Monthly Archives: January 2014

WIP Wednesday: The Skull Baby Quilt

I’m kind of on a sewing roll… On Sunday I started a new baby quilt. This baby isn’t even here yet- I might actually finish before s/he arrives! (Maybe.) Mom and dad are punky and funky., and I think they’ll very much appreciate this non-traditional quilt.

(Plus I’ve had Boo DavisDare to Be Square for years, and I’ve been dying to make this quilt…)

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Since we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, I went with greens for the background color. I did need to buy the two solids, but the prints and the white are all from stash…

First, there was cutting.

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And then there was sewing. On Sunday, I started the skull, from the top down.

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I had to stop with only half of the skull done- but not before I managed to burn my arm on my iron ūüė¶ (Note to self- you are short. Don’t try to reach OVER your iron, k?)

But then there was Monday. Monday was for cheekbones and teeth.

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Tuesday was for the jaw.

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And for cutting the strips for the outside blocks.

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It’s always so much fun to pull fabrics from stash. Some of these greens date back 10 years or more. There’s batiks and Kaffes and miscellaneous prints, and they’re all having so much fun together. Now I just need to piece 16 blocks of 6 strips each, and then I can put the entire top together.

I am so excited by this quilt. I haven’t been this excited to sew in ages. I normally only sew on Sundays- i just don’t have the time or energy on weeknights. But this week I spent Monday and Tuesday night in the sewing room, with Netflix streaming! (Also, if you haven’t watched¬†Luther, what are you waiting for? I’m super late to the party, like always, but it’s amazing.) Looking forward to finishing this top on Sunday, while the rest of Denver watches some football game. At our house, it will be all Puppy Bowl, all afternoon long…

(Linking up with WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced)

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Snow and Ice

Last year we took a mini-vacation (read: one night away from home) up to Steamboat Springs to check out the Ice Castles, and on the way home we stopped in Breckenridge to check out the 2013 International Snow Sculpture Competition. Both wintery art installations are magnificent, and this year, BOTH were in Breck. So we decided to make a day trip out of it and see the 2014 Snow Sculptures and the Ice Castles all in one day.

In the abstract this was a wonderful plan. In reality, Breck was mobbed, and it felt like it took us as long to find parking as it did to drive up to the mountain town…¬† After I stopped being whiny, and got fed, we did all have a great, albeit cold time.

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And because my fabulous husband drove there AND back, I finally finished Clue #1 of the last Westknits mystery shawl. And yes, I know how behind I am. I started it back when the KAL started, and had all sorts of issues, and put it down to ruminate for a while. which turned into months. I ripped it out completely 2 weeks ago, and am much happier now.¬† Hopefully I’ll have some photos to show you soon.

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Filed under Travel

A Giant Creep(er)

Somehow, I forgot to tell you all about my biggest finish of 2013- actually, the biggest knitted finish of my life to date! What?!

Pinterest made me do it.

Last year I was poking around, and I saw this blanket¬†by Own Two Hands. And I fell in love. So simple and graphic, and sure to make my Henry the happiest kid in the world. He loves Minecraft and would play it all day every day, if only his pesky mom (hi!) didn’t set limits on his computer time… Cuddling with a Creeper blanket would make him so happy.

In September, I went to Michaels and bought a giant batch of their Loops and Threads Impeccable solid yarn. Washable and inexpensive to boot. The best kind of yarn for a project for a smelly 10 year old boy…

And I started knitting. I knit rows instead of individual squares (because the pattern is made up of 100 squares, and that amount of sewing up would have killed me), and I seamed them up as I finished them. (I was afraid otherwise I would end up spending all of Xmas eve seaming like mad…) I made my squares slightly bigger than called for in the original pattern because, um, I can’t remember why.

Slowly, the blanket grew. I only worked on it at home, because it was just too big and too much yarn to carry around with me.

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And a few days before Xmas, I was done.

And so I wrapped it up, and put it under the tree.

I think he liked it.

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Now, it lives on his bed in place of a quilt. When we changed sheets last week, we left of the crazy pile of stuffed animals long enough to get an action shot of the blankie. Here’s the Ravelry link to my project, if you are interested…

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But you know what this means, right?

In the interest of fairness, it’s time to make a new giant project for Annie. Pinterest to the rescue- I’m thinking, a Tardis quilt (bed sized) adapted from THIS¬†beauty.

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Filed under General Geekery, Gift, Henry, Knitting, Pinned it AND made it!

WIP Wednesday: Top, done!

I am SO excited.

On Sunday, while everyone else in Denver was watching some football game, I was sewing.

