Friday, April 27, 2012

April Showers bring...May quilts!

Ah, the crazy April weather. How is it that I forget every year what its like? We started out with gorgeous, sunny, warm days - perfect for knitting. Every non-sleeping moment we spent out in the backyard, where I could sit and knit my little heart out while Jack played/got dirty. I got quite a bit done (for me) on my Quinn sweater for the luvinthemommyhood KAL during these days. I am finally past the lace yoke and am about to split for the sleeves.

Then came the cold. And the rain. And snow?!?! And back inside we went.

I am still getting a little knitting done, but with more inside days, my sewing machine is calling to me. I'm trying to be good and knock some items off my sewing list. So I finished up this:

This is actually the second time I've made the Beach Robe pattern by Dana at Made. The first one was done hastily and, sad to say, not very well and is already falling apart. I decided to make another one because Jack uses it all the time for bath time, and we are also planning to use it at the pool this summer. This time around I made sure to finish all the seams and take my time with the bias tape. I think I put the hood on wrong, but I sorta fixed it, so...oh, well. I made the Large size of the pattern, and as you can see, its a bit big on him but he can grow into it.

With that must-do sewing done, I started working on a new quilt. I have had a stack of vintage sheet charm packs I got from the etsy store In Color order for a couple months now, just waiting for inspiration to strike. I finally decided to make them into half-square triangle blocks with Kona ash, and I'm thinking they will eventually be a random pinwheel-type quilt.

But then I got distracted. I first saw this quilt on Pinterest

Anna Maria Horner Patchwork Prism

and immediately pinned it. Then I found out that the blog Sweet Diesel Designs is having a quilt along for it! The prizes are incredible, but just having a quilt along to join has given me the nudge to do this quilt. Right now. The vintage sheet pinwheel quilt is going to have to wait. As much as I love this version, I'm definitely thinking I'm going to change it up somehow. If you are interested in joining the quilt along, it is here or if you just want to do the quilt on your own, the free pattern is here. Do it with me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In full knitting mode


The Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL at luvinthemommyhood started up last Wednesday and I am in a knitting frenzy! Since my last post about it, I kinda had a change of heart (and pattern). I started off by knitting a swatch like a good girl - my first time ever! Knitting a swatch that is, not being a good girl ;)  I even knit it in the round using this tutorial from Jane Richmond's blog. The first time doing it took some finagling before I discovered the soft case for my interchangeable needles was the perfect size to loop my yarn around. But I did not get gauge. Boo. So, undaunted, I frogged my swatch and tried again with smaller needles. Again, no luck - but in the other direction! I had introduced myself on the Ravelery thread for this group, so I decided to ask what to do and got some wonderful suggestions. In the meantime, however, I downloaded this:

Interweave Knitscene Summer 2012

And immediately fell in love with this amazing tee:

Quinn Sweater by Amy Gunderson - Knitscene Summer 2012

Even more amazing? Somebody on Ravelery had already knit it using the Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima that I bought for the original tank! And I got perfect gauge! And I had enough yardage! It was meant to be.

I was a little nervous - after all this is my first garment EVER. I had picked the original tank because it was simple, and I figured I should start with something simple. Quinn is not simple. But. While I like the Summertime tunic, and may try to make it one day, I didn't love it. And I really think if I am going to spend all of this blood, sweat, tears and, let's face it, money on something, I need to love it. And I really do love this - the shape, the simple lace on the yoke, the little asymmetries. I have done pretty much everything in the pattern before, in one project or another. So I have decided to be brave, throw caution to the wind and knit me up a Quinn.

And you know what? So far, so good!

My Quinn

I haven't had any real problems. It's all about taking it one row at a time and making sure I read the next section of pattern until I understand what I'm being asked to do. I'm hoping it's not going to be too big. I may have to figure out how to do modifications if it is, cause there's no way I'm starting over. But I'm loving the color, the sheen and everything else about it, so I hope it turns out. And I feel pretty good about taking my chances.

I have done a little sewing too, and I am mailing my friend Lesley's quilt tomorrow, so I WILL finally be able to post photos of that. I was supposed to have had a girls' weekend with her this past weekend and give it to her in person, but the stomach flu visited our house and it was not to be. So I am mailing it because I just can't wait until June, when we rescheduled. Cross your fingers that it makes it there!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello terrible twos, buh-bye sewing time.

Whoa, time flies when you're - well, let's just say it flies. I have been up to my eyeballs in the terrible twos here and it is no fun. Not only do I have a whining, crying soundtrack to my day, but we are also having sleep problems. Ugh. I think we've finally "fixed" the nighttime issues that cropped up when we were staying at my parents' house, but we are still struggling with nap time. He went from a 2-3 hour nap to mostly no nap! A couple days this week I got him to take an hour-long nap, but it's still hit or miss.

Which means that my sewing time has gone to almost zero. Boo.

I've started trying to sew while he's awake, hoping he'll just play quietly by himself. Sometimes it goes that way. Sometimes I'm fighting him off my machine pedal, keeping him from maiming himself with the iron or just playing referee between him and the dog.


I am determined to sew. It keeps me sane! It must be done. So, I have gotten a few things finished.

A couple months ago, I came across Hoodie's Catch of the Day line. I knew that I had to have it and had to make something for my mom with it. I was a little disappointed in her reaction to the quilt I made her for Christmas, so I needed redemption. So I decided to think small and made her a couple of kitchen towels and potholders.

She loved them. Thank goodness. I didn't really use a specific tutorial, just kind of winged it. For the towels I just strip pieced the fabric and appliqued it to a couple of (perfectly matching) towels I got at Target. The potholders (that's front and back of two up there) I put together by looking at ones I had and reading tips online. I sandwiched a 9" square of Insul-bright batting between 2 squares of cotton batting and then the fabric on either side. I did simple diamond quilting (with cotton thread) and then made some double fold bias tape to bind, turning a little loop over at the end. Pretty simple stuff, but I think they turned out well!

I managed to eek out a homemade Easter gift for Jack, too, though I was sewing this up the night before Easter:

I saw these I spy bags on the blog homemade by jill and thought it would be the perfect quick and simple gift for Easter. The fabric is Michael Miller Plaid Portation that I had in my stash - because I knew it would be perfect for Jack. I found the poly beads at Michaels, along with several little toys and scrabble letters. It actually wasn't as cheap as I would have liked, but it was last minute. If I had more time, I could have found cheaper items for the inside. I did end up making another one (in a flowery fabric) for my friend's daughter's second birthday, so I was able to split the items up, making each one a little more - economical.

I made the little pocket on back for the card, as well, though I didn't take pictures of everything before it went in. I figure I could just type it out, or maybe take pictures of each item laying in the poly beads. Or he could store some goldfish snacks in there. Whatever.

I am still slogging away at April's Craftsy Block of the Month - english paper piecing hexagons - and I am giving my friend her quilt this weekend, so I can finally post pictures of that, woohoo! If my 2 year old doesn't kill me first.