Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quilt Shop Hop

This week is the 2013 Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop. This will be my second shop hop, after my first last year. While my mom and sister got their quilt squares finished within months, I hadn't started my squares by the end of last year. Early on this year, I decided to do two things to prepare for this year:

1. Take Friday off (2 days out of 5 isn't long enough). While the shop hop goes Wednesday - Sunday, I knew adding one day would make a big difference.

2. Get the squares done before the next hop.

Well, item 1 was pretty easy... but item 2 has been a challenge. I decided to really challenge myself when I was noticing there were only 3 months left, and I had only done one of the 18 squares I wanted to create.

I decided to do 18 and create a "U" shaped quilt that would end up being a tree skirt. The reason behind this is that last year's secondary fabrics were red, green, blue, and white. These are perfect colors for Christmas, and I had been wanting a tree skirt for a while. Once I picked out the 18 (of 30ish choices) patterns that my Mom, sister, and I gathered, I was set to go. The squares are each 8", so it will be a pretty sizable skirt. I already have a great Christmas blanket (my very first quilt), so I wanted to do something a bit different with it. Here's a quick idea of what it's going to look like:

The sad fact is... I didn't make it. Here I am on the verge of my first shop of the 2013 shop hop, and there are many squares unfinished. Granted, I was able to get 17 of the 18 pieced, but 7 of the 17 need applique. What was a valiant effort, ended up not being enough. However, it is still my plan to get the tree skirt done in the next month or two. I have some Halloween fabric calling my name, but I have to get one project done first...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hitting 100!

I just logged my 100th project on Ravelry. I feel such a sense of accomplishment at this fact. It has been right about 10 years since I started knitting and it has been such a great time! I owe my sister Katy such a debt for teaching me this fabulous craft.

2009 - Piles of hand-knit socks. The pile is now triple this size!

While the number says 100, I almost feel that the number of completed items is closer to 200! Between the 50-odd sweater ornaments over the years, and the fact that socks are a pair, I could probably get by with a good 200. However, project-wise, 100 is pretty impressive. Other than the cat hats, AK hats, fingerless gloves, and ornaments, I try not to repeat patterns more than once or twice. This is a testament to how many wonderful patterns there are out there.

Thanks to all that create new projects! I have tried small things in the past, and am amazed by the creativity that continues to come out. Here's to another 100 projects! Let's just hope it doesn't take me 10 years to finish them!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Adventures in quilting

Years before I learned to knit, I learned to quilt. I was taught by my mom and sister, who are avid quilters. This spring, I learned to knit on a long-arm machine. It was a bit of a fluke that I even took the class. My sister signed up, but ended up being out of town. So, here I was, a replacement quilter... taking the class with my mom. Well, I am officially hooked. We have gone to rent the long-arm twice now, and today I finished quilting my first project on the machine. Oh my goodness! The possibilities!

A couple of years ago, we also took a class about quilting on smaller machines, by not engaging the foot. Well, this blows that class out of the water. Granted, the project I completed from the first class was a lot of fun, but my machine is just no equal to this beauty:

This machine is at a cute quilt shop in Tacoma called Calico Threads.

Taking the quilting class has definitely renewed my passion for quilting. I have just completed the quilt from oh... a class I took in 2011ish for quilting. It was a lot of fun to make, but really time-intensive. It was one of those projects where I just had to force myself to finish it.

This quilt is a fun technique where you just start sewing new pieces onto the main piece of fabric as over-sewing, so it can have really random edges and curves. It was a lot of fun to do, and somehow in the process of making it, a bird started appearing. After I realized the bird was there, the rest of the quilt started to take shape. I started where the lower of the birds is and added a second bird. It turned into a great wall hanging that will soon be hanging for all to see.
While my next quilt will be from a pattern, this quilt catered to my more abstract tendencies. Now all I have to do is finish the quilt from today... whee!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vacation knits!

I love knitting on the plane, in cars on the way to destinations, while sitting beside a pool and relaxing, and pretty much any other opportunity that vacations allow. Vacation knitting started early for me. One of my first scarves was made on my way to visiting my friend Jessie in Japan, then later that year, my first pair of socks were knit while in Australia.

