Monthly Archives: January 2013

WIP Wednesday: Sugar Block II

A few weeks back, I spent an entire Saturday in my sewing room, truly straightening it up for the first time in at least a year. It felt pretty amazing to get it organized- and it looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself…IMG_0471 IMG_0475

And you can’t even see the yarn! But it’s in plastic storage bins and drawers and almost all actually fits in the closet.

The con of doing all this hard work? I kind of don’t ever want to sew again, because that means messing up all my hard work…

The pro? I found lots of treasures, including a 4 pack of batik FQs I got in a grab bag, and all of my fabulous solid stacks from the now defunct Pink Chalk Fabrics Solids club- the current version involves prints as well. Anyway! There was a very autumnal batch, not my cup of tea (lots of brown and yellow) that would work with those batiks… And I’d been meaning to make my mom a new quilt for her “new” (year old now) couch anyway… So I started pulling and playing… And came up with this.

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It’s an eclectic mix… the batiks, the solids, some Kaffe stripes and one print, and a two other very random pulled from stash pieces (the purple one has elephants on it!), on a slightly off white back.

What to do with them? Well, that choice was easier! I decided to make a 2nd Sugar Block quilt. I feel like I can commit to 2 blocks a month, and hopefully that means I’ll have an xmas gift for my mom by the time all the blocks are released. So, if you know her, shhh!

I got started today…

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My seam ripper got a serious workout, as I sewed on 2 of the flying geese units backward. Go, me. Nothing like staying super humble.

All in all, I think it came out okay… Perhaps working on these blocks all year will help me improve my precision. I did bust out the spray starch today, and I do think it helped.

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Since I’m finally sewing again on a semi-regular basis, I thought I’d link up over at WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced– maybe if I can get blogging and chatting with others again, I’ll sew even more? It’s worth a shot…

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Ice Ice Baby

We took a teeny tiny road trip this weekend, up into the mountains…

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Our goal was twofold, and cold art based- first, to see the Ice Castles in Steamboat Springs, and then, to see the 23rd International Snow Sculpture contest in Breckenridge.

But wait, Sam, don’t you HATE snow and cold?

Yup- but somehow when it is turned into art, I love it. Just don’t make me ski on it… Or clean it off of my car in the morning.

We went to see the Ice Castles last year, when they were in Silverthorne, which is about 2 hours closer to our house… We wanted to go again, especially because last year we didn’t get to see them after dark. With them moving further afield this year, we found the perfect excuse to stay overnight and see them both in daylight and in darkness…

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Never one to let a crafty moment pass me by, I realized I could finally take some cool (heh heh) photos of a recent finish! I completed this fabulous shawl, Pogona, by the wonderful Westknits, back in October, but it took me forever to get around to blocking it (and it REALLY needed it.) I was already wearing the shawl, so I seized the moment for an impromptu photo shoot…

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I realize you can’t really see the colors, but I still love the photos… The shawl is knit w/3 skeins (with only abt 6 inches to spare!) of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in the limited edition colorway Eclipse. This was the first time I have ever been let down by this yarn- while all 3 skeins were the same dye lot, the 3rd turned out to be much much much darker. That’s NOT a trick of the light in the first photo! Oh, well. By the time I realized the color difference, I was almost done with a month of knitting, and I was not about to rip back. Sigh.

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The Ice Castles are truly magical- they literally change by the minute, as they melt and refreeze, and then they are added on to every night after closing time… There’s an icicle farm! The castles must be magical- because from that photo, you’d think my kids actually LIKE one another. Rich actually asked me if I had downloaded a special app that made siblings appear happy ūüėČ

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I could bore you with hundreds of photos, but I’ll stick to just a few more- you do want to see it at night, don’t you?

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The lights change constantly, meaning that the ever-changing experience is even more so… We had a wonderful time.

After a night of poor sleep in an especially lousy hotel bed, and a quick dip in the hot tub, we packed up and got back in the car. At about the halfway point home, we stopped in Breckenridge to check out the 23rd International Snow Sculpture Contest. Being non-mountain folk, even after 13 years in Denver, we’d never heard of this event before. But it’s really neat! 20 ton blocks of snow are carved into amazing works of art over a week by teams from all around the world. It was a rough year for the contest- the mild winter we’re having meant warm temps and faster melting than normal… By the time we got there on Sunday, 2 sculptures had collapsed completely, and some others were showing ¬†signs of stress.

But here’s the best part of all- one of the teams was from Iceland, and their sculpture was inspired by the Lopi sweater tradition! Snow art inspired by fiber art! Considering how of the moment Lopi is in Denver right now, this was extra awesome. Check it out!

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All in all, it was a wonderful mini-vacation, and perhaps I could be lured into the moutons during the winter again. Perhaps.

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Striation Socks!

The last socks of 2012, which are also the first socks of 2013, are done!

December socks- Striation

And I love them!

Pattern: Striation, by Cookie A, Dec 2012 Cookie A Sock Club Exclusive

Yarn: Stricken Smitten’s Sinful Sock, colorway¬†Scheherazade’s Sky

Mods: None

Link to my Rav page for project: here

Super simple knit, with a lovely effect. The yarn is very very soft- am hoping it will hold up well. Broke the socks in earlier this week, and they felt wonderful. The color is fabulous… All in all, a great way to end/start the year!

And to think, I’m only about 2 weeks out from the first shipment of the 2013 Cookie A Sock Club! Whee!

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Proud Mom Moment

Annie’s middle school requires all 6th graders to take either band, orchestra, or choir. Annie chose band- and having never had a genuine music lesson in her life, we were surprised. She ended up with a flute- and we quickly learned she has a surprising natural aptitude.

