Done is better than perfect

99CC3708-2453-45A7-8ADE-D06C4D8ADB6E

After more than two years, my red and white Xs quilt is finally done!  It waited in its box for a long, long time before getting quilted.

The background is all loops, really the only free motion pattern I can manage over wide areas.  But I did try some new quilting patterns inside the Xs.  I gave up quickly and picked out my free motion attempts at fillers, but I had more success with the walking foot.

I used the border to practice some simple dot to dot lines, marking my turning points with pins.  Then I went back and did more in the Xs that had relatively large open areas.  Nothing complex, but I got better as I went on.

There were a LOT of thread ends to bury!

I used the bright red for the binding which went on really fast after all the pulling and pausing and turning during the quilting.

We no longer have a house with an upper deck, so my tall husband did his best to hold it up in the kitchen.

7C411EE0-F0A3-49E0-877A-EA1D4ABE6BB0

It is done just in time to put it on the couch for Christmas.  I guess I need to make a blue and white one for Hanukkah next since we celebrate both.  It is too late for this year – the last candle was a few days ago – but I can have it ready for next year.

I was really scared to put this one in the washer.  I would have skipped that step, but after being dragged around for all the sewing, the quilt needed to be cleaned.   I didn’t think to prewash the fabric way back when I was starting the blocks. I never prewash, but this time it would have been wiser.  Red and white – the bleeding potential was very high.

I did a lot of research about washing it and ended up putting it in with as much water as the washer allowed and double rinsing.  I also threw in six color catchers (the normal amount is one, maybe two for really strong colors).  They came out pretty pink:

386B312C-9DE9-4826-8BC0-E29F2259EBC9

But the quilt did not.  Yay!

C5948A90-097E-4158-81FC-08C1C1E2B19A

The back is a crowded red and white winter village.  It is busy enough that the quilting doesn’t really show, neither the white or red thread.

19FCB3E5-ED82-457E-9A34-91DFEC820D41

I especially like like the little snowflakes falling on the rooftops.

044A1B9D-AA48-44D6-8EAC-1A47500D0C3CThe quilt is done, the tree is trimmed.  Now I just need to do absolutely everything else for the holidays.  It may be time to start panicking.

ADA7C4DC-A40E-49BB-8666-EC6E4FDA4F8D

F37B1BD4-8547-4EEE-9A67-40AC1BA4A579

 

 

Grellow

One of my favorite color combinations is gray and yellow. My new kitchen floor and backsplash are examples of that, although with the yellow turned way down.  Add in a warm brown, and it really helps with the rather washed out falls and winters around here.

So when we got our new living room couch a while ago, I inevitably chose a rather gray toned brown fabric, to go with the accent walls my sister painted yellow for me.

But a new couch demands a new quilt, right?

A0A50495-2629-4D53-9CE6-9009FC9EA98B

I actually made the top last winter, and pinned the quilt sandwich in my school library the day I had to stay late for evening graduation back in June.

55D0B9AF-1FEA-458C-B969-0374AAA6D3D6

But then my beloved Juki had to go into the shop to repair a broken part, and ended up having to be mailed back to the factory when the injury proved serious.  It was gone all summer, and my Brother machine, while excellent in its way, doesn’t have the harp space or the heavy duty power to quilt easily.  So the WIP waited until summer ended and the Juki finally returned.

By this point, I really needed it to get done, if only to reclaim the pins.  I have enough projects sandwiched and ready for quilting that I was running out of the curved safety pins.  Only a small pile remained.

I auditioned a few thread colors: gray, variegated, a dark brown.  I liked the dull gold of a 50 wt. Aurifil best for tying all the fabric colors together.   I chose a fairly simple quilting, just double echoes of all the seams, so it went fast.  As you can see in the photos, the quilt is made up of 10” squares, half square triangles, and four patches of 5” squares.  Not at all fancy, but bright and rich colors that I love together.

Add a binding made of the remnants of the backing fabric after trimming and it is exactly what I wanted for keeping warm on the couch.

FF1275F0-3C3C-4995-83B8-AC0DB2B7C342BDA4F965-E83D-4931-B177-2EF4A853E464130CCC0D-FFCE-4E28-844E-ADE62AB5878F

 

Olympic gold finish

I’m awarding myself an unexpected gold medal because I did in fact finish my Knitting Olympics wrap before the extinguishing of the flame at the end of the closing ceremonies.  Of course, this was on NBC time, rather than the Korean peninsula time zone, but so was the casting on, so I’m counting it.

I owe my victory to two snow days and a late start, so thank you Canada for the cold front assist.

The blocking may have been a bit excessive – this thing stretches to the floor if I don’t double wrap it.  In some hazy future I will soak it again and reblock for width and reduced length, but for now, I’m just loving it.  I’m almost sad that spring is finally starting to show up because I won’t get to wear it for months and months.