I do tend to knit socks on vacations more often than any other projects because of their portability. Also, it helps that the needles are so small that they are even less dangerous than a pencil. Oh, and no... I have never been asked to check my knitting needles. I know other countries have issues with people knitting on planes, but thank goodness the US isn't one of them. Also, if I did go somewhere with problems, I have in fact knit with the insides of a pen before. It is a bit odd, and I wouldn't recommend it for most projects, but hey, if you have a 40 minute bus ride and have left a needle at home, you might have done it too.

My most recent pair of socks, now almost 75% finished, were knit on the way to and in Florida. This trip was so much fun, for it was a girls' trip with friends from High School. We may not be the rowdiest bunch, but it was a lot of fun. It was also fun that of the 4 of us, 3 of us are now knitters. It's always fun to have a friend learn to knit, then we have that much more to chat about. I am hitting my 10 year anniversary of knitting this year, and now have a good number of friends addicted as well! Long live knitting, vacations, and definitely vacation knits!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Crazy about Diamonds

So, I am not too crazy about the precious stone. Yep, diamonds aren't this girl's best friend. That's a long story and not one for this blog post. However, making diamonds in patterns is a whole different story. A few short (or long) years ago, my sister Katy made me a gorgeous short-row hat in Noro. I made Josh one as well and it was so much fun.

Here's the hat in all it's super-rainbow glory. I get so many compliments on this hat, and every time I say that... "No, I didn't make it...". I decided (after being given 4 partial skeins of Noro) that I wanted to make a scarf to match. So, I went to a fun modular knitting book that I got for Christmas called Modular Knits. I didn't have enough Noro for a full scarf, so added a neutral blue for the edging. This is what came out of it:

The blue didn't last long enough for the length to be a great scarf, so I decided to make it into a circular loop, by sewing up the edges. It now goes on as a 2 loop, and is incredibly comfortable. As mitered squares in the middle, the Noro still pops, although not quite as much as the original does.

So, here I am with the hat and scarf together! And, to attempt to finish the very last vestiges of the Noro that I was given, I am planning on doing a mitered squares patch for fingerless gloves. Winter in the northwest is always changing, so you never know when you'll need a hat, gloves, and scarf to keep out the chill.

Time to get going on those gloves! The knitting awaits...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

RED! Sweater

For the longest time, I have wanted a red sweater. I haven't had any rules about what it needs to look like, just a longing for a warm red sweater that I will wear for years. I never really found one in stores that I truly loved. Apparently I am a picky shopper...

So, after years of debate (in my head), and after knitting my first few sweaters (to lots of compliments), I decided to buy some red yarn. Buying yarn for sweaters is a bit of a commitment. Usually it requires many skeins. I often don't buy enough yarn for sweaters because of this fact. It also doesn't help sweater-making when I am a little bit obsessed with making socks. However, I had a bit of holiday cash last Christmas and decided to take the plunge.

Last December, my immediate family went to New York to have the quintessential "Christmas in New York". We saw the Rockettes, the tree in Rockefeller Center, and much more. We of course had to check out Purl SoHo, a wonderful yarn store. It was there that I found the gorgeous red yarn that would be my sweater. The ironic part of the whole thing is that it's from Cascade Yarns, a Seattle company. Yes, I went from Seattle to New York and ended up buying some Seattle yarn! :-) It called to me... make a sweater... you always wanted a red sweater!

So, after a year of knitting other projects, I finally decided to pick up the red yarn and knit my red sweater. I started the project about a month ago, and am having so much fun with it. I found a really simple pattern that will show off the yarn. In my "never fully following directions" way, I did add a gorgeous cable pattern down the arms of the sweater to add interest, but also to add enjoyment in the overall knitting of the project. I am currently in the NEVERENDING knit phase, so can't wait to get back to the arms for some cable fun. The sweater is being knit in the round, top down.

Here's a picture of the sweater in progress!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Designs for others

I enjoy very much doing things for other people. Whether it is quilting for Lutheran World Relief, knitting presents for friends, or even knitting for non-profits. Last weekend, the choir that I am in (Cora Voce) had a benefit concert. It was a great evening of entertainment, and I love that we over-sold the event. We had people packed into the church in Tacoma.

To help generate donations, a silent auction was held. It was a great success for all who donated or walked away with the donations. I ended up donating a few items, and yes, they were knitted. While they were nowhere near the top bidders, I feel like I helped make a difference when I donated them.

Here's to donating for good causes!!!