See what I mean? She was furious as she missed one note, but we think she was amazing!DSC_0039

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Found!

In happy and exciting news, we might have need of our passports later this year. Whee! That means we need to locate them, and it turns out, that’s much harder than we thought. Rich and I are both certain we put them in the computer desk drawer… but they’re not there. Nor are they anywhere else we looked. Good thing we’ve got until August to solve this problem.

On the bright side, we did find some other things. First, our lovely santa hats that I made back in 2009… Remember? They were in our Xmas cards for 2010 and 2011…

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But not in 2012… because I couldn’t find them. Turns out we put them under the basket full of old picture frames on the bookshelf in the corner of our bedroom. Yeah, that made sense.

When scouring the sewing/computer room for the passports, guess what my mazing husband found?
Found!!!
My walking foot! I had been convinced that it would not turn up until I broke down and bought a new one. It would have been much more helpful at that moment had it actually been our passports, but, I’m thrilled to have it back!

You know why? Because today I did this…

Which means that I can finally finish THIS!

I didn’t get very far, but, it’s still more than I have done in months! It might actually be safe to say that this quilt will finally be done in time for Xmas 2013, but I make no promises.

After all, it appears I’m going to have to spend a lot of time searching for our passports…

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It’s a finish. (Almost.)

I’ve been working on this shawl for what feels like forever, but Ravelry tells me has not even been 5 full weeks. In that time, I also knit 2 santa hats for some adorable little cousins of mine…

ImageThen I completed not one but two scarves that look like bacon, one for each of my own kiddos…

Image(You can visualize the exact same scarf on Henry, right?)

And I have finished 1.25 socks from the December 2012 Cookie A Sock Club Kit. (Look back to New Years if you need a refresher…)

But even though I accomplished all that, I still felt miserable about how long this shawl was taking. It seemed like the last 20 rows took an hour each. I took this thing everywhere- to work, to play, to the movies (in case you were wondering, I LOVED The Hobbit, and enjoyed Les Mis…) and more.

And today, with the help of a 2 hour presentation at work, I was finally able to plow through the final rows of the border. I bound off once I got home… and I am done. Okay, I need to weave in the ends, and for sure to block it, but I don’t need to knit so much as one more stitch! ¬†Whee! I’m free!

ImageIt’s not much to look at right now- this is one project that will truly benefit from a good blocking. But before I get to that, it needs a bath. In white vinegar. This yarn, La Lana Dos Mujeres purchased last year in Taos NM just days before the shop closed forever, bled like crazy. It turned my hands a horrid shade of purply-grey, and also left a nasty feeling residue on them. Yum. Not. I have high hopes that a good soaking in some vinegar water will cure the color bleeding, and a further soak in some Soak will cure the icky texture.

That soaking will happen some time this week, and then, the blocking. Meanwhile, I’ve got a 2nd sock to finish, a pair of mittens to cast on, and a crocheted afghan to complete.

(PS- Wondering what the pattern is? Geysir Stretch by Stephen West…)

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It’s a Start…

It’s pretty clear that I’ve lost my quilting mojo. I did not finish a single quilt in 2012. Not one. I put in a valiant effort on my Modern Cross quilt, but honestly, it feels like the more I work on that thing, the more I have left to do. I started some wonderful blocks during an amazing class with the one and only Anna Maria Horner. And then I brought them home and didn’t do anything with them. I basted a christmas quilt top that had been sitting around for nearly a year, but then when I sat down to actually quilt it, I couldn’t find my walking foot anywhere. I suspect it’s run off to a new home where it will be appreciated and used. I did manage to finish one large sewing project, albeit not a quilt. I finished a lovely duvet cover for our bed. It was pieced, so that’s kind of like a quilt, right?

In an effort to jumpstart my quilting, I signed up for the Sugar Block Club.¬†It’s a block and recipe of the month club, created by a fabulous local quilter of Craftsy fame. The big bonus is that, while people all over the country (world?) are in the club, Amy is indeed local, and there’s a monthly sewing session for each block at Fancy Tiger. That means 2 hours a month devoted to sewing. And while that may not seem like much, it’s a start…

I was shocked by how much fun I had picking out fabric. I waited until nearly last minute, Friday night, and was feeling at a loss. Because I only have a mini quilt shop’s worth of fabric stashed away… sheesh. I started poking around, and then remembered a wonderful bundle of 8 Kaffe FQs that I won a long while back from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

Prized Pieces

I’ve been hoarding saving them for months, and I realized it was time to use them I added in a few more Kaffes and a bunch of solid, and threw in a sparkly lavender background fabric for good measure. You can’t tell from this photo, but the background fabric is shot through with silvery sparkles.

Sugar Block club BOM, January 2013... Class at Fancy Tiger

Today was the first session. It was so much fun. Amy is lovely- we’ve met once or twice before but this was the first time I really got to chat with her. The block pattern is easy to follow and well written. And Amy even brought samples of the January treat recipe, banana whoopie pies, that were delicious.

Sugar Block club BOM, January 2013... Class at Fancy Tiger

But best of all- I actually made the block.

Sugar Block club BOM, January 2013... Class at Fancy Tiger

I realize making one block is not exactly a huge accomplishment (especially one block with an extremely wonky side), but hey, one wonky block is still a start. I’m going to use the poster on the wall at Fancy Tiger as my motto, at least for quilting, in 2013:

Sugar Block club BOM, January 2013... Class at Fancy Tiger

Wish me luck! Hopefully I’ll see you back here soon, and with some progress to boot…

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Lucky #13!

Goodbye to 2012
The last sock of 2012, completed before the ball dropped...
 
And Hello to 2013!
The first sock of 2013, cast on 1/1/13...

Here’s hoping I can get back on the blogging horse this year…

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