Not sure why it then took me two weeks to get that finish posted, but life gets in the way.

I’ve moved on to another wrap, this one called Pralines.  I ripped it out three times in the early stages, twice because I didn’t like how I was managing carrying the light yarn up the edge, and the third time because I decided to change the contrast yarn altogether.  In stead of a greeny-blue yarn I dyed a while back with Olympic white left-overs , it is now the greeny-blue with a variegated lighter green.  Looks less like I’m knitting nautical wear.  If I had the brown yarn shown in the pattern, I’d have used that because I love the color combination, but I’m trying to knit from stash.

B1F92BA2-2803-4AA6-B178-92E67C8E5D59

Which, by the way, is totally my excuse for buying three new skeins of yarn at the Rose City Yarn crawl last weekend.  I needed the new yarns to go with three skeins I already had, so I could make some two color shawls I have my eye on.  can’t knit from stash if it doesn’t match!  None of my remaining sock yarns really went with each other.  So I was pretty much forced to buy more yarn, right?  (Oh, rationalization.  It makes for great shopping sprees.)

My friend Paige came down to spend the weekend, so there was much knitting and yarn shopping and making of bagels.

That last became a full family affair because the many stages of bagel making were so interesting.  Kneading and pulling, then broiling, boiling, and baking.  We had a great time, and then a fabulous bagel feast.

 

 

 

 

 

A finish, a start, and a revival

9C22D13B-8E96-46B7-877F-A4EA7936CD7C

My finish this week is my Aether shawl.  I’m sad to have finished it.  I loved the yarn, loved the pattern, loved the process.  And I suspect, if the trend continues, that I will love wearing it.

The before and after shots show the magic role blocking plays in lace knitting!  This shawl has a six foot wingspan, and that is after I skipped the final pattern repeat.

I finished it up in Seattle where I joined my fiber friends, Paige, L1 (AKA Seattle Leslie) and L2 (AKA Oregon Leslie).

B6A3EC86-CB11-48EA-8CEF-D9754AC579FD

(A sample picture of the necessities for a knitting weekend. Plus wine.)

We spent most of the time hanging out with our knitting, but we did take a break at one point to drive over to Carnation, for a first time visit to Tolt Yarn and Wool.

It is a warm, friendly shop, and a sweater knitter’s dream.  So many beautiful yarn lines, worsted and woolens in a rainbow of solids and heathers.  Whole sections provided enough colors for any fair isle project.  It made my fingers inch to take up a project with lots of cables or complicated multi-color patterns.

There were less of the highly varigated or speckle dyed yarns that are the recent craze.  It fell into more classic styles in the yarn and in the samples.  It made for a very pretty shop.

So what did I buy? Yarn made of nettles. Not soft, not pretty, but it intrigued me. I think it will someday become placemats, or a table runner. They should be hard wearing and drapey after repeated washing.

D3FBDE6D-38DB-4C99-AAFB-4F8334B2AF08

My new knitting start is another pair of socks, to become the tote bag project.  There always needs to be a portable project in my tote bag.  These will be made from another skein of Knit Picks Bare that I dyed in jars, this time in turquoise, gray, and a gray-blue.  The free pattern is called Petty Harbour, and I have knit it before.  It is a simple four row repeat, which is what on-the-go, frequently interrupted knitting needs.

2D6EC878-79E0-4954-88FD-B99C0991887F

My revival is my handspun sweater that has languished in a bag in the craft closet for months.  I’m not sure why, other than it has so many different balls of yarn attached that it takes some effort and space to keep untangling them all.  The pattern is simple, the yarn wrangling is not.

1A02EFB5-D4BF-4DA3-9EB3-7EA9ACE3D197

Just a simple raglan cardigan-to-be, made entirely from my handspun yarn.  It is using up a lot of the single skeins that had been piling up.

Overall, a yarn filled week.  That’s never a bad thing.  🙂

Warm toes

Just what the winter cold calls for – a new pair of warm wool socks!

4AB6702B-81CF-466B-992A-F100E0BD0BB8

I don’t wear my hand knit socks with shoes often.  My feet overheat with wool inside shoes.  Occasionally with snow boats or when camping maybe.  But I wear them around the house pretty much daily in the winter.  The tile kitchen floor is so chilly!  So, it is good to get a new pair in rotation.

ED7ED26F-16E0-4566-8C5A-C2FD13F65636

These are from a free pattern called Village Socks. The yarn is Knit Picks bare that I dyed in jars.  They’ve been my tote bag project, carted here and there and knit up a few rows at a time since September.  Progress shots were posted on the blog back when I made my first needle holders.

78CE6C19-FDB7-4190-9371-0FCD2CF965C0

I prefer to knit socks from the cuff down to the toes. I like how the heel is constructed in that method.  I’m gradually improving with the kitchener grafting that is always the last step before finishing.  Not my strongest skill and I have to look up the stitch order each time, but when I’m done I do admire the seamless results.

