threw in the towel. It’s really hard to make projects for him in secret.

My son got some more handmade pillowcases, which I just realized I never posted about so I’ll throw all of them up here:

 

My sister got the Mod Sampler Quilt – yes, I did finish it (barely) – luckily she was so moved to tears that she didn’t notice my crappy quilting:

My mom got a finished quilt top – I might have been able to finish the quilt but I realized I didn’t have enough fabric for the backing and decided I’d wait on that and finish it later:

 

She also got a Snappy Manicure Wallet (minus the snaps, because I purchased the wrong snap fastener and so used velcro instead):

My sister’s best friend Kim joined us this year and she got two drawstring bags – one to use for projects and one filled with knitting notions like a tape measure, cable needles, stitch markers, point protectors, and teensy scissors:

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I had big plans to make some things for my extended family but only my brother-in-law got something – I whipped up a very fast Soft Structure Cowl for him:

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And I even started a quilted tree skirt for our tree!

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So really, not too bad in the scheme of things but I’m hoping with some planning ahead I’ll do better next year.

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday – I really do need to finish both Mom’s Winged Quilt and the Tree Skirt asap!

Also linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes January 2015 goal party – though I’d love to finish both, Mom’s Winged Quilt is my January goal.

 

Mod sampler and some finishes

19 Nov

I’m still sick (Boo!) but since this cold seems to have come with a heaping side order of congestion-induced insomnia I’ve gotten a bunch of stuff done (yay!)

First of all, I finished the top for my mod sampler quilt, pieced the back, and basted it together:

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Next up is quilting – I’m thinking I will do my first attempt at large-scale FMQ and do interlocked squares – hopefully I will get started on that this week.

I have a couple of finishes – I completed the Hedwig Owl for my nephew and it (along with the Unicorn bag for my niece) has already been mailed off and delivered to them. Pattern is Obligatory Owl and full details are on my ravelry page.

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I also finished a hat and mittens for Davy – the mittens are the same yarn, the photo is just crappy.

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I love this shot – he has his hand out and is telling me “pocket” which means he wants me to put my phone back in my pocket and stop taking photos.

The hat pattern is the Dragon Baby Hat, made in the toddler size, which I really like – the hat fits him well but has room to grow, and the pattern was interesting without being too complicated. The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh DK  which I’ve used before and really love – the subtle variations in color look really good with this hat pattern.

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I could not find a free basic toddler mitten pattern for the weight yarn I was using. Luckily I long ago purchased The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns and the smallest size mitten worked well for him. At one point last night I got him to try his hat and mittens on and he ran around the house in glee shouting “mitten! mitten!” Toddlers are hilarious.

I also started a cowl last night for my BIL – I was going to make him socks but I’m starting to feel like I may need to pare down my holiday projects, and a cowl should be much faster. It’s a pattern that I’ve made previously for Gregg and it’s leftover yarn from a hat I made BIL last Christmas so it will match. Hopefully I will have enough yarn!

 

Thanks for reading! Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

 

 
 

Unicorn bag Finished!

14 Nov

So that bag I showed off on Wed? It’s completed! I only needed one more evening of work to make the strap, add the magnetic closure (pro tip – do this before you attach the lining to the bag) and sew it all together. Here is is all assembled – the sides with the built in Unicorn pockets (they have the same fabric lining as the main bag):

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And the lining with additional pockets on each side, one of which is a divided pocket:

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I’m thrilled with how well this bag came out! There aren’t many changes I would make if I did a similar project – I’d probably cut the lining just a bit smaller so it didn’t have that bunchiness on the sides and I’d make sure to add in my magnetic closure first – it was really a pain trying to hand sew that in, especially doing the second side because the magnets kept grabbing each other.

It might be a bit on the large side – the final measurements came out to 12″ tall by 8″ wide – but those were somewhat constrained by the fussy-cut unicorns on the pockets, and it’s a nice deep bag for my niece to store her treasures in. I hope she loves it!

 

 

 

 
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