Thanks to the Vintage Quilt Revival blog tour, I was finally inspired to create a setting for my 2013 Sugar Block Club blocks… (and I bought a copy of the book, too…)

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I bordered each block in a solid. This had two benefits- first, 3 of my paper pieced blocks came in 1/2 an inch too small, so I used the borders to plump them up to size. Second, I really feel like the borders allowed the individual blocks to shine. I wish I had had a bit more of the green and brown solids left, as I would have been very happy to have a bit less orange and a bit more green, but overall, I’m happy. The solids were all FQs, and there is very very little left.

Then, I used the prints as the setting squares. I really love how this helped me balance out the colors and prints in the individual blocks.

And I bought the most wonderful backing fabric, on clearance for $6.84 a yard, no less, from Fabric.com.
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It’s a spring 2013 Kaffe, and it has all the colors of the front in it. UPS is supposed to bring it today, so maybe I can baste over the weekend and finish it up while I am still motivated. I was thinking a row of flying geese from the leftover front fabric, backed in the white, would be a nice addition to the back.

Maybe my mom will actually get her Xmas gift in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Filed under Gift, Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

Wherein I decimate a gift certificate in 10 seconds flat…

When I left my old job back in December, my amazing coworkers sent me out into the world with a gift certificate to Fancy Tiger. I had plans to hoard that gift certificate for ages, but, not so much…
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Saturday, I met up with some friends to plan our own little QAL. I totally wanted to take part in the official Tula Pink City Sampler Sew Along last year, but I just didn’t have the time. Too many other commitments, etc. But then, I was chatting with a friend (hi, Ellen!) and we decided to do our own QAL in 2014. And to use the City Sampler book. Then she invited her SIL, and I invited another friend, and suddenly we had a small but fabulous band of quilters ready to go… So, over fried pickles and tasty beverages at our favorite dive bar, we planned. And since the dive bar is next to Fancy Tiger, we shopped!

I wasn’t planning to buy anything, but that Anna Maria Horner Dowry print jumped into my arms.

20140121-085544.jpg(Pardon the crappy cell phone photos… I was so excited I started to play right away.) Those are just some of the fabrics I’ll use in my sampler. I nearly had to physically restrain myself from starting my blocks, but I still have to finish my mom’s quilt top, and 2 more baby quilts. THEN I can play. My plan is to start in February, and to commit to 10 blocks per month through November. The rest of my merry band may not do all 100 blocks, but that’s okay.

Not only did I succumb to fabric impulse buys, there was yarn. Fancy Tiger got in 10 skeins of this amazing amazing yarn on Friday. (See it here.) By the time I bought mine on Saturday, they had 5 skeins left. I have no plans for it. That’s totally against my promises to myself to NOT buy yarn unless I have a specific project in mind. But I love it. Just looking at the skein makes me happy. The loft and squish are amazing, and the colors? The colors thrill me.

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Not sure what it will be… the happiest socks in the world? A Spectra or a Daybreak? Ideas?

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Filed under Stash Enhancement, Tula Pink QAL

Finish It Up Friday: The Belated Baby Boy Quilt

Last spring, I made two quilt tops for two baby boys. I was already behind when I started. And I’m even further behind now. Both babies will turn 2 in 2014… and they will FINALLY get their quilts from me. At least they’re getting them before they start preschool. Someone once told me that as long as the baby gets the quilt before he or she heads off to college, you’re good. So by that measure, I’m not so late, right?

Yeah, I know, I sound lame even to me.

But, hey, quilt #1 is done and ready to be mailed off to its new home.

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I did super simple quilting, and while it’s not showstopping, it’s also not making me sad.

I still can’t believe that I found such perfect backing and binding fabric for this guy.

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Hopefully I’ll make it to the post office this weekend, and then I can move on to finish the other baby boy quilt… I’m trying to keep my finish-ing momentum going. Wish me luck!

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts

WIP Wednesday: the penultimate 2013 Sugar Block Club Block!

I did it!
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12 months, 24 blocks. No, neither top is done yet, and no, I didn’t quite get the 24th block pieced before 2013 ended. But still! All 24 blocks, to be made into a total of 2 quilts, are DONE!
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The final Sugar Block Club installment of 2013 was a lovely paper pieced star. You saw the other one a few weeks ago.
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I’m always amazed by paper piecing- the piece on the right and left are pieced identically, but the one on the left has been trimmed to size. Amazing!

And I have to say, the biggest improvement to my piecing skills in 2013 was paper piecing. I had never loved it, or been all that good at it, but it turns out that’s because I was (poorly) self taught. Amy‘s instructions and tips changed that, and I no longer dread it! I might even be feeling cocky enough to take on the fabulous Doctor Who blocks by Trillium Designs.