With the socks done, I needed a new tote bag project.  After some time searching Ravelry patterns, I chose a garter stitch lace shawl in a warm gold to add color to these gray days.  Knitting with Madeline Tosh yarns is always pure joy.

0104DDE4-6EFA-49CD-9BFC-27E31B623A9B

 

 

 

Line Break

E402613D-8F1A-463C-949E-06B20BD93D89

A late night finish – I was so close to the end I couldn’t  stop until I’d cast off, so I’m a little sleepy today.

This shawl, Line Break, is a great pattern for nightly TV-and-reading knitting.  Lots of garter stitch, some easy short row sections, and eyelet thrown in to add some variety.

I had two complementary skeins of Malibrigo yarn, one of my favorite brands. Their construction was very different. The sock yarn is a multi ply fingering weight.  The Mechita is a single ply yarn. It is also fingering, but definitely lighter/airier internally then the sock yarn.  Very similar to Madeline Tosh merino light yarn, another big favorite.  You can see the differences in the photo above and just below if you look closely.

 

The colorways called out to be togetherness.  In the skein they looked the same, though once wound into cakes the sock yarns violet tones showed up more, and the Mechita was redder.

I alternated every two rows, and loved every minute of knitting such pretty colors.

85FEC6C6-4E11-4F69-8EE2-BFAFC34030F8

It looks a little ruffled in this just-finished late night dim lighting shot (that really changes the colors) but it will block out into an asymmetric straight edged wrap of pretty good size.  I can tell it is going to get worn a lot.

My other finish of the day was this also poorly lit TV stand that arrived in a flat pack box yesterday and sat in the rain on my porch for several hours until I got home.  Luckily it was well wrapped inside and the wet didn’t do any harm.

70ABEF6B-1190-4845-8637-E368EC15509B

I immediately went to work assembling it, and then filled the book shelf with knitting and traveling books, along with some other random titles that needed a home.  So nice to have a new stand that doesn’t show each and every wire!

 

 

Happy New Year!

Rug before felting

I rang out 2017 with a glass of prosecco and the last rows of my Kiko Mariko project.  My boys stayed awake until midnight for first time on a New Year’s Eve – they were a lot more energetic than my husband and I.  At 12:06 we were all in bed.

7626B8F9-4F8C-48C7-A0E4-F8B4ACD85E10
My sister made all the non-knit stockings hanging here. Even the dog got one.

I spent some time on the last day and the first day of 2017/18 cutting up scraps from various vacation projects.  My sister had come over to make a lot of new stockings for us all, I finished one of the charity quilts we’ve been slowly working on, and I pieced the backing for the new living room quilt.  So a lot of pieces were piled up, waiting to be sized.  I cut my scraps into 5″ squares when they are big enough, then 4 1/2″ as a second option.  If they are too small for that, they become strips or 2 1/2″ squares.  The littlest pieces go into a small bin for future tiny scrap projects like the still unfinished blob quilt.

The new year is the time to revisit my 2017 crafting goals.  Last year on New Year’s day I’d pulled out all my yarn.  We’ve moved since then, and both my yarn and fiber stash feel more organized now, so I’m not doing that again!

I went back and reviewed my crafting goal list for 2017.  To be honest, I didn’t do that well.  New shiny things distracted me from many of the older WIPs.  I can knock off maybe four of the things on that list, and a few more that I did away with because I knew they’d never get down (J’s crochet monster for example – he’s in middle school now and would be horrified at the damage to his dignity if I gave that to him.)

My spinning really suffered in 2017.  The urge just wasn’t there unless I was with my fiber friends.  I started and finished a few quilts, but the older ones are still languishing.  I didn’t get the king size bed quilt done, I didn’t knit a whole sweater, I didn’t weave a single length of fabric.  Honestly, it was the worst craft goal achievement ever!

And yet I did do a lot.  Many cowlsPatchwork furnishings.  Some quilts, though many of them were small or smaller.

And we moved!  So a lot of my crafting energy went into creating a new home for us.  House hunting, and getting the old house in sellable condition.  Packing and unpacking.  New floors, new windows, new fireplaces, new furniture, and the list goes on and on.  So many weekends and so much energy were taken up with that, so I’m giving myself a break on the less successful goal finishing.

And, wiser now, I’m not making a long specific list of goals for 2018.  Instead, my goals are to use my stash as much as possible, be judicious with the spending for new additions to the stash, and to try to finish more projects than I start, at least until the WIP pile goes down.  I still need to document that list, just as a memory jogger, but not something to beat myself up about if I don’t accomplish it all.  It is supposed to be a fun hobby, after all.  Not a chore!

I hope you got through 2017 healthy and happy – a difficult year by many measurements – and I wish you all a terrific 2018, with as much fiber, fabric, or yarn as you can handle, happy families, and good health.

20171203_130727