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Meanwhile, it’s time to work on laying out these quilts. I’m a little frozen. I don’t have any fancy quilting software to help me draft a layout, and I want something more interesting than just 4 rows of 3 blocks, maybe with sashing. The blocks finish at 12″. Do you have any favorite layout tips or tricks for twelve 12″ blocks? I have some, but not tons, of each quilt’s background fabric left, as well as some, but not tons, of each fabric used in the blocks. And for each quilt I do have some yardage of other fabrics that work well with them, even if they’re not in the original blocks.

But what to do? Please, send ideas!

(BTW, obviously, I didn’t give my mom her quilt, finished, for Xmas as I had hoped. Instead I wrapped up the blocks, put them under the tree, and took them back after she opened them… I decided I’d rather have a late gift than one that I wasn’t happy with.)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

New Socks for New Years

New Year’s Day was cold and snowy, so I seized the moment to snuggle up in bed and start a new pair of socks: Arrow (one of the patterns from the December 2013 Cookie A Sock Club shipment). The pattern is so simple, but I adore the outcome. The sock was practically flying off my needles.

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Eventually, I had to get out of bed and do other things, but by Thursday night, when the kids and I lucked into some Avs tickets, I had gotten to here.

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The Avs won, and my sock grew…(PS see those braces? Poor kid got them Thursday morning…)

Friday had more knitting time, and by the time I met up with my friend for the 2014 Sticks and Stitches game on Saturday afternoon, I was on to the gusset. and, BTW, the Avs won again.

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Saturday and Sunday were both cold, nasty, and snowy… so we decided to finally take the plunge and, with the kids,¬† watch the director’s cut of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (nearly 4.5 hours long, and on two discs, so we drug it out over two nights…) And by the end of the credits on Sunday night, I had a sock! A lovely, soft squishy sock. The yarn, Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label Cashmere Sock, is as luscious as it sounds. The custom club colorway, Julep, is again not one I would have picked out, but I totally love it.

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The ribbing on the sides makes this an extra comfy sock. I can’t wait to get #2 done so I can start wearing them.

What’s been your first start of the New Year?

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Filed under CookieA, Hockey, Knitting, Socks

The Last Finish of 2013

With time off from work, I have actually done more sewing over the last week tun in the last month or two. Hooray! In an attempt to start 2014 off with good quilty karma, I spent New Year’s Eve finishing up the Former Frolleague Quilt. Basting, then quilting, then binding. Awesomely, I was able to listen to the BBC radio version of Neverwhere, one of my all time favorite books, while I was working. (The wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch was one of the voices. Squee!)

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(FYI, as of the moment when I am typing, the baby has not yet arrived. S/he is being stubborn, and may be induced out at any moment. So, I DID get the quilt done before the baby was born!)

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I thought I would be okay with the wide unquilted patch of grey, but I don’t like it. If I had it to do over, I would put something in there… I’m putting that into the live ad learn column. One of my grand plans for 2014 is to work on my free motion quilting- I thought I’d make a bunch of placemats and use them as practice pieces… Then maybe I’ll feel more confident with filling in wide open spaces with my quilting. Meanwhile, I can start 2014 feeling a bit lighter.

Here’s hoping your 2014 is off to a wonderful crafty start!

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Quilts

WIP Wednesday: an old top in a new year…

With two weeks off from work, you’d think I would be further ahead right now on my crafty projects. But the first week was all birthday celebrations (mine) as well as Xmas… busy busy busy!

I did decide to kick off the New Year in style, by finishing up projects from the old year. It seems like a good tone to set for a productive year.

Remember this top?

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From last spring?

It’s been basted and ready to be quilted for ages, so today, I did just that!

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Even though NYE was surprisingly warm, we woke up to snow today. I let the kids be lazy, and I sewed away. I got the quilting done, and moved on to binding.

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I had that fabulous striped fabric stashed away for this quilt, and I LOVE how it looks with both the front and back. (The quilt was small enough for me to get away with a non-pieced back, my favorite lazy kind…)

With Disc 2 of the final season of Dexter ( hooray for Netflix…), I whiled away a pleasant morning.

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Isn’t that backing fabric fun? (please please, look at the fabric and not my lousy quilting stitches…)

I’m hoping to have the binding hand sewn down before I head back to work next week, and then to mail this off the the baby it was intended for, before he becomes a full fledged toddler…

Here’s hoping you all have crafty new years!

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Filed under Baby quilts, Quilts, WIP Wednesday